The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare

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There was a moment during the previous Trumpcare vote, when John McCain made his dramatic entrance and gave the melodramatic thumbs down, when Democrats spontaneously burst into applause. And minority leader Chuck Schumer angrily waved for them to stop, which was almost like someone hit the “mute” button. Schumer must have known that Trumpcare was not yet dead and gloating was premature. Sure enough, Trumpcare is back. And it is actually closer to passing now than it was back then. Lisa Murkowski, who with Susan Collins so resolutely stood against it then, is wavering now. It is impossible to read McCain’s intentions. His maverickness has always been an illusion. Will he waver until the last moment and deal Trumpcare another deathblow so he can bask in the glow of public praise? Or will he do his usually hyper-partisan right-wing thing and do what he has always done: vote right along party lines? Who can tell.

There’s a moment in Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” where she mentions that at the inauguration McCain came up to her and hugged her, and had the same horrified expression on his face that she had. I’m sure this happened, but I’ve always been fascinated by how politicians can do and say such awful things to one another – and then talk about each other’s integrity. McCain’s behavior towards Clinton has been vile for many years. From Benghazi and emails through the entire campaign. And yet, Hillary considers him a friend. I know this sort of thing has been the gold standard for bipartisanship (fight during the day, share dinner and drinks at night), but when so much it at stake, how do politicians separate their personal feelings? How do they compartmentalize watching people do horrible things and go grab a smoke after? How does one continue to respect a man like John McCain?

Speaking of vile and no respect: Bernie. Yesterday socalannie posted a tweet from Sasha Stone, founder of the entertainment website awardsdaily.com.

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That’s a perspective on Sanders and his Revolution I hadn’t appreciated until Stone articulated it. And suddenly, so much of it makes sense. Bernie is the alien from “Aliens,” a parasite with acid for blood that latches on to a host because it can’t survive on its own, and then eats its way out through the chest cavity. It lays eggs (Bernie’s loyal minions like Nina Turner and Susan Sarandon), who do their own damage by killing their own hosts. And the cycle continues. Of course Sanders’ revolution is against Democrats. He and his believers have dedicated more time to attacking Democrats than Republicans and Trump. And they are doing it by infiltrating the party and are now eating their way out. Sadly the Democratic party is allowing it. Last week Sanders managed to bully a lot of leading Democrats, like Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker and Kamala Harris into supporting his single payer plan, a plan each and everyone one of them knows has zero chance of passing. And a plan that they announced just as the newest version of Trumpcare, conceived by Lindsey Graham, began to dig its way out of the grave. Sanders convinced Democrats to take their eyes off the undead with the usual promises of magical unicorns. Even Bernie Bro Matty Yglesias tweeted that October 1 – the day after reconciliation of ACA repeal ends – would have been a better day to introduce single payer. Now it’s impossible to tell if ACA will survive. And no, contrary to what Bernie Bros maintain, death of ACA will not lead to single payer.

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On the plus side, NY Times’ Glenn Thrush announced he quit Twitter. Sayonara baby.

What’s your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Warning:  Be prepared to hate this post. How do I know? Because I hate myself for writing it.

Let’s back up a bit. Even before DYB’s brilliant post this week, I planned on writing about messaging. Here’s where the hate peeks in – for science respecting, policy loving “libruls”, digging deep for understanding is the mother’s milk of informed, dispassionate inquiry. I’m about to advocate something striking at the soul of that mantra – overly generalized statements aimed at evoking an emotional response.

Democrats are horrible at messaging. We are great at policy. We suck at capturing the voter’s imagination and allowing it to soar. Rethuglicans, courtesy of Frank Luntz’s rich fertilizer, are quite good at it. Think death panels, but with some truth behind it.

What blasphemy causes this change in my love of policy nuance? Simple. Democrats are whistling past the graveyard while Rethuglicans continue to foist the unmanageable brokenness of the health care and pharmaceutical industries back at Obama. Attitudes have no chameleon characteristics, they don’t change themselves.

Through adept Rethuglican messaging, Obamacare is now shorthand for every conceivable health care problem. Democrats did nothing to combat it. Now Democrats have an opportunity to change the debate. Without wading into the psychology of it, why aren’t Democrats messaging like this:

  • The ACA was nicknamed Obamacare because President Obama and Democrats cared about people. This President and Congress don’t care about people. It isn’t Trumpcare, its TrumpDontCare.
  • Since laws are supposed to fix inequities, in Republican-world it must be equitable to take away health care from 22 million people so a million rich people can get a tax break.
  • When you turn a Trillion Dollars worth of health care into tax cuts someone is going to have to come up with the difference or do without a Trillion Dollars in health care.
  • If you haven’t heard about a ban on a Dow pesticide linked to harming babies’ brains, don’t worry, there is no ban. Likewise, there’s no proven link between Dow contributing a million dollars to the Trump inaugural and Scott Pruitt meeting with the Dow CEO prior to nixing the ban.
  • Forget Kim Jong Un, the most dangerous man in the world is Mitch McConnell with $200 Billion to buy votes to hurt 22 million poor Americans.
  • If the Rethuglicans have their way, by 2036 if you need a nursing home bed, you better not out live your savings.

