Instance No. the Infinity on How Trump Voters Were Duped

Trump had promised to make the government negotiate drug prices, just like Democrats have been saying for years.

At a rally in Farmington, N.H. on Monday, Trump declared that the Medicare program could “save $300 billion” a year if it negotiated drug prices. “We don’t do it. Why? Because of the drug companies,” Trump said, according to the Associated Press.

Yeah, he and Bernie are no different here!!  Well, that was a year ago.  Actually, as recently as January 11th of this year!

But today it all changed after a magical meeting with Big Pharma executives.

As recently as January 11, President-elect Trump was promising to revisit this policy.

“Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs,” he said at a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.”

Today he apparently changed his mind. According to Herb Jackson, the designated pool reporter for the day, Trump’s new policy on prescription drugs is that drug companies should get tax cuts and deregulation

So that’s done.  And all of his promises about saving Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, all gone.  Once again, he’s just another conventional business Republican who doesn’t give a shit about consumers.

Shocking that a fascist might not keep his promises.

 

Are Our Institutions Strong Enough to Withstand This President?

That was the question somebody asked on talk radio (Thom Hartman’s show). But it’s a fallacious question because it’s not just one man.  It’s an entire political party that is going along with him for the ride and the minority of the population that wholeheartedly supports them and the promises he made.

Our institutions are only as strong as the dedication to them by our citizens.  A very large number of of our fellow citizens have no dedication to them at all.  They are ends justify the means people, so they’ll use the Constitution and our institutions if it suits them – they’ll go to court if they think it’ll work for them.  But they’re just fine going around them as well.  That’s where we are.

It’s where we’ve been with  the GOP for a while, which is why Merrick Garland is not on the Supreme Court and a whole raft of legislation was never even given consideration during the Obama years.  It’s why voter suppression and toxic gerrymandering has already given them almost unassailable legislative advantages and big chunks of the country are completely blinkered on essential facts of history, science and math.  The GOP and their right wing nut bag echo chamber didn’t get to where they are by respecting institutions.

The fact is they’ve been taking us down the road to civil war for a long time and it was only the great orange abomination that has woken many people up to that.

In a water cooler discussion when someone said “we’re screwed until the next election.” My Italian friend, who knows something about fascism, flat out said “if there is one.” That’s not a joke anymore.  1. even if there is they can rig it and would, and 2. if you think it’s automatic that they would respect an election they lost check out NC after McCrory lost and then think all 50 states and amplified.

Question: Why is Trump doing everything through executive order? He has the Congress and Senate.

I don’t have an answer or a guess, do you?  Is it just laziness because legislation is messy?

Obama only resorted to executive orders because he was obstructed.  These seem to be Trump’s go to.

I think he thought he might be able to name all these nominees, put out the executive orders and then go golfing for 4 years.  Promises kept, Trump out!  That’s my best guess.

This May Have Already Gotten out of Hand

Could we be in a hot civil war before people have gotten hip to the cold civil war?

Obviously we have the situation in D.C. where Steve Bannon, a white supremacist has been installed, perhaps illegally, on the National Security Council and Trump said the acting Attorney General “betrayed” the Justice Dept. by vowing not to enforce the executive orders that she determined were illegal.  That’s the stuff they spend a lot of time discussing on cable news.

We need to connecting the disturbing dots where there’s less light shone.  We have law enforcement agents not following court orders.

“Rogue customs and Border Patrol agents continue to try to get people on to planes,” Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told reporters on Sunday morning at JFK airport in New York. “A lot of people have been handcuffed, a lot of people who don’t speak English are being coerced into taking involuntary departures.”

The FBI has quietly been investigating whether law enforcement has been infiltrated by white supremacists.  We know the National Security Council was.   Read the linked piece by the Intercept, it is chilling and we know it’s an issue, not only in law enforcement, but the military.  Not really a surprise that people who want the power of a gun and a badge and a kevlar vest might be more likely to be of the Bannonist persuasion.  But given that the last line of defense in a democracy is the courts and the ability to carry out their orders, if you cannot trust law enforcement to carry out court orders?  Then we’re already at a coup 9 days in.  And do we have to start worrying about the loyalty of the military?

Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.

Up in the Godforsaken hellscape of Canada, that media can’t possibly beat a path to, apparently, a white nationalist Bannonist who supports Trump and LePen murdered 6 Muslim Canadians in an act of terrorism.  But Sean Spicer and Fox News have characterized the killer as a Moroccan.  One can’t help but wonder why so little coverage of this latest atrocity.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer exploited the attack to justify President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. “It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security,” Spicer said at this afternoon’s briefing when speaking of the Quebec City attack.

But these assertions are utterly false. The suspect is neither Moroccan nor Muslim. The Moroccan individual, Mohamed Belkhadir, was actually one of the worshippers at the mosque and called 911 to summon the police, and played no role whatsoever in the shooting.

The actual shooting suspect is 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, a white French Canadian who is, by all appearances, a rabid anti-immigrant nationalist. A leader of a local immigration rights groups, François Deschamps, told a local paper he recognized his photo as an anti-immigrant far-right “troll” who has been hostile to the group online.

Expect more attacks like this.  Concurrently, experts expect that Trump’s immigration order could inspire attacks on American targets as it plays into Islamist claims that we’re at war with Islam.  What happens when a Trump property is targeted?  The war that Trump wants could happen just like that.  But that’s international war.  I’m still more concerned with domestic conflict as Trump/Bannon and their nutty followers take a harder and increasingly more violent and less lawful stance to defend the power they believe they’ve been given.  These people are messianic in their belief that they’re saving the world from the naive ideas of democracy and pluralism that is destroying their idea of what civilization is (law and order for white people).

