We Think We Can Luck Out

The one great strength Trump has is narcissistic personality disorder. The one great weakness Trump has is narcissistic personality disorder. Trump thinks, of course, that he is smarter than everybody else, which is an intrinsic symptom. And of coarse he is not. But the belief empowers him.

Since the majority of us don’t have this affliction, we don’t normally assume it in another person we interact with. Often, we can see the representative behavior as that of a person who might be smarter than us, or have better insight than us, upon which his opinions are based. And, of course, that isn’t true. The tactics that he learned, like using the technique of “social proof”, nicknaming, nurturing a small core of disaffected “supporters” (and there will always be some core of such folks), capturing enough in his act, to actually game the system to “win” presidency.

Trump is cunning enough to exploit this narcissistic personality disorder to his advantage.

But every front has a back. And the bigger the front, the bigger the back. Since Trump thinks most others are dumb, it really isn’t surprising that he will eventually, in time, be caught, when his affliction leads him into overplaying his hand. like now. Yes, most human beings are not as dump as Trump thought. Everyone can now (or almost everyone) can see his true Achilles heel.

The American people have finally seen him, as transparently weak. Like the emperor with no clothes. Naked. But still unabashed. That is the nature of his persistent disease. And the more we see, the more ridiculous he appears.

9/21/20- Looking Beyond The Horizon

You know, something breaks in your home and out comes the crazy glue. You try to fix it, but the problem is things seem to break apart at a critical juncture, areas that are normally under the most stress, where you perhaps put the glue on last time.

What are your choices? More glue, and maybe more, in the hope that you can hold things together a bit longer.

Trump has broken a lot of things, some of which put the planet at even greater risk of more breakage.

The crazy glue (Trumps’ equivalence: lies) can only last for limited time spans, especially as unglued breakage causes stress on what remains. Until it all falls apart.

This is what the philosopher, Hegel, referred to as the “anti-thesis”- the falling entirely apart. And this is where we are now. Where are we headed?

The problem is really this: not enough of us are looking far enough into the future. Glues dry out quickly while stress remains. Victory is not momentary, though it often seems so. The real spoils of battle soon themselves spoil.

The Republicans and Trump (and so many of us) are not looking far enough into the future. Glue dries out quickly, while stress remains. Victory only seems so until the spoils of war themselves spoil.

Sad, very sad. They may have a victory, which will only insure a more brutal future defeat. A tortured world eventually affects all inhabitants, themselves included. Such is the law of the universe.

The world that Trump is trying to build is UNSUSTAINABLE. It lacks the most critical quality of human interaction: AGREEMENT.

P.S. Think for a moment that you are a Trump collaborator and Trump loses the election. You strongly wish to avoid that outcome, perhaps at any cost. Terrible idea to ponder. It’s a long elevator ride to the bottom. For you, it’s not a matter of ethics and right, it is a matter of survival. It is no longer a matter of America first, it is about protecting yourself. That is why the coming days are fraught with risk.

8/31/20- Let Us Look Ahead

What if Trump wins the election amidst widespread proof that the election was rigged in Trumps’ favor? What will happen than?

With so many points of observation (such as the  reality of mail sorting machine removal,, potential widespread intimidation at at polling sites, delayed vote counting, in short, the experience of vote manipulation), what happens then??

We know, from all the books already published, about Trump, that his schemes only remain closeted for measurably short time frames. We all need to be grateful that we still live in an open society, where potential “observation points” are as numerous as the American population. Secrets and obfuscations can only exist for so long before they are analyzed and revealed for all to see.

Thus the real question becomes the aftermath. How will the general population of the United States respond, having the knowledge that their election was provably and undeniably rigged??

We know that Trump is a “short termer.” He does not measure potential results with a very long rod. He is interested in making another dollar and another victory for the next day or (maybe week). Being a narcissist, who thinks he can outsmart everyone,  he is merely an able tactician, but not a strategist.
And we think that Trump and his collaborators are really not considering that. How many books and articles will be published with titles like “Trump, The Illegitimate And Fake President of the United States.”

And do you really think that Trump and his collaborators are considering the backlash that the now clear majority of citizens of the United States are likely to demonstrate? The havoc created will not favor the Trumpers in the longer run. My generation well remembers hiding under school desks in preparation for a potential nuclear attack. The world eventually thought better.

These folks are dumber than I thought. They are not smart enough to prevail.

Mark Meadows interview with Jake Tapper (August 16, 2020)

Mark Meadows went on with Jake Tapper and was reminded that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Meadows didn’t disagree with that statement, but he retorted:
“there is no evidence that there is not either.”

Let’s play with some logical analogies to comprehend the absurdity of this response. Let’s say the following: There is no evidence that person “A” is a criminal. but there is no evidence that person A is not a criminal. And since there is no evidence that he is not a criminal, we need to treat him as if he were a criminal (just to be sure, one supposes). In other words, even if we have found no evidence that person A is a criminal, we have to collect evidence that he is not a criminal. Question: what evidence would be satisfactory? How does one collect evidence of non-criminal behavior? We are not talking about “motive” here, we are talking about everyday behavior. Of course, anyone can see the absurdity of this.

In science, guided by logical principles, we can make assertions about phenomena that has happened, we can witness it, document it, effectively prove its existence by repeated observations of it.

So no one has observed widespread voter fraud. Surely, if it were widespread, it would have, to that extent, been widely observed.

You obviously can’t observe a non-occurrence. And, unfortunately, Mark Meadows is an idiot, who has mastered the technique of speaking, dressing and looking like a chief of staff for a failed president.

Warning: This is Dark!

The question really is simple, what can be expected of another Trump term?
> If there are solid hints of voter suppression, post office issues, irregular counts, strong evidence of fraud, (all quite likely actually) we are in for true chaos in the US.

> We can expect extreme suppression of widespread citizen demonstrations, extreme executive orders, painful boycotts, widespread arrests, instigation of protestors to defy control strategies, there is going to be backlash, really just chaos.
> All the while absent a firm and effective coronavirus strategy.

> Trump will promote his win as a complete endorsement to do whatever he pleases, mostly by executive order. This is not, what Biden says, “a battle for Americas’ soul”, it is really a battle for Americas’ life.

> Trumps’ total lack of empathy really does extend tragically to the very concept and well being of 330 million citizens, all of us.

> I really wouldn’t be concerned if all the dictators in world history were successfully thwarted before creating death and destruction, but it is simply not so.

Corruption For All To See (7/11/20)

Most of us can clearly see corruption in a persons’ actions, but corruption can be found in what a person fails to do. Trump pardoning Roger Stone is quite visible, of course. Even before spending a day in jail for his crimes. But what about the many hundreds in prison who really deserve a pardon? How many has Trump pardoned in this group? And why not?

The message, of course, is if you support and protect Trump, he will shelter you from the law. He will take care of you.

No matter if you break the law. If you want to understand Trumps’ behavior, simply rewatch the Godfather.

Trumps’ Vacuous and Dangerous Mt. Rushmore Speech 7/6/20

The speech (probably written by Stephen Miller):

“….We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample our freedoms…we will teach our children to cherish and adore our country so that they can build its future together, we will fight for the American dream”…..

Now think for a moment about these phrases. How do you “teach” your children to cherish and adore their country (and not the people in it)? Does Trump mean “properly” indoctrinating them, as done in communist China, or was done in Nazi Germany? And Trump non-supporters that “trample on our freedom” (like wearing a mask so as not to spread the virus to others?), or indulge in a legal protest?

And “fighting for the American dream.” What does that really mean? Big great sounding but meaningless words really.

One doesn’t “fight” for his/her dream. One strategizes, plans, invests, labors and visualizes their dream. And indeed, what is that dream really?

The most important thing is to define it in order to realize it. Otherwise it is just a fancy word Trump might have used at a Trump University workshop. Indeed, heaven forbid Trump defining and revealing his dream. This is yet another Stephen Miller vacuous speech and Ivanka probably helped him.

The Charade Continues, by Martin Westerman, 6/22/20

Once upon a time there was a kid standing on a street corner holding the strings to a bunch of helium balloons, and selling them to passersby. A policeman came along and said, “Kid, do you have a permit to sell those balloons?” And the kid opened his hand and said, “What balloons?”

In Steve Bennen’s new book Impostors, he describes how contemporary Republicans have quit governing and become a “post-policy party.” They may present themselves as officials who are ready to take problem solving seriously, but they only focus on pursuing and maintaining power. At war with expertise, evidence and data, they’ve basically embraced nihilism, gaslighting, and bait-and-switch scams to fool people into voting for them. In office, they avoid relying on anyone who knows about policy or can hold them accountable, work to pack federal courts with creationist-theocratic, anti-woman, pro-corporate judges, inject Christian theocracy into military and civilian affairs, make deals to benefit their wealthy supporters, and transfer public money into private pockets.

Let’s look at two examples.

Cutting the federal payroll tax to stimulate the COVID-depressed economy. Independent Media Institute reports that as COVID continues unabated, Trump & Rs’ are proposing to replace Social Security’s dedicated revenue with deficit-funded general revenue. It looks like a gift – middle-class tax relief, but instead undermines a dependable source of retirement income for working Americans. It’s “fiscal stimulus” bait with an insecurity switch, a stealth attack on Social Security. One should only give up something good to get something better. This isn’t the case here.

Tax cuts don’t solve coronavirus problems, robust public health responses do. The Trump administration isn’t providing those, but it’s gaslighting America by pretending it is. Better options to stimulate a COVID-depressed economy: provide paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, and treatment for all. Make a one-time, progressively-structured direct payment; restore and expand the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or provide greater economic stimulus – all more targeted and equitable, and none placing administrative burdens on employers.

Big winners in this proposal: large corporations and employers, CEOs, U.S. Senators & Representatives, and members of the Trump administration. Big losers: salary and wage earners. As wages go down, so do benefits. State and local employees who do not participate in Social Security also get nothing. By law, Federal Insurance Contributions Act payments (payroll taxes) can only be used to pay Social Security insurance benefits. Social Security has no borrowing authority, and it does not and cannot add even a penny to the deficit. As the late President Ronald Reagan eloquently explained, in his words, “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

Re-opening the economy: As Ayoka Karis Warren wrote on Facebook in April 2020, forcing the Georgia economy to re-open is a very calculated move by GA Governor Brian Kemp. He mandates that restaurants reopen, whether they do or not. “I file for business interruption insurance, it does not go through since I am “allowed” to operate at full capacity. My landlord can demand all his money, since I am now allowed to fully operate. Furloughed staff that is collecting unemployment insurance has to come back to work or I have to let them go. Their unemployment insurance then goes on my tab, and if things blow up again, they are still on my tab, not the state’s, since they are no longer employed. This is about screwing the working class and small business, not about helping them.”

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the job of Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Galaxy, was to divert attention from the people who really ran the galaxy. Trump may see that as his Presidential role; as a reality show host, he is adept at it. And anybody who runs for President must be long on ego. But they must also appear to be personable, at which Trump is not adept. Any successful President must also play with interest groups and voting blocks, but with a sense of their effects on individuals. To succeed, they rely on advisors with their fingers on the pulses of people and events, so they can make the most equitable possible big decisions – about domestic & international economics, social, infrastructural, strategic and defense policies.

When we say we’re in a war for the survival of America’s institutions in 2020, we mean for the structure of what makes America a successful country: recognizable and dependable policies, supported by good research and experience. In 2016, America elected a clone of Loki, God of Chaos, as President. Chaos doesn’t work for governing 350 million Americans. Good policy does. Not un-policy.

The Psychopath in Chief by Tony Schwartz

The Psychopath in Chief
I spent hundreds of hours with Donald Trump to ghost-write ‘The Art of the Deal.’ I now see a deeper meaning behind his behavior.
Tony Schwartz
Tony Schwartz
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May 28 · 12 min read

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
“Imagine — if you can — not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken … You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences, will most likely remain undiscovered. How will you live your life? What will you do with your huge and secret advantage?”
— Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door
Among the accomplishments Donald Trump parades most proudly is that he has won 18 golf club championships. Like so many of his claims, this one is pure fiction. When the sportswriter Rick Reilly investigated for his book Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump, he found that 16 of the claims were transparently false, and no evidence existed to support the other two. In one instance, Trump said he had won a championship at the Bedminster, New Jersey, club he owns, even though he was in Philadelphia on the day the event was held.
When Trump does play, Reilly reported, he takes “mulligans” (extra strokes that aren’t counted in one’s score ), throws opponent’s balls off the greens and into the bunkers, and kicks his own errant shots back onto the fairway so often that one of his caddies nicknamed him Pele, after the soccer star. “Trump doesn’t just cheat at golf,” Reilly concluded. “He cheats like a three-card Monty dealer. He throws it, boots it and moves it. He lies about his lies. He fudges and foozles and fluffs.”
How do we deal with a person whose core impulse in every part of his life is to deny, deceive, deflect, disparage, and double-down every time he is challenged? And what precisely is the danger such a person poses if he also happens to be the leader of the free world, during a crisis in which thousands of people are dying every day, with no letup in sight?
The first answer is that we must understand exactly who we’re dealing with, and we have not, because what motivates Trump’s behavior is so far from our own inner experience that it leaves us feeling forever flummoxed.
The trait that most distinguishes psychopaths is the utter absence of conscience — the capacity to lie, cheat, steal, and inflict pain to achieve their ends without a scintilla of guilt or shame, as Trump so demonstrably does.
In July 2016, shortly before Trump became the Republican nominee for president, I was interviewed by Jane Mayer for an article in The New Yorker that was eventually titled “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All.” Mayer described my experience with Trump over the 18 months it took me to write The Art of the Deal. During that time, I spent hundreds of hours with him.
Like many other Trump critics, I believed that he was driven by an insatiable narcissistic hunger to be loved, accepted, admired, and praised. That remains prima facie true, but it deflects attention from what drives Trump more deeply: the need to dominate. His primary goal is to win at any cost and the end always justifies the means. Ultimately, he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks or feels. For Trump, the choice between dominating and being loved — saving himself or saving others — is no contest.
The catalyst for my shift came after a friend sent me a long paper written by Vince Greenwood, a Washington, D.C.-based psychologist. Greenwood makes a detailed clinical case that Trump is a psychopath, a term that is now used nearly interchangeably with sociopath. Psychologists continue to debate whether it’s legitimate to diagnose anyone from a distance without the benefit of a clinical interview. In Trump’s case, his life history is so well documented that a thorough assessment does seem possible. As I once did up close, we can observe every day which psychopathic traits Trump manifests in his behavior. The highly regarded Hare Psychopathy Checklist enumerates 20 of them. By my count Trump clearly demonstrates 16 of the traits and his overall score is far higher than the average prison inmate.
The trait that most distinguishes psychopaths is the utter absence of conscience — the capacity to lie, cheat, steal, and inflict pain to achieve their ends without a scintilla of guilt or shame, as Trump so demonstrably does. What Trump’s words and behavior make clear is that he feels no more guilt about hurting others than a lion does about killing a giraffe.
“Let’s face it,” actor and Trump supporter James Woods tweeted recently, “Donald Trump is a rough individual. He is vain, insensitive, and raw,” to which Trump blithely responded: “I think that’s a wonderful compliment. Thanks James.” Absence of conscience gives Trump the license to invent his own rules, define his own reality, declare victory in any competition, and insist on his superior expertise on subjects about which he knows almost nothing.
What makes Trump’s behavior challenging to fathom is that our minds are not wired to understand human beings who live far outside the norms, rules, laws, and values that the vast majority of us take for granted. Conscience, empathy, and concern for the welfare of others are all essential to the social contract. Conscience itself reflects an inner sense of obligation to behave with honesty, fairness, and care for others, along with a willingness to express contrition if we fall short of those ideals, and especially when we harm others.
Repentance for one’s sins is a basic tenet of every major religion, but Trump adamantly resists seeking forgiveness from anyone for anything he’s done. “I have a very great relationship with God,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper during the 2016 presidential campaign. “I like to be good. I don’t like to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don’t do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad.”
So long as we seek to understand Trump’s motivations and behaviors through our own lens, we will feel forever at sea. Viewing Trump through his lens helps clarify that his behavior is completely predictable, and why it has become more extreme during each year of his presidency. “When somebody’s president,” Trump declared on April 13, “the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total. It’s total.” When it became clear to Trump that total authority also meant personal responsibility, he backed off that claim. But Trump is akin to a battering ram. He just keeps coming at you. The only limitation on his behavior is whether he believes he can get away with whatever it is he’s trying to do.
“People with a strong sense of conscience speak truth to power,” Greenwood explains. “Trump speaks power to truth.” Since his election in 2016, Trump has told more than 18,000 lies without acknowledging or apologizing for any of them. The frequency of his lies has risen from five per day in the first year of his presidency, to more than 23 a day during 2020. For Trump, lying is second nature. Facts are simply are obstacles to be batted away when they contradict his preferred fictions.
It is a fact, for example, that Trump has been a defendant in nearly 1,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — by government agencies seeking to collect unpaid taxes on his properties, contractors trying to get paid for services rendered to him and his companies, and women charging him with sexual assault. As far back as 1973, Trump and his father Fred were sued by the U.S. government for refusing to rent to African Americans in Trump Village, a housing project built by his father Fred. The two Trumps fought the charges for two years but eventually signed a consent order that included agreeing to take a series of actions to end their discrimination.
In 2015, Trump settled two class-action lawsuits charging him with defrauding students at Trump University by paying $25 million in penalties, and agreeing to close down the business. In 2018, in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against Trump and his three oldest children alleging “persistently illegal conduct,” the Trumps agreed to shut the phony foundation, and to allow its remaining assets to be directed to charities chosen by the court.
The second quality that sets Trump apart is his lack of empathy. In the face of a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, we expect leaders to feel our pain, and to respond with expressions of compassion and comfort. Not Trump. In 13 hours of comments he made over a recent three-week period, The Washington Post reported that he spent a total of two hours attacking others, including the media, 45 minutes praising himself and his administration, and a total of just 4.5 minutes expressing rote condolences for Covid-19 victims and front line workers.
Trump doesn’t appear to make heartfelt connections with anyone, nor to value relationships beyond the extent to which they serve his immediate self-interest. Turnover in his administration — 85% in the first 32 months — dwarfs that of his five most recent predecessors for their entire first terms. Trump treats even his relationships with family members as transactional. Consider the way he describes his relationship with his father, arguably the most important influence in his life. “I was never intimidated by my father, the way other people were,” he explained to me for The Art of the Deal. “I stood up to him and he respected that. We had a relationship that was almost businesslike. I sometimes wonder if we’d have gotten along so well if I hadn’t been as business oriented as I am.”
Trump rarely speaks with affection about Melania, his third wife, or any of his children — with the exception of Ivanka — or his grandchildren. “I know friends who leave their businesses so they can spend more time with their children, and I say “Gimme a break,” Trump once explained. “My children couldn’t love me more if I spent 15 times more time with them.” But his children have sometimes described a different experience of their father. In 2004, Donald Jr. told a reporter that “My father is a very hardworking guy, and that’s his focus in life, so I got a lot of the paternal attention that a boy wants and needs from my grandfather.” In 2006, Trump’s younger son Eric mused that he was largely raised by his older brother. “My father, I love and appreciate,” he said, “but he always worked 24 hours a day.”
Ivanka is the one child Trump has often praised, including for being “voluptuous and having the best body.” When she was 26, Trump told hosts of The View that “If Ivanka wasn’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” Trump’s most emphatic declaration of love during the past four years has been directed at North Korea’s Kim Jung Un, one of the most ruthless dictators in the world. “I was being really tough and so was he,” Trump said in 2018. “And we would go back and forth and then we fell in love. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters, and then we fell in love.” What Trump especially admires in authoritarian leaders, among them Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro — all of whom he has lavishly praised — is their ability to exercise absolute power. “I wouldn’t mind a little bow,” Trump once said. “In Japan they bow. I love it. Only thing I love about Japan.”
Trump expects and demands loyalty, but it only goes in one direction. His mentor, Roy Cohn, served dutifully as his attorney for many years. “Roy was brutal, but he was a very loyal guy,” Trump told biographer Tim O’Brien. “He brutalized for you.” For The Art of the Deal, Trump described Cohn to me as “the sort of guy who’d be there at your hospital bed… literally standing by you to the death, long after everyone else had bailed out”
As for Cohn, he referred to Trump not just as his client, but also as one of his closest friends. Still, when Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984, Trump effectively ended the relationship. “Donald found out about it and dropped him like a hot potato,” explained Cohn’s longtime secretary, Susan Bell. “It was like night and day.” According to Bell, Cohn wasn’t surprised. “Donald pisses ice water,” he told her ruefully.
The third trait that most characterizes Trump is his need for dominance, and the evident pleasure he takes in exercising it. “I love getting even when I get screwed by someone,” he explains in his book Think Big and Kick Ass. “Always get even. When you are in business you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back 15 times harder.” In the absence of a conscience to shape and limit his behavior, Trump defaults to a more primitive and predatory impulse. Life for him is a zero-sum game. He either wins or he loses, dominates or submits. This explains why Trump felt no compunction about lashing out this week at a frequent critic, Joe Scarborough, by falsely accusing him of murder, even in the absence of a shred of evidence to support his claim. Cruelty is second nature to Trump.
Perhaps nowhere is Trump’s need for dominance more evident than in his relationship with women, captured most vividly in his comments to Billy Bush on the Access Hollywood tape. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]. I just start kissing them,” he bragged. “It’s like a magnet. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.” More than 20 women have now publicly accused Trump of sexual assault.
Another tactic that Trump employs to assert his authority is declaring his unique expertise on virtually any subject. He instinctively disdains and dismisses the knowledge of experts, including scientists, and instead casts himself as the leading expert on anything and everything. Topics that Trump has claimed to “know more about than anyone” include ISIS, drones, social media, campaign finance, technology, polls, courts, lawsuits, politicians, trade, renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, environmental impact statements, nuclear weapons, banks, tax laws, income, money, and the economy. In fact, because he can never focus his attention for long, his knowledge about any subject tends to be superficial and severely limited. Trump has even felt free to contradict the health care professionals on his own team during the Covid-19 crisis, most notably in describing the potential healing power of injecting disinfectants into the body. “Every one of these doctors said, “How do you know so much about this?” he explained. “Maybe I have a natural ability.”
In order to protect our democracy and our shared humanity, it’s critical to push back, calmly and persistently
So what does all this tell us about how we can expect Trump to behave going forward? The simple answer is worse. His obsession with domination and power have prompted Trump to tell lies more promiscuously than ever since he became president, and to engage in ever more unfounded and aggressive responses aimed at anyone he perceives stands in his way.
In the end, Trump does what he does because he is who he is, immutably. The research now strongly suggests that the absence of conscience has a strong hereditary basis, even as it may also be activated by adverse childhood experiences. The genetic abnormality itself manifests in the limbic system, the set of brain structures involved in the processing of emotions. People without a conscience, it turns out, often have an undersized or under-active amygdala and less gray matter in the limbic area of the brain.
For four years, along with millions of other Trump critics, I have wrestled with the best way to respond to a president who is incapable of shame or empathy and cares only about his self-interest. There is no effective treatment for a person with these traits, and Trump wouldn’t seek one if there was, because he genuinely doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with him. The horrifying truth is that it’s precisely what he’s missing that gives him a permanent advantage over the vast majority of us who are guided by a conscience and concern for others.
Trump revels in attention, domination, and cruelty. “The sociopath wants to manipulate and control you,” explains Martha Stout, “and so you are rewarding and encouraging him each and every time you allow him to see your anger, confusion or your hurt.” Even so, in order to protect our democracy and our shared humanity, it’s critical to push back, calmly and persistently, against every single lie Trump tells, and every legal and moral boundary he violates. We must resist what Hanna Arendt has called “the banality of evil” — the numbness and normalizing that so easily sets in when unconscionable acts become commonplace. “Under conditions of terror, most people will comply,” Arendt has written, “but some people will not.”
Understanding what we’re truly up against — the reign of terror that Trump will almost surely wage the moment he believes he can completely prevail — makes the upcoming presidential election a true Armageddon.
Vote as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Betrayal Trumps Trump, Martin Westerman-5/27/20

Marty blog contribution to Kaufman: Betrayal Trumps Trump #2

Following my last post – here’s more on how to create 2020 Democratic wins. The basics are to erode the Trump-Republican base, and attract independent middle and moderate right voters. Also:
• Arouse disgust w/independent & moderate voters vs. Trump & his radical Republicans,
• Push back against vote suppressors, and
• Turn red states purple – by using deep listening from Polics Is Power

The Trump-Republican minority is estimated at 30%-40% of the electorate, and shrinking. The elderly fear dying of COVID-19, and the military is offended by him violating their conventions.

Challenges facing Democrats include:
• Big money: most wealthy folk back the Republican party. They get most of their proposals enacted into law and regulation. Tom Steier, Andrew Yang, George Soros and their breed are outliers. The rich may personally despise Trump, but his Republican tax breaks have made them richer. And since March 28, billionaires are up another 15%, thanks in part to the “Zillionaire Giveaway,” a fine print addition to the 880-page March CARE package that handed $135 billion to wealthy real estate developers. The “Modification of Limitation on Losses for Taxpayers Other Than Corporations” has nothing to do with Covid-19, and offers retroactive tax breaks from before Corona arrived, says the Institute For Policy Studies. And another fortunate 16 Americans have become billionaires this year.
• Most large business groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, fossil fuel corporations, agribusiness, banks and financial companies, and health conglomerates appreciate the tax breaks and give-aways, and respond with hefty contributions to Republican candidates and causes.
• Thanks to Trump fronting for Republican Senate confirmations of two corporatist, anti-regulation, anti-abortion Supreme Court Justices (Gorsuch, Kavanagh), there’s doubt now that SCOTUS will render impartial decisions on these matters
• Knowing they can’t win if everyone votes, Republicans have turned to suppressing the vote as their only option for winning – falsely claiming that voting by mail invites fraud, creating obstacles to getting ballots, forcing voters to stand together and spread COVID-19 infection, and working to undermine the mail-in voting vehicle, the U.S. Postal Service.

So the 2020 elections are not about the candidates. The election is about Trump & Co., and reversing the American march toward authoritarianism. In her 2011 online op-ed in The Washington Post, Harvard political scientist Pippa Norris noted that 44% of Americans without college degrees approved of having a strong leader who “doesn’t have to bother with congress or elections.” She wrote that, for two decades, populist authoritarian leaders—appealing to nationalism and tradition, preaching hostility toward outsiders and elites—had attracted swelling support across Europe and the Americas, winning legislative seats and ministerial offices, gaining government power. Trump & Co. are part of the wave.

Our 2020 job is to throw them out, and basically, save The Union from authoritarian government. How do we tackle that list of challenges, regain power, and start reversing the damage? Take bold action.

Several Democrats suggest that after he finishes being sworn in as President, Joe Biden should display his first Executive Order, reversing all Trump executive orders. After that, he makes his acceptance speech.

