Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump Ushers In A New Era Of Bold Dishonesty

Falsehoods, lies. deliberate deceptions.

These are the tools Russia deployed against American democracy via trolls and bots here and in old Soviet satellite countries (via the Intercept, reporting on Trump's troll allies in former Soviet bloc), and it was eagerly embraced by the Republicans. Why? Because lying to the public is also key to the Republican strategy. It has been for a long time, reported by MotherJones.

James Fallows has an excellent piece at the Atlantic covering the dangerous and difficult landscape we are entering, where truth and honest detail are going to become much harder to find. Trump realizes what the public doesn't know can't hurt him. Which is why he hid his tax returns. Sadly the news media aided him by not reporting on the corruption that existed in plain sight.

The U.S. has entered a time when news reporting is based on wild accusations rather than evidence, as this Storify essay explains.

BBC reporting on Trump's baseless accusations about voter fraud. Once again the accusation without evidence. The millionth Republican voter fraud accusation, based on no evidence yet useful in distracting Americans from the real problem, voter suppression.

From ThinkProgress, this essay explains how when the public is made unsure of the truth power becomes the only thing that matters. A totalitarian reality. An end to democratic thinking and an end to democracy.

From Politifact, we see how Trump's closest advisors are also engaged in the business of hoaxing and deceiving the American public by misleading the president elect. They will keep him focused on the false narratives that keep him wildly entertaining.

From Motherboard, a backgrounder on Trump's top advisor, white supremacist hoaxer Steve Bannon, who has a history of reshaping evidence to fit his own prejudices and interests. He was the one who rigged BioSphere to create a result he wanted. He will likely double down on the "climate change hoax" narrative. Watch for the mass firings of scientists from NASA and other government departments.

A respected former CNN anchor (from CNN's more admired heyday) an article about what the news media must do to sort fact from propaganda in Trump's America.

From Quartz, this article describes Trump as the editor-in-chief of fake news.

From The Intellectualist, this article explores the punishments Trump's junta promises to mete out to anyone who fails to bow down to his majesty. This has been a theme of Kellyanne Conway's in recent weeks. Surrender or be jailed. The intellectuals this magazine writes for have become an endangered species.

Media Matters, a frankly pro-Clinton media watchdog, describes in rich detail how the Republican technocrats are busy selling off and burning down the remaining institutions of good government, starting with Social Security and Medicare. The pro-Clinton bona fides of Media Matters shouldn't discredit their reporting. We are looking at a war between the Honest and the Dishonest here. Bias in favor of honesty is not something to apologize for.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump Lives In The Twilight Zone (And Now So Do We)

As we try to comprehend what is happening to this country, we turn to the past and to popular culture. This is like that. Trump is like Hitler because he is a racist, authoritarian hate monger…or he isn’t like Hitler because he isn’t a vegetarian. I posted about how this surreal moment reminds me of the final scene in Rosemary’s Baby.

For a while though I have mostly been thinking that Donald Trump is like a child. A spoiled child. And now a very powerful spoiled child.

Like the one played by Bill Mumy in that episode of Twilight Zone, “It’s a Good Life” from November 1961. The episode takes place in an imaginary town called Peaksville, Ohio. Apt that it should take place in Ohio, because that is where a lot of Trump’s mojo came from this year.

Watch this episode here, on Hulu

In this episode it’s not a wonderful life, it’s only a good life, and that description is entirely ironic. Except irony isn’t allowed in Peaksville. No opposing opinions. No comments or criticisms. And no bad vibes directed at little Anthony Fremont, because bad vibes are punishable by death. You are only allowed to have nice thoughts about this red haired six year-old because he can’t stand for anyone to think differently than he does. And he's vicious. He punishes disagreement with sudden humiliating death. But, like Trump, he is distractible, so the adults around him try desperately to distract him and please him. They are his hostages, again like how we feel right now with Trump. We are all hostage to his moods, his whims, his vindictiveness, his thin skin, his irrational swings this way and that. And he is on the verge of becoming the most powerful man in the world.

The closing words delivered by Mr. Serling could just as well be about the world after November 8th, 2016. (Members of the press take note.)

"No comment here, no comment at all. We only wanted to introduce you to one of our very special citizens, little Anthony Fremont, age 6, who lives in a village called Peaksville in a place that used to be Ohio. And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet Anthony, you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone."

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Trump Presidency Feels Like The Closing Scenes Of Rosemary's Baby

There is an unreal quality to what is happening. The media elites and the triumphant Republicans are urging us to follow coach Bobby Knight's advice from a few decades ago where he said "If rape is inevitable, lie back and try to enjoy it."

We are being urged to see Trump as completely normal, something we just need to get used to. The press is busy normalizing him too. Republicans are gathering round him like so many Franz von Papens, believing they can manage him.

I, meanwhile, feel as if we've wandered into the last scene of Rosemary's Baby. We are Rosemary, betrayed, deceived and exploited, and now being encouraged in a kindly way by a group of very gently spoken and normal-looking Satanists, to try to relax and try to be a mother to this electoral abomination we have given birth to. The Satanists even sound like Trump's loyalists, using the same words. God help us all.

(I hasten to add, Donald Trump is not Satan and he is not Hitler. It's hard to tell with the hair, but he doesn't appear to have horns, and anyone can tell you that he is not a vegetarian.)

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Electoral College Should Block Trump, Not Enable Him

Peter Beinart, in the Atlantic, explains how the Founders devised the Electoral College to prevent demagogues like Trump from reaching power, not to enable them to.

"As Michael Signer explains, the framers were particularly afraid of the people choosing a demagogue. The electors, Hamilton believed, would prevent someone with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. And they would combat “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” They would prevent America’s adversaries from meddling in its elections. The founders created the Electoral College, in other words, in part to prevent the election of someone like Donald Trump.”

David Kaiser says much the same thing in TIME.

From Federalist 68, the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton:

"It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice... It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.”

Preventing a dangerous demagogue and liar and tax dodger and draft evader and con man and bigot like Donald Trump from seizing power is exactly why the Electoral College was invented. Trump’s whole life has been one of mischief. The Founders would be appalled.

Paul Abrams at Huffington Post cites the Russian spy agency's interference in this election as reason enough to use the Electoral College to block Trump––not to use it as a device to put him in the White House. After all, Hillary Clinton earned 1.7 million more votes than Trump did.

The Christian Science Monitor proposes some reforms to the Electoral College.

If the Russian interference isn't enough there is this: For 50 years the GOP’s game plan has included vigorous voter suppression.

