Tuesday, June 30, 2015

America's Dark New World of Total Mistrust

Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it's been.
Grateful Dead: Truckin'

Grateful Dead: Truckin' [image]
Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been.

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?"

Hardly anyone would question that the United States has been on a long, tormented journey for some time. And now, after such a long strange trip, what a strange election this one has become. There's little to be gained from "waxing poetic" as we consider the state of the nation, but -- sooner or later -- we find ourselves inevitably abandoned with the conclusion that we Americans have officially become the "circus of the bizarre."

Many of the trappings of the old democracy remain in place -- at least carefully convincing images of them. There are voters, and there are elections. There is plenty of politics, and there are plenty of politicians. But, even in the close presence of all of this reassuringly stoic, insistent "same as it's always been," ghost-like stability, we see unsettling, intrusive glimpses heralding the wraith-like arrival of a "new order of things."

This post might, at this point, rush off to embrace any number of matters arising from such strange happenings, but, instead, we'll spend a little time looking over the really toxic "state of trust" which seems to have drifted over our nation like a dismal morning fog.

A Few Thoughts About Trust and Mistrust

Trust is an interesting human trait. The term and the concept supporting its meaning are passed around "fast and loose," usually with "implied meanings" which happen to be conveniently appropriate to support arguments being expressed about someone's thoughts or behavior. Still, the word should call to mind some sort of usable context when its use is more deliberate or, perhaps, even objective. Here, we can indulge in a short anecdote to illustrate both the strength and weakness of such hypotheses.

Person "A," the one preparing to "trust" person "B," is hosting a mental model of "B" which is comprised of all sorts of values, priorities, fears and so forth. Some of these foundation elements are the product of "A's" conclusions based on experiences with "B" in the past; some may be based on things which have been related to "A" by person "C" about person "B;" and yet some others may be founded on little more than person "A's" flimsiest hopes, dreams or fears about person "B.

Of course this last bunch of "flimsy hopes, dreams and fears" can, in an undisciplined mind, slowly congeal into a concrete-like state which can be described as "mistaken certainties." Once these little hobgoblins have managed to attain this "apparently logically solid" state, person "A" has, generally speaking, established the set and script for an endlessly repeating stage play establishing absolute, unquestioned "victim-hood."

Naturally, the final product which person "A" develops will have a great deal to do not only with precisely what sorts of "flimsy hopes, dreams and fears" person "A" brings to the party, himself, but also with the motivations and ambitions of this "third party" player, person "C," especially with respect to any particular appetites this person "C" might hold in hopes of being considered "quite trustworthy" by his listener, person "A."

After tediously acting through enough repetitions of these brazenly fabricated, utterly inauthentic, soul wrenching, maudlin, "lipstick drenched lamentations," person "A" is, finally, feeling completely justified in no longer, ever, trusting anyone ever again. 

At this point, person "A" has transformed himself into a "trust nihilist," that is, an irredeemable cynic. Further, although this "wall paper" of patented pattern skepticism may have originally been limited to a specific arena of human experience such as religion, politics or "the market," once this "nihilism" is firmly in place, person "A's" cynicism effortlessly spreads to everything...absolutely everything...including, tragically, even person "A," himself!

Humans have a long, successful history of cooperating on projects from building stockades to keep the wolves away from prehistoric flocks of sheep to creating each one of the forty million parts required to build a space shuttle. All this cooperation, boiled down to its bones, has been the manifestation of trust between the parties undertaking such projects.

Trust also comes in degrees and grades. Toward the end of WWII German troops made great efforts to surrender to western armies rather than to the Russians. After stripping the attractive fantasy of "foolish nobility" from these allied troops, we face the real possibility that very many of these "victors," left to their own conclusions about Germans in the day, would have been "quite untrustworthy" as captors, yet it was not the troops the surrendering Germans were "trusting," it was the command. The policy of the allied militaries was, in fact, at least more trustworthy than the corresponding policy of the Russian military command.

And even this example also paints the picture of the converse argument. Perhaps the Russian command was extremely trustworthy with respect to the treatment the surrendering Germans could expect. It was simply that what the Germans trusted the Soviets would do with them was, frankly, horrible.

Trust can be equally motivated by the prospect of realizing an advantage or the prospect of avoiding a disadvantage based on the cooperation of another. This means that the very essence of trust resides in the expectation that one thinks he knows what the other will do or think once that other one encounters a certain circumstance.

This principle is at the foundation of modern religionist logic as it is connected to the "mysterious" transactional behavior attributed to various dieties. While there is a suspicious paucity of details of such actual "transactions" between mortals and gods -- no action taken by a mortal is guaranteed to elicit a specific reaction on the god's part [i.e. the "transaction:" this for that], the believer is encouraged to "trust" his god blindly. Such a "trust" is carefully designed to reflect what might be more accurately considered a "confidence" that the nature of the god is, in fact, what is propounded in the tenets of the religion.

Consistently focusing on the "wickedness" or "deceitful nature" of "untrustworthy" mankind, religions, generally, promote mistrust of Earthly issue for the precise reason that it protects their franchise. Further, when mistrust and cynicism are running at their highest intensity here on Earth, the "religionist option" becomes more and more attractive to those lost in the depressing mire. They have been charged to "interpret" the success of all these efforts quite positively regardless of the generally less than persuasive, material results.

When we "trust," it is the result of our conclusion that we are transacting with a consistently predictable system. When we do not "trust," our appraisal of this system has left our conclusions about it unpredictable. The "reasons" which have led us to such conclusions come in a very wide variety. Those reasons have a certain quality to them that can allow them to sometimes become unchangeable.

When we can no longer "trust" anything or anybody, we have become hopeless nihilists.

While this nihilism may, at first glance, seem to describe a useless, terrible state for human experience, even this pitiable condition can be converted to a certain, dark utility. A handful of our fellow humans have "bet the bank" on exploiting precisely this opportunity.

Those would be the Owners of the Republican Party, the "puppet masters" promoting this mistrust in the hope of ultimately fulfilling their dream by eliminating the possibility of a large, powerful, voting majority committed to anything which might oppose them. Not unexpectedly, the particular mistrust about which they hold to have the very greatest promise is the mistrust of our own government. Of course there are issues meriting caution with such a large, powerful entity, but these oligarchs will settle for not one iota less than complete mistrust of every possible part.

Of course, having so crudely visited these hypotheses, this post must now return to politics.

America's Dark New World of Total Mistrust

Who Would Purposefully Foster Such Mistrust?
And Why?

