Nel's New Day

October 20, 2018

GOP, DDT Try to Pull Cons

As midterm election fever ramps up, the Republicans become more desperate with the thought of losing. Because over half the population supports the Affordable Care Act, GOP candidates and their leader Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) have decided to pretend that they support coverage of pre-existing conditions on all health insurance.

Last Thursday, DDT tweeted:

“All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”

These GOP candidates claiming to supported coverage of pre-existing conditions voted against the Affordable Care Act, and some of them are involved in legal challenges to the law. With his executive order to change the ACA, DDT already permitted insurance companies to not allow pre-existing conditions. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that the GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act after the midterms and reduce Medicare to cover ballooning deficits from deep tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. The underlying GOP goal is to strip almost everyone in the United States of any safety net while taking all power and giving the nation’s resources to the wealthiest and big business.

In another serious problem for DDT, the horrific scandal of a reporter’s murder in Turkey won’t disappear. Saudi Arabia commonly kills dissidents, but the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is unique: he was a U.S. resident who was tortured, dismembered, and murdered in an embassy on foreign soil. DDT is also supporting Saudi Arabia in its fantasy explanation of the murder, appearing to act as a PR person for the Saudi royalty. Vali R. Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said:

“This is a drastic break from American practice. It signals a very different foreign policy that does not hold governments accountable for things that are outside normal legal or ethical parameters. In effect, the U.S. is setting a new standard for itself.”

Vladimir Putin is well aware of the new standard for the U.S. that represents a double standard—punish Russia for its killing of a Russian but reward Saudi Arabia for its killing of a U.S. resident. DDT has been very clear, however, that he won’t hold foreign countries accountable for human rights, and now that lack of concern impacts a murdered U.S. resident with three U.S. citizen children. Not addressing Khashoggi’s murder removes the U.S. from the high ground when China tells the West to stop its false regard for human rights.

In addition to taking Saudi’s assurance that Khashoggi’s death came from a “fist-fight,” DDT is accepting Putin’s guarantee that Russia didn’t interfere in U.S. elections and Kim Jong-Un’s pledge that North Korea will denuclearize. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the U.S. policy of “trust but verify” has been changed to “trust but look away.”

Conservative commentator Max Book wrote about DDT:

“This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the ‘unbelievable job’ he was doing ‘on the drug problem,’ congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy, and declared his ‘love’ for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes about Kim’s catalogue of crime — ‘repression, gulags, starvation’ — Trump was dismissive. ‘I get along with him really well,’ Trump said. ‘I have a good energy with him.’ He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in ‘assassinations’ and ‘poisonings.’ He probably is, Trump conceded — but ‘it’s not in our country,’ so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.”

Boot concluded:

“This is a good time to be a dictator — and a dangerous time to be a dissident. Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the American reaction.”

Saudi Arabia has been paying for positive PR in the U.S. since 15 of 19 plane hijackers in the attack on the U.S. were Saudi nationals, but the amount of money poured into its effort escalated in 2017 to $27.3 million in lobbying alone after DDT’s inauguration to $27.3 million in lobbying alone. More money was given to universities, think tanks, and over 100 people registered as Saudi foreign agents in the U.S. who contacted media outlets over 500 times. The Saudis also had 45 contracts with FARA-registered firms. Agents contacted officials at the State Department almost 100 times in 2017 and over 200 congressional members with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) the most contacted. These congressional members received $390,496 for campaigns. In 2018, Saudi lobbyists fought to defeat a House bill that would end U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, asking them to ignore the 10,000 civilians who were killed in Yemen.

DDT has been very upfront about how he is selling himself and the U.S. to gain money from the Saudis. And he has the blessing of fundamentalist Christians. Televangelist Pat Robertson wants people to “cool” it about the torture, dismemberment, and killing of Jamal Khashoggi because he’s just “one journalist.” What would Jesus do, according to Robertson? Profit from that probably nonexistant $100 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia so that they can kill thousands more civilians.

One reason that people voted for DDT was their belief that he is a great businessman. The New York Time researched proved that claim to be a myth, but he’s still bragging about his wonderful economy. Despite his cheerleading, cracks are appearing—the lowest housing sales in three years, retail sales down for the past two years, a volatile stock market, an increase in trade market deficits—some of the same signs that led to the deep recession of 2008, especially the falling housing prices that were the first evidence. George W. Bush failed to see the warning signs in 2006, just as DDT’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow thinks that the U.S. is booming. A few months before everyone became well aware of the 2008 recession, Kudlow said, “There is no recession coming.” Four months later, he wrote “The Therapeutic Power of Recessions.”

That recession didn’t have the problem of tariffs. A trade war with the U.S. already prompted luxury-car makers BMW AG and Daimler AG to warn about lower profits while Chinese consumers staying away from showrooms forced Jaguar Land Rover to temporarily shut a factory. Sales to Chinese dealerships fell for a third month in September. Steve Man, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said that this slump may be the biggest that auto manufacturers experienced in China, the world’s largest car market. GM, VW, and Honda are also decreasing in deliveries, and carmakers may have to close factories.

DDT promised to balance the budget in one year. He didn’t. The deficit blew up to $898 billion in the 11 months through August, exceeding the Congressional Budget Office’s forecast for the first full fiscal year after DDT was inaugurated. DDT’s deficit for the 11 months was one-third higher than the $674 billion for the same time during the previous year. While revenue gained one percent to about $3 trillion, spending rose by seven percent to almost $3.9 trillion. Thanks to the new COP tax cut law, revenue from corporations dropped $71 billion from a year before to $163 billion. The annual budget for President Obama’s last three years was $500 billion. Thanks to the GOP and DDT’s law and policies, the nation’s debt is growing out of control.

DDT’s family con jobs seem to have trickled down to son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has paid almost no income tax from 2009 to 2016 while quintupling his assets to almost $324 million. For example, in 2015, he made $1.7 million but declared $8.3 million in losses from his self-identified “significant depreciation” on real estate because the law allows scams with decline values on the books as properties appreciate. DDT, however, participated in illegal fraud to hide his and his family’s fortune from taxes.

DDT is so unpopular that the Trump name has been removed from a seventh building since DDT’s election, this one a condo tower at 200 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan. Almost 70 percent of owners voted to take down the name after they were threatened with legal action 18 months ago when they made the decision. A judge ruled that the signage could go that’s what the residents wanted.

The Trump Ocean Club Panama also ripped DDT’s name off its sign after it evicted the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump had lied about the number of units sold although the involvement of shell companies created difficulty in identifying why buyers had backed out. DDT’s family made millions on just this one project, an example of their system to lure investors into building projects and then walk away with the money when the projects collapse.

With his gullible base, DDT treats the United States like one of his scams, but most of us have no solution when he takes the money and leaves us bankrupt. And Congress will let DDT carry out his plans unless the electorate stops the GOP from controlling Congress. During the past half centuries, all the recessions have occurred while the president was a Republican with a supportive Congress.

March 19, 2018

Data Mining Elected DDT, ‘Corrected’ the Stock Market

Stock markets have been drastically dropping during the past six weeks although sometimes crawling upward only to drop again. Today, the closing Dow Jones as over 2,000 points below February 5 with “corrections by Facebook and tech investments. While investors try to guess why stocks lose ground, today’s loss in Facebook—as much as seven percent at times—was clearly from the problems in a company working to control the win of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in the presidential election.

With the help of Russian oligarchs and officials, multi-billionaire Robert Mercer bought the presidency for DDT, and Mercer’s political-data firm Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in this success by targeting people’s emotional needs with information from social media. Last Friday night at the same time that AG Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, Facebook admitted that Cambridge lied about deleting Facebook user data obtained from Facebook in violation of the social network’s policies.

A detailed Facebook post stated that Russian-American psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, obtained 50 million Facebook users’ information in 2014 with his app “thisisyourdigitallife.” Kogan collected data from people and their friends who took that quiz. Only 270,000 people took the quiz, but Kogan gathered data on another 50 million people from network connections. He promised that the data was exclusively for research purposes and then sent the data to Cambridge Analytica for political purposes. The company funded his app for $800,000, and the Russian government also paid Kogan for his research into the psychology of specific Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica was also involved in the Leave.EU leading to the success of the Brexit vote for separating Britain from the European Union.

