TODAY'S TOP TRUMP THOUGHTS

"Trump incites mob"

Who could ever have imagined such a headline on the front page of The New York Times? But there it is, in large type, in the January 7 edition of the legendary newspaper.

Across the country, and around the world, similar words are being used to describe, succinctly, the deplorable actions and statements from Donald Trump as Congress began the process of certifying the votes from the Electoral College. At a late-morning rally, he president implored his enraged army of thousands, gathered in Washington, to head for the Capitol building and forcefully pursue their fevered dream of overturning the election in Trump's favor.

Shortly after their arrival at the Capitol, the boldest of his supporters led a charge toward the Capitol itself, scampering up the steps, breaking windows to gain entry to the interior of the building. Once there, they roamed the halls at will, entered and vandalized some legislators' office, took selfies of themselves engaged in acts of desecration – while legislators were quickly herded out of the Chamber and into safe locations.

This is America? No, this is Trumpland, where the activities of January 6 are variously deplored as "insurrection" (by Mitt Romney, among others), and an attempted "coup." At last, significant numbers of Republican officials are denouncing their president for his monstrous behavior, Even though his term ends in less than two weeks, many are proposing a second impeachment, or invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office immediately.

Where have they been all this time? Anyone, apart from Trump acolytes, who's been paying attention since 2016, and especially since Election Day this past November, could easily have predicted that an assault on democracy, implicitly endorsed if not instigated by the president himself, was a virtual certainty somewhere along the timeline of his term in office.


Trump Goes Too Far in Push to Overturn Election

Of all the Trump outrages over the past four years, his January 2 phone talk with Georgia's secretary of state is easily the worst. To further promote his utterly baseless allegations of voter fraud, he demanded that a major state official commit a criminal act – which would itself constitute voter fraud. He even went so far as to threaten that official if he declined to follow the order of the "president," suggesting that refusal would amount to a "criminal response."

At this point, democracy is not under threat from Trump's actions and statements. No, democracy and the rule of law met their demise hours after the New Year. Worse yet, a shocking number of shamefully complicit Congresspersons (more than 140 Representatives and at least a dozen Senators) are backing this venomous behavior, which easily deserves to be be deemed seditious; indeed, treasonous. Their names need to go on record for historians of the future, as those scholars struggle to understand how such a travesty as Trump could ever have occurred in a country long viewed as a pinnacle of democracy.



Counter-protest in the Suburbs

Schaumburg, IL (Nov. 22) – Big-city protests and marches effectively capture the attention of activists, journalists, and the general public. Hundreds, perhaps thousands gather noisily and colorfully.

Most protests in the Chicago area during the Trump era have been downtown. Now and then, though, opposition groups call for action in a nearby suburb. Because Trump supporters had been gathering each Sunday at a specific intersection in Schaumburg, northwest of the city, the Refuse Fascism Refuse organization announced a counter-protest.... more


TRUMPINIONS

Donald Trump:
the Partial President

Unlike any predecessors, Mr. Trump does not even pretend to be president of all the people, but only his followers and loyal Republicans. Everyone else is deemed an enemy, subject to insults and verbal abuse.



Scariest Thought of All (pre-election):
No matter what happens on Election Day, half of Americans will have ignored Donald Trump's endless lies, total self-absorption, threats, insults, verbal assaults, bigotry, dangerous moves, and so much more, voting to keep him in the White House. How is this possible? How can even one person cast a vote for a monster who is gleefully attacking America's values and principles?



Thinking About the Unthinkable (pre-election)
As the 2020 election draws to a close, voters for both candidates - but especially for Joe Biden - have been expressing fear for the future. Just as the Trump presidency has been utterly unprecedented, the prospect of a second term strikes dread into Democrats and quite a few Republicans who see their party disappearing. Some of us - perhaps a lot of us - are doubtless pondering some possibilities, some of which would have seemed ludicrous a few months back:

• Leave the country (not as easy as many Americans think).
• Intensify peaceful protests.
• Turn our attention to the states.
• Tune out: striving to ignore the worsening political scene.
• Weigh the merits and drawbacks of splitting the country into red and blue nations: a drastic and difficult action, obviously, but possibly the only real solution.

