Thursday, March 10, 2016

What are some actual reasons why people think Donald Trump would be a bad president, not including his appearance/wealth?

Make America Hate Again?

Answer by Matthew Lee Myers:

I grew up in Atlantic City and have lived in Manhattan. I've had the opportunity to interact with quite a few people who worked with or for Trump. More than anything else, it is my familiarity with Trump as a business owner that has influenced my opposition to his candidacy.
To be blunt, when Trump says he will "Make America Great Again", it is laughable for anyone with any familiarity with his business dealings.
When Trump says he is one of the best businessmen ever and one of the smartest men on the planet, it is laughable for anyone with any familiarity with his business dealings. He is a rich man, having inherited a quarter of a billion dollars and doing fairly well with it, growing to to somewhere between $3-4 billion. In about 40 years, he has multiplied his wealth by a factor of about 12-16. That's pretty good. A compound interest rate of 7.2 over 40 years would yield a 16x multiplier. So he did a little worse than "average". Though he certainly hasn't done as well as someone like Warren Buffet, who was also worth a quarter of a million in 1974, and is now worth 66 billion. And not as well as someone like Mark Cuban ($3B) who built a similar fortune from nothing. And certainly not as well as Jeff Bezos ($46B), Bill Gates ($80B), or Elon Musk ($13B) who built fortunes that completely eclipse Trump's and started with significantly less. He's done well. But he's far from the richest or most successful.
When Trump talks about caring about the middle class, it is laughable for anyone with any familiarity with his business dealings. Whenever Trump was faced with the choice between "America" and "Trump's bank account" he routinely chose his bank account. He pays his hotel workers less than any other in Vegas and refuses to let them organize (currently ignoring a court order to allow them to do so). His construction projects routinely use inferior quality windows made in China rather than slightly (about 10%) more expensive American models. When his Atlantic City casinos were in trouble he raided his employee pensions and healthcare accounts before declaring bankruptcy, screwing not only his employees but also his investors.
When he talks about Mexicans coming over to take our jobs, it's laughable for anyone with any familiarity with his business dealings. He routinely brings in workers on temporary work visas so that he can pay them less than American workers, taking not only those jobs from American workers but also driving down wages throughout the industry. Meanwhile his merchandising line was being produced in China and Mexico, despite the fact that they could have been produced in America for only slightly more.
When he talks about being able to negotiate and be tough with China and Mexico, it's laughable for anyone with any familiarity with his business dealings. The Riverside South project saw him bailed out by Hong Kong investors who ended up screwing him out of millions. He later sued them and lost. His Trump Ocean Resort in Baja Mexico was a spectacular failure. He fleeced his investors with promises about being able to get it done, but the project collapsed due partly to his inability to deal with the Mexican government. His investors sued him and won. Even friendly nations like the UK have stymied him and won. As recently as the last few months Trump lost his lawsuit to prevent a windfarm from being built off the shore near his golf course in Scotland, despite taking the case all the way to the British supreme court.
So I think it's only sensible to distrust his claims. He's had plenty of chances to put ordinary Americans before his own interests, and he hasn't. He's had plenty of chances to keep jobs here in the US, and he hasn't. He's had plenty of chances to stick it to Mexico, or China, or even the UK, and he hasn't been able to pull it off. And he's really only a mediocre businessman. So why would I believe he'd be able to do it now?

What are some actual reasons why people think Donald Trump would be a bad president, not including his appearance/wealth?

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Shocking South Carolina video no isolated case | Center for Public Integrity

Commentary: School discipline disputes detailed in Center pieces

Source: Shocking South Carolina video no isolated case | Center for Public Integrity

The real shocker isn’t racial. It’s the enormous percentage of disabled and special needs kids who are dumped into the court system. Of course, they are the least likely to upload video ti YouTube, and apparantly, theleast likely to have others do so on their behalf.

In state after state, if black kids are sent to court at twice the rate of all students, the disabled are sent at tree to four times that rate.

We’re criminalizing kids for acting like kids, in direct proportion to their lack of community and parental resources, punishing those with the least the most.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

For those who converted from Republican to Democratic political views, what were your reasons for supporting Republicans and conservatism…

I was never a registered Republican but I was a registered nonpartisan for decades. Republican policies forced me to finally choose. Foecing people like Lowell Weiker and Charles Percy out forced me to choose.

Answer by Chris Joosse:

What happened… was the Bush years.  During this timeframe, the party stopped even paying lip service to fiscal restraint, limited governance, or the idea of consistent rule of law.  Instead, we got
  • medicare part D (unfunded)
  • a couple of wars (unfunded),
  • tax cuts that proved not to generate promised economic growth while squandering the only balanced budget we've seen in my lifetime,
  • non-enforcement of financial regulation for the better part of a decade and the sort of financial collapse that predictably follows,
  • the Orwellian-named 'Patriot Act' (and the un-accountable, un-auditable 4th branch of government it chartered),
  • the embarrassment of Abu Ghiraib and Gitmo, the knowledge that war funds are unaccountable and have disappeared by the pallet under inadequate and corrupt supervision, and
  • a host of needless regulatory punishment of gayness and being a woman.

I was a Republican because I like limited government, rule of law and fiscal sensibility, and I believed then that supporting the GOP was my best way of expressing these values.

When the financial crisis went down, it took with it more than half of my net worth, which made it personal.  When McCain campaigned on more Bush economic policy, it told me that the GOP refused to acknowledge that financial deregulation had anything to do with the crash, and the massive bailouts of the same people who'd profited wildly from a decade of fraud looked to me not like responsible economic policy, but a massive expansion of the role of government in economic matters, on the side of and in the pocket of Wall Street.  This broke forever the illusion I'd once had that we have a free market- what we have is socialism for the wealthy and rugged capitalism for everyone else.