Cambridge’s control over voters comes from its “psychographic” targeting that creates psychological profiles to “effectively engage and persuade voters using specially tailored language and visual ad combinations” that appeal to each person on an emotional level. Kogan claimed that his data predicted individual neuroticism, political views, agreeableness, and interests in subjects such as militarism, horoscopes, and the environment that could be used for targeting voters. Cambridge built profiles by maximizing the use of “up to 5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters,” according to the company’s website.

In August 2016 when Cambridge was targeting voters without their knowledge for DDT’s campaign, Facebook said it was deleting the collected data but didn’t tell Facebook users that GOP operatives were in possession of their data. Kogan’s company Global Science Research had paid people $1 or $2 in 2014 to complete its quiz and required that they download an app and share data about themselves and their social network. Facebook let app developers access data, such as their friends’ names and personal information about both themselves and their network. In 2015, Facebook claimed to receive certification that Kogan, Cambridge Analytica, and founder of Cambridge Christopher Wylie had destroyed all data collected by the quiz. They didn’t.

Wylie, a data analyst for Cambridge, shared the company’s activities with The New York Times and London’s The Observer in addition with UK cybercrime investigators. Former employees and contractors of Cambridge maintain that the company still possesses all or most of the data. In an interview on Today this morning, Wylie said that Cambridge worked with Corey Lewandowski, DDT’s first campaign manager, and Steve Bannon in 2015. Wylie described the method that Cambridge used:

“This data was used to create profiling algorithms that would allow us to explore mental vulnerabilities of people and then map out ways to inject information into different streams or channels of content online so that people started to see things that may or may not be true. This is a company that took fake news to the next level.”

Facebook blocked Wylie, and he retorted:

“Suspended by Facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years.”

Tracking responses to social media messages in real time showed the locations where DDT should go and the words that his audience would want to hear. Bannon said just before DDT’s election:

“I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine. Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

Theresa Hong, an IT member of DDT’s campaign, told BBC in an interview last year, “Without Facebook, we wouldn’t have won.” She explained how a working mother could be targeted with information about child care instead of war with a more “warm and fuzzy” ad without DDT’s voice. She said, “It wasn’t uncommon to have about 35 to 45 thousand iterations of these types of ads everyday.”

Cambridge emerged in Robert Mueller’s investigation last December through its employee emails that revealed the FEC violations about non-U.S. people working on political campaigns. Cambridge’s CEO, Nix, is British, and many of the company’s employees are European or Canadian. In its Russian connections, Cambridge contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in June 2016, and the DDT campaign started paying Cambridge in July–almost $9 million by the end of the campaign.

In now-deleted tweets, Facebook’s head of security, Alex Stamos, tried to justify Kogan’s actions by stating that he “didn’t break into any systems, bypass technical controls, or use a flaw in our system to gather more data than allowed.” Yet Facebook did not permit Kogan to give data to a voter-targeting operation.

An undercover reporter has video of  Cambridge CEO Nix who suggested that his company could use honey traps and bribery to discredit politicians. In defining “deep digging,” Nix said that a way to target someone is to “offer them a deal that’s too good to be true and make sure that’s video recorded” and “send some girls around to the candidate’s house…” He added that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well.” Nix said, “I’m just giving you examples of what can be done and what has been done.”

Mercer has largely stayed out of the limelight while he funds Cambridge Analytica, which keeps a shell company in the United States, and he pours his money into electing nationalist candidates. Former CEO of the investment firm Renaissance Technologies, Mercer was also a main funder of Breitbart News and the biggest donor to DDT-supporting Super PACs. Steve Bannon was VP of Cambridge Analytica while he chaired Breitbart News but quit to join DDT’s campaign. Bannon is gone from the White House, but Kellyanne Conway, close friend of Mercer’s daughter Rebecca and creator of the term “alternative news,” stayed.

Some of Mercer’s beliefs:

  • During the 1990s, Hillary Clinton used the CIA for drug trafficking.
  • Blacks were better off economically before the civil rights movement.
  • The only racists in the U.S. now are black, not white.
  • The U.S. should have stripped Iraq of oil.
  • Radiation outside the immediate blast zones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Japanese people healthier.
  • Nuclear accidents aren’t any big deal.
  • Climate change would cause future generations to “enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life,” as Art Robinson wrote.
  • The U.S. should return to the gold standard.
  • (And many more wacky, radially far-right conspiracy theories.)

Mercer used Breitbart.com as a weapon to promote negative stories about Hillary Clinton that got the most clicks and likes. He put his daughter, Rebekah, on DDT’s transition team where she picked people for top government jobs including Cabinet positions. Her push for John Bolton as Secretary of State failed, but now he’s being considered for national security adviser. She was also behind Michael Flynn’s selection for that job. On the board of Cambridge, Rebekah Mercer plans to stay there.

Elizabeth Denham, Britain’s information commissioner, plans to apply for a warrant to access Cambridge’s servers because the company has not cooperated with her investigation into its illegal activities. The EU and Democrat officials in the U.S. have joined her in demands for further investigation. Republicans, some of whom used Cambridge in their elections such as Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Thom Tillis (NC), are mostly staying quiet about the problem.

Cambridge Analytica wasn’t totally responsible for the loss in investment value today: under a new chairman, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates with another two increases planned before the midterm elections. Rational influences on DDT from former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn are gone, replaced by Mike Pompeo who wants to go to war and Larry Kudlow who is usually wrong about economics. Add to that DDT’s rabid tweets against special investigator Robert Mueller last weekend, and the nation has plunged into an uncertainty that frightens investors.

As for data mining, the future may bring regulations.

November 8, 2017

A Very Different Kind of Election Day

Just one year ago today, the presidential election created a nation of either depressed or angry—or both—people. Yesterday was another election, and a day of firsts for people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and Democrats.

Virginia is the poster state for the most wins. DDT supporters who ran on the “nationalistic” agenda of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) lost in droves starting with the governor. Democrat Ralph Northam was supposedly even with GOP Ed Gillespie going into the election but came out winning by nine percent.  Democrats Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring beat conservative Republicans for lieutenant governor and attorney general by over five percent and almost seven percent respectively. Fairfax’s opponent sponsored a bill to force women to have vaginal ultrasounds before having abortions, and Herring’s opponent fought his refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on marriage equality.

Republicans worked hard to move Ed Gillespie into the position of governor. DDT’s robo calls supporting Ed Gillespie (VA) went out to voters all day before his loss. Sour grapes from the loss, however, caused DDT to tweet that Gillespie “did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Gillespie’s loss was also one for white supremacist and former DDT aide Steve Bannon who had stated before the election:

“I think the big lesson for Tuesday is that, in Gillespie’s case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that’s the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”

While those robo calls were going out to voters in Virginia, DDT’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted to his 2.2 followers that they should vote for Ed Gillespie today, not yesterday on Election Day, and did it twice—once in his initial tweet and the second time in his “correction.”

More impressive than Northam winning the governor’s seat, however, was the turnover in Virginia’s House of Delegates, one of two chambers in the state’s General Assembly. Republicans went into the election with a majority of 66-34. Thus far they have lost at least 15 seats, and another five of them are in play. Of the 15 lost seats by white men, eleven of them have been replaced by women with great diversity and firsts—the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, two Latinas, an openly lesbian, and the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative office in the nation. Danica Roem defeated self-proclaimed “chief homophobe” Bob Marshall who promoted the “potty police” law which would have banned Roem from using the women’s bathroom.

Another of the 15 Democratic winners for Virginia’s House of Delegates is Chris Hurst who ran for the office after his girlfriend was shot and killed on live television two years ago. He ran on a pro-commonsense gun reform campaign against someone with an A+ rating from the NRA.

