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Comments of the Day: Republicans and Collusions

2017-07-12

Virginia

Cape Cod, MA

What is even more shocking and distressing, at this point, than even this First Family of grifters, liars, traitors, and conmen, is that, according to some poll I just saw, a whopping 85% of Republicans believe there is no wrongdoing here, and only 15% think there is some problem of ethics but nothing illegal.

What disturbs me about that, since this party has full power now, is that, were this Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or any other Democrat, I have approximately zero doubt that impeachment papers would already be drawn up, and those polls would look nothing like these. Meaning, for Republicans, it is not about the country and not even about their party, per se, but is really about their relentless and entrenched mindset of political warfare against the American left and Democrats. It confirms for me that they have abused their power, their positions, and the American public, including their own constituents, in service to this political war. They’ve wasted millions in taxpayer money, time, energy, and are motivated to make really bad law, i.e.: the health care bill, solely to be against anything Obama or Democrat or Clinton.
The GOP is, therefore, an “enemy within” because they no longer possess any objective principles. If a Republican does it, it’s legal, ethical, fine, no problem; if a Democrat does the exact same thing, well, Lock her up!

That really scares me more than anything.

 

Peter

Colorado

Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who either knew of Trump from his NYC days or was paying attention to the 2016 campaign without putting party loyalty over country knew exactly what Trump is like and what his motivations have always been. Number one – adoration and exaltation of The Donald. Number Two – Enrichment of The Donald. Number Three – Revenge for the night the balck guy made a fool of him at the White House Correspondents Dinner. His behavior in office has simply followed the well known pattern.
The question now – will the Republicans continue to put party over country, tax cuts for the rich over doing right by the American people, erasing Obama’s legacy, even the parts they secretly agree with – or will they do the right thing, and rid us of this cancer on the country, the billionaire cabinet that is executing the agenda, and the complicit and equally dirty vice president?

 

Yeah

Illinois

Really, we are well past the point of asking when Republicans are going to stand up or when Trump voters are going to wise up. They won’t.

the only path forward is to push them out of the way at the ballot box by getting non voters involved, and in large enough numbers to overcome the electoral college, Russia, gerrymandering, Republican state governments, voter suppression, Fox News, and all the other anti democratic forces arrayed against the American majority.

These comments were in response to an opinion piece by the Times’ resident ultra-conservative, Ross Douthat, in which he admits that, in light of Don Jr.’s admissions, there might be a there there.

Comment of the Day: Republican Lies From Nixon to Trump

2017-07-11

This comment was posted in response to a NYT article entitled, “Donald Trump Jr. and the Culture of Dishonesty”:

Ralph

pompton plains 

The larger problem is that the Republican Party has been selling lies for years. It’s part of the party’s culture and made the election of a liar like Trump inevitable.

Tax cuts don’t raise revenues. Climate change is real. More guns on the street doesn’t reduce violence. President Obama is an American. Opening our markets to mercantile export economies makes multinational corporations rich, but doesn’t benefit all Americans. Cutting the safety net will not set the poor free. Repealing the ACA will not give poor people more choices. Torturing suspects doesn’t obtain truthful confessions. The market can’t fix all social problems. The Republican Party has lied about all of these issues.

In the party that deals in lies, being a dishonest liar doesn’t preclude you from being the president.

 

The Latest Evidence of Collusion– Don the Con Jr. gets Letter Offering Russian Help

2017-07-11

As reported in many papers yesterday, including the New York Times, Donald Trump Jr. received an email  on June 4, 2016, from an acquaintance, Rob Goldstone, stating that a source connected to the Russian government had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.  In response to this email offering information about illegal campaign contributions from Russian entities, Don the Con Jr. set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.  The meeting turned out to be a bust– all the lawyer wanted to talk about was the possible resumption of American adoptions of Russian children and the repeal of the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act was passed in response to the murder, by Kremlin operatives, of the lawyer for a man who revealed damaging information about new Russian oligarchs, and it blacklisted certain Russians suspected of human rights abuses.  When this law was passed in 2012, Vlad “the Impaler” Putin retaliated by halting all American adoptions of Russian children.

What is significant about this meeting is that Don Jr. scheduled it in response to an email that specifically stated that the damaging information came from Russian government sources who wanted to help the campaign of Don Sr.  Naturally, Don Sr. could not be having meetings of this sort, but the thinking of campaign officials appears to have been that Don Jr. was an appropriate go-between.  The fact that campaign staff were completely open to receiving damaging information from Russian sources prompts us to ask: did they think that it would be of no consequence that material assistance from foreign sources, specifically from a bitter rival of the US, was accepted by the campaign for a presidential candidate?

The very next week, a massive release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails was revealed in all national news media.  These emails were preceded and followed by a fake news campaign directed by Russia that involved numerous Russian trolls in social media and on comment streams as well.  These active measures by Russian intelligence agents and their contractors tilted the election enough in Don’s favor that he managed to squeak through in enough states to get an Electoral College victory.  His win was considered unlikely by major media and pollsters; the fact that he did win is a major coup by the Russians, who can be said to have been primarily responsible since even though their effort may not have produced large results, only a tiny change was needed to tip the scales in Don’s favor.

Now Don the Con is trying to tell us that the word of Vlad the Impaler is more credible than the word of our four major national intelligence agencies.

Meanwhile, Don’s associate Steve Bannon is busy working on “dismantling the administrative state”, or to use a slightly more colorful phrase, “shrinking the government until it can be drowned in a bathtub.”  Don has instituted a hiring freeze, failed to nominate heads of numerous agencies, dispatched loyal Trump workers with little administrative experience to most all agencies to quietly pour sand on the gears, made open threats to with-hold the federal subsidies for the purchase of insurance that are critical to the success of the Affordable Care Act, nominated people to head critical agencies that they have sworn to shut down, and so on.

