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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Get Washington's Statues off Their High Horses

Pedestrians in Northwest Washington's Thomas Circle. (photo: Bill O'Leary/WP)
Pedestrians in Northwest Washington's Thomas Circle. (photo: Bill O'Leary/WP)

By Garrison Keillor, The Washington Post
 
orgive me if I don’t think the removal of Confederate statuary is an issue. I call it decluttering, which is an ongoing project at my house and I hope at yours too. When those crews are done down South, put them to work in Washington. The Frenchman L’Enfant (the name means “immature”) who laid out the streets in this swamp had grandiose ideas, as anyone knows who has attempted to navigate in the capital, diagonal boulevards laid against a grid, which created numerous odd squares and irrelevant circles which, of course, required large equestrian statues to ennoble them, and so you have Thomas Circle at 14th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW named for Gen. George Thomas, who fought at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863. But does this give him a permanent right to loom over us in 2017 and obstruct traffic and cause honking and obscene gesturing? A whole circle devoted to this small historical footnote and how many thousands of children have pointed to him and asked, “Who is he?” and their parents were clueless and thus authority is undermined, trust is eroded, the family is weakened, our children grow up rootless and liable to fall for crackpots and demagogues.

Same for Gen. James McPherson, who died in the Battle of Atlanta (but so did a lot of other people). You’ve got a whole square near the White House named for him. Ridiculous. What this says about Washington is that it is so encrusted with regulations and overlapping commissions and committees and agencies that it is incapable of rational progress. Send in a crane to extract Gen. McPherson and move Duke Ellington in from where he’s exiled over on T Street and you may restore our faith in the relevance of government. “Take the A Train” did more for America than McPherson did. And what about Gen. George McClellan, who was reluctant to engage with the Confederates and who ran for president as a defeatist in 1864? Why is this loser sitting on a horse 32 feet in the air? Who invited him? Why not Jubilation T. Cornpone?

Our nation’s capital has become our nation’s attic, full of stuffed owls and white elephants and antique souvenirs. Drain the swamp, throw out the junk! History moves on as the past recedes and indifference sets in.

In New York, Daniel Webster takes up a big swath of ground in Central Park. Take him down and set him on the sidewalk in Union Square, where people can walk right up and take selfies with him. He’d like that.

In my home town, St. Paul, there’s a statue of a Union soldier standing on a ridiculous smokestack of a pedestal so high you can’t be sure if that’s his overcoat or a pinafore. Someday it’s liable to fall on somebody. Take it down, saw off nine-tenths of the pedestal, and put up a statue of Emmanuel Masqueray, the French architect who designed the magnificent cathedral across the street. Then you’ve got something worth talking about.

Every ethnicity and political faction and interest group has got its monument in Washington — the Italians got Dante, Russians got Pushkin, conservatives got Edmund Burke, physicists got Einstein, pacifists got Gandhi, feminists got Joan of Arc, Boy Scouts got Teddy Roosevelt, intelligence officers got Nathan Hale, and so on and so forth. Everybody but us columnists.

Haul McClellan down off his high horse and put up H.L. Mencken on the pedestal. It’s a handsome horse, so keep that and let Mencken hold the reins, and inscribe his words: “The man of vigorous mind and stout convictions is gradually shouldered out of public life. . . . This leaves the field to the intellectual jellyfish . . . to the blank cartridge who has no convictions at all and . . . the mountebank who is willing to conceal and disguise what he actually believes, according as the wind blows hot or cold.” Inscribe it across the horse’s rear end. Put a recycling bin behind it where people can leave their dog droppings. People will stop and look, it’ll speak to them.

