Six Myths About Manufacturing Jobs

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Manufacturing jobs do not just appear or disappear, and the government is not the bad guy.

It is sad to hear Trump supporters to be interviewed about anything, but when they start talking about the lack of manufacturing jobs is when they really start looking like adults in diapers. They act like the government is supposed to force private manufacturers to build a factory and make something so that Joe Blow, with a high school degree, in Small Town USA can drive two miles to the local factory and earn $150,000.

Here are the facts:
 
1. Manufacturing jobs go overseas because consumers in the USA want to pay less for goods, and labor is cheaper in many places outside the United States, which makes the cost of manufacturing less, which makes the price of the product less. 
 
2. USA, state, and local taxes have almost no impact on good manufacturing jobs. For example, the Sierra Nevada Corporation (a private version of early 1960’s NASA…before we had a successful launch) has its headquarters in Nevada, but all of their non-executive jobs are in Colorado. Colorado has higher taxes than Nevada, but Colorado also has a better, more skilled, higher educated workforce. Nevada is the headquarters only so the executives don’t have to pay taxes, but the jobs are in Colorado. If the issue was about taxes, the jobs would be in Nevada, not Colorado.
 

Job fairy or much ado about nothing?

3. There is no manufacturing jobs fairy. Manufacturing jobs REQUIRE someone who wants to buy the product. The NEED for a manufacturing job is determined by the consumer. You don’t build a factory, then hang out a sign saying you’re open for business. Manufacturing jobs are “secondary jobs” meaning that before a manufacturing job is created, a product that people want to buy must exist. 

 
4. Most unskilled manufacturing jobs don’t pay well regardless of where the factory is located. CONSERVATION OF COMPENSATION: If anyone can do the work, the jobs go to the people who are willing to be paid the least amount of money. Whether the job is in the United States, or elsewhere, pay is driven by the supply of workers who can do the job.
 
5. Small towns rarely attract high paying manufacturing jobs. While some factories have moved to rural locations to reduce labor costs, it is rare, and factories still need enough potential workers to avoid a labor shortage, which would increase labor costs.
6.  Good business REQUIRES government regulation. Government regulations protect the employee and the consumer. Many countries don’t have rules of against abuse of workers and don’t require manufacturers to abide ethical business practices, and result is always unethical business practices. Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

Trump Supporters Are Born-Again Wallace Supporters

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Wallace supporters – 1968

Recently my personal research took me to the October 24, 1968 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. On page 57, was an article about supporters of the then presidential candidate of Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace was in a three-way race with Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Wallace was a poor third place against Nixon and Humphrey; however, he did manage to keep Nixon and Humphrey in a statistical tie with each failing to receive more than fifty percent of the vote.

What is interesting about the article is the quotes by Wallace supporters, and the uncanny similarity in tone to today’s Trump supporter. For example:

Regarding Wallace:

Now I keep hearin’ about an old Nixon and a new Nixon, and an old Humphrey and a new Humphrey, Now I don’t know which is which, but I can tell you there is no old Wallace or new Wallace. He’s sayin’ and believin’ the same things as when he ran for governor. And he’ll be sayin’ and believin’ the same things as President.”

Dick Smith, October 1968

“We’ve already given Democratic and Republican presidents a chance and they can’t straighten things out. Let’s give somebody new a try. We don’t have anything to lose.”

Bob Miller, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

The other politicians are controlled by their handlers. He’s not.”

Vern Engel, Kansas City, August 2015

“I backed Trump from the beginning. Because he calls things out. He does not allow lies to live. He just exposes things. Pastors sometimes need to be politically correct, and Donald Trump is not politically correct, and I love that about him”

Crystal Myers, California, May 2016

Regarding Wallace:

I’m a racist, but that’s not the reason I’m supporting Wallace. I’m behind him because he’s the most patriotic man I know. I just can’t stomach these liberals. I think they’re scum.”

William Napier, October 1968

“I’ve moved twice because of Negroes moving in. All that loud rock and roll music.”

Elmer Genie, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

I was actually sitting in the chow hall (in Qatar) when they announced the results (when Obama won in 2008,) and he gave his speech,” he says. “I saw such a division at that time. Every black member of the military was cheering. Everybody else was sitting there mute. Like stunned.”

