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Dispel the lie once and for all, America is not Center-Right. It’s Progressive

Wed, 2017-11-01 12:26

One must continue to push back on the fallacy that America is a center-right country. It is not. America is a Progressive country, and we can prove it.

For too long, too many have allowed Republicans to put into our lexicon that America is center-right. To move forward, one must dispel that fallacy. A few years ago I wrote the article "America Is A Center-Left Country While American Voters Are Center-Right" among others where I closed as follows.

America is a Center-Left country irrespective of statements by those who would want to institute policies that are definitely not beneficial to the middle-class. For the last 30 years, most of our policies were far Right or Center Right policies. Its effect on the wealth, income, and employment of the middle-class has been devastating. It has caused the outsourcing of our manufacturing base. It has pilfered the middle-class by transferring an inordinate amount of wealth to the top 2%. Most importantly it has endangered our national security by making us more dependent on others and less able to be a self-sufficient nation.


A few years ago Marty Kaplan at HuffPost wrote the piece "Center-Right Hype vs. Center-Left Data" where he concluded given the data the following.

The country leans to the left. The center leans to the left. Center-right is losers’ wishful thinking; center-left is where the country says it stands.

Elizabeth Warren pointed out the reality that America is, in fact, progressive at the 2015 Netroots Nation Conference. Her speech was one of the best she has given on the subject.

New York Times' Eric Levitz wrote a more recent comprehensive piece that proves the reality that America is a Progressive nation holds true.

The Democratic Party has learned to stop worrying and love “big government” liberalism. The party’s top presidential prospects are advertising their ardor for socialized medicine, free public college, universal child care and paid family leave.

Even the party’s moderate senators are now pushing for the same kind of public health insurance option that their centrist predecessors killed in the early Obama years. And the party’s 2018 platform — the consensus agenda that ostensibly unites all Democrats, from Joe Manchin of West Virginia to Bernie Sanders — calls for vigorous antitrust enforcement to prevent mega-corporations from rigging the economy against working people.

The party’s resident “sensible centrists” are horrified: “Has the entire Democratic Party forgotten the words ‘George McGovern’?” they cry. In column after column, they have been imploring their co-partisans to remember a fundamental fact: America is a center-right nation, where nearly 70 percent of voters are moderate or conservative, and just 25 percent are liberal. Over the past eight years, Democrats lost sight of this inconvenient truth — and lost control of more than 1,000 state legislative seats, the House, the Senate and the presidency.

This argument may sound coolheaded and pragmatic. But its core premises — that American voters are hostile to progressive economics and have punished the (increasingly left-wing) Democratic Party accordingly — actually rest on ideological conviction, not empirical evidence.

Levitz identified all of the studies and data that dispels the notion of a Center-Right America. He then pointed out the obvious.

The Democratic Party has failed to translate the popularity of progressive economics into electoral success for a variety of reasons. The most fundamental is the one we’ve already observed: Most voters cast their ballots on the basis of identity, not policy. ...

Democrats have all kinds of ways of addressing this problem. One would be to cultivate the class identity of white voters by embracing populist rhetoric that paints “the billionaire class” as an out-group they can define themselves against. Another would be to invest more resources into registering nonwhite voters. ...

Embracing a more conservative economic agenda, however, would solve none of the Democrats’ problems. At a time of historic inequality, rampant corporate consolidation and environmental crisis, the case for more robust redistributive social programs and public-interest regulations is strong. When centrist Democrats claim that making such a case is electoral suicide, they reveal less about the American public’s stubbornly center-right convictions than about their own.

In other words, Democrats buying into the Center-Right nonsense are mostly describing their proclivities. I discussed this phenomenon in the piece "We are being played by the Democratic Establishment & Republicans alike" that pretty much explains why the establishment of both parties is comfortable accepting that status quo.

Going forward, push back on anytime any indication is given that America leans Right. It does not. Make sure you inform your sphere of influence and encourage them to do the same.

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Why I Love Taxes – And So Should You

Tue, 2017-10-31 23:47

by Heather Mallick

I love taxes. I even love paying them because they’re inarguable, which brings a kind of comfort in a shifting world. What Revenue Canada wants, Revenue Canada gets. Good for them.

Unlike so many coveted things that fail to deliver — wealth only brings a new set of problems, infants are worry magnets, good men are hard to find — taxation does what it promises. It keeps Canadian life tidy and organized.

My annual column on the sunlit side of taxes usually lists services that slide beneath people’s radar, like traffic lights, nail salon inspection, harbour police, newborn registration, farm product marketing, fire safety, the Death Investigation Oversight Council, drug evaluation, the Moose-Bear Allocation Advisory Committee and so on.

One day the investigation into your death will be conducted shoddily, or you will be allocated a bear and not the moose you yearned for. I’m assuming you wanted the moose as a pet? My editor is shaking his head. So no, then.

Well, had you been willing to pay a little more tax, government systems might have had sufficient staff to attend to you, a murder victim with an estate consisting of a dead herbivore the size of a moving van.

I’ll give you the best example of a service Torontonians never dreamed was needed but now are cheering.

At 4 on Wednesday morning, a young woman was seen downtown clinging to a block hanging by wires from a tall crane. It was not clear if she was suicidal, drugged, a rooftopper, or a crime victim. But 12 storeys up, one slip of her arm would have had her broken, bloody and pasted to the ground.

Firefighters and police arrived. Rob Wonfor, a cheerful 52-year-old firefighter who describes himself as “a bit of a monkey,” climbed the crane, along with a police negotiator who talks people down — Wonfor said the negotiator was so calming he sounded like Perry Como, who basically slept through his songs — and reached the woman.

She wrapped herself around him and he held her to him like a baby in a carrier. It was found to be unsafe to lower the block so they both rappelled down.

As it turns out, the woman had been a fierce climber since childhood and rooftopped for the joy of it. “You overlook the city. It’s really amazing, like a deep breath of euphoria,” as one rooftopping photographer has described it to the Star.

I salute both of them, Wonfor, the affable athlete, the quintessential good Canadian heading off after the rescue to tend goal in a recreational hockey league, and risk-hound Marisa Lazo who, like all 23-year-olds, thinks she will never die. Long may she think this.

But charming as the story is, the real story is that in Toronto, if someone’s at risk, the city can immediately deploy trained teams to make them safe and take them to hospital for free health care. That is one well-designed system.

Think of the places in the world where poisonous water is delivered to homes, where passengers are violently ejected from planes, where airports are dangerous and filthy, where being injured means medical bankruptcy.

Could this be the USA, a huge and powerful country where “tax” is the most despised word there is? A politician dare not say “tax” except to deplore it.

“Tax” smells of sulphur, it rots your flooring, frays your gumption, makes your morals pliable, your children shorter and scared of the ball.

