Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Remember when Donald Trump said he had a 'natural instinct for science'? It would appear that was an exaggeration. Comedian Noel Casler explains climate change and this week's looming cold weather in a way that only Trump could appreciate. 


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The actual explanation for the cold weather in the midwest this week is a little more complex, but should be manageable for Trump's "natural instincts" in science ...

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So, yeah ... sigh.

- Mark

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


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- Mark


Coal consumption in the U.S. has declined during the Trump administration. This has happened in spite of Trump's promise to single handily bring the coal industry back if he were elected president.

Here's what really makes Trump's coal promise more relevant: The U.S. is now consuming less coal than it did during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

So, what accounts for the higher job numbers in coal, you ask? In real simple terms, it's exports. Here's the rub. The countries that the U.S. export to (like China) no longer want to be in the coal business, in part because of the environmental damage, and because alternative energy sources now available promise long term economic spin-offs that coal clearly does not.

But, what about clean coal, you ask? Won't it save the day? As Trump put it, clean coal happens after the coal is removed from the mines because "they're going to clean it" (huh?) ... which means it's clean right?

Not so fast.

You can read about the promises and reality of "clean coal" by clicking here, here, and here. For those of you who don't want to click, here's the moral of the story: If you believe Trump's clean coal argument you'll probably believe the guy who wants to sell you clean crack.

And, yes, U.S. coal consumption has declined under Donald Trump.

- Mark

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


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- Mark


Last night I was on KGET 17 News with Republican Cathy Abernathy. I wanted to make three points: Donald Trump was going to fear monger to his base, the vast majority of those who are here and undocumented have overstayed their visas and, finally, the threat Trump's trying to pump up does not rise to the level of a national emergency.

While we didn't have the time to get into the details of the issue (5-6 minutes is never enough), you can check out how (1) the vast majority of "illegals" did not cross the border, (2) the leading source country for overstaying visas is Canada, and (3) the number of undocumented people in America has dropped to its lowest level in decades by clicking here.

- Mark

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Another look at two of history's walls and fortifications that were supposed to keep people really safe, for a real long time. First up, "Wall" Street ...


And who can forget, before WWII, France's infamous Maginot Line, which the Germans effectively laughed at ...

What are the prospects for Donald Trump's "Wall to Himself" ...

Here's the real point: Trump's border wall is designed to rile up his base, and is a political scam of epoch proportions ...

- Mark


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- Mark

Hat tip to Felix for the meme.


From Fortune, we get this clarification ...

Now, to be fair, we want to keep in mind a couple of things about Donald Trump's national security team. It's led by a man [Trump ** cough**cough] who: (1) said Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979 because of terrorism, (2) thinks breaking up or weakening the western alliance is a good thing, and then (3) gave petty North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un a global stage to lie about his nuclear program, with absolutely no repercussions.

Still, get prepared America. Tonight on prime time television, Donald Trump is going to do something no other American president has done, or tried to do. He's going to try and frighten a relatively stable and calm American public.

Find your panic room.

Sigh ... 

- Mark


Below is a time lapsed graph illustrating how much the world's leading economies have produced, going back to 1961 ...

- Mark

Monday, January 7, 2019


Rather than focus on a single immigration incident, or the caravan, which both scapegoats and misdirects the discussion on immigration, it's best to look at the facts surrounding immigration. Fortunately, News and Guts brings together a number of sources and provides a nice synopsis which we can build on. The key points to draw from the information posted below is that the vast majority of "illegals" did not cross the border, the leading source country for overstaying visas is Canada, and the number of undocumented people in America has dropped to its lowest level in decades.

1. Most of our undocumented population do not walk across the border. They flew in, with legal visas, and then overstayed the terms of their visit. Moreover, most of those who overstay their visas are not from Mexico or Central America. A wall would not affect that.
Numbers from he Department of Homeland Security are clear here.

* In 2017, 702,000 people entered the U.S. legally and overstayed their visas.  
*  361,993 people illegally crossed the border, mostly the southern border.  
*  The 361,993 is down from 1.6 million in 2000. .  
The vast majority of those who are in the United States "illegally" did not cross the U.S.-Mexico border. 
2. In 2017, 52 million foreign nationals legally entered the United States.  A little over one percent overstayed. The leading country for overstays? Canada. From USA Today:
  • More than 92,000 Canadians overstayed their visas in 2017 (note: the "visitor overstays" graph below uses data from 2015).
  • Mexicans made up the second-largest group of visa overstays, with more than 47,000. The report does not include people who cross via land borders, so those numbers would likely increase for both Canadians and Mexicans.
  • Of the 38 Visa Waiver Program countries, Portuguese citizens had the highest overstay rate (1.81 percent), followed by Hungarians (1.55 percent) and the Greek (1.25 percent).
  • Of the Visa Waiver Program countries, British citizens had the highest number of visa overstays (25,694) followed by the French (16,456) and Spaniards (13,780).
  • The number of visa overstays continued to drop in fiscal year 2018 as more people left the country voluntarily or through deportations. By January 2018, the number fell to 494,710, and by May, it fell to 421,325.

Leading countries for overstays

Foreign visitor overstays by birth region

3. The number of illegal immigrants has dropped to its lowest level in a decade. From Pew:
* The decline is due almost entirely to a sharp decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country without authorization. 
* But the Mexican border remains a pathway for entry by growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Because of them, Central America was the only birth region accounting for more U.S. unauthorized immigrants in 2016 than in 2007. 
* There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007, according to the new estimates. 
* "… Increasingly unauthorized immigrants are likely to be long-term U.S. residents: Two-thirds of adult unauthorized immigrants have lived in the country for more than 10 years.” 
Exploding Individual-1's Wall Myths:
1. Number of people trying to cross southern border is lowest since the 70's.
2. 2/3rds of undocumented are those who overstay their legal visas.
3. All immigrants are less likely to commit crime than the native-born. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/27/trumps-arguments-about-wall-are-mostly-exaggerated-or-false/?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.584232259a37 


There's more, but here's the point: Apart from the obvious ladders, tunnels, and simple fence jumping, building a wall will do nothing to stem the vast majority of undocumented people in this country. Legal visa overstays are the real issue.

Also not helping: The number of TSA screeners calling in sick because Trump's government shutdown means they don't get paid is a problem; i.e. if you're concerned about processing tourist visas properly.

Finally, when Fox News is fact checking Donald Trump's team on the border issue you know they have a "truth" problem. Chris Wallace just pointed out to Sarah Huckabee Sanders that the "Special Interest Aliens" (those coming from terrorist producing countries) she's hyping are "not terrorists themselves." They are simply applying for visas from countries that have been labeled "terrorist producers." Wallace added, "... the State Department says that there is, quote, their words: no credible evidence of any terrorist coming across the border from Mexico." Ouch.

You can find the source article for most of the information posted above by clicking here.

- Mark


While I've written numerous posts about my congressional representative, Kevin McCarthy, the clip below provides a brief but comprehensive overview of the Minority Leader in Congress ...

- Mark