Sunday, 29 July 2018

Maximum Disruption

I noticed today....that Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (speaking on some ABC show) said that "Russia's aim is to disrupt American elections, including in the upcoming 2018 midterms".

You can imagine some guy....sitting in some farm and tractor implement store in Alabama....speaking tomorrow to some folks over this topic, and wondering.....are the Russians trying to get him to vote Democrat, or Republican?  Hours will go by as the guys stand there by the coffee machine....delaying actual farm work, as they debate as the evil Russians might be doing this.

Sitting in DC....five or six GOP senators will be sitting there and talking over how the evil Russians might be helping the Democrats to win the election.

Sitting in some lobbyist bar in DC.....three Democrats are talking over the evil Russians and how they are going to help the Republicans.

Sitting in Moscow is Putin and he's asking his people....who the hell started this stupid rumor?  One of the young guys admitted that he was drinking with a CIA guy and mentioned this as a joke.  Putin starts laughing. 

The problem here is that once the Chinese, the Germans, the Swiss, and the folks on Togo figure out this game.....all of them will start rumors that they are also going to disrupt the US election. 

Talking Debt

There's a piece written by Mitch Daniels which has attracted a fair amount of attention this morning.  Via a Fox article, his chatter is over this....Connecticut, California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.....are reaching the stage where they will be insolvent. Chief cause?  Well....trying to fund pension programs which are beyond imagination.  In the case of California, it's a failing bond which amounts upward to $428 billion.  Daniels statement is that reality will soon hit the Senate, and in some dramatic way....they will have to save these five states.  The taxpayer, in his opinion, is screwed.

The timeline?  Daniels doesn't say, and the Fox host doesn't guess.  If you were asking won't happen in 2018, or 2019.  But I could see Illinois reaching a stage where they ask for some 'gift'....some ten-billion-dollar loan with zero-percent interest and ten years to pay it back.  The problem is that paying it back will likely be impossible unless they go and remedy their pension program in a massive way.  In some cases, the idiots were stupid enough to write it into their Constitution, and the judges will enforce it to remain.  Because of this issue, whoever is President at the time when this comes up....could render a dramatic 'no', and force the state deeper into a pit.

Trump at this moment of chaos?  He probably won't be their friend.

I think three dramatic things must occur.  First, each state has to remedy its pension (by law or Constitutional efforts) before you can come and request federal help, and that state supreme court must sign off on the pension change.  If the two groups won't work to achieve the matter, don't bother giving them a nickel.

Second, the amount of money given shouldn't go over the sum of twenty-five billion dollars per state, with a zero-interest deal for the first five years, and a 3.5-percent interest deal for the second five year period.  If they need a third five-year period?  Fine....attach the 5-percent interest onto it.

Third and final....write a simple federal law into the deal that once you take the federal loan to cover the pension can't go and get another loan via a credit group or bank for the same problem, until you've paid off the federal loan.

On the pension amount?  This is the curious thing.  When you've got some fireman retiring in California at age 55, and he's collecting $120,000 a year on a pension.....there's something wrong.  When you have some city finance chief for a town in Illinois retiring, and collecting $225,000 a year....there's something wrong.

So somewhere down the line, some idiot is going to have write and pass a 'limit-law' to say you can't collect more than $40,000 on pensions.  If a guy wants to take his promised money and invest into some 401k-type pension deal, then I don't have a problem with that.  But I doubt if any of these five states have the type of employees who would accept that deal.

Here's the bad news....Trump is likely around for 6.5 years and the odds of any of these characters approaching the Senate to beg for help?  They'd have to convince Trump to help them.....deep-blue Democratic voter states?  There's this odd likely chance that it'll be 2025 before they can ask for help and they will go and get even deeper into debt.

Austin in the News

I noticed this coming up today.....a report from the Austin, Texas’s Equity Office.  They say there's some problems brewing over existing Confederate monuments, some neighborhoods in the city of Austin, at least ten streets, and the city name itself.

The Austin name? comes from Stephen F. Austin, who happened to oppose Mexico's effort in the mid-1800s to dump slavery in the Tejas region.  Austin at the time said that freed slaves would become "vagabonds, a nuisance and a menace."

So, the question is.....would this discussion reach a stage where you'd have to rename an entire city?

Someone did a study and said that if you just went out and renamed one single costs around $5,000 to do the signs, maps, and paperwork required. But then you have to go and figure out the new names, and folks tend to get real creative.

Like.....some idiot could say Lee Street is a bad thing, and then you'd get sixty suggestions on the new street name (Barney Street (after the dinosaur), or Hippy Street, or Skywalker Driver, or Dallas Cowboy Avenue, or Stormy Daniels Street).

But then a whole city?

You'd have some idiots suggest Humperville, DaWaDaWaDaWa or Meth-City.  Or how about Batmanville, Dusty Rhodes (after the wrestler), or West Trump. 

The odds that it'd get this far?  You might be able to persuade folks to just accept a couple of street name changes, but an entire neighborhood being renamed?  I have my doubts, and there's zero chance that the city itself might change it's name. 

But we are at a stage with society where people are cynical and sarcastic.....willing to rename their city 'Kim-City' after North Korea's dictator, or Hooterville after the TV show.