Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

The Atlantic magazine us carrying a fascinating piece this month that shares A Psychologist Analyzes Donald Trump’s Personality.  This is a heck of a read and as a bonus a few previous presidents are examined in an attempt to figure out what kind of leader their personality led them to be.Ass on fire

In creating this portrait, I will draw from well-validated concepts in the fields of personality, developmental, and social psychology. Ever since Sigmund Freud analyzed the life and art of Leonardo da Vinci, in 1910, scholars have applied psychological lenses to the lives of famous people. Many early efforts relied upon untested, nonscientific ideas. In recent years, however, psychologists have increasingly used the tools and concepts of psychological science to shed light on notable lives, as I did in a 2011 book on George W. Bush. A large and rapidly growing body of research shows that people’s temperament, their characteristic motivations and goals, and their internal conceptions of themselves are powerful predictors of what they will feel, think, and do in the future, and powerful aids in explaining why. In the realm of politics, psychologists have recently demonstrated how fundamental features of human personality—such as extroversion and narcissism—shaped the distinctive leadership styles of past U. S. presidents, and the decisions they made. While a range of factors, such as world events and political realities, determine what political leaders can and will do in office, foundational tendencies in human personality, which differ dramatically from one leader to the next, are among them.

Another assessment of The Donald was provided recently by Senator Elizabeth Warren in this speech at the Center for Popular Democracy.   The first two minutes of the video reveal her opinion of the man.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been watching the presidential race, you know that we need to stand up now more than ever. Just yesterday, it came out that Donald Trump had said back in 2007 that he was “excited” for the real estate market to crash because, quote, “I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.” That’s right. The rest of us were horrified by the 2008 financial crisis, by what happened to the millions of families like Mr. Estrada’s that were forced out of their homes. But Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown – because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap.

What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to lose their jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions? Root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living in a van? What kind of a man does that? I’ll tell you exactly what kind—a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure moneygrubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it. What kind of man does that? A man who will NEVER be President of the United States.

Time will tell if Senator Warren is telling the truth which is one thing Donald Trump has a hard time doing according to PolitFact which awarded Mr. Trump their distinguished Lie of The Year for 2015.

PolitiFact has named Donald Trump the winner of its annual “Lie of the Year” competition — and it’s not even close.

The fact-checking website has rated 76 percent of Trump’s statements “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire,” out of 77 statements checked. “No other politician has as many statements rated so far down on the dial,” PolitiFact observes.

 

Rana Farohaar, shares a chapter of her book Makers and Takers n this segment from Time magazine, American Capitalism’s Greatest Crisis…

How Wall Street is choking our economy and how to fix itforooharbook

A couple of weeks ago, a poll conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics found something startling: only 19% of Americans ages 18 to 29 identified themselves as “capitalists.” In the richest and most market-oriented country in the world, only 42% of that group said they “supported capitalism.” The numbers were higher among older people; still, only 26% considered themselves capitalists. A little over half supported the system as a whole.

This represents more than just millennials not minding the label “socialist” or disaffected middle-aged Americans tiring of an anemic recovery. This is a majority of citizens being uncomfortable with the country’s economic foundation—a system that over hundreds of years turned a fledgling society of farmers and prospectors into the most prosperous nation in human history. To be sure, polls measure feelings, not hard market data. But public sentiment reflects day-to-day economic reality. And the data (more on that later) shows Americans have plenty of concrete reasons to question their system.

Reasons To Question The System

To understand how we got here, you have to understand the relationship between capital markets—meaning the financial system—and businesses. From the creation of a unified national bond and banking system in the U.S. in the late 1790s to the early 1970s, finance took individual and corporate savings and funneled them into productive enterprises, creating new jobs, new wealth and, ultimately, economic growth. Of course, there were plenty of blips along the way (most memorably the speculation leading up to the Great Depression, which was later curbed by regulation). But for the most part, finance—which today includes everything from banks and hedge funds to mutual funds, insurance firms, trading houses and such—essentially served business. It was a vital organ but not, for the most part, the central one.

Over the past few decades, finance has turned away from this traditional role. Academic research shows that only a fraction of all the money washing around the financial markets these days actually makes it to Main Street businesses. “The intermediation of household savings for productive investment in the business sector—the textbook description of the financial sector—constitutes only a minor share of the business of banking today,” according to academics Oscar Jorda, Alan Taylor and Moritz Schularick, who’ve studied the issue in detail. By their estimates and others, around 15% of capital coming from financial institutions today is used to fund business investments, whereas it would have been the majority of what banks did earlier in the 20th century.

