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Trump has been harping on how Obama has “decimated” the military, how our military is in shambles. “Our military is a disaster.”

Here is the chart on military spending by president:

military-spending-c

The facts show: the record for highest constant military spending goes to the peace president, Barack Obama.

Yesterday, the House voted for another massive spending bill for the military of $611 billion.

The billionaire philanthropist whom Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Education Department once compared her work in education reform to a biblical battleground where she wants to “advance God’s Kingdom.”

Trump’s pick, Betsy DeVos, a national leader of the school choice movement, has pursued that work in large part by spending millions to promote the use of taxpayer dollars on private and religious schools.

— Politico

What a bright outlook.

We are going to use our taxpayer money for “America to become great again” by systematically dumbing down our children so in future generations they will continue to vote for more trickle-down economics, corporate welfare and tax cuts for billionaires.

  • Anthropogenic global warming is a hoax.
  • Evolution is an evil delusion.
  • Human life begins at conception, except when the life is Muslim, an illegal alien in America, black, or homosexual.
  • Science is bad unless it’s studying fossil fuel advancement.

Ok, enough from my soap box today.

chronothon

After Ben Travers finally made it back to his apartment in 2009, he didn’t stay there long. Being home alone with nothing to do but going to work the next morning at the marina in St. Petersburg, fixing other people’s boats, he decided to look up his time-traveling girlfriend Mym. Along the way, in Manhattan, Ben gets snagged by a Mafioso and coerced into participating in a 25th century game show: The Chronothon. Think of a chronothon as a race, like our current Amazing Race on TV. The different levels are like trips on Amazing Race, and there are about a dozen levels to go through. As the racers start, they go through a time gate, which is also a space gate, and they appear in the desert in ancient Egypt. In each level, the racers have an objective they have to achieve. Usually the objective is an artifact of some type they have to find and bring to the next get to move on to the next level. As the racers go through the gates, they have no idea where they come out on the other side, neither where, or when. What further complicates the race it that not everything is what it seems. Might the game even be rigged?

The Chronothon is the second book in Van Coops’ time travel adventure trilogy. The first book was In Times Like These. Unlike some sequels, where the second book is much like the first book, but with a different story and twist, The Chronothon is a completely fresh story, based on the same time travel technology applied In Times Like These. While Van Coops wrote this to be a stand-alone book, and while I can imagine it might work that way, I would no recommend it. If you are interested in The Chronothon, you really should read In Times Like These first to have a grounding in the technology and the characters of this book.

For me, this was a page turner with surprises and delights in every chapter. Like the first book, everything about this story is related to time travel and its effects and challenges. It’s not a story about a game using time travel, it’s about how time travel can be used for a game.

The Chronothon was a little corny at times. For instance, on the planet Diamatra, there is a native sentient species, the Soma Djinn, which are centipede-like creatures that inhabit human hosts and turn them into cannibalistic zombies. I would expect that sentence either turned you off completely, or it made you want to read The Chronothon, just to figure out how a reasonable and well-read human being like me can give this book three stars.

But here you have it:

Rating - Three Stars

Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences.

— Donald Trump, December 1, 2016

 

Trump China 1

Now that the Trumpashians are getting ready to move into the White House, things are truly going to change in Washington. The Cabinet is stacked with billionaires. Some of the people are truly frightening placements in their positions. It’s like putting a wrecking ball to our institutions. But then, yes, the Trumpoon himself has promised he’d shake up Washington, and that’s what 62,625,928 Americans voted for.

I have nothing against billionaires in principle. I have even met one once. They are really good at making huge amounts of money for themselves. I just don’t understand how that translates to making America great again. Billionaires probably have the least experience with what it’s like to be in the middle class.

And then there are the Trumpashian kids. Just because the Trumpoon got elected does not mean that every one of his kids is all of a sudden an expert in foreign policy, financial policy and military strategy. But they’re acting like it. Putting your kids into positions of power is something leaders of banana republics do. Saddam Hussein’s two sons were feared in Iraq. And then there is the dynasty of the Kims in North Korea.

The whole Trumpashian brood in the White House does not give me comfortable feelings.

trumptweat2

Trump has an incredibly thin skin. Looks like he is threatened by a recount effort underway in Wisconsin.

