Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Here's Why Trump's Choice For His Finance Manager Should Make Your Blood Boil

by Nomad

Donald Trump

If you -or somebody you know- happened to be one of the thousands of victims of home foreclosure in the wake of the economic meltdown of 2008, here's why Donald Trump's choice for his finance manager, Steven Mnuchin, is a slap in your face.
In fact, all Americans ought to be furious.

Trump's Wall Street Hypocrisy

Days after locking up the Republican presidential nomination in May, Donald Trump named Steven Mnuchin as his national finance chairman.
The press release states that Mnuchin "has previously worked with Mr. Trump in a business capacity and brings his expertise in finance to what will be an extremely successful fundraising operation for the Republican Party." 

In many ways, it was a bewildering and disturbing choice for a candidate who had consistently portrayed himself - to his angry middle-class supporters- as a bitter foe of Wall Street excesses. 
Indeed, Wall Street once trembled at the possibility of Trump getting the nomination. Months before, in September 2015, one political strategist put it like this :
"He has bought into the populist rhetoric that Wall Street is greedy and makes too much money...He sounds more anti-Wall Street than Elizabeth Warren."
That was, of course, before Trump was officially crowned the Republican nominee. After the GOP nomination was sealed up, Trump surprised everybody by jumping in bed with the very people he had castigated.

Goldman, Sachs in the Mnuchin Bloodline

After all, Mnuchin's connections to Wall Street are practically genetic. His father, Robert E. Mnuchin, spent a greater part of three decades on Wall Street at Goldman, Sachs & Company. He was, in fact, one of the pioneers of the institutional equity trading business in the 1960's. Before his retirement in 1990, Robert Mnuchin was "one of the most important figures in the equities business."
(Incidentally, Investopedia cites a crash in equity trading as major factors in two periods of economic decline, the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008.)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Shocking Scam behind Donald Trump's Tax Plan for Small Businesses

by Nomad

Trump wants you to think he is a friend to small business owners. But the truth is that Trump is Trump, and his critics suspect he's still trying to scam small business owners.   

Perceptions and Facts

In a 2013 study, Pew Research Center found that your personal view of the economic situation has very much to do with your party affiliation. 
When it comes to the basic question of whether the economic system is more secure today, Democrats perceive that things are getting better and Republicans, on the other hand, see little progress.

The objective measures of economic recovery tend to take a back seat to our political prejudices. A behavioral economist will tell you that, when it comes to the economy, perceptions count almost as much as facts. 

In the United States, there are 28 million small businesses. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs. Suffice to say, promoting and developing small businesses is a big part of any economic recovery. 
Therefore, the perceptions of small business owners are an important indicator of the progress of the economic growth.

Friday, September 23, 2016

How Evangelicals are Convincing Followers to Vote for Trump and Betray their Faith

by Nomad

For Right Wing evangelicals, the GOP nominee Donald Trump presents a lot of problems. By any measure, he is not an ideal choice. Despite his shortcomings, some members of the Christian Right seemed determined to say or do anything to persuade their followers to vote for Trump, even if that means betraying Christianity's core principles.

God's Guy

You might remember the name David Barton. Due to his tireless campaign to misinform Christians, this evangelical political activist, and author- I can't call him a historian- has been the subject of a post in the past.
In years gone by, Barton has made a lot of barmy pronouncements. He once stated his belief that United States borders were drawn by God, thereby condemning illegal immigration as a sin against God. He has said that intolerance of gays is a sign a nation is undergoing a spiritual revival and that 
At one time he was considered one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals and a hero to millions.

Barton's books have pushed the idea that the founding fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation. Barton's dubious scholarship stirred up so much controversy that the publisher was forced to pull one of them from the bookstore shelves.
It wasn't so much that his ideas were too hot to handle; Barton was, to put it bluntly, accused of making things up. His Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson, found that "basic truths just were not there." 
That's a polite way of saying Barton's books were a pack of lies.

Before his death in 2012, former Republican Senator Arlen Specter wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy that Barton’s “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.” 

That's always been the problem with evangelicals like Barton. For certain weak-minded citizens, his powers of persuasion can be compelling.  
That rough profile brings us to his present mission. 

A week back, Barton told his radio program audience that in this election, good Christians should simply accept that Donald J. Trump is "God's guy."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Colin Kaepernick, Cliven Bundy and The Man who Refused to Salute

by Nomad

The Colin Kaepernick controversy has highlighted America's divide over paying respect to symbols and the right to dissent, as a form of free speech.
In this post, we look at the historical reasons why our views changed following the rise of fascism and perhaps why they are presently called into question again. 

