Are Trump’s Tariff Costs Insignificant?

  • Comments on Peter Navarro’s Arguments That the Tariffs are Insignificant

Update:  8/19/19 JP Morgan has come up with estimates close to mine.  They say that the present tariffs will cost the average household $600 per year, close to my $573.  But they say the 10% tariffs on the next $300 billion will result in $400 per year, while I came up with $276 per household.  However, JPM-PC has a market capitalization of $367 billion, so they can do a better job.

I am not an economist, and in this case, it really is a handicap.  Yet I saw Dr. Navarro on two channels in sequence this morning making an argument with numbers, which, of course, drew me in.  He is arguing that the upcoming Trump tariff, now delayed until just before Christmas, is irrelevant cost-wise, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT COSTING US ANYTHING.  This seems to be a serious logical flaw in convincing anyone, except maybe Trump.

So here his calculation goes.  US consumer spending is $14 trillion a year.  The new and yet to be imposed tariff is 10% on the last $300 billion of Chinese imports.  So that comes down to “only” $30 billion a year.  This is 0.214% or 1/5 of 1% of consumer spending, so it is insignificant.  (The GDP of China in 2017 was $12.24 trillion, so why would it be significant to them, either?)  But, Navarro forgot to divide the $30 billion by the US population of 327 million, which comes out to $92 per person.  Since the average household has three people in it, it comes out to $276 per household.  Something like 40% of US adults would have trouble absorbing an extra $400 bill, so this is very significant to them.

As of August 16, the Wall Street Journal says that Trump will impose $111 billion on Sept. 1, and $156 billion will be delayed until Dec. 15.

The US Secretary of the Treasury is Steven Mnuchin.  He is worth $300 million.  Wilbur Ross is the Secretary of Commerce, and worth $600 million.  The highest White House salaries of $178,000 probably also include Navarro, who is Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.  “He is typically considered an heterodox economist”, my Google Home Assistant volunteered.

But Wait!  Trump has hinted that the 10% is only a start.  The first $250 billion of Chinese trade already has a 25% tariff on it.  That is a cost of $62.5 billion that importers must pay, and then perhaps pass on.  That is a cost of $191 per person, or $573 per household.  If Trump eventually ups the tariffs on the new $300 billion to 25%, the cost will be $75 billion a year, which is $229 per person, or $688 per household.  Adding these numbers to those from the present tariffs on $250 billion would give $191+$229 = $420 per person, or $1,260 per household.  Again, 40% of adults could not afford a $400 unexpected expense.  Not insignificant to any of us!

But, Wait, There’s More!  So far, China has imposed counter-tariffs on $60 billion of US goods.  That has decimated the soybean market.  Relying just on memory, the US government has to give $28 billion in extra support to farmers to counter this, which comes out of the tax dollars on all of us, although this is not a yearly amount.

The experts say that the Chinese government might just be waiting Trump out until January 20th, 2021, when he might be replaced by a Democrat who returns to free trade.  My own guess, is that Trump planned to fold well before the election, especially since he is significantly behind everybody in all polls, and declare the result another Great Victory, er, sorry, The Greatest Victory Ever.

Navarro’s previous argument to it not costing us anything is that the Chinese have had to devalue their currency, by now 12%, so that would counter the 10% tariff on the new $300 billion.  Again, I’m not an economist, but somebody is paying for that somewhere.  Since China’s money would buy 12% less of American products, or our prices would look 12% higher, that would also slow American imports to China.  It could be why Chinese investment in US real estate has dropped off dramatically, and perhaps in US companies.  It would also lower the number of Chinese students coming to US universities, which help us fund the Universities with large out-of-state tuitions.

Navarro also argues that China has just shifted its manufacturing to other Southeast Asia countries, like Vietnam.  But, it is also true that China has now shifted its valuable soybean imports to other countries as well, and that shift could be permanent.

Lots of loose ends to evaluate, but Not Insignificant!

Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Affairs of State, Donald Trump, Economies, Free Trade, Trump Administration, University Funding, US Steel Imports | Leave a comment

CARB Web Conferences on Carbon Neutrality

CARB Web Conferences on Carbon Neutrality

Instead of reporting on two packed CARB (California Air Resources Board) short web conferences for California, I will give my impressions and critique.  The first was on Carbon Neutrality:  Scenarios for Deep Decarbonization, and the second on Carbon Neutrality:  The Social Cost of Carbon and Affordability. 

While I have backed web conferences, they have to be done well.  The projection on my small iPad screen was cut down in size by having an unnecessary small view of the speaker in a corner.  The slides are the real message, as you can also hear the words.

