Thursday, February 23, 2017

Texan Duane Buck - Headed for Death Row - Gets Justice at the Supreme Court

Despite Pleas of Justice Clarence to Kill Him

Texas sends a lot of people to death, and Duane Buck was no exception.  In his case however in the penalty phase of his trial he had an expert witness, who incredibly testified against him.  From the decision.

"Petitioner Duane Buck was convicted of capital murder in a Texas court. Under state law, the jury was permitted to impose a death sentence only if it found unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that Buck was likely to commit acts of violence in the future. Buck’s attorney called a psychologist, Dr. Walter Quijano, to offer his opinion on that issue. Dr. Quijano had been appointed to evaluate Buck by the presiding judge and had prepared a report setting out his conclusions. To determine the likelihood that Buck would act violently in the future, Dr. Quijano had considered a number of statistical factors, including Buck’s race. Although Dr. Quijano ultimately concluded that Buck was unlikely to be a future danger, his report also stated that Buck was statistically more likely to act violently because he is black. The report read, in relevant part: “Race. Black: Increased probability.” 

Ok, so that's someone Buck's attorney would keep from testifying. But no.

"Despite knowing the contents of the report, Buck’s counsel called Dr. Quijano to the stand, where he testified that race is a factor “know[n] to predict future dangerousness.” Id., at 146a. Dr. Quijano’s report was admitted into evidence at the close of his testimony. The prosecution questioned Dr. Quijano about his conclusions on race and violence during cross-examination, and it relied on his testimony in summation. During deliberations, the jury requested and received the expert reports admitted into evidence, including Dr. Quijano’s. The jury returned a sentence of death."

The case reached the Supreme Court that found

"Buck’s trial counsel knew that Dr. Quijano’s report reflected the view that Buck’s race predisposed him to violent conduct and that the principal point of dispute during the penalty phase was Buck’s future dangerousness. Counsel nevertheless called Dr. Quijano to the stand, specifically elicited testimony about the connection between race and violence, and put Dr. Quijano’s report into evidence. No competent defense attorney would introduce evidence that his client is liable to be a future danger because of his race."

And so Buck may not be executed despite the efforts of his attorney to get him killed by Texas.

Of course dissenting was Clarence Thomas (with Alito) who just loves for state to kill disadvantaged accused.  The idea that his own attorney worked against Mr. Buck plays no role in justice for Thomas.

Trumps Want to Cook the Books on Trade Deficit

If you can't winn honestly, cheat

The U. S. runs a trade deficit.  In order to get more leverage for protectionism that will harm the U. S. economy the administration is thinking of fixing the books so the trade deficit looks larger.

"The leading idea under consideration would exclude from U.S. exports any goods first imported into the country, such as cars, and then transferred to a third country like Canada or Mexico unchanged, these people told The Wall Street Journal.
Economists say that approach would inflate trade deficit numbers because it would typically count goods as imports when they come into the country but not count the same goods when they go back out, known as re-exports."
Image result for images of cheaters

Basic conservative playbook.  If yu can't win on the merits, change the rules.

In Iowa Conservatives Go From Weird, Selfish, Insensitive to Just Plain Unconstitutional

Don'tcha Just Hate It When Constitutional Rights Interfere with Bias and Bigotry

It has long been a conservative mantra that universities are filled with liberals who indoctrinate their students.  How else does conservative thought fail, it can't be the ugliness of it can it?  And of course since conservatives would use their position in higher education to indoctrinte, they assume progressives do also, even though they don't.  A chem teacher cannot teach the Democratic principles of atomic structure.

So in Iowa where conservatives reign they want to force colleges to hire Republicans.

A bill in the Iowa Senate seeks to achieve greater political diversity among professors at the state's Board of Regents universities. Senate File 288 would institute a hiring freeze until the number of registered Republicans and Democrats on the university faculty fall within 10 percent of each other.
Rep Mark Chelgren - Thinks he's a Republican
Acts like a Communist

Gosh, for all their professed love of the Constitution, and they may love it,  conservatives sure don't like it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

After Our Long Day's Journey Into Nightmare, The Gestapo Deportation Force Cometh

What You Were Expecting Peace and Love?

