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This Progressive shows how you win the Conservative vote

Sun, 2017-10-08 11:30

Many of us in the Coffee Party USA organization preach that we must engage everyone irrespective of ideology. This Progressive politician's interaction with a Conservative during a block walk is precisely the approach to win over every kind of voter.

While it is in the political establishment's interest to divide, it is in the interest of the masses to come together and solve real problems with policies the vast majority of people want. I don't personally know Joshua Butler. A Facebook post of his appeared in my feed that every Progressive politician should heed. Here's my dissection of his self-described encounter.

CD7, this is your neighbor, Todd. I met him during my walk through his neighborhood today.

Todd was in the middle of cutting his lawn when I first walked up and stopped to speak with me. When he found out I am running for U.S. Congress, he said "now why in the hell would you want to do something like that?" We shared a laugh, because I told him, "well, I'm either motivated or crazy; or both... but I'll let you be the judge of that."

Joshua Butler did not immediately get into a political self-righteous modal explaining why this constituent should be voting for him. He was marginally self-deprecating and funny which quickly opened a channel for a comfortable conversation.

He is a down to earth, hard-working resident that was flooded out of his home just like many of you throughout the district. But his joy for life and his unbelievably positive outlook on life is what made him so great to be around. We talked about policies like immigration, healthcare and civil rights. It was amazing to listen to his genuine concern for making sure people are treated fairly, but then he was also drastically concerned about border security in the U.S.

He told me stories about things he had come through in his life and his faith that's gotten him through many tough days. As we conversed, two of his neighbors drove up to offer him help with his lawnmower, but he was more focused on introducing them to me because they're a democratic couple and he wanted to make sure they met me. Todd and the couple shared jokes about how the democrats or republicans were better from their own perspectives. But they also said they have learned to respect each others' opinions and reasons for why they believe what they believe.

It is clear that Butler did a lot of listening. Most people of every ideological persuasion want to know that the other side is at least willing to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes that requires not wincing at some of their most either inarticulate or downright ignorant statements. That either implicitly makes them listen to you or at worst when you remind them that you took the time to listen to them and would appreciate the reciprocity. It works for many.

Yes, Todd leans conservative but he told me he doesn't even know who his congressman is. He's lived in his home for 4 years and never heard of him. I asked Todd if he planned to vote in the Republican Primary and he said yes. So I educated him on both of the candidates running.

Butler understood that the man was likely not going to vote in his primary. But he showed the Conservative guy, Todd, his depth, by telling him about the candidates that would be his choices. That made it clear subliminally that Butler was not just a partisan.

By the time we finished our discussion, Todd said something that completely stomped me:

"Josh, I have never voted for a Democrat, but I really may vote for you. I'm open to doing something different when I know the person actually cares about me and my community. I can tell you do."

This statement should not have stomped Butler. When one connects on a human level instead of just on a partisan or ideological level, it leaves one open for nonguilty choices. In my encounter with people that sometimes are opposed to my very Progressive ideology, I tell them they must remember when they enter the voting booth, it is private, and their vote is only between themselves and the machine. As such, they should vote in concert with their personal economy. It gives them a choice away from the peer pressure of their ideology.

I've learned as I walk each street to never ignore or write anyone off. We're living in a time when people are fed up across the board and the vast majority of people I'm meeting are saying the same things. Just different perspectives. I gained a friend today... someone I pray I get to dialogue with in the future. Todd didn't care if I was a Democrat. He cared that I treated him like a human being and actually took time to listen to what he believes in. That's who I am and it's who I always want to be! #Empower #Together #PoliticalJAB

And this is what we have been preaching at Coffee Party USA since 2010. These are the stories one should highlight. To be clear, this isn't some naive concept. There are people on all sides of the ideological spectrum that are immutable. But most Americans given the opportunity can rationalize if one goes to their level to start the dialogue. The problem is that we usually give the boisterous a platform. It is time-consuming, but it is our only hope to have good representative governance.

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Nina turner slams GOP: Explains her introduction of Erectile Dysfunction Bill (Video)

Sun, 2017-10-08 03:35

The Our Revolution President, Nina Turner visited Houston and gave an impassioned speech to activate the grassroots. She admonished the president and his team for their sexist, misogynist, anti-science policies. She introduced the Erectile Dysfunction bill to illustrate the absurdity of the patriarchs in the GOP.

Nina Turner slammed the Trump team for an incompetence never seen in the White House before. She explains the rationale for her erectile dysfunction bill.

Nina Turner explains rationale behind her erectile dysfunction bill

Listen to the full speech here

"And I don't believe that any man who walks the earth, we should be afraid of," Nina Turner said. "Because the people have the power. It is all about how we are going to utilize that power and when will we utilize that power. And all of the bad things the dirty rotten things. Just even yesterday, repealing a portion of the Affordable care act that allowed women to have control of their own body. Let me just say this. We don't need permission slips. We can handle all this. We can handle it."

Turner continued with what one should really be concerned about.

"And it just bothers me because when I served in the Ohio Legislature in the Senate,"  Turner continued. "My Republican Colleagues were obsessed with messing with a woman's body. You don't see those same pieces of legislation. You know when I went to the Senate, I was over it for a minute. So I introduced my own bill. It was called the erectile dysfunction bill. I said, you know what, I wasn't elected to the Ohio Senate to work on education, and helping small businesses, and helping cities, and communities. No, I was elected to regulate a man's reproductive health. That is what I was elected to do; Because it is just insane. Just think about that. And think about how many bills go through any legislature at any given time trying to regulate what a man's got to do. Very few."

She hits the nail on the head.