We know negative advertising works – unfortunately. People react to both fear and love. So every Democratic and Independent candidate must hammer Trump’s broken promises and failures. What could be more repulsive than:
o over 100,000 U.S. virus deaths in three months, refrigerated trailer morgues, and
o no federal leadership to help get us out of this mess?

Next, to peel away the loyal base, add the promises Trump made at his inauguration and failed to keep:
o “…total allegiance to the United States of America,” and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.”
o To eradicate ISIS
o To give struggling families much to celebrate, and “make every decision on trade, taxes, immigration and foreign affairs benefit American workers and American families,”
o To stop enriching foreign industry at the expense of American industry, and protect America “from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,”
o To repair America’s decaying infrastructure.

And there’s more! Our Democratic presidential candidate – likely Joe Biden – must:
o keep a running tally of Trump lies – now nearly 100,000 (“That’s lie number 18,233, Mr. President”)
o name each of the government and private sector sycophants and cronies who enable him, and have used their power positions for profit from the government,
o remind voters that Trump’s swamp people, cozying with Russian hackers, and conservative judges Mitch McConnell helped install, are depriving us of the America we hold dear.

And we know the best way to counter money in politics and voter suppression are through
(1) grassroots organizing (we still change our government through the vote!)
(2) requiring that independent commissions set demography-based voting districts, and where that
can’t be done, bringing lawsuits to get it done.
(3) fight fire with fire, and bring money to campaigns to counter Republican money

So move off the couch, break free of treating politics as a hobby, and act however you can to help Democrats and Independents win the Presidency, control of the Senate and House, and offices in all states. There’s a plethora of possibilities to choose from. Here’s a menu of your options:
o Go to Changing the Conversation Together (CTC) – it offers training in “deep conversations, persuasive exchanges,” to build a national corps of deep canvassers who bridge political divides and help elect Democrats to take us forward.
o Change the Electoral College’s impact, and move the U.S. closer to deciding Presidential elections by national popular vote. We don’t need to abolish the Electoral College to do it. Contribute to changing the Read Politics Is For Power by Eitan Hersh – then take action
o Write postcards, and give all the business you can to the U.S. Postal Service! Join a writing campaign, such as Postcards To People,
o Contribute to the Congressional Progressive Caucus – working to pass The People’s Budget and The Green New Deal, hold our leaders accountable, and create an equitable U.S.A.
o Help voting rights organizations that fight gerrymandering, promote one person-one vote, and protect that vote from election tampering. They include Indivisible, Brand New Congress, Fair Fight, Supermajority, National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and others that fight and voter suppression, and work at the national and state levels to guarantee the vote as a Constitutional right that’s as hard to take away as a gun
o Help regain control of the media messages — from social media to radio and television, including flooding conservative and right wing databases with progressive messages
o Contact your state and national legislators – write, call, visit! – to set up social media security, in partnership with Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, so elections can’t be hacked, fake news can be debunked and erased,

According to our statistics watcher Tom Koch, the numbers look good for Democrats at this point. Biden will win all of Hilary Clinton’s states (232 electoral votes), and likely PA and MI, totaling 268. He will need one more state or both Maine (2) and Nebraska (2) to get the win. He is outperforming Hillary with white voters. She lost them by 20%, and Biden is down by about 9%; Hillary lost white women, Joe leads among them. The difference between Biden’s polling numbers and Clinton’s results shows that moderate whites make the difference.

In the final analysis, the 2020 election is about Trump. We’re in a war for the survival of America’s institutions – to keep them viable and independent, re-design them if necessary, and strengthen the three branches so they can check and balance each other, and make every citizen’s vote legitimately count.

Betrayal can break Trumps’ grip

Martin Westerman 5/21/20

The white Christian men in charge of our governments and corporations have failed the white Christian men who voted for them and bought their products. Now, those voters and buyers are angry with – people who aren’t Christians, and aren’t white Christians.

They’re proud to not connect cause and effect. Kelly Ann Conway introduced the world to “alternative facts” on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” January 22, 2017, when she defended Sean Spicer’s lie about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. Whether they’re in the Trump inner circle, Administration or Congressional sycophants and hangers-on, or MAGA hat wearers, they assert: “Trump didn’t say that. And if he did, he didn’t mean it. And if he did, he was just being sarcastic. And if you thought he was serious, you didn’t understand. And if you did, it’s no big deal. And if it is, others have said worse.”

“Trump’s tendency to deny his past statements has become more glaring during the coronavirus” reported CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger and Christina Wilkie on May 1, 2020.
“Everything is an act for him,” tweeted Leah McElrath March 11, after Trump’s COVID address. “He has no sense of the gravity of the situation because he lacks the capacity for empathy.” He only seems able to mimic what is socially appropriate. Trump complains that he can’t lead rallies during COVID. “…apparently it hasn’t occurred to him that his cultists would be endangered if they were crammed into an arena shouting at the top of their lungs, and expressing micro-droplets all over each other in the process.” (Joshua Holland, Alternet, May 20, 2020)

Feb. 6, 2020, journalist Eric Black wrote he was horrified that “selective perception” and “confirmation bias” have replaced objectivity in official pronouncements and news reporting. “There’s a part of human nature that, rather than wanting to know what’s accurate and true, wants to believe certain things, whether true or not.” Black considers Donald Trump a genius “in understanding that feature (or bug) of human nature.”

From the moment Trump won the Republican nomination July 19, 2016, researchers have been analyzing conservative and Trump supporter brains and behaviors. They echo studies done all the way back to the end of World War II, about how “normal” people could have supported fascist and Nazi governments, let alone gone to war for them. All authoritarian governments since, including Trump’s have been morally- and ethically-challenged. But it’s not about politics or logic, it’s about values.

Trump’s base “recognizes his legitimacy and follow him not because of who he is or what he does, but because of what they think he believes — and what they think that says about them,” wrote Derek Newton (Feb. 11, 2018, NBC’s THINK). Studies show this attitude dates all the way back to the rise of fascists and Nazis in the 1930s.

Trump supporters are like members of religious and fraternal organizations, says Andrew Gray, emeritus professor of Public Sector Management, Univ. of Durham (UK). They operate in the “communion mode,” where people recognize legitimate authority “based on an appeal to common values and creeds, and shared frames of reference.” They only consider actions “legitimate” if they’re consistent with communal values.

In contrast, the “contractual mode” is based on an agreement that sets out obligations and rewards; the “command mode” is based on a rule of law “emanating from a sovereign body, and delivered through a scalar chain of superior and subordinate authority.”

Communion governance relies on regular in-person meetings, call and response rituals (like Trump rally “Lock her up!” and “Drain the swamp!” chants) and shared experiences. Their members tend to associate and bond only with people similar to them, and view outsiders with suspicion and hostility. Their group bonds are stronger than those between followers and a leader because, where politics are transitional, values are long-lasting.

That makes persecution a key unifier (e.g., “the war on Christmas,” attacks by the “deep state” or “fake news media”). When members face opposition, or see an attack on their leader, they take it personally, as an attack on themselves and their values, and on their values leader – whether it’s on Trump, or the pastor holding religious services vs. virus lockdown. Any threat or assault by larger, stronger forces on the group increases their commitment to both group and leader. When reporters ask, “Do you still support Trump?” they hear, “Do you still support your own values?”

How to break the communion cycle? Betrayal. When the group feels betrayed, they turn on the betrayers. Newton wrote that inroads to Trump’s base are more likely to succeed if they avoid the supporters’ values or symbols, and find ways to target Trump for betraying them. The Lincoln Project Republicans are taking this tack.

Gray notes that followers who no longer see their values reflected by a communion leader become receptive to finding a new one. So it’s pivotal to demonstrate that Trump no longer does (or never did) share his followers’ values.

Unfortunately, other leaders who emerge to pull supporters away from Trump’s base may have to reflect shared values more passionately, by showing that Trump isn’t tough enough on immigrants, or terrorists and/or trade. And any values-based replacements for Trump must come from within the structure, not outside of it, given the group’s insularity and resistance to outside criticism. Followers must believe that the leader believes in the shared values more than Trump.

Fortunately, even if the new leader(s) emerge, it’s unlikely that the replacement(s) could take over the Trump base as much as fragment it.

Are We Doomed By The Narcisist-In-Chief?

5/6/20: (Bill Kaufman)

Trump is facing a massive recession/depression. Of course his real estate holdings, hotels, golf courses will do horribly. This will achieve a high point as we close in on the November election time. Not good for him, and he knows that.

While he has attempted to blame others for numerous blunders in managing the crisis, such as providing for adequate testing, needed equipment, personal protective gear, etc., he has, even worse, failed to unify the country, a critically needed preamble for success.

So now he knows that he is either on the losing side of the coming election or he pulls a rabbit out of his MAGA cap.

So he gambles. He feels he has no choice if he has any chance of getting what he wants, re-election. This reminds one of the Stormy Daniels saga. Recall that Ms Daniels said that Trump (married at the time) didn’t wear a condom. That was taking one big risk considering that Ms. Daniels was a porn star, and it was during the AIDS epidemic.

But Trump is a big gambler. In the past he has been lucky enough to avoid terminal disaster for himself. Trump has been enabled to gamble bigger than ever, and with other peoples money. Ours. Heads I win, tails, you lose.

For a narcissist, when you want something bad enough, or fear failing altogether, why not take a Hugh risk. Consider the downside, which for him is failing to be re-elected. For millions of Americans, they die. That’s not a bad bet for a narcissist.

Shame on us. We gave him all the chips for free.

If Money Is No Object, What Would We Do? Martin Westerman

5/5/20

As the federal government doles out trillions of dollars in its CARES Act Stimulus Program – mostly to American corporations, leastly to deserving citizens, we might ask, “What kind of ‘economy’ is this?”

Like a tide going out and coming in, money has melted away – in a 10,000 point stock market drop, and returned – led by the U.S. Treasury, creating a 5,000 point stock market rise. Stock market observers have seen this epidemic effect before, and think it’s worrisome. Basically, the U.S. Treasury is borrowing against future U.S. tax revenues and paying itself interest on the loan, exploding our national debt, to print money for Americans who will owe nearly $70,000 per person to the U.S. Treasury.

Economists agree it’s a problem. David Wessel, Director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy explained, “No one really knows at what level a government’s debt begins to hurt an economy.” If interest rates stay low, the government can handle a heavier debt load than anyone thought possible. But federal debt “cannot grow faster than the economy indefinitely.” Eventually, federal borrowing will crowd out private borrowing, and “Something has to give.”

A current Internet meme describes CARES like this:
“It is a slow day in the small Iowa town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit. A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs,
. the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
. the butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.
. the pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.
. the guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.
. the hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.
. the hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveller will not suspect anything.
At that moment, the traveller comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves. No one produced anything. No one earned anything… However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.”

The Pumphandle story says our economy is built on the movement of capital. But what if each person in Pumphandle owes more than $100? Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck – money flows in, money flows out, and an unexpected expense can bankrupt them. Like the airlines and airplane manufacturers: they can’t make expenses because air travel has nosedived. American petroleum and tar sands companies are going bankrupt because the Saudi Arabia-Russia oil price war has created an oil glut and tanked per barrel income. Food suppliers, farmers and ranchers are dumping produce and killing livestock because restaurants, foodservice, hotel and cruise ship patronage has dropped to a trickle. Wen should create a new bankruptcy category: Chapter 19.

At this point, we might long for the good old days, when there was no such thing as money. Bands of our hunter-gatherer ancestors followed seasonal game and food plants, and even when they settled down 10,000-odd years ago to grow food and tame livestock, they still didn’t need money. They traded and bartered with other settlers and nomads. Labor predates capital by a million years.

But the Ag-Rev fed people, populations and tribal areas grew into territories, more people produced more goods and services, more trading occurred and more market centers appeared. People invented bookkeeping and accounting to keep track of transactions, and markers – money, to represent value and promises to pay. If you didn’t want a cow in trade for 30 clay urns, you could take an agreed weight in silver or gold to represent the value, then trade your silver for food or wood.

Governments appeared and grew; chieftains and warriors evolved into kings and armies; administrators appeared to manage growing realms and empires. Less and less money circulated amongst mid- and low-level tradespeople, farmers, ranchers and service providers; more and more flowed to the king’s coffers and the military – much like today.

Credit – loaning money to finance ventures – came mostly from the king and those connected to him. But expanding trade routes and more available wares to buy and sell encouraged commercial ventures, and helped entrepreneurs make fortunes. Commercial bankers arose to hold money securely. They lent it to finance regents’ adventures, finance new industries and research, and to make money on money. From the 1600s Enlightenment onward, the power of capital began to eclipse the power of monarchs.

Fast forward to today: We may love watching TV programs about hardy homesteaders and off-the-grid survivalists, but they’re just acting out nostalgic hunter-gatherer, or apocalyptic fantasies. With more than seven billion people on a planet running an $80 trillion globalized economy, they need this economy to finance their fantasies.

So, “What kind of economy is this?” All the world’s religions say it should be guided by a Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would treat yourself.” But most every empire has lived by another version: “Whoever’s got the gold makes the rules.” That approach “can weaken even the firmest ethical backbone,” wrote Eduardo Porter. And every empire has fallen, as greed for wealth has financed absolute power, and “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” (Lord John Dalberg-Acton, 1887).

Greed is really the source of all evil, not money. Food, shelter, security, love, and community appear in Maslow’s hierarchy; money doesn’t. Chief Sealth, surrendering his tribal lands to white settlers founding Seattle warned, “You may divide and sell all our land, but what will you do when you have nothing left to eat but your money?” Money is not political, religious or ethnic; nor moral or immoral. It’s amoral; a tool of commerce, a lifeblood of modern society. It’s like condensed energy, able to finance good and evil.

U. Mass. Boston economics professor Julie Nelson asserts that ethics must be a part of economics. “We undermine the ability of the economy to do its job — to provide for the sustaining and flourishing of life” if we imagine economics as “an ethics-free and care-free sphere.”

Labor may predate capital, but Oxford economics professor Bob Smith says they’re partners now – “complementary factors of production.” “In an industrial and post-industrial economy, you literally can’t produce (create, manufacture, distribute) without capital.”

The COVID economic jolt provides a good time for us to reimagine our economy as more than just the flow of money. Money is an agreement about the trading value of goods and services. Its value rises with optimism, falls with pessimism, spikes with euphoria, plunges with panic. If the U.S. Treasury can print money and call it valuable, then we can re-imagine the role of that money for supporting Americans’ aspirations. We should be looking at money in terms of what we could do if money were no object.

During the Great Depression, American infrastructure got built while America supported its artists and culture. We can do that today, too. When someone says we can or can’t “afford that,” it’s usually a statement of political expediency or lack of imagination.

For three years now, the Trump Administration has shown us how not to run a government. Meanwhile new, more cooperative form of financial and political systems have taken shape. While political leaders have locked their borders during COVID, scientists have opened theirs. While the current administration says it’s every man for himself, experts say being part of a cohesive community is the best way to survive disaster. On the business side, buying from or being part of a member-owned cooperative, like Darigold, Tillamook, R.E.I., Costco & credit unions, is more sustainable than with a standard structure business. In the U.S., cooperatives generate $652 billion in annual sales, and employ more than two million people. Worldwide, Certified B Corporations like Patagonia, Seventh Generation, and 3000 other companies are transparently verifying their business, social and environmental performance, working globally to build a sustainable and inclusive economy, and sharing the wealth to encourage more of it.

The models are there. It’s time we demand that our federal governments use them to run a better kind of economy now, and for our future.

This Is The Turning Point.

April 1, 2020

We are at a turning point in american history. Indeed world history. To the extent that we enter in a life or death purchasing and resource competition with other peoples around the world, even the risk of world war has increased. Our approach must be experienced as fair for all parties. It already is not.
But we have a president who disavows the United Nations. America First sets the table for a disgusting meal.

We are at a turning point in american, indeed, world history. The planetary survivors of this crisis will completely refocus our vantage points. Assume you were reading about our historical moment 50 or 100 years from now. (By that time our experience will be highly documented for (hopefully) all future historians).

It was just a matter of time before Trump would meet a challenge that proved his utter unfitness. His lack of empathy (which, try as he can, can’t be faked) his need to be lauded or worshiped, his smallness, his lack of intellect, compounded by Trumps’ actual stupidity, would all factor into turning a critical crisis into a catastrophe. And here it is.

It is critical that the American public is frequently reminded of Trumps’ unfitness, lest he somehow wins another ruinous term. There is a tendency to not allocate blame, to avoid conflict, and even to not get on Trumps’ “bad side” for fear of retribution. Such has already been hinted at by Trumps’ castigation of two governors, and imposing a fear that they will not get a needed share of federal government resources if they “are not appreciative”. As if these resources belonged to Trump, and not all of Americas’ tax payers.

Footnote: A CNN Politics recently published, “Analysis: Donald Trump can’t face the stubborn reality: He was wrong about coronavirus”

The Fully Naked Emperor- NY Times, David Leonhardt (3/15/20?

President Trump made his first public comments about the coronavirus on Jan. 22, in a television interview from Davos with CNBC’s Joe Kernen. The first American case had been announced the day before, and Kernen asked Trump, “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
The president responded: “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
By this point, the seriousness of the virus was becoming clearer. It had spread from China to four other countries. China was starting to take drastic measures and was on the verge of closing off the city of Wuhan.
In the weeks that followed, Trump faced a series of choices. He could have taken aggressive measures to slow the spread of the virus. He could have insisted that the United States ramp up efforts to produce test kits. He could have emphasized the risks that the virus presented and urged Americans to take precautions if they had reason to believe they were sick. He could have used the powers of the presidency to reduce the number of people who would ultimately get sick.
ed all of his public statements and actions on coronavirus over the last two months, and they show a president who put almost no priority on public health. Trump’s priorities were different: Making the virus sound like a minor nuisance. Exaggerating his administration’s response. Blaming foreigners and, anachronistically, the Obama administration. Claiming incorrectly that the situation was improving. Trying to cheer up stock market investors. (It was fitting that his first public comments were from Davos and on CNBC.)
Now that the severity of the virus is undeniable, Trump is already trying to present an alternate history of the last two months. Below are the facts — a timeline of what the president was saying, alongside statements from public-health experts as well as data on the virus.
Late January
On the same day that Trump was dismissing the risks on CNBC, Tom Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years, wrote an op-ed for the health care publication Stat. In it, Frieden warned that the virus would continue spreading. “We need to learn — and fast — about how it spreads,” he wrote.
It was one of many such warnings from prominent experts in late January. Many focused on the need to expand the capacity to test for the virus. In a Wall Street Journal article titled, “Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic,” Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb — both former Trump administration officials — wrote:
If public-health authorities don’t interrupt the spread soon, the virus could infect many thousands more around the globe, disrupt air travel, overwhelm health care systems, and, worst of all, claim more lives. The good news: There’s still an opening to prevent a grim outcome. … But authorities can’t act quickly without a test that can diagnose the condition rapidly.
Trump, however, repeatedly told Americans that there was no reason to worry. On Jan. 24, he tweeted, “It will all work out well.” On Jan. 28, he retweeted a headline from One America News, an outlet with a history of spreading false conspiracy theories: “Johnson & Johnson to create coronavirus vaccine.” On Jan. 30, during a speech in Michigan, he said: “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”
That same day, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus to be a “public-health emergency of international concern.” It announced 7,818 confirmed cases around the world.
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The Manhattan Private School That Tore Itself Apart

Jan. 31
Trump took his only early, aggressive action against the virus on Jan. 31: He barred most foreigners who had recently visited China from entering the United States. It was a good move.
But it was only one modest move, not the sweeping solution that Trump portrayed it to be. It didn’t apply to Americans who had been traveling in China, for example. And while it generated some criticism from Democrats, it wasn’t nearly as unpopular as Trump has since suggested. Two days after announcing the policy, Trump went on Fox News and exaggerated the impact in an interview with Sean Hannity.
“Coronavirus,” Hannity said. “How concerned are you?”
Trump replied: “Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. We have a tremendous relationship with China, which is a very positive thing. Getting along with China, getting along with Russia, getting along with these countries.”
By the time of that interview, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world had surged to 14,557, a near doubling over the previous three days.
Early February
On Feb. 5, the C.D.C. began shipping coronavirus test kits to laboratories around the country. But the tests suffered from a technical flaw and didn’t produce reliable results, labs discovered.
The technical problems were understandable: Creating a new virus test is not easy. What’s less understandable, experts say, is why the Trump administration officials were so lax about finding a work-around, even as other countries were creating reliable tests.
The Trump administration could have begun to use a functioning test from the World Health Organization, but didn’t. It could have removed regulations that prevented private hospitals and labs from quickly developing their own tests, but didn’t. The inaction meant that the United States fell behind South Korea, Singapore and China in fighting the virus. “We just twiddled our thumbs as the coronavirus waltzed in,” William Hanage, a Harvard epidemiologist, wrote.

Trump, for his part, spent these first weeks of February telling Americans that the problem was going away. On Feb. 10, he repeatedly said — in a speech to governors, at a campaign rally and in an interview with Trish Regan of Fox Business — that warm spring weather could kill the virus. “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away,” he told the rally.
On Feb. 19, he told a Phoenix television station, “I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.” Four days later, he pronounced the situation “very much under control,” and added: “We had 12, at one point. And now they’ve gotten very much better. Many of them are fully recovered.”
His message was clear: Coronavirus is a small problem, and it is getting smaller. In truth, the shortage of testing meant that the country didn’t know how bad the problem was. All of the available indicators suggested it was getting worse, rapidly.
On Feb. 23, the World Health Organization announced that the virus was in 30 countries, with 78,811 confirmed cases, a more than fivefold increase over the previous three weeks.
Late February
Trump seemed largely uninterested in the global virus statistics during this period, but there were other indicators — stock-market indexes — that mattered a lot to him. And by the last week of February, those market indexes were falling.
The president reacted by adding a new element to his public remarks. He began blaming others.
He criticized CNN and MSNBC for “panicking markets.” He said at a South Carolina rally — falsely — that “the Democrat policy of open borders” had brought the virus into the country. He lashed out at “Do Nothing Democrat comrades.” He tweeted about “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer,” mocking Schumer for arguing that Trump should be more aggressive in fighting the virus. The next week, Trump would blame an Obama administration regulation for slowing the production of test kits. There was no truth to the charge.
Throughout late February, Trump also continued to claim the situation was improving. On Feb. 26, he said: “We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.” On Feb. 27, he predicted: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” On Feb. 29, he said a vaccine would be available “very quickly” and “very rapidly” and praised his administration’s actions as “the most aggressive taken by any country.” None of these claims were true.

By the end of February, there were 85,403 confirmed cases, in 55 countries around the world.
Early March
Almost two decades ago, during George W. Bush’s presidency, the federal government developed guidelines for communicating during a public-health crisis. Among the core principles are “be first,” “be right,” “be credible,” “show respect” and “promote action.”
But the Trump administration’s response to coronavirus, as a Washington Post news story put it, is “breaking almost every rule in the book.”
The inconsistent and sometimes outright incorrect information coming from the White House has left Americans unsure of what, if anything, to do. By early March, experts already were arguing for aggressive measures to slow the virus’s spread and avoid overwhelming the medical system. The presidential bully pulpit could have focused people on the need to change their behavior in a way that no private citizen could have. Trump could have specifically encouraged older people — at most risk from the virus — to be careful. Once again, he chose not to take action.
Instead, he suggested on multiple occasions that the virus was less serious than the flu. “We’re talking about a much smaller range” of deaths than from the flu, he said on March 2. “It’s very mild,” he told Hannity on March 4. On March 7, he said, “I’m not concerned at all.” On March 10, he promised: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
The first part of March was also when more people began to understand that the United States had fallen behind on testing, and Trump administration officials responded with untruths.
Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, told ABC, “There is no testing kit shortage, nor has there ever been.” Trump, while touring the C.D.C. on March 6, said, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
That C.D.C. tour was a microcosm of Trump’s entire approach to the crisis. While speaking on camera, he made statements that were outright wrong, like the testing claim. He brought up issues that had nothing to do with the virus, like his impeachment. He made clear that he cared more about his image than about people’s well-being, by explaining that he favored leaving infected passengers on a cruise ship so they wouldn’t increase the official number of American cases. He also suggested that he knew as much as any scientist:
I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.
On March 10, the World Health Organization reported 113,702 cases of the virus in more than 100 countries.

Mid-March and beyond
On the night of March 11, Trump gave an Oval Office address meant to convey seriousness. It included some valuable advice, like the importance of hand-washing. But it also continued many of the old patterns of self-congratulation, blame-shifting and misinformation. Afterward, Trump aides corrected three different misstatements.
This pattern has continued in the days since the Oval Office address. Trump now seems to understand that coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. But he also seems to view it mostly as a public-relations emergency for himself rather than a public-health emergency for the country. On Sunday, he used his Twitter feed to lash out at Schumer and Joe Biden and to praise Michael Flynn, the former Trump aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I.
Around the world, the official virus count has climbed above 142,000. In the United States, scientists expect that between tens of millions and 215 million Americans will ultimately be infected, and the death toll could range from the tens of thousands to 1.7 million.
At every point, experts have emphasized that the country could reduce those terrible numbers by taking action. And at almost every point, the president has ignored their advice and insisted, “It’s going to be just fine.”
Susan Beachy and Ian Prasad Philbrick contributed research

Holding Trump and Cronies Accountable

Martin Westerman 2/13/20

Democratic President Candidates 5: How to hold Trump-Repub accountable

On Feb. 6, 2020, House & Senate Republicans decided America doesn’t need co-equal branches of government anymore.  They’ve been working to marry the administrative, judicial and legislative branches since the 1971 Powell Memorandum urged them to fight radical & liberal ideas.  The U.S. Constitution, radical in 1789, looks conservative to them today.  So they happily regressed with their hypocritical acquittal of DJT.

Dumping Trump in 2020 isn’t just about (a) voting him and his swamp people out (thanks here to Kristen Gillibrand:  “My first act as President will be to Clorox the Oval Office”).  It’s also about (b) holding the Trumpsters and his ilk accountable, and (c) reclaiming America’s radical, Constitutional form of government.

Evangelicals won’t hold non-Christian, anti-love/Jesus DJT accountable: his administration is delivering for right-to-lifers.  Republican legislators won’t; he’s helping them pack conservative (“strict Constituionalist”) judges on benches.  Also, they’re scared of his vengeance and MAGA trolls.  And MAGAs won’t, because, well, they’re MAGAs.  These folk could have followed Romney’s lead and made this a short game, but they’re self-serving, sociopathic, and/or cowardly.  So we must play the long game.


Some rules going forward:

            1.  Politics is about keeping your cronies in power, period.  That thread runs from slaveholders getting the U.S. Constitution to count slaves as 3/5 human, to 1812 Boston Gerrymandering, to the Mason-Dixon Line/Missouri Compromise between free & slave states and antebellum voter suppression, to the Senate’s vote to kill DJT’s impeachment.

