GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannYour week’s assortment:

The War On Trump: A dyspeptic take from a reality-struck observer. (Article)

India: Update (Article) Will the attempt to replace cash with electrons disintegrate the economy?

A mysterious reappearance: A ship that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle 100 years ago has reappeared, in Cuba. (Report)

Libya: Is this airbase attack with 141 killed the start of civil war between the two governments struggling to rebuild the country? (Article)

Overpriced fuel is feeding Pentagon corruption? (Report)

Syria: Russian and U.S. troops are now nose to nose; will someone blink? (Report) (Or are these rehearsals for a war neither can afford?)

The Democratic National Committee leaker’s mystery death grows murkier as the media tiptoes around it. (Article) (None so blind as they who will not see …)

The culture: Mom left her car running in the parking lot late at night with her six year old sleeping in back; 3 teens stole the car, shooting the boy to death. (Report)

The Last Circus: “The Greatest Show On Earth,” Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s historic and quintessential American circus gave its final performance after 146 years of entertaining the rubes. (Report)

 Science: Researchers are beginning to identify specific genes that relate to human intelligence. (Report)

More Science: Wi Fi can be used to photograph people through walls? (Report)

The cats are roiling a California neighborhood by entering a private garden where two nuns trap, remove and relocate them for trespassing. (Report) (Holy catnappers!)

Trade: Boeing wants government to prevent price competition from Canada’s Bombardier.(Report) (Keeping air travel  prices in the sky)

The culture: Three Mississippi people were arrested for sex in public. (Three …)

Trump’s Middle East Speech was acclaimed for its forthright assignment of responsibility for Islamic terrorism directly to Muslim nations and for the power of his performance. (Report) (But the U.S. media didn’t seem to notice)

California health care: To become universal will cost twice the present entire state budget? (Article)

The culture: Fiat Chrysler joined Volkswagen as a target of U.S. government charges of fraudulent pollution control. (Report) GM is accused, too. (Report)

New York’s free college tuition is expected to threaten small, private colleges. (Report) (Threatens state taxpayers, too?)

Internet censorship will be forced onto social media firs by the European Union? (Report)

ISIS is morphing into internet marketing? (Article) (Recruiting nutcases to act on their own is cheaper and easier and safer and more efficient and, and….)

The culture: A man in clown makeup killed another man with a bladed glove. (Report) (Our grandparents used to lock them up)

Clarifying our changing politics (and economic reality) (Article) (Worth five star rating)

The culture: How change is proceeding (Article)

The corruption: Bail outs are now an industry? (Article)

Farmers need government permission to plow their fields? (Report)

The Left’s latest solution to reality: “Basic Income” is replacement of economics with magic. (Article)

A Trump wanna-be on the left? Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg is pushing “universal basic income” plus a new social contract. (And his politics are ahead of his economics …)

The culture: Its Confederate flags taken down, a Civil War museum will close? (Report) (Political correctness erases history)

A homing pigeon was caught smuggling 170 ecstasy pills. (Report) (A squab-ble in the war on drugs)

Deporting illegals: Obama actually outdeported Trump? (Article)

Science: Dad’s brains respond differently to daughters than to sons? (Report) (We’ve suspected that)

Chicago: 7 dead,  31 wounded in weekend shootings.

A naked Florida man was arrested while running near an elementary school. (Report)

And so it went.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannOur current collection:

An airport that provides stress therapy for passengers? (Report) (Might do better by pushing airlines to improve service.)

The media: Busted, again. (Report)

The culture: A Louisiana high school quarterback was killed in a shooting at a graduation party.

The Big Hack: Microsoft said that stolen U.S. government computer code fueled the world wide cyberattack. (Report) (Who lives by the sword …)

The culture: A man carrying a human head stabbed a grocery store worker. (Report)

The economy: Gasoline prices will rise regardless of oil production as governments raise fuel taxes. (Article) (Free government help …)

Venezuela/Columbia: Updae (Long Article)

Italy: A supervolcano near Naples may be ready to erupt again after 500 quiet years? (Report)

The world today: Mysteriously murdered Democrat National Committee staffer Seth Rich was the source of the emails leaked to Wikileaks? (Report) Hmmm … Could there be a connection?)

The Economy: End the Federal Reserve to salvage the economy? (Article) (Been done twice already, but it always creeps back)

The Drug War: Opinion of a 14 year veteran undercover cop. (Article) (He says it’s a waste; doesn’t work.)

Household debt: A new record high? (Report)

The New Politics: The assault on the Trump Presidency is the greatest U.S. security threat? (Article) (Well, you can’t have constitutional democratic government when election losers won’t cede power to the winners, right?)