The round up and deportation of people other than those whom Donald approves of has begun.

"The memos instruct all agents, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify, capture and quickly deport every undocumented immigrant they encounter.
The memos require undocumented immigrants caught entering the country to be placed in detention until their cases are resolved, increase the ability of local police to help in immigration enforcement, call for the hiring of 10,000 more immigration agents and allow planning to begin on an expansion of the border wall between the United States and Mexico.
The memos make undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime the highest priority for enforcement operations. But they make clear that ICE agents should also arrest and initiate deportation proceedings against any other undocumented immigrant they encounter.

And where will they deport them to? Well Mexico of course even if they are not Mexican.

"The new directives also allow Customs agents to send some people directly back to Mexico, whether they’re Mexican or not. Under previous administrations, people from Mexico and Canada could be deported directly back home. But people from all other countries, such as from Central America, had to detained until they could be flown back to their country of origin."

Yes future generations will look back on this the way we now look back on the internment olf Japanese during WWII.   But that doesn't mean we can't be ashamed now, because we should be.

Conservatives Go to Court in Arkansas to Promote Bigotry, Hatred and Prejudice

Just Whose Side is Government On?

The state of Arkansas is suing the city of Fayetteville.  Why, because that city passed ordances protecting its citizens against bias, discrimination and all the ugly stuff that goes with that.

"The Arkansas Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a high-profile case that pits the state against the college town of Fayetteville, which approved an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
State officials are challenging the ordinance, enacted in 2015, on the grounds that it exceeds state law."
A view down Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Ark., in 2011. The city’s ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is being challenged by the state.
A view down Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Ark., in 2011. The city’s ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is being challenged by the state. PHOTO: WESLEY HITT/GETTY IMAGES
A city that doesn't want discrimination - What's wrong with them?
Wow, Government resources and tax dollars being used to all out attack a city for bannng discrimination that goes beyond what the state as a whole does. Somebody call the police, the army, the ballistic missiles. Well somebody at least ought to call out the state officials, all of whom one must assume are card carrying conservatives for family values for rejecting family values and promoting hate.

We wonder how members of the minority community feel about their tax dollars being used to fight laws that protect them?

Trumpies Want Germany to Spend More on Military

Today in Insanity

How Did that Work Out Last Time?

In its zeal to impose ridiculous policies on other countries to go along with the ridiculous policies in this country, the Trumpet administration is pushing Germany to spend more money on its military forces and, you know, become a world military power.

"MUNICH — When the visiting American dignitaries hammered home their desire for Europe to spend more on their military in recent days, their biggest target was the Continent’s richest nation — Germany.
Washington’s pointed attacks on Berlin — whether over its open-door policy for refugees or its too favorable trade balances — have by now become a feature of transatlantic relations. But the American push on defense, unlike the others, is opening a new front in the coming German electoral campaign and could make U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand a wedge issue.

Image result for images of nazi troops
Trump's Goal for German Re-Armament

Wow, what a great idea. For the last hundred years or so German military power has been a huge force in world politics. Who wouldn't want Germany armed to the teeth? Oh, maybe the ghosts of those 6 million Jewish men and women killed in the Holocaust. Or maybe the millions of civilians killed in two world wars. Or maybe the millions of troops killed in battle.

Trump foreign policy. Sanity is not a pre-condition.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

U.S. Foreign Policy Goes From Bizarre to Insane

It is foreign to the administration, but there is no policy

The situation in the Ukraine is straight forward.  Russia invaded the country and seized Crimea and is militarily helping rebels iin the eastern part of the nation.   The world condemns this policy.  But the current administration has employed a bunch of amateurs to make things worse.  From the NYT.

Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

That's right, a bunch of idiots with no foreign policy experience have stuck their noses into a serious conflict. But that's not the worst, this is.

Mr. Artemenko said he saw in Mr. Trump an opportunity to advocate a plan for peace in Ukraine — and help advance his own political career. Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.