Former Marine, June 2016

“….these people, that are from other countries, non-speaking—I’m not biased, I have no reason to be—but . . . I’m seeing them getting cash, getting their bills paid, and, as a taxpaying citizen, I don’t get anything. And so the border thing really resonated with me.”

Stephanie from Minnesota, June 2016

Ideologically, there is no difference between the 1968 George Wallace supporter, and the 2017 Trump supporter. Both act on emotion and opinion with few facts to support their position. They are unified in the opinion that non-whites are, at least in part, the cause of their problems. They are also completely deaf to any idea or fact that doesn’t support their position, and ignorant of how corporations and the wealthy have manipulated them into making decisions that go against their own interests.

Our country’s problems aren’t caused by bad politicians. They are caused by uneducated and unintelligent voters who don’t have the ability to understand what they are doing…and never will.

Quotes were taken from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (24 October 1968,) BBC News (9 November 2016,) The New Yorker (11/18 June 2016)

1968: The Year of Fear and Hate

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October 1968. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace, and were desperately trying to win the Presidential election. Former Vice President Nixon had moderate conservatives and war-hawks backing him. Vice President Humphrey had Democratic core voters and intelligent liberals backing him, and Alabama Governor George Wallace was the darling of racists and right wing extremists.

1968 Democratic Convention (The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1968:  A Year of Chaos
In 1967, most had assumed President Lyndon Johnson would run, and likely win reelection. Those in his administration’s military leadership offered an optimistic view of the Vietnam War, with one of his recent close advisors publicly saying that the enemy was losing their will to fight.

Despite the rosy picture, over 70,000 U.S. soldiers had been killed or wounded during the war, and 1,000 more were being killed each month. Opposition to the war was tearing the Democratic party apart, and it overshadowed almost all other political issues.

In late January 1968, North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive. Ultimately, the invading armies were beaten back, but the offensive shocked the United States. Those confident of Johnson’s ability to bring a successful end to the war waned in their support, and in March, the New Hampshire primary gave Johnson an uncomfortably narrow win over Eugene McCarthy, who was considered a relatively minor candidate that focused on an anti-war campaign.

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (AP Photo/Dick Strobel)

Soon after the primary, Robert Kennedy entered the race, and Johnson ended his campaign. (Although Johnson probably dropped out because he doubted he could beat Kennedy, it is noteworthy that President Johnson’s decision to drop out was heavily influenced by his health concerns. Specifically, that he would likely not live through another term.) Without Johnson in the race, there was no single, obvious choice for President.

The year became more chaotic after Johnson dropped out. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4. Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6. Anti-war and civil rights protests and riots, along with mounting U.S. casualties in Vietnam dominated the news everyday.

Baltimore, Maryland, 1968 (Photo by Afro-American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

By October, voters were reacting to the the presidential election as the prescription moment in the United States. The next President would either cure or kill our country, depending on the point of view. People who sought a calm return to normalcy were split between Nixon and Humphrey.

However, there were people who sought a disruptive choice for President, in the hopes that he would revive the Confederacy’s goal of remaking the United States into a white dominated government that would undo decades of work to create equal rights for all citizens. Their choice was George Wallace.

While many may believe that Wallace was a bigger threat to Nixon’s campaign, the reality was that the Governor from Alabama was luring as much as half of the support of the unions that normally support the Democratic ticket. Uneducated, Caucasian, blue-collar workers were taken in by Wallace’s hardline racist positions.

The civil rights riots generated fear among white voters, many of whom, felt they were not racist, but were of the opinion that life for the African-American would be fine if they would just settle down and accept their lot in life.

In the end, Nixon won with less than half the vote, and was in a statistical tie with Humphrey, but he had a significant electoral college margin. Wallace won over almost ten million voters, and certainly had an impact on the outcome.

Both Nixon and President Johnson used last-minute tactics to sway voters in the final weeks. President Johnson publicly suggested that a Vietnam peace deal was imminent, and Nixon’s campaign used back channels to interfere with those peace efforts, coupled with a spy in the White House that kept the Nixon campaign informed of Johnson’s diplomatic efforts.

