Monday, April 30, 2018


I often receive interesting comments and correspondence from people who read my articles in the Bakersfield Californian, or see my on-air commentary on Bakersfield's KGET 17 News. After doing one of my regular segments on 17 News several weeks ago - where I made it clear that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan isn't so much retiring as leaving a sinking ship - I received this from one viewer.

As you can imagine I had plenty of thoughts on the topic. First, while I called Donald Trump "Donald" I did not refer to him as "The Donald." My other thought was to simply ignore the writer, "Greg." Then I decided that it would be funner - and be a real public service - if I pointed out how flawed Greg's logic was by showing him how twisted and inconsistent his set of principles really are. So I responded with this ...


I'm posting this exchange from two weeks ago because we're now watching Trump's supporters whine and bemoan the lack of decorum over comments made by a paid professional comedian at this past weekend's White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD). The dinner is supposed to be a roast, where reporters and others get a good laugh as comedians and invited speakers take a light hearted jab at the people they cover in our political world.

This past weekend Michelle Wolf went after the Trump administration, and really took it to Trump's propaganda chief (spokesperson), Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Now keep in mind that this is an administration that regularly covers for a man who "dog-whistled" his way into the White House by getting his base riled up over President Obama's birth certificate, and has gone after Mexicans, Muslims, women, and just about anyone who Donald Trump doesn't think deserves his respect.

In simpler terms, Donald Trump has acted like a bigot and a punk throughout his presidency. His base either enjoys it, gives him a pass or, let's face it, many of them believe what Trump is saying about minority groups and women [see below].

Fortunately, a few people are already catching on to the shameless sense of indignation Trump's supporters feel because their boorish leader, and his sycophants, have been ridiculed.

Here's the point. Trump's supporters have no sense of shame, and even fewer principles.

And the Carnival Barker's act continues.

Sigh ...

- Mark

Addendum: Courtesy of Nick, we're reminded of Trump's boorish supporters, many of whom are now indignant over how the Trump administration was treated at the WHCD.


- Mark

Saturday, April 28, 2018


- Mark


The political party that put religion into our politics just fired the House chaplain. Why? It increasingly looks like he got axed because Paul Ryan didn't like being reminded to think about the poor while crafting legislation, which Father Conroy did.

And, no, "hypocrisy" is not the word (or the adjective) I would use to describe what happened here.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

You can read about the firing of the House Chaplain by clicking here.

- Mark

Friday, April 27, 2018


What are the chances the kids above are looking for information about the painting? It's possible, since this painting is not hanging in the United States. What do you think? A sign that the apocalypse is upon us, or a picture of modern research techniques?

If the kids are not looking for information, I'm just going to say this isn't on the students ...

For the record, the Rembrandt painting (1642) is called "The Night Watch" and depicts a militia company, of all things, in daylight (I don't know; ask Rembrandt). It hangs in the Rikjsmuseum in Amsterdam.

- Mark

"THERE IS NO PLANET B" ... Emmanuel Macron

Commenting on the damage being done in the name of economic growth, France's President Emmanuel Macron nailed it when he juxtaposed the immediate needs of industry and the long-term viability of our planet, commenting "there is no Planet B." President Macron added ...

Macron's comments didn't end with climate change.

Taking a swipe at the fear and vengeful ethno-nationalism that brought Donald Trump to power, President Macron warned, "Let me say we have two possible ways ahead. We can choose isolationism, withdrawal, and nationalism ... it can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears. But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse, but inflame the fears of our citizens."

In a few words, with leaders like France's Macron - and Canada's Justin Trudeau and Germany's Angela Merkel - looking out for the world's future, Donald Trump just might become an annoying footnote in history.

- Mark

Thursday, April 26, 2018


While speaking in front of the U.S. Congress President Emmanuel Macron, president of France, made it clear that he is not just another world leader. Telling the U.S. Congress there is "no Planet B," France's President Macron publicly rejected Donald Trump's position on climate change, and then challenged U.S. policy in the Middle East. He also made it abundantly clear - in what appears to be a growing global consensus - that the United States is not calling the shots under Donald Trump.