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Nina Turner gripping speech at Our Revolution Texas Gulf Coast (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-10-08 02:05

Nina Turner, President of Our Revolution and former Ohio State Senator, was the keynote speaker at "Our Revolution Texas Gulf Coast presents from inequality to solidarity" in the Montrose Center in Houston Texas.

Nina Turner did not pull any punches as her speech to the Our Revolution crowed was a call to action urging the disregard of fear and the engagement of all. Turner's passion for the movement seemed unending and no different than the one she displayed when I interviewed her on Politics Done Right during the 2016 Democratic Primaries when she was one of Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders most trusted backers.

Nina Turner's riveting speech at Our Revolution Texas Gulf Coast

The Our Revolution President touched on many issues. She castigated Republicans for their patriarchal manipulation of women's reproductive rights. She admonished the Left and Right alike for the false divisions they create within the body politic. Turner said that Our Revolution, the grassroots, is fighting the political establishment on both sides of the aisle.

"There is no middle-of-the-road way to be for the people," Turner said. "Either you are for the people, or you are not. Either you put something on the line, or you are not. But if you are not, get to hell out of the way and let those of us who are willing to fight, get this done.

Turner said it is shield building time now. One cannot wait for the election but must prepare for the elections in 2018 and 2020. First and foremost, Nina Turner's message was a message of unity among all working Americans. It is clear her goal is to empower Americans to demand what is rightfully theirs. She personalized the movement with her own story as a first-generation college graduate in her family.

Every Our Revolution speaker should encapsulate Turner's message and delivery. Every attendee, irrespective of race, culture, background, and religion left that building inspired and ready to work for change.

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Pence’s reaction to Puerto Rican woman why Trump must not be impeached (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-10-07 00:41

Many want Trump impeached. What many do not realize is that Vice President Mike Pence is much more dangerous than Trump and the way he handled this Puerto Rican woman's complaints is probative.

A Puerto Rican woman confronted Pence who challenged him on the administration's response. The Vice President's handling was impeccable.

Mike Pence's reaction to Puerto Rican woman

Pence's reaction to Puerto Rican woman why Trump must not be impeached (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 7, 2017

"Don’t go to San Juan,"  said Everlinda Burgos. "Go inside the country, like where I live. I live in Naranjito, that’s inside the country. You’re not going to see nothing outside the country. Right now, inside the country is where you’re going to see the disaster. Where you can’t -- there’s towns you can’t go in. You don’t know the people that has died there because they don’t know, they don’t have no communication. You know? So, right now they say 18 people died. No, no, no. We have more people died. But we don’t have no communication. So, go in."

After Burgos said a few more words about the conditions in Puerto Rico, about the unreported deaths, and more, Pence had a very empathetic answer.

"Well, we’re going to work every part of it," the Vice President said. "We’re going to help Puerto Rico recover, and you’ll be here. You’ll be fine, your son, your family, and then you’ll be able to go home, right? ... There is no place like home. ... Can I give you a hug."

Mike Pence and most Republicans' policies are no different than Donald Trump's policies. Trump is simply too brash to get many of them into law. Mike Pence, on the other hand, has the style and discipline to use a Republican Congress to his advantage. Those who want Congress to impeach Trump better think twice. Mike Pence just may be the Donald Trump you fear.

(h/t Oliver Willies at Shareblue Media)

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Trump Effect: Minnesota mayoral candidate shocking racial rant (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-10-06 16:29

Nothing shocks me these days with the level of racism still prevalent in America that is a part of the Trump effect. But this one sent chills down my spine with the matter-of-fact nature with which this politician said what he said about trains and 'the coloreds' that should embarrass the country.

This Minnesota mayoral candidate unleashed a racial rant about trains and coloreds that one must watch to believe. The Trump effect makes this speech vogue.

Many in the majority population tend to believe that the discrimination and abuse people of color speak about ad nauseam is either the playing of the race card, a crutch, or a begging for pity. It is not. Under the Trump era, many feel the freedom to release their inner racist demons even as they held it in in the past. Ironically, it may be cathartic to America that those with these feeling expose themselves. For the aggrieved, it is less stressful to know who they are than to assume based on involuntary actions and responses.

The Trump Effect in action

RawStory reported the following about Hopkins, Minnesota mayoral candidate Bob Ivers.

A candidate running to be mayor of Hopkins, MN let fly with a mind-bogglingly racist rant during a debate about light rail lines that has to be seen to be believed. ...

“You listen, and you listen real close,” Ivers said during a candidate forum with incumbent mayor Molly Cummings.

“It’s another socialist ruination of a town,” he went on. “And this is what’s going to happen, and everybody be forewarned, and you listen, and you listen real close. All the Chicago and Detroit riffraff that’s moved into ‘Welfare-apolis,’ they’re going to get on that train. And you know where they’re going to end up? They’re going to end up down at the depot. And they’re going to end up with yours, and yours, and yours granddaughters, and daughters, and grandsons. And I predict within two months of that coming through here, there’s going to be a shooting down at that kid’s depot. So everybody think about that.”

Later in the forum, Ivers described the population of Hopkins as “90 percent white,” with “10 percent coloreds and Mexicans and Asians that are here.”

But, he warned, if the light rail line is built, “you’re going to have all the ethnics you want.”

Welcome to the America many of us knew existed. Now, can we do something about it?

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America’s Biggest Divide: Winners and Losers

Fri, 2017-10-06 11:46

by Neal Gabler

There are plenty of reasons to bristle at President Trump’s tweets on Puerto Rico, which is suffering horribly from Hurricane Maria, not least of which is the racist suggestion that Hispanics there don’t deserve the same treatment as mainland white Americans. But in all his fuming, Trump did make another point, and it is worth examining: The poor people of Puerto Rico, he said, should stop complaining and begin helping themselves rather than rely on government assistance, intimating that their misery was their own fault. He added for good measure, but with no comprehensible logic, that the island was wallowing in financial disaster, as if Maria were some divine retribution for profligacy. In short, they were losers.

