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HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.

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Friday, August 7, 2020

Corruption and 'Grifting' Explained for Honest People


We read and hear accounts of corruption or 'grifting' behavior by government officials at any level; and, it can be hard to connect the dots and see the unethical and/or criminal acts.


To understand 'grifting', I will start with an honest or non-criminal action by a government. We all expect that governments behave legally and honorably, so what exactly does that behavior look like?


Suppose a government wants to fix a bridge used by thousands of people every day because the Civil Engineers' report says the bridge is unsound and can fall into the river at any moment killing hundreds of people.


The sensible thing to do is to fix the bridge, save lives and avoid lawsuits.


An honest government will have a list of pre-approved contractors for this type of work who are experienced and financially sound. The contractors will be private businesses since that is how our system works most of the time - except when the Army Corps of Engineers is involved.


Government will issue an RFP [Request for Proposal] which is detailed and lists exactly what needs to be done. Then the project goes out to bid to the pre-approved list.


Government will open all the bids in a public meeting. The job will be awarded to the low bidder in a public announcement.


In addition, the contract calls for an initial payment and progress payments throughout the process. A progress payment is earned when an inspector certifies that some part of the work is done correctly. After a few progress payments, the job is ready for final inspection. Usually there is also holdback amount of money around 10% of the contract total. That cash is held until the final inspection to ensure that the job is done correctly.


That is what we expect in government jobs - we just assume that will happen all the time.


Now, let us see some of the ways it can go wrong.


Suppose a grifter want to get the bridge repair contract. After all, it is $10 million!


Problem is that our grifter is not a contractor; so, he will find a contractor who is willing to play ball and offer him 10% of the payment.


Since the contractor is not qualified for the pre-approved list, our grifter goes to the person who approves contractors for the list and gives him an offer he cannot refuse: Take $10,000 to put my guy on the list, or I will kill you and your family.


Once that is done, now the grifter has to change the RFP. He modifies the RFP to provide an upfront payment of $ 5 million with the balance due on completion. Of course, he and his guy will take the $ 5 million and disappear. They will be happy with the $ 5 mil.


Government awards contract to our guy with no public announcement to avoid awkward questions. Any government official who wants to go public gets an offer he cannot refuse to keep it quiet.


 Of course, the grifters will not do any actual work; they will just hire a person to paint over a few things on the bridge so it looks like the work is being done; that way, no press or public will notice for a while. The public has a short attention span, so when the work is not done and the contract canceled, the public will just say 'That's the government for you!'


Or, here's a professional or Russian example: For the bridge repair above, Government awards the contract to a close friend for $100 million with no bidding or announcement. The work is done well and the grifter and the contractor split the extra $90 million. 

 

Here's another kind of grift.


Suppose a grifter has routine press conferences and also has many rich friends. Maybe one of his buddies runs a public corporation that is in the news a lot. Our grifter makes a proposal to the CEO:


'Here is what we will do. Next week I announce that your company will be investigated for illegal activity. Your share price will drop like a stone. Three weeks from now, I will announce the investigation has been dropped since there was no evidence. Your share price will rebound. So, you sell all your 100 million shares today, and then buy them back at the bottom in three weeks. When the price rebounds, you sell 100K shares and give me the proceeds. Deal?? Great.'


It requires a lawyer to determine if the action is unethical or criminal. 


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Our Future Under trump

 

Dystopian USA 2021

It is worth gaming out future scenarios for the US in the unlikely event trump installs himself as President, even though he will probably lose the vote. 

After all, he has installed Barr, Pompeo and others to help him stay in office. 

So, what will the country look like under trump?

Most Americans will assume that he has cheated his way into office - 80% of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction today.

November and December see an increase in peaceful protests involving BLM, Wall of Moms, Veterans, Antifa and others after trump declares the election invalid and seizes power. The government responds by increasing violence against the protestors. Thousands are jailed. Major portions of most cities are locked down due to demonstrations and DHS secret police activity.

US COVID deaths exceed 500,000 by June. Vaccine approved in March and government approves price to Americans of $1,000 per shot; proceeds go to Corporation after receiving exclusive license to vaccine for $1.00.

US invades Guatemala, occupies country, sells Guatemalan oil reserves to Russian company for $1.00

The US economy enters free fall as the government fails to address unemployment and evictions. The dollar loses value. [It has already declined 10% against other currencies since March 2020.] The good news is US exports surge; the bad news is foreign goods become more expensive in the US.  Millions are evicted. Homelessness and hunger increase. GDP falls by 30% and unemployment reaches 25%. 