If the latter still sounds too far-fetched, forming state coalitions could be a workable alternative. States with similar leanings might band together for their mutual benefit on such issues as trade, health care, abortion - and especially, the future of America.. A Pacific States of America coalition, for instance, might include California, Oregon, Washington - and possibly, Hawaii. In the same vein, groupings of several red states in the center of the couontry could appeal to anti-liberal conservatives.

... and whatever else might come to mind in the weeks and months ahead.

Meanwhile, we can simply declare that Donald Trump is not our president. Which isn't saying much, because he never was. As his utterances, tweets, and actions have made perfectly clear for nearly four years, he is emphatically not the president of Democrats and progressives.

In case of a Trump victory, we'll be examining details about each prospective response, and adding to the list.



Rush to Supreme Court
Despite her impressive qualifications, Amy Coney Barrett should be ashamed of, not buoyed by, her forced-through confirmation to the Supreme Court, derived through the unconscionable hypocrisy of Donald Trump and his coterie of Republican Senators. She and her enablers should never be permitted to forget that her elevation to the Court barely qualifies as the act of a majority, achieved solely by votes from her own party – hardly a source of pride.



Attn: Working-Class
Trump Voters

Wake Up! He doesn't care any more about you than about Democrats, progressives, liberals, or the media. He cares only about himself and re-election.





Mary Trump (Ph.D) chronicles her uncle's early years



Click Here for Book Review




White House Woes

The Trump Presidency In News Briefs
(2017-2018)

Now available in PDF form



During the first two years of the Trump presidency, we compiled news items outlining the outrages committed by the Trump administration against American laws, values, and principles. Our chronicle began with Inauguration Day in 2017, running to the end of 2018.

A PDF containing all those items, led by an Introduction, is available now.

Click here to download Trumpnews PDF

You may instead send an e-mail request to jf@tirekick.com.


A PDF version of "Countdown to Trumpland," chronicling the three-week period prior to Inauguration, also is available.

Click here to download Countdown PDF


Reports about protest events and essays on various aspects of the Trump presidency, produced in the early months of 2017, soon after Inauguration, may be seen at White House Woes.



GRETA'S CORNER

Since 2019, teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been speaking out forcefully about the lack of action on climate change, across the globe.

Ms. Thunberg has spoken at such events as the UN Climate Action Summit and the World Economic Forum in Davos, berating world leaders for doing "basically nothing" to reduce carbon emissions. Starting with individual protest in Sweden, she quickly became the fearless face and voice of demands for real action on the climate crisis.


On November 12, The New York Times reviewed a new documenary film about Greta Thunberg and her activities since 2018. Titled "I Am Greta," the 97-minute film, directed by Nathan Grossman, is available through the Hulu streaming service. Grossman spent more than two years shooting the movie "nearly single-handedly," according to the Times, starting with Greta's weekly "school strike" in front of Sweden's Parliament building, at age 15.

Click here for additional details on Greta's activities.

Updates on Greta's activities will be added as information becomes available.





"No Human Being Is Illegal"
Sign carried by protester marching in support of "Dreamers" on January 19, 2018



VANTAGE POINTS

News/Opinion

Essays and reports on various subjects will be presented in this space.



Toil & Trouble

Prior to Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017, we developed Countdown to Trumpland, detailing the Trump phenomenon and its potential impact on American life. For the next two years, we provided news and commentary on the Trump presidency, in a section called White House Woes. His candidacy and election led to crucial urgency among progressives and others who feared - and soon faced - a barrage of disastrous decisions and malicious tweets.

Meanwhile, Tirekicking Today began this section on work, labor, and consumer concerns. Toil & Trouble builds upon the uncommon views in Work Hurts, one of our Books in Progress. In addition to notable news items, this section features critical essays and editorials.



"No man is good enough to be another man's master."
George Bernard Shaw,
in Major Barbara


"I don't like to work. It tires me out."
Actor James Garner, portraying the reluctant lawman in Support Your Local Sherrif.