Michael D. Cohen, second from left, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, with Michael T. Flynn, left, and former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas at Trump Tower in December. Mr. Cohen delivered the peace plan to Mr. Flynn a week before Mr. Flynn resigned as national security adviser. CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

Larry and Curly meet Moe

Leased???. Leased??? A country doesn't lease its territory to an enemy. What are these people thinking. Oh, thinking has nothing to do with it. If Trump is part of this he is an even bigger fool than we thought, admittedly a difficult task. If he is not, he has no control over his foreign policy and he is an even bigger fool than we thought.

Key Trump Personnel Stephen Bannon and Betsy DeVos Support Group That Wants to End Public Education and Replace It With Church Schools

At Least They Are Open About It

Those of us who believe that the right wing religious nuts want to abolish not only the Department of Education but public education itself now have proof that they and the administration are in cahoots.  From the Washington Post is a story about the Council on National Policy, a group which has as its active supporters the guru to the President Stephen Bannon, Commie Conway and the not-so-smart new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her family.

Here’s some of what they believe

It also says states should encourage K-12 public schools to post the Ten Commandments, teach Bible classes and recognize holidays such as Easter and Christmas; promote instruction “from a Judeo-Christian perspective”; and remove “secular-based sex education materials from school facilities.”

It calls for the termination of the Common Core academic standards and an end to the government collection of student data, which has generated concerns among activists on the right and the left.

The goal, it says, is a “gradual, voluntary return at all levels to free-market private schools, church schools and home schools as the normative American practice.”

Now the group is entitled to its views and entitled to push its views.  But the group is pretty clandestine.

Names of the council’s members are closely held. But the Southern Poverty Law Center published a 2014 membership directory showing that Stephen K. Bannon — now chief White House strategist for President Trump — was a member and that Kellyanne Conway — now counselor to the president — served on the council’s executive committee.

Its hundreds of members are a who’s who of prominent figures on the Christian right, including former lawmakers and leaders in social activism, business and think tanks. Their thrice-yearly meetings are held in undisclosed locations, and every four years GOP presidential candidates show up to address the crowd and seek their favor.

You see, these right winger know they cannot get America to support them if everyone knew their positions, so the stealth movement using useful idiots like DeVos and Conway are about the only strategy they have.  And the danger to America, with everyone distracted by other things it just might work.

The Silent Majority - Hey GOP They Ain't Who You Thought They Are - And They Ain't Being Silent

One of the great myths of American politics is that there is or was a Silent Majority, a cadre of conservative right wing Christians who didn't both to vote, but who if they did vote would make themselves and their ilk a majority.

It turns out the real Silent Majority are those people who having gotten things like health care under a Democratic administration and have been silent because, well because they got what they needed.  And now that Republicans are threatening to take away health care benefits for millions, well they are not so silent anymore.

"In November, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) won reelection to one of the most Republican districts in the nation, with 73 percent of the vote.

On Thursday night, he found himself facing a very different picture. Thousands of people crowded in and outside of what was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill town hall in Utah to boo him and chant, “You work for us” and “Do your job!” Reporters heard those who couldn't get into the 1,080-person auditorium yelling: “Bring him out!”

Republicans are retreating into cowardice.

"In Tennessee, Knoxville-area Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R) refused to hold a town hall given amid all the tension. " I do not intend to give more publicity to those on the far left who have so much hatred, anger and frustration in them," he said in a letter. "I have never seen so many sore losers as there are today."

Never seen so many sore losers, huh.  Apparently Rep. Duncan has not met Trump.

So go ahead Republicans, try to figure out a way to replace ACA. Take your time. The longer you wait the more stirred up the folks are going to get and while that's not good for you it is good for the nation.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The True Story Behind the Trump Flynn Russia Debacle – What the President Knew and When He Knew It

We Produce Brilliant Fake News, and Are So Proud to do So We Label This as Fake News

Editor’s note:  From our secret mail drop on Funk and Wagnall’s front porch this Forum has learned the true (well not true) story behind all the fantastic goings on in the White House involving national security adviser Mike the Hammer Flynn and Donnie the So-Called President Trump. 