Next year gives Democrats a chance to pick up more members in the House of Delegates if a court challenge of legislative district maps requires special elections, and all 100 seats are on the ballot again in 2019. All the seats are also up for grabs in 2019 in the Senate where the GOP has a 21-19 majority. Even if Democrats fall short of taking control of the chamber this year, they see a potential for additional pickups next year, if a court challenge of legislative district maps forces special elections, and in 2019 when all 100 seats are on the ballot again.

New Jersey saw another gubernatorial win for Democrats after Philip D. Murphy defeated Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who ran on a platform of cutting property taxes. Guadagno’s boss, Gov. Chris Christie, has an approval rating of 14 percent. Each chamber of the solidly Democratic New Jersey legislature may have added at least one member and perhaps more. New Jersey and Washington now make seven states that have both Democratic governors and legislatures. Maybe Virginia will add the eighth.

Other states benefiting from a Democratic sweep:

  • Washington: Manka Dhingra won a special election which flipped the state Senate to Democrat. With that change, all three states on the west coast—California, Oregon, and Washington—have blue governors and legislatures.
  • Georgia:  Democrats flipped three GOP-held legislative seats which broke the GOP super-majority in the state Senate.
  • New Hampshire:  Erika Connors became the fourth New Hampshire Democrat to flip a Republican seat blue in special elections this year.

Other achievements yesterday:

  • Andrea Jenkins is now the first openly trans woman of color elected any public office in the U.S. after her victory to become a Minneapolis city councilor.
  • Democrat Ashley Bennett won a seat as a freeholder in Atlantic County, New Jersey. She ran because the incumbent joked about whether the Women’s March would be “over in time for them to cook dinner.” 
  • Sheila Oliver has become New Jersey’s first woman black lieutenant governor.
  • Vi Lyles defeated a Republican to be the first woman black mayor of Charlotte (NC).
  • Ravinder Bhalla became the city’s first Sikh mayor in Hoboken (NJ) despite the smear campaign calling him a terrorist.
  • Wilmot Collins is the first black mayor in Montana’s history; he came to Helena 12 years ago as a refugee from Liberia.
  • Tyler Titus’ win for a seat on the Erie School Board makes him the first openly transgender person to be elected in the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Melvin Carter has been elected the first black mayor of St. Paul (MN).
  • Jenny Durkan became the first out lesbian elected mayor of Seattle (WA) as well as the first woman to take that position in 96 years. She takes over on November 28 after the resignation of Ed Murray, a gay man who was accused of sexually abusing younger men. Durkan won by 61 percent.
  • Women took all six appeals court seats in Pennsylvania that were on the ballot.
  • Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid to 70,000 of the state’s residents with a 59-percent majority in the first state to bring the Affordable Care Act to a state with a referendum. (Maine Gov. Paul LePage is threatening to block the vote.)
  • And more!

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote about how Northam and Murphy were “unfit” for their new offices because of their lack of reality-show experience.

Republicans deny that yesterday’s elections create any problems for GOP elections, but their feeling of desperation is manifested in an increasingly frantic attempt to pass the tax bill that favors the rich and penalizes everyone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the blue wave makes passing legislation even more urgent. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said,  “If you don’t get [tax reform] done, you’re guaranteed a bad midterm.” [Photo: AP/Scott Applewhite – Cole above right with Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said that the largest number of Democratic votes yesterday came from the suburbs, the same place that will suffer the most from DDT’s tax cuts.

The House has spent three days tweaking the bill and plan to continue tomorrow because the scoring shows a $1.7 trillion deficit. An amendment created a $74 billion hole by reversing a 20-percent excise tax on transactions between subsidiaries of multinational corporations. The Senate also plans to come out with its own bill tomorrow before the House has a chance to vote on a bill that doesn’t yet exist to keep from needing 60 votes to pass the bill.

At least two senators and 18 representatives have declared that they will not be running for re-election next year. All are Republicans. Get ready for November 6, 2018.

December 18, 2016

Electoral College Votes Tomorrow

Religious faith is turning electoral voters against Donald Trump (DT) after 80 percent of the evangelical world supported him before the election. One so-called “faithless elector” in the Electoral College, Christopher Suprun, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he said that he would vote for someone else than DT. Texas state law permits him to do so. The Republican called DT unfit for office:

 “Given [Trump’s] own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”

Suprun detailed his concerns about DT such as his promotion of violence against Trump-protesters, his choice of advisers he writes. Asked if his faith influenced his decision to vote against Trump, the Roman Catholic paramedic and former firefighter said, “Of course.” He added that he learned from his faith that “it is allowable to choose the lesser of two evils.”

A former Texas electoral voter, Art Sisernos, stepped down from the Electoral College because supporting Trump would “bring dishonor to God,” but he couldn’t break his pledge to the Texas GOP to vote for the Republican candidate. A number of electoral voters struggling between their political requirements and their faith are Mormons who see DT as an opponent of the U.S. Constitution.

The members of the Electoral College lobbying for casting ballots for a moderate GOP instead of DT call themselves “Hamilton Electors,” referring to the constitutional process of voting for the president. In a Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College should be an “intermediate body” that’s less exposed to the people’s “heats and ferments.”

Hamilton Electors argue that DT is a threat to U.S democracy because of his unfit temperament as a tyrant and demagogue, his threat to world peace and closeness to Russia, and his corruption with his personal dealings. Another argument is that the Founding Fathers envisioned the electors preventing “an irresponsible demagogue from taking office,” according to Atlantic’s Peter Beinart.

In the Electoral College, the 538 people selecting the President of the United States (two senators plus the number of representatives from each state plus another three from Washington, D.C.) cast ballots tomorrow.  Twenty-nine states require these “electoral voters” to select the person who the state chose in its popular vote. Maine and Nebraska are the only states to not vote in a block for the popular vote; they divide the vote based on the percentage of the votes for president in the state. The votes are read in a special joint session of Congress on January 6 when the official winner is declared.

Seuss satires took over Twitter in October. Here is a recent one from John Pavlovitz, a pastor in Raleigh.

trump-seuss

HOW THE TRUMP STOLE AMERICA

john-pavlovitzIn a land where the states are united, they claim,

in a sky-scraping tower adorned with his name,

lived a terrible, horrible, devious chump,

the bright orange miscreant known as the Trump.

 

This Trump he was mean, such a mean little man,

with the tiniest heart and two tinier hands,

and a thin set of lips etched in permanent curl,

and a sneer and a scowl and contempt for the world.

 

He looked down from his perch and he grinned ear to ear,

and he thought, “I could steal the election this year!

It’d be rather simple, it’s so easily won,

I’ll just make them believe that their best days are done!

Yes, I’ll make them believe that it’s all gone to Hell,

and I’ll be Jerk Messiah and their souls they will sell.

 

And I’ll use lots of words disconnected from truth,

but I’ll say them with style so they won’t ask for proof.

I’ll toss out random platitudes, phrases, and such,

They’re so raised on fake news that it won’t matter much!

They won’t question the how to, the what, why, or when,

I will make their America great once again!”

 

The Trump told them to fear, they should fear he would say,

“They’ve all come for your jobs, they’ll all take them away.

You should fear every Muslim and Mexican too,

every brown, black, and tan one, everyone who votes blue.”

 

And he fooled all the Christians, he fooled them indeed,

He just trotted out Jesus, that’s all Jesus folk need.

And celebrity preachers they all crowned him as king,

Tripping over themselves just to kiss the Trump’s ring.

 

And he spoke only lies just as if they were true,

Until they believed all of those lies were true too.

He repeated and Tweeted and he blustered and spit,

And he mislead and fibbed—and he just made up sh*t.

 

And the media laughed but they printed each line,

thinking “He’ll never will win, in the end we’ll be fine.”

So they chased every headline, bold typed every claim,

‘Till the fake news and real news they looked just the same.

 

And the scared folk who listened, they devoured each word,

Yes, they ate it all up every word that they heard,

petrified that their freedom was under attack,

trusting Trump he would take their America back.

From the gays and from ISIS, he’d take it all back,

Take it back from the Democrats, fat cats, and blacks.

And so hook, line, and sinker they all took the bait,

all his lies about making America great.