"False Rogues, Boring from Within"

Back in March 1944, The California Law Review published an interesting article called "Conscience v. The State" by Chester Charlton McCown.
Despatches from Switzerland a few months ago told of the execution of some and the arrest of many more of these sectaries. They were accused of teaching children to pray for peace and for the return of their fathers and brothers from the battle front; of putting Germans in the dilemma of choosing between the Fuehrer and a heavenly leader; of interpreting their visions as warnings of impending doom upon the German people.
These "false rogues, boring from within," who were chiefly working people, exhibited admirable courage and tenacity of faith. When, recently, seven were executed, their wives begged them not to sign a recantation in order to obtain a possible pardon. Repression seems to have had no deterrent effect upon the spread of the movement.
McCown, as a Professor of New Testament Literature, inevitably saw parallels between this act of defiance in the face of a fascist state and the early Christian martyrs who refused to pay their not only their taxes but their absolute submission to Caesar. 

That ethic has remained a long part of the faith. The writer cited the formal protestant attitude to nationalistic symbolism:
They believe that they "must obey God rather than man." If a national majority should decide upon policies which they thought wrong and they should be ordered to take part in the resulting actions, many would refuse to comply, accepting without resistance whatever punishment resulted.
This is, incidentally, the basis for Kim Davis' and her position on religious liberty. 
Generally speaking, religious convictions (and, in more secularist form, the moral conscience of the citizen) have found safe haven in any nation that dares to call itself free.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Forethought and Consequences: Trump, Rove and the Unimaginable Dangers of an Impulsive President

by Nomad

Rove's Rant

Raw Story recently ran a piece about American Republican political consultant and policy advisor Karl Rove's take on Donald Trump. On Friday afternoon's Fox Business News, Rove had a lot of bitter whiny things to say. The term used was an "epic rant." 

He dared to ask the question whether Trump actually wants to win. If so, how can anybody explain the daily gaffes and the misjudgments and, well, the nonsense? What the hell is going on? In particular, the former George W. Bush chief-of-staff deplored how easily Trump could be distracted and baited.

Rove cited example after example in which the GOP nominee could (plausibly) have turned his campaign around. Visibly angry, Rove pointed out that Trump squandered those opportunities, picking an unwinnable fight with Gold Star families, and making outrageous and ignorant claims about Obama and ISIS. 
 As Rove once wrote:
“The most precious asset any presidential candidate has is time.” 
Trump has been wasting much time on petty spats that more intelligent candidates would have avoided like the plague. Not only has he wasted time with unimportant squabbles, Trump has also wasted even more time making ridiculous remarks that he must spend further time walking back from. Either he has later blamed it on the unfairness of the media for exaggerating or, even more ridiculously, taking his too seriously. 

None of this should be happening. Yet it is.
Rove then said much more important about the deficiencies of Trump:
“And why? He felt compelled to do it. He ought to get control of his impulses and keep focused on the main target. Otherwise, you’re going to have more of these Republicans saying ‘why do we want to stand by this guy when he just keeps going after the wrong target.'”

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How Rudy Giuliani is Keeping His Poisonous Legacy Alive with Donald Trump's Campaign

by Nomad

RNC  Rudy Giuliani

The other day, the New York Times gave this warning to former New York City mayor and avid Trump supporter, 72-year-old Rudy Giuliani:
Rudy's ardent support for Mr. Trump could come at a cost to his legacy.

That's what happens, I suppose, when you attempt to defend indefensible things. Former Giuliani aides, the article claims, are concerned about their ex-boss' unquestioning loyalty to the Republican nominee.

They cited his unsubstantiated questioning of Hillary Clinton’s mental and physical health.  He has also championed Trump's promise to build an “impenetrable physical wall” on the country’s southern border and to severely restrict immigration from Muslim countries. (When Trump was pressed for specifics, he began to sound more and more supportive of what is presently being done by the Obama administration.) 

So strident - some would say delirious- has been Giuliani's support for Trump, the editorial boards of some newspapers have raised the possibility that Rudy is "unhinged."

But then, in this election, how on earth could you know? 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sovereignty and Due Process : A Tale of Two Traffic Stops in Mississippi

by Nomad

Here's a post about two traffic stops in Mississippi and two very different outcomes. How much did race play a factor in how the incidents were handled? When it comes to allegations of police brutality, are we missing the big picture about the violations to every citizen's right to due process?