(And Trump didn’t even think they were the winners of the biggest losers contest, calling Katrina a “real catastrophe” by comparison.)

Why is this worth examining? Because of all the divisions that cleave America today, the single most important one may be not racial, religious, political or economic. It may be cultural. America is deeply divided between those who are considered (and consider themselves) winners, and those who, like the Puerto Ricans, are considered by the winners to be losers. Losers are cultural pariahs — the American equivalent of India’s untouchables. Not insignificantly, of all the many epithets Trump hurls, the most cutting is “loser.”

In this as in most things, Trump is the divider-in-chief. He is not only the most prominent proponent of a society rent between winners and losers; he is its personification: the guy who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple, while sneering at those who struggle and always strike out.

But unlike so much of what Trump says, this terrible taxonomy isn’t just bloviating. It cuts across all the other divisions. It eats at the fiber of America. It undermines us psychologically and even physically. It creates a gulf so wide that it is unbridgeable. And it does so while justifying the damage it inflicts, allowing the so-called winners and their fellow travelers to deny assistance to the needy, as Trump is questioning assistance to Puerto Rico. After all, never forget that losers deserve what they get.

Of course, Trump didn’t invent the winner/loser dichotomy. He simply exploited it. This country long had a self-promoting, get-ahead-at-all-costs, dog-eat-dog mentality. It was practically bred into us as a new society with un-European, egalitarian pretensions where everyone was supposed to rise as high as his (and it was only his, not her) efforts would take him. The growth of a commercial culture only intensified these impulses. To a larger extent than Europe, where social boundaries were higher and ordinary folk had to find other sources of status than wealth, Americans imputed less status to intellectual or artistic achievements than to mercantile ones. We celebrate wealth.

But there used to be, even in Jay Gatsby, the quintessential conspicuous consumer, a countervailing subtext. Money couldn’t buy happiness. The best things in life are free. One of our most iconic movies is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, that Christmas perennial, whose hero, George Bailey, lives a wonderful life not because of material success but because of his spiritual success. He loses money only to discover the riches of the love of his friends.

This Capraesque idea of success has survived, but it has been increasingly embattled. In the high-flying, greed-is-good ’80s, Ronald Reagan managed to sell the country a toxic blend of “personal responsibility” and materialism that made the latter the measure of success and the former its source, which meant that those who didn’t succeed had only themselves to blame. In many ways, Reagan made this hostility to “losers” the very basis of modern conservatism, however one might dress it up with fancy, philosophical mumbo jumbo, so the cruelty isn’t quite as evident. Republicans opt to further enrich the rich and further empower the powerful because, as I have written in an earlier post, the rich and powerful are prima facie deserving while the poor and powerless are not. Just look at them!

recent Pew survey shows the stark contrast between the attitudes of rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats toward the causes of wealth and poverty in America. Predictably, Republicans attribute financial success to working harder (66 percent) rather than to advantages one might have (21 percent). Democrats broke 29 percent for hard work, 60 percent for advantages. As for poverty, Republicans blamed a lack of effort (56 percent) while Democrats blamed circumstances generally beyond one’s control (71 percent). The gap between the parties’ attitudes, by the way, is widening.

But Democrats may be fighting a losing battle. Capraesque values seem antiquated now in a hypercompetitive, hypermaterialistic society where the emphasis on financial success seems to envelop us. Even in popular culture, it is not homespun movies like Capra’s that inspire us, but the Hollywood penumbra around the movies — the seeming availability of stardom and the illusion of the illusion that we can find celebrity in our own lives if we exert the energy to do so. There is a vast new literature of success, but unlike the self-improvement primers of earlier decades, Dale Carnegie et al., the lesson isn’t to cultivate our social skills, but our anti-social ones: to be alpha dogs or masters of the universe. Either that or be, god forbid, losers. Those Capraesque compensations aren’t enough anymore. You have to be a winner to have any respect, including self-respect.

This is Trump’s message, but it is also increasingly America’s, and a case can be made that his ragged populism may have played a smaller role in his election than his image as a winner — someone whose billions make him immune from his transgressions. In that sense, he was aspirational — an economic superstar who luxuriated in his wealth not only personally for his benefit but also culturally for ours. We are, as economist Robert Frank argued in his book of that title, a “winner-take-all” society where even the psychic rewards go to a relatively small segment and the rest are disdained. That is Trump’s society.

But there is a problem with this beyond the obvious one that a society that measures its value in monetary terms is a stunted one. The bigger problem is that the winner/loser typology has taken hold at the very time when social immobility has never been higher in America, where the chances of escaping one’s social stratum is terribly small. By Trump’s reckoning, most of us are destined to be losers. More, we are literally born losers.

And the bigger problem still is that this seems to have contributed to a massive sense of national misery that, I believe, is a factor in everything from the opioid crisis to mental health issues to the decline in physical health among a large segment of Americans. A Harris Poll finds that less than a third of Americans call themselves happy, in some measure, reports an analyst, because they feel impotent: Losers.

Neal Gabler is an author of five books and the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, TIME magazine's non-fiction book of the year, USA Today's biography of the year and other awards. He is also a senior fellow at The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, and is currently writing a biography of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

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Las Vegas Massacre Dispels the Myth of Who’s Most Violent in This Country

Fri, 2017-10-06 01:05


Even before a 64-year-old real estate investor shot and killed 58 people in Las Vegas on Sunday, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, researchers had been slow to acknowledge a disturbing pattern among a once-taboo demographic: middle-aged Whites.