            2.  Politics attracts unrepentant actors.  Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths.  Psychologist Dr. Martha Stout says this small minority of leaders without conscience “has always been a bitter pill for society to swallow,” but it explains “shamelessly deceitful political behavior.”

            A minority may be sociopaths or psychopaths, but a juggernaut of them now controls the Republican Administration and Party.  To define terms:

                        . Psychopaths tend to be calm, even thrive in highly stressful situations (“resilience to chaos”).  They also lack empathy, tend to be callous, dishonest, glib, grandiose, manipulative, promiscuous, impulsive, and/or unable to recognize social cues.  They also think their behaviors will always be rewarded, and any punishments are undeserved, so they find targets to blame for their failures.

                        .  Sociopaths share most psychopathic qualities: but unlike psychopaths, they crack under stress, with angry outbursts and abusive language.  They switch between extreme charm and threats, prioritize power above all else, seek to dominate people and situations, enjoy the suffering of others, and look for weak spots and vulnerabilities to exploit in others.  Does this look like familiar behavior?

            3.   All politics is about getting your way – it’s all visceral.

            In the age of “wars” on women, people of color, and immigrants; foreign election meddling, white supremacists and mass shootings; threats to the social safety net, unaffordable housing, dysfunctional government, post-truth/fake news, and no leadership accountability, people have lost patience with and faith in the system. 

            The Pew Research Center (Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016) found views of opposing political party members are the most negative in 25 years.  Sizable shares of Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but of fear and anger:

                                                Ds view of  Rs             Rs views of Ds

            Afraid                          55-70%                       49-62%

            Angry                          47-58%                       46-58%

            Frustrated                    58-60%                       57-58%

            Emotional rating         31 our of 100              29 out of 100

            The visceral reactions are resistance to change – from Ds’ “don’t cut my Social Security and Medicare,” to Rs’ “don’t impose your will on me.”

            Will holding psychopathic and sociopathic politicians accountable actually help heal these divisions, and restore trust in our system?

            A study in Lancet Psychiatry shows that psychopaths are not impervious to any sort of punishment.  Rather, they process rewards and punishments differently from most people, and their decision-making skills are markedly atypical.  Since  they’re able to interact within society, understand aspects of social situations, and know how to behave when they want rewards, they can clearly choose whether to play by rules, or break them for personal gain.  And that’s a person who can and should be held accountable.

            In Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths, and How We Can Stop, Bill Eddy introduces the dangerous, deceptive, high-conflict politician (HCP). These narcissistic, sociopathic people use a Fantasy Crisis Triad (“there’s a terrible crisis caused by an evil villain that requires a super hero to solve – me!”) to incite “emotional warfare,” and seduce, attack, divide and dominate communities and nations.  Helping the HCP rise are:

                 (a) voters who tend to split into four warring groups – Loving Loyalists, Riled-Up Resisters, Mild Moderates and Disenchanted Dropouts, and

                 (b) high-emotion media that attracts HCPs from the fringes of society, “and multiplies their emotional warfare thousands of times to reach millions of people.”  

            To stop HCPs, Eddy advises:

                 (a) building relationships among groups that have been divided,

                 (b) educating political parties on HCPs’ patterns, so their leadership, campaigners and voters can reject choosing them,

                 (c) exposing the Fantasy Crisis Triad,

                 (d) countering HCPs with aggressively assertive messages, presented factually and repetitively, with positive emotions, and

                 (e) pressing news outlets to analyze fake HCP news, and counter emotional warfare-fantasy crises with useful information about real problems and real solutions.

            In Think Progress, Zack Beauchamp advocates for using political democracy – the media – to hold politicians and their staffs accountable for their actions.  Psychopaths “very much do care about being able to hold on to their positions of power.  A system that actually holds people accountable to the broader conscience of society may be one of the best ways to keep conscienceless people in check.”

Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead, writing in Huffpost, warns that if the ballot box “becomes our only means of pushing back against the police state, the battle is already lost.  Resistance will require a citizenry willing to be active at the local level… “The Founders understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government,” he wries.  “They are inherently ours. In the same way, the government’s appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.”

Here we must take the lesson from the Powell Memo ideologues, who created think tanks, put candidates up for appointment and election to everything from school boards to courts, state and federal government.

We energize the “sane” electorate — Democrats, Independents, moderate Republicans & everyone in the middle.  We:

  • support the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and every such organization at the state level. 
  • support efforts of Indivisible, Brand New Congress, Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight, Cecile Richards’ Supermajority, Planned Parenthood, and more. 
  • encourage our state attorneys general to file lawsuits against gerrymandering; hammer those at state levels who resist one person, one vote, and move to protect that vote from election tampering
  • regain control of the media messages — from television to all forms of social media, including flooding conservative and right wing databases with progressive messages
  • control social media security — in partnership with Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, so elections can’t be hacked, fake news can be debunked and erased,

If we use every resource at our disposal now to hold our leaders accountable – local actions, the vote, muscular media – we can win in 2020

——- ———- ——— ——- ——– ——-

SOURCES

(Daily Beast, 04-14-17, “Why You Can’t Punish a Psychopath, According to Science,” by Elizabeth Picciuto; study in The Lancet Psychiatry, Feb. 2015).  // CUNY cognitive science professor Jesse Prinz & Sheilagh Hodgins, Professor of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal

Bill Eddy, LCSW JD, Psyhology Today blog, Mar 15, 2018,  “How to Spot a Sociopath in 3 Steps”

John W. Whitehead, Huffpost, “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath” 04-01-2017

Writing for ThinkProgress, Zack Beauchamp

Lindsay Dodgson  Nov 26, 2018, Insider,” The one trait that separates psychopaths from sociopaths”

Message to Dem Candidates

Democratic President Candidates 6: Hammer Trump Failures, Create the Ideal USA – Martin Westerman, 2/13/20

In her Feb. 1, 2020, NY Times column, Maureen Dowd bemoaned two decades of watching Democrats try to play fair as Republicans ruthlessly played to win – from the misogynist Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, 2000 Bush vs. Gore recount and Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld lies to Iraq war, to the Merrick Garland Senate pantomime and Feb. 6, 2020, DJT impeachment hypocrisy.  Democrats may warn Republicans that history will judge them harshly, but “history is written by the winners,” wrote Dowd.

My first question is, Where are the ruthless Democrats and Independents?

We must paint the Whiner In Chief (“The (fake) news media-women-immigrants-Democrats-people of color treat me terribly”) into the Loser In Chief.  President DJT may think he’s the Winner In Chief, but winners don’t whine – unless they’re sore losers.  Hey – there are two new slogans for our presidential candidates!

Let’s compare promises DJT made in his 2017 inauguration speech with results in 2020:

                        .  I take an oath of allegiance to all Americans – no, loyalty oath only to DJT and his family and cronies, or no place for you in federal government; and invitations to Russia, China, Ukraine, etc. to hack U.S. elections and spy on DJT rivals, and use of federal agencies to attack political rivals,

                        .  At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice – no (Hitler-style salute) allegiance to the U.S.A., no loyalty to each other discovery, and plenty of room for prejudice,

                        .  eradicate ISIS – no (cue snorting laughter)

                        .  stop the “American carnage” – no, if increased mass shootings and U.S. border violence against families are any indication… otherwise, a meaningless phrase

                        .  give struggling families much to celebrate – unaffordable housing prices, losses of living wage jobs, closures of factories, choking of new U.S. industries, removal of environmental protections, etc.

                        .  make every decision on trade, taxes, immigration and foreign affairs benefit American workers and American families – no, trade war that has left agriculture in depression, industry, trucking & shipping in mild recession, deficit at $1.1 trillion

                        .  stop enriching foreign industry at the expense of American industry – no, foreign industry is doing just fine, at the expense of American

                        .  repair America’s decaying infrastructure – no

                        .  protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs – no.

Every 2020 presidential candidate needs to:

  (a)  hammer DJT’s failures,

  (b)  repeat:  winners don’t whine, losers do,

  (c) hang a name — “Mister empty promises” or “Donald Danger” around his neck,

  (d)  keep a running tally of lies Trump has told to excuse his failures – 16,361 as of Feb.

12, 2020.  (CNN reports that the rate of DJT’s dishonesty increases with his time in office.  In 2017, he made 1,999 false or misleading claims; in 2017 – 5,689; in 2018 – 7,688; and in 2019 – 8,155)

  (e)  remind voters of what promises he has kept, and the dangers they pose for the U.S.A.:

            i.   to make U.S. money laundering easier for oligarchs, dictators and criminals,

            ii.  to give Russia free rein in Middle East, central and western Europe affairs, and carte blanche in the Oval Office

            iii. to invite Russia, China and other countries, with blessings of Moscow Mitch & Leningrad Lindsey (& Lamar), to meddle in U.S. elections for DJT’s and Republicans’ benefits

            iv. to encourage white supremacist thugs, domestic terrorists and Nazi-wanna be’s

            v.  to favor Christianity over other religions for theocrats like Minister Mike (Pence) and his Evangelicals, violating the U.S. Constitution

            vi.  to approve paying protection money and bribes for favors, and to punish those who resist, testify to the truth, and/or blow the whistle anywhere in the DJT administration – military, intelligence and diplomatic communities, justice department, etc.

            vii.  to encourage enemies of truth (freedom of the press), justice (Bill Barr vs. accountability), and the American Way (governing norms).  All are welcome in DJT’s house,

            viii.  to approve white patriarchy, that abhors independent women, and people of color,

            ix.   to benefit American oligarchs, treating corporations as people, money as speech, and monopolies as preferable to business competition.

There’s more, but you get the picture.  And any 2020 candidate who doesn’t repeatedly remind constituents of these facts and dangers is either out of touch, forgetful or incompetent.

Humans and political dynamics haven’t much changed since 400 B.C.E., when Plato said the best leaders were those who do not want to lead.  They would understand that they don’t know everything.  They would seek to know the truth of what is fine and good, just and unjust.  Through education, they’d develop virtue, be humble, noble, honest, sincere, gentle, dignified, live with integrity, and not desire honors.  That kind of person “would be elected or selected (drafted or compelled, if need be) by the people themselves to be their leader.” 

In 1884, General William Tecumseh Sherman refused the Republicans’ draft to run for U.S. President (Rs were that period’s Ds), saying, “I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected.”  But Plato said one incentive would force the virtuous man to serve as leader:  to avoid being governed by someone worse in office.  He could help create an ideal city, governed by “people who are awake rather than dreaming,” not by “people who fight over shadows and struggle against one another in order to rule.”  The virtuous man would only lead if compelled, and avoid the shame of taking office willingly. 

Sure, it’s important to talk bread and butter issues.  But 2020 is about beating the DJT Republicans.  From Plato’s perspective, they don’t qualify for leadership on the Plato Scale.  And we cannot create the ideal country if they remain.

Democratic Presidential Candidates 5 – How to hold Trump-Republicans accountable

2/12/20 Martin Westerman

On Feb. 6, 2020, House & Senate Republicans decided America doesn’t need co-equal branches of government anymore.  They’ve been working to marry the administrative, judicial and legislative branches since the 1971 Powell Memorandum urged them to fight radical & liberal ideas.  The U.S. Constitution, radical in 1789, looks conservative to them today.  So they happily regressed with their hypocritical acquittal of DJT.

Dumping Trump in 2020 isn’t just about (a) voting him and his swamp people out (thanks here to Kristen Gillibrand:  “My first act as President will be to Clorox the Oval Office”).  It’s also about (b) holding the Trumpsters and his ilk accountable, and (c) reclaiming America’s radical, Constitutional form of government.

Evangelicals won’t hold non-Christian, anti-love/Jesus DJT accountable: his administration is delivering for right-to-lifers.  Republican legislators won’t; he’s helping them pack conservative (“strict Constituionalist”) judges on benches.  Also, they’re scared of his vengeance and MAGA trolls.  And MAGAs won’t, because, well, they’re MAGAs.  These folk could have followed Romney’s lead and made this a short game, but they’re self-serving, sociopathic, and/or cowardly.  So we must play the long game.


Some rules going forward:

            1.  Politics is about keeping your cronies in power, period.  That thread runs from slaveholders getting the U.S. Constitution to count slaves as 3/5 human, to 1812 Boston Gerrymandering, to the Mason-Dixon Line/Missouri Compromise between free & slave states and antebellum voter suppression, to the Senate’s vote to kill DJT’s impeachment.

            2.  Politics attracts unrepentant actors.  Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths.  Psychologist Dr. Martha Stout says this small minority of leaders without conscience “has always been a bitter pill for society to swallow,” but it explains “shamelessly deceitful political behavior.”

            A minority may be sociopaths or psychopaths, but a juggernaut of them now controls the Republican Administration and Party.  To define terms:

                        . Psychopaths tend to be calm, even thrive in highly stressful situations (“resilience to chaos”).  They also lack empathy, tend to be callous, dishonest, glib, grandiose, manipulative, promiscuous, impulsive, and/or unable to recognize social cues.  They also think their behaviors will always be rewarded, and any punishments are undeserved, so they find targets to blame for their failures.

                        .  Sociopaths share most psychopathic qualities: but unlike psychopaths, they crack under stress, with angry outbursts and abusive language.  They switch between extreme charm and threats, prioritize power above all else, seek to dominate people and situations, enjoy the suffering of others, and look for weak spots and vulnerabilities to exploit in others.  Does this look like familiar behavior?

            3.   All politics is about getting your way – it’s all visceral.

            In the age of “wars” on women, people of color, and immigrants; foreign election meddling, white supremacists and mass shootings; threats to the social safety net, unaffordable housing, dysfunctional government, post-truth/fake news, and no leadership accountability, people have lost patience with and faith in the system. 

            The Pew Research Center (Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016) found views of opposing political party members are the most negative in 25 years.  Sizable shares of Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but of fear and anger:

                                                Ds view of  Rs             Rs views of Ds

            Afraid                          55-70%                       49-62%

            Angry                          47-58%                       46-58%

            Frustrated                    58-60%                       57-58%

            Emotional rating         31 our of 100              29 out of 100

            The visceral reactions are resistance to change – from Ds’ “don’t cut my Social Security and Medicare,” to Rs’ “don’t impose your will on me.”

            Will holding psychopathic and sociopathic politicians accountable actually help heal these divisions, and restore trust in our system?

            A study in Lancet Psychiatry shows that psychopaths are not impervious to any sort of punishment.  Rather, they process rewards and punishments differently from most people, and their decision-making skills are markedly atypical.  Since  they’re able to interact within society, understand aspects of social situations, and know how to behave when they want rewards, they can clearly choose whether to play by rules, or break them for personal gain.  And that’s a person who can and should be held accountable.

            In Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths, and How We Can Stop, Bill Eddy introduces the dangerous, deceptive, high-conflict politician (HCP). These narcissistic, sociopathic people use a Fantasy Crisis Triad (“there’s a terrible crisis caused by an evil villain that requires a super hero to solve – me!”) to incite “emotional warfare,” and seduce, attack, divide and dominate communities and nations.  Helping the HCP rise are:

                 (a) voters who tend to split into four warring groups – Loving Loyalists, Riled-Up Resisters, Mild Moderates and Disenchanted Dropouts, and

                 (b) high-emotion media that attracts HCPs from the fringes of society, “and multiplies their emotional warfare thousands of times to reach millions of people.”  

            To stop HCPs, Eddy advises:

                 (a) building relationships among groups that have been divided,

                 (b) educating political parties on HCPs’ patterns, so their leadership, campaigners and voters can reject choosing them,

                 (c) exposing the Fantasy Crisis Triad,

                 (d) countering HCPs with aggressively assertive messages, presented factually and repetitively, with positive emotions, and

                 (e) pressing news outlets to analyze fake HCP news, and counter emotional warfare-fantasy crises with useful information about real problems and real solutions.

            In Think Progress, Zack Beauchamp advocates for using political democracy – the media – to hold politicians and their staffs accountable for their actions.  Psychopaths “very much do care about being able to hold on to their positions of power.  A system that actually holds people accountable to the broader conscience of society may be one of the best ways to keep conscienceless people in check.”

Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead, writing in Huffpost, warns that if the ballot box “becomes our only means of pushing back against the police state, the battle is already lost.  Resistance will require a citizenry willing to be active at the local level… “The Founders understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government,” he wries.  “They are inherently ours. In the same way, the government’s appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.”

If we use every resource at our disposal now to hold our leaders accountable – local actions, the vote, muscular media – we can win in 2020

——- ———- ——— ——- ——– ——-

SOURCES

(Daily Beast, 04-14-17, “Why You Can’t Punish a Psychopath, According to Science,” by Elizabeth Picciuto; study in The Lancet Psychiatry, Feb. 2015).  // CUNY cognitive science professor Jesse Prinz & Sheilagh Hodgins, Professor of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal

Bill Eddy, LCSW JD, Psyhology Today blog, Mar 15, 2018,  “How to Spot a Sociopath in 3 Steps”

John W. Whitehead, Huffpost, “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath” 04-01-2017

Writing for ThinkProgress, Zack Beauchamp

Lindsay Dodgson  Nov 26, 2018, Insider,” The one trait that separates psychopaths from sociopaths”

Democrats Need To Reinvent America

Martin Westerman 2/5/20

So, Republican leaders have chosen a fascist monarchy government over what the Founding Fathers designed – an anti-monarchial government of, by and for the people –To clarify:  in fascism, a business elite married to religion runs the government.  In monarchy (or feudalism) a religiously anointed elite runs commerce and government.  Both feature a unitary executive – a dictator or king. 

Now what can the Democrat do?  How about something counter-intuitive?  Make friends with business.

Arguably since the U.S. was founded, a wealthy elite (landowners) has run America as a benevolent monarchy.  It has been more benevolent towards most whites, more malevolent toward people of color (PoC) and women.  (After Trump’s election, a Native American commented, “You think this is bad?  Try being Indian.”  But I digress).

In 1790, when 3.89 million people lived in the 13 colonies, our Founders occupied the top 10%, and controlled more than 38% of the country’s income.  The top 20% of Americans controlled 56.2% of it.  The next 40% controlled 34.3%; and the bottom 40% – 9.4%.  Nearly 18% of the residents (694,280) were slaves.  (Lindert & Williamson, American Incomes 1774-1860). 

If that looks familiar, it’s because it’s so similar to today’s America – minus the slaves.  Those at the top today still set policy and run things; those in the middle and bottom only influence policies through focused force of numbers.  So the Founders’ dream to build a nation of, by and for the people is still mostly a dream.

America has made great progress:  it has embraced immigrants, ended slavery, enshrined labor rights, enfranchised women and PoC, created national parks, generated legendary wealth, created a vast middle class, and produced inventions and leadership that changed and improved life throughout the world.

But as Joe Biden says, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”  Since 1790, U.S. budgets have also valued genocide, slavery, land theft, environmental destruction and endless war.  Our economy has boomed and busted nearly 60 times, through investment bubbles, panics, recessions and depressions.   And Ralph Nader, alleged spoiler of the Bush-Gore election, supports putting corporate executives in prison for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise and unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer, destroying the economy, and poisoning our food, air, land and water.

Those at the top have turned more malevolent since the 1970s, and set about tearing up America’s social contract.  BTW, Democrats helped do that.

To clarify “social contract”: Elizabeth Warrens, August 2011: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own…”  Every business moved goods to market on roads the public paid for, hired workers the public paid to educate, were safe in in their businesses because of police-forces and fire-forces the public paid for.  Part of the underlying social contract is, after businesses take their profit, “pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Roots of that malevolence appeared in the Vietnam War era (1954-74), when a U.S. anti-Communist government used the military-industrial complex to prosecute a losing war.  Frustrated anti-war activists finally called to  “smash the state,” and fearful corporatists acted on the 1971 Lewis Powell Memorandum, which said, the time is long overdue “for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshalled (sic) against those who would destroy it.”  From this sprang right-wing think tanks, monitoring of news media and textbooks, placements of college faculty, “corporations are people” and “money is speech” lawsuits, and erosion of labor rights.

Since Democrats helped create this mess, can they help get us out of it?  That is their 2020 challenge:  present a clear picture of America’s future that’s forward-looking, and consistent with the Founders’ vision.  They must call for renewing the private-public social contract, but not be branded as socialists or communists.

Today’s Americans think life is so unfair, they elected a “Whiner In Chief” president who constantly complains that life is unfair to him? (NYT, Frank Bruni, 01/21/2020)   And Democratic presidential candidates are parroting him, each complaining that the economy is skewed for the rich, it polarizes incomes; it hollows out the middle class; people of color are disenfranchised, women are victims; America is racist, homophobic & xenophobic; infrastructure is crumbling; climate change will destroy us; and immigrants and/or automation and/or artificial intelligence are taking our jobs.  What is American politics now – a giant game of “Beat My Bummer”?

Democrats must inspire us to stop complaining, and start getting up and doing again.

First task:  create partnerships with business.  The authors of WEconomy, Holly Branson, Marc & Craig Kielburger assert that the greatest engine ever invented for change is business.  By marrying purpose to profit, WEconomy programs are helping business partner with volunteer and public sector organizations to improve lives around the world. 

Knowing the history of abuse by railroads, mining and timber companies, and federal contractors in public-private partnerships, sadder and wiser Democrats must step into these with open eyes.  Because they know they’ve got the potential to create innovations and policies that produce great social, research and technological advances.

Second task:  find inspiration.  Democrats can look to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s economic models for sustainability (e.g., Winning The Oil Endgame):  feebates where lower gas mileage cars help subsidize sales of higher m.p.g. ones; retrofits for buildings (such as the Empire State Building) whose energy savings pay for the work in years less than expected; and fossil fuel taxes paying for transition to renewable energy.

On the design side, William McDonnough and Michael Braungart outline in Cradle To Cradle, how we have already mostly withdrawn from the Earth’s crust nearly all the minerals we’ll ever need to build, recycle and rebuild everything we have ever made.  But we are dumping most of it in landfills, never to be recovered.  Likewise, the U.N. has found we produce enough foodstuffs to feed 10 billion people, but globally, 30–40% of it all is wasted.  Inefficiency, say McDonnough & Braungart, just shows a human failure of design.  They propose re-designing everything to fit into either a technical cycle (for inorganic materials), or an organic cycle to replenish agriculture.

Third task:  don’t just ask big donors for contributions.  Ask for partnerships – to build U.S. infrastructure, address climate change, expand voting rights, improve social and economic equity.  Democrats must constantly hammer the partnership angle.  Republican donors answer to money, and want to privatize all government functions, even when they work better than private ones (e.g., Medicare, Social Security the V.A.).

Fourth task:  Highlight partnerships across the country that are already building a new American future.  As James Fallows reported in The Atlantic (May 2018), what really makes America great are our inclusiveness, expansiveness, opportunity, mobility, and the “open-ended struggle to make the nation a better version of itself.”  Polls (Aspen Institute & others) show that, despite our bad national mood, Americans have rising faith in local governance.

Democrats can capitalize on these examples:

  • The Welcoming Tennessee group founded in 2006 to celebrate how important immigrants and refugees were to Nashville’s economy has expanded into Welcoming America, that supports immigrant and refugee settlement in more than 50 cities.
  • Technology start-ups and businesses are dispersing across the country, to small and medium-sized towns that are working with entrepreneurs and centers of learning, and improving manufacturing, agriculture, medicine and more.
  • Libraries are becoming learning and gathering hubs, as new centers of civic life.
  • The federal government’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a modern counterpart to agricultural-extension programs, has now worked with more than 1,000 successful manufacturing start-ups around the country.
  • Downtowns are being reinvented and revitalized.
  • Conservation is alive – states, localities, and private donors are setting aside land for conservation at an impressive pace.
  • Governors of 16 states, Puerto Rico, and nearly 400 mayors have committed to achieving Paris Climate Agreement goals.  They represent more than half of U.S. economic output, and nearly 2/3 of U.S. population

Culminating task:  Democrats!  Tell the inspiring story of America.  And OK – a benevolent monarchy isn’t that bad (Monaco; a parliamentary-style democracy is better (England – as AOC says, in one of those, she and Biden would be in different parties – but in this on, they aren’t).  So the task is to find the overarching visions that inspire us all to work together.

Then ask for the sale!

Democratic President Candidates 3 – Where’s Democrats’ Optimism

Martin Westerman 1/30/20

When did Democrats lose their optimism?  The “New Deal,” “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Great Society,” “Can-Do” slogans for the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam &‘60s upheavals.  Sure, times are grim.  The government seems to be run by clowns directed by monkeys (to paraphrase that Boeing 737 MAX e-mail).  Especially now, we need encouraging messages; visions of a future we can look forward to once we win the victory.  And it’s got to be better than “Democrats:  We Can Fix This.”

In 2015, I watched a young African American man explain he’d joined the Republican Party because :  Democrats always harped on what’s wrong; Republicans on what’s right.  He chose the optimists.  (Since 2016, he’s probably moved back to the pessimists, or to the Bernie Independents).

What can Democrats emphasize that unites us in optimism?  The NY Times reported from Iowa (01/25/2020) that the Democratic tent is becoming so unwieldy, voters can’t agree on a candidate (Too lefty!  Too progressive! Too moderate!) to run for President.

I suggest starting with the U.S. Congress’ words from 1782:  E pluribus unum, Latin for “Out of many, one.”  It’s on the banner in the eagle’s beak on the Great Seal of the United States.  Sure, the anti-Communist 1956 Congress added “In God We Trust,” but that motto of fraught:  whose God do we trust?  Mike Pence & The Evangelicals (how’s that for a rock group name?) say the Christian god – which contradicts e plurubus unum.  The Democrats could make a deal with DC Comics to use the ever-so-timely “Truth, Justice and The American Way.”  But that’s fraught, too.

Most slogans call for what is missing.  The “Quality Is Job 1” motto was designed to restore faith in low-quality Ford vehicles.  “You Don’t Have To Be Jewish To Love Levy’s” helped shift perception that Levy’s rye and other breads were solely for the Jewish-ethnic market.  “This Is Wells Fargo” reintroduces the criminally convicted and heavily fined bank as a place you can trust with your money.  “Make America Great Again” speaks to failures by U.S. businesses and governments to tout American successes, and provide the foundations we need to achieve the American Dream. 

And what’s missing today?  Unity (as of January 25, 2020).  And common purpose.  We all complain about Republicans being in lockstep.  But lack of unity among Democrats will lose them the 2020 presidential election.  A basic step toward conflict resolution is to hold the goal above the controversy.  In the War Room of the Democratic presidential candidate, the writing on the wall should say, “It’s The Unity, Stupid.”  How do we get the unity?  Common purpose.

We all contribute to American greatness and exceptionalism.  The Democrats need to know that beyond money, most Americans want purpose in their lives.  This election cycle, the Democrats must become the party that channels that longing into results. 