Next, the slides were overcrowded, making them illegible.  Sometimes, the font was too small.  Slides are free, just put one graph or a few statements on each slide.  I’m pretty sure that the web projection wasn’t even using the full pixel resolution of the iPad.

The bureaucrats talked about plans.  The Professors, talked about how impossible and costly they were.  The audience had representatives from many agencies and environmental groups presenting their concerns or outlooks.

So, the main plan seemed to be called 80-50, meaning 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.  After that, 100% clean or Zero Emissions, or Net Zero.  Nathan Lewis, the Cal Tech chemist, strongly emphasized that the 80% and 100% were purely politically created, not determined by engineering or science.  He was an author along with UC Irvine’s Steve Davis and others, showing that you can never guarantee more than 80% reliability with pure renewables and grids and batteries.  Then in the Social Cost session, Deepika Nagabhushan presented results that even achieving 60% renewables would require 1.5 X the cost of normal power.  Achieving 80% would require 6 X the cost of normal power.  Reaching 100% would require something like 20 X the cost of normal power.  

While they spoke of electrification for automobiles, they did not discuss hybrid vehicles that cut emissions in half at small costs, or car pooling, or working at home or at local hubs.

Sure, people pointed out how different the present technology is, that had not even been thought of at the start of the 20th century.  Actually, it had been.   The first electric car was built in 1884.  Carl Bend built the first internal combustion car in 1885.  People realized the great power present in nuclear transitions, although fission had not yet been achieved.  Nuclear bombs were even in science fiction.  Wind mills are in the writing of Cervantes.  Flight was considered by Da Vinci.  The Wright Brothers flew in 1903.  The first Sears Catalog was in 1888.  We must really explore all new pathways with research and development, and not just pick only wind and solar to project the future.  One speaker emphasized that hydrogen type fuels could be converted from one form to another at 90% efficiency.

The Social Cost of Carbon used to be about $40/metric ton of CO2 at a 3% discount rate.  Under Trump, it was lowered to about $1/ton of CO2 with a “ridiculous” 7% discount rate and only domestic effects considered.  This is from David Anthoff, UC Berkeley.

Renewables plus batteries will exceed demand in the summer, but fall below demand for about 6 months in the winter.  It would take $3 trillion in batteries, to store this energy to year round, which equals the California GDP.  This is from Deepika Nagabhushan of the Clean Air Task Force.  Also, half of industrial energy is not electricity, as for cement, steel, and high heat applications.  41% of transportation emissions are heavy duty vehicles, shipping, aviation, and rail, which are not electical.

But here is the Zinger.  California makes only ONE PERCENT of World Emissions.  Sure, it was emphasized that California would lead the way to Zero Emissions and be a researcher, an example and a teacher for the rest of the world.  But at what cost?  They did not discuss Carbon Offsets, or biocontainment of agricultural emissions.  That is what the University of California is doing to achieve its own Net-Zero emissions, by a large percentage.  The other 99% of the World has a lot of low hanging fruit that the rich state of California can quash more cost effectively than squeezing our production down to Zero by itself alone.  Isn’t the real goal saving the world, rather than just giving ourselves a feeling of extreme purity?

Rather than just emphasizing California funding its own research, we really need to maintain the US continuing its energy and environmental research and development.

Also not discussed was the necessity of ending wars and conflicts.  They destroy cities, produce refugees, disrupt farming and food distribution, and create health problems that rapidly spread to the rest of the world.  If we could take the money used for military equipment, deployment, and conflict, we would have a lot to make clean energy, and save the world.

We also have to act intelligently to avoid the situations where we have to pay for adaptation and suffering caused by climate change, which is always more pressing than mitigation. 

Posted in Air Quality, Autos, CAFE Standards, California Smog, Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Education, Climate Science, Donald Trump, Electric Power, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Natural Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Trump Administration, White House | Leave a comment

A Century of Warming Over Southern California and New York City

Southern California, the New Jersey Coast, and New York City are the highly populated areas which have experienced the most warming over land in the US.

Worldwide, the earth’s surface has experienced an average temperature increase of 1º C or 1.8º F since preindustrial times.  However, the earth is 70% covered by water, which has heated less.  So land has heated more.

The Washington Post has taken NOAA temperature data starting in 1895 to 2018 and calculated the mean temperature rise of the lower 48 states, and found it to also be 1.0º C.  It has also analyzed the US by county, and made the following map.  The colors run from -1.0º C (light blue) to +3.0º C (dark red), by units of 0.5ºC.  That is from -1.8º F to 5.4º F by units of 0.9º F.

