Americans–Never Ignored Again

A march today by millions of women. Across the country with support DCfrom around the world, women and supporters spoke out in a resounding message of resistance to Mr Trump. More people were on the Washington Mall than for yesterday’s Trump Inauguration. Too many in Chicago to actually march. Boston, New York, Miami, Seattle, and LA all drew large crowds. Not just major cites but towns small and large, from friends In St Augustine and Tampa, wife and daughter in Albuquerque, to another daughter in St Paul, friends in Houston…all had women in the streets with a resounding voice. Women’s Rights are Human Rights was the Clinton stance. By all appearance and speech, this large group holds the same powerful position.

BostonJust yesterday we heard Mr Trump promise they will be heard. He actually said “you will never be ignored again.”

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

“So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words — you will never be ignored again.”

Now we get to see if as President, we can take him at his word. But there is oneSt Paul word,
Americans
, of which a definition can make a difference. Is it code for just some kinds of
Americans, or not? I hope it means all of us, black, white, Hispanic, Asian American, LGBT…and women too. With both positions so public, and so strong, on days one and two, we will know very soon.

Just who is included in Mr Trump’s definition of an American?

 

Fake News Twist–Manufacturing Events so Sympathetic Sites Report

The eve of inauguration brings a bit of discussion about protests. While masses plan to highlight their concerns and objections to the Trump Presidency through peaceful protest, the right works to undermine  their statement.

Manufacturing events. It’s been around for a long time but today internet speed spreads it far and fast. Protests planned for tomorrow and Saturday are not fake and seem consistent with the current low approval ratings of the incoming President. So how to make them appear fake to sway and embolden followers? Manufacture a story indicating they are paid to protest of course. Here’s a screen shot of site promising just that:

Capture_Demand Protest

They promise to supply protesters, paid protesters, at a cost of course, for any cause. But that’s not the real point as they have no customers, no protests, and no revenue. They just have an ad on the internet. So the point became one picked up by right wing news outlets. Gateway Pundit, Breittbart, Drudge Report, essentially all outlets leaning to the far right with the claim protesters are being paid to object to the Trump Presidency. Of course then it’s on to the social media system where no one has, or takes, responsibility for fact checking anything.

The site is a hoax, admittedly pro Trump, making the entire story a hoax. Yup, all fake. All from right wing actors, and right wing media outlets. The very same people clamoring about media bias and fake news. But as rumors go, it’s a good one as it feeds into what some on the far right want to believe, and as a result still spreading.  Like the TV ads many grew up with, wait there is more:

Bring on James O’Keefe. Right wing operative/hero, benefactor of Trump Foundation donations, film-maker, selective editor,  many claim liar, but you be the judge of his plot:

“Right wing operatives would present themselves as representatives of a well-heeled donor (probably the great bogeyman of the right, George Soros, although no names are mentioned), offering large sums of money to progressive activists to create mayhem in Washington during the inauguration. The aim was supposedly to distract from Trump’s big day by getting news coverage to focus on the anti-Trump unrest.”

But they were busted by Undercurrent’s Lauren Windsor, and on video:

Capture_Project Veritas

Capture_Busted

 

 

This first video details the plot:

 

 

 

And this covers the interviews and response when confronted:

 

 

We shouldn’t  be surprised by these dirty tactics but we can still be disappointed Mostly it points to the extraordinary efforts being taken to undermine some of our fundamental rights. Our right to peacefully protest and the freedom of the press to inform.  Pay attention to the narrative tomorrow and the morning after. Check the source. Do not forget if someone undertakes a violent act, there is a good probability they are a paid right wing operator. Discrediting the protesters, and discrediting the media is underway, bigly.

Confirmation Hearings, Attorney General

As confirmation hearings are underway, this piece from conservative columnist George Will hits a couple key points. First the quality of the candidate in Alabama Senator Sam Sessions, and next the issue of seizing and selling property of people who have not been accused, let alone convicted of a crime. Policing for profit of which Mr Sessions supports.

will-on-sessions

will-on-sessions-2

 

Don’t Pass on Fake News–leave that to the professionals

With confirmation hearings this week fake news is back on the front page. Specifically Michael Flynn, Mr Trump’s nominee for National Security Adviser.  Retired General Flynn’s last position was Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, from July 22, 2012, to August 7, 2014. He IS  the quintessential trained professional. But here’s the problem

Mr Flynn was passing on fake news via Twitter before the election. Not just any fake news but Pizzagate. This isn’t about stretching a truth here, but a completely false, entirely made up story about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in sex crimes and money laundering.

capture_-mike-flynn-tweet

 

Either Mike Flynn is truly incompetent as an intelligence official or he deliberately passed on a known false story to impact the Presidential race.  Either way, he is unqualified to become the  National Security Adviser.