In the Sapiens trilogy Yuval Noah Harari observes that the world is changing fast:

            (a) artificial intelligence algorithms and bioengineering, created by businesses, are creeping into our minds and bodies, through everything from voice texting, robot customer service and industrial technologies, to Facebook and Google Maps, to election interference and government surveillance, to Amazon choosing your products and Netflix your movies, to medicine drug-altering your moods and replacing your body parts,

            (b) the governmental tortoise cannot keep up with the technological hare.  For example, by the time cumbersome governments have begun to address cyber regulation, the Internet has morphed ten times,

            (c) our slow-moving institutions can be poisoned by bad actors who get embedded in them, and harm everyone inside and outside the institutions,

            (d) malevolent social media and cyber hackers, and religious and nationalistic zealots are attacking the very concepts of neoliberal democracy – individual autonomy, informed decision-making and free & open information and commerce.  They peddle nostalgia and fantasies from previous centuries, that

            (e) choke our institutions, impede our free flows of information and commerce, and keep us from focusing on the urgent challenges of the 21st Century (a, b, c, & d).

Harari adds the pace of technological development and the speed and volume of the data flow are overwhelming democratic and authoritarian regimes alike.  Never in history have governments been able to gain so much knowledge about the world, and yet be so unable to act wisely on it.

It’s urgent that Democrats wake up to these realities, this election.  They must figure out how to solidify partnerships with labor, whom they’ve sorely and ignorantly neglected.  They must forge new, transparently accountable partnerships with businesses, dump what doesn’t work (e.g., privatized prisons and corporate giveaways), enlist business support for government, which will serve as an engine of research for progress, a leader and partner for change, and a partner in national and global development.

So what’s the slogan?  E plurubus unum too retro for you?  Annuit cœptis (“He approves the things undertaken”) could appear in the Democrats’ War Room, too.  But Novus ordo seclorum (“New order of the ages”) could be a slogan.  Or borrowing from “Hamilton” and playing on E plurubus unum, “Democrats:  We Get Things Done.”  Or “The Right Way Forward,” which could co-opt the Republican message, but surely offend lefties).   America is great because from many, it has the capacity to melt all together into one strong nation.  That’s America’s promise.  And that’s as optimistic as it gets.

Democratic Candidates-The Backbone Party: Martin Westerman.

1/15/20: Every Democratic presidential candidate should stop trying to explain anything, unless he/she can do it in two sentences and a Tweet.  Take Mary Poppins’ retort at Mr. Banks:  “I would like to make one thing quite clear.  I never explain anything.”

Trump groupies, acolytes, sycophants, MAGA cult members, religious fanatics always feel insecure.  They follow the leader.  He (these leaders are always male) is strong, speaks to their insecurities, helps them feel safe, protected, and “in” with the group (there’s strength in numbers).  They say what he says, re-Tweet what he Tweets, chant for him, defend him from perceived danger, or attack.  They see (Democrat) explainers and negotiators and compromisers and apologizers as weak.

So rule #1 for the  Democrat:  Don’t explain anything.  Attack with strength to keep the bully at bay, or on the defensive.  And/or Divert attention (Hey Mr. President, you’re shoe’s untied!).  Then explain if warranted.  If only the Democrats would react first with fire (and humor) to fight Trump & Republican fire, America would probably view them more positively.

Rule #2:  POTUS 45 has taught us that theatrics sell.  The best way to counter the bluster, the stonewall, the answering of a question with a question (e.g., Kavanaugh’s “Doesn’t everyone like beer?”), is to call it out and hammer it.

Rule #3:  Go for the kill.  Congressional Democrats in committee hearings offer the best lesson in how not to do that.  They must instead become a party of stark statements, clear choices, and few apologies.  Not a Republican “You’re either for us or against us” party, but an if this-then that party:  Truman’s “If you want to live like a Republican, vote for the Democrats.” FDR’s “I welcome their (Republicans’) hatred.”  Many consultants have addressed this difference between how Republicans vs. Democrats speak; heed them!

In committee hearings, on media or in public, that means a start with, “You are not answering the question,” and a move to, “When you say this, it means this” statements.  Examples:

  • We’re not hear to listen to you bluster and stonewall, (judge, Mme. Secretary, etc.).  You are under oath here, and you’re just telling us that you’re hiding the truth.   Let the record show the (judge, nominee, etc.) refuses to tell the truth,
  • All of us here are under pressure, Judge Kavanagh.  And we’ve all got sad family stories.  But your daughter is not the nominee, you are.  And you’re being interviewed for a job as Supreme Court Justice, not Father Of The Year.”

Lindsey Graham’s outburst should have won him these comments from Democrats:

  • Well Senator, that was an Academy Award performance.  Except we’re not in Hollywood.  We’re in Washington, D.C., in the United States Senate.
  • Let’s set this record straight.  Senator McConnell made this a sham three years ago.  For the first time in American history, he kept the Senate from holding hearings on a judicial nominee.  Now he’s blocking the Senate from doing its job – to advise consent on nominees.  So enough with this phony offense.
  • In the hearing confrontation between former DHS Secretary Nielsen and committee Democrats, Rep. Gutierrez should have stayed put, and called Nielsen out:  “Is this the best you can do — reduce this to a schoolyard fight?  You are under oath.  Your department is failing to do its job.  You are the head of that department.  You are lying to cover up your department’s failures.  And we are holding you accountable.”

The Democrats have a sorry recent history of playing offense.  During the 2016 presidential debates, Hillary didn’t turn on lurking-over-her-shoulder DJ Trump and snap, “Back off!” We lost trust she could stand up to any bully, domestic or foreign.  When Obama wouldn’t stand up for collective bargaining and unions, honor his Syria “red line,” or defend Merritt Garland vs. Mitch McConnell, he lost national trust.  When war hero John Kerry couldn’t defend himself against the 2004 Swiftboaters, people lost trust that Kerry could defend America.

The Democrats need to reverse that trend:

            . They need to keep a running tally of Trump lies (now nearing 16,000).  If Trump ever shows up for a Presidential debate, his Democratic opponent must keep track of the lie count: “Oh, that’s lie number 15,876, Mr. President,  And that’s 877.”  Twitter snap:  “Will Prez 45 EVER tell the truth?”

            . When Trump calls Warren “Pocahontas,” snap, “So what?  You come from German immigrants, your wife’s a Slovenian immigrant, you used chain immigration to get her family here.  When did you start hating immigrants?  And you hate American Indianss, too?”  The Tweet back at DJT:  “Hates immigrants.  Hates himself.  So sad.”

            .  When Trump denies climate change, Democrats snap, “You’ve got a cellphone.  That’s science – physics, math, chemistry, engineering, biology.  If you don’t believe in science, don’t use your cellphone.  Or your car.  Or your TV.”  The Tweet:  “Trump says Earth is flat, wants to live in horse and wagon days.  Trump For President, 1492.”

            . When Trump talks great economy, Democrats must snap,  “Great for rich people like you.  Not for anybody else.  But how would Trump know?  He spends more time golfing than working.”  The Twitter snap:  “So rich, so clueless, and so bad at golf.”

Answer this question:  Which is the party of backbone that stands up to bullies, makes clear statements about its visions and intentions, and follows through on them?  Don’t you wish you could answer, “The Democrats!”?

Democratic President Candidates 1- Charisma??

Submitted by Martin Westerman (1/15/2020)

Who is the Democrats’ “It” candidate for 2020? – the one who can beat the R’s “It,” DJ Trump?  “It” is charisma, and if you’ve got “It,” said author Elinor Glyn in 1927, “you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man.”  “It” combines physical, mental, and personal attraction, and something more, and they say you’ve either you’ve got itor you don’t.

But wait:  research says you can learn It.  Humans unconsciously gravitate toward a leader they can trust to represent their hopes and dreams, where membership in his or her group helps them feel safe and protected.  Author David Aberbach lays it out in Charisma in Politics, Religion and the Media.  Once in the group, people tend to hold back their emotions, to show deference and acknowledge the leader’s superior status.  Cambridge University’s Jochen Menges calls this the “awestruck effect.”  It’s tribal.  It’s safe as long as you pledge allegiance to the group; dangerous if you don’t, or if you’re outside of It.  In TrumpWorld, outsiders include minority groups, immigrants, opposing politicians, the news media, and “liberals.”

But a candidate can learn and use the elements of charisma, says Univ. of Lausanne professor John Antonakis. (“The Anatomy of Charisma,” Nautilus, Feb. 16, 2017).  He calls them Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLTs), and says they’ve helped decide eight of the last 10 presidential elections.  Charisma isn’t a divine, supernatural, superhuman, or exceptional power.  “The more individuals use charismatic leadership tactics – metaphors, storytelling, open posture, animated gestures – the more others see them as leader-like.”

Appearance is important.  Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov showed side by side photos of competing congressional candidates to individuals, and asked them to rate candidate competence based on their appearance.  Based on their snap judgments, the interviewees predicted the winning candidate almost 70% of the time.  (“Inferences of Competence from Faces Predict Election Outcomes,” Science, June 10, 2005)

Our snap judgments are emotional, connected to fight-or-flight responses in the brain’s amygdala.. Even without meeting a person, we appear hard-wired to quickly decide if a person has likeability and competence traits that we feel are important, Todorov said.

But Nobel Prize psychologist Daniel Kahneman found the brain has two parallel decision circuits – the fast intuitive (in the amygdala), and the slower rational (in the prefrontal cortex).  The rational system can override the intuitive, when we analyze our snap judgments. 

So looks are important, charisma grabs us emotionally, we need to trust our leaders will speak and act for us, and protect and keep us safe.  We can rationally overcome our snap judgments and subconscious fears.  And we can learn from our mistakes. 

There’s the roadmap for every political campaign.  Now, who is the D’s “It” candidate?

Trumps’ Prolonging Nightmare Scenario

Contributed by: Martin Westerman 11/18/19

Marty’s Trump-prolonging nightmare scenarios:

At the danger of making these self-fulfilling prophesies, I’m sharing several nightmare scenarios that I fear could prolong our tenure in Trumpville beyond 2020. 

First  — 45 overstays his welcome by declaring a national emergency and postponing the November 2020 elections, as catastrophes consume America:  disastrous Midwestern fracking earthquakes and water poisoning, or raging Western forest fires, or overwhelming Category 4-5 East and Gulf Coast hurricanes; or thousands or millions of Americans becoming homeless refugees.  And/or a war or the Yellowstone Caldera could erupt, or a meteor could strike Earth.  Part of the emergency will be the administration’s inability to handle an emergency.

Second – key blocks of citizens don’t get to vote against 45.  Power is a drug, Republicans have become addicts, and a fix is offered every election cycle by disenfranchising voters, gerrymandering districts, undermining faith in U.S. institutions to create voter apathy, and winning less populous “red” state elections to skew Electoral College votes that outweigh the U.S. popular vote (e.g., Bush v. Gore, Clinton v. Trump).  And then, the “Bernie or Nobody” crowd could pass on voting for any Democrat and throw the election to 45.

Or Third – Republicans and 45 capitalize on the docile herd animals called “humans,” who believe in fantasy like it’s reality, take breaks to chase novelties and shiny objects, and are drawn to leaders who threaten or cajole them into mythical love or submission.  These leaders are called “Alpha-animals.”  Our U.S. President is an Alpha-pretending, fantasy spinning, idiot savant of distraction (gaslighting, Tweetstorm, ridiculous public statement, & 14 lies-a-day master).  We pay attention because he’s the power player – POTUS.  We want to ignore him, but horrified fascination keeps us looking. 

            Historically, human society and activity can be described by a simple pyramid, whether it’s organized religion, empire, monarchy, corporation, drug cartel or authoritarian government:

                                                /              \

                                               /    Tribal     \

                                             /  Patriarchal   \

                                           /    Dictatorial     \

                                         /     Hierarchical     \

                                       /        Theocratic         \

                                     /___________________\

In America, that has meant a society dominated and designed by White, Male, Alpha-directed, Top-down organized, Christian-Capitalists.  The other tribes – people of color, immigrants, non-Christians, etc. have been marginalized or shut out of control positions in society.

So Fourth – 45 could be re-elected by playing on White people’s fear of non-white others.  Every authoritarian government in human history has (sadly) affirmed that humans respond more to fear than love.  You don’t need the Nazis, or Lederer’s A Nation of Sheep, or Harari’s Sapiens trilogy. to tell you love is powerful until the loving person gets threatened or killed.  Then survivors fear for their safety and lives.  Ideologues, marauders, conquerors and religious zealots always use violence on “non-believers” when they can’t persuade with words or deeds

Studies show that despots and authoritarian rulers win popular support and retain legitimacy using notions and beliefs that “bolster willing obedience.” Also, they keep a monopoly over use of force; control of economic and infrastructural resources; and a strong and sustainable administrative apparatus.  It enables powerful minorities to control population majorities.

Humans also tend to not think ahead or self-reflect – unless we’re pregnant females (and perhaps their partners).  Thinking ahead generally invites (a) arguments about which plan is best, and (b) delays to study the plan and make excuses about why it’s too challenging and/or expensive to do.  

Self-reflection is a thicket, too.  As Harari observes in 21 Lesson For The 21st Century, do Christians ask themselves how a religion based on love begot the Crusades, Inquisition, witch hunts, the 30 Years’ War and anti-Semitism?  Do Marxists ask how Marx’s teachings led to Stalin, the gulags and the Cultural Revolution? Or scientists ask how the scientific project has led to destabilizing the global ecosystem? Or geneticists ask how that helped Nazis hijack Darwinist theories?  Do capitalists ask how the “free market” created slave plantations, the Great Depression, today’s homeless crisis, and Facebook destabilizing Western democracy?  No.

So back to my nightmares about how Trump & Co. stay in office past 2020:

            1.  Monopolizing force by:

                        a.  Calling out the U.S. Army to “guard” polling places and scare away voters

                        b.  Calling on his “fine people” (Charlottesville, white supremacist & neo-Nazi gangs) to battle opponents.  Will militias drilling in American forests, and in 2016 occupied the Malheur national refuge in Oregon – take sides, and if so, whose?  Will U.S. Armed Forces (and/or National Guard and/or local police) crush the gangs or do 45’s bidding?  What will 2nd Amendment advocates do – support or fight the President and the gangs?

            2.  Not playing by the rules:  Jennifer Senior asked why R’s don’t, and Democrats and Independents do play by the rules (Oct. 2019 NY Times op-ed).  In today’s income polarized America, corporations are “persons” (SCOTUS Santa Clara 1886), money is “speech” (Citizens United 2010), and Senate and House R’s now block all legislative progress at the federal level, as they and 45 continue to run circles around hapless Democrats who “play by the rules.”

            3.  Attacking the impeachment process, (a) by declaring it unconstitutional, (b) calling all Congressional subpoenas for witnesses invalid, (c) calling the process a “Deep State” attempt to pull off a coup against His Unitary Executive-ship, or an attempt to undo the 2016 election.

            4.  Challenging Congress and the Supreme Court to unseat him.  Both the Supreme Court, and the Senate that would try Prez 45 are in sympathetic Republican hands (that’s another issue – how to eliminate politics from judicial nominations & appointments?)

            5. Delegitimizing the 2020 election, by indoctrinating Trump Herd supporters, with Fox News help, to view any close or contested 2020 election as an excuse to ignore the results (see Second above), so the D.C Police or U.S. Army would have to drag him out of the White House (Raw Story 10/13/2019) (see 1.b. above),

            6.  Declaring widespread voter fraud (see Second above) so he can remain in the White House post-election until a fraud investigation has finished.

            7.  Democrats give 2020 Senate and Presidential elections away to Trump and R’s, by continued in-fighting, and failure to agree on and strongly support a good presidential candidate.

Activist Aditi Juneja asks all 2020 candidates what they’ll do to prevent another president like Trump, assure that federal checks and balances will work, and that elections will be free, fair and accessible?” (Talking Points Memo Oct. 14, 2019.  U.S. democracy is not guaranteed, she says.  “It’s an idea that each generation has to renew and redefine.”

All of our American ancestors are immigrants who came here to escape persecution or famine, or/and to find safe haven and new opportunities IN America.  Now we, their heirs may have to think about where in the world we can go to find places that are safe FROM America.  Having to start that search is my worst nightmare.

It’s like the Aids epidemic

  • Oct 23, 2019

According to this Mike Pence had known about the quid-pro-quo all along, and thus, in his compliance, has been totally corrupted. Once a person is corrupted, the condition becomes unalterable. It sticks to him/her forever, compromising the “immune system”, and continues to spread, having created yet another carrier.

Once a person “misdeeds” it becomes almost inevitable for more misdeeds to follow as each misdeed is further self rationalized. It finally, mercifully, becomes like a “house of cards.” This is how dictatorships are formed, out of a sort of epidemic phenomena, with people infecting each other.

This is the ultimate sin of Trump, having nurtured and spread a disease, and now affecting the souls of many, somewhat like Aids affects an afflicted human body. (this also means that impeachment would have to reach down to Pence and below)

Like any fast spreading virus, it is all too easy to see this becoming a planetary phenomena. There are already too many signs.

Trump voters and followers are infected. They believed him, voted for him, and continue to support him. One of the psychological effects of such a disease, cognitive dissonance, induces denial in the afflicted. No one likes to admit to illness and being sickly. They will continue to deny even what their own eyes see, and look away, and deflect, as they too have been infected.

This is really a Code 1 alert! When will the fever break? Or will our world be the next Atlantis?

D. Drumpf: Catalyst For Our Time.

D. DRUMPF: CATALYST FOR OUR TIME

9/15/19

Martin Westerman

Our nearly four years with the unprecedented candidate-President Drumpf-tRump-45, bring three movies to mind for me – The Producers, Sneakers (the original hacker movie) and Galaxy Quest (the Star Trek spoof J.J. Abrams loves).  You can get the day-by-day Presidency count from Brian Williams every night on his 11th Hour MSNBC show – as of September 1, 2019, it’s 954 (excruciating) days.

The scene that provides my umbrella for this odyssey comes near the end of The Producers.  Zero Mostel’s character, producer Max Bialashtok, sits in the rubble of his theatre, looking skyward and asking, “I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?” 

Trump was the wrong candidate and is the wrong President for so many reasons:  misogyny & gaslighting; rich-boy entitlement, narcissism & white privilege; support for white supremacy, fascism; divisiveness & propagandizing; vengefulness, immigrant- and race-baiting; faux-patriotism & aiding America’s enemies; failed businesses & trade wars; climate change denial; personal and institutional disloyalty (bordering on treason); dismissal of facts, opposing research & truth; epic dishonesty, religious indifference, and hatred of pet dogs. 

With all these negatives, he has become a catalyst for our time. Thanks to the dynamics of 45, he and his supporters, for all the wrong reasons, have confronted us with all the “right” things the majority of Americans (the other 65-70% of us) must now address:

  • #metoo, the roles of women in society & embedded misogyny;
  • #blacklivesmatter, embedded U.S. racism (from today’s local neighborhoods back to the 1789 U.S. Constitution), police bias & responses to white supremacist riots;
  • immigrants’ rights, the asylum process vs. “homeland security,” & U.S. Latin American policy (and international relations);
  • news media false equivalencies: “balanced coverage” that makes chronic liars look equal to research, data and facts; #fakenews; & social media hacking;
  • nepotism, emoluments, corrupt practices & accountability for public servants;
  • undermining U.S. institutions, including courts, intelligence, investigative and policing services; and support and regulation agencies
  • the dependably re-elected, legacy beneficiaries of political gerrymandering;
  • money in politics, income disparities (& favoritism for the rich), and failures to apply federal anti-trust and state corporate charter regulatory laws, and
  • governmental balance of powers, and the structure of the U.S. Constitution – including the continued efficacy of the Electoral College vs. popular votes, 2nd Amendment, embedded racism, and whether or not the U.S. President and any other high-ranking official is governed by the law.

As much as I’d prefer Hilary, If  she had become President, it’s unlikely the Democrats would have re-taken the U.S. House, nor won so many state and local offices, nor would so many Republican lawmakers now be resigning.  It’s unlikely that national revulsion at 45 would have brought all these “right” issues to a head.  Hilary would have been dogged by Republican hounds gnawing at her heels, yapping at & blocking her every move.  McConnell would not be known as Moscow Mitch, nor Graham as Leningrad Lindsey.

Looking ahead, I keep in mind the old warnings from Sneakers (1992) and Galaxy Quest (1999), for our future elections:

  • Beware computer hacking – warns the villain Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) to the hero Martin (Robert Redford):  “The world isn’t run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money, it’s run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It’s all just electrons. … And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information.”
  • Mind your history:  Guy (Sam Rockwell) snatches Gwen (Sigourny Weaver) back from walking into a trap, and barks:  “Don’t you watch the show?!”

Let’s appreciate how interesting are the times we live in.  And make sure we do the right things – for all the right, and/or for all the wrong reasons.

Rational Gun Management

WESTERMAN 09-01-19 GUN MANAGEMENT: Trump Universe  BLOG POST

I’m fresh from another Facebook exchange with 2nd Amendment “defenders.” Their standard litany: “Gun regulations: will crooks comply?” and “There is NO WAY to keep criminals from obtaining guns! Therefore gun control measures serve only to DISARM the LAW-ABIDING!” 

The gun control litany is, owners of deadly weapons should get trained AND licensed.  I prefer to say “gun management,” not control.  With 393 million guns in America (incl. 15 million assault rifles), we’re not going to control them now.  We have to manage their owners.

Nearly 65% of Americans, and more than 75% of gun owners support universal background checks, & sometimes more (red flag, safe storage, etc.).  If we subtract 75% of gun owners from 100%, that leaves 25% or fewer gun owners who radically defend the 2nd Amendment. 

So, why does our 65% gun management majority act like a shivering elephant cornered by a screaming, <25% pro-gun mouse?  Who is that elephant, anyway?  It’s the insurance, medical, healthcare, property management, hospitality, retail, entertainment, construction, and funeral industries, plus law enforcement, governments, and faith based organizations.  That’s a lot of industries harmed by guns.  It’s time the elephant pulled itself together and squashed the mouse.

As unruly children need structure, so do unruly adults – and markets.  Regulated markets operate equitably, unregulated markets don’t.  The gun industry and its supporters are barely regulated, and they’re protected from lawsuits and liability.  Unregulated market participants are basically pirates.  The gun pirates are depriving us of our Constitutionally-granted rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Let’s transform these unruly folk into law-abiding citizens.

Since our government is slow to act, and our faith communities have only moral-ethical, not regulatory authority, we must turn to businesses.  They act faster, and this is a business issue. 

Example: the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting (what happened in Vegas didn’t stay there):

  • insurers paid for everything from wrongful death, injury & health care claims (some still running), to repairing the Mandalay Bay and concert venue,
  • concert organizers had to refund ticket fees, and increase security spending,
  • all Las Vegas hotels and LV Strip tourist attractions lost business,
  • Nevada state paid L&I claims; tourist agencies (funded by NV businesses) paid crisis, emergency & image management costs to mitigate damages,
  • The City of Las Vegas spent massive amounts on medical response, law enforcement and coroners, and have had to increase those expenditures
  • local hospitals incurred massive emergency & long term medical costs,
  • the funeral industry mopped up.

That’s a lot of business “firepower” vs. the ≤ 25%-ers.  Let’s work backwards from the murdered:

  • The funeral industry could say gun victims aren’t the dead they want to handle.  It’s blood money.  What will the NRA say? “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!”?
  • The news media:  they already condemn gun violence, and some international news organizations have declared the U.S. a virtual war zone for their staffs.
  • Insurers:  do they want to continue paying massive claims?  And it’s more likely for a gun accident to occur in a gun-owning home than in a non-gun one.  Why are the low-risk gun-less people paying higher premiums?  Higher risk gun owners should pay more.
  • The medical establishment is already on board calling for broader gun regulation, and for treating gun violence a national, public health crisis.
  • Entertainment, hospitality, travel & tourism, property management: demand regulation to keep ticket buyers, show attendees, tourists, shoppers, visitors and residents confident they’ll be safe in their own homes, cities and country.
  • Retailers:  like Walmart, restrict buyer ages, & limit firearm types & ammo for purchase.

Consider:  the NRA is anti-economical.  When it discounts school shootings – killing youngsters who’ll grow up to pay into pension, healthcare and retirement systems that will keep the NRA’s members comfortable in their old ages – it’s helping kill the geese who’ll lay their golden eggs.

And governments:  at least fly flags at half-mast nationwide for 30 days after a mass shooting, to honor the dead and remind America these are national tragedies.  Then, work to assign costs of gun mayhem to manufacturers & perpetrators, and to eliminate liability protections.  And when≤ 25%-ers occupy federal lands, stop cowering and go arrest them.  That’s your federal job.

It’s fine to support the 2nd Amendment; keep guns for hunting, target shooting, collecting, and for personal defense (although statistics say your less safe packing than running and hiding).  If the ≤ 25%-ers & NRA were smart in the face of gun-caused carnage, they’d quit screaming “hands off my guns!-no regulations-thoughts & prayers-the killer was crazy!”  Because that’s what makes the 65% want to regulate guns, and keep everybody from ever buying or owning one.

Submitted by Martin Westerman

Negative Interest Rates (the ridiculous, revolting, stupid Trump concept of negative interest rates).

https://nam11.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fnyti.ms%2F2UVJsez&data=02%7C01%7C%7C255cd07724de47df17a508d7394a14f5%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637040862646142667&sdata=VgEIlvs4HRqWVVYF3AXQ1Rb99MC5InvObOwz2er3rYs%3D&reserved
>
> This idea means that if you buy a treasury bill, you will have less money at the end of its term than you started with. You will literally pay a fee just to own an investment that has a guaranteed loss built in! Keep in mind that we can’t lower formerly created liabilities, that is previously issued government bonds, because interest rates cannot be legally lowered on Treasury bonds.
> Now since we finance our Hugh budget shortfall and redeeming of our previously issued maturing bonds, each year (billions of dollars), by borrowing more(that is, issuing new bonds) , and rational investors (as most treasury bill investors are) will not hand over good money buying bonds that guarantee a loss, the policy will need to be quickly reversed or we will just have to print the dollars not provided by investors (causing an inflation the likes of which have never been seen in the US.)

And this brings us to another dilemma, not one that Trump can easily solve, and may greatly work against his re-election (assuming the dems bring it up). That is, the sorry plight of older retirees, looking for positive returns on their life savings. Many of them, looking for very low risk investments, such as bank certificates, that yield enough interest to match their expenses, will have no where to turn.

And what about workers’ pensions? Pensions have been drastically affected by low interest rates. Recent reports about General Electric, for example, highlight the problem. In an earlier post, we highlighted how Mitch McConnells’ clearly unqualified brother-in-law (Gordon Hartogensis), somehow got to head up the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. It is this agency that monitors and bails out underfunded and/or failed corporate pension plans. These pension plans have been devastated by low interest rates (because the companies that fund them are compelled to make higher (often impossibly high) contributions when interest rates decline, in order to meet pension funding requirements. Of course, no one realized that the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation would require some real expertise when its former, highly qualified head, was fired to make room for Hartogensis.

General Electrics’ pension plan (along with others) threatens to drive that company into bankruptcy due to the persistence of low interest rates over the last several years. Consequently, retiring and/or terminating employees will suffer greatly, and all the more as Trump tries to engineer continued lower interest rates.