NEXT:  A hard look at the Wallace voter

Ryssdal Allows Guest To Euphemize High Crude Oil Price As Desirable

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As host and senior editor of NPR’s (National Public Radio) business-focused, Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal has a tough job. He and his staff have to meld business, politics, and society into small chunks of edible information for his listeners to consume during one of four syndicated shows that air multiple times each day.

For most people, developing and presenting an informative, factual, unbiased radio program about business and everything around it would be a tax that is over 100% of their brain’s income. But Ryssdal isn’t ‘most people.’

So it would be perfectly reasonable to give Mr. Ryssdal a break and overlook a segment that didn’t really measure up to a perfect journalistic standard. Sorry, Kai, but you don’t get that break.

Last week, (April 18, 2017,) Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst produced a segment on oil pricing called, “Why boom-bust oil prices may be here to stay.” Ryssdal was interviewing former President George W. Bush advisor, Robert McNally who recently came out with a book called, Crude Volatility.

In his book, and during this interview, McNally attempts to generate fear that low oil prices are bad. Only, he doesn’t use the words, “low oil prices.” Instead he refers to price instability and price swings. McNally uses the euphemism of price stability to indicate artificially high crude oil prices are good, and free market, low crude oil prices are bad.

Historical Crude Oil Price (red line = adjusted for inflation. Credit: Wikipedia)

Adjusted for inflation, crude oil prices were relatively stable for forty years at around $20/barrel from 1933 to 1973. McNally implies that once OPEC began controlling the oil market in the 1970’s, the artificially high price of crude oil was a ‘stable’ oil price. He seems to suggest that the return to lower oil prices at the end of the 20th century and in the past two years are a sign of instability, simply because the free market is controlling the prices.

From his book and interview, it is clear that McNally is a conservative, on a first name basis with major oil executives, and one who believes that the future consumption of oil, as Agent Smith might say, is the sound of inevitability. It is also clear McNally desires to be a mercenary for oil corporations that seek to manipulate the market for their gain.  

What isn’t clear is why Kai Ryssdal gave him a pass on his attempt to generate fear of free market influences on crude oil prices. Ryssdal is too smart to not see McNally’s pandering to his oil clients, and the Marketplace staff had to know that McNally is not an unbiased source of information. 

Sure, high oil prices are good for oil companies and their investors, but wasn’t this past election allegedly about making things fair for the poor guy who has to pay the price at the pump?

(Marketplace is owned and operated by American Public Media)

Conversations With Conservatives: The 37 Year Lie

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(NOTE:  This is Part II of this article. Read Part I, here.)

The social and economic issues that people are concerned about in the United States of America don’t necessarily fall along party lines. Some issues, like immigration and applying religion to public policy, have a distinct political division; however, many other issues cross the lines of the ideologies.

In conversations with conservatives I learned that the deep division between conservatives and liberals can be traced back 37 years, to when Republicans managed to break the hold of Democratic leadership of our country in 1980. For 37 years, conservatives have been able to maintain control of our country by singing one anthem, ‘Everything is the government’s fault, and business is the solution.’

Ronald Reagan: Founder of the Cult of Conservatism

Ronald Reagan was elected on the idea that Democrats had failed the country. It was an easy story to sell for one reason. The Iran Hostage Crisis. Every night the news reminded our country of how many days our citizens had been held and humiliated by a group of Iranian students. Most in the United States did not understand the complexities of the situation, and were angry that we didn’t go to war with Iran.

The result was to give Republicans an early opportunity to erase the shame caused by Richard Nixon’s illegal involvement in fixing the 1972 presidential elections during the Watergate affair. The Hostage Crisis ended at the exact hour that Reagan was sworn in as President, a coincidence that causes questions of Republican collusion with the Iranian government during the crisis. Suspicions of collusion were raised again when Reagan’s administration worked a bizarre deal to sell arms to Iran several years later during the Iran/Contra Affair.

The Big Lie
Reagan is famously quoted in his first Inaugural speech when he said:

….government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem…”

Ronald Reagan, January 1981

The demonization of government was necessary for conservatives to achieve their goals. Government is the ethical referee that prevents business from underpaying employees, polluting for profit, abusing and endangering the customer, engaging in banking practices that protect the account holder, etc. Government oversight and regulation keeps business from devouring itself in greed.

