Dream or Nightmare, It Depends on Who You Ask…And the chasms are widening.  Here in Part 3 with articles to conclude our week from the newsfeeds, we mostly focus on the economy.  The basic problem with our economic system is way too many Americans are working hard but are broke, with no real prospects for the future.  It’s been a problem decades in the making, yet political & business leadership have largely avoided the issue & failed to develop viable solutions.  We now have a president who essentially only serves the rich & powerful, so as the working middle class we need to fight back against crony capitalism & this oligarchy that has confiscated the American capitalist system.  Despite some currently thriving, in essence, the rigged system has stolen the American Dream from many millions of Americans.
Dem politicians & supporters, plus all us never-Trumpers, should be aggressive in calling out Trump’s egregiously incompetent, irresponsible, unethical & corrupt leadership, plus fervently promote the particular & numerous policy positions Dems advocate that are favored by the majority of the American people.  Along with a worthy Dem nominee, that should be enough to displace Trump in the 2020 election if impeachment doesn’t do it first.  As Americans we’d better hope so, since I shudder to think the kind of carnage 4 more years of Trump would bring.  We certainly encourage you to share this info, since it’s our civic duty to do our part in removing this menace.  So let’s dive into the articles we found on the newsfeeds, & as always, we conclude our week with our selected song at the bottom.


It Just Feels Bad
And it’s gotten progressively worse for decades as the spoils keep going to the very top.  See this entire article from businessinsider.com/unemployment-stock-market-whats-wrong-with-us-economy:

The economy sounds good, but it feels bad. And it’s because the most common measures Americans use to monitor its health — the stock market and unemployment numbers — aren’t enough to tell us what’s deeply wrong with the country. With numbers like the ones we’re seeing, Americans should be optimistic about the future. Unemployment is at record lows, and the stock market is at record highs. But we’re not. Americans are broadly pessimistic about what’s coming next, the Pew Research Center found earlier this year. Increasingly, they believe that our political and economic systems work only for those with power.

This is because neither the stock market nor employment data captures what’s ailing most American families: rising costs for critical, necessary items. Meanwhile, despite wages eking up a little bit since the financial crisis, adjusted for inflation, Americans haven’t gotten a significant raise since 1999. This is why Americans are drowning in debt: We have $1.6 trillion in student debt; $1.4 trillion in auto-loan debt, now held by 35% of Americans, up from 20% in 1999; and a record $13.3 trillion in consumer debt as of the end of 2018.

As for the stock market, most people aren’t involved. Only a little over half of American families owned a single stock in 2018. So while it’s often a useful measure to understand what’s going on with corporates or specific industries, it’s not useful for understanding how much money is in America’s wallet. Employment numbers don’t tell you anything about that. Having a job doesn’t mean as much as it used to because wages simply don’t cover the same costs they used to. Meanwhile, since 1989 the share of wealth held by the top 1% of households has exploded, while for the bottom half things have frozen in time, according to the Federal Reserve.

Corporate profits are at record highs. Companies just got a massive tax cut, and instead of investing in equipment or higher wages, they have, for a variety of reasons — including uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump’s trade war — bought back their own stock at a record rate. Low interest rates are allowing them to borrow for cheaper than ever too, so they’re awash with cash. The Trump administration may point to unemployment and the stock market to crow about this economy, but if you don’t feel like you’re sharing in the wealth, you’re not crazy. Things just aren’t working the same for everyone.

The good news is that no one has to put up with this. Numerous bad policy decisions, as well as lax enforcement around corporate power, led us to this moment. We can reverse course, but we have to start thinking about the economy the right way and paying attention to the right numbers to start heading in the right direction. When we talk about wages, we should talk about where they’ve gone since the 1970s, not the financial crisis. We should be working on increasing the number of Americans who make a living wage, not just any wage. Otherwise, you’re not seeing how this economy really works.


The Rules No Longer Work for Working Stiffs, Otherwise Known as Baloney
That’s why the American Dream for many is a nightmare.  This is fixable if we put our collective minds to it, but too many powerful forces are protecting their turf & putting up smokescreens.  Check out this current American reality in the full article from rawstory.com/2019/08/this-pervasive-american-myth-is-utter-baloney:

The American dream promises that anyone can make it if they work hard enough and play by the rules. Anyone can make it by pulling themselves up by their “bootstraps.” Baloney. The truth is: In America today, your life chances depend largely on how you started – where you grew up and how much your parents earned. Everything else – whether you attend college, your chances of landing a well-paying job, even your health – hinges on this start. So as inequality of income and wealth has widened – especially along the lines of race and gender – American children born into poverty have less chance of making it. While 90% of children born in 1940 grew up to earn more than their parents, today only half of all American adults earn more than their parents did. And children born to the top 10 percent of earners are typically on track to make three times more income as adults than the children of the bottom 10 percent. The phrase “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” itself is rubbish. Its origins date back to an 18th-century fairy tale, and the phrase was originally intended as a metaphor for an impossible feat of strength. 


