Economic Populism (minus free market)

Trump is a populist after all. Cutting a sweat-heart deal with a multi billion corporation in Indiana from moving fewer jobs to Mexico is popular – among everyone, it seems, and it’s like a miracle that the GOP, whose mantra is ‘free market knows best’ is praising the deal. It demonstrates that conservatives are not shying away from Big Government and meddling in the free market when it serves their populist base.

Had Obama cut the deal, he would be accused of favoring one company over another (remember Solyndra, the wunderkind of renewable energy companies?) and called an imperial President. When Trump plays favoritism (it’s called crony capitalism), he is an imperial President (not even sworn into office yet). The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Reflections on American Thanksgiving beyond the Big Bird

America celebrates Thanksgiving as an extraordinary event of kindness from indigenous Americans toward struggling and starving European settlers. The America of today, the result of this ‘first immigration’, is the result of forced and often illegal entry onto the continent and into lands of the indigenous people and now established nation states. Immigration is again one of the major topics, a divisive topic of American politics. It is ‘illegal’ immigrants, or undocumented immigrants that are loathed by many who are the descendants of earlier immigrants, forefathers (and mothers) who were themselves loathed upon their arrival. Loathed for who they were, not for what they wanted to be and become.

Economic studies show that accepting and integrating undocumented workers and their children fully into the economy by giving them legal access to work and education would benefit the nations bottom line (1). And unlike the demand of deportation of millions of long term residents, a mere 30 years ago under Reagan and Bush 41, a humane solution has been devised – the immigration and diversification lottery system to grant ‘green cards’ to undocumented Irish family members, who got the lion share of 30% of all visas assigned by the ‘lottery’ system. The rest went to immigrants from other countries with known low immigration numbers. This excluded and still excludes immigrants from Mexico, India, China, Canada and Great Britain (except Northern Ireland) from the lottery pool. I am myself a beneficiary of this lottery system and people using it do not come here to get welfare, but to better their life through work and often find political freedom and economic opportunities, the very things so many people in so many countries are denied to have.

So I support and call for a decent amnesty program to accept those undocumented immigrants with a track record of work, education and paying taxes. I reject the use of fake ‘breaking the law’ arguments to promote rounding up and deporting millions of people. I reject the call for religious based registries of Muslim immigrants and visitors, I reject the outcome of having families torn apart, where young people often born here or brought here by their parents at a very young age to be force back you a country where they have never lived.

(1) How an Illegal-Immigrant Crackdown Could Hit U.S. Economic Growth A new study puts the economic contribution of the U.S.’s illegal workers at 3% of private-sector GDP (from the Wall Street Journal, Nov 22, 2016)

In Memory of Gwen Ifill (1955 – 2016)

Support real journalism. National Public Radio NPR, The Wall Street Journal WJS, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Die Zeit, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung NZZ, NBC, CBS and ABC News. These are the ones I regularly read and listen to. There are many more. Don’t refer to them as mainstream media. I find it derogatory. They are the media. The journalists working for these media are doing a great job and their work is more important than ever.

Gwen Ifill


A guide to understanding Trump.

I find it necessary to say this, because I hear all these questions by journalists trying to get at the reasons behind Trumps statements. Trump is a sociopathic narcissist. He says what ever pops into his head, often saying two contradictory statements in the same sentence. He has no plan, but knows what his supporters want to hear to feel better about themselves and adore him. Jobs in the coal industry? Are you kidding me? Trump is only interested in his own enrichment (and that of his family) and will do any thing to further his goal. Now as president he can influence the law benefiting his companies by changing the heads of regulatory agencies, the IRS, the courts and international trade deals. The media still politely call this a conflict of interest. Once he is in the Oval Office, it’s called corruption.

Stop the self-loathing, Democrats, and keep up the good fight.

Hillary won the national votes, but lost the Electoral College. Democrats and progressives are searching for reasons they lost the election, finding blame in various things including not getting enough votes out, not going to the right places to campaign, third party candidates, Sanders’ supporters voting for Trump or not at all and on and on. But what does it matter? Hillary got the most votes from places like California and New York, but the Electoral College is part of the federalist design of the Union. Federalism means that smaller states get a bigger say in Presidential elections preventing the larger states from dominating. In close elections, and because of this weighted benefit (all votes go to the winner of the state) the split between Electoral College outcome and total national votes is not surprising (the 2000 Supreme Court decision excepted). And the Constitution has a mechanism to be changed as needed, although the bar is set high.

I do believe that the polls were ‘wrong’ because of a silent support of the politically incorrect. What college professor would admit to vote for Trump? It’s somewhat of a hostile environment for conservatives and for all the good intent of political correctness – the idea of inclusiveness and safe zones – it is intolerant towards the crude and abrasive or anti-progressive stances (as it is a wise policy in a public space). It’s hard to watch how bullying is successful when all we do as parents and educators is to teach tolerance, acceptance and inclusiveness. Coming back to the election and the voices that the polls got it ‘wrong’. Yes, the outcome was shifted, but the shift was well within the margins of error and no one should ever forget its meaning. That you have a small chance to be wrong. And wrong we were. I was thinking that American pollsters cannot possible get this wrong after what we saw with the Brexit and miss the voice of disenfranchisement. Wrong again.

So please, do not attack the science. You will just be the mirror image of climate change deniers. So please do not call for a dismantling of the Party and reinvent it from scratch. You won the majority of the votes. Be proud, be resilient, be ready to protect the hard won civil-rights of same sex marriage, inclusion of women in the military, reproductive freedom, the right to choose the bathroom of your gender identity. Protect voting rights and criminal justice rights, protect the hard working immigrants without proper documentation from deportation, from families torn apart, for refugees and religious minorities. Protect the economy from the trickle down voodoo economics, from the dismantling of Medicare and Social Security, and increased Military spending. Many outcomes this November at state levels show that voters are on the right track in their own backyard, increasing minimum wage, local taxes for schools and infrastructure, legalizing pot.

So the GOP is in charge of the national and a majority of state governments. Let’s see how they do. They will own every piece of legislation. They better stop their brinkmanship and partisan ideology. Our Democracy is a pendulum and it swings back and forth and as they say, the ark of freedom of justice is long, but it does lean towards justice and freedom for all. We have a long way to go.