What’s the “Humanity First” Response to a Likely Paris Agreement Withdrawal

The maybe unreliable chatter today is that Trump will, one way or another, pull the US out of the plant-saving Paris agreement.  This will surely be a tipping point in the world order, if not the future of the planet and humanity.  Certainly the most important decision the US has made in my adult lfetime.  It is as if the US had withdrawn from the League of Nations, rather than just failed to join it.

But the question then becomes what should everyone, and I mean everyone, do to put “humanity first.”  Some suggestions:

If you can, buy goods made in states that are making every effort to comply with Paris goals.  The less industrial activity in non-compliant states, the lower the emissions.

If you can not make a US “Humanity First” purchase, consider buying goods made in countries that are still committed to meeting the Paris goals.  (Yes, its hard to boycott your own country, and there will be political blow-back, but surely it is the logical thing to do.  After all, lessened industrial activity in the US will reduce emissions.

Make investment decisions based on companies, states’ and countries’ efforts to support the Paris goals.

Encourage organizations to make their decisions on the same criteria. 

Obviously, give to advocacy organizations, particularly international ones.

Accelerate your planting and environmental plans, personally and organizationally.

Remember this could be a tipping point for the planet.  Think of it as a slow moving Cuban Missile Crisis in which we can all influence the outcome.  (For those who remember, think Yenching Palace for all of us — talking of genuine back channels.)

 

 

The US Has Three Paties, Not Two, and Coalition Government, Not Single Party Government

Brilliant and transformative reporting by Politico on the collapse of  the Trumpcare/Ryancare agenda shows that we have passed a critical step in moving from having two parties to three.  A consequence is that we no longer have single party government, but coalition government — and a dysfunctional coalition at that.

The key paragraph describes the crucial March 6 meeting of the Freedom Caucus, just after the release of the plan.  The members of the Caucus were deeply aware of the intense pressure about to be put on them, and fearful of one on one appeals:

In a conference room in the Rayburn House Office Building, the group met that evening and made a secret pact. No member would commit his vote before consulting with the entire group — not even if Trump himself called to ask for an on-the-spot commitment. The idea, hatched by Freedom Caucus vice chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), was to bind them together in negotiations and ensure the White House or House leaders could not peel them off one by one.

With about 36 members, and although only about two thirds formally took the pledge, given the numbers, that was really the end of the game.  The Caucus were so protective of each other that at one meeting, when Ryan tried to get each of them to state where they stood, the gorp in effect refused.

So, going forward, once the Caucus takes this position, nothing can get passed without Democratic help, and that’s even before counting the most moderate members of the House.  Perhaps even more importantly, the group has demonstrated that they are willing to take and hold by such a position, regardless of cost to President, Speaker, and their nominal party and its agenda.  Add the requirement of a coherent intellectual structure (which they have, using a technical definition of coherent) and you pretty much have at least a congressional party in the Freedom Caucus.

There are many problems with having coalition government, but right now perhaps the worst is that there is no institutional experience in managing such a situation.  Indeed, the only ones who seem to have thought it through are the Democrats, including particularly Nancy Pelosi, who had in the last Congress brilliantly kept her caucus in line and used that unity, with the very skilled help of the President, to extract maximum advantage.

Going forward, this means huge leverage for the Democrats, provided they maintain the message discipline of keeping sufficiently quiet that they do not force the two Republic sub-parties back together.

It also means that there has to be a serious question as to whether through public splits and primaries the sub-become really separate parties, and perceived as such by the public.  It helps that there are already strong links to at least two Senators.

Trump is already attacking Ryan, even if only indirectly so far.  Given the Caucus veto on any successor, and given the total lack of appeal of the job of speaker, its hard to imagine any path forward that way.   It is all a recipe for disaster for the group formerly known as the Republican Party.

 

The Party-Switch Way Forward For the Senate

While there are many reasons for the slowness of the institutional response in the political system to Trump, one actually can be fixed quite easily.

Right now, the press are energized, the courts seem to be standing up for judicial supremacy, and the investigatory agencies are still able to get the most disturbing facts before the public.

The problem is that there is no truly independent set of investigations going on, because of the Republican failure.

The simple solution is for three or more senators to shift parties for the purpose of establishing the appropriate investigatory process.  Such a switch, perhaps by McCain, Lindsey and one more, could be limited to the organization of the Senate, and the Rs could still vote with their colleagues on all substantive matters if they wished.  Those three would have to expect to be primaried, but who knows, by the end of this they might be the safest Republican senators.