Washington (FNC*).  Investigations have revealed that shortly after he learned that President Obama would impose sanctions on Russia for interfering in the U. S. election Donald Trump huddled with his soon-to-be national security adviser, Michael Flynn and asked him what they could do to make nice to Vlad the Putin.  Michael Flynn told Trump that he had the personal number of the Russian ambassador which he got from a classified ad touting massage parlors, and he could call him and try to influence Russian reaction.

Trump was apparently worried that Putin would think that he (Trump) was a part of the sanctions deal and he didn’t want Putin to say bad things about him or stop saying good things.  “I love the guy, I’ll do anything for him” Trump had gushed.  Trump apparently told Flynn to tell the ambassador that as soon as he could Trump would revisit the sanctions issue and might even  follow up with a visit to the new Russian territory of Crimea.  “Let’s just keep this between you and me and the white pages site on the internet that lists the ambassador’s phone number” Trump allegedly told Flynn.

Flynn expressed concern that a private citizen could not engage in diplomacy and that he might be caught, but then realized that was unlikely because “Those Nazi’s in intelligence are not smart enough to tap my phone.”  Later Flynn acknowledged that he forgot that there was a phone on the other end of the conversation that could be tapped and reportedly told the President “Who would have thought the intelligence people would try to tap the Russian ambassador’s phone, what intelligence could they get from that?” he probably said.

Trump, worried that the content of the call would get out told Flynn “Just lie about it to Pence and Kellyanne and Spicer, those guys couldn’t spot the truth if it smacked them in their tuchas”  said Trump, proudly displaying the Yiddish he had picked up from living in Manhattan.  And don’t worry if it does get out “I’ll protect you and take the fall” Trump told the soon-to-be fired adviser, in his mind invoking another Yiddish term "What a smuck".

*Fake News Corp. a wholly owned subsidiary of Fox News

Carly Fiorina - Failure in Business - Failed Senate Candidate - Failed Presidential Candidate - Failed VP Candidate

Wants to Be a Failed Senate Candidate Again

Failure Apprently a Qualification for Office in Her Mind

Watching the rather bitter and nasty Carly Fiorina loses election after election has brought some small joy in the hearts of those who think qualifications matter in being elected to public office.  After having disgraced herself as a CEO and been totally ineffective as a political candidate Ms. Fiorina now thinks she should be senator from Virginia.

(CNN)Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Monday told a local Virginia radio show that she's considering running for the U.S. Senate seat in Virginia in 2018.
Asked on the John Fredericks Show if she would run for Senate, Fiorina said, "Well, I don't know yet, John. Sorry, I'm not gonna make a big announcement on your show."
"Look, I'm certainly looking at that opportunity," she added. "It's a little early to be making that decision, we're two weeks into a new administration."
An aptly placed Exit sign
Of course some people are asking why a person who ran in California can run in Virginia, but Ms. Fiorina is a basic 'cut and run' person. So after losing in California rather than staying in that state and working for Republicans she just moved across the country, demonstrating that her interest in a California senate seat was just for her own purposes, not for the citizens of that state.

So run Carly, run.  See Carly run.  See Carly lose again.

Trumpie Issues Executive Orders on Crime That Do Nothing

Meeting Expectations

Need further proof that the new President is all talk and little action.  Well here is his new policy on fighting crime, or to quote Gertrude Stein, ‘There’s no there there’

