Nothing to tell.
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Conventional governmental fiscal policy is to stay the course on taxes and interest rates whenever possible to promote stability. Raise taxes only when needed for programs, cut taxes when possible or when a crisis requires more money in the pockets of business and consumers. Raise interest rates when the economy threatens to overheat, cut them when confidence disappears.
in 2017 Trump cut taxes for the expressed purpose of boosting the economy into 4% growth. The cuts will pay for themselves he said. They didn't and the US Federal Debt exploded while growth stalled out at far less than the target rate. Trump also hectored the Federal Reserve into reversing planned interest rate hikes and even making a slight cut in order to boost what was already well performing economy.
These two actions left the US with very little room to act when the Covid - 19 crisis shattered world economic confidence and sent the global economy to the edge of a cliff. The US federal reserve rate has been cut to 1.25%, leaving virtually no room for further lowering borrowing costs. The record high US debt load has left even Republicans balking at Trump's proposed payroll tax cut and other spending to inject liquidity into markets. In short, Trump failed to understand that using the tools he had to pursue political goals meant he didn't have them when needed to protect against real threats.
This failure to understand the value of maneuvering room explains much of Trump's horrible business record. A man who managed to bankrupt his casinos knows nothing about contingencies. His short sightedness is now in the White House and costing the USA, and the world far more than would otherwise have been necessary. Let's hope the loss is just measured in money.
Media of all types are the first draft of history. With the exception of Fox News' routine of ignoring anything negative towards Trump media reports on his handling of the COVID-19 crisis are that he is not doing his job.
What is the President's Job in a medical crisis? There is only one task required of POTUS. Reassure the nation that competent people are in place and doing the best they can to keep everyone alive. What is Trump doing? 1) Calling the illness a hoax 2) Accusing the Democrats of scaremongering to hurt his re-election campaign 3) Undermining his own experts' public statements about the seriousness of the outbreak 4) Providing overoptimistic estimates of the availability of a vaccine 5) Claimed that warm weather will make it go away 6) Suggesting that some people will get better by going to work 7) Blaming his predecessor for restricting the production of test kits for a virus that did not exist until almost 3 years after Trump took office.
This collection of pronouncements is called gaslighting, a term that means to deny what is obvious in an effort to confuse someone into doubting their own eyes. It is Trump's go to practice for anything as he attempts to define truth itself.
There are still some competent people left in this administration and within state and local governments. Their efforts will be what gets Americans through this. I'm betting they are all wishing Trump would just go golfing and keep his nonsense out of their way. I certainly do.
It is said that anyone can sail the ship when the seas are calm. Meaning the most competent sailors are identified by the storms they have sailed through. A less frequently heard test is whether a sailor can avoid storms if at all possible. But I digress.
Ever since his inauguration pundits have fretted about what would happen when Trump is confronted with a real crisis. We have avoided a serious crisis since January 2017. Less serious challenges that have caught our attention have been mostly of Trump's own making. Intangible damage to the US' international reputation, constitution and norms of governance aside the US has been muddling through at least for now.
The three years he has been in power have provided ample evidence for concern about Trump's management of a real crisis. His shaky relationship with the truth has rendered him an incredible (i.e. not at all credible) source for reassurance when it is needed most. His preference for loyalty over competence has created a government run by inexperienced yes-people intent only on implementing the President's agenda - an incoherent mix of anti-government opportunism focused only on his re-election.
The COVID 19 virus aka Coronavirus presents a potential crisis that will have far reaching effects. Beyond its lethality, the virus has the potential to badly damage the global economy. I'm not just talking about the stock market. Disruption of global trade and manufacturing will soon lead to shortages of all sorts of goods thanks to industry's adoption of "just in time" inventory management. That practice kept costs low but eliminated the capacity to keep operating when supplies are interrupted. This is what caused last week's stock market crash. Business as we know it may shut down for an unforeseeable length of time. It is the fear of this, more than the reality of it, which will do the most damage. The US health system, recently badly damaged by Republican failure to replace the Affordable Care Act even as they effectively destroyed it, may be heavily taxed by people who are both ill with COVID-19 and afraid they might be.
The Peach President has proven himself a master at stoking fear and anger toward others. His self created challenges have been spun so that he may claim that he won. But this time he needs to calm peoples' fear, he needs to display competence - not just his own but that of his Cabinet. His legacy of lies and preference for lackeys does not inspire confidence.