The highest temperature rises in highly populated areas are in Southern California, the New Jersey shore, and New York City and Long Island.  The South has, on the other hand cooled somewhat, leading to the 1º C average.

I don’t know if I can republish their graphs for each county, but in general, they show a fitted straight line with large fluctuations around it, and the final net temperature rise.  The highest temperature rise was 2.6º C or 4.7º F in Ventura County, California.  The other populous Southern California counties with large increases are:  Los Angeles County with 2.3º C or 4.1º F; Santa Barbara County with 2.3º C or 4.1º F; and Orange County with 2.1º C or 3.8º F.

We also have to cover the New York City area:  starting with New York County covering Manhattan with 2.2º C or 4.0º F; and the same for Bronx County covering the Bronx; and Queens County covering Queens.  

Suffolk County New York was 2.3º C or 4.1º F; Nassau County New York was 2.2º C or 4.0º F; and Richmond County New York was 2.1º C or 3.8º F.

A year and a half ago, on Jan. 21, 2018, I presented maps and graphs from NASA GISS, which showed that World warming over land since 1880 was 2.0º C, or 3.8º F.  That also included land warming over the US which was rather flat but fluctuating until about 1980, after which it had a steep rise.  The warming from 1880 was about 1.3º C, or 2.3º F over the US.

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Science, NOAA | Leave a comment

Regarding Trump’s Retweet of a Conspiracy Theory on Epstein’s Death

It’s Another  “Any Other President Would Be Impeached for This Alone” Article.

We’re referring to Trump’s retweet of a conspiratorial site that wants to blame Epstein’s death on the Clintons.

How far have we fallen (yet again) with Trump, that all this gets is another “meh” response.

Trump, the 45,000 tweet Master of Twitter, knows full well that retweeting a wild unfounded conspiratorial accusation is an endorsement of it.  It is not the same as his standard modus operandi of plausible deniability.  Does Trump still refuse to realize that when the President retweets, it means so much more than when an average Twitter user does?  Plus, Trump has 65 million followers, an order of magnitude larger than any news program.  No other President would interfere with a Department of Justice investigation, with a prejudgment, especially trying to slander his previous election opponent.  This is one of the prime definers of dictators.  Did anyone hear any Republican Congressmen condemning this?

Then, to try to justify his mean retweet, he sends Kellyanne Conway onto Fox, to say that we have to look at all possibilities.  She would be fired immediately by any other President for trampling the 5th Amendment, Due Process.  How many times have Trump and his lawyers and followers said, that you are innocent until proven guilty.  

Update:  Rudy Giuliani, the President’s Lawyer, also was punctually unctuous in backing the conspiracy against the Clintons.  Then, he realized that he was not shielded by a justice department ruling from being sued for character assassination.  He turned around and warned us all from turning to conspiratorial theories.

People who initiate such insulting inferences can get sued for defamation of character.  Retweeting such insinuations can be more like just passing on news, and not character assassination itself.  We know of one person who would be the first to sue.

In terms of whether there should be any plausibility to Trump and Attorney General Barr’s investigation into the origin of the Mueller investigation, this should destroy any such confidence.

Can we fall any further?  This is just Day 2 of Trump’s vacation.

This is the doctrine of Deflectus Maximus (don’t look it up, I just invented it. It is similar to Divertus Maximus).  An article had appeared before of Trump and Epstein having thrown a party with lots of beautiful girls invited.

Then there was the case of Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor.  When the new Epstein prosecution came up, it was pointed out that Acosta was the Florida prosecutor who let him off with a patsy sentence, and failed to notify the victims of the plea bargain.  Eventually, Trump was forced to let him go. 

So, back to Kellyanne Conway.  Shouldn’t someone involved with Epstein as in the above two paragraphs also be investigated, by your logic?

Yes, Bill Clinton had accepted rides on Epstein’s jet, but with the full secret service and staff accompanying.  Presumably this was for non-state business, when he couldn’t use Air Force One. 

For Attorney General Barr, Epstein was in Federal custody, and had been on suicide watch, and was on a more relaxed type of suicide watch, with a non-existent cell mate, and periodic monitoring.  Epstein had been the most publicized case for weeks, and it must be embarrassing for the Attorney General to lose him like this.  It looks like he had been spending too much time on Trump’s Clinton conspiratorial case, and not enough on Epstein.  Deflectus Maximus applies here also, as well as Barr’s clearing Trump, should that ever be necessary,

Has Trump replaced the daily security briefing with the news ratings of his challengers?  His newest tweets insult his opponents with their low ratings.  I remember when Reagan was accused of not knowing if he was for real, or just acting in a movie.  Does Trump still think he is directing The Apprentice?

