Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump's Big CON: 'Nobody Knew Health Care Was So Unbelievably Complex and Complicated'

Only a simpleton would believe that.

Of course Trump says it so that the right-wing media complex will repeat it ad nauseam for the many Republi-CON simpletons.

"Many policy makers had anticipated the intricacies of changing the health care law".

Read The New York Times, Trump Concedes Health Law Overhaul Is ‘Unbelievably Complex’.

Trump's Big CON: He Fancies Himself the Unquestionable Supreme Leader

"The phrase was too toxic even for Nikita Khrushchev, a war-hardened veteran communist not known for squeamishness. As leader of the Soviet Union, he demanded an end to the use of the term 'enemy of the people' because 'it eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight.'

'The formula 'enemy of the people,'' Mr. Khrushchev told the Soviet Communist Party in a 1956 speech denouncing Stalin’s cult of personality, 'was specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader. . .

Why would the elected leader of a democratic nation embrace a label that, after the death of Stalin, even the Soviet Union found to be too freighted with sinister connotations? . .

He has used the phrase more than once, including Friday during an attack on the news media at a conservative gathering in which he said that some reporters were making up unnamed sources to attack him. . .

By using the phrase and placing himself in such infamous company, at least in his choice of vocabulary to attack his critics, Mr. Trump has demonstrated, Ms. Khrushcheva said, that the language of 'autocracy, of state nationalism is always the same regardless of the country, and no nation is exempt.' She added that, in all likelihood, Mr. Trump had not read Lenin, Stalin or Mao Zedong, but the 'formulas of insult, humiliation, domination, branding, enemy-forming and name calling are always the same.'"

Read The New York Times, Trump Embraces ‘Enemy of the People,’ a Phrase With a Fraught History.

As I've said before, Trump is a psycho-narcissistic con man. And he is afraid that eventually the people, through the media, will awaken to that realization.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump's Big CON: It's All About the Theatre/Show

UPDATE VIII:  It looks more and more liker that shortly after taking office Trump ordered a risky special operation's raid in Yemen as part of the show -- to advance his 'tough guy' image.

Read The New York Times, Father of Commando Killed in Yemen Refused to Meet Trump.

Where is the outrage by the right-wing media?

UPDATE VII:  "What Washington has been trained to perceive as disorder — a blizzard of contradictions, a president saying one thing while his top appointees say the opposite — is actually a long-running theatrical event, The Trump Show, a time-tested method by which the star builds excitement, demands attention and creates soap-operatic story lines that at least superficially seem like success. The most important thing about this presidency, to the man in the Oval Office, is how it looks. . .

The Trump Show is new to the White House but old hat to anyone who has watched its star as casino magnate, hotel builder, pitchman for all manner of products or reality TV host."

Read the Washington Post, President Trump wants to put on a show. Governing matters less.

And the reason he hates the media now is that the media just won't clap. 

UPDATE VI:  The "conservative movement in the age of Trump . . [is] strangely stuck in opposition mode. . .

[No need to be] particularly conservative . . . [or offer] a cogent political point of view or new ideas . . . [Yiannopoulos] earned his speaking slot at CPAC because he pisses people off — liberal people. And that was apparently good enough. . .

It's an outgrowth of the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' approach to politics that has become so popular with Trump. Trump's GOP has come to be defined as much by what it's not — politically correct, playing nice, a friend of the mainstream media, adhering to political norms and facts — as what it actually is. It's a long-standing middle finger to the political establishment, and in that way, Yiannopoulos very much fit the mold."

Read the Washington Post, Milo Yiannopoulos’s Trumpian rise shows how the GOP is stuck in opposition mode.

UPDATE V: More proof that it's not conservative principles that unite Republi-CONs, it's the show of outrageous statements and nastiness designed to pander to fear, anger and hatred.

Read the Washington Post, If college liberals are so naive, why did the campus right fall for Yiannopoulos.

Read also The Hollywood Reporter, Milo Yiannopoulos Documentary in the Works as Outrageous Tour Demands Revealed.

UPDATE IV: Nothing evidences the theatre better than this.

As part of an 'Apprentice' style contrived/fabricated drama leading up to the announcement, the Supreme Court "runner-up" Judge Hardiman, was asked by Trump aides to "hit the road to Washington to help them maintain the illusion that the selection process was still competitive" .

Read The New York Times, Runner-Up Didn’t Make It to Supreme Court, but He Did Get to Altoona.

UPDATE III:   "U.S. military officials also said that [a weekend raid on al Qaeda in Yemen in which one Navy Seal died and three others were wounded] was approved by President Trump without sufficient intelligence or ground support."

Read The Hill, Trump-ordered raid in Yemen approved without sufficient intelligence: military officials.

Makes me wonder if Trump approved this risky raid to advance his 'tough guy' image?

UPDATE II:  Trump's theatrics pander to fear, anger and hatred.

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump often tweets about terror and violence, but said nothing about an attack on Muslims in Quebec City.

UPDATE: "Donald Trump's management style is clear to anyone who has watched his TV show "The Apprentice."

Line up a bunch of contenders in front of you; set their hair on fire; let them squabble; run around and create mayhem.