The government responds by allocating billions of dollars for relief, but the money goes directly to corporations while failing to address hunger and unemployment. This has already happened with Mnuchin secretly directing billions to corporations from the COVID relief programs and away from the sick and poor. New programs suffer the same fate.

By the summer of 2021, the peaceful protests continue and increase in size and severity. A splinter group of protestors including veterans targets the properties of trump, his cabinet members, and other billionaires for systematic arson in an attempt to reduce their comfort. Mar a Logo and Trump Tower are torched first. Several people die. 

A subset of the splinter group undertakes the assassination of Russian oligarchs in the US. Those thugs want to control the US government so they can receive the proceeds of relief programs while failing to provide the services they agree to provide. This is exactly what happened in S. Petersburg in the 1990's when Putin ran the city. [PUTIN'S PEOPLE, Catherine Belton, 2020, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux]

Treasury bills issued to cover the deficits now carry higher interest rates since investors begin to doubt the stability of the government. The higher interest costs destabilize the Federal Budget and the US seeks to borrow money from the IMF to pay for Social Security and Medicare. The IMF requires that the budget be balanced with the result of mass government layoffs, reduced or canceled pensions, unemployment rates of 30% and increasing suicides. 

None of this will happen if Biden is President. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Revised Demonstration Strategy



Current demonstrations in Portland, Seattle, Oakland and elsewhere play into trump's election strategy. While both the rage and wish to send away federal troops are justifiable, broadcast cell phone videos on television of violent acts helps him justify troops' acting in defense of 'law and order'. That claim can justify martial law and overturn the election results. 

Perhaps it will be more effective to have the corporate CEO's apply pressure to the White House in favor of removing troops. 

We can do that. 

Since the West Coast ports are points of entry for goods shipped to corporations from Asia, perhaps demonstrators can impede those shipments. Once corporations see their bottom lines impacted, they may encourage a more peaceful resolution.

Demonstrations, which block train and truck traffic from collecting shipments for delivery to their customers, will be noticed immediately. 

Here's where: 

It seems that truck traffic enters the Port of Oakland through Martin Luther King, Jr. west of the Embarcadero. Demonstrators blocking that intersection would slow down the transit of goods from the port to the rest of the country.

Similarly, the main line for eastbound container train traffic crosses Bancroft Avenue in Berkeley at street level. Blocking that intersection also would slow down shipments.

The Oakland Airport can be shut down by blocking Airport drive west of Doolittle and west of Ron Cowan where the road splits to circle the parking lot. But, the airport is less critical to freight and thus less damaging to corporate CEO's. 

Probably there are similar locations in Portland, Seattle, Long Beach and other ports. 

Here's how:

A good method of blocking traffic might be to conduct a single day, 12 hour blocking of the truck terminal at MLK and Embarcadero, perhaps from 2 am until 2 pm. A similar, single day 12 hour blocking of train traffic two days later might be useful as well. Cars parked in the intersections and on the tracks will ensure disruption. Setting the cars on fire is an option. 

Once established, the blockades can be made longer and more frequent in order to pressure trump against any future martial law considerations. 

It would be wise to notify police of the impending action so they would know it was of limited duration. That might reduce the incidence of violence. 

About the Federal buildings: I say, let the feds have them; continuing to protest there will be met by rising troop levels with possible injury and death.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Death of Sergei Magnitsky


Putin kills opponents - sometimes with assassins and sometimes with prison. 

If you go to a Russian prison, chances are you will die, slowly and painfully.

Now, trump admires Putin's methods and it is possible that trump is conditioning Americans to watching Americans being arrested  on the street by anonymous thugs without legal process. 

So far, most seem to have been released. So far.

Here's a lesson on how Putin does things:

 https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/preetbharara/episodes/death-sergei-magnitsky-bill-browder

I cannot tell demonstrators and protesters how to behave or what to do.

All I can say is that if they come for me, I will not go into the van. 

They will have to kill me or knock me out. And, if I can harm one or two of them, that's a bonus. 

A wise Mayor or Governor may wish to get ID's on all the thugs sent from Washington and then assign city police to ride along on all their patrols and missions to ensure that citizen rights are protected. 




Sunday, July 19, 2020

Stand Down November 4

In an interview on television show AM Joy today, Malcolm Nance raised the possibility that trump might conduct severely un-Constitutional measures after the November election. After all, he will feel no constraints if he loses the election.