In Canada, tax is the price we pay for civilization. In Ontario, Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne is boxed in; she dare not raise taxes to pay for total pharmacare. So I wish Andrea Horwath of the NDP would show some courage for once and call for a tax increase to cover more than those 125 or so choice medications. Under her plan, I envision those with costly cancer resenting the cosseted asthmatics.

Canadians can have everything they want, as long as they’re willing to pay for it. My Main St. bus route in Toronto is a road of rubble. Canada is short of judges. Victoria still pumps raw sewage into the ocean. We need more English classes for refugees, more hospital beds, more help for indigenous people.

Why has tax come to be a dirty word in Canada? If each Canadian contributed a few dollars more, we could fix all this, as well as plucking the younger generation out of the air and taking them to safety.

Reprinted with permission from the author.
Originally posted at Toronto Star Newspaper Ltd. and Common Dreams.

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Roland Martin schools General Kelly on history & normalization of America’s sin (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-10-31 15:20

Roland Martin in the last few days seemed to be the go-to man to check Trump, his supporters, and Democrats. Today he gave a schooling to Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly. And he castigated Laura Ingraham, one of the Rights biggest hacks devoted to misinforming the Trump base further.

Martin did not hold back as he appropriately excoriated General John Kelly for his inept statements about the civil war and Robert E. Lee.

Roland Martin Schools General John Kelly

"John Kelly said that to not appreciate this shows a lack of appreciation for history," co-host Ali Velshi said. "You have tweeted out this morning calling Kelly's comments insanely stupid. Tell me how you really feel about this."

"Yeah. I'm not going to allow four stars to allow stuck on stupid to simply go on," Roland Martin said. "Here's a man who's utterly clueless. For him to say that, well, we could have compromised. Really? We did compromise. It was a thing called the United States Constitution. And do you know what that said? If you're black, you're 3/5 of a human."

Martin then went on to summarily school the clueless general.

"What he should do is go read Lawrence Goldstone's book Dark Bargain where details the compromises made with the South just to get the Constitution passed.," Martin said. "You want to talk compromise? How about the Hayes-Tilden Compromise, which was never written down called the Great Compromise of 1877 that ended the 12 years of Reconstruction and ushered in Jim Crow. They removed the federal troops from the last three remaining southern capitals. We could talk about compromise -- the fact we had a Civil Rights Act of 1866, one in 1875, and we didn't another one til 1957, which was rather weak. How about compromise? We had three Reconstruction amendments: the 13th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. But you know what? America didn't care about those constitutional amendments because of that 1877 compromise, which led to the Civil Rights Act of '64 and the Voting Rights Act of '65 and the Fair Housing Act of '68. And so I need John Kelly to actually go back and read a history book that my 12-year-old nieces are reading right now because clearly, he fell asleep in history."

Stephanie Ruhle then asked Martin to expand on another ridiculous statement Kelly made.

"I don't know if he fell asleep in history, but I'll tell you, my son who's in the sixth grade is reading that same history Roland's nieces are," Ruhle said.."What about Kelly's claim that 150 years ago, states were more important than country, and that he gave up his country to fight for the state of Virginia -- Robert E. Lee I'm talking about."

"Well, guess what then," Roland Martin said. "Then I want to see General Kelly defend anybody who's in ISIS. Because you know what they're doing? They're giving up country for ideology. It's the same exact thing. See, this is how we normalize white supremacy. And then to say, well, we don't have an appreciation of history. I love this whole deal about how, well, you know, he was an honorable man. Really? There were abolitionists during that particular period who did not believe in slavery. So, don't call the men of their time. But maybe General Kelly also didn't read this, which was from Wesley Norris, one of the slaves that he had, where he said that when we ran away, he asked why did we run away. And we said because we're free. He ordered us to be beaten, given 50 lashes. And then when one of his overseers wouldn't do it, he called Dick Williams, a county constable, who was called in to give us the lashes. And it was Lee who said lay it on well, an injunction which he did not fail to heed. Not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, General Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done. You call that honorable? You call that decent? "

Ali Velshi then asked Martin if people who claim one should not judge by today's standards. Martin made it clear there were honorable white people, specifically white abolitionists living in those times, so there was nothing noble about neither slave owners or the perpetrators of the evil acts.

"We have too many people in this country who are white who do not know history, who want to somehow glorify these Confederate leaders," Martin said. "And I'm telling you right now, they ain't my founding fathers and they're not my leaders. We need to have real history, not a his-story, but history. And I will say that John Kelly, shame on you."

And Martin was not done. He wanted to let Lauran Ingraham know she conducted an uninformed interview.

"Real quick," Martin said. "Laura Ingraham, you need to go read a history book too because if you let him lie like that in front of you, you don't know what the hell you're doing."

Of all those critiquing Kelly's most uninformed response, Roland Martin has been the most on point.

(r/t MediaMatters)

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Americans Should Take a Lesson from Canadians and Just Grow Up

Tue, 2017-10-31 12:36

by Heather Mallick

Canadians and Americans are different. In this Trumpian moment of madness, what a pleasure it is to remember this.

Though this classic The Beaverton headline gets it right — “Homegrown Canadian racists determined to compete with flashier American racists” — and though we are sodden, absolutely dripping, with American culture in all its crass cruelty and violence, we haven’t done too badly.

Personable as individual Americans are — and I again invite lovely fed-up Democrats to apply for Canadian citizenship, we need your tired huddled masses, etc. — history and habit have made their nation singular.

To those easily offended here, may I remind you that it is my job to trace the pattern in the carpet, not each individual tuft.

The U.S. is — how can I put this tactfully? — childish, with all the charm and menace that entails. American adults dress like kids in baseball caps, sneakers and comfy pants, but add a semi-automatic rifle to the outfit and it’s... troubling.

Their cuisine is childish too, with huge servings of fried food loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat. Even their implements are primitive. “Consider the plastic drinking straw. Why do we suck so much?” the Washington Post asked this week of citizens unable to drink from the rim of a glass.

The reason must lie in the “shared psyche” of Americans, but what could it be, the Post wondered. “Laziness? Clumsiness? Germaphobia?” Infantilism went unmentioned. The drinking straw is the adult equivalent of a sippy cup.

And why the Disney fetish? “Americans long for a closed society in which everything can be bought, where labourers are either hidden away or dressed up as non-humans so as not to be disconcerting. This place is called Disney World,” was the journalist Adam Gopnik’s explanation. But he is an adult.

“A person doesn’t ‘visit’ Disney World; Disney World sucks you into its digestive tract,” the scriptwriter Adam Resnick says, but he is an angry adult, an intelligent American who will have no truck with candyland.

For children have no taste, as every parent comes to realize. They like bright colours, plastic, blatancy, simplicity and repetition. How do adults endure it?