Rana goes on to detail the many negative consequences on both citizens and the greater economy by this outsized role of finance in today’s world.  Reaganomics was the primary policy implement that hastened this process from bankers serving the productive economy to perverting the economy that serves us all..

America’s economic illness has a name: financialization. It’s an academic term for the trend by which Wall Street and its methods have come to reign supreme in America, permeating not just the financial industry but also much of American business. It includes everything from the growth in size and scope of finance and financial activity in the economy; to the rise of debt-fueled speculation over productive lending; to the ascendancy of shareholder value as the sole model for corporate governance; to the proliferation of risky, selfish thinking in both the private and public sectors; to the increasing political power of financiers and the CEOs they enrich; to the way in which a “markets know best” ideology remains the status quo. Financialization is a big, unfriendly word with broad, disconcerting implications.

University of Michigan professor Gerald Davis, one of the pre-eminent scholars of the trend, likens financialization to a “Copernican revolution” in which business has reoriented its orbit around the financial sector. This revolution is often blamed on bankers. But it was facilitated by shifts in public policy, from both sides of the aisle, and crafted by the government leaders, policymakers and regulators entrusted with keeping markets operating smoothly. Greta Krippner, another University of Michigan scholar, who has written one of the most comprehensive books on financialization, believes this was the case when financialization began its fastest growth, in the decades from the late 1970s onward. According to Krippner, that shift encompasses Reagan-era deregulation, the unleashing of Wall Street and the rise of the so-called ownership society that promoted owning property and further tied individual health care and retirement to the stock market.

The Consequences

This sickness, not so much the product of venal interests as of a complex and long-term web of changes in government and private industry, now manifests itself in myriad ways: a housing market that is bifurcated and dependent on government life support, a retirement system that has left millions insecure in their old age, a tax code that favors debt over equity. Debt is the lifeblood of finance; with the rise of the securities-and-trading portion of the industry came a rise in debt of all kinds, public and private. That’s bad news, since a wide range of academic research shows that rising debt and credit levels stoke financial instability. And yet, as finance has captured a greater and greater piece of the national pie, it has, perversely, all but ensured that debt is indispensable to maintaining any growth at all in an advanced economy like the U.S., where 70% of output is consumer spending. Debt-fueled finance has become a saccharine substitute for the real thing, an addiction that just gets worse. (The amount of credit offered to American consumers has doubled in real dollars since the 1980s, as have the fees they pay to their banks.)

Can we fix it?

Finding solutions won’t be easy. There are no silver bullets, and nobody really knows the perfect model for a high-functioning, advanced market system in the 21st century. But capitalism’s legacy is too long, and the well-being of too many people is at stake, to do nothing in the face of our broken status quo. Neatly packaged technocratic tweaks cannot fix it. What is required now is lifesaving intervention.

Crises of faith like the one American capitalism is currently suffering can be a good thing if they lead to re-examination and reaffirmation of first principles. The right question here is in fact the simplest one: Are financial institutions doing things that provide a clear, measurable benefit to the real economy? Sadly, the answer at the moment is mostly no. But we can change things. Our system of market capitalism wasn’t handed down, in perfect form, on stone tablets. We wrote the rules. We broke them. And we can fix them.

Working America, the branch of the AFL-CIO devoted to helping non-union working Americans has this graphic showing the impact of the new Overtime rules issued by President Obama.   A significant number of Missourians are benefiting from these rules.

YES! magazine focuses on Gender Justice in the current edition which can be previewed here...   There are lost of good stories but the article 5 reasons social justice for babies comes in a cardboard box was irresistible.   You can find it on page 13 of the preview linked above.  This Finnish tradition has many benefits and is gainingImage result for Image, babies in a box popularity around the world.  Enjoy the read and maybe we will start seeing this program in Franklin County soon.

Byron Delear is running for State Representative in the 70th district which covers parts of St. Charles and St. Louis County.  Prior to this effort Byron had been deeply involved in bringing clean energy to the St. Louis area.  His efforts are bearing results as outlined in Missouri leads Midwest in clean energy jobs growth; expansion set to continue…

One brilliant economic success story for Missouri is the fact that we are currently enjoying the highest clean-energy job growth in the Midwest. According to a recent report based on U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, 52,000 Missourians work in clean-energy with 13,000 workers added in the past year alone. The growth rate of 8.3% is the highest among all 12 states in the region. Good news is, due to the launch of new clean-energy programs and the expansion of existing ones in our state, job opportunities in this sector will continue to increase at an accelerated pace.Revewable Energy

“Bottom line is folks are saving money on their energy bills and this is the real driver of growth,” said Tom Appelbaum of Energy Equity Funding, LLC. Energy Equity Funding administers several clean-energy programs in the Midwest including “Set the PACE St. Louis” which provides 100% up-front financing for energy improvements for property owners. “The financing under the program is paid back as a voluntary special assessment and is available at longer terms than traditional loans,” added Appelbaum. “For participating property owners, this creates a net-positive cash-flow due to lower utility costs and other savings.”