Check 0ut the Early Warning Signs of Fascism.  Um, we are there.  It’s not sufficient to say that America has traditions that will not allow it to be so easily taken over the way Putin made Russia his chew toy.  Maybe those traditions are easier to overcome that we thought.

Remembering Roe in 1973

I come back over and over again to the origins of our current Cold Civil War.  Abortion is one of the most polarizing and intractable issues that come between the two sides.  But it’s funny because, as I’ve written before, it wasn’t always the case.  Abortion didn’t become an issue at all around the Roe decision.  Which makes it kind of comical when conservative jurists declare it was an abortion of a decision (pun intended).

Geoffrey  Stone was there when the decision came down, serving as a clerk to Justice Brennan.  He remembers the atmosphere and remarkable lack of controversy at the time among the Justices or the public.

Many Americans today think of Roe v. Wade as a radical, left-wing decision. That was not the view at the time. By 1973, a substantial majority of Americans supported the right of a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Gallup polls at the time showed that “two out of three Americans think abortion should be a matter for decision solely between a woman and her physician.”

The 44 year erosion of public support for a woman’s right to choose when to have a child is certainly partly because of the diminution of collective memory for when safe, legal abortion procedures were only available to privileged women and desperate others paid in terrible ways.  But that’s only a partial explanation.  There’s been a very active effort to push anti-choice propaganda as part of the conservative political thought paradigm.  The religious right and the GOP pulled off a full intertwining of a religious agenda and a political agenda so that they largely go together as one in today’s conservative Republican ideology.  Being against abortion is just another way to piss off liberals now, even for conservatives that aren’t actually religious.  The ignorant still say it’s up to women to cross their legs until marriage, ignoring that 60% of abortions are performed on women who have a child already and do not want, or cannot afford, another.

It’s all pretty bizarre considering the country keeps moving away from religiosity, but they made their choice and they are stuck with it now.  It’s worked well for them as  far as raising money, motivating single issue voters, etc.  The politicos love to manipulate the issue.  They sure don’t want to see it ever get resolved in their constituents favor resulting in women dying again, because then the cold war would turn hot.

“What do you think of President Trump?” An appropriate question for an immigrant with a visa?

The Muslim Ban that they deny is a Muslim Ban, that only covers 7 countries that Trump doesn’t do business in and have never produced one terrorist on American soil, is exactly what you get when arrogant amateurs, not knowing what they don’t know (and not caring) without consulting their betters, make policy.

This in the details is a coup for the white nationalist anger monger, Nazi sympathizer, Steve Bannon.

On Friday a group of longtime non-partisan professionals in the State Dept. were fired, removing decades of institutional knowledge.

On Friday and Saturday orders were vomited out that put this un-American, poorly thought out, cruel and Gerry-rigged ban into place and elevated Bannon to the National Security Council.

That’s legitimately chilling in and of itself.

Immediately, Dept. of Homeland Security officials had to interpret the orders, as actual live people were on airplanes and at airports, people with visas, people who had been vetted and waited years to come to America, including interpreters who had served American forces in Iraq, were going to become pawns in Bannon’s campaign of fear. The officials thought, well, surely the ban wasn’t meant to keep these people out. For all of Trump’s dishonest and misleading bluster about “extreme vetting” what these people had gone through to get their legal visas was as extreme a vetting process as humanly posssible. It would be cruel and stupid. But Bannon countermanded that and asserted that yes, we meant this to be as cruel and stupid and counterproductive as you imagine.

After everything they’d been through, on the precipice of a new life in America these people looking for a new life were subjected to the cruelest torture of “extreme vetting”.

“What do you think of President Trump,” they were asked. And with that question they were made, in some part comfortable, because that’s the kind of question they were used to in their countries, run by authoritarian dictators, counsels of mullahs, political parties run by religious sects, etc.

At that moment when Donald Trump and Steve Bannon were keeping them from their goal of a new life in America, they had to do what they’d always done in countries with no free speech. They had to lie. They had to say “I like the guy.”

Welcome to the new America, just like the old country you escaped.

Oh and after saying all that we can add that our allies think we’ve lost our minds and Iraq and Isis will profit.

Soros is going to go broke funding all of these protests.

A Writer Finds a Photo Album and Finds Black Lives That Mattered

A wonderful and amazing story in today’s NY Times from Annie Correal that started when she passed by a brownstone in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and saw a photo album sticking out of the trash.  She couldn’t leave it there. And that’s journalism kids.

She had to track down the families and places depicted in the photos that showed a black family and friends ranging from the South, to WWII to Harlem to Brooklyn, in in so doing uncovered a living microcosm of the history of the people in this part of the world in the 20th century.

29famalbum-1-master675

Ike and Etta Mae Taylor lived the Great Migration of blacks leaving the Jim Crow South, coming to Harlem, then leaving there as it declined and transforming the outer boroughs (Crown Heights was 95% white in 1950 and 87% black by 1970, now going back again to a gentrified mix of white hipsters, black and Latino – represented by the writer herself).

For a few years, Etta Mae and I shared the block. Our bedroom windows looked out on the same backyards, and every day, she must have walked past my house, though I can’t recall if I ever actually saw her.

It’s just a great transfixing yarn as Annie Correal tracks down the living people who can put the pieces together about the people in the yellowed photographs.