Trump continues Obama’s Iran nuclear deal at least for now, but with warnings. (Report)

Syria: U.S. coalition airstrike on Syrian government forces? (Article) (An escalation, in Putin’s eye)

The ‘Developed World’ doesn’t look so good in reality’s economic mirror (Article) (We still can’t spend ourselves rich on borrowed money)

German grocers are starting a food discount price war in the U.S? (Article)

Comey lied to Congress? The FBI ex-boss told Congress that no one asked him to stop his Russian investigation; now he says that the President did that. (Report)

Brazil: A court case is illuminating endemic corruption as the order of today? (Article)

The Trumpfolk reversed their campaign pledge to break up the big banks again. (Report)

No Congressional budget has been passed since 2008? (Report) (Passing a budget tells too much to too many)

The U.K. Prime Minister pushes for government internet control? (Report) (So did the Obamafolk)

A public repudiation of Islamic terrorism from Egypt’s president al Sisi is a novel, brave and unique step: He asked leading Islamic scholars to in essence, dump the terrorists. (Report) (If he’s sincere)

Anti-Trump riots are planned for July 2nd? (Report) (The rioters are being hired and the buses reserved… or so we suppose.)

Oregon’s legislature is considering a bill to authorize depriving patients of food and water? (Report)

Chicago: 6 killed, 15 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

A naked Russian artist in a clear fiberglass box was arrested after crashing the red carpet at a New York Metropolitan Museum gala. (Report) (Ah, modern ART)

And thus spake Zarathustra …

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POPE FRANCIS AND PRESIDENT TRUMP: TWIN REVOLUTIONARIES?

Francis Amoris LaettiaTwins, certainly. Both represent frightened and fed up electors rejecting their own respective establishments. Both Roman Catholic Cardinals and American voters have pinned their hopes upon unlikely figures snatched from the sidelines in what amount to leaps of faith. A Jesuit Pope has remained an oxymoron until now and a presidential candidate not anointed by the two party hierarchy nearly so. The desperation driving these selections also shares a common cause and in another similarity, neither savior seems likely to deliver their supporters’ hopes.

Francis, “The Man Who Had To Be Elected Pope” is caught between an increasingly post-Christian Western population and incipient mutiny from his more conservative clergy. The chasm between his supportive social justice warriors and the opposing heirs of ancient, unalterable doctrine seems unbridgeable as Trump’s no man’s land between his political base and his establishment opponents. Both men are pinned in the gap between women claiming rights to free sex, divorce and abortion and those who deny them. The Pope’s task is simply defined: all that he need accomplish is reconciliation of ancient doctrine with current scientific advances amidst present political realities. The President must reconcile a less ancient, essentially Judeo-Christian Constitution with today’s post-Christian, entitlement mentality amid increasing corruption and economic decline using a fraught political process. Any beta?

Both Pope and President have entered a political battlefield with recently advanced weapons: instant, massive, targeted and personalized communications plus a highly partisan mass media that functions increasingly as a propaganda machine. Francis has updated Vatican communications and built upon Pope John XXIII’s road campaigns as Trump has fully embraced his predecessor’s governance by campaigning, plus tweets. Whether these newly efficient connections between leaders and followers will produce the social changes our Pope and President pursue will have to be seen; they do seem likely to obsolete some middle management..

Trump OppositionBoth of these leaders are men of their time, populists and progressives who look to the collective as their primary tool and to the individual more as material to be shaped and guided. Both also seem to see that shaping and guiding properly shared between Church and State. Francis published his exhortation: “Aoris Laetitia” in support of  his public remarks on marriage, family, homosexuality and other concerns only to arouse immediate, hostile reactions from conservative Cardinals and scholars. His seeds of greater charity regulating human sex and reproduction seem to have landed upon somewhat stony ground.

President Trump has proposed a $54 billion hike in military spending, a trillion dollar infrastructure program including his border wall, a large tax cut and reduction of the national debt. If our Pope and President appear to be speaking from both sides of their mouths, that is no accident; both must somehow balance between incredibly divided followers. An elected Pope is no less a politician than an elected president; when they are forced to address unreconciled constituents in public, politicians resort to double speak. Popes do have one advantage: They can do it in Latin.

