Lost Factory Jobs, Lack of Wage Growth & American Hero John McCain….

My comments about John McCain are at the bottom.  But starting with economic issues, I haven’t been as hard on Trump over his tariffs & inciting a potential trade war with China as most pundits.  Businesspeople & economists are also sounding the alarm over the Trump tariffs, even pointing out Herbert Hoover’s protectionist policies helped usher in the Great Depression.  Although it’s true a full-out trade war with China would have hugely negative impacts on America’s & the world’s economy, there’s real hope such friction could bring China to the table willing to work out more equitable arrangements.  China has been manipulating various factors in their favor for decades to create a not-so-level playing field.  We can hope the same Trump bluster that helped bring Jong Un to the table with the possibility of agreeing to a denuclearization deal, perhaps a similar approach can work on China to revitalize for us a more robust manufacturing workforce.  So I’m willing to cut Trump some slack, for now, to see how these power plays work out, waiting to find out if his renowned dealmaking prowess can lead to positive outcomes.


The scars from hemorrhaging factory jobs are very visible when we see the remnants of our battered landscape here in northeast Ohio.  The signs of that decimated manufacturing base are all over, with empty factories throughout this region looking as though they’ve been bombed out.  Those of you living on the coasts or sunbelt areas where the local economies are strong, you have no way of really relating to the economic devastation brought about by the loss of millions of high-paying jobs in these manufacturing locations.  The presidential election was won by swinging these northern industrial states since many around here are desperate & angry, so Trump spoke to their concerns (even if he really offered no viable solutions).  Workers are fed up losing good jobs & losing ground!  The statistics do bear out the income group in the bottom half haven’t seen real wage growth in decades.  Almost all the new wealth created recently has come through the stock market instead of growing incomes from labor.

In this rather long article the-epic-mistake-about-manufacturing-thats-cost-americans-millions-of-jobs, it lays out a case the principal reason for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs wasn’t mostly from automation, but more from unfair trade deals & outsourcing.  The widespread misconceptions produced bad policy decisions, as politicians first made those bad trade deals, then sat on their hands as this ongoing nightmare saw factory towns being upended.  This has proved disastrous for many working class families, so I’ve posted long excerpts here stating the pertinent points, providing an understanding of what may have been most responsible for bringing on America’s long-running economic debacle:

So when Trump won the presidential election, the true-blue data believers dismissed his victory as the triumph of rhetoric over fact. His supporters had succumbed to a nativist tale with cartoon villains like “cheating China” and a shadowy cabal of Rust Belt-razing “globalists.” But it turns out that Trump’s story of US manufacturing decline was much closer to being right than the story of technological progress being spun in Washington, New York, and Cambridge. Thanks to a painstaking analysis by a handful of economists, it’s become clear that the data that underpin the dominant narrative—or more precisely, the way most economists interpreted the data—were way off-base. Foreign competition, not automation, was behind the stunning loss in factory jobs. And that means America’s manufacturing sector is in far worse shape than the media, politicians, and even most academics realize.

 

Between 2000 and 2010, manufacturing employment plummeted by more than a third. Nearly 6 million American factory workers lost their jobs. The drop was unprecedented—worse than any decade in US manufacturing history. Even during the Great Depression, factory jobs shrunk by only 31%, according to a Information Technology & Innovation Foundation report. Though the sector recovered slightly since then, America’s manufacturing workforce is still more than 26% smaller than it was in 2000.

© Provided by Quartz

 

What’s odd is that, even as US factories laid off an historically unprecedented share of workers, the amount of stuff they made rose steadily—or at least, it appeared to.  Economists have long been aware that computers and electronics, a relatively small sector of manufacturing, has powered much of manufacturing’s growth in output over the past few decades. But until 2009, no one had connected this fact to the puzzling paradox of surging manufacturing output alongside dwindling employment. That’s when Susan Houseman and her colleagues first took a crack at it—and, in the process, discovered something funny going on with data. “It was staggering—it was actually staggering—how much that subsector was contributing to growth.”   

