Monthly Archives: January 2017

ACA–Listening Now?

For years the GOP has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Last week Mr Trump vowed “the people will never be ignored again”. As of today’s Quinnipiac University National Poll the people have spoken:

“Only 16 percent of voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress should repeal all of the ACA, while 51 percent say repeal parts of the law and 30 percent say don’t repeal any of the ACA, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.”

Here’s the visual depiction of the Quinnipiac survey results: Poll on Repealing Obamacare

No genius required to see the two positions are mutually exclusive. Either the GOP/Trump combo can ignore the people, or ignore their long-term vow to repeal the ACA.

While we’re here, they also asked several questions regarding Planned Parenthood funding and abortion.

“In a question with no mention of abortion, American voters oppose 62 – 31 percent cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.”

And they found “American voters agree 70 – 26 percent with the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.”

What’s it going to be: The people, or the ideology.

Women’s March Follow Up

Two issues here relative to yesterdays march. One offering thoughts for success from a dear friend who has tremendous personal experience with past labor movements. The second points out the stupidity of some objections to the event.

I received a note from a friend last night talking about my post, the march, and his experience with anti-establishment movements, and he has lots of experience. He pointed out the idea and the march itself were good things. But there were few demands:

“There was no demand for jobs, public works, the right to organize, single payer healthcare, free child care, relief from student debt, a living minimum wage and living social security payments or any economic issues what so ever.. There was no demand to prosecute the Wall Street swindlers and law breakers. The march was basically a march for “classless”, women’s’ identity politics. I’m sure it felt good to be there. But there wasn’t much there there. Working class women’s and working class needs were pretty much ignored.”

He continued with a key point:

“Therefore, in the end this vague protest march will accomplish very little unless serious organizers are able to use it to begin the fight for the needs of all the American people and the working class in particular. Economic equality is the prerequisite for gender and race equality. You cannot have women’s’ or race or ethnic equality without economic equality.”

He’s right. That doesn’t take anything away from what was one of, if not the, largest mass peaceful protests ever in this country. And the march was about women’s rights. But his thoughts point out the question of, and need for what to do now, next? How to use the mass of power demonstrated yesterday to do more than identify a strong voting block? How to mold that energy into the actions needed for women’s, or race or ethnic equality on the front we care about? Economics, healthcare, education, living wages, and social security are the foundation blocks to make women’s rights  happen as this march stood for. I like the demonstration yesterday. My friends point, a stand will have to be taken and not backed away from if those ideals are to be enacted.

Second issue hits objections floating about today on social medWhat Rightsia. Here is one of the gems posted by several acquaintances. The point as best as I can understand is that you can’t defend a right until it is taken or lost. Intent to discredit the women’s movement. Sorry, that just doesn’t fly. The smart, the prepared, the one’s read and educated in the history of the man, and the history of our elected representation all are smarter to defend than to have to regain lost rights after-the-fact. But there is one more twist. Two of the folks who re-posted this meme worked as I did in my former life, in the business protecting and defending our governments resources. Weapons to be more exact, with a capital W.

Our past jobs indicate the ignorance of this meme. Every day, every night, every hour, year after year, after year, men and women stood watch to make sure these resources were not lost.  One of the re-posters became a leader of those who stood watch. Everyone from the bottom of the chain to the President agreed it was smarter to defend than to have to regain a lost resource after-the-fact. Same for rights. Anyone saying otherwise is driven by a questionable double standard.

Well done protesters to prepare and take a stand now than later.

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.

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