Once things have reached the point at which the viewer is watching from between their fingers -- and only then -- step in as the arbiter in chief, the man with the answers, the all-powerful figure who brings the whole pitiful thing to a conclusion.

This is how Trump ran his businesses, his TV show and his campaign. But this week he has begun to find out what happens when the myth comes to Washington, with its competing power centers, lawyers and vested interests.

Trump's determination to win Big League is blinding him to what a victory in government looks like. Quick fire stunts that alienate allies and dent your chances will probably limit opportunities down the road. . .

Maintaining the image of getting down to business fast is coming at the expense of the other part of the deal -- that he can deliver.

The story taking hold is chaos over order, weakness over strength, division over unity.

That would be a problem for any politician. But when you have no political experience and when you have built your entire platform on a messianic appeal -- a savior myth built around the politician as strongman -- then it could very easily end in disaster."

Read CNN, Donald Trump is learning the hard way he's not the Messiah.

"The Big Four broadcasters will interrupt regularly scheduled programming Tuesday with specials from their news divisions covering President Donald Trump’s announcement of his pick to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The announcement, set for 8 p.m., will be the first live-news event of the Trump administration to prompt broadcasters to break into primetime programming.

In scheduling the announcement for 8 p.m., Trump is diverging from the approach of his predecessors, who introduced Supreme Court nominees in daytime press events. And in a move reminiscent of Trump’s experience as host of NBC reality show 'The Apprentice,' CNN reported Tuesday that the top two candidates for the Supreme Court seat — Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman — have traveled to Washington, D.C. ahead of the announcement. . .

Citing unnamed sources, CNN reported Tuesday morning that the White House had gone to extraordinary efforts to build suspense for Tuesday evening’s announcement. Such a focus would be in keeping with President Trump’s recent track record of treating television coverage of his administration as event programming."

Read Variety, Donald Trump’s SCOTUS Announcement to Take Over Primetime.

This had to be more boring than Dances With the Stars.

Read also New York Magazine, Trump Plans Apprentice-Style SCOTUS Announcement, which notes that "Trump is providing a powerful validation to those who have argued he approaches politics and government as nothing more than a big reality-TV show."

And read also The Atlantic, Trump Ups the Drama for His Supreme Court Pick, which stated that "[a]ll that’s missing is a rose ceremony right out of The Bachelor—a disappointing oversight for a president who was a reality-TV star and has a Rose Garden at his disposal."

Lastly, read The New York Times, It’s ‘The Apprentice, Supreme Court Edition,’ as Trump Summons Finalists to White House.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Hate Doesn't Unite

UPDATE II:  Here is Trump's achilles heel.

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s CPAC speech proves it: He’s totally obsessed with the media.

UPDATE:  "Trump’s theory of politics is that it’s okay to offend five voters if seven voters approve. Dividing the country is the name of the game. The object is to create a coalition of the resentful. Polarization is not only the consequence. It also is the underlying purpose and philosophy.

In this strategy, the news media are tempting targets. . .

He likes denouncing journalists as dishonest scum of the Earth. It’s invigorating. Trump can’t be a unifying figure when he’s having so much fun being divider in chief."

Read the Washington Post, Why Trump loves to hate the media.

"Fifteen years ago, shoeless, President George W. Bush] walked through the sanctuary of the Islamic Center of Washington.

It was six days after Islamist terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands. War plans awaited Bush back at the White House. But for six minutes that afternoon, he stood between an Islamic altar and a bank of TV cameras and admonished a country in fear. . .

He quoted from the Koran — “The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic,” he said — and then addressed a wave of Islamophobia that had followed the terrorist strikes.

Dozens of attacks on Arab Americans were reported that week, The Washington Post noted at the time. 'Among them is the case of a Pakistani Muslim store owner who was shot and killed in Dallas Saturday evening.'

'I've been told that some fear to leave. Some don't want to go shopping for their families,' Bush said at the mosque, and shook his head. . .

'That's not the America I know.' . .

When President Barack Obama visited a mosque near the end of his presidency, The Post's Aaron Blake reported, he took heat for it.

'Donald Trump said perhaps Obama 'feels comfortable there' — a comment thick with innuendo from a man who championed conspiracy theories about Obama's birthplace,' Blake wrote.

Trump, of course, would go on to win the presidency after calling in a speech to ban all Muslims from the United States. . .

A spokesman for Bush declined to comment on the family's reaction to Trump's rhetoric about Muslims and his executive order last week, which barred visitors and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. . .

On Twitter, [President Bush's daughter Jenna ] Bush Hager explained why she quoted her father: 'Just reinforcing his words that still, sadly pertain to today.'

She's not the only one to think so."

Read the Washington Post, ‘Not the America I know’: George W. Bush’s daughter wants you to remember his speech on Islam

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Donald is Putin's Puppet

UPDATE XVII:  Now obstruction of justice and coverup.

Read the Washington Post, White House adviser asked FBI to dispute Russia reports.

It's déjà vu Nixon all over again!

And like Nixon, Trump doesn't like it.

Read the Washington Post, The big news is not the FBI leaks. It’s what’s in the leaks.

UPDATE XVI:  "The Trump-Russia file, which concerns fundamental questions of national security, is far more deserving of close scrutiny by Congress, the media, law enforcement, and the public than any of the White House’s many other alleged misdeeds. And the Flynn phone calls are only the beginning, not the end, of the scandal in question."