 

The divergence first emerged in the late 1970s, as the semiconductor industry took off and the computers and electronics subsector began driving growth in manufacturing output. Between 2000 and 2016, the average growth in the sector’s real output was only about 63% of that of the private sector. But when you take out computers out of both data series, the trend is far more striking: Since 2000, manufacturing output expanded at an average pace equal to only 12% of the private sector’s average growth. In fact, according to Houseman’s data, without computers, manufacturing’s real output expanded at an average rate of only about 0.2% a year in the 2000s. By 2016, real manufacturing output, sans computers, was lower than it was in 2007.This has grim implications for what had been assumed to be healthy productivity. As with real output, productivity growth comes mostly from the computers subsector’s quality adjustment—which means that the apparently robust growth in manufacturing productivity is mostly a mirage. To be clear, automation did happen in manufacturing. However, throughout the 2000s, the industry was automating at about the same pace as in other sectors. If booming robot-led productivity growth wasn’t displacing factory workers, then the sweeping scale of job losses in manufacturing necessarily stemmed from something else entirely.

 

It’s not perfectly clear what, exactly, is the culprit behind relatively anemic growth in manufacturing output. But the signs indicate trade and globalization played a much more significant role than is commonly recognized. Of particular importance is China’s emergence as a major exporter, which US leaders encouraged. A pair of papers by MIT’s Autor, and economists David Dorn and Gordon Hanson, found that the parts of the US hit hard by Chinese import competition saw manufacturing job loss, falling wages, and the shrinking of their workforces. They also found that offsetting employment gains in other industries never materialized. Another important paper by this team of economists, along with MIT’s Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price, estimated that competition from Chinese imports cost the US as many as 2.4 million jobs between 1999 and 2011.

 

Two decades of ill-founded policymaking radically restructured the US economy, and reshuffled the social order too. The America that resulted is more unequal and more polarized than it’s been in decades, if not nearly a century. In effect, US policymakers put diplomacy before industrial development at home, offering the massive American consumer market as a carrot to encourage other countries to open up their economies to multinational investment. Then, thanks to the popular narrative that automation was responsible for job losses in manufacturing, American leaders tended to dismiss the threat of foreign competition to a thriving manufacturing industry and minimize its importance to the overall health of the US economy. “We didn’t have the intelligent debates about what was going on with trade because people were just denying there was any problem.”   “A lot of policymakers, not everyone, but most, just missed the boat,” says Houseman. “We didn’t have the intelligent debates about what was going on with trade, etc., because a lot of people were just denying there was any problem, period.”

The problem is that manufacturing plays a significant role in the US economy. Manufacturing jobs tend to pay better, and create opportunities for learning skills that are particularly important to workers with less formal education. Factories also encourage innovation by attracting research and development (R&D) facilities, which need access to production lines to translate design into real products and to work out the kinks in prototypes. This is why when plants shutter and are moved overseas, R&D centers almost always go with them, says Houseman. Detached from the innovative feedback loop formed with R&D, US factories struggle to compete.

 

The received wisdom that the US was simply becoming a service-driven economy also lulled leaders into complacency about the long-term economic and social cost of lost manufacturing jobs. The establishment assumed that the apparent increase in the sector’s output and productivity would eventually solve the problem; where there was wealth, there would be new job openings to replace lost factory work. But, as Autor, Dorn, and Hanson’s research shows, workers hit by mass layoffs suffer unusually big wage losses throughout their careers, and many exit the workforce entirely. Detached from the innovative feedback loop, US factories struggle to compete.   While the forces of globalization battered America’s middle class, they largely benefited the country’s emerging urban professional elite—managers, consultants, lawyers, and investment bankers enriched by booming international investment and by the cheapening of imports. And as the corporations and their bosses gained political clout, the interests of the middle class faded.

 

One reason why Houseman’s revelation is so important is that the myth of automation continues to have a strong grip on the minds of American policymakers and pundits. The lessons of the populist backlash during the 2016 presidential election didn’t seem to take. As the US gears up for mid-term elections this year, the Democrats have no vision for how to reverse the industrial backslide. Ironically, that criticism applies to Trump, too. His campaign ignited a vitally important national conversation on the relationship between US trade policies and manufacturing’s decline. Since he took office, however, Trump has paid minimal attention to boosting US manufacturing. Instead, he’s favored counterproductive protectionism and ignored currency manipulation, preferring the punitive over the constructive. US leaders’ longstanding misunderstanding of the manufacturing industry led to the biggest presidential election upset in American history. But they still don’t seem to understand what’s been lost, or why. It’s easy to dismiss the disappearance of factory jobs as a past misstep—with a “we’re not getting those jobs back” and a sigh. Then again, you can’t know that for sure if you never try.