 

Now the Pant-suited One she was smart and prepared,

she was brilliant and steady but none of them cared,

no they cared not to see all the work that she’d done,

or the fact they the Trump had not yet done thing one.

They could only shout “Emails!”, yes “Emails!” they’d shout,

because Fox News had told them—and Fox News had clout.

And the Pant-suited One she was slandered no end,

and a lie became truth she could never defend.

And the Trump watched it all go according to plan—

a strong woman eclipsed by an insecure man.

 

And November the 8th arrived, finally it came,

like a slow-moving storm but it came just the same.

And Tuesday became Wednesday as those days will do,

And the night turned to morning and the nightmare came true,

With millions of non-voters still in their beds,

Yes, the Trump he had done it, just like he had said.

 

And the Trumpers they trumped, how they trumped when he won,

All the racists and bigots; deplorable ones,

they crawled out from the woodwork, came out to raise Hell,

they came out to be hateful and hurtful as well.

With slurs and with road signs, with spray paint and Tweets,

with death threats to neighbors and taunts on the street.

And the grossest of grossness they hurled on their peers,

while the Trump he said zilch—for the first time in years.

 

But he Tweeted at Hamilton, he Tweeted the Times,

And he trolled Alec Baldwin a few hundred times,

and he pouted a pout like a petulant kid,

thinking this is what Presidents actually did,

thinking he could still be a perpetual jerk,

terrified to learn he had to actually work,

work for every American, not just for a few,

not just for the white ones—there was much more to do.

He now worked for the Muslims and Mexicans too,

for the brown, black, and tan ones, and the ones who vote blue.

They were all now his bosses, now they all had a say,

and those nasty pant-suited ones were here to stay.

And the Trump he soon realized that he didn’t win,

He had gotten the thing—and the thing now had him.

 

And it turned out the Trump was a little too late,

for America was already more than quite great,

not because of the sameness, the opposite’s true,

It’s greatness far more than just red, white, and blue,

It’s straight, gay, and female—it’s Gentile and Jew,

It’s Transgender and Christian and Atheist too.

It’s Asians, Caucasians of every kind,

The disabled and abled, the deaf and the blind,

It’s immigrants, Muslims, and brave refugees,

It’s Liberals with bleeding hearts fixed to their sleeves.

And we are all staying, we’re staying right here,

and we’ll be the great bane of the Trump for four years.

And we’ll be twice as loud as the loudness of hate,

be the greatness that makes our America great.

And the Trump’s loudest boasts they won’t ever obscure,

over two million more of us—voted for her.

 

You can see Pavlovitz’s latest post about DT here and follow his blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said.

December 9, 2016

Electing Trump Hurts ‘Working-Class White Trump Voter’

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 2:43 PM
Tags: , ,

The recent Brexit vote resulted in regret among many of those people who voted in favor of it because they thought it would never pass. Voters for Donald Trump (DT) were convinced that he would be elected, but, like the Brexit voters, they are beginning to feel remorse because they believed in his promises. Those days have rapidly dissipated since November 9. There’s even a website that reports the tweets from all those DT supporters who now realize that they made a stupid decision on Election Day. Samplings of these include Deplorable Jeff—yes, that’s what he calls himself—who rejoiced in his success. The Twitter bio for this life member of the NRA reads, “We did it! The country spoke. This election was about saving The Forgotten Man!” Yet he now worries about losing Medicare to vouchers and writes, “Y would Ryan/Price jeopardize health of seniors/disabled??” Trump supporter John Harrison tweeted, “I regret voting 4 U because u chose a woman who will defund public education.” Joe Walsh and Sarah Palin, former arch DT supporters, are now crying about his refusal to follow their definition of capitalism—crony capitalism, to quote Palin.

NEW YORK, NY - February 27: Behind the scenes at MSNBC. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/ Reportage by Getty Images)

 (Photo by Charles Ommanney)

Joy Reid, MSNBC’s match for Rachel Maddow, has written a letter to “Working-Class White Trump Voter.” Excerpts follow:

“You’re probably going to read this as sour grapes, and I certainly am sour about a family of kleptocrats moving into the White House because 80,000 of your votes in states that get more federal tax dollars than they put in trump 2.7 million of ours, even though we carry you financially, and California and New York could function just fine as our own countries, without you.

“But the reality is, I do live in a blue state. My governor and mayor are Democrats. Undocumented immigrants are safe where I live. Two of my kids attend a private college, so they wouldn’t have gotten free tuition anyway, and the third goes to a really good public school, where they teach science. I have a job (actually, multiple jobs) that can’t be outsourced to Mexico. And I’ll probably get a tax cut. So I’ll be fine over the next four years, as long as I don’t encounter an angry cop who’s had a bad day. But allow me to be blunt, since I don’t have any desire to pander to you, and it wouldn’t work to pander to you anyway.

“You voted for Donald Trump, thinking that he was on your side; that he will save your jobs and your way of life, whatever you imagine that is. Well, you got played. Over the course of his decades in business, Donald Trump has never given a damn about people like you. When he tore down the old Bonwit Teller building—where my Jamaican godmother was one of the few black women allowed to work as a cashier in the 1960s (her big claim to fame was meeting Troy Donahue)—to build Trump Tower, Trump used undocumented white laborers, mostly Polish, to do it. When his company forced them to work in deplorable, dangerous conditions and even failed to pay them the meager wages they were promised and they complained, Trump threatened to have them deported.

“Trump built Trump Tower using mob concrete, not Bethlehem steel. In fact, he has rarely used American steel in the few buildings he’s actually built; opting for Chinese steel instead. That includes two of his last three projects: the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Then again, Nevada and Illinois voted with us in the anti-Trump majority, so the joke wasn’t exactly on them.

“Now, your supposed hero of the working class, the ‘blue collar billionaire’ who you insisted both during the campaign and afterward heard you, understood you, spoke to you, and cared about you, is attacking one of you. Trump used his Twitter account this week to savage United Steelworkers 1999 of Indiana and its president, Chuck Jones, an ordinary working man who dared to tell the truth about the phony Carrier deal that the media shamefully allowed Trump to ride to glowing headlines and boosted poll numbers.

“To review, Trump used his Twitter feed to credit himself for saving 1,100 jobs at Indiana furnace and air conditioning manufacturer Carrier. In fact, it was still-governor Mike Pence, Trump’s soon-to-be vice president, who cut the deal to hand over $7 million in state tax abatements to Carrier in exchange for delaying the movement of 770 jobs to the company’s new plant in Monterrey, Mexico. That move, over the next three years, and the shutdown of the Indianapolis plant, is still planned. Another 300 white collar jobs Trump claimed credit for, meaning researchers and administrators, not steel workers, were not being moved to Mexico in the first place. And an additional 600 jobs at that plant, plus 700 at a plant in nearby Huntington, Indiana, plus 350 more at a ball bearings factory owned by Rexnord Corp., are still being shipped south of the border.

“Meanwhile, despite the willingness of the incoming Trump-Pence administration to bribe a company with your tax dollars, there’s no guarantee that the small number of jobs saved are more than temporary. For all you know, Carrier only agreed to delay moving those 770 jobs until Christmas, to get the good press. And unlike President Obama’s deal to save literally millions of auto industry jobs in 2009, there’s no agreement for Carrier to pay taxpayers back with interest.

“When Jones pointed out that Trump used Carrier employees as props and ‘lied his ass off’ about the jobs he was supposedly saving, Trump got mad. He tweeted at Jones, blaming him, and US1999, for driving jobs out of Indiana and out of the United States. Think about that for a moment—your next president doesn’t think corporate greed and the pursuit of low wages are driving jobs out; he thinks unions are. That means he thinks your health care benefits and retirement package are the problem, not your CEO and the singular goal of ‘enhancing shareholder value’ at your expense. Sounds like a proper plutocrat to me. Well, Trump went after Mr. Jones, and now Mr. Jones is getting death threats.

