Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Revolution 2016: What New Hampshire Shows, And Doesn't (The Donald and Sanders Agree on the Problem, But Not on the Solution)

UPDATE IV:  I went to the movies this week and saw The Big Short.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) described the film as "a movie masquerading as an educational event, or an educational event masquerading as a movie."  It is"a half-caper, half-explanatory-journalism account of" the years leading up to housing bubble of 2008 and resulting financial crisis.
  If you forgot, here is a preview:

It was an entertaining look at a topic that most people find confusing and difficult to follow. But the basic story is that the Banksters got greedy and created a system to profit from unsuspecting borrowers and investors, then turned around and got even richer during the government bailouts.

The movie is based on a book by the same name, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis about the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s.  It explains "the creation of the credit default swap market that sought to bet against the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) bubble and thus ended up profiting from the financial crisis of 2007–10."

"Most financial writers and movie critics agree that the movie nails the run-up to the crisis, and engagingly so. (Who else would use a blackjack-playing Selena Gomez to explain complex financial products?)"  There is some criciism about how the movie describes "what happens on screen after the crisis hits."

I discussed the bailouts in some detail, here and on the radio.

Nothing better proves the the problem of corrupt crony capitalism and the need for fundamental and systemic change in D.C. (and elsewhere)) than the financial crisis.

I urge you to watch the movie and/or read the book.

It will further explain the reason you must VOTE for The Donald.
UPDATE III:  As I've said before, you have to recognize and acknowledge a problem before change can occur. But some people can't even admit a mistake.

Jeb! can't, and although The Donald lies like any politician running for office, his wisdom sometimes shines through.

On Iraq, when The Donald "called the war in Iraq 'a big, fat mistake,' he was exactly right.  Jeb Bush, the very good brother of a very bad president," [should admit his brother made a horrible mistake and that] . . . the Republican Party has been a vast incubator of foreign policy conspiracy theories."

Trump is not afraid to tell truth to power: Bush ignored 'intelligence warnings in advance of the 911 attacks' and  "lied" [The Donald's word] about Iraq WMD's, the cost of the war, the happy outcome, etc.

That innate wisdom, and his ability to leverage the weaknesses of others, make him the first choice for reformers.

UPDATE II: Want to better understand what millions of American workers have learned through personal experience, that the rigged economy is cheating the American middle class out of good paying American job, then watch 1,400 US workers learn their jobs are moving to Mexico.

UPDATE:  Here is a thought, since they recognize and understand the nature of the problem, which would require a multifaceted solution, after being nominated to represent their parties, they should form an alliance to clean up D.C.

The Donald should be the front man (President), and Sanders, if capable, should be the VP working the legislative changes required to beak the system.

They might even bring in Palin, who as I've noted before and despite her many faults,  also recognizes and understands the problem with the status quo.

What New Hampshire shows is that only Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (© and that Socialist Guy understand and recognize the problem many voters have learned through personal experience.

"On Morning Joe Wednesday morning, Donald Trump explained his — and Bernie Sanders’s — big wins in New Hampshire this way:

“We’re being ripped off by everybody. And I guess that’s the thing that Bernie Sanders and myself have in common. We know about the trade. But unfortunately he can’t do anything to fix it, whereas I will. I have the best people in the world. We’re losing hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars a year. And we will fix it. And we’ll make it good. And we’ll bring our jobs back. Bernie Sanders can’t even think in terms of that. The only thing he does know, and he’s right about, is that we’re being ripped off; he says that constantly; and I guess he and I are the only two that really say that.”

We’re being ripped off, and Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates who are really saying that. They are speaking to people’s sense that our economic and political systems are cheating them, that they are being failed because the underlying rules of those systems have themselves been rigged. . .

Here’s what Sanders said in his victory speech Tuesday night:

    “Tonight, we served notice to the political and economic establishment of this country that the American people will not continue to accept a corrupt campaign finance system that is undermining American democracy, and we will not accept a rigged economy in which ordinary Americans work longer hours for lower wages, while almost all new income and wealth goes to the top one percent.”