I was in Washington last weekend, trying to get from Virginia Avenue over to K Street and attend church and it took so long to find my way, I was hardly in a devotional mood, but that’s par for the course in D.C. nowadays. A whole lot of anger in this town. Edit the statuary collection, including some who have been parked in Congress refighting old wars, and see if it doesn’t improve the situation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Meet Jared Kushner, scumbag slumlord


Nice to meet you, I'm probably suing your mother.
Did you know Trump son-in-law and now Adviser For All The Things Jared Kushner is a slumlord? Yeah, Jared Kushner is a slumlord.
The worst troubles may have been those described in a 2013 court case involving Jasmine Cox’s unit at Cove Village. They began with the bedroom ceiling, which started leaking one day. Then maggots started coming out of the living room carpet. Then raw sewage started flowing out of the kitchen sink. “It sounded like someone turned a pool upside down,” Cox told me. “I heard the water hitting the floor and I panicked. I got out of bed and the sink is black and gray, it’s pooling out of the sink and the house smells terrible.” Cox stopped cooking for herself and her son, not wanting food near the sink. A judge allowed her reduced rent for one month. When she moved out soon afterward, Westminster Management sent her a $600 invoice for a new carpet and other repairs. Cox, who is now working as a battery-test engineer and about to buy her first home, was unaware who was behind the company that had put her through such an ordeal. When I told her of Kushner’s involvement, there was a silence as she took it in.
“Get that [expletive] out of here,” she said.
That's from Alec MacGillis' investigation into the state of multiple Kushner-owned properties managed under the name JK2 Westminster, and specifically of the company's unusually aggressive court actions against renters. The Kushner clan bought up an array of distressed and dilapidated properties, older complexes where renters pay about $1,000 a month, and Jared's quite pleased with their performance, calling it a "very stable asset class." As CEO of the company up until he got tapped by Donald Trump to fix the entire Middle East, the opiate crisis, and whatever else ya got, one of the ways Jared squeezed more money out of the properties than the previous owners was to shortchange renters on needed fixes—and then sue them when they tried to move out.
In the cases that Tapper has brought to court on behalf of JK2 Westminster and individual Kushner-controlled companies, there is a clear pattern of Kushner Companies’ pursuing tenants over virtually any unpaid rent or broken lease — even in the numerous cases where the facts appear to be on the tenants’ side. Not only does the company file cases against them, it pursues the cases for as long as it takes to collect from the overmatched defendants — often several years.
You can see why Trump's taken such a liking to the guy: he's a Trump man through and through. Trump will charge lower-income Americans extravagant prices for not-classes at his not-university, and Kushner will sue them for past rent when they get back home.

And so we're told the tale of collapsed drywall ceilings, mice in beds, nonworking appliances, and the usual signs you're living in a complex owned by someone who may or may not later end up in jail. Those go alongside tales of Kushner's company aggressively pursuing $5,000 judgments against deceased cancer patients, or people who have been made sick from the mold or rodent droppings, or people who got permission to leave their leases early from the local property manager but the head office never got the paperwork so screw you, that's why.
Very few of the complex residents I met, even ones who had been pursued at length in court by JK2 Westminster, had any idea that their rent and late fees were going to the family company of the president’s son-in-law. “That Jared Kushner?” Danny Jackson, a plumber in his 15th year living at Harbor Point Estates, exclaimed. “Oh, my God. And I thought he was the good one.”
Yeah, he does try to give that impression. So, ya know ... oops.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trump's budget—billions for mass deportations and 'bricks and mortar,' but screw the poor


WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01:  President Donald Trump (2nd R) hosts Office of Managment and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (L) and Republican Congressional leaders (2nd L-R) Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and others during a working lunch in the Roosevelt Room at the White House March 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. The meeting comes the day after Trump layed out his policy priorities during a joint session of Congress.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Sure, the new 2018 budget slashes billions from food assistance, cancer research, and disability benefits, but the Trump regime has still miraculously found plenty of taxpayer money for two of his favorite, racist pet projects. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled a budget proposal asking for billions to terrorize immigrant families, expand Trump’s mass deportation force that has been targeting moms and dads with no criminal record, and to build some of that f*cking wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for: 
The budget proposed by the White House on Tuesday includes $2.6 billion for border security -- $1.6 billion of which will be for "bricks and mortar for a wall," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters on Monday.
In addition to the wall money, another $1 billion would cover investments at the border like aircraft, communications equipment, weapons, surveillance technology, road infrastructure and inspection equipment, according to budget documents provided by the White House.
The budget will make further requests for immigration enforcement, including $300 million to support recruiting, hiring and training for the vast increase in agents for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Trump has called for.
Esther Lee of Think Progress notes that “the request, formally submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is nearly half the $4.1 billion amount for border wall construction called for in the skinny version of a budget blueprint released in March,” but it’s the funding to expand deportations that should be the worry here. As immigrant rights group America’s Voice noted, ICE and CBP are two of the worst law enforcement agencies in the nation,” with one former official saying CBP’s corruption rate has “exceeded that of any other U.S. federal law-enforcement agency.” Among one of the agencies Trump wants to ramp up, three CBP agents were accused this month of “extreme hazing” by colleagues, including assault on something called a “rape table.” But wasn’t it Mexican immigrants who were bringing that?
"They take you in a room, and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you," said officer Vito Degironimo in an interview with NBC New York. "Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table, and one officer ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse."
Officer Diana Cifuentes says she was never forced onto this table, but did receive threats and intimidation from at least one fellow officer, with whom she describes having a previous conflict.
"He said, 'You deserve to be put on the rape table,' and that's when he started chasing after me," she said. “[Eventually] I was held down by another officer and one additional officer taped me with green customs tape to the chair."
Among ICE, only 6.5 percent of the 41,300 undocumented immigrants arrested by agents since Trump’s inauguration had violent crime convictions, while “the fastest growing category of arrests were immigrants with no convictions,” according to America’s Voice. ICE has claimed that nearly 75 percent of those arrested are “convicted criminals,” but the Trump regime has expanded the definition of “criminal” to include folks that only have traffic or immigration-related infractions.

DHS Secretary John Kelly could release more information about who is getting arrested and why, but “ICE refuses to release the full set of statistics about its enforcement operations.” It’s almost like they’re trying to hid something, right?

“Despite ICE spin, the facts are that most people being deported are not dangers to the public, they are ordinary folks who have been building their lives here and contributing,” said Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice. “And the agencies that make up Trump’s Deportation Force are unaccountable, unprofessional, and abusive.

Instead of expanding their ranks, they need oversight and reform.” Fact, because rather than taking steps to reining in these state-sanctioned thugs, House Republicans want to arm ICE with M-4s as DHS looks for ways to ease hiring standards for Border Patrol agents. Rather than throwing cold water on the fire, these guys are intent on adding gasoline.

If Trump really is looking for some of those “bad hombres,” maybe he should go check out his own employees first.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

'Time to bring Jared Kushner home. In handcuffs.'


NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: President-elect Donald Trump embraces son in law Jared Kushner (R), as his daughter Ivanka Trump, (L), stands nearby, after his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.   (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
I have Putin on line two.

As if trying to set up a secret channel between Trump and Putin wasn’t enough, Reuters is reporting that Jared Kushner also had additional communications with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak that were previously undisclosed.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.
Those contacts included two phone calls between April and November last year, two of the sources said. By early this year, Kushner had become a focus of the FBI investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, said two other sources - one current and one former law enforcement official.
The idea that Kushner was just a “witness” to wrongdoing can be completely discarded. Kushner was an active agent who withheld the scope of his connections to Russian officials and who attempted to set up a secret communication channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin.

This is the man who Donald Trump charged with everything from Mideast peace, to creating a new trade deal with China, to overhauling government.

But there is one chore Trump assigned to Kushner that he can carry out — criminal justice reform. His actions have crossed so many lines that there are none left to cross. We’ve left Watergate somewhere way back in the rear mirror. It’s time to bring Jared Kushner home. In handcuffs.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Are Republicans evil, greedy, or just really stupid?