"Only suckers work."
Actor John Derek, portraying criminally-inclined Nick Romano in film version of the Willard Motley novel Knock On Any Door (1949)


Work/Labor News Headlines


January 1, 2021: Twenty states raise their minimum wage on January 1. So do more than 30 cities, to as high as $15 per hour; but many increases will be phased-ini over a period of years. (The New York Times)

December 20: U.S. Senate and House finally agree on $900 billion Covid relief package, including $600 checks sent to most Americans and $300 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. Trump threatens veto, demanding amendments to the bill, insisting on $2,000 checks and adding some unrelated elements. Critics charge that the $600 figure falls far short of what is needed to deal with rampant hunger and eviction. In addition, the most needy people might not get anything. Trump finally signs the bill on December 27.

September 30: More than 800,000 workers apply for unemployment compensation in past week, bringing total number near 26 million.

September 30: Reacting to great decline in flying, airlines expect to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs.

August 7: More than 30 million Americans are unemployed, as Congress gives up on bipartisan support for reinstating supplemental unemployment compensation. Millions of families face financial debacle, including the prospect of eviction and consequent growth in homelessness.

July 30: Second-quarter report reveals that U.S. economy shrunk by an amount far greater than in any three-month period on record. No previous quarter has dipped by more than 2.6 percent.

July 27: Enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week is about to end, as Congress fails to renew the program, despite dire financial state of millions of jobless families.

July 13: During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 5.4 million Americans have lost their health insurance, according to a Families U.S.A. study, reported in The New York Times. Five states were responsible for 46 percent of the coverage losses resulting from the pandemic.

June 8: National Bureau of Economic Research announces that the U.S. has been in recession since February, following the longest economic expansion in the nation's history. (CNN)


News section will be updated shortly.
Additional Labor news items, especially related to low-wage, contract, and temporary work, will be posted periodically. Please check again.




"I work all night, I work all day,
to pay the bills I have to pay.
Ain't it sad.
And still there never seems to be
a single penny left for me.
That's too bad....
In the rich man's world"
Song lyric, ABBA, "Money, Money, Money"



Labor-related Essays:

New Ways To Look at Work

Overview: Imaginative Approaches Required ...

Reject! For some applicants, job search is futile exercise

Solidarity Forever?

Prioritize! Living with Less and Liking It

Own Nothing, Owe Nothing

Let's break the chain of consumer debt

Essays below, initially written in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. are in the process of updating.

Needed Now: Jobs, Not Careers
Surprise! Some of us like to pay taxes
Quit calling us consumers!


New essays on labor, work, money, and related topics will be added during 2020.



Work/Labor in Print

In January 2018, Amazon announced that 20 cities were on the "short list" of possible sites for the company's second headquarters. Each city had offered massive incentives in its quest to attract Amazon, which promised to make some 50,000 jobs available in the winning locale.

Before a final decision was made, residents of those cities might have benefited from reading a vivid description of the working life in an Amazon warehouse, in one chapter of a recent book. Nomadland, by Jessica Bruder, chronicles lives of "houseless" Americans, many of them elderly, who live in vans and RVs, working at seasonal and short-term jobs (including Amazon warehouses) to survive.

On the Clock, another recent book dealing with low-wage toil, paints an even more troubling picture of worklife within an Amazon warehouse. Laid-off reporter Emily Guendelsberger spent an exhausting, painful month on the job at a massive warehouse in Kentucky. Afterward, she traveled to North Carolina for a job at a call center. Not only does Ms. Guendelsberger report in fascinating detail about her experiences and her fellow employees, she provides an excellent chronicle of aspects of labor history that led to today's low-wage worklives. Her observations of the contributions of Henry Ford and of Frederick Taylor, a pioneer in methods of industrial efficiency. are especially illuminating.

On November 29, 2019, the PBS NewsHour aired an investigation of safety records at Amazon warehouses. At a facility near Indianapolis, one worker had died on the job, crushed by a forklift. The investigation cites allegations of inadequate safety training, coupled with a constant push for speed.


Work On Film

10 Vintage Movies About Work and Labor that should not be missed, including:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I'm All Right, Jack (1957)
Wages of Fear (1953)
Office Space (1999)
The Misfits (1961)
Death of a Salesman (1951)
Bachelor Party (1953)
They Drive By Night (1940)
No Down Payment (1957)

Plus Greed (2019), a scathing satirical depiction of extreme wealth and poverty.

Please Click Here for details on each film.

