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The Mess Keeps Getting Worse

by The Urban Curmudgeon on January 7th, 2018

 

In the wake of the publication of Michael Wolff’s “Fire & Fury,” I decided to go to Fox news and see what the White House news Station had to say about this new phenomenon that is undermining our national agenda. Of course it’s not really new. People have been speculating about the President’s sanity for at least the last year. It’s really pretty scary. The first thing I saw covered by Fox, which as it turns out is trying to avoid the book, was the riots in Ian, about which the Fox reporters, it seems, have a lot to say, especially on the condemnation of that nation because the rich and the government own over 50% of the assets in the country. Really? And Fox News, speaking as the representative of our nations rich thinks this is a bad thing? So what about our own country where over 90% of the assets are owned by the rich and the big corporations? I guess that’s okay, if like Fox News, a rich guy owns you. All the little Foxies were very busy this morning telling their viewers that we had to back the people of Iran in their battle against the religious Muslim government. I certainly hope the people of Iran weren’t listening. The USA has an unfortunate history of egging on the people of various countries, Iran being one of them, and then leaving hem in a lurch to face the guns of their dictators.

Trump is busy cheering on the street rebels in Iran but when it comes to helping them he will, as have former American presidents, leave them to face their government’s guns with nothing but slingshots.

The Foxes quoted Steve Mnuchin talking about how we will not allow the Iranian government to use their funds to support terrorism throughout the Middle East while their citizens are starving. Does he mean like a certain country with 50 states that has the highest military budget in the world by a multiple of ten while it fails to create a functioning health care system, doesn’t educate its kids and puts up with failing infrastructure?

I have always made it a practice to observe Right Wing media just to make sure that I was able to get a handle on what the other side is saying. It’s easy to dismiss the Radio Right nut cases like Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh but Fox News is a huge operation with an enormous demographic. It gets really scary when you hear a female reporter on Fox talk about the idea that we must back the demonstrators in Iran because that country keeps its women under its thumb while she never mentions the fact that we are backing Saudi Arabia which is much more oppressive toward its women than the Ayatollahs ever hope to be.

Trump loves to rave about “Fake News”. There is no more fake news than that which comes out of his personal mouthpieces at Fox Lies. This unalloyed backup of Trump’s policy on the Iran Nuclear Treaty exemplifies this. Today the Foxies were all screaming about how Obama gave billions to the Ayatollahs. He did no such thing. The money that went back to Iran with the treaty was Iran’s money, grabbed in our banks by the US government. All we did was give them back what was theirs. So maybe if Fox Lies ever becomes bright enough to understand that they will stop lying about it.

And just as a sidelight why is it that all the people on this aberrant station look like Ken and Barbie? I mean even the older reporters look like older Ken and Barbie.

Trying desperately to avoid any discussion of Wolff’s book, Fox attacked NY Governor Andrew Cuomo who is talking about suing the feds about the state tax clauses in the new tax bill. They talk about how all the people are fleeing the big tax states because of the higher taxes. Yah, I can just see all those Wall Street billionaires running off to live in Arkansas just to avoid the NYS income taxes. Can’t you just picture it? Giving up your Park Avenue penthouse to go and live next to the home folks pig farm just to save tax money you are too rich to need. What nut would do that? Actually there are two of them and their name is Koch.

Fox clowns go on to talk about how those big tax states are wasting money on stuff like schools and pensions. Really? You folks at Fox really think education is a waste of money? Maybe it is. You all probably went to school but you sure as hell didn’t learn a damn thing.

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The people at Fox, much like Trump and many in Washington who do not have the intellectual acumen to grasp complicated issues, have developed the ability to sloganize with a high degree of skill, especially when it comes to issues about which someone has informed them that they must have an opinion. But we are forced to laugh and maybe choke a little when, like Trump, they spew out the same nonsense that he used in his election campaign; the ridiculous concept that we are somehow going to bring the jobs that have flown our borders, back from wherever it is they went. It’s ridiculous and it presupposes voters who are as dumb as these crooks need them to be; voters who will buy any nonsensical premise that will get them what they think they want. It did work in the 2016 elections and I guess the Foxies are hoping it works for the GOP in 2018. If it does the voters deserve whatever they get, just like they deserve what they are getting from Trump, the liar for whom they voted.

It seems impossible to believe that there are voters who don’t understand why jobs won’t be returning to our shores at any time in the foreseeable future. The most plausible explanation is that many of them have other issues, issues that override jobs, issues like abortion, gun rights or religious liberty, issues that are not universal but limited to small pockets of support that are enjoyed by Trump and the far Right.

