Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump Top Trade Adviser Blows Up German Relationship with Fake Trade Statistics

Peter Navarro says Germany manipulates the Euro for trade advantages. That's horseshit and he should know better.

Can Trump's narrative get worse? Oh yeah.

Trump's top trade man, Peter Navarro decides to mouth off and accuse Germany of manipulating the value of the Euro for a trade advantage. As Trump might say, Real Smart!

Some figures: In 2013 dollars -- the most recent year we have statistics -- Germany exported around $810.4 billion to member states of the European Union, all of it in Euros. To the U.S. in the same year? $121 billion. (Hint: You can't manipulate a currency if you're all trading in the same currency.)

Yeah. The Germans are real currency manipulating bastards. Glad Navarro was sharp enough at math to catch them.

Read on in the Financial Times.

As Atrios would say, we are ruled by morons. Or creeps.

Update. Paul Krugman points out that
Germany in effect has an undervalued currency relative to what it would have without the euro Germany in effect has an undervalued currency relative to what it would have without the euro. The figure shows German prices (GDP deflator) relative to Spain (which I take to represent Southern Europe in general) since the euro was created. There was a large real depreciation during the euro’s good years, when Spain had massive capital inflows and an inflationary boom. This has only been partly reversed, despite an incredible depression in Spain. Why? Because wages are downward sticky, and Germany has refused to support the kind of monetary and fiscal stimulus that would raise overall euro area inflation, which remains stuck at far too low a level.
 So the euro system has kept Germany undervalued, on a sustained basis, against its neighbors.
The euro itself is not undervalued against the dollar because the weak euro is determined by what investors think of relative investment opportunities.

Stephen K. Bannon, Secretary of Blow It Up

This prick.

Yes, Trump's Hate Matters. But His Lying Poisons His Character and Dooms His Presidency.

After his Muslim ban, it's hard to concentrate on anything else. (Don't worry, there's plenty coming.) But let's not forget: It's his near-constant lying that always defines him.

Trump's lies are amplified by his professional liars, hired to obscure the truth.

Actor Sam Waterston steps out of his actor role to call a spade a spade:
The great issue of today is lying — constant lying in public. Lying is the ally of faction and, since President Trump’s rise to power, it is the greater danger. Yes, the word is lying — not negotiation, salesmanship, bluster, attention-getting, delusion, deception, braggadocio, exaggeration, bullying, alternative facts, or any other euphemism. Once, President John F. Kennedy could say that our national problems were no longer ideological but technical. Lying on a grand scale has reversed that.
And it’s hard to keep up. Trump has lied about climate change and the character and motives of refugees, about how asylum-seekers have been vetted in the past and how many have been able to enter the United States, about immigrants, and a long list of other matters. As with partisanship, the more lying there is, the worse it is. And Trump’s alternative facts have meant nasty real-world consequences.
As lying comes easily to Trump, it should come first in every report about his administration. Trump doesn’t lie about this and that, and he doesn’t lie sometimes. He is a liar, a person who lies. This news should be reported everywhere.
Trump's consigliere Steve Bannon has said the media is "the opposition party" and should "just shut up." Media, please don't.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's Now Irrefutable: Trump's White House Is Anti-Semitic.

 Fingers point to Steve Bannon. I don't know enough to say how Donald Trump feels about Jews, but if a statement in his name commemorating the Holocaust omits the word Jew is allowed to be released -- and they offer an excuse of "inclusiveness" -- then it's just another catastrophe du jour.

Time to say it: It's this fucking prick, with fingerprints everywhere.

I've been to Dacau, Auschwitz, Birkenau, as well as The Rising Museum in Warsaw. One doesn't walk away unmoved, unaltered. To walk past the ovens, through the barracks, and by the outlines of Mengele's laboratory is soul-crushing. Coming to terms with the fact that an out-and-out anti-Semitic like Steve Bannon might be the top advisor to Donald Trump is horrifying.

Josh Marshall puts it well at TPM by describing his influence as "Bannon's Deathly Hand:"
In any case, there are no word limits in presidential statements. A more logical and worthwhile approach would be to note the various groups who were victimized. This isn't accidental. The new administration is riddled with anti-Semites and those who want to cater to anti-Semites.
No doubt. Philly blogger Atrios also cuts right to it (and quotes Mel Gibson to illustrate):
This is textbook holocaust denial, or specifically soft holocaust denial "minimization." Basically, it's a denial that Jews were targeted specifically. Oh yes, it's sad that there were so many people who died during the war, but there's no reason to single out the Jews as victims. Wars are just tragic and sad, generally.

As Mel Gibson said to Nooners once:
I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.
To recap: This weekend Donald Trump managed to deeply offend both Jews and Muslims while singling out Christians as especially deserving of protection.

This is a true rolling catastrophe, not a presidency. Uh oh, it is also a presidency.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Says Mexico Will Pay for the Wall with a Border Tax. Two Hours Later, Never Mind!

Forget that it's against both NAFTA and the World Trade Organization rules -- two trade agreements! -- but remember that tariffs make prices go up, on us!

Open your yap, close it, open it again, close it. Last word? "Never mind!"

Krugman (Nobel laureate):

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that Donald Trump planned to pay for a border wall with Mexico by convincing Congress to impose a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico. Shortly afterwards, however, he told the White House press corps that the proposal was just one of multiple options to pay for the wall.
Never mind? You're the official Press Secretary for the president of the United States, and never mind!?

Let's suppose that Sean Spicer is "only doing his job," and the president himself changed his mind. BUT... You're the president of the United States, and never mind!?

Another day, another half a dozen catastrophes. Trump for the win!! America? Not so much.

Also, the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, cancelled his scheduled meeting with president Trump. Wise move. I wouldn't meet with him either. A few hours later, Trump claimed he cancelled the meeting, then clarified that it was a mutual decision. The truth? Who knows. Maybe these are alternative facts. I mean, why not?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Show This to Your Trumpster Friends, Then Tell Them If They Don't Get It, Uhmm...

I had a snarky comment here, but let's let the sign speak.

(Gizmodo via Paul the Krugman)

How Trump's "Voter Fraud Investigation" Nonsense Works: Misdirecting to Craft a Lie

With Trump, it doesn't matter if he investigates or not (he likely won't, he's generally all talk) because it will be a MASSIVE INVESTIGATION (even though it won't). Rubes satisfied, move on, folks, nothing to see here.