It appears he actually convinced himself that millions of people voted illegally, and all of those who voted illegally were Clinton voters. Can you spell CONSPIRACY THEORY ? Seriously, does the President-elect not have anything better to do than to create and spread conspiracy theories in a nation that is in desperate need of reconciliation, reunification and reassurance from its future leader?

What is this man thinking?

Who advises this man?

trumptweat1

Inappropriate.

Un-presidential.

Embarrassing.

Undiplomatic.

Insulting.

Trumpian.

Trump complained during the campaign that our military was a disaster, and that military spending was way down. That’s actually far from the truth.

At the end of the Obama administration, starting in 2017, we’re spending a record 608.6 billion dollars on the military. This is more than we spent during enormous Reagan buildup which started in 1980. Obama spent more money on the military in his eight years than George W. Bush did.

We are now spending four times the amount China spends and 10 times the amount Russia spends annually on the military.

I wonder whether Trump actually knew that when he campaigned or not? Was his rhetoric just the same hot air he needed to blow to get voters? Regardless of Trump’s talk, it’ll be tricky to crank up spending any more, given budget constraints. But the military industrial complex loves the talk.

More weapons.

Just what we need.

 

Below a must-read article by Bill Gross, the King of Bonds. The key words:

His tenure will be a short four years but is likely to be a damaging one for jobless and low-wage American voters.

Populism Takes a Wrong Turn – by Bill Gross

The Trumpian Fox has entered the Populist Henhouse, not so much by stealth but as a result of Middle America’s misinterpretation of what will make America great again. Not having voted for either establishment party’s candidate, I write in amazed, almost amused bewilderment at what American voters have done to themselves. An Election Day Survey (Reuters/Ipsos) of 10,000 voters revealed the extraordinary fury of the American populist movement. Almost 72% agreed that “the American economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful”. Count me among them, yet in voting to deny Hillary Clinton the Henhouse, they “unwittingly” (lack of wit), let Donald Trump sneak in the side door. His tenure will be a short four years but is likely to be a damaging one for jobless and low-wage American voters. They were the force for Trump’s flipping the Midwest into a Republican Electoral College victory. But while the Fox promised jobs and to make America great again, his policies of greater defense and infrastructure spending combined with lower corporate taxes to invigorate the private sector continue to favor capital versus labor, markets versus wages, and is a continuation of the status quo.

For example, Republican pleas for tax reform are centered around the argument that America has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 35%. Not so. Of the S&P 500’s largest 50 corporations, the average tax rate (including state, local and foreign regulations) is 24%. U.S. corporations rank among the world’s most lightly, as opposed to heavily, taxed. Trump policies also appear to favor the repatriation of trillions of dollars of foreign profits at extremely low cost under the logic that the money will be spent for investment here in the U.S. Doubtful. The last time such a “pardon” was put into law in 2004, no noticeable pickup in investment took place. Of the $362 billion that earned a “tax holiday”, most went to dividends, corporate bonuses, and stock buybacks. Apple or any other large U.S. corporation can borrow the money they need here in the U.S. at historically low interest rates to fund investment. A few have, but over $500 billion annually in recent years has gone to the repurchase of corporate stock and the increase of earnings per share, instead of earnings and GDP growth. Why would they need to repatriate anything for investment in the real economy?

Could a Clinton Administration have done much better? Probably not. Both the Clinton Democrats and almost all Republicans represent the corporate status quo that favors markets versus wages; Wall Street versus Main Street. That’s why the American public and indeed global citizens will continually take a wrong turn in their efforts to neuter the establishment and to regain several decades’ lost momentum in real wages versus real profits. Neither party as they now stand has bold policies beyond the reach of K Street Lobbyists. To my mind, there are better solutions than either party’s election platform, such as a Keynesian/FDR job corps or a Kennedyesque AmeriCorps that puts people to work helping other people. Such programs were never emphasized by either candidate. Let’s supplement welfare with a patriotic “Help America” jobs program, even if government organized. Would it be as efficient as a corporate-led effort? Of course not, but corporations are fighting structural headwinds, such as demographic aging, technological displacement of jobs (robotization), deglobalization, and overleveraged balance sheets. They focus on the bottom line as opposed to the public welfare. Government must step in, not by reducing taxes, which will only increase profits at the expense of labor, but by being the employer of last resort in hopefully a productive way.

