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If you’re happy and you know it, you didn’t read the news: did SMB murder Khashoggi for Trump?

The latest news includes the murder of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who worked for the Washington Post. He actually got barred from writing in Saudi-Arabia for criticizing then-candidate Donald Trump. It’s sad how all this tends to be connected. It makes us, at Reasonish, want to invest in aluminum.

You can’t go wrong with an investment like that, really. Trump tends to believe in all kinds of conspiracy theories (like “rogue killers murdered Khashoggi”) and he associates with guys like Alex Jones, whose conspiracy theories are off the fucking charts, so if Trump somehow never has to pay for his numerous, partly alleged, crimes – you can still profit off them a little.

And in the mean time, surely some formerly sane people are starting to believe there is a conspiracy. Trump probably at least tried to conspire with Russia. Wikileaks is somehow in on it, and now we’re seeing signs of what really might just look like MBS had a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, murdered as a favour to Trump.

Trump – at least – is ignoring the call of duty (he has a record of that) and defending the Saudi prince. The innocence-presumption that he uses to defend both Kavanaugh and MBS is not something he would call a principle, though. The reason? He’s got a good weapons deal going on with the Saudi’s. They’re paying a lot of money for weapons “and other things”. But did they throw in an extra service? As Trump would say: “Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows?”

Why people don’t need nationalism

Quite a lot of countries are headed into a bit of a nationalist streak, where populists are on the rise and traditional parties respond in kind by becoming more nationalist and xenophobic. The popular mantra of the nationalist is that the country should fend for its own needs, rather than be part of the world. America first, let’s pay for our NHS and the likes of that.

Quite apart from wether or not this succeeds in economic growth, there’s another thing that should worry the average voter who is considering the merits of the nationalist doctrine. And no, it’s not wether nationalism in the west is or is not Putin’s agenda. It probably is, because a less united West is in his interest.

The worrying part about countries reverting to nationalism is this: corporations aren’t bound to a nation, but they are part of nations. Corporations pay taxes and need to adhere to rules. States and governments have a purpose: to facilitate the lives of people. They do so using taxes and rules.

Governments are for people

Now, in democracies, people elect their government. All people are different, but in principle people generally want the same: food, housing, safety, love, physical health, sex, mental health, a disposable income, something to do and a little bit of luxury (or a lot, as it happens). The list goes on or varies, but it starts with the basics. The government’s job is to harmonize and facilitate these basics. It’s not an easy job, but one that has to be done, nevertheless.

Companies aren’t people

Companies, on the other hand, do not want food, safety, love, health or sex. They want profit. Not necessarily because they started out that way, but as they grow that is what it comes down to. Profit, and usually the freedom to make said profit the way they want. They need factories, offices and data centers. Warehouses and shops. And paying customers. They’ll take a monopoly if they can get it. The list goes on or varies, but it starts with the basics. The government’s job is to harmonize and facilitate these basics, while making sure these do not conflict with the interests of their primary stakeholder: the people.

A conflict of interests

In principle, these do conflict. Time and again, we’ve seen corporations fighting regulation that directly contributes to the quality and availability of food, housing, safety, physical heatlh, mental health, and disposable income of the people. Bad food is cheap to make and easy to sell, so corporations oppose quality regulations. Housing is scarce, so corporations could profit off them more without social housing. Safety costs money because safety regulations are expensive. Hence, companies oppose safety regulations. Health can get very expensive if left to a scarcely regulated market (as we can see in the US, for example), so companies advocate deregulation or self-regulation. The list goes on or varies, but these are the basics. The reason the people put up with companies is threefold:

  1. Companies also provide the things they want, even though they try to maximize their profits.
  2. Jobs: people want something to do, and jobs provide part of that opportunityand
  3. Disposable income. The most important one, for how would people pay for their needs without money from jobs?

Because of this, it is in the interest of governments to keep corporations happy. Large corporations provide lots of jobs and goods and services. However, in today’s world, corporations grow very large. Very, very large. Google is one of the tech giants of today. It’s revenue in 2017 was over one tenth of the UK tax revenue in total. That makes it a very powerful negotiator for most states: if Google wants to persuade a state to do something, the bargaining chip Google holds is very strong: it can give, or take away, lots of jobs (and therefore disposable income).

Saying ‘no’ to a corporation that has one tenth of the income your treasury has, has to be hard. But that is the UK, and in terms of absolute tax revenue, the UK is the 4th country in the world. Effectively, even Japan (number 2 in terms of tax revenue) wouldn’t be a very strong negotiator. A company like Google has a lot of strong stakes when it comes to negotiating with governments, but on the list of companies sorted by revenue, it’s not even in the top 30 in the world.