Think about it, a  National Security Adviser who either can’t tell fake information from real, or he is willing to disseminate fake information deliberately for personal and/or political gain. The link below is the Tweet from Mr Flynn. Look closely, not just at the Tweet but at the web address of this link. Since the Tweet was deleted after a gunman allegedly stormed into Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle went to its back room, and fired at least one shot before cops nabbed him, this link takes you to the archive.

http://web.archive.org/web/20161107234222/https:/twitter.com/GenFlynn/status/794000841518776320

And don’t forget, Mr Flynn apparently also doesn’t understand that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet…can’t be deleted. Unqualified.

Heath Care Fun and Games

It’s all fun and games sitting in the stands, throwing things on the ice in protest, attempting to sabotage the US team’s chance at victory, even a slim one that happens to be good for Americans needing healthcare.  Oh but watching from the stands for years, comfortable in your own, self appointed taxpayer funded health care does little to prepare you. Without the planing, the workouts, the research, a strategy and even some second and third lines (options) on the bench to back you up it’s too easy to gripe and gather support for the uninformed position. Now, you’re in the game. It’s all yours, until you run out of air or ice that is…

Your support, all in objectionable agreement before taking the ice, does indeed appear to be running out of air. Perhaps a plan and a bit of practice of your own during those six years of objections But we see perhaps it’s not so easy.

While nothing about revamping the nation’s $3 trillion-a-year health care system will be easy, Republican leaders want congressional committees to have legislation dismantling much of Obama’s overhaul ready by late January. They’re hoping Congress can quickly send a measure to incoming President Donald Trump phasing out the law, perhaps a couple of months later.

But not so fast:

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Friday they might end up in a “box canyon” if they erase the health care law without a substitute in hand. (the uninsured rate in Tennessee has fallen by 28 percent since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, translating into 266,000 Tennesseans gaining coverage)

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis: “I would start bringing up those elements that start repairing the damage and I would start taking votes on those right now.” (The uninsured rate in Wisconsin has fallen by 39 percent since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, translating into 211,000 Wisconsinites gaining coverage)

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark: “I don’ t think we can just repeal Obamacare and say we’re going to get an answer two years from now,”  “We haven’t coalesced around a solution for six years, in part because it is so complicated. Kicking the can down the road for a year or two years isn’t going to make it any easier to solve.”  ( the uninsured rate in Arkansas has fallen by 46 percent since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, translating into 234,000 Arkansans gaining coverage)

OK GOP team, this is your chance to get it right for the millions who depend on the ACA for coverage. Your voters, millions from states who supported you, who trusted you, who believed you had put in the time and preparation for this game you’ve been playing from the sidelines are watching and waiting. So while you’re skating around attempting to define a plan you’ve had years to work out, don’t forget the ice is thinning by the minute, the minority who elected you is getting even smaller, and your slim majority in the legislative bodies is in decline. Democrats successfully reelected every Senate incumbent and gained two seats. Democrats gained six seats in the House despite facing gerrymandered maps and defying the historical norm of winning Congressional seats while losing the White House. And despite help from Mr Putin and the Russians, Hillary Clinton got nearly three million more votes than Mr Trump. You have no mandate, just a slim opportunity. But for the moment it is all yours to play, yours to lose. Your electorate is watching.

Another Ethics Challenge, the Great Wall

As a campaign promise Mr Trump said he will build a wall, a great wall, the greatest wall…and Mexico will pay for it.  Mexico said even then before the election, they will not. As of yesterday the transition team is pressuring congress to foot the bill. Just in case there is someone out there who doesn’t really understand how this works, that means you and I will pay for the wall with our taxes and additional government debt/interest. So maybe our kids will end up paying for it too.

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Trump, said on Friday the incoming administration would need government funding to build the wall and that Trump said in October Mexico’s payment would be a reimbursement.

“The idea that we’re going through the appropriations process and figuring out how to pay for it shouldn’t be news,”

Well yes it is news. Not until now has anyone on the Trump team, nor Mr Trump himself even suggested we would be paying for this unnecessary wall. But we don’t understand says Mr Trump, and the media isn’t telling the whole story; Mexico will pay us back. Unfortunately the small problem with his statement is that he stands alone in his position, no one else agrees with him. Congress hasn’t said Mexico will reimburse us for the wall. And Mexico? They have clearly and specifically said they will NOT pay for the wall.

