“Bombogenesis” enters weather commentary – Republicans excepted, of course


Semi blown over in Marina, California

❝ One of California’s strongest storms in years – dubbed a “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb” – has hit the state, killing at least four people and bringing torrential rain and floods.

Power cuts hit 150,000 households and sinkholes swallowed cars.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated amid fear of mud slides near Los Angeles…

❝ One man was killed after a tree fell and pulled a power line onto his car in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles.

A second person died in a vehicle when it was submerged by a flash flood in the town of Victorville…

Two others died in car accidents in the San Diego area.

❝ Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics, told the Los Angeles Times that 10 trillion gallons of rain would fall on California in the next week, enough to power Niagara Falls for 154 days

❝ It is feared that areas that have been previously hit by forest fires could be more susceptible to mud slides as there is less vegetation to break the flow of running water.

Terry Anzur of KFI News told the BBC the dry, scorched ground that had been “saturated” with the heavy downpour was turning streets into “rivers of mud”…

❝ Meteorologists describe the “bombogenesis” as an intense extra-tropical cyclonic low-pressure area, or “a weather bomb”.

“It is likely the strongest within the last six years and possibly even as far back as December 2004 or January 1995.”

Gusts of 87mph were reported on the Big Sur scenic coastal highway.

If you’re sitting in a Million-dollar McMansion you ain’t worried about more than getting out to buy more of the right lite beer to slug down while watching reality TV. Not the reality the rest of us face; but, good enough to keep Fox News in business.

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Trump needs a new enemy

davies-2-17-17

❝ Last week, a senior White House official shared a candid theory with me about why President Donald Trump and his team have been adrift since November: they’ve yet to adjust to the post-election reality, and they haven’t yet learned how to operate without a single, common enemy — Hillary Clinton — to focus on. It was a frank admission that a team built for winning a campaign has so far failed at governing.

❝ Incoming Presidents usually trade in some of their political tacticians for experienced Washington hands when they take office, but Trump installed his entire senior campaign leadership into top positions in the White House, a place where few of them have ever worked before…

The early results of this experiment in governance by the least experienced have not been promising…

❝ …The big debate inside the White House has been who to define as Trump’s “enemy.” At his press conference on Thursday, Trump appeared to settle the issue by declaring — or reigniting — a war on the media. This was the target that Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who calls the press “the opposition party,” favored. But not all of Trump’s advisers agreed with this approach…

Still, faced with a crisis of government management, the Trump team has responded with the two campaign tactics that helped him win the election: his political performance art at press conferences and rallies. On Saturday, the White House will follow up on Trump’s anti-media tirade by sending Trump to Florida for what it has billed as a “campaign” event.

❝ The reaction of many large media outlets to Trump’s mishaps and blowups has been predictable. On Thursday and Friday, journalists picked apart the many lies Trump told at his press conference and reported earnestly on the numerous outrages he set off…

❝ But Republicans control Congress, so Trump’s fate — for the next two years, at least — will be decided by members of his own party. Right now they fall roughly into three camps. The first is made up of Republicans who see Trump, for all his obvious faults, as a vessel for a fairly standard Republican agenda of tax cuts and deregulation. Trump’s attacks on the media and the left can be seen as a way of keeping this group loyal by defining common enemies…

❝ The second group on the right is the Never Trump movement, whose warnings about Trump during the campaign look more and more prescient, even as its ranks have diminished…

❝ Finally, there is the swing group: Republicans who privately despise Trump and who share many of the concerns that are aired publicly in the press and by Democrats, but who so far don’t see a reason to speak up…

Partisanship is a powerful force in American politics. It is strong enough that most swing Republicans will remain quiet in the face of a growing crisis of leadership at the highest levels of the American government. A sure sign of the Trump collapse, if it comes, will be when those seemingly unbreakable partisan bonds finally crack.

Many Democrats are about as independent-minded and aggressive as the Congressional Democrat Establishment allows. See faction #1 above describing their Republican counterparts. Lots of folks rejoice in the pissed-off groundswell nationwide. As if it somehow was the result of leadership by the Democratic Party.

I still have my Wellies on while that cowshit is getting deeper. I don’t see many truly modern folks lining up to campaign as official Democrat choices against the Republican wall of obedience. Yes, there are principled Dems of the progressive flavor among the sparks igniting grassroots confrontation. They were ignored through the end of the Hillary march to coronation that didn’t happen. They’re moving forward, now…in the absence of serious challenges from status quo Dems who [I believe] are sitting around waiting for Trump to turn into Nixon.

One-Third of Americans Don’t Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same

❝ A sizable minority of Americans don’t understand that Obamacare is just another name for the Affordable Care Act.

This finding, from a poll by Morning Consult, illustrates the extent of public confusion over a health law that President Trump and Republicans in Congress hope to repeal.

❝ In the survey, 35 percent of respondents said either they thought Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were different policies (17 percent) or didn’t know if they were the same or different (18 percent). This confusion was more pronounced among people 18 to 29 and those who earn less than $50,000 — two groups that could be significantly affected by repeal…

When respondents were asked what would happen if Obamacare were repealed, even more people were stumped. Approximately 45 percent did not know that the A.C.A. would be repealed. Twelve percent of Americans said the A.C.A. would not be repealed, and 32 percent said they didn’t know.

