It’s the start of a new week, the 67th week of our Orange Overlord’s tenure. Things to look forward to: Another Giuliani mistake on the Sunday pundit shows, more skullduggery about whether the US will stay in the Iran nuclear deal, and another week with no leaks from Mueller. On to cartoons. Trump admits he knew about the Stormy payment:
Dems decide they now love Rudy:
Trump administration says 57,000 Hondurans have to go in 18 months:
Donald decides where to meet Kim:
Accusations of Charlie Rose’s sexual abuse resurface:
NRA can’t allow guns inside their convention:
Ryan’s messaging didn’t pan out:
British view of Scott Pruitt by Kal, the Economist’s cartoonist:
Among the latest states hit by the protests is Arizona, where teacher pay is more than $10,000 below the national average of $59,000 per year. The Pendergast Elementary School District…has recruited more than 50 teachers from the Philippines since 2015. They hold J-1 visas, which allow them to work temporarily in the United States, like au pairs or camp counselors, but offer no path to citizenship.
The NYT reports that according to the State Department, more than 2,800 foreign teachers arrived in America last year through the J-1 visa program, up 233% from about 1,200 who landed here in 2010.
Are public school teachers a new class of migrant workers in America? Is teaching becoming another category of “jobs Americans won’t do” in the Trump era?
Arizona has a reported shortage of 2000 teachers state-wide. This is a direct result of Arizona’s low teacher salaries, (43rd in the nation), and poor funding for public education. More from the NYT:
According to the State Department, 183 Arizona teachers were granted new J-1 visas last year, up from 17 in 2010.
Trump opposes immigration because he says it takes away American jobs. Yet, here we have an immigration program designed precisely to take away American jobs, and it is growing, because there is no alternative but higher taxes, which is not an acceptable solution to Republicans.
Poor school funding and low teacher salaries are a direct result of tax cuts that then require government expense cuts. Local governments can’t engage in deficit spending for very long without ruining their bond rating, so when tax revenues go down, salaries are frozen, maintenance is deferred, and expenses are slashed.
Wrongo’s home town has this very issue in front of us. Our student population has declined by about 11% over the past few years, but the town’s school budget has steadily increased, despite the declining student census. When the budget goes to voters in a few days, it is likely to be voted down, because so few people are willing to see their taxes increased.
This should be a wake-up call to all of us. Tax cuts do not create revenue growth in our towns, states or the country, regardless of what the faux economists say about trickle-down economics.
There is no “teacher shortage” in America. Do we say there is a shortage of Corvettes because we’ll only pay the dealer $25k for a brand new one? We are seeing across many job categories that fewer skilled individuals are willing to work for the low pay offered in both the private and the public sector.
It seems like a simple concept. The people who you entrust your children to for learning and personal growth should earn an adequate wage, and be able to remain members of the middle class.
If we denigrate a profession enough so that people are wary of investing their time and money to get an education and meet the needs of the job, we will have a teacher shortage. If we then hire foreigners who are willing to do the work for peanuts, we will complete the job of making teaching a low income profession.
This is a plan designed by the right and their hedge fund billionaire buddies to privatize and ultimately, break public education.
Wrongo and Ms. Oh So Right have safely returned to the Mansion of Wrong after our week in warmer climes. The timing of our travel was perfect! We were away during the two nor’easters that dumped 18” of snow on the Mansion, and we are back before the next snow on Tuesday. Here is a picture of sunrise on the day we pulled out of our FL rental:
On to cartoons. Trump will try to show North Korea’s Kim the art of the deal without using his hands:
This, by a right-wing cartoonist, makes Trump look like he knows something about tariffs. That’s untrue:
Trump baffles some of the base, but others get the picture:
The GOP is still in denial about Trump’s steel tariffs:
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions redefines the “Golden Door” of American immigration:
Trump’s decision to again allow importation of elephant parts shows his character:
Let’s make something clear. When Trump called Africa and Haiti “shitholes”, the issue wasn’t that the president swore in the Oval Office, that surely has happened with all modern presidents. No one in the media should have a fainting spell because Trump swears. The issue was saying we should promote immigration from predominantly white countries like Norway. That made what Trump said racist. It also places Trump out of the mainstream. Americans have always looked all over the world for talent, and then lured it to our shores.
People migrate primarily for wealth and/or safety, and since the early 1900s, America has offered both. That was the main reason many waves of Europeans came at first, and later, people from other, non-white places came to this country.
