By James A. Kidney Presidential Rasputin Steve Bannon called for “deconstructing the administrative state” at a convention of those-who-used-to-be-known-as-Reagan-conservatives-but-are-now-just-Trump-nuts Thursday at the new MGM gambling palace in Maryland. “Deconstructing the administrative state” echoes Lenin after a couple bottles of vodka screaming in Red Square, or maybe just a long-haired 19-year-old outside the 1968 Democratic convention. It is both threatening and laughably cracked. The phrase probably is just a word pudding for the old Republican oligarch’s favorite book, A Treasury of Economic Nonsense, a political Kama Sutra coauthored during a fevered coupling of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. These are the erotic (to Republicans) positions that cause enthusiastic ejaculations by Paul Ryan – no taxes, no rules, no government, except to buy military equipment and to protect patents. Give Bannon credit for PR. “Deconstructing administrative excess” certainly is gentler sounding than “gutting the government.” Once you are accustomed to the … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney The Supreme Court appeared split 4-4 Tuesday during oral arguments over whether the family of an unarmed Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed him. The agent was on U.S. soil firing into Mexico to kill the boy. You can find the details here and here. The matter was being argued before the Court. A decision is expected by summer. But the description of the argument raises troubling issues. Foremost among them, but not directly raised in the dignified court arguments 20,000 feet above reality: Is it OK for the Border Patrol and civilians to kill Mexicans across the border without liability to the families of those murdered, or even to the country whose land was invaded by U.S. bullets? Briefly, an unarmed teen-aged Mexican was playing with friends at a culvert dividing the two countries. The game was to … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney There is lots of fear, angst and anger about Trump in Congress, in the blogosphere, in op-eds and on “the street” among us little folk. But all of us could exercise a little intelligent strategizing on how to deal with the reality of President Trump in addition to protesting and complaining. Let’s use our economic power. Here is a look at an alternative way to deal with two Trump proposals, one announced and the other circulating in draft, if either becomes policy or law. On these, as well as other proposals, liberal wealth could be used to leverage the right wing agenda to reduce its influence and elevate better ideals of freedom and liberty. One of these proposals is the one Trump announced while pandering to the right wing “Christian” crowd at the annual White House prayer breakfast. Trump said he plans to “destroy” the 64-year-old … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Tuesday’s election results — President, Senate and House — freed liberalism from its shackles. The ransom payment is high. In the long run, it may be worth the price. The key is to put aside defeatism and start adopting new tactics now that the Democratic Party elite has been shamed and defeated by a horrible con man and his angry allies. Liberalism — by which I mean a set of political goals recognizing and trying to contain the power of the elite, bringing genuine equality of economic opportunity to those not sharing in the top five percent, and sponsoring a strong foreign policy using force as a last resort — has been treated by the Democratic Party for years as the smelly uncle at the dinner table who talks too much but contributes too little. Hillary Clinton embodied this party sentiment in her campaign, fully endorsed … Read more of this post . . .
by James A. Kidney I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the new National Museum of African- American History and Culture (“the African American Museum”) on the National Mall six days before it is to be formally opened to the public with a ceremony featuring the President. It is the nearest building on the Mall east of the Washington Monument and is across 14th Street from the Museum of American History. One of my first questions when I plan to visit a city for a couple of days is whether it has a museum. If the answer is affirmative, I always visit it. I am familiar with many museums around the world and, as a native Washingtonian, the Smithsonian museums in particular. I am no curatorial expert, but believe I know a good museum when I see one. In my judgment, the African-American Museum is spectacular. It is a model which … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Now that the major party nominees are chosen, the economic pundits are making their recommendations on how to boost what remains a moribund economy. Despite recent months of reported job increases and a slight uptick in average pay last month, few believe the economy is robust or expected to be so. See also here (pay wall). The reasons — and proposed cures — depend on your politics, of course. Where the Candidates Stand Donald Trump this week proposed the usual failed trickle down policies. He wants tax cuts for the wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax (which effects about 0.2 percent of citizens). He would increase the earned income tax credit, which is a pure redistribution of a little income to the poor which does not create jobs. He would provide only a tax deduction for child care — which means you have to … Read more of this post . . .