The cruise industry offers daycare for grown-ups, crass all-you-can-eat vacations with all the adventure of a car seat. Have you ever been on an island and seen American tourists flood at you off a ship? It’s not the mercilessness of the crowd that scares you, it’s the smiling.

Americans love to smile. I don’t think at this point they actually enjoy it, but it’s mandatory, a fallback, a state of facial repose. Don’t do it overseas. People passing you on the street think you’re an idiot, an American idiot grinning pointlessly at nothing.

And what’s with the crying? American politicians have tears on tap. Prime Minister Trudeau cried about Gord Downie, which makes sense to me. The guy died. In Washington, men cry about their humble beginnings, the flag, the greatness of their nation. Silly men. They cry about clouds.

I’ll give you something to cry about, voters must think. Or maybe their hearts are swelling in unison, their vision equally distorted by tender tears. I don’t mind Americans being told the purpose of life is pursuing happiness — good luck with that, my friends — but the accompanying sentimentality is fatal.

I try not to use the word “patriarchy” for it has become over-generalized jargon, but the U.S. is indeed a fatherland, simultaneously “proud and servile,” as Alexis de Tocqueville put it in 1835 when he visited. Read that man, he’s a treat.

The president is a father figure. Canadians find this weird. I hope nothing so bad ever happens to me that the PM thinks he should phone, god forbid a hugging situation.

Dad is in the army. The military mindset is so baked into Americans that the president is seen as the commander-in-chief, although you’d think Trump’s bone spurs would have prevented that. Also he’ll be called “President” forever just as that lying John Kelly is still called “General” even though he retired.

It bothers me to see such militarism linked to family life and toddlerhood.

Does no one, upset by Trump’s foul attacks on “Gold Star” families, consider the awfulness of the phrase? Your child is dead. You get a gold star. If that is a euphemism for a blighted life without the child you gave birth to, it’s a tasteless, heartless one.

The Americans have a talent for unpalatable euphemisms, like calling something a “challenge” when it is a massive intractable problem like opioids or Trump being a racist, geriatric, sex pest who could kill us all. Evasion is the enemy of the free speech so celebrated, so degraded.

Back to my theme. This is how you talk to children. I note that Canadian media have picked up the habit of referring to “fallen” soldiers instead of dead ones, which makes war sound like a playground. This is part of the U.S. habit of demanding a happy ending to all stories, cheap sentiment being their particular poison.

U.S. movies are aimed at childish audiences. They are quite literally cartoons — such movie franchises are worth gold — or computer-animation with renderings of extraordinary violence that never seem real, part of the reason the Sandy Hook child slaughter had no effect on U.S. gun laws. American culture is literal, with a poor grasp of irony and complication. It would be taboo to show photos of the dead victims but not taboo to have let them be shot.

Canadians increasingly talk like Americans, which is inevitable as 325 million people drown out 37 million. But one of our best qualities is our understanding of the foreign, perhaps because so many of us come from elsewhere. We know that other nations exist and do things differently from us. It’s one reason we’re reluctant to wage war. Americans don’t even understand foreign as a concept. Like a child, the world revolves around them alone.

American exceptionalism is an idea whose time has passed. But we never thought of Americans as an ideal in the first place; it’s why once upon a time many of us left or fought. We wanted peace, order and good government. It’s a funny thing to be passionately attached to something so sensible, but that is our Canadian way.

I wish Americans would grow up. Trump will either shock them into maturity or regression.

Reprinted with permission from the author.
Originally posted at Toronto Star Newspaper Ltd. and Common Dreams.

Heather Mallick is a Canadian columnist, author and lecturer. She writes a twice weekly column for the Toronto Star, an occasional column for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's website, and a monthly column for The Guardian's website.

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Roland Martin: At what point will you wake up and realize you’re getting screwed? (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-30 16:06

Roland Martin was on point on This Week where he asked Trump supporters a critical question. When will you wake up and realize you're getting screwed by Trump? But he goes much more in-depth with some data they may not have noticed.

Some Trump voters may never ask themselves the question but enough will when the fog is lifted. Help burn off the mist in their world where fake news reign.

Roland Martin asks Trumpsters the critical question.

Roland Martin: At what point will you wake up and realize you're getting screwed? (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 30, 2017

"George, what they have to accept is that they had this alliance," Roland Martin said. "It's an alliance of white Conservative Evangelicals aligning with white nationalists, white supremacists like Gorka and like Bannon. What's interesting to me is, I am looking at all these Trump voters. And I am going, at what point will you wake up and realize you're getting screwed. They are getting screwed when you look at the affordable care act because they are benefiting from it. They are getting screwed when this man [Trump] stood up and talked about the opioid crisis and the most he did this week was to hold a news conference and said we are going to have a few more ads. They are going to get screwed on the tax deal as well. Look, broke is broke. And some of the 'brokest,' poorest counties in America, two-thirds of them, are in Republican districts. They are going to get screwed."

Martin brings a rawness to the conversation that these morning shows run from most of the times. Ironically, it is this type of narrative that will likely reach the Trump voter before the analytic and antiseptic prose that progressive pundits give on these programs.

I covered this very subject in a recent blog post titled "Trump’s policies screwing his own voters while helping more Clinton’s voters" that is worth a read as well.

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Tax cuts may cost Republican majorities just as Obamacare did for Democrats (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-30 12:30

Republicans are in overdrive as they attempt to pass tax cuts they are marketing as tax cuts for the middle-class when it is a theft of middle-class money they will transfer to those with means and power. This political analyst has a warning Republicans will do well to listen to sooner than later.

Political Analyst Matthew Dowd gives Republicans a caution on tax cuts, be careful what you wish for as passage of the bill may seal an electoral defeat.

Matthew Dowd warns Republicans on Tax Cuts.

Tax cuts may cost Republican majorities just as Obamacare did for Democrats (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 30, 2017

"Be careful what you wish for," Dowd said. "This is just like much of the pressure that the Obama administration put on the Democrats in Congress in 2009, 'You've got to pass something. We need to have something to run on.' They pass Obamacare. And they lose almost every single office. This tax bill to me right now, all the polls show, it's very unpopular, the elements that we know. Eighty percent of the benefits of this tax bill go to the top one percent of the country. So it's not going to help the working class, those voters that are going to decide this election.

But I think fundamentally, Lindsey Graham is wrong about one thing. One, the Republicans hold all the levers of power in this. I think he is wrong that the Republican Party whether or not they pass this tax bill is dead. The Republican Party as we know it, the party of Ronald Reagan, the party of George W. Bush, is gone. The party now is the Donald Trump Party. Eighty percent or eighty-five percent of the Republican voters regardless of what the Republicans say in Washington, that walk around the halls of the Capitol and say what they think the Republican Party is, that party is long gone. They have to terms that this is the Trump-Steve-Bannon Party, that is more welcoming to somebody like Roy Moore than it is to somebody like Jeff Flake."