Each time the "political season" rolls around, trust becomes the currency of the day.

How often we hear the almost robot-like complaint about the President: "I just don't trust him." Lately, the billionaires have rushed headlong into the financing the promotion of this same complaint about Mrs. Clinton. "She's simply not trustworthy. Her behavior is not transparent."

These common opinions are not coincidences.  Fomenting fear based on the trust issue is, apparently, one of "the last arrows in the quiver" for these frantic, overpaid think tankers. Their marching orders may well be to soil, bruise and tarnish all politicians who might possibly interfere with the "plans" of the oligarchs.

Naturally, in the think tanks these professional democracy haters would prefer to "plant their daggers" deep enough for a mortal blow into the backs of those who would dare frustrate the ambitions of their clients, but given the seriously adverse political environment where too many "trust problems" are now boiling up to visit their own plutocratic bosses, they may have concluded that quiet, relentless, mud throwing is their best strategic tactic -- at least for now.

The GOP's trailer park base has been humiliated more than enough times in their day to day lives to voluntarily enlist in the maneuver. The voters in this demographic were a "waiting resource" for those interested in promoting mistrust, and the think tankers have rushed to take advantage of this. From these voters they have carefully fabricated a horde of petulant, dismally suspicious, "ground troops" eager to volunteer their democratic enfranchisement to support the oligarchs' coup d'etat.

How Nation-Wide Mistrust Will Manifest in 2016
Mistrust, as a "silent voice" will take a seat at our debates.

Interestingly, both Parties have been "frightened" into proposing candidates who are not suffering the automatic mistrust now saturating the entire political field in the country. We see the wife of a popular President who is openly espousing many of the same ideas which made her husband successful previously. We see the brother and son of a dynastic family of cold, political creatures with a dismal record of war, economic disaster and acts of unspeakable degradation done in our name.

They're just not exciting
if they're not abusive. [image]
In terms of candidates what used to be considered a "bright new face" has become a nightmarish horror show stirring up ideas of reckless plunges into the unknown thanks to the astonishing level of mistrust awaiting any candidate who hasn't already been President or, at least, lost a few electoral attempts at it. The electorate has become so cynical and disgusted that individual "ballot casters" are rarely even bothering to ask themselves whether or not they trust the human attached to the name they've just selected.

These "road weary" types of candidates may claim that their political traction is the result of name recognition, but the suspicion is that their popularity is simply a result of their causing "less dread" than the candidacy of a complete stranger might. This new breed of GOP candidates isn't even making promises any longer. Instead, each one maps out additional "sacrifices" which must be endured to compensate for the "wickedness" done by those they blame.

The well financed propaganda flowing from the industrial media has never relented on its three favorite, hope crushing themes:

Both Parties are the same.
Just pick the lesser of two evils.
Election results cannot change the present course.

From our cynical viewpoint, we have been led to think that elections have become so ineffective that they no longer actually pose a threat to those dreaming of destroying the democracy for their own advantage, but this is a misconception. Literally billions have been channeled into the effort to establish a universal, domestic, reactionary media -- certainly FOX -- but also the other industrial forms of the Fourth Estate have sold everything for a "place at the table" when the oligarchs' take over scheme has been completed.

The Republicans, now fielding a bench of almost 20 candidates which is expanding every day, remind MeanMesa of the cook in an Italian restaurant throwing threads of spaghetti at the wall to see if one will stick. It's as if the line controls in a gigantic dog food factory are stuck on "full speed ahead." No one seems to notice that not a single one of all these candidates has any business being even close to the Oval Office.

None of these people have any discernible history of ever governing effectively. None of them are even promising to attempt such a frightening feat.

The Oligarchs Have Finally
 Frightened Even Themselves
The mistrust used to be for fun and profit.
Now it's become a terrifying mayhem.

The only thing the oligarchs really fear is elections -- voters. The democracy had to be fractured to the point that a majority of voters to rise up against them was no longer possible. This means that the electorate had to be fractured to the degree that a majority could never be mustered to even rise up with policies against their schemes for further looting.

Isn't it interesting that in a country with more than 300 million citizens, these are the faces appearing on the screen? Isn't there a single Republican out there somewhere who still thinks that a certain minimum degree of competence in governance might be a reasonable criteria?

"Arms" become ballots. [image]
Aristotle understood that an armed citizenry could spell real trouble for ambitious tyrants and oligarchs, but...only if that armed citizenry could act in concert -- only if that citizenry were not mortally divided by mistrust of each other. The 21st Century version of Aristotle's admonition is about voters, elections and ballots. As for the tyrants and oligarchs, they haven't "changed their feathers" much in 2,400 years.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Mexico - No Jobs, Just Hungry Children

Sometimes things just upset MeanMesa so much that they HAVE to be posted.

ALEC New Mexico corporate sponsors are already planning their wish list of what they intend to buy with all the "savings" -- i.e. the NM SNAP money Susanna is planning to steal for them from the state budget.

...grumble...grumble..."Oh darn. SOMEONE wrecked the economy a few years back, 
but all these poor people still expect to be able to eat."


Let them eat cake. Prosecutera Maxima
"...hmmm...nice ear rings..."
New Mexico Will Make It Even Harder
 To Get Food Stamps


With an unemployment rate well above the national average and more than one in four of its children on the brink of hunger, New Mexico is poised to make it harder to get food stamps.

Like most other states, New Mexico has waived federal work requirements tied to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) since about 2009. The work rules are designed to lapse when the unemployment is severe, since requiring people to find work or starve makes little sense when there’s no work to be had.

But since last fall, Gov. Susanna Martinez (R) has sought to reinstate the rules limiting able-bodied people to three months of SNAP benefits unless they work or attend job training classes at least 20 hours per week. Martinez’s initial attempt was blocked by a judge who ruled the state had failed to give the required public notice about the decision. The state’s Human Services Department issued a revamped proposal Monday that would make New Mexico’s work rules the most expansive in the country.

The standard work requirement applies to people age 18 to 50 who are healthy enough to work and have no children or other dependents to care for. Martinez’s administration wants to expand the rules to include 16- and 17-year-olds and adults as old as 60.

Parents with children older than 6 would also have to meet the 20-hours-per-week job training or work requirement or be booted from SNAP, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Over 21 percent of all New Mexicans are enrolled in food stamps, behind only Mississippi and the District of Columbia on the list of states that are most reliant on the program. The state had the fourth-highest rate of child food insecurity in the latest nationwide survey by the anti-hunger charity network Feeding America. Over 28 percent of the state’s kids live in households where they do not always get adequate nutrition throughout the year, compared to a national rate of about 21 percent.