Turning to TV...
Revival of the Rosanne TV sitcom, renamed The Connors following the forced departure of the principal actress, Rosanne Barr, serves as a reminder that TV shows about working-class families can demonstrate excellence along with witty humor. Running from 1988 to 1997, the original series was adeptly written and expertly performed, realistically depicting the troubles and joys of an economically-challenged family. Surprisingly, the current iteration retains most of the flavor and laughter of the original and retains five original cast members, including John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf – declared the finest stage actress of her generation by John Malkovich.



“You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.”
Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johansson, in episode 4 of the HBO series Girls, created and written by Lena Dunham



"He that has to obey the will of another is a slave."
Samuel Fielden (1886)



“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Typically attributed to Winston Churchill, but actual source is uncertain.



The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin



The Dunning-Kruger effect: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
Charles Darwin


"I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002)
Paleontologist, The Panda's Thumb


"Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn't know anyone who knows of a vacancy."

B. Traven - Author, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre


UPDATED: January 18, 2021

House of Representatives issues single article of impeachment, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection." (Jan. 15)

Ten Republicans in House join Democrats in voting for impeachment. Senate trial is unlikely to begin until after Joe Biden's inauguration.


After 23 years covering the auto industry, Tirekicking Today shifted gears to focus on social and political issues - led by the unprecedented ramifications of the Trump presidency.

NEW! Used Car section is being developed.


American death toll from the Covid-19 virus nears 400,000 on January 17. Total number of cases reaches 24 million. (U.S. population is estimated at more than 331 million.)


Top Pandemic and Trump/Political News

January 16: CNN poll finds that Trump's approval rating has reached record low, but other polls suggest it's changed little since the January 6 riot in the Capitol.

January 15: Five days before the end of his term, Trump is Impeached by House of Representatives. Ten Republicans join the full complement of Democrats to approve a single article of impeachment against Donald J. Trump, charged with "incitement of insurrection."

January 10: House speaker Nancy Pelosi to seek resolution asking vice-president Pence to invoke 25th Amendment, in quest to remove Trump from office before his term ends. In latest ABC News/Ipsos poll, 56 percent of Americans say they want Trump removed, versus 43 percent who do not. Average of polls in recent days finds that half of respondents wants the president removed by impeaehment, 25th Amendment, or resignation; 43 percent oppose.

January 10: New video of rampage at Capitol on January 6 shows rioters changing "Hang Mike Pence." Several are seen striking a fallen police officer with pole-like implements -- one of which holds an American flag.

January 9: House of Representatives prepared one article of impeachment, on the grounds of "incitement of insurrection." At least 200 members are expected to support the move. A day later, Republian Senator Pat Toomey joins Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump's removal.

January 8: Twitter cuts off Trump's account permanently, based upon "the risk of further incitement of violence." (The New York Times January 8: House Speaker Pelosi issues report on speaking to Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about "possible precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike." Later in day, Pelosi threatens impeachment if the president fails to resign "immediately."

January 8: CNN reports that Trump is "headed for impeachment. again." Vice-president Pence reportedly declined to consider 25th Amendment path. Shortly afterward, sources are reporting that articles of impeachment could be introduced as early as Monday, January 11.

January 7: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warns that if the vice-president does not pursue 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, Democrats will move toward impeachment.

January 7: Various Trump administration officials are resigning, including Secretaries of Transportation and Education.

January 7: During the day following Trump-incited mob assault on U.S. Capitol, rapidly-growing number of officials and others, including Republicans, call for a second impeachment of the current president, or for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. The Wall Street Journal calls for Trump to resign. His term officially ends on Januazry 20, when Joe Biden becomes the president. Trump is reportedly looking into pardoning himself as well as family members, along with Rudy Giuliani, before leaving the White House.

January 6: In wake of chaos, Twitter temporarily locks Trump's account because of incendiary tweets. Facebook and Instagram take similar actions.extending to the end of his term. Trump issues minute-long video calling on rioters to disperse, but his remarks keep repeating baseless claims that election was stolen from him. "We love you," Trump assures the culprits. "You're very special."
Former NJ governor Chris Christie charges that Trump's statement amounted to "one step forward and two steps back." Numerous critics, including lawmakers, refer to events at Capitol an "insurrection" and and an attempted "coup."

