Let's Fix This Country
ethics

For the Trump Family, Neither Laws Nor Morals Seem to Apply

Richard Nixon famously said, "I am not a crook". With Donald Trump, we have a president who cannot say that. Neither can his eldest sons and daughter.

After a 20-month investigation, the New York attorney general filed suit in mid-June against the foursome for alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at the
president’s personal charity, the Trump Foundation, misappropriating its funds — mostly other people’s money, say tax records — to pay business and personal expenses and even presidential campaign bills. We dutifully say "alleged", but this case is built on the books and bank records of the "charity" so the defense will find an alternate truth hard to come by.

The foundation was so questionable a charity that its board of directors hadn't met in 19 years and its treasurer was surprised to hear that he held that office. Trump himself hasn't contributed anything to the fund in 10 years.

Charitable foundations are required by law to disperse their funds for the public good. Yet twice, the suit tells us, did Donald Trump use the non-profit foundation's money to settle legal disputes of his for-profit businesses. The foundation paid $32,000 to a real estate management company covering what the Trump business organization…

democracy

By the People, For the People? But We Don’t Seem to be Getting the Breaks

Corporations, though, are doing just fine

We like to boast that we are a free people, and for the most part we are. But the pithy warning that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" may not have been passed on to new generations all that successfully because they don't seem to notice the many ways congress, the courts, the president are finding ways to put the cuffs on individual freedom and hand the keys to corporations.

Donald Trump won the presidency with pledges to help working-class Americans
You'd think there's a finger on the scale.

— the "forgotten men and women" who have seen themselves stranded economically while the wealthy reap all the gains — yet we watch the paradox of the many actions of the Trump administration, the Republican-controlled Congress and the Supreme Court that steadily squeeze the rights and future of we the people. Here's a rundown:

you're on your own

In May the conservatives on the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that companies can require employees to submit to arbitration in wage disputes and can deny their right to band together in class action suits. The latter ban on its own would have left employees to take on corporations as individuals, one-by-one, having to bear unaffordable legal expenses singly instead of as a group. The former, forced arbitration, could affect some 25 million workers under contract and an untold number of current employees whom corporations might now require to sign away their rights if they want to keep their…

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foreign affairs

We Are Losing Badly to China

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, closing the southern border against "rapists and thieves" and closing the trade gap with China who have "taken advantage of us like no one in history" was uppermost in the pledges he made to his supporters.

China poses threats to the United States far greater than trade — see later — but the President and his administration are now in the thick of trade negotiations
and Mr. Trump is finding that the obverse of "Trade wars are easy to win", as he has said, is proving true.

His original plan was simplistic. He would slap a 45% tariff on all Chinese imports as if China would have no recourse but to meekly accept punishment for years of exploiting us. But in his first year as president, the subject of trade could hardly be broached with China. We needed their help dealing with Kim Kong-un. Not until this January did the president make a move, imposing tariffs on washing machines and solar panels in response to the pleas of Whirlpool and two U.S.-based but foreign-owned and already bankrupt panel producers. Solar panel manufacturing was long lost to China through inaction of the Bush and Obama administrations. The impact of the 30% more costly solar panels will be the cancelled contracts in the follow-on installation… Read More »

elections

Will the Supreme Court Finally Rid Us of Gerrymandering?

It is certainly strange in this putatively representative democracy that a corrosive practice just the opposite has been allowed since almost the nation's birth. Gerrymandering — the mapping of
The original gerrymander, from the
Boston Gazette of 26 March 1812,
named after Governor Elbridge Gerry
for signing a bill that redistricted
Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic
party. It was thought to look
like a salamander.

electoral districts so as to all but guarantee outcomes — goes on and on. It dates from 1812.

In June or before, the Supreme Court is expected to have its say on whether a couple of states — Wisconsin and Maryland — have gone too far. The Court has several times in the past stepped in to halt mapping that is…

economy

Pay Everyone a Basic Income? Why Is This Now a Hot Topic?

It's a seemingly nutty idea that only bleeding heart liberals could have come up with, right? Except Milton Friedman once proposed it. C'mon, it must come from all those Marxists at universities. Except so did Richard Nixon advance the idea. Nixon saw a guaranteed income as a cure for welfare. Friedman, the late libertarian economist, favored it to end the intrusiveness of the welfare state, although preferring diminished amounts at higher income levels.

And half a century later, there's Mark Zuckerberg proposing a
universal basic income in his commencement address at Harvard. Elon Musk thinks it will become a necessity.

The idea of paying everyone a basic…

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