We continue to see workers’ attitudes toward capitalism changing as their economic circumstances for a long time have not improved: ian-bremmer-globalism-american-dream-dead-chinese-dream-alive.  We do need something:the-economy-seems-great-but-secular-stagnation-still-lurks.  As buying on Amazon & online shopping are becoming increasingly prevalent, it’s making the outlook for brick-&-mortar stores ominous.  So retail has become the new manufacturing sector in terms of job losses, as seen in these excerpts from retailers-troubles-are-hitting-the-us-workforce:

The retail industry’s woes — exemplified by bankruptcies like Toys “R” Us and a string of store closings — are translating into lost paychecks for tens of thousands of U.S. workers. Retail tops all sectors in job cuts this year, with more than 64,000 so far — that’s 28 percent more than the roughly 50,000 retail jobs lost during the same period last year, according to a report Thursday by Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The toll includes nearly 7,900 retail workers who lost their jobs in April.

Retailers have announced 2,460 store closures so far this year, following 9,241 store closures in 2017, according to the outplacement firm’s tracking. Some 33,000 workers lost their jobs as bankrupt retailer Toys “R” Us started shutting down its 735 U.S. stores in March, the largest layoff in the retail sector since at least 2015 and comparable to the more than 30,000 people who lost their jobs when Circuit City went out of business in 2009. “Retail continues to lead sectors in terms of where the most job cuts are, which has been going on three years,” said Andy Challenger, vice president at Challenger, in an interview. “There’s been a multi-year change for the retail industry as we continue to shift away from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce and online sales.”

Toys “R” Us to close or sell all of its U.S. stores—While Amazon and online shopping are surely factors in the decline of the American mall and physical brick-and-mortar stores, some of the fallen chains were also crushed by debt, often from leveraged buyouts led by private-equity firms. Toys “R” Us, for instance, had $5 billion in debt and declared bankruptcy in September after struggling to refinance only $400 million of it.

This is another article with accompanying video getting to the core of our economic troubles: The-Monopolization-of-America-Robert-Reich-presentation.  A free market system cannot operate in an appropriate way offering equal opportunity for all, when many sectors have been overrun by monopolistic forces.  So when you have 11 minutes, go back to that monopolization link & watch the video which is really an eye-opener on how our crony capitalist system has evolved, explaining basic reasons why we’re stuck in this long-term trend of less fair competition, concentration of wealth, growing income inequality, stagnant wages & costs-of-living outpacing wage gains (also seeantitrust-doj-ftc-funding).  Yes, the system really is rigged against us & the strings pulled by the rich & powerful.  Reversing these dilemmas will indeed be a huge challenge, but the path to fixing the economy & giving workers their fair share begin with correctly identifying the problems.  In another article & a shorter video, see the conclusion below to a book analysis from this link I also put in part 2 growth-in-the-21st-century & also catch this brief video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jsH4zxZLa4.

  Having dissected the flaws in the democratic system, Moyo should focus in her next book on the flaws of modern capitalism. And that discussion should center not on Left versus Right, but on big versus small, and established versus entrepreneurial. Successful large corporations have too often developed self-protective mechanisms that stifle growth, and the small and entrepreneurial sectors have been left at a huge disadvantage. With today’s large tech platforms driving competitive upstarts into the ground (or buying them outright), is there a need for a 21st-century Teddy Roosevelt to wave the banner of “Small is beautiful”? Then again, what’s the response to those who claim that technological disruption itself is the real threat to capitalism? One final thought: Liberals point to America’s inequalities of wealth and income (and Moyo makes the excellent point that on income inequality, China and America are virtually the same) and suggest redistributive solutions. But maybe the problem with capitalism is the delivery system itself. Over the last decade, most wealth created has been distributed through the stock market, not through increased wages. The big question is how to make a lot more working families capital owners. A lot of future wealth creation will happen at the global level, driven by productivity-enhancing technological breakthroughs with the exponential expansion of artificial intelligence. Affluent families with global stock portfolios will be able to tap into this bounty; mere wage-earners will not. Whether through birthright accounts or some other means of encouraging stock ownership, Western policymakers need to start thinking about how to make every citizen potentially a Davos man. The alternative is to experience the middle-class anxiety and unrest Dambisa Moyo so accurately describes.