The Eiffel Tower lit up during the Paris climate talks, referencing the 1.5C target that governments have agreed to pursue efforts to hold temperatures to. (photo: Shun Kambe)
The Eiffel Tower lit up during the Paris climate talks, referencing the 1.5C target that governments have agreed to pursue efforts to hold temperatures to. (photo: Shun Kambe)

GOP Senators Urge Trump to Make 'Clean Exit' From Paris Climate Agreement

By Michael Walsh, Yahoo News
27 May 17
 
group of 22 Republican senators signed a letter urging President Trump to make a “clean break” from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The letter, dated May 25, commends Trump for signing 14 executive orders to roll back regulations established under the Obama administration. It singles out the “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” order for beginning the process of dismantling former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations.

But the many high-profile Republican leaders — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe — argue that remaining in the Paris Agreement would interfere with rolling back the country’s “regulatory burdens.”

“Because of existing provisions within the Clean Air Act and others embedded in the Paris Agreement, remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk that could upend your Administration’s ability to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to make a clean break from the Paris Agreement,” the letter reads.

More than 195 countries have signed the landmark international treaty, pledging to reduce their carbon emissions in an effort to keep the average global temperature increase to below 2°C.

The Republican senators argue that environmentalists will try to use the Paris Agreement as a “legal defense” against Trump’s efforts to rescind the Clean Power Plan. They say the international accord will only embolden those already citing Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, which is concerned with international air pollution, to advocate for greenhouse gas regulations.

Trump, who has described himself as “not a huge believer in the global warming phenomenon,” vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement while campaigning but has softened his tone since Inauguration Day.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump plans to decide after his current international trip, which includes his first meeting with leaders from the Group of Seven in Italy. In their meeting at the Vatican, Pope Francis presented Trump with a copy of his landmark encyclical calling for international cooperation to fight global warming.

In the GOP letter, the senators acknowledge that Trump’s inner circle is divided on whether the United States should exit the Paris Agreement. According to various reports, Ivanka Trump (his daughter and assistant), Jared Kushner (his son-in-law and senior adviser) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson want the U.S. to remain. On the other hand, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt have been outspoken in their opinion that the U.S. should back out of the agreement.

“We understand that some officials inside your Administration want to remain in the Paris Agreement to keep a seat at the table so that the U.S. continues to have a voice in future discussions. Fortunately, a clean exit from the Paris Agreement will not take this away,” the letter reads.

The signatories point out that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 1992 reserves a permanent spot every year at the Conferences of Parties (COP). These are annual formal meetings in which diplomats and world leaders assess progress on climate change and discuss possible solutions.

“Again, we applaud you on your ongoing efforts to reduce overregulation in America,” the letter concludes. “To continue on this path, we urge you to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement so that your Administration can follow through on its commitment to rescind the Clean Power Plan.”

On Wednesday, Democratic senators — including Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer — held a press conference urging Trump to stay in the climate accord.


Many domestic and international scientific associations have issued statements affirming that scientific evidence shows that the global climate is changing as a result of human activities and that it is a major danger to society.

The American Physical Society, for instance, released a statement saying the evidence behind climate change is “incontrovertible.”

“Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

Here is a complete list of the Republican senators who signed off on letter to Trump:

• James M. Inhofe
• John Barrasso
• Mitch McConnell
• John Cornyn
• Roy Blunt
• Roger Wicker
• Michael B. Enzi
• Michael D. Crapo
• Jim Risch
• Thad Cochran
• M. Michael Rounds
• Rand Paul
• John Boozman
• Richard C. Shelby
• Luther Strange
• Orrin G. Hatch
• Mike Lee
• Ted Cruz
• David Perdue
• Thom Tillis
• Tim Scott
• Pat Roberts

Friday, May 26, 2017

Der Spiegel: "It's Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump"

16427274_10158298347080571_5889687068137080544_n.jpg
Der Spiegel, earlier this year
Der Spiegel  is responding to the reports that Donald Trump said, in his private meetings that 
"The Germans are evil, very evil.” * 
“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. We will stop that.”
*or “bad, very bad.” “Die Deutschen sind böse, sehr böse” can be translated either way. Whatever it was that Trump said, he said it in English. Our sources are German. My guess would be that Trump said the Germans were “bad.” That would fit his vocabulary. 