ThinkProgress calls the Republican strategy a case study in voter suppression

How do we know the suppression and intimidation of voters has been central to the GOP playbook all along? They've boasted about it. They crow about each law they pass to disenfranchise voters. They boast about how it will elect Republicans if they can keep people from voting. This year's decline in voter turnout was the Republican Party's doing.

It's worth sharing this famous speech excerpt from the father of the modern right wing Republican Party, superchristian demagogue Paul Weyrich. Here, Paul Weyrich cheerfully derides Good Government. Over the past decades since then the Republican Party has done its damnedest to destroy Good Government and replace it with bad.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Monsters Behind The Monster

Steve Bannon, the top advisor who will have President Trump on a leash, is the man behind Breitbart News, one of the most notorious lie-producing and hate-fomenting websites on the right.

This is what these people think of women:

"In terms of female happiness, women’s liberation was probably a mistake, and it was a mistake driven by technology that was, of course, invented by men. Let’s start with the device that forced women out of the home they so lovingly kept, wrenched their children from their arms and doomed them to perform unsatisfying tasks in the workforce in order to respond to new social norms: the washing machine."

The full Breitbart article in favor of putting women back in the kitchen and the laundry.

Trump the online bully in chief is going to be advised by the most prolific online bully of them all. Good luck, Melania.

MONEY magazine/CNN on Brietbart's bullying and dishonesty

Hate and hate crimes rose in 2016, encouraged by our new president elect and his posse.

Reported by Minnesota Public Radio

Reported by Quartz

We need to quit normalizing these people. They are not normal. They are wrong. They are dangerous.

In the Fort Worth Star Telegram

The Republican official in West Virginia who said it would be refreshing to have a dignified First Lady for a change, after eight years of "an ape in heels."

LiveScience has an article about the association of low intelligence with conservatism and racism

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

From Rigging the Election to Rigging the Country

This election was full of disturbing anomalies and deviations that indicate it may well have been rigged to put Trump in the White House.

USAToday calls for an audit of how this election suddenly turned

Alternet calls for the same scrutiny of specific disturbing anomalies in key swing states

The Hill connects the dots between the election result and the Russians who steered that result

How to survive the new fascism.

A scholar who studies authoritarian governments has advice on how to survive the Trump regime

Some wise advice on the same topic from Juan Cole's Informed Comment

Survival tips from the New York Review of Books

VOX explains why fear is the correct reaction to a Trump presidency

Paul Ryan is out ahead of the Trump parade, eager to sell of our public systems to profiteers. Privatize Medicare? Anyone? If he gets this done he’ll probably ease it through by promising those who already have it that they can keep it. He’ll only screw everyone else. This is the GOP method, divide and conquer. We are all potential profit to these people.

Reported by New York Magazine

Privatizing America’s roads and bridges. A troll under every bridge. Which Trump friends would skim off the profits?

Reported by SLATE

Trump wants to muzzle all government employees. Is a loyalty oath next? Loyalty to him, of course. Which translates into loyalty to the man in Russia who pulls his strings.

Reported by The Hill

Trump pays off thousands of college students he defrauded but his fraudulent foundation is still under investigation

Reported in Newsweek

Trump family turning us into a tin pot oligarchy

Reported by FORTUNE magazine (which is no lefty rag)

Our new National Security Advisor is guided by his friendship with Putin. Why are Americans comfortable with this? Is the Republican team really the Russian team?

VOX reports on Trump's Russian minder (straight out of Dr. Strangelove)

But the scariest monster in the box is Steve Bannon. The white supremacist. The former Goldman Sachs dealmaker who’s made millions pitching paranoia to the right half of America.

“Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.” ~Steve Bannon

The New York Daily News gives us the creepy gist of Bannon's cozy chat with Hollywood Reporter

And meanwhile the news media is busy normalizing the abnormal. Playing a game of "Let's Pretend" with the American people. Let's pretend everything is fine. Let's pretend that everything will be all right if we simply sit tight and let it unfold. Remember, Trump paid off those students he defrauded. Once he's president we cannot sue him. We can't sue Paul Ryan for stealing our Medicare and Social Security.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Did Russia Win The White House?

The American voters chose Hillary Clinton by more than a million and a half votes and the margin is growing as absentee votes are counted. The ongoing updated vote tally is shown here.

But Russia and the Russian spy agencies and the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin wanted Trump and it looks like they got what they wanted.

Esquire's very readable and credible political reporter Charlie Pierce reports on the Russian connection here, and here.

The Hill newspaper reports on it here.

Mother Jones reports on it here.

The Russian government wanted someone weak, inexperienced, irrational, incompetent and vacillating and Americans who voted for Trump helped them achieve that.

With perhaps some additional help from voter intimidation and voter suppression and election rigging.

David Pakman addresses vote anomalies in key swing states

Published on Nov 14, 2016
--According to exit polls conducted by Edison Research, Hillary Clinton won four key battleground states (NC, PA, WI and FL), but ultimately lost those states according to computerized vote counts

The data from TDMS Research

BBC journalist Greg Palast addresses these concerns more directly here

(This sounds like the kind of rhetoric Trump was shouting just before the election. But it isn’t rhetoric. It has to do not with predictive polling but with information collected as the vote was happening, which is less prone to deviations. The deviations are what alert the public to irregularities. That is what this information suggests may have happened.)

So there were a number of very disturbing forces pushing for a Trump victory.

Another mechanism that distorted this election was the way social media amplified and disseminated the lies being told. Because of the greater skepticism of progressive voters most of the fake stories that worked their way into this election were biased toward Trump.

The story from WIRED

Fake news sites sold more Americans on bogus negative stories about Hillary (I read one that reported that close associates said she emitted a sulphuric smell indicating she was in league with Satan. She does not, and she is not. People believe this crap because if it’s on the internets it must be true) and bogus positive stories about Trump (the one having the greatest effect may have been the one saying Pope Francis endorsed Trump, when in fact Pope Francis clearly and forcefully rebuked Trump and the hateful policies he calls for.)

Untrue stories and rumors are often in play during elections, but this year the untrue stories outplayed the true ones.

The story reported by Buzzfeed

(I realize Buzzfeed sounds a bit like a fake news source. This is actually a very well founded story.)

Trump benefited from the sad fact that many Americans base their most important decisions on feelings rather than facts. Which is ironic, because it wasn’t very long ago that Republicans were the party that prided itself on being rational and responsible. They derided liberals as being fact averse. That has flipped entirely.