Such actions may contain the real possibility of overturning the government of the United States and installing a dictatorship.

All branches of the United States military and Federal police will serve the country best by standing down from any Presidential orders between the election and the inauguration of Joe Biden as POTUS.

Absent any organized armed attacks, all domestic troops and police are ordered to stay in their quarters and all troops which can have international operations will stand by and react to direct attacks only - they will begin no campaigns. 





Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Essential Worker Sickout Every Wednesday



It is time for a weekly sickout by all essential workers to apply pressure on the United States to complete a few clear objectives:

1. Remove trump from office immediately - he must resign now

2. Provide free treatment of all Covid 19 infections.

3. Declare a six month rent and mortgage holiday with any arrears added to the end of the loan term or forgiven as rent.

4. Increase all essential workers' pay by 25% or more

All essential workers are called to take every Wednesday off without pay until these objectives are met.  Some hours can be made up by weekend or overtime work. All truck drivers, grocery store workers, auto repair shops, transit workers, others not mentioned and cops take the day off. 

The only exceptions are health care workers, standby cops for emergencies and firefighters. 

The government of the United States is weak and vulnerable due to trump's general incapacity and work as a Russian asset.

The United States will become stronger only when all Americans do better economically. America is not a zero sum game. 



Saturday, June 27, 2020

Why I May Leave the United States in 2021


One of the primary characteristics of dictatorships is intolerance for dissent.

While it has been said that all forecasts are wrong but some are useful, here is an outline of some of what can happen in the United States after trump takes office for a second term.

Step 1: Create en external enemy list. Since most of potential enemies within the Federal government are gone already, the next step will be neutralizing external enemies. External enemies include but are not limited to: specified journalists, critical elected officials, black agitators and their supporters and social media agitators.

Step 2: How to neutralize all external enemies. This is not an exhaustive list and the reader may be able to think of additional methods of silencing external enemies.

Media which reports facts - call them 'fake news' then buy out the company or nationalize it and fire all the staff and change editorial policy to support government.

Elected officials - kill them, make them an offer they can't refuse or change the electing process to eliminate them.

There are no appointed official enemies left, but if there are any, then follow the steps above for elected officials.

Protesters - Kill them. Already in place for black protesters, but needed for non-black folks.

Agitator citizens- See above. Those who follow or create anti-government media like this blog.

You live in a fantasy world if you think any of this is extreme and/or impossible - these are real.



Thursday, June 18, 2020

These Are Dark Times


The Covid 19 pandemic kills thousands of Americans every day. It is likely that the deaths will continue until a vaccine is proven to work. Perhaps a vaccine can be ready early next year. Death from the virus is painful and alone; it is preceded by agony.

We are in a recession; millions of workers have lost their jobs and many if not most of these jobs are gone forever. We will see falling prices, evictions and foreclosures in the housing market. Families are suffering now and will suffer more. Food is becoming scarce. People who need medical care are afraid of going to the hospital or doctor because of the pandemic. Many more are without insurance and must continue to work in low paid 'essential' jobs. 

President trump is an asset of Vladimir Putin and works tirelessly to sow confusion, falsity and death in the United States. Confusion about the pandemic kills people. trump touts cures that harm and do not cure; then he claims the virus is a 'hoax'; but, it is very real. Additionally, he pits state against state in bidding wars for PPE supplies and fails to direct PPE distribution: 'We're not shipping clerks....It is not my responsibility.'

Street protests against unjustified police violence continue for weeks. Protesters are met with additional violence, partly because foreign paid provocateurs incite violence in order to justify police violence. Police feel free of prosecution for unjustified murders due to political pressure. Police must reduce unjustified violence, or the pressure to take away their immunity from prosecution will become overwhelming.

Our National, State and Local governments are trying to fend off some of the dire consequences but they are hampered by lack of direction and conflicting theories about everything. 

Our hope is that we Americans work together whenever we can. We recognize that we are all under severe stress. And we cut each other some slack. 

As Ben Franklin said: '... at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." '

Let us all hang together.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Here is Greatness


Text of Radio Address - Prayer on D-Day, June 6, 1944: Franklin Roosevelt

"My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them--help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.


Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen."

James Hastings, Shared with Members of Democrats FB

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Order All Armed Troops Out of DC


trump is collecting troops in DC.

It looks like a militarization of government.

See photo of camo troops in Espers office:





We must push back and assert civilian control of all troops.  

We cannot let this stand. 