While Trump and his minions are criticizing VP Biden for his occasional goofs, we should ask how Trump’s trip to Toledo, Ohio, was to soothe the victims of the mass shooting there.  Trump was the oldest President to have taken office.  The difference is, that Biden knows and obeys the Constitution.

Posted in Clinton, Criminal Justice System, Donald Trump, Equal Treatment Under the Law, Fifth Amendment, Trump Administration, Twitter | Leave a comment

The Trump Vacation Lottery

The Trump Vacation Lottery

With Trump spending two weeks on his golfing/twitter vacation, we can imagine some secret and anonymous bookies taking bets on various categories of Trump’s anomalous presidential behavior.

  1. How many tweets will Donald Trump chirp over the vacation?
  2. How many days of inclement weather will Trump be removed from his golf course and be devoted to tweeting?
  3. How many clever countertweets to Trump will be posted on his twitter site?
  4. How many contrary hashtags will be generated?  How many will view and and retweet them?
  5. How many amusing mimes will be generated?  How many will view and retweet them?
  6. How many times will Trump use the words “fake news”, “witch-hunt”, and “lamestream media.
  7. How many members of the House, elected by districts of 700,000 constituents, will he insult?
  8. How many Senators, elected by up to 40 million constituents, and up to the fifth largest economy in the world (California) will Trump insult?
  9. What percentage of the above legislators will be women?
  10. What percentage will be minorities?
  11. How many more government experts will be forced to retire?
  12. How many new appointments will just be qualified as only Trump loyalists.
  13. How many attacks will be raised against News persons?
  14. How many phone calls to Tucker Carlson will Trump have to make to get topics and orders, since Tucker is on vacation from Fox News?
  15. Trump was used to dominating air-time in the 2016 election. How will that compare to the total of the Democratic 20 League of Justice? 
  16. How many climate change enhanced climate or weather events will occur in the US during this period?
  17. How many climate change enhanced events will occur in the world?
  18. How many Trump tweets will affect the stock market?
  19. How many Trump tweets will affect American businesses?
  20. How many Trump tweets will violate the due process of law?
  21. How many lies will be added to Trump’s total?
  22. How many Tweets on @realDonaldTrump will be obviously written by a wiser White House official?
  23. How many puzzling tweets or retweets will have to be interpreted and explained or excused by the White House?  Apparently, there is already one on a conspiracy theory on Epstein’s suicide, blaming the Clintons.  Why?  Because Epstein was being held in Federal custody, and AG Barr and Trump bore ultimate responsibility.
  24. Finally, how many times will Trump kick golf balls out of the rough?  Unfortunately, that has always been Top Secret, and will remain so, forever.
  25. This was started as a humor article, but there is little humor left in Trump’s tweets and actions.
Posted in Donald Trump | Leave a comment

Gun Laws, Research, Politics, and Public Opinion

Gun Laws, Research, Politics, and Public Opinion

First of all, lets clear up a few things. Just because a particular law would not have prevented a particular murder or mass shooting, that should not be used to negate their effects across all of the vast number of homicides and suicides.  Also, the false dodge over whether people or guns kill people, isn’t even correct.  Bullets kill and injure people, and limiting them to smaller caliber and magazine sizes, as well as lower muzzle velocity,  saves lives.  Injuries are many times the number of deaths, and can be severe, debilitating, and life-long.  So it takes both people, guns, and bullets to kill and injure.

The New York Times has been running a sequence of articles on guns, deaths, and injuries, with multiple links.  We will cite bits of this data.  In 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment that eliminated most federal funding for gun safety research.  That was during Bill Clinton’s first term, but the Congress gets to set the budget.  That included the CDC and the NIH.  The House has passed a bill to provide $50 million to fund such research, split between the two agencies.  Compared to other sources of death with about the same numbers, gun deaths only get 1.6% of the research that would be expected.

The NY Times stated that over 600,000 people have been shot by guns in the 23 years since the amendment was passed.  That sounds more like the number who have died from guns, and those injured must be several times that.  About 60% of deaths from guns are from suicides.

Then, there is politics.  Thirty three of the 50 states have Republican legislatures and governorships.  They are usually highly gerrymandered, with 2/3 of the legislatures and Representatives Republican, even though statewide Governorships and Presidential races are somewhat close.  So far, I have only heard of two Republican state legislators, and Senator Lindsay Graham, interested in passing a universal background check, even though it is backed by 94% of the public.  A Quinnipiac poll in March, showed 93% of all Americans, 89% of Republicans, and 87% of gun owners backed the Universal Background Checks.   But Senator Graham will not pass a National Bill, just financial aid to States which want to pass their own such law.  Seventeen states have done so.  Yet, the public is fickle, and in the 2016 general election, public support was only like 37%.  Republicans (rural) own a lot more guns than Democrats (urban) do.  While the Governor of Texas and President Trump say they will look into mental health, the NRA dodge, the Texas governor signed six NRA backed bills, and has an A+ rating.  Donald Trump canceled mental health data in background checks in his first month in office. 