Somewhere between 26,000 and 80,000 people who currently benefit from the suspension of work rules could potentially lose their food stamps if Martinez’s proposal goes into effect, according to the New Mexican.

Of course, if those people can get a job or 20 hours of weekly, qualified job training, they’ll continue to receive their food stamps. But the rules don’t wave a magic wand over the state’s economy or restore vitality to job training programs that have been cut dramatically over recent decades. And there’s reason to worry that Martinez is moving ahead before her state’s job market can support the change.

The unemployment rate in New Mexico has improved since 2009, to be sure. But it still stands at 6.2 percent, well above the 5.5 percent national rate. And in some parts of the state, the lack of economic opportunity is severe enough to qualify for a continued waiver of SNAP work rules under federal guidelines.

Four New Mexico counties were designated as “labor surplus areas” by the government for the 2015 fiscal year, meaning that there’s a severe disparity between how many people are looking for work and how many jobs there are to find. While just 8 percent of the state’s population of nearly 2.1 million live in those counties, that’s still over 170,000 people who will face the renewed work requirements despite facing very long odds of being able to find a job.

Martinez is following the example set by multiple other governors, including a pair of Democrats. Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Delaware have all dropped their waivers and reinstated the work requirements that are standard when the economy is healthy. Tens of thousands of people have lost access to the food stamps rolls thanks to those decisions. About a million Americans will lose their SNAP benefits over the coming 12 months as more states reinstate the rules despite having millions of people unemployed and hundreds of thousands more who are so discouraged by their job search experience that they’ve given up looking.

Got time to make it to the polls in 2016?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Montana Shows Us The Way

This entire post is directly quoted from Daily KOS. Enjoy.

WED JUL 31, 2013 AT 09:59 AM PDT

Montana Experiment Brings NHS-Style Health Care to USA; Saves State Millions, Patients Delighted

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has pledged his support for single-payer health care in the past, but his recent efforts to bring zero-cost sharing primary and preventive care to Montana government employees and retirees may be doing something that most progressives would only dream could happen in America: bringing NHS-style, socialized medicine to Montana.
This is a big deal and -- while currently limited to state employees and retirees -- could be laying the groundwork for America's most socially-just health care system. NPR has the details:
A year ago, Montana opened the nation's first clinic for free primary healthcare services to its state government employees. The Helena, Mont., clinic was pitched as a way to improve overall employee health, but the idea has faced its fair share of political opposition.
A year later, the state says the clinic is already saving money.
Pamela Weitz, a 61-year-old state library technician, was skeptical about the place at first.
"I thought it was just the goofiest idea, but you know, it's really good," she says. In the last year, she's been there for checkups, blood tests and flu shots. She doesn't have to go; she still has her normal health insurance provided by the state. But at the clinic, she has no co-pays, no deductibles. It's free.
That's the case for the Helena area's 11,000 state workers and their dependents. With an appointment, patients wait just a couple minutes to see a doctor. Visitation is more than 75 percent higher than initial estimates.
Yup, nobody is forced to visit this publicly-financed clinic run by a private operator. If they wish, they can take their big-profit, private health insurance and head to any doctor they want, but folks are recognizing that this, err... public option, provides better care. And, when patients do make this choice, both the state and patients save money.
The state contracts with a private company to run the facility and pays for everything — wages of the staff, total costs of all the visits. Those are all new expenses, and they all come from the budget for state employee healthcare.
Even so, division manager Russ Hill says it's actually costing the state $1,500,000 less for healthcare than before the clinic opened.
"Because there's no markup, our cost per visit is lower than in a private fee-for-service environment," Hill says.
Physicians are paid by the hour, not by the number of procedures they prescribe like many in the private sector. The state is able to buy supplies at lower prices.
Bottom line: a patient's visit to the employee health clinic costs the state about half what it would cost if that patient went to a private doctor. And because it's free to patients, hundreds of people have come in who had not seen a doctor for at least two years.
Take a second and let the words above sink in real deep. There you have exactly why the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Costa Rica, Cuba and other first-world -- and third-world -- countries are able to secure better health care outcomes than the United States with dramatically lower health care spending. Imagine what -- let's call it the Montana model -- could do for our national debt. And, you know, even more importantly, the health of our people and the wellbeing of our medical professionals.
Hill says the facility is catching a lot, including 600 people who have diabetes, 1,300 people with high cholesterol, 1,600 people with high blood pressure and 2,600 patients diagnosed as obese. Treating these conditions early could avoid heart attacks, amputations, or other expensive hospital visits down the line, saving the state more money.
Clinic operations director and physician's assistant Jimmie Barnwell says this model feels more rewarding to him.
"Having those barriers of time and money taken out of the way are a big part [of what gets] people to come into the clinic. But then, when they come into the clinic, they get a lot of face time with the nurses and the doctors," Barnwell says.
Again, common sense that's not too common in these United States -- with the exception of Montana -- at the moment. High-deductible garbage plans -- promoted by big wigs at Aetna and Cigna who want patients to have more 'skin in the game' -- lead patients to delay putting off that chest pain until it becomes a heart attack...and open-heart surgery. When doctors aren't dealing with private health insurer bureaucracy and any sort of medical billing, the entire resources of the practice go towards taking care of human beings. When doctors are salaried instead of operating with a fee-for-service model, they emphasize quality over quantity. This is how medicine works in the UK, Canada and many other countries where protecting the wealth of hospital and insurance company CEOs is not the primary goal of the health care system.
Even Republicans -- who, you know, are naturally predisposed to hate the idea of patients seeing doctors without cost-sharing -- have a tough time faulting the new clinics.
"For goodness sakes, of course the employees and the retirees like it, it's free," says Republican State Sen. Dave Lewis.
Now, Lewis is a retired state employee himself. He says, personally, he does like going there, too.
"They're wonderful people, they do a great job, but as a legislator, I wonder how in the heck we can pay for it very long," Lewis says.
Well, Mr. Republican, they're saving the state millions -- you just won't admit it, but at least you admit you love the socialized medicine.
What's most exciting about these clinics? More are on the way.
Montana recently opened a second state employee health clinic in Billings, the state's largest city. Others are in the works.
And best of all? Schweitzer went right around the backs of Republicans to set up these life- and money-saving clinics. That's bold, progressive leadership. Let's do our best to spread the news far and wide about how the "Montana model" is proving what much of the rest of the world already knows: the ideal primary health care system should be free at point of use.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Competing With San Diego's De$al Plant

Southern California Dreamin'
What a difference a few decades can make...