Additionally, government collects business taxes for the privilege of having access to our country’s rich consumer markets. By eliminating these taxes, business could keep more of the spoils of capitalism and drain revenues from the entity that kept business fair and ethical.

The other shoe dropped by conservatives was to preach that the solution to our problems was business. In the holy corporate world, business was the shining light on the hill for all to worship.

37 Years Later:  The Cult of Conservatism
In my conversation with average conservatives I have discovered that conservatism has now become a cult. The code word for a conservative is ‘fiscal conservatism.’ Ask anyone who votes for a Republican candidate why they vote for the party they will automatically answer, “I believe in fiscal conservatism.” They don’t even pause.

For conservatives, issues are caused by government and solved by business. Among the issues discussed with conservatives I learned the following:

Finance regulation:  Conservatives believe that the government is at fault and less regulation will solve the problem, even though a lack of regulation and business greed caused the 2007-8 financial/bank crisis.

Housing Inflation/Bubbles:  Conservatives that government is the problem because…I didn’t get an answer on this, but the free market will solve the problem, even though the bubbles that occur with rapid housing price increases are caused by capitalisticitic factors, not government involvement.

Economy:  Conservatives believe that business is the creator of jobs and growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and government inhibits both. The evidence contradicts this as job and GDP growth have been anemic under almost 35 years of Republican economic policies, and the pre-conservative period of government initiated infrastructure projects and the space program generated massive job and GDP growth.

Healthcare:  Conservatives believe that government has been the cause of uncontrolled price increases in healthcare and drug prices, even though it’s the lack of government regulation that has allowed the price increases, especially in the prescription drug market, where Republicans pushed for, and passed an end to competitive market that would help to restrict price increases.

Trump and Republicans have succeeded in creating a cult-like status around the concept that government is the problem and business is the solution…and like any cult, the believers surrender themselves to ‘faith.’ Truth and facts are fiction to a conservative.

The Republican party has no need to be logical, compromising, or reasonable. Their believers have no choice but to hate government, and worship business.

Conversations With Conservatives

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Recently I have had a couple of face-to-face, civil conversations with conservatives. The conversations gave me a better understanding of how Donald Trump and the Republican party have managed to stay in power for the last 37 years.

The Issues
Among the issues we discussed:

  • Finance regulation:  Banks unethical practices
  • Housing inflation:  Housing prices increasing too fast
  • Economy:  Not growing fast enough
  • Jobs:  Not enough good paying jobs
  • Healthcare:  Taking care of people who can’t afford healthcare, keeping healthcare costs down
  • Drug pricing:  Prescription drug unfettered pricing

Government or Business Corruption?
There are many more issues; however, the ones discussed offer insight to the driving attitude of conservatives. It was not surprising that conservatives believe that the government is inherently corrupt. They also have an unshakable opinion that business and capitalism are the solution to almost every social and/or economic problem.

When asked about the above issues, conservatives will automatically assume the problem can be attributed to government corruption, interference, or mismanagement. They also believe that government is holding back, or preventing from business solving the problem.

It is admirable that most conservatives don’t need, nor care if their opinions have no proof, or facts to support their position. Even when it is apparent that business is/was the cause of the problem, conservatives have the ability to double down on the fallacy and ignore anything that contradicts their opinion.

Cause of the Housing Crisis: Business as Usual Unethical

Regulation:  The False Enemy
In one conversation I was told of how a bank sold the fixed rate housing loan of this person to another bank and the new bank raised the interest rate without the consent of the owner. Though the person kept paying on the loan, they were finally told that they were in arrears on the loan because they had failed to pay the additional interest on the new loan. Ultimately, the person was forced into either spending thousands of dollars on legal fees, or walking away from the house.

Three factors are key to this situation. First is the greed of the banks to make more money for the investors. Second is the lack of ethics by the bank. Finally, the lack of government oversight over the banks to prevent them from selling the loan, remaking the loan, and then forcing the homeowner into foreclosure.

