Monday, August 31, 2020

100 Words: THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BY OUR FASCIST-IN-CHIEF.

 


re·al·i·ty   noun. The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. "he refuses to face reality"

Americans began their Sunday with the news that the staggering pandemic death toll, seemingly beyond dispute, was being questioned by their own president. Not over 180,000 coronavirus deaths, only 9,000 since they were old and would have died anyway, according to Trump.—NY Times

THE BIG LIE. One so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." --Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

More than 100 Words: WHAT ARE THE RUSSIANS UP TO IN KENTUCKY? WE SEEM TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR MEDDLING


Here’s some recent news to think about that didn’t get much play.

Did you know that a Russian oligarch whose company is planning to build a S1.5 billion aluminum rolling mill in Eastern Kentucky was a key figure in Kremlin efforts to interfere in America’s 2016 presidential election?
Who says so? The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.
The oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, has extensive connections to both Donald Trump and Valadmir Putin. Deripaska’s company is a Kremlin proxy for Russian government influence efforts, economic measures, and diplomatic relations, the Senate committee has reported.
That’s bad, right? Gangsterism, money-laundering, corruption, and even treason come to mind. But it gets worse.
Kentucky voters may recall that under our previous Republican corrupt governor, Matt Bevin, the state invested $15 million of the taxpayer’s money in the project to be built by Braidy Industries. The mill was expected to create hundreds of long-term jobs in a struggling region of the state. However, those high-wage jobs promised to trainees did not materialize.
The Russian firm agreed last year to invest $200 million if Braidy was able to raise enough financing to build the facility. Braidy is in tatters, its former CEO gone. Should we really trust these people to do what they say? What’s going to happen in this election? Is Deripaska still bent on stealing our presidential elections?
Here's another recent example of an international conspiracy in which Russian billionaire oligarchs were involved. They used their control of a bank in Ukraine to steal billions of dollars of its funds. Then they laundered the money by buying a 29-story office tower. But this one is in—gasp! Louisville!
It’s the former PNC Plaza on Main Street. When the federal government seized the bank, oligarch Igor Kolomoisky fled into self-imposed exile, first in Switzerland and then in Israel. Kolomoisky returned to Ukraine after his former business partner was elected president. Real estate, embezzlement, corruption. Haven’t we seen this murky movie before, Sen. McConnell--like during Trump’s impeachment trial?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

100 Words: ON GETTING OUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

 “I would like to build a university of which the football team could be proud.”

--former University of Oklahoma President George Lynn Cross to state legislators.

It is this kind of backwards thinking that is responsible for the spread of the plague and most of our other societal ills. Thank God we now have a great Democratic ticket with our first ever African American woman on it. Biden gets it right with his first major decision. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country and vote out the tyrant!

Monday, August 10, 2020

100 Words: OUR DOG EAT DOG SOCIETY

NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman gives a great analysis of how, and why, the U.S. is becoming much more like a Third World Country. Friedman says that our political differences are so deep that Democrats and Republicans now resemble rival tribes who believe they must rule or die. He also points out that in both places Everything is now politics — even the climate, even energy, even face masks in a pandemic. No simple answers from me—except that ignorance and illiteracy are primarily to blame, a result of failing schools, children raising children, and capitalism running amok in our time.


100 Words: IT'S THE SAME OLD SONG

In an international conspiracy, Russian billionaire oligarchs use their control of a bank in Ukraine to steal billions of dollars of its funds. Then they launder the money by buying a 29-story office tower. But this one is in—gasp! Louisville! It’s the former PNC Plaza on Main Street. When the federal government seizes the bank, oligarch Igor Kolomoisky flees into self-imposed exile, first in Switzerland and then in Israel. Kolomoisky returns to Ukraine after his former business partner is elected president. Real estate, embezzlement, corruption. Haven’t we seen this murky movie before, Sen. McConnell--like during Trump’s impeachment trial?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

100 Words: TRUMP IMPERILS OUR CHILDREN

Trump's list of crimes against humanity continues mushrooming. Do you trust a man who believes a witch doctor over real medical experts that your children are immune from the plague? Every death in this country can, and must, at least partly be laid to the feet to the magical thinker in chief. Wars aside perhaps, never has any president done so much to harm so many in such a short time span. Once booted from office, he should be charged at a minimum with millions of counts of reckless endangerment. Not content to menace adults, he’s now going after kids.