What's the next thing a narcissist would do? Oh, yeah, always be self-aggrandizing.

The notion that there is a right and a wrong thing to do has long ceased to be the way Donald Trump operates. What serves his best self-interests is the measure of whether to do or say a thing. Add a touch of paranoia, a deeply ingrained bullying streak, and mix in a near fatal dose of NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), and the resulting bitch's brew can be quite toxic, especially to the truth.

Thank God Donald Trump is not interested in the truth. So we get the feint, the dodge, the head fake, but because he's Trump it has to be, you guessed it, YUGE.

Ari Melber has this exactly right. Trump and his spokesman, Sean Spicer, are tasking this grand investigation not to find the truth -- the truth is there is no voter fraud -- but to obscure Trump's utter defeat by Hillary Clinton in the popular vote. He can't stand it, so he powers up the BIG LIE, which is he's going to get to the bottom of it.

Remember, though, there is no bottom to get to, no fraud to root out, so all that's left is the effort to disinform and obscure, to make a display for the purposes of deceiving the American people -- especially his rubes -- to hide his own failings, his deep-seated feelings of inferiority. Remember, too, that it's possible that no sort of real investigation will take place. In a few days maybe he'll/we'll have forgotten it as Trump moves to the next important news cycle to bamboozle.

He won't be the first autocrat to behave in this manner, but he's sure the most dangerous recent one our country and our democracy has had to face. But what's most destructive about it is that the American president's greatest strength has been his word, his bond. Now both the president and his spokesman can't be trusted, for even a day. In the international sphere, who makes deals with such a regime? Our allies? Our enemies? Who can trust us as a country?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why Did the World Protest Donald Trump? Because the World Doesn't Like Him.

Trump made no history on his inauguration day, but the day after women of the world did.

A tiny slice of what happened yesterday. (They even had a protest on Antarctica.)

Why were there women's marches around the globe on Donald Trump's first full day in office? It's not surprising: Women as a class should, naturally, be the most aggrieved by Trump's rhetoric. Stating that he has a right, conferred by his celebrity, to "grab them by the pussy" certainly can't help but be a motivating factor. But there's much more.

Everything Trump stands for is quite nearly in opposition to women's views on a number of things, from contraception, sexual harassment, women's role in the world of work, to practically every aspect of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In Trump's world, women don't line up with men. They're second. In this, Trump lines up with conservatives rather well.

But there's a larger motivation for women the world over. Trump is dangerous, and women respond to that lurking danger in a way men don't. Women are the closest to our children both in the roles they choose -- or get chosen for them -- and by their disposition as the world's nurturers. They instinctively know when their children are in danger, and Trump has made the world more dangerous.

Women are right to feel they are shortchanged in what share of human rights they're entitled to, and they are right that Donald Trump stands, in that respect, in opposition to them. So they naturally rise up to oppose him.

Men, myself included, need to stand with women, as well. Women's rights are human rights, and just as with the Black Lives Matter movement, we men can stand aside at the point in time and say Women's Right Matter. We men are already okay, at least in the advanced Western nations. That's what whites and men don't get. We're already okay, which is why blacks and women should be supported in their rightful drive for full and equal -- and safe -- citizenship. We're not there yet as a human race, and until we are, those of us privileged beyond fairness must work for the larger cause.

The world realizes that Donald Trump is in opposition to the progress we need to make as a world, from issues of climate change to social and economic justice and beyond. He is the opposition, and the world stands in opposition to him. And, boy, do they oppose him.

Let's see how it goes as the Trump era moves on. So far, he's a disgrace, along with his hapless crew of cronies. Yes, he has power, but so did the British over India. Remember how that worked out?

Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer's Epic Fail on First Day: Lies Straight out of the Gate

Donald Trump's narcissism sank Sean Spicer's debut but good. With inauguration crowds smaller than previous ones -- and a Women's March on Washington that dwarfed Trump's debut -- the Trumputin regime gets underway in an underwhelming way. Ouch!

Sean Spicer: born to run, away from the truth. #EPICFAIL.

What was Sean Spicer's statement in question?
"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said.
Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush's first press secretary, probably put it best in a tweet heard round the world:

Double ouch! Hillary Clinton's spokesman Brian Fallon was not easier on Spicer:

CNN was in no mood to save Spicer's debut:
Aerial photos have indicated that former president Barack Obama's first inauguration attracted a much larger crowd. Nielsen ratings show that Obama also had a bigger television audience.
Spicer said, without any evidence, that some photos were "intentionally framed" to downplay Trump's crowd.
He also expressed objections to specific Twitter posts from journalists. And he said, "we're going to hold the press accountable," partly by reaching the public through social networking sites.
His statement included several specific misstatements of fact in addition to the overarching one.
Finally, Politico, DC's new bible, was no nicer on Spicer:
In his first post-inauguration press conference Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer immediately accused reporters of making inaccurate claims.
He then proceeded to make no fewer than four inaccurate claims in five minutes and 30 seconds of speaking, took no questions, and left.
So here we are. First day on the job. But the real question is: Where does poor Sean go when he's signed on to a regime that's dedicated to a steady stream of misinformation and narcissistic blather? If Trump were merely committed to winning the war on the media by making the misinformation so dense that people begin to lose faith in information entirely, that but would be one thing. But a thin-skinned narcissist needs a constant retelling of the facts to support the narcissism. As Trumputin would say: Sad!

Also, Spicer has to go out in front of the WH press corps daily. Does that mean a daily disaster? Or does it mean the banishment of the press from the WH happens sooner rather than later?

If you want to see the future for Spicer there are a lot of ideas in the Ari Fleisher's Twitter thread. Click on his tweet above and read the replies. Double super ouch.

It should be noted that Donald Trump -- much to the chagrin of outgoing spy chief John Brennan -- echoed Spicer's claim in a bizarre and inappropriate place: spouting false claims about crowd size and blaming the media for his rift with the intelligence community during an informal speech at the CIA headquarters on Saturday. Trump's claim? I insulted you for days on Twitter, but the media made me do it. Weak!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Great Republican Switcharoo: Guaranteed Healthcare? No, Guaranteed "Access" to Healthcare.

Here comes the Paul Ryan-Tom Price con: "access" to healthcare. What the hell does that mean?