Other countries understand that the family you’re born into as well as the social safety nets and social springboards you have access to play large roles. Children born poor in Canada, Denmark, or the United Kingdom – nations without America’s degree of inequality, nations which provide strong social safety nets and public investments – have a greater chance of economic success than children born poor in America. Individuals in those countries are blamed less for their personal failures and credited less for personal successes. So, why is America still perpetuating the fallacy of the self-made individual? Because those in power want you to believe it. If everyone thinks they’re on their own, it’s easier for the powerful to dismantle unions, unravel safety nets, and slash taxes for the wealthy. It’s in their interest to keep the American Dream deeply rooted in our psyche – the assumption that you determine your destiny. So we don’t demand reforms that are necessary – paid family and medical leave, for example, or early childhood education, accessible childcare, and policies that lift every family out of poverty. Let’s stop perpetuating this myth of the self-made individual. And let’s start rebuilding the American dream by creating opportunities for all, not just those who are already wealthy, privileged, and well-connected.


Labor Unions

Instead of all those high-paying union jobs that once could support families, we’ve transitioned over to predominately low-paying service jobs: businessinsider.com/i-worked-three-low-wage-jobs-prize-efficiency-over-humanity.  I admit to being extremely anti-union 4 decades ago, when they were so adversarial, greedy & corrupt, but circumstances have dramatically changed with the pendulum swinging notably against workers.  That point is brought home in excerpts from nytimes.com/2019/08/10/opinion/sunday/labor-unions.html:

President Trump talks a good game about helping American workers but has pursued arguably the most anti-labor agenda of any modern president. Now he has doubled down by choosing for secretary of labor a corporate lawyer who has spent his career battling workers. This is a bit like nominating Typhoid Mary to be health secretary. The official mission of the Labor Department emphasizes the promotion of “the welfare of the wage earners,” but Trump’s mission has been to promote the exploitation of wage earners. So Eugene Scalia is a perfect fit. Scalia, a son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who has fought unions on behalf of Walmart and other companies, is a talented and experienced litigator who upon assuming office will be in a position to disembowel labor. There’s a larger issue: The relentless assault on labor has gained ground partly because, over the last half-century, many Americans — me included — became too disdainful of unions. It was common to scorn union leaders as corrupt Luddites who used ridiculous work rules to block modernization and undermine America’s economic competitiveness.


There’s something to those critiques. Yet it’s now clear that the collapse of unions — the share of employees belonging to unions has plunged to 10 percent in 2018 from 35 percent in the mid-1950s — has been accompanied by a rise of unchecked corporate power, a surge in income inequality and a decline in the well-being of working Americans. For all their shortcomings, unions midwifed the birth of the middle class in the United States. The period of greatest union strength from the late 1940s through the 1950s was the time when economic growth was particularly robust and broadly shared. Most studies find that at least one-fifth of the rise in income inequality in the United States is attributable to the decline of labor unions. Unions were also a formidable political force, and it’s perhaps not a surprise that their enfeebling has been accompanied by a rise in far-right policies that subsidize the wealthy, punish the working poor and exacerbate the income gap.


“Labor unions, and their ability to create a powerful collective voice for workers, played a huge role in building the world’s largest, richest middle class,” notes Steven Greenhouse in his superb, important and eminently readable new book about the labor movement, “Beaten Down, Worked Up.” “Unions also played a crucial role,” Greenhouse adds, “in achieving many things that most Americans now take for granted: the eight-hour workday, employer-backed health coverage, paid vacations, paid sick days, safe workplaces. Indeed, unions were the major force in ending sweatshops, making coal mines safer, and eliminating many of the worst, most dangerous working conditions in the United States.” Greenhouse, who covered labor for 19 years for The Times, acknowledges all the ways in which labor unions were maddening and retrograde. But he notes that corporations run amok when no one is minding them. Union featherbedding and rigid work rules have been real problems. Yet without unions to check them, C.E.O.s engage in their own greedy featherbedding and underinvest in worker training, thus undermining America’s economic competitiveness.


The bigger picture is that America’s working class is in desperate shape. Average hourly wages are actually lower today, after inflation, than they were in 1973, and the bottom 90 percent of Americans have seen incomes grow more slowly than the overall economy over the last four decades. The reasons are complex, but one is the decline of unions — for unions benefit not only their own members but also raise wage levels for workers generally. So I’ve come to believe that we need stronger private-sector unions — yet the Trump administration continues to fight them. Greenhouse notes that nearly 20 percent of rank-and-file union activists are fired during organizing drives, because the penalties for doing so are so weak: A corporation may eventually be fined $5,000 or $10,000 for such a wrongful dismissal, but that is a negligible cost of doing business if it averts unionization. That’s why we need a secretary of labor who cares about laborers. Trump campaigned in 2016 as a voice for forgotten workers, but he consistently sides with large corporations against workers, and his nomination of Scalia would amplify the sad and damaging war on unions.