Vox discusses the fact that conservatives believe the false stories far more than liberals do

One of the Big Lies cited in the Vox story was broadcast to the millions of gullible Trump supporters is now the top advisor in Trump’s White House, the notorious white supremacist Steve Bannon.

One of the fake news creators discussed his filthy profession with the Washington Post. He seems to be enjoying the damage as much as Putin is, while frantically denying any blame for the millions of people he lied into voting for Trump. He has a point: if you can persuade a stupid person to drink poison the joke is on them, right? Too late to apologize now.

The Oxford English Dictionary announces a Word of the Year each year. This year’s word is “post-truth”. We’ve reached a point when what is true doesn’t matter to millions of people. This should be troubling. This is one of the first corruptions that occurred during the Nazi era in Germany. Now I realize Donald Trump is not Hitler because Hitler was a vegetarian, but apart from his eating habits there are a disturbing number of close similarities, not just in what Trump promises to do but in the kinds of poisonous rhetoric he used to get people out to vote for him. The only real difference is that Trump shouted these things in English and not in German.

The true story about "post-truth" via the BBC

Nothing we can do, right? Too late now, right? Let’s all curl up in fetal positions underneath our beds, right? They won’t find us there...

Actually? Actually there is something that might prevent the inauguration of President Trump.

Something called the Electoral College. It’s the old device the slave states put in place to increase their influence in Congress by adding electoral power for people they owned as property.

But it was also put in place to keep power from being given to dangerous people who catered to the mob. Not the Mob, as in the Mafia. The mob as in the unwashed and volatile public. The ignorant folk who are easily fooled by fake stories about an honest candidate being dishonest and a dishonest candidate being truthful. The Electoral College was created to prevent people like Donald J. Trump (con man, fraudster, tax evader, sociopath, fascist, incompetent) from gaining power.

And to avoid that outcome we can still hope that enough of these carefully selected Electoral College Electors will refuse to ratify the presidency of Vladimir Putin’s favorite.

I am recommending that everyone who knows rational people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida or any state that swung or squeaked by for Trump to phone them and ask them to write sincere and respectful personal letters to the Electors in their state. Other letters can be written to respected Republicans who might have some influence, who those Electors might respect.

One argument that might be persuasive is that Trump is erratic and irrational and likely to fail in a manner that will reflect very badly on the Republican Party. His errors and his poor judgment will be the party’s fault forever. The Republicans now own all three branches of government. They will own whatever unfolds whether they intended it or not.

Many conservatives have already disowned him. And are continuing to after the election.

The story from SLATE

Folks in the redder parts of the country tend to revere America’s military. You might inform these Republican in the Electoral College that our nation’s military rate climate change as one of the greatest security threats America faces today.

The story about the security threat from global warming via Scientific American

If Trump is inaugurated there are other things we’ll need to do. But let’s try to stop him before we get to that point.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Picture Men In White Hoods

The talk about the Alt Right is long overdue, but we shouldn’t flatter them with this hip new label. It makes them sound like a music trend from Seattle. They are white supremacists. They are bigots. They are anti-semites. They believe women should be subservient and silent. Their methods are hate and ridicule and intimidation. They are unAmerican. Millions who voted for this new team thought they were voting for the old team, the Republican team. It is no longer the Republican Party. It is the White Male Party. It is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our nation, and the world.

Story in the Guardian

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls out the outright racism in the Trump White House team

This Salon/Alternet article looks into the white minority anger that swept Trump into office

They are a group organized around anger and disruption led by a corrupt billionaire. They are not likely to govern honestly or competently. They will probably earn a profit.

The Vandals in the White House discussed by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo

(Marshall discusses White House corruption by invoking Grant and Truman. I am familiar with the corruption charges thrown at Truman. I believe some of the pettier ones but think most of them were part of the witch-hunting fervor of that time. Truman’s foibles were trivial compared to Trump’s long history of self-dealing. It was Truman, after all, who doggedly investigated the war profiteers of WW2. This was one big reason he had enemies after the war.)

We suddenly have a president elect who is completely unequal to the difficult tasks, and the people he is bringing in to guide him are partisan fighters and outright bigots. Steve Bannon once described himself as like Lenin, bent on destroying the system. He is in an excellent position to do that. Where are the people who’ve worked their whole lives building this system and trying to make it work? Too many have been displaced by lobbyists who seek to make the system work only for themselves and their clients.

From the New Republic, Obama's calm, measured words about this transition do not deny the serious risks we face.

An interview with Noam Chomsky about president-elect Trump

If we survive, if our democratic institutions survive, the next four years, the Supreme Court is where Trump can do more permanent damage.

Dahlia Lithwick discusses the dire SCOTUS implications. Sadly, complex longterm dangers like this were not enough to get millions on board to elect Hillary.

We need hope right now because misdirected and unfocused anger will do us no good at all. It may lose us the longer argument. We need to be angry, but focused and non-violent. Pull what hope you can from this:

Politico urges us to be hopeful. Whether it's rational, we won't win through without it. (Think Churchill in 1940.)

Our friends are worried about us. Our enemies are delighted. It’s surprising how many enemies there are among us. People who were willing to cheer the interference of an enemy power as long as it helped their team win the Big Game. As Andy Borowitz said “I’m nostalgic for when the FBI and the Russians were on opposite sides.” Amen to that. Will the words Fifth Column and Quisling be used more in coming months and years? Whose side are these new “Republicans” on?

From Der Spiegel. If Europe lived next door they would be on the phone with the police and social services right now.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Triumph of Make Believe

“Lying” is such an ugly word. We are told not to say “The Republicans won by lying.” Even if it’s true (and fact checkers say it is) it’s so unpleasant.

Let’s say it another way. Republicans are very good at Magical Thinking. (Prime example: Trickle Down Economics) They won by Pretending. They have ushered in a new era of Make Believe.

The first bit of Let’s Pretend that turned this election cycle was when Chief Justice John Roberts announced that racism and prejudice was over and done with in the South where it had been so bad that (at least in some history books) white people owned black people as slaves. After slavery went away white Southerners spent another hundred years keeping their black brothers and sisters down by not letting them vote or sit at soda fountains or work at various jobs or walk on a sidewalk a white woman might want to use. An ugly time… if you believe those darn history books. But that was over and done, said John Roberts. So it was with joy and pride that he announced the Voting Rights Act no longer needed to be upheld in the South. No more protection of black and minority voters was necessary. Hurrah! He said it with such a convincing smile a lot of people applauded.