Tax cuts, tax cuts everywhere

So with all these companies that have that much power, governments are competing for the benefits of adhering to their wishes. The US gave big companies a huge tax break. The Netherlands did the same thing, giving away 1.4 billion euros in tax revenue just because companies asked for it. The reason? They might move their business elsewhere.

But the people will still want health, housing, food and safety. Along with other necesseties, like infrastructure. These all need to be paid for. But if governments are all being nationalistic and competing with other governments for the graces of the big corporations, where will the money come from for the services the government provides for its people? That’s correct. Out of the pockets of the people themselves. Essentially, governments are giving away tax money from their people to pay for the profits of big companies in the name of sticking up for their own people.

Instead of competing with tax breaks, governments should be unionizing to form a block that can hold up to these ever-growing companies. So that they can facilitate the people’s food, housing, safety, love, physical health, sex, mental health, a disposable income, something to do and a little bit of luxury (or a lot, as it happens). Can’t we just change the countless varieties of the nationalist mantra to something that would actually be good for something? Why not? Sure we can.

Humans first. Make people great again.

 

 

Jared Kushner fits right into the Trump family (if only this were reality TV, it would have been funny)

President Trump’s son-in-law is married into exactly the right family, according to us at Reasonish. Apart from rich and morally flexible, he fails to grasp simple concepts. Much like his father-in-law when recently asked to explain some detail about his decisions concerning the travel ban.

No, that is the travel ban for people from Muslim countries, not the actual ban that prohibits the use of state-owned private airplanes for private purposes of which (so far) three of Trump’s cabinet have been accused. Nor is it the ban for any non-US ships to help dying Puerto Rico citizens under the Jones act which Trump refuses to waive (for Puerto Rico, he did so for Houston and Florida), citing that the people making a profit off this act should be heared rather than dying citizens. At some point they start being incoherent in their cries for help anyway… so about that Travel ban:

How is this reporter not asking him why he’s just blurting out random words? He’s not answering the question in any way and his failed attempts at forming a full sentence are just pathetic at this point. Which brings us to the point that Kushner fits exactly into the Trump family. Not only did he fill out his disclosure form three times to edit out errors (among which his graduation date) in order to get his security clearance: in 2009 he registered to vote as a woman. And, as you can see from the form below, has had trouble getting the concept of a date (month, day, year in US notation) right in the past as well.

It’s a good thing Kushner is fucking his boss’s daughter, because if he weren’t, that guy hadn’t made it past the initial application form. Just imagine him going through that form and having to fill in the date of application. “4, 2016, why can’t I do this via my PRIVATE E-MAIL?”

Oh, yes, we almost forgot about him and 5 other people using private e-mail to handle White House affairs.

Donald Trump tweeted “Thank you”. But… thank whom? And why?

In his series of tweets from yesterday, commander-in-chief and POTUS “Real” Donald Trump told the internet he’s meeting his generals to discuss the North Korea situation.

And he thanked us. Or someone. We don’t really know what to make of it! Why? Is he assuming praise for doing the job he was elected to do? Did someone offer him a cookie? Was Melania giving him a blowjob under the table and did he mistakenly thank the internet while orgasming to the thought of nuking North Korea? Much like covfefe, we’re assuming this masterstroke of internet communication will remain a mystery.

Not unlike the cognitive capabilities of Trump himself, as he promptly displayed in a follow-up tweet.

Stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. That includes China. You know, that little country that inspired the themeparkish city blocks with lots of asian food and cramped up little shops owned by old men who sell Gremlins.

Chinatown: the source of indigestion and Gremlins.

Well, apart from Chinatown and cheap labour back in the day when the Railroads were being built and the Irish demanded actual wages, China is now once again the source of cheap labour. And a huge trade deficit. 2016 sported a $309.6 billion dollars deficit, a total trade of $648,2 billion, which would be about 3% of the total US economy. And that’s just the cost of stopping trade with one country, without even accounting for the damages that large companies like Apple would suffer if they had to move production (or their headquarters) elsewhere because of trade bans.

Kelly Thomasson threatened in the name of Trump

The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia reportedly just shared this image he got via the mail after the Charlottesville attack by the extreme White Supremacists. It seems to be a threat to the life of Kelly Thomasson.

According to the above tweet Kelly Thomasson’s husband, Clark Mercer, shared this image on Facebook.

Mueller indicates he’s going after Pence

Well, as if this political soap opera that is unfortunately not a “House of Cards” rip-off, but real life, needed more complications. It didn’t. Still, Robert Mueller is now also going after Mike Pence, or so it seems.

