Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Coming Darkness...

As I've watched the various weather forecasts for Harvey and now Irma and Jose, I've had a stark revelation. I can see a future in which we for the most part have to abandon the southern coast.  I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Will we rebuild Houston? Yes. Just like we rebuilt New Orleans, many parts of New Orleans that are not rebuilt, I can imagine there will many parts of Houston that never get rebuilt.

If Miami gets wrecked, will we rebuild it? Yes.

However, think about "Littlevile". This is an imagined small town on the coast. It could be in any of the coastal states.

Let's imagine for a moment that Irma smacks Florida, as a category 3 or 4 it runs into this small town on the coast and wrecks 85% of its structures.

FEMA and flood insurance comes in and Littleville starts to get back on it's feet. Let's imagine it the whole process takes 2 years..

Now imagine at the 1.5 year mark, another storm comes in and undoes a portion of the work.  FEMA has to come in again and the flood insurance pays out for some more stuff. Plus private business insurance has to pay out again for the businesses that were damaged.

Now imagine this process happening in fair number of small towns across the southern region.

At some point, it's not that the federal government will abandon this areas, it's that the insurance companies will.  This will cause a cascade effect.

Sure, you'll be able to build there, but flood insurance will be so insanely expensive (imagine 5k per month) as to deter anybody from building on the coast. When this happened with Sandy that did this sort of thing, and congress howled, but at at some point after they've had to past their Nth number of relief bill that's pouring money into the flood insurance market to shore it up, the writing will be on the wall and the resistance to high flood premiums will melt away. 

So imagine any set of these towns that's through their 5th or 6th partial rebuild.  No businesses will be able to get flood/business insurance. What few houses are there will be mansions build on high pilings surrounded by levies.

With each storm, more and more of the residences of these towns are forced by economic conditions to move. At some point the local government bereft of a tax base dwindles to a skeleton of what it was. Eventually these small towns will have to band together for schools, fire, police, etc. These structures will become the only safe places in a storm. Built on high foundations, surrounded by levies, generators and water systems on the roof. Designed to be islands for weeks at a time. What few people remain will find the only way they can build will be to build near these regional storm shelters as zoning rules and insurance restrictions will limit them.

As more storms continue to roll in, there will come a point where the state governments will balk at rebuilding anything. Who needs to fix the pot holes in a town with no people?  Why would a government issue bonds to build infrastructure that won't even last a fraction of it's intended life? While all this time, the sea level continues to creep higher and higher. Municipal water systems will salinate, as they are right now in Florida. Sewer systems that were designed when the sea level was lower will inundated as they are now in Florida. There will be no will, people or money to fix these.

There might be people who'll come out in say it, but in most cases what will happen is that legislatures in these states will simply drag their feet. When presented with the mounting costs will kneed their hands... and frankly as these regions empty of people their constituents will be pressuring them to spend money on infrastructure inland. Sleepy cities in the middle and northern parts of these states will suddenly have an influx of people, flush with money to build houses. They'll want bigger schools for their kids, these towns will need more fire / police / hospitals.

The south coast won't die with a bang, but it will die with a steady ebbing of it's people in resources.

NASA will release pictures showing a timelapse of the lights going out on the southern coasts except for the major cities where they'll be spending billions to buttress and build what will eventually become islands in a region of darkness.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When will be the tipping point?

As this dumpster fire continues to grow I can't help but wonder where the tipping point will be?

Yes, there will be forever die hard Trump sycophants who will support him no matter what he does.  Those people can be put to the side for the moment.  Though a good question is actually how many of those people are truly out there.

There are I think many more people who voted for change and the "not hillary" option without fully comprehending what they were buying.

It's also been my experience speaking with people who were Trump supporters that they thought his buffoonery was simply a campaigning tactic and have now come to realize that actually it was no charade. He really is a boorish, rash, ill informed narcissist that actually does not have their best interests at heart.

I even think there was a contingent of "Yeah, he's an asshole, but he's our asshole".

