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grantcart's Journal
grantcart's Journal
June 26, 2018

Who knew? Who knew that the TPP would be great for keeping US jobs in the US?

This guy knew:

There are dozens of pictures like the one below showing how the President used his office to break barriers for US businesses, but selling hundreds of of Boeings to Vietnam is of my favorites because when I arrived in Vietnam in 1978 to negotiate a deal on moving migrants the North Vietnamese generals asked me how long would it take to get the Boeing 747s to land in Vietnam, and I was momentarily lost for words and said they would have to ask United and Pan American about that.

Here is President Obama on the occasion of PRV ordering their first 100 737 Max 200 airplanes, the largest purchase of airplanes in Vietnamese history.

It really is true, Donald Trump is trying to undo everything that President Obama got done.

June 22, 2018

America's Capitalists (WSJ and Forbes) explain WHY WE NEED REFUGEES/MIGRANTS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

It has to do with math.

People wonder why Merkel was so quick to take in 1 1/2 million Syrian refugees.

Germany's economy needs 1.5 million younger workers over the next ten years.

And they will still have problems with an increasing aging population. Japan has hit this aging crises 10 years ago and the US is starting to hit it now.

First the WSJ


In a bilateral summit, the German chancellor and French president agreed to work toward some protean form of eurowide fiscal union. This eurozone budget would be financed both via member-state contributions and by developing a stream of earmarked revenues (or “own resources” in eurospeak).

. . .

Yet there’s a lot less money here than meets the eye. Over the next few decades, Germany’s inexorably aging population will place ever greater demands on the national fisc. This is a common condition across the developed world, but it’s more acute in Germany than anywhere other than Japan, since the population is aging quickly.

A 2016 analysis prepared for the Finance Ministry in Berlin showed that total age-related spending—taxpayer-funded pension payouts, medical care and other items—amounted to 26% of GDP in 2014, or nearly 60% of total government spending. Under a particularly optimistic set of assumptions about demographic change, employment conditions and economic growth, that burden would grow to 29% of GDP by 2060. If Germany misses those rosy forecasts, old-age entitlements will account for 33% of GDP instead.

Similar statistics from Forbes


If Western Europe wants to keep its social benefits, the countries of the E.U. are going to need more workers. No place in the world has an older population that's not into baby making than Europe. No wonder policy planners are doing what they can to encourage immigration.. Eastern Europe is old. The U.K.'s median age is approaching a mid-life crisis, currently at 40.5. With fertility rates expected to hit zero in Europe in the next decade, the only way the European Union can fight elderly poverty and maintain its expensive entitlement programs is to increase immigration. Another option is to provide incentives to convince 20 and 30-something-year-olds to have more than one baby.

. . .

Poland's median age is 40.3. Czech Republic is 41.7. New euro zone member Lithuania in the Baltics is even older: 43.4, according to the CIA World Factbook. Despite the fact that many young people (say under 40) from the Baltics have moved to richer Western European cities like London and Stockholm, Sweden's average age is still higher than the U.S. at 41.2.

Population Trends in the US are starting to follow that of Japan and Europe


The national population is growing older and more diverse than ever before, according to new Census Bureau numbers released Thursday.

The nation’s median age is 37.9 years old, more than two years higher than the median age in 2000, according to new Census Bureau numbers released Thursday. The number of Americans over 65 years old has jumped from 35 million at the turn of the century to 49.2 million today.

We need these workers and the fact is that we get a lot of the cream of other populations as it is the most courageous, hard working and imaginative folks that tend to risk everything to another country. They also tend to be the ones that are most committed to their families.

As more people move to retirement years, and as costs increase for these populations there is only one way that we can maintain the model that we currently have that requires transgenerational support of benefits, we need these migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

We need them for entry level work, we need them for agricultural work and we need them to open up small businesses like garages, contractors and family restaurants.

The one thing we don't need is to criminalize them or to put them into cages. We could set up an orderly system to bring them in and integrate them carefully with the help of non profits, I know because I was a part of that movement when we brought in a million refugees from South East Asia after the Vietnam War.

