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Why should we trust the scientists

Mon, 2017-06-26 01:14

"Is Science Just Another Dogma" Revised

"In the conditions of modern life, the rule is absolute: the [nation] that does not value trained intelligence is doomed."

Alfred North Whitehead

"That’s just my opinion, but I’m sticking with it!" "Well, it’s true (or good) for me!" "Who’s to say?"

These are the sort of student pronouncements that drive Philosophy professors into early retirement. More often then not, they are "thought-stoppers," indicating a firmly closed student mind.

But not always. That question, "who’s to say?," might also be a plea deserving an answer. If so, it is the sort of student question that philosophy professors cherish, for it is an opening door to philosophy and to science. As Socrates reportedly said:, "philosophy begins in wonder." Also science.

So why should we give more credence to the conclusion of 97% of thousands of climate scientists, than we give to Sen. Inhof’s snowball or the Heartland Institute’s sophistries? And why should we believe evolution rather than Genesis? Isn’t evolution "just a theory"? Why shouldn’t we regard science a "just another dogma? That is the guiding question of this essay.

These days, snarky thought-stoppers that attempt to reduce facts to personal beliefs are not unique to college students. Just listen to the media, to corporate public relations, to televangelists, or worst of all, to the policy pronouncements of the Trump administration and congressional republicans.. Consider the spectacle of the tobacco company CEOs telling the Congressional committee, under oath, "I do not believe that nicotine is addictive" – this, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that nicotine is, in fact, addictive.

And as noted above, the virus of irrationalism is epidemic in the colleges and universities of the realm, in the guise of "post-modernism" whose most extreme adherents regard competing theories of reality, such as astronomy and astrology as "social constructs" and "stories," each with an "equal right to be heard and appreciated."

How has it come to this? Throughout the just-completed century, the United States has been the world leader in technological innovation and scientific advancement. And yet, the American public, by and large, is dismally ignorant of basic scientific information. Thus the Los Angeles Times reports (May 10, 1992), that a third of Americans believe that astrology "has some scientific merit," and reportedly half do not accept evolution. And in May, 1996, the Associate Press reported that "fewer than half of the American adults understand that the Earth orbits the sun yearly... Only about nine percent knew what a molecule was, and only 21 percent could define DNA."

A library of books have been written about the methodology of science, many of them quite controversial. Among philosophers of science one will find a myriad of hotly contested theories about "how science works." Even so, there are a few fundamental features of scientific activity that most observers of science will accept, and which the ordinary non-scientific citizen might readily understand. These are also features that set science distinctively apart from non-scientific truth claims. I will discuss just nine of these features.

First, scientific activity is public and replicable.

The community of scientists is elite and restricted, and yet, paradoxically, it is also open. Few individuals are qualified to conduct an experiment with a particle accelerator, or to carry out a DNA test. But anyone with requisite intelligence and diligence who is willing and able to undergo the required training may, in principle, be able to perform these activities. Moreover, any and all such qualified individuals must be able to repeat the experiments and produce the evidence claimed by other scientists. Remember "cold fusion," that "revolutionary scientific breakthrough" that was going to supply us with an endless supply of cheap energy? It failed the "replicability test." Repeated failures by other scientists to duplicate the results claimed by Fleischman and Pons led to the well-deserved demise of this "breakthrough." "One-time-only" episodes of "Divine revelation" and "anecdotal evidence" from singular events do not cut it scientifically. (However, as we will see below, some accounts of singular events can launch fruitful scientific investigations).

Science is Cumulative.

"If I have seen further," said Isaac Newton, "it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." And thus, of course, Newton was another of those "giants." Mathematics necessarily developed sequentially, from arithmetic to algebra (the Arabs) to analytic geometry (Descartes) to calculus (Newton and Leibnitz). Without Galileo and Kepler, there would have been no Newton. Without Linnaeus, no Darwin. Because science is ever open to new discoveries (see "falliblism" below), science allows nature to "speak to us" through experiment and observation. But only if we ask nature the right questions (i.e., if we know what we are looking for and describe it with an adequate (often mathematical) vocabulary. The science of the preceding "giants" gives us those questions. Thus science, as an accumulating body of knowledge and theory, is vastly greater than any particular scientist.

Science is Systemic, Coherent and Comprehensive.

Scientific theories are marvelous structures built out of scientific concepts ("vocabularies"), laws, empirical facts, and logical entailments. They are not, as "creationists" say of evolution, mere unconfirmed "facts." The word "theory" has a vastly different meaning to the scientist than it does in everyday discourse, (as I explain in my "Creationism and the Devolution of the Intellect"). To the scientist, "facts" are ingredients of theories. And as theories encompass more observed and confirmed facts and formulate new "laws," this theoretical growth reverberates throughout the entire theoretical system. Thus, for example, post-Darwinian discoveries in genetics, bio-chemistry and paleontology have not "refuted" evolution, they have enriched and expanded it.

Robust scientific theories are characterized by their scope of application (comprehensiveness) – another manifestation of their structure and coherence. Thus, for example, "natural selection" explains such diverse phenomena as dated sequence of fossils, comparative anatomy and physiology, comparative species, DNA, declining potency of insecticides and antibiotics. Similarly, Einstein's theory of relativity explains observations at the working end of particle accelerators, nuclear and thermonuclear reactions, the behavior of clocks on spaceships, astronomical observations, and the apparent bending of light near massive objects (e.g., during a solar eclipse).

Science is Empirical.

A scientific investigation "begins" and "ends" in experience. A scientist might find, in the field or his laboratory, an interesting phenomenon worthy of investigation. For example, Darwin found varieties of finches on the Galapagos Islands and the South American mainland. Why both the variety and the similarities? And Wilhelm Roentgen accidentally made a momentous discovery while experimenting with X-Rays in his laboratory. In a desk drawer below his apparatus, a key was placed atop an unexposed photographic plate. He later discovered an image of the key on the plate. How come? His search for an answer led to X-Ray photography.

Darwin and Roentgen developed hypotheses ("hunches") to explain these experienced phenomena. Some failed to "pan out" in experience, so new hypotheses were formed. Eventually, they came up with hypotheses which, in conjunction with settled scientific concepts and data, predicted events which were empirically confirmed by experiments and observations.

Scientific theory and laws are not made up of "hunches." And yet creative imagination ("hunches") can play an important role in scientific investigation. Legend has it that Archimedes came upon the concept of specific gravity while taking a bath. (Did he really? Who knows? Who cares? The story is illustrative, not scientific). James Watson tells us that the idea of the double helix came to him as he recalled his boyhood exploration of the spiral staircase at a lighthouse. And Einstein thought of relativity as he was riding a Zurich trolley and contemplated the "relative motion" of a passenger walking in the trolley.

But when the scientific community demanded confirmation of the theory of DNA, Crick and Watson did not look to lighthouses. Nor did Einstein demonstrate Special Relativity with a trolley car. These insights were the beginning, not the end, of scientific inquiry. The inquiry "ended" with empirical confirmation in the laboratory or the field.

Scientific assertions are Falsifiable.

For any statement whatever in the body of science, we know what it would be like for that statement to be false. (I exclude "formal" statements: e.g., definitions, logical rules and tautologies, which lack external empirical reference – a technical point which I won't elaborate here). It is thus possible, in principle, to describe a refutation of a scientific claim. In other words, scientific statements, hypotheses and theories are falsifiable – not "false," but falsifiable. The distinction is crucial.