He will continue until he meets resistance. 

Mayor must order all uniformed troops off the streets of DC.

DC police are the only force allowed. 

Perhaps the Mayor can request a few National Guard; but, troops are there ONLY IF REQUESTED BY DC MAYOR. 

November may be too late. The time is now. 




Stand Down



Attention: National Guard and Active Duty Officers and enlisted men and women:  You serve the Constitution and the American people. Your duty is to disobey an order that violates the Constitution. 

Any order for you to engage with citizens in American cities and towns with no invitation from the Governor or Mayor is illegal. 

You are obligated by the Constitution to disobey such an order. 

Here is the GI Rights telephone hotline. They can answer any questions for you:

 877-447-4487

They offer interpretations and suggestions about relevant law.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Coup and Martial Law Before November


trumputin plan is clear: Russia supports white supremacists to pose as Antifa and then create and exacerbate demonstrations into riots and looting. This is happening now.

trumputin will declare martial law due to the unrest. Then the election in November will be canceled due to unrest. trump will assume power for the 'duration'.

trumputin fear the election since trumputin will probably lose it; alternative plan is to cancel the election and assume total power.

Since most of the people with integrity have been purged from the government already, there is no obvious force to block this coup.  

While it may be against the law to declare Martial law, trumputin will simply ignore the law. It may stop only if the military refuses the order. 

'Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied territory.[1][2]

Martial law can be used by governments to enforce their rule over the public, as seen in multiple countries listed below. Such incidents may occur after a coup d'├ętat (Thailand in 2006 and 2014, and Egypt in 2013); when threatened by popular protest (China, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989); to suppress political opposition (martial law in Poland in 1981); or to stabilize insurrections or perceived insurrections (Canada, the October Crisis of 1970). Martial law may be declared in cases of major natural disasters; however, most countries use a different legal construct, such as a state of emergency.

Martial law has also been imposed during conflicts, and in cases of occupations, where the absence of any other civil government provides for an unstable population. Examples of this form of military rule include post World War II reconstruction in Germany and Japan, the recovery and reconstruction of the former Confederate States of America during Reconstruction Era in the United States of America following the American Civil War, and German occupation of northern France between 1871 and 1873 after the Treaty of Frankfurt ended the Franco-Prussian War.

Typically, the imposition of martial law accompanies curfews; the suspension of civil law, civil rights, and habeas corpus; and the application or extension of military law or military justice to civilians. Civilians defying martial law may be subjected to military tribunal (court-martial)' . [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law]

Thursday, May 28, 2020

How Biden WINS the 2020 Election


Eligible voters who did not vote in 2016 will decide the election.

Democratic leaning swing states went for trump in 2016 because  non-voters trend toward non-white and younger demographics leaving the election to be won by GOP voters.

Six states where 45 won the electoral numbers that had gone Democratic in 2012 decided: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Probably they felt left out and helpless. Now, tell them we need and value them with Get Out the Vote events targeting younger and minority populations. Online 'telethons'  targeting Black and Hispanic younger voters  on hip-hop and Hispanic media in each of the six swing states - Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 



- YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU NOW - I NEED YOUR HELP TO BEAT TRUMP
  • Events are FREE ONLINE, 
  • Presidents speak, answer questions from audience like press conference Cuomo and Newsom style – Obama, Clinton, Bush, Carter, even 45 himself can be invited

  • Candidates speak,answer questions from audience like press conference Cuomo and Newson style – Romney, Clinton, Harris, etc., etc.

  • Sports celebrities speak, answer questions from audience like press conference Cuomo and Newson style

  •  Hip Hop, Hispanic and other musicians perform

  • Local elected officials speak, answer questions from audience like press conference Cuomo and Newson style 

  • Voting Registrars speak, offer registration help

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

UPDATE May 28, Biden 100 Day Plan: - Part 3



Specific Policies for 2021

This post may be updated from time to time with new thoughts at top of page.

UPDATE - Biden campaign needs to establish an election security team in each swing county whereby voting security can be ensured. the GOP WILL tamper with the system. 

The pandemic highlights our flaws; here's suggestions on redesigning the USA system.


  • Rebuild the Infrastructure and stimulate the economy: create a panel to approve state and local projects and then fund those projects.


  • Secure the front line: Fund state and local governments for police, first responders, teachers and essential workers.


  • Restore respect for law in the government: Fire every trump appointee, Every. Single. One. Offer interested Obama appointees reinstatement. AND, Reverse all executive actions. Every. Single. One.