Trump Signs Orders to Combat Crime, With Little New in Them


WASHINGTON — At an Oval Office ceremony for the swearing in of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, President Trump announced that he was also going to sign three executive orders “designed to restore safety in America,” to “break the back” of cartels and “stop as of today” violence against the police.
The praise began arriving immediately. “I applaud President Trump for taking action to improve the security of our communities,” Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “President Trump’s executive orders are a good first step toward restoring law and order.”
Still, about 45 minutes later, when the White House released the actual text of the three orders, they turned out to contain few specific policy steps.
For example, the first, on combating international criminal cartels, largely consisted of stating opposition to such groups, and directed the government’s Threat Mitigation Working Group — which already existed because President Barack Obama established it back in 2011 — to review various efforts to battle them and “work to improve” those efforts.
And the other two, on reducing crime and preventing violence against law enforcement officials, directed Mr. Sessions to develop a strategy to achieve those goals by coordinating with other agencies, including at the state and local levels. The new attorney general is also to review existing laws and law enforcement grants and recommend changes if necessary.
President Trump signed an executive order after Jeff Sessions, right, was sworn in as attorney general. Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Sessions’s wife, Mary, were also in the Oval Office. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
that look alone should scare criminals

Yeah, that ought to scare hell out of bad dudes bent on harming us.  Once again, Donald Trump, so much talk, so much vitriol, so much ignorance, so little action.

Lyndon Johnson and The Smothers Brothers - Anyone Think This Would Happen Today?

Until the last election, the Vietnam War and the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson caused the most divisive split in the nation's political persona in modern times.  A symbol of this fracturing was a TV show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

"The brothers’ challenges to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration and comments on other political issues became sharper. Battles with the network censors became more frequent. The brothers took their dispute to the press and became national symbols of countercultural resistance. A little more than two years after the show’s debut, CBS fired Tom and Dick Smothers and canceled their still-successful show."

Tom, left, and Dick Smothers on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
Gosh, they look like just real Americans, but don't let that fool you
CreditCBS, via Getty Images

But here's what happened at the end.

"Lyndon Johnson, too, had been enraged by the Smotherses’ barbs. But when he announced on March 31, 1968, that he would not seek re-election, the dynamic between the president and the brothers shifted substantially.

Tom Smothers recalled being so stunned by Johnson’s TV address that he wrote him a letter, saying that he disagreed with him on the Vietnam War, but was impressed by his other accomplishments and wanted to thank him.

Johnson responded with a letter that Dick read on the last episode.

“It is part of the price of leadership of this great and free nation,” Johnson wrote, “to be the target of clever satirists. You have given the gift of laughter to our people. May we never grow so somber or self-important that we fail to appreciate the humor in our lives.”

Hence the difference between a great man like Lyndon Johns and a great fool like Donald Trump.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Washington Post is Doing Great Journalism – And Apologies to Jennifer Rubin

And Great Journalism is What We Need More Than Ever

One of the fears, one of the many fears resulting from the election of Donnie the Hun was that news reporting would be cowered into white washing the outrageous acts of the new administration.  But the Washington Post has stepped it up.  On a week ago Friday’s website just look at the great reporting.

National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say

Yep, a story about how the Trumpies engaged in illegal private citizen diplomacy before they took over.

Backing away from a fight, Trump to honor one-China policy

Yep, a story about how Trump went against his own campaign rhetoric. (good for him)

Jared Kushner proves to be a shadow diplomat on U.S.-Mexico talks

Yep, a story how Trump clueless and inexperienced son-in-law is mucking up foreign affairs.  Wonder how long it will take the real foreign affairs people to rebel.  Probably not long, just as soon as Jared (not the Subway Jared) makes a major mess of things.

Republicans in Idaho tried to design a better plan than Obamacare — and failed

Yep a story on why Republicans really, really screw up health care for people when they put ideology and greed over public welfare.  Read the story and then ask yourself how anyone, anyone can be in government and be this cruel.  The answer of course is ‘conservatives can’.

Right Turn
The 9th Circuit deals a blow to the imperial — and incompetent — president

Finally we need to apologize to WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin.  She joined the Post for the 2012 election, primarily shilling for Mitt Romney.  But she stayed on and has developed into a strong and intelligent observer of the current administration.  This forum condemned her before, now we must praise her integrity, she stands up for what she believes even though it goes against her party affiliation.  Would that there be more of her.