A new poll by Morning Consult/Politico from August 5-7 asked the question:  “Do you support or oppose an assault weapon ban?”  The “Support” answer was 70% of all registered voters, 85% of Democrats, and 54% of Republicans.  The “Oppose” answer was 24% of all, 11% of Democrats, and 38% of Republicans. 

While Trump sounds like he will do something about guns, and that Mitch McConnell and maybe the NRA will go along, forgetting about Republican Senators, it may all be a ruse, to delay, and put the blame on them when nothing gets passed.  Trump is always looking for a deal, and has said that he may declare the antifa as terrorist organizations.  With a Republican 53 to 47 Senate, Trump would need 3 Republican Senators to back him if all Democrats do, and then Pence to break the tie vote.  But if someone filibusters, it takes 60 votes to end it, requiring 13 agreeable Republicans to go with Trump.  That is 25% of Republican Senators.  Even when healthcare was the issue, it was hard to find 3 Republicans to go with the liberal view.

The gun death rate in 2013 was about 10 per hundred thousand.  Of those, about 6 per hundred thousand were from suicide, and 4 per hundred thousand were homicides.

On the news, I heard that there are about 400 million guns in America.  The number of assault type weapons was estimated at about 10 million.

The three mass murders in the last week have brought gun control into the current election, not just for preventing such attacks, but on the larger massive gun deaths, compared to other countries.

 

Posted in Congress, Donald Trump, Gun Control, Guns | Leave a comment

On average, the States with more guns have more homicides.

On average, the States with more guns have more homicides.

We present conclusions from “Firearm Ownership and Domestic Versus Nondomestic Homicide in the U.S.”, in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine from July 22, 2019, by Aaron J. Kivisto, et al. At https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2019.04.009  They grouped states by quartiles of gun ownership.  This study is on homicides, but does not include the larger number of suicides.

First of all, they found that non-domestic firearm homicides are independent of state-level firearm ownership rates.  In contrast, when they looked at the rates of domestic firearm homicides, they found that states in the highest quartile of gun ownership had 64.6% more homicides than states in the bottom quartile of gun ownership.

They used state data from 1990 to 2016, over 27 years.  How this worked out for particular states shows their individuality in the map below.  In this case the Quartile 1 with a single circle is the quartile with the lowest gun ownership.  Four circles is the quartile with the most gun ownership.

We see that the highest Domestic Gun Homicide Rates are in the Southern States, which also are in the third and fourth quartiles of gun ownership.  Florida is the exception to the Southern States, with only first quartile gun ownership.  These are Republican states with high gun ownership.

There are some states with high gun ownership, but with low homicide rates, such as Vermont, and North Dakota.  On the other hand, Texas has a high homicide rate with below average gun ownership.

The total data had many surprises.  Total US homicides over the 27 years was 469,000, or close to a half million people.  Of these, about 2/3 were from guns, or 316,000, and a third were non-firearm, or 153,000.  

Non-domestic homicides are 354,00, or 75%.  Of those, 98,000 or 28% are non-firearm, and 256,000, or 72% were from firearms.

Domestic homicides, meaning intimate partner, or other family, totaled 115,000 or 25% of total homicides.

Intimate partner homicides were 63,300, broken down into firearm 35,500 or 56%, and non-firearm 27,800, or 44%.  Intimate partner homicides were  55% of domestic homicides.

Other family homicides were 51,800, or 45% of domestic homicides.  Of these, 24,100 or 47% were with firearms, and 27,700 or 53% were non-firearms.

Friend/acquaintance homicides totaled 235,000, which is 66% of non-domestic homicides.  Of these, 166,000 or 71% are from firearms, and 69,100 or 29%, are non-firearm.

Stranger homicides total 119,000, or 34% of non-domestic homicides.  Of these, 90,800 or 76% are from firearms, and 28,600 or 24% are non-firearms.

The total homicide perpetrators were:  13.6% intimate partners, 11.2% other family, 25.5% strangers, and 49.8% friend/acquaintance.

The firearm homicide perpetrators were:  11.3% intimate partners, 7.7% other family, 28.8% strangers, and 52.2% friend/acquaintance.