In President Trump’s U.S. the average family’s share of the Federal debt is some $166,000; that family’s share of all American debt is about $866,000. And that half of U.S. households have less than one month’s income available for emergencies. How will all that debt be repaid? The E.U. and other places have debt issues too. Western Christianity and finances are mutually unsustainable. Recoveries from such severe conditions have historically involved great pain, drawn out long enough to permit the necessary alterations of attitudes, followed by reorganization under revised rules. Elderly Popes and term-limited presidents in power when such societal dam breaks occur are more often blamed for the pain than able to preside over any eventual recovery. Our Pope and the President have to know that. So what may they hope to accomplish?

High-ranking churchmen defending traditional Catholicism have advertised made the Pope’s dilemma enough; he can jettison either a couple of millennia of church doctrine or increasing numbers of the modern faithful instead. Francis hardly wishes open schism. He has referred to his advanced age and his short time on stage. About all he can safely attempt is to point the way with enough obfuscation that his conservatives cannot find an excuse for public schism. He can try to open a door through which his successors may lead the faithful when – and if – that moment comes. However revolutionary this Pope’s ideas, he can’t afford to open the revolution. Still, if it is delayed too long, his revolution may not save his church. Vive Francois!

President Trump heads a government that de facto abandoned its founders’ Constitution some time ago while pretending de jure for political reasons to respect it. While Trump maximizes his personal influence via the new communications tools, his political opponents use those too with mass media reinforcement. The President is massively vilified, his actions regularly protested and taken to court, his minions urged toward disobedience and his allies prompted toward boycotts against him. Trump’s opponents are trying to deprive his administration of the ability to govern.

After the Trump Administration’s Constitutional emplacement by America’s voters, this attempted mutiny by Trump’s opponents is not only an attack upon the President but one upon the Constitution and upon the principle of democratic government. Trump’s opponents accuse him of absolutist tendencies but it is they who are displaying them at the moment.

In search of a conclusion, any return toward small, limited, originalist Constitutional government seems unlikely under Trump and still less likely under his opponents. Trump, like Francis, captains a mutinous ship of state. He too will be limited in his accomplishment, the more so if the inevitable financial crunch materializes on his watch, as it did for another GOP president, Herbert Hoover.

So no, Pope Francis and President Trump are no revolutionaries; they are both but modern political populists, moderately progressive iconoclasts who are stuck leading organizations evolving out of social, political and economic patterns no longer accepted by enough people. Both have been scooped up by threatened voters like old style mail sacks scooped up by a passing train. Both see the dangers on the track ahead and neither can be sure of their train’s ultimate destination. Some of us wish that these men were less certain of the efficacy of government in the accomplishment of their goals, given the troubled history of that approach. Both seem men of good will and at least the Pope is a pro at prayer.

Hang on for these rides; in another railroad analogy, our Pope and President may find that while they can start and stop well enough, steering is limited.

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannAnother week’s worth:

Trump’s “Tax Reform” per David Stockman (President Reagan’s budget boss): “Trump is a kid in a candy store who wants one of everything … without paying for any of it.”

The current spending bill in Congress demonstrates that Democrats fight over power, not policy. (Report). Prez Trump’s first spending bill helps Israel – and spends more than a trillion dollars. (Report) (Where’s he gonna get the money?)

Ron Paul: The ex Congressman is becoming the prophet of the end of our era. (Article)

Puerto Rico: Will file history’s largest public sector bankruptcy.  Closing 184 public schools (Report) (No Fed bailout? What of states following similar policies?)

Yale University: Student Republicans held a barbecue next to a union hunger strike? (Report) (Cruel desserts …)

Kennedy assassination: Will Trump release the Government’s hidden files? (Article)

Will defaulting auto loans trip the economy into a crash? (Article) Auto sales are failing to meet forecasts. (Report)

 Federal workers are now better paid than private sector equivalents? (Report) (In case you wondered)

The Climate: “Climate change is no more credible than magic” per a top physicist. (Report)

Science: “The Mysterious Powers of Spider Silks” (Article) (Stronger than steel, antiseptic and more …)

More Science: Can wine hold off Alzheimer’s? (Article) (Don’t know, but willing to try …)

Still More Science: Human inner ear organs have been grown from stem cells. (Report) (A breakthrough for those with hearing loss)

How U.S. corruption progresses (Article)

Political talk is causing problems at work? (Report) (Not so long as it’s anti-Trump, we’ll bet)

The culture: Four high school girls were arrested and a teacher inured, fighting (Report) (GIRLS!)

Macron busted! Images of the French presidential candidate’s offshore bank account posted. (Report) The French news media were ordered by the government to ignore the story. (!)

Illegal alien students may receive a free ride at Emory University? (Report) (Wonder who’s paying for those stuents?)