The response was immediate. Republicans quickly and gleefully reinstated exactly the kind of voter suppression laws that the Voting Rights Act’s supervision had prevented. Some even boasted about the achievement. Job done. The Chief Justice is very good at Make Believe and didn’t even notice the mockery of what he had said. Maybe someone close to him saw him wink.

PBS/Frontline reported the rapid surge in voter suppression that followed this Supreme Court ruling. As did ProPublica and McClatchy news service. The fair and reliable framework for our democracy was sent back into the kind of corruptions that existed during Jim Crow.

This voter suppression is not confined to the South, though it’s history is more outrageous there. Northern states Republicans have been emboldened by the Supreme Court to propose cynical, racist and antidemocratic laws in many states. They’re on the books in some key swing states. One of their tricks is to demand all voters purchase a special photo ID and then to make it hard to obtain them, placing the ID centers far from historically black or Democratic areas. A conservative judge skilled at Make Believe can pretend that none of this has anything to do with bigotry or Republican bias and the laws remain. In Wisconsin it’s estimated that 300,000 voters were barred from voting by not being able to produce the magic ID or having their ID challenged. Trump won Wisconsin by 27,000 votes adding to his Electoral College total.

This was reported by a Wisconsin NBC affiliate.

Did this make the difference? Several reliable sources say No, it was not the deciding factor. (VOX, who I cite very often is one of these.) That the suppressed voter was less likely to vote anyway. I point out that the surge among the rural Republican voters was also unlikely. Who would have expected devout rural people and respectable suburbanites to vote for a man who boasts of groping women, who mocks the handicapped, who encourages mob violence, a man who faces charges this month of defrauding thousands of ordinary people like themselves? It required magical thinking.

I suspect that a clear public rejection of one candidate’s lies and bigotry would help suppress his turnout even among people who believed the lies and the bigotry. That did not happen this year. For most of the year mass media broadcast hours and hours of Donald Trump’s outright lies… excuse me, Make Believe… and his downright bigotry without comment or criticism. While they were giving free air time to this ugly demagogue they were aggressively reporting the endless investigation of unsubstantiated charges against his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Those two factors gave Trump a major updraft and Hillary a major downdraft. It was not enough to explain what happened but it contributed to it, it gave it a boost.

We look to our news media for truth. When they promote Make Believe and give lengthy air time to bogus accusations they make us doubt what is real. They make us more receptive to Magical Thinking and Make Believe. (And Lies.)

Donald Trump’s entire career has been flim-flam. When he had catastrophic setbacks in real estate he turned to what’s called Reality TV. Reality TV is not reality at all. It is Make Believe. But it’s label is persuasive. The networks broadcasting it knows it is a total fabrication, a lie, but it is good for ratings and good for profits. If you promote falsehood as truth, truth is degraded and falsehood becomes part of conventional thinking. Here I could go into the teachings of Joseph Goebbels on this topic, the uses and execution of the Big Lie, but conventional thinking has barred that from any modern day discussion. Supposedly because Trump voters are not wearing brown shirts while attacking Jews and immigrants and people of color they are not the same as Hitler’s mob. Hitler is He Who Must Not Be Named. We mustn’t speak of these things. They are history and nobody cares about history anymore. Pretend those things didn’t happen. It makes it easier to pretend they won’t happen again.

But let’s get back to Make Believe.

Let’s pretend for a minute that Donald Trump is a Man of the People. That has been the media narrative, and you know how authentic that is. His followers have spent the past year believing this myth. The Man of the People is a man who lives in marble halls with gilt furniture and large oil paintings of himself in gilt frames. (Hillary’s credibility has been endlessly attacked because she sides with working class interests from an expensive home in Westchester. Trump doesn’t pretend to embrace the laboring classes at all. (He’s famously phobic about touching regular people unless they are sufficiently young, female and “hot”.) He does not embrace their interests. He only embraces their resentments and hatreds. He is an America First hero who builds his exclusive towers with imported steel and imports his flash neckties and Trump label suits from Mexico. He refuses to pay the builders and tradesmen he hires to do work on his properties. He is bogus from his ludicrous hair to the manicured fingernails on his tiny hands. He has contempt for the working classes and their mundane unglamorous lives. But he does voice their anger. He has replanted the idea that outright bigotry is OK and All American, a sad notion that many in the working classes are receptive to. The bogus reality star has legitimized our ugliest tendencies and television has turned him into a hero. We spent a century and a half since Lincoln slowly repudiating this lie of white superiority and in one election year Trump has relegitimized it, with the eager collaboration of popular media. It’s ironic that such an inferior specimen is now the show pony of white supremacy. He isn’t even white, he’s orange.

So Donald Trump is a make believe business success, a make believe Man of the People. The picture we have of him is a television fairy tale. He is a creature of the media he pretends to despise. But we are here. The package has arrived. We have opened it. No returns allowed. Does it belong to us, or do we belong to it?

I won’t spend a lot of time sorting out the empty promises he’s made. He’s already walked back some of them. The wall he promised to build was another piece of make believe. The swamp of lobbyist influence he promised to drain he is now stocking with more lobbyists, ones who owed their new status to him. He only pretended to want to end the influence of the big bankers. They are now in his posse.

The most dangerous promise he made remains. He said he’d end all efforts to combat Climate Change, because he says Climate Change is a Chinese hoax, and his transition and cabinet have a strong odor of oil and coal, not mine workers or oil field workers but lobbyists and PR geniuses. The authors of Big Oil’s successful campaign to discredit the science are all for Trump because they know his millions of devotees will believe whatever they say. We have come to a dangerous point in our history when the most powerful person in our nation is a con man, facing significant indictment this month for a massive fraud related to his bogus Trump University scheme, and the scientists, the people we trust to find out the essential truths about our world, are accused of fraud. And the news media collaborated with this inversion by giving his falsehoods equal credence and equal time. The fact checking sites found her statements mostly honest (are any of us completely honest?) and Trump’s mostly false, and mostly very very false. He thinks science is bunk. Millions of his followers who presumably passed their science classes in schools have now endorsed this dangerous idea. They cannot pretend they haven’t. So millions of others who didn’t really know or don’t fully understand are now convinced that science is something we vote on. That it isn’t true if we decide to not believe it.

Science doesn’t care whether we believe in it. It will happen whether we believe it or not.

We may think we are hostages to Trump now. But Trump has made us hostages to the horrible scientific consequences that are now going to unfold. We could have wished Trump away by voting more emphatically against him, by not trusting the cozy belief that Americans would reject something like this without every single person voting against it. But we cannot keep climate change from unfolding unless we enact and keep in place key policies which Trump has promised to oppose and reverse. This is an insane kind of make believe. Like a person who steps out of a 15 story window believing he can fly, or that angels will rescue him.