Read Foreign Policy, Donald Trump’s Russia Scandal Is Just Getting Started.

UPDATE XV: Read the Washington Post, Why Flynn was undone by a phone call, which notes:

"The call may not necessarily be the smoking gun, the ultimate 'proof' that there was a quid pro quo: 'You help us with the election, we help you by lifting sanctions.' But it sure looks like it could be.

That explains why Flynn lied about the call to the vice president, and to the press. That explains why — although he has known about this issue for many weeks — the president did not fire Flynn earlier. That also explains why the president has expressed regret about the leak of the transcript of the call but not about the fact that Flynn made the call in the first place. That also explains why Flynn resigned."

UPDATE XIV:  "President Trump's national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn . . . had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Moscow's ambassador in Washington prior to Trump's inauguration. Flynn, according to intelligence sources, likely signaled that the question of sanctions would be revisited by a more friendly Trump administration.

The discussions suggest a worrying level of collusion between a key figure in the new administration and the Kremlin. . .

Flynn's dealings with Russia aside, there are even deeper ties that connect the current administration to the Kremlin.

First, there surely is more to come on the extent of Russian involvement in last year's election, with law enforcement agencies in the United States increasingly certain that Moscow actively worked to help Trump win. The Russian establishment, including close Putin allies, publicly basked in Trump's victory. Now, some Pentagon officials say they have 'assumed that the Kremlin has ears' inside the White House ever since Trump's inauguration, according to controversial former counterintelligence official John Schindler.

Beyond the intrigues of spies, though, there's also a clear ideological affinity."

Read the Washington Post, Beyond Flynn, other ties bind the White House to the Kremlin

UPDATE XIII: Read CNN, Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.

Read also The New York Times, Trump Briefed on Claim That Russia Had Secrets on Him.

BTW, this story has more corroboration than Republi-CON pizzagate or the birther scam.

UPDATE XII:  The Donald is ever the consummate con man.

Read the Washington Post, Trump alleges delay in his briefing on ‘so-called’ Russian hacking; U.S. official says there wasn’t one.

UPDATE XI:  The Donald's ode to Putin:

Listen to the lyrics, or read them here. This song foretells The Donald's relationship with Putin.

UPDATE X: In Europe in the 1930s "there was throughout [the land] a generalized crisis of legitimacy. Large numbers of people felt dispossessed, disenfranchised, disconnected from dominant social institutions. The political party system, and . . . government more generally, were regarded as corrupt and oligarchic. Such an environment was fertile ground for a ‘mob mentality,’ in which outsiders . . . could be scapegoated and a savior could be craved: 'The mob always will shout for 'the strong man,' the 'great leader.' For the mob hates the society from which it is excluded, as well as [government] where it is not represented.'

And a society suffused with resentment, according to Arendt, is ripe for manipulation by the propaganda of sensationalist demagogues: 'What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part . . . Totalitarian propaganda thrives on this escape from reality into fiction . . . [and] can outrageously insult common sense only where common sense has lost its validity.' Cynicism. Contempt for truth. Appeal to the craving of the masses for simple stories of malevolent conspiracy."

Read the Washington Post, How Hannah Arendt’s classic work on totalitarianism illuminates today’s America.

Sounds a lot like America today.

UPDATE IX:  "Put his campaign rhetoric, tweets and appointments all together, and we’re getting a sense of U.S. foreign policy under Donald Trump. The president-elect has consistently signaled that he wants to be accommodating toward Russia and get tough on China. But that sees the world almost backward. China is, for the most part, comfortable with the U.S.-led international system. Russia is trying to upend it. . .

Keep in mind that China’s view of the world over the past two decades has been fundamentally benign, having grown to wealth and power in that period. Putin, by contrast, believes that the end of Soviet communism in 1989 was the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” and that Russia has been humiliated ever since. His goal appears to be to overturn the U.S.-created international order, even if this means chaos.

The question is, why would an American president-elect help Moscow achieve that goal?"

Read the Washington Post, Vladimir Putin wants a new world order. Why would Donald Trump help him?

The answer: simply to get elected. Winning elections is the only thing  Republi-CONs care about, principle no longer matters.

Read also The New York Times, Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?, which argues convincingly that The Donald show classic dictatorial tendencies. 

The more that this is analyzed, the scarier it get.

UPDATE VIII:  "Russia’s secret hacking against Democratic Party officials threatened the integrity of the U.S. political system. And President-elect Donald Trump shouldn’t have criticized the CIA after its analysts told Congress about the Kremlin’s efforts. Trump, unbelievably, seemed to be taking a potential adversary’s side against his own nation’s intelligence professionals. . .

[N]o doubt the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton and help Trump. In Russia’s eyes, he said, Clinton had sought to undermine President Vladimir Putin after the 2011 parliamentary elections and to foment 'color revolutions' in areas of Russian influence. Trump, by contrast, had lauded Putin, suggested lifting sanctions and belittled NATO."

Read the Washington Post, Trump is playing a risky spy game.

UPDATE VII: "Trump has repeatedly expressed a soft spot for an oppressive dictator, Vladimir Putin, who is challenging American interests at every turn. As a candidate, Trump publicly invited Russia to hack his opponent’s emails. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned amid reports that he had represented pro-Russian interests as a lobbyist. Trump’s choice for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, seems to be a Russophile and has appeared on Russia’s propaganda network.