  • No pardon for trump. Evict him in handcuffs if needs be. Let the Legal process proceed.

  • Take charge of Pandemic:  Nationalize the PPE, ventilator and vaccine efforts. Adapt CDC guidelines on re-opening as national directive. Make sure that the public sees all decisions. Ask county health officers to designate needed hospitals and care homes, then nationalize the ones which are in financial danger.


  • Make health care available to ALL residents; we are as healthy as the poorest among us. No recommendation on how, except this: profit must be removed from medicine. Profit means lower costs and higher prices - that may be acceptable in business but not when the costs are people's lives.


  • Justice for all - real campaign finance reform: When laws cater to the rich, we are unjust. We can have some really rich people OR we can have a democracy with ZERO really rich people: we CANNOT have both.

  • Real bank and corporation regulation: these actors have bought our legislation system. Prosecute law breakers. Jail the felons. Obey the law.


  • Jail felon Bankers: They deserve special attention since some have committed felonies with no personal consequence. Even bankers say that some must serve time in jail. 


  • Rent and loan freeze: Suspend all rent and residential loan payments until a vaccine is approved by the FDA. When the economy recovers banks can add the missed payments onto the end of the loan. Borrowers receive an option to renegotiate or sell their property. Homeowners whose houses have declined in market value can start with a new loan at the lowered market value. Their original down payment applies to the new loan and the new loan will be for the new value. Banks will lose some income but their principal remains since they retain a lien against the property. When prices decline they will retain their relative purchasing power with no real loss.


  • Reduce Inequality: our economy is 'hollow' because real wages have declined steadily for 40 or 50 years. The middle class does not have extra money to buy new products. The other day I saw an ad for LAYAWAY ON A PAIR OF LEVI's jeans. So: Raise Fed Min wage; tax rich at pre-Reagan levels; bail out states and cities for first responders; prosecute monopoly laws; make labor unions stronger; beef up NLRB; and, prosecute employees who fire union organizers.


Monday, May 25, 2020

A New Deal – Part 2


History is clear: we need to give a shot of adrenaline to wages and the economy with spending everybody knows we need - infrastructure. That's where FDR went.

Then, we can fix the economy, as seen in Part 3.

Income taxes helped pay for it. 30’s New Deal had higher taxes on higher incomes but MUCH lower taxes on low incomes than we do now:




Federal spending went up during the New Deal, but down as percentage share of GDP after Reagan lowered tax rates in 1984. Overall spending stayed about the same share.



We need a New Deal to keep incomes to households up so they don’t starve and can actually buy some things. Some European countries keep incomes at 80% of pre pandemic. We do not.

What happened: Effects were to create a class of super rich oligarchs.

History

“…During the late 1920s, federal spending on public works construction averaged $200 million annually. This amounted to about 2 percent of the total public and private spending on new construction. By 1932, the last year of the Hoover administration, the federal amount had increased to nearly $400 million. Until 1930, state and local governments had been spending $2.4 billion annually on public works. By 1933, they were reduced to spending only $700 million…

The Depression brought the private construction of new factories and homes to a virtual standstill. Public works construction on the part of state and local governments also collapsed. To meet this challenge, the New Dealers vastly increased the federal funding of public works construction. This funding, however, was increased only enough to cover the amount state and local governments had been spending…

The central feature of the New Deal public works program was to provide federal support for state and local public works projects, rather than to substitute federal projects in their place.

According to Donald C. Stone, founder of the American Public Works Association and a key figure in developing the administration of New Deal programs:

'projects at the local level where people were unemployed had to be the kinds of projects that would put the kinds of persons who were unemployed to work. We couldn't just have some scattering of federal projects around and meet the unemployment problem in the country . . . You had to take the work to where the people are. (Rosen and Pudloski 1992, 45)

New Deal public works programs combined the short-term goal of unemployment relief with the long-term goal of regional economic development: As FDR himself put it, there was an obvious two-fold objective of public works policy: "to relieve unemployment (and) to develop great regions of our country in the future for the benefit of future Americans." (Daniels 1975, 4)”

[Howard Rosen is Managing Director of Program Development and Director of the Public Works Historical Society for the American Public Works Association in Kansas City, Mo.]