As delusions go this is not as much of an outlier as you might think. There are millions of devout right wing Christians who honestly believe that if we screw up this planet badly enough that Jesus will come. They long for this to happen.

This was reported recently in The Atlantic.

We pass these people on the street and they seem like other people we know, until they begin to discuss their beliefs. Stepping politely away from them is the safest social response but it is not going to keep us safe from the final ascension of their kind to power. Donald Trump is not a churchgoing religious zealot but his Vice President is. Mike Pence is an intense believer in Christian fairy tales and magical thinking. He not only believes the proven climate science is a hoax, he believes that the whole science of evolution from Darwin to the present day is a hoax and a lie. (In terms of ethics and morals, the New Testament is a very useful and humane document, but the superChristians evade the humane elements and prefer the more dubiously interpreted bits, the ones that provoked holy wars and inquisitions down through the Christian era. The Biblical fragments that seem to endorse slavery and oppression of women seem particularly popular among superChristians.) Mike Pence firmly believes the earth is exactly as old as the Bible says it is and that everything that is in the Bible happened exactly as written. He does not like to go into the hundreds of huge contradictions in the Bible any more than he likes to address Trump’s own almost daily contradictions because he is a Man of Faith. To him science is myth and the Bible is fact. If scientific evidence is worth anything at all today he is evidence that we have returned to the Middle Ages, before the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, before Galileo and Newton and Darwin and Einstein and Crick. The Nazis burned thousands of books in their era. In our era we don’t need to burn them because the vast majority of people aren’t aware that books exist, except the one they clutch on Sunday. They have made us a near twin of the Sharia Law extremist Islam they profess to despise. Anti-modern, anti-toleration, out of the reach of questions and proofs.

Kids used to play a particular game of Make Believe. “Let’s pretend Diane doesn’t exist,” they’d say, and Diane would find people she knew walking past her in the school hallway and not hearing the things she said. It was a fun game and very popular. Kids were very good at it in junior high and then outgrew it. Gay teenagers experienced this in an earlier time, as did teenagers of color. Each new wave of immigrants experienced this, Italians, Swedes, Irish, eastern Europeans included. They were treated like they didn’t exist. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t make it disappear.

Recently, there was a woman in Montana interviewed by a reporter on NPR. She was opposed to the settling of Syrian and other refugees in Montana. The reporter asked her if this was racist. She replied that there couldn’t possibly be any racism in Montana because there weren’t any black people there. A GOP chairwoman in Ohio said to a reporter that there was no racism in this country until Obama became president. For millions of Americans this is absolutely true, because they believe it is true. If they never saw any other races they didn’t despise them. It was those other races coming within their range of vision that caused the racism, impinging on their lives, breathing white people’s air, walking on white people’s sidewalks and demanding to eat at their lunch counters. This uppityness is what caused racism. It wasn’t their fault. Racism was not their problem, it was the problem of the other races. The problem with this is that those other races are a majority of people on this earth and white people are a diminishing minority. This magical thinking about race is a dangerous self-deception but it is now the norm because the Trump presidency has validated it. It is very difficult to change people’s beliefs.

Mike Pence believes no one is born gay, despite the clear science on this. Mike Pence says science is bunk and his beliefs are true and he is the Vice President elect, and his frank, polite Indiana way of looking at you convinces you that he has no interest in hearing otherwise. He is firm in his bigotry. If Trump has as short an attention span as he has demonstrated up to now Mike Pence will be the acting president the way Dick Cheney was for eight years. And we know how well that went. At least Dick Cheney was able to understand the difference between science and fairy tales but he exploited this vulnerability in others. We are now led by a fake with no center and a true believer in magical thinking.

Was it our own magical thinking that allowed it to happen? At crucial moments in history the worst possible reaction is to doubt the science and the truth. The failure of the polling experts to predict the late Trump surge has undermined our trust in all experts. How did they fail to see this? They failed to see this outcome because they underestimated the likelihood that America might fall for nonsense this evident and this dangerous. They trusted us. In fact more Americans voted for science and honesty and trustworthiness than voted for fraud and deception and fairy tales. The fact that a lot of Americans were uncertain might be explained by the news media’s dangerous habit of always presenting both sides as equally true. As if it’s biased to say truth is more honest than falsehood or safety is no better than clear danger and enormous corruption is no worse than petty indiscretion. The American public was poorly served. We were delivered to this place. Magical thinkers believe we can shape things to suit our private fantasies, but the universe doesn't care about our private fantasies. We may soon reach a point where mankind cannot walk back the harm we have done. The scientists do not deal in fairy tales, and they have warned us. Covering our ears and chanting USA! USA! or Trump! Trump! Trump! will not keep the oceans from flooding our ports and shorelines. Prayer will not keep the crop growing regions we depend on for food from drying up or washing away or civilization from collapsing around us. If you believe in the teachings of the Bible, heed the part where we are instructed to be good stewards of this creation, to choose truth over lies, to oppose bullies and aid the poor in their struggles rather than falling in with the rich. Over thousands of years our wisest teachers have taught us what to do, how to make wise humane choices, and we seem poised to do the opposite.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Is the Electoral College a Set of Rules or an Escape Clause?

I posted the other day about the outside chance the Electoral College could decide against validating the Trump election. I’ve heard some rebuttal from very important voices, ones that I respect. Notably this article in the Atlantic. I disagree with them, understanding they know many facts I don't. It’s important to recognize what they are saying. It’s also very unlikely that Electors from those traditionally blue states that went for Trump, even the ones narrowly divided, would become “faithless electors” and defy the state total. But they could. And the reason they still can indicates the flexibility of this system, a flexibility that was put there by the Founders for reasons that resonate today.

Here is a new article in TIME addressing this new possibility that Trump might be kept from office.

There is a group calling themselves Hamilton Electors.

The Founders were afraid of mob rule. In the North the rural people were suspicious of the urban mobs, in the South the elites were afraid of the white peasantry and especially of the slaves who outnumbered them all, and the more settled East Coast thought the people west of the Appalachians were an unruly irresponsible mob––they had, after all, left because they couldn’t get along with anyone there (actually, they’d left because they would only succeed where they could find free land to own, land given them by the government back in Washington.) James Madison wanted the Electoral College as an instrument to push back against the numerical disadvantages the South had because it disenfranchised most of its population for being black. This interview at VOX does a good job of explaining Madison's ploy. A lot of the rationale for it was antidemocratic and downright bigoted, not just against the slave population but against the general population. The Founders were afraid of the ignorant mob deciding things. The Founders would be appalled by Donald Trump. While they were watching their democracy work itself out they were routinely appalled by each other, Jeffersonians vs. Hamiltonians, the whole unfolding story was a bitter argument.