We have done it before.

It is good for the families that are escaping violence.

It is good for us, in fact we need it.
June 18, 2018

F*$king Gibberish: If we get more boats for the Coast Guard we can kill more wolves.

1) Beyond the obvious and heart wrenching attacks on American values and basic moral and religious beliefs the Trump administration separation of children from their mothers and fathers is a basic exercise in gibberish, and most media commentators and reporters are too ignorant or lazy to call the administration on presenting a line of argument that can best be called gibberish.

President Trump continues to spout nonsense that if we only had the wall then he wouldn't have to separate the children from the parents.

These are not undocumented workers or illegal drug smugglers who are trying to evade capture at the border by the Border Patrol. These are Asylum Seekers who are presenting themselves at the border to apply for asylum. The only reason that they are not approaching the US port is because access to the port is being manned by federal law enforcement agents who are telling them they cannot proceed because "facilities are full" (which is not a legal reason to prevent them from proceeding).

The Asylum Seekers are following US law. US law requires Asylum Seekers to apply at a Port of Entry


Asylum is a form of legal protection available to certain people who cannot or would not feel safe if they tried to live in their home country, because of past persecution or the danger of future persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Unfortunately, U.S. embassies and consulates cannot process requests for this form of protection because, under U.S. law, asylum seekers can apply only if they are physically present in the United States (or at least at a U.S. border or other point of entry).

There is a common misconception that U.S. embassies and consulates are basically the same as U.S. soil. It is true that international law protects national embassies and consulates from being destroyed, entered, or searched (without permission) by the government of the country where they are located (the host country). However, this does not give those embassies or consulates the full status of being part of their home nation’s territory. Therefore, U.S. law does not consider asylum seekers at U.S. embassies and consulates to be “physically present in the United States” (or at a U.S. border or point of entry).

Physical barriers like fences or walls are created for those that are trying to avoid detection and enter the country illegally. Asylum seekers simply seek access to the port of entry so that they can make a lawful application of asylum. Rather than attempt to enter outside the port area ACLU and other legal parties should get an injunction stopping the illegal detouring of Asylum Seekers away from the Port of Entry.

In any case the wall or fence is implemented not for Asylum Seekers but for those who are trying to successfully gain a surreptitious entry.

When Trump says that a wall will prevent Asylum Seekers and obviate the need to separate children from their parents it has all of the logic of saying, "If you provide more boats for the Coast Guard it will assist in killing more wolves". It is gibberish and the media should confront him when he says it.

2) The second point that has been lost is that the Trump administration has so far implemented 4 other distinct programs to destroy families of non white immigrants, and the other three have nothing to do with the border:

a) 800,000 families under DACA
Removing protection under DACA for children that were brought to the country without documentation and have lived exemplary lives.

b) 280,000 El Salvadoran families
that were here legally under Temporary Protection Orders but who have had the TPO removed and will become illegal migrants in 2020

c) 60,000 Haitian families
also had TPOs who were cancelled

d) Ban on Muslim visa applications

These three groups, along with the war on Asylum applicants represent a systematic attack on groups that are largely people of color. The wall has nothing to do with these groups. When you see all 5 attacks on non white migrants it is obvious that this isn't about border security but about racial composition.

By the way several of my clients have told me that the new rules regarding zero tolerance against asylum seekers has created a demand for paper work the size of the Rocky Mountains which has had significant impact on the ability of the Border Patrol to man operations against cartel drug running and human trafficking in the more remote areas. Rather than improving security these actions against asylum seekers are seriously undermining security.
June 12, 2018

This is really about Trump pardoning Kim as a foreshadowing for Trump pardoning Trump

No regime has reduced its entire population to cannon fodder more effectively than North Korea. Tyranny, oppression, fear and mass starvation.

Of course any advancement that brings them out of isolation is a good thing. Just as it is with Cuba and Iran.

The real message that Trump is selling us however is not 'practical engagement', it is "sure they have murdered and oppressed their people but lets give them a new page, forget the past and move forward".

Effectively all of the crimes will be erased and a new bright future with bright tall buildings and openings for American businesses will be embraced.

We are about to see Donald Trump engage in a "forgiveness regime".

Forgiveness in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Embrace terrible dictators and release grandmothers in jail.

We are going to see months and months of acts of "pardoning and forgiveness".

All as a part of conditioning to that point he will forgive himself on behalf of the American people, it will sound something like this.

"I was never aware of all of the various meetings that were held with the Russians or all of the things that the Russians did to interfere with the elections. We cannot proceed any further by arguing about things that are over and no longer have any meaning anyway. In that spirit I will pardon all of the people involved in these acts so we can move forward. While I was not aware or active in any of these contacts I am going to include my name among the others so we can have a clear separation and move to a future where Americans will establish peace among all nations, like I did with North Korea."

June 12, 2018

Cliffordu update 6/25


Cliffordu continues to battle heroically against a most virulent form of ALS. He is still in ICU and is awaiting transfer to a facility that can accommodate close monitoring of his respirator, which now replaces his diaphragm for breathing and the stomach intake tube.

He doesn't feel any pain but he has lost almost all ability to move any muscle.

I am in contact with his ex brother in law who tells me he still has visitors, still is up beat but understands he is on "house time" as he put it. His BIL told me that he was down to moving just his wrist at the last meeting.

Anybody that is in or near the Portland area that would like to connect for a possible visit PM me and I will give you the BIL contact.

He knows that he has friends here that care for him and should any DUer be able to connect with him he would respond with overwhelming appreciation, because that's who he is.

Tuesday update: He has gone in for a Tracheal tube so that he can get a respirator and a feeding tube which are aimed at giving him stability in the upcoming months. The surgery isn't that difficult or dangerous but Clifford has lost so much muscle that he is on reserves and any little complication could be life threatening.

Two good things are he is getting great care at the VA in Portland and he is a fighter.

Don't expect any news until tomorrow morning.

Original OP

Cliffordu and I struck up one of those unlikely off line DU relationships as we seemingly had radically different sensibilities, Cliffordu had a titanic struggle with addiction and I was pretty close to a teetotaller. Cliffordu had hilarious stories about smoking weed in the army in Vietnam and I had hilarious stories living in Thailand but still haven't had my first cannabis in either smoke or brownie form.

I had lost my phone three months ago along with his phone number and got it back when Mopinko posted this thread updating on his condition:


We kept up a weekly phone routine and over the years I had a lot of strange phone conversations with Clliffordu when he had fallen off the wagon and was going back and forth into rehab. It was as bad as it can get without dying from it. His divorce seemed to have a long lasting destabilizing effect on him. I found it hard to relate and just would listen. He had multiple trips to the emergency room, detox and rehab and it seemed to be locked into a fatal cycle.

Over the last 3 years it changed as he found a new lease by really committing to AA with multiple groups. He got full time employment in a home that was part of the complex rehab/legal system. He was working on his poetry and his music but he more importantly he had balance, perspective and humor that we missed. In the strange ways that these relationships go through he was now helping me stay motivated through business challenges and loss of friends and relatives.

Cliffordu found his place and was making a contribution.

Tomorrow Cliffordu will be having surgery that will help with his breathing as he combats a very aggressive ALS.

I am not really sure what the surgery does because his speech has become labored and monosyllabic as he grasps for air. The advance of this ALS has been stunning. Cliffordu advises he has lost 35 lbs of muscle in the last three months and is down to 135. His voice is a whisper of the loud and gregarious spirit that I was used to and each conversation was weaker than before.

This disease gave Cliffordu one gift, it gave all of the people that he touched a chance to check in with him and informing him of how they felt. A couple of days ago he talked about all of the visitors that were trekking to see him. I told him he was a seed generator, that all of these AA meetings (many times two a day for months at a time) he was throwing out seeds and he would never know how many people he touched.

Beside his family there were dozens of people that came by to see Cliffordu and tell him what he had done for them. "it was just like those seeds. Lots of people I only met a few times came to tell me my words had changed their life and gave them tools and hope. It has blown me away."