We won’t go into the details and numbers  of the BMW, VW, and Daimler plants across the south, or the thousands of local dealerships, providing good old American jobs. (If you buy a BMW from your local dealer, chances are that that car never set foot in Germany.) See Slate: www.slate.com/… 

We also won’t spend time on the part of the Der Spiegel article, that said: 
the EU side was horrified at the extent of the Americans' lack of awareness of trade policy. Apparently, it was unclear to the guests that the EU countries concluded trade agreements only jointly.  
www.spiegel.de/…  [German]

As Quartz reported:
Chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, seemed to think that there were different customs tariffs between the US and Germany than between the US and Belgium, according to Der Spiegel. (In fact, all euro-zone countries abide by the same tariff policy.)
qz.com/…   [English]

But what is most striking to me, is an article that was written last week, before Trump came to Europe, entitled, “It’s Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump.” [Or, “How will We be Rid of Trump?”] This is an editorial, filled with words like “laughingstock,” “danger,” “not fit,” “liar,” racist,” “cheat,” “joke of a man,” “immature boy.”   And more where that came from. 

What was most striking to me was the central paragraph, which addresses “an American tragedy for which there are five theoretical solutions”:
  • 1.  Trump resigns. Won’t happen.
  • 2.  Impeachment. Won’t happen “because of the Republican thirst for power.”
  • 3.  25th Amendment. Cabinet removes Trump. Won’t happen. 
  • 4.  Democrats take over both houses of Congress and impeach. 18 months away. 
So, what is to be done? 
Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.
The perspective from Europe sees America as an unstable, unreliable partner. They need to be thinking about going it alone. Trump on one side, Putin on the other.

Trump made no firm commitment to NATO today. The Europeans need to figure out their path — without any leadership from America. That’s what the editorial sees. 
“Crises, including those in Syria and Libya, are escalating, but no longer being discussed. And who should they be discussed with? Phone calls and emails to the U.S. State Department go unanswered. Nothing is regulated, nothing is stable and the trans-Atlantic relationship hardly exists anymore.”
(Hell, they can’t even rely on the US not to shut our government down, for no good reason, later this summer.)

How does Germany’s #1 newsmagazine and #1 online magazine see us?
In real life, an immature boy sits on the throne of the most important country in the world. He could, at any time, issue a catastrophic order that would immediately be carried out. That is why the parents cannot afford to take their eyes off him even for a second. They cannot succumb to exhaustion because he is so taxing. They ultimately have to send him to his room - and return power to the grownups.
No, they can’t get rid of Trump. (Neither, at this time, can we.) So they — and we — need to make a way to go, not relying on a man who should not be where he is. 

O would some power the Giftie gie us. To see ourselves as ithers see us!”
Friday, May 26, 2017 · 8:09:24 AM USMST · BC in Illinois 

I want to highlight what “RandomGuyFrom Germany” said, way down in the comments: 
German car makers sold 1.33 million cars in the US last year, which (a) hardly qualifies as “millions” and (b) is only around 7% marketshare.
They also produced 850,000 cars in the US, which they either sold here or exported.
That makes for roughly half a million cars, or ca. 3% of the market, which Germany wields as a weapon to bring down US economy.
Trump is insulting and threatening an ally, based on nothing more than a vague notion in his head that everyone is driving a German car and that people should “Buy American.” (Like he does.)

That I myself had no idea how many German cars were made and sold in America, is not a problem for anyone. That someone occupying the office of President doesn’t know what he is talking about — to the leaders of the European Union! — backs up why Der Spiegel says he has to go:
Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.
Until he goes, we must resist.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

'Simplicity is not a solution for complex challenges'