But I don’t believe any of the Founders would approve of an Electoral College that would validate Donald Trump’s presidency. This invalidation of an ignorant, inexperienced, corrupt and dangerous unpredictable candidate was exactly what the Electoral College was supposed to prevent. Would Franklin approve of a president who thought science was a Chines hoax? Would Hamilton or Washington approve of a president who was a massive and lifelong tax evader? Those two Founders put on their old army uniforms and led a column of troops out into the frontier to put down a tax rebellion by the ancestors of this year’s Trump voters. The Founders knew the necessity of government. They also believed in checks and balances; Donald Trump believes in autocracy.

It’s unlikely that any of the Electors in Pennsylvania or Ohio or Michigan will refuse to cast their vote for Trump. It shows their proper loyalty to their electorate. But it would also show their proper loyalty to their electorate if the Electors loyal to Philadelphia and Detroit and Columbus respected the fact that nearly half of the voters in their state voted for Hillary Clinton, and that Hillary Clinton won millions more of the popular vote nationally than Trump did. Would doing this violate the rules or simply defy the conventional way of doing things. Would it, in fact, correct an antidemocratic fluke? In the end, are we provincials or are we all Americans?

This defiance of dangerous convention might open the door for examining other conventions we haven’t examined, out of habit or laziness, for instance why small numbers of citizens in less populous states like Wyoming get to have two senators while many millions more citizens in New York or Texas have only the same two senators. Why do the citizens of Washington DC, who outnumber the citizens of Wyoming, have no Senators at all, and no Congressperson either. As preposterous a calculation, really, as the one that stated black people were worth 3/5 of a vote while not being able to vote. For over a century after Emancipation southern (and many northern) black citizens were denied the right to vote because of similar perfectly legal and ancient conventions.

I’d also like to ask how many of these blue states that flipped into the Trump column did so because the Voting Rights Act was suspended by John Roberts’ Supreme Court, enabling the suppression of 300,000 legal voters we know of in Wisconsin alone. A cynical legal convention enabled the Tea Party wave of 2010 to resegregate congressional districts nationwide into mostly safe Republican ones and fewer Democratic ones. This also suppresses votes. The biggest and most brazen vote suppressor is the requirement of state issued IDs and the simultaneous effort by officials to make those IDs difficult for some people to get, some people who tend to vote Democratic. The Voting Rights Act needs to be reapplied nationwide, not just in the South where it was first enacted.

This article from McClatchy describes the likelihood that voter suppression in 14 states tipped the scales toward Trump.

I recognize that the Electoral College is part of the system that both candidates signed on to. At least Hillary did. Trump repeatedly stated he wouldn’t abide by results he disliked. So Hillary could not try to undermine those rules. But Electors could. It is well within their range of traditional options to refuse to rubber stamp a second loser of the popular vote in recent years. They might see it as their duty. They might see it as the only responsible thing to do.

And it would result in a major upheaval.

There is already a major upheaval going on. As the final returns are tallied it appears likely that several millions more will have voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Trump. Millions of women are planning to march on Washington on inauguration day to protest that inauguration. Millions would march if he isn’t inaugurated, and many of those marchers would likely be armed. So we have a choice: which upheaval do we listen to? Do we back down because one of these upheavals is heavily armed? We’ve seen that kind of back down already. Heavily armed white revolutionaries in Oregon were let off the hook for what our Founding Fathers would have called treason. Think of George Washington facing down those yahoos in Oregon. He would have. Andrew Jackson, who Trump most closely resembles (although the comparison is an insult to Jackson) would have too.

I think that is one of the calculations going on right now, not to upset the white, heavily armed and understandably angry minority who voted for Trump by refusing to seat him. Maybe it would seem less dangerous if in the next month before the Electors meet it were more evident how unwise it would be to choose Trump for our president. Is he in Putin’s pocket? What about the massive fraud he will be defending himself against in court this month? The plaintiffs are not rich people, they are regular blue collar Americans. What if Trump continues to back away from his key promises? He changes his mind every five minutes. Will his own supporters tolerate this once he is in office? How do retirees feel about what Trump’s election is doing to the bond markets? And Paul Ryan’s promise to profitize Medicare? This is the moment for the Trump voters to be asking “What the hell have we done?” It’s important that they face the consequences of their vote. The Electoral College offers a moment for the nation to reconsider, and it should.

FYI... here's the list of the 2016 Electors.

If reform is the goal, here's an article from CSMonitor about that. Likelihood diminishes as this second right wing wave in six years entrenches itself in Congress and the courts.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Electoral College Needs To Do Its Job By Rejecting Trump

I signed a petition asking the Electoral College to act in its constitutional role by electing the choice of the most voters, Hillary Clinton, and rejecting Donald Trump.

Here is the petition.

This was what I wrote.


For the past year our most important public conversation was hijacked by a more profitable "reality show" version.

On reality shows the people choose who to expel from their society and we find the betrayals entertaining, because it's not real at all. But this is really happening. This isn’t a fake reality show. A reality show performer has channeled our uglier, hateful, selfish, irresponsible side and won the electoral college vote––while losing the popular vote.

The Electoral College was created by the Founders to prevent this sort of dangerous mob mentality. And it was mob mentality that “won” this election even though rejected by the majority of people, both those who voted and those who did not.

The public conversation, mediated by our news media (our irresponsible and profit motivated media) hid Trump's many many corruptions and failures and focused instead on a minor "scandal" about Hillary Clinton's email. This was foolish and irresponsible and very profitable. It was calculated how Trump was good for audience numbers and juiced profits. The media promoted him and gave him free air time and ignored the dangerous poison in his message and the violence expressed by his most fanatical backers.

Trump is on the verge of turning the United States into a capricious, cruel, self-dealing, destructive reality show.

If the Electors of the Electoral College do not act to prevent this happening, the Electoral College will have proven itself pointless. Our democracy is at stake here. Rejecting this minority “winner” would not be an insult to democracy. It might save it from a dangerous reckless step. We don’t know what a President Trump might and might not do. He’s promised to do great evil in defiance of our American traditions. During the campaign he said so many contradictory things. Look at the fact checking pages and see how Trump exceeded all previous candidates in his lying, lying more often than telling the truth, telling enormous lies more often than small ones. Making dangerous promises to violate our treaties and break down our institutions. He has encouraged violence against people who he dislikes, people who disagree with him or criticize him. Trump has explicitly and repeatedly promised to become a tyrant. He is a dangerous man.