In the process, President Macron put in his claim - as Politico Magazine's Judah Grunstein put it - on the now vacant "leader of the free world" title. In what can only be called a slap in the face to Donald Trump, President Macron did it all in front of the U.S. president.

How serious is Macron's political maneuvering? Politico Magazine's Will Marshall argues that by challenging Trump directly, and by rejecting the vengeful populist-nationalism that put Trump in the White House, France's Macron has already become the leader of the free world.

Whether you believe France's President Macron is the new leader of the free world is not as important as realizing the following: Emmanuel Macron is helping to erase old left-right (worker-owner) battle lines. Shaped by 19th and 20th century industrial era ideologies, these battle lines fed nationalism, and drove our war-inspiring global politics in the 20th century.

At the same time, Macron's appealing to an emerging world populated by young, educated globalists who grew up in a world connected by technology, and managed by the first black American president. For those who don't understand what this means, know that France's socialist party took a beating in the last election. This tells us that, from an ideological perspective, new political fault lines are being drawn around the world.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump's base don't see any of this. They want America to return to a mythical past, where the colored folks knew their place and women made the sandwiches. Why embrace bullet trains and solar-wind power when Amtrak and oil can help America recapture its past?

The left-right politics and uber nationalism that dominated our 20th century may appeal to Donald Trump's base, but it confuses and confounds young and emerging elites around the world. Global leaders like France's Macron and Canada's Justin Trudeau seem to understand this, intimately.

France's Emmanuel Macron and Canada's Justin Trudeau
Keep in mind Macron's election in France was due, in part, to the country's reaction to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. The French, who bore the brunt of the global battles fought on the European continent in the 20th century, understand historical cues. Brexit and Trump represent historical messages that the world doesn't want to hear again.

The fact that Donald Trump is being embarrassed by Macron is a good thing. When you cannot see the future, and don't understand the past, being embarrassed by those who do is a good thing. Historical echoes are ugly.

President Macron laying claim to leader of the free world is also a good thing. Not only does politics abhor a vacuum, but the future should belong to those who see it. 

- Mark

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


With a majority of Americans agreeing that Donald Trump is a racist, the 60 Minutes piece that Oprah Winfrey did on lynchings in America earlier this month is both timely, and appropriate. As the 60 Minutes producers pointed out, many Americans can still be whipped up into a race-drenched frenzy on these issues. This is unfortunate since many Americans don't really understand the dynamics behind lynchings in America. This alone more than justifies the decision to show grizzly photos of African-Americans who had been lynched in America.

While the 60 Minutes piece focused on lynchings that occurred over 100 years ago, what was particularly interesting was the "lynching map" that was shared with their viewers.

No one should be surprised the vast majority of lynchings took place in the south where, for many, Jim Crow and the Black Codes were as much a part of their culture as the Bible. What stood out for me, however, was the California county that made the 60 Minutes map, Kern County (though this 1931 map suggests otherwise).

Kern County, as my regular readers know, is where I make my home. It's one of the most politically conservative counties in California. To reporters who call to inquire about the region, I often refer to our corner of the world as "Texas West" (excluding Austin, of course). Kern County also happens to be home to one of the most ardent opponents to immigration reform and DACA in Congress, House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).

To be sure, Rep. McCarthy likes to say he supports immigration reform. But this is political cover. His actions make it clear that holding out for comprehensive immigration reform - while also supporting Trump's rollback of DACA - is part of a larger stalling tactic.

The stalling tactic provides two benefits for the GOP. One benefit is tied to self-preservation. Conservatives understand millions of Latinos are both ready to become U.S. citizens, and anxious to register as Democrats (primarily because of the race-bating tied to GOP policies). The second benefit showered on Republicans is how their political base can rail against "illegals" in perpetuity. This allows the GOP to throw anyone who looks Mexican (or looks like me) into a broader suspect class. The first benefit is tied to political survival, the second feeds their base.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield)

To help legitimize his inaction, Rep. McCarthy likes to claim immigration reform must be accompanied by national security guarantees, like building a wall along our southern border (though I tried to set the record straight with Rep. McCarthy in this radio exchange). Trying to wrap national security around fear mongering, and inaction, is no accident of time, or history.