“You see, Trump is ‘for’ you, as long as you’re quiet and obedient. The moment you step out of line and stop praising him, it’s on. He’ll treat you no differently from how he treated the Gold Star family, the Khans, or former Miss Universe Alicia Machado for criticizing him during the campaign. You didn’t care much about them, since they belonged to groups you were voting to sideline—the Muslims and the Hispanics you think are taking over ‘your’ country. But you might want to give a damn about Mr. Jones. Because what Trump is doing to him is a sign of things to come for you.

“Meanwhile, Trump torched the stock of another American manufacturing company, Boeing, in retaliation for its CEO criticizing him; first inflating the size of their new contract to upgrade the Air Force One fleet, and then threatening to cancel the deal altogether, which would cost American jobs and help Boeing’s only competitor: Airbus, of France.

“Trump is a big businessman. He’s your boss or CEO, not one of your brothers on the line. He is on record saying that in his view, wages in the U.S. are too high. Trump’s pick for labor secretary, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, is against raising the federal minimum wage, too.

“Trump the CEO manufacturers his tacky suits and ties in Mexico, and his daughter manufactures her clothes and shoes in China. But neither of them plans to set the example for their fellow tycoons by moving those jobs to the U.S.A. Ivanka is moving some of her production to Ethiopia. And she just struck a new production deal in Japan, while on the phone with her dad and the Japanese prime minister. The Trumps have spent exactly zero percent of their lives caring about anyone other than themselves. Don’t expect that to change now, especially since they can now enrich themselves on international bribes, courtesy of daddy’s new job.

“Trump’s threat (again via Twitter) of a 35 percent tax on companies who ship jobs overseas is complete bull. It’s never going to happen, and he knows it. It’s Congress, not the president, that moves legislation. And this Congress, which you voted for, is controlled by Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who don’t want to take the country back to the 1950s, where you want to go, but rather to the 1920s. You might want to Google “Calvin Coolidge” or order the collected works of Aldous Huxley for Christmas if you need a primer.

“Many of you voted based on the fiction that Hillary Clinton was going to take your guns—the way Barack Obama sent fleets of black helicopters to take them, right? Just pause for a moment to think about how ridiculous that sounds; sending who, the military, door to door to collect your silly firearms? Wake up, people. That idea is as foolish as the notion that before Nov. 9 you weren’t allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas.’

“So Merry Christmas, Trump voters. Your guns are safe. They always were. Instead, while Trump is entertaining you by hiring white generals named ‘Mad Dog’ to make you feel powerful again, the Republicans in Congress fully intend to take away every program that saved your parents and grandparents from the Great Depression.

“Sure, they’re coming for ‘Obamacare’ first. And you’re happy about that because you think that’s just free insurance for black ‘Obama phone’ users and so-called illegals. But it’s not. It’s the access to insurance covering 20 million people, including millions of people like you; including 400,000 of you in very-not-black Kentucky. It’s covering disabled kids and people with pre-existing conditions, many who are too sick to get insurance without it. And Ryan and his friends want to cancel it, and then take three years to replace it, probably with Ryan’s favorite thing: vouchers.

“But that’s not all. Ryan is also coming for Medicare. He wants to privatize that, too, and not for your mom and dad—they vote in midterms. He’s going to privatize it for you. So when you retire, working stiff in your forties or fifties, you’re going to get a handful of vouchers, instead of Medicare. And he’s also coming for Medicaid, to turn it into a block grant. That’s not a problem for me, since my blue state will keep caring for our poor. Your state—with its Republican governor and legislature? Not so much. Your emergency rooms are going to fill up with the sick, and your bankruptcy courts will fill up with their cases when they can’t pay the bills. And your rural hospitals are going to close.

“You’ve turned your country over the top tenth of 1 percent. Talk about ‘establishment.’ Their interest is not in helping you. It’s in further enriching themselves, by privatizing every public program—Social Security can’t be far behind—dropping the corporate and top income tax brackets as close to zero as possible, and making you pay, for everything from privatized roads owned by multinational corporations to elementary school. They’re into taking land, including our public lands and parks, or using another Trump favorite—public domain—to drill and frack, endangering your water just as surely as they poisoned Flint’s. And when they can’t steal any more from the Native Americans—who have shown they still have some fight left—they’ll come for your farms.

“In Michigan, Republicans have already gotten started. They voted to further gut unions’ ability to bargain for decent health care and retirement through the use of strikes, and congressional Republicans have already voted to strip the ‘buy American’ clause out of a bill to repair the nation’s water infrastructure.

“As for black Trump supporters, don’t be fooled. Remember when Trump said he didn’t want black people counting his money, only Jewish people? Well look at his appointments. He didn’t even respect neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson enough to insist that he take over Health and Human Services. Instead, he’s tossing the black guy in the “urban” chair.

“So good luck, Trump voters. I hope at some point you realize what’s happening and fight back. Your choices, unfortunately, do affect us all, and they will until we wake up and junk the Electoral College, which puts rural states’ zeal for Christian rule ahead of blue states’ desire for good government.

Until then, all I can do is try to warn you, and then wish you good luck.”

Thanks, Joy Reid! [Those who want more “Reid” can watch her weekday program at 2:00 pm EST on MSNBC.]

December 5, 2016

Portland Women March against Hate

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 12:10 PM
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Over 1,000 people participated in the mile-long Portland Women March against Hate last Saturday, that included live music and speeches. The signs carried by marchers showed their activism as participants addressed issues such as Portland remaining a sanctuary city and gun safety laws. The group gathered in protest of “misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, and transphobia.” Barbara Chapnick said, “My message is for Tom Price. It’s my body, my choice and get out of my vagina.”

As with any peaceful protest, the media gave the march short shrift; the Oregonian buried the event on p. 13. Fortunately, my photographer friend Ann Hubard sent me the following pictures.

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December 2, 2016

U.S. Suffers from White Male Entitlement

A virulent genetic disorder overwhelming the United States continues to pass from one generation to another. Supported by a male monotheistic religion, Christianity has increased the genetic white supremacy during the past half millennium through killing of women accused of being witches, Muslims starting with the crusades, heathens to reform them, etc. Although science identifies no racial differences, skin color has been vital to the control of the nation. “Red” Native Americans were slaughtered and still being persecuted, and “black” captives were and are enslaved and mistreated to create a fortune for the ruling—i.e., white—class. Yet columnist Charles Krauthammer mourns how “the white working class [is] left out in the cold, neglected and condescended to as both our social status and economic conditions decline.” The neglect is  no longer recognizing his “race” as being  superior.

The White Male Supremacy Violence Disease (WMSVD) controlling religion, government, education, media, military institutions, and income was threatened during the past election, and the WMSVDers fought back with a vengeance. The anger built since a black (actually biracial) man moved into the White House with his black wife and children. Hatred for him was commonly displayed in social media, emails, and tweets while the haters kept trying to convince the world that they could not possibly be racists.

Racism has permeated the country since its inception. Slaves were classified as three-fifths of a human in the U.S. Constitution, the persecution of Jim Crow started as soon as the Civil War was over, and Republicans developed the “Southern Strategy” in the late 1960s by appealing to racism in order to dominate the majority of the states in the Union. By the campaign of Donald Trump (DT), the white men’s terror that they were losing their superior entitlement guided the line of attack.

DT’s surrogates such as Rudy Guiliani and white supremacist Steve Bannon have compared his victory to that of Andrew Jackson, a wealthy slave owner nicknamed “Indian Killer”who  massacred thousands of Native Americans and killed more on a death march to clear their land for cotton plantations complete with slaves because, to Jackson, people of color weren’t human. He started the Seminole War and then fabricated “evidence” to get two British men executed in another violation of justice. Yet conservatives in the U.S. became furious when the Secretary of Treasury attempted to replace his image on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.

The so-called “neglected” white men who had to put up with a black man in the White House for eight years weren’t about to a woman lead the country. By 2016, 52 percent held a “very unfavorable” view of Hillary Clinton, 20 points higher than their “very unfavorable” view of President Obama in 2012 and 32 points higher than the percentage for this rating of the president in 2008. They delighted in DT calling for shouts of “lock her up” at the GOP convention and ensuing DT rallies–even the one this past week. Journalist Peter Beinart found these messages on merchandise at the convention:

  • Don’t be a pussy; vote for Trump in 2016.
  • Trump 2016: finally someone with balls.
  • Trump that bitch.
  • Hillary sucks but not like Monica.
  • Life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one.
  • KFC Hillary Special: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts, left wing.