Tom Price: Don't get me wrong, America. I want you
to have "the opportunity to gain access” to healthcare.

When someone starts to place words between one concept and the other, how many words and which ones matter. In the famous case that "Listerine helps prevent gingivitis" the "helps" is the sneaky word. Water also "helps prevent gingivitis." See?

So there's a significant difference between:
  • We want all Americans to have quality, effective healthcare.
  • We want all Americans to have the opportunity to gain access to quality, effective healthcare.

And that's the difference between Obamacare and Nobamacare. Read on:
During questioning, [Price] reiterated his support for what would be a fundamental change to Medicaid by requiring “able-bodied” people to be in work activities to qualify for benefits. Whitehouse pressed him repeatedly on whether people with addictions or mental health problems would be required to work.
After dodging the question a few times, the nominee responded, “I think people have an understanding of what able-bodied is, and it doesn’t [involve] the things you described.”
Got that? If you're unemployed -- a good reason to need Medicaid -- you don't qualify for it. Good to know. And do notice the number of words that Price puts between a simple answer (no) and the end of a word-salad sentence.

Watch as these debates unfold under the Trumputin administration. You don't get healthcare, you get access to it.

Or as I've said before: Choose the cure for cancer that fits your budget! (Oh no, my budget does not include not dying.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Get Ready for the Trump Deficit

Here's a history lesson Conman Donnie -- and GOPers -- refuse to learn.

Via Mark Thoma -- here's the inside scoop from Kenneth Rogoff:
One only has to recall recent US economic history to confirm the insight of the Italian/Swedish model – and to see the absurdity of claims that Republicans always aim to balance the budget while Democrats always try to spend beyond the country’s means. Back in the 1980s, conservative hero Ronald Reagan was willing to tolerate enormous deficits to fund his ambitious tax-cutting plans, and he did so in an era when borrowing wasn’t cheap.
In the early 2000s, another Republican president, George W. Bush, essentially followed Reagan’s playbook, again slashing taxes and sending deficits soaring. In 2012, at the height of the standoff between the Republican-controlled Congress and Democratic President Barack Obama over deficits and the national debt, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney proffered an economic plan that featured eye-popping deficits to finance tax cuts and higher military spending.
 If a Trump presidency does entail massive borrowing – along with faster growth and higher inflation – a sharp rise in global interest rates could easily follow, putting massive pressure on weak points around the world (for example, Italian public borrowing) and on corporate borrowing in emerging markets. Many countries will benefit from US growth (if Trump does not simultaneously erect trade barriers). But anyone counting on interest rates staying low because conservative governments are averse to deficits needs a history lesson.
Since Trump has promised massive tax cuts, again aimed at the rich, he will drive massive borrowing leading to rising interest rates -- he has already called for them! -- there's no reason to believe we won't see a return to Republican fake fiscal responsibility. Why? Because it's a myth, and believing in it is irresistible to the servants of the donor class. Again, we're screwed.

My reaction? Get out of the stock market but quick.

Linguist George Lakoff Knows: Democrats Should Frame the Debate and Keep It Positive.

Conservatives have framed the debate for decades. It's time liberals clawed back the truth and took over the framing. Cognitive linquist George Lakoff tells us how.

I lucked into having dinner and other conversations with UC Berkeley professor and author George Lakoff more than a decade ago while attending a conference. (I had read him previously and was already a fan.) He also wowed the crowd as keynote speaker. He's still at it and is solid gold in the age of Trump.

Here's a taste from a Salon.com interview:
If you’re a conservative going into politics, there’s a good chance you’ll study cognitive science, that is, how people really think and how to market things by advertising. So they know people think using frames and metaphors and narratives and images and emotions and so on. That’s second nature to anybody who’s taken a marketing course. Many of the people who have gone into conservative communications have done that, and know very well how to market their ideas.
Now, if instead you are a progressive, and you go to college and you’re interested in politics, what are you going to study? Well, you’ll study political science, law, public policy, economic theory and so on, but you’re not going to wind up studying marketing, most likely, and you’re not going to study either cognitive science or neuroscience.
What you’ll learn in those courses is what is called Enlightenment reason, from 1650, from Descartes. And here’s what that reasoning says: What makes us human beings is that we are rational animals and rationality is defined in terms of logic. Recall that Descartes was a mathematician and logician. He argued that reasoning is like seeing a logical proof. Secondly, he argued that our ideas can fit the world because, as he said, “God would not lie to us.” The assumption is that ideas directly fit the world.
They’re also, Descartes argued, disembodied. He said that if ideas were embodied, were part of the body, then physical laws would apply to them, and we would not have free will. And in fact, they are embodied, physical laws do apply to them, and we do not have absolute free will. We’re trapped by what the neural systems of our brains  have accumulated. We can only see what our brains allow us to understand, and that’s an important thing.
So what he said, basically, was that there are no frames, no embodiment, no metaphor — none of the things people really use to reason. Moreover if we think logically and we all have the same reasoning, if you just tell people the facts, they should reason to the same correct conclusion. And that just isn’t true. And that keeps not being true, and liberals keep making the same mistake year after year after year. So that’s a very important thing.
Got that, liberals? We're not doing it right. If reason doesn't work, what does? Lakoff says take over the debate the way conservatives have and Trump did. From Lakoff's latest article: Repetition, repetition, repetition.
Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election.
The loser [Donald Trump], for the majority of voters, will now be a minority president-elect. Don’t let anyone forget it. Keep referring to Trump as the minority president, Mr. Minority and the overall Loser. Constant repetition, with discussion in the media and over social media, questions the legitimacy of the minority president to ignore the values of the majority. The majority, at the very least, needs to keep its values in the public eye and view the minority president’s action through majority American values.
Take over the debate, the frame, which should be Trump is the Loser-in-Chief, Mr. Minority. Don't argue with Trump, give him a nickname like Conman Donnie, then frame the debate, which means putting majority values first and not as a rebuttal.