MeanMesa lived in San Diego before the economy there "gently" created the necessity for an evacuation. The "final straw" came when the one year lease was to be renewed on the little house which had served so humbly as Short Current Essays' Galactic Head Quarters was  suddenly priced out of reach. The old rent was $695. The new rent was $1190. There was more. Gasoline was dancing around the $4/gallon mark, and ENRON had just finished savaging the state's power generation -- not to mention brutally ending the career of the "fairly good" California Governor, Grey Davis.

It was pretty clear that the "EUREKA" State was shedding every resident living on less than six digits of annual income. This meant that it was definitely U-Haul time. Finally, after some packing and planning the long road trip to Albuquerque was made in the absolutely eerie silence of September 11, 2001. MeanMesa had watched the planes hit New York while finishing that last cup of morning "California coffee" before hitting the road.

However, this post is not about "sentimental journeys." Instead, it's all about water.

Back in 2001 southern California was already beginning to feel the "first bite" of the water problem, but then, things were still comfortably theoretical. In those days Galactic Head Quarters was situated in a fairly rough, low income, primarily minority section of the city called "City Heights." One of the "schemes" to solve the water problem was to recycle some of San Diego's treated sewage water into potable water. Naturally, the "success" of the plan would need to be tested by diverting some of this recycled water for actual use by some of the city's residents.

Since it was clearly too risky to pump this stuff into one of the high end gated communities ringing the city, the city water planners settled on "City Heights." It was hideous. Simply running a shower for sixty seconds had already made the bathroom smell like an out house before one had even gotten wet. Once that happened, things got even worse. The plan was ultimately abandoned.

Under the rather ambiguous leadership of the new weight lifting Governor, practically nothing was done about the problem for years. Water bills went up, but San Diego's city edict of "mandatory loveliness" was still very much in force. The golf courses were immaculate, and the lawns in the new, million dollar subdivisions were enjoying very generous doses of irrigation every morning and evening.

The conservative, corporate agricultural magnates in the Central Valley were getting even richer as their vast irrigated farms provided fresh produce for the country, and Sacramento always answered when those boys called.

No one realized it then, but the first signs of what NASA now calls the "MEGA DROUGHT" were already boiling up out farther west in the beautiful blue Pacific, and it was headed straight for the West Coast. MeanMesa has covered this part of the story in previous posts:

Well, the bumbling weight lifter is no longer the Governor in California having been replaced by the current, "painfully common sensical" Democrat, Jerry Brown, in the 2011 election. However, quite predictably, solving the state's now critical water problem has now become a rather complex "catch up" process.

In the "Infrastructure" post [above] MeanMesa proposes a plan to elevate available water resources in the Columbia River to provide the possibility of irrigation in the Central Valley. Of course this effort is not motivated by a deeply held concern for the plutocrats running the corporate agricultural empires there but, instead, by the produce prices MeanMesa is encountering in the near by, neighborhood whole foods grocery.

The plan laid out in that "Infrastructure" post is rather complicated, but, of course, imminently realistic. It is complicated by the necessity of boosting that river water high enough to reach the elevations found in the Central Valley and doing so at a cost justified by the losses we might anticipate without it -- at least, without doing something.

However, in this post we will address a slightly different challenge for California and the MEGA DROUGHT -- specifically the challenge of providing fresh water to San Diego. [LA and other coastal California cities may also be quite interested.]

Unlike the worried industrial farmers in the Central Valley, San Diego needs fresh water at sea level. This means that there are no mountains to climb, and that may well make things significantly easier. Very understandably, San Diego has turned to the desalination of Pacific Ocean water as a possible solution.

Have a look at some current reporting on this plan.

Nation's largest ocean desalination plant
 goes up near San Diego;
 Future of the California coast?
By Paul Rogers

 [Excerpted. Read the entire article - San Jose MERCURY NEWS]

The crews are building what boosters say represents California's best hope for a drought-proof water supply: the largest ocean desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The $1 billion project will provide 50 million gallons of drinking water a day for San Diego County when it opens in 2016.

Graphics from Mercury News article.

Desalination plants
 aren't a good solution for California drought
Michael Hiltzik
LA Times
April 24, 2015
[Excerpted. Read the entire article  here - LATIMES/Hiltzik]

The plant, the largest of its kind in the U.S., is designed to provide San Diego County with about 50 million desalinated gallons a day, about 7% of its water needs.

The San Diego County Water Authority has committed to purchasing the plant's entire output for 30 years — a deal that was crucial for Poseidon's financing — for about $2,100 to $2,300 per acre-foot, plus inflation. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or about a year's usage for one or two five-member families. The county agency, therefore, will be paying at least $110 million a year, whether it needs the plant's water or not. San Diego water bills are projected to rise by an average of $5 to $7 a month to cover the cost.

The county judged that it might pay about that much in the future for other imported water, which makes the commitment look like a long-term hedge against a continuing water crisis. But desalinated water is far more expensive than other existing sources. San Diego currently pays $923 per acre-foot for treated water from the Metropolitan Water District. The Pacific Institute reported in 2012 that San Diego could obtain recycled water for as little as $1,200 per acre-foot, and that the marginal cost of water obtained through conservation and efficiency measures was as little as $150.

That's what happened to Santa Barbara, which began building a $34-million desalination plant during the drought-stricken 1980s. By the time it was completed in 1992, the rains had returned; the facility went through a few weeks of pilot testing, then was mothballed and partially dismantled. The city is now contemplating restarting it at a cost of $40 million, plus $5 million a year in operating costs. That would place the cost of desalinated water at about $3,000 an acre-foot and drive up average monthly household water bills to $108 from $78 today.

Pay attention to the water costs and statistics mentioned in the articles:

San Diego  - current price - 1 acre foot = $923

San Diego - desalinated water - 1 acre foot = $2,100 - $2,300
San Diego - desalinated water's portion of total water needs = 7%
San Diego - desalination plant production = 50 Mn gallons/day
San Diego - construct one desalination plant = $1 Bn
[desalination production: 50 million gallons per day = 150 acre feet +/- per day]
San Diego: if 50 Mn gallons per day = 7%, 700 Mn gallons per day = 100%

Both the LA Times article's author [this is good reporting...] and the San Diego County Water Authority are assuming that the drought conditions experienced by the system currently will mitigate within a few years. 

