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Comment of the Day: A Failure to Govern

2017-09-26

This comment came in response to an op-ed by David Brooks stating that Don the Con is a buffoon (like Abbie Hoffman) who is breaking up/destroying the “meritocratic establishment” which will have to be rebuilt…

M

Seattle 26 minutes ago

I don’t know. Mr. Brooks keeps missing the opportunity to address real crises in his party (Republican, I presume) and his nation. This week, the Republican party has been pushing an utterly and unequivocally disastrous piece of healthcare legislation that would not address any of the problems with the ACA, but which might well collapse our entire healthcare system. That is so irresponsible, it is hard to find the right words to express the sheer madness of it. Trump and the Republicans in congress are ignoring Americans in peril in Puerto Rico. Oh yeah, and Mr. Trump is toying with nuclear war with North Korea and stoking racial discord here at home.

It seems to me that the Republican party is suffering a grave moral failure, and that failure is placing our nation and even our planet in true, tangible danger. There is a failure of responsibility at every level in the Republican party, from the WH to the Congress to state/local legislatures to conservative punditry to individual Republican voters (including those motivated by racial grievances and those willing to stand by overt racism).

Instead of addressing the profound failures of the conservative movement at this historic moment, Mr. Brooks suggests that the responsibility falls on…well, everyone else. I think you need to take another look, Mr. Brooks. The athletes this weekend elevated the debate with grace, civic spirit, and unity. How can those on the right rise up to meet them?

Not to mention the lack of response by the highest authorities to real crises in Houston (flooding from a record rainfall and a hurricane) Charlottesville (rioting and a right-wing terror attack by vehicle) Puerto Rico (destruction of the electrical system by hurricanes) Mexico (two earthquakes) and so on… instead of responding to real crises, Don the Con manufactures fake crises over trivial issues that divide his base from the “meritocratic establishment” (whatever that is.)

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Quote of the Day: Russia is Trying to Destabilize the US

2017-09-25

From a Washington post article today detailing the subjects of ads placed on Facebook by Russian agents: divisive social subjects, not the election as such…

“Is it a goal of the Kremlin to encourage discord in American society? The answer to that is yes,” said former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael A. McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. “More generally, Putin has an idea that our society is imperfect, that our democracy is not better than his, so to see us in conflict on big social issues is in the Kremlin’s interests.”

Incidentally, the $100 K in ads that were discovered by Facebook investigators probably represents the tip of the iceberg of such advertisements– since all of them were from accounts disguised to look like they originated in the US, and they were difficult to trace.

Comment of the Day: Don the Con’s Massive First Strike on North Korea

2017-09-25

Kara Ben Nemsi

On the Orient Express 17 minutes ago

Let’s be clear: There is no first strike scenario that disables North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and prevents a nuclear retaliation except for a massive first nuclear strike from SLBMs with little or no warning for North Korea resulting in its total annihilation, including vaporizing all its inhabitants. The objective cannot be achieved with a conventional force. That would give Kim all the time he needs to lop a nuke towards the US mainland.

In the past, Kim could have relied upon the fact that no American President would choose that option, as it would make the US the pariah of the world. With Trump that calculus is out of the window. But as the analysts write here, if Trump is not following through now, he will look like a paper tiger, making Obama’s red line to Assad look like a small matter.

I am starting to get a little nervous.

Comment of the Day: Don the Con Cannot Be Trusted With Iran or North Korea

2017-09-24

Bruce Rozenblit

is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 19 hours ago

How can he negotiate if to Trump, words can mean anything which means words mean nothing? His followers still recite the “don’t listen to his words just pay attention to what’s in his heart” mantra. How can we determine what’s in his heart if he doesn’t tell us with words? How can we believe those words if they can mean anything?

Oh, but Trump has a vaccine for this madness. He says keep em guessing. He won’t reveal his true strategy because that would give away his hand.

He has no strategy, he has no plan. He doesn’t know what to do. All he can do is threaten and bluster and say crazy stuff that give his followers fits of joy. How many of of them can find the USA on a map of the world? Hint. One in five Americans cannot.

This strategy (insanity?) may have made him money in TV and real estate, but being president has nothing to do with either. What the president says has the greatest weight of any words in the world. Except now those words are just threats, bombast, and childish name calling. His followers love him for it.

The rest of the world expects our president to act like a president, not a schoolyard bully. They will respond accordingly.

If Trump reneges on the Iran deal, Iran will never negotiate again and will go full speed to maximize their armaments. They have no choice. Bullies cause you to do that.

N. Korea will follow likewise. Not only do they think Trump is nuts, but cannot be trusted at all. Words do matter for a president.

 

Automobile Exhaust and Horse Manure: Two Things We Can Live Without

2017-09-23

Well, here’s an interesting thing.  Only 20% of Chinese own cars; they are buying them at the fastest rate of any country in the world.  China is also investing more money in battery technology than any other country in the world.

Facts summarized from an “Oppenheimer Funds” blog post of March 29, 2017:

It seems that, around the beginning of the 20th century, cities were drowning in horse manure produced by the animals that they needed to carry them around.  New York, for example, produced 2.5 million pounds of horse manure a day in 1893.  Not to mention the urine also produced in prodigious quantities.  Because of the expense and noxious odor of the manure that had to be removed every day, people flocked to horseless carriages as soon as practical (or even impractical) models became available.  By 1912, cars outnumbered horses in New York.

China is currently suffering extreme pollution problems (like manure, only in the air) in some of its cities and cannot tolerate any increases in emissions as the rate of car ownership increases.  So battery-powered cars are essential for China’s development and their government is fully aware of this issue.  Steps are being taken, money is being invested, and electric cars will be outnumbering internal combustion-motivated cars very soon.  What about the US?  Let Don the Con worry about that.

How Crooks Stalled the Electric Bus For 100 Years

2017-09-22

This article in New Scientist exposes the century-old fraud that prevented electric buses from getting a foothold in London when gas (petrol) powered buses were in their infancy.  The electric bus presented obvious advantages over the gasoline-powered bus because of the noise and pollution that first-generation internal combustion engines produced.  However, in 1907 when a battery-powered bus was introduced in London for the first time, the people in charge of the new bus company were swindlers.  They promised 300 buses for the streets of London, silent and dependable, but only fielded 20.  The rest of the money, 95,000 British pounds, or roughly $15 million in today’s dollars altogether, was siphoned off for the private use of the two principals.  The service collapsed in 1910 despite being incredibly popular.  Because of the rapid evolution of the internal combustion engine, the collapse of the leading battery powered fleet led to the adoption of  gas-powered buses despite their noise and smell.  A battery-powered bus fleet lingered in service in Brighton for another seven years.

Today, plans are being laid for a wholesale return to battery power because diesel fumes are becoming more and more culturally objectionable as we learn more about their effects.  Europe and Great Britain are both moving strongly towards replacement of internal combustion engines with battery-powered vehicles over the next twenty to thirty years.  The United States would do well to imitate them, and we suspect that independent adoption of battery vehicles will be extremely popular in this country regardless of what the government does.

Quote of the Day: Don the Con Shoots Himself in the Foot

2017-09-22

As quoted in the New York Times today:

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Since the revelations about the meeting between Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr., evidence of the Trump campaign’s violations of the laws against accepting help from foreign governments has only mounted.  Let’s hope Don the Con has a leg to stand on when he’s in the White House.