Essentially six statements with none of the juicy wonkiness we love around here, but lots of emotional punch to energize and anger. Why someone isn’t messaging this emotion is beyond me. Perhaps if the opportunistic wannabes so focused on climbing over Nancy Pelosi spent more time thinking about the Party instead of themselves, such messaging might have a chance.

Politically a wedge must be driven between der Trumpenfuhrer and the pitchfork/torch wielding Rethug base. Otherwise, chances for taking the House in 2018 and impeachment are severely diminished to the point of impossibility. The most potent antidote for this mad Trumpkin affection is convincing these hordes the clamorous Yam doesn’t care about them and their plight. The beauty of it is simple: He doesn’t.

This health care debate could reinvigorate the Democratic New Deal covenant. What is apparent is that the liberal caricature of conservatism isn’t a caricature at all. It is reality. This admission against interest is courtesy of Marc Thiessen, a Dubya speechwriter now writing for the Washington Post’s op-ed page:

Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible.

If Republicans want to confirm every liberal caricature of conservatism in a single piece of legislation, they could do no better than vote on the GOP bill in its current form.

But at what point do we admit that this isn’t the liberal caricature of conservatism? It’s just … conservatism.

 

What is so aggravating is forfeiting stimulating intellectual discourse for bumper-stickerisms. While offensive to the very core of my being, if it will rid us of the orange pariah eroding the dignity of the United States, I can live with it. What we have going for us is the truth, TrumpDontCare.

What’s on your mind today?

h/t Quixote for TrumpDontCare.

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

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Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

rapture

Does anyone else feel like we are living through The Rapture? The Chosen ones – David Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, etc., – are being carried off to a better place while the rest of us heathens stay behind to suffer Drumpf for all eternity. We can all agree 2016 has been literally the worst. I’m not sure saying goodbye to it will make anything better though. Just when you think things can’t get any worse – they can. Do we have any reason to think 2017 will be an improvement with Drumpf – aka. King Jesus – and Pence leading the way?

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Over the last couple of weeks we’ve also had some bizarre murmurings about HRC’s loss from Obama and everyone’s apparently favorite uncle Joe Biden. (Nevermind that Biden is a gaffe machine who once said it was nice that Obama was so clean, among many other stunning pronouncements). Obama declared he definitely would have won if he ran against Trump (thanks Obama!) and Biden said Hillary never figured out how to run. This is from a guy who has run for President how many times and always dropped out with single digit support? Now Biden says he might run in 2020. Ok fantastic, good luck with that uncle Joe. With friends like these who needs friends? So how about Obama and Biden shut the hell up at this point? And while they’re at it, can they shut Bernie up too?

Speaking of Bernie, I’ve had it up the wazoo with Bernie and his Bros. We are still hearing them tell us how much we don’t understand the suffering of poor white men in the rust belt, and how we should not look down on them, and our condescension of their deplorableness is one big reason HRC lost the election (they don’t really care about the popular vote any more than Drumpf does.)

Ok look, this might sound harsh, but we don’t care about political correctness anymore, right? And these are tough guys, they’re men damn it, they can handle the truth.  So here goes: I have no doubt poor white men in the rust belt are suffering. But whose fault is it? Whose freaking fault is it? Apparently it’s HRC’s fault, and my fault and all of your fault Widdershins. We just don’t take care of them enough. Boohoo poor babies. Wahwahwahwahwah. My coal job is gone and I can’t get black lung disease anymore! And “fixing” Obamacare might get rid of my black lung health insurance!