So here’s where we are. One man, just one, claims Mexico will pay for the wall. Everyone else involved, the House, the Senate, and Mexico all say they will not. We haven;t been told the truth here in ways beside the funding.  Take a moment to read The Truth about America’s Illegal Immigrants. Already down, just one half are from Mexico, most enter legally, they pay $10.6 billion in state and local taxes, pay $13 billion in Social Security, and few come across the over 1,900 miles of border a wall is to protect. Make sure your representatives know we the majority, see trough the Trump lie and object.

Situational Ethics?

Good example here: During the Obama Presidency Mr Paul Ryan questioned the Presidents decision to read some intelligence briefings himself rather than get them verbally from the intelligence agency.

“I have a hard time comprehending that, because the primary job of the commander in chief is to keep the country safe,” Ryan said in an October 2014 interview on Fox News Channel. “And you need to get from your intelligence community, your defense community — especially when we have troops in harm’s way — what’s going on.”

Now with Mr Trump choosing not to receive some/many briefings at all, as well as publicly questioning the authenticity of he intelligence professionals, he’s come up with a new story.

“Well, they don’t always get everything right. We’ve seen that clearly,” Ryan said. “But I do have faith that our men and women in our intelligence community are doing an incredible job, sacrificing for our country. But there’s always room for improvement.”

Way back when Mr Ryan was running for Vice President (actually here) I did a piece about Mr Ryan and his integrity…or lack there of. Nothing has changed.

Censorship – Revisited Already

Just a quick post here reference a recent commentary on censorship, how it’s already manifesting itself this Administration. Not even in the seat yet and the talking heads are beginning the process. Kellyanne Conway  issued the first warning (and it turns out to have been before my post) with the target being Senator Harry Reid.

“He should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks — he thinks he’s just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it.”

Senator Reid swung right back calling her comments a “threat of legal action”.  Just as I talked about the concern here Senator Reid’s Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson went on to to call out Trumps desire to silence his critics

“It took only five days for President-elect Trump to try to silence his critics with the threat of legal action. This should shock and concern all Americans,”
“Trump has always used threats and intimidation to silence his critics. Now he wants to silence a discussion of the acts of hate and threat of violence being committed in his name across the country,”

To many, CNN included, Conway’s comments sound like a threat of legal action. I believe so too. So does it appear to Senator Reid. Good to get this out in the open right off. Nice to see a little fight from the retiring Senate Minority Leader. We all should have his back since if this slips….even just a little…our right to be informed, and our right to share our conclusions with each other, our legislators, and our President will be a risk. We lose that, and we have lost our democracy. We all need to be on watch.

 

Manufacturing Coming Back?

In the midst of the Carrier deal as well as the long election lead up op on manufacturing, here are a couple thoughts.

Look at the Carrier deal. Good, keeps some jobs, which pays some employees, who pay taxes, and spend. Remember your spending is my income and my spending is your income. One stops, we all lose. But a few points as part of the bargain. We know the State committed to tax breaks of $7 million. We know the jobs saved to be 730. We don’t know what was promised at the federal level at all. So we know taxpayers are paying a minimum of $9,589 per job. Not going to do all the math on the tax and economic value of that, suffice it to say there is some, even quite a bit, just not a key point here. In fact the State essentially paying to have manufacturing jobs could even be argued to be say, a bit Socialistic. Hmm. The point is we traded tax revenue.

We also have to look at the long-term trend. Not just for the U.S. but the world. There is an overall down trend over time, for both.

value-added_us

U.S. Value Added

value-added_world

World Value Added

What’s it mean is the question. Perhaps it means the profit margins are lower…labor costs, global competition, soft markets? Perhaps it means consumption is down …austerity, personal trends, death of the American Dream (I call it scheme) mentality? Perhaps it means competition from areas not measured accurately by World Bank and associated monetary systems. Or that the manufacturing heyday has long passed as theorized by some economists and is my own belief. If it’s trending downward globally as data suggests, it’s certainly not coming back to the US without some major proprietary technological or quality breakthrough regardless of what we heard during the campaign.

But it certainly makes the point that one cannot asses the value or compare the impacts of domestic jobs and/or trade policies without taking into account the global and national trends. So when we hear folks, both politicians and friends, claiming success or failure of some action (like the Carrier deal) or policy. Ask about the long-term trends. And what they think it might mean. Too easy to just parrot the party response.