We have an instrument in our Constitution to prevent Trump taking power and driving us recklessly into uncertainty and irreparable harm. If there was a time when we needed our Constitutional protections this is it. Many say the Electoral College is irrelevant. If it fails to prevent this dangerous, undemocratic and unAmerican wrong from unfolding it will prove that it is irrelevant. If it acts to prevent this wrong, it may be exercising the most useful purpose in its history. The Electoral College must not validate the election of Donald Trump when a majority of voters rejected him and instead elected Hillary Clinton.


There are important things hanging in the balance. Paul Ryan has announced plans to privatize Medicare and other beloved institutions he hates. Via New York Magazine

Meanwhile the Klan is on the march. They love President Trump and Trump speaks to their ideas. Via the Daily Telegraph, the UK's conservative newspaper...even conservatives are appalled by what America has done.

What else can we do? EJDionne in the Washington Post

How we feel. Via the New Yorker

What we fear. The deep fears felt by our minorities reported in VOX

Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s posse, wants to bring back McCarthyism. He wants a new UnAmerican Activities Committee to begin trying opponents of their radical right wing plans. Reported by CNN

Stephen Colbert discussed something alarming on his show last night. View it at the Daily Beast. One of Trump’s surrogates expressed in very clear terms that one of Trump’s top agenda items is to make sure everyone, EVERYONE, who ever opposed or criticized him is forced to bow down to President Trump, the most powerful man in the universe. (Her words.) Are we concerned yet?

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Some therapeutic humor to be read while listening to "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor

A bit of humor by Paul Rudnick in the New Yorker. Enjoy.

And on the lighter side, FoxNews goes meta while trying to back itself out of the story about their cowardly candidate fleeing from the stage because he was afraid of an anti Trump Republican holding a sign while being beaten up by Trump supporters.

Today Fox explained that this evil non-Trump Republican was even more evil than anyone thought because he had been engaged in voter fraud for the past 14 years, casting absentee votes for his dead mother. Fortunately the Guardian found and interviewed his mother, and she was indeed alive and eligible to vote.

The point being, as Fox has known from the start (and Trump has done with great skill), when one lie doesn’t work replace it with a larger one and repeat as often as necessary.

If you really want to listen to the song too, here it is.

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Monday, November 07, 2016

Have We No Sense of Decency At Long Last?

“One cannot really love Jesus and wish to follow him and also vote for a person who so clearly embodies the opposite of everything Christ taught, died for and demands of us.”

The Christian view expressed in the Dallas Morning News

"Listen: it is not politics as usual when one camp continually threatens the other with imprisonment and death, screaming female-specific vulgarities, painting her face on targets, hoisting her effigy being hanged. No candidate in the history of the US, Barack Obama included, has been subjected to so much jubilant violation.
I suffer these humiliations as my own and can’t understand why voters stand by with arms crossed, assessing her stamina and valour while Clinton is taking it on the chin. How have we not exploded into a new civil rights movement with women and men together rushing on to the streets to demand that female humanity matters? Where is our primal scream against being bullied, dismissed, reviled for the misdeeds of others and witch-hunted for the crime of being competent while female?"

In the Guardian, Barbara Kingsolver invites us to repudiate Trump and his vile bullying.

The Republicans have wrapped themselves in Trumpism because, at the end of 35 years, Reaganomics itself is being revealed as a long con. Probably the most successful and enduring scam in our history.

The Long Con from Reagan to Trump, in the Guardian.

The Hillary hate is a dangerous poison fabricated out of fringe ideas and carefully cultivated insecurities. Ever noticed how Trump takes the things he’s accused of and thrown them back on his opponents? The irony is deeper than that. The cause of the insecurities that fuel the right wing anger can be found in their own movement. It was Reaganomics that destroyed working incomes and working class prosperity. Reagan plus Gingrich plus W and Cheney equals Trump. The long long con game has come home to roost and they have learned to worship it.

CNN sorts through the paranoid fringe of Hillary haters.

Two wrongly debunked ideas have re-emerged and may yet prove themselves right.

1. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that Hillary cited decades ago, which was laughed at then, is so visibly and tangibly real today it’s amazing no journalists have admitted it’s real and reported on it. Maybe because they hesitate to prove her right. (That would be “bias”.) Pulitzers are won by telling the truth people have avoided hearing.

2. The Silent Majority. Nixon’s favorite hatchet man, Pat Buchanan, slipped the phrase to him in 1969 and both Nixon and Agnew used it to powerful effect. But Creedence also invoked it in their song Effigy, released the day before Nixon used in his November 1969 speech, so maybe it’s their line. But the phrase goes further back than Nixon and the sixties. The point I’m getting at is a belief that there are a lot more Americans who are lining up against Trumpism than we are hearing about in the polls. A silent majority. The polls have seesawed as news came out favoring one or the other because news that benefits one side or the other encourages people to voice that opinion to poll takers. I’m convinced most Americans are simply keeping their opinions to themselves because the Republicans have poisoned the public conversation where such opinions are voiced. A silent majority.

I get back to what Joseph Welch said to Senator Joe McCarthy, which finally took the wind out of the malign gasbag: "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

This should be addressed at the entire Republican Party, not just to Donald Trump and his surrogates.

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Friday, November 04, 2016

The Forces Hoping Trump Wins and How They Are Trying To Make It Happen

These are the people voting for Trump. Are you going to let them take over the country?

Trump’s white nationalist supporters are openly planning massive voter intimidation on election day… The Trump crew includes neo-nazis, klansmen and extremist militias. Is this how America ends?

The overt suppression of the minority vote reported by Politico

Vanity Fair reports on the White Supremacist groups suppressing the black vote to elect Trump.

Right wing white militias are preparing to overthrow the government if Hillary wins on Tuesday.

Reported by Reuters News Service

Nearly every newspaper in America has endorsed Hillary Clinton because they find Trump dangerous and unfit for office. One newspaper endorsed him this week, the newspaper of the KKK. He says what they think. They want what he is promising.

Reuters reports on the KKK supporting Trump all the way

The Republican Senator from NC suggests it would be cool if someone would shoot Hillary Clinton.

Richard Burr (R/NC) urges assassination of a Democratic president

The Trump ethos is one of hatred, abuse, threats, bigotry, bullying and violence. Do we have the courage to stop him?