The latest CDC statistics show Whites 35 and older—America’s wealthiest and most politically powerful demographic—make up 37 percent of the population but 47 percent of the nation’s gun deaths and 55 percent of deaths from illicit drugs. White men 35 and older, just 18 percent of Americans, now account for 40 percent of all gun fatalities, and 31 percent of illicit-drug deaths.

These numbers are worsening by the year. Yet, this is a population more likely to have resources, is hardly targeted by police, and has access to higher levels of legal, medical, and psychological care compared to that of younger and non-White Americans.

Tabulations of mass shooters vary in design and completeness, but several that are reviewed consistently show the overwhelming majority of those whose races are identified are non-Latino Whites, and most are over age 35.

In a particularly jarring statistic from California—the only state to tabulate crime by race crossed with age—non-Latino Whites age 40 and older (a record 335,000 in 2016) are now being arrested for criminal offenses at a higher rate than are Blacks and Latinos under age 30 combined.

Unique to the older white demographic is a surge in extreme reactionary views.

This is new, as is the fact that older Whites are California’s only population by age and race showing increased imprisonment rates. Nationally, 60,000 more older Whites are in prison today than in 2000, while younger ages show decreases, according to theBureau of Justice Statistics. These are not statistics one normally associates with a population whose median annual family income approaches $90,000.

Older Whites are also the population in which gun ownership is becoming the most concentrated—along with considerable increases in firearms deaths since 2000—as young people increasingly turn away from guns, the Violence Policy Center reports from surveys. In that respect, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was a poster figure. Paddock died from a self-inflicted gunshot from one of the 23 guns authorities found in his hotel room; he owned at least 47 firearms by latest count, as well as explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Also unique to the older White demographic is a surge in extreme reactionary views, concentrated in majority-White rural and suburban areas where they’re suffering the worst casualty rates from guns, drugs, suicide, and other violent means.

The divergence of older Whites from other American populations in a variety of extreme behaviors and attitudes raises the question of whether there is an overarching connection.

Certainly, media as well as political and institutional authorities have not hesitated to stigmatize young, immigrant, and non-White populations—as gangsters, thugs, “deadly demographics,” “monsters next door,” and just plain “bad people”—based on the actions of a disproportionate few. Because of this double standard, we are not likely to see authorities rushing to demonize the entire older White demographic.

The longer-term irony is that, yet again, Republicans in Congress will likely reject calls for even modest gun controls, such as background checks for gun purchasers. While these controls have not been shown to reduce murders or mass shootings, they are strongly linked to fewer gun suicides, exactly the tragedy most afflicting older Whites, who are Republicans’ largest constituency.

The bottom line is older White people own guns—lots of them.

The bottom line is older White people own guns—lots of them. And they disproportionately use them to kill, mostly themselves in suicides but also in rarer but extremely deadly mass shootings with dozens or even hundreds of casualties. Aging Whites’ disturbed reactions along a continuum of drugs, suicide, guns, the politics of rage, and mass violence have been building for decades—and have been just as steadfastly ignored by leaders often seeking to exploit them.

America’s political leaders have too long insisted on blaming social problems on younger, poorer, and non-White populations. They offer punitive solutions founded in stigmas and exclusion to change those groups’ behaviors, then are baffled when confronted with crises centered in privileged constituencies. Drugs and gun violence are no longer problems of stupid kids downtown and stupid White kids imitating them, as once thought. Las Vegas is just the latest price for years of self-serving bigotries—a price getting steeper by the day. Alarm at the carnage of mass shootings is justified. Hopelessness is not.

But solutions to America’s gun carnage are not likely to come from Washington lawmakers, unwilling to give up old clichés and entrenched racism. While leaders endlessly quarrel over guns amid racialized, age-based fears and stereotypes, it’s the young, diverse populations in big cities once thought uniquely at risk for shootings that are already disproving racist, anti-immigrant, anti-youth rhetoric.

As I noted in the American Journal of Public Health, in recent decades gun death rates have been falling fastest in the nation’s three most populous states with very different gun laws—New York, California, and Texas— and seven times faster than the rest of the country. All three states’ declines were led by 70 to 90 percent reductions in gun killings over the last 25 years among urban teenagers and young adults ages 15–24 in racially diverse, immigrant-influenced large cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and San Diego.

These dramatic, unexpected trends offer a way out of the currently ossified gun debate, if anyone’s paying attention.

Mike Males is a senior researcher at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, San Francisco, and content director for He taught sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has authored numerous journal articles, op-eds, and four books on youth issues. He can be reached at

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Senator destroys a Trump EPA nominee unable to acknowledge facts (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-10-05 12:21

Every American must see this EPA nominee's performance. It shows how the Right Wing turns otherwise intelligent scientists into bumbling talkers who must ignore facts even when presented with irrefutable evidence.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) grilled William L. Wehrum, Trump's appointee for the Environmental Protection Agency’s air and radiation office. It was embarrassing.

Trump's EPA nominee an embarrassment

Senator Jeff Merkley showed the nominee a chart that showed two lines that correlated with each other. One line showed the increase in greenhouse gases. The other showed the increasing temperature of the earth. The lines clearly correlated. Merkley did not ask for a full scientific analysis. Correlation is not necessarily determinative. The senator wanted to know if the EPA nominee would at least acknowledge what he saw, two lines that correlate.

The nominee could not even acknowledge the fact that the lines correlated. Merkley got irate.

