Egberto Willies

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Denying reality is today’s Republicanism. Will Progressives break the code?

Mon, 2017-12-11 01:35

Do you know how difficult it is to be a Republican right now? Have you ever had the rug pulled from under you, and had the sensation that you were in free fall? For those who are unequivocally empathetic, it is not hard to turn what would naturally be disgust (if not hate) for these folks into pity. You know the facade that they are putting on is paper-thin.

Most people, regardless of ideology, are smart. But to be a Republican today requires the suspension of logic and the acceptance of idiocy.

The suspension of logic began long ago. But there was much help provided, for it was a psychological coup. Under the direction of the Powell Manifesto, the American plutocracy created an institution designed to mislead, confabulate, and outright lie to American people. The Heritage Foundation, one of these misleading think tanks, gave many Republicans the corroboration they needed to support otherwise disproven ideas and theories. Right-wing radio, right-wing television, and right-wing websites (e.g., Breitbart) gave them reinforcing refuge.

Living within the right-wing system, where the first order of teaching was that all other sources of information were biased or intent on destroying conservatism, created a false loop—a bubble.

And the bubble’s skin is pretty thick. It masked truth for a very long time. Keynesian economics boosted America prosperity between World War II and the 1970s. Wages were rising. Wealth was increasing for all. Then Reagan’s trickle-down economics, aka voodoo economics, caused the most massive transfer of wealth from the masses to the few. Moreover, wages haven’t budged since.

Kansas enacted the experiment of cutting taxes to the bare bones, real trickle-down economics. Meanwhile, California raised taxes and invested in people and infrastructure. California’s economy boomed, and Kansas’ economy cratered. Why is the reality not enough to convince Republicans that they are following a failed economic ideology? Because living in the right-wing media bubble merely ignores what is happening as the likes of Laffer continue to promote the fallacies.

The Republican Party took on the family values and pro-life mantra. The problem is that their policies continue to hurt the poor and middle-class, and even kill people.

In times when income and wealth inequality is exploding, when wages are stagnant, how can one support cutting aid to the needy? How can one deny access to health care? How can one make education, one of the avenues to improved wages, much more expensive and difficult to attain? In the past, households could survive on one income. One parent could stay home and take better care of the kids. Today, many kids are pretty much raising themselves. Do those sound like policies that support family values?

One must not forget that since the Southern Strategy, the GOP has become a xenophobic and racist party. The dog whistles abound and were even called out by some of the most devout Republicans.

And then came Trump. He is the instantiation magnified of what the Republican Party has become. Reality does not matter. Truth does not matter. Moral values are fungible. What constitutes a crime is now debatable. Overt sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, and racism are tolerable. Even pedophilia is acceptable as long as the man doing it proclaims God as his guiding light.

It has got to be hard being a thinking Republican There is so much one must ignore, forget, or make-believe to pretend things are not what one is seeing.

And hence the opportunity for progressives. Many who strayed from thinking are looking for an on-ramp, but don’t want to lose all of their dignity to get there. We can be that tool if our approach is firm but empathetic. I’ve seen it work in my very red tea party-type town. It is just tedious because one must do it on a personal level. But then each person who decides to rejoin reality can, in turn, become a conduit.

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David Brooks on Republican Party: Repulsive to Millennials & People of Color (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-12-10 12:16

Conservative New York Columnist David Brooks has been speaking out about the ills within the Republican Party for some time. He wrote an excellent piece recently that all should read. Today on Meet the Press he did not hold back.

David Brooks continues his campaign against the Republican Party

David Brooks on Republican Party: Repulsive to Millennials & People of Color (VIDEO) - https://t.co/hePi5ESRQW pic.twitter.com/O0d1e1j6tV

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 10, 2017

David Brooks continues his crusade speaking to anyone who would listen, about the degeneration of the Republican Party. Chuck Todd referenced the article Brooks wrote recently and asked what would be the impact of a Roy Moore win to the Republican Party. Brooks did not mince his words. He was blunt.

"It would be a temporary vote for a Supreme Court Justice, for a tax cut but for a generation you are repulsive," said Brooks. "You are repulsive to younger people, twenty-eight percent of millennials think the Republican Party thinks about them. That's just a generational problem. You are repulsive to people of color forever. And so you end up, not only making yourself unpopular but to corrupting a piece of yourself. To me, the interesting people in this whole deal are the honorable Republicans in Congress. T,he Portman(s), the McCain(s), the Barrasso(s), Tim Scott. A couple of them have been very principled. But a lot of them have said, 'I am going to tolerate Trump's dishonesty. I am going to tolerate some racial politics.' But now they have to tolerate rape. Now they have to tolerate pedophilia. There is no end to what they are going to be asked to tolerate. And that is internally so corrosive."

If we had many more middle-of-the-road Republicans making this case ad nauseam, just maybe more in the Right Wing base would get out of their mode and see the light. The Republican Party is now a clear and present danger to America. If smart Republicans do not make a change to their party in the near term, and if they do not lose power, the country is in trouble. And that is why Progressives must engage to force change.

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SNL’s Michael Che scolds Democrats on why they always lose (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-12-10 02:17

SNL's Michael Che had some fun with Democrats taking the 'high moral ground by forcing Al Franken to resign. Did the Democrats succumb to a false equivalence?