  GEORGE TEMPLETON  
         COMMENTARY        

By George Templeton
Gazette Columnist
 
Transactional Times
Friends
When the gas pump at the self-service filling station told me it wanted to be my friend, I remembered the way things were, when filling stations were not self-service, before markets had changed our lives. 
A filling station attendant taught me how to service my first car.  It had a stick shift, arm-strong steering, foot-strong brakes, and was air conditioned by rolling the windows down.  The radio used vacuum tubes and had a vibrator.  Things could be fixed instead of replaced.  It was a less complicated world.
I worked at a filling station while going through college.  We had no cash register.  All the transactions were done in our head using cash in our pockets.  There was no such thing as credit cards.  We kept a record of those who owed us for gas that they could not pay for, but we did not consider these connections as friendship.  That required sharing at a more intimate personal level.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
James Burke argued that we are what we know.  A few simple natural laws, having broad consequences, create a web of truth.  But we don’t see things as what they are.  We see them from what we are.
The Bible writers thought that the sun circled the earth.  When this silly thinking was pointed out to the philosopher Wittgensten, he replied, “I wonder what it would look like if the sun did circle the earth.”  Silly did not become until Galileo looked through his telescope.
But the world is not just out there.  It grows inside us by experience.  Our consciousness has a broad awareness.  We are separate, yet together, sharing the same reality.  We are all connected.  Fragmentation divides us, but our future depends on the patterns of nature and humanity.  We are our greatest threat and biggest hope.  How will we make the decisions needed to help people to connect?  Our investments are not just in stocks and bonds, they are in others.
America Growing Up 
A big tree grows from a tiny seed.  It contains only its unseen plan for the future.  It has none of the things needed to realize that.  It needs nourishment from the soil, water, sunshine, and appropriate temperatures.  To flourish, the seed needs to coexist within its environment.  So it is with us.
The American way did not come from a retreat to yesterday.  It came from ingenuity and the belief that we could help all humanity.  It is much easier to destroy than to create and to be capricious instead of mindful.  A single individual can throw a wrench into the clockwork.  It takes many people to create the clock.  Simplicity is not a solution for complex challenges.  Our problems are more with unquestioned answers than with unanswered questions.
The Field of the Future
The field of the future does not come from anger or getting even.  It cannot be commanded.  It is not a rerun of yesterday’s success or a copy of what others have done.  Diffuse and tenuous, it has an inexact value at every place and time, but it knows what we want before we do.  It has a purpose that is greater than self-interest.  All of us can feel it, though we often ignore it.  It can be tapped into by having an open mind.  It lacks security, but its authenticity is obvious.
The TV preacher explained that the Holy Spirit was a real supernatural person, who would protect you from heretical thinking.  The field of the future is human and creative.  It frees us from our prison of habitual thinking.  It comes not only from how things are, but why.  Reality is always growing, spreading like a wave, focusing to a particle, and never complete.  We can never fully comprehend it, but we know how to learn about it.  That comes from the scientific method and our experiences.   
Scientifically Speaking
Economics is a science.  Some people think that it is all that matters and that, one way or another, it can explain everything.  Science likes to take things apart, to get to the building blocks.  But particles and waves are mutually exclusive explanations for relationships.  Relationships are more fundamental than the things used to model them.
The waves we see and hear are disturbances in a medium, like a violin string or clap of thunder, but light requires no medium, no ether to propagate in.  The field of the future is like the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is the unexpected consequence of interacting relationships.  Its medium is reality.
I’ve engineered in places where there was no electricity at night, street lights, signs, home lamps, or paved roads.  Cows freely roamed midst clouds of dust thrown up by big trucks.  It was dark and hard to see.  The Bible writers told of Jesus as the light of the world.  They knew that it would create history.  They expected more than short-term goals.
The past changes the future.  That is why it never repeats.  The future depends on multi-disciplinary education, not just the math and science that is so essential for manufacturing.  We are never objective passive observers, seeing things from the outside.  We are always implicated in the process of becoming by our human subjectivity, but that should be tempered by a liberal education.
Free Markets
Economics is for everyone.  That makes it human, but it becomes difficult when it concerns life and death.  The market creates moral relativity.  When people make price the measure of value, they can be bought and sold.  Sometimes we make money just for the sake of making money.  The market seems to be changing us more than we influence it.