To put it another way, for an hypothesis, prediction or confirmation to have scientific meaning, one must be prepared to say, "expect to find such-and-such empirical conditions in the world, to the exclusion of other describable conditions." If you find these conditions, your statement has been proven true of this particular "real nature," and not some "fanciful nature." For example, Galileo determined that a free-falling object falls at a distance of d = ½ gt2 (with "d" for distance, "t" for time, and "g" for a gravitational constant at the Earth's surface). Not 1/4g or 1/3g, but 1/2g. And not time cubed, or time to the 2.5 power, but time squared. In other words, that simple equation describes one sort of nature to the exclusion of an infinitude of other "natures" described by different formulas. But experimentation and observation has proven that Galileo's formula applies to the "nature" we live in. In short, the free-fall formula is falsifiable. We can easily describe how it might be false but have determined experimentally that it is true.

Similarly, in Eddington's famous 1919 eclipse experiment, Einstein's theory of relativity predicted that star near the eclipse would appear in a precisely defined location, and not in any other location in the night sky (a falsification). And sure enough, it appeared where predicted by the relativity theory. Confirmation!

In contrast, dogmas give us unfalsifiable assertions. Once in a debate with an evangelical minister, I asked: "Why should I believe that the Bible is the inerrant truth, and that I must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved?" He replied, "just you wait – when you die and face your maker, then you will find out." Of course, that challenge was utterly unfalsifiable to anyone alive, which is to say, to anyone at all. Similarly, economic dogmas, which are "theory rich," have an "explanation" (after the fact) for every and any developments in the national economy.  And if one theory in the economist's kit of tools won't work, he has another that will.  What such an economist cannot do is describe a turn in the economy that would disprove his dogma. In short, unfalsifiable assertions, because they describe every possible world, describe nothing unique about the world we live in, which is to say that they "describe" nothing at all.

(The Falsifiability rule has been challenged by many reputable philosophers of science. My blunt reply: they are correct, but so what? Falsifiability remains as a robust and essential, albeit imperfect, criterion, as I explain in this supplementary note).

Scientific assertions are fallible.

An important implication of the falsifiability rule, is what Charles Peirce called "Falliblism." Because every scientific statement is falsifiable, we must be forever open to the possibility (however remote) that some new observation or experiment will prove it wrong. The "falliblist" says, in effect, that "while I have strong beliefs, I am forever prepared to change these beliefs if confronted with compelling evidence to the contrary."

We have often heard that "science has been proven to be wrong in the past." True enough! But what has discovered and corrected scientific error? Science of course. Again, as a human institution, science is imperfect – which is to say, "fallible." But science is far and away the best remedy for the imperfections of science.

The Order of Scientific Inquiry proceeds from evidence to conclusion.

In science, as in jury trials, the outcome remains in doubt until all the evidence has been examined and evaluated. Evidence is assembled, hypotheses and theories are tentatively formed, and from all this, events and conditions (all "falsifiable") are predicted. Only if the predictions "pan out," are the hypothesis and theory confirmed, whereupon science progresses once again.

In contrast, dogmatists take the position of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland – "verdict first, trial afterwards." The caption of a New Yorker cartoon that I have used for years in my classes summarizes that "method" perfectly: "That is the gist of my position, now go out and get some evidence to base it on." This is the strategy of the preacher, the advertiser, and the political propagandist. The doctrine, or the client's product, or the party policy are all sacrosanct – not to be questioned. Beneath this exalted and unalterable truth, a scaffold of concocted "evidence" and argumentation must be assembled. This is the methodology of "creationism," of the Tobacco Institute, of the Global Climate Coalition (funded by the fossil fuel industry), and of the Supreme Court decision of December 12, 2000, Bush v. Gore.

And, of course, it is a "methodology" that is unfalsifiable – no amount of evidence to the contrary will budge these advocates from their pre-ordained conclusions. Witness the behavior and utterances of "climate change deniers."

In Science, as with Jury trials, the Burden of Proof is on the Affirmative.

We've all heard it in political and religious debates: "Prove me wrong." It a cry of despair. A belief, innocent of supporting evidence, is proclaimed to be true, absent a compelling argument in the negative. (Logicians call this "the ad ignorantumfallacy.")

This tactic of placing the burden of proof on the negative is inadmissible in courts of law, where the burden must fall on the prosecution (to prove affirmative guilt) rather than on the defense (to negatively prove "not guilty").

Common sense shows us the wisdom of placing the burden of proof upon the affirmative. For example, no one has found any evidence of Noah's ark on Mt. Ararat. "So prove to me that it isn't there and never was!" Of course we can't. Is this sufficient reason to believe the Bible story, and that this mountain is the place in question? Similarly for stories about Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, and UFO abductions. "Prove me wrong!" Well I can't, but so what?

The rule of "burden of proof on the affirmative" is a splendid device for de-cluttering the mind of intellectual rubbish. One might approach the world with the attitude of believing everything not disproved or, on the other hand, believing nothing unless proved. The latter, the approach of the scientist, is a far more reliable guide to truth, not to mention the management of one's practical affairs.

George Santayana had it just right: "Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect."

Science is Universal.

The foregoing list of distinguishing qualities of science indicates, I trust, that science is "not just another dogma." This fact is demonstrated by the universal appeal and application of science. Scientists from around the world readily communicate with each other, as scientists, regardless of their political, religious and cultural differences.. Science is an institution and tradition which, while not without subjective elements (e.g. creative "hunches" and imaginative theories), attains an objectivity through its constant commerce with nature, and through the discipline of its methodology which ruthlessly culls out theories and hypotheses that fail the test of confirmation. Science is not perfect – no human institution is. Nor does science encompass all human knowledge, for there is much more to be learned from the arts, from literature, from moral reflection and practice, and from living in the company of fellow human beings in a well-ordered society. But science is supremely good at what it does – discovering the nature of physical, biological, and social reality, and articulating that reality in abstract and general laws and theories.

All Americans affirm science every time they boot up a computer, start a car or make a phone call. These everyday activities take place only through the successful application of thousands of scientific laws and theories. When the evangelical preacher stands before a TV camera to denounce evolution, or Donald Trump to debunk global warming as "unsound science," they both know that the device that is pointing at them will send their image and words to millions "out there." Thus they implicitly affirm the validity of physics, chemistry, advanced mathematics and computer science, even as they deny biology and atmospheric science.

You are presumably reading this essay on the internet.  Therefore, numerous scientifically proven natural laws regarding the electro-magnetic spectrum, the properties of semi-conductors, theories of circuitry, and much more, are all true.  The scientists and engineers (applied scientists) have all successfully done their jobs.

I defy you to supply a non-scientific explanation as to how your are able to pick this piece off the internet and read it on your computer screen.

Faith? A miracle? The Grace of God? Good luck with that!

The downgrading of science is quite agreeable to the religious right, of course. But also to the corporations that own Trump and the "Tea Party" Republicans in the White House. And as the pesticide and tobacco cases vividly demonstrated in the past, and the global warming issue reminds us today, scientific research and discovery can be very threatening to the corporate bottom line. A scientifically educated and sophisticated public would appreciate the significance of that research and discovery, and would see through the sophistry of corporate public relations. That same public, under a democratic system, would select leaders that act in behalf of all citizens, act to preserve the natural environment that is our ultimate source and sustenance, and act to the benefit of future generations. Accordingly, those corporate elites whose concerns are confined to their own self interest have no stake in a public that thinks critically and is scientifically informed. Sadly, the American public today gives those elites little cause for concern.