Employment, Wages & Tax Cuts

When during Obama’s second term as unemployment rates trended downwards & roughly 200,000 new jobs were created monthly, I agreed with Trump those stats were largely phony.  The U-6 measure in the jobs report remained stubbornly high as participation rates were stuck in the mud, while wage growth was also largely stuck in the mud.  The Trump economy which our current prez calls so wonderful is really a continuation of the Obama economy, albeit we’re also seeing rising deficits courtesy of the Trump tax cuts.  Here’s another relevant metric to examine, that of adults employed in the prime working ages has still not caught up to levels before the 2008 crash: the-unemployment-rate-is-historically-low-and-meaningless.

It’s sad but true, there must be reasons for the exodus from the workforce, one of which the reasoning apparently being their time is better spent not holding a job instead of working for peanuts: lets-not-celebrate-the-3-9-unemployment-rate.  It highlights the entire overarching problem with the labor market, that the new jobs being created largely in the service sector are far from good-paying careers.  There’s also the factor of a skills mismatch.  All those years of factories shutting down putting blue-collar workers out on the streets, or nowadays retail stores shutting down putting their employees out of work, they can’t just magically transition over to nurses, engineers or computer coders.  We see these disturbing patterns playing out in these excerpts from week-trumponomics-workers-disappear:

But the unemployment rate, which fell from 4.1% to 3.9%, is a puzzlement. There were fewer people looking for jobs in April, which means fewer people counted as unemployed. When unemployment falls because people get jobs, that’s good. But when unemployment falls because people give up looking for jobs, it’s not so good. For that reason, our weekly Trumpometer says: MEDIOCRE. Economists struggle to explain two oddities in the current labor market. The first is the relatively low portion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one. The so-called labor-force participation rate is 62.8%, a level it has generally been stuck at since 2014. The peak was 67.3% in 2000. So while the unemployment rate is back to the low levels of 2000, the portion of Americans working or looking for work is considerably lower. The other oddity is weak wage growth, with wages rising just 2.6% during the last 12 months. Ordinarily, employers hike pay as unemployment drops and workers become scarce. There are 6.5 million unfilled jobs in America, and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that a lot of employers can’t find workers. But if they’re paying more to get the people they need, it’s not showing up in the data. These two factors—weak wage growth and low worker participation—are a drag on economic growth, and they seem out of sync with an unemployment rate that’s historically low. Trump’s main economic policy is tax cuts, which are supposed to leave workers and businesses with more after-tax income to spend and invest. But it’s not clear tax cuts will do anything to pull more workers into the labor force, or boost basic pay.

Other articles explaining tax cuts have yet to translate into higher wages are found in trump-gop-tax-law-pay-wage-increases-jobs-report & also in trump-s-tax-cuts-still-don-t-seem-to-be-helping-u-s-workers which contain these excerpts:

Have corporate tax cuts made American workers better off, at least in terms of pay? It’s still pretty hard to see in government employment data. Let’s be clear: It’s still too early to judge the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law in December. The important test will be whether it leads companies to do more investment in coming years, boosting the economy’s longer-term growth potential. That said, the Trump administration has made a big deal out of the tax reform’s effect on workers’ wages, and companies have played along by citing it in their decisions to give raises. So it’s worth seeing whether this is reflected in the aggregate data. When I checked a couple months ago, I found pretty much zero evidence that companies were increasing wages any more than they otherwise would have. Now that we have data from two more jobs reports, let’s take another look. Overall, wage gains do not appear to have accelerated. From December through April, average hourly earnings increased at an annualized pace of 2.3 percent, significantly slower than in 2017. Also, industries getting bigger tax breaks aren’t giving bigger raises. Two months ago, there was no correlation between the size of tax cuts and wage gains across sectors. Now it’s strongly negative. Companies engaged in wholesale trade reduced wages, even though they’re supposed to save 40 percent during the next decade (according to the Penn Wharton Budget Model). Utilities, among the biggest losers in the tax reform, raised wages at a 6.4 percent annualized rate.