By the time this bunch is removed from office, government will be so dysfunctional that it will take ten years to restore services and longer to restore public confidence.  This will be fine with Don the Con, who has hitched his political star to a wrecking crew.

John Dean’s new book: “Conservatives Without Conscience”

2017-07-10

This is a post about a post about a new book: “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John Dean.  Those of you over sixty will remember John Dean as the member of the Nixon White House who ratted out the whole grubby little conspiracy.  I say “grubby” and “little” because, by modern standards, the Nixonian transgression was trivial and his attempts to cover up half-hearted.  Nowadays, our leaders lie to us without compunction and you can usually tell when they’re lying but they’ll lie about that too.  Can you really sit there and tell me you put any credibility into the statement by Vlad “the Impaler” Putin that he did not have anything to do with hacking the presidential election last year?  By the same token, why would you take Don the Con’s word that there is no there there?

The secondary source is the website DailyKos, which has a decidedly Democratic bent; a Mrs. Robinson posted a series reviewing the book and more importantly, laying out the basics of the authoritarian follower type of personality.

To get back to John Dean’s book: he defines the authoritarian follower personality as someone who first, submits to authority (the one who agrees with his views) without question, second, aggressively (even violently) supports authority, and third, sees things with a black-and-white or four-year-old type of worldview, what he calls conventionality or conformity.

The type of people who see things this way are most often moderate- to low-educated, raised by parents who were extremely religious and have incorporated that, and frequently mid-to lower-intelligence but primarily when raised by religious bigots as parents.  They are also frequently lower-income with unskilled trades or manual trades.  The higher the educational level, the less likely one is to follow an authoritarian leader.

We already know what makes an authoritarian leader, but it is more important to understand what makes an authoritarian follower.  The closer the person you encounter comes to following these traits, the harder it will be to convert that person away from Don-ism.  Unfortunately, if they’re susceptible they’re probably already under the spell of our liar-in-chief.  Once you have made the decision that a person is inconvertible, it is easier to avoid them entirely.

Now, my notes here may seem like a game of telephone, but they’re intended to point out to you that you really should read the book.

 

 

Don the Con’s Lawyers Claim He Is Immune From Lawsuits

2017-07-08

LawNewz, a law blog that otherwise has few redeeming features, posted an article on April 21 about a lawsuit from three protesters who were thrown out of a Trump rally in March 2016.  They say that they were ‘roughed up’ and that Trump is liable because he incited the crowd to “get ’em out.”  Trump’s lawyers’ defense against this suit is fairly bizarre, using the First Amendment to claim that he– Don the Con– was the one whose rights were infringed.  This line from the blog post is particularly telling:

If that sounds like a bizarre argument grounded in narcissism and bordering on the Kafkaesque, that’s because it is.

Don’s lawyers seem to have been infected with Don’s own variety of mental illness.  The arguments that the lawyers make in trying to absolve Don of responsibility claim that the protesters were infringing on Don’s First Amendment rights, even though they were private citizens, and that he is immune from lawsuits because he is the President.  Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.  Don the Con is just as vulnerable to investigation as any private citizen, and if the FBI finds out that he was acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, offering the Russians a reversal of economic sanctions applied after the annexation of the Crimea in exchange for help winning the presidential election, then he is in big trouble.

I’ll leave it to the FBI to detail the potential charges against Don the Con, since every FBI agent is trained as a lawyer.  Take it from me: don’t mess with an FBI agent.

Epidemic of Chlamydia Not Reported to Mass Media

2017-07-07

There is a report on the CNN website that sounds troubling: “Sexually Transmitted Disease rates reach record high” but it’s dated October 20,2016.  I guess the media was more interested in the presidential election at that moment.  The CNN report is based on a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one of those agencies slated for budget cuts in the new administration.

The CNN report is illustrated with posters like the one reproduced above, from WW II.

The CDC report shows numbers collected for the year 2015 of the reportable sexually transmitted diseases, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.  Hepatitis C is not considered a venereal disease, but deserves a mention in this context; the CDC reported it separately on May 4, 2016.

The numbers show a yearly increase in the rate of chlamydia infections from the date it was first reportable, 1984, to 1.5 million cases in 2015.  At the same time, the rate of syphilis dropped from a peak of nearly half a million cases in the first reported year, 1941, to a nadir of about 30,000 cases in 2000-1; there has been a gradual but steady increase in syphilis cases to about 75,000 in 2015.  Gonorrhea rates rose from about 200,000 reports in 1941 to a million cases in 1975-1981, then dropped gradually to about 300,000 in 2009 before increasing to about 400,000 in 2015.

The numbers for these three infections are on the rise again, and the rate of chlamydia has been increasing every year for the last 30 or more years to dominate the picture.

For Hepatitis C, the situation is even worse: the CDC report shows mortality increasing by six percent a year over the last fifteen years to almost 20,000 people a year, more than any other reportable infectious disease.  At the same time, the rate of HIV-related mortality has decreased a total of 42%, to under 9,000 deaths a year.

These are serious, and preventable, infections that can ruin a person’s health and life.  National health insurance would go a long way towards reducing the rates and mortality from these infections.  The increases in chlamydia rates, in particular, represent a failure of preventative measures that is directly related to poor education at the high school level.  Sex education is critical for reducing these rates, and home schooling will not fill the bill.  Only a public school with obligatory attendance by children will serve to educate and protect them from serious harm in so many ways.  Our present administration is pointed in the wrong direction on this issue as on so many others.

Comment of the Day (from the Guardian)

2017-07-06
severnboar amendall
1617

i blame the government. Surely, they could issue a little handbook to the newborn explaining why life will be such a big disappointment.