Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Noam Chomsky on President Donald Trump

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

 Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement

In The Nation find this helpful article by  Joshua Holland.  I subscribe.  One of the best news weeklies around.

You can sign up for a weekly “act of resistance,” and pledge to follow through, at wall-of-us, another new effort to capitalize on the energy of the Women’s March.
Organizers are planning a Scientists’ March on Washington, DC, on April 22. More info can be found here.
The ACLU reportedly raised $24 million during the weekend following the announcement of Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” but there are dozens of local legal aid groups that will also need support as the resistance spreads. Rewire compiled a list of 24 of these smaller legal-aid organizations, with brief descriptions of each. Check it out here.    
Concerned about the spread of fake news? It’s a difficult problem to tackle, but Eli Pariser, co-founder of Upworthy and author of The Filter Bubble, launched a humble spreadsheet to crowdsource ideas, and it has since “become a hive of collaborative activity, with hundreds of journalists and other contributors brainstorming strategies for pushing back against publishers that peddle falsehoods,” according to Fortune. The spreadsheet, titled “Design Solutions for Fake News,” is here.
You can also hit Breitbart News and other sites that peddle in bigotry and white nationalism in their pocketbooks by getting involved with a Twitter group called Sleeping Giants. Their strategy is simple: Make sure that corporations are aware of the kind of content that appears alongside their ads. This New York Times story offers more detail about the campaign.
Feeling overwhelmed by the rush of real news about the Trump regime? Matt Kiser, a tech writer by day, launched a side project chronicling “the daily shock and awe in Trump’s America.” The goal of whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com, according to the site’s “about” page, “is to capture the most important news in a digestible form.”
It may be a Hail Mary pass, but the organizers behind ImpeachTrumpNow, John Bonifaz, and Norman Solomon, are veteran progressive activists who lay out a compelling case at the link above.
Buycott Trump is trying to get people to vote with their dollars. Organizers have launched a new campaign on top of an existing app that allows you to scan barcodes and QVCs, and offers you information about the politics of the companies who make the products you see on store shelves. You can find links to download the app at the link above.
You can also enter your phone number at White House, Inc. or DialItUpNow.com, and be randomly connected to a Trump property somewhere in the world, where you can politely discuss the issues that matter to you—and in the process keep their lines tied up.
With Trump in the White House, and Republicans controlling all three branches of government, popular resistance has never been more important. It’s too soon to tell which of these groups will take off and succeed, but it’s not too early to throw yourself into one of these worthy efforts. And if we’ve overlooked a new effort that you think is important, let other readers know about it in the comments. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Five Ways The Poor Lose To The Rich With Loss Of Obamacare

Such a timely piece is this that we are republishing it now, in the era of The Tweeter In Chief.

A very important article from Steven Rosenfeld appeared in AlterNet.  It is titled Five Ways GOP Repeal of Obamacare is Taking From The Poor and Giving to the Rich.  A must read piece.

Here are five takeaways showing why the known parts of the GOP’s repeal and (most likely not) replace plan amount to Robinhood in reverse: taking from the poor, working- and middle-class and giving to corporate Americans and Wall Street.     

1. Millions will lose coverage. As Obama said, millions of people will be hurt by losing coverage if Republicans eliminate subsidies for households buying policies through the state-based exchanges or federal government. People will go back to not having health coverage because they cannot afford it, especially if they over age 50—which is when insurers really start raising premiums. But vast numbers of people will also lose it when Republicans roll back Medicaid expansion by turning that program into block grants for states, which leaves governors and legislature in the position of having to raise taxes to continue those programs.

2. The transfer of wealth begins. This upward redistribution comes as the GOP starts to repeal the tax penalties associated with the Affordable Care Act. While they will surely argue that removing individual penalties helps the little guy, they will also be letting large employers off the hook for providing coverage for employees, a bottom-line bonanza. It is unclear what the GOP will do with law’s income tax surcharge on the highest earners, as the GOP may seek to retain some revenue for what they will likely advertise as new tax credits to help lower-income people pay for private insurance. The problem, as is always the case with tax credits, is one has to first have enough income to use them.  

3. Wall Street gets to cash in. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have long-espoused expanding the use of health savings accounts, as a way to build up the sufficient funds needed when sickness or a medical emergency strikes. That is a very big way that financial institutions will get to make big money by skimming off of the top of these accounts under the guise of management fees. This entire approach is based on a false premise that’s akin to the was 401k savings plans were sold by right-wingers as a replacement for employee pensions—they put money aside, but it is a pale shade of what’s needed to cope with real-life living expenses. Nonetheless, Wall St. profits.

4. Cost shifts will hit consumers. Health care economics are not hard to understand. When profit-driven institutions like hospitals, drug makers and insurers lose money from unanticipated costs—such as people flocking to emergency rooms or facing big surgery after being denied access to preventative care—they stick to their profit goals by raising prices wherever they can. That dynamic is what is behind the recent rise in health care premiums, according to a series of recent astute analyses. Paul Krugman has written that what’s behind recent premium increases in states where insurers aren’t regulated, like California, is a temporary consequence of those without insurance catching up on neglected health issues. Obama, speaking Friday, said that insurers also intentionally offered low-cost initial plans to grab as big a market share as possible. There is no evidence that insurers, hospitals and drug companies will cease price-gouging. Thus, taking federal billions out of the system means either less care or higher costs for all.