In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. admitted that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” President-elect Trump has consistently refused to be fully transparent about his finances.

Before the presidential vote, the American intelligence community determined that the Russian government directed the illegal hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other political figures. Now the CIA, according to reporting in The Post, has shared with Congress its finding that Russia intervened with the intent of swinging the election toward Trump. And Trump — instead of expressing concern about an act of cyberwar — has essentially come to Russia’s defense and launched an ad hominem attack on the U.S. intelligence community. . .

[I]f the CIA interpretation is correct, this is not just one provocation among many. If Putin actually helped elect an American president more favorable to Russian interests, it is surely the largest intelligence coup since the cracking of the Enigma code during World War II. And it is arguably a bigger deal — more on par with, say, German intelligence helping elect Charles Lindbergh president."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s dangerous diss of the CIA.

UPDATE VI: "Good Lord. We are about to inaugurate as president a man whose election, according to the CIA, was aided by a Russian intelligence operation. Try as we might, we cannot pretend this didn’t happen.

We can’t ignore outrageous interference by an adversarial foreign power because President-elect Donald Trump’s actions question his own legitimacy, or at least his fitness to hold the nation’s highest office, virtually every day. . .

Our president is supposed to be chosen in polling places across the United States — not behind the imposing walls of the Kremlin."

Read the Washington Post, Trump is assembling an anti-government. Did Russia help get him here?

UPDATE V:  "You would think the stunning news that the CIA had concluded Russia hacked the Democrats to help President-elect Donald Trump win the election, followed by Trump’s insulting dismissal of 17 intelligence agencies finding that Russia was responsible — which in turn was followed by news he intended to nominate as secretary of state an unqualified chief executive with exceptionally close ties to Vladimir Putin (and who opposed sanctions) — would have stirred outrage and deep concern among Republicans, who used to pride themselves on their national security chops. You would be wrong. . .

[W]hy are these Republicans so silent? I mean, this is a really big deal.

Read the Washington Post, Republicans need to get out from under their desks.

I can only image the outcry if Russia had hacked the Republi-CONs to get HRC elected. Is there any doubt there would be impeachment proceedings.

UPDATE IV:  "The flood of 'fake news' this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia. . .

Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were 'useful idiots' — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.

The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world’s fascination with 'buzzy' content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.

Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as 'trending' topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations."

Read the Washington Post, Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say.

Read also the Washington Post, Americans keep looking away from the election’s most alarming story.

UPDATE III:  "Former CIA director Michael Morell endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and blasted GOP rival Donald Trump, accusing him of becoming an unwitting agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an op-ed on Friday. . .

He noted that Putin is a trained intelligence officer, and he suggested that the Russian leader has been using Trump's personality for his own gain. In the primaries, Morell said, Putin 'played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities' by complimenting him.

Among the traits Morell said would make Trump a 'danger' to national security: 'his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.'"

Read the Washington Post, In endorsing Clinton, ex-CIA chief says Putin made Trump his 'unwitting agent'.

UPDATE II:  At the same time, his VP pick said "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences."

Read the Washington Post, Pence: Consequences if Russia is interfering in U.S. election.

So while Pence understands the seriousness of the possibility that a foreign power is directly interfering in the U.S. presidential election, Trump is encouraging the interference.

Pence should withdrawal as Trump's VP.

UPDATE:  "Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday said he hoped that Russia would hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server to find “missing” messages and release them to the public."

Read the Washington Post, Trump urges Russia to hack Clinton's emails and release them publicly.

Donald Trump is dangerously insane!

"Donald Trump never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like — until now.

He has dabbled in, among other things, the notion that President Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya, that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered and that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

But on one topic, Trump is conspicuously incurious: the suggestion that he is complicit in a plan by Vladimir Putin to influence the U.S. election."

Read the Washington Post, A Trump-style speculation on the GOP and Putin, which lists the many troubling connections between Putin and The Donald.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Trump's (and the Republi-CON's) Big CON: "I/They Will Replace Obamacare"

UPDATE IV:  "The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not going well, in large part because it turns out that making sweeping changes to a system that encompasses one-sixth of the American economy turns out to be rather more complicated than they imagined. Their backtracking has an interesting character to it, in particular how they’ve been gobsmacked by the transition from shaking their fists at the system to being responsible for it.

Up until November, they had been pursuing a strategy they got straight from Marx and Lenin, but now that they’re in power, it suddenly looks like a terrible idea. Here’s the latest fascinating pirouette they’re undertaking:

    House Republicans and the Trump administration on Tuesday filed a joint motion seeking to delay lawsuit proceedings that threaten to undo President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. . .

    Yet in the absence of an Obamacare replacement plan, the outcome the GOP initially sought threatens to upend the insurance marketplace and jeopardize coverage for millions of people.

Just to be clear, Republicans are asking the court to delay their own lawsuit pretty much indefinitely, because they’ve become terrified of what would happen if they succeed. In this case, it concerns government subsidies to pay out-of-pocket costs for people with low incomes.

 Read the Washington Post, Republicans suddenly realize burning down the health-care system might not be a great idea.