“What we have seen is just Koch Brother-inspired determination not to acknowledge fundamental facts,” Merkley said. “And continuous excuses that perhaps the temperature of the planet is going up because of solar activity. Oh no, maybe it’s volcanic activity. But when NASA presents the information, it shows there’s no correlation, from those factors and extensive correlation from carbon dioxide and other global warming gasses., individuals like you simply refuse to acknowledge it. Why should the American people put into an office of significance someone who refuses to look at the facts directly that are so important to the health of this planet?”

Merkley soon after that asked William Wehrum if he was aware of the decimation of oysters in his state caused by the acidification of the ocean. He was not familiar with the oyster problem. Asked again if he was aware of ocean acidification. Wehrum said that it was an allegation.

Merkley then asked if he knew about the longer fire season and the beetle infestation attributed to climate change? The nominee kept bumbling around. Merkley was visibly upset.

"No one can look at what is happening on the planet," Merkley said. "And see there is nothing happening unless you are deliberately determined to ignore that information. And that makes you really quite frankly, unacceptable to serve in that capacity."

To think this is the caliber of personnel populating the EPA is distressing. Our land, water, and air are in trouble.

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Conservative says: You’re a bad parent if you have a gun in the house (VIDEO)

Wed, 2017-10-04 12:25

Last night Conservative David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, and pundit appeared on Lawrence O'Donell's Last Word and said something about gun control one usually don't hear from conservatives. His forthrightness was shocking.

Conservatives like David Frum are the key to force politicians that are on-the-edge to lead society into a place where gun control is a good thing.

Conservative Frum in support of gun control?

This Conservative wants gun control: You are a bad parent if you have a gun in the house

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 4, 2017

Lawrence O'Donnell played a video that I had never seen of former Chief Justice Warren Burger appointed by Richard Nixon. O'Donnell said it illustrates how far the Republican orthodoxy has moved on the gun control issue.

"This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud," Chief Justice Warren Burger said. "I repeat the word fraud on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. Look at those words. There are only three lines to that amendment, a well-regulated militia. If the militia which was going to be the state army was going to be well regulated why shouldn't sixteen and seventeen and eighteen or any other age persons be regulated in the use of arms the way an automobile is regulated."

That is a prescient statement, and I am surprised more Progressives do not add these words but the wisdom of the former Chief Supreme Court Justice appointed by a Republican to the narrative.

David Frum pointed out that after every massacre instead of a tightening of gun control, politicians expand rights. He said what is needed is a culture change, persuasion. Frum noted that technical fixes wouldn't work. He said there is something wrong with the American gun culture.  Three percent of people own 50% of guns. He then went for the jugular of the gun control issue.

"Until you persuade people that it is just dangerous to themselves, their children," Frum said. "You are not a good parent if you've got a gun in the house. You are not protecting the family. You are a bad parent if you have a gun in the house. Until you drill that idea into people's heads and persuade them to change the way we change them about cigarettes and seat belts, these technical fixes are not going to accomplish a lot. And public opinion, you can make it look like it is on your side if you ask the poll question the right way, but operationally it is not."

Frum is absolutely right. It will take a lot of persuasion break away the masses from the intimidating cult to force politicians to do the right thing. It must be done.

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Anti-Abortion Congressman Tim Murphy ask mistress to have abortion

Wed, 2017-10-04 01:45

It is clear that like with every issue, Republicans want to apply restrictions to Americans they are not willing to accept for themselves. Their fungible ideology only applies to you. Tim Murphy's abortion hypocrisy needs to be exposed.

Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, a staunch anti-abortion representative suggested to his mistress that she gets an abortion. According to The Liberal Network,

Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18), one the most anti-choice Republicans of them all, had an extramarital affair and apparently urged his mistress to get an abortion after she told him she might be pregnant. The Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh got their hands on the text message exchange, where Murphy apologizes for his hypocritical public stances on abortion:

And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.

A text from Mr. Murphy’s cell phone number that same day in response says, “I get what you say about my March for life messages. I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more. I will.”

The congressman has been lauded by the Family Research Council, for his stance on abortion, as well as for family values, generally. He also has been endorsed by LifePAC, which opposes abortion rights, and is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, an affiliation that is often cited by his office.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

It was early this year that the text exchange over abortion was prompted by a Jan. 24 Facebook post by Mr. Murphy: “The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable," he wrote.

Mr. Murphy noted in that post that he sponsored and voted for a bill prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions and said he had hope that "we will once again be a nation committed to honoring life from the moment of conception and ensuring American taxpayer dollars are never spent to end a life before it even begins."

He is currently a co-sponsor with 181 other legislators of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would bar abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or where the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or physical health of the mother. Mr. Murphy voted for the bill Tuesday evening, according to Roll Call. It passed 237 to 189.

Hopefully, women who vote for these guys will see them for who they really are.


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Did GOP Senator John Thune blame victims for being shot? Kinda really

Tue, 2017-10-03 16:19

I had to check several sources before I wrote this one because empathetically it hurts to the core. Republican Senator John Thune (R-SD) blamed the victims of mass killer Stephen Paddock and future victims of mass killers for being shot or for their deaths.

MSNBC's Hallie Jackson interviewed GOP Senator John Thune about the Las Vegas mass killing in the context of gun control. His answer was shocking.

Following is the transcript of exactly what he said.

It sounds like he used conversion kits and other things, you know, to make these weapons more lethal. Like I said - we'll look at the facts when we get them all in here. I think that all of us want to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like that from happening again. You know - it's an open society. And when somebody does what he wants to do - it's going to be hard to prevent anything. But I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions. To protect themselves. And in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said - get small.

There is much of the Conservative Right Wing ideology packaged succinctly in that one paragraph.