Michael Che thoughts on the Democrat's high moral ground

SNL's Michael Che scolds Democrats on why they always lose (VIDEO) - https://t.co/okx1P5cW4W pic.twitter.com/0oIrU1mV9i

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 10, 2017

Michael Che lashed out at Democrats for taking the high moral ground. Please watch and then share your thoughts and comment your opinion.

"Senator Al Franken announced his resignation this week in the wake of sexual harassment allegations," said Michale Che. "And yet Uncle Bad Touch is up four points in Alabama. You see the Democrats hold themselves to a higher standard than anyone else -- which is why they always lose. It's the same reason the Harvard Football team sucks. Because you also have to be a rocket scientist to play there. But to play for Alabama, you just gotta be able to spell Bama. Democrats hope by forcing Al Franken to step down; they would paint themselves as the party of the moral high ground. Calm down Democrats you're still politicians. You're the party of the morality the same way Don Jr. is too handsome Trump brother. Nobody actually likes you. Nobody likes Democrats. Nobody is at a party, like; you know who U wish was here, Nancy Pelosi."

I have mixed feelings. The forced departure will give some voters the impression of a false equivalence. Republicans are happy to have voters infer that fallacy.

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The Roy Moore story is much deeper than you think

Sat, 2017-12-09 16:08

Recently I wrote the blog post "Here are some inconvenient truths about Roy Moore's slavery comments" that laid waste claims by Moore about how families were very together during the slavery era. Coincidentally out of the blue a long time journalist & friend who I had not heard from in years called me up. He has an intriguing angle on the Moore saga.

My journalist friend asked me my thoughts on Roy Moore. He has a narrative that we better get a grip of for the implications for our democracy is real.

He started the conversation on Moore by asking if I had heard President Obama's remarks this week. In fact, I had and blogged about it a few days ago.

"Do you understand why Alabamans are voting for Roy Moore?" the journalist asked. "Even with the evidence that seems irrefutable?"

I gave him the standard response I've heard from Moore and his cohort. They've convinced their people that the Establishment Republicans and Liberals are out to get them.

"What about the evidence that is irrefutable? he said. "1) The mall management knew when he was around they needed to watch him to protect teenagers, 2) His hometown always knew he was a pedophile and are showing support with Doug Jones signs en masse, and 3) Friends and family corroborated the stories of the abused women."

My journalist friend who is Jewish said it was no accident that President Obama invoked Nazi Germany and the parallels that are occurring on the Right with Breitbart and his ilk this week.

"Most of the people that will be voting for Moore believe this stuff is all made up," my friend said. "Their antisemitism and propensity lead them to believe that the big bad Jewish Liberal, George Soros is controlling the election."

That statement gave me pause. You see, the voters in Alabama present an important test case. If the majority of Alabamans, mostly good people, are convinced because of their prejudices, fears, and gullibilities, elect Roy Moore to the Senate, it will be a victory for the purveyors of evil. And the same dynamic that allowed good people to do bad things in Germany would be seeded right here in America. We better wake up.

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Here are some inconvenient truths about Roy Moore’s slavery comments

Sat, 2017-12-09 12:32

I am not sure if Roy Moore knew what he was doing. Stating that America was at its greatest during slavery because families flourished, opened the door for this historian to point out some inconvenient truths about the perfect southern families implies.

Professor of History and Director of the Black Abolitionist Archive at the University of Detroit Mercy, Roy E. Finkenbine wrote the article titled "Roy Moore Thinks Families Flourished During Slavery. Why Would He Say Such a Thing?" that everyone should read especially Roy Moore supporters.

Moore’s characterization of family life in the Old South is reminiscent of that expressed by southern proslavery apologists at the time.  Governor James Henry Hammond of South Carolina, for example, a prominent slave owner, responded in 1844 to abolitionist charges that slavery disrupted southern family life by boasting that “there are fewer cases of divorce, separation, . . . seduction, rape, and bastardy than among any other five millions of people on the civilized earth.”  Hammond’s claims are misleading at best.  Social conventions and legal practices made divorce nearly impossible in most parts of the Old South; it was legally prohibited in Hammond’s South Carolina.  Separation was made difficult by women’s limited legal and economic options and laws that transferred all of women’s property to the husband at the time of marriage.  Cases of seduction, rape, and bastardy were seriously underreported because of social conventions and the possibility of public embarrassment.  Of course, Hammond doesn’t even allude to the slave community, where marriages lacked legal recognition, families were frequently separated by movement or sale, and women and girls were often raped or coerced into sexual relationships with white men.

Hammond’s sexual misconduct didn’t end with his females slaves.  It also extended to his white relatives.  Thanks to his voluminous diaries, which were discovered in 1989, we have an extensive record of his transgressions in his own words.  In the early 1840s, he became sexually involved with his four “lovely and luscious” nieces, ages thirteen to eighteen.

The entire article is worth a read. Turns out it is clear why Moore feels a comfort in his own immoral skin.

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Republican Operative: The party that supports this guy can no longer exist (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-12-09 01:56

A Republican Operative appeared on Lawrence O'Donnell's show where he lambasted his party and all but call for its destruction.

Republican Operative Max Boot calls out his party

Republican Operative: The party that supports this guy can no longer exist (VIDEO) https://t.co/3kPsCQoENP pic.twitter.com/XCv2TN27kV

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 9, 2017

Lawrence O'Donnell asked Max Boot for a characterization of Roy Moore's statement that America was greatest during slavery times.