Claiming national security as one of their primary concerns in the 1960s and 1970s, conservatives in Kern County claimed - against all evidence, and common sense - that the United Farm Workers (UFW) had been infiltrated by communists. This is the excuse many Kern County farmers and political leaders used to adamantly oppose the UFW at almost every turn at the time.

From opposing the UFW's purchase of the Kern County grounds that is the current home of the National Chavez Center, to fighting virtually every initiative proposed or fought for by national civil rights icons Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, Kern County's political leaders have often found themselves on the wrong side of history, as the Robert F. Kennedy clip below illustrrates.

In the present era, we just saw Kern County's Board of Supervisors spend two years and at least $6 million to oppose a redistricting challenge filed and won by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Kern County was fighting to preserve the gerrymandered status quo, where four of five county supervisors are white males, and claim to understand and represent a county where 50 percent of the population is made up of Latinos.

While MALDEF is basking in its Feb. 2018 court victory, it's no secret that the most conservative elements of our region continue to stand on the wrong side of history, and justice.

For example, Kern County's Sheriff Donny Youngblood was recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times for his awkward comments suggesting that it costs the county less to kill a suspect than it does to put them in jail. While it's easy to see how his words were more inarticulate than deliberately malicious, they come on the heals of The Guardians year-long series which explained how Kern County was home to "America's deadliest police" in 2015.

All of this helps explains, in part, why seeing Kern County on the 60 Minutes  "lynching map" is both interesting and disturbing.

Simply put, while there have been some very progressive forces to come out of central California's Kern County - Bakersfield's Dorothy Donahoe developed California's Master Plan for state colleges and universities, while Earl Warren, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, grew up in Bakersfield - the regions broader political trajectory appears to work against it's economic development prospects, and history's broader arc of justice.

Whether it's making 60 Minutes' lynching map, being represented by a national figure who acts as a drag on comprehensive immigration reform (and other issues tied to social justice), or being on the wrong side of history when it comes to labor and the representation of Latinos, Kern County can, and must, do better.

- Mark

Monday, April 23, 2018


The Week has the goods on the impact Donald Trump's tax cuts are having on middle-class Americans. It's not good.

* While roughly $6 billion in new wages have gone to laborers, payouts to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks stands at $171 billion, and counting.

*  Adjusted (for inflation) hourly wages for blue-collar workers haven't budged since Donald Trump took office.

* New capital goods orders - which should have risen after a surge of cash, according to trickle down economics - remained stagnant after stock buybacks. What this means is new investments are not being made.

* The "tax break" for average American families is a complete non event. After the tax cuts were implemented, every two weeks about 1/3 of middle-class American families has seen either an increase or no change in their tax bill. About 22 percent have seen between 1-20 dollars in their paychecks, while 19 percent are getting a whopping 20-50 dollars more every two weeks. Check it out ...

Here's one more nugget: the meager increases we're seeing for the vast majority of Americans is actually split between two paycheck (husband-wife) households.

The verdict? Money is literally raining down on the wealthy for no other reason than Republicans felt the need to mollify and reward their base. Think about what this means. The rich aren't working harder. They're not any smarter. They're not any more innovative than they were last year. No, their new riches are the product of favorable legislation.

This is crony capitalism, plain and simple.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

- Mark


Stanley Eugene Clark, June 11, 1942 - April 12, 2018

My regular readers have probably figured out that it's been a hectic two weeks for me. Apart from going into the final stretch of our academic year, my colleague, mentor and friend Dr. Stanley Eugene "Gene" Clark passed away on April 12.  Gene is one of the reasons I'm here at CSU Bakersfield, as he was the chair of the department when I was hired. It goes without saying that Gene went beyond the norm when it comes to being a mentor and friend.

Last week we inducted Gene into CSU Bakersfield's inaugural Hall of Fame class, which he knew about but ultimately could not make. It turned out to be a rather emotional moment for me, since I made his presentation. I'll leave it at that. I will miss him.

For those of you who knew Gene, services will be held at Greenlawn Cemetery (Panama Lane), this Friday and Saturday (April 27-28). Visitation is Friday, from 4 - 8 pm. Chapel services are on Saturday, beginning at 10 am.