Anyway, just the threat of this should be enough to get McConnell to back down, set up a true investigation, and allow it to go wherever it goes.  The tax returns alone might be enough.

 

Developing an Algorithm to Find Out What Trump is Most Frightened Of

Let me suggest that it would be quite simple to develop an algorithm to get inside Trump’s brain.

Imagine two steps.

One:  Identify the Trump statements/tweets that get the most attention with numbers.   The numbers  measuring attention come from news stories, searches and retweets.  (There is an assumption here that the Trump operation is skilled at this, and so the do the most effective stuff when they feel they most need to.)

Two:  Identify any event of news focus that occurred shortly before the Trump statement/tweet.

Then sort the table based on the data behind the first column, and look for patterns.  My guess is that we will quickly see what the Trump operation feels it is most important to divert attention away from.

The algorithm is based on a technique used by George Smiley in John LeCarre’s novels to identify when British intelligence is getting closest to identifying the “mole.” The Russians and mole then respond with dramatic intelligence to divert attention.

A New Thing to Blame Obamacare for — It Cannot Be Repealed

They have not get there yet, but now that the Republicans are finding just how really, really hard it is to repeal Obamacare, its only a matter of time before they start explaining that the worst thing about Obamacare is that has been written to make it hard to repeal.

Some of the reasons:

It was built so that people would like it — how unfair can you get!

It was built to save money — outrageous.

It reduces stress on state budgets — inconsistent with Federal policy.

It gives people choice — worse and worse.

It advances public health — not a government function.

It cleverly removes the donut hole — what a disaster!

You have to agree that a program designed to give people what they want is clearly unfair to the political process, threatens the Republic and serves all those “takers.

You also have to agree that if we are not careful, the same people will come up with a tax cut that helps those who are not rich, will help people get childcare, control campaign contributions, and expand access to education.

What a nightmare.

Is Trump Becoming a PINO, “President in Name Only,” Or Maybe a “So-Called President”

In the last few days, tweets notwithstanding, we seem to be seeing how Trump’s extravagant utterances are being constrained and limited in their actual effect.

On foreign policy, settlements, Jerusalem, Ukraine, etc., the backing off is very fast, and really quite astonishing.

On domestic policy, the constraints are more complex but building, from business leader anxieties, to Republican caution, to sudden understanding about the complexities and risks of health care changes.

Of course, the most obvious example is on border control, and that highlights the constraints that the legal system is already imposing on Trump and his gang — and the fact that the legal system is particularly hostile to policy on the fly and public statements designed to inflame, that in fact illustrate the real purposes of policy changes.

So, notwithstanding all the damage being done, and going to be done, “In Name Only,” seems more and more likely.  Maybe “In Name Only” will be followed by “Not Even In Name Now.”

Remember, the question is not whether huge amounts of damage will be done — it will.  The question is whether the damage will be reversible.  That depends on whether we emerge with a free press, a functioning democratic system, and an independent and deferred-to judiciary.  I feel a bit more optimistic about that than I did a few days ago.

Thank you Mr PINO.  Or should we say “so-called President?”

Nixon’s Watergate Tweets Discovered

The back story is a bit unclear, but it turns out that Donald Trump will not be the first President to have used Twitter.  In fact, Trump and his staff have found that Richard Nixon was tweeting throughout all of Watergate.  Trump believes that making this public will help show how presidential he, Trump is, so with the help of the NSA all the preserved tweets are slowly being released.

Here are some of those which show how much he used twitter to rehearse later statements.

NOT A CROOK!!!!!!!!!

Washington Post losers Going to put Katies tits through the wringer.

Arch Cox NOW history — Sad.

Dishonest Elliot Richardson OUT tomorrow.

Ruckelshouse worse — OUT.

Bork the GREATEST. On the way to SCOTUS!!!!!!!!! Huge.

Congressman Evidence.  So sad.

Jews very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious.  [Compare.]

Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union not American concern. [Compare.]

No Jewish coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; don’t know how the hell.  The Canadian-Swedish contingent,  Jewish. Deserters. Evil.  [Compare]

The President does it, not illegal. [Compare]

No. Not lying. Said things that later on seemed untrue. [Compare]

Seriously, the process of “tweetifying”Nixon into Trump is easily done by just removing all unnecessary words.   Additions to this list welcomed in the comments.  Links to Nixon quotes appreciated but not required.  “Very Easy.  Just the GREATEST.”