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Ok, you know what? I’m done being blamed for that shit. The world evolves and people must evolve with it. Once upon a time everybody was a farmer. Then the Industrial Revolution came and people had to evolve and adapt. So they lost their farming jobs anddinosaurs-missingark-jpg-w300h308 moved to the big cities and started working in factories. Now we are living in a post-Industrial world, we are in a technological age. Maybe these poor white men in the rust belt could turn off NASCAR and crack open a damned book and learn something? Maybe go to a community college and get a degree in something instead of longing for the golden age of coal mines? It’s just a suggestion. Stop mocking the coastal elites who work long hours in offices and who went to college and got college degrees and massive student debts. I have a friend who works full time at Teach For America and goes full time to the New School. He has asked me for small loans to buy food a few times because his entire salary is spent on school and rent (with roommates.) These are the choices he made and I’ve never heard him blame anyone for them. He chose to go to school to get a masters while working full time and living in Brooklyn. So how about these poor white men in the rust belt stop whining and demanding things from everyone, blaming coastal elites for their troubles, while accepting no responsibilities for their own choices and actions. And how about Bernie Bros stop patronizing them and treating them like little children who are apparently so stupid that after a two year Presidential campaign HRC was somehow unable to connect with them. Excuse me, are they complete idiots who are incapable of critical thinking? Well, I tend to think “Yes, they are.” These are the people who year after year vote against their won self interests. In 2016 they voted for Drumpf. Seems pretty stupid to me. But Bernie/Bros tell us to stop condescending to them. Ok fine, let’s stop condescending to them, let’s treat them like adults with a few still living brain cells and hold them accountable for their own actions. Stop blaming everyone for these people’s stupidity and maybe spread out some blame for our current predicament to these people themselves? I mean, go ahead and blame HRC for her failures (I’ll assign one: it was obviously a mistake to spend time, money and resources trying to flip Georgia blue.) But stop blaming HRC for these poor suffering white men’s own failures as well as her own. I think we are all tired of being everybody’s whipping boys/girls, no? Take some responsibility for your actions folks in the rust belt and Bernie Bros who love them. You voted for Trump because you don’t like women, because you get bored by policy, you never looked at HRC’s plans for job creation in your regions, you only watched Faux News and read Breitbart for your breaking news, you thought e-mails were a really big deal. Own it. Hmmkay thanx bye.

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What’s on your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.

Good Wednesday friends.  Many thanks to Chat for hosting our little SOTU retoxification party last evening.  Instead of wading into the SOTU minutia, I have a few other news items.SOTU

These are small things about big subjects.  Since the news media is all consumed with the gaseous emissions from the guy wearing the kangaroo scrotum toupee, the important things of keeping an electorate informed have given way to plot lines unworthy of the “Housewives of Colonoscopy Corners”.  I find that tiresome, I hope you do as well.

 

Obamacare

Remember the line, “Obamacare is a job killer.”  It is a line still getting more than its share of media space courtesy of reporters who have the intellectual curiosity of a narcoleptic doorstop.

A funny thing happened on the way to proving the job killing proclivities of Obamacare – it doesn’t.  Simply put, there is no evidence that Obamacare has affected employment patterns in any appreciable way.

Good news is just so passé — why bother?

 

Ted CruzTed Cruz

There has been a flurry of birthism chickens coming to roost upon the spindly shoulders of the Texas demagogue.  Noted constitutional expert Laurence Tribe actually taught Ted Cruz in school.  Professor Tribe knows Cruz for what he is:  A political opportunist and a legal charlatan.

Let’s dissect:  Cruz has always paid his chicken-lip service to an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution.  Originalism is the current “en vogue” interpretative theory of conservatives since it is the shortest route to overturning progressive New Deal reforms.  Originalism didn’t even exist as a constitutional theory until the mid-1980s so it is essentially the “cargo pants theory” of constitutional interpretation.

In any event, Justices Moe, Larry, and Curly (Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) all subscribe to originalism.  Cruz has a matching tramp stamp to Scalia to prove his fealty.

The Framers inserted the words, “natural born citizen” as a Presidential requirement for a reason, but it was a strange qualifier.  Did it mean the indentured 3/5th citizens couldn’t qualify for President?  Did it mean the humans with the scary lady parts couldn’t qualify?  Did it mean only land owners could qualify?  Did it mean all of these?  No one knows since the question has never been addressed.

Cruz, having hatched in Canada with only an American mother, presents some unique questions.  In fact, prior to 1934, Cruz undoubtedly would not have been qualified to be President since it was only then that Congress provided a mother’s citizenship conferred citizenship upon her child.

As usual, Cruz is lying when he says, “It is settled law.”  It is not.

 

Iranian Nuclear DealNuclear Deal

Remember the Iran deal — the one representing just another excuse to overuse the words “existential threat”?  Its implementation is ahead of schedule.  Enriched uranium, 25,000 pounds of it, has been shipped out of Iran to Russia, never to return to Iran.

Iran is nearing completion of other requirements, including dismantling the requisite number of centrifuges, reconfiguring the Arak heavy water reactor (to close down the pathway via plutonium) and allowing for more intrusive inspections.  In addition, the Arak nuclear reactor core has been filled with concrete.  It doesn’t work very well that way.