More Economic Realities

This is where the GOP needs to go, embracing a constructive type of populism rather than the irrational, bombastic, false populism defined by Trump:
There are some definitive signs of an economic slowdown:

Which might actually be a blessing in disguise:
If this Trumpian loose screw says this about the WSJ, what must he think of the NYT or WaPo?:
Even if we’re not entering a recession, this economy is still no great shakes:
Yep, we’re seeing lackluster growth despite an artificially-juiced economy:
The buck stops somewhere else as Trump always blames others:
People can hardly afford a home:

Health Care

The biggest problem with the American healthcare system…skyrocketing costs!:
For now, it just makes sense to offer a sensible public option without taking away private plans.  In time the best plans will keep emerging/evolving based on merit & value:
The Dem debate over the plans:
Would you trust any Trumpcare plan when & if he comes out with one?  Not based on what we’ve seen so far:
Yes, we do need to fix it, since our current system is broken:
Trade Wars
China talks not making much progress:
China seems prepared to wait it out with Trump:
It could be a major component to sparking recession:
Farmers are taking the brunt of it:
The most dangerous economic moment in a decade:

It could launch a global recession:
No Mr. Trump, trade wars are not good or easy to win:

Without knowledgeable staff which he doesn’t listen to anyway, a clueless president advances unworkable & counterproductive policies:
How can we trust Trump on a new China trade deal when he didn’t fix NAFTA?  The late Ross Perot was absolutely correct about that giant sucking sound, as workers keep losing jobs &/or wages when governmental policies keep favoring the large multinationals:
Short Bits
Many among the working class have given up on politicians, because they sense politicians have given up on them:
More older Americans than ever going broke:
The conservative base have been frustrated too, but like puppets they’ve been trained to blame the wrong scapegoats:

Dereliction of duty in an assortment of ways:
If this story is accurate, it’s one of the few initiatives we can give kudos to the prez:

The company of poison went to great lengths to smear & silence their critics, since they wanted the right to keep poisoning us:
Come home to the shores of the Great Lakes:
And save the Great Lakes from an invasive species by making the necessary investments now:
Final Chapter in the Life of a Slimeball
It does seem suspicious Epstein would not have been under constant suicide watch after apparently trying to commit suicide just last month.  Trump as the master conspiracy theorist was quick to jump in on spreading disinformation about the Epstein death, going back to the radical right’s favorite pastime, dredging up crazy Clinton conspiracies.  From there the fever swamp of echo sources & Russian bots spread the nonsense.  It’s just more proof we have a liar-in-chief inside the White House backed by his propaganda machine, yet incredibly enough, doting fools believe this stuff.  Take a comedy break with this spoof inside newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/fox-new-evidence-hillary-killed-lincoln.
Be that as it may, good riddance to a perverted scumbag.  Although prosecutors won’t have the benefit of potentially hearing Epstein’s testimony, still the investigation goes on.  There’s the civil case, plus a criminal conspiracy probe into the recruiters & rapists of underage girls, which hordes of documents & coming testimonies from the now adult women should help clear things up.  Many rich & powerful men will be exposed:

This is Not America, We are Better than this!
Lots of articles are listed below in the fallout to last weekend’s horrific shootings, as our greatest danger from terrorists at this point is internal.  These articles include how our own president has helped inspire this white nationalist terrorism, plus his leadership (or lack thereof) in his perplexing actions following the tragedies.  If there was ever a week that clarified the type of hate & terror unleashed on our nation, & the desperate need to find a new leader, this was the week it came into clear focus.  Just check out these many link titles:


Again I Say this is America & We’re Better than this
As Trump deports meat workers in Mississippi who had otherwise not committed any crimes other than just being here, his own business employs illegal immigrants as a matter of course.  So why are the workers penalized instead of the business owners?  Plus we would think the efforts of ICE are better spent on true threats like MS-13 gang members instead of terrifying & ripping families apart.  At the core of his devious heart, our prez seems to have a thing for separating terrified kids from their families:

It Will Follow the Rain

I only know of this folk song because I saw it repeatedly on a car commercial.  I would respectfully like to add some verses to the song based on recent news events which are happening right here in America.  Here goes…
Have you ever seen the slaughter of groups of startled people,
being gunned down by automatic rifle fire,
with a major political party & their leader doing nothing to stop it,
yes it will follow the rain, I said oh my friend,
it will follow the rain.
Have you ever seen a baby taken from their parent’s arms,
where separation for the terrified family can now begin,
with a major political party & their leader doing nothing to stop it,
yes it will follow the rain, I said oh my friend,
it will follow the rain.
Have you ever seen a foreign enemy attack our democracy,
with our own leaders denying, lying & covering it all up,

with a major political party & their leader doing nothing to stop it,
yes it will follow the rain, I said oh my friend,
it will follow the rain.
Have you ever seen the workers working hard & losing ground,
as their nameless faceless corporations rake in all the dough,

with a major political party & their leader doing nothing to stop it,
yes it will follow the rain, I said oh my friend,
it will follow the rain.