  • Deny or obfuscate the obvious: "It sounds like he used conversion kits and other things, you know, to make these weapons more lethal. Like I said - we'll look at the facts when we get them all in here."  It does not help that many in the media are complicit in the obfuscation, along with a president that gives a semblance that he cares.  This reality is now our normal. We all know who to blame already. BTW, this is no different than the style of the GOP lies about the ACA, supply-side economics, and much more.
  • Provide an empty statement implying future progress: "I think that all of us want to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like that from happening again." Just like with healthcare, education, environmental, social, racial, and criminal justice, the promises are always ignored and unfulfilled with backward progression.
  • Selective laissez-faire/freedom: "You know - it's an open society. And when somebody does what he wants to do - it's going to be hard to prevent anything." Of course, the freedom is extended only up to where it affects the plutocracy's ability to continue their pilfer on the masses. (e.g., when a Texas town attempted local control of their natural resources their freedom, Texas State Republicans stripped their freedom.)
  • You are on your own: "But I think people are going to have to take steps in their own lives to take precautions." We cannot alter politicians' freedom to fatten themselves with cash from the NRA and gun lobby that ensures no restrictions on their products. Of course the same applies to your healthcare. They give you the freedom to be on your own to die for the lack of the inability to afford health insurance.
  • Blame the victim: "To protect themselves, and in situations like that, you know, try to stay safe. As somebody said - get small."

Many said that Republicans like Roy Moore give the GOP a bad name and hurts the party. No, it is the ideology that damages the party. The loud, lewd, and boisterous Republicans are but the alter-ego of the polished Republicans. That short statement from John Thune says it all both literally and implicitly. Are there any questions about what the party has become?

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No CNN, the Las Vegas mass killer is not a ‘gentle giant’

Tue, 2017-10-03 12:00

CNN's segment describing who Las Vegas mass killer Stephen Paddock was illustrates the problems with the media. To many, the piece is an attempt to humanize Paddock as they promote his neighbor's description of him as a gentle giant.

The try to find motive is important but in the process, humanizing the killer as a gentle giant hurts the victims and exposes a media bias for some. This CNN report gives Stephen Paddock an undeserved amount of reverence not given to many 'others' in less violent killings.

Ending segment with the 'Gentle Giant' subliminal comment

"The retired accountant, firing dozens of rounds onto thousands of concert goers about five hundred yards away from two hotel windows he smashed on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay," the reporter said.

That antiseptic and matter-of-fact nature of the entry to Paddock's description gives the impression that it was some ordinary crime. It would have been more appropriate after introducing him to refer to him appropriately, the mass killer or the domestic terrorist. He was an accountant but what he is now is a mass murderer. Engrained in many Americans' minds is just an Accountant doing wrong. Is that how the media addressed the mass killers associated with Islam or people of color committing murders of lesser volume and terror?

CNN went out of their way to make Stephen Paddock seem like just the normal guy. CNN highlighted a statement by a gun shop owner who sold Paddock a gun.

"He didn't set off any of my alarms, anything that I felt like there was a problem in any way shape or form with him," said Chris Michel, owner of the Utah gun store. "He was a normal everyday guy that walks into my door fifty thousand times a day."

Really? Is that not the case with most killers purchasing weapons? That is not out of the ordinary.

CNN continues to build Paddocks character pointing out he has no criminal past. A lot of killers don't. They made sure to get his brother stating that Paddock never exhibited any violent tendencies.

The reporter points out that the brother said Stephen Paddock was a successful real estate investor who owned several properties. Instead of calling Paddock a gambler which has a negative connotation, they softened it.

"He also had an affinity for gambling," CNN said.

They then attempted to inject an excuse if only subliminally, maybe a seed from the past that caused him to snap.

"But the family has a troubled past," the reporter said. "Paddock's father, Benjamin, was a convicted bank robber who escaped from prison in the late sixties and was on the FBI's most wanted list."

But here is the kicker at the end of the segment.

"Neighbors shocked by the news," the CNN reporter continued. "Some even describing him as a gentle giant. 'We wouldn't recognize him as being anything out of the norm."

And there you have it. A mass killer, humanized.

These are the same networks that try to find all the negative information on victims of police brutality. Selective humanization continues to ensure this country has a distorted view of crime and who one must really fear. It's also responsible for our divisions based on false premises and preconceived notions.

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2nd Amendment loving country performer at Las Vegas mass shooting now wants gun control

Tue, 2017-10-03 02:35

Country performer, guitarist Caleb Keeter had a change of art. The 2nd Amendment loving guitarist now says he was wrong and wants gun control. In his impassioned tweet below he gave the cogent reason for the change.

Many have given up on those on the Right and Trump supporters. Many believe the Trump voter and the Right Wing voter are immutable. I have never believed that. I think many on the Right have a lack of empathy or less compassion than those who purport to be Progressives.

The country performer tweeted the following,

I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life.

Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.

They were useless.

We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.

Enough is enough.

Writing my parents and the love of my life a goodbye note last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand. There rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in close proximity of a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds.

We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.

My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.

We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.

While many were happy with the Keeter's change of heart, others were upset by his lack of empathy given Sandy Hook, etc.  @dopaminediscord tweeted the following.

I mean...really? CHILDREN were mowed down in their classroom. Six year olds. SIX YEAR OLDS. THAT didn't convince you? You had to

@lilh412 tweeted the following,

It's frustrating that some don't call the fire dept until the blaze is at their own front door. But we need more ppl on our side. Welcome.

Caleb Keeter opened the door wide enough to allow many Conservatives to run through. Better late than never.