In one sentence, Sanders blamed flat wages and soaring inequality on an economy whose rules have been written to benefit a tiny elite at the expense of everyone else, and tied this directly to a political system whose rules have been written to dis-empower the American people from doing anything about it.

There are crucial differences between Trump’s and Sanders’s solutions to the problems they’ve identified, of course. Trump says our elites are weak, stupid, and corrupt. Sanders says our elites are being corrupted. The difference between those two things is subtle, but important. Trump says the elites are cheating ordinary Americans by helping illegals, major corporations, and China, and vows to break this corrupt system over his knee and get it working again, because he’s not one of those elites. This is what Trump really means when he says he 'can’t be bought'; Trump is not making a sustained argument for political and campaign finance reform; he’s just saying he’s not a member of the class that is cheating you, and he will come in and bust up that class’s party.

Sanders, by contrast, is making a sustained argument for political and campaign finance reform. For him, the culprit is not an elite that is actively trying to help illegals and China and allowing the country to slide into ruin out of national security weakness and ineffectiveness. Rather, it’s an oligarchy that has enriched itself by rigging the economy to effect a massive transfer of wealth upwards and to paralyze our political system from doing anything about it, thus corrupting our political classes. Sanders’s whole policy agenda is framed around this idea. While Clinton tends to focus on incremental solutions aimed at boosting wages and opportunity, and mitigating people’s economic difficulties on the margins, Sanders wants to rid the system entirely of its dependence on big money in order to actively reverse the upward redistribution of wealth that, he says, poses an existential threat to our economy and middle class.

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump explains American politics in a single sentence.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Obama the Socialist Failure, More Proof

UPDATE:  I figured it out. First he tried to destroy America with high gas prices Republi-cons claimed would soon be $5-10, even $15/gallon.

Now he's trying to destroy America with low oil prices.  "Forget $2 gas. Gas is getting close to the $1 mark in some parts of the country. "

Read CNN, Gas is near $1 a gallon in some places.

He's a sneaky you-know-what (use your favorite term to describe Obama).

Another representation of Obama's failure to fulfill Republi-con delusions, on December 11, 2015:

Read also:

Obama the Socialist Failure: Lower Unemployment, Deficits, Gas Prices and Inflation (What More Could He Do To Destroy America) and

Obama's Failure to Fulfill Republi-CON Predictions.

Cruz: Crony Capalist, and LIAR! (Satan Follower) (And Masterdebator)

UPDATE VI:  You must read this take down of The Lying Canadian (© at the Washington Post, Ted Cruz needs an intervention, which notes how despised Cruz is:

"If Cruz does not make it to the presidency, he will no doubt blame the “establishment.” But whether he recognizes it or not, his wife and political advisers surely understand that alumni, roommates, law clerks, former staffers in the George W. Bush campaign and White House (and the president himself), members of Congress and others who have known Cruz — lots and lots of people — consider him socially awkward, nasty, dishonest, a blatant apple-polisher and all-around creepy guy. You can write off a few of these critics as jealous of his success, or liberal antagonists, but all of them? There is something badly amiss here. Cruz, who so obviously lacks emotional intelligence, cannot recognize it, but those closest to him surely must see that something is awry. . .

Politics is about building alliances and trust, having your team’s back and refusing to grandstand to your side’s detriment. It’s also an additive exercise. Drawing bold lines is fine, but you lose unless you can bring people over to your side. Simply inveighing against others will not do it, nor will playing the persecuted victim. . .