The health care dance, through unsympathetic eyes (Article) (Reality as usual, sucks)

The health care fix we need (but won’t get) (Article) (Reading this will show you what is really wrong with U.S. health care.)

Health care and college education are now priced beyond reach for most, starting from when the government began to help. (Article)

New York City job applicants can’t be asked for their salary history anymore. (Report) (Robots looking better and better)

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is under FBI investigation for bank fraud? (Report) (The socialist icon is apparently married to an ex bank president)

Venezuela is starving; the average citizen has lost 19 pounds? (Report) (Competing with fellow socialist paradise, North Korea?)

Chicago: 6 dead, 18 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

A naked man was arrested for halting traffic in Washington D.C. (Report)

And that’s how it seemed to us.

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North Korea, Financial Reality and A Few Simple Questions

North Korea FakeGiven that compassionate Progressives have run U.S. big cites, most states and the Federal government most of the time since the early 1930’s, how is it that:

  1. S. median household income is in continued decline?
  2. So many more people have had to go to work to support the middle class?
  3. So much less income now goes to the middle class and so much more to wealthy folk?

Some say that the increased share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) taken by Federal taxes may have something to do with it. Obviously, government spending benefits its recipient, but it also inevitably weakens the sources of the money.  You can’t “Spend yourself rich” as realists pointed out during the Great Depression’s Roosevelt New Deal programs. At least, there’s no historical record of that succeeding as yet. (We’re recalling economic history, not what they teach kids in public schools.)

Still, President Trump wants to increase military spending by $54 billion, ‘stimulate’ the economy with some $1 trillion in infrastructure spending … and cut taxes big time while doing all that. Republican Trump seems to be channeling Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As we never tire of pointing out, such ‘stimulus’ resembles a blood transfusion to a needy patient, using blood first drained from said patient.

Meantime, the middle class continues to disappear into the proletariat, the money continues to disappear into the hands of the well-to-do and the politicians call the dogs of war from North Korea, Syria and anywhere else they can find them in order to distract us from economic reality, with the avid cooperation of the erstwhile “news” media. Or so it seems to us; feel free to argue …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannSeven days of data, some of it news:

The incestuous nature of U.S. politics peeps through some cracks? (Report)

The United Nations added Saudi Arabia to its Commission on Womens’ Rights? (Report) (Sorry, couldn’t find a laugh track …)

Will the Left bring blood to the streets as its Berkeley attacks fizzle? (Report)  (Your guess)

U.S. middle class collapse in two simple graphs (Very short article)

Last week’s multi city U.S. power outage blamed on cyber attack likely resulted from a geomagnetic storm originated on the sun. (Report) (It wasn’t the Russians?)

South/North Korea: Update (Article)

Trump’s budget eliminates 19 Federal agencies? (Report) (Like those 5,000 lawyers on the seabed –a good start) (But it’s just posturing unless Congress goes for it, right?)

How did New York Governor Cuomo make $780,000 from a book that sold 3,000 copies? (Report)

Spontaneous street riots require a lot of planning, organizing and money. (Report)

San Francisco restaurants struggle at intersection of food and politics.” (Article) (Minimum wage menus)

Chicago: After violent weekend, the city nears 1,000 victims this year. (Report)

Marijuana should follow alcohol with repeal of prohibition, for the same reasons. (Article)

Trump’s tax cut will drop corporate rate to 15%, boost debt by $2 Trillion? (Report) (Hmnn …)

Senator Shumer (D, NY)  attacks Breitbart News. (Article) (Would add censorship to the Left’s street violence and boycotts?)

The Economy: Reality sucks under Trump as it did under Obama. (Article) (The rest is propaganda)

Iraq: Update; oil, Kurds and Iran (Long Article)

European Union: Lawmakers voted to make You Tube fight “hate speech.” (Report) (More government censors)

The Culture: Some 50 teens mobbed an Oakland subway car, beat and robbed passengers. (Report)

More Culture: Up to 60 girls brawled at a Florida mall. (Report)

Still More Culture: A shooter fired at a Texas sheriff’s deputy’s children, home and car in an apparently retaliatory attack.  (Report)

Trump: Dumped economics for politics with his 20%  Canadian lumber tariff. (Article) (U.S. wood will cost more)

India/Pakistan: Update (Long Articled) (Pakistan still pushes Islamic terror and relies on China)

Venezuela: Short update(As the economy falls, murder rises)

Eating saturated fats isn’t really bad for you? (Report)

Solar rechargeable battery tech breakthrough (Report)

Canada’s housing bubble: Big lender goes “Pop!” (Article) (Hope it’s not catching …)

Triump’s individual tax plan will have 3 tax brackets? (Report) (When did taxes and spending get divorced?)