"I mean, you can't make this stuff up Lawrence," Max Boot said. "Roy Moore is like a caricature of this backwoods bigot. He's like this modern-day Elmer Gantry who is a massive hypocrite, predator, bigot. I mean every vile characteristic that any human being could have, Roy Moore seems to combine them in one form. And for anybody who thought that the Republican Party couldn't go any lower than Donald Trump then Roy Moore is a refutation of that belief --because they are going lower. And frankly, I think they can go lower still. There is absolutely no bottom in their descent into the moral darkness."

Then Max Boot all but called for an end to the Republican Party and the establishment of a center-right party.

"And that's why I think, and I say this, having been a lifelong Republican," said Boot. "I think the Republican Party cannot cease to exist in its present form. We need a new center-right party because it's not just Donald Trump, it's not just Roy Moore it's not just people who support them, it's all the people who are kind of holding their noses and going along with it because in the name of party loyalty. Well, I'm sorry there is no party that can command want to support a child molester that is, it's unethical, it's immoral, it's just so flagrantly wrong. And again the party that supports this guy can no longer exist. I mean this is, it's just so offensive so obscene. There are no words to describe this."

The string of Conservative Republicans growing spines continues to grow. Yes, many have been critical before. But the level of criticism is increasing. New York Times Conservative columnist David Brooks recently wrote a stinging article about a rotting Republican Party. Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele slammed the party and admonished the people of Alabama. Republican Operative Doug Heye said he could not look any minority in the eye and tell them to vote for the GOP. The split is growing.

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Indivisible Houston’s Save the Internet! Action for National Net Neutrality Day (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-12-08 19:20

For the second time in as many days, Indivisible Houston held an action against the Trump Administration's draconian policies. Yesterday was the "Rally Against Robbery! The People Fight the Tax Scam" where over 75 people showed in cold rainy weather. Last night it was "Save the Internet! Action for National Net Neutrality Day" just before the snow fell in Houston, a rare occurrence. Sixty-plus protesters showed up to express their displeasure with the imminent repeal of Net Neutrality provisions.

"There were more than the usual suspects who showed up to this rally," said Daniel Cohen. "This protest was very organic. It is clear many of these people were seeking out an action and I am happy that Indivisible Houston, as part of our tenet of acting locally afforded them that platform."

Indivisible Houston at Net Neutrality Rally

According to Indivisible Houston's call to action,

The FCC, led by career lobbyist lawyer Ajit Pai, is pursuing rollbacks of Net Neutrality under the Orwellian name “Internet Freedom” in a power grab that is aligning as a partisan fight. In spite of Obama Era internet regulations ensuring equal internet access regardless of your place in society, consumers and those with less resources are on the chopping block this round, and we’re not going to let that happen quietly.

Take three actions to Preserve the Free and Open Exchange of Information in the United States:

  1. Join us outside the Verizon Store in Downtown Houston at 930 Main Thursday, December 7th at 5 PM, 10 days before the FCC makes its decision. We will present both an expert speaker on free and open internet issues and the “World’s Largest Ethernet Cable”.
  2. Comment directly to the FCC through the shortcut link set up thanks to the Great John Oliver: www.gofccyourself.com.
  3. Email the FCC (Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov, Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov, Mike.O'Reilly@fcc.gov, Brendan.Carr@fcc.gov, Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov) and express your displeasure.
Photos from Indivisible Houston's Net Neutrality Action

 

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Republican Operative: ‘I can’t look any minority in the eye now and say vote GOP’ (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-12-08 15:12

Republican Operative Doug Heye had a prescient statement that likely took many by surprise for its honesty about the Republican Party. Until more Republicans can say the things he said, the party will remain the party full of the isms.

This Republican Operative must be commended for his honesty

Republican Operative: ‘I can’t look any minority in the eye now and say vote GOP’ https://t.co/IDn1q33FMH pic.twitter.com/gy70mQ0lie

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 8, 2017

Doug Heye made it clear that it is impossible to sell the Republican Party to those people it needs for its survival because of who they've become.

CNN Host Poppy Harlow asked Doug Heye for his thoughts on Trump's support for Roy Moore.

"Certainly he had been inching his way up there earlier this week," Doug Heye said. "We saw his Moore full-throated support. And now we see this today, the comments from the President."

Doug Heye then made sure all knew who he worked for in the Republican Party to give credence to the gravity of his words.

"I'll tell you as a Republican," Heye said. "Let me give you Poppy just real quickly my background. My first job in politics was for Jesse Helms. I think a lot of people know his history and his record with race. Later on, I went twice to work for Michael Steele who became the first African-American RNC Chairman. And then later worked for Eric Cantor who was the highest ranking highest Jewish Republican in electoral history in this country. So I think about race and the Republican Party a lot. I think about what we've done wrong. I think about what we try and do and how we can do right."

Heyes then laid into what the Republican Party has become.

"What really troubles me right now after two years of Donald Trump castigating immigrants," Heye said. "Going after minority families and now these latest comments about Roy Moore, saying that the last time America was great again was in slavery because somehow families were intact. When we know that, slave families were, ripped apart time and time again. It makes it really hard for me to identify what we're doing right regardless of policy. And it makes me, it makes it impossible for me to look any African American, any Hispanic American friend, any minority in the eye and say, 'You know what? Now's a good time to vote Republican.' I just think there are a whole lot more important things than wearing a red hat and saying MAGA."