Greenlawn has put together a web page for Gene, where visitors can post memories and general comments. You can access that page by clicking here.

- Mark

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Do we need any more proof that Donald Trump is a lying moral degenerate? Trump just blasted out on Twitter that the people of California are unhappy revolutionaries.

What Trump ignored on his way to yet another ignorance-filled rant is that the people of California have consistently said they are pretty happy with Governor Brown. In fact, a statewide survey in November found that more than 70 percent of Democrats - and about half of the state's voters overall - want the next governor to pursue Governor Brown's agenda. This includes the majority of young voters, Latinos and those with college degrees; i.e. California's future leaders.

The moral degeneracy of Trump is made abundantly clear with his comments that California's sanctuary cities are somehow crime infested "breeding" zones. Chris Cillizza's "The Point" picked up on the reference and ran with it today.

Here's the key point to remember. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that immigration increases crime in the United States. In fact, data shows that youth born abroad are less likely than youth born in the United States to be criminally active. Focusing on the Republicans bogeyman in California, an American Law and Economics Review paper concludes that Mexican immigration has no effect on violent or property crimes (a point that was backed up by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood in our recent documentary, American Migrant Stories).

So, yeah, Donald Trump lies as easily as he breathes. The worst part is that he wraps his lies up in the morally depraved world that he lives in, and his supporters don't care.

- Mark

Monday, April 16, 2018


For those of you in the Kern County region, you won't want to miss this opportunity this Thursday (April 19 / 6 pm) to see the two candidates - Scott Spielman and Cynthia Zimmer - for Kern County District Attorney. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Department of Political Science, CSUB's Pre-Law Society, and the Political Science Club.

The event is free and open to the public.

- Mark


Is the United States slowly turning into a hateful and vindictive state? According to Newsweek, a good number of Holocaust survivors see it happening in Trump's America.

- Mark

Friday, April 13, 2018


The article below was written by Charles Blow, of the NY Times. It deserves to be read and shared widely.

During the early days of the Obama administration, I did a few appearances on “Fox & Friends.”
The conversations were predictably shallow, tilted and exploitive. The hosts had a particular knack for asking the idiotic with chipper earnestness, spewing venom through simpering smiles. There was, I felt, maleficence at work with a pretense of positivity.
I knew well that I was swimming in a shallow intellectual pool, and yet I told myself that I was doing yeoman’s work, doing my small part to try and correct misinformation and to reach those lost in Fox’s fog.
But I soon discovered that the show, and indeed the network, was beyond redemption.
I was simply being used to help give the show the appearance of fairness, impartiality and legitimacy, when it was anything but.

Appearing on Fox, I became part of the disinformation machine rather than hobbling it. So, I cut ties, stopped responding to their requests and stopped the appearances.

I never saw the show as anything more than a carnival, a propaganda tool for conservatives. I would never have thought that the show’s hosts would emerge as the most influential in American media, as the website Mediaite dubbed them.
This show, with its kindergarten-level intellectual capacity, moved from parroting conservative policies to constructing presidential priorities. “Fox & Friends” has essentially become Donald Trump’s daily briefing.
Countless media outlets have written and talked about the strangely intense connection between Trump and the show.
As The Guardian put it, “The show manages to serve as a court sycophant, whispering in the ear of the king, criticizing his perceived enemies and fluffing his feathers.”

Politico Magazine concurred, saying the show “feels intentionally designed for Trump himself — a three-hour, high-definition ego fix.”
And the impact that the show is having on Trump is undeniable. Dan Snow, a master’s student at the University of Chicago, analyzed the president’s tweets and found that they are highly concentrated in the hours when the show is on.
As Politico wrote, Trump is “live-tweeting” Fox’s coverage. Vox noted that at times he seems to be tweeting precisely what he sees on the show, sometimes even using their exact language.
Indeed, a February analysis by The Washington Post found that of all the things that Trump has tweeted about since his inauguration, “Fox & Friends” ranked third, behind only Obama and tax cuts.
In fact, Trump had tweeted about the show roughly twice as often as about the stock market and roughly three times more often than about the border wall.
Trump’s Fox fixation isn’t benign or inconsequential — because, like him, the network has an aversion to the truth.
According to PunditFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times and The Poynter Institute that checks the accuracy of claims made by pundits, of the statements on Fox that have been fact-checked, only 10 percent were rated true, while a full 60 percent were rated either mostly false, false or “pants on fire,” the worst possible rating.
The site did not do a separate analysis confined to “Fox & Friends,” but it has done three fact checks each on two of the show’s co-hosts: Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy ...