Importantly, this is NOT what the NASA research is predicting.

The costs are high, but perhaps more troubling, the desalination plant program will be producing only 7% of the city's water requirements. The NASA prediction deals directly with the availability and access of both that 7% and the other 93% of San Diego's water needs in the near future. Further, considering the number of "little blue dots" appearing on the map [above], the cities and State governments of California are getting ready to really dump some serious cash into desalination plant construction.

We don't have an annual operation cost for the San Diego plant, but the smaller plant in Santa Barbara mentioned in the article is estimating $5 Mn per year.

Well, MeanMesa has little appetite for simply promoting hopeless doom and gloom, so there will have to be some sort of alternate solution proposed in this post.

Changing Channels on the "Big Picture"
Maybe $1 Bn desalination plants are not the answer.

While LA Times reporter, Mr. Hiltzik, was clearly sounding an alarm about the proposal to start allocating so much money to this type of solution, his article pretty much stopped there. Now, we may as well go on ahead and consider a possible alternative.

Let's call it:
"the tube."

The "tube" idea has been bandied about before -- notably at the discharge of the massive Kenai River in south central Alaska. The "dream" was to collect water up north and then transport it to California through giant tubes laid down along the ocean floor. For starters, this would have been a very, very long pipe. Next, when this plan was being "played with," California was still in pretty good shape with respect to water so it garnered very little serious traction.

Although it is still thousands of miles to Kenai from San Diego, some other important conditions have changed -- bringing the "tube" idea back "onto the table." 

MeanMesa focused on the Columbia River in the previous post, "Infrastructure," so we'll simply return to this same water source while describing this plan. There are a number of good sized rivers much closer to San Diego than even the Columbia, but it is a good "bench mark" because its flow statistics are so thoroughly studied and well documented.  

Let's start with a few ideas about water and tubes.

hydraulics of water flowing through a tube
Figure 1 [Graphics - MeanMesa]
The simple tube arrangement shown in the diagram [right - Figure 1] looks promising enough, but right away we encounter some problems. If the level of supply water in a river is the same as the top of the tube, it would have little inclination to flow through the tube instead of just flowing down the river as if the tube were not even there.

Further, a pump large enough to power a 30 ft. diameter stream of Columbia River water through a tube all the way to San Diego would be an immensely large pump depending on lots of moving parts and requiring an enormous amount of power -- it would probably be cheaper to simply go ahead and build the desalination plants.

Finally, when water passes through a long pipe, the pipe itself begins to create a "head loss" which makes the system require even more "pumping" to over come it. Different pipe materials produce this "head loss" at different intensities, but none of the "head loss" charts include data for the type of pipe material proposed here.

Capturing fresh water in Columbia River Estuary
Figure 2 [Graphics - MeanMesa]
The plan appears remarkably similar to the design proposed in the previous "Infrastructure" post, but there are some important differences. Instead of requiring a series of very large hydraulic ram pumps to be strung sequentially across the mountains between the Columbia River and the Central Valley, this plan calls for a simple pipe -- a "tube" -- to be laid along the ocean floor with one end in the Columbia River and the other end in San Diego Bay.

The "tube" would not be a steel pipe in the common sense at all. Instead, it would be manufactured from very light weight plastic film attached to a more durable style of an external plastic mesh jacket. It could be laid in much the same manner as cables are laid today. 

Think of a slightly modified design similar to the exhaust duct tube used when installing a clothes dryer -- except, of course, 30 feet in diameter.

Such a plastic "tube" could be rolled up as a flat form to make it easier to unreel it from a ship's deck. It would remain in this flattened shape until the fresh water from the river began to inflate it as it made its way through the tube.

As mentioned before, various pipe materials create "head loss" corresponding specifically to each material. This tube with a carrier pipe fabricated entirely from nice, "slick" plastic should create a "head loss" significantly lower than, for example, steel or copper pipe. This will be important as we consider such a long pipe run from Washington to California.
sub-ocean tube carrying fresh water to San Diego - details
Figure 3 [Graphics - MeanMesa]

At first one might think that a flimsy plastic tube might not be able to contain the water pressure of such a flow. However, nature helps out on this one. The exterior pressure of the sea water pressing on the outside of the tube will be almost exactly the same as the internal pressure being generated as the fresh water flows along through the inside.

Our tube will need to be fairly tough -- enough so to avoid being punctured or suffering serious abrasion from being moved around by ocean floor currents. However, protecting the pipe from this will be the job of the protective jacket. Think of the mesh fabric of a durable fish net permanently connected to the tube's outer surface.

During the process of unrolling the pipe, several small stabilizing collars can be attached to the tube at intervals as it is being laid. These would anchor the pipe by entangling stones or plants to prevent the ocean floor currents to whipping the tube strongly enough to rip it. Although the precise route of the tube is not particularly important, it will need to be anchored to the ocean floor well enough that rogue currents won't be able to whip it around and damage it. 

As the tube fills with fresh water from the river, it will assume an elliptical section [Figure 3] which should further stabilize it on the ocean floor.

[MeanMesa is assuming that the plastic materials required to manufacture the pipe and jacket are either available now or can be developed rather quickly if the market were to emerge. Like wise, the mechanism and process to lay it in the ocean should not be very dissimilar to that used for laying cable.]

How This Works

At this point we could delve deeply into the hydraulic equations with which we could precisely calculate what our tube was going to do after it was in place. Relax, we're in concept mode here. There are, undoubtedly, plenty of hydraulics engineers looking for work out along the West Coast who are absolutely just "itching" for a chance to actually build something. We can leave the number crunching and head scratching to these eager beavers. 

Across the country there's almost no building going on at all, now. Without a Congress our nation's tax dollars are accomplishing very little beyond quietly evaporating and reappearing in the pockets of the billionaires. We are producing very little besides more sky scrapers full of millionaire hedge fund managers. Aggravating things even more, hydrologists are practically worthless for the weapons export industries.

We could, for example, take one of our "modern" US trains to tour the Columbia's estuary in person -- if we had enough time. [The average speed of a "modern" US train is 68 mph.] Perhaps it's just better to stick to our CRTs and word process key boards -- lost in dream fantasies. There is something  classically romantic about imagining not dying when the climate finally croaks for good.

Still, in any event we should complete our alternative plan. Let's look at how our tube approach can function.  