It is wonderful watching a few center-right Republicans develop a spine. It would have been great if it was done during the primaries and the general election. David Brooks wrote an excellent op-ed today that described the rot that said dereliction created within the party. While I agree with most of it, I took exception to a couple of issues. But his critique of his former party is important.

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Fmr RNC chair slams GOP & Alabama voters for considering pedophile for Senate (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-12-08 12:44

To many, it seems like we are living in an alternate universe where Alabama may vote a slavery-accepting pedophile into office. And former RNC Chair explains what that means.

The MSNBC host asked the panel if the Alabama race was a referendum of the moment America is in right now, referring to women calling out the sexual harassment of males in power. The Associated Press Zeke Miller did not think so. He characterized the Alabama race as a state thing. Michael Steele interjected. He believes it is much broader than a local or state issue. Steele laid it out clearly to Alabama voters and the GOP for even considering voting a pedophile into the United States Senate.

Michael Steele thinks Alabama voting for a pedophile would be consequential

Fmr RNC chair slams GOP & Alabama voters for considering pedophile for Senate (VIDEO) https://t.co/lZmUIAX7Mg pic.twitter.com/xdRNjlaFHk

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 8, 2017

"The reality is this is not a typical Alabama race," Steele said passionately. "This is a race in which a pedophile is running for the United States Senate. And has the backing of the state party, has the backing of the national party, and has the backing of the Republican president. That is a whole different dynamic. If it was just a Roy Moore runoff candidate going whatever, that's different. But there is a lot of baggage with that. This has ramifications that go beyond Alabama. And that's the problem that a lot of people don't see."

The MSNBC host then pointed out that Moore's pedophilia was not the sole objection to his suitability for the Senate. He made comments about America being at its greatest during the time of slavery. Michael Steele's reaction was memorable,

"That made me feel right at home," Steele said. "The reaction to that is, stop and think what we are talking about. Who we are talking about.  Here is a man who is talking about better days. We were all better and stronger back in the day. Yes, there was slavery. Are you kidding me?  This is coming to the United States Senate along with your pedophilia? People, get a grip on what you are about to vote on here."

Some Republicans are speaking out. David Brooks had a great op-ed out today that I blogged about with a few caveats. Is it too little too late?

 

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Conservative Columnist David Brooks: The GOP is rotting.

Fri, 2017-12-08 01:36

Conservative David Brooks did not pull any punches as he excoriated the Republican Party as they continue their rot. Brooks' scathing piece titled "The G.O.P. Is Rotting," is a must-read.

Brooks points out that Donald Trump has asked the Republican Party to bend in his image and unfortunately much of the party obliged.

Now it’s clear that middle ground doesn’t exist. That’s because Donald Trump never stops asking. First, he asked the party to swallow the idea of a narcissistic sexual harasser and a routine liar as its party leader. Then he asked the party to accept his comprehensive ignorance and his politics of racial division. Now he asks the party to give up its reputation for fiscal conservatism. At the same time he asks the party to become the party of Roy Moore, the party of bigotry, alleged sexual harassment and child assault.

There is no end to what Trump will ask of his party. He is defined by shamelessness, and so there is no bottom. And apparently there is no end to what regular Republicans are willing to give him. Trump may soon ask them to accept his firing of Robert Mueller, and yes, after some sighing, they will accept that, too.
That’s the way these corrupt bargains always work. You think you’re only giving your tormentor a little piece of yourself, but he keeps asking and asking, and before long he owns your entire soul. The Republican Party is doing harm to every cause it purports to serve.

He scolded Republicans for wrapping themselves in Trumpism.

You don’t help your cause by wrapping your arms around an alleged sexual predator and a patriarchic bigot. You don’t help your cause by putting the pursuit of power above character, by worshiping at the feet of some loutish man or another, by claiming the ends justify any means. You don’t successfully rationalize your own tawdriness by claiming your opponents are satanic. You don’t save Christianity by betraying its message.

Brooks then went biblical.

“What shall it profit a man,” Jesus asked, “if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?” The current Republican Party seems to not understand that question. Donald Trump seems to have made gaining the world at the cost of his soul his entire life’s motto.

David Brooks claims that the rot began with Sarah Palin. He is entirely wrong on that account. The decay was always there if controlled. But as soon as President Obama came into power, nothing could stop the growth of the rot as the TEA Party and others felt free to display their racism, xenophobia and all other isms openly.

It is the failure of the Republican Party to keep the lid on its demons that provided the fuel that created Donald Trump. The Donald is but the instantiation of the new Republicanism on steroids.

Brooks closed by attacking the anti-intellectualism of both the party's policies and the party proper.

Today’s tax cuts have no bipartisan support. They have no intellectual grounding, no body of supporting evidence. They do not respond to the central crisis of our time. They have no vision of the common good, except that Republican donors should get more money and Democratic donors should have less. The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive — moral, intellectual, political and reputational. More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: “I’m homeless. I’m politically homeless.”

For the most part, David Books reads his former party well. What he has not done is lay the blame entirely where it belongs, with all of those who allowed the TEA Party and other Right Wing radicals to take over the party because of the timidity of the rank and file Republicans.

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Did Obama engage Trump? He warned invoking the specter of Nazi Germany.