Bloomberg View offers some insight about African immigrants: (emphasis by Wrongo)
According to Census data, more than 43% of African immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher — slightly more than immigrants from East Asia. Nigerian immigrants are especially educated, with almost two-thirds holding college degrees — a significantly higher percentage even than Chinese or South Korean immigrants…That education translates into higher household income. Nigerian-Americans, for instance, have a median household income well above the American average, and above the average of many white and Asian groups, such as those of Dutch or Korean descent.
Trump wrongly equates the worth of individuals with the place where they come from, probably like many of his supporters.
This is what Trump meant by strict vetting of immigrants:
Trump’s staffer Steven Miller auditions as the new Lady Liberty:
Mueller asks to speak with Kaiser Tweeto:
Jeff Sessions goes after marijuana. It doesn’t fully mellow him:
Why Florida is exempted from off-shore drilling:
Donny offered new words for the National Anthem when he went to the football game:
Trump, in an extraordinary defense of his mental capacity and fitness for office, described himself on Saturday as a ‘genius’ and ‘a very stable genius at that.’
Very Stable Genius has the Biggest Button. Very Stable Genius could probably solve the opioid crisis on his first try, if only he would try. This is Trump’s version of Nixon’s “I am not a crook.” The fact that he has to say he’s smart says he has a really big problem. And if America doesn’t believe him, it could be enough to cripple him.
If he could read, shit would really hit the fan:
The vaudeville act ends:
Trump is the best negotiator:
The two Koreas are taking about NorKo participating in the Winter Olympics. What could go wrong?
Iran takes up Trump’s mantra:
Mitt looks for his principles. They seem to be missing:
Trump gives Congress a message about the 2018 legislative agenda:
“Governments last only as long as the undertaxed can defend themselves against the overtaxed.” ― Bernard Berenson
(There is an extra ration of cartoons today. Wrongo is taking a few days to celebrate the hot dogs and potato salad he found in the fridge. Posts will resume on July 5th.)
If this week shows how well we are playing defense, we are all screwed. The party of personal responsibility always blames their opponents when things go wrong. The party of fiscal responsibility will blow up the budget whenever they get in power.
And the party of family values is merrily slashing away at programs that support families:
When it comes to health insurance, the GOP has all the right viewpoints:
Trump revealed his true self with the “Morning Joe” tweets:
The Court-tested, Judges approved Muslim ban is now in effect:
Trump (or his lackeys) made fake Time Magazine covers featuring the Donald:
Trump’s Press Team orders no cameras at most press conferences. So on to Virtual News:
Trump Election Commission asks states for each voter’s personal data, like party affiliation and social security number. What could go wrong?
Everyone knows by now that Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) on Friday barring people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. But many people traveling to the US from those countries, including some who are legally permanent US residents, were in the air at the time of the ban, and couldn’t turn around.
By early Saturday evening, several federal judges in NY, MA, and including Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia, made rulings that would at least stall the implementation of portions of Trump’s anti-refugee executive order. The Daily Beast reported:
As a result, airports across the country turned into Lawfare zones, with cadres of volunteer lawyers squaring off against bureaucrats in the Customs and Border Protection agency. Late-night rulings from federal judges made a legally unprecedented situation even more dramatic, with all three branches of the federal government—congressional, executive, and judicial—warring with each other.
There are three things to consider in this fast-developing story. First, how unprepared the Trump administration was to actually carry out their own EO. From CNN: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said. Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.
CNN further reports that the White House overruled that guidance, with the order coming from Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. They decided that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US. It was decided by DHS that green card holders could fly to the US and would be considered for re-entry on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening. But CNN reports that the guidance sent to airlines on Friday night said:
Lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA.
It gets worse for Trump: Before he issued the EO, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch.
CNN indicates that the EO did not follow the standard agency review process overseen by the National Security Council. That inter-agency process would have asked the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, but it didn’t happen.
Brinkema…ruled that the travelers detained by Customs and Border Protection had a right to see lawyers.
After the judge’s ruling, lawyers standing by at Dulles expected they would be able to see the detainees and try to help them get into the US. But, the CBP would not let them see their would-be clients. The Daily Beast reports that it’s unheard of for government agencies like CBP to prevent people who have the legal right to live in the US from seeing their lawyers.
But, that’s what happened. In fact as the evening wore on, it became clear that CBP was defying, or at best slow-rolling Brinkema’s ruling. The lawyers at the airport believe that meant someone must be in contempt of court. The judge could theoretically have sent in federal officers to force CBP to let the lawyers meet with the detainees, but, that would have been unprecedented, and it didn’t happen.
The third issue is that Saudi Arabia was not on the banned country list. That’s right, the country most responsible for supporting and sustaining both ISIS and Al Qaeda skated. Our past few presidents found it convenient to cozy up to the Saudis, but should Trump be continuing that coziness?
