Five possible outcomes for health insurance under Trump and the Republicans

1) Republicans repeal ACA and replace it with something that sucks.  The rich get richer.  “Real Americans” lose their health coverage, get sick, go bankrupt, and die happy because they defeated the liberal agenda.

2) Republicans do nothing to the ACA.  People stay home and watch the next hit series on HBO.  Republicans stay in control and their supporters blame big government for all of their problems.

 

3) Republicans give the ACA a minor tweak.  They rename it “The America First Health Care Act” and declare victory.
4) Trump gets us all killed.
5) Republicans come up with something good and everyone is happy, but it’s still no better than anything we could have had years ago if Republicans had worked with Obama instead of obstructing him.

Spicer’s Lies Mean More Than You Think

There is a post that’s been going around on social media explaining the purposes served by the blatantly dishonest press conference given by Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer.

Sean Spicer at Press Room Podium

Sean Spicer. Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by user GrahamHughey

I’m worried that the significance of the crazy lies is greater than most people realize, and that the outrage over the new normal will fade.

For most of us (two thirds, according to the post), Spicer’s lie wasn’t meant to convince. It was meant to establish. It’s not like a guy with pockets full of jewelry telling the police that he had nothing to do with the jewelry store that just got robbed. It’s more like the same guy with a gun telling a witness, “You didn’t see a thing”.

With this new normal, Trump can tell us that the economy is booming even if it collapses. He can tell us that public schools are working even as public school students slip further behind their wealthier peers. He can tell us that he has actionable evidence of crimes committed by his political adversaries (“Lock her up!”), and it should go without saying that he can start wars on false pretenses for economic gain or to distract from domestic issues.

Trump and his team know that there has been and will continue to be a backlash against this new normal. They’re prepared for it. Which means that we have to give them more than what they’re prepared for. The resistance must be greater than what any of us have expected. Introverts and TV addicts have to start getting active. People who have never voted before have to start taking an interest in political activity, and it would be great if Sanders and Clinton supporters could come together.

Below is the post that I referred to. It was originally tweeted by Anna Rascouët-Paz, but written by “someone who worked in a past administration”. I transcribed the text ( using Google Drive ) because the original was in a graphic format, so any grammatical errors might not be from the original.

If you are puzzled by the bizarre “press conference” put on by the White House press secretary this evening (angrily claiming that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance), let me help explain it. This spectacle served three purposes:

1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of “negging,” the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible person (e.g., Donald Trump).

2. Increasing the separation between Trump’s base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong – that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong – they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here likely to pay off is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as “fake news” (because otherwise they’d be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)

3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say “clearly the White House is lying,” a third will say “if Trump says it, it must be true,” and the remaining third will say “gosh, I guess this is unknowable.” The idea isn’t to convince these people of untrue things, it’s to fatigue them, so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.

This is laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump’s White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they’ll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of. It’s gonna get real bad.

It’s Not Hypocritical To Review the Election

A commenter on an article in the Independent about how the election might have been rigged wrote this

Liberals lost, they should accept the result. They slated Trump when he said he may or may not accept the result. Severely damaging to democracy to challenge the result they said…except when liberals do it eh.
Turn the result around now, legitimately or not, and all hell would break lose.
This is the most hateful election I’ve ever experienced.

Bullshit. The problem with Trump’s accusations of rigging are that he had no evidence. Even before the election, as he was dropping in polls, he was said the only way he could lose was due to rigging.

We’re not even making accusations yet. Looking at evidence before making accusations while condemning someone for making accusations without evidence is not hypocrisy. It’s the opposite of hypocrisy.

People who Did Less than Clinton, According to Political Insider

There’s an article in the Political Insider, by Rusty, with the headline, “10 Times People Were Punished for Far Less Than What Clinton Did”.

Here are two examples: A sailor who got 34 years for trying to sell classified documents to a Chinese agent, and a man who knowingly passed classified information to the Baltimore Sun for an article on the NSA. For that crime …

Charges were dropped and the NSA manager pleaded to a misdemeanor, in what was called a victory against the Obama administration whom had attempted to use dated laws to prosecute leakers of classified information

So, according to Rusty, attempting to sell classified information to the enemy is less offensive than being careless with emails, and having all charges dropped is the same as being punished.

This article was picked up by Breitbart and other right wing blogs.

This article does more to support the decision not to prosecute Clinton then it does to refute it. Of the ten people listed in the article, the pattern seems clear: People sometimes get convicted for knowingly compromising classified information, but almost never for carelessness.

The list includes:

  • Sandy Berger:
    Violation:Knowingly removed classified information from a secure compartment.
    Penalty: Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Lost secret clearance. Fined $50,000. No jail time.
  • Peter Van Buren:
    Violation: Violating orders by posting a link to classified information on Wikileaks.
    Penalty: Fired
    Note: Yea, Ok. This guy seems to have gotten a pretty raw deal. But still, no jail time.
  • John Deutch:
    Violation: Having classified information at home, on a government owned computer, after he left the CIA
    Penalty: None. Pardoned.
  • Bryan Nishimura:
    Violation: Removing and keeping classified information at home.
    Penalty: Probation, fined $7,500, loss of security clearance
    Note: This is the best example they can come up with, but unlike Clinton, he deliberately took the classified information home. Clinton did not intend to receive classified information on her server.
  • Bryan Martin:
    Violation: Stole classified secrets with intent to sell to a Chinese agent.
    Penalty: 34 years.
    Note: Way worse than what Clinton did
  • Kristian Saucier
    Violation: Taking photos of a classified space, then destroying evidence while under investigation
    Penalty: Still Pending
    Note: This case, like Nishimura’s is often compared to Clinton’s. But again, this was willful. Also of note, similar violations rarely result in harsh penalties. From a Salon article
    “Two guys in our boat were caught taking photos in the engine room on the nuclear side of things. Basically, all that happened to them was they … lost a rank,” Pitcher said. “I’ve seen quite a few cases like this and never seen any handled like Kris’.”