UPDATE III:  "Covering preexisting conditions without an individual mandate guarantees a death spiral."

Read the Washington Post,

UPDATE II: This is a must read article, The New York Times, The G.O.P. Health Care Hoax, which notes:

"This week, President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans began to dismantle Obamacare, and here are the details of their replacement plan:

—— —- —- —- - —— —- —— —- - —- —- — —— —- —— —- —- —- — — - - - - —— —- —- —— —- —- —- - —— —- —— —- - —- —- — —— —- - —- —- — - —- —- — —— —- - —- —- — - —- —-

That captures the nonexistent Republican plan to replace Obamacare. They’re telling Americans who feel trapped by health care problems: 'Jump! Maybe we’ll catch you.'

This G.O.P. fraud is called 'repeal and delay.' That means repealing the Affordable Care Act, effective in a few years without specifying what will replace it.

If the Republicans ran a home renovation business, they would start tearing down your roof this month and promise to return in 2019 with some options for a new one — if you survived.

And survival will be a real issue. The bottom line of the G.O.P. approach is that millions of Americans will lose insurance, and thousands more will die unnecessarily each year because of lack of care. . .

Americans spend two or three times as much on health care as a share of G.D.P. as other industrialized countries but get worse outcomes. American children are 75 percent more likely to die in the first five years of life than British or German children, according to World Bank data, and American women are twice as likely to die in pregnancy as Canadian women. The reasons have to do partly with American poverty, and partly with the high number of uninsured.

Trump would have you believe that he will keep the popular parts of Obamacare, such as the ban on discriminating against pre-existing conditions, while eliminating unpopular parts like the mandate. That’s impossible: The good and bad depend on each other.

The Trump approach would be like trying to amputate a dog’s rear end so you wouldn’t have to clean up its messes. It just doesn’t work that way."

UPDATE II:  Read also the Washington Post, Republicans are about to feel Obama’s pain on Obamacare — and he knows it.

UPDATE: I've discussed and explained Obamacare extensively. Read the posts.

The only feasible alternatives to Obamacare are single payer (AKA medicare) or government run health care (which isn't that bad, ask anyone in the military).

Which is the reason that Republi-CONs developed the plan that we now call Obamacare. Just ask Romney.

Read the Washington Post, How Democrats can defeat the repeal of Obamacare.

The inability to explain this simple fact shows how inept Democrats are.

"[T]he whole idea of 'repealing' the ACA has been something of a scam."

Read the Washington Post, Are Trump and the Republicans really going to repeal Obamacare?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump's Big CON: The News Media Lies About 'Honest Trump'

Trump, like Jefferson, doesn't like the news media looking into his 'affairs'.

"When Jefferson wrote to 17-year-old John Norvell, urging him to avoid a career in journalism, he was embittered by reports spread by his political opponents that he had slept with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves. Today, most historians believe she was the mother of six of his children. So this is a case where 'fake news' turned out to be true."

Read the Washington Post, Fact-checking President Trump’s rally in Florida.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He Ignores the 'Forgotten Man'

Corporate tax reform "would do a lot for Wall Street and the well-connected, and do nothing for Main Street and what Trump called the 'forgotten men and women' of the country.

Populism is just another alternative fact of the Trump administration."

Read the Washington Post, Trump talks a lot about the ‘forgotten man,’ but so far he’s just helping Wall Street.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Voters' Fantasies About the Collide With Reality

UPDATE III:  "Let’s not mumble or whisper about the central issue facing our country: What is this democratic nation to do when the man serving as president of the United States plainly has no business being president of the United States?

The Michael Flynn fiasco was the entirely predictable product of the indiscipline, deceit, incompetence and moral indifference that characterize Donald Trump’s approach to leadership.

Even worse, Trump’s loyalties are now in doubt. Questions about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia will not go away, even if congressional Republicans try to slow-walk a transparent investigation into what ties Trump has with Putin’s Russia — and who on his campaign did what, and when, with Russian intelligence officials and diplomats. . .

[T]he Trump we are seeing now is fully consistent with the vindictive, self-involved and scattered man we saw during the 17 months of his campaign. In one of the primary debates, Jeb Bush said of Trump: 'He’s a chaos candidate and he’d be a chaos president.' Rarely has a politician been so prophetic. . .

As a country, we now need to face the truth, however awkward and difficult it might be. "

Read the Washington Post, Admit it: Trump is unfit to serve.

UPDATE VII: [N]ow things have gotten real, and all indications are that the people in charge have no idea what they’re doing, on any front.

In some ways this cluelessness may be a good thing: malevolence may indeed be tempered by incompetence. It’s not just the court defeat over immigration; Republican ignorance has turned what was supposed to be a blitzkrieg against Obamacare into a quagmire, to the great benefit of millions. And Mr. Trump’s imploding job approval might help slow the march to autocracy.

But meanwhile, who’s in charge? Crises happen, and we have an intellectual vacuum at the top. Be afraid, be very afraid."

Read The New York Times, Ignorance Is Strength.