The national mean of gun ownership is 35.1%.   The mean gun ownership by Quartile is:  1, 23%; 2, 37%; 3, 43%; and 4, 55%, or 2.4 times that of Quartile 1.

California’s gun ownership rate is 25,1%.  Ohio’s rate is 33.2%, and Texas’s rate is 39.6%.

California’s breakdown of homicide perpetrators is 10.0% intimate partners, 8.8% other family, 35.6% stranger, and 45.7% friend/acquaintance.  The breakdown of firearm homicide perpetrators is 7.8% intimate partners, 5.3% other family, 39.1% stranger, and 47.7% friend/acquaintance.

 

 

Posted in Gun Control, Guns | Leave a comment

My Articles on Sea Level Rise

My Articles on Sea Level Rise.

My article on sea level rise in Laguna Beach was cited in a very thorough article on sea level rise in Orange County in the OC Weekly, by Anthony Pignataro, on August 1, 2019.  Here is a direct link to my cited article. 

I have to emphasize that I am just a reporter of climate change topics, not a climate researcher or expert on sea level rise or sand movement.  The OC Weekly article correctly interviews UC Irvine civil and environmental engineer Professor Brett Sanders for expertise.

I have used well authorized sites on the internet to make maps of sea level rise, which I have posted on my Flickr photo account.  Here are the links to those articles with their introductory paragraphs.  In reviewing the list, there are necessary reports on the greatest threat, which is Trump’s climate science denial, and his saturation of government political appointees with climate science opponents.  There is also Trump’s endorsement of risky and real estate devaluing offshore oil drilling. 

  

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Education, Climate Science, Coastal Flooding, Coastal States, Donald Trump, Laguna Beach Flood Levels, No More Drilling, Offshore Oil Drilling, Sea Level Rise, Summary of Climate Topics for Southern California, US Flood Maps, World Flood Maps | Leave a comment

Trump and Republican Absence from Fixing Cities and Gun Violence


Trump and Republican Absence from Fixing Cities and Gun Violence

Update:  Trump read a TelePrompTer speech condemning the killings, but not touching on any gun or ammunition control issues.  The Dayton shooter is now known to have used the highest capacity magazine for an assault rifle, 100 rounds in two circular magazines.

Update:  Sunday 8/4.  Last night there was another mass shooting, this time in the crowded entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday night.  It has claimed 9 lives, with 27 wounded.  It again involved an AK47 type semi-automatic rifle, with high capacity magazines.  With the Gilroy shooting killing 3, it is the third mass shooting this week.

While Trump is tweeting and insulting Democratic Mayors and Representatives about the shape of their cities and their gun crimes, he is setting himself up for criticism of not doing things to improve them.  That’s what I intended to write about today.  But other authors are also writing about this.  

And now, with the enormous tragedy of the Walmart Shooting in El Paso, now with 22 fatalities, involving a semi-automatic weapon, Trump’s failure at gun control and homicide prevention has come to the fore.  We should also include his weak efforts at stopping opioid overdosing, which occurs at double the rate of murders and suicides.  As I recall, after the Stoneman Douglas Parkland Florida high school shooting, Trump promised to look into banning assault weapons.  This only lasted one day, until he talked to the NRA.  Thoughts and Prayers, is all we got.  To his credit, Trump did ban bump stocks, after the Las Vegas record mass shooting.  Trump has lovingly embraced the NRA, even though gun owners favor universal background checks, since many of them buy guns for their own protection.

The NRA is at its weakest now.  It has little money to give to campaigns, and it is racked by corruption and factions.  It is so transparent that it is beholden to the gun industry, and not gun owners.  Yet it seems to still hold Republicans in its grasp.

Three days into the New Democratic House session of 2019, they filed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Law of 2019, which required universal background checks in gun sales between private citizens.  This passed the House on March 27, and went to the Senate.  There is also a House passed bill to extend background checks from three days to 10 days, when needed, as well as an additional 10 days if needed.  There is also Senate Bill S. 66, which is the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, introduced by California’s Senator Diane Feinstein.  It was given a 4% chance of passage.

The Governor of Texas said that we should look into mental health, the standard Republican response.  It’s not just shooters, but 22,000 people a year commit suicide with guns.  That is almost 2/3 of gun deaths.  The first thing Gov. Greg Abbott will find is that Trump canceled the restriction on gun sales to people with mental health records, after only a month in office, with the approval of his Republican Congress.

The mental health aspect is now at the forefront, as the Dayton shooter had been spotted as a minor, when he was twice suspended from High School for putting a hit list on a bathroom, and also a list of students that he would like to rape.  Past Ohio Governor John Kasich said in an interview that he proposed a Red Flag state law to prohibit possession of firearms to such threats, but could not get it passed.