Nonetheless, the science deniers should be gravely concerned.

If the Trump administration and its successors continue to defund scientific research and education, and if a ruling American political party continues to deny and disparage science, preferring dogma and "false facts," then science will not "go away." More likely, the United States will cease to be a significant world power.

The once-outstanding American research universities will no longer attract talented young students from the United States and abroad, and these institution will no longer produce leading-edge research and innovations. However, science will continue to flourish elsewhere, where it will be cherished and generously supported: in China, in the Pacific Rim, in western Europe, and yes, in Russia.

Continuing the Whitehead quotation that began this piece:

Not all your heroism, not all your social charm, not all your wit, not all your victories on land or at sea can move back the finger of fate. Today we maintain ourselves. Tomorrow science will have moved forwards yet one more step, and there will be no appeal from the judgment which will then be pronounced on the uneducated. ("The Aims of Education")


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George Will’s statement is why Trumpcare passage could destroy GOP & help Single-Payer (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-06-25 13:23

Conservative commentator George Will sometimes surprises when he makes statements unclouded by his very Conservative ideology and steeped in reality. His statement is the reasons why the GOP would be in trouble if they pass Trumpcare and Democrats run an unabashedly Progressive campaign on healthcare and middle-class values. In fact, he seemed resolved to single-payer Medicare for all.

George Will get's potential passage of Trumpcare right

George Will hits the nail on the head as he points out the reality of where the Trumpcare debate stands and a few other realities.

The process argument ..., is an excuse," George Will said. "I don't think the problem is that this violates the president's campaign promise not to cut Medicaid. You can argue as Senator Johnson did that it's just a slowing of the expansion. The problem isn't that this violates the Menuchin rule no one seems to remember.  It is that the  Treasury Secretary said there would be no large tax cut for the wealthy. This is a large tax cut for the wealthy. The problem isn't whether you steal that Medicare expansion in seven years or three years. Those are splittable differences. There are two problems here. One is that we don't take things back from people once we've given it.  Once we did it.  Aid to Families with Dependent Children was repealed ... But that took away something from poor people who were not organized or not lawyered. This takes something away from people who got it they value because they've got it now. Second, after eight years of debating this, we are up against the fact that the expansion of Medicaid is exactly what this is about. Fifty-five million people are on Medicare. Sixty-eight million are on Medicaid, and we are still arguing about whether we should have government control of healthcare? It's there."

That last statement by George Will is the reason why it is now the time that Progressives push single-payer Medicare for all now given the draconian nature of Trumpcare and the current problems with Obamacare (sabotaged and organic).


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George Will makes the case for the Democratic Party to go Left (VIDEO)

Sun, 2017-06-25 12:20

Conservative columnist George Will all but suggested that the Jon Ossoff race in Georgia dictates that the Democratic Party go Left to win elections. It was stunning, in the manner he said it.

George Will suggests that the Democratic Party go Left

George Will is no Progressive or Liberal, but he is paraphrasing Progressives as he makes the case to Democrats without being explicit.

"This epical election to pick one hundred and thirty-fifth of one-half of one of our three branches of government matters only if they misconstrue what happened," George Will said. "Progressives are saying, he won the primary and won, Ossoff did, by saying vote for me and make Trump furious. Then he won and became militantly vanilla, campaigning against government waste, that we are going to have a high-tech North Georgia and all of that; If they say that if we only go hard Left, we will bring people out. If they say we are really more interested in realigning the party for the long term than winning elections in the short term, then what happened in Georgia will really matter."

True, he is paraphrasing what many real Progressive Democrats are saying, but in the context of the Jon Ossoff race, it is important. When Ossoff loss the passion of fighting for something, a thing people could feel, he just became another Democratic policy wonk. Most know that is important, but one cannot campaign in that fashion.

Moreover, Republican Lite just won't do. There is a stark difference between the parties', Republican and Democratic, platform and ideologies. But most of the country is stuck to neither. We also know that Democratic policies are more in line with the vast majority of Americans. It is incumbent upon Democrats to boldly articulate them, fight against the incoming fallacies, fight against them with complete resolve, and mean it. Yes, it is time for Democrats to go Left. Centrism and Republican Lite-ism failed because people will always take the real thing over the imitation.

Democrats will only win 2018 with a bold Progressive agenda without compromise. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Cure it before it is too late.



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Robert Reich: The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid

Sun, 2017-06-25 03:05

Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly.

It’s done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office.

Here’s how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation.

But there’s a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.

Which means that after 2025, Medicaid will cover less and less of the costs of health care for the poor and elderly.

Over time, that gap becomes huge. The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that just between 2025 and 2035, about $467 billion less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

So millions of Americans will lose the Medicaid coverage they would have received under the 1965 Medicaid act. Over the long term, Medicaid will unravel.

Will anyone in future years know Medicaid’s unraveling began with this Senate Republican bill ostensibly designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? Probably not. The unraveling will occur gradually.

Will future voters hold Republicans responsible? Again, unlikely. The effects of the unraveling won’t become noticeable until most current Republican senators are long past reelection.

Does anyone now know this time bomb is buried in this bill?

It doesn’t seem so. McConnell won’t even hold hearings on it.

Next week the Congressional Budget Office will publish its analysis of the bill. CBO reports on major bills like this are widely disseminated in the media. The CBO’s belated conclusion that the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health care prompted even Donald Trump to call it “mean, mean, mean.”

But because the CBO’s estimates of the consequences of bills are typically limited to 10 years (in this case, 2018 to 2028), the CBO’s analysis of the Senate Republican bill will dramatically underestimate how many people will be knocked off Medicaid over the long term.

Which is exactly what Mitch McConnell has planned. This way, the public won’t be tipped off to the Medicaid unraveling hidden inside the bill.

For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine America’s three core social insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The three constitute the major legacies of the Democrats, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular.

Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues think they’ve found a way to unravel Medicaid without anyone noticing.

Don’t be fooled. Spread the word.

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Joy-Ann Reid grills Congressman and blast Trumpcare for its evilness (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-06-24 12:41

Joy-Ann Reid did not hold back as she, in a very deliberate manner, grilled the New York Congressman for the draconian Trumpcare health care bill.

Joy-Ann Reid grills Congressman Tom Reed on Trumpcare

Once again Joy-Ann Reid made sure to check a Republican guest from pulling the wool over the heads of her viewers as she challenged him.

Joy-Ann Reid used the first part of her segment with Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) to educate her viewers about exactly what Trumpcare does.

Reid then introduced the New York Congressman. She asked him to justify why Trumpcare is giving substantial tax cuts to very wealthy at the expense of low-income people losing healthcare altogether.

The Congressman rejected Reid's premise. He claimed. Republicans are reforming Medicaid. He said spending more money is not the answer.

It was apparent Joy did not believe Reed knew exactly how Medicaid works. She asked him to define it. After giving a basic definition, Joy pointed out the simplicity that eluded the Congressman. Medicaid reimburses the states to pay hospitals and doctors for caring for those who cannot afford care. As such, money removed from Medicaid means much more people without care. She then pointed out how silly it is to call their tax cut bill some reform.

The Congressman then slipped and told the truth. His ideology emanated like a song he had remembered a long time ago.

"Because, that money," the Congressman said, "Is hard working American taxpayer dollars."

Joy-Ann Reid then broke it down.

"You are saying that taxpayers can't afford to pay for healthcare for the poor," Reid said. "So the poor should receive less healthcare."