Thu, 2017-12-07 14:59

We are in times existential times where old paradigms political or otherwise no longer exist. We have a lying, infantile president with hopes of grandeur running the country who is using all the isms to divide to maintain power. It is time for our former presidents to verbalize these realities. President Obama may have started that yesterday.

According to Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz' article titled "Invoking the specter of Nazi Germany, Obama warns against complacency," while Obama did not name Trump, he was clear.

American democracy is fragile, and unless care is taken it could follow the path of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Mixed in with many softer comments, that was the somewhat jaw-dropping bottom line of Barack Obama last night as, in a Q&A session before the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicagoan who used to be president dropped a bit of red meat to a hometown crowd that likely is a lot closer to him than the man whose name never was mentioned: President Donald Trump. ...

One thing he's learned is that "things don't happen internationally if we don't put our shoulder to the wheel," Obama said, speaking of the U.S. "No other country has the experience and bandwidth and ideals. . . .If the U.S. doesn't do it, it's not going to happen."

Obama gave one specific example, but it was a solid one: Ebola. To fight the virus the U.S. did everything from build an airport tarmac in Africa to send in medical teams and ferry medicos from other countries. "We probably saved a million lives by doing that," he said.

At least indirectly, those comments could be seen as criticism of Trump, whose foreign policy focuses on an "America first" paradigm that critics say distracts from this country's unique role.

According to Hinz, the former President said complacency was a danger and that democracy must be tended lest it falls apart quickly. Obama also pointed out that a free press is essential and it was for that reason America survived the McCarthy red scare and the Nixon horrors.

President Obama is always measured when speaking his every word. It is for that reasons when short phrases are emanated out of his mouth they are given so much weight.

(h/t Daily Kos's itsnotbutter)

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Stephanie Ruhle: Why dumping Al Franken opens door for Trump’s impeachment (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-12-07 12:23

Stephanie Ruhle used Laura Ingraham to make the case that Al Franken may be the Democrats sacrificial lamb. I think they make a compelling case. Her reaction to using Right Wing Laura Ingraham to make her case was hilarious.

Al Franken, the sacrificial lamb

Stephanie Ruhle and her guests including a virtual one, Laura Ingraham may have a point about the speed with which Democrats want Al Franken out.

Ruhle was comical in that she used Laura Ingraham to make her point.

"I cannot believe it," Ruhle said. "Lightning is going to strike me. I am saying this. I want to share what Laura Ingraham had to say. Watch this. I really can't even believe I am playing this."

"They've come down with a sudden case of feverish morality," Ingraham said. "But what it really is, is nothing more than a political calculation by the Dems. It sets the precedent for the Democrats to try to drive Roy Moore from office should he win the Alabama Senate race. And two, this is the next step in the quest to impeach President Trump."

Stephanie returned to the screen still in shock that she used Ingraham to make her point.

"I feel like lightning is going to strike me," Ruhle said playing devil's, advocate. "Does Laura Ingraham have a point here. Democrats are going to, Al Franken could be the sacrificial lamb and say look at the moral high ground we found. Doesn't it take one simple moment for Republicans to turn around and say, 'A reminder? You stood behind Bill Clinton for 40 years."

Mike Pesca came in with the punch line to that.

"They're trying to grab the moral high ground but I think they did it," Pesca said. I mean 20 years ago is 20 years ago. There is nothing you can do about Bill Clinton now. But you have Farenthold there, a Republican who's in the House of Representatives. You have the president. What are you Republicans doing about it?"

 

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Will Democrats get savvy and take these steps as government shutdown threat looms?

Thu, 2017-12-07 01:07

Even though I can only respond to a few, I try to read comments from the readers of my articles and blog posts. I've found I have some extremely savvy, intelligent, and wise readers. James Lee commented on a recent post about the Republican tax cut scam with a prescient message that Democrats should heed whether a government shutdown comes to pass or not.

James Lee wrote the following.

With the threat of a government shut down looming don't you think that this is the best opportunity for Democrats to highlight the worst aspects of the tax cut bill? I do.

  • Remind the nation that a shut down is solely the fault of Republicans who control every branch of the federal government.
  • That Republicans are fighting among themselves about the best way to transfer money from the poor, working & middle class to the wealthy.
  • Use the new tax bill as an example of how they are transferring wealth - highlight the worst provisions in a clear understandable way.
  • Educate the public to the fact that these tax cut provisions can still be stopped and lead them to participate in efforts to derail the tax bill when it goes to conference.
  • Talk about three to four goals that Democrats would like to see in the tax bill.
  • Tie the tax bill to the government shutdown telling the public that Democrats will be fighting during shut down to stop the worse of the tax bill and improve it with their top provisions. This allows Democrats to conflate any government shutdown with the tax bill and now they can negotiate changes to the tax bill in exchange for help in avoiding shut down or restarting the government should a shutdown occur.

My two cents.

Everything James Lee wrote is on point and should be the modus operandi for the Democrats.

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Cold rainy night does not deter Indivisible Houston Tax Scam protest

Wed, 2017-12-06 20:10

Indivisible Houston is protesting Donald Trump and the Republicans' new tax cut bill. They included the following language in their event call out.

The #GOPTaxScam just robbed The People right in front of the watchful eyes of the world. By ramming a partisan package full of anti-poor provisions down the collective throats of the masses, 45 and his gang of congressional thugs have declared war on hardworking taxpayers and every single person who makes up the American social fabric, and we have had ENOUGH.

