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How did he die?

Has anybody noticed that certain right wing figures lately have abandoned denials of collusion in favor of suggesting that there is nothing wrong with collusion?

The latest. Hardly a left wing source.

This is not only good news for LGBT equality under the law, but I wonder if Justices Roberts and Kennedy are moving to the left. It has happened before. Justices Brennan and Blackmun were both considered the most liberal Justices when they retired. Both were Republican appointees. As soon as both Marshall and Brennan were gone (they had both opposed the death penalty), Blackmun announced that he had come around to the conclusion that executions inherently violated the 8th Amendment.
Justice O’Connor also moved to the left before she left, and essentially apologized for having voted with the majority in Bush v. Gore. And of course Justice Souter was a closeted liberal who revealed himself as such almost immediately.
But you have this decision released today, with Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito dissenting. And you have the “compromise” partial restoration of the Muslim ban order with the same three dissenting as they wanted a complete restoration. The ban as “reinstated” will apply to very few as the “exceptions” far outnumber those covered.
Justices are in for life. They are completely independent of political influence. Day in and day out they hear intelligent argument from intelligent people, and if they are not ideologically entrenched, they have been known to succumb to those influences out of either conscience or just personal evolution. I have never heard of a Supreme Court Justice becoming more conservative. It has certainly not happened in my lifetime. Even Scalia, whom my criminal procedure professor said, “never met a car search he didn’t like” became more liberal with regard to search and seizure law – possibly due to the influence of his friendship with Justice Ginsberg. At worst, they don’t budge. Justice Thomas has not budged.

The Finance Office (202 224 4515) is keeping count of Americans requesting public hearings on the Senate “wealthcare” bill. Call & request that public hearings be held.

Senator David Heller cannot support the gutting of Medicaid.  Apparently ACA has done very well by Nevada with regard to coverage.   The Republicans can only afford two more defects (a 50-50 tie would allow Pence to break it).  Right now they have four conservatives threatening to vote against it because it doesn’t repeal enough.

Basically, the repeal bill would go towards tax cuts in the range of $50,000 for those making a million a year.  To finance these tax cuts the Medicaid fund would be capped and the remaining policies would offer minimal services – gutting preventive medicine and probably then leading to more money spent in the ER later.

Here’s to hoping that California passes single payer, but my understanding is that Governor Brown would veto it.



Now we know.

So much the media has been missing.  The fact that the CIA head continued to brief classified information with Mike Flynn in the room for three weeks after his own agency declared Flynn a security risk.  And now it turns out the CIA knew that Putin had ordered an operation to get Trump elected last summer, which probably accounts for Obama’s calling a meeting with congressional Republicans in September, at which the latter expressed apathy at best.  Meanwhile, the Intelligence people didn’t want to be accused of “rigging” the election against Trump, so they stayed quiet.  And Obama and the Democrats, I assume Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were present, were wimps as usual.

So Trump’s relying on outside counsel on a daily basis.  And not everybody wants to go down with the ship.  Pence has lawyered up.

Coats is throwing Trump under the bus.  Trey Gowdy’s response is understandable about the leaks, but tends to confirm the reports.  You got to keep your cool in these matters.  Obviously there are Democrats (presumably) who want the story out in the open, but if your leadership pledges a tight ship you ought to keep it together, at least for awhile.  I mean, at a certain point if there’s a cover-up effort, then I think leaks are justified, as was the case with Watergate.  But Gowdy’s right in that you are less likely to get testimony in closed session with leaks.  But I bet Coats expected the leaks, but asked for closed session so he can shrug and say he did what he could.  But in my view Coats already compromised himself by not standing up to Trump about Flynn’s presence at classified briefings in January.

And yeah, why does Kushner still have security clearance?  That’s a rhetorical question.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, although I won’t say that it’s universal. It may be that the Seattle economy is expanding anyway, and if you’re politically conservative you might argue that it would be expanding more quickly but for the living wage amount.

The problem is that the opposition to minimum wage increases on an economic basis is simplistic. The argument is that businesses will not be able to afford the increase and will lay off workers. And initially, there are some layoffs. But it’s based on a very static analysis of economy.

First of all, the layoffs are never what free marketers project because minimum wage positions tend to be essential to the business, as contra-intuitive that seems. There isn’t a lot of flexibility on the demand/supply curve. The businesses hiring minimum wage workers are generally operating at close to bare minimum. So basically they either retain the workers or they go out of business. And the latter rarely happens because the economies are dynamic.

The consumers at the bottom can’t save. They can’t invest. Maybe they pay off some debt with increased wages, but mostly they spend. If they have more to spend, they spend more. And the economic multipliers (the cycle of spending – you buy a sandwich and then the business buy’s bread, tuna, lettuce, and then those businesses hire workers, etc.) are localized and the increased business ultimately metabolizes the increased labor, and often without significantly increasing prices because the market won’t bear all of the increases. Basically the increased wages generate a Keynesian result by increasing the volume of business.

This isn’t always a good thing. It’s inflationary, but inflation hasn’t been a problem in this country since prior to the Crash. And in an economy like Seattle’s – the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country (and no, I don’t think that’s a good thing), the wages have been increased and have provided some small improvement in the standards of living of those at the bottom of the wage scale. This has happened before, and hopefully will again.

Mind you, I don’t think it’s a panacea. We need a thorough restructuring of the national economy and I’m concerned that Seattle will face the economic cleansing of the SF Bay area. But this experiment represents a ray of light. Call me a socialist.

Seattle experiment pays off for lower income workers.


I can’t even count how many events I’ve attended in that sanctuary – mostly music recitals.  Food is also distributed from the building.  There is no other hall quite like it in Garberville proper especially with the Masonic building gone.   Let’s not make this thread about poverty bashing if we can avoid it.

You can donate through here.

Seriously, master race exemplary Steve Bannon is fat shaming?  His own comrade?  You can’t make this stuff up!

Meanwhile, Spicer won’t confirm whether Trump believes Russia interfered with the election.  I mean, we’ve messed with so many other nations’ elections over the years, I think the righteousness is over the top whether from Democrats or Republicans.  Still, I think if the Russians did in fact attack elections online systems in 39 states, it’s a matter of concern.    But seriously, did the media really wait this long to ask the question?

Anybody living in northern Humboldt County or Del Norte should attend if at all possible.


All Things Reconsidered tonight – Bob Froehlich will join me to discuss the use of critical thinking in making moral choices. What is the criteria? What is useful data to consider? What are the considerations to be balanced? We will probably emphasize social policy, but also address individual decision making. 7:00 as always.




June 2017