In general, negating a frame just activates the frame and makes it stronger. I wrote a book called “Don’t Think of an Elephant!” to make that point. Liberals are often caught in this trap. If a conservative says, “we should have tax relief,” she is using the metaphor that taxation is an affliction that we need relief from. If a liberal replies, “No, we don’t need tax relief,” she is accepting the idea that taxation is an affliction. The first thing that is, or should be, taught about political language is not to repeat the language of the other side or negate their framing of the issue.
The Clinton campaign consistently violated the lesson of Don’t Think of an Elephant! They used negative campaigning, assuming they could turn Trump’s most outrageous words against him. They kept running ads showing Trump forcefully expressing views that liberals found outrageous. Trump supporters liked him for forcefully saying things that liberals found outrageous. They were ads paid for by the Clinton campaign that raised Trump’s profile with his potential supporters!
The basic lesson comes from a legendary story in framing circles. Lesley Stahl interviewed Ronald Reagan, bringing up stinging criticisms of Reagan. The morning after the interview ran on tv Reagan’s chief of staff called Stahl and thanked her for the interview. “But I was criticizing him,” Stahl replied. The response was jovial, “But if you turned off the sound, he looked terrific. The presidential image is what will be remembered.”
The more neural circuits are activated, the more the stronger their synapses get, and so the more easily they can be activated again and the more likely they will become permanent. The more the public hears one side’s language, or sees one side’s images, the more that side’s frames will be activated, and the more that side’s worldview will be strengthened in the brains of those who watch and listen. This is why political communication systems matter.
We can't hope that every journalist will call Trump Conman Donnie, but at least we can hope that the Loser-in-Chief will continually look angry and dismissive during his public appearances and in his middle-school tweets. All the while, Democrats should always argue not for regulations but protections (positive framing) and for a Healthy America for All, emphasizing that the Loser-in-Chief "wants to "Make America Sick Again." Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Trump is not the president, he's Putin's Punk, etc.

Listen, I'm not sure I'm especially good at this, but one thing I know has hamstrung liberals for ages, and that's that we always end up trying to argue civilly and reason with the other side. We can win arguments, but we can't always take the high road. We've tried that, and look where we are. Yes, we've won around the edges, like in the culture wars, but on the big-ticket items, like expanding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and on the healthcare front in general, we've flopped. The social safety net has been trimmed, the federal minimum wage hasn't budged in eight years, and union membership has been shrinking since Reagan. So we have to change the argument in order to own the argument.

Lakoff says it's not "right-to-work," as the Republicans argue, but "freedom to negotiate" and "make better deals on wages." Let's co-opt Trump's language. UNIONS MAKE BETTER DEALS. That's a slogan that can win back the working class. Let's get started. Be better liberals. We own American values, we're the majority. Trump's the Minority Man. And read George Lakoff to know how.

Start at georgelakoff.com.

Remember, Media: Trump's Popularity Is the Lowest in Decades. He Can -- and Will -- Be Beaten Down Further.

Buck up, journalists. You've got your work cut out for you, and you should be licking your chops!

He doesn't know it yet, but he can -- and will -- be taken down.

First, a couple of polls:
This sets the table for why the press should be sanguine about the future under a Trump presidency:
Trump wants to bully the press and profit off the presidency. He's told us this clearly in his own words. We need to accept the reality of both. The press should cover him on that basis, as a coward and a crook. The big corporate media organizations may not be able to use those words, I understand, but they should employ that prism. The truth is that his threats against the press to date are ones it is best to laugh at. If Trump should take some un- or extra-constitutional actions, we will deal with that when it happens. I doubt he will or can. But I won't obsess about it in advance. Journalists should be unbowed and aggressive and with a sense of humor until something happens to prevent them from doing so. Trump is a punk and a bully. People who don't surrender up their dignity to him unhinge him.
Trump's Twitter war will begin to bore people -- I've said the best response is "meh..." -- and become increasingly ineffective. Savvy journalists will realize that the biggest scoops of the Trump era will be those that really sock him in the eye, and we can count on Trump himself to produce the material for those scoops, if they don't exist already.

Alec Baldwin has an early lead on insulting and abusing -- and cutting down to size -- Donald Trump, but others will blossom, too. Have at him!

And on a serious note, Paul Waldman points out how Trump continues to be his own worst enemy, as well as enemy to the GOP that was forced, in a way, to adopt him:
We should begin with the assumption that nothing Trump says can be taken at face value; the “plan” that he claims is being devised could be no more real than the secret plan to defeat the Islamic State he used to claim that he had formulated. But that’s not the point. What matters is this: Donald Trump just emphatically promised universal health coverage. That’s an absolutely gigantic promise, and it’s one that Republicans have no intention of keeping.
But now they’re stuck with it. Democrats will be saying, “President Trump promised that everyone would be covered!” every day for as long as this debate goes on. Every time a congressional Republican is interviewed on this topic, they’ll be asked, “President Trump said that everyone would be covered. Does your plan do that?,” and they’ll have to bob and weave as they try to avoid admitting the truth.
Randomly saying what pops into his head -- trusting his "gut" -- will get increasingly harder for Trump to cope with, as the above example will likely prove. Saying your plan will be "great" and "cheaper" and "cover everybody" might feel good, but laying down markers caught on video tailormade for Democrats to point out ad nauseum is not a plan, it's a trap, one you've laid for yourself. Good luck with that, Donald.

Don't get me wrong. Trump is smart, and much of what he says and does is "planned," but much is also by a man who is narcissistic beyond reason and thus prone to mistakes. This can, and very well might, set him up to be brought low.

The Ultimate Trolling of Trump, BBC-Style!

OMG and it's George Takei doing it:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Biggest Fight in the Trump Era? Preserving Truth in a Post-Truth America

John Lewis called out Trump's delegitimate election, and Trump responded with tweets based on wildly incorrect assumptions of what kind of district a Black Man must be representing. Hey Trump, be racist much?

Paul Krugman wasn't the first to notice the blatant racism inherent in Donald Trump's anti-John Lewis tweets following Lewis' candid assessment that after hearing the outrageous disregard for a true and fair election inherent in the FBI's inaction on Russian hacking and the FBI's clearly political handling of the Hillary Clinton email non-scandal. But once on the job, Krugman pounced the way he knows how: with facts. (Thanks, Paul, for the above graph.)