You can access the rest of the article by clicking here.

- Mark


For the specifics on the FBI's very "lawful" raid on the office of Donald Trump's lawyer click here.

- Mark

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Paul Ryan is stepping down as Speaker of the House. Among the hopefuls to replace him include Bakersfield's own Kevin McCarthy. I appeared on KGET 17 News' 5 pm segment to discuss the developments. The primary points I made include:

* If Trump wants a "Yes Man" as Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is his man. This is not simply a matter of agreeing on policy matters. Rep. McCarthy has been deferential to the point of being obsequious (there is a thing called separation of powers).

* Rep. McCarthy will do nothing to fix or ameliorate the economic damage Donald Trump is doing in the area of trade in general, or with looming currency battles, tariff wars and trillion dollar deficits in specific.

* Rep. Paul Ryan is not leaving because of family concerns. He's leaving a sinking ship. Rep. Ryan can see the disaster coming down the pike with SS Trump's policies now poised to spread throughout the economy (strangely, Cathy Abernathy seemed to believe the disaster I was referring to was tied to the possibility of the GOP losing the House; I was speaking about the economic disaster coming around the corner from the GOP's tax and trade policies). 

For our full discussion click here, or you can click on the clip below.

- Mark


So Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has joined the growing list of retiring Republican members of Congress. Let's be clear here. It has nothing to do with Paul Ryan accomplishing his goal of tax reform, as he claims. It also has nothing do with creating an America that's more united and poised to move forward (that would be a lie).

Paul Ryan's retirement has everything to do with his realization that the mess he's helped create cannot be fixed by our current Republican-led Congress, or by the man he helped support and elect, Donald Trump.

With 24 Republicans announcing their retirements - the most since 1973 - Ryan's retirement is akin to rats leaving a sinking ship. Call it the SS Trump.

But there's more to this story.

Paul Ryan also understands the economy and SS Trump are heading towards another market busting iceberg. This is no show stealing headline. It's going to happen.

Virtually every derivative and debt-driven puzzle piece that was in place before the market crashed in 2008 is either in place or falling into place as I type these words. Speaker Ryan's mindless deregulation policies, applied to a mythical free market system that only Republicans seem to see, only serve to speed up these developments (more on this in a later post).

As for the immediate future, who's going to be the next Speaker of the House?

One of the front runners is Bakersfield's own Kevin McCarthy. The positive spin on this is that he's become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. He even picks out and hand delivers Trump's favorite candies (or has his staff pick them out).

Unfortunately, the downside is Rep. McCarthy has become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. Trump is fast becoming a national liability, and Kevin enables the worst tendencies of an unbalanced and morally corrupt man who will be judged harshly by history. Rep. McCarthy will do nothing to slow Trump down.

The real problem, however, is that when it comes to focusing on big picture national priorities Rep. McCarthy is MIA. If we're being blunt - and that's what this is about - Rep. McCarthy has become something of a party hack. You wouldn't know that if you were to ask his supporters here in Bakersfield, or Kern County. They absolutely adore him. And why not? Kevin does retail politics very well. He's actually a pleasant person to speak with.

But even his supporters will tell you (or at least they tell me) that he's not a deep thinker, and that he's in over his head.

As an example, as I pointed out in our local paper, the Bakersfield Californian, Rep. McCarthy played a leading role in the congressional incompetence that led to the brief government shutdown. In the process he also helped set the groundwork for gridlock on DACA and immigration by giving Donald Trump the green light to use fear and national security as an excuse to stall immigration reform. This serves no purpose other than to harm the most vulnerable of our communities, while feeding a national paranoia about foreigners.

While this promotes the electoral goals of the GOP, it's toxic for our nation.