Highway 101 crosses the Columbia estuary from Astoria on the southern bank to Megler on the northern side via a highway bridge. This section of the estuary is routinely dredged to provide depths required for both ocean and river traffic. This bridge is important because the Columbia River's discharge into the ocean at this point is calculated at 6,000 cubic feet per second. [USGS.gov/report/0433] The bridge is designed structurally to withstand a maximum flow rate of 9 miles per hour, although the average flow rate could be significantly lower.

[image Estuary Partnership]
Just as was the case with the very large hydraulic ram pump proposal ["Infrastructure"], fresh river water for San Diego can be captured from the Columbia River flow just before it enters into the brackish water in the estuary. The environmental impact of this water capture is minimal due to the fact that the fresh water in the river mixes with the salt water in the estuary only a few miles  farther down stream to the west.

When we consider a likely elevation for the inlet funnel to concentrate river flow [Figure 2- above], the higher above estuary sea level the better. This means that the funnel structure will benefit from being placed further and further inland in order to take advantage of "total dynamic head" increases derived from the higher elevation at the inlet.

Remember: the outlet in San Diego Bay will be at sea level or just below. The water flowing in via the pipe will still require the standard purification process in a city water plant. Columbia River water is "fresh" water because it is not salty, but it is not "potable" water. It must be pumped from such a reservoir for treatment before it becomes "drinking" water.

The Columbia's heavy flow and extreme elevation drop over a short distance, 2.16 feet per mile (40.9 cm/km), give it tremendous capacity for hydroelectricity generation. In comparison, the Mississippi drops less than 0.65 feet per mile (12.3 cm/km). The Columbia alone possesses one-third of the United States's hydroelectric potential.[WIKI - Columbia River]

Although the WIKI quotation lauds the River's hydroelectric potential due to its relatively high drainage grade, the same energy potential can be directed at creating water flow through the tube. Moving water has inertia. It is this inertial energy which is used to drive the large hydraulic ram pumps in "Infrastructure," and it is this same energy which, when flowing River water is captured by the concentrating funnel, will serve to provide the level of dynamic head necessary to move fresh water through the pipe.

Intuitively we should probably assume that the tube will fill gradually over a period of hours or days. Additionally, the first fresh water emerging from the tube will do so at a very low flow rate. However, as the flowing water in the tube gradually develops its own kinetic inertia, the flow's delivery rate in San Diego should increase and then stabilize at a standard flow rate.

The flow rate used in the design parameters for the Highway 101 bridge was 9 mph. We can assume that this flow rate was calculated as the maximum during periods of high flow [storm surges]. From this we are comfortable at estimating a more common flow rate of the River at around 6 mph. This suggests that the water passing through the concentrating funnel feeding River water into the stilling chamber and then into the San Diego bound pipe will be "attempting" to flow at this rate -- 6 mph.

6 mph/60 minutes per hour = 1/10 mile per minute
 = 530 feet per minute = 9 feet per second

Size of opening of the inlet gate of concentrating funnel = 
1,200 feet across X 15 feet high = 18,000 sf

Now, the structure will not be able to deliver to the pipe any quantity close to the theoretical amount of water suggested by these figures, so let's arbitrarily conclude that the actual amount of water which will actually be able to be "pressurized" [flow concentrated] will amount to only 10% of this theoretical maximum. This figure will establish a rough estimate at what quantity of flow might be introduced into the pipe.

funnel opening: 18,000 sf X River flow: 9 feet per second X 10% "efficiency" =
 16,200 cubic feet per second of water entering the tube at the estuary

Almost done!

Thanks to the [Bernoulli] head loss from such a long pipe we cannot reasonably expect this quantity and flow at the San Diego "end" of the system. Instead of being overly optimistic, lets estimate the the flow rate will have diminished significantly by the time a gallon of Columbia River water finally reaches San Diego. Let's set our estimated flow rate at 1/3 of the flow entering the pipe from the estuary funnel, or: 

16,200 cfs [inlet] X 1/3 = 5,400 cfs [discharge at San Diego]

Finally, it's time to compare the amount of fresh water being delivered in this manner to the amount of fresh water the proposed desalination plant could produce in 24 hrs:

desalination production: 50 Mn gallons per 24 hours
tube delivery: 5,400 cfs X 3600 seconds per hour X 24 hours = 19.9 Mn cf
 and, 7.48 gallons per cubic foot X 19.9 Mn cf = [roughly] 149 Mn gallons per 24 hours

The "tube's" annual operating and maintenance expense would, presumably, be quite a lot lower than the desalination plant's. Plus, recall that in Figure 2 [above] there were three additional hubs already installed in the discharge of the stilling chamber -- waiting for additional tubes to be installed if it turns out that San Diego likes the numbers on the first one.

Now, all we need is a Congress.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The "Imaginary Hillary" - Dangerous Waters for Democrats?

The "Imaginary Obama" of 2008

We Have Been Here Before
Set the "way back" machine for 2007.

Recalling the mind set of the Democrats as the 2008 election was approaching, we can remember the almost intoxicating level of hope and relief as the Obama campaign marched into that fateful November. Adding to the natural rush of optimism for the success of a popular candidate was the added ebullience arising from the relief created by finally dislodging his very decidedly dangerous, painful and incompetently brutish predecessor.

However, something almost equally dangerous unfolded as the election drew close and to even greater degree immediately following Obama's first landslide victory.

On the left a flurry of un-examined expectations emerged, even from Americans with enough political maturity, common sense and awareness to know better. Across the electorate there was a breath taking rush to re-image the new President into an almost imaginary character with veins flowing with the inebriating blood of every past notable from Charlemagne to Trotsky. This mass disconnection from reality, while somewhat understandable after what the country had endured for eight years before, grew troublesome in no time. 

For those such as MeanMesa enjoying a bit more perspective from having watched this process for decades it seemed that some unseen force had -- quite unofficially, subconsciously and rather clumsily -- ripped away huge blocks of vital memory from the minds of the population. This would include the memories of American history, high school civics and even the content of speeches made by Obama during the campaign.

Chicago on election night 2008 [image Reuters]
Those still sober enough to read through the first chapters of the reality facing the nation on Inauguration Day encountered in blistering detail the chilling facts of the "depth and breadth" of the damage which had been inflicted. 

The "reasonably pragmatic" among the citizens could find few comforting misconceptions about just how long it would take to recover from the economic, political and reputation "salvage yard" left in the wake of the Bush crime family's destruction and looting, but the "not particularly pragmatic" on the liberal side seemed to be tuning their lutes while packing lunch baskets for the Celebration of Dionysus.