As you can see from the above graph, what crime infestation? Did Trump even check? Also, is Lewis' district "in horrible shape and falling apart?"
Nearly nine out of 10 residents of the Fifth District were high school graduates or had education beyond high school, and about four out of 10 residents had at least a bachelor's degree, according to Census estimates.
The largest single chunk of employed residents in Lewis' district, about half of the civilian work force, worked in a field grouped by the Census as "management, business, science, and arts occupations." The district includes Atlanta's downtown and main business district, and includes the headquarters of the Coca-Cola Company in Midtown and Delta Air Lines near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It also covers the campuses of Georgia Tech and Emory University as well as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many of the city's major cultural and arts institutions.
The district also has the Ritz-Carlton. Read the whole article to see what a modern black-majority southern city can look like. Among other things, it's not the nightmare Donald Trump assumes about the black "inner cities" that he campaigned against.

It's going to be a long four years (if that, oops, wishful thinking), and the most important thing we in opposition can do is keep the truth out there.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trump's Crazy Attempt to Legitimize Fake News While Attacking CNN, NBC, BBC

Here's Donald Trump using Twitter to link to a really, really fake news site to trash the controversial BuzzFeed "dossier." This is getting weirder by the day!

Trump refused to call on CNN, calling them "fake news." Dissed BBC, too.

Oh boy, did Donald Trump jump the shark on Twitter this morning.

His claim that "intelligence insiders" now claim the Trump dossier is a fraud may itself be a fraud, as he offers no proof, and I've seen nothing in the "papers." And this link to @OANN is rich indeed. Here's a glimpse into the One America News Network:

This man who will be president in less than a week just tweeted a link to a "news" site that he prefers over CNN, NBC, or BBC. We're screwed.

BTW, comments are mixed on this video's YouTube page, but it's not hard to deduce from reading them that people are generally aware that this isn't, er, "fact checking." Thank heaven's for that. Those positive comments that like this "news" are case studies in cognitive bias.

Update. There are those that believe Trump's attempts to delegitimize the mainstream media may actually work and is as dangerous as any other thing he's attempting to do.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trump Says He's Angry about U.S. Intelligence Leak of Report that Didn't Come from Intelligence. Lying or Stupid?

Buzzfeed gets a report that didn't come from U.S. intelligence but from a British operative hired for opposition research by his Republican opponents. So he condemns an intelligence leak. Oh, I get it...

Most of the press conference, Trump was spreading misinformation.
Oh, sorry, I mean all of it.

Yes, Donald Trump recently was given, during an intelligence briefing, a summary of a report claiming that, among other things, the Russians have the goods on him that they may later use to blackmail him. Trump loudly accused both NBC and the intelligence community for "leaking" the document.

But that's horseshit. From the New York Times:
• Last year, a Washington political research firm, paid by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals, hired a retired British intelligence officer to investigate the candidate’s ties to Russia.
• The Washington firm and the former British spy, not identified here because of a confidential source agreement with The New York Times, gave the memos first to their clients but later to the F.B.I. and multiple journalists at The Times and elsewhere. The memos, totaling about 35 pages, also reached a number of members of Congress.
• Last week, when the F.B.I., C.I.A. and National Security Agency gave a classified report on the Russian hacking and leaking and efforts to influence the presidential election to Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders, they attached a two-page summary of the unverified allegations in the memos.
See what Trump did there? He makes a false claim so he can blame journalists for reporting and the intelligence services for making sure he was aware of the reports circulating. The information wasn't produced by either journalists or intelligence operatives. It was reported on by Buzzfeed, which later released the full document.

Misdirection, misinformation, if not at its finest, at least as its usual place coming from Trump's mouth, or Twitter, or both, and repeated in full force during Trump's long-awaited "press conference."

Holy crap, and I do mean crap.

Cruel Irony Dept.: Trump Brands CNN as Fake News after CNN Ran Trump Surrogates All Campaign

For example: Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was "fired" then hired by CNN as he continued to be paid by the Trump campaign. Were Trump surrogates pumping fake news? How many times do you think these people said "email" and "Clinton Foundation?"

Did any of you listen to these people? I did, and my ears started bleeding.

Media Matters correctly flagged this monstrosity well before the election. Is CNN properly getting hoisted on its own petard? Er, yeah.

Good on ya!

Donald Trump's Presser a Yuuge Disaster, with One Glaring Deception (Plus Many Small Ones)

The president-elect claimed his lawyer had never been to Prague. This may be true, but how he refuted the claim is nonsense, and he should know better.

I don't write about this today to give credence to the document that Buzzfeed published that claims that Russia and Donald Trump are "mobbed up" and that Russia has real dirt on the grab-them-by-the-pussy president-elect. If any of the allegations are proven in the report, Donald Trump has serious problems moving forward.

I do, however, want to point out that Trump's attempt and that of a lawyer referenced in the report to claim that his passport shows that he's never been to Prague is pure nonsense and anyone who's traveled in the European Union extensively should know that.

I've been to Prague, and my passport has no evidence of it. Why? It's simply because I entered the EU at Berlin where my passport was stamped. When I entered the Czech Republic and disembarked from a train at Prague, my passport was not stamped because I was already in the EU. There are free borders between EU countries for both EU nationals and foreign visitors. 

So that's a knuckleheaded claim. Why make it? Something to hide? I don't know.

Also, the claim made during the press conference by the lawyer Trump hired to create a "trust" run by Trump's sons that prevents Trump from having conflicts of interest  is pure nonsense. The "trust" does no such thing. We'll be hearing plenty about that in the future, be assured.

Also, Trump's refusal to take questions from the CNN reporter, Jim Acosta because CNN is a "fake news site" is grotesque in the extreme and bodes ill for the relationship with the press during his administration.

Finally, he as good as declared war against the intelligence services, including the FBI, during the presser. Russia must be very happy to see the U.S. in such disarray.

It's a sad day, seeing America, and its institutions, crumble before our very eyes. And Trump marches on as if he carried the day. Maybe he did. It's up to the press to stop him. (The courts might help here, as well.)

Unpopular Trump Just Got More Unpopular

We didn't like him, like him less now. Turns out that's pretty universal.

Why do I get the feeling he'll never be more popular than he is now?
Because he'll start to actually do stuff? Maybe.

About to become the most powerful man on the planet? I guess that's true, but with low cred and not much love, Donald Trump will be leading from way behind.
Quinnipiac is the first high-quality pollster to poll on Trump twice since the election. And while its poll in late November showed his favorable rating rising from 34 percent to 44 percent, that number has dropped back to 37 percent, which is about where it stood for much of the campaign. That’s tied for Trump’s worst favorable rating in a poll since his election. And a majority — 51 percent — now have an unfavorable view of him.
So how does he fix this? What if he can't?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fox News: Our Sexual Harassment Is Fair and Balanced!