Trump's supporters like to crow, without evidence, that he is the "Best President Ever". Events of the next few months may provide an objective basis for history to make that call.
The Peach colored President of the United States (PPOTUS) and his "Republican" cult club are fond of dismissing their Democratic opponents as "Socialists" hell bent on ruining the country. PPOTUS in particular likes to cite Venezuela as the primary example of a failed socialist state. For a definition of Socialism you can search here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism but be warned it is less than satisfyingly clear. For argument sake I'll summarize socialism as an idea that the state should be organized around and operate under the principle that all the people equitably benefit from what society can produce. The problems with socialism arise from how to actually pursue it given human nature's inherent selfishness enlightened by the knowledge that working together is necessary for anyone to benefit.
The history of socialism is replete with failures and brutality as various governments try their mightiest to change human nature for what they think is the better, these coercive socialist states feature collectivization of production, central planning of the economy and single party political systems. Other socialist states fail because the ruling elites decide that they are more equal than all of the others. The later is what I call fake socialism. I believe that fake socialism is much more prevalent than real socialism and would point to Venezuela as the latest and perhaps most extreme example of that.
I think it is safe to say that socialism is a laudable ideal but should be pursued with considerable moderation, the better to make it actually work. Which brings me to the Democrats and their leading "Socialist": Bernie Sanders. What does Bernie want that has "Republican" knickers in such a knot that, had PPOTUS not already neutered them, they might feel extreme testicular discomfort?
The Rich (top 1%) pay their fair share of taxes.
One payer (the State) of medical care for all.
Free college tuition
Cancel Student Debt
Limit Election Campaign Spending
Universal Free Meals in Schools
Drug Importation and Patent Breaking to limit drug costs
Slash the Defense Budget (presumably to pay for his other policies - oddly enough few of his opponents mention this one)
Targeted Taxes for the Finance Sector and Corporations
Reduce Income inequality through taxes on the wealthy and new social programs
People can and do argue the merits of any of these policies. I've picked on Bernie here because the "Republicans" hold him up as the worst of the "evil socialists" out to destroy America. There is much more to his platform than what I have listed, but they are not what socialism focuses on. While Bernie's platform is intended to more equitably distribute the bounty of what society produces it does not fall into the traps in which so many failed socialist states have foundered. In fact a classical socialist might argue that he is not a socialist at all. The field of Democratic candidates have many policy overlaps with Bernie but none of them are anywhere close to being a socialist.
So are the Democrats "socialists"? The answer is a resounding NO. But that won't stop the "Republicans" from saying they are simply because the "Republicans" think the voters recoil at the name and won't bother to actually investigate the policies.
Prove them wrong.
You can find Bernie's and others' complete platforms here: https://www.politico.com/2020-election/candidates-views-on-the-issues/
Last year a natural gas pipeline project that would take NG to tidewater in northern British Columbia was approved to proceed after the developer met with and negotiated the approval of all elected Band Councils and other stakeholders along the route.
Before work could fully proceed, the Hereditary Chiefs of one First Nation's Band took it upon themselves to blockade the road that provided access to the pipeline route where it crossed disputed land. The Hereditary Chiefs, some of whom are members of the elected councils that agreed with the developer, claim the agreement only applies to the reserve lands where the bands reside. They admit no agreement for work to proceed on the land they claim as historically theirs.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have cleared the blockades and removed the protestors. At the same time a number of groups across Canada have set up camps and disrupted highways, Government buildings and railways in support of the BC Hereditary Chiefs. All of the blockades are illegal and even First Nation leaders have urged the protestors to cease and desist.
While law enforcement at these sites is actually a provincial responsibility, though the RCMP are often contracted to the Province in rural areas. Pressure is building on Canada's Prime Minister to "stop the blockades", the matter has even become a topic for the Federal Opposition Party's Leadership race where one candidate is proclaiming he will end them immediately (and presumably prevent any in the future) upon achieving power.
The protests have shut down rail transport in eastern Canada and are slowly strangling the Canadian economy. They need to end. Those who are protesting and their supporters would do well to consider that unnecessarily drastic and destructive action will not build support for their cause, whether that cause is to stop a pipeline or to use access to its construction as a lever to settle a land dispute.
Not satisfied by the Republican Senate's abdication of any oversight authority, the Peach colored President of the United States (PPOTUS) is also hacking away at the Judicial branch of US Governance in its ongoing pursuit of Presidential Hegemony over the United States.
