Like the song "Lawyers In Love" we have a land with too many in high places willing to do anything for money neglecting people, honor and principle but a change is coming. No more falling for the lie of living only individualistic and independent leaving us divided and conquerable by powerful special interests but a people, a nation collaborating for the greater common good in various groups all across the nation. A land of people working together to help one another with a vision moreover as Jesus would have us be. Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness....something about another Land. The change is coming

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trump Going To Great Lengths To Distract Public From Daniels And Muellar.

Ok, I know what it looks like. You see the news suggesting to you a supposed meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and covering feverishly Trump's new trade tariffs but you also see the news media putting the heating up of the Muellar investigation and the Stormy Daniels affair on the back burner. The former two are getting the headlines and the latter two are getting a comment or two but what can you do but set there and take it. Just know what the game is and don't be buying into.

Could you possibly have forgotten how scurrilous and deceptive Trump can be and make no mistake he is not forging new ground here, he is following precedent and by that I mean using psyops to distract from news he doesn't want you focusing on and if the news were only Stormy Daniels and Muellar that is what you would be focusing on. Almost all modern day presidents have used some form of psyops to distract the public but Trump is using this to protect himself, not any real government objectives of which the term psyops is generally applied to.

People never get this kind of strategic intentional deception on the part of leaders in revered positions when it is happening, only when it has already happened do they accept it but never, never when it is in the process of happening. But what you see in movies like "The American President", "Independence Day" or the program "West Wing" showing cabinet members scheming for ways to distract the public from real embarrassing news for the president is dead real. It's in the Nixon tapes and more. THEY DO IT for crying out loud and not only is Trump the most likely of all the presidents in the history to do it, he doesn't give a crap about the collateral ramifications of his actions of which has been well observed and documented and yet the news is presented virtually without any doubt or suspicion about the presidents real motives. You gotta laugh, what else can you do but Trump WILL go this far. He will do this to shield himself from embarrassment

No doubt that Kim Jong Un wants the legitimacy of his leadership position established by a meeting with Trump and no doubt this is not the first time recently Un has proposed it but of course Trump needing distraction from what he believes could bring him down takes the offer this time with absolutely no real intention of following up. In short, there is snow balls chance in hades that the meeting between Trump and Un occurs. Laughing cause what else can i do here but hey, the media's biting and i think you might be biting here but the only reason for this news of a meeting between the two leaders is distraction for Trump. Un even gets some dash of legitimacy for this just being in the news so he is going to go with it and it's in the news all over the world.

Now the trade tariff thing. This is a promise of Trump's but like so many others I don't think he intends on continuing the tariffs once the Stormy Daniels affair and Muellar investigation recedes from the media landscape, the latter of which may not but you see the investigation into the Trump administration is heating up now like never before and that is especially the point. There are casualties here as all of Trump's original cabinet are now gone with Rex Tillerson finally getting the axe.
It all is coming to a head and Trump knows it. You should know it and you should know this; you're being presented with distractive news at the top of the hour while the real news that Trump doesn't want you to see is not being seen at the top of the hour.

The Republicans are aghast at the Trump tariffs as are the Democrats and the rest of the significant world so Trump will only get cooperation in cancelling any tariffs.

Take it to the bank. The trade tariffs will be canceled one way or another and the meeting with Kim Jong Un is only good for a good laugh....will not happen.

The news should be - "Trump Going To Great Lengths To Distract Public From Daniels And Muellar."

Everything else aside, can you blame anyone for being skeptical. Trump doesn't deserve the respect of being believed any of this is going to be for real.
Trump's selling, but I'm not buying.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Teacher’s Gun Goes Off In Lesson About Gun Safety, Injuring 3

“It could have been very bad,” said a man whose son came home with bullet fragments in his neck.

A teacher who is also a reserve cop accidentally discharged his gun on Tuesday while teaching a public safety class at a high school in California.

A bullet hit the ceiling of Seaside High School in Monterey County, and fragments from the shot struck one male student in the neck. Two others suffered minor injuries as well, according to the Seaside Police Department.

Dennis Alexander, a teacher and a reserve cop from the nearby Sand City Police Department, has been placed on leave at both the school and the department pending an investigation, local outlet KSBW reported. Alexander, also a Seaside city council member, reportedly apologized for the incident.

An investigation into the incident is still ongoing and some students still need to be interviewed, Cmdr. Judy Veloz of the Seaside police said.

Alexander’s own department will also investigate the matter, Sand City Police Chief Brian Ferrante confirmed. 
“I have concerns about why he was displaying a loaded firearm in a classroom,” Ferrante told KSBW separately. “We will be looking into that.”

Fermin Gonzales, whose son was injured, said the school did not inform him of the incident. He discovered what had happened when his 17-year-old came home with blood on his shirt and bullet fragments in his neck. He said the teen told him Alexander pointed the gun at the ceiling and said he was going to make sure it wasn’t loaded. Then it went off.

“It could have been very bad,” Gonzales told KSBW.

The teen told a local NBC station that he laughed when his friends first told him he had been injured. But then he spotted the blood on his shirt and wiped his neck.

Daniel Diffenbaugh, superintendent of the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, told the Monterey County Weekly that Alexander was not authorized to have his firearm on campus.

“I think a lot of questions are on parents’ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students,” Diffenbaugh said.

Alexander’s gun was not the only one to go off at a school on Tuesday. A resource officer accidentally discharged his weapon at a middle school in Alexandria, Virginia. No one was hurt.
Both incidents unfolded just a day before students across the nation staged a walkout to protest campus gun violence.

 - Ron Dicker

My take: If it's not this it's an argument or misunderstanding. Guns everywhere in everyone's hands and what do you think is going to happen in this age of hot tempers, political polarization and road rage?The person almost at the end of his rope but not there yet skips a couple safeguards and uses his gun to solve an otherwise nonviolent solvable problem but we are not even talking about that here...this was an accident. 
The national "powder" is drier now than ever and the right-wing conservatives want to stoke the situation by putting guns in everyone's hands. The number of people getting killed or seriously injured nationally is going to end up totaling far far more than the number of kids and people being killed in school shootings. Proliferation of guns is a dumb demented person's solution too lazy to work hard for the right solution or too self-centered to care enough about other people other than themselves so we'll just shootem rather than improve people's lives. 
The nation is all amped up by politicians using fear and lies to manipulate the public so a few like arms manufacturers can be enriched. We have created a frazzled public and it didn't need to be so but this is just the tip of the iceberg of this subject.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Mad Violence Of Casino Capitalism

American society is morally bankrupt and politically broken, and its vision of the future appears utterly dystopian. As the United States descends into the dark abyss of an updated form of totalitarianism, the unimaginable has become imaginable in that it has become possible not only to foresee the death of the essential principles of constitutional democracy, but also the birth of what Hannah Arendt once called the horror of dark times. The politics of terror, a culture of fear, and the spectacle of violence dominate America’s cultural apparatuses and legitimate the ongoing militarization of public life and American society.