Joy-Ann Reid then educated the Congressman about the results that would occur if they passed the draconian Trumpcare bill. Thousands would die, and millions would be without healthcare. It did not seem to faze the Congressman at all.

In the end, Joy asked the Congressman what should people who cannot afford healthcare and who would be denied Medicaid to do. He had no real answer other than talking about providing tax credits and efficiencies. At the end of the segment, Reid encapsulated it all.

"Just so that we understand what you guys want to do," Joy said. "You essentially want to give a very substantial tax cut. In your case, you don't want taxpayers in your district to fund Medicaid at all. You are essentially rolling that back making it unlawful for your district to fund Medicaid at all. Cut overall the cost of Medicaid, meaning Medicaid just get less money. And then just give individual people tax credits. That's the plan."

"That is the fundamental essence of what we are trying to do," confirmed the Congressman.

Confession obtained.



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The definitive list of Trump lies since he became president and it is huge

Fri, 2017-06-23 17:50

I've been waiting for this list of Trump lies for a very long time. Individual bloggers don't have the resources to do it. Kudos to these journalists for doing this.

The New York Times listed out the many dozens lies Donald Trump has uttered since he became president. But the article also pointed out some facts Americans need to know.

President Trump’s political rise was built on a lie (about Barack Obama's birthplace). His lack of truthfulness has also become central to the Russia investigation, with James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., testifying under oath about Trump's “lies, plain and simple.”

There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths. Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president — of either party — has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.

We have set a conservative standard, leaving out many dubious statements (like the claim that his travel ban is “similar” to Obama administration policy). Some people may still take issue with this standard, arguing that the president wasn't speaking literally. But we believe his long pattern of using untruths to serve his purposes, as a businessman and politician, means that his statements are not simply careless errors.

We are using the word “lie” deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump's part. But it would be the height of naïveté to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.

Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days

The list above uses the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements. By that standard, Trump told a public lie on at least 20 of his first 40 days as president. But based on a broader standard — one that includes his many misleading statements (like exaggerating military spending in the Middle East) — Trump achieved something remarkable: He said something untrue, in public, every day for the first 40 days of his presidency. The streak didn’t end until March 1.]Since then, he has said something untrue on at least 74 of 113 days. On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing.

Check out the list and make sure you share it with your Trump supporting friends.

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White St. Louis police shoots black off-duty cop & claims friendly fire (VIDEO)

Fri, 2017-06-23 11:18

This black off-duty police officer did what the on-duty police officer told him to do and still got shot. What gives?

Not even a badge can save a black man from being shot by a cop

It is a false belief that following the orders of a cop whether they are right or wrong will ensure that a law enforcement officer will not murder a person of color. Philando Castile followed the orders of the police officer. The police shot him to death. Levar Jones followed the orders of the police officer. The police filled him up with lead.  This time, not even a badge could save a black off-duty police officer could get isolate him from the people of color treatment by cops.

The St. Louis Dispatch reported the following.

ST. LOUIS • An off-duty officer was wounded by "friendly fire" as police looked for suspects after a stolen vehicle fled police and crashed late Wednesday. The injured off-duty officer was treated at a hospital released on Thursday. The suspect was also treated, and released into police custody.

At Barnes-Jewish Hospital early Thursday, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole told reporters the off-duty officer had come out of his home to help after the stolen car crashed nearby, and was hit in the crossfire between officers and suspects who had been in the car. But police now say the off-duty officer was shot by a fellow cop who did not recognize him as an officer, in a separate encounter away from the initial crash.

According to a department summary of the incident released later Thursday, two officers who encountered the armed off-duty officer ordered him to the ground. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them. Another officer just arriving at the scene saw the off-duty officer get up and, not knowing he was an officer, fired his weapon once at the man. He hit the off-duty officer in the arm, the department said.

It is ironic. Many times police officers of color are much harsher on communities of color than white officers as if they believe it buys them some implicit personal safety card. They are willing to join the blue line of silence instead of acknowledging that in fact there is a bias in policing communities of color, specifically black and Latino men. Just maybe this incident will be a wake-up call not only for officers of color but the entire law enforcement industry.

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President Obama’s thoughtful response to Senate’s evil version of Trumpcare

Fri, 2017-06-23 00:30

President Obama, in his very measured manner, did not pull any punches in his response in a Facebook post to the Senate's immoral and evil version of Trumpcare.  Following is the text of his response.


by President Barack Obama

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

Originally posted at President Obama's Facebook Page.


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Joy-Ann Reid: Republican Trumpcare Dilemma, two trains barreling down at each other (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-06-22 11:37

The Senate version of Trumpcare has been unveiled. Joy-Ann Reid's statements made it clear recently that Republicans are in a no-win situation whether or not they pass Trumpcare. It is a result of their dishonesty with all Americans and specifically their constituents.

GOP Trumpcare dilemma: Two trains barreling down

Joy-Ann Reid explains in detail the Trumpcare dilemma that Republicans find themselves in which they must take away something their constituents need.

"Here's the reality," Joy-Ann Reid said. "There are two trains that are barreling down the tracks at the same time toward each other. One of them is that every single Republican who's in Washington elected today has to be able to go home to their state of the district and say I voted to destroy Obamacare. But they also have to be able to go home and say I did not take away you and your grandma on your mom's health care. But what Paul Ryan fundamentally wants to do is take grandma's health care. He is just as determined to take away grandma's health care and take away health care from the poor to give a giant tax cut to the rich as Donald Trump is to create something terrific that will pay for everybody and leave nobody poor. These are two things that are in fundamental conflict with each other. And Republicans cannot say no to Trumpcare. They have to vote for it because they feel like that is their prime directive. But once they do, 2018! I know they feel good right now about Georgia 06. But all that says is that Republicans vote for Republicans. The problem is they've gotta sell this bill the way Democrats had to after 2010. And Democrats expanded health care and still lost."

It is time for both those who support the Affordable Care Act and those who will be emaciated by Trumpcare which includes many who voted for Donald Trump, to protest in every fashion imaginable to ensure Republicans are made aware their future political aspirations are toast.

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The Democratic Party does not need a civil war now or later

Thu, 2017-06-22 10:42

I was a Bernie Sanders Delegate at the Democratic Convention in Philly. I supported the policies he articulated then and still do today. I went to Philly to fight as hard as possible to ensure that we would get a more Progressive platform. I have written both at DailyKos and at my site about the strengths and flaws of each candidate as I saw them. Bernie Sanders supporters and Hillary Clinton supporters in almost equal amounts paid for my trip to the convention. They all knew where I stood and were confident that I would do what was best for the party. That is what I truly believe is necessary for any party and its policies to succeed. One must move forward and work on persuading for the next cycle.

When the process was over, I proudly supported the nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, one hundred percent. To be clear, I had always thought even when she ran against President Obama, that she was the most qualified on paper, immediately ready to run a government. In 2008, I initially supported her but switched to then Senator Obama after his South Carolina win. I leave that story for another day.

There are currently a lot of animosities between factions in the Democratic Party. Many women and men, especially baby boomers feel there would not be another opportunity in their lifetime to elect a woman. Most Bernie supporters are justifiably upset that the Democratic Establishment had a clear bias for Hillary Clinton.

We are all grown ups. Politics can be rough. Every candidate wants to win. Their operatives push the envelope. It did not help that Russia assisted in creating divisions within the Democratic Party. Well, the election is over, and Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College.

There are two paths the party can take. They can relitigate the election which will get us nowhere. Or they can move forward with a new resolve. The latter makes much more sense.

