ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 186

TRUMP AND DECEASED PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON COMMENT ON DEMONSTRATIONS; BIG BUSINESS AND TRUMP DIVORCE AT 2 PANELS + 1 STILLBORN; CONFEDERACY IS NATIONAL QUESTION OF THE DAY; HOMELESS HOUSING OPPOSED IN POOR L.A. NEIGHBORHOOD; SOLAR TRADE WAR COMING?; “MEDICARE FOR ALL” NO LONGER FIGHTING WORDS?; MORE…

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 186

AUGUST 18, 2017

PRESIDENT Trump’s week in review:

IN wake of Charlottesville demonstrations Trump unable to decide whether to go full-on racist or temper his remarks. He did both and thus disappointed everyone when he first saw violence on “many” sides, then became somewhat more realistic, then retreated to his initial positions that the Nazis and “alt-left” were equally at fault.

COLORADO Senator Cory Gardner said we “should call evil by its name. This were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism”. (The Economist, August 19, 2017.)

[Your blogger posted on Facebook comparing the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and their Nazi overseers in WWII to the current White Supremacists with their open carry of weapons, KKK uniforms, Nazi flags vs. the “alt-left” (which your blogger admires for their courage to stand up physically to the Nazi free speech, at the risk of both arrest and beatings, even permanent injury or death. There is the law, and there is the time to stand up yourself and force progress in the law.)

Free speech applies to speech in many forms, but did the founders so often cited by conservative jurists mean I can chant ‘Jews Won’t Replace Us” while threatening Jews and others with bats and guns? The lawyer in me says one thing, the human in me says another. My post was critiqued for being a bad analogy. C’est la vivre.]

At some point speech not imminently dangerous (Trump’s remarks during and after the campaign), creates actions which are imminently dangerous (recent pro-Nazi, pro-Klan, anti-globalization, pro-racists), actions.

Can we support free speech to the extent of allowing the Nazi flags and ideas which my father fought against (and was injured), and so many Americans still have the hurt of losing brothers or uncles?

When free speech sends a chill up their spines for those concerned with their physical safety in the future, is it really “free speech” or just “incitement deferred speech”?

The law that applied when we spoke from soapboxes in the park may need to be adjusted for the world of Twitter and social media. “Imminent” must mean more than the limitation you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. What if the crowd is 3,000 miles away? And inclined to respond with violence? Doesn’t it still hear the “shout” over social media? The founders had not even heard of the phonograph, let alone the internet but through the ages our 3rd president THOMAS JEFFERSON, wrote to the “alt-left” at length:

“A strict observance of the law is doubtless one of the duties of a good citizen but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation of saving our country when in danger are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous to written law would be to lose the law itself; with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means” (from Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham.

Meacham further write about Jefferson and leadership: “…because of all his flaws and his failures he strikes us as mortal, too, a man of achievement who was susceptible to the temptations and compromises that ensnare all of us…

“Jefferson passed the fundamental test of leadership: Despite all his shortcomings and all the inevitable disappointments and mistakes and dreams deferred, he left America, and the world, in a better place than it had been when he first entered the arena of public life”. (Again, from Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham.)

As our president says, “where will it stop”? He was referring to the toppling of statues of Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee (who chose to support his state’s position on slavery rather than maintaining the Union), and Stonewall Jackson, [famous for standing tall in a hailstorm of bullets], then went on to wonder about Washington and Jefferson. Statues put up in the 1800s may reflect history, those in the 20th century likely reflect racism.

Perhaps a distinction might be the latter 2 built the Union, the former 2 tried to tear it in 2. Perhaps 1 could even note the statues honoring Lee and other southern military men were primarily built during the 60s as a response to civil rights laws then being passed.

AS 2 business panels he established began unraveling Trump dismissed both by a Twitter announcement.

3rd panel on infrastructure canceled by Trump before it meets. In apparent response, DOW fell 274 points the following day, slightly over 1%.

BANNON fired only to return to Breitbart to fight for political positions endorsed by Trump, taking each further to the right and away from equality and globalization.

SURVIVORS from the initial White House team are down to just a few.

JOINT Chiefs concurrently tweeted the military needs unity and distanced themselves from Trump’s (false, or “fake news”), equivalence of pro-Nazi demonstrators and “alt-left” protestors.

Beginnings of stronger responses by cities becoming apparent in Boston, Berkeley and other places where demonstrators on both sides may face arrests for disorderly conduct.

In other news:

KAISER Foundation states health care premium costs increasing due to increasing uncertainty about federal subsidies caused by President Trump’s continued refusal to commit to future payments. (Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2017.)

AMERICANS’ debt level reaches $12.84 T (Reuters, reported on Fidelity.com, August 15, 2017.) A trillion here, a trillion there, sooner or later you’re talking about real money.)

WAR of words with North Korea went up a notch last week, (Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2017), but has since lost screen time to its new competitor: the race wars of the 20-teens. North Korea not mentioned in news the last few evenings. Recent reports have North Korea with ability to hit western U.S. with ICBMs.