Business was the corrupt party in this situation, and a lack of government oversight was the contributing factor; however, to the conservative, this was another example of a corrupt government.

NEXT:  The Thirty-Seven Year Lie

Katy Perry’s ‘Chained To The Rhythm’ Liberates Pop

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Katy Perry: Rhythm Unchained

A successful pop song needs two critical elements. First, it has to ear appeal to the current audience. This is a standard that evolves over time as pop music tends to find a formula that is addicting, then thousands of wanna-be stars pile on their version of the style, and boredom ensues.

The best pop stars manage to experiment just enough to create a new, fresh sound, without leaving the bounds of the genre. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Shakira have been consistent leaders evolving pop music in the last ten years. This is not to say that other artists haven’t helped to evolve pop music, but these three artists have been the 100-pound royalty in the recording studio.

The second element is lyrics that engage the human brain. Some singers tend to copy the current style of pop music, then tell us about their latest break-up, but that appeals to those who have precious few brain cells to engage. Katy Perry, Gaga, and Shakira typically go beyond the obvious, and trigger thoughts and ideas that touch, rather than tell.

In the past decade years Katy Perry has produced I Kissed A Girl (2008,) Hot N Cold (2008,) Last Friday Night (2010,) Teenage Dream (2010,) E.T. (2010,) California Gurls (2010,) Firework (2010,) Part of Me (2012,) Wide Awake (2012,) Birthday (2013,) Roar (2013,) This Is How We Do (2013,) Dark Horse (2013,) among her top hits. This would be a lifetime of work for most artists, yet she continues to push her status as one of the monarchs of music.

Katy Perry’s latest release, Chained To The Rhythm (2017,) from her upcoming album/CD, is more than just another mega-hit for her. From start to finish this song is a statement about the dark side of the American Dream, and about the unreasonable expectations created in a world where status is equated with human worth, yet this is not a song or video that portrays a downcast view of our current society. Instead, it is an upbeat, happy song that masks the underlining message just enough to engage the audience into the music. It isn’t until the end of the video that a person realizes the full impact of the content of the song.

This mastery of creating music with the key elements of a great pop song, and then weaving in a serious social message, without detracting from the entertainment value, is rarely achieved in the restrained environment of pop music. It keeps Katy Perry relevant as a master of pop music, and as a human being.

PR Fail: What United Airlines Should Have Done

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United PR:  At least we don’t shove the children out at 35,000 feet!

Sunday morning United Airlines once again proved that they have some of the worst public relations people in the business, which is likely a reflection of their top management.

The Situation
Two young girls, ages estimated to be around ten to eleven years old, were prevented boarding a United Airlines flight from Denver to Minneapolis with their family. These were children, not adults, nor young adults. According to United Airlines, they were flying on what is known in the industry as a “Buddy Pass,” which is a relatively free (taxes have to be paid) ticket that is one of the benefits of airline employees.

The girls were wearing leggings, which again, according to United Airlines, is in violation of the dress code of people flying on a Buddy Pass. The gate agent apparently approached the family and told them the girls could not board the plane wearing leggings.

It is important to note that two of the girls did not have any other clothing options at the gate, and the family apparently checked bags with the girl’s clothing in them at the main ticketing, where a United representative had to weigh the bags, check the tickets, and confirm the identifications of each of the passengers. Despite this close contact with the passengers, the ticket agent did NOT prevent the children, nor the rest of the family from heading to the gate.

The gate agent that confronted the family was involved in a “tense” discussion of the dress code issue in front of other passengers. At one point the gate agent bragged, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.”

This became a major public relations issue because passengers in the area were witness to the scene and a passenger from another gate investigated the situation and reported it on Twitter. The gate agent’s handling of the situation was overt enough to cause another family, not involved in the incident, to have their daughter put on a dress over her leggings.

United later reported that the girls later changed and boarded another flight.

What United Should Have Done
It boggles the mind as to the many public relation fails occurred by United staff, but here is what the public relations people should have said and done:

On Sunday, March 26, a family was boarding one of our flights on a special ticket that includes a dress code requirement for the passenger. One of our gate agents determined that the children were not dressed according to that policy, and the family was not allowed to board the flight.