So how do we get there? The different factions within the party have been so busy attacking each other that they forget the most important thing. Whether you are a Bernie supporter, a Hillary supporter, an establishment supporter, or a real Progressive Liberal Lefty, every faction loves the Democratic Party and what it stands for, mostly anyway.

Many believe the Establishment wing of the party is out of touch. The fact that sans President Obama, Democrats have been taking a shellacking in the aggregate throughout the states and nationally is evidence enough. The Establishment of the party must accept that responsibility. Democrats lost elections for four Republican House seats that while difficult to win were winnable. The president's historically low poll numbers, as well as the president and Congress' unpopular health care bill, should have scared voters towards at least some of the Democrats. Unfortunately, Democrats never made an aggressive enough narrative. The modus operandi was a caution at best or Republican Lite at worse.

Going forward, it is evident to many Progressives that change is necessary. The party must decide if it will be a corporatist party or a populist party, a Progressive Party or a Center-Left party. Some believe that it has to be a corporatist party to get the necessary funding to compete. Some think it needs to be a Center-Left party to attract the white working class. Some believe it must be a populist party. And some want a real Progressive Party. One should note that neither in the Ossoff election or the Trump election, did the winner spend the most money.

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry all ran Center-Left campaigns with a touch of corporatism. Barack Obama even as the corporatists gave him campaign funds, ran a relatively Progressive campaign. Donald Trump ran a populist campaign that included racism, xenophobia, and economics to coalesce a base that included many Democrats. President Obama's coalition so far is unmatched. Even as the Democratic Party in states and nationally got emaciated, his coalition held.

Democrats do not need a civil war that would lead to self-destruction to decide what type of party it needs to be. Progressives and Establishment candidates alike must put up their candidates and messages and let the Democrats decide what kind of party they want. Many establishment Democrats believe they must tailor their message and policies in a manner to appease Wall Street and corporations to get funds to be competitive. Progressives believe funding from the grassroots allow the party to live up to its values not on only in spirit but its policies.

When we query Americans about the things they want, their economics and social beliefs are decidedly Progressive. They want Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They want affordable and accessible health care, specifically a single-payer health care system. They want personal freedoms.  They want an affordable higher education. There are ample polls out there that back this up.

If Progressives can create a coherent, duplicatable, and believable message to match the desires of Americans with their candidates and policies, they will win. Otherwise, the establishment Democrats, that many like to sneer at, may turn out to be the realists, which means America would remain a corporate state where we relegate the masses progressively to indentured servitude as the status quo that continues the growth of income inequality and wealth disparity continues.

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Joy-Ann Reid: Trump knows Republican base wants big government themselves only (VIDEO)

Thu, 2017-06-22 01:52

Joy-Ann Reid continues to shine with her observations about Republicans and specifically the Trump voter. She hits this nail on the head, and it is a narrative Progressives must use.

Joy-Ann Reid points out a Republican base reality that Trump figured out

No one should doubt why Donald Trump verbalized the fact that Trumpcare passed by the House was mean. Joy-Ann Reid's narrative is probative.

"The thing is that Donald Trump, you know," Joy-Ann Read said. "He does understand something fundamental about the Republican Party that Republicans didn't understand, which is at the base of the Republican Party wants big government. They just want big governance to only be limited to them. They want, you know, immigrants to be cut off from programs. They want minorities who they think don't deserve, to be cut off. But they themselves actually are not just for big government. They're for huge government. And so when he tells them something terrific where you won't have to pay, what they hear Donald Trump saying is, 'I'm going to make sure that whatever I create takes care of just you. And we're still going to cut the bad people out. The people you don't like are going to get nothing. And to them, that sounds like Christmas every day"

Remember, these are the same individuals who want the government to stay away from their Medicare. The also like the Affordable Care Act but hate Obamacare.

Joy-Ann Reid makes a clear case that many of these people see themselves as deserving Americans. The others they have convinced themselves are living off the dole. Of course, that is seldom true. The fact is that it si the rural voter, the Red States that get the most from the government. The reality is that the Blue States subsidize the Red States.

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Trump Effect Caught: 7-Eleven cashier to customer ‘Do you have papers’ (VIDEO)

Wed, 2017-06-21 16:27

Here is another case of the Trump Effect. Until many rid themselves of the Trumpian belief that they have the right to determine who is American or American enough, this scourge will continue. This man should feel embarrassed for the outburst.

The Trump Effect in full view

This 7-Eleven cashier had an outburst where he berated a U.S. citizen for trying to make a purchase in broken English. According to the DailyKos,

A spokesperson for 7-Eleven has issued a statement after a Florida clerk was caught on video berating a Latino man about his immigration status. According to Fox 13, the store employee flipped his lid when Yasmany Rodriguez, a Cuba-born U.S. citizen who has been here for two years, tried to make a purchase but couldn’t remember the English-language word for “green.” Hey, lots of us have trouble remembering things every now and then, but when Yasmany tried in Spanish, the clerk went into full-on ICE mode.

You better believe this is exactly the kind of gross vitriol the past few months have encouraged and emboldened:

The customer's lawyer, Jorge Lorenzo, tells FOX 13 his client Yasmany Rodriguez Hernandez used the Spanish word for 'green' to ask the clerk for a specific pack of cigarettes. That's when Lorenzo says the clerk demanded Hernandez speak English.

The clerk is heard saying, "Are you here legally? Do you have papers? Do you have papers?"

"The implication that's so ugly. The implication is that it's ok to treat someone like that individual treated him if they don't have papers. That doesn't make them less human," said Lorenzo.

7-Eleven has fired the employee according to a tweet they sent out.

The employee involved has been terminated by the Franchisee.  Disrespecting any customer is unacceptable.

— 7-Eleven (@7eleven) June 21, 2017

In a time where police officers can get away with murdering innocent people of color, many folks may believe that berating or denigrating the other come without consequences.

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Shameful: MSNBC’s subliminal & dangerous opioid epidemic report (VIDEO)

Wed, 2017-06-21 03:46

As I watched the MSNBC report on the opioid epidemic in Ohio; it was hard to contain myself because of Jacob Soboroff's and the Sheriff portraying the story by changing the real face of those who are perpetrating the 'crime' in the aggregate.

The false changed face of the opioid epidemic

MSNBC Jacob Soboroff's opioid epidemic report committed a fraud on all Americans by inferring criminality on a group as causal. Most know that the opioid epidemic is afflicting mostly, white people in the Midwest and Appalachia. There are many reasons for this but most agree that as loss of jobs and other stresses occur in these communities, using drugs becomes habitual and addicting. Living under stress is the modus operandi for communities of color since the countries inception. And at times these communities have had these types of epidemics as well. In fact, in the early eighties and early nineties, many black communities were going through the crack epidemic likely for similar reasons.

Living under stress is the modus operandi for communities of color since the country's inception. And at times these communities have had these types of epidemics as well. In fact, in the early eighties and early nineties, many black communities were going through the crack epidemic likely for similar reasons.

Interestingly, the government treated the crack epidemic as a law and order problem then. Many people of color were put away with mandatory sentences for using small amounts. Worse, even though cocaine and crack are the same drugs in different forms, harsher sentences were given to crack users who were predominantly people of color.

Our government is now trying to treat the opioid epidemic as a medical problem. Any doubts why? Donald Trump promised to help his voters, many who have seen their communities decimated. Of course, he has since cut the budget that would have helped.

The police are always looking for a villain. In the case of Jacob Soboroff's report, they used the arrest of black men to show their law and order acumen.

Soboroff never said anything racial in his report. In fact, if one read it, it would be entirely neutral. But the camera was telling a different story. It likely gave the impression to many that those black men inflicted this opioid epidemic on all these white people. These men neither manufactured nor created the junkies buying the opioids they are selling. Much of the opioids are generally prescribed by doctors and pharmacists. Where are the arrests of these physicians and pharmacists who must know the drugs they prescribe are being misused?

This report does little to enlighten America on something they already knew. What it does is subliminally install in the psyche of many, that those black drug dealers are making many sick or even causing their deaths. That fallacy foments racism, hate, and all the other phobias.

I received some insightful comments on the video.

Rod Reynolds: I saw this report on NBC and nearly lost my mind. Racist AF?. It was that Soboroff guy. He is no amateur. That report was the nastiest piece of work since 2003?

James Lee: You can go onto any college campus and arrest drug dealers, but it doesn't happen. Honestly, police can go undercover on any large college campus and infiltrate the drug selling rings. Won't be many black faces in those arrests.

Alan Conley: I am a Nurse it takes many times 15minutes to get a controlled narcotic to dispense to a patient. If your count is wrong you will be investigated there is a very good chance you could lose your nursing license. I watched that story and went on the same rant. WHY ARE THE PHARMACY AND PHYSICIAN OFFICES NOT COMING UNDER MORE SCRUTINY. WHY CAN A PHARMACY GIVE A 90 DAY SUPPLY OF SUCH AN ABUSED DRUG?

We must change the media. It is yet another drag on us.

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This MSNBC Report on opioid epidemic arrests is subliminally racist (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-06-20 18:18

It is now the time that we call out the media in real time for reports like this one on the opioid epidemic that presents a false narrative, not with words but with their cameras.

This MSNBC opioid epidemic report is a classic example of how the media spreads racial biases

This MSNBC report is one of the reasons there are racial biases against black men and people of color. The subliminal nature of the stories is even more disturbing. MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff was on a ride-along for a raid in Montgomery County, Ohio, the center of the opioid epidemic, according to his report.

A black small time dealer just happened to be the first arrest made in the raid. Soboroff then said the arrest was just an ordinary morning for the Montogomery County captain. Law enforcement has a good idea of where dealers traffic drugs in just about every community. So for the MSNBC reporter, in a county that is approximately 75% white, they make an arrest in an area where a black person is peddling opioids.

It is evident it was staged. The captain said law enforcement made a cold call to the dealer likely to have him ready to make a sale in front of the cameras and then filming of the takedown. Then somehow the second guy they picked up was a black man again. This time he claimed it was a midlevel dealer.

Then, of course, they served a warrant for their third bust. Now it happened to be a lower-middle-class or poor neighborhood. And who is in handcuffs? -- Another person of color of course.

Have you ever wondered why America is misinformed about the genesis and the perpetration of crimes? This report is a classic example. But this was one of the worse forms of biased journalism. It is very dangerous because unless you're aware of how effective our system is for mixed and subliminal messages, it is hard to detect before the seed is planted and rooted in one's psyche.


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MSNBC host shamefully promotes GOP talking points in Georgia on election day (VIDEO)

Tue, 2017-06-20 16:17

Stephanie Ruhle is usually a down the middle journalist. What she did to Ossoff is this interview is shameful and hurts her credibility as an unbiased host. In this razor-thin election between Jon Ossoff )D-GA) and Karen Handel (R-GA) it could make a difference for those watching just before the vote.

Stephanie Ruhle promoting GOP talking points

Journalists must stick to journalism. Stephanie Ruhle came across as one pushing GOP talking points when she interviewed Jon Ossoff. Ruhle should know better. America is a society where women generally put their careers on the backburner or make all the sacrifices for their male partner. Ossoff may be sacrificing a victory by his steadfast support of his fiance. Why didn't Stephanie Ruhle as a professional woman see that?

The following exchange is bewildering.

Stephanie Ruhle: Jon, I know you said it earlier, every vote counts. It is all about voter turnout. And I asked you the other day, but it's extraordinary, one of the main points that Karen Handel and even President Trump has pushed against you is something that's very easy to solve: where you live. And if you get elected you're going to be spending the majority of your time in Washington. And while people respect across the board your desire to support your fiancee, she is in medical school, she walks to work across the street at 4 a.m., you're going to be getting a job that has you on a plane living in another part of the country most days of the week. With every vote counting, with every point counting, why not move, sir?

Jon Ossoff Well, Steph, voters just aren't asking me this question. Voters are asking me what I'm going to do to improve our local economy, voters are asking me what I'm going to do to ensure they have access to health care. Voters are asking me what I'm going to do to bring greater accountability to Washington. Folks here in Georgia’s 6th district care about how their representation is going to impact their daily lives. And frankly, if this is the best argument my opponents have against me, I'm feeling pretty good about the outcome tonight. I grew up in this community, as you mentioned I live a couple of miles down the road to support my fiancee while she finishes medical school. I’m running to serve my hometown in Congress and I want to make them proud.

Stephanie Ruhle: But, Jon, since the special election where you were at 48.1, things have only moved to 48.8 with 50 million bucks under your belt. So voters care about a lot. If you look back on this and things are that tight, wouldn't you say to yourself, just get an apartment in the district, this race counts so much?

Jon Ossoff: Well, if voters were raising that as a serious concern, Steph, maybe I would. But voters care about how policy and how representation is going to impact their daily lives. They know I grew up in this community, they know I grew up in the 6th district, they know why I'm a couple miles south of the line. It's just not a major issue in the race. I'm focused on delivering representation that will serve our local economy, that will serve the daily needs of the people I hope to represent. And I'm offering a fresh voice to bring that kind of service to the 6th district.

MediaMatters noted from a Washington Post piece that,

There’s no legal reason he should have to live in the district he hopes to represent; the Constitution mandates only that members of the House live in the state they are going to represent. That said, it’s generally considered politically advantageous to actually be a resident of the area you hope to represent.

If elected, Ossoff wouldn’t be the only member of Congress living in Georgia’s 5th District. There’s also Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who represents the district. But a review of vote registration records by The Washington Post suggests that Ossoff would be the third member of Congress to make his home in the 5th. According to voter data provided to The Post by the political data firm L2, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) is also registered to vote in the district, instead of the 13th District that he represents.

In fact, The Post identified 20 members of Congress who are registered to vote outside of the districts they serve. In some cases, it’s clearly a function of redistricting. Four members of the House from southern Florida, for example, live outside of the districts they represent, but that’s likely because the Florida Supreme Court redrew the district boundaries at the end of 2015.

In total, we identified the records for 395 members of Congress, matching names and birthdates to voter files.


The broader point, though, is a simple one: Should Ossoff win the run-off in the 6th District in June, he will hardly be the only member of Congress to live outside of his district.

Stephanie Ruhle has been tough and objective over the last few months. I hope this is just a slip. I hope she is not falling, like many other good journalists, into a realm seeking false balances and false equivalences.

(h/t MediaMatters)

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Joy-Ann Reid takes heat from Alt-Right for telling truth about Rep. Steve Scalise (VIDEO)

Mon, 2017-06-19 12:00

Joy-Ann Reid's and her guest Reverend Barber presented the reality of what Representative Steve Scalise represented. The Alt-Right is attacking Reid for being truthful. We do not need a kumbaya moment. We need the perspective eloquently stated by Barber and Reid.

Joy-ann Reid does not fall for the facade of civility by those who've done evil

Joy-Ann Reid, unlike many, did not let a false civility for a Congressman who harmed many prevent her from her job, real journalism. In fact, the shooting of Representative Scalise and others presented the exact opportunity to illustrate exactly why the Progressive narrative is the correct point of view.

The Scalise shooting must be viewed exactly in the context Joy-Ann Reid and Reverend Dr. William Barber discussed it in the excerpted video and the transcript below.

Joy-Ann Reid: This week's shooting and a GOP Congressional baseball practice left Democrats and Republicans calling for unity rallying around Congressman Steve Scalise who still remains in the hospital in critical condition. But despite the current kumbaya, the political divisions are still very real, and they have moral implications. And who better to discuss than the Reverend Dr. William Barber, President of Repairs of the Breach and the Founder of Moral Mondays. You and I had a conversation about this, and I wanted to try to give everyone else the benefit of your wisdom on this. This idea that Republicans now have that they're saying we all have to come together we have to rally together. When you heard them saying that what did you hear?

Rev. Dr. William Barber: Well, first of all, we should be in prayer we should be unified in our concern for the congressman and the two officers that were wounded. But first, we should also be deeply concerned about the three people that were killed on the same day. Ryan, Representative the Ryan said when you attack one of us you attack all of us. Well, this can't just be a moral ethic that you apply to members of Congress. That's why the real question is where one or two days of changes in personality mean a fundamental change in public policy. That's the moral question.

I've been thinking about this Joy. You know all of those that were injured needed health care. So now will they go back to work and say every American deserves health care, deserves what we receive. And we will preserve the Affordable Care Act. Move the universal health care and make sure pre-existing conditions are protected. Since they could have died, will they repent of efforts to take money from Medicaid that will help poor people and disabled and sick people many who will die without that? A black man from my alma mater saved their lives. Will they go back to work and restore the Voting Rights Act and stop systemic racism against black people that's happening through voter suppression and racialized redistricting? A lesbian black woman saved them. Will they go back to work and no longer promote laws that attack the human rights of LGBT community? They were shot by guns allowed to be carried openly. Will they go back and challenge laws that allow people to get guns easier than they can vote? They were shot by a white middle-aged man for political reasons. Will they change the practice of profiling terrorism as a fear of Muslims and violence that's mainly rooted in the urban black areas?

'Tone' is fine. But if the policies are terrible we don't have stability. They were saved by good police. Will they, therefore, challenged bad police like those in the Castile, the brother who died in the Castile case? These are the serious moral questions that have to be answered more than just a one or two days of shaking hands and playing a game because this is really not a game.

Joy-Ann Reid: You know, I think it's so important to keep that in mind because it is one thing to sort of want civility and to be and to take umbrage when it's one of your friends when it's one of your own colleagues. But like you said there's a whole country out there. And a lot of people, at least in my Twitter timeline, and it is a delicate thing because you know obviously everybody is wishing the congressman well and hoping that he recovers. But Steve Scalise has a history that we've all been forced, to sort of ignore. On race, he did come to leadership after some controversy over attending a white nationalist event which he says he didn't know what it was. He also co-sponsored a bill to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He voted for the House healthcare bill which as you said would gut health care for millions of people including million children. He co-sponsored a bill to repeal the ban on semi-automatic weapons.

But Steve Scalise has a history that we've all been forced, to sort of ignore. On race, he did come to leadership after some controversy over attending a white nationalist event which he says he didn't know what it was. He also co-sponsored a bill to amend the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. He voted for the House healthcare bill which as you said would gut health care for millions of people including million children. He co-sponsored a bill to repeal the ban on semi-automatic weapons. Because he is in jeopardy and everyone is pulling for him, are we required in a moral sense to put that aside at the moment?

Rev. Dr. William Barber: What we're required to say is that we hope he recovers and that he recovers with a renewed mindset. If a lesbian person saved your life, you should not go forward you know being homophobic, shouldn't be anyway. If you almost died but your life was saved because you got health care then you should apply that ethic and want everybody else the same health care that you have. You know the Bible, one of the guys, who prayed, Walker is from North Carolina and he was saying how he prayed for everybody. Well, and he's a Christian, well the Bible says in Isaiah 10, woe unto those who legislate evil and robbed the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey.

The Bible calls whenever you just put on a face in a time of crisis but continue to do the same things, it's called making grains look good that are still full of dead man's bones. In other words, it's hypocrisy. If Congresspeople pray for one another and they should P-R-A-Y. But then if they pass policies that prey P-R-E-Y on the poor and on minorities and the sick, then we have a serious moral problem. And even our Constitution Joy says the only way you can get to domestic tranquility, the only way you can get to civility, is you must start with the establishment of justice. You must provide for the common good, and you must promote the general welfare. Changing the tone of words is not enough. You have to have a change in the trajectory of policy. Prayer is not enough. Faith must have work. So I'm praying that the brother gets up and leaves and then comes back and says you know this experience has changed my thinking fundamentally not just about myself but about the policies I support. And lastly Joy, they talked about raising a million dollars for charity. That is good. But if you turn around and take six hundred billion dollars from the poor and the least of these and you don't give a vote to give people a living wage, personal privatize charity is not going to solve our social problems when it comes to the poor and uplift of the least of these.

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Several injured after vehicle rams people leaving London mosque

Sun, 2017-06-18 22:50

By Ritvik Carvalho and Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) - Several people were injured in north London early on Monday after a van rammed into worshippers leaving a mosque, witnesses said, in what British police described as a "major incident".

The Muslim Council of Britain said the vehicle had hit people as they were leaving Finsbury Park mosque.

Police said they were called just after 12:20 a.m. (2320 GMT Sunday) to reports of a collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the Finsbury Park area of the city. They said there were a number of casualties and one person had been arrested.

"From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. … Everybody was shouting: 'A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people'," one woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC.

"There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished. I didn’t see the attacker himself, although he seems to have been arrested, but I did see the van."

A Reuters witness saw at least one person being loaded into an ambulance. A number of police and ambulances were in attendance.

The incident followed a series of attacks in Britain.

Eight people were killed and 50 injured on June 3 when three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. His attack killed five people.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.


(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Nick Tattersall; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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Robert Riech: Government By and For Trump

Sun, 2017-06-18 16:05

Last Monday, the White House invited reporters in to watch what was billed as a meeting of Trump’s Cabinet. After Trump spoke, he asked each of the Cabinet members around the table to briefly comment.

Their statements were what you might expect from toadies surrounding a two-bit dictator.

“We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda,” said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. “Greatest privilege of my life, to serve as vice president to a president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

When I was sworn in as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, I took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I didn’t pledge loyalty to Bill Clinton, and I wouldn’t have participated in such a fawning display.

That oath is a pledge of loyalty to our system of government – not to a powerful individual. It puts integrity before personal loyalty. It’s what it means to have a government of laws.

But Trump has filled his administration with people more loyal to him than they are to America.

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year term. Comey testified before the Senate that Trump tried to “create some sort of patronage relationship,” based on personal loyalty.

Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York before Trump fired him, said Trump tried to create the same sort of relationship.

Bharara’s office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender. Bharara said Comey’s testimony “felt a little bit like déjà vu.”

In his first and best-known book, “The Art of the Deal,” Trump distinguished between integrity and loyalty – and made clear he preferred loyalty.

Trump compared attorney Roy Cohn – Senator Joe McCarthy’s attack dog who became Trump’s mentor – to “all the hundreds of ‘respectable’ guys who make careers out of boasting about their uncompromising integrity but have absolutely no loyalty … What I liked most about Roy Cohn was that he would do just the opposite.”

Trump continues to prefer loyalty over integrity.

His top advisers are his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The White House director of social media is Dan Scavino Jr., who had been Trump’s caddie.

Lynn Patton, just appointed to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s important New York office, knows nothing about housing. She had organized golf tournaments for Trump and planned his son Eric’s wedding.

To run his legal defense and be his spokesman on the investigation into collusion with Russian operatives, Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz.

Kasowitz is not an expert in criminal or constitutional law. His only apparent qualification is his utter loyal to Trump.

Kasowitz has been Trump’s personal legal fixer for almost two decades – representing him in his failed libel lawsuit against a journalist, the Trump University fraud case, and candidate Trump’s response to allegations of sexual assault by multiple women last year. (Kasowitz called the New York Times article containing interviews with the women “per se libel” and demanded “a full and immediate retraction and apology,” which the Times refused.)

Not incidentally, Kasowitz has said he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara. Kasowitz told Trump, “This guy is going to get you,” according to a person familiar with Kasowitz’s account.

Now, Kasowitz is taking on a public role. Bypassing the White House Counsel, he instructed White House aides to discuss the investigation as little as possible, and advised them about whether they should hire private lawyers.

The horrifying reality is that in Trumpworld, there is no real “public” role. It’s all about protecting and benefiting Trump.

When loyalty trumps integrity, we no longer have a government of laws. We have a government by and for Trump.

This article originally posted here.

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Trumpcare likely to pass even if GOP polls crater & Ossoff wins unless …

Sun, 2017-06-18 12:12

The GOP knows that demographics and their codified ideology are against them in the long run. And that is the very reason Trumpcare has a better than a 50/50 chance of passing. Here is why.

Republicans are in complete control of the government. Yes, they do not have a filibuster proof Senate. But even that could be remedied by invoking the nuclear option.

America is not living through regular times. The fact that Donald Trump was elected, the fact that Republicans are acquiescing to a man that is at best a fraud but more a con throughout his business life is probative.

The reality is that right now the Republican Establishment cares about nothing but restructuring America's social safety net. In other words, they want to destroy it for their ideological reasons. They are of the firm belief that the wealthy earned their wealth from their worth, risk, blood, sweat, and tears. And as such, they are entitled to the vast majority of the spoils.

Of course, those in the real world understand that it is the masses who create an economy capable of enriching a few. It is our system that corrupts the distribution of wealth and income.

Trumpcare, as explained elsewhere, is a tax cut bill, masquerading as a health care bill. It gets there by repealing many of the taxes Obamacare imposed on the wealthy. Medicaid, the portion of Obamacare that helps the poor and near poor gets decimated. The Republicans need that money to make their tax reform whole.

Republicans are willing to take risks and pass a very unpopular bill for several reasons.

  • Republicans have become even more tribal, and they may believe that even if they make an unpopular vote, their voters will not vote for a Democrat.
  • They know if they make the draconian changes that hurt the middle-class, even a Democratic Congress will not move back the pendulum. A Republican president would be there long enough to ensure that many of the changes remain for a period allowing the rich the capture of an inordinately larger portion of the country's wealth.
  • Worse case, Republicans losing their seats because of their vote would likely get support or a job from their wealthy benefactors.

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago titled "Obamacare is in danger of laying the path for Trumpcare" which presents yet another concern that will give Republicans a talking point for passing their bill. I wrote the following.

The individual market is here to stay in the long run. The short term chaos is designed to disrupt the market to reinstitute the very profitable predatory type health insurance policies with little to no protections. Under this scenario, healthy people will like find fairly competitively priced health insurance. People with preexisting conditions may find affordable insurance with exclusions of their preexisting conditions. Otherwise, they will be priced out of health insurance altogether. Older people can forget about insurance till Medicare kicks in.

Democrats have not done enough to prepare Americans for the spikes and disruption they will see in 2018 and beyond. And Republicans are very effective in false counternarratives. So it will be no surprise that the combination of Trump's Russia Scandal monopolizing most news media and Republican propensity to lie effectively will ultimately cast the blame on Obamacare and Democrats.

In my humble opinion, the only thing that will stop Republicans is if they get an inkling that a filibuster-proof Senate is coming again for the Democrats along with a Democratic House. A sabotaged Obamacare failure and a 'mean' Trumpcare opens the door for a single-payer Medicare for all system sooner than later. So if you are reading this, it is all in your hands and what you do going forward. Not only must you get in the streets but you must keep your Senators and Congresspersons in your daily correspondence,  and social media interactions. You must comment on op-eds in newspapers, and write your own op-eds in every local and national newspaper. Such a groundswell may even scare the Republican benefactors. And we all know that is who politicians listen to more so than their own constituents.

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Malcolm Nance slammed Breitbart editor on Bill Maher & demanded apology (VIDEO)

Sat, 2017-06-17 00:18

Malcolm Nance, MSNBC's intelligence analyst, appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. He confronted Alex Marlow, the sleazy rag, Breitbart's editor for a lying article that placed both him and his family in danger.

Malcolm Nance demands an apology from Breitbart editor

Malcolm Nance was not going to let the Breitbart editor gain any credibility with his false polish. It was not long before he unmasked it. The interchange shown in the excerpted video was pretty riveting.

Bill Maher started by asking Alex Marlow for the definition of fake news.

"Alex how would you define fake news so for fake news," Bill Maher asked Breitbart's editor.

"It's a great question and there's no real definition for it," Alex Marlow replied. "I think that the left tried to make fake news. I thought the goal was going to be anything that's right of center anything that people on the Right want to talk about not the Left. And the right quickly reappropriation it to anything that was the least bit false that an establishment or Left-Wing outlet put out. So that's the parlor trick. That's what the Right did. It's they saw the word fake news. The Left is going to use this to harm us, potentially use it to get us banned from social media or demoted from social media. And the Right said we have to take this term back for ourselves. And I think they did an effective job."

Bill did not allow the lying propaganda magnate to get away with that statement.

"But that was a lie," Bill Maher said. "Because fake news was things that people knew when they were writing them were absolute bullshit. They were putting it out there just to confuse people because people read and they don't check things out and then they share it. And we saw that like the thing about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. That's fake news. That's different than what Trump. Trump's definition of fake news is just any news I don't like. So I cannot quite ..."

Malcolm Nance wanted to get in to say his piece because he had a bone to pick with the Breitbart rag.

I sort of have a bone to pick with you," Malcolm Nance interjected. "You are Breitbart right. And you don't do fake news. That's what you're asserting here? Yeah you know there was this article about a 35-year counterterrorism expert who claimed that they wanted Trump Tower attacked that was written in Breitbart. I got thirty-one death threats from that. And that came from your website. So you're going to secure that right now? You are going to apologize to me? I'm sorry to say. I'm sorry to say. I spent decades hunting terrorists. Yes, so that's fake as hell."

"You don't have to share your bonafides with me," Alex said. "I respect you. I respect your service."

Your followers threatened my family, my children, my wife," Nance replied.

"Are you really suggesting that Breitbart doesn't get death threats? Alex replied trying to deflect. "That our lives aren't put in danger?"

"No, No, No," Nance said. "You can apologize to me now. Alright? I'm not threatening you."

"Show me the story," Alex said. "And if the story is as you describe it I'll be happy to offer an apology."

"I will come to your office to see that retraction," Nance replied.


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