He told me this surgery will help him with the breathing and then he will rest and move to his final hospice.

I asked him if there was anything I could do from where I was, was he missing anything.

His answer was in a surprisingly strong voice filled with gratitude for what this last inning gave him in letting him know that he had delivered hope to a bunch that really needed it. His answer captured the clever, smart and very funny Cliffordu:

"The VA has been fantastic, as soon as they confirmed the diagnosis they arranged the best care. My disability was bumped up to $ 3,000. I have doctors, nurses, physical therapists. I have a private room and its like a clown car opens up and people have been streaming in. I have everything I need, everything is great I have no complaints, you know except for the whole dying part".

Cliffordu has been, is now and will always remain one of my heroes.

He will have a chance to read your comments when he wakes up from surgery tomorrow evening.
June 2, 2018

The real Democrats were at Valley Forge

They are the real Democrats because they were sacrificing to build a new country and knew that they had very little chance of ever personally benefitting from what they were risking their lives for.

When we think about the inconvenience of another robocall, or another candidate forum, or going down to make some calls we should remember that this is still the country that elected President Obama twice.

It isn't about us anymore, its about the generations down the road that will either be participating in a democratically led republic or wondering what happened that allowed mentally unstable people to reach a fulcrum of power that triggered massive round up of "illegal" residents, aggressive military interventions, tactical use of nuclear arms and disconnecting American industry from a global trading system that it dominated based on a primal tribal jingoism of America being first (all the while going to religious institutions that regularly taught that the "first will be last".)

One out of every four soldiers never made it through Valley Forge. They sacrificed their lives for a dream that they had little chance of seeing but out of the hope that they could pass a better life to the next generation.

We have that dream, as imperfect as it is, and the question is can we be patient, mature, disciplined and make a modest sacrifice to save the dream and pass it on to the next generation.

+++ The Continental Army that marched into Valley Forge consisted of about 12,000 people—soldiers, artificers, women, and children. Throughout the winter, patriot commanders and legislators faced the challenge of supplying a population the size of a colonial city.

+++ Scabies broke out due to the filthy conditions within the encampment, as did other, deadlier ailments. The army had a limited water supply for cooking, washing, and bathing. Dead horse remains often lay unburied, and Washington found the smell of some places intolerable.[33][34] Neither plumbing nor a standardized system of trash collection existed.

+++ At Valley Forge, the Continentals struggled to manage a disastrous supply crisis while retraining and reorganizing their units. About 1,700 to 2,000 soldiers died due to disease, possibly exacerbated by malnutrition.

+++ Subsequently, outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery spread through contaminated food and water. Soldiers contracted influenza and pneumonia, while still others succumbed to typhus, caused by body lice.

+++ Contrary to popular perceptions, Valley Forge had a high percentage of racial and ethnic diversity, since Washington’s army comprised individuals from all thirteen states. About thirty percent of Continental soldiers at Valley Forge did not speak English as their first language.

+++ By January 1778, nearly ten percent of Washington’s effective force consisted of African American troops.

+++ By Spring 1778, Wappinger warriors, a delegation of the Oneida and Tuscarora, and Colonel Joseph Louis Cook of the St. Regis Mohawk had all joined the troops at Valley Forge. Most served as scouts against British raiding parties in the area, and in May 1778, they fought under Lafayette at the Battle of Barren Hill. In oral histories, however, a prominent Oneida woman named Polly Cooper also brought “hundreds of bushels of white corn” to hungry troops, teaching them how to process it for safe consumption

How about this: We don't post how many irritating robocalls we get, or how many commercials we have to tolerate but post how many candidate forums you have gone to, how fun it was to join and knock and doors and the wonderfully sweet people who answered the phone when you were phoning for Democratic candidates and told you that they couldn't wait to vote for a Democrat.

It is 5 months and 4 days, a total of 157 days before the United States makes a U turn and heads away from the abyss of Trump and back towards the hope of Obama. Lets forget all of the inconvenience, negativity, doubt and despair and stay focus on the prize remembering the sacrifice at Valley Forge.

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