January 6: Pro-Trump mob invades U.S. Capitol, smashing windows, roaming the halls -- even occupying and vandalizing some legislators' offices. Lawmakers are evacuated from Capitol by officers with guns drawn, as protest turns violent. One woman is shot and killed during the chaos. Two days later, House is preparing to introduce articles of impeachment

January 6: Hours after Georgia runoff election, Raphael Warnock is declared the victor, giving Democrats 49 seats in U.S. Senate. Race between Jon Ossoff (D) and David Perdue (R), which could shift control of the Senate, is close to dead-even; but Ossoff is deemed the winner later in the morning, giving the Senate a 50-50 split.

January 5: In a tweet, Eric Trump vows to work to defeat every Congressional Republican who fails to support the preident's unfounded fight to overturn the presidential election. (CNN)

January 3: The Washington Post publishes excerpts from taped phone conversation between Trump and Georgia's secretary of state, in which the president demands that the state official "find" enough (11,780) Trump votes to overturn the election, "because we won." During the hour-long call, Trump issues vague threat about a "criminal offense."

January 1: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit filed against Mike Pence, which sought to grant the vice-president authority to interfere with election results. (CNN)

December 31: Congress overrides Trump veto of defense bill – first time in his administration.

December 31: Sen. Mitt Romney calls Trump administration's vaccine distribution plan "unrealistic."

December 31: According to CNN, at least 140 U.S. Representatives intend to vote against accepting the Electoral College vote count. A total of 196 Republicans serve as Representatives in the current (116th) Congress; the 117th Congress will replace it in January.

December 30: Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) announces intent to object to Electoral College vote count on January 6 – a move that will delay final certification of Joe Biden as president-elect. CNN notes that additional Republican Senators are expected to concur.

December 28: Congress overrides Trump's veto of defense bill. More than 100 Republican in House of Representatives vote against the president.

December 28: Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) sues Mike Pence in attempt to strengthen the vice-president's role in announcing result of Electoral College vote. Rather than the usual ceremonial role, the lawsuit would give the VP greater power, even to the point of deciding the election in Trump's favor. (CNN)

December 27: Trump signs Covid relief bill a day after official deadline, avoiding potential veto override by Congress..

December 26: Supplemental unemployment benefits end at midnight, as Trump refuses to sign Covid relief bill, insisting on changes.

December 23: Trump vetoes National Defense Authhorization Act, causing Congress to plan override of his decision. Though not specifically threatening a veto, the president also continues to insist on changes to the Covid relief bill passed by Congress. Critics, including some Republicans, warn of harsh consequences for million of Americans suffering economic hardship due to virus.

December 22: After months of wranglng within Congress to create and pass a Covid "stimulus" bill, Trump demands an amendment before agreeing to sign it into law. Instead of $600 direct payments to most Americans, he wants to raise the amount to $2,000.

December 22: Trump issues first of what CNN calls an expected "flurry" of pardons, including two men who pleaded guilty in connection with the Mueller investigation that led to the president's impeachment. The early list includes two former Congressmen and four Blackwater guards.

December 21: Outgoing president "threatens 30-day reign of destruction" for his final month in office, accordingi to CNN.

December 20: Centers for Diseae Control (CDC) issues guidelines on prioritizing Covid vaccinations, starting with frontline workers (medical, grocery, postal) and the elderly (75-plus). Meanwhile, several coutries cancel flights from Britain due to emergency there of swifter-spreading variant of the virus.

December 20: After weeks of discussion, Senate and House reach agreement on $900 billion Covid relief package, including $600 checks sent to individuals and $300 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. Critics charge that the amount falls far short of what is needed to deal with rampant hunger and evictions across the country.

December 19: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo names Russia as likeliest culprit in massive cyberattack against U.S. government agencies and corporations. Trump downplays the attack, while suggesting that China may be responsible.

December 18: Trump aides meeting in White House to discuss overturning the election reportedly wind up in an Oval Office "shouting match" over methods. Michael Flynn, recently pardoned by Trump, promotes invoking martial law to keep the president in power, perhaps by having the military rerun the voting in "battleground" states. Trump wishes to appoint ardent conspiracty theorist Sidney Powell to investigate the election.

December 14: All electors vote in accord with vote totals in their respective states, making Joseph R. Biden Jr. the official president-elect.