When Slidell Mississippi police officers pulled over the green Ford Ranger, it was just a routine traffic stop. They had observed the driver violating several traffic laws on Fremaux Avenue.  

It was immediately clear that the driver, 54-year-old James Doyle Webb, was going to be a problem. He refused to give the police his driver’s license, registration or insurance. Instead, he declared himself a "sovereign citizen" and demanded the officers’ names and badge numbers, according to the Slidell police department press release. The police obliged Webb and yet, when the officers again requested to review Webb's papers, he refused to recognize to cooperate in any way.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Awakening an Insidious Evil: Why Trump Has Made a Farce of the SCOTUS Ruling on Voting Rights Act

by Nomad

Three years ago, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court declared that times had changed when it came to race and voter discrimination. Justice Roberts hadn't counted on the cynical tactics of Donald Trump.

On 24 June 2013, in the case of Shelby County, Alabama b. US Attorney General Holder   the Supreme Court struck down one of the key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The following day, the "deeply disappointed" President Obama issued a statement in which he called the ruling "a setback" but not the end of efforts to eliminate voting discrimination.

This landmark Civil Rights Era legislation was instrumental in ensuring that discriminatory practices based on race were finally and completely abolished. One problem that had faced legislators and justices was the question of states rights vs. federal authority. 
The 1965 legislation ended that. After the enactment of the law, certain states, mostly in the South, were required to submit any election law changes for federal approval. 
The reason was basic. 
Free and fair elections were too important to be left to whims of the local governments which, minorities claimed, was infested with both open and covert racists. On those states, federal oversight was required to ensure fair elections.

The 2013 decision split the high court along ideological lines, five to four.  The New York Times reported:
At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.
Conservatives on the Supreme Court said that the need to maintain strict federal oversight was in 2013 a thing of the past. 

In the Words of Justice Roberts

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. who wrote for the majority explained that our country had changed. When the Voting Rights Act was enacted, attitudes on racial discrimination were very different.  The chief justice concluded that 
times have changed: the formulas that govern singling out one state from another for different treatment, which once "made sense," have lost their relevance, and "nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Not-so-Funny Money: A Short Tale of Bitter Litter in Mississippi

by Nomad

According to a local Mississippi paper, a day of hard labor pea-picking for eight Pontotoc County inmates was interrupted with another request. They were called to pick up loose $100 bills scattered about Highway 9 North.

A Dash for Highway Dough

It must have seemed like a delightful diversion, a dream come true. However, all was not what it seemed.
The abandoned cash was just a film prop, and each bill- though convincing from a distance- was emblazoned with words "For Motion Picture Use Only."

Where exactly the fake cash originally came from was unclear. Pontotoc County Sheriff Leo Mask speculated that somebody must have been hauling theater equipment. A movie reel was also found along the road.
An investigation is ongoing and the sheriff department will keep the fake loot until somebody comes forward to claim it.

Mark Twain and the Eternal Mystery of Politics

by Nomad

Friday, September 2, 2016

Lying Game: How Fake Online Polls are Used to Deceive and Energize Trump Supporters

by Nomad

Frankly, it's hard to be shocked by right-wing manipulation of the truth any longer. We have seen the nominee of the Republican casually and constantly lie about his Republican opponents throughout the primaries and then after the convention about his Democratic rival.  
PolitiFact keeps an open file on Trump's misleading or untrue statement and updates it every few days. 
Even so, there are still times when you learn things that defy imagination. Things that reveal a kind of corrupt mindset alien to most Americans. 

The Untruth is Out There

I saw one of these naughty things yesterday. On Facebook, somebody posted a link which claimed that the liberal pollsters were conspiring to hide the truth: that Trump was going to win by a landslide. (In fact, nearly every poll, even what people considered right-leaning, show quite the opposite. Hillary Clinton has a substantial or conclusive lead and Donald Trump is trailing badly.)

And yet, according to one Facebook commenter I saw, the truth is out there and you just need to know where to look. He or she pointed out an August ABC News which clearly "proved" that Trump held a commanding lead. And not by a couple of points but by a full 70%. 
Furthermore, the two independent party candidates, with Stein at 12% and Johnson at 11%. 
Crooked Hillary Clinton? 
A mere 7%.

Well, shiver my flapjacks! That damned liberal media is at it again. 
Astoundingly newsworthy, what? For Trump supporters, it must be seen as a ray of truthful light during an uninspiring monsoon season.