Jeff Flake excoriates Trump and what GOP has become

Maybe Flake is reading the tea leaf? Will Democrats step up and take it?

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Roland Martin’s wake up call to Democrats: Republicans ARE NOT imploding (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-10-30 02:43

Democrats continue to play prevent-defense instead of aggressively telling Americans why they believe they are better stewards of the country. Worse, their push back on Republican catastrophically evil legislation is at best timid. They act as if 2018 is a shoo-in. Roland Martin says it best as he busts their bubble.

Roland Martin warns Democrats

Roland Martins wake up call to Democrats: Republicans ARE NOT imploding (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 30, 2017

"Here's the thing with what Graham said that people have to understand," Roland Martin said. "And Democrats are running around saying oh my god with the possibility here. The fact the matter is the Republican Party is not imploding when you control 31 governor's mansions. When you control legislators, House, Senate, and the White House, more importantly, the Judiciary, you're not imploding. Yeah, you have these internal fights. But this is about power. This is not about principles or character or morals and values. They want to maintain power. Trump is the vessel that allows them to do so. And so they'll fall in line. Jeff Flake, that wasn't courageous what he did. Courageous is to still run. Courageous to say I'm gonna campaign around Arizona and speak the truth and if I lose that's fine. I'm not giving anybody props for giving a speech and cutting and running. No, you stand up, and you stay in the office. You challenge them. That's how you do it. But people have to stop thinking the Republican Party is dead. They're not. And we you see what's happening in North Carolina, where it is sadistic what they're doing, where it is undemocratic. With Wisconsin, those states. We ignore what's happening in these states. Texas, five times they lost in the federal courts over voter ID. It cost three million dollars. It is real, what they're doing."

Roland Martin gave Democrats a necessary warning that one hopes they heed as they continue their journey of snatching defeat from what should be a victory.

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NFL team owner Bob McNair’s statement confirms player are but high priced slaves (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-10-29 15:05

The racially tinged dog whistle from NFL team owner Bob McNair should come as no surprise for any observant person. The actions of the teams have spoken volumes over the decades.

Bob McNair claims he was not referring to players when he made his offensive statements which means he also undermines our intelligence.

James Brown statement on Bob McNair's comments on NFL players

James Brown offers his thoughts on Bob McNair’s recent comments.

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 29, 2017

According to CBS Sports,

For two days after the 24 owners and players convened, all the NFL owners met to discuss, among other things, what to do about sagging ratings, which was directly related to fans' anger at the anthem protests.

On Day 2 of the meetings, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told his colleagues that they needed to seriously consider the impact the anthem issue was having on the league's bottom line, and to some in the room Jones was building towards an mandate that would require players to stand during the anthem, similar to NBA's rule.

According to Wickersham and Van Natta, as Jones made his case, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said, "See, Jones gets it -- 96 percent of Americans are for guys standing," a remark some dismissed as an overstatement. Texans owner and Trump supporter Bob McNair spoke next, and he had many of the same concerns as Jones.

"We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair reportedly said, referring to the players." ...

After the owners had spoken, NFL executive and former NFL player Troy Vincent stood up. He was offended by McNair's "inmates" comments. And according to Wickersham and Van Natta, "Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL -- during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word -- he never felt like an 'inmate.'"

Later, McNair pulled Vincent aside to apologize -- saying he felt horrible and this his words weren't to be taken literally. Vincent reportedly appreciated McNair's apology. And on Friday, hours after the story was published, McNair issued an apology through the Texans.

The offensive comment by the owner of the Houston Texans is another example of the Trump Effect. Bob McNair is a staunch Trump supporter and has fallen into the freedom trap where one can release their most deep-seated racism and prejudice, their true feelings. But one should not believe that this is solely a reflection on Bob McNair.

Dallas Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones after disingenuously kneeling with his players before the National Anthem decided to go all Trumpian and required his players to stand for the item. And of course, there is the owner of the Washington Redskins who refuses to change the offensive name of the team. One could go on and on. To these owners, that is just what they believe; they are owners of lesser human bodies.

Players are nothing but high priced slaves. They pay them well because their return on investment is maximized by keeping them happy and productive while playing. Mess with the bottom line, and the owners present the virtual whip. Misbehave too severely, and you get "traded." Even the terminology is that of the slave trade.

One hopes that players will assert their real power. They could be the example American workers need to understand that the power is not in the hands of the few with capital that make them masters, but with the masses who absent their labor and intellect, make capital useless and owners of capital with little power.

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Ron Reagan on Trump: Deeply troubled unfit president dragging country down (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-10-29 03:48

Ron Reagan appeared on MSNBC with an excoriation of Donald Trump with some of his harshest language to date. Moreover, he equated those in the Republican Party supporting Trump as traitorous and much more. If his admonishment does not give many Republicans pause, there is no hope for the party.

Ron Reagan slams Trump and the Republican Party

Ron Reagan - Trump's a deeply troubled man unfit to be president dragging country down (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 29, 2017

Ron Reagan pointed out that there is no longer room for moderation in the Republican Party. He said the party is now the Party of Trump.

"That will, of course, last only as long as Mr. Trump lasts," Reagan said. "And Mr. Mueller may have something to say about that."

Ron Reagan then laid into Republican politicians appeasing Trump. He said those supporting Trump had to be post-factual, comfortable with un-reality, and engage in a traitorous behavior.

"The Russian efforts on social media, the Internet, regarding our democratic system are ongoing." Ron Reagan said. "And they will be going in 2018, the midterm elections. So for Mr. Trump to go out and say that this is all a hoax; to insist, to continue to insist that this is a hoax is aiding and abetting the Russian effort right now. Whatever happened during the campaign, that's one thing. And Mr. Mueller will you know get to the bottom of that I'm sure. But right now Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans are aiding and abetting the Russians, the Russian effort to sabotage our democracy by digging in their heels and pretending this is all a hoax, and it didn't really happen."

Ron Reagan had a parting shot for Donald Trump that everyone should heed.

"Donald Trump is unfit for office by any measure, the man is unfit for office and people like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake and many many Republicans, as well as virtually all Democrats, realize that," Ron Reagan said. "People who are close to the situation understand that. This is a danger to our country. It is a danger to the world. And this is a central fact. Instead of chasing tweets you know like we do; he throws out these things and we all go running after them, we need to grapple with a central fact here. This is a deeply damaged human being in the White House right now. And he is dragging our country down, and it's a danger."

Ron Reagan hit the nail on the head.

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Trump declares opioid epidemic a health emergency. What about crack? (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-10-28 12:36

I was happy to hear that Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a health emergency. It is a medical problem. But after reflecting I got upset because the crack epidemic was not given similar 'coddling.' I explain in the video below why it will do well if we use this reality to understand that these addictions are based on national pain created by our politicians.

Trump declares the opioid epidemic. Remember the crack epidemic?