And more with highly disgusting visuals.

Research reveals that the emasculation that most feared by men  is subordination to women, and women who need traditional gender roles are also afraid of male subordination. Both genders judge women more harshly than powerful men. Males are prized for being ambitious, but ambitious women engender “feelings of moral outrage” such as contempt, anger, and disgust.

Jennifer Berdahl of the University of British Columbia found that women who “deviated from traditional gender roles—by occupying a ‘man’s’ job or having a ‘masculine’ personality” were disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment. The same harassment occurs when women even propose that she might violate traditional gender roles. In southern cities, locations where more men maintain traditional gender perspectives, higher rates of male-on-female murder occur with greater economic equality between men and women.

In the United States, people who “completely agree” that society is becoming “too soft and feminine” were more than four times as likely to have a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton as those who “completely disagree.” And DT’s supporters believed that the U.S. isn’t “tough” enough.

Clinton is highly popular when she isn’t campaigning, when she’s actually in an office. And she was most popular when she played the traditional role of “First Lady” and then serving a male president as Secretary of State. As a president, however, she would have been one of the “illegitimate authorities.” People attacked her for trying, and she became increasingly defensive. Past experience taught her than admitting a mistake armed her enemies, and she became paranoid—probably because people really were out to get her.

People blamed President Obama for increasing racism in the country, but his position gave whites “the perceived moral license to express more critical attitudes about minorities,” according to a study. With Clinton no longer a threat, white men will know that they have again achieved a greater level of superiority.

For 50 years, Clinton worked to achieve her goal to help people by complying with traditional gender norms—changing her last name to match her husband, changing her hair, being more submissive, etc., etc. Yet the media and their readers still focused on her glasses, her pantsuits, her increasing weight, her voice, etc. She worked across the aisle and forgave the criticism, moving forward.

The “common scold” laws punishing only women during the colonial days of America for quarreling have quietly continued into the 21st century. It continues with describing women’s mannerisms as scolding, shrill, slutty, weak—including DT’s references to women as a pig or dog. Any woman who asserts herself—especially when running for president—is too loud or ambitious or brash.

White male entitlement was obvious during the NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum earlier this year. Facilitator Matt Lauer interrupted Clinton far more than DT, asked her more challenging questions, and questioned her answers more often. This behavior follows studies about interruptions in conversations and other negative treatment of women.

Democrats have spent the past three weeks trying to analyze the reasons that Clinton lost—racism, need for jobs, a weak Democratic presidential candidate, problems such as Clinton’s emails, accepting money for speeches from Wall Street, supporting trade deals and the Iraq War in the past, etc. Their primary objections, however, were to her personality, blaming her for being arrogant and not friendly enough. Trump was overwhelmingly arrogant, not friendly, and obnoxious. But he’s a white man.

White males now want to take over the Democratic party because they think women cannot win. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio tried to oust California’s Nancy Pelosi as House Dem leader because he thinks she has the “wrong message.” He wants to concentrate on jobs “because we’re not talking about the kind of things that are on people’s minds.” Ryan says that no one cares about the Zika virus, possibly the next health epidemic, and accuses Pelosi of not being able to talk with the “beer-drinking” union members.

As of today, Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by 2.5 million despite the constant battering from Congress, the media, and members of her own party. She is the only presidential candidate to be openly opposed by the FBI–the weeks immediately before the election–and the Russian government. She ran against a candidate with no moral compass who lied 80 percent of the time and made promises that he knew he wouldn’t keep the other 20 percent. And she ran in the first presidential election since the Supreme Court wiped out laws to stop voter suppression.

Across the country, GOP-controlled states stopped low-income voters from exercising their freedom to vote: North Carolina would have been hers if the GOP governor had not stopped minority voters in 18 of 100 counties from early voting; Wisconsin would have gone for her if officials had not illegally kept low-income voters from getting IDs; Florida would have been a Clinton state if minorities had not been kept from the polls by intimidation; Texas might have been competitive if officials had not lied to low-income people about their eligibility to vote; etc. And Democrats could have taken over the House if not for the gerrymandering after the 2010 GOP takeover.

Scottie Hughes, Trump surrogate, claims that facts are “an idea of an opinion,” that “there’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.” During his campaign, DT continually promised that he would keep Carrier in the United States when the Indiana-based air conditioning and heating systems maker threatened to take 1,400- jobs to Mexico. People voted for DT because of his promises, but he said this week that he didn’t remember saying that. He also promised that he wouldn’t pay off companies to stay. Yet Carrier gets $7 million from Indiana’s taxpayers to keep 1,000 jobs—how long no one knows—while Carrier sends another 1,000 to Mexico. Yet DT said that he didn’t really make this promise, that it was “a euphemism.” People voted for DT because he made this “euphemism.”

The United States is a culture of white male entitlement. Those who put up with Barack Obama in the White House decided that they wouldn’t let a female take over when President Obama left. And now the white males of the Democratic party are deciding to throw women under the bus in hopes that they can take back the country.

November 9, 2016

Time to Clean Closets, Enjoy Friends

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 7:29 PM
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Last night I didn’t sleep much. I’m guessing that millions of people didn’t sleep much either. Fortunately, a friend had dropped off several library books, and I spent several hours reading them. By this morning, I decided that I couldn’t do anything today about Donald Trump’s election, and I needed to take care of myself. My resolution was that this is the first day of the rest of my life, and I’m going to have a good life. For the rest of the day, I cleaned closets and the garage, taking some time out to talk to a distraught friend about the disaster of watching Trump try to destroy the people in the United States for the next four years.

My friend wasn’t ready to give up her anger and grief while we were on the telephone, but she sent me the following piece from Garrison Keillor in the Washington Post. She wrote, “Sounds a little like what you were saying.” Keillor no longer broadcasts his radio program, Prairie Home Companion, that he started over 40 years ago, and he no longer has a regular syndicated column. But he has given me this comfort in a difficult time.

garrison-keillor“Pollsters in the presidential election seem to have gone awry. Several months of polls predicted Hillary Clinton would be elected president, by winning support in key states. While Clinton started out strong, evidence shows pollsters tend to underestimate conservative voters. Trump gained support in key swing states, becoming America’s 45th president.

“So he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president. We are so exhausted from thinking about this election, millions of people will take up leaf-raking and garage cleaning with intense pleasure. We liberal elitists are wrecks. The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting “Lock her up” — we elitists just stood and clapped. Nobody chanted “Stronger Together.” It just doesn’t chant.

“The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They only wanted to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, birdwatchers, people who make their own pasta, opera goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch. The Trumpers exulted in knowing we were tearing our hair out. They had our number, like a bratty kid who knows exactly how to make you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth.

“Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones and they will not like what happens next.

“To all the patronizing b.s. we’ve read about Trump expressing the white working class’s displacement and loss of the American Dream, I say, “Feh!” — go put your head under cold water. Resentment is no excuse for bald-faced stupidity. America is still the land where the waitress’ kids can grow up to become physicists and novelists and pediatricians, but it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night. Whooping it up for the candidate of cruelty and ignorance does less than nothing for your kids.

“We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids and we Democrats can go for a long brisk walk and smell the roses.

“I like Republicans. I used to spend Sunday afternoons with a bunch of them, drinking Scotch and soda and trying to care about NFL football. It was fun. I tried to think like them. (Life is what you make it. People are people. When the going gets tough, tough noogies.) But I came back to liberal elitism.

“Don’t be cruel. Elvis said it and it’s true. We all experienced cruelty back in our playground days, boys who beat up on the timid, girls who made fun of the homely and naive, and most of us, to our shame, went along with it, afraid to defend the victims lest we become one of them. But by your 20s, you should be done with cruelty. Mr. Trump was the cruelest candidate since George Wallace. How he won on fear and bile is for political pathologists to study. The country is already tired of his noise, even his own voters. He is likely to become the most intensely disliked president since Hoover. His children will carry the burden of his name. He will never be happy in his own skin. But the damage he will do to our country — who knows? His supporters voted for change, and boy, are they going to get it.