"We fight back as Congress seeks to reconcile its dueling versions of robbery and deliver a gift-wrapped heist to mega-corporations on the backs of working-class and middle-class families just in time for Christmas," said Daniel Cohen, President of Indivisible Houston. "Our Rally Against Robbery will include an extension of The People’s Filibuster, an auctioning off of each of our individual Houston area Congressional reps to finance the programs they have attempted to cut, and a united front against the worst legislation to hit reconciliation committees in decades."

 

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A Democratic Socialist’s election in Trump country a lesson for Progressives

Wed, 2017-12-06 16:16

For too long the Democratic Party has been trying to clip the wings of Progressives. Here is the fact, Americans want progressive policies. We have allowed the plutocracy to conflate issues, where Americans voted against their interests. 2018 requires the reorientation to reality, and this Democratic Socialist win in Trump country, and others say much.

Bill Clinton's DLC missed the point on economic populism. If a Democratic Socialist can win in a place, Trump won by 5 points., a reevaluation must occur. Moving the Democratic Party to the right was never the real answer. The answer was always to speak directly to the needs of the people instead of the manufactured angst deliberately pushed by the plutocracy via the Powell Manifesto and operatives in both parties to maintain the status quo. Remember, an intersection of many in the plutocracy fund them both.

Isaiah Poole wrote an article about Ross Grooters, the Democratic Socialist who won a seat on the Pleasant Hill City Council. Yes, it's a local race but don't you think if it were a TEA Party person who won a seat in a place where he was unlikely to succeed it would make news?

Indeed, it has been a long, strange trip for Grooters. After growing up as an “Air Force brat” in a conservative California family in the 1980s, this November, Grooters was elected to the Pleasant Hill City Council as a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, having run on an openly left-wing platform.

Grooters’ victory this year came in a town that in 2016 voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by a five-point margin, showing that even in a Republican-leaning area, socialists can win elections.

And it is happening elsewhere. What was Grooters' platform?

His city council campaign reflected many of the issues that he says animate him personally: the struggles working-class families like his own face with stagnant wages and rising health care costs, the anti-immigrant fervor dividing his community and a clean water battle that is pitting Iowa families against powerful corporate agricultural interests.

Grooters ran on a pledge to fight for a higher minimum wage in the face of a state ordinance that prohibits counties and municipalities from raising their minimum wage above Iowa’s state-wide minimum of $7.25 an hour. He also promised to battle corporate agribusinesses as they try to weaken regulations designed to stem the seepage of fertilizer and animal waste into streams and groundwater, as well as to sponsor a resolution designating Pleasant Hill a “welcoming community.” During the campaign, he spoke out against the Trump administration’s attempts to compel local law enforcement to help round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

The most important statement Grooters made is one every Progressive must heed.

Grooter’s bottom-line advice for progressive and left candidates running on a bold people-centered platform in traditionally Republican districts? “I would say don’t be afraid to run as what you are and what you believe in. Find a way to connect those issues to what everybody in the community is feeling, and I think you will do just fine.”

Progressives getting ready to run must get out there. They must show Americans that they will be there fighting for the values they want and support.

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This is why the Trump and Republican tax cut scam will fail miserably

Wed, 2017-12-06 12:39

Many have been knocking the different evil tenets within the Republican tax cut scam to illustrate how bad the bill is for the American people. Most importantly one must show with Republican policy will hurt all working-class poor and middle-class American whether they are Republican or Democrats.

Until one presents the Republican tax cut scam not as a partisan bill but as an evil bill with consequences that will make life untenable, fighting it is a losing battle. Robert Reich did just that in his piece titled "The True Path to Prosperity" that is worth the read.

He first points out the misconception about Republicans being better for one's prosperity.

It’s often thought that Democrats care about fairness and not economic growth, while Republicans care about growth even at the cost of some fairness. Rubbish. Growth and fairness aren’t opposites. In reality, Democrats are the party of economic growth and fairness. Republicans are the party of neither.

Reich then explains why the type of policies like the Affordable Care Act and others that enhance education is the way to build prosperity.

Consider the two biggest legislative initiatives over past decade – the Affordable Care Act, achieved without a single Republican vote, and the current Trump-Republican tax overhaul, speeding ahead without a single Democrat. The ACA extends coverage to 21 million mostly lower-income Americans, including millions of children. ...

But the ACA isn’t just about fairness. Healthier Americans are also more productive workers. Children who receive health care are better learners. The Act thereby fuels economic growth and widens prosperity.

He gives the factual and historical rationale for trickle-down economics failure under both Bush and Reagan. In fact, profits and cash on hand are at all time highs for corporations, and the spoils are not going to those who made the gains but to the shareholders and corporate executives.

Every major study (including Congress’s own Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation) finds that its benefits would go mainly to big corporations and the wealthy. Share prices may rise for a time. They’re already at record highs in anticipation of the tax cut. But higher share prices don’t trickle down, either. The richest 1 percent owns almost 38 percent of the stock market. Eighty percent of Americans together own just 8 percent of all shares of stock. This won’t fuel growth. Corporations expand and invest only when customers are eager to buy what they produce. And most of these customers are middle-income and below, who spend just about all they earn. The rich spend only a small fraction. ...