Lornet Turnbull wrote an excellent piece titled "Opioid Addicts Get Compassion. Crack Addicts Get Mass Incarceration" that is a must-read. She writes the following.

President Trump on Thursday declared opioid addiction a public health emergency, a move that will free up some resources for treatment and bring new focus on this growing public scourge.

But those same images are familiar to many who remember another era, when a different drug crisis seized cities, hollowing out neighborhoods and destroying lives. Unlike the heroin and prescription drug-addiction that today affects mostly suburban and rural whites, the crack cocaine rage of the 1980s and 90s ravaged the African-American community.

Back then the response wasn’t rehabilitation centers and overdose treatment but prison cells and “Just Say No.” The crack cocaine epidemic was treated as a war, not a public health crisis. And young African Americans—the addicts as well as those who preyed on them—were swept up, prosecuted, and sent away.

“It shows the remarkable difference in how we are viewing this,” said Ekow Yankah, a Cardozo School of Law professor whose work focuses on questions of criminal theory and punishment. “There was no wave of national compassion. Some liberals and representatives of minority communities in particular were desperate for America to take a public health view of drug addiction in the 1980s and 1990s.”

In fact, Yankah says America’s willingness to embrace the drug epidemic’s newest addicts with compassion is a perfect example of racism. “Confronted by two people facing the exact same problem, one of whom looks like your child or your neighbor’s child: Is it fundamentally you?” he asked. “When it is a black face, we don’t see the same humanity.”

What are your thoughts?

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Joy Behar slams Van Jones for kumbaya with Right: ‘When they go low we go lower’ (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-10-28 03:26

Van Jones and Joy Behar appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. She lit into Van Jones and then went on to point out that Democrats were wimps in the way they fought against the Right.

Joy Behar is mad that Democrats continue to bring a knife to a gunfight and she took it out on Van Jones for his overtures to Right.

Joy Behar lights into Van Jones

Joy Behar slams Van Jones for kumbaya with Right: 'When they go low we go lower' (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 28, 2017

Bill Maher told Behar she was his ally for agreeing with him that Democrats play much too nice. He said Democrats never go for the jugular.

"When they go low," Maher said. "We go high."

"No," Behar said. "When they go low, we should go lower."

Maher agreed as Van Jones displayed a face of disapproval. That enraged Behar.

"Van, listen," Behar shouted. "You are the first perpetrator of this. He wants the kumbaya. F$ck the kumbaya. People on that side are crazy. Don't you understand? They are crazy. You don't deal with white supremacists. I am not talking to him [Van Jones], I am talking to you [Bill Maher]."

"What happened to that gene in the Democrat's makeup," Maher asked. "It wasn't that way with Bobby Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. They were tough. They weren't this kind of 'too nice' Democrat."

Bill went on to say that he believes part of the problem is political correctness. Behar agreed.

Joy Behar recounted a time when she told John Kerry that he needed to be tough among other things. She said he said not to worry, he can handle it. Both Maher and Bahar pointed out that he didn't.

Behar spoke about another flaw in the Democratic narrative. She said Democrats need to get out of the weeds and speak in a simple manner, unlike CNN and MSNBC.

"Go right for the jugular," Behar said. "the way Trump does it. He is smart in that way."

"He is a terrific con man," Bill Maher said.

While I believe in civil discourse and engagement, there are times when one must display their inner boxer.


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The worse rendition of God Bless America occured at the World Series in Houston? (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-10-28 02:26

At first, I thought it was a joke. But it wasn't. This singing was the worse rendition of God Bless America I have ever heard, and no one seemed to care that someone butchered a song sacred to many. But they care about football players peacefully kneeling to protest police brutality?

God Bless America

How is Twitter silent about this “performance” of God Bless America. #WalmartGuitar #PitchProblems

— JRing (@JRingSez) October 28, 2017

This is likely the worse rendition of God Bless America you would have ever heard. And it happened at the World Series in Houston as the Houston Astros beat the L.A. Dodgers 5 to 3. One wonders if this guy even had an audition before they put him up there to sing.

Well, the outcome of the game mitigated the embarrassment that Houston might have suffered from such a blatant miscarriage of musical justice.

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We have two parties but it’s not the Democratic & Republican Parties

Fri, 2017-10-27 12:21

Robert Reich wrote an article titled "America now has six political parties" that while technically correct for the present it should not going forward. Here is why I believe we have two parties only. The differences between the establishment Democratic & Republican parties are almost inconsequential based on their actions.

Robert Reich described the six parties as follows.

  • Establishment Republicans, consisting of large corporations, Wall Street, and major GOP funders. Their goal is to have their taxes cut.
  • Anti-establishment Republicans, consisting of Tea Partiers, the Freedom Caucus, and libertarians. Their goal is to have a smaller government with shrinking deficits and debts. Many of them also want to get Big Money out of politics and end crony capitalism.
  • Social conservative Republicans – evangelicals and rural Southern whites. They want America to return to what they call “Christian” values.
  • Establishment Democrats – corporate and Wall Street executives and upper-middle-class professionals. They’d also like a tax cut, but they believe in equal rights.
  • Anti-establishment Democrats – younger, grassroots movement types, and progressives who still call themselves Democrats. Their biggest issues are widening inequality, racism, sexism, and climate change. They also want to get Big Money out of politics and they reject crony capitalism.
  • The sixth party is Trump. This party consists of Donald J. Trump and his fanatical followers. Trump’s goal is to get more money for himself, get more power for himself, get more attention to himself, and get even.

I think there are only two, the haves and the have-nots. What we have is a system that uses cultural differences that have little to do with government to create chaos and factions to prevent good governance that allows the few to pilfer us all.

All the factions above have been infiltrated to prevent the unity of the masses. The goal should be to disassociate parties in the long run and force actions on middle-class centric policies.

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Progressives must extricate sexism from within and fight like they mean it

Thu, 2017-10-26 15:45

There is a Facebook meme circulating that should give Progressives pause. It is likely the work of a Right Wing meme shop, but it tells a remarkable story. It describes a narrative about selective relative outrage. The idea behind the meme is to codify in the minds of many that Progressives are hypocrites in the manner they respond to issues they deem to care about widely. And to some extent they are correct.

Sexism and misogyny are prevalent in the film industry, an industry that leans Progressive. It is a known that people whisper about, but do nothing about, no marches, no significant op-eds, etc.

To be truthful, Conservatives and Right Wingers in the aggregate do the same. They have embraced Donald Trump even though his values are anathema to everything they've ever preached.

The issue here is that sexism and misogyny are just as prevalent on the Right as it is on the Left. The only difference is that Progressives codify their objection to it with laws while Conservatives and the Right Wing ignore the reality. In fact, the Right passes bills to cauterize anti-women law into society.