“Back to real life. I went up to my hometown the other day and ran into my gym teacher, Stan Nelson, looking good at 96. He commanded a landing craft at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and never said a word about it back then, just made us do chin-ups whether we wanted to or not. I saw my biology teacher Lyle Bradley, a Marine pilot in the Korean War, still going birdwatching in his 90s. I was not a good student then, but I am studying both of them now. They have seen it all and are still optimistic. The past year of politics has taught us absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. The future is scary. Let the uneducated have their day. I am now going to pay more attention to teachers.”

When the GOP took over both the House and Senate, they swore to accomplish something. They didn’t. Starting on January 20, they will have the entire enchilada and have to perform. Trump promised to stop all crime in the country on the first day of his presidency and then bring back manufacturing to the U.S. soon after.

By now, Republicans are sure to be suffering from performance anxiety. Braggart Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on using the election’s mandate “responsibly” because it may not be permanent. He’s figured out that Congress won’t–or can’t–follow through with all Trump’s promises and that people will turn on the GOP if they don’t produce. Trump may be president, but he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Thousands of demonstrators are marching in the streets tonight, not only in New York City but also in Boston, Chicago, Portland (OR), Seattle, Washington, and places in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as a protest against Trump’s racist policies.   not-my-president

I’ll have more to say about the election later, but for right now, I’ll just keep cleaning out the rest of our house, reading, and enjoying my friends.

October 17, 2016

Is the Election Rigged? In Some Ways, Yes

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 9:51 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Rampant claims of a “rigged” election are igniting Trump supporters as their leader is struggling to avoid press coverage about his sexual assaults. Donald Trump started raving about how Philadelphia’s inner city (aka black voters) needed to be monitored last summer when Hillary Clinton was ahead, and he’s returned to this mantra. Calls for Republicans (aka white men) to watch these polls have been followed by Rudy Giuliani’s declaration that more dead people “vote for Democrats rather than Republicans.” He added that the GOP members rarely cheat because “they don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do.”

Donald Trump’s diversion seems to be working: 41 percent of the people in the United States that he’s right about the rigged election. That includes three-fourths of all Republicans. I’m one of those people who agree. Here’s why.

Let’s start with Florida where absentee ballots are thrown out if the voter’s signature is not an exact match with the one on file. Fortunately, a court in Tallahassee declared this policy unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker decried the “crazy quilt of conflicting and diverging procedures” that allowed local officials who “lack formal handwriting-comparison training or education” to decide whose signature was valid and whose ballot should be thrown away. He called the practice “obscene” and then lambasted the state for not offering voters to fix their questioned ballots. Walker wrote:

 “The State of Florida has categorically disenfranchised thousands of voters arguably for no reason other than they have poor handwriting or their handwriting has changed over time. It is illogical, irrational, and patently bizarre for the State of Florida to withhold the opportunity to cure from mis-matched signature voters while providing that same opportunity to no-signature voters. In doing so, the State of Florida has categorically disenfranchised thousands of voters arguably for no reason other than they have poor handwriting or their handwriting has changed over time.”

Of the 2.3 million people who voted by mail in Florida, one percent of their ballots were rejected. That’s 230,000 voters who were disenfranchised, a case of the state rigging the election. A study found that Democrats were much more likely to have rejected ballots than Republicans.

Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, tried to block other people from registering by his refusal to extend voter-registration deadlines after Hurricane Matthew recently disturbed the process, killing 41 people and causing massive flooding. Judges blocked his refusal as they did in Georgia and North Carolina.

Prior to the 2008 election, states had had no restrictive voting laws for almost a half century, primarily because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 blocked states most likely to have these unconstitutional laws preventing certain people from voting. Within an hour after the Supreme Court overturned the key part of this act in 2013, states, beginning with Texas, began to pass a wave of laws with the sole purpose of decreasing votes for Democrats. Courts have pushed back against unconstitutional anti-voting laws, but it’s been a continual struggle. This source gives specifics about which states have these punitive laws, but generally they can be found in the South and Midwest. This link also provides the newest information. If you are confused by reading this, can you imagine being in one of these states and trying to figure out how to vote?!

Of the 50 states in the nation, 17 tried to use their new restrictive voting laws for the first presidential election during the current year. Recent court rulings rolled that number back to 14 because courts blocked some measures in Georgia, North Carolina, and North Dakota. Texas’ laws were mitigated but remain more restrictive than before the Supreme Court ruling. Almost half the states create burdens for people to vote, primarily opposing women, minorities, and poor people, in the current election. States most likely to pass these restrictions are the ones with the highest black turnout in 2008, the greatest Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010, and/or those covered by the Voting Rights Act.

The worst voter restriction laws are strict photo ID requirement that allow only a short list of government-issued photo IDs to be used as identification. During the first election after Texas passed its law, 600,000 registered voters lacked the correct ID, and 11 percent of people nation-wide do not have these IDs. Texas required that the government-issued ID have exactly the same name as birth certificates, something highly unlikely for married women. Without the ID, voters could cast provisional ballots but must return to the polls within a few days with the mandated photo ID. Ten states are in courts facing lawsuits regarding the laws; six of these are specifically about photo ID laws.

GOP consultant Carter Wrenn admitted what everyone knows about the new laws—that the purpose is to decrease Democratic votes. “Of course, it’s political,” he said. “Why else would you do it?” As he said, Republicans want to protect their majority. The GOP would have left early voting if blacks voted Republican, according to Wrenn. He also explained that the GOP had to use the excuse of voter fraud to get away with their restrictive laws. That’s the voter fraud of 35 total credible allegations between 2000 and 2014 for over 800 million ballots in federal elections and hundreds of millions more ballots in elections within states.

Wisconsin, where GOP Gov. Scott Walker owns the state Supreme Court, is a classic case of Republicans rigging the vote. Last summer, a federal judge struck down early voting restrictions and other blocks to voting and ordered that IDPP voting receipts be issued “promptly” to those seeking them. People were still given the wrong information about obtaining photo IDs. Others were refused the receipts although they brought the necessary documents.

One serious case of voter rigging in another red state occurred during the Arizona March primary. The number of polling places in Democratic Maricopa County was cut from 400 in 2008 to 60 in 2016 for a population of over four million people. Locations were small, some with as few as six voting booths and half these left empty by poll workers to keep people in long lines outside from coming in to vote. Some people waited over six hours, and people with disabilities couldn’t cast ballots because no accommodations had been made for them.

A poll worker reported that the system tried to force her to give GOP ballots to Democratic voters, supposedly because the system failed to identify registered voters if the information was entered in lower-case letters. The party affiliation had also been tampered with before the election, changing registration from Democrat to Republican. Over 2,000 calls to the Secretary of State office went unanswered on the day of voting. The Arizona legislature decided to shut down the hearing on these issues before people waiting for hours could speak, and at least one person was arrested. This week a judge allowed the state law that invalidated ballots cast in the wrong precinct.

Serious vote rigging began after the 2010 GOP landslide in state legislatures. Because of district gerrymandering to benefit Republican candidates, Republicans had a 234-201 majority in the 2012 election for the U.S. House of Representatives although Democrats received 1.4 million more votes. The current GOP majority in the House is 247-188, the largest since 1928. One theory is that 226 seats are safely GOP, 193 should go to Democrats, and the remaining 16 are in play. The House is held by 218 seats.

The electoral votes are equally rigged. Mitt Romney lost Pennsylvania in 2012, but he got 13 of the 18 congressional districts and nine by near double-digits. At this time, Pennsylvania allots all its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the state, but Republicans want to shift the state law so that a GOP loser can get more electoral votes for president.