But the reality is that like the jobs in coal and the manufacturing jobs lost to automation, the overseas jobs aren’t coming back and those who really do want to continue to be employed better do something about upgrading their skills. That means that those who represent them had better forget about bringing jobs back from overseas or creating jobs in coal that even the owners don’t want and concentrate on education bills that will equip their unemployed workers to fill the thousands of jobs that already exist here and are going begging for lack of necessary skills. Ironically the new jobs will pay much better then the old grunt jobs, but the worker must bring a skill set more evolved than brute muscle power to do them.

The big lie that we will somehow be able to bring back the jobs that have flown overseas by making better trade deals is pure unadulterated bullshit. Even if there were a way to bring them back, which there isn’t, our workers wouldn’t take them at the pay scale they now represent. Try to think logically. Is Ivanka Trump going to bring her clothes manufacturing business back from South East Asia where her labor costs run abut 50 cents a day and give it to American workers at about $15 an hour? I think not, no matter what trade deals her old man lies about being able to make. This is true in every avenue of manufacturing. Those jobs are gone. Forget them. Try to equip yourself for the jobs that already exist and are going begging and those that will come on line in the near future.

This means that instead of talking about bringing jobs back we should be talking about educating our labor force for the jobs that exist now and will explode in the future.

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J.D. Vance is a guy who wrote a book entitled “Hillbilly Legacy.”   It’s about the people who voted for Donald Trump. He wrote it in 2013, long before Trump was running after anything except women he could grab by the pussy. In his book Vance speaks to the white working man who has lost his job and is interested only in how to get it back. Vance, like any thinking person, understands that these jobs aren’t coming back but more importantly he sees that we must create areas of entrepreneurship in parts of the country not now touched by the boom in new technology.

He points out that most venture capital is concentrated in California, New York and Massachusetts. He points out that we must find a way to spread that wealth to other areas of the country, areas that have lost jobs and need new work to replace them. He also recognizes the problem with that happening. The three states mentioned above all have deep labor pools with which to support entrepreneurial experimentation. Yes, there are a few such pools in the great wasteland between the two coasts but they are few and far between, mostly around universities where the intellectual and financial contacts exist. How do we change this situation? How do we make these depressed areas seem more appealing to the money and the intellects necessary to create and grow the kinds of businesses that will flourish and create employment?

The great American industrial cities were created by logistics. They were on a waterway, or near a railroad or the source of materials that they would need to build whatever it was they built or mined. That has always been the siting point for American industry. But the industries of the future won’t depend on anything like materials or transportation for their creation. Yes, location will still be important just as it is for the Real Estate industry but location will be about attractive living conditions, access to the arts and intellectual growth or leisure time activities. These are the things that will draw the kind of worker that our twenty first century industries will need and they will go where those workers exist or want to exist in order to get them. Creating a business in a place where people long to live will be a huge part of where you can exercise your entrepreneurial creativity. New York, Boston or San Francisco are great. So are places like Portland, Miami or New Orleans. Indianapolis, Dubuque or Canton, not so much, and therein lies the problem, because of the nine cities mentioned the latter three are the ones most in need of employment opportunities while least able to fill the jobs that are being created by the new industries. Solve that problem and you’ve taken a huge step in the right direction.

Vance, to his credit doesn’t shy away from one of the biggest problems in the job market. The fact that there are many in the labor force who really don’t want to work. This isn’t limited to menial labor but it certainly has a large place in that area. Right now there are eight million men who have dropped out of the labor force and are no longer seeking work. A significant percentage of those men really don’t want to

work. They would never admit it, but if you have worked at grunt labor, as I have, you realize that there are a lot of people who resent having to work to eat, who have no desire to advance themselves and who would rather just sit home and watch TV. The pundits and the preachers can sermonize all they want about the dignity of labor but there is damn little dignity in doing a job you hate for wages that don’t pay the bills. So there will always be people who just don’t see the advisability of work, but consider that many of them have fallen into that category because they haven’t found work that interests them. Those, especially, are the ones that can be helped by education.

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There are two sides to every story except it is often the case that only one side is true. This seems to be the reality with everything that touches Donald Trump. Sure he’s a proven unmitigated liar but does that have to go for everyone who works for, is related to, or surrounds him? It appears to be so.

Even a brief perusal of the events surrounding the House, Senate and Special Prosecutor investigations into the Russian intervention in our election has to come to the same conclusions. The Russians hacked our election. Trump and his coterie of sycophants tried to get help from them and possibly promised to help with the lifting of sanctions if he were elected. Trump and his buddy Paul Manafort were deeply involved in fiscal deals with the Russians and quite probably in the laundering of Russian money in this country. Trump obstructed justice with the firing of James Comey. And we’ve only touched the surface.

Watching the behavior of the House and Senate investigating committees would be hysterical if it weren’t so tragic. To say that the members of both parties on the panels are acting politically would be factual. Not to say that the Republican’s have acted fraudulently and are running cons that would make Joseph McCarthy blush would be a monumental understatement.