UPDATE VI:  "About a century before Trump was born, P.T. Barnum was drawing crowds and headlines with his large personality and ego, skilled dealmaking and shameless hoaxes. Both men are known for skirting around the truth, using exaggeration and in some cases, downright lies to garner attention (and in Barnum’s case, ticket sales). Their careers, in some ways, followed similar paths — both entrepreneurs dealt in land development and entered politics, and both used their entrepreneurial pursuits to become household names appealing to the common man. Both suffered the financial blows of bankruptcies and court fights. . .

Barnum [once] wrote. 'Put on the appearance of business, and generally the reality will follow.' . .

'Barnum was loud, brassy, full of bombast, vulgar, childish, surely just a little crooked — the ultimate, delightful phony from a delightfully phony era,' wrote David McCullough in a 1973 review of a biography of the man. 'If Barnum’s game was a shell game, nobody minded — so long as he was inventive about it, so long as he had a sense of humor.'

Barnum launched his fame with a hoax. In 1835, he purchased Joice Heth, a blind slave who claimed she was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. Crowds lined up in New York and other parts of New England to see the woman, who Barnum advertised as 'one of the greatest natural curiosities ever witnessed,' according to an obituary of Barnum in the New York Times. After the woman’s death the following year, the truth came out in a public autopsy that she was likely no older than 80. But even then, Barnum reaped the benefits, staging the public autopsy and charging 50 cents for admission. . .

But 'the bogusness of Joice Heth did not matter,' wrote Barnum biographer Irving Wallace. 'Barnum gradually came to be more admired than resented, for the people desperately needed what he had to offer.' . .

The two showmen wrote books on similar topics with surprisingly similar titles; Barnum’s 'The Art of Money Getting' and Trump’s 'The Art of the Deal.'"

Read the Washington Post, Out goes P.T. Barnum’s circus. In comes — Donald Trump.  

UPDATE V:  Read the Washington Post, One chart shows how Obama’s job performance compares with his predecessors.

This is the chart:

Then the Washington Post, How Donald Trump could create a financial crisis
UPDATE IV:  Read the Washington Post, In final jobs report of Obama administration, U.S. economy adds 156,000 new jobs in December, which notes that "[t]he report marks the 75th straight month of job growth — the most extended streak the country has seen since 1939." 

UPDATE III:  "Trump loves to play the reality TV host promising next week's big reveal, but he never has the goods".

Read Salon, Donald Trump’s reality TV bamboozle: A political style shaped by "The Apprentice".

UPDATE II: Read Reuters, Jobless claims fall to near 43-year low. , which notes "[i]nitial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 235,000 for the week ended Dec. 31, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was close to the 233,000 touched in mid-November, which was the lowest level since November 1973."

Read also:

Obama the Socialist Failure, More Proof,

Obama the Socialist Failure: Lower Unemployment, Deficits, Gas Prices and Inflation (What More Could He Do To Destroy America) and

Obama's Failure to Fulfill Republi-CON Predictions.

UPDATE:  "[E]conomic recovery, rebuilt auto industry, 15 million new jobs, less foreign oil, cheap gas, more clean energy, fewer troops overseas, Osama bin Laden dead, agreements on climate change and Iran’s nukes, higher incomes, less poverty, same-sex marriage legalized, millions more insured. . .

But Americans thought the country was on the wrong track, and voters demanded change. They rejected Obama’s handpicked successor in favor of the man who led the campaign challenging Obama’s legitimacy as a natural-born American.

Read the Washington Post, The farewell message Obama wishes he could give: 'You’re welcome!'

So-called pro wrestling is a long time fantasy entertainment of Americans.

"Donald Trump is running the nation’s show now, [former pro wrestler Shane 'The Franchise'] Douglas thought — an all-American entertainer, just like himself. . .

He added: 'The fans don’t care if this is all real or fake, but they want to be entertained, and they don’t want to be insulted.'

Trump’s critics look at the president and see a con man — someone who has made a lot of empty promises to struggling Americans, and those nostalgic for a time and place that may never really have existed. They see steps like encouraging the Carrier heating and air conditioning company to keep a few hundred jobs in Indiana as stunts, and fully expect Trump’s supporters to feel nothing but disappointment once they see it for what it really is."

Read the Washington Post, Every pro wrestler respects a good shtick. That’s why this one voted for Trump.

Another fantasy is about to take charge of government, and time will tell.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He's a Foreign (and Domestic) Policy Weakling

UPDATE: "Trump looks weaker, less effective and even more ridiculous than anyone might have anticipated — and it happened surprisingly quickly, too."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is suddenly looking like a very weak autocrat.

First, Trump put Iran “ON NOTICE,” then did nothing.

Then he impulsively claimed to renounce a long-standing One China policy after he promised to review Taiwan's status and bring China "to heel", only to cower recently to Chinese demands to reaffirm the policy.

Now he "looked both weak and incompetent", saying little in response to North Korea’s missile tests after claiming earlier the ICBM test "won’t happen".

"Trump ran for president boasting of his supposedly legendary negotiating and management skills while promising that he alone could fix the problems ailing the country. But three weeks into his presidency, a combination of inexperience, lack of attention to detail and an engaged opposition inside and outside the government have left him as the weakest new president in modern American history.

Trump’s governing style to date can only loosely be called management. He makes decisions quickly, often without consulting relevant experts or even his own appointees. He reads almost nothing, at most a few bullet points—often ripped straight from cable TV—that cannot possibly capture the nuance of complicated policy issues. When his hastily considered decisions backfire in inevitable ways, he doubles down and attacks any critics who point out either the folly or impracticability of his orders.

As with the bellowing Wizard of Oz, however, those boisterous attacks merely hide the weakness of the man behind the curtain, weakness that has already been exploited by both his staff and outside interests. . .

Trump’s rolling circus of chaos has also confounded the press, which can barely dig into one major controversy before a new one erupts.

But for all the president’s authoritarian tendencies and unwillingness to respect traditional norms and institutions, his inability to moderate his mouth, effectively manage the government or successfully negotiate with foreign leaders have left his presidency wounded and weakened. He will undoubtedly manage some successes over the coming months, but the character flaws that have been so evident throughout his public life have so far proved largely debilitating inside the Oval Office."

Read Politico, Donald the Weak, which noted "Trump may aspire to be a strongman, but he's proving to be an exceptionally ineffectual president."

Trump's Big CON: A Déjà Vu Nixon Presidency

UPDATE: "Trump’s genius as a manager is apparent only to himself. He is inattentive and dishonest. He insults rather than consults and has spent an inordinate amount of time at his golf courses. Already he has reversed himself on the one-China policy and has sent mixed signals about Russia. He trashes trade agreements as if ending them will reverse globalization, and he responds to complexity with tweets. He would deal with Chicago’s murder rate by sending in the feds. To do what exactly?

We wait in vain for the promised pivot. It will not happen. At the age of 70, Donald Trump is not about to grow up. He ran a dishonest and tawdry presidential campaign. He continues to disparage John McCain’s heroism and public service, characterizing him as a loser. In spirit, it is no different than his criticism of the Gold Star parents of Humayun Khan, who lost his life while serving in Iraq. Trump felt that while the Khans had sacrificed, so had he — in building a business. If there is a Guinness Book of Narcissism, this is in it.

[Trump is like Nixon, who] assembled a coterie of zealots who were itching to make (domestic) war on anyone and everyone. For a time, the old Nixon was forgotten. A new one was declared. Supposedly gone was the mudslinger of yore, the pol with the twitchy insecurities and a metastasizing inventory of resentments. But the old Nixon was always lurking."

Read the Washington Post, Trump, like Nixon, is incapable of change.

"There is a wide gap, a chasm even, between what the administration has said and what it has done. There have been 45 executive orders or presidential memoranda signed, which may seem like a lot but lags President Barack Obama’s pace. More crucially, with the notable exception of the travel ban, almost none of these orders have mandated much action or clear change of current regulations. So far, Trump has behaved exactly like he has throughout his previous career: He has generated intense attention and sold himself as a man of action while doing little other than promote an image of himself as someone who gets things done.

It is the illusion of a presidency, not the real thing."

Read Politico, President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He Won't Be Draining the Swamp, Quite the CONtrary

UPDATE IX:  More evidence that 'Draining the Swamp' is a CON job.

Read the Washington Post, Trump transition email shows initial effort to oust all inspectors general.

And don't forget "Trump had gone from bashing bankers before Nov. 8 to turning his cabinet into a Goldman Sachs reunion after it."

UPDATE VIII:  "While campaign donors often are tapped to fill comfy diplomatic posts across the globe, the extent to which donors are stocking Trump’s administration is unparalleled in modern presidential history, due in part to the Supreme Court decisions that loosened restrictions on campaign contributions, according to three longtime campaign experts.

The access and appointments are especially striking given Trump’s regular boasting during his campaign that his personal fortune and largely self-funded presidential bid meant that he would not be beholden to big donors, as many of his rivals would."

Read Politico, Trump rewards big donors with jobs and access.

UPDATE VII:  "President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to 'drain the swamp' in Washington of corruption, but now that he’s preparing to move into the White House, Newt Gingrich said the Manhattan real estate mogul is looking to distance himself from that message.

'I'm told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore,' the former House Speaker and close Trump adviser said of the 'drain the swamp' message in an NPR interview published Wednesday morning."

Read Politico, Gingrich: Trump backing away from 'drain the swamp'.

So that makes it official, it was all a CON job.

UPDATE VI: "On Tuesday, Trump said his sons would run his company, building what he says is a clear wall between his private business and public power. On Wednesday, his children had seats at the table of one of his biggest policy meetings yet, attended by the country’s top tech-industry elites and Trump Cabinet nominees. Also around the table: bottles of Trump Natural Spring Water, the president-elect’s water brand."

Read the Washington Post, On the day Trump said he’d clarify his business dealings, his conflicts of interest look thornier than ever.

Trump canceled a long planned press conference to address his business dealings and conflicts of interest scheduled to take place the day after the aforementioned policy meeting. Too busy nurturing future deals I suppose.

UPDATE V:  Read the Washington Post, Trump isn’t draining the swamp. He’s creating his own cesspool.

UPDATE IV:  "So can we stop pretending that Trump’s campaign 'populism' was anything other than just one more con?

It isn’t just the next Treasury secretary. This morning on CNBC, Mnuchin outlined his people-centered plan for the country’s economy.

“Our number one priority is tax reform,” he said. “We think by cutting corporate taxes we’ll create huge economic growth and we’ll have huge personal income so the revenues will be offset on the other side.”