But Kevin's inability to focus on what's good for the nation isn't just tied to his shortcomings on issues like DACA and immigration. Kevin hasn't always had the best interests of our region at the top of his list while in Congress (I will be writing about these in the future).

I'll have more to say about all of this at a later date. For the moment, I'll be discussing these issues and more tonight, at 5 pm. I'll be on KGET's 17 News, with Cathy Abernathy.

If you're in the Kern County region I hope you tune in.

- Mark

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


The FBI raided the Rockefeller Center office of Donald J. Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, early Monday morning. The FBI seized business records, emails and other documents, including articles related to a payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. As expected Trump went on the attack, claiming that the FBI's action was part of a larger 'witch hunt' that effectively amounted to an attack on the nation.

According to the NY Times, Trump "lashed out" in "an extraordinarily angry response." He even accused his own Justice Department of breaking in to Michael Cohen's office.

Let's keep in mind that the warrant was signed off by U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is not only a Republican but is on record donating to Trump's campaign. He was also appointed to his current post by Donald Trump.

To help us understand what's behind the warrant, defense attorney and retired JAG office (Marine Corps), David Torres offered a few comments on his FB page that helps explain what's happening. I've synopsized and put into bullet points some of the key points below.
* The search warrant (SW) was signed by a Judge in the Southern District of New York.
* The US Attorney who prepared the affidavit for the SW was appointed by DJT. The Special Prosecutor is a Republican. His boss, Rod J. Rosenstein, is also a Republican.
* Before a SW can be executed, the person seeking the SW - the US Attorney for the NY District - must prepare a thorough affidavit of probable cause stating with specificity the items of evidence they expect to locate at a certain location.
* The investigating officer has to state under the penalty of perjury how they obtained the information and support the information with evidence and/or statements. The judge must believe the affidavit contains sufficient probable cause to support the warrant before signing it.
What the above means in simple terms - as David Torres so eloquently puts it - when Donald Trump "says the FBI 'broke into' his lawyers office, that’s a lie." The FBI had the right and, I might add, the duty to pursue the evidence that they have been presented with. The FBI investigates criminal matters, a process which even the president of the United States is not above. This means, as Mr. Torres points out, everything the FBI did when it executed the SW "was done by the book."

Simply put, as much as Donald Trump's supporters want to continue supporting him and his crazed interpretation of law, Trump does not live under another set of rules.

David Torres points out several additional matters of protocol we should understand about the SW process.
* Whenever a SW is effected at a law firm, a “Special Master” is appointed by a judge to insure the Attorney-Client privilege of other clientele is protected and their files are not reviewed.
* While defense attorneys have the right to attack the affidavit of probable cause, the attack on the SW is reserved for attorneys in a court of law before a federal judge.
* More importantly, attacking an affidavit of probable cause is NOT the prerogative of the president of the United States, especially when the only goal is to besmirch the reputation of the FBI and the legal process.
A couple of additional points we want to keep in mind here include:
* Donald Trump made his comments in front of our nation's military leaders. The message on separation of powers and institutional integrity was clear: Trump respects neither.
* The prosecutors obtained the SW after receiving a referral from Robert Mueller III, which suggests the SW is not directly related to Mueller's investigation, and likely resulted from information Mueller's investigation uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.
* Geoffrey Berman was a law partner of Rudy Giuliani's, former mayor of New York and an early supporter of Donald Trump.
Unfortunately, Trump's not going anywhere any time soon. Stay tuned.

- Mark

Sunday, April 8, 2018


You can read about the developments by clicking here, here and here. You can access (and apply for the job at) the "Media Monitoring Services" position by clicking here.

- Mark 

Friday, April 6, 2018


Donald Trump, once again claimed -with absolutely no evidence - that millions of votes were cast illegally in California. The comments replaced the initial focus of his talk, which was supposed to be on taxes. 

The worst part of Trump's presentation may not have been his bald faced lie about voting. After petulantly tossing his prepared comments on taxes in the air, Trump's supporters actually applauded his child-like spontaneity, as if being president of the United States is some kind of carnival act that's supposed to entertain and feed the fickleness of a mob.