And on that same topic, these excerpts come from whats-wrong-here-unemployment-is-below-4-percent-but-wage-growth-is-still-lousy:

Even though unemployment is a mere 3.9 percent, wages don’t seem to be rising much faster than they have for the last couple years, and at nowhere near the rate they were before the crash. That’s not what’s supposed to happen when unemployment gets as low as it can … which tells us that unemployment must not have bottomed out yet. If this sounds familiar, well, that’s because it is. We’ve been going through different versions of this for a few years now, as unemployment first hit a 10-, then a 16-, and finally an 18-year low. Each time, this was better than economists had thought was possible not long before; each time, wage pressure was still muted to the point of being almost completely quiescent; and each time, there weren’t any signs that this was about to stop, as the economy was still chugging along at the same good-but-not-great pace it had been for most of the recovery.

Also see this link on why corporations are investing: corporate-america-is-investing-but-tax-cuts-arent-top-reason.  But we do need to be proactive in investing in & preparing our workforce: its-time-to-prepare-the-workforce-of-the-future.  Here are some other important factors to consider: cant-get-job-want.  Three reasons for slow wage growth brought out in three-reasons-wages-are-not-growing-as-fast-as-wed-like-even-at-low-unemployment, Bernstein discusses slack remains, low productivity growth low worker bargaining clout.  A further explanation is offered up by these excerpts from business/economy/unemployment-jobs.html:

A lot has changed since the turn of the century. The share of working-age women in the labor force began to fall in 2000, after increasing for decades. Men have been dropping out for much longer. The upshot is that a smaller share of people are participating in the labor market, and it’s easier to get low levels of unemployment when fewer people are vying for jobs. In fact, a shrinking labor force in April is part of why the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent even as payrolls grew by a fairly routine 164,000 jobs. The population is also older than they used to be, on balance. The baby-boom generation has moved steadily toward retirement over the last two decades. And those still working have not helped push wages up. Generally, workers climb the economic ladder fastest when they are young, and so an older work force may weigh on average wages, economists say.

 

In 2000, wages for rank-and-file workers rose at an annual rate of around 4 percent. Part of the problem now is that some 60 percent of the jobs added since 2010 have been in low-wage, service-sector jobs, according to Morgan Stanley. Fifty years ago, there were plenty of factory jobs paying a decent wage, and unions held much greater sway. Manufacturing accounted for one in four jobs; today it’s not even one in 10. The tech explosion of the late 1990s gave rise to lucrative roles in companies based on new business models. The share of the economic pie going to workers rose steadily for the first time since the 1970s — a feat not repeated since.

In this start to the article trump-support-among-union-members-fell-15-points-in-a-year, we see despite the bold campaign promises, union workers are beginning to realize Trumponomics is shortchanging them:

President Trump‘s support among America’s union workers has dropped 15 points in just a year, according to a Reuters–Ipsos poll released Friday. The president enjoyed an all-time high of more than 60 percent support among union workers in the same poll last March, an unusually strong number for a Republican. But his support among the demographic has dropped steadily nearly every month since then, Reuters reports, despite his pursuit of trade tariffs that labor unions have traditionally supported. Trump’s support among union workers now sits at 47 percent, down from its all-time high of 62 percent, according to the poll. April numbers have not yet been released.