The ever-present question: Are Americans stupid or just plain ignorant?

Our politicians, the Congressional clown show, the so-called president occupying the White House – with a few exceptions, none of these really care what the answer is. Their only concern is how to make political hay from a field sown in superstition and grandpa’s advice that was out-of-date a half-century ago.

Ivanka Trump fashions dropped by Nordstrom following boycott


“Can I blow in your ear?”

❝ Fashion retailer Nordstrom has dropped a clothing line by Ivanka Trump.

It’s after campaigners called for a boycott on stores doing business with the president’s family. But the company blames the move on poor sales.

❝ The US firm says it makes “buying decisions based on performance” and that cutting brands “is part of the regular rhythm of our business”…

❝ The #GrabYourWallet campaign urged customers to boycott firms which have supported the Trumps.

It was started by two women angry about the president’s comments about women which came out in October.

❝ Co-founder Shannon Coulter reacted on Twitter, saying: “Big news everyone. You did this. I am in awe #GrabYourWallet.

“Those who voted against Donald control $7 trillion in spending.

“Never forget it. Never forget our power. Together, we can change a lot.”

A bit more detail in the article including Nordstrom softpedaling on the boycott. Folks just “stopped buying the Ivanka brand”. Same as a boycott as far as I read.

Milestone: Entire management team of the State Department has resigned

From Josh Rogin at the Washington POST

❝ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

❝ Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me.

Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations…

❝ In addition, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired Jan. 20, and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day. That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people…

❝ Several senior foreign service officers in the State Department’s regional bureaus have also left their posts or resigned since the election. But the emptying of leadership in the management bureaus is more disruptive because those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies. There’s no easy way to replace that via the private sector, said David Wade.

“Resist” comes in many flavors. Civil servants haven’t a lot of choices. Resigning is closest to the honorable definition of boycott.

In fact, this is closer to an expression of honest political clarity than anything I expect from Congress. While there will be a number of principled Congress-critters who will speak out and vote against Trump’s crap appointees, the overall votes will come down to obedient sheep in the Republican Party exercising their diminishing majority.

NAFTA, global trade deals, aren’t what killed American manufacturing jobs

❝ Politically speaking, there was no debate on United States international trade agreements in 2016: All politicians seeking to win a national election, or even to create a party-spanning political coalition, agree that our trade agreements are bad things.

❝ From the left, we had Democratic presidential primary runner-up Bernie Sanders — and a remarkably close runner-up he was — slamming trade. From the — I do not think it’s wrong but it’s not quite correct to call it “right,” at least not as Americans have hitherto understood what “right” is — but from somewhere, we had now-President Donald Trump. Listen to them: The rhetoric is the same.

❝ And what did we hear from the center establishment? We had…Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president…”…

❝ The political truthiness has been flying thick and fast on this subject for decades now. Politicians are taking claims that have a very tenuous connection to economic reality — claims that feel true — and running with them, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes because of cynical calculation…

❝ Yes, America has been losing manufacturing job share at a furious rate. Yes, the spread between the incomes of the non-college-educated and the college-educated has widened massively. Yes, the spread between the incomes of even the college-educated and our overclass has exploded.

But this is not due to NAFTA. This is not due to bringing China into the WTO rather than keeping it out. This is not due to the not-yet-completed — and now never-to-be-completed — TPP…

❝ To defend trade deals is not to say that US economic policy has been without fault

To be clear, I do think American international economic policy has been far, far from perfect. I could rant with the best of them about our failure to be a capital-exporting nation financing the industrialization of the world, a role from which we would ultimately benefit both economically and politically. I can rant about our reluctance to properly incentivize the creation and maintenance of the global treasures that are our communities of engineering practice…

❝ But the never-to-be-implemented TPP? NAFTA? And China-WTO? They are not big parts of any picture. They are not a big part of the long-run decline in the manufacturing job share. Indeed, they barely register among the flaws in US international economic policy.

By and large, the jobs that we shed as a result of NAFTA and China-WTO were low-paying jobs that we did not really want. Because of NAFTA and China-WTO, we have been able to buy a lot of good stuff much cheaper — which means we have had more income to spend on other things and to pay people to do other, more useful things than work on low-productivity blue-collar assembly lines.

❝ The elephant in the room is the collapse over the past three generations of the manufacturing employment share here in America.

A manufacturing job making things in a factory is no longer, in any sense, a typical job for Americans. A sector of the economy that provided three out of 10 nonfarm jobs at the start of the 1950s and one in four nonfarm jobs at the start of the 1970s now provides fewer than one in 11 nonfarm jobs today. Proportionally, the United States has shed almost two-thirds of relative manufacturing employment since 1971…

RTFA. Please. It’s long and detailed in premises and proofs. That doesn’t make economics or thoroughgoing history more enjoyable; but, it surely helps with understanding.

❝ But — as professor DeLong concludes — even here in America, you can, as you definitely can elsewhere, mobilize a great deal of populist energy by identifying foreigners as the enemy. I do not think this is an impulse that it is healthy for any part of this country. I do not think this is something any political movement that seeks to do anything other than destroy can dare to encourage…The economic case against the two agreements that passed, and the one that did not, doesn’t hold water. It’s clear, however, that candidates can make an effective political case against trade agreements — and that scares me.