Demanding Support

    Over the last couple weeks I’ve been involved in and witnessed numerous discussions both in person and on social media about how we all need to support our President elect. In many ways I share and support that sentiment. But there is a lot more to it than sentiment so here are some thoughts and examples as to why that is pretty unlikely, even impossible for many who did not vote for Mr Trump. 

    Let’s begin by stepping back in time. Back to when Mr Obama was elected to the office of the President of these United states. Until then, I had pretty much voted Republican. Not always as I have long placed issues and positions ahead of any party. But eight years ago things changed. The leaders of “my” party refused to accept Mr Obama as the peoples choice in spite of him receiving both popular vote and Electoral College majorities. It appeared to me they worked to block every effort put forth by the Administration even when those efforts were clearly for the good of the U.S. as we attempted to climb out of a major recession. Then came Mr McConnell on public television and said “Our No. 1 priority is to make this president a one-term president”.  At this point I became a registered Independent. There is no way I could associate with such a strong party over country position. I still cannot.

    We also saw for nearly all eight years of the Obama Presidency a movement to question his legitimacy called the “Birther Movement”. One of the leaders of this movement was none other than Mr Trump. He continued his questioning the birth place of President Obama right into the 2016 campaign for President. So now the left and the center are being asked to afford Mr Trump the very same respect and support he refused to provide to his predecessor. I and many others understand and support the sentiment but that will continue to be a difficult leap.

    More important than my opinion however is how folks who were already associated with the left felt, and how they feel now as they are asked to support Mr Trump. Many of these calls and critiques use  terms like “cupcake” or “snowflake” assumed to be used in a critical and/or derogatory way. Here for example is a collage of a few pictures posted on the web and other media throughout Mr Obama’s Presidency:

obama

   None of these appear indicative of right wing support for what again was the majority and Electoral College choice. Now let’s look at how one strongly left leaning writer feels about being implored to support Mr Trump. This piece speaks strongly to the very real emotions at stake in this discussion

support-trump?

    While I don’t support every statement by the author, there is enough I know to be true and enough very real emotions shared by the left community to warrant paying attention. Anyone who denigrates real people who feel this way by calling them “cupcake”, “snowflake” or demands they fall in line behind this President elect just doesn’t understand the issues and emotions. Making demands for support of which their party and their newest choice for the Presidency failed to supply just a few years ago will not be productive.

    A short time ago my wife and I were in Spain and ran into an expat who disavowed President Obama stating He’s not the President, he’s an A-rab implant, somebody needs to shoot him”. I posted this comment and threat to my Face Book page to gauge the response as most of my friends are pretty right leaning. Sadly just three people among hundreds (literally) expressed any dismay. I respect those folks a lot, and have significantly less for those who failed to show concern. Even less yet for those who failed to speak then but now ask everyone to fall in line behind Mr Trump now. Actually none. The standard is either the standard or it’s not. It’s not subjective based on which party.

    There is no doubt for me where this deep division began. While there have always been differences, we citizens have seen work across the isle by Presidents and Congress of differing parties many times. When the people speak in a true majority or the good of the country is at stake it’s imperative to compromise. It is how our government is supposed to work. The obstructionism during the Obama Administration, public critiques of the President, continued questioning of his legitimacy (up until just a few months ago by the President elect himself) and unsupported critiques of nearly every policy will be tough to overcome. Some will never forgive. As an Independent I will have a tough time. I can’t imagine how difficult, likely impossible it will be for most.

    In the end it’s a case of how high a horse right wingers want to climb up on. Most should be very careful. Those who failed to act in defense of Mr Obama during his tenure but now attempt to demand respect and support for Mr Trump will get nowhere. Those who belittle the emotions of the left after men like Mr McConnell and Mr Trump demonized “their” President will get nowhere. Perhaps there is someone, somewhere in my old party, a true leader who will come forward and state that what they did for the past eight years is wrong and proffer an apology. Perhaps there is someone who will at least acknowledge how and why the left feels as the author above describes. Or perhaps they will simply continue to gloat in victory, address the left as “snowflakes” and demand support. I know how I will react to any of those. As a retired combat veteran I will always support my country, but I will not fall in line like another sheep behind Mr Trump after the actions I witnessed by both him and his party.

Republicans failing to at least acknowledge their own divisive actions will continue deepen the divide.

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