In an ironic turn, Melania Trump says she would fight online bullying as First Lady, when her husband is an online bully of colossal proportions. Via Creators Syndicate

The cop killer in Des Moines was a white Trump supporter who was angry that the police wouldn’t arrest black fans at a high school football game who failed to stand for the national anthem or let him wave his Confederate flag in their faces.

The Independent newspaper in Britain reports on how this incident in Iowa.

In Mississippi Trump supporters deface and torch a black church. Reported by the LATimes

Another report here

The energy and enthusiasm behind Trump is called Alt Right, which means racist, white, male and heavily armed

Mother Jones reports on how the alt right is led by folks with high incomes, like Trump himself

Mother Jones reports on the nexus of Trumpism, the Alt Right and white supremacists

Does the FBI want Trump to be elected because they’d like to have the police state Trump promises them?

Reported by Vanity Fair

Reported by Daily Beast

How many of the FBI rank and file belong to Oath Keepers, the extremist group that seeks to nullify lawful government if they disagree with it?

The SPLC reports on the phantom law enforcement group that may (in my thinking) be behind the corruption of the FBI and other law enforcement.

There has been a powerful effort to block the will of the American voter by nullifying one president, the first black president, blocking everything he proposed even if the proposal was something they had supported previously when a white Republican proposed it. It's a throwback to darker days in our history.

The nullification strategy dates back to the slave states before the Civil War who refused to obey laws infringing on their “god given right” to own human beings as property.

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

How Senator Rubio And The Republicans In Congress Rigged Your Healthcare Premiums To Go Up


Hot off Wednesday's Thom Hartmann Show:

This is why the insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act are raising their premiums next year. As we know, the ACA ended the practice of denying coverage to people with previous conditions (which was causing people who were very ill to go without health care, and others to die). Even though the insurance companies would profit in long-term from overall increased number of enrollees, they screamed because of the short-term losses due to mandatory coverage of people who were already chronically ill. This period of short-term loss due to the addition of high-risk enrollees was dubbed "the risk corridor."

So to sweeten the deal, Obama then added extra subsidies for any losses incurred in the risk corridor. (Poor insurance companies! After all, CEO Helmsley must not be allowed to lose 1 cent of the one billion dollars+ he takes yearly in personal income from United Health Care.) The risk corridor subsidies were of course dependent on Congress passing budget bills that provided the funds for them.

This year, Senator Marco Rubio stripped out funds for the risk corridor subsidies, not as part of a budget bill (which is the honest way to do it), but as a rider to an unrelated bill, which Obama was compelled to sign, for whatever reasons pertinent to the purposes of the actual bill. As a result, the strip-out, and who did it, never got covered in the news. (Which is just how the Republicans wanted it.) And, as a result, the insurance companies will not get the subsidies that provide their short-term profits next year. Instead of "manning up," as the Conservatives like to say, and taking the losses next year in stride (which is what corporations used to do, and found acceptable as part of doing business, when we baby-boomers were kids), and disregarding that these losses will eventually be made up by long-term increased enrollments, the insurance companies are raising their premiums. A lot. Who knows... They may even end up making more money than they would have with the government subsidies.

Meanwhile, the enrollees are screaming bloody murder, as they should, and getting massively ripped off so Helmsley can buy another villa ala vineyard on the South Italy coast. Or whatever he and his CEO cronies do with all that money. And because MSmedia is owned and run by essentially the same people who own and run the insurance companies, and is therefore keeping its collective mouth shut, Republicans get to scream some more that "Obama-care doesn't work!" without revealing the real reason why, and that they're the ones responsible for it. Conveniently during the election.

This is how the Republicans do it. Remember this. Remember the name Marco Rubio and Republicans when your premiums go up. This is why we need single-payer health insurance (Medicare for All). Health care cannot work as long as it's conducted as a for-profit enterprise. And as it is essential to life, it should not be for profit, any more than water, or fire departments should be for profit. I'm not saying we shouldn't all pay for these services, nor that people should not make a decent living from helping to provide them. I'm saying that particular individuals should not be allowed to take ridiculous profits from doing work that is necessary to human beings' basic survival. Certainly people who simply shuffle the money around for these services, or coordinate the processes involved, should not be taking huge profits, adding to everyone's costs. Given that people die without them, that is extortion, and abuse of power. (We actually used to understand these principles in America. These things went without saying.)

Yeah. Obama-care: The only health care solution Republicans would even marginally accept. A system modeled after Republican plans (specifically, as I recall, Mitt Romney's). A system that doesn't work, because the Republicans won't allow it to work... Nice.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Trump––A Grave Threat to the Economy

370 top economists, including eight Nobel laureates, warn about what a Donald Trump presidency would do to the global and the US economy. From the Wall Street Journal.

Here’s a link to the Economist magazine article which has listed a Donald Trump presidency as one of the ten worst global threats. Economist article linked via Politico.

The Economist is no lefty magazine. The Wall Street Journal is the bible of American business.

Consider what a Trump presidency might do to your investments. From the Atlantic.

Share this with any of your otherwise rational friends who might be considering Trump. Trump is a dangerous gamble.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Choice is Hillary or The Bigoted Authoritarian Con Man Working For Russia

Some pollsters are saying the Democratic side is losing energy and millennials are growing uncertain. If Trump is elected millennials will be living in the world Trump creates.

First, the story that just broke about Russia. It’s been mentioned but never fleshed out. It appears Trump has been cultivated for several years as a Russian asset. You don’t want POTUS to be a Russian puppet. Hillary was right about that.


From TheHill

From David Corn at MotherJones

SLATE reporting on the suspicious cyber-alliance between Trump and Russians

Michael Tomasky reports on the slew of stories about Trump that broke yesterday. Any of which would have destroyed a normal candidate.

Why has the FBI been silent on this stuff while it goes public on non-stories about Hillary? Maybe because it sees how important its role will be in Trump's new police state.

The Economist magazine has listed a Donald Trump presidency as one of the ten worst global threats.

Via Politico

Trump doesn’t keep his word or pay his bills

From Vanity Fair. Trump didn't like what his pollster was telling him so he hasn't paid him for his work.

A comprehensive list of Trump’s corruption

From VOX

If you are worried about email problems, consider that Trump deliberately hid or destroyed thousands of documents and emails while he was under court order.

Reported by NEWSWEEK

A reporter for the Economist takes his family to a Trump rally, where they see and hear pretty much the same foul hate and bigotry and misogyny that’s been reported. This will be our children’s world if he wins.

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