Conservatives oppose laws that force companies to provide birth control, an economic issue for both women and their partners, yet there is no such concern over male impotence drugs like Viagra. Sexism is so baked into our societies; many do not give these issues a second thought, not even many Progressives supposedly fighting the good fight. The same hypocrisy occurs with abortion, an issue that affects women both from an economic standpoint and to some a moral one.

A quote erroneously attributed to Gloria Steinem while amusing explains it all.

I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protestor who call him a murderer. After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.

The story about an immigrant in a detention center denied an abortion that she was paying for herself by an overbearing Right Wing administration illustrates the degree to which sexism permeates our society. A man sitting down in some high office decided he would control the life of a pregnant seventeen-year-old.

The Progressive agenda is the correct agenda for society. They write papers on racial equality, gender equality, social justice, criminal justice, and they say all the right things. What they do not do that make them a legitimate target for the Right, is to get sufficiently introspective.

The same sexism and all the other isms that affect the Right also affect the Left. Because Progressives attempt to pass laws to mitigate these isms do not give them a pass to ignore the perpetrators of these. That many Progressives who previously voted for President Obama either sat out the 2016 election, threw away their vote or voted for Donald Trump show the extent to which sexism still permeates the Left. One can be sure that a man with Hillary Clinton's vast capabilities and baggage would have decimated Donald Trump, an incompetent psychopath.

Progressives must start making the type of cases similar to the quote attributed to Gloria Steinem when supporting women's issues or issues of the other. After all, many times it seems the fight is just not there with the appropriate intensity on issues related to the isms that they should be fighting for, day in and day out.

More importantly, however, progressives would do well to mitigate their issues of sexism and all the other isms within their base. Extricate them from the Democratic Party, think tanks, and NGOs. The other side is looking in, and if the differences are simply laws but no the hearts of people, they have nothing to fear because Progressives would be but a dim reflection of who they are.


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The Media Isn’t The Only Problem

Thu, 2017-10-26 15:04

 The notion that the media, writ large, was responsible for the election of Donald Trump has been repeated so often on television and in the blogosphere that it’s become an unquestionable fact. This idea isn’t just false it’s destructive. Ten months into the Trump administration print journalist continue to point out the president’s almost daily battles with the truth. Print journalists have been screaming from the mountain tops, but their cries keep falling on deaf ears. The media didn’t fail America; Our apparent disdain for literacy and critical thinking failed us.

Most of the criticisms that have been leveled at the media are based on the spectacle we see on television. There are journalists and then there are pundits. Both groups are part of the media, but they serve different functions. Too many national and local news broadcasts have emulated the pugilistic debate style cable news turned into ratings gold. Meta-critical analysis of complex issues has been replaced with ad hominem attacks. Even a person committed to proactively engaging the media is often under informed due to trends in television news production. We are seeing more pundits on the news than actual journalists.

Simply put, journalists debunk lies with information and pundits argue over them. The sheer amount of information aggregated and disseminated in print is amazing when you consider the massive budget cuts many newspapers and magazines have endured over the last decade. In spite of the barriers and limitations placed in front of them, print journalist continue investigating and writing about the important stories that affect us.

Many of Donald Trump's incessant lies are about mundane topics that don’t affect the average person, but this doesn't matter. When hard facts are subject to debate everyone loses. If the president said he invented the stapler 35% of America would either reflexively believe him, or feign ignorance to avoid acknowledging the fact that he has shown all of the symptoms of being a pathological liar. Worse, news shows all around the country would invite pundits on to defend his lie. If America wants a more informed electorate we have to change the current model used by a lot of television news outlets.

A typical thirty-minute local newscast boils down to about twenty-three minutes after commercial advertising commitments are handled. Then, you have to subtract weather, sports and local human-interest stories. After all of this there’s usually less than twelve minutes for hard news. The eleven or twelve minutes dedicated to current events gets further split between national, state and local issues. The portion of the news dedicated to national politics is often presented as theater instead of fact driven analysis of political ideas. If the same thirty minutes were spent reading a local newspaper we would have a much more informed electorate. According to a 2016, Nielsen report the average American watches television for 35 hours per week. Many of these same people claim they don’t have time to read?

When politicians, government officials, academics or private citizens engage in public discourse their words should be parsed for accuracy. Print journalists and media outlets have an obligation to make sure the information they disseminate is as accurate as possible, but this doesn’t happen enough on television. No one in print media disputes the fact that two plus two equals four, but cable news will fill the b-block with pundits willing to argue over this. The ratings generated from these sideshows has caused too many news outlets to emulate their success. This has infected the only source of information some Americans receive. This model is unsustainable and will continue to erode the lines between fact and fiction.

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Velshi & Ruhle calls out another Republican for lying on tax cuts effect on markets (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-10-26 14:56

Ali Velshi & Stephanie Ruhle are earning their salaries several times over as they must continuously call out Republican hucksters trying to sell a faux middle-class tax cut where most of the money, north of 80% goes to the top one percent. What is amazing is even when confronted with the irrefutable facts, they continue to lie to the American people. Share these posts to ensure Americans don't buy it.

Kudos to Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle for being prepared to counter the well-rehearsed lies about the GOP tax cuts from the Republican Congressman.

Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle exposes Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH)

Velshi & Ruhle calls out another Republican for lying on tax cuts effect on markets (VIDEO)

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) October 26, 2017

Congressman Jim Renacci attempted to pull one, over the American people when he stated that the stock market rise was a response to Trump's anti-regulation stance. Ali Velshi did not let him get away with it. He had his charts ready which showed that the stock market has been on the same rising slope for over seven years.

The Congressman then attempted to muddle the waters by asking Velshi to start the chart sixty days before the Obama Presidency. He wanted to show the crater from the 2008 crash. Velshi did not allow the false narrative. In fact, if one were to follow Republican methodology, President Obama's policies relative to the stock market would be judge exceptionally if his name wasn't Obama.

The Congressman continued to claim that Trump's deregulatory environment was responsible for the stock market rise and that the debunked theory that tax cuts would create jobs. Eventually, Stephanie Ruhle got visibly irritated with the lying Congressman and began schooling him on regulations.

Ruhle pointed out that the absence of sensible regulations is what brought down the U.S. economy in 2008. Worse she pointed out that under Republican rule that the same scenario is in the making. When the Congressman said that regulations were already on the books to protect against that supposed eventuality, she refuted him stating that had that been the case people would have been in jail.

Velshi & Ruhle has been the place recently to factually debunk Republican lies on the tax cuts. It is amazing they still show up to do the show. Not really, the idea is to muddy the waters from an otherwise fact-based show.

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Treating the Trumpite infestation

Thu, 2017-10-26 11:41

by John Young

Termites did not destroy my house. Neither will Trumpites destroy your democracy.

But they will do damage, and it will be costly.

Termites, and other wood or plant borers like the mountain pine beetle, leave a trail of dust.