Okay, maybe it isn't. But it could be if we could talk our ladies into trying to have sex with us men!

Bill O'Reilly: "Loofah sex isn't rough sex, is it? Besides, I only suggested it!"

It's so reassuring to realize that if I ever get close to working for Fox News, I'd have all my sexual peccadilloes paid for, too!
Fox News settled a sexual harassment case involving anchor Bill O’Reilly in the days following Roger Ailes’ departure from the network last summer, several news outlets reported. 
Juliet Huddy, a former Fox on-air personality, alleged that O’Reilly “pursued a sexual relationship with her” in 2011, according to a letter from her lawyers obtained by The New York Times. Lawnewz.com first reported the settlement Monday.
“When she rebuffed his advances, he tried to derail her career,” the letter said. “He invited her to his house on Long Island, tried to kiss her, took her to dinner and the theater, and after asking her to return a key to his hotel room, appeared at the door in his boxer shorts.”
A second top network figure, Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, also reportedly sought retaliation against Huddy for not wanting a personal relationship with him.
Cool. She's so hot two Fox guys were after her. You'd think she'd love all the (unwanted) attention. Some women you can't please, no matter how badly you treat them. Closet liberal!

Correction. The loofah thing was another woman, Andrea Mackris, also a Fox News associate. With this one, it appears that O'Reilly settled the thing on his own, but quick. Do check out this report, though some of what came out at trial was DISTURBING.

Republicans Can't Replace Obamacare. Krugman Gets Why, and They Should, Too.

Have you watched the Republicans getting increasingly weak-kneed about repeal-and-replace? It's because they can't do it without destroying it. (And, amazingly, they see that.)

Trash-talking something that actually works doesn't always add up to
"We can kill this no sweat."

This morning Paul Krugman added it up. Republicans can't knock a leg or two off the three-legged stool without toppling it:
You may be surprised at the evident panic now seizing Republicans, who finally — thanks to James Comey and Vladimir Putin — are in a position to do what they always wanted, and kill Obamacare. How can it be that they’re not ready with a replacement plan?
That is, you may be surprised if you spent the entire Obama era paying no attention to the substantive policy issues — which is a pretty good description of the Republicans, now that you think about it.
From the beginning, those of us who did think it through realized that anything like universal coverage could only be achieved in one of two ways: single payer, which was not going to be politically possible, or a three-legged stool of regulation, mandates, and subsidies...
This was plain to see by those looking instead of talking in circles. Explanations of the replacement always resembled word salad -- selling health plans across state lines, health care savings accounts, high-risk pools for people with preexisting conditions, better-but-cheaper -- that sounds okay if you say it fast enough that people can't see it doesn't add up, not by a long shot.

Now, though, said Republicans are, like Krugman, getting it. It doesn't mean they won't blow it up in the end, but, boy, will they own it if they do. And they just might not want to own it. Here's hoping they don't.

I Thought So, Too: Trump's Tweets Show He's Weak

I noticed a characteristic of Trump's Twitter: He's generally whining. Dude, that's not attractive.

Someone photoshopped this image of Trump not to denigrate him but
to characterize him. His behavior cries out to be busted.

One general view about Trump's Twitter tantrums is that they'll stop after he becomes president. For those of us who are annoyed by his daily dollops of nasty bully-bully, it might be welcome if he did. On the other hand, those who think he shows his absolute worst side might want his twittering to continue. Keep it, up, crybaby! (BTW, he has a good side?)

Eugene Robinson now buttresses my view that Trump's lack of sweetness in his tweetness demonstrates weakness. Yes, they're a distraction from real bad stuff, but they serve a perverse purpose:
Are there more important things to think and write about than Trump’s latest Twitter tantrum? Yes and no. Trump threatens to snatch health insurance coverage from millions, enact huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, reverse progress against climate change, destabilize the Western alliance, pick fights with China while cuddling up to Russia — the big-issues list is long and frightening. But I believe it would be foolish not to examine the personality and the psychological makeup of the man who will soon be in the White House.
My view, then, is that we cannot ignore his vitriolic tweet storms. No, we should not let them distract us from other news about the incoming administration. But the Twitter rants offer a glimpse into Trump’s psyche, and it’s not pretty.
I've pointed out the embarrassing nature of Trump's behavior, Twitter included. I used to be proud to be an American, even when events transpiring around me -- Vietnam included -- made America look bad. I could still look good, I maintained, but standing strong against the destructive defects in our national character. Probably rationalization, but getting all First Amendment about it did demonstrate the underlying strength of our Constitution.

Sure, Trump's simply exerting his free-speech rights, but does he have to sound like a simpering simpleton? The answer -- Why, yes, he does! -- does more to weaken him than to build him up.

So, I'll take it. You can't move your approval ratings, Your Trumpness, over 50% if most people think you're acting like a dick.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Trump-Wise, Can Garrison Keillor Set Us Free? Maybe!

OMG times three. The man from Prairie Home Companion was always wise. Now his wit might nurture a way out, at least a way through. Thanks!

Oh, am I happy to have someone lend us solace:
Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones and they will not like what happens next.
To all the patronizing b.s. we've read about Trump expressing the white working class's displacement and loss of the American Dream, I say, "Feh!" — go put your head under cold water. Resentment is no excuse for bald-faced stupidity. America is still the land where the waitress' kids can grow up to become physicists and novelists and pediatricians, but it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren't plugged into electronics day and night. Whooping it up for the candidate of cruelty and ignorance does less than nothing for your kids.
We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids and we Democrats can go for a long brisk walk and smell the roses.
 Good idea.

Trump's Tweets Remind Us -- and the World -- that Our Future President Is a Bully and a Liar.

When Trump went after Meryl Streep for reminding us that Trump is a bully and a liar -- with more lies -- he shows that his tweets are a constant announcement to the world that bully is his name and lying is his game.

With each vindictive, middle-school-child tweet, this "president" belittles himself.

Greg Sargent gets this just about right. Trump can't rule this way for long. He'll soon be called President Chump.

America embarrassed in the eyes of the world.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Trumputin Administration: From Russia with Love?

Now that Putin has helped put Trump in power, NBC could offer a new Trump-produced reality-TV show called Celebrity Dictator. Instead of "You're fired!" the contestant is told "You're poisoned!"