Importantly, however, during this victory speech, President-elect Obama spelled out in very clear terms that he intended to be the President for all Americans -- including the ones who did not vote for him. It turns out that this pledge even included those determined to undermine his Presidency without any regard of what damage their actions would cause the country.

Although this became increasingly awkward once the bone crushing degree of the obsessive racial hatred held by the Confederates in Congress became clearer, Obama largely continued along this path. Those on the far left had "blood in the mouth" appetites for vengeance after what the autocracy had done, while those only a little closer to "mainstream" center left were simply frustrated -- if not tacitly horrified -- with the price being inflicted on a nation already gravely wounded by years of the Bush schemes by the cheap Congressional obstruction.

On the right the meat handed antics ordered by the Owners of the Republican Party were embarrassingly amateurish, but the obstruction slowly began to gain the kind of trailer park traction that only hundreds of millions of oligarch dollars could accomplish. "Things" had happened during the brief Democratic control of the Congress -- "things" which appeared to be separate from the ACA, and "things" which sorely bothered all the billionaires, not just the fat cats whose dynastic fortunes had been so generously fed from the $6 Tn per year "hog trough" of the corporate health insurance racket.

You know, "things" like Dodd-Frank, bank stress testing, Wall Street regulation and a few DOJ excursions into the rancid pit of billionaire favorites: industrial polluting, stock market Ponzi schemes, bribery of Congressmen and regulators and so on.

Like a long festering pimple, the oligarchs' built up cynicism finally over topped the palpable fears which had tormented them temporarily amid the wreckage after George II. "Palpable fears?" Yes, the brighter ones in the looting gangs were quite concerned with the possibility of, shall we say, guillotines, while the simpler minded plutocrats -- those with even less foresight -- were simply pissed at the prospect of no longer being thousands of times richer than almost everyone else. Forever.

A few of "braver ones" among these billionaire "trust fund babies" scratched together enough boldness for a dully predictable "counter attack." Easily over shadowing the million dollars per week dedicated to denigrating the ACA, tens of millions more suddenly "became available" to inundate the basically universally right wing air waves with the dramatic fabrication that Obama had pronounced himself "the Messiah." The anti-Christ crowd experienced an embarrassing, nation wide premature ejaculation.

Although admittedly quite abbreviated, this quick review of recent "electoral history" will probably serve to introduce the next section of this post -- what to expect when Hillary gets "gnawed" by months of the same hundred million dollar treatment.

Hillary Clinton
Expectations, reality and dreaming.

The 2016 American electorate is definitely fractured into "parts." While the suffocatingly hypnotic purification of the reactionary right wing "part" has produced a thoroughly uninteresting monolith decked out in "wall to wall," soporific shades of beige, the varieties of voters inhabiting the "Democratic side" is so large and chaotic as to demand a number of "parts" to represent it.

All this is hardly an entirely academic indulgence, either. The Clinton campaign will need to ration pieces of itself very carefully to appeal to so many of these "parts." Meanwhile, the billionaires will be seeking any possible "issue fracture" large enough to "split off" any segment of this surprisingly diverse electoral demographic. We have already witnessed the "first rounds" being fired over Mrs. Clinton's bow.

After all, the Democrats have just, once again, demonstrated that the Party is anything but monolithic with their well attended defeat of the President's TPP dreams. [MeanMesa suspects that there may be significantly more to this than has, at first, been publicly revealed. It may well be a painful yet premeditated, self-inflicted Obama "strategic sacrifice" to bolster the image of Hillary's independence as perceived in the eyes of some of these Democratic "parts."]

Let's give Hillary's 2016 candidacy the same treatment we gave Obama's 2008 campaign.

Hillary Clinton [image]
On the left this time around we find the various "components" of the Democratic electoral demographic much more crystallized than was the case in 2008. While Barack Obama enjoyed the intoxicating thrust of "not being George Bush II," Hillary is entering a race as the potential successor of a quite successful Democratic predecessor even though millions of forlorn "propaganda victims" have been programmed to disagree.

Statistically, it has been rather dicey for a Presidential candidate to replace a predecessor of the same Party in a bid to take the White House. Although notable exceptions to this rule have occurred with the candidacy of Vice Presidents, even that trend hasn't shown anything like the prospect of being an automatic "shoo in" recently. [Bush I vs. Bill Clinton]

So, let's think about what "parts" of the Democratic Party Hillary will have to persuade, and while we're at it, let's think about what might be required for that persuasion.

The Idealists:

If the idealists in the Democratic Party actually agreed on what "ideal" meant, these voters could become the stalwart "ground troops" capable of hoisting Hillary to success almost by themselves. Instead, the Democratic "dreamers" are pursuing a myriad of "dreams." Most are impatient, wishing that the nation could return to one of its previous, imaginary states of imaginary prosperity over night.

Unhappily, considering the drumming and damage the US has already absorbed from the preliminary stages of the oligarch "coup d'etat," an unsettling certainty about the country's future has emerged: it will be unlike anything in the past.

Hillary will have to propose a credible new structure with credible new goals, albeit somewhat similar to the content of some of those dreams. Typically, idealists are not particularly interested in the "nuts and bolts" involved in accomplishing anything other than what the oligarchs want, and most of them are still presuming that the democracy, the economy and the culture have just been recovering from a "temporary hard time" when, in fact, all three are in intensive care.

The Purists:

The "purists" are a subset of the "idealists" who can be identified as having even more fantastic "dreams" with each "dream" requiring even more imaginary assistance from an imaginary Congress elected by an imaginary electorate. Still, the purists can, actually, be brought into the fold if Hillary can promote the idea that the current situation, although tough, is "temporary."

Purists, generally, are not particularly interested in the "lessons of history." A campaign strategy which occasionally "breaks the surly bonds of Earth" with just enough atmospheric rhetoric to provide an effortless "talking point" for this crowd should do the trick.

The Pragmatists:

Thankfully, very many Democrats are quite reasonable, brown shoe, "feet on the ground" types. In many cases this sensibility is the product of experience. Those who have watched this national political pendulum swing from classism and oligarchy to populism before understand that the speed of the process can be agonizingly slow, building over time with incremental advances even though none of these will appear to be a sufficiently shocking part of the remedy at the time.

It's quite challenging to conduct a political campaign with such slow paced promises.