The Trumpites who have infested government leave jet trails as they engage their carnal pleasures on our dime, even occasionally doing their jobs. Unfortunately, in almost all cases what they consider their job is to destroy the structural sector of government to which each is assigned.

Consider a new top-level hire to the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Nancy Beck qualified for that position, based on Trumpite intentions, by having been a lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council, an industry arm that fights regulations of chemicals.

This fits perfectly with the philosophy of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who rose to his position via the Trumpite virtue of suing the EPA on behalf of polluters as Oklahoma attorney general.

Former Georgia congressman Tom Price, the Trumpite choice as secretary of Health and Human Services, appeared to be the man who would eviscerate each and every one of those services, starting with the Affordable Care Act.

Unfortunately for him, he was mostly interested in taxpayer-funded jetting to and from family functions.

With Price gone, and with Congress failing to gnaw through legislation to abolish ACA, Trump has announced to those who benefit, "Eat my dust."

We'll see what happens as affected states take Trump to court over the end of subsidies that have kept insurers in the game and have lowered copays and deductibles.

One thing for sure is that Trump's tunnel assault on ACA is wreaking the requisite havoc.

For instance, cutting back on the marketing funds that inform people that Dec. 15 is the deadline for signing up for health coverage or changing one's your policy under ACA.  Another destructive act was to cut the enrollment period in half, from three months to 45 days. More about that shortly.

Meanwhile, though we've been assured that Donald Trump is the smartest man to ever ride an escalator into history:

The Law of Unintended Consequences is playing out with his designs, because he doesn't know what he's doing.

Associated Press reports that yanking the subsidies could trigger the bizarro result of making free basic coverage available to more low-income people -- yes, hundreds of thousands of them --  while costing taxpayers more.

It takes a lot of explaining, but the bottom line: Higher insurer costs caused by the yanked subsidies mean more spent on those tax credits and the reshuffling of what qualifies for the low-income of "bronze" coverage, meaning free.

If so, we could see more people insured, having signed up for free coverage even as the Evil Weevil declares the ACA "dead."

At the same time, The Washington Post reports that millions of Americans may get locked into coverage plans they don't want. That's because after Dec. 15, those who have coverage are auto-enrolled.

Health industry analysts predict that with the much-shorter season, and with less notice about their options, and with auto-enrollment, many may not make the necessary call regarding a policy that is not suiting their needs.

Whatever happens, Trump will not be able to blame "Obamacare." He is the death-wish engineer of this runaway train.

So, what do we do about this matter? Anyone who has termites knows that they can't be shooed out the door. If they are not treated, the structure they inhabit will be reduced to dust.

However, I've never known any homeowner to allow that to happen. I didn't. We fought. We won. The termites had a feast at our expense, but they could not eat us out of our home.

Neither will the Evil Weevil.

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I Was A Racist Cop: How I came to recognize my own racism, bias, and privilege

Thu, 2017-10-26 01:56

by Randy Shrewsberry

How I came to recognize my own racism, bias, and privilege as a white male.

I was a racist cop.

Years ago, I was helping a supervisor at a single-car crash. A black man collided head-on into a concrete divider, and died at the scene. I was detouring the ensnarled traffic when my corporal, who had been alongside the victim, shared an update.

“When I got here he was alive, but fading. His eyes were opening and closing real slow and I could feel his pulse slowing down.” He paused, and with the smoothness of a perfectly timed punch line, the corporal said “So, I whispered in his ear, ‘Today is the day you die, nigger.’”

I stood horrified.

Then, I did nothing.

Silence is the culture of many police departments. In my second year as a cop ― a career that would span more than a decade across three states ― I was taught the ramifications of speaking out. After a sergeant stole from an impounded car, another whistleblower and I reported him up the chain of command. Within days, I was fired. It was just before Christmas; young, a child on the way, and now my fledgling career tarnished. I received the message loud and clear: Do not kneel.

Suspicious Behavior

With crime trends near record lows, the expense of policing must be justified. Rather than focus on building relationships with communities, officers rely on “proactive policing”: tactics to escape scorn from the administration over low arrest numbers. “Mechanics fix cars, pilots fly planes, cops lock up bad guys,” an old captain used to lecture. This leads to enforcement for the sake of a spreadsheet. The easiest way to add digits is to go to poor neighborhoods and profile ― typically ― young African American and Latino men. Stop, frisk, question, and search, simply because they looked “suspicious.”

“He didn’t look at me.” Suspicious. “He kept looking at me.” Suspicious. “He was running.” Suspicious. “He was walking too slowly or biking too fast.” Suspicious. “It’s too early or too late; they have no business outside at this time of night; at this time of day.” Suspicious. “They are in the wrong neighborhood, wrong side of the neighborhood, or hanging out too much in their own neighborhood.” Suspicious.

Rarely, I found a gun or wanted felon. Never did these intrusive fishing expeditions result in the capture of a murderer or rapist. Never. But the arrests satisfied the front office and gave me the affirmation I needed to justify my role.

A Common Thread of “Bad Guys”

During my career, I attended four training academies and a slew of advanced classes. The common thread in all this training was an overemphasis on tactical situations, ultimately teaching us to be afraid—especially of black and brown people. Cadets were barraged with graphic imagery and war stories of violence by African Americans or Latinos until eventually, in our minds, “black guys” became synonymous with “bad guys.”

Daily, I arrested mostly poor, young people of color on petty charges. The discrimination was insidious. I pointed sanctimoniously to the prison cages and said, “See? It’s a breakdown of morality in their community.” This absolved me of my personal responsibility to protest when I saw wrongdoing, leaning instead on simplistic moral judgments like “If you don’t like it, don’t get arrested.”

During my first visit to one county jail, one of the imprisoned aptly announced: “Welcome to Amistad!” It didn’t look all that different. I routinely saw cages packed with mostly African American and Latino men 30 or 40 deep in spaces intended for 10 or 15. I saw people fed rotten food and endure unbearable jail conditions.

I knew this was wrong, but dehumanization had set in. Gathered outside one police station with a dozen or so officers, another cop called out, “Hey Shrewsberry, you know why southerners hate Yankees? Because y’all think niggers are people too.” Laughter erupted.

What did I do?

I laughed along.

Then, nothing.

What’s Next for Me?

Racism persists in America for complex and varied reasons. Indifference is one of them. I have a moral compass, but it was safer for me to ignore it. But by neglecting my moral responsibility to do something ― to kneel ― I co-signed this bigoted behavior.

While speaking of racial bias in 2015, then-FBI Director James Comey said “...if we can’t help our latent biases, we can help our behavior in response to those instinctive reactions... it is what we do next that matters most.”