Populism is on the march and a Trump victory will do little to halt its advance in future decades. If anything, it is demographically baked in the cake. Investors, as The Economist astutely pointed out, face a possible no-win situation. Unless the worker’s share of GDP reverses its downward trend, and capital’s share peaks, then populists worldwide will reject establishment parties in almost every future election – initiating in some cases growth-negative policies revolving around trade, immigration, and yes, in Trump’s case, lower taxation that may lower GDP growth, not raise it. Global populism is the wave of the future, but it has taken a wrong turn in America. Investors must drive with caution, understanding that higher deficits resulting from lower taxes raise interest rates and inflation, which in turn have the potential to produce lower earnings and P/E ratios. There is no new Trump bull market in the offing. Be satisfied with 3-5% globally diversified returns. The Wall Street, finance-led hegemon is fading. The Populist sunrise has barely broken the horizon.

Here is a link to the entire transcript of the Trump interview with the New York Times.

Several thoughts come to mind:

  • Our new president is a rambler
  • Our new president can’t talk about his office without talking about his hotels and golf courses
  • He compared Breitbart to the New York Times

Read for yourself. I am stunned about how unprepared this man is just for an interview.

How prepared is he to be president?

You know the hottest day ever was in 1890-something, 98. You know, you can make lots of cases for different views. I have a totally open mind.

My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject. It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know. I know we have, they say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between the scientists. Where was that, in Geneva or wherever five years ago? Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about. I absolutely have an open mind. I will tell you this: Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.

And you know, you mentioned a lot of the courses. I have some great, great, very successful golf courses. I’ve received so many environmental awards for the way I’ve done, you know. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work where I’ve received tremendous numbers. Sometimes I’ll say I’m actually an environmentalist and people will smile in some cases and other people that know me understand that’s true. Open mind.

— Donald Trump – New York Times interview, Nov 23, 2016

Well, I am relieved that Trump’s uncle had feelings on the subject 35 years ago. It must be all good then.

I am also relieved that Trump received environmental awards for his golf courses. He understands climate science. It must be all good then.

Clean air and clean water are vitally important.

And he has an open mind.

I think I can now stop worrying about climate change. We have a good captain at the help.

Trump nominated Betsy DeVos, the wife of Amway heir Dick DeVos, for Secretary of Education. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science. She has never taught in school, did not attend any public school or college, and has strong family ties to Christian causes and possibly creationism. Her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of the mercenary company Blackwater, which is now defunct.

Along with Trump, we now have two members of the billionaire class representing us in our government. Do the people of this country really believe that billionaires, just because they are rich, will do what is best the for the middle class? I’d like to ask Bernie Sanders what he thinks about that.

I don’t believe that someone who has never taught a child in school, who has never attended a public school, should now suddenly be qualified to make decisions that affect a hundred million young people in our country.

With Trump, we’re now building an entirely new class of government. In the past, billionaires got to pull the strings by buying politicians. Now the billionaires are infiltrating our government directly. They are running it now.

It’s called “plutocracy.”

And we all sit by and think this is a good thing?

 

 

I cannot state enough times how important it is for every citizen of the world to read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It should be required reading for humanity.

— Norbert Haupt

After Hitler was democratically elected in January 1933, he quickly and illegally took dictatorial powers. His empire lasted only 12 years, from the illustrious and promising start, to the utter destruction of most of Europe, and especially Germany, the “fatherland” he wanted to make great again. He directly killed 11 million people in death camps and indirectly caused the deaths of 60 million people worldwide, about 3% of the world’s population in 1940.

Right now would be a great time to read Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I did so in 2012, and here is my review. It is a very long book, but worth every minute. It is the best history book I have ever read.

However, if you only have a couple of hours, rather than a couple of months, then you might like to read Jimmy Coca’s book instead. Quick and dirty, and all the facts you need.

third-party-votes

I heard many people say this. Trump was unthinkable. Clinton was corrupt. They had to vote third party. In the aftermath, and detailed counting, it turns out that the third party voters could have prevented Trump.

It’s not the fault of the voters. It’s the fault of Clinton for not being able to convey her message and mission more clearly and powerfully. Every one of these votes would have gone to Sanders.

And there is my history lesson for the day.

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