Hillary's task will be to present the possibility of these small advances in a disciplined, credible manner as part of a political campaign. Her narrative must build an alternate world view when compared to the twisted monstrosity which has been flooding the American airwaves for the decades since Reagan.

There are still Americans -- although not many Democrats -- who, for example, consider "trickle down economics" as quite successful. Additionally, although the vilification of Bill Clinton has recently subsided in favor of attacks on Obama, there remains the matter's unavoidable history -- by 2001 he had managed to stop the free fall of the US economy in no uncertain terms.

Although it may be tricky to graciously "absorb the merits of the husband," this ingredient must become a part of Hillary's campaign recipe. The pragmatists among the Democrats remember this quite fondly.

The Terrified:

Regardless of which one of the GOP candidates the billionaires ultimately decide to bank roll, the Republican brand's "plan" for Social Security and Medicare should be striking terror into every senior in the country without a six digit retirement "nest egg." Likewise, veterans and families of veterans still recovering from the deceptions of the Bush "oil wars" should be shuddering with the daily blather of the bellicose Congressional "nobodies."

An even larger constituent, we must remember, lost 40% of their accrued "lifetime wealth" in a mere two month period under the last Republican President.

Some among these "walking wounded" are merely Stoically disgruntled, but others -- plenty of others -- are understandably terrified that "more of the same" is hanging like the Sword of Damocles on the far side of the 2016 election. The tattered remnants of the American middle class are painfully aware that they cannot withstand another dose of this.

Hillary's campaign must reach out to embrace and reassure every one of these grumbling, yet potentially quite exercised political supporters.

On the right we already see plenty of evidence of the raw beginnings of the usual "character assassination" conducted by a "thousand think tanker cuts" and thirty six barrels of "PR psych-trigger" innuendos. Although the laughably crude "biblical run up" inevitably forming the foundational "burning questions of the day" littering the GOP primaries will be set aside when its usefulness evaporates, Hillary can learn a political lesson from the methods Republicans use to keep these crazies in the fold once the campaign narrative returns to straight ideology and oligarchic looting.

She will need to do something similar to maintain the inertia of the Democratic Party "fringes."

As for the remainder of the very expensively manufactured "Hillary ghosts" so energetically propagated by the right wing's reactionary and curiously obedient, corporate, industrial media holdings, MeanMesa suggests that very little campaign effort need be directed at disputing many of them. Very few voters beyond the lunatic edges of the reactionary media audiences still take them seriously after years of callous repetition.

Presumably the think tank "experts" who talked the frightened billionaires into funding these on-going attacks have long ago received their pink slips. This list of tragically expensive media "near misses" includes pretty much what one would expect, but these days the "stock" scandals are slowly rotting on the shelf at FOX. The lefties were never particularly interested in them, and most of the righties, stumbling around utterly stupefied in the "ideology trance," can't really understand that well why anyone or everyone isn't upset about them.. The "D.O.A." talking points would include:

Hillary's totally legal, totally normal emails while Secretary of State
The second -- or third -- year of House Benghazi hearings
Monica Lewinski
 [Yes, she's still a hot item for the GOP's self-righteous, "saint-like" base.]
and so on.

However, there really are a few items Hillary will have to "neutralize" after the billionaires spend millions promoting them. Further, she should expect that every one of these will not only be crudely "embellished" with every trigger word from "Anti-Christ" to "American Communist," but these presentations themselves will offer very coarsely simplified claims and arguments palatable to the information challenged GOP base voters.

If these are to be countered by her campaign, the vocabulary and rhetoric will need to be "adjusted" to match the political capabilities of this demographic. Beyond the "death of America" levels, there are a few issues which could still hurt Mrs. Clinton's Presidential bid.

1. She can't be trusted.

Although there are never any particulars offered with this criticism, it still seems to generate an unusual political "traction" among the co-dependents, who obsessively fear being duped or humiliated, and who are loath to "place any bank" on their own opinions. [Seriously affected co-dependents easily comprise 50%-60% of the American electorate -- across the board.] The right wing think tanks are piling it on like paint, and aside from its tantalizing effect on the burping and grumbling tea partiers, it also seems to be gaining a troubling degree of traction on some independents and even a few "fickle" Democrats.

[In a conversation with one of MeanMesa's acquaintances, this sentiment was actually expressed as: "I can't trust her because of what she let Bill get away with." We must "open the window widely" to encompass all the incongruous versions of this sort of "justification/explanation" floating around in the country. So must Mrs. Clinton.]

2. She doesn't like the idea of anyone getting rich.

This is a "special" version of the class war narrative we have become so painfully accustomed to in the "rhetoric stream" belching out of the "horribly victimized" right. Mrs. Clinton's character attesting narrative about her humble beginnings will probably only go so far. It is common knowledge that the Clintons have "prospered" since Bill was in office. Their current wealth is estimated at somewhere around $130 Mn. [Washington Post]

While such a figure might seem to separate Mrs. Clinton from more middle class Americans, it actually does so far less than what is encountered on the Republican side. Look at it this way:

There are roughly 310 million Americans. To match the Clinton's estimated wealth of $130 Mn, each one would need to "donate" around forty cents. However, making the same calculation with the estimated" $80 Bn wealth of the Koch brothers, major Owners of the Republican Party, the amount of that "donation" would grow to a little more than $2,500 per man, woman and child. 

Forty cents.

Twenty-five hundred dollars.

That's the difference Hillary must find a way to express to average Americans who might vote for her.

3. She's too close to Wall Street [and other plutocrats -- i.e.  the Saudis]

It isn't possible to govern the country without paying a significant attention to the needs of the billionaires.

We might like to think that there is a way, We might even cite some essentially "imaginary" fundamental incorporated into the founding fathers' overall plan. Neither would particularly matter. This is 2015. The oligarchs have already accomplished 60%-70% of the tasks necessary for their complete take over of the country's economy and government. Outside the US boundaries the situation is even worse.

It's no time to find oneself lost in airy reminiscence about better times in the past.

Hillary will have to leave the part about demonizing stock brokers and bankers to Elizabeth Warren. Once elected, she can certainly help, but during her campaign, she shouldn't intentionally overly  intimidate or infuriate these "masters of the world" types.

As President Hillary will do fine in her dealings with the billionaires. It will be important for her to clearly convey this to voters. The country's voters will greet "Bill Clinton common sense" much more warmly that the screeching diatribe of Joan d' Arc.

MeanMesa is absolutely certain that Hillary's campaign strategists have been eagerly waiting for this analysis so they could get everything started "on the right foot."