After the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, economic growth stalled and then dissolved in recession. After the 2004 corporate tax holiday for bringing foreign profits home, corporations didn’t invest or expand. The Reagan tax cut of 1981 didn’t cause wages to rise; they flattened.

And he shows historically that policies that direct more money and services to the poor and middle-class is the way to juice an economy.

What’s the real formula for growth? Better access to education, healthcare, and transportation, all of which make workers more productive. These more productive workers command higher wages. With higher wages, they purchase more goods and services. These purchases motivate companies to expand and invest, and create more and better jobs.

American experienced this virtuous cycle for thirty years after World War II. We invested unprecedented sums in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. We financed these investments through higher taxes on the rich and on big corporations. The economy boomed and wages shot upward. The wages of the bottom fifth rose even faster than the wages of the top fifth. This unleashed consumer spending, which generated more growth.

The Clinton administration tried this formula on a much smaller scale in the 1990s, raising taxes on the top and investing in education and infrastructure. The economy boomed, 23 million new jobs were created, and for the first time since the late 1970s the typical American’s wage rose.

It is essential that Americans understand we tried both types of policies in the last several decades. The only one that has worked successfully is ensuring that the poor and middle-class is "protected" against the defect in capitalism that inherently extracts wealth from the masses to for the enrichment of the few. The government, we the people, imposing taxes and redistributing that money to infrastructure, education, and health is the only solution to mitigate the failures of capitalism. Understanding this concept is not rocket science. It is economic history and math.

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This Republican deserve respect for this but scorn for something else

Tue, 2017-12-05 20:08

It is easy to have courage when one no longer has to answer to a sect within one's party that has lost all sense of morality and decency. Republican Jeff Flake's symbolic act required little coverage but may convince a few Republicans to stop for a second to see if their moral compass will reset and not vote a pedophile into office.

Republican Jeff Flake's check to Democratic Alabama Senatorial Candidate Doug Jones

Jeff Flake is showing a welcomed faux courage as he goes against his party for one moral issue but fails miserably on something that will hurt millions. He sent the following tweet.

"Country over Party"

Country over Party pic.twitter.com/JZMTaEYdxQ

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 5, 2017

So Senator Jeff Flake sends Alabama's Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones a campaign contribution. The idea is to show that a Republican will support a Democrat to ensure that a pedophile, Roy Moore, the Republican opponent does not get into office. This act is a commendable gesture. The thing is, Flake is not running for reelection. He is leaving the Senate. One can be very courageous when one need not worry about immediate reelection.

If Jeff Flake wants to show that he believes in the country over party, the American citizens over party, he would not have voted for the Republican tax cut scam. Attempting to keep a pedophile out of the Senate is important. But Roy Moore is only one Senator who individually wields little power to affect the entire country.

The Republican tax cut scam hurts millions and will kill millions every year. If Flake wants to show courage, he should never have voted for the bill. He still has time to determine if his tweet "Country over Party" is true. But don't hold your breath. Flake will likely run for another office down the road. His base will forgive him after this election cycle. The Plutocracy, however, would make an example out of him for voting against the bill by ensuring he has little funds to work with for any subsequent run for office. They have everlasting memories.

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Response from a Facebook friend should concern Progressives for 2018

Tue, 2017-12-05 15:49

I have several thousand followers of all ideological persuasions. I watch the pulse of these FB friends for trends, direction, and sometimes an indication of the narrative I need to put out to get the truth through the clutter of misinformation.

I recently wrote the following Facebook post below. The intent was to softly jar but empower by reminding how Progressives moved this country forward.

Americans have gone soft and gullible. I hope it is temporary and just in need of a jolt. I am an immigrant from Panamá. We always viewed America, even with its original sin, as a people who always fought back and who got what they wanted. Hell, as wrong as it was, they wanted a canal built and extracted Panamá out of Colombia with its gunboat diplomacy to do it.

Americans stopped tolerating crap from within and without on the streets and generally won. Republican politicians and some Establishment Democrats are currently a clear and present danger to the economic wellbeing of every poor, middle-class, working-class American. Yet we just take it?

Please folks, let’s refortify our spines. This is not the time to accept politicians whose policies are dictated by their plutocratic masters to continue taking from us.

Do you feel so impotent that you are simply willing to accept a continual slide? I don’t, and you shouldn’t. And you should not allow others to feel impotent. There are more of us than the pilferers. Check out my latest article https://egbertowillies.com/2017/12/03/wake-people-streets-tax-cut-scam/. And please share. That is the only way independent media gets seen or heard, well assuming we also fight to maintain Net Neutrality.

Most of the responses were decidedly positive. But one response from a long time Progressive follower surprised me. She wrote the following.

So sick of being lumped with and criticized for being "American" especially by recent immigrant. I have lost respect for you. I am disgusted with the current political climate and as an old woman have done and are doing what I can for a change. I don't need to listen to you and support you at KPFT at least for a while. Maybe I'll get over it and maybe I won't. Goodbye. No reply will be read.

There is more to that message than meets the eye. I tried to address it in the response I left for her copied below. But her reaction is a canary in the mine I hope many Progressives see.

Mary W., your response surprised me. Firstly, I am an immigrant and an American. My post's intent was to empower by reminding what American's have been able to accomplish collectively. And can again if we get out of our comfort zone we've stayed in because many thought the job was accomplished.

Your tone and analysis are indicative of something I speak about. Good people being infected by a certain narrative that gets triggered when those considered the other, make a less than placating statement or provide advice that implies some are not necessarily living up to who we should be.