Infrastructure Today, 2021

Americans know that our country is literally falling apart. Voters accept paying for needed changes.
‘…America’s infrastructure is more than just a network of roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, railroads and airports connecting our towns, cities and states. It serves as a backbone of economic growth and preserves our safety, quality of life and prosperity. The United States has long been a global leader in innovation, transportation and smart fiscal policies, yet the infrastructure that keeps our country open for business is now far out of date.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the current condition of our infrastructure earns a grade point average of D+, and there is an estimated $2 trillion funding gap to bring it to a state of good repair by 2025. While we have benefited from past centuries of building, neglect has befallen our once greatest achievements – in the 1930s, 4.2 percent of the country’s GDP was spent on infrastructure investment, but by 2016, that number fell to 1.5 percent. In other words, our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, and we need real, sustainable investment – and we need it now…’
[https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/435562-what-we-need-to-do-to-fix-infrastructure-in-the-us]

But Americans know we need more than just roads, dams and bridges:

‘Monthly Stimulus Check

According to a recent poll from OnePoll, 82% of Americans believe that a one-time stimulus check of $1,200 from the CARES Act is not enough to pay for living expenses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of a one-time check, the majority of respondents say that stimulus checks should continue through the end of lockdowns. The poll, which was conducted in late April with 2,000 of individuals, also found several other results about public sentiment, including:
Universal Healthcare: 76% of self-identified Republicans and 84% of self-identified Democrats believe the U.S. should consider universal healthcare.
Mortgage and Rent Payments: 55% say that mortgage and rent payments should be frozen during COVID-19.
Student Loans: 63% says that student loans should not have to be paid now.
Unemployment: 79% say the federal government should do more to help those who are unemployed, but only 58% said that government should provide more financial support.’
[https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2020/05/19/stimulus-check-monthly-poll/amp/?fbclid=IwAR2kO4ax8HVzC2apKZB2z9myAw_LIKo_n3_0RDw64bp1BjdMTID6ODoEjV4]

Re-Imagining America 2021- Part 1



The American system is broken. Most Americans want changes and better outcomes.

This post has three parts

Public opinion supporting change – Part 1

A New Deal – Part 2

Specific Policies for 2021 – Part 3


Public opinion supporting change – Part 1

This first section provides evidence of Americans’ longing for real changes. It’s the same longing trump used in 2016. The evidence below is specific but the underlying malaise is broad based. Americans know we are living in a bad system. We will accept changes formerly thought impossible.

Health Services



While such a plan is supported by almost all Democrats and two-thirds of independents, most Republicans don't think it is the government's responsibility to provide access to affordable health care, and most oppose this type of plan. [https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2020-polls-national-health-care-plan-favored-by-most-americans-cbs-news-poll-finds/]

Environment:

Even Republicans want the EPA to stay: Some 39 percent of Americans would like to see the EPA, the nation’s top environmental regulator, “strengthened or expanded,” while another 22 percent hope for it to “remain the same,” according to the poll. Just 19 percent said they would like to see the agency “weakened or eliminated” and the rest said they “don’t know.”

Among Republicans, 47 percent wish for the EPA either to “remain the same” or be “strengthened or expanded,” while 35 percent want it “weakened or eliminated”.

The online poll of 9,935 people was conducted Dec. 16 to Jan. 12 and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 1.1 percentage points. [https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-environment/unlike-trump-americans-want-strong-environmental-regulator-reuters-ipsos-idUSKBN1511DU]
Voters Favor EPA Reduction in CO2 Emissions; Rassmussen: January 2020

Business Regulation:

“Big Corporations Have Too Much Power and Should Be Strongly Regulated” — 84% of Democrats, 72% of Independents and Nearly Half of Republicans Agree
Center for American Progress & GBAO: December 2019

‘Time and again, American voters voice their support for strong and effective regulations. Americans see the need for clear rules of the road that protect workers and families from reckless corporations that cut corners and put profits ahead of people.’
https://sensiblesafeguards.org/polling/

Over 60 Percent of Voters Think Facebook Has Too Much Power
Fox News: June 2019

Privacy:

Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information
Pew Research Center: November 2019

Americans Oppose Political Campaigns Using Their Personal Data for Targeted Ads
The Knight Foundation & Gallup: March 2020

Americans Generally Believe the Biggest Tech Companies Have Too Much Power and Ought to Be Split Up
The Verge: March 2020

Voters Overwhelmingly Want More Regulation on Corporate Use of Personal Data
The Hill & HarrisX: January 2020

Global Poll Shows 71% Support Regulation of Tech Giants to Protect Data Privacy
Amnesty International: December 2019

Social Media:

Poll Finds Majority Want Government to Play Role in Moderating Social Media
Morning Consult: October 2019

Guns:

Most Pennsylvanians Want More Regulation of Gun Ownership
Franklin & Marshall College: October 2019

Illinois Voters Support More Statewide Gun Regulation
NPR Illinois / University of Illinois Springfield: October 2019

     ##############################

These specific polls suggest the depth of our dissatisfaction. We will support drastic public action to stabilize the country as suggested in the following post:  A New Deal – Part 2

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Old Guy Talking



Listen up Joe, I'm at least as old as you, maybe older.