While the impeachment proceedings were underway and perhaps using them as a distraction, William Barr told the Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals to ignore the 7th Circuit Court's ruling not to deport a man who had applied for a visa to remain in the USA. Barr simply said the ruling was "incorrect" and that was that, it need not be heeded. No appeal to a higher court, no justification required.
Just in the last few days we have witnessed the spectacle of PPOTUS tweeting outrage at the sentencing guidelines that DOJ Prosecutors drew up for the seven times convicted Trump ally Roger Stone. Shortly after that tweet was sounded, DOJ reversed its sentencing guidelines, prompting the resignation of the four prosecutors from the case. One of the prosecutors went so far as to resign his job altogether. DOJ insists that PPOTUS' tweet did not prompt the decision to overrule the prosecutors. DOJ stated that the Prosecutor's superiors were shocked by the recommendation and were already in the process of reversing the department's stand before the tweet was broadcast. That is an unlikely scenario but it will be almost impossible to prove either way. It is also beside the point.
POTUS has the power to pardon anyone for any Federal Crime. No explanation needed. If PPOTUS is of the opinion that his friend's sentence is excessive, all he has to do is issue a pardon and it is reduced to zero. He could even wait until an appropriate amount of time is served if he feels his friend should be punished to a lesser degree. PPOTUS knows full well that he can pardon anyone. That he chose to directly attack the integrity of the Justice system by so publicly intervening in a single case is indicative of a desire to demonstrate his power over the Judicial Branch and his willingness to ignore conventions.
Thus we now have two legal case in which PPOTUS' administration has achieved extrajudicial imposition of its will over the administration of justice in America. Congress has been neutered and cannot now hold PPOTUS accountable for this attack. If Trump wins re-election in November, and his slavishly loyal Republicans retain control of even just the Senate, he will use his remaining years in office to complete the conversion of the USA into a nightmarish monarchy.
It is now less than a year before the inauguration of the next US President.
Barring a widespread epiphany amongst Republican Senators, Donald Trump will be the GOP candidate for President in November's election. Throughout the three years he has been sitting in the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave there have been occasional news items about why voters chose him in 2016. The most popular theory is that he was elected to shake up the Washington establishment and bring much needed change to a Federal Government that had become sclerotic and unresponsive to the needs of the American people. Trump's wrecking ball for anything that interferes with his own self interest was seen as the perfect antidote to the logjams plaguing US politics. "Drain the Swamp" said he and it will be done, they hoped.
There is no doubt that Trump's erratic decision making and persistent ignorance of even the most basic norms of government have dealt serious, perhaps fatal, blows to the Washington Bureaucracy. He declined to fill many Presidentially appointed posts. His relentless attack on regulations has neutered Federal agencies' ability to enforce their mandates. His disdain for the briefs prepared to inform his decisions is well publicized, further eroding the effectiveness of the work paid for by US tax payers. Trump's assault on the truth and the very notion that the President must be truthful has encouraged other politicians to plumb the depths of their own mendacity.
On the International stage, Trump's "Mad man" tactics have impaired a global approach to climate change, shaken NATO to its core, strained decades old alliances with Japan and South Korea, comforted decades old rivals and generated trade tensions that now threaten global consequences.
He has encouraged division at home between races and politically within the European Union. In sum, Trump has abundantly fulfilled his supposed mandate to be Whirlwind-in-Chief.
It is not difficult to see that US Federal politics needed shaking up. The US has not passed a budget on time since Bill Clinton was dallying with Monica Lewinsky at the Resolute Desk. US debt is on an ever rising ride to oblivion. US health care is an ongoing hot mess. There are serious challenges to US global leadership that pre-existed Trump. The Washington Establishment badly needed to be torn down and rebuilt. For all of his enthusiastic bashing, Trump's thoughtless, nearly random destruction has not yet succeeded in tearing down much that needs removal. His term has created opportunities to build improved structures of governance but Trump is incapable of realizing the gains to be had from them. Trump has also overlooked important targets.
The time has come for a President who has a vision of what still needs to be destroyed and what needs to rise from the rubble. The US needs a President who can lead the US to better governance and the world to better trading systems, a global approach to climate change, better alliances and better containment of threats to a liberal democratic world order. It is up to the Democrats to produce a leader with the right qualities to meet America's needs. Democratic primary debates need to focus on this, not just the question of who can beat Trump. If the Democrats can nominate that person and run a campaign focused on that theme, they will trounce Trump.