Read more at RickNeumayer.com


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

100 Words: THE LEGEND OF THE LAZY UNEMPLOYED

I'm sick of hearing propaganda from Moscow Mitch and the Goon-in-chief about unemployment benefits encouraging people not to work. What utter bilge. I would like to see either of those corpulent rodents make do on unemployment benefits, assuming of course that they could actually collect any in Kentucky, where our previous governor gutted the system. If republicans cared about anything but lining their own pockets, they would realize how overwhelmingly stressful losing a job can be. First, they ship Americans’ jobs to the third world, then they blame American workers for being lazy. Absolutely Dickensian in their callousness and cruelty.

Listen to the NYTimes’ Paul Krugman on the subject:

“Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn’t know anyone who knows of a vacancy. This is exactly the reason he gives you such generous advice, out of brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.”

So begins B. Traven’s 1927 adventure novel “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” the basis for the classic John Huston movie. Traven, it turns out, knew more about economics than any member of the modern G.O.P. caucus — a group whose members believe that cutting unemployment benefits and thus forcing people to seek jobs at all cost will somehow conjure more jobs into existence.

Today’s column was about the failure of Senate Republicans and the Trump administration to come up with any meaningful plan to deal with the expiration of special pandemic aid to the unemployed. Much recent economic research has investigated how much effect this aid had on incentives of workers to seek jobs, with the apparent answer being not much. As I argued, however, this question is largely irrelevant: no matter how hard workers look, they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.

But there is an objection one might raise: the number of jobs on offer isn’t a fixed quantity. You could imagine that desperate workers would be willing to accept wage cuts, and that reduced wages might induce employers to expand their workforces. This isn’t an argument that politicians are likely to make openly — “Vote for Trump! He’ll slash your wages!” But might it have some validity?

Well, no. And John Maynard Keynes explained why. (Incidentally, I don’t recommend reading Keynes in the original. His “General Theory” is an extraordinary intellectual feat, unutterably brilliant, but very, very dense.)

What Keynes pointed out was that while an individual worker may indeed be able to get a job by accepting a wage cut — because they underbid rivals for the job, or make it possible for the employer to underprice competitors — the story is very different if everyone takes a wage cut. Nobody gains a competitive advantage, so where are the job gains supposed to come from?

Indeed, if anything, benefit cuts that force workers to compete over scarce jobs can hurt employment, by causing deflation that worsens the burden of debt — a phenomenon my colleague and co-author Gauti Eggertsson calls the “paradox of toil.”

Wait, there’s more. The Covid-19 recession, brought on by the necessary lockdown of high-contact economic activities, has been terrible. But it could have been much worse. Tens of millions of workers lost their jobs and their regular wage income — and the job-losers were disproportionately low-wage workers with little in the way of financial resources to fall back on. So absent government aid they would have been forced to slash spending, leading to a whole second round of job losses across the economy.

Unemployment benefits, however, sustained many workers’ incomes, averting this second-round depression. So “paying people not to work,” as right-wingers like to describe it, actually saved millions of jobs.

In short, things could have been much worse. And sure enough, it seems that they are indeed about to get much worse.


Monday, August 3, 2020

100 Words: In reference to "What was the first book you remember reader/being read to?"

What an absolutely fabulous list! I am in awe of your memories, all. Clearly, what we read as children was important in terms of our development. I'm willing to bet that every single person who responded is still an avid reader. Speaking as an old English teacher and writer myself, I know that being read to as a child was vital in my own love of reading and learning, which to me is just about everything that matters when it comes to education. While I cannot recall the first book I ever read, my grandparents had me memorize “The Night Before Christmas.”