December 14: First vaccinations for Covid-19 are given to the most vulnerable Americans, led by health care workers. Vaccination of everyone who wants it is not expected until March or April, at the earliest. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 15 percent of Americans do not intend to be vaccinated. In earlier polls, far more people said they would or might decline.

December 12: CDC advisers vote to recommend use of Pfizer vaccine. FDA commissioner, Dr. Stevem Hahn, soon approves emergency use of vaccine, permitting nationwide distribution to begin.

December 11: Supreme Court declines to hear suit brought by Texas against four states that Joe Biden had won in the presidential election, stating that Texas lacked standing to present such a case against election rules in other states. Called the most important case in American history by Trump, the lawsuit was backed by attorneys general in 17 Repubican-led states, as well as by a majority of Repubicans in House of Representatives.

December 11: TIME Magazine names its Person(s) of the Year: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

December 11: CNN reports that Trump's chief of staff orders head of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve vaccine today, or resign.

December 8: Arizona Republican party (@AZGOP) sends two tweets asking Trump supporters if they are prepared to die as part of the challenge to the presidential election result. (CNN)

December 8: Health board in Boise, Idaho adjourns meeting in reponse to protesters outside the building and at homes of board members. (CNN)

December 7: The New York Times reports that in late summer, Prizer offered additional Covid vaccine doses to the U.S. The Trump administration declined. As a result, inoculating most Americans may be delayed until summer 2021.

December 7: Trump declares that the presidential election was "like from a third world nation," as he continues his battle to have the result overturned in his favor. Despite a string of losses in court, he said "I think the case has been made." After informing his weekend rally audience that "You know, we won Georgia," he advised reporters that "in politics, I won two.... Two for two."

December 5: Trump reportedly pressured Republican governor of Georgia, in phone call, to overturn that states' election results, giving the president the victory he seeks. Speaking to supporters in Georgia, Trump continues his ongoing, baseless rant claiming massive fraud. Despite vital runoff in January for two Republican Senators, which could shift the power balance in the Senate, some backers of the president are urging Republicans not to vote because of the (alleged) rampant fraud.

December 1: Attorney General William Barr states that Department of Justice has "to date" found no evidence of widespread election fraud that could change the result. Results from all six close-vote states that Trump has accused of massive fraud have now been certified.

Please Click Here for News Briefs from mid-March through November 2020


Quick Look: Early Days of Covid-19 in the U.S.

Late in 2019, when the coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China, few could have imagined the impact it would soon have on the rest of the world, including the U.S. As the number of cases - and deaths - grew in China and the virus reached into Europe, many Americans - including Donald Trump - dismissed or ignored the potential danger to humanity, worldwide. Not until the virus (now called Covid-19) began to sicken Americans, sometimes resulting in death, did the tendency toward denial begin to evaporate.

Finally, in mid-March, the president began to react in accord with the magnitude of the crisis. By then, New York City was going into lockdown, elderly residents of a Seattle nursing home were dying, and some cities began to take drastic action to keep the virus from spreading. The governor of Illinois, for one, ordered that all bars and restaurants close for the duration, except for takeout orders. Americans were emphatically warned to maintain "social distance," staying at least six feet away from all other people. Elderly persons, and those with health issues (especially respiratory conditions) were strongly advised to stay home. Lacking clear directives from the federal government, state and local officials initiated their own orders or admonitions to the public. Meanwhile, hospitals were running out of protective face masks, ventilators, and available beds.

Writing in The New York Times on March 18, Jennifer Finney Boylan may have painted the most pointed picture of the coronavirus pandemic: "The world we lived in has vanished – slowly, and then suddenly. Even if we manage to defeat the coronavirus, that world will not return."



Two years of Trump News Briefs (January 2017 to December 2018) are available as a PDF file. Please see description of White House Woes at right.


2020 Book Publication Schedule

TK Press (a division of Tirekicking Today)

Tirekicking Today editor James M. Flammang, the author of more than thirty books (including six for children), has been working for some time on additional titles. Some are nearing the final stages of pre-production. Each views its subject from an oblique and often lighthearted – yet serious – perspective.

Note: This schedule is still under contruction. Preliminary outlines and/or unedited excerpts are available, accessed by clicking on each link. Additional excerpts will be available soon.