You're gonna have to stop defending your actions to save the past system. 

They didn't do the job because the system is flat broken.

You gotta start with a blank canvas and paint us a way out. 

Otherwise, it's like the old nuclear bomb drill: bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. 

You're the hope, Joe. Don't let us down. 



Saturday, May 16, 2020

Biden and Boogaloo


Putin's playbook is to create division and conflict among Americans so that trump can keep power.

Some of the rich among us are helping that effort by supporting armed protests about corona virus safety measures. They do it by paying people to organize and attend protests against pandemic safeguards. 

See this: [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/18/coronavirus-americans-protest-stay-at-home] 

and this [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/us/politics/coronavirus-protests-trump.html]

A major part of this effort is to create confusion about the pandemic. trump promotes confusion when he says it is a hoax while his medical team says it is real. 

Some people think the pandemic is a hoax because 1., trump repeats that statement continuously and 2., scientists deny the hoax but they are overwhelmed by trump. 

AND, the same people think that if the pandemic is either not real or may be a hoax, then any restrictions on 'my personal behavior' are a violation of 'my civil rights.' 

Ergo, we see protests with signs and guns funded by deVos, Cock Bros et al.

Solution:

Biden appears on FOX, CNN, ABC, etc., etc, to repeat that pandemic is real, the disease is horrible and that behavior rules are to save protesters' lives. If asked, Biden says trump is wrong.

Also, his staff conducts a concerted social media campaign to repeat this message. 

And, Biden repeats that the confusion is understandable but people who break laws will be arrested. Those who meet in public and ignore the guidelines endanger everyone else. 

This behavior is not acceptable. Biden will call out public officials who do not enforce pandemic guidelines. 

AND: Biden should call out the boogaloo movement on FB.

Boogaloo- Right wing term for violent revolution: 

See this: [Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/134272807853082]

And this: [https://www.adl.org/blog/the-boogaloo-extremists-new-slang-term-for-a-coming-civil-war]

And this: [https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/y3zmj5/the-boogaloo-bois-are-bringing-their-ar-15s-and-civil-war-ideology-to-the-lockdown-protests?fbclid=IwAR1FyLuZfKeiOUkaSmuM8RAb49A6hJZAfzgL706DFxUcVOLZHJCqu61CPGs]







Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Biden Administration Dream Team, Updated



A Biden Administration with the people below will help America restore the economy and peace in the world. 

Senators can be appointed only if a Democrat majority in the Senate is secured.


Stacey Abrams, VP, Scy Interior, remit, election security, voting rights.

Kamala Harris, VP, Atty Genl, remit race relations, corp crime

Elazabeth Warren, Secy Treasury, State

Adam Schiff, Secy State, CIA chief

Corey Booker, Secy State or Interior

Maxine Waters, Secy Treasury, Banking overseer.

Pete Buttigieg, Homeland security

Amy Klobuchar or Jay Inslee, Secy Interior, Homeland security

Beto O'Rourke, Homeland security

Mark Warner, Secy State, CIA

Andrew Yang, Secy [New position] Technology

Tom Steyer, Robert Reich, CEA

Janet Yellen, Chair FED

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Exiting the New Recession: Monetary Policy Limitations




Perhaps it is time to reconsider the economic theory underlying monetary policy. Keynes General theory suggests lowering interest rates will incentivize businesses to invest and the additional Aggregate Demand will lower unemployment. 

A study of interest rate history questions that assumption:

‘C o n c l u s i o n s
Interest  rates  have  generally  been  high  and  rising during  periods  of rapid  economic  expansion  and have been  low  and  declining  during  periods  of  economic contraction.  Exceptions have occurred, such as the un­usually  high  rates  during  the  first  year  of the  1920-21economic  contraction,  the  sharp  upward movement of rates  during  the  depression  in  1931,  and  the  comparatively  low  rates  during  the  period  of  heavy  demand for  goods  and  services  during  and  immediately  fol­lowing World War II.