5. The race to the bottom begins. Republicans have said they will push for allowing people to buy insurance across state lines. That is not the same as allowing states that regulate insurance companies from forming regional compacts to create bigger pools to support more insurance-buying choices. As Dean Baker, co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington told AlterNet, that “means that every insurer gets incorporated in the least regulated state and the other states can't do anything to prevent them from ripping off their customers (e.g. get incorporated in Alabama and collect premiums and don't pay claims in California).” And that’s not all. “Also they will look to end pooling whereby the more healthy subsidize the less healthy, former tend to be richer, latter poorer,” he said.

The Only Replacement Alternative
The Republicans have no intention of replacing Obamacare with anything that will continue or maintain the same level of coverage that is now under the Affordable Care Act. If they did, it would have been presented by congressional sponsors in the 60 or so pieces of legislation that they passed to kill Obamacare—that the president vetoed. Not one Republican has ever seriously proposed anything close to imposing price controls, which Republican President Richard Nixon entertained amid a struggling economy in the early 1970s.
But there is an alternative to the system of private health insurance that is the status quo and Obama discussed that on Friday, when explaining the history of the Affordable Care Act—which he said was based on a place created by a Republican Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, and intentionally designed to attract Republican support.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The POTUS Is A Really Dumb Crook

How long witll we be obliged to endure this farse?  Lord, be merciful to the citizens of the United States.  In an article, Trust Records Show Trump Is Still Closely Tied to His Empire,  from The New York Times for Saturday, February 4, 2017 we learn these astonishing facts:

But lawyers who specialize in federal contracts say the trust arrangement simply creates an additional legal step between Mr. Trump and the hotel — meaning he will still profit from it.
Robert H. Sitkoff, a professor at Harvard Law School, said the new details in the trust documents were unlikely to resolve the apparent legal problems with the Old Post Office site.
“Formally he is no longer the owner, but functionally he still is,” he said.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform . . . said . . .  “This is smoke and mirrors,” 
While Mr. Trump may have to take additional legal steps to avoid violating the terms of the Old Post Office lease, he is exempt from laws that prohibit federal employees from participating in government matters that will directly affect their own financial interests.

The man knows not even the basics of circumventing the law.  So much for "The Art Of The Deal" don't you think?

The man is not just a crook; he's a really, really dumb crook.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Hundreds of Texas Muslim Leaders Receive Alarming Survey Investigating Their Views on Islam @alternet

I have a very good friend who is Islamic.  This has to be very, very frightening.  How would you feel?  I'd be scared shitless myself.

Ron Talley​

Hundreds of Texas Muslim Leaders Receive Alarming Survey Investigating Their Views on Islam @alternet: The inflammatory three-question survey asks leaders to state whether they believe the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Prof. Krugman: Trump and Pruitt Will Make America Gasp Again

Prof. Krugman this on December 9, 2016

But in other ways Mr. Trump can indeed restore the world of the 1970s. He can, for example, bring us back to the days when, all too often, the air wasn’t safe to breathe. And he’s made a good start by selecting Scott Pruitt, a harsh foe of pollution regulation, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Make America gasp again!

Much of the commentary on the Pruitt appointment has focused on his denial of climate science and on the high likelihood that the incoming administration will undo the substantial progress President Obama was beginning to make against climate change. And that is, in the long run, the big story.

After all, climate change is an existential threat in a way local pollution isn’t, and the installation of the Trump team in power may mean that we have lost our last, best chance for a cooperative international effort to contain that threat.

Friday, January 6, 2017

MUST READ; Prof. Krugman: The Age of Fake Policy JAN. 6, 2017

My favorite economist and main man all round, Prof. Krugman always hits it right on the head.  Brilliant man he is!  See his column for today

"To highlight the difference between real economic policy and the fake policy that has lately been taking up far too much attention in the news media."

As it currently stands, there is no sign that the president-elect understands the difference. Even more worrying, the mainstream media doesn't either.

An example of real policy is the Affordable Care Act, which is, of course, currently on the Republican chopping block, an act that would deprive 30 million poor and middle class families of healthcare. So, that's a kind of policy, in reverse.

But the media would rather focus on pittances like Trump's supposed intervention to stop Carrier from moving jobs to Mexico, which may or may not have saved 800 jobs that may soon get lost soon anyway. Reality check: 75,000 Americans lost their job that day. "In other words, it may have sounded as if Mr. Trump was doing something substantive by intervening with Carrier, but he wasn’t," Krugman writes. "This was fake policy — a show intended to impress the rubes, not to achieve real results. 

"The same goes for the hyping of Ford’s decision to add 700 jobs in Michigan — or for that matter, Mr. Trump’s fact-challenged denunciation of General Motors for manufacturing the Chevy Cruze in Mexico (that factory mainly serves foreign markets, not the U.S.)."

Simply put, "case-by-case intervention from the top is never going to have a significant impact on a $19 trillion economy."