Except as people have discovered, he's not. His executive orders, the chaos in the white house and the floundering with regards to healthcare have demonstrated better than any poorly formed talking points that he's actually here to cut the taxes for he rich and line his pockets.

As I see it, the GOP has a serious fucking problem. Their president is deeply unpopular.

Social media is ensuring that people aren't forgetting that these guys tried to assasinate their healthcare without having a suitable plan in place.

There's talk of the Democrats working with a group of Republicans to craft a way forward to fix some of the ACA's structural issues.

Just sit back and ask yourself if you think Trumps ego would be capable of dealing with the Democrats and Republicans crafting a bill that saved Obamacare?  I suspect it's a poison pill his ego couldn't swallow.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Ever Growing Calamity

Listening to the testimony of Comey, I can't see this but adding to the ever growing calamity that is the Trump presidency.

If for a moment, we believe that what he's saying is true, we've got the following string of events.

  1. Flynn interacts with the Russians in an unsanctioned way outside of the purview of the State department.
  2. Against the recommendations of the Obama, and then A.G Yates, Trump hires Flynn.
  3. Flynn then ends up getting fired when it's discovered he's had far more interactions with the Russian than he disclosed and his being actively investigated by the FBI.
  4. Trump then fires the FBI Director and holds up a memo saying it was for a bunch of other stuff.
  5. Trump then goes on T.V. and confirms he did it because of the FBI investigation into Flynn.
  6. Then Comey leaks his memos stating that Trump what? Encouraged, Implied that the FBI leave Flynn alone. Also that Trump asked for his Loyalty.
Pause for a moment and repeat this phrase in your head "NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL"

We have the FBI director looking in the camera and saying "The Russians influenced our election and here's the evidence" and we have our current president saying "All that stuff is fake and they didn't"

What the actual fuck.

I can't help but shake my head at this situation and ask the obvious question.  Imagine for a moment that Clinton was president, do you think we'd be here right now?

As much as I'd like to engage in an act of Schadenfreude, unfortunately the assholes who were so intent in punching holes in the boat are on the same boat as me.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

What's Next?

Last week after Assad continued to be a walking pile of garbage and gassed a whole bunch more of his people, we fired 59 cruise missiles at an air base.

Many of my friends who are Trump supporters have touted this as Trump getting tough on Assad.

The question I pose to them is this.  What now?

Simply firing a $100M worth of cruise missiles isn't going to fix the problem.  Nor does it appear those missiles significantly degraded his capacity to continue to wage war.

It would appear that we have a number of choices to make now.

1. We full out destroy Assad's air force.  This would keep him from gassing/bombing his own people... but it would also prevent him from going after ISIS.  So would we be helping ISIS by doing this?

2. We seriously escalate the air campaign against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria and then do step #1.  However, since their aren't nice neat camps just flying the black flag, their are going to be civilian casualties, etc.

3. We attempt to cut the head off the snake and take Assad out of the picture.  This gets complicated because we only have to look at the mad max conditions of large swaths of Libya to see what that might turn into.

At the end of the day, we need to achieve the goal of outing Assad without Syria turning into either an Iranian theocracy, An Islamic caliphate or a post apocalypse wasteland.

The problem is, we have a number of warring factions on the ground that are actively trying for the first two and have achieved the third for chunks of Syria.

This is a messy proxy war between Iran / Iraq / Saudia Arabia / Turkey / etc.  I'm sure they're more groups involved, I just don't know who.

How much of our blood and treasure are we willing to expend?  Up until he gassed a bunch of children, it was zero.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bringing Down The Giant

I've come to think that the answer to taking down Trump might not be some huge scandal.  What needs to happen is that he needs to lose legitimacy with his supporters.

I realized this when the other day the CNN hosts started responding to tweets Trump was making about the show in real time.

It got me thinking. We know he's a narcissist who watches social media and television obsessively. Knowing the traits of a narcissist we know he can't help but press his face against the social media mirror.

What we do is give him no respite. We are legion. We simply hound him as if the very hammers of hell were on his heels and never relent. If he's not already convinced he's besieged, then let's besiege him. Play into his paranoia.  Let his destructive personality traits do the hard work of imploding his presidency.