[I]f all you have is ambition, the burning desire to climb over others, it becomes evident to voters and colleagues alike. You know the type — the guy always looking over your shoulder to scan for a more important person in the room to engage; the fellow convinced whatever job he has is not big enough for him; and the person so intellectually dishonest, he is willing to rewrite history, deny his own statements and look you in the eye to say “Black is white” and “Up is down.” (Even when apologizing to Dr. Ben Carson for his team spreading a rumor on caucus night that Carson was dropping out, Cruz felt compelled to lie, claiming CNN initially reported Carson was dropping out. CNN blasted back: “What Senator Cruz said tonight in the debate is categorically false. CNN never corrected its reporting because CNN never had anything to correct. The Cruz campaign’s actions the night of the Iowa caucuses had nothing to do with CNN’s reporting. The fact that Senator Cruz continues to knowingly mislead the voters about this is astonishing.”) These behaviors do not sit well with people, who soon catch on that you are using them for selfish ends. Superiors see you are an annoying kiss-up, and other see you as desperate or phony.

Cruz’s shortcomings make it hard to build a winning coalition — or to function in the Senate. The great irony is his ambition may be the biggest barrier to obtain what he thirsts for and has schemed so long to obtain."

UPDATE V:  CNN "never, ever reported that Carson was suspending his campaign. . .

In a statement issued mid-debate, CNN proclaimed:

'What Senator Cruz said tonight in the debate is categorically false. CNN never corrected its reporting because CNN never had anything to correct. The Cruz campaign’s actions the night of the Iowa caucuses had nothing to do with CNN’s reporting. The fact that Senator Cruz continues to knowingly mislead the voters about this is astonishing.'"

Read the Washington Post, Ted Cruz just smeared CNN on national television, and the network struck back.

UPDATE IV:  "I followed both Cruz and Trump this week at multiple campaign events across New Hampshire. It was, in a sense, a pleasure to see them use their prodigious skills of character assassination against each other. It was demagogue against demagogue: lie vs. lie. Both men riled their supporters with fantasies and straw men.

But there were discernible differences. Trump owned anger. Cruz, by contrast, had a lock on nastiness. Trump is belligerent and hyperbolic, with an authoritarian style. But while Trump fires up the masses with his nonstop epithets, Cruz has Joe McCarthy’s knack for false insinuation and underhandedness. What sets Cruz apart is the malice he exudes. 

Cruz jokes that “the whole point of the campaign” is that “the Washington elites despise” him. But Cruz’s problem is that going back to his college days at Princeton, those who know him best seem to despise him most. Not a single Senate colleague has endorsed his candidacy, and Iowa’s Republican governor urged Cruz’s defeat, then called his campaign 'unethical.' . .

In a single speech in Nashua last week, (Cruz) mischaracterized things said by, among others, Jimmy Carter, Chris Wallace, guests on Sean Hannity’s show, Atlanta’s mayor, Rubio and, of course, President Obama.

I asked the Cruz campaign Thursday evening to substantiate several of these claims. After this column was published online Friday afternoon, the campaign provided citations that didn’t back up what Cruz had alleged. Unsurprising: Cruz’s purpose is not to inform but to insinuate."

Read the Washington Post, The utter nastiness of Ted Cruz.

Read also the Washington Post, Why the Cruz campaign’s 'dirty tricks' matter, which notes that "Cruz’s own words may come back to haunt him. In comparing the IRS scandal to President Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and decrying attacks on political opponents, he made clear that the person at the top of an organization bears responsibility. ('No politician has the right to use the machinery of the Executive Branch to target their political enemies. When Richard Nixon did it, it was wrong and he rightly resigned from the presidency in disgrace for his abuse of power.')"

UPDATE III:  Cruz lied to win the Iowa caucuses, then lied about the lying.

Read Mediate, Yes, Cruz Campaign Did Lie About CNN Starting Ben Carson Rumor.

Republicans lose the general election if they nominate The Lying Canadian (© (Except if Dems are so stupid as to nominate Sanders.)

UPDATE II: It may be over, but It Was A May-To-December Bromance while it lasted, between "Official Trump-Brand Trump, Donald Trump", and Cruz, a "Masterdebator":

UPDATE:  Haley was given an illegal 16 years prison sentence after stealing a calculator from Walmart, "a crime that merited a maximum two-year prison term. But prosecutors incorrectly applied a habitual offender law. . .