 

Benghazi13 Hours

I’m really tired of Benghazi as a topic of conversation.  There have been seven investigations costing tens of millions of dollars and all coming to the same conclusion:  There was no wrongdoing.  There were areas of remediation where processes and procedures could be improved, but there was no wrongdoing.

With the opening of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi this topic is again going to percolate.  It is going to breathlessly play across Fox and talk radio as if it just occurred yesterday.  It will be as if the thousands of stories on Fox, the separate Fox-u-mentary, or the 2,456 print stories never existed.  And most of this rekindled interest will center on whether or not an order to “stand down” was given.

Here’s the truth behind the “stand down” order – none of the official investigations found any such order.  The Pentagon confirms this.  The State Department confirms this.  The issue continues to be central because it is politically potent and it fits into a narrative so important to the angry mobs listening to Fox and talk radio.

The argument for there being a “stand down” order hangs from one thin thread.  In the book written by the contract security survivors, they insist they were given an order to wait by a local CIA operative.  That non-sanctioned delay by the CIA operative was, in total, TOTAL, somewhere between fifteen and thirty minutes.

I can’t emphasize this enough – disrespecting the four Americans who died that day, impugning the reputations of countless Pentagon and State Department officials, and tens of millions of dollars in needless, duplicative investigations – were all predicated upon nothing more than a local CIA operative exercising operational control and six contract security cowboys disagreeing with his strategic decision to wait.

What’s more, that disagreement lasted only fifteen to thirty minutes.  These six men, perhaps to assuage their own consciences since they could have ignored the CIA operative fifteen minutes earlier, are now to be portrayed as Transformer level heroes.  Michael Bay, the director of 13 Hours, also directed all the Transformer movies, such is the historical significance of this movie.

Fox is going whole-hog on hyping this movie hoping the film can do what thousands of lazy news stories couldn’t – rewrite history.

 

What are you reading today?  Take this conversation in any direction you might like.

 

The rule in debating public policy is, “If you are explaining, you are losing.”  Be advised, this is a “losing post.”Understanding

Everyone is busy.  We only have so much time.  IMHO, we all use shorthand to communicate.  If the time available doesn’t afford a thorough explanation, it is understanding that is shortchanged.  There are plenty of examples.

These days when someone says “voting rights,” top of the mind automatically associates voter identification laws.  In reality, voting rights also refers to extended voting hours, absentee balloting issues, registration, weekend voting, and a host of other topics that have been subsumed into “voting rights”.

The same is true for Planned Parenthood.  Top of the mind associates the organization with abortion when that is barely three percent of the services it provides to women, most notably poor women without a secondary source of reproductive health care.

Acorn, community organizing, election finance, Obamacare, entitlements are all topics that are shorthand capstones for massively intricate webs of complexity.

Shut your face, know your placeWe “libruls” often unwittingly fall into this ruse.  It is not a sin of commission, but one of convenience.  Unwittingly, we are assisting those who are enemies of progressive issues.  This shorthand vocabulary is about to go into overdrive as we wend our way into 2016.

An issue that is sure to be saddled by this abbreviated understanding is the Black Lives Matter movement.  Originally, the BLM movement was and still is a concerted effort to draw attention to the killing of young men of color, but BLM is much more.  Its purpose is to draw attention to institutionalized prejudice, to de facto bigotry, to unprecedented incarceration rates, to overly aggressive policing and tactics in disadvantaged neighborhoods, to looking beyond the mere economic effects of discrimination, to rebuilding neighborhoods and voting empowerment.  While I don’t understand the BLM strategy of attacking those sympathetic with its policy positions, those decisions seem to be local ones and the overall motivations seem to be pure.

The simplistic rejoinder of, “All lives matter,” while true, is a backhanded effort to undermine the effort by subtly implying racist overtones.  BLM has not once implied that one set of lives is superior to another.  It is those who seek to impugn BLM who conflate the two slogans – and everyone readily overlooks those six words, with four of the words being the same, are merely slogans.Life is worth

These facts are dismissed and overlooked.  Why?  BLM is a tangible reminder of a truth that scares the bejesus out of a dwindling white majority power structure.  That truth is declaring war upon demographics is like declaring war on gravity.  In the end, gravity will win and any success in beating it back is only temporary.

This delegitimizing of BLM has risen to a fever pitch with the senseless killing of two police officers in the last few days.  The usual suspects who fan the fires of fear and resentment are behind these efforts – Fox, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Hannity.