While the gate agent technically followed our policy, we regret that this situation became a public scene. We also regret that our staff did not remind the family of that policy when they checked their bags at the main ticket counter, when the children would have been able to obtain appropriate clothing before their bags were checked.

Our policy is meant to encourage a professional appearance of those passengers who are flying as a benefit of being employed, or being a family member of one of our employees. When this involves children, we attempt to be sensitive to the difference in the typical appropriate dress for their age.

We regret to the manner in how this situation was handled and apologize to the family involved and to the passengers who were witness to this situation at the gate. We are reviewing our policies and how those policies are enforced.

The United Blood Bath
Rather than apologizing, United decided that it would work to sway public opinion against the traveling family and humiliate them further. Their announcement in response to the situation put all the blame on the children and their family and implied that the gate agent who created the scene was the hero.

It is a Trump-like strategy that is based on never admitting failure, even when the failure is obvious. It did produce a wave of approval by people who enjoy watching someone being crushed by a more powerful and insensitive force.

However, this type of strategy builds mistrust of an organization and clearly demonstrates United’s lack of empathy for its passengers, paying or not. It also demonstrates the lack of humanity by a corporation that doesn’t understand the deferred cost of bad public relations, and proves that United doesn’t know the quality of mercy.

The Self Destruction of the Caucasian Race

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My DNA analysis from Ancestry.com

Ninety-eight percent (98%) of my DNA comes from Europe. While the term ‘Caucasian‘ refers to a race from a larger region than just Europe, I am about as Caucasian as one can be on this planet.Caucasians have done many great things. Our history is rich with progressive development of our society. In a relatively short period, my race has moved from tribal societies to rich urban cities where many people from other regions of the world come to live and work.

KKK Then

While my race does not dominate the world in art, literature, philosophy, mathematics, or science, we have made major contributions in all these areas.

But now, I am embarrassed by the people of my race. My culture was the key to electing a President and a political party that is overtly trying to erase centuries of advancements in society, like fair working conditions and fair wages, and healthcare is for everyone.

KKK Now

My culture has traditionally led the way in limiting the corruption and greed that is inherent in business. My culture has often avoided the mistakes of other countries where governments fail to regulate and control unethical business practices of private corporations.

 

Today, my culture is ready to sacrifice this planet for our children and our children’s children so that energy companies can employ a handful of rural people. And each one of those jobs hand down less to each subsequent generation.

Caucasians proud of their stupidity

There is a price that my culture will have to pay for their stupidity. We could be embracing people from all cultures and solving all the world’s problems together. Instead, my culture is tearing apart families of other races and throwing them out of the country. Building walls and cancelling the economic treaties that have brought new prosperity and virtually ended wars.

This is not amusing or smart. My culture will pay a price. Yes, the smallest minds of my culture have won the day in the belief that they are invincible, but they are digging a hole in which the rest of us will be buried.

Trump Leaks Own Tax Form?

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Trump: “It’s illegal for you to see this but look at how great I am!”

It is the centerpiece of the Trump agenda to keep the subject off Putin’s overthrow of his administration. And just when the topic would be coming back to the KGB agent that seems to be in contact with all the Republican leadership, suddenly, a bone is thrown to the media. Trump’s 2005, rosy tax form…but only two pages. Who gave it to the media? Nobody knows. It just magically appeared.

Trump and his Iraqi-styled minions didn’t even snicker when they scolded the unknown person who ‘illegally’ released his alleged tax document…all two pages. Nothing about the tax form reflects badly on Trump, and that alone casts suspicion that the President who can admit to no wrong, personally selected these two pieces of paper to be ‘anonymously’ delivered to a journalist.

Trump’s tax release has all the cleverness of a Dr. Evil plan

Even David Cay Johnston, the journalist who landed this punt, is suspicious of how he came to obtain this sudden flattering twelve-year-old snapshot of Trump’s financial qualifications. It is too coincidental that a minor aspect of Trump’s tax reporting, that creates a positive impression of his finances, appears with no explanation, no authentication, nor no information as to who is behind the release of the two pages.

Perhaps if this weren’t so blatantly manufactured to change the subject, it wouldn’t be so silly, … but we are talking about Donald Trump and his friend Vladimir Putin.