[Cruz, as solicitor general of Texas, defended the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.]

Cruz’s behavior in the Haley case is almost the dictionary definition of pharisaism: an overzealous application of the letter of the law in a way that violates the spirit of the law, as well as fairness and mercy.

Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

But Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.

Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. America is heading off 'the cliff to oblivion.' After one Democratic debate he said, 'We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day, and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously.'

As the Republican strategist Curt Anderson observed in Politico, there’s no variation in Cruz’s rhetorical tone. As is the wont of inauthentic speakers, everything is described as a maximum existential threat.

The fact is this apocalyptic diagnosis is ridiculous. . .

But Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack. And that is what he offers. Cruz’s programmatic agenda, to the extent that it exists in his speeches, is to destroy things . . ."

Cruz exploits and exaggerates . . . fear. . .

The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity. Cruz replaces this spirit with Spartan belligerence. He sows bitterness, influences his followers to lose all sense of proportion and teaches them to answer hate with hate. This Trump-Cruz conservatism looks more like tribal, blood and soil European conservatism than the pluralistic American kind."

Read The New York Times, The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.

Read also the Washington Post, David Brooks’s choice words on Cruz — ‘satanic’, ‘pagan’ — draw fire and a little brimstone.

Former Canadian citizen Ted Cruz got an insider loan from THE bank the government saved during the bailouts, Goldman Sachs, then hide the loan and lied about it, all while pretending to be "a populist firebrand who criticized Wall Street bailouts and the influence of big banks in Washington. . .

As a GOP Senate staffer put it, 'It’s amazing that this guy can rail against crony capitalism when he is one of its biggest beneficiaries.' . .

This is precisely the sort of slick, dishonest conduct he accuses professional politicians of undertaking."

Read the Washington Post, 10 reasons that Goldman Sachs loan is a nightmare for Ted Cruz

Thursday, February 4, 2016

FREE MATTRESSES, Get Them While You Can at Amazon

UPDATE II:  Still no update, somebody didn't like my review.

I hope Jeff understands that I was just trying to be helpful.

As Costco found out, some people take advantage of return policies.

And I do love Amazon, usually, so I don't want them to go out of business as the result of  dishonest customers, who would abuse Amazon's friendly policy.

I'm still happy to pay for the mattress which I sold to my neighbor. Although to avoid the trouble of trying to box wrap the mattress for return, I did give him a slight discount. 

Maybe Amazon would agree to refund the difference between the price I paid and what my neighbor paid.

How about it Jeff?

UPDATE:  Update II was never published for my review.

Wonder why?  Does someone not want you to get a free mattress? ;-)

So I tried again, making slight changes. This was my original post, beginning at 'Pros':

My actual Amazon mattress review (see it here)

(FYI, Update II hasn't been posed yet):

Best Price Mattress 10-Inch Memory Foam Mattress, Queen

First post (01/26/16)


I really like the concept, order a mattress and it is delivered. And it was, in less than two days, just before Christmas.  It was raining, and the box had been sitting on an open trailer for a time (it was UPS I think, and during the holidays they were delivering boxes using a golf cart and the open trailer).  But the compressed mattress was wrapped in layers of plastic, well protected and perfectly dry.

Other reviews describe the process pretty well, open it up, let it sit for two days, voilĂ , a full size 10" queen mattress.  The slight smell was gone also.

Cons:  This is my personal opinion, shared by my wife, the mattress was too firm.

We wanted a mattress with medium firmness, not too hard, not too soft, but Goldilocks just right.  The Product Information didn't address the mattress firmness, but the reviews seem to indicate it was medium firm.  We don't agree.

Amazon, I love ya, so I suggest the following:  develop some sort of standardized firmness scale.