In addition to Trump’s tax cuts providing nominal benefits & serving to widen wealth/income gaps, it’s also contributing to this ticking time bomb of our national debt.  Below are excerpts from the-giant-sucking-sound-of-a-debt-spiral, which as politicians have become experts at kicking this can down the road, so we can’t predict the timing on this, but someday this debt bubble will burst since we’re failing to address the issue now.  That will be an extremely unpleasant experience for Americans to go through:

The Congressional Budget Office projects that new federal borrowing over the next 10 years will total $12.4 trillion and that at the end of 2028, the debt will be $28.7 trillion — 96 percent of gross domestic product, up from 39 percent in 2008. But the CBO is required to pretend that Congress will not make matters worse. Its projections must assume the continuation of current law. So, the CBO must assume that the caps on defense and nondefense appropriations imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011 will be enforced in 2020 and 2021. But those for 2018 and 2019 have just been discarded. How likely is a reversion to disagreeable discipline? The CBO must also assume that Congress meant what it said (to cram a spending bill under parliamentary rules) about cuts contained in the new tax law expiring after 2025. Some legislators want to make those cuts permanent immediately. The American Enterprise Institute’s James Capretta says of last year’s CBO projection that the federal debt would reach 150 percent of GDP by 2047: Discard the mandatory fictions and that level is reached much sooner.

More numbers on our escalating wage/wealth gaps are seen in the-median-amazon-employees-salary-is-dollar28000-jeff-bezos-makes-more-than-that-in-10-seconds (those numbers are just plain crazy).  There’s no doubt fundamental changes to our economic system are needed, when roughly half the working population are barely scraping by living paycheck-to-paycheck.  The urgency keeps rising looking ahead as automation wipes out lots of jobs.  Hopefully we find a way to fix the capitalist model before we fall into something closer to socialism.  I have real doubts concepts like universal basic income can work effectively, being another big government program in this era of already rising deficits, although Zuckerberg’s old college roommate is all for it: facebook-co-founder-chris-hughes-wants-universal-basic-income.  Here is the beginning to the article markets/will-universal-income-ever-work:

The idea of a guaranteed basic income has been around for centuries and in contemporary times has drawn support from as wide-ranging figures as The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Richard Nixon. The idea has become more popular in recent years thanks to Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, both who say automation is changing the traditional employment model. “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot could not do better,” said Musk at the 2017 World Government Summit in justifying the need for a basic income. The idea has drawn interest around the world, with various countries such as Canada and India, among others, conducting experiments on how a free fixed amount of money granted to people will affect economies. Enter Finland. The Nordic country already known for its government’s heavy investments in education and quality of life for its citizens, announced recently it will not extend its two-year-long basic income test program when it expires this December. Through the program, 2,000 unemployed residents between 25 and 58 years of age received around $670 a month; the announcement signals how the measure was never a favorite of the conservative government.

Guns & Water

In other recent articles, Parkland students have a right to be angry after watching Trump’s act on display in front of the NRA, with one student correctly calling him a professional liar, as seen in parkland-student-rips-trump-over-nra-speech-hes-a-professional-liar.  Trump did make a number of inflammatory & ridiculous statements in front of the NRA, including this one: anger-france-over-trump-comments-bataclan-attacks.  And as Trump’s bombasts to his base keep getting more asinine, we also see these trends on shootings are not good: fbi-more-active-shooters-in-2017-than-any-other-year-on-record.  On an unrelated topic, water infrastructure should be an international priority clean-water-is-essential-to-health-care-around-the-globe.  And the southwestern U.S. has water troubles ahead: the-water-war-that-will-decide-the-fate-of-1-in-8-americans.  Plus keep these guys out of here: Illinois-seeks-talks-on-keeping-Asian-carp-from-Great-Lakes.

Midterms

The GOP is being squeezed heading into the midterms, with an energetic Dem base looking for a blue wave republicans-whose-jobs-once-seemed-safe-are-struggling-for-a-2018-survival-strategy, while being saddled with the onerous reputation of a party controlled by Trump & shifted way to the far-right rightward-tilt-of-gop-primaries-worry-some-republicans.  And they’re not running on much: what-exactly-are-republicans-running-on & see Instead-of-running-on-the-GOP-tax-cut-Republicans-in-tough-races-run-from-it.  And some shouldn’t even be running: why-don-blankenship-is-more-dangerous-for-the-gop-than-todd-akin-sharron-angle-and-roy-moore & also gop-senator-its-not-that-blankenship-cant-win-its-that-he-shouldnt-win.  And some of these races are flat-out nuts: most-shocking-gop-nastiest-primary.  And this fear is real, not just the House: republican-fears-about-holding-the-senate-start-to-sink-in.  Even rural folks may turn against the GOP: donald-trump-elections-farmers-rural-voters.  All the while the Russian menace looms: midterms-approach-and-foreign-interference-looms-just-how-screwed-america.  Also see this article: juan-williams-trumps-useful-idiots.