According to  a popular belief,  proper economic sta­bilization  action  calls  for  relatively  high  and  rising interest  rates  during  periods  of  rapid  expansion,  es­pecially  when  output  is  pressing the limits  of produc­tive  capacity  and  prices  are  rising.   Conversely,  it  is generally  thought  that  lower  rates  are  desirable  in periods  of insufficient and declining demand for goods and  services.   According  to  this  view,  interest  rates have  behaved  in  a  stabilizing  fashion during the  past half century,  except for a few atypical periods.

Proper  interest  rate  policy,  however,  may  be  much more  complicated  than  merely  determining  that  rates are  rising  during periods  of  strong  economic  advance and  inflation  or  declining  during  periods  of  substantial  and  rising  unemployment.   Questions  arise  as  to how much interest rates need to change under various conditions,  what  should  be  the  relation  among  rates on  loans  of various maturities,  the  influence of factors other  than  monetary  actions,  and  lags  in  the effect  of changes in interest rates on economic activity.’  


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think lowering interest rates and printing more money most likely will not change economic activity without an increase in consumer demand.

Total bank deposits rose to about 80% of GDP in 2008 and have stayed there. That may reflect a two-tier economy rather than any other economic fundamental. Recovery requires more spending and less savings.




Units:  Percent, Not Seasonally Adjusted
Frequency:  Annual
The total value of demand, time and saving deposits at domestic deposit money banks as a share of GDP. Deposit money banks comprise commercial banks and other financial institutions that accept transferable deposits, such as demand deposits.
Suggested Citation:
World Bank, Bank Deposits to GDP for United States [DDOI02USA156NWDB], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DDOI02USA156NWDB, May 12, 2020

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 Consumption spending as a share of GDP remained rose above 67.5% during the recent expansion. It rose from less than 60% to the 67.5% range over several years between 1965 and 2010.



Units:  Percent, Not Seasonally Adjusted
Frequency:  Quarterly
BEA Account Code: DPCERE

For more information about this series, please see http://www.bea.gov/national/.

Suggested Citation:

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Shares of gross domestic product: Personal consumption expenditures [DPCERE1Q156NBEA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DPCERE1Q156NBEA, May 12, 2020.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We can expect a reduction in consumer spending as unemployment rises and millions of families lose incomes. Thus, increasing money supply while interest rates are at or below the historic Liquidity Preference threshold of 3% will not do much to stimulate an expansion.

It’s likely that both GDP and consumption will fall together in a new recession.

It is also likely that a GDP expansion requires an increase in consumer real incomes. The path to recovery lies in raising consumer incomes through more worker friendly labor laws, higher marginal tax rates to fund budget expenditures and other measures to raise consumers’ real incomes above their current level.
  

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

United States Fiscal Policy


The United States can borrow an apparently unlimited supply of trillions of dollars at low interest costs. Treasury notes, known as T Bills, sell easily to expand the USA's debt. Federal budget deficits create a need to borrow when federal expenditures exceed income tax receipts. 

T Bill buyers can be private American or foreign citizens, foreign or domestic banks and central banks in other countries. Lenders or buyers of T Bills like them for several reasons. The full faith and credit of the United States guarantees them. Many private buyers and sellers compete in a secondary market for the Bills assuring a quick conversion to cash if needed. Up until now, the USA has managed the issuance of debt consistently in line with underlying economic fundamentals. Buyers can buy very large amounts when they need to park billions or trillions of dollars. 

T Bill buyers may demand higher interest rates if the USA is less able to manage its Federal budget. Other countries experience this regularly. Those countries sometimes seek loans from the IMF to fund a deficit. 

Either paying higher interest rates or seeking an IMF loan will cause real budget problems. 

Our ability to borrow lots of money at a low cost depends on our lenders' opinion about our fiscal management. 

The current pandemic may interfere with this market. That could cause a budget crisis. That crisis might result in higher taxes and reduced Social Security pensions. 

Summary of our fiscal position:



Saturday, May 2, 2020

Biden Dirty Tricks Bureau - 2



Let's deflect negative attacks with Reagan and Putin playbook.

" Oh that? Well, there he goes again. It's not accurate and I'll have a complete statement tomorrow. But don't forget

1. Obstruction of justice
2. Impeachment
3. Stormy Daniels
4. Putin
5. Russians
6. Deutsche Bank
7. Epstein
8. Tax Returns
9. Covid 19 failures
10. Bankruptcy
11. Family profiteering
12. etc., etc., etc..."