April 26, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v87)

Well, well, well. It's Wednesday again, already. Time for some healthy wondering.

Ann Coulter will not be speaking at Berkeley after she was going to be speaking after she wasn't going to be speaking after she was going to be speaking, at the invitation of Bridge USA and the College Republicans. The two groups (the former a bunch of moderates, the latter a bunch of conservatives) professed an interest in having an open conversation about ideas.

What that all turned into was an open conversation about threats and protests and safety; the first two were guaranteed had Coulter spoken; the third could not be guaranteed in the face of the first two. I wonder, though, would that have been the case had the speaker been more pleasant? We know that Milo wasn't pleasant enough, and now Coulter. Is there anyone on the right would could pass?

Speaking of things that could pass, I hear president Trump has signed another decorative order, um, sorry, Executive Order setting the stage for all kinds of carnage to occur at our national monuments. That's right -- drillbabydrill and minebabymine and digbabydig and blastbabyblast and burnbabyburn and all the rest.

Trump's plan is to put the states back in charge, let them control what happens on the lands within their borders, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has 120 days to issue a full report on 30 sites created over the past couple of decades, and 45 days to issue his report on what to do with Bears Ears. designated by President Obama in December 2016.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one wondering how long before we see Trump hotels, Trump spas, Trump golf courses, and the like where we used to see unspoiled natural resources? Or, will the developer-in-chief decide to stay away, once we have our oil derricks and sawmills and pipelines and the rest crisscrossing our formerly protected sites?

I mean, we say how well he took the idea of wind turbines off the fairways of his golf course at Aberdeenshire, right? According to this report, Trump sent 16 letters to the government complaining about aesthetics, and advising that the turbines would cause economic and political problems.
Don't destroy your coastlines and your countryside with these monstrous turbines. Your economy will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid.
I wonder, does he remember saying this? And would not the same thinking apply to pipelines, derricks, fracking rigs and mines? Or does that only happen in Scotland?
Its adverse visual impact on my development and the beautiful Aberdeen coastline will be disastrous and environmentally irresponsible. 
Or, more likely, I'm thinking. does it only matter where Trump has skin in the game?

And finally, speaking of having skin in the game, rumor has it that Trump himself would be a big beneficiary of his tax plan, which will cut the corporate tax rate from 35%  to 15%, even for billionaires like him who file their multinational corporate taxes under their personal returns. The fact that lots of data, such as this example, suggest that US corporations don't pay the 35% top rate but in fact pay something considerably less, with major corporations paying $0 year over year.

It's disingenuous to pretend that the rate on the books is the one that is paid; Trump knows it, Congress knows it, and so do most Americans. That said, I wonder if there's any plan to ensure that corporations, including Trump himself, actually pay that percentage? And if not, why bother making the change?

Is that enough wondering for one night? Well, let's do just one more, circling back on free speech.

Did you hear about Ilie Nastase and his (alleged) delightful comment about Serena Williams' baby, due in the fall?
Let's see what color it has. Chocolate with milk? 
Um, Berkeley, would you have Nastase speak on campus, I wonder?