There will come some point that even his most ardent supporters will be faced with the ugly fact that he's gone bat shit bug nut crazy.


Let Them Eat Shit.

As I write this, the vote to repeal the ACA has stalled as moderate Republicans in the house realizing the replacement is going to be a disaster for their constituents and their careers.

I want to start this blog by pointing out that I *really* don't want them to repeal the ACA. I will be a disaster for many American's especially the working poor.

Now that I've got that bit of civility out of the way, I'm going to unleash the daemon that hides over behind my shoulder.

In my darkest moments, I really do want them to repeal the ACA.

A large number of people voted for Trump because he campaigned on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something "better".

I think we should let them have the "better" version of Obamacare.

There's a bit of nihilistic glee thinking about all those Trump supporters opening that envelope from either their Insurance company or Medicaid informing them that their coverage has been dropped or reduced or that the subsidy's been removed and they'll now owe more per month.

Let them buy policies that essentially cover nothing and just wait for the pin to be pulled on that grenade.

That moment when they suddenly realize in one crushing moment that a narcissistic billionaire doesn't have their best interests in mind. I want them to have to pick up that shit sandwich and starting chewing.

Moreover, I want them to go to social media and start freaking out.  It'll be interesting to see what it looks like when suddenly 10's of thousands of people start screaming about losing their coverage and we're subjected to a cavalcade of sob stories about how mama would be here today if they hadn't cut her coverage.

We all know that if there's one thing Trump does is, it's that he watches social media and TV obsessively.
Who will he blame?

In any case someone's going to be eating shit over this.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Trump, who do you owe money to?

While I think Trump is a narcissist, a conman and is uniquely unfit to be our president, I honestly want him to find his way and not
be utterly terrible.  I say that because ultimately, he'll ride off into the sunset and we'll be left holding the bag.

In the many conversations I've had about Trump I finally decided to crystallize my thoughts.

The main question that many of my friends ask is, "What's the thing that Trump could do that would make you happy?"

What I would like Trump to do is fully disclose his fiduciary obligations both foreign and domestic.

We know for a fact that he has a $600 million dollar mortgage with the Chinese central bank.
While he's claimed he doesn't have any holdings in Russia, his son in law has contradicted this statement.
Without this information every action he takes gets to be an exercise in asking "Is he doing that because it's good for America or is his doing that because it's good for Trump?"

Next I'd like to see him fully personally divest and have his personal financies put into a blind trust like every president has done for the last 30 years.

Finally, I'd like to see him fully transfer control of Trump Enterprises to a private management company not connected with the Trump family.

I'm not confident this would solve the fiduciary problems, but it would bring them out into the light.

As for his 54 billion increase in spending for the military, it's absurd.
Firstly, we don't need more nuclear weapons, that's just craziness.

The bigger issue than even the 54 billion is the long term costs that go along with that.
So you spend 54 billion now to build ships, etc. You still need to pay to maintain that equipment.
When you grow the military from a personal point of view, all those people end up eventually with huge entitlements.
I noticed there wasn't much said about the VA... consider that with our existing military personal size the VA is a complete disaster... Let's compound that with more people.

When it comes to the conversation about nuclear weapons, at this point we've either scrapped or mothballed all the facilities needed to take spent uranium and extract the plutonium out of it.

What's the environmental and monetary costs to get those programs up and running again?
Next, it's one thing to have a bomb... you need some way to deliver that bomb.  At last check our Ohio class subs are aging. While there's been talk of building Virginia class boomers... has that happened?  Are there even plans on a drawing table? What about the ICBM's that'll be in those subs?  Mind you he's not talking about retiring the existing systems, he's talking about expanding.  So we're going to have to continue to spend billions maintaining and updating what we've already got on top of new systems.

As for his Trillion dollar infrastructure bill... how's he going to pay for this?  He's also talking about tax cuts.
The math simply doesn't add up. While I agree our infrastructure needs some serious updating, nobody seems willing to actually pay for it.  We're perfectly willing to subsidize he shit out of gas and oil though.