There is something that bedevils me and it is this:  How neither side of this argument seems to understand there is no monopoly on grief?  There is plenty of grief for the getting.  The killing of young black men inspires grief just as does the killing of police officers visits horrible suffering on their families.  Victims are equally dead and there is no “who hurts worse” or “who grieves better” scorecards.

To fan the fires of resentment and fear, these murders have already taken on a shorthand vocabulary.  For instance, Breitbart only refers to “black on white” crimes as race murders, while “white on black” crime is given short shrift as random acts of derangement.

This thinly veiled bigotry is at the heart of the “Summer of Trump.”  The “stuttering triple P” poll found:

Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim… 61% think Obama was not born in the United States… and 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship.

Trump’s beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States.

MLKInstitutionalized bigotry will always be buttressed by the very institutions hosting the prejudice.  What we know from decades of research is that unless change is affected at the granular level, through outreach like BLM in cooperation with police departments and cities, there will be no significant improvement.  Everyone should be encouraged to put their shoulder to the plow.  As we have seen this summer, broken people break things and hurt people will hurt people.

Aspiring to such an elementary understanding isn’t on par with Johnson’s Great Society, but it sure would go a long way in making the society we have a much better one.

Your thoughts on any subject are welcomed and encouraged.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  How many times have you heard that tired old saw?  Surprisingly, there is a good bit of truth in that statement especially if the goose is a poor child and the gander is a rich child. Who knew?Seesaw

Through the study of some 5 million families a truth has emerged from the mountain of data.  Some of the findings are not earth-shattering pearls of wisdom.   Cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Orlando, and Chicago are inherently problematic for a poor child to have any hope of upward social mobility.  These cities are highly segregated and unequal.  They have a higher crime rate and worse schools.  They are also more likely than not to have a lot of single-parent families.

Courtesy of this study, we now know that poor children have better odds if they moved to places with more economic mobility like Fairfax County, Virginia, Bergen County, N.J., Seattle, Cedar County, Iowa, or any number of other communities.

So what’s the big deal?  What is the learning from this study?

The learning is that rich kids, with all the built-in advantages of economic freedom and stability, also fare better when they live in these very same communities as compared to just average communities.  In other words, whether you are a poor or a rich child, you benefit in your adult years from living in a community where economic mobility is embraced.

Bigger ladderAgain, not that earth-shattering – not until you consider the fear that permeates any effort to positively leverage social mobility.  That fear:  Any increase in economic mobility comes at the expense of those who already enjoy it.  Simply put, doing good things for some means equal or greater bad things for others.  It’s this fear that has stymied progress on health care, food stamps, child care, or crumbling roads and bridges for the past thirty-years.  The damage from this fear continues to this day.  It is at the heart of “I got mine, sorry about your luck.”

The code words for this fear in all things economic are “zero-sum gains” – meaning if we put struggling, poor children in classrooms with rich children, the rich kids will be worse off and suffer.  We worry if we contaminate “nice” neighborhoods with the occasional poor family, the nice neighborhood won’t be nice any more.

I’ve written about this often since, in my opinion, this is the greatest obstacle to anti-poverty programs.  You can see this fear playing out – cut food stamps before they affect social security, we can’t afford Obamacare because it might affect Medicare, or we can’t repair our deteriorating bridges and roads because it might mean closing some sacrosanct corporate tax loophole.

Anti-poverty programs to the poor are the anemic twenty-third cousin to the perpetual generational endowment of the one-percenters.  Without some positive governmental influence through boot-strapping, what hope is there for the neighborhoods of the generational poor and their children?  For most of these communities, hope is as rare a commodity as fresh produce at the corner market.

Helping poor kids won’t harm rich kids.  Helping poor sick people get medical care won’t impact Medicare recipients.  The jobs created from repairing our infrastructure pay for themselves.  If, and only if, we overcome the zero-sum fear underpinning bogus economic slogans perpetuated by the conservative media’s echo chamber.Social mobility ladder

Remarkably, instead of matching action with the mantra of “a rising tide raises all ships,” conservative energies always seem to be solely focused upon elevating the pier just beyond reach.

If we step back and think about it, the only legitimate zero-sum fear is one that extinguishes hope.  Poor kids and rich kids need essentially the same thing to insure their success.  Instead of cities withering in inequality, future generations need communities embracing institutions promoting social and economic mobility.  Now we have a study proving it.

I hope your Tuesday is a good one.  Any direction you might want to take this conversation is, as always, encouraged.

 


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

***Disaster Donations***

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Texas SPCA Donate Page

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Americares (provides medical/health support)
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“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
3.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

PHONE CONTACT INFO FOR THE DNC:

202-863-8000

TELL PEREZ AND ELLISON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAZILE NUT!

Storify version of E. Rogers HVF explanation

Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones