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Science says you should be reading independent news media

Tue, 2017-11-14 12:36

With the advent of the fake news moniker, many tend to believe that independent news media that permeates Facebooks and other online sites would put their importance, reliability, penetrating power in doubt. The research says otherwise.

Yes! Magazine says it succinctly, "While trust in, corporate news has gone down over the past few years, trust in independent news is strong." Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Executive Director of The Media Consortium, wrote,

Fighting fake news, however, is not the only or best way to ensure that our content ecosystem prioritizes real news. This week, a groundbreaking article in Science proves that a better way to secure a media system that works for democracy is to strengthen independent news outlets.

The five-year-long study published this week in Science, directed by Harvard professor Gary King and supported in part by Voqal, shows that even small independent news outlets can have a dramatic effect on the content of national conversation. King, along with his now former graduate students Ben Schneer and Ariel White, found that if just three outlets write about a particular major national policy topic—such as jobs, the environment, or immigration—discussion of that topic across social media rose by as much as 62.7 percent of a day’s volume, distributed over the week.

On a personal note, many stories that would have otherwise withered into obscurity have gained hundreds of thousands of views along with a robust discourse because it struck a chord with many of our loyal followers. Independent news media tap into the several networks and spheres that are often missed by corporate media.

And this is exactly what Jo Ellen Green Kaiser explains,

We expected independents would have a big impact on national conversations, for several reasons. First, independents have strong and loyal followers who are eager to talk about the content they read and view at their favorite outlets. When Bitch, Feministing, and Truthout together publish stories on reproductive health, they have a social reach of over 1 million followers.

But independent media followers are not just thumbs-up people. They not only comment and repost on social, but they donate to these organizations and attend events in real life. These are people who want to participate in national conversations about topics they care about, from immigration to climate change to school reform. So it makes sense that they would push those conversations on social.

Second, studies coming out over the past five years have demonstrated that collective efforts make a bigger impact than stand-alone efforts. When even small outlets join together, they can have an effect larger than any of them would individually. We’ve seen that recently with the publication of the Panama Papers and other large-scale collaborations.

She concludes with an important statement that all should heed.

Trust matters on platforms that too often provide space for fake news. Increasingly, people will look at what outlet is providing them with that news. While trust in corporate news has gone down over the past few years, trust in independent news is strong.

The implication of the Science study is simple: If we want to foster robust conversations about national policy, we need to continue to support independent news outlets.

Bottom line, find independent sources that you have built trust with and support them. Our democracy can only survive if its news and sources of information are democratic and supported by all.

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What Corporate Media Failed to Learn About Canadian Single-Payer

Tue, 2017-11-14 00:10

by Michael Corcoran

When it was announced that several journalists would travel with Sen. Bernie Sanders in October for a hospital tour of Canada to learn about its single-payer system, one question immediately sprang to mind:  What would corporate media do to smear universal healthcare this time?

It is a sad reflection on the state of healthcare reporting in the United States that one can so easily predict how many media outlets will respond to a news event before it even happens.  Yet for many familiar with years of media either ignoring or rejecting the merits of a universal public healthcare system—Canada’s in particular—it was hard not to expect dismissiveness and/or mockery from outlets such as the New York Times and Vox, who sent reporters on the tour.

The results were unsurprising. Vox (10/31/17) used the occasion to explain why single-payer is likely a pipe dream that doesn’t fit with American values. Much of the Times article (11/2/17) read like satire aimed at mocking Canada and Sanders.

New York Times (11/2/17)

New York Times ad circulating on Facebookproudly declares: “Evidence-driven reporting. No matter what the subject.” It’s a hollow boast to those familiar with the paper’s uniformly negative coverage of single-payer, and Margot Sanger-Katz’s write-up of Sanders’ tour is a glaring example.

“What the US Can Learn from Canadian Healthcare” was the title of Sanders’ tour-summarizing speech in Toronto. “But our question is: What did Sen. Sanders learn from his weekend in Canada?” Sanger-Katz said. The paper seemed less interested in  what the US could learn about Canadian healthcare—even though healthcare is the most pressing concern for American families (Gallup, 6/23/17)—instead started off with a focus on Sanders himself.

“He’s a ‘rock star,’” was the article “Lesson No. 1” from the trip.   The United States is in a healthcare crisis, and yet the Times prioritizes anecdotes, such as a story about an airport security guard in Toronto calling Sanders a “hero,” over anything of substance.  The effect is to portray Sanders as some Jonestown-style cult hero, as opposed to a serious policymaker:

Ed Broadbent, the chairman of the progressive Broadbent Institute, called Mr. Sanders the most important social democrat in North America, even though Mr. Sanders is not a Canadian social democrat, and is not even a particularly powerful member of the Senate.

It’s odd to “correct” Broadbent by pointing out that “Sanders is not a Canadian social democrat,” since that claim was never made; that Sanders is a social democrat and in North America would seem to be uncontroversial statements.

As for Sanders not being “a particularly powerful member of the Senate,” that’s obviously subjective, but it’s not the opinion of mainstream Beltway sources (Politico,  5/26/16The Hill9/13/17). Significantly for the topic at hand, he managed to convince 16 other Senators to support a Medicare for All bill, up from zero a few years ago.

The paper does touch on some policy implications, not all of which are negative. The Times, Lesson No. 2, for instance, is that system is popular among doctors and patients.  “Several patients told [Sanders] about the comfort that comes from not having to pay for their care directly,” the article said, noting that doctors were also largely supportive.

But outside of noting popular support in Canada, the benefits of single-payer are barely addressed.  The Times, does emphasize flaws, of course—most notably, it declares long waiting times, the most common right-wing/industry attack on the Canadian health system, as “lesson No. 3.” While often exaggerated in the US, it’s true that Canada has problems with wait times (CBC News2/16/17), ranking well above the international average in the amount of time it takes to see a specialist or have an elected surgery. This, however,  is one of the only metrics in which the United States ranks higher than Canada, according to the 2017 Commonwealth Fund report (7/17) on the healthcare systems in 11 wealthy nations.

A reader of the Times’ report fails to learn that Canada’s universal coverage costs 55 percent what the US system does on a per capita basis. They don’t know Canada has better outcomes in key metrics like life expectancy and infant mortality. Waiting times are important, but in the US as many as 45,000 people die each year because they couldn’t get care due to a lack of insurance, a problem that doesn’t exist in Canada. At least Canadians get to see a doctor at some point, something that 28 million uninsured Americans cannot count on.

It’s hard to spin the Commonwealth Fund report (7/17) to make US healthcare sound good.

The Times cites the Commonwealth Fund report (7/17) and its overall ranking of 11 wealthy nations. In the report Canada ranks ninth, “only a little better,” the Times notes, than the US, which ranks last.

The report gives specific rankings on five subsections: care process, administrative efficiency, access, equity and outcomes.  The US ranks dead last in three of these outcomes, and second to last in another. Only in one of these rankings does the US rank higher than Canada (care process, where US ranks 5th, Canada 6th).  The Times does not mention these details.

They do, however, make a point to find ranking on a subsection of “access” (again, where US ranks last) for timeliness (where the US ranks ninth, two spots ahead of Canada). In short, the paper takes a report that concludes the US has the worst healthcare system, ranking below Canada is almost every metric, and spins it to portray Canada’s system as negatively as possible in comparison to the US.

This is an absurdly selective reading of a report whose damning conclusion was also not mentioned in the Times article:

Among the 11 countries we studied, the US was ranked last in overall health system performance, while spending the most per capita on healthcare. The insurance, payment and delivery system of the ACA have improved some aspects of healthcare system performance, but the US still greatly lags countries with universal health insurance coverage.

 

 

Vox (10/31/17)

The New York Times has been reliably anti-single-payer for decades (FAIR.org, 7/1/93Extra!, 4/1/10). Vox is a newer project, led by Ezra Klein and staffed mostly by moderate/liberal wonks. But it has largely advanced a similar neoliberal narrative as the dominant media, if more firmly rooted in Democratic Party establishment politics (Jacobin1/25/16). It has already gone to unique lengths to dismiss single-payer (e.g., 1/17/161/20/169/8/17).  As Glen Frieden recently noted (FAIR.org, 9/18/17), it even modifies its headline style to distance itself from the idea.

Vox’s major investor is Comcast (Wall Street Journal, 8/10/15), a massive conglomerate that owns numerous media outlets, including NBC and MSNBC, and has deep ties to the healthcare industry (FAIR.org, 1/30/16). When Sanders introduced a healthcare plan in the 2016 presidential election, Klein was quick to disparage it as “puppies and rainbows,” saying it didn’t qualify as a plan at all. (No wonder the Clinton campaign team was so eager to coordinate with Klein during the campaign, as the leaked Podesta emails show.)

Vox’s coverage of Sanders’ trip to Canada, written by Sarah Kliff (10/31/17), was of a piece.  Her angle was that the trip only illustrated the difficulty of bringing single-payer to America—because Canadians view healthcare as a  human right, and “that belief doesn’t seem to exist in the United States right now.” Canada’s emphasis on equity and universality is not shared by enough Americans, only a small majority, as she notes.

She then mentions a number of anecdotal examples of Americans who dislike public healthcare, some of them from a New Yorker article (10/2/17). “But I know so many folks on Medicaid that just don’t work. They’re lazy,” said one rust-belt librarian. Another man named Joe says:

I see people on the same road I live on who have never worked a lick in their life. They’re living on disability incomes, and they’re healthier than I am.

Vox could’ve just as easily found two citizens in the same region who are strongly supportive of single-payer. (After all, as she concedes, a majority of Americans believe the government should provide healthcare to all.) So these anecdotes don’t demonstrate anything beyond the fact that  some opponents of healthcare as a right exist. This is true in Canada, too, as it is everywhere.

Kliff argues that the modest majority of Americans who support Medicare for All (she cites a Pew poll showing 60 percent support), isn’t enough consensus to have a single-payer system. In contrast, a poll from the Canadian Health Commission (8/26/14) shows “85 percent of Canadians support (79.6) or somewhat support (5.6)” government-solutions to healthcare.

The problem with this is that Kliff is comparing US sentiment today to Canadian sentiment today. But Canadians have lived under single-payer for decades now and have seen outcomes improve. Would it not make more sense to compare Canadian sentiment back in the 1950s or 1960s, when the battle for Medicare for All was at a peak, with doctors striking in opposition?

In fact, the US in 2017 has a nearly identical proportion of citizens who support single-payer as Canada did at the infancy of its struggle. A 1960 Gallup poll in Canada (Medical History4/11) showed 60 percent of the country approved of “a state-led (single-payer) medical care insurance plan.” This number is identical to the US support shown for single-payer in an Economist/YouGov poll (4/2/17) from earlier this year, and similar to most US poll results.

Contrary to Kliff’s thesis, the US supports  a universal, public health system about as much as Canadians did when they were fighting for its implementation. This would seem to be a reason for optimism for single-payer, not the opposite, as Vox suggests.

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Should we admit that capitalism does not work?

Mon, 2017-11-13 16:36

One of the reasons capitalism is failing is instead of using it as one of many tools to build an economy, the rulers of society have made it a religion.

I ran across an excellent article by John Atcheson that made it clear that capitalism, as we practice it, by design, creates inequality. The first paragraph of the article captured the West's form of capitalism.

In almost every way you examine it, capitalism – at least the relatively unconstrained, free-market variety practiced here in the US and supported by both parties -- has been an abysmal failure. Let’s take a close look at some of its worst failings.  But first, it must be admitted that when it comes to exploiting people and the planet for the purpose of generating apparent wealth for the few, it has been a smashing success.  More about that notion of “apparent wealth” in a moment, but now, the specifics.

It is important that before one objects to an alternative viewpoint that one leaves themselves open to examine not what one is taught but the reality one sees. A few of the most important paragraphs in the article say it all.

Economists have long recognized that not all benefits and costs are mediated in the marketplace, and they refer to these as “externalities.” Typically, an externality is imposed on a third party that is not part of a transaction, such as people suffering asthma from pollution.  The way we have dealt with these in the past is to use regulations, taxes, subsidies and property rights to try to internalize externalities – that is, to impose a price on them.  But neoliberals and conservatives have been backing off that approach and the Trump administration is in the midst of a frenzy of regulatory rollbacks that is unprecedented.

But the costs of this denial are staggering.

Because what has become obvious in the last few decades is that so-called externalities actually exceed the size of the global economy.  That is, the value of things which we don’t price or exchange in the market but which impose costs on society is much larger than those that we do. For example, a team led by Robert Costanza found that the annual value of just seventeen “ecosystem services” exceeds $142.7 trillion dollars in 2014 dollars. To put that in perspective, the global world product—the total value of all goods and services measured in the market—was only a little over $78 trillion that year. Thus, our entire economic system routinely ignores values that are nearly twice those we measure. That’s one reason Costanza et al. also determined that some $23 trillion worth of “ecosystem services” had been destroyed between 1997 and 2014, and not a single penny of this vast sum was registered in conventional macroeconomic accounting.  Worse, capitalists called this wealth creation.

Check out the entire article. It is worth the read.

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GOP Strategist: We have become as a Republican Party a very diseased Party (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-11-13 12:19

A few Republicans are starting to speak out against their party as the decay continues. Some are shocked by the support Roy Moore, the Alabama Senatorial Candidate who allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl is getting. A strategist lambasted his party for their lack of morality and their cowardice.

Republican Strategist scorches his party

GOP Strategist: We have become as a Republican Party a very diseased Party (VIDEO) https://t.co/1TLr0FZ4p0 pic.twitter.com/dEnyQCaUtP

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) November 13, 2017

GOP Strategist Evan Siegfried appeared on MSNBC with host Stephanie Ruhle and had some choice words for the Republican Party followers must heed.

"I think this way more thing has brought out that we have become, as a Republican Party, a very very diseased party," said Evan Siegfried. "We used to be the party of moral values. Remember we ran Bob Livingston out before he even became Speaker of the House because of allegations of an unfair, just allegations. And he was out of Congress. Now we have Roy Moore essentially being accused of pedophilia with a fourteen-year-old girl. And there are people getting up to Roy Moore and saying, 'You know, we're standing by him.' There was a poll that came out yesterday of the race that said 29 percent of Alabama voters are now more likely to vote for Roy Moore because of this tribalism. It's that, 'Well it's coming from the Washington Post, the establishment, trying to get you.' No, Roy Moore did this to himself. I believe Leigh Corfman, and I think that as a party of moral values we should stand up and say, 'Roy Moore has no place in this party.' But there's a lot of equivocating, 'Well, if true.' That is moral cowardice, and we are no longer the moral values Party of the United States."

A recent poll shows the level of depravity that is afflicting the Republican Party and specifically Evangelicals who support the party.

Nearly 40 percent of Evangelical Christians in Alabama say they're now more likely to vote for Roy Moore after multiple allegations that he molested children, even as voters across the historically red state now seem to be punishing Moore for his past actions, a new poll shows.

Reverend Barber pointed out that Evangelicals who support the policies of the Republicans have become heretic Evangelicals in a schooling that he gave them on AM Joy recently.

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Great article: Texas stalwart, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, stood up to sexism.

Sun, 2017-11-12 23:50

State Representative Senfronia Thompson has been around for a long time. She has lived through it all and seen it all. Jen Fifield wrote an excellent article about our Texas stalwart.

Legislator Who Stood Up to Sexism in '73 Sees Some Progress

By Jen Fifield

Colleagues warned Senfronia Thompson that speaking out would jeopardize her political future.

It was the spring of 1973, and 34-year-old Thompson had just started her first term in the Texas House of Representatives. Earlier that day, she was walking into a popular lunch place near the Capitol in Austin when Democratic state Rep. C.C. “Kit” Cooke saw her and said loudly, for everyone to hear, “Oh, here comes my beautiful black mistress.”

She was infuriated. That same afternoon, Thompson, a Democrat, stepped onto the House floor to tell her mostly white, male colleagues she would not tolerate racist or sexist insults.

“We will never root these maladies out of Texas,” she said, “unless we start with ourselves in this House of Representatives.

Even as sexual harassment allegations explode in statehouses around the country, Thompson, now 78, says that in Austin’s pink granite Capitol, she doesn’t see male lawmakers and lobbyists harass women like they did 44 years ago. Nevertheless, the nation’s longest-serving female legislator says that when it comes to winning and wielding political power, women remain at a distinct disadvantage. [More]

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Evangelical schools ‘heretical’ evangelicals supporting Moore & Republicanism (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-11-12 16:00

A crop of Evangelical leaders has been leading their flock into a heretic posture that is doing irreparable damage to their religious sect. This real Evangelical Reverend does not mince his words as he calls them out and schools them on what they should represent based on the biblical tenets they purport to follow.

Reverend William Barber schools Evangelical Christians in their biblical tenets.

Evangelical schools 'heretical' evangelicals supporting Moore & Republicanism (VIDEO) https://t.co/wbsfME6bzf pic.twitter.com/2yanuDOphB

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) November 12, 2017

If anyone wonders why fewer people and specifically millennials are religious, one just need to watch cancer growing within many Christian sects. Sexual abuse, racism, homophobia, greed, and outright evil against others permeate not all but a vocal and politically active portion of the religious community.

Reverend William Barber is a moral power in the Christian movement that many of the morally fallen leaders should heed. He attempts to return them to their roots. Barber recently appeared on AM Joy and excoriated those that have desecrated their religion.

"True orthodox evangelicals would not be supporting Roy Moore or this extremism in what I call Republican religionism," Barber said. "It is not orthodox evangelicalism. They try to hijack that term."

Barber then correctly associated the real reason for the heretical move.

"White evangelicalism is connected to white nationalism is connected to white supremacy," Barber said. "It is the backbone of racism that has happened in this country. Now you understand that white nationalism white supremacy that promotes racism, -- racism is twisted. So the notion of white evangelical values is twisted anyway because so call white evangelicals, I call them extreme Republican religionists, are culprits in the Moore defenses because they've given him and so many others cover on so many non-Christian policies."

Barber then enumerated the misdeeds of these extreme Republican religionist cloaking themselves in Christian evangelism.

"Blocking healthcare is a non-Christian policy," Barber pointed out. "Blocking living wages is a non-Christian policy. Blocking and suppressing voter rights is a non-Christian policy. Hating gay people is a non-Christian policy. Promoting guns is a non-Christian policy."

Barber then points out that if we allow these folks to get away with claiming Christianity while supporting evil, one is emboldening their acts which they will continue to perpetuate and extend.

"If you embolden these people by giving them support and trying to call their support on those issues Christian," Barber said. "Then it should not surprise us that they are emboldened, on this issue. Now you have people trying to compare this with Jesus and the Virgin Mary and saying that he [Moore] is under some spiritual attack like Jesus was under spiritual attack. And he is in a spiritual battle. Well, the real spiritual battle would be addressing the fact that in some counties in Alabama 40% of the people are in poverty. There are 24% of children living in households that are in poverty. That is policy pedophilia. When you are hurting children and not addressing that, -- it is one of the lowest states in public education. You have nearly 900 thousand people in poverty, 29% with no health insurance. Those are the things that Christians should be dealing with if they were dealing with orthodox Evangelicalism. This is heretical. It's hypocritical. It's a term they have hijacked."

Barber could not have made the point any clearer. The question is how many of the heretical leaders are listening. One must go around these promoters of evil and engage those they are misleading directly. Tha. That is how one moves the juggernaut.

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SNL’s Michael Che uses Trump’s latest tweet to show him as infantile & illogical (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-11-12 02:55

SNL's Michael Che was savvy in using Donald Trump's most recent tweet to make a point that supersedes the tweet itself. He showed the man we elected as leader of the free world is not only childish but deficient in logic. He framed it perfectly.

Michael Che sure makes Trump seem petty & infantile.

SNL's Michael Che uses Trump's latest tweet to show him as infantile & illogical (VIDEO) pic.twitter.com/WPRYyjQA0b

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) November 12, 2017

The Korean Central News Agencies released a scathing attack on Donald Trump. They claimed he was belligerent and inciting nuclear war. They also used some unkind words they likely knew would push the child president's buttons and it did. They called him a warmonger, a lunatic and a dotard.

That Trump concentrated on the personal attack and not on the substance of the release is disconcerting. It shows he cannot understand the importance and seriousness of being the president of the United States.

In the included snippet, SNL's Michael Che makes Trump's twitter response seem petty & infantile. He did it in a sarcastic manner in which he spun Trump's tweet to point out the behavior in no uncertain terms. He then segued to show a president unable to think logically in his utterances on pressing issues like the recent Texas Massacre.

"Earlier this week North Korea issued a statement calling President Trump a lunatic old man," Michael Che said. "And a few hours ago Trump responded by tweeting, 'Why would Kim Jon Un insult me by calling me old. I would never call him short and fat.' Now, a lot of times Donald Trump goes way over the line with his tweets. But this time that was pretty damn funny. I mean look at how vain and catty he is. They were like, 'You lunatic old man.' And he was like, 'Old?' President miss thing also said that this week's shooting in Texas isn't a gun situation, but instead a mental health problem at the highest level. But why can't it be both? I mean why can't it be that because we have a mental health problem, we now have a gun situation. Just like how because my little cousin has a crack problem, my aunt now has a missing silverware situation."

Donald Trump continues to be a clear and present danger to the United States of America and the world. Unfortunately, the man we thought would have the ability to attenuate the president's impulses turned out to be his reflection.

 

 

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CNBC Editor: President’s statement makes it clear Putin has something on him (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-11-11 16:14

Where are the Right Wingers who accused President Obama of appeasing or bowing to Russia or Saudi Arabia and China? Donald Trump embarrassed America with the Chinese and specifically with the Russians. Everyone must question his loyalty to country and patriotism after his statement about his discussion with Vladimir Putin.

What does Vladimir Putin have on Trump?

CNBC Editor: President's statement makes it clear Putin has something on him (VIDEO) https://t.co/vU6HEwJrbN pic.twitter.com/jqrQW1twh2

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) November 11, 2017

According to CNN,

President Donald Trump suggested on Saturday he's done confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin over his country's election meddling since it's insulting to the Russian leader. Trump said he took Putin at his word that Russia did not seek to interfere in the US presidential election last year, despite a finding from US intelligence agencies that it did. The fraught relations between the two leaders was underscored anew when Putin's spokesman said election meddling did not come up when they spoke, even though Trump said it did. And he stressed that bigger issues persist between the United States and Russia that require the two leaders to move on.

"He said he didn't meddle. He said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he flew from Da Nang to Hanoi in Vietnam. Trump spoke to Putin three times on the sidelines of summit here, where the Russia meddling issue arose. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that,'" Trump said. "And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it." "I think he is very insulted by it," Trump added.

CNBC Editor-At-Large, John Harwood, a non-partisan straight shooter said what just about everyone is thinking.

"The President by his actions makes clear or strengthens the argument of those who believe the Russians and Vladimir Putin, in particular, have something on him, "Harwood said. "And therefore his is unwilling to stand up for America in that relationship. There is a wide consensus among the intelligence community which is composed of patriots who are trying to protect the national security interests of the United States. And the president is rejecting that and saying, 'I believe Vladimir Putin instead. It is very concerning."

Note that Harwood referred to the intelligence community as patriots to illustrate without saying that the President is not a patriot himself. It has reached the point where finally more straight line journalists are making it clear.

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Roy Moore cheered, attacks Dems, WAPO, & GOP over pedophilia accusations (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-11-11 12:20

It is scary that a Republicans in Alabama are likely to elect an alleged pedophile, Roy Moore, to the Senate. But it should not be shocking since we elected a woman abuser and mysoginist to the presidency.

Roy Moore came out swinging against Establishment Republicans, Democrats, and the Washington Post and was cheered as he did so.

A beligerent Roy Moore attacks Democrats, Establishment Republicans, & Washington Post

According to ABCNews,

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Saturday again adamantly denied sexual misconduct allegations and promised that "revelations about the motivations" behind the news report of his alleged behavior will come out in a few days.

Speaking at a Veterans Day event in the Birmingham area, the Alabama Senate hopeful also questioned why allegations about his behavior 40 years ago are coming out at this time. He said it was politically motivated "fake news."

“Why now?" Moore said. "For 40 years I have been closely scrutinized in the press and the public media."

The answer, he suggested, is that "Democrats and the Republican establishment know the importance of this election. In fact, most people in America know the importance of this election. They see it as a prelude of the elections coming in 2018. It may very well determine the future of our country."

Roy Moore in his speech made a statement that can only be considered a threat.

“In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article," Moore said. "They will be brought to the public. We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade."

Many Right Wing Republicans have attempted to defend and normalize Moore's alleged pedophilic behavior since the story broke. They have equated Moore to Jesus. Worse, they've implied that an older man with a child was biblical.

How long will this cancer within the Republicans Party last? It will untiil they are soundly defeated. And the 2017 election proves it has already begun.

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Congresswoman’s delivers blow to Republicans exposing their GOP Tax Cut Scam (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-11-11 02:00

Congressman Mark Takano posted the most riveting video snippet in which Congresswoman Suzan DelBene proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Republican Tax Cut Scam purposefully pilfers middle-class Americans. She showed it takes away tax relief from Americans while giving them to corporations.

Congressman Mark Takano wrote the following.

This remarkable line of questioning from Congresswoman Suzan DelBene demonstrates just a few of the ways that the GOP tax plan treats corporations better than people.

Under the Republican plan, corporations are still allowed to deduct state and local taxes. Workers are not. Corporations are still allowed to deduct business expenses. Teachers are not.

Corporations are still allowed to deduct more than $10,000 in property taxes. Homeowners are not. Corporations are still allowed to deduct moving expenses. Families are not.

And this is on top of a $1.5 trillion corporate tax cut.

Let's be clear, this is not a "middle-class tax cut." Working families get the crumbs and the super-wealthy get everything else.

Recently, John Harwood, a far cry from a Liberal or Progressive reporter appeared on MSNBC with Ali Velshi and slammed the Republican Tax Cut Scam in the journalistic kind of way that was very evident. He also pointed out an unfortunate truth you must point out to every Republican & Trump supporter.

Daily Kos Leslie Salzillo captured the essence of the interrogation.

DelBene: A few questions: Will a teacher in my district who buys pens, pencils, paper for his students be able to deduct these costs from his tax plan under this plan?

GOP: Uh, H.R. 1 would repeal the above the line deduction for teacher expenses.

DelBene: Will a corporation that buys pens, pencils and paper from its workers be able to deduct those costs from its tax returns under this plan?

GOP: Uh, the general deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses by any business entity is not changed. It need not be…

DelBene: So they would.

Yes, they would. Simply put, under the new GOP plan, corporations would be able to deduct business expenses, yet teachers who continue to be underpaid and who are sometimes the biggest influence in a child’s life—will simply have to eat the expenses he/she incurs in order to help educate our children.

The GOP can spin it however they want, but the Republican tax plan/scam only benefits the rich and takes more away from those most in need.

 

(h/t Leslie Salzillo @ Daily Kos)

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Stars lining up for the rise of the Left – The grip of the plutocracy will fail.

Fri, 2017-11-10 16:31

I smell it in the air. I feel it in my bones. I hear it in the voices of fellow activists. I see it in the hundreds of Progressive candidates running throughout the country, not as some middle-of-the-road Liberals, but as real Progressives supporting the type of policies Americans want, Some call it Left Wing policies. We call it policies for those who built this country.

The wins in Virginia, New Jersey, Washington, New York, and throughout the country were not just votes against the evil that Trump represents. It was a vote for what people expect to get from those politicians running not in opposition to Trump but to instantiate the policies articulated by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and every community, state, and national activist many of us work with day in and day out.

But why is it taking so long to launch after so many false starts? The tactics to indoctrinate Americans into voting against their interests and supporting plutocracy building policies defined in the Powell Manifesto were well funded and well executed. The Left became stagnant, stumbling with continued infighting and many Baby Boomer sellouts who conveniently bought into trickle-down economics when it was their time to pay it forward. Buying into those failed policies left many now fearing destitution with many in the subsequent generations left stranded.

Shared pain either can tear society apart or lead to coalition building. Trump attempted to rip society apart to mask the failures, and it worked for a few months. But the Progressive body of activists did not let up after the election. They did not lose hope in the masses. They ignored the false center. They decided not to play between the Left and Right rails the Plutocracy has been forcing on society.

Polls show most Americans want Progressive policies, Medicare for allGuaranteed Basic Income, Labor Unions, Pay It Forward Tuition, a Social Security one can live on, and more. Progressives will be running on these issues and are unfearfully expressing them in digestible form for the masses.

Progressives are now unapologetically progressive. And it is even scaring many pseudo-Liberals who are threatening to take their balls and go home.

Reading through some international news today made my day. The Labour Government under Tony Blair was very Clintonesque and center. I won't call it Center-Left because today's Center-Left policies are yesteryears moderately Right policies. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom is regularly criticized by the Tony Blairs, the Clinton, and Obama types, as wanting too much too soon, criticism from presumably Progressives. Well recently none other than Gordon Brown, the last Labour Leader, has come out in support of Jeremy Corbyn.

Gordon Brown has dramatically backed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, saying his war on rising inequality and stagnant wages is “absolutely right”. The former Labour prime minister praised his left-wing successor's policy priorities and growing popularity with the public, adding: “Jeremy is a phenomenon”.

Mr Corbyn was successfully tapping into rising public anger over the unfair effects of globalisation, after centrists appeared to show they had “no answers”, Mr Brown said. “People feel rightly or wrongly that the problems that they have – stagnant wages, inequality, polarisation between rich and poor, public service not being properly financed - they ascribe that to the failures of governments, centrist governments that have not been able to manage globalisation,” he said. On Mr Corbyn’s shock rise, Mr Brown said: “He has come through because he expresses people’s anger at what’s happened – the discontent.

Note how many Democrats are now supporting Medicare for All. Times are changing and if we keep the pressure on we will change the country and the world into a more meritorious society with policies that give everyone a living wage and access to success.

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How sick is the Right? These reactions to Republican Roy Moore’s alleged pedophilia

Fri, 2017-11-10 03:08

Reaction from the Right to the Alabama Republican Senatorial Candidate for his alleged pedophilia should not be surprising. After all, these are the same people that elected Donald Trump., a man who has been crude, disrespectful, and misogynistic with women. These reactions are still shocking.

The Washington Post reported that at least one of several women are accusing Republican Senatorial Candidate, Roy Moore of improper sexual contact. One of these women said she was 14 at the time.

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

What is shocking is the reaction by many Right Wingers who are twisting into pretzels defending Roy Moore's behavior.

This occurred on Sean Hannity's show according to Business Insider.

Hannity began his comments by citing conspiracy theories about the GOP wanting to discredit Moore. "You've got the establishment and they hate Roy Moore. Roy Moore, to them, is another Ted Cruz, another Mike Lee, somebody they can't control ... It's a he-said, she [said]," Hannity said.

Hannity also insinuated that the allegations made by the women were false, saying "there are false allegations made," and asking "Do some people do it for political reasons?" ...

Hannity's co-host defended Moore against the allegations by claiming the sexual relationship Moore had with 14-year-old Corfman "was consensual," to which Hannity agreed.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Alabama state auditor defended Roy Moore.

Asked whether or not the report would upend Moore’s campaign, Ziegler predicted that Alabama voters would be angrier at the Washington Post for “desperately trying to get something negative” than Moore for his dalliances with teenage girls decades ago.

“He’s clean as a hound’s tooth,” Ziegler claimed, before relying on Scripture to defend Moore.

“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Ziegler concluded. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

And then there is this.

More Hall: “The other women that they’re using to corrobrate: number one, one was 19, one was 17, one was 16. There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 19-year-old, a 17-year-old, or a 16-year-old out on a date."

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 9, 2017

Is there any doubt that these people are sick?

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Hey, progressives: let’s prove ourselves by winning the primaries & then the whole thing

Thu, 2017-11-09 14:14

Democrats had big wins throughout the country this week. It was bigger than everyone expected. In fact, many feared that Democrats would lose the big one, the Virginia governorship. Progressives came out in droves.

It is likely the activation of the Progressive base by the various Progressives groups like Indivisible and others that sealed the Progressive success in these elections. Throughout the country, they have been relentless. Big money did not do it in 2016. And big money did not do it in 2017. Investment in the grassroots did. Daily Kos contributor and DNC member Chris Reeves wrote that that was the DNC's modus operandi in Virginia.

  • In Virginia, rather than TV, the DNC committed to more than $1.5M in field programs. This is something that state parties have asked for, funding for get out the vote programs over TV programming. While one election isn’t a pattern, let’s just say these results certainly help sell this.
  • 100% of the money the DNC invested in Virginia went to organizers and technology tools for them. No TV. We engaged in hiring minority hiring practices to put more members of a community talking to their own communities.

One would think that the last election cycle would have illustrated that communication with the grassroots as opposed to a sea of money from millionaire and billionaire donors is more effective at getting people to the polls. A narrative that speaks to people's conditions with solutions that solve their problem on a daily basis what they want. The answer always looks like a far left solution to the wealthy whether Democrat or Republican.

Polls show most Americans want Progressive policies, Medicare for all, Guaranteed Basic Income, Labor Unions, Pay It Forward Tuition, a Social Security one can live on, and more. These policies are considered far left even by some in the Democratic Party.

In a recent interview with on MSNBC with Stephanie Ruhle, the following exchange occurred with Stephen Cloobeck.

"When Democrats continue to say, 'Down with the billionaires. We can't stand the rich,' said Stephanie Ruhle. "A lot of people want to be rich. So is it the right message that Democrats are going with?"

"It's so effing wrong," said Stephen Cloobeck. "I've talked to Schumer. I've talked to Wyden. I've talked to Pelosi. And I said if you use the term billionaires again, I'm done. Because it's aspirational. I didn't start with anything. Just penalize everyone that's done well? We all want to do well. And we should be the party of doing well. We should be a party, of business and leadership. And it is very very disturbing when I hear the millionaire or billionaire word. And I told them to stop it. Knock it off."

"Then are you worried that the Democratic Party is going too far to the left?" Ruhle asked.

"So much so it drives me nuts, Cloobeck responded. "So much so it would make me quit the party. And I've made it very clear I'll cut your money off. And others will do the same."

In other words, donors to the Democratic Establishment are telling the leaders of the Democratic Party to ignore the will of the people to maintain some middle ground advantageous to the few. And if the Democratic Party does not oblige, the wealthy donors will pack up and leave.

Stephanie Ruhle then continued her questioning based on a false premise.

"Right now there is an opportunity," Ruhle said. "If Democrats lose for example in the state of Virginia. If that isn't a wake up call, that the Democratic leadership needs to get together and say we've got to find a middle ground, because if the Democrats continue to go far to the left, you've got that whole group in the center that just aren't going to go the way of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. And then you're gonna fracture the party even more."

The fracture within the Democratic Party has more to do with the leadership and the grassroots than with Democrats and Progressives in general. There are those who want to hold on to the middle because that is where the "Progressive" wealthy Establishment Democrats reside. Ironically, it is not that far away from where the Conservative wealthy Establishment Republicans live. It is the concept of the left rail and right rail being different but heading in the same direction.

The 2016 election proved that American don't just want Left or Right rails. Their current economic and social conditions demand a derailment. A Progressive derailment is much more advantageous to the masses than a Right Wing derailment which would be the virtual enslavement of "the other," people of color, women, the poor, gays, and many others.

The election of people of all types, political persuasions, and values is probative. It illustrates that the Progressive movement has the reach most activists knew it had.

Progressives do not need to fight what many refer to as the Establishment. They just need to replicate Virginia, New Jersey, Washington state, the elected that was not supposed to be electable, women, and more. Progressives must run for precinct chairs in their Democratic Primaries. Most importantly saturate the primaries with Progressives for local, state, and national offices.

Progressives must realize that winning is more effective than talking. The most recent election proves we are well on our way.

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CNBC Editor: Slams tax cut scam, points out Deficits fall & wages rise under Dems (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:14

John Harwood, a far cry from a Liberal or Progressive reporter appeared on MSNBC with Ali Velshi and slammed the Republican Tax Cut Scam in the journalistic kind of way that was very evident. He also pointed out an unfortunate truth you must point out to every Republican & Trump supporter.

Republican tax cut scam debunked

CNBC Editor: Slams tax cut scam, points out Deficits fall & wages rise under Dems (VIDEO) - https://t.co/3buC8BIC6b pic.twitter.com/gHP2Guw1Kw

— Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies) November 9, 2017

"Well, I see a big problem for the sponsors of the bill in trying to move public opinion.," CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood. Right now it's weak. Our NBC Wall Street Journal poll showed only 25% of Americans begin the debate believing this is a good idea. And when you look at the numbers you see much bigger benefits to businesses and wealthy individuals, than you do to average middle-class people. And as you noted at the top of the show, a significant chunk of people are going to get a tax increase. And that's a very hard hurdle to get over. Republicans are trying to say that cutting corporate taxes a ton is going to benefit workers."

"Historically whether it's in America with tax cuts or in a more recent example in the United Kingdom, tax cuts are beneficial to lots of people. They don't tend to benefit wages."

"Well and that's again a claim that is highly disputed that the administration is pushing and that Gary Cohn pushed. In fact, Ali, he said that even if businesses bring back money overseas through their repatriation plan, even if they simply give it to shareholders in dividends or in stock buybacks, he says that's still going to benefit workers because they're going to invest. That is a highly debatable proposition."

"That feels like trickle-down economics to me," Velshi interjected.

"That is exactly what he's arguing," Harwood replied. "And he says it works. And the question is when you look back over the record of what's happened since the 1980s through both the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama administrations when you look at those -- has wealth become more spread evenly through this society or not? -- Actually, we've seen that under the Democratic presidents' deficits have declined more and incomes have done better under. All the while, however, inequality continues to rise. And the analyses we've seen so far suggest that this may make it worse."

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Wealthy Democratic donor, Stephen Cloobeck, holding party hostage if goes left (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-11-09 02:47

Wealthy Democratic Donor Stephen Cloobeck appeared on MSNBC with Stephanie Ruhle. It was an interview that illustrated all that is wrong with the Democratic Party. Many get upset when we illustrate the similarities between the Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans. But this Democratic donor is exhibit 1.

Wealthy Democratic Donor Stephen Cloobeck Threatens Party

"When Democrats continue to say, 'Down with the billionaires. We can't stand the rich,' said Stephanie Ruhle. "A lot of people want to be rich. So is it the right message that Democrats are going with?"

"It's so effing wrong," said Stephen Cloobeck. "I've talked to Schumer. I've talked to Wyden. I've talked to Pelosi. And I said if you use the term billionaires again, I'm done. Because it's aspirational. I didn't start with anything. Just penalize everyone that's done well? We all want to do well. And we should be the party of doing well. We should be a party, of business and leadership. And it is very very disturbing when I hear the millionaire or billionaire word. And I told them to stop it. Knock it off."

"Then are you worried that the Democratic Party is going too far to the left?" Ruhle asked.

"So much so it drives me nuts, Cloobeck responded. "So much so it would make me quit the party. And I've made it very clear I'll cut your money off. And others will do the same."

"Right now there is an opportunity," Ruhle said. "If Democrats lose for example in the state of Virginia. If that isn't a wake up call, that the Democratic leadership needs to get together and say we've got to find a middle ground, because if the Democrats continue to go far to the left, you've got that whole group in the center that just aren't going to go the way of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. And then you're gonna fracture the party even more."

"It's fractured," Cloobeck replied. "It's broken. We need a new brand. It needs to be simple. Keep it simple -- tax reform. Keep it simple, -- infrastructure, no bumps in the road. What more do we have to say? They need to have a new brand created."

"Are we going to see Democrats pull it together and vote together?" Ruhle asked. "A lot of Bernie supporters did not turn and vote for Hillary. They just didn't vote at all.

"I know and I can tell you that if we go far left, I'm out," Cloobeck said. I'm out. We need middle-ground."

"So when you tell the Democratic leadership this when you meet with Wyden and Pelosi and Schumer," Ruhle asked. "What did they say to you?"

"Well," Cloobeck responded. "So far they've given me great signals that they're willing to participate and get there. We shall see."

Watch the entire segment here.

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Wealthy Democratic Donor Stephen Cloobeck threatens Democratic Party’s leftward move

Wed, 2017-11-08 17:39

Stephen Cloobeck, a wealthy Democratic donor, appeared on MSNBC with Stephanie Ruhle and had some good things to say about the Democratic Party. But he also had a threat that will rub many Progressives the wrong way.

Stephen Cloobeck in no uncertain terms warned the Democratic Party that they need a new message and calling out billionaires won't be tolerated.

Democratic Donor Stephen Cloobeck threatens to cut party off.

Cloobeck first discussed the recent Texas Massacre. He said enough is enough maybe alluding to gun control?

Ruhle asked Cloobeck about his thoughts on the tax cut scam. He said the bill was misguided in that it dropped the sales and property tax deductions and called it a big corporate tax bungle. He wants the law to go after net operating loss carryforwards

Cloobeck then came back with a Progressive value. Help kids with there student loans. He agreed that most of the tax cuts go to corporations.

When Stephanie Ruhle brought up the issue of Democrats holding Democrats accountable, Cloobeck would have none of it. He said he told the big wheels in the Democratic Party to stop it or else his funding of the Democratic Party will dry up. He also said many others would follow with drying up rich donor dollars to the Democratic Party.

The entire interview is fascinating. It illustrates that wealthy Democratic Party supporters will only go so far in their support of middle-class-centric Progressive policies.

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Humiliating defeat for Ohio mayor who ditched Democratic Party to back Trump

Wed, 2017-11-08 14:58

The chickens are coming home to roost. One can imagine Republicans and those Democrats jumping on the Trump train trembling in their boots. You see, Americans are good people who like all people can get overcome by a charlatan during hard times. Times may be changing. The defeat of many candidates may be probative.

It is taking a long time. The system has deceived Americans for north of thirty years since the inception of the codification document for their indoctrination, the Powell Manifesto. We have had many mildly Progressive candidates to minimize the plutocracy-centric policies, but Trump's win gave the impression that even that was too much. This hard swing to the Right cloaked as populism is finally wearing thin. And it may have been a blessing in disguise. It may have awoken the Progressive sleeping giant we always knew was there.

Ed Gillespie, the Virginia gubernatorial candidate, made that right turn.We rewarded him with the most significant loss for a Republican in years. The Republican forced capitulation mounted from Florida to North Carolina to Washington State to New York to Maine and much more. But this one is poetic justice. A Democrat, Tom Coyne, in Ohio who jumped ship to jump on the Trump train lost his reelection bid. According to the CleveScene,

Coyne, a former Democrat who'd ruled City Hall from 1982 to 2001 and again from 2013 until this year, had switched parties, running as a Trumpian Republican. (He was set to be feted with a fundraiser in October with special guest of honor Donald Trump Jr. until it was canceled for unspecified reasons.) Three weeks later, he joined others riding Trump's rhetoric and policies straight out of office. Former Brook Park council president Michael Gammella prevailed in a four-person race with 42% of the vote.

Now let's sit back and watch spineless politicians try to decide what their positions are instead of just thinking about the well-being of the citizenry. Folks #RESIST. The resistance is winning, and we will choose which candidates are the ones that deserve our votes, not the spineless politicians that have so far deceived us all as they continue to dangle in what they believe are the prevailing winds.

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John Young: Republicans are shameless merchants of debt

Wed, 2017-11-08 12:07

by John Young

Boasting of his supposed business wizardry, in 2016 Donald Trump told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "I'm the king of debt. I love debt." He didn't mention also being a connoisseur of bankruptcy.

Ah, debt, sweet as wine. Love it, don't you?

You may not, in fact. However the affaire d'amour pulses and throbs this week in our Republican-controlled Congress.

If Congress follows through on Trump's urgings -- and the House seems quite inclined, the Republican tax plan would saddle the nation with $2.5 trillion in new debt over the next decade.

Hey, tea party people. You kept telling us additional debt was a bad thing.

Wasn't it the original sin to borrow, under Barack Obama, to rescue the nation from the worst economic moment since the Depression? Yes it was. I heard you say so.

Now? It would appear you love debt. You want it in gobs, especially that debt means tax breaks for people who don't need them.

Actually, this is not new, and not a news. It's not even a change of heart.

Ronald Reagan's budgets employed a "magic asterisk" that basically meant he – and we -- would look the other way when things didn't add up.

Dick Cheney famously said, "Deficits don't matter." He and George W. Bush turned a deaf ear to John McCain's denunciations of funding two wars at once off the books.

When Reagan used his immense popularity to restructure the tax system, closing loopholes and reducing tax brackets, he could have insisted on harvesting some revenue to help curb the red ink that had been accumulating under his leadership.

Instead, the tax plan he signed was revenue-neutral.

The Republicans at the time showed they were more interested in trickle-down schemes than in paying for the government they had bought. That included the largest peacetime military buildup in the history of the world.

Now, "revenue neutral" seems the height of responsibility. What Trump and the House Republicans are doing is constructing a fiscal hole that will require future generations to account for the largesse of the moment.

Yes, the taxpayers of tomorrow would have to find revenue that this tax plan shut off by way of corporate tax cuts to enrich CEOs and stockholders.

They would have to find revenue lost when this tax plan abolished the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to benefit people like Trump. Oh, yes; the only tax return we've seen from Trump, from 2005, showed him paying $31 million via the AMT.

Ah, but he assured us that the tax changes he's promoting wouldn't help himself. The only way to know this would be to see his tax returns and if he's been paying any tax at all those years since.

As it is, we can trust one thing only – that this is one more lie in a sandstorm of them.

The House tax bill stands to enrich the rich further, and for what? I'll tell you what: to aid designs to strangle the federal government by artificial means.

Sen. Chuck Schumer has it right when he says that the ultimate objective of these tax plans is to make it harder to justify spending for things we need – infrastructure, health care, aid to the poorest of the poor.

The thing about those magic asterisks of the Reagan years: The bad math was wholly intentional. The deficits were the design. That red ink made it easier for so-called fiscal conservatives to say we couldn't afford so much government.

For this Congress, that red ink would be sign that they could pass one, just one, policy. Something they have not done in the 10 months that Republicans have controlled the House, the Senate and the White House.

If this monstrosity passes, Trump who got where he is via the "debt and dodge" approach to business, would be there with pen in hand. To sign in red?

Yes, let's run the United States just like he would – into bankruptcy.

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A Canadian’s rant about their reaction to a fallen officer and U.S. gun violence

Wed, 2017-11-08 01:58

I received an email from a Canadian this evening who reads our blog post diligently and follows both U.S. and Canadian politics. The sentiment within his email touched a nerve. When will Americans start sharing this feeling with our Canadian brothers and sisters detached from any ideology?

Here is the text of the email.

Canadian's email on the normalcy of our reaction to gun violence

Hi there,

I live in Vancouver, Canada and I follow your FB feed and it's been excellent. I was struck by something that happened here last night. A police officer died after a gun shootout involving a stolen vehicle -- not such a strange occurrence you might say and yet here it is because there is better gun control., because here when a first responder is killed in the line of duty, it is a big deal.

The problem with the US having guns so readily available is that it devalues life. Death by shooting becomes a norm. As a result of that, when an officer is killed people barely blink and yet what they do is brave and has value and should be honored every time because when people are honored for their profession or vocation, they become better versions of themselves. I think!

When this officer died, they stopped the highway with a cavalcade and people lined the overpasses to honor him. Gun death should be so rare that when it occurs people continue to care.

Ok rant over.

Thanks for your time.
Lynne

This new Texas Massacre occurred just over a month after the Las Vegas Massacre. It was scary that my reaction was not to the horror that it should have been. Instead, I merely said, "Not again," as if resolved that there is nothing we could do.

America has two interrelated problems. We need to muster the resolve to force politicians to pass strict gun control bills. However, if we accept these gun massacres as the new norm, where will that resolve come from at this time where it is most necessary?

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ATTENTION: Middle-class tax cut scam will cost middle-class more

Tue, 2017-11-07 15:31

Americans must speak up now before it is too late. They have the choice to blindly believe the lies that the Republicans are telling them about the Trump-GOP tax cut scam or they can learn the numbers to make an educated decision.

Republicans are betting that Conservatives and middle-of-the-road Americans will remain ideologically confused and support their tax cut scam. The tax cut scam perpetrated by the Republicans is not at all ideological. It merely is legalized theft, a transfer of middle-class hard earned dollars to the wealthy cloaked as tax reform.

The New York Times article "Republican Plan Would Raise Taxes on Millions" should alarm anyone considering supporting the tax cut scam. The first paragraph says it all.

Nearly half of all middle-class families would pay more in taxes in 2026 than they would under current rules if the proposed House tax bill became law, and about one-third would pay more in 2018, according to a New York Times analysis, a striking finding for a bill promoted as a middle-class tax cut.

Worse, for many, taxes increase is immediate.

President Trump and congressional Republicans have pitched the plan unveiled last week as a tax cut for most Americans. But millions of middle-class families — particularly those with children — would see an immediate tax increase, averaging about $2,000. Among the hardest-hit under the plan would be some of the most vulnerable taxpayers: those with huge out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Independent economists can find nothing to validate Republican claims that nobody in the middle-class will see tax increases.

Analyses published since the plan was introduced last week have consistently found that some middle-class families would see their taxes go up immediately, compared with existing law. One such analysis, from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that 8 percent of middle-income earners would pay more in 2018 — and 21 percent in 2027 — with upper-middle-class taxpayers more likely to see their taxes rise.

What is interesting it that those with more complicated finances, likely a large percentage who are in the Republican base, will be affected.

The millions losing out under the bill would largely be families with more complicated finances, who now generally itemize their deductions. The bill would eliminate many common and valuable tax deductions that, in some cases, would eliminate thousands of dollars in tax benefits. This would be particularly acute for taxpayers who deducted state and local income and property tax payments, interest on student loans, or the cost of health insurance for self-employed workers.

The plan could be particularly costly for Americans facing large medical bills. Nearly nine million taxpayers collectively deducted about $84 billion in medical expenses from their taxes in 2015. The House bill would eliminate that deduction.

Middle-class Americans, irrespective of ideology or political affiliation must heed what the nonpolitical experts are warning about almost in unison. The tax cut scam is a middle-class tax cut facade that will make you poorer. You have the choice to decide if you will accept it or not. Make sure you do the right thing and refuse to be gullible to those who have repeated the same lie as they progressively destroy the middle-class.

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