Donald Trump: Putin's beast of burden?

A definitive report was finally released yesterday, explaining how a propaganda-dirty tricks cyber-campaign, undertaken at the behest of Vladimir Putin, managed to drive a very effective, multi-pronged effort -- aided and abetted by Trump himself -- against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump and his gang who couldn't lie straight denied, denied, denied, and yes, essentially launched a misinformation/misdirection campaign against the report, trying and failing to get around the undeniable fact that this monstrosity of an administration has no legitimacy at all.

Say what they will, the bottom line is: Nobody thought Donald Trump could win -- including the candidate himself! -- and yet he did. How? Here's the equation of unlikely victory:
Russian intervention + Comey mischief + Trump's incessant use of material supplied by the Russian hack = Trump unbelievably wins!
Donald "grab them by the pussy" Trump will, yes, get sworn in as president of the United States but will never be legitimate, not even close. His is The Putin-Stained Freak Show, brought to you its sponsor, the super-drug Propagantin*.

*some side-effects include the complete corruption of American democracy, the election of garish, grotesque candidates that make Ted Cruz look good!, and an endless stream of wacky, narcissistic, middle-school tweets, some of which are followed by even more tweets that say "I never said that!" and "The Dems are so low!" and "The dishonest media refuses to quote me properly when I say I'm paying for the Wall but Mexico will eventually pay for it, that I can tell you."

For total effectiveness, Propagantin must be taken while watching the Sean Hannity show, as a tinpot dictator laughs behind your back.

America used to be the "exceptional" country. Now it's the "exceptionally stupid" country. We're going to have to live with it for a while, even if it kills us. A grim thought.

I wonder where Trump got his material...

Sheesh. Gives new meaning to the phrase, "In America, anybody can grow up to be president!"*

*growing up not included

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The GOP Up Against It: They Have No Replacement for the ACA, and the AMA Says: Slow Down!

The GOP hole they keep digging keeps getting deeper. Now the AMA says "Watch out! Don't ruin health care." GOPers will, or they won't. Who knows? Certainly not the GOP.

We want to destroy Obamacare without destroying ourselves. Hard.

The American Medical Association reminded Republicans that they have no plan:
“Policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies,” the letter reads. “Patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether it represents a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform.”
Yeah, that's the way it's supposed to work.

Update. With the GOP talking all over town about repeal-and-replace, Donald Trump craps on his own message and the GOPers!

The way I read that is, "Don't do anything. It will fall on its own." Dems -- and people who want to live -- would love that! Can Republicans stop the crazy train? Stay tuned...

Dept. of Not Very Surprising: China Offers First "Meh" to Trump Tweets

That didn't take long. China's learning how to fight a Twitter war with Trump: Don't play.

Jacked pic from Daily Kos. Couldn't help it...

And, yes, it was Daily Kos that gave us this heads up:
China’s response? STFU manchild. We won’t respond to tweets. We will wait for the grown ups to speak. We will wait to see the policy that the grown-ups and the handlers put together.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded to Trump’s tweets by saying that China’s attempts to solve North Korea’s nuclear weapons issue “are clear for all to see.” He cited as examples China’s calling of a six-nation convention to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear program and support for United Nations sanctions against the rogue state. When it came to the question of whether Trump should use his Twitter account to make important foreign policy statements, Geng merely commented that, “We don’t pay attention to the features of foreign leaders’ behavior. We focus more on their policies.”
China delivers its meh model. Thanks, Chinois!

Can Making Quality Control Improvements -- Especially in Durable Goods -- Reduce Manufacturing Jobs?

If we buy it, and it lasts a long time, are we killing the jobs we think we need? Should we make stuff crappier?

Chevy Bolt: Quality control way up, car good for 10 years or more?

Paul Krugman dropped a tweet with a graphic that made me think:

If Germany, with the largest trade surplus in the world, is losing manufacturing jobs, there could be a number of explanations. One, the global economy is inching down; two, robots are replacing humans; three, quality control is making products so good -- as they do in Germany -- that people keep them for a long time.

By the way, I have two VWs, a Krup coffee grinder, a Braun grinder from 40 years ago that I use for spices, a 30-year-old Norelco shaver (okay, that's Dutch, but same difference). Lots of other products I have are Japanese because quality, too.

Not much more to say, except growth is overrated. I get that population goes up, so consumption should go up, so GDP should go up. But if we're getting better at things, we shouldn't get weird about slower growth.

Now, a smaller share going to the lower quintiles, well, that's another subject. Basic quaranteed income, anyone?

Note. We may be making more things better with better means of production -- sans humans -- leaving lots of people left over to sell each other strudel and bratwurst. Verstahen Sie?

Wonkish: Kant May Have Welcomed Paradox in Metaphysics, Just as Bohr Welcomed It in Physics

Deciding that two contradictory sets of reason were needed to allow for moral judgments or to explain the behavior of electrons may have been acts of genius, while still acknowledging the limits of human capacity to reason at all.

Niels Bohr accepts the inexplicable. What other choice?

I've wanted to know things with certainty all my life but have felt sadly lacking the capacity to be sure of anything at all. Yet I, like so many others, decide to accept what can be observed and intuitively "grokked," as Robert Heinlein framed it so well in Stranger in a Strange Land.

When I read the existentialists, my takeaway was that we could never really know anything and that that was very depressing, enough so that Camus, for example, had to reach for "the benign indifference of the universe" to not slit his wrists. But I'm off-topic a bit.