Any efforts at improving housing for the poor had been doused by Trump’s appointment of untrained and inexperienced Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric surgeon, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  Trump’s 2020 budget calls for a 16.4% reduction in HUD funding, and a 22% cut in the Department of Transportation funding.  Trump’s prejudice that we are pouring billions into cities is not accurate.  Cities spur business and contribute more in taxes than they get back in government funding, as does California.  Trump’s appointment of a large monetary backer Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, tilted government emphasis away from helping public education in cities, and towards public funding of private and religious schools, attended by the elite.

Clearly, Trump will not win over many cities, which have minorities, and large Democratic votes.  Just like he abandoned policies to help California or New York and other Democratic states, he is also abandoning Democratic cities.  He is also turning his supporters against these cities, rather than doing anything to help them.

Here is data from Wikipedia about the 50 largest US cities, having a joint population of 50 million.  33 of the mayors are Democratic (66%), 14 Republican (28%), and 3 independents, but elected with Democratic help.  The largest six cities, which are all Democratic, are:   New York City (8.6 million), Los Angeles (4.0), Chicago (2.7), Houston (2.3), Phoenix (1.6), and Philadelphia (1.6).  Then we get to Independent San Antonio (1.5), and the first Republican, San Diego (1.4).  While the city of Baltimore has a population of 0.61 million, the Baltimore metropolitan area has a population of 6.7 million.  The Baltimore mayor was Democrat Catherine Pugh, who resigned in May.

Trump has not invested in urban infrastructure, or any infrastructure, except for The Wall, which hardly qualifies.  Such infrastructure would be putting money into Democratic cities.  The largest cities above are quite old, and need such investment.  There are also many cities now without clean water.

As details of the El Paso shooter emerge, it looks like he followed Trump’s dog whistles characterizing Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists, and Trump’s embrace of White Nationalism.  It took four years, since the first day of Trump’s campaign, but there it is.  Trump has also degraded all refugees and seekers of asylum, as well as Muslims.  Trump has also brushed off the Nationalist movement as not a serious threat.

Instead of appointing Attorney Generals to solve city crimes, gun control, and growing Nationalist threats, Trump only chooses them on the basis if they have his back and protect him alone.   The first AG, Jeff Sessions, cancelled programs to adapt police forces to deal fairly with minorities.  Instead of any ideas to increase our safety by limiting gun availability or large magazines to dangerous people, AG Barr just said he would punish the one surviving terrorist to the fullest extent of the law.  It’s odd, that in the case of Donald Trump, Barr was hired to do just the opposite.

I hate to give this warning.  Arming dedicated terrorists with semi-automatic rifles and large magazines costs about $2,000.  They also add on body armor.  So the spate of armed killings is often followed by less well off terrorists just driving their cars into crowds.

During the present and future of the Trump elitism golf tour (now 200 days at our expense), cities and the poor have been sorely neglected.

Posted in 2020 Primaries, Donald Trump, Gun Control, Guns, Immigration Ban, Immigration Policy, NRA, Politics, Trump Administration, Trump Budget | Leave a comment

Hints That Trump Might Run a Fixed Election

Hints That Trump Might Run a Fixed Election

Update:  Friday, August 2, 11 AM.  Trump has now tweeted that he has withdrawn Rep. Ratcliffe’s nomination to be Director of National Intelligence.  Trump explained that he wanted to save Ratcliffe the strain of difficult hearings on it.