What is next? For me, it’s the recognition of my own racism, bias and privilege as a white male. Professionally, I’ve challenged my conceptions about police shootings, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and “stop and frisk,” all of which impact people of color disproportionately, with devastating effects to families and communities. I question why Native Americans are killed by the police at five times the rate of Caucasians, African Americans are killed at three times the rate, and Latinos nearly twice. I’ve realized the need to speak openly about my experience and, more importantly, to listen to others in order to construct solutions together. I hope doing so will give still-active officers the courage to do what I did not ― to speak out when they see injustice. To kneel.

Racism isn’t the only problem facing our criminal justice system, but it’s one that exacerbates nearly every other issue. Race can be an uncomfortable topic. Whiteness in America is afforded comfort, which encourages inaction even when we are faced with deeds, statements, and attitudes we know are wrong. Protests are designed to awaken, and start conversations. Many great achievements throughout our history are rooted in protest, but to reach these successes, we must be willing to sacrifice comfort.

Silence imposes the moral obligation of fighting injustice onto someone else. I don’t know Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest unjust policing, but I’m confident he would’ve preferred to stand amongst his teammates, comfortable within a fair and just system. Instead, he took a knee.

Because I did not.

This article republished with permission from the author. It was originally posted at HuffPost.

Randy Shrewsberry is a former police officer and forensic investigator who has worked in the justice system for nearly 30 years. As founder of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform, Shrewsberry champions long-lasting change in our criminal justice system through improved law enforcement training. He advocates for new training and curricula based on scientific and proven processes that will truly serve and protect our communities.

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The Republican Party of 2018 should induce panic now

Wed, 2017-10-25 16:29

It's been happening for some time in the Republican Party. But it has reached critical mass. Many Conservative but decent Republicans realize that the conversion of the base of the party is just about complete. It is time to panic. Here is why.

Mainstream Republicans are jumping ship and raising the alarm about the state of the Republican Party and the danger it represents to America.

Yesterday Bob Corker (R-TN), who announced that he was not running for reelection a few weeks ago, continued to scorch the president for debasing America. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced as well that he was not running for re-election, went on the Senate floor to admonish the president and the Republican Party, and then wrote a stinging op-ed in the Washington Post where he wrote the following.

Nine months of this administration is enough for us to stop pretending that this is somehow normal, and that we are on the verge of some sort of pivot to governing, to stability. Nine months is more than enough for us to say, loudly and clearly: Enough.

The outcome of this is in our hands. We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck, passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something. The longer we wait, the greater the damage, the harsher the judgment of history. ...

To listen to the rhetoric of the extremes of both parties, one could be forgiven for believing that we are each other’s enemies, that we are at war with ourselves. ...

As our political culture seems every day to plumb new depths of indecency, we must stand up and speak out. Especially those of us who hold elective office.

And it is not only national. One of the few Republican that has made Texas a less criminal state in the manner it treats its citizens has thrown in the towel which does not bode well for Texas absent a transformational election in 2018. The Texas Tribune reported the following.

House Speaker Joe Straus unleashed a political earthquake Wednesday when he announced he would not seek re-election next year. The policy aftershocks could be felt for years. "This is really an earth-shattering event for politics,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “It's tough to overstate the relevance of this for Texas politics. The political center of the state collapsed today."

More than any other Texas Republican with real power, Straus was seen as a voice of moderation. On issue after issue, he and his team alone stood in the way of the kind of runaway populism that Donald Trump championed and major statewide Republicans endorsed.

When firebrand Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott rattled Fortune 500 companies with talk of a “bathroom bill” that put transgender Texans in the crosshairs, it was Straus who held their collective hands and ensured the measure wouldn’t become law.

When conservatives pushed to take away in-state college tuition rates from undocumented Texans, the speaker’s top lieutenant, Byron Cook — who lent his Austin home in 2009 to the rebellion that put the gavel in Straus’ hand — snuffed it out.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg of how Strauss has kept Texas from a complete derailment. This disaster is occurring all over the country in the Republican Party. Unless Progressive get their act together to mitigate this impending political disaster, Americans are about to embark on a path no different than that of countries like Iran. If anyone has any doubts, please understand what occurred in Kansas. Worse, however, is that Democrats did not make the case or do the work necessary to get Kansas citizens from voting the derelict politicians out of office. Are we all listening and watching?

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Trump’s policies screwing his own voters while helping more Clinton’s voters

Wed, 2017-10-25 11:14

Many voters who voted for Obama turned around and voted for Trump. The dynamics for that switch is more complicated than some are willing to concede. One thing is clear; many thought they would do better under Trump despite the warnings. This report details what they won't want to hear but need to know.

Unfortunately for the Trump voter, they were duped based on all substantive policies he has supported thus far which will materially hurt them.

CNN produced an excellent article that perfectly illustrates that those who voted for Trump on his economic message were duped. The article points out that,

Trump came into office promising to shrink government. And his proposals would do that. But more often than not, the consequences of specific language he has endorsed would be felt disproportionately in the Rust Belt. This is not a phenomenon isolated to one bill or a partisan twisting of the facts, but rather something that repeats in data and projections for a number of proposals he supports.

All of the proposed health care bills thus far hurt the Rust Belt more so than anywhere else.

A lot of people in the Rust Belt have pre-existing conditions. But ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions can get health care, or care at the same cost as other people, has not been a requirement of most of all of the health care legislation Trump has pushed. This has caused such an uproar that the "Jimmy Kimmel test" turned into one of the biggest points of debate over proposals in the Senate.

The Republican bills could also be hard on Medicaid enrollees in the Rust Belt. With the exception of Wisconsin, which did not expand Medicaid, the Rust Belt has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan are ranked numbers third, fourth, fifth and sixth in the US in how many people they have added to their Medicaid rolls due to the Obamacare expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The proposed tax reform framework benefits mostly high earners and thus high earning states. These states are mostly the Blue States.

As the Trump administration doubles down on tax reform this week, analysts have pointed out that those at the very top of the income spectrum will fare the best in the proposed framework, with the top 0.1% of earners seeing after-tax income jump more than 10%. The plan's mixture of estate, individual and corporate tax rate changes are projected to be most generous to high earners.

Rust Belt states Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are not home to large populations of $1 million household income earners. Rather, they're in the middle or bottom of the pack, according a summary from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. States with a higher percentage of millionaire earners voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and are near Washington, DC. Only 0.2% of Michigan's households are expected to earn more than $1 million in 2018, putting it next to last behind West Virginia. In Ohio, the number is 0.5%. In Indiana, it's 0.4%. Compare that with New Jersey, at 1.2%, the District of Columbia at 0.9% or Maryland at 0.8%.

What's worse is that the new bill may disallow deductions that are more middle-class centric that these states take advantage of more so than others.

The so-called travel ban hurt rural areas in many ways. Foreign-born born Muslim doctors who are prevalent in the Rust Belt were impacted. And of course, America's heightened xenophobia has left many farmers without the help needed to tend their crops.

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