Will they connect their plight to Trump? A person with the mental capacity of a thirteen year old. A person who cannot see forward to likely and unlikely outcomes to his brash actions. A mentally deficient person. A dangerously mentally deficient person, because his field of “vision” restricts itself solely to what he thinks may benefit him most and most immediately. Long range vision? We often talk about great people of vision. Trump has none.

Hopefully the Dems will help all the harmed persons see that it was Trump and his cohorts that inflicted that harm on them.


> As Rex Tillerson has said, prior to leaving office, Trump is a moron.

Trump is getting the rest of us down to real business

9/2/19 Post contributed by: Marty Westerman- a friend of our blog.

Our nearly four years with the unprecedented candidate-President Drumpf-tRump-45, bring three movies to mind for me – The Producers, Sneakers (the original hacker movie) and Galaxy Quest (the Star Trek spoof J.J. Abrams loves).  You can get the day-by-day Presidency count from Brian Williams every night on his 11th Hour MSNBC show – as of September 1, 2019, it’s 954 (excruciating) days.

The scene that provides my umbrella for this odyssey comes near the end of The Producers.  Zero Mostel’s character, producer Max Bialashtok, sits in the rubble of his theatre, looking skyward and asking, “I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?” 

Trump was the wrong candidate and is the wrong President for so many reasons:  misogyny & gaslighting; rich-boy entitlement, narcissism & white privilege; support for white supremacy, fascism; divisiveness & propagandizing; vengefulness, immigrant- and race-baiting; faux-patriotism & aiding America’s enemies; failed businesses & trade wars; climate change denial; personal and institutional disloyalty; dismissal of facts, opposing research & truth; epic dishonesty, religious indifference, and hatred of pet dogs. 

With all these negatives, he has become a catalyst for our time. Thanks to the dynamics of 45 he and his supporters, for all the wrong reasons, they have confronted us with all the “right” things the majority of Americans (the other 65-70% of us) must now address:

  • #metoo, the roles of women in society & embedded misogyny;
  • #blacklivesmatter, embedded U.S. racism (from today’s local neighborhoods back to the 1789 U.S. Constitution), police bias & responses to white supremacist riots;
  • immigrants’ rights, the asylum process vs. “homeland security,” & U.S. Latin American policy (and international relations);
  • news media false equivalencies: “balanced coverage” that makes chronic liars look equal to research, data and facts; #fakenews; & social media hacking;
  • nepotism, emoluments, corrupt practices & accountability for public servants;
  • undermining U.S. institutions, including courts, intelligence, investigative and policing services; and support and regulation agencies
  • the dependably re-elected, legacy beneficiaries of political gerrymandering;
  • money in politics, income disparities (& favoritism for the rich), and failures to apply federal anti-trust and state corporate charter regulatory laws, and
  • governmental balance of powers, and the structure of the U.S. Constitution – including the continued efficacy of the Electoral College vs. popular votes, 2nd Amendment, embedded racism, and whether or not the U.S. President and any other high-ranking official is governed by the law.

As much as I’d prefer Hilary, if she had become President, it’s unlikely the Democrats would have re-taken the U.S. House, nor won so many state and local offices, nor would so many Republican lawmakers now be resigning.  It’s unlikely that national revulsion at 45 would have brought all these “right” issues to a head.  Hilary would have been dogged by Republican hounds gnawing at her heels, yapping at & blocking her every move.  McConnell would not be known as Moscow Mitch, nor Graham as Leningrad Lindsey.

Looking ahead, I keep in mind the old warnings from Sneakers (1992) and Galaxy Quest (1999), for our future elections:

  • Beware computer hacking – warns the villain Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) to the hero Martin (Robert Redford):  “The world isn’t run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money, it’s run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It’s all just electrons. … And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information.”
  • Mind your history:  Guy (Sam Rockwell) snatches Gwen (Sigourny Weaver) back from walking into a trap, and barks:  “Don’t you watch the show?!”

Let’s appreciate how interesting are the times we live in.  And make sure we do the right things – for all the right (and/or even if for all the wrong) reasons

Shoot migrants?

Protestor? Beat the crap out of him!

This is Trump talk at one of his rallies:

“Shoot migrants”, yells a trump rally attendee, and Trump actually responds:

“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff” (that is shooting migrants).

Analyze that to get a fuller picture of Trumps ‘ hidden brain process. Isn’t Trump saying, its ok to shoot a migrant, so long as you do it in the panhandle where you can, presumably, “get away with it”? (an area where Trump received 80% of the vote (ie-Trump country).

We have a president who believes it is also ok to do anything he likes, so long as it is marked with a single criteria: he can “get away with it.” And he thinks he can get away with anything, so long as he has his brown shirt supporters and politician backups on board. https://crooksandliars.com/2019/08/el-paso-shooters-manifesto-uses-trump-and

The train is going off the tracks

6/30/19:

Outward signs of intellectual decline are quite pronounced now in Trump, as the devolution of our culture continues. We have pointed to Trumps’ long term use of finisteride, and its devastating impact on brain health (see earlier post), which combined with the”know-it-all” trait found in narcissistic personality disorder, puts us all at code level red risk.

Donald Trump Stumped By Terms ‘Busing’ And Western ‘Liberalism’ At News Conference https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-busing-liberalism-g20-press-conference_n_5d17df7de4b082e5536a499d DOWNLOAD_HUFFPOST

A New & Present Danger


5/15/19

Everyone can easily recall how President Bushs’ war on terror, and his aggressive response against Iraq (whether you believe it was wise at that time or not) practically guaranteed his re-election. Indeed, for as long as written history, oligarchs and dictators have taken advantage of war mongering to reinforce their political strength and advantages.

Is it possible that Trump sees his bullying strategies of statesmanship as a “no lose” tactic? That is, if other nations, such as Iran or China yield to his demands, he wins. And if it gets us into a war, he sees an increase in the odds of winning re-election?

Two Naked Emperors Now. 4/11/19

Nicole Goodkind is a political reporter at Newsweek



” Attorney General William Barr exonerated President Donald Trump of all wrong-doing in the Russia investigation last
month, and now he wants to take things a step further.

In a Senate hearing Wednesday, Barr suggested that the U.S. government had spied on Trump during his campaign and said that he would open another inquiry into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told senators. “I think spying did occur, yes,” because of a probable “failure among a group of leaders in the upper echelon” of the FBI.

Mueller delivered a nearly 400-page report last month with evidence that Russia had worked to influence the results of the 2016 election and that President Trump may have obstructed justice. Just days later, Barr released a four-page memo absolving the president of wrongdoing.

But yesterday Barr indicated that he not only wanted to
exculpate Trump of wrongdoing, he wanted to avenge him as well.

It’s an odd statement to make because the origins of Mueller’s probe are already well-known.

The FBI launched an investigation into the president’s campaign after their warnings of possible interference by Russia went ignored. The Department of Justice eventually started looking into some former Trump campaign staffers who had
suspicious contacts with Russian agents. Multiple judges signed off on those investigations.

There is no evidence that government agents were illegally
spying on the Trump campaign.

The “spying by the government” line is a conspiracy theory
that has been touted by the right and by President Trump’s own camp. In 2017, Kellyanne Conway suggested that former President Barack Obama had used microwaves to spy on
Trump.

Still, the comments will most certainly please Barr’s boss,
who has repeatedly called the Mueller investigation a Democrat-driven witch hunt.

“Barr knows how counterintel investigations work. He knows there was ample evidence of Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump campaign and that the FBI took lawful action to stop it,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted Wednesday. “Giving a wink and a nod to this long-debunked ‘spying’ conspiracy theory is irresponsible.”

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff questioned Barr’s fitness to serve at the Department of Justice. “I had deep concerns about him given how he got the job, but this is far worse than I would have imagined,” he told Politico.

Almost as soon as Barr made the comments, he attempted to walk them back.

“I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now,”
about spying Barr said during the hearing. “I do have
questions about it.” Barr said he had not set up a team to
investigate and that “I am not saying that improper
surveillance occurred. I am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it. I believe there is a basis for my
concern. But I’m not going to discuss the basis.”
(Hey, why not state your basis? Why should anyone accept the
statement “I am not going to discuss the basis”?


“I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now,” about spying Barr said during the hearing. “I do have questions
about it.” Barr said he had not set up a team to investigate and that “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I
am saying I am concerned about it and looking into it.
I believe there is a basis for my concern.
But I’m not going to discuss the basis.”

Nicole Goodkind is a political reporter at Newsweek. You can reach her on Twitter @NicoleGoodkind or by email, N.Goodkind@newsweek.com.

This article, which quotes from Barr, reveals Barr’s principal
transparent and outrageous communication technique which he uses to obfuscate reality. He thinks it is fine to state some-
thing, as if it is true, and that he is “concerned about it”, and
“take it back” the next moment, as if
he didn’t really mean to say that it was actually true, thus not
taking responsibility for saying it. Obviously Barr thinks it is a
clever technique. It really is akin to some Trumpian tactics
we have written about. And in the end, when the only answer he can give defies credulity, he simply says “I am not going to
discuss that now”.

And finally, what is this “protecting the reputations of “peripheral third
parties”. So when we the see the blacked out pages containing references to Donald Trump, and children, you can be sure Barrs’ retort will be something like “I informed you that I would
protect the reputations of peripheral persons, remember?”
This was, after all an investigation into Russian interference,
and an uncharged persons’ reputation, who can
thus be deemed a “peripheral person” should not
be sullied. (We honestly hope this isn’t the case, but we wouldn’t be surprised.)

We believe that these tactics will expose Barr for who he really is,
an insufferable hack, but a very powerful one. But he has, at least twice,
outsmarted himself. He is just another emperor with no
clothes on.

A man, like Trump himself, who doesn’t understand the
outrage people have when you treat them like stupid fools,
thinking they will not grasp
these kindergarten tactics, is an even greater fool..

Each new moment compounds rational fear. 2/5/19 (There are follow-ups to this article below the 2/5 article).

Suppose that Muller’s report is not made public. Half the country is curious enough about it to want to either see it, or have people they trust to be allowed to see it, with them being able to report it out (leaving Trumps’ only recourse to be calling it “fake news,” or not).

If the public release is blocked, there is guaranteed to be leaks about it. It is just too “hot” an issue now. Remember how Trump talked about it as a waste of taxpayer funds? Well shouldn’t citizens be able to see the benefit from their paying of taxes? And one benefit would be seeing the report that Trump thinks they paid too much for, right? By saying that it was a “waste of tax-payer funds” he shot himself in the foot, as he always does.

Remember, Trump is not a strategist, he is a tactition, though a master at it.https://trumpuniverse.net/they-are-not-just-bad-they-are-incompetent-and-bad/tactition (though a master at it).

Will Trump ever admit that he boxed himself in on this? He will of course call the leaks (and leak it will), “fake news” and/or do something similar as witnessed in the Cavanaugh hearing, that is discredit victims and/or witnesses, and of course Muller. He has his bag of tricks.

Some tricks (tactics) that we recently saw in the latest Trump interview were worth sharing. Trump often says: “when you look at……..” and thus points the listener or reader to focus on his made up claim of “validity”, which is nothing but Trumps’ purposefully reframed and distorted version of a real event.

Trump knows that the “eyes don’t lie”, or “seeing is believing” is an almost ancient homo-sapien canard, which can thus be easily exploited by this tactic. Thus one of his go-to phrases is “when you look at…” That phrasing subtly traps his listeners’ mind to to see it in the way Trump wants it to be seen.

The dilemma is what happens when Trump runs out of tricks? Imagine him to be the “emperor” who finds himself really naked in public, completely discredited, humiliated, shamed, and possibly threatened with imprisonment and/or financial ruin. So many of his followers realizing that they were suckered. Will he go gracefully into the night? What are the odds?

At any rate, Trump would pointedly not say that he would be comfortable with the results being released publicly. He said: “I don’t know” “It depends. I have no idea what it is going to say.” Is that the same as saying that if only it is good for Trump, will Trump allow the release? And now, with the apparent full support of his new attorney general, William Barr.

What could the report possibly say that would be sufficient to block the citizenry from seeing it? Would the new Attorney General agree with that conclusion? How about any yet remaining republican senator with a conscience? Wouldn’t they want their constituents (whos’ tax money helped pay for it) have the right to see it? Only need a few.

2/25/19

The minute cost of the Muller report, attacked as a “waste of money” by Trump, is as an astonishing bargain for Trump, if it establishes the innocence of family Trump (and collaborators). Trump is not even burdened to spend a penny of his own money to defend his own behavior. Think not only of his relief (plus that of the rest of the Republican Party and Trump family). Wouldn’t that result also create much better odds of them winning future elections? Holding on and even expanding their current base and power?

This proves that future obstruction to its public release would almost certainly be due to an intent to conceal information detrimental to their future election chances, and/or Trumps’ self interests.

Further, if released, there should/will be a focus on redactions. Are they an attempt at concealment, and if so, is that legitimate or not? What is the rationale behind each redaction. These will be heavily scrutinized. History takes a very long view.

With nothing to lose, that is, if the report is exculpatory for “their group”, one could rationally expect a quick release of the Muller Report.

Delays of the report, critical redacted portions of it, underlying evidence, caused by Trump administration interference, will be the beginning of the end for America as we knew it. You can’t go back. History students will be studying these moments centuries from now.

We don’t wish to worry our readers, but we do have to follow the story and make rational deductions.

3/26/19

Expect that this will be a repeat of the “good guy, bad guy” routine, with Trump often “urging” the full public release of the Muller Report, with Barr insisting, for one reason or another, why it can’t be released.

Since we at least know one thing for sure, the report was not exculpatory as to the crime of obstruction of justice. Even though all that was in plain sight, Trump never sat for an interview with Muller, which may have established motive, a necessary component of an obstruction crime. Thus the evidence, in itself, never rose to the necessary certainty that a crime was actually committed, even though it clearly looked like an obstruction crime. It may have been. Thus the report doesn’t say Trump was innocent, but, critically it doesn’t clear him either.

Did Trump have a pre-existing understanding with Barr?

If Bill Barr was able to thoroughly read and mark up the report in the short time he had, you would think it would be simple to prepare it for public release, since he is so remarkably efficient. We hope to be wrong about this, but we don’t think that the Muller Report will see the light of day for many years.

Anyone would logically think that if the report is benign for Trump, it would be timely released. But we worry about the setup, the “good guy, bad guy” routine aforementioned. Let all the blame for failing to release it fall on Barr. Its the oldest trick in the book. And surely, if it is not released, its likely not benign.

Scott Turow just published an article in Vanity Fair, where he credibly found reason to say that Barr had used a fallacious argument to reach his conclusion, , and that “impugns his integrity and his reputation as a lawyer”. Strong words indeed.

Our worry is that there may have been a conspiracy between Barr and Trump. We don’t think that Barr would make central logical mistakes, such as appear in his short “summary,” without some unseemly motive.

We sincerely hope that we are wrong. But to be realistic see below:

The end of our democracy may be at hand now. We wonder how hard that is for everyone to see?

Proof that Trump is Delusional.

1/26/2019 Read the full story

Trump asks why “republicans sometimes break apart.” The answer is so obvious, why would anyone even question it?


““Why are they always so loyal?” Trump asked in one staff meeting, complaining that Democrats so often stick together while Republicans sometimes break apart, according to attendees”

Republicans break apart because some of them have a conscience, and/or they crave re-election which has become threatened by their affiliation with a failed president.

Obviously trump is delusional and has awful judgement as he can’t comprehend something so very simple. But we have already established that (see Trump- The Finisteride President in this blog).

The Real Disgrace-the All County scandal

“DISGRACE”: Trump likes to use this term to deride his detractors and anyone else interfering with his dominance. The latest, of course, applying to those “interfering” with the Kavanaugh appointment is an example, he calls them a disgrace. Trump said that these interferers are “harming” Kavanaugh’s family, and its not fair and a disgrace. One wonders how he would describe the situation of children being forcefully separated from their parents, and kept in the desert? The pain being suffered by these families is truly biblical and permanent.

The truth is that there are plenty of Supreme Court possible candidates that would nothave been burdened by Kavanaugh’s “baggage”. (We are sure that Trump agrees with Kavanaugh’s idea that a sitting president can’t be indicted for a crime.)

Moving on to the latest NY Times article revealing Trump family tax avoidance secrets. This article is really worth a careful read. Some of the tax avoidance schemes, such as minimizing taxable gift values of substantial assets, are fairly commonplace among wealthy families. And there are industry accepted methods to accomplish these ends. The Trump family stretched the rules in ways that were malfeasant, if not illegal.

And there were clearly some straight out illegalities too. Actually, Fraud. For example, using an affilitated Trump company, set up at inception, with the stock shares gifted to Donald and siblings (All County Building Supply & Maintenance Company), which was a purchasing agent for Trumps’ buildings. This gift, of a company which had no revenue at the time of the gift, was thus subject to little if any gift taxes.

All County dramatically marked up supplies, and services, purchased for minor sums, goods and services that were than used in the Trump buildings, which were than billed to each building as expenses. Actually marked up by millions of dollars.

As expenses, phony though they were, they created large, unjustified tax deductions for Fred Trump. True, All County had more reportable taxable revenue, but income taxes on revenue going to Donald and siblings was offset by deductible expenses  created by the ploy. And it is important to note that gift and estate tax rates were much much higher than income tax rates.

Thus, this money was effectively a further gift to “new” owners of All County, Fred Trumps’ children, though avoiding gift and estate taxes.

But worse, the marked up items, with these “trumped” up expenses, were than used to justify rent increases. Thus a double whammy, injuring both the US government and these low to middle income tenants.

By doing so, Fred Trump was able to skirt New York state rent control laws. It is OK to raise rents by legitimate maintenance and building expenses, which these were not. This was clearly and truly illegal.

New York State will undoubtedly litigate this, and easily prevail. It may take some years, and those renters might never recover the additional rents that they were forced to pay.

Our point is this. If the President and family could violate the law, and clearly harm their customers (renters), what harm are they doing to the United States?

Most Americans pay their taxes on the witholding system. That is how most Trump supporters pay too. They don’t have the luxury of using these Trump schemes. As citizens, we all have to worry that our tax system is fair to all of us. A loss of confidence in its fairness would be devastating to our country. That the president and his family is taking advantage (illegal advantage) of our tax system can lead to widespread extreme cynicism among our citizens.

who knows what the Donald absorbed of his dads’ tax tricks? What is he hiding in his tax returns anyway?

We often think about the harm that Trump is bringing to our country. Well this is another awful example. We are crying for America.

An Anti-Science President Is the Real National Emergency

An anti-science president endangers us and our planet. At this point, it is already too late to prevent many of the harmful effects of global warming. Losing two or three years of efforts to mitigate global warming, in view of its’ logarithmic progression, is in itself a tragedy, but exactly what do the deniers actually deny?

Is it that human civilization is not the central cause of the phenomena? And therefore, global warming is of no human concern?

Or is it that global warming is not actually happening, that the climate is not actually changing, but weather patterns are simply in fluctuation?

In the first case, humans not being the cause, does that mean that the phenomena of global warming is not still a planetary emergency? Why wouldn’t that need to be addressed as soon as possible? Shouldn’t we be building dykes, addressing building codes, fortifying at risk structures, or at least talking about these things?

Or worse, does Trump (and his sycophants) actually think that global warming and climate change is not happening at all? That it is merely a “hoax,” even as it is in plain view?

This is a kind of delusion that blocks action to prepare and build infrastructure resilience. In either case, our nations leaders are failing us and endangering our grand and great grandchildren. What kind of world are we leaving to them?

We are weeping for our country. (Sept. 2, 2018)

In an earlier article, we wrote about how one negative number in a multiplication series (out of thousands) will always turn a result negative, no matter how many positive numbers preceeded or followed it. Thus, only a few publicly visible incidents were required to judge Trumps’ “inner heart”; like Charlottesville or his statement about “helping all the working men” at a rally by “”getting rid” of the “death tax”” which had no application to them, while Trump was tricking them to think it was a favor for them.

This applies to the records that the Republicans deemed “unavailable” in the Kavanaugh hearings, some, or even one, of which may have exposed him as unfit for the job.

Instead the Republicans just treated it as a bunch more writings and records, so many that there was no reason (and time) for a review (since there was already a plethora of pages that were released-though that release was at the very last minute). As if this information, which will effect the forever American future, was just a bunch of paper with script on it.

Well the same principal applies in the Kavanaugh situation that applied in the Trump election, that is, there was these noteworthy clues to Trumps’ unfitness. The Republicans failed and continue to fail to “read the fine print”, to grasp these clues, or worse, maybe not to care about them. Or perhaps the Republicans simply think they found someone, in Trump, whose ignorance and nastiness could be exploited?

This was no way to conduct a proper due diligence, and the Republicans absolutely knew this.

We are crying for our country.

P.S. Of course, all of this will come out at the further end, but by than, very grave damage to America may have occured. Past errant behavior like this eventually will become a stationary target. It is hard to believe that the Republican leadership isn’t aware of this. But beware, it may be a long road before this happens. In fact, when you think about it, Trump and his sycophants, aren’t really thinking about the future, as evidenced by their non-concern about deficits and global warming. They seem, like Trump, to be focused on stealing as much as possible from the present and immediate future.

Sept 19: As Trump sycophants argue that Kavanaughs’ alledged behavior occurred so long ago when he was just a boy, it is of no consequence in any case. However, what is undeniably, presently true is that Kavanaugh has denied it with the astute defense of saying “I have no recollection of this.” Come on folks, is that a really good enough response to win a lifetime job. The fault in character is in the denial.

Sept 26: Yesterday, Judge Kavanaugh released his old calendar showing entries for the summer of 1982, the year Blasey Ford claimed she was molested. Because there were no entries in the calendar, his team will argue that there is no corroboration for Fords’ claim.

There are perhaps a hundred pieces of evidence that may have corroborated Fords’ claim, which may have been discovered if the FBI did a thorough investigation, but to take this diary, which really proves nothing, and highlight it, is extremely misleading, to say the least. It proves nothing. (Accept it is something to make Trump supporters feel relief). How do we know if this small party wasn’t called at the last moment, for example? Of course we don’t. This was a calendar book and not a diary!

Concentrate your mind on the fact that Kavanaughs’ real appeal to Trump, was expressed in one of his Kavanaughs’ writings, which made the argument that a sitting president could not be indicted for a crime, in light of which it is not so odd, with all the Supreme Court potential picks, Kavanaugh rose to the top of the list. And now Kavanaugh has to be defended by a president who has already made so many awful cabinet and staff selections (many who already left in disgrace).

Immigrants Are Potential Assets Too.

It must be very hard for our narcissist president to think of an immigrant as a potential asset versus a liability. Surely an immigrant, any immigrant, couldn’t be as smart, resourceful, inventive, productive, compassionate, than he, right? (Are we setting a too high bar here?)

The anti-immigrational view rests on the absurd notion that human life is a zero sum game. That is, an immigrant generally, over the arc of his/her life, “takes” more than “gives”, surely not giving a drop over his takings. And this presumably because he/she comes from another place on the planet? The absurdity is obvious.

Of course this isn’t true, else how could any human innovation be explained? Indeed, most inhabitants of planet earth give more than they take, or else, human civilization would have disappeared long ago.

Indeed, how could have homo-sapiens in general evolved their culture and technology to this point? Some of these smart homo-sapiens invented toilets and cooking pots, and earlier figured out how to light and maintain fire, etc., right?. They obviously weren’t all US citizens. Some of the early pioneers might have easily come from “shit hole” countries too, or who knows what other places on our planet.

Why would a human being, just because he is an “immigrant” be so fundamentally different than other genus homo-sapiens?

That established, the truth is, if homo-sapiens’ evolutionary success depended on at least some genus members “giving more than taking,” that is, innovating and inventing, than some number of that Trump ”immigrant” group, so feared and even defiled by Trump, will “give” more, vastly and wildly more, than they can possibly take. They too are, after all, homo-sapiens.

Examples abound in long and short term human history, of extraordinary contributors to human history, culture, science, and technology, and they are way to numerous to list here, but we know that they and/or their parents weren’t born in the US!

And this is the point. Simply consider new immigrants (sometime to be citizens) as potential assets. Among that group will be, even if only a few, creative, inventive, genius innovators that improve life for all other genus homo sapiens and who help our planetary civilization thrive.

Even if the rest of planetary citizens give not an iota of more than what they take, or even, those fewer, like our president, who take far more than they give, these perhaps fewer extraordinary homo-sapiens will more than compensate in the longer run, even if they happen to be “exports” from one place and “imports” to another.

And this is the irony, called the “law of large numbers”. That is, the more homo-sapiens, thus effectively, the more immigrants, to our shores, the greater the likelihood that some outlier few genius innovators will be among them, helping America to continue to thrive. Perhaps some genus homo-sapiens like Edison, Steve jobs, Charles flint, Bill Gates, Charles Pierce, Copernicus, Galileo, DaVinci, Einstein, Jonas Salk, Aristotle, Jesus, (the list goes on and on), might wind up on our shores. Any single one of them can have an impact positively affecting literally millions or billions of other homo-sapiens.

We really need them, and I know that we are not smart enough to filter them in or out either. Most of us simply don’t know all that we don’t know, otherwise we would have already had, before they walked the earth, their contributions and knowledge. They are pioneers that we can’t foresee ahead of time. An Anti-immigration bias dooms America to slow decay and certain mediocrity and even worse.

Boycott, boycott, boycott

When assessing our political status quo, it is critical to remember that a majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. Yet, like it or not, America is being perhaps permanently reshaped by Trump, his administration and his collaborators. (Clinton won by 3 million votes and if adding back Stein and Johnson, it would have been over 8 million) And what about all the non-voters, who were going to vote for Clinton, but were put off by the last minute email kerfuffle, which amounted to nothing?

So what would be the most effective way to re-impower that majority? One that is fairly effortless, non-violent and yet more powerful than a marching protest army?

Why not focus on the media, which was cynically employed by Trump to gain his position, and keep it? And specifically the media that is poisoning our democracy by rationalizing, excusing, and indeed, further enabling Trump and his collaborators? That would be the numerous talk radio and TV shows that uncritically support Trump and his minions, the major damage being done by Fox Media.

If people go out of their way just a bit, simply by refraining to do business with their advertisers, (there are plenty of alternatives) it would not take long for their programs’ revenues to shrink. What business would want to advertise on a show, or in any media, if the advertisement effectively deleted both current and potential customers?

Advertising is expensive, and really only effective at the margins. It really does cost a lot of money in advertising just to acquire one new customer. Suppose an advertiser lost 10 customers for every new one the ad brought in?

For an example, I was just about to buy a “My Pillow” until I heard their ad on a Fox show. You know what, I will sleep better on some other brand.

I think that the suit I was about to buy will be a Macy’s suit and not the Joseph Bank suit that was advertised on that same show, and where I sometimes shopped. No longer! And there are plenty of alternatives to Koch brands, such as Brawny Paper Towels, Dixie, Angel Soft toilet paper, Stainmaster Carpets, Lycra clothing all Koch brands.