On social issues (like gay marriage, reproductive politics, the war on drugs) I've never thought that legislating morality accomplishes anything but state-sanctioned discrimination.  In light of their fall from grace on economic policy in my eyes, their new priorities (thwart the president, punish gays and women for being gay or sexual, supporting draconian prison sentencing, infringing on voting practices), I found the party's positions on social/moral legislation to be not just without merit, but repugnant.

In foreign policy I'd like to see more unified politics, in which partisanship ends at our shores. I'd also like to see a lot less in the way of saber-rattling, and a lot more exercise of soft power and moral leadership- that's always less expensive, and tends not to make so many enemies out of folks who could be partners or allies.  At best, the GOP's position on foreign policy is that it's never a wrong time to undermine the president as long as it plays well back home.

On fiscal issues, I'd like to see a lot less corporate welfare and the obvious corruption that accompanies it.  I think the party's talking-point focus on 'urban takers' exploits xenophobia and bigotry, a distraction at best from where the real money is being squandered- into corporate pockets.

In terms of rule of law, I'd like to see us enforce the same set of standards on big bankers and corporate polluters as we impose on the poorest and most-marginal among us. But we don't. The GOP has declined to embrace policies that work, but has rushed to defend ones that don't- for example, trickle-down austerity, "bigger dick" foreign policy, the War on Drugs, privileging the interests of the political donor class above that of everyone else.  I see a party determined to usher in a new age of religio-oligarchy, with itself as the nexus of corporate patronage and power.

I remain conservative, but have no more faith that the GOP is a vehicle for expressing my political or moral values.  What happened to my political views can best be explained in a word: disillusionment.  The things that used to appeal to me about the GOP as I grew up (rule of law, smart economics, sensible budgeting, limited government, etc) haven't actually been real party priorities in my lifetime.  That's all been an illusion.  They were never anything but talking points, and in buying them I was never anything but a useful idiot to the GOP.

I started looking differently at policy matters, and what I saw made me angry.  In my lifetime, so-called 'conservative' efforts to outsource government functions to private contractors (because 'free markets', ha) have given rise to significant amounts of government patronage and corruption. [cite: Portal:Outsourcing America Exposed
Maddeningly, these often dysfunctional and corrupt arrangements are cited by their authors as more evidence that 'government doesn't work', and therefore more outsourcing, more dismantling of government capacity, is desirable.

During the Bush years,  I began to see that the party hadn't been expressing my values at any point in my political lifetime. I learned this after the spectacular political, moral, and economic failures of these years. What it appears to have learned is that it 'wasn't conservative enough', in the sense that it didn't pander deeply enough to its corporate masters, or perhaps in that it wasn't hateful enough to gays, women, the poor, and minorities.  And perhaps most insultingly, it still claims to represent my values while doubling down on policies that go completely against them.

I'm not the only one with this experience: Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

Subsequently, during the Obama years, the GOP has only further damaged its standing in my esteem:

  • It's work to erode voting rights protections for the poor and politically marginalized
  • Its naked pandering to the will of dark money organizations and organized religion
  • Its willingness to manufacture bogus 'scandals' and credulously entertain them for years on end, spending taxpayer money to do so (for example, congress has spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars 'investigating' non-stories like Benghazi, the IRS profiling affair), Birtherism, Jade Helm, claims that Michelle Obama is secretly a man, that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, etc.
  • It's willingness to deny climate science in the face of overwhelming evidence and scientific consensus
  • Its willingness to convict the victims of violence if they are black or poor (yep, thug, had it coming, no need for due process here)
  • Its willingness to rally to the defense of bigotry, its willingness to invent 'facts' that justify it, etc.

**Edit: in the run-up to the 2016 primaries, I've observed that the sole candidate in the field who's consistently expressed my own political values is Bernie Sanders.  Even Hillary appears to be too much a creature of the establishment for my views.  The bulk of the GOP field seem to be a pack of bullies, poseurs, and would-be theocrats long on bluster, but short on leadership.

For those who converted from Republican to Democratic political views, what were your reasons for supporting Republicans and conservatism…

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Businesses’ Doors Creak Open in a West Bank ‘Ghost Town,’ Decades After Massacre – The New York Times

Businesses’ Doors Creak Open in a West Bank ‘Ghost Town,’ Decades After Massacre – The New York Times:

Before the intifadas, yet foreshadowing them, an Ameican born Israeli murdered people at prayer in Hebron. As usual, the Palestinians were punished. Businesses were shuttered, movement restricted. 200,000 Palestinians had their lives restricted for the benefit of 700 Israeli settlers after a crime committed by one of the settlers.

Now, supposedly, restrictions are being lifted. Lifted in such a way that it’s hard to see any real change at all.

Perhaps real change isn’t the desired result. We will watch. We will see.

‘via Blog this’

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Grief and Graphics

My graphics tablet died today. I bought it when Barack Obama was still an obscure state senator. Because it was on sale, because I needed a more natural way to work on screen, because using a mouse just didn't cut it.

You can draw with a mouse. With enough determination and practice, you can do contour drawing with a brick but pencils, Pens and brushes are more natural. Easier. Faster to work with.

Add pressure sensitivity, angle and velocity and work becomes play, becomes mind to spirit to hand. Image is a road with no potholes and you drive in sync with the lights, cruising.

A few months back the tablet started losing connection in the middle of a work. I'd jiggle the USB connector, the blue light would come back on and I began to grieve a future loss. more and more often the map of tablet to screen and the function of opacity to pressure, velocity to width was lost. Like watching a companion with a chronic progressive illness. 

Today, I tried to shake my companion awake but the poor thing wasn't breathing

Alfred C. Ingram
Conceptual Design & Imaging

Tuesday, March 04, 2014