Deportations

When I allude to Trump, his echo & his base as the evil empire, here’s yet another example with forced deportations.  Such recent moves by this prez are simply heartless, using xenophobic attitudes in feeding red meat to the base.  What other purpose could it possibly serve to kick out people who’ve been contributing members of American society for decades & raised families here, sending them back to an unstable country they no longer know or have a place in, literally like leading the lambs to the slaughter in a terrifyingly dangerous country.  Please read the details in the link tps-honduras-cancel-trump-temporary-protected-status & also trump-administration-could-send-57000-hondurans-to-one-of-the-worlds-most-dangerous-places.  And inside another link trump-is-manufacturing-an-immigration-crisis-heres-why-that-helps-him are these excerpts:

President Trump has said that the group of migrants that recently made its way from Central America to the United States symbolizes out-of-control immigration, lawlessness and violence besetting the country. “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming,” he tweeted last month . This week , he added : “The migrant ‘caravan’ that is openly defying our border shows how weak & ineffective U.S. immigration laws are.” The facts suggest the opposite. Last year, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report, illegal cross-border migration was at its lowest level on record.

 

Trump, of course, claims that this drop is the result of his policies. Consider this boast from a State of the Union address, that the administration had put “more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history” and had cut “illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.” The problem with crediting Trump, however, is that this was the State of the Union delivered in February 2013 — and that the president making the speech was Barack Obama. The decline in illegal immigration has been a two-decade trend. Over that time, the number of Border Patrol apprehensions along the southern border has dropped by about 80 percent, from 1.6 million in 2000 to 300,000 in 2017. As for Mexican migration, even before Trump’s rise, more Mexicans were leaving the United States than entering. According to a Pew Research Center study, from 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including children born in the United States) went back to their home country, while 870,000 arrived here.

 

As for that caravan, the more than 1,100 migrants largely from Central America fleeing poverty, gang violence and repression banded together for safety. They are a peaceful group of mostly women and children. Many will probably end up living in Mexico. A small number, about 200, are expected to apply for asylumin the United States, and past admission rates suggest that only a quarter will be accepted. That is the reality of the supposedly menacing caravan that Trump conjures up. And yet, Trump is unrelenting in his attacks on these destitute, defenseless people. He demonizes them, describing them as threats to the United States, symbols of the lawlessness and violence that supposedly pervade the country. (In fact, violent crime has dropped by 66 percent since the early 1990s.)

 

In a midterm, in which it is crucial to bring out your most ardent supporters, nothing will work as well as immigration. (Though do not be surprised if Trump also picks a few fights with black athletes or victims of police violence in the coming months.) A study published last week by the National Academy of Sciences finds that Trump voters in the 2016 election were motivated less by economic anxiety and more by status anxiety — fears of waning power and status in a changing country. And an earlier analysis by the Public Religion Research Institute had come to a similar conclusion, highlighting “fears about cultural displacement” as the key to understanding the motivations of white, working-class Trump voters. Trump may not read academic studies, but he clearly understands in his gut what stirs his base. And he is determined to inflame these fears regardless of the facts or the effect it will have on the country.

John McCain

We can’t really blame him: john-mccain-tells-close-friends-he-doesnt-want-trump-at-his-funeral.  There were just two things that disappointed me about McCain’s 2008 campaign….but they were whoppers!  Not fully understanding the wasteland that had become of the industrial heartland, he said back then he was the biggest free trader you’ll ever see (see section above on lost manufacturing jobs).  And of course, the other big mistake was unleashing this Frankenstein monster: mccain-i-regret-picking-palin-as-my-vice-presidential-nominee.  But we all make mistakes & doesn’t take away from through it all, John McCain is a true American hero.  Of course, Trumpeters who are smitten by every word Trump says, may remember Trump’s words when he opened his presidential campaign, that McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured, & Trump likes people who weren’t captured.  Consequently, I personally find Trumpeters not just delusional, but basically jerks: mccains-critiques-of-trump-have-presidents-supporters-angry-and-firing-back.