  • Jason Brezler
    Violation: Personal storage of classified information
    Penalty: Pending
    Note: We cannot use this as an example until we see how it turns out
  • Jessica Lynn Quintana
    Violation: Deliberate removal of classified information
    Penalty: Up to one year and a $100,000 fine but I don’t know what the actual penalty was.
    Note: I bet she didn’t serve time or pay such a high fine, but again, this was the deliberate removal of classified information
  • Thomas A. Drake
    Violation: Giving secrets to a newspaper
    Penalty: 1 year probation. No fine.
  • Donald Willis Keyser
    Violation: Willful removal of classified documents and digital devices from the Department of State
    Penalty: 1 year in prison

This is the top ten list that Political Insider could come up with. None of these examples involved storage or transmission of classified information without knowing it was classified, and several were dismissed.

String ‘Em Up

Scientists, Professors, Librarians, Journalists. Anyone who has dedicated their life to discovering or disseminating knowledge. String ’em up.

photo of man wearing t-shirt saying 'Rope, Tree, Journalist.  Some assembly required'

Photo: Posted on Twitter by Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle)

Linda Johnson Just Lost My Vote

I was happy when Mayor Linda Johnson showed up briefly for the Don McEachin meet and greet at LeOtis Williams’ center last month, but now I’m pissed off that she sent a flyer out saying, “Endorsed by our Republican delegate Chris Jones.”

johnsonflier

If Mayor Johnson is trying to be a Democrat for Democrats and a Republican for Republicans, then she is indeed a hypocrite. But it’s not hypocritical to appear at a Democratic event hosted by a well loved local businessman and later accept the endorsement of a popular local Republican.

What bothers me so much about this flier is the word “Republican”. I’m not bothered by the endorsement by Chris Jones. Delegate Jones has served his district well and has the support of many local politicians who are, otherwise, Democrats.

But by putting “Republican” in bold letters at the top of the flier, she’s not just appealing to those of us who like and respect Chris Jones. She’s courting low information voters who don’t even know who their delegate is and are only Republicans today because they’re pleased with the nationalism, racism, and all around viciousness that has defined the Republican campaign this year. “Deplorables, I’m one with you. Vote for me.”

Suffolk has a rule that councilmembers run as independents, and for a long time they have honored the spirit as well as the letter of the rule by avoiding such overt appeals to partisanship in their campaign literature.

It is harmful to our city for our mayor to choose this year, when the Republicans have sunk so low that even long term party elites are disgusted, to bring partisanship to the front of our local elections. Shame on her.

So who’s left? I’m suddenly undecided.

Edit: I posted this with “Bishop” Staten’s name at the bottom because I had started to list all of the other candidates, then decided not to, but accidently left Mr. Staten’s name there. In fact, I’m currently torn between Kerry Holmes and Brian Bass, leaning towards Mr. Bass.

Milteer Campaign for Suffolk City Council: Stop Putting Signs In My Yard!

The first time I found an uninvited Milteer sign in my yard, I chalked it up to a simple mistake and moved it down to a spot not in front on anyone’s house. The second time, it went into the can, as did the likelihood of me voting for councilman who held his position for 35 years.

My vote will go to Vanessa Harris. Ms. Harris is a businesswoman who owns a funeral home in the borough, and is also a teacher at Kings Fork Middle School. And those middle school students can be a lot to handle, so if she can teach them and run a business, I think she has the civic mindedness and the ambition needed to represent my borough.

milteersign1
milteersign2

Defining Patriots and Tyrants

If it comes down to the blood of patriots and tyrants, remember that the patriots will be the ones defending the civil transfer of power to the democratically elected candidate, and the tyrant would be the one trying to gain power with the help of a foreign dictator and a rogue army of bloodthirsty nationalists.

 

 

 

A normal campaign would disavow an army of twitter nazis

Matthew Yglesias tweeted:

An example of what Mr. Yglesias is talking about:

@ThaRightStuff @Mattyglesias Hopefully we can gas him before too long
—Oliver Who? (@UltraOliver) October 29, 2016

An argument with a Trump Supporter about the Clinton Foundation

I argued with a Trump supporter at Peanut Fest last night. She said that Trump’s foundation got a higher rating that Clinton’s. I told her that it wasn’t true; that Charity Navigator gave the Clinton Foundation the highest rating. There were two kids, about twelve years old, watching. She asked them who they thought was winning. One said she was. The other abstained. We ended up with me saying that she’s wrong, but I promised to go home and check it out.

It wasn’t difficult. The Clinton foundation has a four star rating from Charity Navigator. Their rating was recent, which some right wing sites claim is suspicious, but the reason for the late rating is explained.

In 2013, the Clinton Foundation merged with one of its affiliates, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). This merger made it difficult to compare financial information of the combined entities with financial information from the Clinton Foundation before the merger. In situations like this with any charity, we will reevaluate if the charity provides consolidated financial data that will allow us to perform an accurate year-over-year comparison.

Meanwhile, the Trump foundation is not rated because it is a private foundation, not a charity.

So, in the eyes of a 12 year old, my opponent may have won, but like Pence during the VP debate, she did so by lying. Thankfully, among those of us who were old enough to vote, most of us seem to be more impressed with the truth. I hope that holds for another month.