 What a nightmare ...

- Mark


- Mark

Thursday, April 5, 2018


As Donald Trump continues to embarrass and undermine America's position in the world, it's important to understand how the global community saw America before Donald Trump arrived on our political scene, and how they see our country after he became president.

Since Trump is a bankruptcy-addled builder, who has lost money on many projects, it's only appropriate we use architecture to illustrate how the world's view of America has changed over the past two years. With this in mind, in many ways this is how the world viewed ...


This, unfortunately, is how the world sees ...


- Mark

For the record, the apartment buildings shown above are located in Singapore. They're called the The Interlace, and consist of 31 separate blocks of buildings, and are placed in hexagonal arrangement. I saw them when I was there two years ago, and they are even more impressive when you see them in person, and at night.

Kudos to Tom for reminding me of the building(s).


There's no rhyme or reason, let alone any kind of strategic thinking, behind any of Donald Trump's economic policies. Republican strategist, and MSNBC commentator, Steve Schmidt sees it and wants everyone to know there's really not much thinking going into Trump's trade and market policies ...


Below are some of the stories and links that Donald Trump and his supporters should be paying attention to when it comes to understanding what's happening in our markets. My guess is that apart from being clueless as to how modern markets work, our bankruptcy addled president is also overwhelmed by the complexity and nuance of economic concepts in general.

Seriously, what Trump is doing today is not good for America, and will have significant side effects in the years to come.

What's presented below are a group of readings that address topics we should all be concerned about as long as Donald Trump is in the White House. What a mess ...


White House unveils tariffs on 1,300 products (NY Times).

Trump slaps tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines (NPR).

U.S. tariff on solar panels is 'job destroyer,' says Joseph Stiglitz (CNBC).

Trump's tax on solar power. Here's what you need to know (Rolling Stone).

Stocks slip as tariff talks intensify (WSJ).

Trump's trade war will punish Trump country worst of all (Salon).

Trump reportedly treats Fox News hosts as significant policy and legal advisors (The Week).

Trump's new economic advisor is really bad at economics. Here are the receipts (Think Progress).

Trump administration rejects study showing positive impact of refugees (NY Times).

Stocks' second-quarter start is the worst since the Great Depression (Bloomberg).

The 1% grabbed 82% of all the wealth created in 2017 (CNN / Money).

America's 'retail apocalypse' is really just beginning (Bloomberg).

Under Trump, U.S. jobs are moving overseas faster than before (Quartz).

New Fed chair doesn't understand why student debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy (Market Watch).
How Amazon's relationship with the post office really works (Bloomberg).

Citigroup drove Puerto Rico into debt. Now it will profit from privatization on the island (The Intercept).

The U.S. wants back in the TPP? Good luck with that (Foreign Policy).

China taking the long road to solve the petro-yuan puzzle (Asia Times).

Donald Trump's many business failures, explained (Newsweek).

Amazon has lots of company as Trump slams 'stupid' businesses (NY Times).

- Mark

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN 50 years ago today. Below are a couple of links that are worth looking into if you're interested in MLK's larger story. The "Road to Memphis" PBS documentary is especially worth watching.

Want to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.? Here are 50 ways, for starters (Miami Herald).

The real meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr's Mountaintop speech (Washington Post).

The best of our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resources (Teaching Tolerance).

MLK 50: 10 best portrayals of Martin Luther King, Jr. (BET).

Road to Memphis (PBS / American Experience).

- Mark

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


There are a large number of Fox News viewers out there who are spreading a good deal of lies about DACA recipients, and DACA in general. You can click here for some of the most recent statistics and developments on DACA, courtesy of the Pew Research Center.

You can also click here for the Pew story that outlines how immigration from Mexico has actually declined since 2007.

For the record, Trump didn't have to end DACA. He did that on his own. Click here for a brief national timeline on congressional incompetence when it comes to our budget woes and the immigration tie-in.

- Mark


Via Newsbroke, we get a interesting review of how pro-life lawmakers can be so "anti-living" ...

- Mark

Monday, April 2, 2018



I'm not one to post commercials, but this one will make you think about a few things (or at least it should make you think) ...

- Mark