Energy-efficiency is the largest portion of Missouri’s clean-energy workforce at nearly three-quarters of all jobs in the state. 45% of the workforce is located in the metropolitan St. Louis region.

One of the most successful projects in the nation for 2015 was the $2.4mm comprehensive energy-retrofit on the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Downtown Clubhouse. The iconic city landmark was the first building to have air conditioning west of Mississippi, and post-upgrade, will save more than $200,000 its first year.  By year twenty, the MAC’s new facilities will be generating $362,000 a year in savings.

On Wednesday the Obama administration issued new rules that will expand overtime protections to millions of Americans. Are you one of them?

Watch this video to find out...

The AFL-CIO  takes a more literary approach with their article Seven Things You Need To Know About The Overtime Rules.Overtime Pay

1. The middle class needs a raise.  

 Working families are struggling to pay the bills and the middle class is shrinking. Working people have helped corporations rack up record profits, but we are not sharing in the benefits.

2. Restoring overtime is necessary to ensure that working people get paid for all the hours we work. 

One of the reasons why paychecks keep falling behind is because too many people can be forced to work overtime at no extra pay. Under the new rules, more people will get paid time-and-a-half whenever we work more than 40 hours in a week.

3. Restoring overtime will give millions of families a pay raise.  

Restoring overtime is the single most significant step the administration can take to boost wages for working people. If the new rules are what they are rumored to be, 4.2 million people will be newly eligible for overtime pay and another 8.9 million people who are already eligible will be able to prove their eligibility more easily. Restoring overtime will help working families climb the economic ladder and break into the middle class—especially women, African Americans, Latinos and millennials.

4. Restoring overtime will create jobs and increase the hours for people who work part-time. 

Even opponents of restoring overtime admit it will create more jobs. To get around paying time-and-a-half, many employers will choose to hire new employees—or allocate more hours to their part-time workers—and pay them straight time.

5. Restoring overtime will help the economy grow.

Restoring overtime will put more money in the pockets of working people, and we will spend that money in our communities and set in motion a virtuous circle of more investment and more hiring. It’s working people, not the wealthy few, who drive economic growth.

6. Overtime protections have eroded since 1975.

The whittling away of overtime protections is one of the ways the rules of our economy have been rewritten to favor corporations over working families. Even with these new rules, the share of people who are automatically eligible for overtime pay (regardless of their job duties) will still be lower than it was in 1975.

7. Restoring overtime will give people more time away from work.

There is overwhelming evidence that overtime protection is effective in preventing overly long work days. Under the new rules, fewer people will be forced to work long overtime hours for no extra pay. Reducing excessive hours will make working people healthier and more productive.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives their report card on the just-completed session of the Missouri legislature….

he Missouri Legislature’s 2016 session was chock-full of items clearly designed for elected officials to wave on the campaign stump and claim they stood up for what voters want. In other words, election-year politics weighed heavily. In many cases, bills collapsed under the weight of their own illogic and Image result for Image, Missouri state capitolinsensitivity, while others sailed through. Below, we offer our grades of major bills that dominated this newspaper’s attention during the session. Our overall grade: D+.

Progress Missouri looks for the silver lining…

We’ll be honest, we’re still recovering from the end of the Legislative Session last week. And while our immediate reaction was to count all the bad thingsthat happened — there were many — we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight a few really great things that emerged from the rubble.

1. SJR 39, Sen. Bob Onder’s proposed ballot initiative that would have made it legal to discriminate against LGBT Missourians, failed to pass out of House committee. (This was HUGE. We were moments away from becoming the next North Carolina)

2. Paycheck Deception, a bill aimed at weakening public sector unions, was finally stopped with a bipartisan vote in the Senate. (This — also huge. Folks like nurses, teachers and caregivers were just a vote away from having their voices drowned out in Jeff City.)

3. All that grandstanding against Planned Parenthood? Missouri women made their voices heard and patient privacy as well as access to care won out. (That gust of wind that blew through town Friday night? A collective sigh of relief.)

4. Lawmakers worked across the aisle to make small improvements in Medicaid, increasing transparency and allowing Missourians who are elderly or disabled to increase their savings without losing their health care.

These good things are frankly amazing, considering what our legislature chooses to prioritize. And make no mistake, they are the product of countless hours of hard work from advocates, volunteers, staff and yes, even lobbyists.

There ARE good people doing good things in Jefferson City. We just need to make sure we send more of them there next November.

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