If a network’s advertising revenues in turn shrinks, as a result of their propaganda and politics, I bet things will change quickly.

It is best to inform these advertisers about your intentios. As a guide, probably the best place to contact is the Investor Relations Department, or, alternatively, Public Relations.

Here is a partial list of Fox advertisers. It is easy to find alternatives:

1-800-PetMeds
1441 SW 29th Ave
Pompano Beach, FL. 33069
1-800-PetMeds® (1-800-738-6337)
customerservice@1800petmeds.com
Corporate@1800petmeds.com

24 Hour Fitness
PO Box 2689
Carlsbad, CA 92018
(800) 432-6348

https://www.24hourfitness.com/ContactUsFeedbackClub.do

60 Plus
515 King Street, Suite 315
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(703) 807-2070
(703) 807-2073 fax
info@60plus.org

http://60plus.org/contact.asp

AARP
601 E Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20049
1-888-OUR-AARP
(1-888-687-2277)c http://www.aarp.org/aarp/contact_aarp1/

Accu Chek Aviva (Roche Diagnostics)
1-317-521-7159,
or 1-317-690-9288,

http://www.roche.com/contact_form.htm?subject=Media%20Relations

Acura
1919 Torrance Blvd. M/S 500-2N7E
Torrance, CA 90501-2746
(800) 382-2238
Fax: (310) 783-3535

http://www.acura.com/ClientServices.aspx

Adobe
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, California 95110-2704
408-536-6000
Fax: 408-537-6000

http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/contact.html

Advair
GlaxoSmithKline
1-888-825-5249

http://www.advair.com

ADT Security Services, Inc. (Tyco)
Ann Lindstrom
561-988-3258
alindstrom@adt.com

http://adt.com/wps/portal/adt/contact/?wgc=resi-request-info

Aflac
1932 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31999
1-706-323-3431
1-800-992-3522
Fax: 1-800-448-8922

http://www.aflac.com/us/en/Default.aspx

Ally Bank
P.O. Box 951
Horsham, PA 19044
1-313-656-6970
or 1-917-369-2364
customerservice@ally.com

https://chat.ally.com/hc/LPallychat/?cmd=file&file=visitorWantsToChat&site=LPallychat&byhref=1&SESSIONVAR!skill=general-service-english

American Movie Channel
11 Penn Plaza, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(646) 273-7105

http://www.amctv.com/contact.html

Aricept
Eisai Co., Ltd.
100 Tice Blvd.
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey 07677
1-888-274-2378
1-866-4-Aricept

http://www.Aricept.com

Astra Zeneca
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 300
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

http://astrazeneca.com/node/emailtriage.aspx

AT & T
32 Avenue of the Americans
New York, NY 10013-2412
National Broadcast Media
Susan Bean
sbean@attnews.us

Avaya
211 Mt. Airy Road
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
lynnnewman@avaya.com

Avodart
GlaxoSmithKline
1-888-825-5249

http://www.avodart.com

Bankrate.com *
500 US Highway 1
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
561-630-2400

http://www.bankrate.com/coinfo/webmasteremail.asp

Bayer
100 Bayer Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15205-9741

http://www.bayerus.com/contact/i_email.html

Binder & Binder *
Binder & Binder® National Headquarters
33-00 Northern Blvd. Suite 7A
Long Island City, NY 11101
Telephone: 800.742.9696
Fax: 718.512.2424
Questions@BinderandBinder.com
1-800-662-4633

http://binderandbinder.com/contact-binder-and-binder.html

Best Buy
P.O. Box 9312
Minneapolis , MN 55440
1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?id=cat12104&type=page

Black & Decker
626 Hanover Pike
Hampstead, MD 21074 USA

http://www.blackanddecker.com/CustomerService/contactus.aspx

BMW
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675
Phone: 201-307-4000
Fax: (201) 307-4095
gabriella.molteni@bmwna.com

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/ContactUs/

Boeing
100 North Riverside
Chicago, IL 60606
312-544-2000
wwwmail.boeing2@boeing.com

http://www.boeing.com/contactus.html

Boniva
Roche Laboratories Inc.
340 Kingsland Street
Nutley, New Jersey 07110

http://www.rocheusa.com/contact.html

Bridgestone Tires
535 Marriott Drive
P.O. Box 140990
Nashville, TN 37214-0990
Phone: 615-937-1000
Corporate Directory: 1-800-543-7522

http://www.bridgestonetire.com/Index_BS_EN.aspx?src=contact

Brita Filter
U.S. Headquarters
Brita LP
1221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
1-800-24-BRITA (US)
or 1-800-387-6940 (Canada)

Broadview Security
972-871-3500
8880 Esters Blvd
Irving, TX 75063

http://www.broadviewsecurity-home.com/contactus.htm

Buick
P.O. Box 33136
Detroit, MI 48232-5136
1-800-521-7300

http://www.buick.com/pages/mds/helpcenter/contactUs.do

Bristol-Meyers
345 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10154-0037
info@bristolmeyers.com

Burlington Coat Factory
1830 Route 130
Burlington,NJ 08016

http://www.coat.com/contact/webform1.shtml

Cadillac
P. O. Box 33169
Detroit, MI 48232-5169
1-800-458-8006

http://www.cadillac.com/cadillacjsp/footer/contact_us.jsp

Campbell Soup
Chairman: Harvey Golub
President, CEO, and Director: Douglas R. Conant
SVP, CFO, and Chief Administrative Officer: B. Craig Owens
Campbell Soup Company
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1799
NJ Tel. 856-342-4800
Toll Free 800-257-8443
Fax 856-342-3878

Home

Capital One Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 85565
Richmond VA 23285
investor.relations@capitalone.com

http://www.capitalone.com/

Capzasin
Chattem, Inc.
1715 W 38th St
Chattanooga, TN 37409
P.O. Box 2219
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0219
423-821-4571
customer_relations@chattem.com

http://www.chattem.com/contactus.asp

CarsDirect.com *
909 North Sepulveda Blvd. 11th Floor
El Segundo, CA. 90245
1.888.CarsDirect
advisor@carsdirect.com

http://www.carsdirect.com/the_company/contact_us

Celebrity Cruises
1080 Caribbean Way
Miami, FL 33132

https://secure.celebrity.com/contactus/custSvcsForm.do;jsessionid=00001zO9spn5954xC03mTdB9w17:1028etmk3

Centrum
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare
PO Box 26609
Richmond, VA 23261-6609
1-800-322-3129

CheapTickets.com
7 Sylvan Way
Parsippany, NJ 07054

http://www.cheaptickets.com/trs/cheaptickets/content/about_us/contact_us.xsl?suggestion-box-mode=&

Chemistry.com
Match.com, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 25458
Dallas TX 75225
1-866-610-MEET

http://chemistry.com/help/contactform.aspx

Chevrolet
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit, MI 48232-5170
1-800-222-1020

http://www.chevrolet.com/helpcenter/contactus/

Choice Hotels
10750 Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD, 20901
(301) 592-5000

http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/en-US/html/CorporateContacts?sid=aSFRM.qZqSSgG1sM.9

Cingular
Glenridge Highlands Two
5565 Glenridge Connector
Atlanta, GA 30342
olinesrv@attwsbw.entp.attws.com

Clairol
1-800-CLAIROL (1-800-252-4765)

http://clairol.com/ask-clairol/email-us.jsp

Claritin *
Schering Plough Corporation
2000 Galloping Hill Road
Kenilworth, NJ 07033
1-800-CLARITIN

http://www.claritin.com/claritin/home/contact-us.jspa

The Clorox Company
1221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 271-2230
Donald R. Knauss, Chairman of the Board and CEO
James Weeks, Executive Office Administrator
Executive.Offices@clorox.com

http://www.clorox.com/contact.php

Comcast
One Comcast Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-286-1700
1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)
esl_corp@cable.comcast.com

http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Customers/contactus/ContactUs.html

ComData
5301 Maryland Way
Brentwood, TN 37027-5028
1-800-COMDATA (1-800-266-3282)

http://www.comdata.com/forms/contact/contact_us_email_contact.php

Community Financial Services Association of America
515 King Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-684-1029
Fax: 703-684-1219
cfsa@multistate.com

Conservatives for Patients’ Rights
700 12th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
877–330–4CPR
Brian Burgess
703-683-5004

http://www.cprights.org/contact.php

Crest Whitestrips
The Procter & Gamble Company
1 or 2, Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45201
513-983-1100

http://crest.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/crest.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

Cylapril
Adrenal Fatigue Institute, Inc.
931 Village Blvd Ste 905-75
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
1-888-772-8170
info@adrenalfatigueinstitute.com

https://www.cylapril.com/CustomerService.dtm

Dawn
The Procter & Gamble Company
1 or 2, Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45201
513-983-1100

http://www.dawn-dish.com/en_US/customersupport.do

Dannon
P.O. Box 90296
Allentown, PA 18109-0296
1-877-DANNONUS (1-877-326-6668)

http://www.dannon.com/contact.aspx

Dell
One Dell Way
Round Rock, TX
1-800-624-9897

http://support.dell.com/support/index.aspx?s=gen

Delphi
5725 Delphi Drive
Troy, Michigan 48098-2815
1.888.809.9800
(248) 813-2000
Fax: (248) 813-2673

http://shopdelphi.com/contact/addresses/

Dickensons Witch Hazel *
Dickinson Brands Inc.
31 East High Street
East Hampton, CT 06424
888.860.2279

http://www.dickinsonbrands.com/contact.htm

DirectBuy, Inc.
8450 Broadway
Merrillville, IN 46410
219-736-1100
directbuyfreeoffer.com

Direct TV
P.O. Box 92600
Los Angeles, CA 90009
1-800-531-5000

http://directtv.com/DTVAPP/glb/Form_Feedback.jsp

Ditech *
3200 Park Center Drive, Suite 150
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Ditech.com 1-800-DITECH-3

http://ditech.com/faqs/contactus.html

Dodge
P.O. Box 21-8004
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8004

http://www.dodge.com/wccsapp/universal/D/index.jsp?appStr=wccs&titleStr=Contact+Dodge&familyStr=brand&franchise=D&actionURL=%2Fwccs%2Fbrand_forms%2Fus%2Fwebform.jsp&promotion=null&category=U

Dr. Blaines *
Blaine Labs
11037 Lockport Place
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Phone: 562-906-4477 / 800-307-8818
Fax: 562-906-4467
Sales@BlaineLabs.com

http://www.drblaines.com/contact_us.php

Duracell (Procter & Gamble)
Berkshire Corporate Park
Bethel, CT 06801 U.S.A.
1-800-551-2355
Fax: 1-800-796-4565

http://pggillette.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/pggillette.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php?p_pv=1.333&p_prods=333&prod_lvl1=333

Earthlink
1375 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.815.0770
presslink@earthlink.net

http://www.earthlink.net/about/contact/

Edward Jones Investments
P.O. Box 66906
St. Louis, MO 63166-6909

http://www.edwardjones.com/cgi/getHTML.cgi?page=/USA/email/webmaster_usa.html

Eloan.com
6230 Stoneridge Mall Road
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 847-6200
Fax: (925) 847-0831

https://www.eloan.com/s/show/contact?linksrc=hp_bottomnav_contact&sid=NKLrNIEqXtJ6iVTU3beldRU9c-0&user=&mcode=

Enova
c/o ADM KAO LLC
4666 Faries Parkway
Decatur, IL 62526

http://enovaoil.com/about/contact.asp

Fidelity Investments
82 Devonshire Street
Boston, MA 02109-3614

http://personal.fidelity.com/accounts/services/content/sendemailoptions_frame.shtml

Florida Department of Citrus Headquarters
P.O. Box 148
Lakeland, FL 33802
863.499.2500

http://floridajuice.com/contact.php

Ford Motor Company
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126
800-392-3673
Customer Relationship Center:
crcfmc@ford.com

http://www.ford.com/owner-services/customer-support/contact-ford

Forex.com
US Headquarters:
44 Wall Street, 7th Floor
New York, New York 10005
Corporate Headquaters:
GAIN Capital Group
550 Hills Drive
Bedminster, NJ 07921-1539
(contact#, not headquarters) 1.877.367.3946
info@forex.com

http://www.forex.com/contact_us.html

Franklin Templeton Investments
West Coast:
P.O. Box 997152
Sacramento, CA 95899-7152
East Coast:
P.O. Box 33030
St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030
800/632-2301

https://www.franklintempleton.com/retail/jsp_cm/global_nav/contact_us/pub/contactus_main_pub.jsp

FreeEnterpriseAmerica.com *

http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Free-Enterprise/168502789179?ref=m

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2372450

http://www.freeenterpriseamerica.com/contact-us/

Garlique
Chattem, Inc.
1715 W 38th St,
Chattanooga, TN 37409
P.O. Box 2219
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0219
423-821-4571
customer_relations@chattem.com

http://www.chattem.com/contactus.asp

General Motors
Chairman: Edward E. (Ed) Whitacre Jr.
President, CEO, and Director: Frederick A. (Fritz) Henderson
EVP and CFO: Ray G. Young
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265-3000
Contact Media Relations at 888-436-6687 (h/t sueroegge)
MI Tel. 313-556-5000

http://www.gm.com/utilities/contact_us/contact.jsp?deep=form&advertising

GMC
P.O. BOX 33172
Detroit, MI 48232-5172
1-800-462-8782

http://www.gmc.com/helpcenter/index.jsp?activeTab=CU

Gold Bond
Chattem, Inc.
1715 W 38th St,
Chattanooga, TN 37409
P.O. Box 2219
Chattanooga, TN 37409-0219
423-821-4571
customer_relations@chattem.com

http://www.chattem.com/contactus.asp

Golden Corral
5151 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC 27612
(919)781-9310

Contact Us

Goldline International, Inc. *
1601 Cloverfield Boulevard
100 South Tower
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: 1-877-376-2646
Fax: 1-310-319-0265
info@goldline.com

http://www.goldline.com/about-goldline/contact-goldline.html

GoToMeeting *
Citrix Online, LLC
1-800-646-0014

http://www.gotomeeting.com

Citrix headquarters
1-888-646-0015

http://www.citrixonline.com/contact.tmpl?SessionInfo=7266311:35CD0276AE80469

HealthMart Pharmacy
One Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.983.8300
800.369.5467

http://www.healthmart.com/about-contactus.php

Healthy Choice (Conagra Foods)
Corporate Headquarters
ConAgra Foods Inc.
One ConAgra Drive
402-240-4000
800-323-9980

http://www.conagrafoods.com/utilities/contact.jsp

Hefty Bags
Pactiv Corporation
1900 W. Field Court
Lake Forest, IL 60045.
1-888-828-2850 or 847-482-2000.

http://www.pactiv.com/Contact/contact.aspx

The Hertz Corporation
225 Brae Boulevard
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
201-307-2100
investorrelations@hertz.com

Holiday Inn Express
InterContinental Hotels Groups
3 Ravinia Drive Suite 100
Atlanta GA 30346-2149
1 770 604 2000
1 800-315-2621

http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?pageid=11

hotels.com (Expedia,Inc.)
425-679-7200
1-800-2hotels
mktgopp@expedia.com

http://overview.expediainc.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=190013&p=irol-contactpr

Hewlett-Packard
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185
Phone: (650) 857-1501
Fax: (650) 857-5518

http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/contact/office_locs.html

HSBC Life Insurance
Headquarters (Mettawa, IL)
(224) 544-2000
Public Affairs (New York, NY)
(212) 525-3800

http://www.hsbcusa.com/hsbcusa/abouthsbc/contacthsbc.html?WT.svl=100

Hula Networks
340 East Middlefield Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94043

http://www.hulanetworks.com/contact.html

Hummer
General Motors Corporation
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit, MI 48232-5170
1-800-REAL-4WD (1-800-732-5493)

http://www.hummer.com/hummerjsp/contact/email/index.jsp

Hyatt Corporation
200 W Madison St, 30th Fl.
Chicago, IL 60606-3413

http://www.hyatt.com/corporate/contact/email.jhtml?ssnav=0&pg=contact

Hydrolyze *
Hydroxatone, LLC
302A West 12th St, #276
New York, NY 10014
US & Canada Toll Free: (800) 515-1070
UK Toll Free: 0800-032-6278
All Other Countries: (201) 876-2570
Fax: (201) 876-2501

http://www.hydroleyes.com/contactus.htm

Hyundai
P.O. Box 20850
Fountain Valley, CA 92728-0850
Phone : (800) 633-5151
Fax : (801) 736-3561

http://www.hyundaiusa.com/global/contactus/main.aspx

IAMS
The Procter & Gamble Company
One Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
1-800-675-3849

http://www.iams.com/iams/en_US/jsp/IAMS_Page.jsp?pageID=EUN&_requestid=1816014

Infiniti
P.O. Box 191
Gardena, CA 90248

http://www.infiniti.com/form/0,,action-IContactUs,00.html

Intel
2200 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054-1549
(408) 765-8080

http://www.intel.com/feedback.htm?iid=ftr+contact

Jeep / Daimler Chrysler
P.O. Box 21-8004
Auburn Hills, MI 48321-8004
(248) 512 2950
Fax: (248) 512 2912

http://www.jeep.com/wccsapp/universal/J/index.jsp?appStr=wccs&titleStr=Contact+Jeep&familyStr=brand&franchise=J&actionURL=%2Fwccs%2Fbrand_forms%2Fus%2Fwebform.jsp&promotion=null&category=U

Finish Jet Dry (Dishwasher Products)
1-800-228-4722

http://www.finishdishwashing.com/contact-form1.php

John H. Daniel, Custom Tailors
120 W. Jackson Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 637-6441
Fax: (865) 523-6435
jhd@johnhdaniel.com

Kellogg Company
Chairman: James M. (Jim) Jenness
President, CEO, and Director: A. D. David Mackay
EVP, COO, and CFO: John A. Bryant
1 Kellogg Sq.
Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599
Contact media at 800-323-0768 (h/t sueroegge)
MI Tel. 269-961-2000
Toll Free 800-962-1413
Fax 269-961-2871

http://www.kelloggcompany.com/contactus.aspx

Kraft Foods Inc.
Chairman and CEO: Irene B. Rosenfeld
EVP Operations and Business Services: David A. (Dave) Brearton
EVP and CFO: Timothy R. (Tim) McLevish
3 Lakes Dr.
Northfield, IL 60093
IL Tel. 847-646-2000
Fax 847-646-6005

http://www.kraftfoodscompany.com/Contacts/contact-us.aspx

L. L. Bean
Freeport, ME 04033-0001
1-800-441-7513
Fax: 207-552-3080
publicaffairs@llbean.com

http://www.llbean.com/customerService/contactUs/contactUsPhone.html

Laurie Azzano
Public Relations: 415-786-3317
laurie@cosmo-pr.com

Lear Capital, Inc *
1990 S. Bundy Dr., Ste 600
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 1.800.576.9355
Fax: 310.571.0194
1-800-214-8271

http://www.learcapital.com/about/~Contact%20Information.html

Lee Majors Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid
PO Box 2259
Virginia Beach, VA 23450-2259
800-649-4434

https://www.hearingaidtv.com/

https://www.hearingaidtv.com/customerservice.asp

Lending Tree
11115 Rushmore Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277
1-800-555-8733

http://www.lendingtree.com/about-us/contact-us/

LensCrafters, Inc.
4000 Luxottica Place
Mason, OH 45040
513-765-6000

http://www.lenscrafters.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Footer|-1|11151|10051|/LensCrafters/Lens_US/Footer/About/LensCrafters_Footer_About_Contact_Us

Lexus
P.O. Box 2991 – Mail Drop L201
Torrance, CA 90509-2991
Phone: 1-800-255-3987
Fax: 1-310-468-2992

http://www.lexus.com/contact/

Liberty Medical
1-800-296-0720
1-800-695-2500

http://www.libertymedical.com/contact/

Medco Health Solutions, Inc
investor_relations@medco.com
media@medco.com

Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liberty Mutual Group, Inc.
175 Berkeley Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
617-357-9500

http://www.libertymutualgroup.com/omapps/ContentServer?pagename=LMGroup/Views/LMG&ft=3&fid=1138357124082&ln=en

LifeLock *
60 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Ste 400
Tempe, AZ 85281
480-682-5100
Mike Prusinski
VP of Corporate Communications
mike@lifelock.com
marketing@lifelock.com

http://www.lifelock.com/about-us/about-lifelock/contact-us

Lincoln-Mercury
P.O. Box 1304
Dearborn, MI 48121

http://www.customersaskford.com/Kate/crc_frame.asp?launchsite=mercury

Lipitor (Pfizer, Inc.)
235 East 42nd Street
NY, NY 10017
(212) 573-2323

http://www.pfizer.com/contact/mail_general.jsp

Lowe’s
Hwy 268 East P.O. Box 111
North Wilkesboro, NC 28656-0001
704-758-2910
investorrelations@lowes.com

Lunesta
Sepracor Corporate Headquarters
84 Waterford Drive
Marlborough, MA 01752
info@sepracor.com
(508) 481-6700

* Featured on a Fox News Boycott of the Month.

They are not just Bad, they are Incompetent and Bad.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: “Well, thank you, Mr. President. And I think what the President has made clear is we believe it’s a false choice between whether we are a country of law and order, a country with borders, and a country that demonstrates the compassion and the heart of the American people in this country, for families.

By taking this action, the President will make it possible for us to continue to engage in enforcing the law against individuals who violate our law, come into our country illegally. But NOW we’ll be able, in the prosecution in the immediate days forward, to keep families together as that goes forward.

We know now that the recent action to separate the children from their parents was not well planned. But how could they have missed the most critical bit of planning?? That is, how get the children back to their parents, after their threats and hostage crisis came to an end??

Note the last sentence in Pences’ statement. “in the prosecution in the immediate days forward, to keep families together as that goes forward

Was that a recognition and admittance of their now unthinkable dilemma, the one that Trump created and is now facing? That is, have some of these children been permanently orphaned? And if not, to what expense and effort is the administration going to go to in order to reunite those families?

As horrible as this prospect is, it goes to the essence of the Trump administration. That is, as stated by his fired Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Trump is a moron. Trump is really incapable of thinking things through. He is reckless. Now we can only hope that Trump and his enablers are held accountable for the human catastrophe they created. We have written about this before, Trump is a tactitian, but not a strategist, which requires clear thinking. That is a trait that alludes him. There are and will continue to be many examples of this Trump flaw.

Just this week, as the trade tariffs issue hit U.S. farmers, Trump had no choice but to issue a multi billion dollar bailout to them, as many were Trump voters. Trump has often bought, ransomed, or bribed himself out of the problems he caused by his awful judgement. And worse, he is now able to use our hard earned tax money to cover his blunders.

This is all because, Trump, always the tactician and not the strategist, was unable to foresee the adownside of his simplistic tariff policy. These failings may be the archilles heals that save our country, showing that the “emperor has no clothes” to everyone, even while Trump threatens our destruction.

Lies, lies, and more lies.

Date: June 18, 2018
Subject: Why Trump’s lies about German crime are so important | MSNBC

https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.msnbc.com%2Frachel-maddow-show%2Fwhy-trumps-lies-about-german-crime-are-so-important&data=02%7C01%7C%7Cd861d14f0e1c47c8618208d5d548e83a%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636649431456908226&sdata=TSEmsPFiKtRNHuXnDribk4VOUgWAyq9r8tEjpfAuE68%3D&reserved=0

Lying about Germany’s crime rate, in an attempt to criticize its immigration policy, is stupid for so many reasons, not least of which it is so easily refuted, simply exposing him as a liar.

But what is the larger point about him dragging our nation into the role of an international pariah? Ultimately threatening the US to become a discredited, even laughable, country?

Was the lie just one of his normal tactics? One of his “feel good” lies, unlikely to be questioned by his base? Is Trump getting so comfortable (or maybe so careless) in lying because his base is willing to accept all that he says without question?

Hitler’s storm troopers also accepted Hitlers’ words without question.

We fear that Trump is now picking and separating his desired allies into categories: friends and enemies.

Russia: friend, Germany: foe; Autocracies: friends; Democracies: foes

Is the end of democracy really this close?

Sent from my iPad
5/29/18

Libertarians (the Republican Freedom Caucus included here) need to more carefully reflect on likely Trump outcomes. Libertarians are being made fools of by Trump, who is more a despot than any previous president, and as such, a true anti-libertarian. But the problem goes deeper, into the very heart of libertarianism.

Libertarianism is one of the giant ideas in political philosophy.

Current proponents believe, for example, that charity (giving welfare) should be entirely voluntary, that indiduals should be encumberered by as few rules, laws (and taxes) as possible, just enough, presumably to prevent chaos, and that the key principle of all government action (the less government action, the better) is to expand “individual” liberty.

Yet in all of history, it is hard, perhaps impossible, to cite an actual precedent, that is a nation,state, group, or collective organized under a pure libertarian regime.

It is one of those pure ideas, of a “perfect” organizational “political” structure, which we can analogize to the platonic notion of an “ideal” (though Plato was far far from a libertarian).

The hard truth is that, while even if we can formulate and think of a perfect circle, we cannot manufacture and realize a perfect wheel. (Just like we cannot man-make a perfect libertarian government structure- in fact, even the term “perfect government structure” is an oxymoron). There will always be defects, small though they may be, threatening the wheels’ ultimate failure in the real, “non-ideological” world. And failure safeguards, and failure remedies have not been adequately addressed by libertarian philosophers/economists, or libertarian leaning politicians, or those voting for them.

And these defects, in the real natural world, are never going to be static. In this world, defects will always expand their presence, like weeds in a garden, and counter-balancing them will always create repercussions, themselves requiring additional counterbalancing. Humans have created their own rule sets to counterbalance (think 10 Commandments, tribal customs and ceremonies, social morays, and yes, even laws).

The current libertarian political argument is thus always going to be about matters of degree. And this is the core problem. Matters of degree often fall into the realm of personal opinion.

Matters of degree also shift with the times, they are in flux, resulting in a perpetual change cycle.

Another intransigent problem is this, wholly embracing a “pure” libertarianism, how do we get from A to B, that is from “here” to “there”?

That is, how move from our current world political structure to a libertarian world structure. Keep in mind that partial structures will forever be unstable.

And this begs the question: how is it possible to get to a libertarian world led by elected leaders, which, in a democracy, requires a majority rules regime? Would not the vote and rule of the many, inevitably repress the freedom of some few?

And finally, is it not possible, even inevitable, that a “partial” libertarian regime (the only kind that is practically attainable) would morph out to either dictatorship or total anarchy? Think of it like a gyroscope encountering pebbles on an actual ground surface. First stumbling to the right, than to the left, between the poles of yin and yang, periodically crashing down entirely (into the Hegelian anti-thesis) before its rebirth yet again.

The truth is that America and earth’s civilization in general, is stuck in a cycle of change, a Hegelian universe, moving see-saw-like between the social-political extreme polls of totalitarianism and anarchy, yang changing into yin, and than back again. Mercifully Americas’ constitutional system has been relatively successful at balancing these extremes. It is only this balancing that can insure America’s longevity.