Unchecked corporate power and a massive commodification, infantilization, and depoliticization of the polity have become the totalitarian benchmarks defining American society. In part, this is due to the emergence of a brutal modern-day capitalism, or what some might call neoliberalism. This form of neoliberal capitalism is a particularly savage, cruel, and exploitative regime of oppression in which not only are the social contract, civil liberties and the commons under siege, but also the very notion of the political, if not the planet itself. The dystopian moment facing the United States, if not most of the globe, can be summed up in Fred Jameson’s contention “that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” He goes on to say that “We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.”1

One way of understanding Jameson’s comment is through the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized. Capitalism has made a virtue out of self-interest and the pursuit of material wealth and in doing so has created a culture of shattered dreams and a landscape filled with “Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it.”[i]

Yet, there is a growing recognition that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage and that if it does not come to an end what we will experience in all probability is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. Certainly, more recent scientific reports on the threat of ecological disaster from researchers at the University of Washington, NASA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforce this dystopian possibility.2 The undermining of public trust and public values has now given way to a market-driven discourse that produces a society that has lost any sense of democratic vision and social purpose and in doing so resorts to state terrorism, the criminalization of social problems, and culture of cruelty. Institutions that were once defined to protect and enhance human life now function largely to punish and maim.

As Michael Yates points out throughout this book, capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.

Security and crisis have become the new passwords for imposing a culture of fear and for imposing what Giorgio Agamben has called a permanent state of exception and a technology of government repression.[ii] A constant appeal to a state of crisis becomes the new normal for arming the police, curtailing civil liberties, expanding the punishing state, criminalizing everyday behavior, and supressing dissent. Fear now drives the major narratives that define the United States and give rise to dominant forms of power free from any sense of moral and political conviction, if not accountability.
In the midst of this dystopian nightmare, there is the deepening abyss of inequality, one that not only separates the rich from the poor, but also increasingly relegates the middle and working classes to the ranks of the precariat. Concentrations of wealth and income generate power for the financial elite and unchecked misery for most people, a fear/insecurity industry, and a growing number of social pathologies.

Michael Yates in The Great Inequality provides a road map for both understanding the registers that produce inequality as well as the magnitude of the problems it poses across a range of commanding spheres extending from health care and the political realm to the environment and education. At the same time, he exposes the myths that buttress the ideology of inequality. These include an unchecked belief in boundless economic growth, the notion that inequality is chosen freely by individuals in the market place, and the assumption that consumption is the road to happiness. Unlike a range of recent books on inequality, Yates goes beyond exposing the mechanisms that drive inequality and the panoply of commanding institutions that support it. He also provides a number of strategies that challenge the deep concentrations of wealth and power while delivering a number of formative proposals that are crucial for nurturing a radical imagination and the social movements necessary to struggle for a society that no longer equates capitalism with democracy.

As Yates makes clear throughout this book, money now engulfs everything in this new age of disposability. Moreover, when coupled with a weakening of movements to counter the generated power of capitalists, the result has been a startling increase in the influence of predatory capitalism, along with inequities in wealth, income, power, and opportunity. Such power breeds more than anti-democratic tendencies, it also imposes constraints, rules, and prohibitions on the 99 percent whose choices are increasingly limited to merely trying to survive. Capitalists are no longer willing to compromise and have expanded their use of power to dominate economic, political, and social life. For Yates, it is all the more crucial to understand how power works under the reign of global capitalism in order to grasp the magnitude of inequality, the myriad of factors that produce it, and what might be done to change it.

Accompanying the rise of a savage form of capitalism and the ever-expanding security state is the emergence of new technologies and spaces of control. One consequence is that labor power is increasingly produced by machines and robotic technologies which serve to create “a large pool of more or less unemployed people.” Moreover, as new technologies produce massive pools of unused labor, it also is being used as a repressive tool for collecting “unlimited biometric and genetic information of all of its citizens.”[iii]

The ongoing attack on the working class is matched by new measures of repression and surveillance. This new weaponized face of capitalism is particularly ominous given the rise of the punishing state and the transformation of the United States from a democracy in progress to a fully developed authoritarian society.   Every act of protest is now tainted, labeled by the government and mainstream media as either treasonous or viewed as a potential act of terrorism. For example, animal rights activists are put on the terrorist list. Whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden are painted as traitors. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are put under surveillance,[iv] all electronic communication is now subject to government spying, and academics who criticize government policy are denied tenure or worse.

Under neoliberalism, public space is increasingly converted into private space undermining those sphere necessary for developing a viable sense of social responsibility, while also serving to transform citizenship into mostly an act of consumption. Under such circumstances, the notion of crisis is used both to legitimate a system of economic terrorism as well as to accentuate an increasing process of depoliticization. Within this fog of market induced paralysis, language is subject to the laws of capitalism, reduced to a commodity, and subject to the “tyranny of the moment….emaciated, impoverished, vulgarized and squeezed out of the meanings it was resumed to carry.”[v]

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital.[vi] As a political project it includes “the deregulation of finance, privatization of public services, elimination and curtailment of social welfare programs, open attacks on unions, and routine violations of labor laws.”[vii] As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit making as the arbiter and essence of democracy, consuming as the only operable form of citizenship, and upholds the irrational belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations. As a mode of governance, it produces identities, subjects, and ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest-ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, possessive individual, and committed to the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power removed from matters of ethics and social costs. As a policy and political project, it is wedded to the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the endless marketization and commodification of society.

Nothing engenders the wrath of conservatives more than the existence of the government providing a universal safety net, especially one that works, such as either Medicare or Social Security. As Yates points out, government is viewed by capitalists as an institution that gets in the way of capital. One result is a weakening of social programs and provisions. As Paul Krugman observes regarding the ongoing conservative attacks on Medicare, “The real reason conservatives want to do away with Medicare has always been political: It’s the very idea of the government providing a universal safety net that they hate, and they hate it even more when such programs are successful.”[viii] In opposition to Krugman and other liberal economists, Michael Yates argues rightly in this book that the issue is not simply preserving Medicare but eliminating the predatory system that disavows equality of wealth, power, opportunity, and health care for everyone.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one’s individual needs and self-interests. Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it is has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society– now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite. Unable to make their voices heard and lacking any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which the American public, in particular, are suffering under a democratic deficit producing a profound dissatisfaction that does not always translate into an understanding of how neoliberal capitalism has destroyed democracy or what it might mean to understand and challenge its diverse apparatuses of persuasion and power. Clearly, the surge of popularity behind the presidential candidacy of a buffoon such as Donald Trump testifies to both a deep seated desire for change and the forms it can take when emotion replaces reason and any viable analysis of capitalism and its effects seem to be absent from a popular sensibility.

What Michael Yates makes clear in this incisive book on inequality is that democratic values, commitments, integrity, and struggles are under assault from a wide range of sites in an age of intensified violence and disposability. Throughout the book he weaves a set of narratives and critiques in which he lays bare the anti-democratic tendencies that are on display in a growing age of lawlessness and disposability. He not only makes clear that inequality is not good for the economy, social bonds, the environment, politics, and democracy, Yates also argues that capitalism in the current historical moment is marked by an age that thrives on racism, xenophobia, the purported existence of an alleged culture of criminality, and a massive system of inequality that affects all aspects of society. Worth repeating is that at the center of this book, unlike so many others tackling inequality, is an attempt to map a number of modalities that give shape and purpose to widespread disparities in wealth and income, including the underlying forces behind inequality, how it works to secure class power, how it undermines almost every viable foundation needed for a sustainable democracy, and what it might mean to develop a plan of action to produce the radical imagination and corresponding modes of agency and practice that can think and act outside of the reformist politics of capitalism.

Unlike so many other economists such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz who address the issue of inequality, Yates refuses the argument that the system is simply out of whack and can be fixed. Nor does he believe that capitalism can be described only in terms of economic structures. Capitalism is both a symbolic pathological economy that produces particular dispositions, values, and identities as well as oppressive institutional apparatuses and economic structures. Yates goes even further arguing that capitalism is not only about authoritarian ideologies and structures, it is also about the crisis of ideas, agency, and the failure of people to react to the suffering of others and to the conditions of their own oppression. Neoliberal capitalism has no language for human suffering, moral evaluation, and social responsibility. Instead, it creates a survival-of-the fittest ethos buttressed by a discourse that is morally insensitive, sadistic, cannibalistic, and displays a hatred of those whose labor cannot be exploited, do not buy into the consumerist ethic, or are considered other by virtue of their race, class, and ethnicity. Neoliberalism is the discourse of shadow games, committed to highlighting corporate power and making invisible the suffering of others, all the while leaving those considered disposable in the dark to fend for themselves.

Yates makes visible not only the economic constraints that bear down on the poor and disposable in the neoliberal age of precarity, he also narrates the voices, conditions, hardships and suffering workers have to endure in a variety of occupations ranging from automobile workers and cruise ship workers to those who work in restaurants and as harvester on farms. He provides a number of invaluable statistics that chart the injuries of class and race under capitalism but rather than tell a story with only statistics and mind boggling data, he also provides stories that give flesh to the statistics that mark a new historical conjuncture and a wide range of hardships that render work for most people hell and produce what has been called the hidden injuries of class. Much of what he writes is informed by a decade long research trip across the United States in which he attempted to see first-hand what the effects of capitalism have been on peoples’ lives, the environment, work, unions, and other crucial spheres that inform everyday life. His keen eye is particularly riveting as he describes his teaming up with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the 1970s and his growing disappointment with a union that increasingly betrayed its own principles.

For Yates, the capitalist system is corrupt, malicious, and needs to be replaced. Capitalism leaves no room for the language of justice, the social, or, for that matter, democracy itself. In fact, one of its major attributes is to hide its effects of power, racial injustice, militarized state violence, domestic terrorism, and new forms of disposability, especially regarding those marginalized by class and race. The grotesque inequalities produced by capitalism are too powerful, deeply rooted in the social and economic fabric, and unamenable to liberal reforms.  Class disparities constitute a machinery of social death, a kind of zombie-like machine that drains life out of most of the population poisoning both existing and future generations.

The politics of disposability has gone mainstream as more and more individuals and groups are now considered surplus and vulnerable, consigned to zones of abandonment, surveillance, and incarceration. At one level, the expansive politics of disposability can be seen in the rising numbers of homeless, the growing army of debt-ridden students, the increasingly harsh treatment of immigrants, the racism that fuels the school-to-prison pipeline, and the growing attack on public servants. On another level, the politics of disposability has produced a culture of lawlessness and cruelty evident by the increasing rollback of voting rights, the war waged against women’s reproductive rights, laws that discriminate against gays, the rise of the surveillance state, and the growing militarization of local police forces. Yates argues convincingly that there is a desperate need for a new language for politics, solidarity, shared responsibilities, and democracy itself. Yates sees in the now largely departed Occupy Movement an example of a movement that used a new discourse and set of slogans to highlight inequality, make class inequities visible, and to showcase the workings of power in the hands of the financial elite. For Yates, Occupy provided a strategy that can be and is being emulated by a number of groups, especially those emerging in the black community in opposition to police violence. Such a strategy begins by asking what a real democracy looks like and how does it compare to the current society in which we live. One precondition for individual and social agency is that the horizons for change must transcend the parameters of the existing society, and the future must be configured in such a way as to not mimic the present.

What is remarkable about The Great Inequality is that Yates does not simply provide a critique of capitalism in its old and new forms, he also provides a discourse of possibility developed around a number of suggested policies and practices designed to not reform capitalism but to abolish it. This is a book that follows in the manner of Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to break the silence. In it Yates functions as a moral witness in reporting on the hardships and suffering produced by grotesque forms of inequality. As such, he reveals the dark threats that capitalism in its ruthlessly updated versions poses to the planet. Yet, his narrative is never far from either hope or a sense that there is a larger public for whom his testimony matters and that such a public is capable of collective resistance. The Great Inequality also serves to enliven the ethical imagination, and speak out for those populations now considered outcast and voiceless. Yates provides a furious reading of inequality and the larger structure of capitalism. In doing so he exhibits a keen and incisive intellect along with a welcomed sense of righteous fury.

- Henry Giroux

White Privilege, White Fragility, White House

Let’s be honest here: our President is not a well man.

To most objective observers this isn’t really up for debate anymore. His frenetic impulsiveness, his propensity toward violent outbursts, his elementary school vocabulary, his nonsensical Twitter rants, his allergic reaction to the truth, his public bullying of judges and FBI staff. If Donald Trump were operating in any other arena—business, education, local government, he’d be called unfit for his position and either fired, arrested, or declared mentally unsound.

But despite mounting evidence of collusion with Russia, and despite a steady stream of irrational Executive Orders, unceremonious firings, and staggering abuses of power—here he sits.

But that’s not the problem we have here in America.

The problem we have, is that it’s becoming more and more clear that none of this matters to a large percentage of white people, who are determined to make this President their noble Moses; the one who will lead them out of the imagined captivity they’d been in for the past 8 years, and on to the Promised Land of their past greatness.

“You’ll suffer now, just like we suffered under Obama!” they say to people of color, or quietly believe now. Whether the former was true or not, is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that they believe it—and this is why they are silent now: they are finally feeling spoken for.

This is the seductive snake oil Donald Trump sold them as he barnstormed the nation last year, appealing to every bit of frustration and fear and perceived oppression felt by white folks who always had a problem with a black President, who believed themselves persecuted for their faith, and who’d been convinced that they were actually the marginalized ones in the nation made to order for them.

It’s why this President is the Great White Hope they’ve been waiting for, because he has a similar gift: to have the deck stacked fully in his favor, to have been the recipient of every advantage the system offers, to be the beneficiary of every shortcut imaginable—and to still see himself as the victim, to still feel attacked. 
It is this paradoxical notion of the entitled underdog, that Trump has exploited, with a great deal of help from a White Church who’ve owned religion in America for decades—and yet still imagine themselves as persecuted while holding the bully pulpit. They’ve been cruel Goliath to the world, but see little David in the mirror.

And this is the greatest irony of this moment; that to so many white people in America, Donald Trump somehow represents a change from the status quo, a victory for the downtrodden, an advocate for the little guy, (though he is in reality, none of those things.) He is not at all for them, but they seem defiant in not admitting this, intentionally ignoring what their eyes see.

Despite the fact that his policies regarding healthcare, education, taxes, and the environment will leave them more vulnerable than ever—they are applauding him for saving them.

For the past few months I, like others, have been pleading for disappointed Trump voters to stand with the tens of million of us who comprise a multi-ethnic, nonpartisan, multi-generational, interfaith resistance to this Administration. They have largely been invisible. And though some of them have withdrawn from the conversation out of embarrassment over their choice in November, or grown fatigued at being called bigots and racists —the lion’s share of the President’s Evangelical, white base is perfectly fine with the world burning.

To them, the actual details of Trump’s tenure; any election corruption or unconstitutional political maneuvers, any gross incompetence, or any of his actual words or actions—are all rather inconsequential. He is a symbol, and his substance is of little concern.

He makes them feel like they are getting something back that they’ve lost (regardless of the fact that they’ve never lost it), he makes them feel like they count again (even though they’ve always counted.) 
For them, Donald Trump is a big, white middle finger to the world they’ve grown to believe has oppressed them—which is of course, the height of privilege; to see any movement toward justice as a personal attack. As beneficiaries of every perk and advantage, the past 8 year’s tipping toward balance has felt like a threat, and though these days are a rapid regression of equality and diversity in America, they’re willfully oblivious to it all. It all feels good.

And honestly I’m not sure there is anything anyone can do or say to change their minds. Facts, data, and objective information are no match for their chosen narrative of an endangered minority, fighting to emancipate themselves from the persecution they’ve been trapped in.

White lives matter. This is what Donald Trump means to them. The fact that white live have always mattered the most in this country is a minor detail. That they have been the power holders since the birth of this nation unimportant.

And this is why we so far to go, to reach the Promised Land that Martin Luther King Jr. said he could see off in the distance—one where all men and women, regardless of the color of their skin or their faith tradition, have equal freedom here.

- John Pavlovitz

President Trump And Financial Regulation: 'The Setup' And 'The Sting'

President Trump came into office on a wave of promises to look out for regular, working Americans, make the rich pay their fair share and “Make America Great Again.”
That was what old time con men would call "the set up". But you can only call what has happened next "the sting".

President Trump has put together an economic team completely dominated by Goldman Sachs alums, made attacks on the financial regulations and agencies that most directly protect working Americans and has completely abandoned the real Republican financial reform agenda — measures like restoring Glass-Steagall that would really help Main Street America. 

The Wrong People

What is wrong with Steve Mnuchin as Treasury secretary?  You could start with the sheer audacity of the con — Trump vowed to get Goldman Sachs out of government, then appointed a Treasury secretary from Goldman Sachs, a chairman of the National Economic Council from Goldman Sachs, and a special advisor from Goldman Sachs.

But it’s really much worse than that. There are people from Wall Street, even from Goldman Sachs, that have made honorable livings and served our country well as public servants. But Secretary Mnuchin made his money taking homes away from working people.  

When Wall Street put this country into economic crisis, people with wealth and power had a choice — be part of the solution or part of the problem. Steve Mnuchin chose to feed on the suffering of working people, gaining wealth by putting families out of their homes and leaving children to do their homework by flashlight in the family car.    

Taking the Cop off the Beat 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is, together with the SEC, the cop on the financial beat. Under its first director, Richard Cordray, the CFPB has recovered billions of dollars for consumers.

Naturally, the first move of the new administration that promised to stand up for ordinary Americans was to remove the cop. The new administration has tried to fire Cordray and pledged to destroy the CFPB entirely by repealing the Dodd-Frank Act that created it.  

License to Steal — Part 1 — Picking Our Pockets

If you are going to take cops off the beat, no one should be surprised if the next item on the agenda is looting, and that’s what the White House’s memo requesting a review of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule is all about.

Financial advisors have a history of steering retirement savers into riskier investments in order to earn money for themselves. The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule requires financial advisors act in their clients’ best interest instead of their own.  

When the Fiduciary Rule was enacted, the Council of Economic Advisors estimated it would keep Wall Street firms from taking over $18 billion a year from working people’s pockets by steering clients into excessive fees and inappropriate investments. Repealing the fiduciary rule is simply a license to steal.

License to Steal — Part 2 — Bringing Back Too Big to Fail

In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which created a process for the orderly restructuring of big banks. “Orderly restructuring” is a nice way of saying that, just like in a bankruptcy, the people who are supposed to bear the losses — the stockholders and bondholders of the failed bank — will do so, but that the process will be managed to protect the larger financial system from collapse.  

If you don’t have a process like this then you will have “too big to fail” when a crisis comes. So when the new administration issued an executive order seeking to weaken Dodd-Frank and called on Congress to repeal it, they were doing exactly the opposite of what they promised in the campaign.  

President Trump might as well have promised to write big Treasury checks to JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and said, “Go out and gamble. I’m here to back you up.”

Abandoning the Republican Reform Agenda

On the campaign trail, the president called for a 21st Century Glass Steagall Act, which would effectively separate regular, everyday banking on Main Street from high-stakes gambling on Wall Street.

It has long been embraced by leading Republicans, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). As have other measures that would level the playing field between large firms and community banks and orient the financial system toward supporting the real economy, such as ending the carried interest loophole for hedge funds and private equity and placing size limits on the big banks. 

We heard a lot about these ideas in the campaign. But as con men are wont to say, "That was then, this is now".

- Damon Silvers

Sunday, March 04, 2018

True Faith Will Finally Separate The Religious Right From The Right-Wing Establishment

Some musings on true faith, the religious right, left and the default right-wing establishment

I read this article titled "There Will Be No More Religious Left". Immediately to me it smacked of arrogance believing that they the religious right knowing that have the full support of the real establishment, the right-wing establishment, will of course and without a doubt prosper and survive. That article however is not about the political aspect, it is about the having or not having the fundamental close personal relationship with God the Father as opposed to the outward expression of faith through social action; feeding the hungry and helping the poor but there have been so many articles and commentary from the right-wing casting anything left as evil as in "don't get left with the left" at the rapture and various other plays off the the story of the sheep and the goats, the right and the LEFT.
The article addresses the issue using the conservative vs liberal notion of faith but it is from my perspective an unwise use of terms if for no other reason being tied by too many to the political.
But they, the religious right do know they have the power and the money on their side. They push the prosperity doctrine and all the legislative wishes of the right-wing power establishment so favorable to corporations and Wall street and so of course how could they ever fall from grace.

Today the religious right have the blessings of the empowered establishment and this religious right prospers because they tickle the ears of the money empowered establishment so that the "money flows" and the connections benefit the benefactors. The two are in bed together and it is a gross abomination promoting distortion of the truth.

Religious conservatives are tied to the system, to it’s comfort and luxuries. They support the policies of Wall Street and the corporations. When real persecution comes it is not going to come from a rag tag rebellion living on the streets it is going to come from the established system. It will come from the power structure that serves and is enslaved to the forces that money commands and the conservatives will have no where to go. Their basis, their shocking lack of comfort will cause compromise and eventually a fall from faith for many.

So the assumption on the religious right is that the right-wing power establishment will always dance with the religious right because of primarily two social issues, abortion and gay marriage. If the right-wing power establishment which has little to actually do with either of those two issues decides to jettison both as an end-time scenario suggests, will the religious right stay with them on economic policy and the rest? Perhaps it's leaders will but will those masses that have been duped by religious right leadership stay? Will the religious right be based on morality or money. It is being tested right now as we speak in the form of support or slipping support for president Trump.

I fully understand the religious right's point of view. They believe their fundamentals of faith are real and the left's are not real. They believe the left is superficial, spiritually, only riding on the social causes common, as interpreted from the Bible, to left wing politics. I understand this point of view to some degree but there are many more on the left than they think, that have fundamentally strong faith because their faith is real and the real sprititual transformation that occured in them is real. Many that emerged from the Jesus Movement of the 70's did not compromise their left leaning social justice ideals.

Do you really think that the only true Christians are those that agree with money serving right-wing politics?
Do you believe that the only religious causes are those that the right-wing establishment has adopted in the form of banning abortion and gay marriage? Do you understand both those religious stands are ones that require no opposition to money serving agendas? And do you understand that God cares very much about people and the difficulty in many of their lives and that those issues will often challenge money, not cavort with it.

The game as it is laid out for us to play is clear as the establishment doesn't want all of Christianity coming together justly on all issues just like they don't want poor low-come working class whites coming together on issues with non-whites that both have much in common. Divide and conquer. Make no mistake about this my fellow human being, the establishment believes "divide and conquer" is essential to keeping us under their control so that essentially a few in high financial circles can exploit this nation for themselves with little regard to betterment of people.

Christianity is divided as many quotes from Jesus and the disciples regarding money and the rich are omitted from right-wing dinner tables and for that matter anywhere within what has become a right-wing bubble world where dissent is next to outlawed and those words of Jesus severely downplayed. At these dinner tables and in these circles the establishment have them right where they want them.

Many believe there are end-times coming. They believe the political left will become the establishment and religious right people will be persecuted but that is not the practical projection of political reality at least now. As in so many books from the religious right there is a left-wing European beast and anti-christ figure rising but it is not happening as yet and with the right-wing multi-national corporate iron hold grip on the centers of money,Wall Street and power it is not a realistic honest projection except in the bubble world of the religious right's dark imaginations of persecution that create deep seated prejudices to any other view.
These beliefs of the right-wing so play into the interests of the right-wing establishment casting a bias against any political ideals of the left-wing as if anything left was evil but therein on the right-wing you will find plenty of lies except in the message of basic salvation.

There is indeed this strange marriage between what I consider true fundamental Christianity and the right-wing establishment but that marriage is an abomination on the face of all Christianity.

The true faith of many on the religious right will allow them to persevere and yes they will last through it all when persecution occurs. Yes, this Christianity will prevail but in the day of persecution it will have nothing to do with political ideology married to faith. It will have to do with the essential aspect which is the true inner faith. True faith will survive in the day of persecution from both the left and the right.

Ever notice the political left-wing tendencies of those in the Jesus movement of the 70’s? Those were tendencies of soul that cared about people wherever they were. They were prepared and survived on the street because of their strong inner faith. The true Christians among the conservatives will discover that true faith once again. The love of God will be all they have and that will be enough….finally.

-Douglas Waterman

The Republican Hypocrisy of Trying At Every Turn to Subvert Obamacare Then Complaining Obamacare Doesn't Work

Obamacare was doing fine with the risk corridor program but Republicans sought to block it knowing it would hurt Obamacare and it did. Clearly the premium increases can be tied to the blockage of the risk corridors Republicans sought. They cry Obamacare turns out to not be working but they subverted it at every turn. You see, such a complex comprehensive program must be supported across the nation in order for it to work. All parts of it work together to make it viable and efficient and the Republicans throughly understood that and so they attempted to sabotage it. When Republican states decided to block the Medicaid expansion it immediately put harsh burdens on the exchanges in those states causing the health providers to raise premiums. They now cry about higher premiums but their intentional impairment of Obamacare is a prime cause of these higher premiums. 
Understand here, the Republicans are trying to sabotage a program that makes healthcare affordable and accessible to all but especially the poor and low-income of which rarely could afford it. What do you do in such a situation? Children used to use scurrilous tactics like this to undermine their playmates and when the parents found it out those children got the hello spanked out of them. 
These imbeciles are playing with peoples lives. They undercut a program for the poor then cry it doesn't work when it starts limping along.

We are in an area here of supreme hypocrisy and dishonor. A group of politicians that will resort to these tactics to in such a way have no place in the halls of the U.S. government let alone any government unless we are talking about typical banana republics of which the bribery laced money serving ideology of the Republican party has us headed toward. 

Are these then the men that call themselves Christians, that parade themselves before right-wing conservative churches as honorable men of integrity. To the millions of poor and low-income people, of which there are many more than millionaires and count just as much in the kingdom of heaven, these men give Christianity a bad name but oh yes they can quickly step in behind and hide within the mammon world, the material world, the monied life pretending all is fine on solid ground.
Isn't this just the in your face bald-faced hypocrisy of the Republicans crying how Obamacare is not working when in fact they did everything they could to undermine the program. How can these people even be allowed to walk the streets let alone serve as as congressmen. What hypocrites! Obamacare is not working as well because of these shin-kicking, backstabbing, undercutting money serving sycophant ideologue spoiled brats all from very rich families and so very indifferent to the plight of others that did all they could, at every turn, with every chance to undermine help for the poor.
Do these people, these congressman, any of these call themselves Christians. Do they in their insular world have any idea how un-Christian their ideology is never mind their tactics in undermining help to the poor?
These are exactly the kind of right-wing religious leaders Jesus was talking about in the Bible and right-wing leaders means they coddled in with the established authority just as was the situation trying to indict and undermine Jesus. They loved themselves, their position, their affluence and influence with authority.
Jesus kept talking about how they gave little regard and turned away the poor.

These hypocrite political and right-wing religious leaders are the same today as then. They love their money, their mammon, their saved tax money. Their ideology of putting "getting money" over people is their god but especially getting money for their rich campaign contributors. 
The Republicans cast a very dark witness upon Christianity that testifies to the world that Christians are about money and self and possessions and the ME. It is so opposite of everything Jesus taught about love compassion, treating others as you would be treated, understanding, wisdom. 
The tragedy is that far too many of these right-wing self-proclaimed Christians are vocall about it and oh yes, just like the scribes and Pharisees were so very vocal and in your face. The people, the world begin seeing these hypocrites as representative of Christianity and in the tug of war against Islam it is devastating to the Christian witness. 
In the end as it is written in the Bible Christians will be persecuted for something but will it be for their love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness or for their greed, selfishness and callous service to money and it's god. The word of God says we will be delivered up for His namesake.  We will be persecuted and killed for His namesake. I notice it doesn't say we will be persecuted for love and mercy but for His namesake as if in the end the most vocal of Christianity, the right-wing hyprocrites, fell so far into the love of money and disregarding the poor that it became so very easy to persecute Christianty for it's callous selfish hypocrisy. 
The tried and true Christianity of Roman Times changed an empire and transformed a world but the political religious leadership of the richest nation and most powerful nation on earth is dead set to undo it all and turn it back upon itself. 
The vocal contingent of the Republican party spouting any talk or any allusions toward God leads the way in turning people and nations against Christianity because of their cold-hearted, uncaring hypocrisy toward the poor and more so the sinister efforts to hypocritically undermine the best healthcare program for the poor in the history of the U.S. at every turn and then turn and claim that Obamacare is not working and is a failure. These Republican politicians are Christians? They claim to be and they tragically represent Christianity in the news day after day but they intentionally tried to destroy healthcare for the poor. 

This blog since it's inception has been in part an effort to undo exactly what I wrote about above. The hypocritical effect of right-wing politicans claiming to be representative of Christianity. We can embrace the personal morals of Christinaity while still showing love and compassion to the world and especially it's poor whether here or abroad. If Christianity must be persecuted in the end, must be, then let it be for our love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness and not our brazen
callous selves under money's power.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

‘Pure Madness’: Dark Days Inside The White House As Trump Shocks And Rages

Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center.

These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.”

Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain about whom to trust.

Trump’s closest West Wing confidante, Hope Hicks — the communications director who often acted as a de facto Oval Office therapist — announced her resignation last week, leaving behind a team the president views more as paid staff than surrogate family. So concerned are those around Trump that some of the president’s oldest friends have been urging one another to be in touch — the sort of familiar contacts that often lift his spirits.

In an unorthodox presidency in which emotion, impulse and ego often drive events, Trump’s ominous moods manifested themselves last week in his zigzagging positions on gun control; his shock trade war that jolted markets and was opposed by Republican leaders and many in his own administration; and his roiling feud of playground insults with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump’s friends are increasingly concerned about his well-being, worried that the president’s obsession with cable commentary and perceived slights is taking a toll on the 71-year-old. “Pure madness,” lamented one exasperated ally.

Retired four-star Army general Barry McCaffrey said the American people — and Congress especially — should be alarmed.

“I think the president is starting to wobble in his emotional stability and this is not going to end well,” McCaffrey said. “Trump’s judgment is fundamentally flawed, and the more pressure put on him and the more isolated he becomes, I think, his ability to do harm is going to increase.”

This portrait of Trump at a moment of crisis just over a year after taking office is based on interviews with 22 White House officials, friends and advisers to the president and other administration allies, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss Trump’s state of mind.

The tumult comes as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russia’s 2016 election interference and the president’s possible obstruction of justice has intensified. Meanwhile, Kushner, a White House senior adviser, was stripped last week of his access to the nation’s top secrets amid increasing public scrutiny of his foreign contacts and of his mixing of business and government work.

Still, the developments have delivered one negative headline after another, leading Trump to lose his cool — especially in the evenings and early mornings, when he often is most isolated, according to advisers.

For instance, aides said, Trump seethed with anger last Wednesday night over cable news coverage of a photo, obtained by Axios, showing Sessions at dinner with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation, and another top Justice Department prosecutor. The outing was described in news reports as amounting to an act of solidarity after Trump had attacked Sessions in a tweet that morning.

The next morning, Trump was still raging about the photo, venting to friends and allies about a dinner he viewed as an intentional show of disloyalty.

“Trump’s fundamentally distorted personality — which at its core is chaotic, volatile and transgressive — when combined with the powers of the presidency had to end poorly,” said Peter Wehner, a veteran of the three previous Republican administrations and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “What we’re now seeing is the radiating effects of that, and it’s enveloped him, his White House, his family and his friends.”

Trump is testing the patience of his own staff, some of whom think he is not listening to their advice. White House counsel Donald McGahn and national economic council director Gary Cohn have been especially frustrated, according to other advisers.

The situation seems to be grating as well on White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, who had been on the ropes over his handling of domestic-abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter but who now appears on firmer footing. Talking last week about his move from being homeland security secretary to the West Wing, Kelly quipped, “God punished me.”

Last Friday, Kelly tried to explain anew the timeline of Porter’s dismissal with a group of reporters — an unprompted move that annoyed and confused some White House staffers, who thought they were finally moving past the controversy that had consumed much of February.

“Morale is the worst it’s ever been,” said a Republican strategist in frequent contact with White House staff. “Nobody knows what to expect.”

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers were left in varying states of consternation by Trump’s whipsaw on guns. He suggested publicly last Wednesday that he favored tougher background checks and would forgo due process in taking away guns from the mentally ill, but then sent opposite signals after huddling with National Rifle Association lobbyists the next night.

The president’s decision last Thursday to announce steep new tariffs on aluminum and steel — and gleefully tout a possible trade war — caught almost his entire team, including some of his top trade advisers, by surprise.

Earlier in the week, Cohn was telling people he was going to continue stalling Trump on tariffs. He described the tariffs as “obviously stupid,” in the recollection of one person who spoke to him.

- Philip Rucker

True Christians Must Follow Students Lead And Stand Against Irrationality Of The N.R.A

I often send a note offering “thoughts and prayers” to people in the wake of personal loss or tragedies. And I mean it. It was natural and sincere for many to offer their “thoughts and prayers” to the high school students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas after they lost 17 friends, teachers, and coaches in a tragic mass shooting with an AR-15. And I was immediately struck by the response by many of those students, even those of deep faith, who said thoughts and prayers were no longer enough.

I believe in the power of prayer, but as the apostle James tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” Therefore, it is time to think about the connections between thoughts, prayers, and actions in relationship to gun violence.

The students who survived the now-dubbed “Valentine’s Day Massacre” were all born after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which marked the beginning of the modern era of mass shootings in schools. A recent Washington Post analysis estimates that since then more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools in the United States have experienced a school shooting on campus. Therefore, these horrific, heartbreaking, and family-destroying moments have become normal for this generation of young people. Some of their first memories at 4 and 5 years old were participating in active shooter drills, akin to the nuclear drills of my generation. As they got older, at 9, 10, and 11, it was not unusual for many of these students to fearfully ask their parents if they might get shot in school.

But now they are teenagers, watching and listening to the world around them, often online, as many of us started reading newspapers and watching the evening news at the same age.

And they are asking some hard questions of the rest of society: “Why is this normal? Why is the older generation, including our parents, not protecting us? And why have our elected leaders allowed this to happen and accepted it?”

The students have already moved from questioning to acting, saying: “This can and must be changed, and we are going to do that.”

READ: The Unholy Trinity of God, Guns, and Violence
Pay attention: Social change always comes when the next generation decides to no longer accept what the last generation accepted.

High school students are refusing to accept the distractions, excuses, and inaction that has prevailed for so long. This is a generation that knows how to communicate and connect with each other more than any generation before. They are all getting old enough to vote — some already are — and they are registering.

The big question is what can we do, as older generations? What should the high school students’ parents do? What can our elected officials be forced to do? And yes, what can our churches and those of us who call themselves people of faith do now, to protect our young people?

It’s time for all of us to support the emerging agenda of the high school students who are leading now. It’s time for the rest of us to support them by doing what they are calling us all to do. The student survivors are turning their grief into action. They are dealing with their trauma by deciding that the status quo on guns in this country is no longer acceptable.

When I listen to the Parkland students who have formed #NeverAgain and #MarchForOurLives movements, here’s what I hear them saying in terms of action

Pass truly universal background checks — no exceptions or loopholes for anybody buying a gun any place or any time.
Ban assault weapons. One of the most consistent demands of the students is to take weapons of war out of civilian hands. It follows that we should also put common sense limits on rifle magazine size and banning “bump stocks,” which allowed the Las Vegas shooter to fire his semi-automatic rifles as if they were fully automatic
Directly take on the NRA in real ways that will break its hold on the gun debate. The students are clearly saying that politicians who accept NRA contributions should not be re-elected. Period. I agree.
As I listen to the students asks, I think of our faith communities. Like every state in the country, Florida is home to many faith traditions. Parkland is no exception, with a variety of churches, a strong Jewish community, and people of many other faiths. In the aftermath of the shooting, places of worship did what we expect them to do: They hosted vigils and funerals for those who were killed and those who are grieving. But churches nationwide can, and need to, do so much more in the days ahead. In addition to offering our thoughts and lifting our prayers, we can follow the Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors in taking action.

Social change always comes when the next generation decides to no longer accept what the last generation accepted.
So what do we mean when we say we are offering up our prayers — and how can those prayers move us to action?

Here is what I believe to be the best way forward — and I hope that pastors and congregants across the country will join me. (Filling out the form below will ensure your access to resources that will help guide this process.)

I call on pastors and places of worship to commit to praying for all of their young people. On March 18, schedule a special prayer during the service, inviting your students and teachers to the altar as the congregation prays for their safety and welfare. Many of these students and teachers may have been part of the March 14 walkout, or they may be planning to attend a March for Our Lives in Washington and around the country on March 24. Some of them may not be participating, but they are seeing the movement in their schools and they have questions and desire discipleship. Pray over them and offer your students and teachers the space they need to pray, process, plan, and act.

You can also commit to some of the following:

Continue to be safe spaces for grief, gathering, and discussion — but also for planning actions and perhaps even host forums in the community on the dangerous and complicated issues of gun violence—and trying to bring a faith perspective.
Youth pastors could talk specifically to their youth about gun violence and mass shootings, and plan actions like trips to state capitols and Washington, D.C., to advocate for change. Sojourners is releasing toolkits that will help facilitate these conversations.
As faith leaders and parents of faith, we could dedicate ourselves to our children’s safety with a serious commitment to preaching, praying, and acting against the scourge of gun violence that root ourselves in the biblical message of peace, justice, and healing.
And we know that our faith and our prayers move us to action. So we are calling on churches, other houses of worship, and people of faith to join a Church Boycott of the NRA. What might that look like? Here are some ways churches could help break the NRA’s stranglehold on the gun debate.

Make NRA membership an issue in the church. Ask what making churches gun-free zones might look like, given security concerns.
Most importantly, make gun violence a faith issue in our churches.
Consider breaking off relationships with financial institutions that extend lines of credit to assault weapons manufacturers, and banking instead with institutions that don’t.
Consider taking steps to divest from mutual funds and other investment assets that include gun manufacturers in our church portfolios.
Find out which companies have partnerships with the NRA. Boycott them, and instead, spend your money with companies that have broken off their connections with the NRA like some rental car agencies, airlines, and banks that have already acted. Shop at stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and others that have taken strong stands. Pressure other stores in the industry to make changes in their policies on selling assault weapons and conducting comprehensive background checks.
Guide your church members in how to find out if their Congress members get donations from the NRA via this handy link. Call your members at (202) 224-3121. Thank them for not taking NRA money, if they don’t — if they do, ask them to pledge to refuse it in the future. When you call, ask them to support universal background checks and assault weapons bans — and tell them that getting your votes depends on their votes, as our children are now telling them.

- Jim Wallis

Thursday, March 01, 2018

One Of The Most Powerful Storms In Decades Is Gearing Up To Slam The Northeast (It Could Topple Records)

This storm will bring coastal flooding, damaging winds and snow to the Northeast on Friday and Saturday. (The Washington Post)

On Friday and Saturday, a powerful storm will lash the Northeast with destructive coastal flooding, wind and heavy snow. It is shaping up to be the most destructive nor’easter of the season, perhaps the most destructive in decades for some along the coast.
The coastal flooding could be worse than what New England experienced during the “bomb cyclone” in early January. Storm surge in eastern Massachusetts seems likely to match or exceed the levels of the early January storm as well as the Blizzard of 1978. With a massive, damaging wind field, it will mimic the impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The National Weather Service is calling it a life and death situation along the coast.

The flooding

The timing of this nor’easter could not be worse. It coincides with the full moon, when tides are at their highest. Coastal flooding already began Thursday morning due to high tide alone. On Friday and Saturday, an additional 3 to 5 feet of storm surge will be added to the tides. There will also be extra inundation from waves, which are expected to reach a height of 30 feet offshore.
Major flooding is all but certain in the Northeast over the next couple of days. That is to say shoreline roads will be flooded — some with over three feet of water — and largely impassable. Large debris will be washed ashore. Basements will flood, sea walls could be damaged, and beaches will be severely eroded, according to the National Weather Service.
Southern New England will bear the brunt of the coastal flooding, with onshore winds forecast to last through at least Saturday evening.
In Boston, major flooding could begin as early as Friday morning. The storm will last through three tide cyclones: noon Friday, midnight Saturday and noon Saturday. Although water levels could recede between tides, some level of coastal flooding is likely through the storm’s duration.
Farther south on the coast, flooding will begin on Long Island Friday morning with 1 to 2 feet of floodwater above ground along the coast. During high tides, 2 to 3 feet of water is possible above ground level. “This would result in numerous road closures and cause widespread flooding of low lying property including parking lots, parks, lawns and homes/businesses with basements near the waterfront,” the Weather Service warned. “Vehicles parked in vulnerable areas near the waterfront would become flooded.”
In New Jersey, coastal flooding could become major through four high tide cycles from Friday morning through Saturday evening.

The wind

The duration and intensity of this storm’s wind has meteorologists comparing it to Hurricane Sandy. Some computer models are predicting wind gusts to top 70 mph in the Northeast, and will come close to, if not surpass, 60 mph as far south as the Washington-Baltimore region.
As the nor’easter strengthens off the coast, cold high pressure will also be building to the north. Instead of tracking up the East Coast and then out to sea like nor’easters typically do, the high pressure will act to block the storm and slow it down, lengthening the duration of impact. The high pressure will also compress the northwest side of the storm. The compression is what will create such high wind speeds.
The winds will be damaging and will lead to power outages from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. Trees will come down on roads and will block access. Driving will be difficult, especially in high-profile vehicles, and bridges are likely to close during the peak of the storm. Flights into and out of the Northeast will be delayed if not canceled due to the high wind.
High-resolution models are predicting wind gusts to top 60 mph in the Northeast on Friday.

The snow

To be clear, the snow seems like the least of this storm’s problems. Still, accumulation could exceed two feet in high elevations, and along the coast where winds are strong, visibility could be drastically reduced.
The heaviest snow will be focused on Upstate New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, spreading from west to east starting Thursday night. Depending on how the storm evolves and how cold it gets, the Boston and New York City areas could end up with up to four inches through Friday night.
Snow will accumulate as far south as the Washington region and down the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.
Snow forecast
Boston — 2-4 inches
Springfield, Mass. — 3-6 inches
New York City — 2-4 inches
Philadelphia — 1-3 inches
Washington — No major accumulation likely
Possible snow totals through Friday night.

- Angela Fritz