Honor the Survivors of the Bowling Green Massacre - From LA Times Story

Saturday, February 18, 2017

WSJ Editorial Invites Ed. Sec Betsy Billionaire DeVos to Destroy Public Education

Not That She Needed An Invitation

The strident ugly hatred of conservatives is always on display on the Op/Ed pages of the Wall Street Journal.  So it is no surprise that rather than celebrating the confirmation of one of their own, Betsy (I never saw a public school I didn't hate) DeVos as Secretary of Education they attacked Democrats for their futile attempt to derail the appointment.

"Why is Betsy DeVos the one nominee Democrats go all out to defeat?
The answer is the cold-blooded reality of union power and money. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are, along with environmentalists, the most powerful forces in today’s Democratic Party. They elect Democrats, who provide them more jobs and money, which they spend to elect more Democrats, and so on. To keep this political machine going, they need to maintain their monopoly control over public education."
What's her virtue? Well there is this
"Mrs. DeVos isn’t a product of that monopoly system."

Well that's pretty obvious, otherwise she would have at least some compassion and understanding of public education. And maybe, just maybe Dems and others were opposed to her because she is totally and completely unqualified for the job. Eli Broad, a very rich man and supporter with money and writings for charter schools was opposed to her.

And so what do they want the billionaire to do? Well this.

"All you need to know about today’s Democratic Party is that this is precisely the reason the party went to such extraordinary lengths to destroy her. We trust she realizes that her best revenge will be to use every resource of her new job to press the campaign for charter schools and vouchers from coast to coast."

Yeah, we would have thought a decent and compassionate WSJ would want her to work to improve public schools, you know, where a huge majority of non-billionaire kids will be educated. But as we say, that would have required decency and compassion.  And if the WSJ really wanted to know why Dems and two Republicans voted against her, and they don't, here is the NYT editorial explaiining it to them.

"She has never run, taught in, attended or sent a child to an American public school, and her confirmation hearings laid bare her ignorance of education policy and scorn for public education itself. She has donated millions to, and helped direct, groups that want to replace traditional public schools with charter schools and convert taxpayer dollars into vouchers to help parents send children to private and religious schools.
While her nomination gave exposure to an honest and passionate debate about charter schools as an alternative to traditional public schools, her hard-line opposition to any real accountability for these publicly funded, privately run schools undermined their founding principle as well as her support. Even champions of charters, like the philanthropist Eli Broad and the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, opposed her nomination."

Another Day – Another Trump Lie – January: Replacement Health Care Plan Ready to Go; February: Plan Does Not Exist, Maybe in 2018

Is It A Lie If Everybody Knew Was a Lie?

Back in January, when the Republicans were going to repeal and replace ACA on Day 1 everybody knew there was no plan to replace repeal with.  So Donnie did what Donnie does, he made up a story that they had a replacement ready to go just as soon as the new HHS head was in place*.  Now in a rare unprecedented event, Trumpie may have told the truth.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump said in an interview that aired on Sunday that a replacement health care law was not likely to be ready until either the end of this year or in 2018, a major shift from promises by both him and Republican leaders to repeal and replace the law as soon as possible.
“Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year, but we’re certainly going to be in the process,” Mr. Trump said during an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, after Mr. O’Reilly asked the president whether Americans could “expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year.”

So in the meantime they will just continue to screw up the existing plan, make it harder for people to get insurance and make the whole system experience financial catastrophe.  All part of blaming it on Obama.

*Meaning Tom Price was Head of HHS, not that he had his head out of his ass.  No one expects that.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Greece Economy is Brain Dead and on EU/INF Life Support – And Someone is Getting Ready to Pull the Plug

Greek Recovery:  If Something Cannot Happen, It Will Not Happen

In order to stave off a complete financial collapse the Greek government agreed to the impossible task of running a budget surplus (before interest payments) of 3.5%.  In return the European community and the IMF gave Greece massive loans.  Now the loan money is running out and the bill collector is coming to Athens.

Wolfgang Munchau, probably the best of the world’s financial writers explains.