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Tom Petty, legendary rocker is dead at the age of 66

Mon, 2017-10-02 17:19

Rocker Tom Petty has been found dead in his Malibu Home apparently of a heart attack. He was found unconscious and not breathing.

The Huffington Post reports the following.

Tom Petty, lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, has died after being found unconscious in his home, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed to CBS News. He was 66.

HuffPost has reached out to Petty’s reps for comment.

Petty was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center at Santa Monica while in “full cardiac arrest” on Sunday night, and reportedly taken off life support when he was found to have “no brain activity,” according to TMZ. ...

TMZ reports that Tom Petty has been taken off life support on a do not resuscitate order but has not yet died. A rep for the LAPD declined to confirm his death to HuffPost.

Petty had just played three sold-out shows at The Hollywood Bowl.

According to CBSNews,

Petty rose to fame in the 1970s with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The group put out several hits, including "American Girl," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Breakdown," "Listen to Her Heart" and more. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was also a successful solo artist and sang the megahit "Freefallin'."

Though Petty and his band debuted their first self-titled record in 1976, they continued to perform over the past four decades. Petty played his last show last Monday, performing three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl to conclude their 40th anniversary tour. The band wrote on their website that the tour included 53 shows in 24 states.

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No need for much information to assign blame this mass shooting & others (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-02 16:34

It is clear that events like the Las Vegas mass shooting can occur anywhere. However, We should not ignore the frequency with which they occur in the United States cannot. Are we going to continue tolerating this? When will we have an attention span long enough to do something about it?

It is false that we do not have clear means to solve this problem. Saying the Las Vegas mass shooting is deja vu sadly expresses an ineptness by Americans to stay focused long enough to solve our gun problem.

Mitch McConnell false concern for the Las Vegas mass shooting

In the morning of the of the attack, Trump read some remarks whose disingenuousness was apparent.

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.

These words from the country's most prolific instigator of hate and division are laughable. In fact, one cannot forget that Trump was an avid proponent of what he called 'second amendment remedies' if our leaders did not act in concert with his beliefs.

McConnell went on the Senate floor with some hypocritical absurdities as well. He said what happened in Las Vegas was shocking and tragic. He said many Americans are in shocked and wondered why someone would do something like this.

The fact is that every year many Americans who have access to guns of all kinds, access to unlimited ammunition, and the use of lax gun control laws, do this on a widespread basis. It is no longer shocking. In fact, it is very predictable that we will have one of these every few weeks.

We must blame ourselves for our lack of focus and perseverance. The NRA is only as powerful as we allow ourselves to be weak which is what we have become exactly.

Do we want more Sandy Hook Massacres? What about the Orlando nightclub, LaFayette, Douglas County Oregon, and the AME Church? When will we stay focused until our politicians pass gun control laws to mitigate what is becoming a new normal?

The government belongs to those who participate incessantly. Politicians still govern with our consent. It is the fault of us all that we cannot get gun control laws that would at least reduce these mass shooting events. We elect politicians. We can ensure they do not remain in office if they go against our will.

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Robert Reich: The Growing Irrelevance of President Trump

Mon, 2017-10-02 12:15

Announcement: Donald Trump is no longer the president of the United States

Oh sure, he has the title and he has the bully pulpit – from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA players to people protesting white supremacists to DACA kids.

But he’s not actively governing the United States. That work is happening elsewhere – in Congress, the courts, the Fed, the career civil service, lobbyists, and in the states. Or it’s not happening at all.

It’s not just that Trump lost the epic battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Trump never understood the Affordable Care Act to begin with, and played no part in developing Republican alternatives.

The budget Trump submitted to Congress in March was dead on arrival. House Republicans ignored Trump’s request for $54 billion in cuts to departments and agencies and decided instead to cut non-defense spending by just $5 billion, and explode the defense budget.

The 9-page tax plan congressional Republicans and Trump unveiled last week only vaguely resembles Trump’s original tax proposal from April, and all the important decisions have been left to the tax-writing committees of Congress.

Trump’s relations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have become so strained they have no interest in looping him into policies before they have to.

Meanwhile, Trump has run out of Obama executive orders he can declare void. Major regulations, such as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, can’t just be repealed. They have to go through a legal process that could take years.

Trump doesn’t seem to be aware of this. He told a cheering crowd in Alabama recently that he had ended the Clean Power Plan by executive order. “Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone.”

Nope. The EPA will soon reveal its strategy for reversing the Plan, but whatever it is, environmental groups are almost certain to appeal it in the courts. Big businesses and utilities, fearing that the courts may rule against the administration, are lobbying the EPA to come up with a replacement rather than try to eliminate the Plan altogether.

Although General John Kelly has reduced White House chaos somewhat, the firings and shakeups are unremitting.

Trump’s Cabinet secretaries don’t seem to have a clue. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos still wants to spend taxpayer money on for-profit schools and colleges that cheat their students. Won’t happen. The EPA’s Scott Pruitt is trying to strip the agency of scientists. Another brainless scheme.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still has no idea how to deal with Congress. He tried to persuade Republican House members to support Trump’s budget deal with the Democrats by asking them to do it “for me.”

Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price wasn’t fired for his ethical breaches. If ethics were the criteria, most of the Trump administration would be gone. Price broke Trump’s cardinal rule, which was never to get bad headlines for Trump.

Top echelons of departments and agencies are still empty. Trump has said “in many cases, we don’t want to fill those jobs,”which means decisions are being made by career civil servants and industry lobbyists.

By the start of September, more than a third of the leadership positions at the Federal Emergency Management Agency were still vacant. Not a good way to begin hurricane season. Puerto Rico, anyone?