All this “rigging” would benefit Republicans, but Trump’s call for people to protect him is being answered by threats of violence. Trump incessantly calls on Hillary Clinton to be thrown in jail, and his supporters threaten to “take her out” if she wins the presidency. The Kentucky governor has called for blood to be shed if necessary, and white supremacist groups, who look on Trump as their leader, are bringing back the traditions of Confederates after the Civil War who won elections through intimidation and violence.

don-bollesAngry Trump supporters have threatened the Arizona Republic with killing its employees and burning down the building after the longtime conservative newspaper endorsed Clinton, the first Democrat in its history. One called invoked the name of Don Bolles, the newspaper’s investigative reporter killed by a car bomb 40 years ago, and said that more reporters would be blown up.

As Trump ratchets up his hateful rhetoric, such threats will cross the country. Trump wants fear. Life is bad enough with him as a candidate; it would be unbearable with him as president.

[Note: If you live in Oregon, tomorrow—October 18—is the last day that you can register to vote in the November 8 election. And because we live in a state with all mail-in voting, you can vote in peace: you don’t have to face the militia at the polls who will try to keep you from voting.]

May 14, 2016

How Far Will the GOP Go?

Republicans are going crazy after “the people” spoke and chose a candidate that they—and the majority of people in the United States—consider unsuitable. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) met with other GOP legislators and presumptive GOP heir Donald Trump to lay down the law. Trump appeared to back down on all the backing down that he had done during the past week, and Ryan, who foolishly believes that he can control a loose cannon, found him “warm and generous”—although not enough to endorse him. Other Republicans are going off on their own crazy ways.

Ryan’s governor, Scott Walker, blames the state’s deferment of $101 million in debt on President Obama, costing taxpayers at least $2.3 million in just interest plus tens of millions more. Wisconsin has the money, but Walker put it into the general fund for any shortfalls. The president’s economy has added jobs every month for six years, but Walker’s failed policies badly hurt Wisconsin. Yet Walker’s rainy day fund has $280 million thanks to the president’s gains in the stock and job market. His reason for looking poor is to make future budget cuts to use the Koch brothers’ “starve the beast” government strategy.

Some of the GOP craziness is ongoing. The Platform Committee of the Texas GOP is voting next Wednesday on an “independence” resolution. Then Gov. Rick Perry hinted that Texas might separate itself from the “United States,” but this vote will be the first action in its 171-year history about a decision to make the “state” an independent nation. With ten county chapters supporting the resolution, the Texas Nationalist Movement seems to be moving toward the political main stream from a fringe group.

In the GOP’s effort to “Benghazi” Hillary Clinton, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is working with Fox host Adam Housley to find the fake witnesses swearing that military assets could have saved the lives of four people at the diplomatic compound almost four years ago. Fox has no evidence, but Gowdy wants these non-existent people for his committee. Housley is known for finding Dylan Davies who claimed that he scaled the wall on the night of the attack and engaged combat with the terrorists—before Davies admitted he lied.

Randy BarnettRandy Barnett is blaming John Robert for Donald Trump’s popularity because of Robert’s vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act. He claims:

“Roberts increased cynicism and anger at play-by-the-rules conservatives and decreased respect for institutions across the board.”

Barnett’s article in highly conservative The Federalist is based on the premises that John Roberts knows that the health care law violates the constitution but he pretends that it doesn’t because of his belief that courts should not overturn law passed by majorities. The argument overlooks Roberts’ deciding votes that gutted the Voting Rights Act, campaign finance law, and gun control legislation—and other decisions. Somehow, however, Barnett has convinced himself that the Trump supporters vote for the businessman because of a judicial review. This man who teaches lawyers at Georgetown University has even crazier ideas—so far right that the John Birch society doesn’t agree with them.

A recent GOP fit (they have so many!) comes from a report claiming that Facebook suppresses conservative articles in its Trending Topics feed. There is no support for the allegations from former Facebook workers, and Republicans have never expressed any concern that “fair and unbalanced” Fox is anything but. The RN accuses Facebook of “censoring” the right and using its power “to silence view points and stories that don’t fit someone else’s agenda.” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has declared that he “wants to haul Facebook employees before Congress.” He wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with the demand that Trending Topics employees brief the Commerce Committee by May 24.

Despite all the vacation days and the health crisis of the Zika virus moving through the southern states, GOP finds that “Facebook hearings are a matter of urgent national interest.” Even if someone could find support for allegations, the question begs congressional oversight for a private social-media company. Thune now worries about Facebook’s integrity whereas his opposition to net neutrality declaimed that any political interference in Internet operation is unacceptable. In 2007, during a fight against the “Fairness Doctrine,” Thune argued:

“I know the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I hear government officials offering to regulate the news media and talk radio to ensure fairness. I think most Americans have the same reaction. Giving power to a few to regulate fairness in the media is a recipe for disaster on the scale that George Orwell so aptly envisioned.”

In avoiding a consideration of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Republican congressional members decided that the last elected year of the president’s four terms is a “lame-duck session,” but they are considering a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the real “lame-duck session” between the general election and the changing of the guard at the end of December. Only three trade-related bills have been voted on in a lame duck: 1974, 1994, and 2006.

TPP is a really bad idea: extending drug company monopolies over their products, undermining environmental and labor regulations, allowing corporations to send more jobs oversea, voiding U.S. consumer laws with unelected international tribunals, etc.  Republican legislators who lose in November can vote for the TPP before they leave Congress and then take jobs for giant corporations grateful for their vote.

Publicity about the North Carolina “bathroom law” keeping trans people out of the appropriate facilities just hasn’t stopped. The Department of Justice has ordered the state to rescind the law to keep its federal funding, and North Carolina is suing the DOJ for its order. At the same time, all 10 GOP House members gave the Department of Education until yesterday to promise—provide the state with “immediate assurances”—that the North Carolina won’t suffer monetary penalty for violating federal civil rights. GOP state leaders, who complain about being “bullied” by the federal government are telling lobbyists that their employing corporations that they can expect retribution for speaking out against HB2, the potty law.

Gov. Pat McCrory wants to overturn the Civil Right Act of 1964 to make segregation legal again so that the state can “make special circumstances for those individuals [transgender students].” He also claimed that the “far left … brought this [agenda] up.”

Middle Age RiotThe latest lawsuit against the federal government, filed by “North Carolinians for Privacy,” is identical to a suit in Illinois from the Alliance Defending Freedom. It begins with the falsehood that DOE’s guidance “forbids educational institutions from maintaining sex-specific restrooms and locker rooms” and moves on to the argument that gender identity is not a component of sex. The lawsuit’s main claim is that the DOJ “unmistakable ultimatum” to either prohibit sex-specific restrooms or lose federal funding endangers all the students’ access to education. Another premise in the lawsuit is accusing the DOJ of violating the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) because the agency discriminates on the basis of gender identity against non-transgender people because it allows “some, but not all, biological males the right of entry and use of female restrooms and locker rooms.” The suit claims that North Carolina’s HB2 “treats all persons the same, regardless of their gender identity.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has dived into the bathroom controversy by describing it as the “biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools.” About potentially losing $5 billion of federal funding for Texas education, he added, “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver.” The analogy indicates that either he or Texas—or both—should be compared to Jesus who was betrayed by Judas for “30 pieces of silver.” Answering Patrick’s comments, including the one about no longer giving poor students free lunches, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “I think this does underscore the risk of electing a right-wing radio host to elected statewide office. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are.” Texas cut school funding 25 percent in the ten years following 2002 and ranks 38th in the nation in per K-12 student funding.

The U.S. disdain for the Republican party is at its highest level since 1992; 62 percent look at it unfavorably whereas only 33 percent view it with favor. The positive perception fell four points in the past six months. Only 68 percent of self-identified Republicans approve of their party, an 11-point drop from October. Independents prefer the Democrats to Republicans, 37 to 28 percent. The majorities of minorities oppose the GOP: women, 62 percent; blacks, 79 percent; and Hispanics, 61 percent. Among whites, 37 percent view both parties favorably while 59 percent have an unfavorable view of Democrats and 58 percent—only one percent less—have the same view of Republicans.

Update: Wisconsin’s debt deferment was erroneously listed as $101. It is $101 million.

 

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