My point, though, is Kant's "I moralize, therefore I am" should read "I moralize, so sue me." As the authors of the paper "Paradoxes of Free Will and the Limits of Human Reason" go on to say: 
In putting forward his Epistemic Dualism in the latter part of the eighteenth century, Kant had anticipated the Epistemic Dualism of ‘complementarity’ of quantum physics, which had been put forward by Niels Bohr (1928) in the first part of the twentieth century. In his use of the term ‘complementarity’, Bohr did not refer to its ordinary, everyday meaning, namely the aspects of two different parts of a thing that make that thing a whole, such as the two “complementary” polynucleotide chains that make the DNA double helix a whole (as we might recall in this year of the Golden Jubilee of its discovery). Rather, under Bohr’s meaning, complementary aspects of the world give rise to rationally irreconcilable concepts, whose inconsistency can never be demonstrated empirically.
Bohr introduced his complementarity concept upon the advent of quantum mechanics and its epistemological paradoxes, such as the incoherent description of the electron in terms of a wave as well as in terms of a particle. According to Bohr, the wave-like propagation mode of electrons, on the one hand, and their particle-like mode of interaction with matter, on the other hand, each express an important feature of the phenomena associated with electrons. These features are‘complementary’ aspects of reality because, although they are mutually contradictory from a conceptual point of view, there are no observational setups under which they can be shown to be in direct contradiction empirically. The reason for this is that mutually exclusive observational setups—that is to say, different contexts—are required for demonstrating either the wave or the particle nature of electrons.
Bohr’s complementarity concept thus showed that Kantian Epistemic Dualism is not restricted to metaphysics, which is generally regarded as a soft discipline in which anything goes. As it turned out, Epistemic Dualism applies also to physics, which is revered as the hardest of hard disciplines, one that brooks no irrational inconsistencies.
These philosophical "decisions" -- in the hard sense of philosophy -- were made a long time ago, just as Einstein postulated a number of phenomena of the physical world that were proven through real observation decades later. We may never find the neurobiological proofs needed to establish free will and moral responsibility as real phenomena as, say, we've proven the existence of gravitational waves, but until we do, we'll have to get by through "grokking" them. It's the morally responsible thing to do.

Trump Tweets, but What Happens When the World Finally Starts Saying Meh?

It's going to happen.

Eventually President Trumputin is going to get the meh treatment. Poor fucker.

Think about it. For now, Trump tweets, GM jumps, the stock market clobbers GM, investors realize there's probably no there there, and GM stock goes back up. Trump gets cred he doesn't deserve from the media that can barely understand what's going on. Rinse and repeat.

Foreign policy tweets? Trump blasts China, China goes "Calm down, capitalist who cannot manage normal relations." Media goes "TRUMP GETS TOUGH WITH CHINA!" Trump spokesperson goes "Trump didn't really mean it that way..." Rinse and repeat.

But eventually.............Trump will tweet, and the world will go "meh." And the media will go "MEH!" for a while and then start going "meh." Rinse and no repeat.

Then articles will be written entitled "Has Trump's Twitter Lost Its Mojo?" and "Trump Tweets and the World Yawns" and "Trump Fires Tweets and the World No Longer Ducks." It'll be sad, fun!, infuriating (for Trump).

Hey People: Start saying meh now. Let's practice.



That was easy.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Immanuel Kant's Paradox of Moral Responsibility: I Moralize, Therefore I Am?

I admit that deep philosophy -- the hard stuff! -- hurts my head. But this look at how Kant and Bohr attempted to resolve the unresolvable, bringing metaphysics and physics onto the same plane at least for a moment, is fascinating and oddly uplifting.

Immanuel Kant, Age of Enlightenment brainiac.

I find the conflict between faith and reason fascinating even if faith is used to support the existence of God. Attempting to justify faith unsupported by reason simply to have a cosmology that includes a "creator" is, to me, silly, or at least tortured.

I'm okay without God. Still, proving the existence of free will -- and thus the existence of moral responsibility -- has been a bridge too far for many who wax philosophical. How Kant handled it was illuminating, to an extent. It led to his testing the limits of reason, which physicist Niels Bohr ran up against in his explorations into quantum mechanics. What follows is from a paper called "Paradoxes of Free Will and the Limits of Human Reason":
Another kind of paradox presents two paired propositions, either of which, when considered alone, is supported by apparently sound arguments. But when the paired propositions are considered together, they turn out to be mutually contradictory.
If mental processes, including willing, were ordinary bodily functions, a view that came to be known as monism, they would be ruled by the forces of determinism, and there could be no such thing as freedom of the will. But if mental phenomena were more than, or basically different from, ordinary bodily functions, a view that came to be known as dualism, some mental processes, especially willing, might not be governed by determinism. In that case, the will could enjoy the freedom required for the resolution of the Paradox of Moral Responsibility.
One of the most troublesome paradoxes regarding the human condition arises from our intuitive belief that persons are morally responsible, i.e., that they can be judged as praiseworthy or blameworthy for the will that motivates their actions.
One criterion that is generally considered necessary and sufficient for holding a person morally responsible for an action is that the person freely willed to undertake that action.
We construct the noumena* of the natural/amoral realm of the intelligible world by use of that part of our pure reason that Kant designated as ‘pure theoretical reason’. (As used by Kant, the adjective ‘theoretical’ denotes the concern of pure reason with the difference between truth and falsehood.) For the construction of the noumena of the natural/amoral realm, pure theoretical reason resorts to amoral (that is, value-free), natural categories, such as space, time, and causality.
We construct the noumena of the non-natural/moral realm of the intelligible world by use of that other part of our pure reason that Kant designated as ‘pure practical reason’. (As used by Kant, the adjective ‘practical’ denotes a concern of pure reason with moral decisions.) For the construction of the noumena of the non-natural/moral realm, pure
practical reason resorts to value-laden, non-natural/moral categories, such as good and evil, sacredness, and Free Will. The noumena of the non-natural/moral realm are human subjects, or persons.
*noumenon: a posited object or event that exists without sense or perception. The thing itself. (plural -- noumena)

Thus Kant separated the natural world from the moral world, creating a dualism, to posit that in the amoral sphere natural law applies, precluding free will. But in his non-natural/moral world, free will thrived, thus allowing for Moral Responsibility.

BTW, Niels Bohr ran into this paradox when he realized that in one observational set, an electron behaved like a wave, and in another observational set, the electron behaved like a particle. In order to deal with this hitch in the giddy-up of quantum mechanics, Bohrs needed his own dualism in seeming contradiction.

I hope you understand I'm doing this exercise strictly to feel secure in saying that everything is Trump's fault!

Ending on a serious note: Kant's solution strikes me as irrational, and I assume academics are in agreement. Let me know if I'm wrong. I always feel like I'm missing something! I willingly accept my capricious statement in my title: I moralize, therefore I am.

And it has to be noted that religious zealots have an easier bridge to cross: God gave us a free will so we could be tested, and moralizing is, for them, as easy as falling off a bicycle (or am I mixing up my similes?). Conservatives frame their world view with the authoritarian father model, so judging comes naturally to them. Fuckers!