Monthly Archives: December 2016

Censorship – Revisited Already

Just a quick post here reference a recent commentary on censorship, how it’s already manifesting itself this Administration. Not even in the seat yet and the talking heads are beginning the process. Kellyanne Conway  issued the first warning (and it turns out to have been before my post) with the target being Senator Harry Reid.

“He should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks — he thinks he’s just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it.”

Senator Reid swung right back calling her comments a “threat of legal action”.  Just as I talked about the concern here Senator Reid’s Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson went on to to call out Trumps desire to silence his critics

“It took only five days for President-elect Trump to try to silence his critics with the threat of legal action. This should shock and concern all Americans,”
“Trump has always used threats and intimidation to silence his critics. Now he wants to silence a discussion of the acts of hate and threat of violence being committed in his name across the country,”

To many, CNN included, Conway’s comments sound like a threat of legal action. I believe so too. So does it appear to Senator Reid. Good to get this out in the open right off. Nice to see a little fight from the retiring Senate Minority Leader. We all should have his back since if this slips….even just a little…our right to be informed, and our right to share our conclusions with each other, our legislators, and our President will be a risk. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy. We all need to be on watch.

 

Manufacturing Coming Back?

In the midst of the Carrier deal as well as the long election lead up op on manufacturing, here are a couple thoughts.

Look at the Carrier deal. Good, keeps some jobs, which pays some employees, who pay taxes, and spend. Remember your spending is my income and my spending is your income. One stops, we all lose. But a few points as part of the bargain. We know the State committed to tax breaks of $7 million. We know the jobs saved to be 730. We don’t know what was promised at the federal level at all. So we know taxpayers are paying a minimum of $9,589 per job. Not going to do all the math on the tax and economic value of that, suffice it to say there is some, even quite a bit, just not a key point here. In fact the State essentially paying to have manufacturing jobs could even be argued to be say, a bit Socialistic. Hmm. The point is we traded tax revenue.

We also have to look at the long-term trend. Not just for the U.S. but the world. There is an overall down trend over time, for both.

value-added_us

U.S. Value Added

value-added_world

World Value Added

What’s it mean is the question. Perhaps it means the profit margins are lower…labor costs, global competition, soft markets? Perhaps it means consumption is down …austerity, personal trends, death of the American Dream (I call it scheme) mentality? Perhaps it means competition from areas not measured accurately by World Bank and associated monetary systems. Or that the manufacturing heyday has long passed as theorized by some economists and is my own belief. If it’s trending downward globally as data suggests, it’s certainly not coming back to the US without some major proprietary technological or quality breakthrough regardless of what we heard during the campaign.

But it certainly makes the point that one cannot asses the value or compare the impacts of domestic jobs and/or trade policies without taking into account the global and national trends. So when we hear folks, both politicians and friends, claiming success or failure of some action (like the Carrier deal) or policy. Ask about the long-term trends. And what they think it might mean. Too easy to just parrot the party response.

Demanding Support

    Over the last couple weeks I’ve been involved in and witnessed numerous discussions both in person and on social media about how we all need to support our President elect. In many ways I share and support that sentiment. But there is a lot more to it than sentiment so here are some thoughts and examples as to why that is pretty unlikely, even impossible for many who did not vote for Mr Trump. 

    Let’s begin by stepping back in time. Back to when Mr Obama was elected to the office of the President of these United states. Until then, I had pretty much voted Republican. Not always as I have long placed issues and positions ahead of any party. But eight years ago things changed. The leaders of “my” party refused to accept Mr Obama as the peoples choice in spite of him receiving both popular vote and Electoral College majorities. It appeared to me they worked to block every effort put forth by the Administration even when those efforts were clearly for the good of the U.S. as we attempted to climb out of a major recession. Then came Mr McConnell on public television and said “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president”.  At this point I became a registered Independent. There is no way I could associate with such a strong party over country position. I still cannot.

    We also saw for nearly all eight years of the Obama Presidency a movement to question his legitimacy called the “Birther Movement”. One of the leaders of this movement was none other than Mr Trump. He continued his questioning the birth place of President Obama right into the 2016 campaign for President. So now the left and the center are being asked to afford Mr Trump the very same respect and support he refused to provide to his predecessor. I and many others understand and support the sentiment but that will continue to be a difficult leap.

    More important than my opinion however is how folks who were already associated with the left felt, and how they feel now as they are asked to support Mr Trump. Many of these calls and critiques use  terms like “cupcake” or “snowflake” assumed to be used in a critical and/or derogatory way. Here for example is a collage of a few pictures posted on the web and other media throughout Mr Obama’s Presidency:

obama

   None of these appear indicative of right wing support for what again was the majority and Electoral College choice. Now let’s look at how one strongly left leaning writer feels about being implored to support Mr Trump. This piece speaks strongly to the very real emotions at stake in this discussion

support-trump?

    While I don’t support every statement by the author, there is enough I know to be true and enough very real emotions shared by the left community to warrant paying attention. Anyone who denigrates real people who feel this way by calling them “cupcake”, “snowflake” or demands they fall in line behind this President elect just doesn’t understand the issues and emotions. Making demands for support of which their party and their newest choice for the Presidency failed to supply just a few years ago will not be productive.

    A short time ago my wife and I were in Spain and ran into an expat who disavowed President Obama stating He’s not the President, he’s an A-rab implant, somebody needs to shoot him”. I posted this comment and threat to my Face Book page to gauge the response as most of my friends are pretty right leaning. Sadly just three people among hundreds (literally) expressed any dismay. I respect those folks a lot, and have significantly less for those who failed to show concern. Even less yet for those who failed to speak then but now ask everyone to fall in line behind Mr Trump now. Actually none. The standard is either the standard or it’s not. It’s not subjective based on which party.

    There is no doubt for me where this deep division began. While there have always been differences, we citizens have seen work across the isle by Presidents and Congress of differing parties many times. When the people speak in a true majority or the good of the country is at stake it’s imperative to compromise. It is how our government is supposed to work. The obstructionism during the Obama Administration, public critiques of the President, continued questioning of his legitimacy (up until just a few months ago by the President elect himself) and unsupported critiques of nearly every policy will be tough to overcome. Some will never forgive. As an Independent I will have a tough time. I can’t imagine how difficult, likely impossible it will be for most.

    In the end it’s a case of how high a horse right wingers want to climb up on. Most should be very careful. Those who failed to act in defense of Mr Obama during his tenure but now attempt to demand respect and support for Mr Trump will get nowhere. Those who belittle the emotions of the left after men like Mr McConnell and Mr Trump demonized “their” President will get nowhere. Perhaps there is someone, somewhere in my old party, a true leader who will come forward and state that what they did for the past eight years is wrong and proffer an apology. Perhaps there is someone who will at least acknowledge how and why the left feels as the author above describes. Or perhaps they will simply continue to gloat in victory, address the left as “snowflakes” and demand support. I know how I will react to any of those. As a retired combat veteran I will always support my country, but I will not fall in line like another sheep behind Mr Trump after the actions I witnessed by both him and his party.

Republicans failing to at least acknowledge their own divisive actions will continue deepen the divide.