Apparently, words of assurance U.S. would only respond to military attack given by Mattis, Tillerson and others assured foreigners and allowed Kim Jong Un to turn down the volume.

HOMELESS project in Boyle Heights delayed while City Council considers waiving or enforcing requirement of environmental report which could take 5 years. (Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2017.)

THOSE opposed to globalization might ruminate on whether they were truly better off without microwaves, cell phones, color televisions, better cars, and even cheaper clothing. Possibly better than crying about the past we are better as a country to educate ourselves for the world of the future. Notably, many of the new Nazi sympathizers apparently have higher education and now, unlike the past, parade freely without face coverings. That is cause for concern.

The hit play “Hamilton” might not put it this way, but he was referred to “as the bastard son of a Scottish shopkeeper” and worse. Yet he rose from nothing to becoming one of the most influential people in still one of the most powerful countries in the history of the world, being more than 200 years later.

Not to say the road is open to everyone, but no doubt Hamilton could have said “hey, mom [man], what can I do?” He didn’t. Instead he used his grit, guts, moxie and brains to be a self-starter in a world just hitting it’s pace. (See The Great Upheaval, by Winnick.)

A poor person in a poor neighborhood has a better material standard of living than most English kings throughout history, who probably would have killed for color television, never mind TIVO!

SOLAR trade war benefiting 2 U.S. solar panel manufacturers may lead to loss of 88,000 solar installer jobs if Trump administration pushes World Trade Organization (WTO), to slap tariffs on foreign manufacturers. (Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2017.) Trade war could hurt large companies the import goods with sizable foreign content.

ARE we looking at “productivity” all wrong, failing to recognize it is not subject to fits and starts but proceeds independent of economic growth’s random changes but in its own long-term pattern? “In other words, instead of worrying so much about robots taking away jobs, maybe we should worry more about wages being too low for the robots to even get a chance”. (New York Times, July 25, 2017.)

BY maintaining construction spending at regular pace, U.S. government can facilitate development of more productive technologies. (The Economist, August 19, 2017.) However, more typically The Economist advocates Keynesian pump-priming, a decades old phrase which President Trump claimed as his own creation in his recent Economist interview.

U.C. Berkeley plans for “year of free speech” with “point, counter-point panels” facilitating the exchange of ideas. (Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2017.)

SOUTHERN California was a Confederate bastion and has statues and markers in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to prove it. (Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2017.) Will these prove more acceptable because they aren’t in the south? Will Los Angeles walk the walk, or just talk the talk?

LOS Angeles County pays $1.5 M to family of man shot while sitting in his car; payment brings amount of 3 settlements in recent weeks to $5.4 M. (Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2017.)

These settlements roll on like the sunrise with no apparently successful training programs for law enforcement personnel. $5.4 M is a lot of meals, schoolbooks, homeless beds, library hours, or even tax cuts over time, but it is money wasted from whatever point of view.

“GOP-led Congress” challenges current rest requirements for drivers, potentially leading to more accidents. (Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2017.) Increasing accidents may lead to increased pressure to allow driverless trucks, which will allegedly be much safer. Driving is the largest occupation in the country, with 3 M driving for a living.

STUDENT vaccination rate less than the 95% needed to provide “herd immunity” for children as more doctors write their patients have medical reasons not to be vaccinated. (Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2017.) Perhaps such delicate students should not be out and about in public at all but should be home schooled so as to protect themselves from others? Just a thought, but people are saying what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

MODERATE to conservative commentator George Skelton may reflect emerging consensus when he writes “Want universal health care for all Americans? Medicare for all is the solution”. (Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2017.) When this idea permeates more than liberal democratic thinking, it has a real chance if Democrats take the White House and Congress in backlash against Trump in 2018 and 2020.

ACROSS the Atlantic Brexit talks continue. As new borders are created to prevent free flow of labor, it will costs money to enforce, just as the Mexico border does for the U.S. No country will negotiate bilateral trade agreements with Britain while it is still part of the European Union customs union. Nor is there a technological approach that can replace an actual and physical border. (The Economist, August 19, 2017.) Ironically, Leavers may have unexpectedly and unintentionally created a new jobs program for the unemployed and lesser skilled: British Border Patrol.

PASSINGS: COMEDIAN and social activist Dick Gregory died Saturday at age 84. He marched, fasted, spoke and fought to call attention to issues from police brutality to world famine but will mainly be remembered for his civil rights work, once spending 5 days in jail with Martin Luther King. In 1 interview he quoted his mother, who allegedly said “there are 2 ways to live life — laughing or by crying. There’s more hope in laughing”.
The times are so newsworthy it has become impossible, due to limitations of space, time, energy and ability to cite all matters worthy of mention. I apologize in advance for any oversights, grammatical or other errors. According to some readers, I make more than my share of them.

Note: Citations generally refer to material before the citation. Comments after a citation are generally my own. Citations are not necessarily the only news sites your blogger has seen reporting on a story or issue.

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ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 186