Mortgage lender will ignore student loans for evaluating millennials’ credit? (Report) (No worries – it’s Fannie Mae, so expect the taxpayer to hold the bag)

Pilotless landings on US Navy carriers have arrived? (Article)

Turkey sent its army against Kurds in Syria, shelling Syrian villages. (Report) U.S. troops are being deployed to the area. (Report)

A funeral home was set afire by an exceptionally obese body. (Report) (Burning fat warning)

Brazil: Will it follow Venezuela’s path as its economic recession proceeds? (Opinion) The natives are shooting real arrows at the government.

3D Printing: Now, an entire building (Report) (Add that to printing body parts, metal assemblies and an unceasing flow of new items with a broadening range of materials.)

Science Breakthrough: Human DNA has been isolated from ancient cave sediments, asserting the presence of Neanderthals and Denisovans in places where no bones or tools have been found. (Report)

More Science: A mathematician has created a valid mathematical model for time travel. (Report) (But materials science lags)

Still more science: People have lived in North America much longer than previously thought, per a new study. (Report)

Wikileaks: Trump favorite while campaigning, now a target? Ron Paul interviews Julian Assange (Video)

NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): Games being played by Congress? (Article)

Transportation: World’s first London – China railroad train completed its first run. (Report)

A reasonable if gloomy view of the early Trump Administration (Article)

Chicago: 7 dead, 31 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

A naked woman seen riding on the back of a motorcycle was arrested. (Report)

And so it went …

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GLEANINGS FROM THE PASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

alfred_e-_neumannFrom the week:

The U.S. Left is pushing to add younger voters. (Report) (Brainwashed public school kids, right?)

Americans aren’t moving anymore. (Article) (Neither socially, economically nor physically: a static society and a static economy) (Until the dam breaks …)

Restaurants aren’t doing well (Report) (Like retail generally in this “recovery”)

The Culture: A brutal street brawl in Detroit (Report)

Airbnb is under regulatory attacks spurred by hotel industry lobbing? (Report) (“Progressive” politicians oppose progress)

Student/teacher sex : Some 150 cases are currently investigated in Texas (Report) (Is a rug being pulled off public education?)

Boeing is laying off hundreds of engineers. (Report) (Do they know something we don’t?)

Internet Censorship: By Goofle/Facebook, a review (Opinion)

Chicago: 2 killed, 43 wounded in weekend shootings. (Report)

Campus Kangaroo Courts: Using Title IX to take down students/professors via gobbledegook sex charges. (Book Review)

Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after alleged womanizing? (Report) (But if you’re Bill Clinton – )

The Culture: A 75 year old veteran charged with hanging a napkin sized U.S. flag on a V.A. fence and facing up to 6 months in jail, was acquitted by a judge. (Report) (Why was he prosecuted?)

More Culture: Intelligence agencies fear rogue agents as much as spies. (Report) (Americans are no longer a unified people …)

Corporate Default threatens 20% of U.S. corporations if interest rates continue rising, per the International Monetary Fund. (Report) (So 80% of U.S. corporations are better managed than the Federal and a lot of state and local governments?)

Why our welfare state (and universal basic income) are economic snake oil (Simple Article)

North Korea: Some healthy cynicism about the current “crisis”? (Article)

Steel prices: Heading upward at President Trump’s behest? (Report) (Enforcing “Buy American” won’t be buying cheap)

Wikileaks: The U.S. is joining the hounds baying after Julian Asange of Wikileaks?  (Report) (He tells us too much that our governors don’t want us to know, right?)  Other sources call this story “Fake News”. (Article)

Libya: Update (Long Article) ((s Libya evolving Kaddifi’s improved replacement?)

Americans are tackling corruption directly in Illinois? (Report) (When law enforcement is compromised, citizens are steeping in)

The U.S. power grid: Outages in multiple cities raise cyberattack fears? (Report)

Leaving his car idling in his driveway cost a Michigan man a $128 fine. (Report)

A Reminder for anyone complaisant of world financial stability? (Report) (“He who has eyes to see, let him see”)

India: Update (Article-opinion) (Boss Modi’s war on cash accelerates decline?)

U.S. Capitalism: An illusionary rug pulled over a state – corporate amalgam. (Article)

So Many Contractors in the battle zones (Article)

A naked Alabama man was arrested for harassing drivers on Interstate 10. (Report)

That’s all there is; there isn’t any more …

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