Inquiries from book publishers or agents are welcome. Please send e-mail to JF@tirekick.com.

Fraidy Cat

Surviving a lifetime of unwarranted fear and fright

A personal look backward, focusing on lessons learned about living with debilitating fear and anxiety, including ways to cope and survive. Unlike some self-help books on the subject, Fraidy Cat isn't just about fear in general, recounted and analyzed by an impartial observer. No, this is personal, debilitating, overpowering fear – the sort that constricted and devastated a decades-long chunk of the author's own life, and continues to do so, if to a less ferocious degree. This personal memoir covers more than half of a lifetime, starting in adolescence.
Fraidy Cat: Contents ... Outline ... Excerpts: Chapter 1 (Childhood) ... Chapter 3 (Sex) ... Chapter 5 (Addiction)

Untied Knots

Fiction by Flammang

Two groups of short stories, each with a tangy twist, make up Untied Knots. Those in "On the Go" are travel-based, taking place largely in Mexico. Much of the inspiration stems from real-life journeys and random residence within that country, undertaken as far back as the mid-1970s.

"Here At Home" tales focus on folks whose escapades are more localized. Though fictitional, most are based at least in part upon real people and places. The collection also includes several early stories, previously unpublished, from the author's archive.
Untied Knots: Contents ... Introduction ... Excerpts: Night Train ... Scandal ... Bad Sports ... Desk Duty ... Ready? Go!

Absurdities

Logical Lapses in everyday life and thought

Comprehensive collection of stinging essays gazes with disbelief at dozens of aspects of modern life. Chapters are arranged in sections, including Work, Money, Identity, Communication, Technology, Consumption, Politics and Law, Pastimes, Sex, and Transportation. Work on this book began well before the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump. Therefore, the final chapters will focus on his bizarre, unprecedented presidency.
Absurdities:Contents ... Overview .. Chapter Outline ... Excerpt from Section III - Work (Our Biggest Myth)

Work Hurts

Reflections on a wasted life

Questions the conventional wisdom on work and careers. For untold millions, including many with "good" jobs, each day's toil delivers no joy and little reward. In addition to scrutinizing workplace issues in the past, Work Hurts looks at the growing "gig" and "temp" economy, and its impact on less-than-happy toilers.
Work Hurts:Contents ... Chapter Outline ... Chapter 1 (Without a Paddle)

Hotel Life

Living small in an age of large

Assesses the satisfactions of simpler living and minimal consumption, while chronicling the joys (and drawbacks) of residing in low-end accommodations. Hotel Life considers such relevant topics as the guaranteed income, shrinkage and change in the labor movement, older suburbanites moving back into the city (or pondering the RV life), and the recent small-house movement.
Hotel Life:Chapter Outline ... Overview ... Contents

Steering Toward Oblivion

A caustic look at the history and future of the Car Culture

A caustically critical – but frequently humorous – observation of the car culture and auto business, including the automotive media. Examines automotive history as well as today's (and tomorrow's) cars, emphasizing their impact on daily life, the transportation network, the economy, popular culture, and the environment. Author James Flammang has covered the auto business as a journalist and historian since the 1980s.
...
Steering:Chapter Outline ... Overview ... Excerpts: Chapter 1 (Media) ... Chapter 13 (Motoring Manners)

For further information, please contact us at JF@tirekick.com.


Books by Flammang ... already on sale

TK Press, the book-publishing division of Tirekicking Today, has issued three titles since 2014. Each was written by James M. Flammang, author of more than two dozen previous books. Click Here for a list of his books and other publications.

Incompetent: Coming up short in a world of achievement

Whether it's sports, business, personal relationships, the arts, or any other area of life, some of us score a flat zero in the skills and talents department. Blending serious concerns with a humorous tone, each chapter covers a specific area of incompetence with which the author, amazingly, is all too personally familiar.

Incompetent is available at: Amazon ... and Barnes and Noble
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-2-3 ($10.50)


Mr. Maurice Knows It All ... and tells you so

In 78 concise chapters, the debonair yet down-to-earth stuffed pig known as Mr. Maurice–who just happens to know everything–unleashes a torrent of acerbic, humorous, delightfully wise words on subjects ranging work to movies, money to citizenship, from status to guilt. An emigrant from Britain, with obviously French heritage, Mr. M. manages to combine strictly contemporary attitudes and piercing opinions with a gallantry and sophistication reminiscent of the era of Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.