Failure to tell truth to power lies beneath much of what is going wrong in Europe right now. It may not be the principal cause of the Greek debt crisis, which is now on its umpteenth iteration. But it is more than a mere contributing factor. You notice it particularly at those moments when others speak the truth, as the staff of the International Monetary Fund have done recently. In its latest survey of the Greek economy it states that “public debt has reached 179 per cent [of gross domestic product] at end-2015, and is unsustainable”.

Walking Dead, Zombies, Destroyed City
No it's not a TV show - It's the Soon to Be Greek Economy 

The problem is the same that any debtor who is over extended.  Greece cannot pay back the money it borrowed.  It’s creditors will not allow it to restructure (forgive) part of the debt.  It needs more money just to avoid default and collapse and ejection from the Euro and the EU.  A big payment is due this summer.

Athens will either default on its debt this summer and be forced to quit the eurozone, or Berlin will accept debt relief just a few months before the elections. Either way, this is a fight in which someone ends up on the floor.

The someone who ends up on the floor is almost certainly Greece.  Yes, part of it is its own fault, but a large part is a failed European policy led by Germany.  And if the EU collapses, well, welcome to a world of hurt everybody.  At best the can will be kicked down the road, again.  But the road is a dead end and there's not much pavement left.

Earth to Trump - The Campaign is Over, Time to Start Governing

Apparently nobody in the White House Has Told Him That

Still running for the office of President (obviously he hasn't assumed it yet) Donald Trump will be making campaign stops in South Carolina and Floriday this weekend.

President Donald Trump is returning to the trail.

The president will hold a rally Saturday afternoon at a hangar in Melbourne, Florida. It will be his first campaign-style rally since his so-called thank-you tour during the transition period to states he won in November.

“Join me in Florida this Saturday at 5pm for a rally at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport!” Trump tweeted from his personal Twitter handle, along with a link for supporters to RSVP.

Donald needs the love of the crowd, and obviously he has not been getting it recently because the truth and facts are unbiased. So off on the trail to a friendly audience, that is, white. And because he had nothing to do with the development and sale of Boeing jetliners he will also go to a Boeing plant in ultra friendly South Carolina and claim credit.

The rally will follow the president’s trip to Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that Trump will attend the rollout of a new Boeing plane: the 787-10 Dreamliner.

“This visit will give the president an opportunity to celebrate a huge milestone for thousands of workers at Boeing, America’s No. 1 exporter in the millions of American workers involved in aerospace,” Spicer said. “This trip has been months in the making, and we’re thrilled to celebrating the rollout of this amazing plane.”

Taking credit for nothing he had anything to do with. Appearing only in a friendly venue. Talking and not listening. The World of Donald Trump, get used to it.

GOP Has No “Replace” Plan for Health Care, But They Do Have Plenty of Slogans

Reality Confronts the Clueless – and Reality Wins

It is now clear that the Republicans who hate health care for everyone and hate that the Obama administration made health care available and affordable rather than ‘accessible’ for millions have no idea of how to get rid of ACA without dooming millions to lack of health insurance.  They held a retreat in private and secret, but some brave soul recorded the discussion on health care and here is what they said as provided to the Washington Post.

Image result for images of dolts
The GOP Health Care Replacement Team

“So we’re replacing that big monstrosity of the Affordable Care Act with something Americans haven’t had before, which is a health-care backpack — tailored to their needs, which travels with them through their life that they control, the health-care backpack that can go from job to job, state to state,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Wow, that ought to appeal to a lot of voters, or at least a lot of language specialists who study gobble-gook.  So not having anything to actually present Republicans are left to what they do best, spin without substance.

“The word ‘repair’ is a lot better than the word ‘repeal,’ if you want to be accurate,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the health committee, told fellow Republicans. He noted that much of the law will still be intact after legislation that is being billed as the repeal passes. Many other laws would have to be passed over time through the regular order of winning over enough Senate Democrats to overcome a filibuster.

“Saying we’re going to ‘repair’ the damage is more accurate,” Alexander said.

Sen. Alexander may be guilty of one of the great sins of Washington, telling the truth.  For that expect him to be vilified by the ‘alternative facts’ wing of the GOP.