Libertarian proponents, while they may not actually be Trump lovers, are enablers, and as such have adopted a devastatingly dangerous posture. Trump operates out on that extreme poll which, in the end, will destroy any semblance of libertarianism, not to mention democracy. Trump is the means by which the anti-thesis is now occurring.

(Here is a perfect example of anti-libertarianism, quite frightening really). After Trump’s visit to North Korea, Trump expressed admiration for the way Kim-Jong Un is treated by North Koreans. trump said “Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong , head…don’t let anyone think anything different. he speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” Of course Trump later tried to take the statement back saying “I am kidding, you don’t understand sarcasm”. Yes we do. When it comes off the top of Trump’s finisteride infected brain, we need to really worry.

And we are not Trumps’ “people”, we are free people under a fought for constitution. We must not let Trump take back his statements so easily, as they reveal him for what he aspires to be.

Kim publicly murdered (with an anti-aircraft gun) one of his staff for dozing off during a Kim speech. A sane person would not kid about that.

Sent from my iPad

Is it Drain the Swamp, or fill the swamp??

5/15/18

Trump Picks Mitch McConnell’s Brother-In-Law, Gordon Hartogensis, To Lead Pension Agency
Experts say the choice to lead the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. wasn’t based on qualifications.

Please see our comments below article.

President Donald Trump has picked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s brother-in-law — a man with apparently no government experience and unclear qualifications — to lead a Department of Labor agency responsible for current and future pensions of about 1.5 million people.
Ethics experts questioned the choice, with one suggesting the nomination was granted on a “who you know rather than what you know” basis.
The White House announced Monday that Gordon Hartogensis had been tapped to head the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. He was described as “an investor and technology sector leader with experience managing financial equities, bonds, private placements, and software development.”
The announcement failed to list a current job for the nominee, and did not mention that Hartogensis is the brother-in-law of McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Hartogensis is married to Chao’s sister, Grace Chao.
Amazing. Trump just nominated Mitch McConnell & Elaine Chao’s brother-in-law to lead the nation’s pension agency. The White House announcement doesn’t even list a current job for him & WH won’t answer questions. Below, his announcement vs. a typical one >> https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-15/trump-nominates-mcconnell-brother-in-law-to-lead-pension-agency …
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) 9:12 AM – May 15, 2018
According to his LinkedIn page, Hartogensis has managed his family’s trust for seven years. He previously served as the CEO and co-founder of software company Auric Technology, his profile says.
Hartogensis, according to The Washington Post, has no apparent experience in public service and his understanding of PBGC’s mission is unclear.
The PBGC, which helps to sustain payments on single-employer and multi-employer pension plans when pension funds fail, is currently facing a widening, multibillion-dollar deficit. According to Bloomberg, the agency’s multi-employer program, which backs pensions operated jointly by employers and unions, is expected to become insolvent by 2025.
“The White House’s process for naming and vetting candidates is flawed,” Scott Amey of the Project on Government Oversight told the Post on Tuesday in reaction to Hartogensis’ nomination. “This seems to be another example of who you know rather than what you know.”

An unnamed White House official pushed back against the suggestion that Hartogensis was anything but qualified, telling CNBC that his experience as an investment manager “makes him uniquely qualified to run the PBGC.” Continue reading

Quiz for Trump voters who own a family business.

Let us say that you own and run a highly successful (and dearly valuable to you) business. Your children, and even grandchildren are taking some interest in it too.

1. Would you be comfortable being bought out (giving up ownership and control) largely in return for an uncollateralized note? And in particular, an uncollateralized note from the purchaser, Donald Trump, or any business where he has full control? Check the box:

1.
A, YES:_____
B, NO:______

2. Would you be comfortable giving up virtual total control of your company for a 4 year period to Donald Trump, or any business where he has full control? Check the Box:

2.
A, Yes:________
B, No: ________

2. Can you please email us your vote, simply cut and paste to your email with your answers.
Can you also pass this survey to any Trump voters you know. We will report out the results of this survey. Our email is billkaufman1000@gmail.com

What else is really new here? This is profoundly sad.

May 1, 2018

Of course the original letter from Dr. Bornstein, was a farce! Like everything else about BOS Trump.

One of the Trump “storm troopers” actually broke into Trump’s dostors’ office and took Trump’s medical records! If you recall, Trump did not allow the release of his medical records (like his tax returns), as presidential candidates typically do. Instead, we got a bizarre letter from his doctor (Bornstein) where the doctor stated “unequivocally”, that Donald Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”. Now we learn that this statement was actually dictated by Trump. This whole sad episode is worth a read.

But it is not funny. Clearly Trump lied, and “covered up” these most important credentials, that is credentials that would have revealed his physical and/or his mental fitness to be president. Would you want to hire anyone, once it was revealed that they lied and covered up critical facts about themselves that would impact their ability to perform the tasks that were required?

It is time to fight back! Can you help? A simple effective protest

6/11/18

What could be simpler. Simply watch fox network shows from time to time and note the advertisers. Don’t buy their products or services and tell everyone you know about your action. For example, I used Expedia to book hotel and plane reservation, no longer now. There are plenty of other choices.

Consider this, why would an advertiser pay money to advertise on a show when the ad itself will delete customers? Radio and tv advertising is expensive and only moderately successful anyway. If it served to actually repel more customers than it attracted, an advertisers’ response would come very quickly indeed. The Fox show followers, prospective targets of an advertisement, are only some fraction of an advertisers’ current customer base. If all others who object to where Trump and his cohorts are taking our country, and who coincidentally are in the advertisers customers base, and the advertiser risked losing any/all of that group, things will change very quickly.

Follow the dollars and you will be amazed how quickly things can change.

3/29/18

Our friends tell us that we are preaching to the choir. And we can’t help agreeing with them SO LET’S FIGHT BACK! How? We always say follow the money. It seems that various Fox talk shows love Trump and have given him and his enablers a generous pass for behavior and policies that would have led any other president to be impeached by now. It’s past time!

So we started a list of advertisers, first, on Fox’s Lou Dobbs show. We intend to avoid doing business with all of them. But before that we will send them each a note.

Our first note sounded like this: “We are customers of yours, but now question our relationship, as you advertise on various Fox programs that promulgate, excuse, distort and rationalize Trump’s errant and damaging policies. We need to defend ourselves, our children and grandchildren from the damage this administration is doing to the country that we love. We have decided to no longer do business with entities that advertise on these poisonous shows. We did love your company, but feel this is the best way to have some impact, small though it may be”.

And here is the list so far. If you can help, email us additions as they occur. And please let us know about any responses to your email. Email us at: billkaufman100@outlook.com

Expedia, Phillips Colon Health, PCMatic.com, PC Medic, Judicial Watch, Men’s Warehouse, Claritin D, Capital One Bank, Joseph A Bank, Nissan, Nissan, Alpha Romeo, TIAA, Quicken Loans, One A Day vitamins, Uline.

We are sure that the various Fox programs, such as Hanity, have another list of regular advertisers. We need some volunteers to monitor these shows too. It is past time to boycott all of them. Please help by adding to the list, which you can send us as you discover them, and we will add it to our published list. Maybe you can send a copy of our script above, or one other of your liking to these companies to help support the cause. Thank you, and the generations to come will thank you too.

Russian Roulette and the Stormy Daniels Saga

Mar 26, 2018

The most troubling detail for all of us about this ….. we will get to that shortly…

The payoff of Stormy by Trumps’ attorney to cover up for Trump, was likely an election law violation. Further, it is hard not to see Trump colluding with his attorney on the payoff. Lawyers are unlikely to layout that kind of money absent getting reimbursement from somewhere. But will the sycophants and Trump supporters really care about that? That is “ordinary” business for Trump. So what?

No, the really shocking thing that should keep all Americans (and his sycophants) awake at night is a thousand times worse.

It is Trump’s willingness to take such a risk with a porn star (according to the person who would know, Stormy herself). In an age of AIDS, Trump didn’t even take the precaution of wearing a condom!

Betting that Stormy (or he himself) didn’t have AIDS is one unnecessary and stupid enough bet, either putting himself or her (and Melania too) at great risk. But isn’t that the kind of bets he is making for all of us?

America is now tied to him and his awful judgement while he leads us on a path with a palpable risk of destruction.

P.S. Now Trump and enablers are saying that Stormy’s claims are not “accurate”
I guess that means they are just mostly true, if not precisely true, right?
(Webster definition of “accurate”: exactly true, precise in all details.)

Sent from my iPad

Nikolas Cruz, mass shootings, and anti-depressants.

Feb. 17: It’s not just the ease of getting killing machine weapons, but the mental conditions that lend a tendency to wish to use them, specifically depression treated by SSRI drugs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), like Prozac et al. To be successful, drugs like these can make many who take them feel powerful, emboldened, angry, impatient, in many ways, the opposite of depressed. So in some adverse reactions, there is suicide (which is rage against oneself) and violence against others, who may have been perceived as the causes of one’s own depression, which then turns into anger, rage, and revenge.

The gun industry and the pharmaceutical industry are big money makers and big political contributors. So expect not much intent to get to the bottom of this societal scourge. As usual, follow the money.

Impeachment? Trump, a step ahead of the coming protests?

    We 12/29/17

    What if Mueller’s investigation fails to lead to Trumps’ impeachment? Or if the investigation is somehow ended by firing Mueller?

    Many more public demonstrations are extremely likely in either case. Hopefully they will be peaceful, but surely they will be disruptive. Thousands of people in the street, by their mere presence, will inadvertently be blocking traffic and workplace entrances. How will the Trump administration respond?

    We believe that the administration is preparing for just such an eventuality. One example is the expansion of the private prison system.

    Another by the appointment of crony supportive judges.

    Let’s be honest with each other. This is the president who equivocated ligitimate protestors with Neo-Nazis, when referring to an incident where an innocent woman was run down and killed and 19 others injured by a neo-nazi during a lawful protest. Trump said that there “was blame on both sides.” Joe Biden recently remarked, this was the telling moment for him. Surely many others too. This Trump comment will go down in history as one of the greatest presidential blunders of all time. But we should be glad he couldn’t keep it to himself, as it truly revealed Trump for what he was.

    This is what we are dealing with now. There are not enough prisons presently to house or threaten all the potential protestors, and the presidents’ collaborators, like Jeff Sessions, know this, and thus they may be preparing. This needs to be tracked carefully.

New Tax Law: It’s like stealing from anothers’ future to enrich oneself now.

12/19/17: The tax bill passed, now what? The republicans are set to celebrate a longed for victory. But how should we measure success? do we just check it off a list today, or do we wait to measure what today’s action causes? The bulk of economists that we have been following warn that the tax cuts, mainly focused on large corporations and the well to do, will lead to massive deficits.

The Republicans argue that the tax cuts will pay for themselves by creating more jobs and higher wages, while leading to higher tax collections. And they may be right. But what if they aren’t? What if the economists are right? Can we safely assume that no one knows for sure that these tax cuts will be successful at stimulating the economy, creating more jobs, and if the “trickle down” effect will create more wealth for everyone. What makes the administration appointees smarter than the mainstream of professional economists?

 

Using some logic, in a case like this, no one knowing for sure what the future holds, maybe being a 50/50 coin toss. logicians would correctly argue to weigh the outcomes if the economists are right and the Republicans are wrong and vice versa, since no one has sufficient certainty of outcomes.

So knowing what we do know already, that the tax bill largely rewards the wealthiest folks, gives a pittance to the middle class, and actually takes away from those most in need (the Republicans are already talking about cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), (The cuts mentioned will be the bow to the hardline deficit hawks, without which the bill would not have passed). and absent the hoped for stimulus, will create unfathomable deficits. (A recent well researched article in the Atlantic reports that, in 2018, “the 670,000 households earning more than $1,000,000 a year will collectively benefit more from this bill than the 113,000,000 families earning less than $75,000”).

So let’s give the Republicans plenty of  room. Say there is only a 25% (and not 50%) chance that the tax cuts fail to create the offsetting stimulus, dramatically ballooning the deficit. Surely rational folks would agree that there is at least some risk that the stimulus  calculous is wrong, and if so, we all need to look at the outcome of a miscalculation. In short, let’s say the Republicans are wrong.

The government will either have to borrow money, much more money, or print money, to pay for all the things that Trump and the Republicans want to do (that is, build the wall, reinforce the military, rebuild the infrastructure, etc.) . Let alone the things we are already doing. All while insisting that  their wealthy constituents pay less for them.

Well Trump has a bad history of defaulting on debt, even using the bankruptcy code to bail himself out. So if they miscalculate, the harm to our lenders will be enormous. Interest rates, even short of an actual default, will surely perk up, while bond buyers wait for better rates before committing more funds, like a tide going out. At the very least, the interest on our ballooning deficit will overwhelm our economy. Its pretty close to doing that already.

This means that the government will have no choice but to accelerate inflating our currency, that is, simply running the printing presses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no end. It’s easy to print money. And what’s scary about that is that inflation tends to benefit real estate, Trumps’ primary holding, making his mortgages easier to pay off, while increasing rent, hotel rates, and commercial property values. Trump surely knew this, if little else. And if he didn’t, it probably was explained to him by one of his collaborators.

We know a bit from studying history what inflation and hyper-inflation was like. Not fun at all if retirees have to use a month of savings to buy a day’s worth of groceries.. Ditto for all folks on a fixed income.  Even if the risk is only 25%, is it worth taking? The problem is that this is a win/win risk for Trump.

The frustrating thing is that all the rest of us are thrust into taking that risk by a minority party that does not have the interest of most of its’ citizens in mind. It is a  group that generally would actually either benefit from hyper-inflation or not be harmed by it.

And what if the Republicans are right? That the  tax bill will dramatically stimulate the economy producing new jobs. Wait, aren’t we about at full employment already?

How much real benefit will be created? Well we already know that many of our citizens will be hurt by this tax bill.. Maybe the tax bill is going to be like “good medicine”, but maybe too, there is that 25% chance that it will kill us. Most people are not that sick to want to take that chance.

 

Trump: Just a smart Chimp?

We have said earlier that bos Trump is a master tactition. Jane Goodall, who has studied apes for a lifetime recently published comments about Trump that mirror this view, while comparing him to an ape. Indeed many others have pointed to the astonishing similarity in appearance. But he was born such, and can’t be criticized for how he was born.

Instead, we are interested in the similarities of behavior. Apes depend for their survival on tactics. Trump is a master tactitian. The evolution of homo sapiens and other advanced mammals, such as dolphins, depended on developing strategic thinking. The ability to think strategically is dependent to a large extent on the condition of one’s brain. There is a quality of objectivity in assessing ones’ social and physical context which is required for optimal survival. . We maintain that Trumps’ emotional condition mitigates against having sufficient situational objectivity to be or stay in the “right ballpark” as it were. In simple words, there is something not quite “right” here. 

Perhaps it is the combination of his daily uptake of drugs, like finasteride, combined with the preceding  mental illness of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Fortunately (or unfortunately for Trump) being the president of the USA exposes one to a lot of scrutiny, and ones’ flaws and excesses, let alone mental illnesses, becomes really impossible to hide. As time passes these will be increasingly  obvious to all onlookers.  And in borrowing one of our subjects’ oft used language tactics, (persuasion experts call it appealing to ” social proof”) “everyone is saying ” yes indeed, everyone will be saying that “the emperor has no clothes”.

On this date 11/12/17, after monitoring Trump’s fast receding  approval rating, it has become apparent that more and more Americans are catching on to the fact that they have been hoodwinked by Trump. We have tried to make a contribution to our beloved America by writing this blog. We worry a little about the cognitive dissonance drag. This occurs when one is strongly opinionated while challenged by evidence that they were misled, misinformed, or simply made a bad choice. We humans don’t like to think that we make mistakes. So we find ways to deny the evidence. But eventually additional emerging evidence just becomes too overwhelming  for even the most stubbornly held beliefs to be retained. At least we hope so.

Please email us if you feel we can make improvements with our blog: billkaufman100@outlook.com

The Presidential Pardon and Anarchy

There are thousands of people being punished for crimes not nearly as appalling as those that may have been committed by Arpaio. His sentence was just 6 months, and it was merely for contempt of court. Yet he perpetrated much suffering on his defenseless victims.

Might thousands now jailed have an equal or better claim for pardon deservedness than Arpaio?

The pardon was timed and announced under cover of a national emergency thereby drawing attention away from itself (the president’s own admission).  .Is this a transparent and amateurish strategy accompanied by timeworn tactics?

Can you imagine a world where Trump’s followers are enabled to commit crimes with the promise, if caught and convicted, of a pardon?

The president’s announced willingness to put up lawsuit defense money, while encouraging illegal violence on protestors, during his campaign, was an early warning sign..

And now Trump doesn’t even have to put up his own money!

Trump is on record for having queried about presidential pardon applicability for himself. The question for now is, can pardon be granted to collaborators who commit crimes fashioned to protect the president?

Is this “brown shirt” stuff we are beginning to see? Might it lead to anarchy? What will be the price for resisters? Is there  a plan? Are the dots connecting?

We welcome your feedback.

One more absurdity of Trumpcare.

Some of Trumps’ republican endorsers are still touting Trump Care (this from House Republican, Joe Wilson yesterday at a town hall)

“By having the ability of buying insurance across state lines, association health plans and by increasing the ability of health savings accounts, we would provide choice that Obamacare simply has not presented,” Wilson explained. “And it wouldn’t impact employment, it would give them more choice as well.”

But many in the crowd didn’t appear to buy it, heckling and interrupting the Republican congressman as he tried to speak.

House Republicans across the country, particularly those from rural districts, are facing similar situations this week as they return home from Washington, D.C., for a two-week break.”

This concept, of enabling insurers to sell in any state, that is, across state lines, is a favorite concept for Trump as it enables competition, a panacea for republican idealoques, who think that it would somehow help or solve high health insurance cost. What it demonstrates is a tendency to rigidly adhere to prevalent free market, ideology. And it does sound logical. But it simply demonstrates profound ignorance.

Why?

Years ago, health insurance was generally provided by insurers who did frequently cut across state lines. And the insurance was pretty simple. You paid the health insurance company a premium and when you had a claim, you submitted it to them and they would pay it according to their contract. Often  they didn’t pay the full claim, as many claims exceeded what insurers called the “reasonable and customary” limits. In that universe, insurance premiums incessantly increased, year over year, approaching unafordability.

Than, an old concept started to regain popularity, and that was the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). These organizations started and grew networks of doctors and hospitals who agreed to serve “members” which were the insureds, and they were initially paid a fixed fee based on the headcounts of the members in the network, divided by the  number of doctors and hospitals who joined the network. The key to this was that the networks were clustered around where the bulk of the insureds were living and working. These networks were effectively “insuring” themselves, in that the HMO was really an agreement with regional health providers to provide medical services in return for a fixed monthly fee.

This concept caught on, as it worked remarkably well to lower costs, as employer groups found that they could cover the health needs of their employees at a lower cost than the more traditional system of health insurance. Individuals too were able to buy into these networks. It also was convenient because folks didn’t have to bother with submitting claim forms and rarely had to worry about reasonable and customary claim limits.

For a period of years health insurance premiums paid to these networks was considerably lower than traditional health insurance. It really was a panacea compared to traditional health insurance.

One critical aspect of this system was that health insurance itself became more community based, that is, the health networks that were formed were regional, and generally state oriented. The networks were where their members were.  Anyone would want their doctor close to where they lived and worked. And even now, that is how much of our health insurance works.

For a health insurer to be able to sell in any state without restriction would depend, for its success,  on it forming the same kind of provider network that already exists with a competitor in that state. And why would those doctors and hospitals give that new insurer a better deal, that is, sell their services for less money than their current relationship provides?

One supposes that a now out of state health insurance company could “rent” a network existing in the state it wishes to sell in, basically renting it from another insurer who already had formed a network. And why would that “rent” be lower than the actual cost already being incurred by the pre-existing insurer?

So the idea that health insurers being allowed to sell across state lines would somehow lower premiums is only a canard. In fact, insisting on that idea demonstrates profound ignorance of how our health insurance now works. (this shouldn’t surprise anyone, as so many Trump ideas have been equally absurd).

The other idea being touted as a panacea by Trump is the idea of health savings accounts (HSA’s). An HSA allows folks to put aside funds in a tax deductible account to be used in conjunction with a health insurance plan that has a high front end deductible: Explanation through Kiplinger:

As of 2015, adults with plans featuring deductibles of $1,300 for individuals or $2,600 for families can contribute to a health savings account. For eligibility to be ensured, the policy must make everything subject to the same deductible; for example, the policy cannot have a separate deductible for prescriptions or preventative care, notes Kiplinger.

The maximum contribution to an HSA for individuals is $3,350 or $6,650 for families, reports Kiplinger. If someone in the home is age 55 or older, there’s an additional $1,000 on the contribution cap. Contributions are made pretax when made through an employer, and they are tax-deductible for self-employed taxpayers. The money in the HSA can be used for medical expenses only. Contributions for the tax year must be made by April 15 the following year. HSAs are offered by many different banks and firms; taxpayers can open their accounts anywhere as long as their health insurance policies make them eligible for the account.”

Now the idea of health savings accounts works fairly well for healthy people, anticipating some far off rainy day. But any visit to a doctor or hospital, as well as a chronic illness,  can quickly diminish the value of a health savings account or zero it out entirely.  Moreover, if you examine the premium cost for the high deductible health insurance plan portion, and combine it with the accompanying savings account deposits, the total cost, if you get sick (even a minor illness) is substantially comparable to a fully insured plan, and in many cases more. What you also have created in an HSA is a disincentive to go to the doctor, because the front end deductible, which is paid out of one’s own money, is so high.  Finally, if you are not a well person, the HSA is not only not going to save you money, it will cost you more..

If you are a well, physically fit, active, young person in particular, the HSA is not unappealing. And thus the attraction of these kind of insureds to HSAs  create the phenomena of adverse selection. The health insurance companies receive less premium money from them, meaning that they have to increase premiums on everyone to cover the older and sicker insureds who are making more frequent and large medical claims and using more pharmaceuticals. It is like pushing on a string.

In one of our posts we talked about the real reason for constant increases in health insurance premiums, and it is quite simple. People get sick, chronic sicknesses, in particular metabolic syndrome disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as cancers, dementia, depression, anxiety, etc., are running rampant in American society, and these illnesses are being addressed by very expensive drugs and extreme and costly treatments. And more often than not, these treatments don’t cure anything, meaning that the medical costs are not one-offs.

Sick people are too often becoming lifetime victims of treatments that fail to make them healthy.

Worse, when they retire, they roll off into Medicare, which is itself in dire straights.

Talk about the high cost of medical insurance too often misses these salient, though obvious,  points.

 

April 6 Health Care proposal

News Release

“The amendment that the Rules Committee approved Thursday afternoon on a party-line vote would set up a federal insurance pool for those with serious and expensive medical conditions such as cancer, congestive heart failure and AIDS. The fund is intended to subsidize coverage for patients with those serious preexisting conditions to lower premiums for healthier patients”

Since this idea subsidizes, in full(?), what the industry now considers “catastrophic illness” the effect will be socializing all these ensuing claims. No one knows what restrictions would be placed on claim costs (like life saving but expensive surgery, transplants, costly drugs, etc.)

One wonders, in any case, if it could pass muster with enough republicans, and whether the dems will be  happy  with the details (with Trump, the devil will always be in the details, details well disguised to  get by the public while creating good  talking points).

Fortunately, the dems know that by now. It’s downhill from here.

Latest EPA issue

The Trump EPA under Secretary Price overturned the Obama era ban on Chlorpyrifos. What is Chlorpyrifos? PAN Pesticides Database: Toxicity, Chemicals of Concern

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Bad Actor PesticidesIn order to identify a “most toxic” set of pesticides, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) created the term PAN Bad Actor pesticides. These pesticides are at least one of the following:

  • Known or probable carcinogens, as designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), U.S. EPA, U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the state of California’s Proposition 65 list.
  • Reproductive or developmental toxicants, as designated by the state of California’s Proposition 65 list.
  • Neurotoxic cholinesterase inhibitors, as designated by California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Materials Safety Data Sheet for the particular chemical, or PAN staff evaluation of chemical structure (for organophosphorus compounds).
  • Known groundwater contaminants, as designated by the state of California (for actively registered pesticides) or from historic groundwater monitoring records (for banned pesticides).
  • Pesticides with high acute toxicity, as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. EPA, or the U.S. National Toxicology Program.

In 2000, PAN and CPR published Hooked on Poison: Pesticide Use in California 1991-1998, a report on trends in pesticide use in California with a particular focus on Bad Actor pesticides used in California.

About the Data: Accuracy, currency, comprehensiveness and source

Data for PAN Bad Actors come from official lists of chemicals with certain toxicity properties. The available lists are generally accurate and up-to-date. However, because many chemicals have not yet been thoroughly evaluated, these lists cannot be considered comprehensive. New chemicals will be added as they are listed in the official source lists.

References:

See individual toxicant categories (acute toxins, carcinogens, etc.) for data sources.

Top of page

I used to love walnuts and almonds. Oh well.

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33392

While the Trump EPA considered  serious and troubling findings about the pesticide chlorpyrifos, (see link above) which the Obama administration banned in 2015, it indicated that “scientific uncertainty about possible harm” led them to remove the ban. The EPA, under its new leader, Scott Pruitt, did say that they will keep studying the chemical.

Now here is our point. This is just backwards. The criteria for approving a chemical insecticide used on our food should be, certainty of no harm. Or at least reasonable certainty of no harm. And chlorpyrifos absolutely fails that test.

In our earlier “Think Stupid” post in this blog, we talked about redress for citizens harmed by others. Citizens that are harmed by farmers and insecticide producers who use or make poisons that contaminate our foods that make us sick, need redress. One wonders if perhaps  Scott Pruitt, who “green lighted” the use of this poison on our vegetables and nuts, can  himself be sued, when evidence and/or victims of chlorpyrifos contamination emerge? And if not, why not?

P.S. Back in December, Trump announced the appointment of Dow Chemical’s CEO (Dow is the manufacturer of Dursban, which is Dow’s brand name for Chlorpyrifos), Andrew Liveris, to head the American Manufactuing Council in the Trump administration. Is stuff like this, being granted ego and business boosting official designations, and passes on environmental rules, the payback for Liveris’s political support? That is surely a timeworn ancient tactic..(remember, we said earlier in our blog that Trump is a master tactician)

We often think, how can some of our most successful business leaders, like Liveris, rationalize their support for BOS Trump? Why would a smart person give such credibility to a proven liar?

And than we realize that they are most benefited  by looking  at their business results from quarter to quarter, the incremental after tax results of their enterprises, and the share values that they hold and increase for themselves,  and  hopefully, at least,  for their investors and employees.. They are not hired and compensated for putting country ahead of enterprise, planet ahead of personal wealth. And frankly, they  are not concerned about your grandchildren.

