President Trump Bears Full Responsibility for Whatever Didn’t Happen in Sweden

President Donald J. Trump Bears Full Responsibility for Whatever Didn’t Happen in Sweden

If you think about the title, it really makes sense. I prefer the title for grave event in Sweden as the Trump Credibility Massacre, since it massacred the last 20% of credibility that the President of Our United States had. This is one of the most sorrowful events in our history of the Presidency, and much graver than Nixon’s Watergate (“I am not a crook”) or Bill Clinton’s impeachable court statement, which the modesty of this blog will not allow me to repeat. It is so ironic, that the President who labels the honest press as “fake news”, would go down in history for inventing his own preposterous and really fake news.

As is always the case, the Trump child will never take the blame for anything, and cast it on his closest friend, Fox News. Oddly enough, that fits in with many of us who consider Fox News to be the most watched source of fake news. Clearly, Congressional Republicans should launch and infinitely long investigation of who in Fox News misled the President, who they knew was watching, into the Trump Credibility Massacre. The key questions are: Who did not know what?, and When did they not know it?

While a few might now be afraid to go to Sweden, if they only get news by watching Trump rallies, hopefully, all of the continuous coverage of this Massacre, will actually increase publicity and interest in Sweden. In response, Sweden could raise signs at important tourists spots, showing where the Massacre did not occur. They could also make the day of the Florida Trump Massacre rally a national holiday, to be celebrated by parades and cultural fairs and dances, celebrating the time when the Massacre did not happen. They could also make President Trump an honorary Swede, since he contributed greatly to their recognition, and since he used to tell everybody that he was Swedish, including in his notorious book, “The Art of the Deal”.

Another irony is that Trump had recently admonished the press for not reporting on terrorists events around the world, no matter how small they were. The irony is that the Press now had to fully and endlessly cover the Trump Credibility Massacre.

It is again ironic that this Massacre followed shortly after Kellyanne’s Bowling Green Massacre. Shouldn’t that credibility disaster have given a warning to the Trump administration that they had to increase the National Security to prevent another such disaster.

Finally, the real irony is that Trump’s Muslim ban was created using fear that any or all refugees were only coming to the United States to attack us, or our way of life, or our values. Sweden has been very generous in accepting refugees from the Middle East, and none of that has happened.

Posted in Affairs of State, American Carnage, Communications, Donald Trump, Immigration Ban, Kellyanne, Middle East, Politics, Trump Administration, Trump Truthiness | Leave a comment

Hopefully, Republicans Will Save the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Again

Hopefully, Republicans Will Save the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Again

A lot of rural radio and TV stations are partly funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  These stations bring continuing education of high entertainment and information content to the public, including the rural listeners and viewers.  CPB stations reach 95% of Americans.  That includes a lot of rural voters who Republicans depend upon.  By charter, the 50-year-old CPB system, is politically neutral, and demands a balanced representation.

The 2014 CPB budget was $445.5 million dollars.  Straight half goes to supporting local public TV, or $222.8 million.  $69.3 million goes to local public radio.  The CPB supports 1,418 stations, on average, contributing a half of their budgets, the rest being privately funded.  The above figures are from Wikipedia.  Below we concentrate on rural stations.

Of the 577 station grantees in 2014, 219, or 38%, are rural.  60 are public TV stations, and 159 are public radio stations.  CPB spent $94 million, or 21%, at these rural stations.  Rural stations raised $4 for every $1 of CPB seed funding.  CPB funding was 18% on average of the funding of these rural stations.  Of these stations, 102 relied on CPB for 25% of their funding.  The above figures are from cpb.org.

When rural Republicans are reminded every two years about where CPB money goes, they have kept the corporation.  For comparison of the $69 million going to local public radio, the cost of an Osprey VTOL aircraft is $72 million dollars, and we are procuring 408 of them.

 

Posted in Communications, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Education, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press | Leave a comment

California’s Sacrament-San Joaquin River Delta and the Endangered Species Act

California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Endangered Species Act

This is a very, very complicated problem, and I am not an expert.  Wikipedia has a good article on it.  This will probably come up with the Congressional revision of the Endangered Species Act, HR. 717.  This act changes the one year consideration period to as immediate as possible, and to take up requests in a priority order, rather than a filing order.  But mainly, it says that the economic cost of the order has to be considered, not just the protection of a species.

The California water projects get a lot of fresh water from the Delta, up to 25%, sent south to farmers and cities.  What is often ignored, is that a lot of the water flow to the San Francisco Bay is to keep out salt water to the Delta from the ocean, at least during the summer, since the Delta has been sinking, and is below sea level.  There are 74 kinds of fish in the Delta, including two thirds of California’s salmon, which use the Delta to go upstream to spawn.  The endangered fish is the delta smelt, which unfortunately, has been dying off anyway, by unknown factors.  This keeps water flowing to the Bay and ocean, and limits fresh water diversion.  There are also farmers on the Delta who use the non-diverted water, and an involved, multi-species ecology, including being a stopover for migrating birds.

When President Trump came to California last summer and met with central valley farmers, he came away saying that there was no drought, and he knew how to solve the water problem.  Fact check, we had a five-year serious drought.  But what he must have been told, is that without the delta smelt being listed on the endangered species list, farmers and cities could have gotten all they water they needed.  There was no record of Trump consulting with state water officials, or environmental groups, or heaven forbid, reading any report about the drought and the Delta.

So, we expect the disappearing delta smelt to be on the chopping block, since the total value of California farming is something like $45 billion a year.   Not being an expert, I do not know if the delta smelt might be transferred to a lake, or a Northern California river which is not being tapped for fresh water.  If it could be, somebody would have tried it by now.

The water urgency has completely reversed this year, since abundant rainfall and snowpack have reservoirs overflowing.  A diagram of the full reservoirs is below.  This has still a negative effect on central valley farmers.  They have paid for water now being held in the reservoirs.  If the water has to be released to streams to prevent reservoir overflow, they lose some of the water that they have paid for.  Water rights are fixed by law, so I don’t even want to suggest a system to prevent the monetary loss.

Even though the delta smelt has been made to bear the brunt of the legal struggle, much more is at stake in draining the Delta, as we have explained above, and the fate of the full system should be carefully taken into account.

 

 

Posted in California Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, California Water, Donald Trump, Politics, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

The Probability of Trump’s Truthiness on Russian Connections

The Probability of Trump’s Truthiness on Russian Connections

 How do I deceive you, let me count the ways?  (A parody, due to the Valentine’s Day Past)

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker of “facts” in Trump’s campaign speeches got Pinocchios 80% of the time (mostly four or three Pinnochios).  Clinton only achieved a 20% rating.

You can see while Trump is speaking and trying to state a fact, or opinion, or evaluation, or a narcissistic bragging point, that he is not satisfied with the statement close to the truth, and is weighing how much he can exaggerate it, and get away with it, at least to his loyal followers.  He doesn’t care about what the established press says, since not only have his followers been turned off on the liberal press, by watching only Fox News for years, but from his now multiple daily press denunciations. 

But to a still cognizant person listening, you have to establish a probability of truthiness to judge his claims, since you can’t possibly check all of his statements.  You could read the few fact-finding sites or articles, but you know that the probability will still hover around 80% Pinocchios.

So, here’s the point:  When Trump says that he has no connection with Russia or Russians, whatsoever, in the same news conference where he utters exaggeration after exaggeration, and denounces the “fake, dishonest” press dozens of times, how much probability of Truthiness should we assign this?  Weight this by the fact that for two days, he has been saying that Lt. Gen. Flynn, his previous National Security Advisor, did nothing wrong by speaking to the Russian Ambassador to the US about US sanctions over the hacking of the Democrats’ computers.

I am usually a trusting person, but not in this case.  We are always surprised to learn of Trump’s long term connections to many important or rich people, and his involvements in many, many countries around the world.  It’s hard to imagine that he gave up after his initial attempts to build towers in Russia, his bragged profit of selling a Florida estate to an oligarch, his hiring of four campaign aides with Russian connections (including campaign head Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Roger Stone), his appointment of Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, and dealer with Russian oil and Putin, as Secretary of State, and his bending over backwards not to criticize Russia for hacking the Democrats’ computers, and his giving up Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to Putin, and mentioning the Russian speaking part of Estonia, that he has NO connection or communication with Russia or Russians.   Give me a break!

Posted in Affairs of State, Communications, Donald Trump, Freedom of the Press, Politics, Trump Administration, Trump Truthiness | Leave a comment

The Endangered Species Act and the Bible or Evolution

The Endangered Species Protection Act and the Bible or Evolution

The Republican Congress is about to enact severe restrictions on the number of species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

If you are a Republican evangelical, you believe that God created the fish, the birds, and then the animals, for a purpose.

When God caused the flood, to punish those who strayed, he saved every species by having Noah build an ark. Did he tell Noah to limit the number of God’s creations to save, or did he save them all? Did God and Noah, and the writers of the Bible, all realize that It Takes an Ecosystem? All depend on each other.

Will the Republicans, in their self-indulgent frenzy, strike down restrictions on pesticides that will kill bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators, which are already in severe trouble? This will affect Republican voting farmers and growers all over. Climate change will also bring more droughts, heat waves and insect pests.

Saying we can only protect a limited number of species, in our greed, when clean water, an environment free from mercury and lead poisoning, and acid rain, and having pristine national forests and parks, are environments that benefit all of us. Once destroyed, they cannot be restored, when the environmentally conscious party returns to power.

Consider the Republican religious supporters who value the life of each and every unborn, and want Roe vs. Wade overruled. This is religion based, descending from the Bible. How happy are they going to be about several entire, God created, endangered species being erased just for the greed of water polluters, or of pesticide producers, or of hunters who want to kill the last few of a species?

If you are scientifically oriented, you probably didn’t vote for a science-denying Republican anyway, but you realize it takes an ecosystem, and that species develop over millions of years, just as mankind did. What right do we have to value ourselves so highly, and yet cast other species aside, for a modest, temporary benefit, to only the richest few?

Don’t we all love zoos and aquariums, and animal, bird, and sea-life films? Don’t we all love dogs descended from wolves? We have a natural affinity for nature and all life forms. They are either our Biblical relatives, or our evolutionary ones. It turns out that 84% of Americans favor the Endangered Species Act. Let’s not let a few greedy oligarchs, and the congressmen that they pay for, violate our desires and our environment.

Posted in Congress, Donald Trump, Endangered Species Act | Leave a comment

Trump’s Opposite World on Flynn, the Press, and the Holocaust

Trump’s Opposite World on Flynn, the Press, and the Holocaust

Let’s start with the last. Trump holds a joint news conference with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, and mentions genocide, but skips calling it the Holocaust. This, after weeks of Jewish criticism, for speaking at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and not mentioning the Jews. This is in contrast to when Trump takes the terrorist group ISIS and keeps labeling it by a religion, as “radical Islam”, something President Obama and Secretary Clinton refused to do. Trump could have chosen to be “inclusive” at the memorial by including Jews, Catholics, and gays.

It now appears that the White House has created a National Press, similar to Russia and all other dictatorships. Only two questions are allowed at Trump’s news conferences, and only from certain conservative or conservative religious news sources. He again called other news sources as “fake news”. Both of these violate the First Amendment, and the freedom of the press.

President Trump tweeted and at today’s news conference said that Flynn did nothing wrong, but that the lawbreakers were the leakers. They leaked that Flynn had violated the Logan act when he dealt with Russia as a private citizen, before Trump was inaugurated. I am reminded of an old motto of lawbreakers: “You’re not guilty, unless you’re caught.”  The leaked documents that Trump was talking about would not be there to leak in the first place if Flynn and perhaps others had not had such contacts with Russia in the first place.

The Republican House is backing off on investigating, despite the years they continuously investigated Hillary Clinton over national security, both on Benghazi and her email server. There are a few outstanding Republicans in the Senate who may start an investigation. Why would Republicans back off? To keep up the Republican image, to prevent other heads from rolling, to not anger Trump, and to potentially shield Trump, if he was involved. What will be worse, the violations, or the coverup? After Watergate and Bridgegate, why has nobody labeled this a “gate” yet? Both of those actually had a gate involved, presuming the Watergate apartments were named for a river gate, and the Bridge being a gate to New York. This would have to be called the Russogate.

Posted in Affairs of State, Cybersecurity, Donald Trump, First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, Russia, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

So Many Questions about Flynn’s Phone Calls before the Inauguration.

 

Update:  8 pm, West Coast time:  National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Resigns

Gen. Keith Kellogg appointed Acting National Security Adviser.

Do We Really Want a Nationally Security Advisor Who Makes Surreptitious Calls to Our Biggest Opponent and Can’t Remember What Was Said?

Why did the Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, stay on the call, knowing that it was illegal for Flynn to discuss sanctions, and unauthorized and unmonitored by the US government at the time? Does this suggest Kislyak may have thought this might be a useful blackmail incident? The Ambassador clearly told the whole call to Putin, or played the translation for him. Why didn’t Flynn do the same for Trump, or did he?

Update after evening news:  The Department of Justice and the FBI have been investigating whether Flynn’s call could have made him vulnerable to blackmail.  The Trump administration was told of this the day before they took office.   It’s reassuring to know that the FBI and its Director Comey, are independent of politics, and would never do public shaming on anyone, whether they have been charged with a crime or not.

Or, did president-elect Trump really know what the call was about, in which case, he would have conspired in an illegal call.  In any case, it is more impeachable for Trump than Clinton’s denial of a relationship with a woman.  National Security Advisor did not need confirmation by the Senate.  Trump can fire him in an instant.  Is this Trump’s Bridgegate?  Never being accused because there is no evidence of it.

Does Flynn make calls now with the pre-advice of our State Department and our National Security Council, and are they both monitoring and recording such calls, or are Flynn and Trump still winging it alone? Are they still doing calls alone because Trump doesn’t trust anyone, including our intelligence services?

Update after dinner news:  Apparently Trump is still making calls without clearing or monitoring them with the National Security Council.

Update about Trump, Clinton, and National Security:  After four solid years of the Republican Congress and Fox News questioning the security of Clinton’s private email server, we find pictures of President Trump showing off at dinner at Mar-a-Lago responding to the launching of a mid-range missile by North Korea.  He is in public and talking on a cell phone.  Was it a secret Blackberry?  Was the National Security Council being consulted?   This security breach is irony, or hypocracy, or both.  Congressional investigation? that’s a joke.  Fox News?  We will see.  Did they stay for the frogs legs?

Were translators present on both sides of the call? It is diplomatically dangerous for either side to speak in a language not that of their country, and usually not allowed, just because there might be serious misunderstandings. The translators not only have excellent memories, but probably record their notes later, or as they are translating.

Like when Trump tweeted calling Japanese Prime Minister Abe as Prime Minister Shinzo. That’s like calling our president, President Donald. And when Trump crushed PM Abe’s hand, not knowing that in Japan, bowing is the usual greeting. Trump could not do this, since the right wing strongly criticized President Obama for bowing to Japanese Emperor Akihito in 2009.

Is it good presidenting for President Donald to keep anybody in the administration who goes off making foreign diplomatic calls on his own, without even informing the President?  Much less, the National Security Advisor?  If Trump does not fire him now, knowing what he knows, all the blame for any future breaches will be squarely on Trump’s shoulders.

Posted in Affairs of State, Donald Trump, Politics, Secrecy, Trump Administration, US Intelligence Agencies | Leave a comment

Mobility Rates for California University Students from Bottom to Top Quintiles

Mobility Rates for California University Students From Bottom to Top Quintiles

We have looked at the data file for the Equality of Opportunity upward mobility study, that was discussed two previous articles. Here we present the Mobility rate for children in families with income in the bottom quintile, to their salaries at age 34 in the top income quintile. We cover the University of California campuses along with Stanford and USC. We also present results for the Eastern Elite universities.

The table has the percent of students who make it from the bottom fifth to the top fifth of income.

UC Irvine, 6.8%

UC Riverside, 6.0%

UCLA, 5.6%

UC Berkeley, 4.9%

UC San Diego, 4.8%

UC Davis, 4.4%

University of Southern California, 3.9%

California Institute of Technology, 3.2%

UC Santa Barbara, 3.1%

UC Santa Cruz, 2.8%

Stanford University 2.2%

It’s important to note that many Cal State campuses do an excellent job in mobility. CSU Los Angeles was 5th in the country at 9.9%.

For UC Irvine, the Success Rate for taking children in the bottom fifth to the top fifth is 55.3%.

Here are results for some Eastern Elite Universities.

Columbia University, 3.1%

Cornell University, 2.9%

Yale University, 2.1%

Harvard University, 1.8%

Brown University, 1.5%

Dartmouth University, 1.4%

Princeton University, 1.3%

The City Universities of New York, CUNY, are leaders in the nation for Mobility. Numbers 2 to 4 in the country are:

Bernard M. Baruch College, 12.9%

City College of New York, 11.7%

Lehrman College, 10.2%

Posted in California University Rankings, Education, Equality of Opportunity Project, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Upward Mobility | Leave a comment

The Cost of Imprisonment for Trump’s Voter Fraudsters

The Cost of Imprisonment for Trump’s Voter Fraudsters

There is a voter fraud case in Texas, where the poor lady involved was sentenced to an incredible eight years in prison for two instances of fraudulent voting. In many states, the penalty for voter fraud is at most a year in prison, but this is usually never enforced, since it is not a crime that directly harms anyone. Since Texas is a solidly Republican state, the votes were not likely to matter anyway. Especially since the voter was a Republican. She lived here since she was a child, but was not born here, and so she was not legally entitled to vote.

President Trump is convinced that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast against him, which were cast just to cause him to lose the popular vote. Which, by the way, did not matter in winning the electoral vote and making Trump president. Let’s assume that the punishment for every one of these millions of supposed illegal voters was four years in prison. That means 20 million prison years for the 5,000,ooo illegal voters.

The national average cost of imprisonment is $31,000 a year, back in 2014. The most expensive state is New York, where it is $60,000 per year. In New York City it is $168,000 a year. Texas is only $17,000 a year. In California, it is $71,000 a year. Trump probably thinks that most of the illegal votes were in California and Texas. Trump would think that keeping them in jail for four years would be the only way to make sure that he wins the popular vote in his re-election. We’ll go with $30,000 a year, to make the calculation transparent. So 20 million prison years at $30,000 a year gives a total expense of $600 billion dollars. This is the defense budget for one year. But it does protect us from those dangerous illegal voters for four years.  Let’s consider the per capita cost of this confinement.  With 300 million Americans, the per capita cost of $600 billion dollars is $2,000 per American.  Quite a cost to satisfy Texas politicians or Trump’s ego.

There is also the roundup question. President Obama deported about four million illegal aliens with criminal records, and there are only about one million left with criminal records. If they take a year to deport, arresting and trying the 5 million illegal voters, would take five times the force. Also 2.2 million people were in jail in 2013. We would have to make over twice as much new prison space available for Trump’s illegal voters, which would be very expensive. Trump could probably easily estimate the cost, since he is a master builder. After four years, Trump could convert them to luxury retreats from the hectic life we all lead now. Anyway, the food would be better than frogs legs.

You might look on this as a satire on the seriousness and length of the Texas sentence, or on a President who has delusions of grandeur or such an inferiority complex that he replaces the real world with his imaginary world. Since Trump has continually ignored due process, as in his Muslim ban order, people are concerned that he might actually detain people or defund cities, states, universities, etc., at his whim for imaginary violations. So this is not a satire, it is a reductio ad absurdum for our present predicament.

Posted in Donald Trump, Immigration Ban, Politics, Voter Fraud | Leave a comment

Comparisons of California Universities’ Mobility

We compare the UC campuses and Stanford and USC in their recruitment of lower income students, and the mobility of their graduates at age 34.  This is done using the application on Upshot of the NY Times, based on the data of the study of the Equality-of-Opportunity Organization.

My apologies to UC Santa Cruz.  I tried to add them also to the table, but there either was a limit, or it got hung up.

The first table is the percentage of students enrolled from the bottom 40% of family incomes.  Ignore the rankings, since only UCLA was included as an elite college.  The percentages range from 17% to 29% for UC campuses.  UC Santa Cruz should have been in the table at 17.9%.  Stanford at 9.6%, and USC at 11.6%, were at about half of the UC campuses.

In the second table the first column is the percentage of students whose parents have incomes from the lowest 40%.  It is a little under the same thing in the first table.  The second column is the Success Rate, or the percentage of students from the bottom 40% who made it to the top 40%.  All of the UC campuses in the table showed a similar success rate, from 66% to 72%.   UC Santa Cruz should have been in this table at 16.7%, 59.5%, and 10.0%.  Stanford was just slightly above this range with a Success Rate at 74%.  The third column is the Mobility, or the product of the first two columns, and thus the percent of the student body that went from the lower 40% to the upper 40% income rate.

For the elite colleges, even if they have a Success Rate that is almost 100%, if they have only 8% of low family income students, their Mobility will not exceed 8%.  The UC campuses ranged in Mobility from 10% to 21%.  The Mobility is a rate for contributing upward mobility to society.  Since the UC System has about 200,000 undergraduates, it contributes far more educated upward mobile graduates than the small and very hard to get into eight Eastern Elite universities.

 

 

Posted in Education, Equality of Opportunity Project, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Upward Mobility | Leave a comment