Mr. Maurice ... is available at: Barnes & Noble ... and Amazon.
ISBN (print): 978-0-9911263-3-0 ($8.50)

Both titles may be purchased directly from TK Press. PDF review copies are available FREE. Just send e-mail to jf@tirekick.com. Please ask about printed copies, signed by the author.
Excerpts from Incompetent and Mr. Maurice ... may be seen at Bublish.com.



• Articles and essays related to current affairs, including relevant automotive subjects, will appear periodically.


• Editor James M. Flammang has contributed to vehicle reviews at NewCarTestDrive.com.



Tirekicking Today editor James M. Flammang, a veteran independent auto journalist, has contributed countless product reviews and feature articles to such publications as autoMedia.com, New Car Test Drive, CarsDirect, and Kelley Blue Book. He has written extensively for a variety of major outlets, including J.D. Power, cars.com, and the Chicago Tribune. Flammang is a member of the Freelancers Union and the International Motor Press Association, and is a past president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. The author of more than thirty books, mostly on auto history, also has contributed extensively to Consumer Guide publications and to such trade publications as Ward's Dealer Business.

TK Press, established in 2014 as a division of Tirekicking Today, has already published three books by Flammang. Several more titles (described above) are well underway, scheduled for publication diring 2020.




"[W]hile there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Eugene Debs (in 1918 court statement)
Five-time Socialist candidate for president


NEW!

Used Car
World

Following a several-year absence, Tirekicking Today is reviving coverage of the used car market – again, emphasizing a consumer focus.

Editor James M. Flammang has been reporting on used cars since the 1980s, not only for this website but for Consumer Guide's used car buying guide, along with a variety of other consumer publications.

We will start with a detailed and informative look at the current used car marketplace, as expressed by experts attending the 2020 used car conference – dubbed Used Car Week – held "virtually" this year. Initial sessions dealt with automotive credit and finance. In early December, a second group of Zoom sessions turns to the pre-owned market overall.

Subjects to be covered in this new section will include:
• Cars vs. trucks in the sales race (Hint: Trucks have a strong lead.)
• State of and expectations for auto financing.
• How are used car prices trending?
• Whatever Happened to the Repo Man?
• Which is best, economically speaking: New or Used?
• Where do electric cars stand?






News Headlines
in the Auto World

November 23: Turning against Trump position on near-future fuel economy and pollution requirement, GM reverses its stance on separate emissions standards for California.

July 14: With great fanfare, Ford reveals 21st-century version of its long-departed Bronco SUV.

July 8: Chevrolet is dropping Sonic compact sedan.


May 19: Two Ford plants reopen, as part of Trump's intent to bring workers back to their jobs. A day later, both plants ahut down again because a worker tested positive for Covid-19.

March 27: Trump uses Defense Production Act to order General Motors to produce ventilators, essential to help severely ill Covid-19 patients breathe. A previous contract had been signed with GM, but resulted in a dispute about the dollar amount involved. Governors and mayors have pleaded for more ventilators in their grossly oveburdened hospitals.

Note: This auto-industry section is in the process of updating. Please check again soon.



All editorials, essays, and articles are available for reprinting.
Editors are invited to contact us for rates and full details.

TIREKICKING TODAY began in 1993 as a monthly print publication. Created by widely-known automotive writer/editor James M. Flammang and associate editor Marianne E. Flammang, it went on the Internet in 1995. TIREKICKING TODAY has given consumers, enthusiasts, and industry leaders an abundant supply of valuable automotive information, incuding new-vehicle reviews, used-car buying advice, editorial commentary, and feature articles. By 2016, we were ready to ease away from coverage of automobiles, and take the publication on a completely different track - focusing primarily on topics that had become far more crucial than cars.
Tirekicking Today accepts no advertising and receives no funds from any organization.

©All contents copyright 1997-2021 by Tirekicking Today.
Material may not be reused in any way without express permission from Tirekicking Today.
For information on reprinting and syndication rights,
please contact us at JF@tirekick.com.
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