Trump's infectious narrative has been effective to sub-sects in every ideology. To those reading, this response, Progressives who believe that 2018 is a slam dunk, rest assured that many allies will get triggered at times of stress and disappoint with commentaries and possibly their vote. The virus has been planted in the psyche of many whose renascent or nascent prejudices break the surface.

I wrote a piece several weeks ago I urge friends, allies, and foes alike to read titled "White Progressives: Are you our friends? Are you our allies? Really? Then …" that I think is very important. Another one titled "It makes sense for Progressives to go after the Trump voter also" has the following message I hope is heeded. It may not seem to fit this post, but it does in many ways.

In short, we should go after the Trump voter as hard as we go after the non-voters. Believing that in a country where race plays a significant role, that somehow people of color won't have to worry about mitigating white racism, is flawed thinking. You see, racism is contagious. And today's white allies under ideal conditions could succumb to the contagion. Progressives must go after every voter with a passion irrespective of race and not fall into the trap of what the electorate in states like Virginia look like or behave today.

I think I needed to explore Mary's response because, for every reaction like that, many reacted with the same emotion who just did not post their ire. We must read the tea leaves.

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MSNBC Ali Velshi nails Republicans on their tax cut scam like no other (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-12-05 12:32

It has been very disappointing the poor job most journalists have been doing to debunk the GOP lies about their tax cut scam. Velshi & Ruhle are a couple of journalists that's been hard hitting. Velshi, in this clip, shows how one should do these types of critiques.

Ali Velshi's report is journalism in action

Ali Velshi's brought together the story in three discernable segments that made it objective, understandable, and unbiased.

Velshi starts by calling out all the lies that Republicans have been spewing about the tax cut scam.

Call out Republican lies about the tax cut scam
  • It focuses on the middle-class (LIE)
  • It won't benefit the wealthy (LIE)
  • It's terrible for Trump's family fortune (LIE)
  • The tax cut scam will pay for itself (LIE)
  • It will help pay down the national debt (LIE)
  • .4% boost in GDP will pay for the tax cut scam and more (MISLEADING)
Educate Americans with unbiased studies and analysis

Velshi then educates by pointing out that there has been no period in American history where the required GDP boost was sustainable. As such the Republicans are pegging success on something that has never happened, something our economic system is resistant to systemically. He enumerated studies from left-leaning, non-partisan, and right-leaning organizations who all debunked the fallacies emanating from misinforming Republicans. They all show that the Republican tax cut scam explodes the deficit. He then pointed out that 42 leading American economist polled made it clear that the tax cut scam will not grow the economy in such a manner that it pays for itself.

Provide an informed opinion based on the results given the fact

"Tax cuts, any tax cuts, sure sound great," Ali Velshi said. "But if we are going to bust the bank to enact them, we should be honest about what they are going to cost us."

If our journalists did this kind of reporting, Americans would be informed, and politicians would be unable to pull the wool over the heads of most. Ali Velshi has been doing this type of compelling journalism for some time now. Great job Mr. Velshi.

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Chris Matthews nails Trump on Russia: Justice is on the way (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-12-05 02:19

Chris Mattews deconstructs Trump's actions on Russia. The walls are closing in on the president and he knows it.

Chris Matthews near perfect deconstruction of Trump's Russia problem

Chris Matthews nails Trump on Russia: Justice is on the way (VIDEO) https://t.co/gpzEOAG3U9 pic.twitter.com/62ls9vloyu

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) December 5, 2017

Chris Matthews just about laid out the case against President Donald Trump as it pertains to Russia. It is just a matter of time.

"Justice is grinding its way to Donald Trump," Chris Matthews said. "If he did not collude with Russia during the campaign, how do we exclude all the evidence that he did? How do we exclude this new information today that he personally got the GOP to change its platform regarding Ukraine? Why would an American politician find time in the midst of a presidential campaign on the very eve of the nominating convention to get involved with the geopolitics of Ukraine, specifically, Russia's interest in Ukraine? Why would Trump's top people, his son-in-law being one of them, be commissioning General Michael Flynn to tell the Russian ambassador what he wanted to be done in regard to US sanctions? What he wanted Russia to do with regard to Israel?"

Chris Matthews then goes into the meat of the Russia story.

"Russia! Russia! Russia!" Matthews continues. "It's been the pattern of the year, an American presidential candidate, new to national politics focused again and again, on the interests of Russia. And now in December of his inaugural year, Donald Trump finds himself at war with the US government agency trying to get to the bottom of his Russian entanglement. General Flynn who went on to all those Trump missions to the Russians. He lies to the FBI about it, refusing to admit the nature of his missions. Trump then tries to get the FBI to stop investigating the general. Then fires the FBI director for not doing what he said he must do. This whole Fandango is about Trump and Russia and Trump trying to cover it up. And the most mystifying part of it all is the possibility that he Donald Trump was trying to do something good here, to end the US-Russian course toward a second Cold War. But if that is really the case, why doesn't he just say so?"

Unfortunately, after making the perfect case against Trump, Matthews tries to make it an altruistic act gone wrong. Trump's past behavior does not lend itself to the expression of some interest in an attempt to prevent a second cold war. It is more likely the Russia scandal had its genesis in either a Russia extortion for something they have dangling over Trump's head or a money deal.

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