We lose value when everything has a price.  We should be concerned about the seeds that we are planting.  It is freedom and choice when we choose what we will buy and sell.  It makes jobs and grows the economy.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  But free enterprise does not work in uniquely personal situations that are secret or too complicated to understand.
Consider the prostitute who sells her body.  The man who buys can afford it.  The woman makes a living and does not have to be on welfare.  It is a win – win proposition, free market determined, economically efficient, and behind closed doors.   But something seems wrong with this.
Their lives may not be so free depending on the situation they find themselves in.  It can include poverty, drug addiction, and violent coercion.  They create inequality in the power of the participants.  The market may not be so fair.  We know that selling sex dehumanizes, devalues, and demeans women.  Both parties in the deal incur guilt by corrupting life itself.
Is a person formed at the instant when the egg and sperm meet?  That makes a lawyer necessary for criminal defense of the woman who experiences a miscarriage.  Religion would have the state intervene in difficult, complex, personal situations that cannot be encompassed by any uninformed law.    They want everything to have a compact explanation that is palatable to a little child.
It is a fact that the crime rate dropped precipitately following the Roe vs. Wade abortion legalization.  Society benefited, yet this is not the whole story.  Birth control reduces abortion, but religious freedom would restrict its availability to you even though you would never be required to use it.
How do you feel about strangers gambling on your life expectancy?  You bought a life insurance policy because you were concerned about the welfare of loved ones that depended on you.  The TV advertised that you can sell your policy if you need cash now.  That market is betting that you will die sooner instead of later.  They will collect the proceeds of your policy.  It is profitable to both parties in the deal, but the security of those left behind suffers.  When you hear about hackers stealing personal information, you might have reason for concern about someone who has no interest in you profiting from your death.
Healthy Markets
How will the Republicans deal with mental illness, the demented, and long term care?  What if you discover that you have an incurable disease that renders you unable to work and perform the activities of daily living for fifty years?  Once that fact is known, you won’t be able to afford long-term care insurance.  There are people like that who are alone in the world.  What happens to them?      
We hear a lot about market oriented health insurance, but is it really customer driven?  The government does not provide custodial care, but isn’t its purpose to help the least and most needy of us?  What is the relationship between life, health, and the market?
High-risk insurance pools lower costs for the typical well person.  The elderly, sick, people with pre-existing conditions, and those who let their insurance lapse will pay more.  If you don’t need insurance, the market will make it easier to buy.  If you are sick, it could be your own fault, caused by diet, obesity, lack of exercise, drugs, and smoking.  Why should others pay for your irresponsibility?
The funding of the insurance pools will be a state’s right subject to miserliness.  It drags down a state’s competitiveness when it has to help those who are chronically ill.  Don’t you think that something as universal and important as health care legislation should describe what happens to Medicaid?  It doesn’t seem right for Congress to leave the dirty work to the states.  Insurance companies can waive requirements and regulations if it is beneficial to their market.  The market is more important than life!
Incentives
There are more than 70,000 medical codes that classify procedures and billing, but there is only you!  Between you, the insurance company, Medicare, and Medicaid the billing takes months, the charges are obscure, and the procedure is full of errors.  The desire for more efficient and effective health care motivates the idea of payment incentives for results.  But profit is higher when you don’t get well and where there are no concrete results.
The monetization of conscience has many subtle effects on motives, attitudes, and relationships.  Payment discourages turn-out.  The gift of obligation goes away.  Incentives work backwards from what is expected when they counter conscience.  They fail when they do not consider values that come from the heart instead of the wallet.  They fail to reconnect us. 
Deep inside, all of us know what we long for.  The philosopher, Thoreau, understood this and wrote about it in the 19th century.  Thoreau went to the woods to live modestly and deliberately, connected to nature and acting within it instead of upon it.  He did not want to die, discovering that he had not lived.  He could see that we are God’s gift to nature and that nature is not there for us to do with as we please.
The artist, Thomas Kinkade, tried to communicate this in his paintings.  He wrote, “Picture a place you’re yearning to be.  A place where work, home, and play are properly balanced, where people exist peaceably, where relationships flourish, where there’s time for what’s really important.  Picture life the way you’re hungry to live it, in your deepest heart of hearts.  There you will find happiness.”