If Trump’s intention was to punish sponsors of terrorism, the ban should have hit Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which is where the money and most of the actual 9/11 terrorists came from.
This is what the next 4 years are going to be like. But the question is, are the Trumpets going to become more competent as they go along, or is this what we should expect going forward?
Today’s wake up is for Donald Trump and his administration.They need to govern, not play pretend president.
To help them wake up, here is Xenia Rubinos performing “Mexican Chef“, from her album “Black Terry Cat”. It’s her ruthless critique of the undervalued labor that immigrants perform every day in America:
“All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.” –Kurt Vonnegut.
Quoting from Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” seems to catch the Trump zeitgeist. It was hard to focus on what the GOP and Trump were doing between the tweetstorms. So you could be forgiven for not noticing that Trump’s ban on immigration includes Green Card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. And Homeland Security says that’s really the policy. Legal residents holding the wrong passport who happened to be outside the US are now stranded. This includes students, business executives, and even a few US business owners. You can leave, but you cannot come back is the message of the day. Christians will be allowed in though, so here’s the best idea yet:
Trump builds a wall to keep Speedy out:
This is from Italy’s Matteo Bertelli. You can bet that in his next panel, Speedy jumps up on Trump’s head, and The Donald grabs a hammer…
Voter fraud is a yuuge problem only in the Orange Ahab’s mind:
Some may remember the book by this name by Spencer Johnson, published in 1998. The underlying message of the book is “Don’t waste time fighting against change: accept that bad stuff will happen to you for no good reason and just keep moving”.
This outdated and simplistic message remains the message of the Democratic Party to the White Working Class (WWC). Donald Trump’s message is different. He offers them nothing but a dream, to limit immigrants working in the US and to cut off the US market from China. And since the WWC knows that more of the same isn’t going to work, they’re voting for Trump.
The WWC thinks that the Democrats have not been able to do anything to help them keep their jobs. The reasons for failure can be at least equally shared by the Parties, but since Dems have said for years that they are the party of the working class, they are getting the greater share of the blame for 35 years of no results.
There are two issues that dominate the discussion: Illegal immigration and transition assistance when jobs are lost. Regarding Immigration:
The WWC knows that Dems need the political support of the Hispanic community, and that requires Dems to show sympathy with illegal immigration.
The WWC believes that illegal immigration has put downward pressure on job opportunities and wages in the trades, in restaurant and hotel work, and in service sectors where immigrants may be overly represented.
That’s why Trump’s stance on immigration is so popular with the WWC. They probably know in their hearts that kicking all the Mexican workers out, or building a wall is ridiculous. But the Democrat’s position on immigration is diffuse, and is viewed as “soft” on illegals by the WWC.
Despite anything the Dems say about retraining or “transition assistance”, the WWC knows that someone on job transition assistance can’t earn enough to support a family. Other problems:
Identifying the fields/industries that workers can train in that will produce stable, living wage employment is an inexact science. So, demand for retrained workers is often less than the supply for any given job type.
Businesses have been very successful at shifting the burden (and cost) of training displaced workers from themselves to society. This is helped along by a corporate critique that public and not-for-profit private schools are failing to maintain standards, and they can’t churn out sufficient grads with qualifications that meet the corporations’ highly specific requirements.
Hence the continuing financial opportunities for for-profit technical schools and for-profit universities, (can you say Trump University?)
Ford Motor Co. says it’s moving all of its US small car production to Mexico…The company is building a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It will make small cars there starting in 2018.
What can the Pant Suit say about this that would go beyond what the Pant Load will certainly say? And if she did, would WWC people believe her?
On the macro level, our current capitalism has turned to technology to produce much of what is needed with far less human labor input than ever before. That leaves job growth (and job opportunity) in only the low-skilled, low-paid “service” jobs; or in highly advanced, specialized jobs requiring very advanced training/skills/talent.
This means that the dogma of Endless Economic Growth, which we have accepted since the Industrial Revolution, is dead. Along with killing that, we need to kill off the current organizing principle of our economic system, where humans exist solely to fulfill the needs of businesses.
Work helps us find our place in society. It is something that we see as having an inherent value, something that fills a basic human need, similar to food and shelter. But our current economic system no longer recognizes that, and our economy provides little opportunity for fulfilling that basic need for a large portion of American citizens, including many in the WWC.
The idea of government deploying under-utilized labor to build and repair our infrastructure, or to re-tool our country to reduce carbon emissions would be a step that might return the WWC to jobs and a place in society. It would cost a ton.
But the idea that the government would create demand is too socialist for most politicians to accept, despite the fact that the rest of the tools just haven’t worked in 35+ years.
Tell me again why Bernie Sanders was a terrible choice.