As of mid-September, out of 599 key government positions that require Senate confirmation, Trump had made only 159 nominations, according to The Washington Post. Trump had yet to submit nominations for 320 positions.

Trump’s political clout is waning among Republicans. He couldn’t even get his pick elected to a Senate primary in Alabama, a state bulging with Trump voters.

Business leaders have deserted him over his remarks over Charlottesville. NFL owners have turned on him over his remarks about players. Tom Brady, who once called Trump “a good friend,” now calls him “divisive” and “wrong.”

Don’t get me wrong. Trump is still a dangerous showman and conman – tweeting condemnations of critics and ranting before friendly crowds at his never-ending campaign rallies. He continues to fuel bigotry and meanness. He has reduced America’s standing in the world. His outbursts could start a nuclear war.

But when it comes to the actual work of governing America, Trump is becoming utterly and completely irrelevant.

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President Trump’s remarks to the nation about Las Vegas mass shooting (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-02 11:26

Here is the video and transcript of President Trump's remarks to the nation after the Las Vegas mass shooting.

President Trump's remarks in Las Vegas Shooting

My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief.

Last night a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more.

It was an act of pure evil.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops.

I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts and for helping to save the lives of so many. The speed with which they acted is miraculous and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired, is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about.

Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you. And we ask god to help see you through this very dark period.

Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward.

In memory of the fallen, I have directed that our great flag be flown at half-staff. I will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement, first responders, and the families of the victims.
In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has.
We call upon the bonds that unite us, our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger, at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today. And always will. Forever.

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.

Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear.

May god bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God give us the grace of healing and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on. Thank you. God bless America. Thank you.

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50+ dead, 200+injured Mass Shooting at Las Vegas Country Music Festival

Mon, 2017-10-02 07:54

The Huffington Post is reporting the following.

At least 50 people were killed and 200 wounded after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas late Sunday night, police said. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Stephen Paddock, 64, shot at thousands of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. Authorities later killed Paddock, who Lombardo described as the “sole aggressor,” in the hotel room.

The gunfire interrupted singer Jason Aldean’s performance, the final act of this weekend’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event attended by tens of thousands of people. Aldean and his crew were unharmed, he said in an Instagram post, calling the incident “beyond horrific.”

The shooting was the third attack on a major music event in recent years. Last year, 22 people were killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. and in 2015, 90 people died in a suicide attack during a performance by the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan theatre in Paris.

Insane.... this JUST happened. #PrayForVegas

— Luke Broadlick (@LukeBroadlick) October 2, 2017


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Fox News Chris Wallace slams lying Trump budget director, tax cuts don’t work (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-10-01 15:59

Fox News' Chris Wallace had the most riveting interview of Donald Trump's Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. Wallace destroyed his argument for tax cuts. None of the other networks were as good in pressing the budget director.

Chris Wallace in this uncharacteristically aggressive interview of a close Trump official was thorough and provided an interviewing clinic.

Chris Wallace did not allow Mick Mulvaney to spin

Fox News Chris Wallace slams lying Trump budget director, tax cuts don't work (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 1, 2017

"There is no evidence that tax cuts pay for themselves," Chris Wallace said. "Reagan's tax cuts back in 1981 added $208 Billion to the deficit over four years. The Bush tax cuts in 2001 & 2003 added one and a half trillion dollars to the debt over ten years. Mr. Mulvaney, you can argue whether or not tax cuts spur economic growth. I think that is a perfectly legitimate argument. There is no evidence that they pay for themselves."

Mulvaney came back with a bloviating argument that he based on absolutely no facts as did Chris Wallace.

"Just look at the facts," a visibly shaken Mulvaney replied. "And you can go back Chris and make an assumption, and you can run some numbers. You have to make a couple assumptions about growth rates and so forth. But if we had 3% growth, which is what we are trying to get to, where we are at by the way right now. We are trying to maintain that 3% growth. If had been at 3% growth over the last ten years, the budget very nearly would be balanced this year. That is how big a difference it makes when you grow the American economy that additional one percent over ten years. Over the next ten years, if we can grow it at 3% instead of the 1.8% the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says we are going to grow and has been the average over the previous administration. If we can get to that 3%, it is two to two and a half trillion worth of more government revenues. It's 12 million additional jobs, 12 million jobs paying into Medicare, 12 million jobs paying into social security. Growth is really what is driving all of this. And growth is what our focus is. Which is why we are willing to accept increased short-term deficits in exchange for that long-term payoff."

That was a bunch of crap. In effect, he said if you cook the books, one could show that tax cuts pay for themselves.

Chris Wallace gave Mulvaney the facts. Every Republican tax cut has increased the size of the deficit. The Conservative experiment of cutting taxes failed in Kansas. Intelligent tax increases in California grew the California economy. And lest we forget, Bill Clinton increased taxes and oversaw one of the most robust economic growth and job creation in this nation's history.

Chris Wallace continued his grilling of the budget director.

"That's the point I want to make," Chris Wallace said. "And you seem to be agreeing with me. Growth is the right thing. And there is no question, tax cuts can produce growth. ... In fact, in the 90s Bill Clinton had a tax increase and we had the biggest growth we had in any decade in recent history. There are a lot of other factors I think you would agree other than government fiscal policy. The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors for Ronald Reagan said the benefit, the payback from a tax cut is 35 cents on the dollar. In other words, he is saying if you cut taxes a dollar, you add 65 cents to the debt."

It was clear Wallace stumped the budget director.

"I am sorry," Mulvaney said. "I am not familiar with that."

Sadly, a party that succeeded in electoral politics by lying, ignoring science, and facts, is a party who would say anything to pass their provably insane laws. We must resist lest they destroy what is left of the real middle-class.


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