The approach of each Senator or Representative in questioning a witness is basically the same. They praise the witness, if they know his or her testimony will back up their point of view, or attack the witness if they know the opposite. Then they are expected to ask cogent questions that hopefully will lead to some conclusion about the subject under review. This is sometimes done by the Democrats but almost never done by the Republicans, who use their time to embellish some political point that is rarely factual and almost never to the point of the hearings.

The latest tactic of the GOP, whether on investigative committees or not is to attack the veracity of our judicial system and those who are appointed or elected to make it function. This is a direct line from Trump’s early attacks on the CIA, attacks that later spread to the FBI and are now being pinpointed toward specific agents including former director Comey. These attacks are all part of a concentrated campaign led from the White House with a goal of undermining our justice system so that Trump can declare it a failure and step “heroically” into the breech, declaring himself to be a savior and a dictator all in the same breath. If you don’t buy this and many of you won’t, all you have to do, as is almost always the case, is look at history. This was the game plan for almost every dictator in history. Remember, if you don’t read history and learn from it, you will be condemned to repeat it.

And now Michael Wolff has come out with a book that describes what everyone in Washington has known for over a year. That Trump hates and is hated by almost everyone who surrounds him in the White House.

Fire and Fury, Wolff’s book is really tearing up the pea patch and it isn’t even published yet. A story about it in the Guardian and sections of it in the New Yorker have really brought it to prominence. Last night a bookstore in D.C. began selling it at midnight and the lines were around the block. John Podheretz nit picks about a lack of sourcing and bad grammar but eberyone else, not associated with Fox News, has spoken of his or her own sources being in complete agreement with Wolff. What Wolff writes about seems to have been an open secret since the beginning of Trump’s term.

 

Steve Bannon, probably the principle source of the information in Wolf’s book, runs rampant, trashing Trump and his family, attacking the administration for their involvement with Russia and smearing them for attacking the FBI and the justice system. He calls Don Jr. treasonous and it seems from all the other content, he has been saying this since last March, which was two months into the Trump Presidency.

The question has come up about whether or not people like Gary Cohen, Rex Tillerson or H.R. McMaster should stay in the White House and continue to function as a service to the country or flee what they have categorized as the worst job they ever had.

It would seem that the only choice these people have is to continue to serve because, considering the state of the man who sits at the head of the government, they now represent the only chance this country has to survive the horrible mistake it made in electing the egomaniacal sociopath to its presidency. Of course the really big question is where does this country go? Its President has been revealed in print to be exactly what everyone who has ever been in contact with him knows him to be, a simpering moron, interested only in what can enrich his own coffers and bring him more personal power in the Presidency. He is an idiot, a clown who cannot read a page of information, who has a 15 second attention span, who has surrounded himself with idiots and clowns who think of him as a moron and a fool. He has shown in international dialog to be at a loss to keep up with any leader of any foreign country on any subject. It’s like Trump was elected as part of a test that would answer the question: is our democracy strong enough to withstand any challenge, no matter how insidious or invasive? Can it stand up to any challenge by anyone trying to prove that it isn’t impervious to everything?

And as if to establish a final answer to the challenge, Wolff tells us that he has tapes to back up all his charges against Trump.

It’s interesting to see a guy like John Heilman who obviously agrees with Wolff about his views of what goes on in the White House but who, as a journalist with some standards, is appalled by Wolff’s betrayal of off the record conversations and the way he falsely represented himself as Trump’s friend in order to get access to information with which he could condemn the President.

But it all comes back to one point. The statement by Donald Trump during his campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his supporters would still vote for him. How long will that statement stand? It has already stood the test of an election. Trump, got elected despite admitting his abuse of women, despite showing that he was a racist and a bigot, despite his attacks on various segments of the population and the judiciary, despite backing the KKK in Charleston, despite his childish twitters and his unbelievable comments to foreign leaders. He still, unbelievably, holds a thirty something segment of the voters in this country. What the hell does it take to convince these people that he is unfit to lead, that he is a monster who is a very real danger to our Democracy? Will this thirty something percent of the voters ever actually see that they have participated in the election of an incompetent madman whose only agenda is the acquisition of wealth and power for himself, who cares nothing for the nation or its people, and who is willing to go down in flames and take the US with him, rather than ever admit he is wrong about anything or ever do even the least bit of productive work necessary to achieve even the most meager goals for the nation. What does it take for reality to invade the consciousness of these people? What, in the end does it finally take for them to wake up and see what they have wrought? Does the imbecile with his finger on his bigger button have to nuke Southeast Asia before his backers realize that he is a brain dead monster? Does our fouled atmosphere have to cause chaos across the planet before that thirty something percent of voters understand that Trump’s policies are responsible for world wide environmental catastrophe? What the hell does it take?

 

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