Let me speak directly to the Trump base.  To those Trump worshippers who still hold it against John McCain that he refused to become a fellow-worshipper, let me just say this to you about those Trump “captured” comments although you don’t want to hear it….Trump is a true jackass!  And it’s hard for me to understand or respect those of you who still support someone who constantly makes such vile/insulting statements.  At whatever point of McCain’s passing when we honor this American hero who had lived through captivity & served his country honorably in combat & Congress, I sense you Trumpeters out there won’t pay the same respect to this great statesman.  But in time I hope & pray with the benefit of hindsight, you’ll come to a new understanding on the right side of history, where John McCain will always be remembered as a great American, while the leader you currently worship through the accumulation of this president’s many personal travails lacking human values, will go down in disgrace: stfu-trumpites-mccain-is-50-times-the-person-youll-ever-be

Those of you who’ve come to dislike McCain simply have irrational hate in your hearts, which buying into your tribal grievances & vengeances have come about from accepting the false vitriolic rhetoric constantly spewing from Trump & his echo, & in doing so you’ve not only lost your values & reasoning, perhaps you’ve also lost your souls.  The somber sentence in this link mccain-in-new-audiobook-maybe-ill-be-gone-before-you-hear-this reminds me of the MLK speech shortly before his death, when he said he might not get to the promised land with us.  See this article john-mccain-isnt-the-ideal-messenger-hes-the-ideal-message & excerpts below from us/politics/john-mccain-arizona.html, where McCain reflects back on his life & reminisces with old friends.  He’s also very concerned for our country:

When former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to Senator John McCain’s Arizona ranch last Sunday to spend a few hours with his ailing friend, the two reminisced about the “crazy senators” they had served with, the overseas trips they took together for decades and the friendship Mr. McCain forged with Mr. Biden’s two sons. But the conversation on the sun-splashed deck off Mr. McCain’s bedroom was not all nostalgia. “Here John knows he’s in a very, very, very precarious situation, and yet he’s still concerned about the state of the country,” Mr. Biden said in an interview. “We talked about how our international reputation is being damaged and we talked about the need for people to stand up and speak out.”

 

Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill, were there last weekend; Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican, and his wife, Cheryl, visited Friday; other colleagues are set to come this week and his seven children are there as often as they can. The phone calls have been even more frequent: Former President George W. Bush checked in last week, telling Mr. McCain the country is missing him. In a visit on the deck earlier this year, Mr. Flake said he and Mr. McCain recalled how in the 1980s the legendary former Arizona congressman Morris Udall, a Democrat, had taken the newly elected Mr. McCain under his wing despite their differences in party. “It was the two of us lamenting the loss of the politics of the past,” Mr. Flake said.

 

In the book, Mr. McCain scorns Mr. Trump’s seeming admiration for autocrats and disdain for refugees. “He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes,” he writes of the president. “The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.” Yet many in Mr. McCain’s own party believe that, by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, he bears at least a small measure of blame for unleashing the forces of grievance politics and nativism within the Republican Party.

 

“The Senate is changing just like the country is changing,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, who is Mr. McCain’s closest friend in the chamber. “But Washington now reflects what’s going on in the country, rather than leading it.” Another McCain protégée, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democrat, said she treasured how Mr. McCain treated her when they went on the congressional delegation trips he loves and foreign leaders would attempt to recognize the male lawmakers before her.

 

Mr. Biden said he was struck by how solicitous Mr. McCain was of him, inquiring about how he coped with the loss of his son Beau to brain cancer. Yet the former vice president said he was the one who hoped to impart a message. I wanted to let him know how much I love him and how much he matters to me and how much I admire his integrity and his courage,” Mr. Biden said. Then he became more succinct. “I wanted to see my friend,” he said.

I Don’t Believe You….

A more modern song, I know of the singer but not this song.  But it should be what we all think of Trump’s words, since he’s lost all credibility & we just don’t believe him….

john mccain with pink

(Click on image for full video)