  1. Trump just replaced Dan Coats, the experienced Director of National Intelligence for our 17 intelligence agencies, who resigned.  For his successor, Trump immediately nominated a Texas Republican Congressman, John Ratcliffe, whose experience was being on the House Intelligence Committee, but only for this half of a year.  
  2. Ratcliffe’s main qualification may be that just a few days ago, he defended Trump at the Mueller hearing, and accused the Democrats of giving Trump a hard time.  This whole appointment sounds like the choice of our most important intelligence director was arranged in just a few days.  Ratcliffe had been pushing the anti-Obama and anti-Clinton conspiracy theories.  He is also rated as the second most conservative representative.
  3. Coats and Trump were particularly at odds over Coat’s assessment of the dangers of Russia’s interference in the next election.
  4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not bring up a bill passed by the House to provide $700 million more in funds for the necessity of replacing election computers with those that leave a printed record.  He said that the present $380 million allocation was enough.  
  5. Many of these old or new computers are running Windows 7 voting software, whose support will end this year.  They could be easy to hack.  Why hadn’t the software been upgraded earlier?  Oh yes, States Rights for voting.
  6. It is now revealed that all 50 states had voting computers that were attacked by the Russians.
  7. Mueller said that the Russians are already engaged in operations.
  8. Trump has never admitted or accepted that the Russians committed the hacks to the DNC, DCCC, and Jon Podesta, which were put on Wikileaks.
  9. Trump and Putin together joked when a reporter asked them about the hacks.  Trump asked Putin whether he had hacked the computers, and they laughed about it.
  10. Trump has never explicitly taken any action to stop future hacking or problems.
  11. Trump said we should prevent a Special Counsel investigation from happening in a future election.  I wonder why?
  12. Trump has said he would like to be a President for life, like Xi Jin PIng.
  13. Trump has said he deserves a six year term (like Putin?)
  14. Trump has said he deserves more than two four year terms (like FDR?)
  15. Trump’s associates had 126 contacts with Russians before the election.
  16. Trump tried to obstruct the Mueller investigation in 10 different ways.
  17. Trump said that if foreign sources turned up true evidence against an opponent, why wouldn’t he use it.
  18. What happened to the bill which would require someone to immediately turn over any information received from a foreign contact to the FBI?
  19. Trump said why would anybody contact the FBI?  He said he had never done so.
  20. McConnell has blocked nine bills to protect the election from foreign interference.
  21. Attorney General William Barr is investigating the origins of the Trump Campaign investigation, rather than present and future Russian interference.
  22. Trump was going to send his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to get dirt on Biden’s brother.  Again, considering foreign interference.
  23. Trump has said the next election is fixed.
  24. In 2016 recounts of very close states, Trump’s lawyers forbid the examination of the software of the voting machines.
  25. Trump claims that massive numbers of illegal votes were counted — 3 to 5 million in 2016, with no evidence having turned up.
  26. During the 2018 midterms, Trump said that the California vote was fixed, because California counted mail-in ballots, as long as they were post-marked by Election Day.  It also counted provisional ballots after Election Day, and military ballots.  They were not “fixed”, but they did overturn some Republican districts.
  27. Trump tried to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census for future reapportionment.  He will now get that information from all other federal agencies.  This will be in invaluable geographic form, for maximum manipulation in gerrymandering.
  28. Trump has said that he would never let a Socialist become President, not in his America.
  29. Ratcliffe’s staff had to remove his misleading claims that he had prosecuted terrorists.  We really need total honesty in an intelligence director.
  30. Ratcliffe also exaggerated that he had arrested 300 undocumented aliens in one day.
  31. His involvement in the Intelligence Committee is now described in the press as “disengaged”.
  32. The job description for the Director of Intelligence calls for “extensive national security expertise”.  I wonder how his hearings are going to go.
  33. Trump’s quote Tuesday about Ratcliffe:  “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in, because as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok, They run amok.”
  34. To Trump’s credit he sent out small tweet calling for Congress to pass a bill to get printed backup for the ten states which do not fully have it.  These states are mostly Republican, however.
  35. In the same tweet, Trump called for Voter ID legislation, which discriminates against poor and minorities who do not have drivers licenses because they do not drive.
  36. Trump made the Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon resign, so that she would not become the acting director when Dan Coats leaves.  She had 30 years experience.
  37. She is being replaced with a former Admiral, Joseph Maguire, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as Acting Director of National Intelligence.  The NCTC has 1,000 members from 20 federal agencies.  He has been director of the NCTC for just over a year.
  38. I recall now that referring to a possible fixed election, Trump reminded us that he was backed by the military, the police, and motorcycle groups.
  39. 8/15:  Trump tweeted that Israel should ban the travel to Israel of two women House Representatives, who are Muslim, and Netanyahu did so.  Besides this being unconstitutional for Trump to interfere with House investigations, it was getting a foreign power to interfere in the reelection chances of Representatives Ilhan Omar (D.-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D. Mich.).  They are members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  Israel is a Democracy, and there are 13 Arabs out of 121 Parliament members.  There is also an Arab Israeli Supreme Court Justice.
  40. 8/19:  Trump claims that the Fox News polls, which show him below 40%, are fixed.  That is a necessary step to show that a losing vote count can’t be justified by the polls, which also show him losing.
  41. Trump says the economic predictions of a recession before or in 2021 by 74% of economists, is also wrong.  This is crucial, since he has to sell the economy to get re-elected.
  42. Trump’s admonition that Jews have to vote for him or be disloyal to Israel violates the separation of church and state in the first amendment.  It also brings in a foreign power to influence the election.
  43. Stay tuned.
Posted in 2020 Election, Donald Trump | Leave a comment