 

 

If you don’t like them, just kill them…

Trumps’ warm and fuzzy reported relationship with Rodrigo Duterte of the Phillippines, should alarm all Americans. Duterte has said that Trump told him that he is going about his recent fight on drugs “the right way.” And Trump has not disavowed those remarks. The “right way” for Duterte is to order incarceration and even killings of people suspected of drug dealing and drug using, without due process. Interestingly, there was no preparation in advance of the war on drugs, no expansion of prison facilities (already vastly overcrowded-the jails look like overcrowded chicken coops), no expansion of court facilities, or drug treatment centers, nada. The pain inflicted on families burying loved ones is incredible, and who knows how many were really innocent or just plain addicted?

So if that is the “right way” for Trump, the “strong man” way, why shouldn’t we all be worried?

Trump-The first finisteride president.

We now have a Finisteride president

One medical disclosure that recently came to light (reported by Mr. Trump’s doctor) about President Trump is that he has for many years taken finisteride (Propecia) to promote hair growth. This drug also lowers PSA levels, in the form of “Proscar” (the same drug at a different dosage level) and not surprisingly, President Trump has bragged about his very low PSA levels (as if it was a natural occurrence, and not due to daily ingesting this “appearance” enhancing drug).

There are many pending lawsuits regarding this drug, and some of the psychological  side effects are brain fog and anxiety. Such symptoms can obviously only be determined by self reporting and in many cases may not be reported, or if so, may not be measurable. But that doesn’t mean that the underlying physical damage from the drug on the human organism has not occurred. Interestingly too, the reported symptoms do not go away after the drug is stopped, indicating irreversible brain and nervous system damage.

This explains much. For example, President Trump seems to have trouble confronting complexity and subtlety in logic, seems not able to see longer term outcomes in human activities and often presents contradictory governing positions.

Consider how often he repeats the identical simplest thoughts and conclusions, as if constantly reminding himself of his points. (We are beginning to understand that this was a powerful tactic to appeal to his voter base, even though, in retrospect, it may ironically have  been an inadvertent symptom of finisteride poisoning).   He also angers easily and seems to be fighting brain fog each day (which is  also one of the finisteride symptoms) Actually we may feel sorry for him having substituted clear thinking, and even sexual performance (check the side effect research) for a full head of hair. Not a paucity of vanity one guesses.

But we do have to worry in particular about at least two of the symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks, (see below, Baylor College release) for a man carrying around the nuclear trigger and threatening civilization.

 One thing we can do is make sure this propecia issue is widely known. Please distribute. Who knows what else is in those unreleased medical records? But shouldn’t we all demand to know?

 

http://www.propeciahelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2577

News Release from: Clinical Study of Post-Finasteride Syndrome, being conducted by Baylor College of Medicine (Aug 21, 2013)

“Reported symptoms include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, suicidal ideation, anxiety, panic attacks, Peyronie’s disease, penile shrinkage, gynecomastia, muscle atrophy, cognitive impairment, severely dry skin, tinnitus, and depression. The condition often has a life-altering impact on victims and their families, such as job loss and the breakup of marriages and romantic relationships, while also being linked to suicides.”

 We can all hope that the only severe life altering impact quickly suffered is limited to job loss.

Always intending to deceive (nothing new with that)

“Ninety-Four million Americans are out of the labor force” declared President Trump in his speech last night, as if to justify his coming awful actions on immigration and who knows what else? By the way, we understand that the script (yes it was only a speech) was crafted by his two lieutenants, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, both also masters of deception and NLP (Neuro-Linquistic Programing).

What Trump didn’t say is that statistic includes all people 16 years or older (that is high school and college students) and all non-working housewives, retirees, seasonal workers who are off season and not looking for work, basically everyone over 16 who is not working and not looking for work.

So the grim numbers, the ridiculously exaggerated numbers, intended to deceive, were no doubt the backdrop for the promotion of extreme policies that will ultimately permit him and his minions to achieve their now hidden intentions. What are these intentions? They are hidden from view in the minds of Trump, Bannon and Miller . If you want to understand them, we recommend following the money and studying the pathways to power utilized by past oligarchs and autocrats. The American future is going to be about power and money, but alas not our power and not our money.

 

The real reason Trump can’t fix Obamacare.

When I was a little kid I became obsessed with the idea that if I had really strong suspenders I could jump really high and maybe even fly. Well that didn’t work. And that is the real reason health care plan fixes and Obamacare modifications wouldn’t work either.

We are in a pickle with health care, and President Trump is another galaxy  away from understanding that.

For as long as memory serves me, health insurance premiums have been in an upward spiral, regularly leading every component of the cost of living index. No mystery here, these premiums were simply keeping up with the incessant cost uptrend in primarily treating chronic illnesses and with end of life care. It was simple to predict, even twenty years ago, that there was an unsustainability to future health care spending.

Perhaps it was futile for Obama to attempt to fix healthcare, or some part of it.. The law attempted to bridge two central issues, one, the plight of the uninsured and uninsurable, and two, to redirect people to be healthier by incentivizing preventative care, which is why that kind of care is not subject to a deductible..

There were also provisions, which Trump and republicans don’t  talk about, capping insurance company profits to 15% of the plans’ premium cost.  This included administration, sales and marketing costs, etc. Thus, whatever premium increases we see in Obamacare pretty much reflect the claims experience of the insurers and the insureds. We did note that the new, though withdrawn (really failed), Trumpcare proposal, increased insurer’s profit to 20% (an enormous 33% increase). We also wondered how many Trumpster insiders recently purchased health insurer companies, such as Aetna, in there non-blinded or affiliated investment accounts.

Any program requiring insurance companies to accept all comers had to address the issue of adverse selection against them if pre-existing conditions are waived.. Thus, Obamacare can only work if adverse selection is mitigated by the requirement for everyone who doesn’t elect to have health insurance, or doesn’t get it through employers, Medicare, or Medicaid,  pay a tax  penalty.  But what if they can’t afford to enroll? Presto,, tax credits to help them pay the premium.

Indeed, one could say that Obamacare’s premium increases are not due to anything but that people are sick and becoming sicker,  because even people who did not have pre-existing conditions are quite often not in thriving health,. and modern medicine is expensive.

Our healthcare system, alas,  is not broken, as some say. Rather, our healthcare system is based on the oft reinforced false premise that major chronic illnesses are not primarily self caused and can be effectively addressed by pharmaceuticals and other extraordinary (and costly) treatments..The heck with good diet, exercise, and healthful lifestyles.

Think Stupid!

http://earthjustice.org/features/holding-the-president-accountable-to-the-law?curation=newsletter

from the above:

“Forcing Impossible Trade-offs for Clean Air and Water
President Trump issued an executive order forcing federal agencies to gut two regulations for every new safeguard they create. We’re fighting back.”
What does Trump’s “False Choices” Executive Order do? In a move that seeks to hamstring federal agencies protecting our environment, health, safety, workforce, and civil rights, Trump issued an executive order forcing agencies to repeal two regulations before creating a new safeguard.
The executive order also requires that all regulations from the federal government cost regulated industries $0 in 2017. This order directs agencies to trade one regulation against another without taking into account the enormous benefits of saving lives, protecting our health, safeguarding fundamental rights, and preserving wildlife and open spaces.”
Thanks Earth Justice for your insightful article!
 Why else is this “two for one” idea so dumb? And arrogant?
Imagine an industry such as strip coal mining. The mining company owns a plot of land and decimates it, which involves ecological devastation to the surrounding areas, which it doesn’t own. Waters downstream become polluted. But the company owners/stockholders/ management don’t drink that water. Air and water pollution, they unjustifiably reason, which may emanate from their site, are not affecting them directly, and it is more profitable for the enterprise to continue to operate in that manner.
It is called the tragedy of the commons. And it is the basic premise the Environmental Protection Agency has forever operated on.
Indeed, it is hard to imagine how civilization could have evolved absent this basic concept. It goes way back to the bible. Ethicist/philosopher Emanuel Kant  called it the “categorical imperative”. Kant reasoned that if you indulge in an action that is harmful to others, while gaining an advantage for yourself (for example, stealing from others) and everyone adapted that same action, eventually you will be stolen from, losing all your original advantage (and maybe more). And while you are hurting yourself, you will be hurting everyone else too. Alas, there is unfortunately almost always a time lag.
It really is a commonsense concept. In the case of air and water pollution, yes it is often cheaper and effort-free for an enterprise, person, or group to pollute the air and water, reasoning that they don’t really belong to anyone anyway. So we have the EPA. And more rules develop as polluters constantly evolve new ways to get away with sidestepping prior rules. Hence, regulations must evolve in response to shortcuts that privately owned entities keep finding to enhance their profits.
Looking at the complex balance that supports life on earth, and a thriving civilization, does it make sense to impose an arbitrary rule such as this two for one rule?
So let’s assume Steve Bannon is as smart a guy as he thinks he is. Let’s get the government out of the regulation business, he reasons. Now, if I am personally harmed by an entity which pollutes the air, and I suffer emphysema as a consequence, leading to medical bills and even death, shouldn’t I, or my family, be compensated? Or the entity pollutes the water with mercury causing brain damage to my kids? If we are not compensated, and we are absent regulation in the first place, than civilization breaks apart. Really.
And if I am properly compensated, than the polluter loses all advantage. Anyone hear Mr. Bannon or President Trump talking about this? This is the one critically necessary component of easing environmental regulations.
The problem has always been in tracing back the cause of harm and the cost and time of waging a citizen versus enterprise lawsuit. This is where the real conversation needs to start. With modern diagnostic and monitoring technology, tracing back to causes of harm is now quite feasible.
Presumably Bannon, Trump, and his wealthy cohorts can afford to live in a totally polluted world, fortified by the money made investing in enterprises that enhance their profits by skirting common sense environmental rules. All the while comfortably living in their filtered air conditioned air and  bottled water enclaves. At least until the power runs out and their kids or grandkids can’t play outside.

Studies in facial physiognomy (from chinese medicine)

Check out the down lines just between the eyebrows, called liver lines in Chinese medicine. The liver is the organ that controls the emotion of anger. And look at the bags under the eyes, which reflect the condition of the kidneys. The kidneys control the emotion of fear. And the puffiness running on each side of the nose down to where the nostrils begin. You can see it clearly on the well lit side of the face, directly below the inside corner of the right eye,  indicating heart issues, and the heart controls anxiety.

But quite frankly, you don’t have to go that far. I am sure the Donald loves this photo as it seems to present him as really serious, tough, austere, and dominant. If a child looked at this photo, he would never want to play with the Donald. Would you?

Seriously, considered with the finesteride abuse mentioned in this blog, it is inconceivable that this man should have control over the  nuclear football.

“I am the least anti-semitic person you have ever seen..”

And he also said, at his recent news conference: “I am the least racist person you have ever seen”

And I am sure that Trump believes this. What does it mean to be just the least bit racist or the least bit anti-Semitic? And not only that, but the least bit racist that anyone has ever seen? While that is the level of grandiosity we have come to expect, aside from not being believable, isn’t the statement an unconscious contradiction, like a Freudian slip?

If saying that you are the least bit racist, aren’t you saying “yes, I do harbor a bit of racism, but it is very tiny so it doesn’t count.” Couldn’t that have been closer to the truth and that is the one that fits with the words Trump spoke.

We always thought that one was either a racist or not. And if you are a bit racist, that behavior might hopefully be modulated by one’s culture, prevalent laws, immediate environment, social nexus, etc. It might be a racism that doesn’t threaten anyone because it resides in a culture that is otherwise magnanimous.

That is until the culture, laws, social nexus shifts under, for example, a Trumpean totalitarian regime (enabled partly by the scapegoating of gays, blacks, Mexicans, Muslims),

Indeed, racism can grow like cancer in a culture that feeds it. It would be like a cancer cell in the body (if now just starting in the brain of Trump), a bitty piece of tumor. A molehill bit of racism that can turn into a mountain.

Moreover, aren’t the words in a class of self delusion all by themselves. Trump could have just as easily been saying:  “I am the least dishonest person you have ever seen”. Uh Oh!

For clarity, one can put it another way too: “Everyone is dishonest really, but I am only a little bit dishonest””

Grandiosity aside, you are either honest, always striving to be honest,  and if not, honesty is just a word. It is not a matter of degrees. Would you hand over your life savings for safekeeping to someone who said: “you can trust me, I am the least dishonest person you have ever seen”? And I have a bridge to sell too.

Refer back to “Finisteride President” prior to reading this

1/12/17: Stephen Miller stated today that there was massive (3-5 million) illegal immigrant votes. The statement was unaccompanied by any evidence. CNN’s John King  said: that Voter Fraud Claims “Ludicrous,” White House “Spewing Garbage.” But at the end of the piece he said “Why, somebody tell me why?”… Why are they saying these things”.

Maybe we should start calling some of these Trump folks “collaborators,” along with the rest of the signed on team, some of who are likely just coattail riders looking for prestige and power.

Let’s look at what exactly Miller said. I doubt that the president is going to restate exactly (word for word) what Miller said. He will, of course, just reference it. What Miller said was that he was prepared to go on any show anywhere anytime and repeat it and say the president of the United States is correct, 100%. If he does say that on any show, what he said today will be 100% true because he told us today that he was prepared to go on any show and say that the president was correct, that he had that belief about voter fraud, and no one can disprove that you have or don’t have a belief. Beliefs are personal.

Everyone knows a selfish person who rationalizes himself to be generous, and a mean person that believes he is kind, .Anyone can fake a belief, people even lie or fake to themselves.

If you told me that you had a belief, who am I  to  dispute you and prove that you didn’t have that belief? The point is that if they could say that they  believe this, with their remedy being the awful economically and socially destabilizing deportation, or even jailing, of  3-5 million people, we have a big problem.

Just consider the families, businesses, social and religious groups that these folks attach to. How will they vote next time?

On the other hand, If they don’t really believe that 3-5 million people voted illegally, is Steve Miller lying? Well no, because he didn’t really say that. He can say that he only was referring to what he was “prepared to say”, and what the president’s belief was, and not whether the facts of what he said were true or untrue.

So let’s assume that they don’t really really believe that 3-5 million people voted illegally, but they want everyone to think that they do believe it. Why? One presumes to build a grounds justification for deporting  millions more people, (and even jailing some)  probably accompanied with additional lies.

However, it is not hard to see that the extreme disruption following “illegal voting” remedies would affect the results of the next two year election and surely the presidential one four years hence. . The republicans and Trump would undoubtedly lose millions and millions of future votes of folks sympathetic, connected or related to the unfortunate deportees. ..

On the other hand,  the false claim regarding voter fraud may be the rationale for extremely onerous  rules aiming to control voter participation, which could more than offset the losses mentioned above.

Indeed, what might be the final effect on voting outcomes on state and local levels, let alone in the next presidential election?

If this is part of a long term plan, we all need to see Trump’s “whole hand” And while we reported that Trump is not a great strategist, we do think that he does indeed have an undisclosed hand.

Can it be that Trump and his collaborators and coat tail riders are all dumb? We can now only wonder if the bets on their hand considers the laws of chance?. Could the bets be terrible bets with horrible odds?,  (as they would be absent future connected plans for extreme voter suppression). Indeed bets that smart people would never make .

What worries us  most is that these people are likely not dumb. If so,  you can only make a few assumptions, neither reassuring:.

  1. We are on the verge of a totalitarian state, or
  2. Finisteride side effects (and/or other unrelated  severe mental defects)  are having there most devastating effects on the President, and his collaborators and coattailers are just following Trump’s mentally unbalanced leads, crazy though they are. Maybe just to keep their jobs? or maybe….., who knows?

We should always keep in mind what Lord Acton said many years ago: : “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In other words, our situation will likely get worse.

Not very comforting.. .

Let’s discuss that near billion dollar tax loss carryforward

We can only wonder why it has almost become a forgotten issue. But here is the rub. The President didn’t really lose his money. It was never all his own money. Most of the money came from investors and lenders. Now if you, our dear reader, or me, have a mortgage foreclosure, that forgiven debt becomes a tax liability. It is as if you earned the amount of money that represents your unpaid mortgage balance. So your terrible misfortune will be compounded by a devastating tax bill. But if you took out a business loan or issued bonds through the right kind of business structure,  such as a Limited Liability Company, and defaulted, no problem. You are not tasked to pay the taxes on the debt you will never pay.

But it goes further. You can be assumed to have personally lost those funds, if your business entity was what is called a “pass through entity”. Even though those funds that were lost were never really yours. Thus it was possible to deduct the losses of money that other people provided and lost. Yes it was a brilliant tax strategy, and perhaps we are simplifying it a bit.

Mr. Trump’s accountant took credit for this strategy, but the president was smart enough to adopt a suggested tax strategy, so cunning and original, but potentially harmful to the United States,  that it has since been discredited and blocked. . So credit is due. Mr. Trump was smart enough to massively benefit from numerous people’s hardships (creditors, investors, employees, vendors), which he, due to poor judgement and timing, largely caused.

Is it really any wonder that Trump refuses to release his tax returns, which will reveal all this (not to mention charitable contributions, or the lack thereof, while identifying  where conflicts of interest yet reside).

For those financial folks reading (it’s too arcane for most readers), here is how that was done. His casino business in New Jersey was set up as a pass-through entity and it offered public shares as such. Pass-through entities are enabled to pass through profits and losses directly to their investors and/or owners. Trump was able to retain the largest portion of those shares, even without making anything like the substantial investment in money that the public investors made. . Typically owners of pass-through entities are able to offer a limited amount of existing shares in the offering, while retaining most of them, thus the public investors wind up capitalizing most of the respective business entity that the shares represent, while the promoter (Trump) actually retained substantial ownership of shares.. Investment professionals call this practice, inherent in almost all new equity (or stock) offerings, “dilution”. Losses from the business accrue to all the entities’ owners, based on the number of shares they have, not on what they paid for them.. So while Trump paid next to nothing for his shares, he had a great deal of them. Thus he was able to take the large losses on those shares, for the failed businesses. The losses were so large they more than offset one year of his income, but he was able to “carry them forward.” Folks carry forward losses because they generally exceed income for some number of years; wiping out one years’ income entirely, and than carried forward to “reduce” future taxable income . And that is the reason he wouldn’t show his tax returns, because he has paid very little in taxes off the backs of all the losers in his various failed businesses. 

A recent article (5/15/19) just reconfirms the above article regarding Trumps’ tax loss is worth a read:https://finance.yahoo.com/news/did-trump-live-large-while-102136839.html

Trump Language Tricks

There are certain mind control techniques (many of them are language tricks) that President Trump uses which had, in the past, been quite successful for him. The problem is that once they are noticed and publicized, they entirely lose their efficacy. And now, he being so much in the public spotlight, that is guaranteed to happen. As it does, the world catches on that the emperor has no clothes.

Examples:

Making a statement/accusation/insult absent taking personal responsibility for it:

Recently said by subject (regarding a judge’s recent immigration ruling):: “I don’t ever want to call a court biased, so I wouldn’t call it biased”.

Or this: “I won’t talk about Jeb Bush. I will not say he’s low energy. I will not say it”.

How about this one of repetitive rhetoric (filed by Mark Liberman) demonstrated in an interview with Trump:

“Q. Let me ask you about women voters-why should they vote for you?
A. Because I’m very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women. Women’s health uh issues are such a big thing to me and so important and you know I have many woman that work for me I was one of the first persons uh people in the construction industry in New York to put women in charge of projects, I mean I have it even today, and I have many women at high positions. I know I’ve gotten a lot of credit for that, I mean I have so many woman working for me and so many women in high positions working for me and I’ve gotten great credit for it”

What is this repetitive rhetoric about? I mean is that a symptom of a mental deficiency? Or is it a way of hammering in his point? Or both? It obviously works on people’s brains. He got a lot of votes. I would venture to call it a listener brain exploitation technique. Beware and notice how little Trump actually says or explains to win his ways!

What about the nicknaming game he played during the campaign. We use to do that with each other in grade school. We all can remember how well it worked.
“Pocahantas”, for Elizabeth Warren, “crooked Hillary” “lyin’ Ted Cruz”, etc. It was devastating because everyone imaged the nickname, it became a descriptor, as ridiculous and elementary as it was, it stuck in our minds.

And yet another,  attributing his made up, non-evidenced ideas to other sources, in order to attain credibility. Statements like: “the smartest people I know are saying…….” and following that with a statement he wants you to believe (because you want to be one of the smart ones). It is fun to detect this trick, even as it is so insulting to the listener’s intelligence once they catch on.

What about Donald’s hand shaking technique https://youtu.be/H5G2vR9YOdc, most obviously aimed at achieving dominance over a potential opponent. See it here: It’s the oldest story. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. It is really not going to work longer term.

Donald Trump is an idiot savant. Perfecting all those devastating techniques to get his way, sort of like a baby crying to get its’ bottle. He is a master tactician. It is easy to memorize and practice tactics. Even a mentally defective  person can do that. Where he will fail is in strategy, because strategy requires longer term, disciplined, multi-focus forethought and careful consideration of probable and improbable (though potentially highly disruptive) outcomes.

Let us challenge our readers to find and identify previous and future examples. It’s fun! And we would love to hear about your successful efforts.

Estate and Death Taxes, one and the same.

It was at one of those huge rallies last year , the raucous crowd hanging and cheering on their new leaders’ every word,. that Mr.Trump said, almost word for word, that he was going to help all the “working men” there by finally getting rid of the “death tax” (which is the perjorative term for estate tax). There was a deafening cheer from the crowd.

One wonders if the cheering working folks knew that the “death tax” had virtually no application to them. The current exemption is five million dollars, and married couples really don’t pay estate taxes unless their combined estate exceeds ten million dollars. Of course Mr. Trump had to know that. And he had to know that the cheering crowd didn’t know that. But he reveled in the cheering while the crowd members were making fools of themselves.

Actually, this was the disqualifier for me. I was always looking to give him the benefit of the doubt, trying to attribute good will to him in spite of his often outrageous statements and behavior, trying to rationalize him as a potential force for moving our country forward during challenging times. And I am sure everyone cheering there was already persuaded that his heart was in the right place. But Mr. Trump had to know that estate taxes had virtually no effect on the crowd’s financial situation. After all, he claimed many times that he was an expert on our tax code. So no, his heart was not in the right place. His words were intended to deceive.

In algebra, one can multiply 1000 positive numbers together, and one arrives at a positive number. But if only one number (out of the 1000)  in the string is negative, the result will always be negative. In any due diligence, it really is critical to pay attention to that one negative number often hiding in plain sight. It is alas more and more apparent, now that he is president, that there were a lot more negative numbers that we voters failed to catch.

Yes, there seems to be something amiss in the water supply. Are we not losing our sense as a people?

Easy Puzzle: Find the analogy

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.

“Those would be just the clothes for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away.” He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

“I’d like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn’t have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he’d rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth’s peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he’s a sensible man and no one does his duty better.”

So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.

“Heaven help me,” he thought as his eyes flew wide open, “I can’t see anything at all”. But he did not say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn’t see anything, because there was nothing to see. “Heaven have mercy,” he thought. “Can it be that I’m a fool? I’d have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can’t see the cloth.”

“Don’t hesitate to tell us what you think of it,” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it’s beautiful -it’s enchanting.” The old minister peered through his spectacles. “Such a pattern, what colors!” I’ll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it.”

“We’re pleased to hear that,” the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did.

The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread, to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as hard as ever.

The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn’t see anything.

“Isn’t it a beautiful piece of goods?” the swindlers asked him, as they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.

“I know I’m not stupid,” the man thought, “so it must be that I’m unworthy of my good office. That’s strange. I mustn’t let anyone find it out, though.” So he praised the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, “It held me spellbound.”

All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.

“Magnificent,” said the two officials already duped. “Just look, Your Majesty, what colors! What a design!” They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the others could see the stuff.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything. This is terrible!

Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s very pretty,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, “Oh! It’s very pretty,” and they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. “Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of “Sir Weaver.”

Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, “Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready for him.”

Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, “These are the trousers, here’s the coat, and this is the mantle,” naming each garment. “All of them are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that’s what makes them so fine.”

“Exactly,” all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

“If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,” said the swindlers, “we will help you on with your new ones here in front of the long mirror.”

The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be fastening something – that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.

“How well Your Majesty’s new clothes look. Aren’t they becoming!” He heard on all sides, “That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent outfit.”

Then the minister of public processions announced: “Your Majesty’s canopy is waiting outside.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be ready,” the Emperor said, and turned again for one last look in the mirror. “It is a remarkable fit, isn’t it?” He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.

The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn’t dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

“But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

“But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.

We now have a Finisteride president

One recent medical disclosure that recently came to light (reported by Mr. Trump’s doctor) about President Trump is that he has for many years taken finisteride (Propecia) to promote hair growth. This drug also lowers PSA levels, in the form of “Proscar” (the same drug at different dosage level) and not surprisingly, President Trump has bragged about his low PSA levels (as if it was a natural occurrence, and not due to swallowing a drug).

There are many pending lawsuits regarding this drug, and some of the psychological  symptoms are brain fog and anxiety. Such symptoms can obviously only be determined by self reporting and in many cases may not be reported, or if so, may not be measurable. But that doesn’t mean that the underlying physical damage from the drug on the human organism has not occurred. Interestingly too, the reported symptoms do not go away after the drug is stopped, indicating irreversible brain and nervous system damage.

This does explain much. For example, President Trump really has trouble confronting complexity and subtlety in logic, seems not able to see longer term outcomes in human activities and, for example, in his governing positions. He seems to be fighting brain fog each day (one of the symptoms). Actually we may feel sorry for him having substituted clear thinking, and even sexual performance (check the side effect research) for a full head of hair. Not a paucity of vanity one guesses.

But we do have to worry in particular about two of the symptoms, anxiety and panic attacks, (see below, Baylor College release) for a man carrying around the nuclear trigger and threatening civilization.

 One thing we can do is make sure this propecia issue is widely known. Please distribute. Who knows what else is in those unreleased medical records? But shouldn’t we all demand to know?

 

http://www.propeciahelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2577

News Release from: Clinical Study of Post-Finasteride Syndrome, being conducted by Baylor College of Medicine (Aug 21, 2013)

“Reported symptoms include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, suicidal ideation, anxiety, panic attacks, Peyronie’s disease, penile shrinkage, gynecomastia, muscle atrophy, cognitive impairment, severely dry skin, tinnitus, and depression. The condition often has a life-altering impact on victims and their families, such as job loss and the breakup of marriages and romantic relationships, while also being linked to suicides.”

 We can all hope that the only severe life altering impact quickly suffered is limited to job loss.

 

Required reading

Worth a read!https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffpost.com%2Fentry%2Fmaga-terror-trump-militias_n_5f832f7ec5b62f97bac42a7c&data=04%7C01%7C%7Cfd874cb6e22946649c3608d86e547aea%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637380656393022775%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=rEQqucJP4Mgi5u04Pkwk9HoCY34oLzIpSKogdAhv6gw%3D&reserved=0