Mueller is investigating wether Michael Flynn was getting kickbacks, fraud. He asked the White House for documentation on Flynn’s employment. This relates directly to Pence: if the documents prove that Pence knew about his work as a paid foreign agent, and claimed his innocence, it makes Pence an obstructor of justice, according to Bluedotdaily, who reports on the matter in this article.

Will Pence take the fall before any serious impeachment against Trump is going to be in action? If anything, this administration is a hurricane of fast-paced news and it’s getting really hard to keep up with everything. One has to wonder how Trump even can, himself…

 

‘Every silent Senator and House member is now complicit in Trump’s crimes’

In an opinion piece republished on Saloon, Charles Kaiser lashes out against the Trump administration with Fire and Fury. His tone is unmistakably harsh and convictive, calling the Trump Administration ‘incipient Fascism’. He also says lawmakers who do not verbally protest Trump’s actions are complicit in his crimes.

It’s hard to argue against the harsh accusations Kaiser makes. With Trump failing to call out Nazi’s for what they are and failing to pinpoint them as the source of the Charlottesville irregularities and pardoning a known racist and federal criminal outside of normal procedures, it’s a fair point. Even more so with the facts on the table: Trump is trying to obstruct justice. Structurally.

Read the harsh-toned piece by Kaiser here. We’re curious to see where this leads, but in the mean time: IS every silent Senator and House member complicit?

The answer is, in the end, one that is both easy and difficult. It’s hard to stand up against a President of your own party, true enough. The party will be embarrassed by it, and that will reflect upon them in the next election. However, so does having this President in the first place… one cannot assume that with approval ratings this low, Trump would be re-elected, unless the Democrats somehow repeat the mistake of coming up with a candidate nearly as disapproved of as Clinton.

So the Republicans will have to deal with the fallout of this Presidency, wether they continue their support or not. But furthermore: it ís their duty to uphold the constitution and represent the people. If the President is the one endagering the American way more than foreign terrorists are, it is the Senate and Congress as a last line of defense for the American People. If they don’t act against the tactics of Trump now, they are surely responsible for any later escalation of these tactics. And whatever potential horrors may come off them.

No, having tanks in the streets is not a ‘superficial concern’

Today, AG Jeff Sessions announced that Donald Trump will be using his executive powers to undo the ban on military equipment for police officers. After the irregularities in Ferguson, Obama made sure that his own citizens wouldn’t have to feel as though they were in a war zone.

Now, for so-called security purposes, Trump is reversing that decision.

We will not put superficial concerns above public safety…The executive order the president will sign today will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal. And we will save taxpayer money in the meantime.

Dixit Jeff Sessions, whom in one statement managed to insult citizens concerned over their own rights and have a total disregard for the way the US police force is actually acting. There have been so many violent incidents where police officers killed harmless citizens over nothing that one could say there’s a trend going on. Too often, the police organisations went above and beyond to protect the trigger-happy yeehaws that they call officers.

Tanks in your town

With a police force that biased and armed with a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’-mentality, who needs these guys driving mofoking tanks through urban areas?! Nobody, that’s who. And what are we supposed to make of the timing? Not weeks after the Charleston Nazi’s, the ones Trump refuses to condemn and uses ‘whataboutisms‘ to deflect (read here about the actual activities by alt-left during the Charleston attack), Trump reïntroduces military grade weaponry to be used against his own people by a force that targets minorities more than the white population. Do we want to question wether Trump is setting up a violent white supremacist takeover for the US? No. Do we need to? Maybe it’s time to do exactly that.

Whatever your opinion about that, though, it is definitely not a ‘superficial concern’ to worry about triggerhappy cops riding tanks in the streets of your town. And that measure is not intended for ‘public safety’ so much as for ‘cop safety’.

MOAB: Trump does Tony Stark

Trump attacks Syria, but did he shoot himself in the foot?

US President Donald Trump launched an airstrike of 50 missiles against an airfield in Syria. The strike was a response to the horrifying chemical attacks this week. The attack seemed like an appropriate and proportionate military response to the horrible violence. But what will come of it?

While the impact of this is yet unclear on a global scale, one thing is clear: this strike is getting Trump trouble at home. The missile strike is an act of war. Since the US was previously not at war with Syria, Trump needed congress to approve. But they didn’t. And he didn’t ask.

According to the United States constitution, Congress has the power to declare war. So, not very surprisingly, Senator Rand Paul took to Twitter to point out that Trump was amiss.

We’ll be very curious to see how this pans out. Ignoring Congress by ruling via executive orders got Obama accused of dictatorial leadership. How will Congress respond to a President actually ignoring the Constitution before going to war?