TBD:  Amazon accepted the return, with a UPS pickup.  Can't wait to see how this goes.

UPDATE (01/29/16):

So, after much effort to find a page to send an email to a person, on 01/26/16 I wrote Amazon:

"I am returning the mattress.  It was shipped to me  compressed. Please be advised that I can't return it in that manner.  Does the return shipper, UPS, know what to do?"

Before I got an answer, UPS was at my door to pickup the mattress. The driver was nice but said that the mattress could be damaged if it was not properly prepared for shipment. He did not know how the mattress could be returned in the box it was shipped in because of course it couldn't be.  The driver said in another case the buyer wrapped the mattress with cardboard from various small boxes using duct tape.  It must have taken a lot of boxes and duct tape.

The reply from Amazon was a non-answer:

"I'm sorry your item didn't work out.  To return the item, go to our Online Returns Center:  The Online Returns Center will guide you through the process and give you a printable return mailing label. If a pre-paid label isn't available for your return, the Online Returns Center will provide other options for getting the item back to us.  For more information on returns, please go to our Help pages:  I hope this helps! We look forward to seeing you again soon.  We'd appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today."

The reply did not help.

So always looking for an easier way to achieve the best possible outcome, I thought, who would pay me for the mattress. (FYI, most thrift store won't even take a mattress given to them, bedbug and stuff I guess.)

To make a long story short, one of my neighbor was thinking of buying a new mattress, and he preferred a firm one.  He gave it a try and I sold it at cost.  He has since told me it is an "incredibly comfortable mattress." (Actual quote from a text message.)  His girlfriend could not believe the cost, she thought it would have cost $1-2k.  (Maybe I'll open a mattress store.)  In any case, happy ending.

And, on behalf of my neighbor, I now give it 5-stars, if you like a firm mattress.


I asked Amazon:  "Do I get a commission for saving the sale for, and the cost of returning an item that could probably not be resold by, Amazon?"

I'll let you know if I get one.  (If there is no update, you know the answer.)

UPDATE II (02/02/16):  Surprise, surprise, surprise.  Amazon gave me the mattress. Here was their response [my comments will be in brackets]:

"I'm sorry to hear about the condition in which your 'Best Price Mattress' arrived. [Did I complain about the condition of the mattress on delivery?  The box was wet, but the mattress was fine.]

Upon checking, I can confirm that a refund of $277.34 was issued to your (credit) card for order #xxx-xxxxxxx-xxxxxxx  on January 28, 2016. The refund is processing and should complete within three business days. [The mattress was delivered on December 22, just two days after I ordered it.  During the Christmas retail frenzy, I was amazed. Maybe Jeff should change the name to Amazing.] . . .

[Two immaterial sentences deleted.]

Further, there's no need to return the mattress. Please dispose of it at your convenience.  [I did, I sold it to my neighbor, who loves it.  See above.]

Rest assured, you'll not be charged any amount towards this mattress.  [That's not what I asked for, but Jeff has more money than I, so thanks Jeff.]

Your patience and understanding in this regard is highly appreciated. We look forward to seeing you again soon. [You will, I could become rich running a scam and selling mattresses.  Easier yet, I think I'll set up a donate page and explain how others can get a free mattress.]

We'd appreciate your feedback. [Please sent me more mattresses to sell.]  Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today. . .

Did I solve your problem?
Yes No [No comment.]

Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company. [You may be a 'Customer-Centric Company' but you'll never make a profit if this gets out.]
Thank you. [No, let me thank Jeff for the free mattress.]"

I post this comment because while I appreciate the concept of free mattresses, I love Amazon and I'd hate to see them go bankrupt.

Jeff, I just thought you'd like to know.

[Listen to the Johnny Cash song of the same title, my new ode, as amended, to Amazon:
I just thought you'd like to know
Since you'd made your plans to go (bankrupt)
It's gonna hurt me so to see you go (bankrupt).]

FREE MATTRESSES, get them while you can.