At last, a Republican administration that believes in the wonder-working power of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy! If only George W. Bush had known about that, we would have had spectacular growth through the 2000s and the Great Recession never would have happened. Oh wait — this is exactly the economic program Bush pursued, to such disastrous effect. . .

You may remember Trump’s closing ad of the campaign, in which he said, 'Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people' over images of Wall Street, piles of money, financiers like George Soros, and other symbols of established power and wealth. 'It’s a global power structure,' he went on, 'that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.'

So in order to take on that global power structure, Trump is hiring a bunch of billionaires and Wall Street tycoons, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, scaling back regulatory oversight of Wall Street, and offering an infrastructure plan that consists mostly of tax breaks to corporations to encourage them to build projects that they’ll then charge the public tolls in order to use. . .

Republicans have always struggled with a quandary presented by their economic ideology, which is that it’s difficult to get majority support for a set of policies intended to shower benefits on a small portion of the population. When they argue about it explicitly they use a kind of rhetorical redirection, claiming that cutting rich people’s taxes isn’t really about rich people at all, but is actually intended to help the middle class and even the poor. The rich themselves are merely a vehicle to accomplish this noble end, unselfishly accepting the government’s largesse on behalf of their lessers.

Needless to say, there are only so many people you can persuade with that argument. So in order to compensate, Republicans have complemented their economic case with a menu of social issues with which they can demonize their opponents. Those Democrats hate America, Republicans would say, they’re weak, they don’t love God the way you do, they want to take your guns, they want to force your kids to get gay abortions. Often enough, it worked. . .

But now, Trump is filling up his administration with, guess what, Washington politicians and representatives of the economic powers-that-be, whose top priorities are tax cuts, deregulation, and destroying the safety net, including the privatization of Medicare. The idea that they’ll be laboring to serve the interests of the working class is a joke. Yet it’s a joke people somehow keep telling with a straight face."

Read the Washington Post, Can we stop pretending that Trump is a ‘populist’ now?

UPDATE III: "Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s relationship with Wall Street ran hot and cold. On the podium, he sounded a populist battle cry — heaping disdain on elites and tarring his opponents by their associations with Wall Street. But behind the scenes, Trump assembled a gang of financiers, bankers and ex-bankers to advise his campaign.

Now, he is drawing on that same set of highflying, high-net-worth individuals to captain his new administration. There was Betsy DeVos, a billionaire investor and a heavyweight political donor, whom Trump nominated as his education secretary. There was Wilbur Ross, another billionaire investor, said to be Trump’s pick to become commerce secretary.

On Wednesday, Trump named another member of America’s elite for a position in his Cabinet.

Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund chairman and 17-year Goldman Sachs alum, is Trump’s pick for treasury secretary."

Read the Washington Post, Trump said hedge funders were ‘getting away with murder.’ Now he wants one to help run the economy.

UPDATE II:  "If fighting corruption in D.C. is the reason you voted for Trump, well, you got played. . .

Maybe Trump will prove to have fantastic policies that make America great again. But for the next four years, Trump’s supporters will not be able to make the claim that he’s fighting corruption in Washington. If anything, Trump, his family and his cronies appear poised to leverage the power of the federal government to enrich themselves. And anyone who tells you differently is selling you something. "

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump will not be draining any swamps as president.

UPDATE:  Read the Washington Post, On conflicts of interest, Trump may be worse than Clinton.

Trump promised "to 'drain the swamp' — to eliminate the culture of self-dealing, conflicts of interest and pay-to-play that has infested government. There was no issue more central to Trump’s campaign or to his attacks on (“Crooked”) Hillary Clinton. To allow his children to run his businesses would be the most egregious conflict of them all. Every decision by an agency of the federal government and every administration policy would be scrutinized for the benefits it bestowed on a Trump property or business. Every diplomatic move would be examined to see if there were a financial quid pro quo, perhaps a favorable renegotiation of a foreign bank loan or resolution of regulatory issues involving Trump’s foreign properties. Any bill, be it tax reform or regulatory reform, likely would have some impact on one of his businesses. Inevitably, there will be instance after instance in which Trump or someone working for Trump or legislation Trump favored wound up enriching Trump. That is the essence of corruption. The presidency would become the biggest swamp of them all."

Read the Washington Post, The Trump team’s ethical swamp.

Read also the Washington Post, Bernie Sanders: Trump already breaking campaign promise to ‘drain the swamp’.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Trump's Big CON: 'I Reduced the Cost of the F-35 by $600 Million'

"Lockheed already had planned cost reductions. In a Dec. 19 briefing . . .  the head of the Defense Department’s F-35 Joint Program Office, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, announced costs would come down 'significantly.' The next stage in the F-35 program’s low-rate initial production was a new batch of 90 airplanes, called Lot 10. Bogdan had estimated that Lot 10 planes would cost “somewhere on the order of 6 to 7 percent per airplane” less than Lot 9 planes.

Between 6 to 7 percent comes out to a cost reduction of between $6.1 million and $7.1 million per plane, or between $549 million and $630 million for a full lot of 90 planes, The Washington Post’s Aaron Gregg reported. This cost reduction is already reflected in the Air Force’s budget.

Aviation Week’s Lara Seligman noted that Trump overstated his role. The average unit price has been decreasing for years, and Bogdan repeatedly has announced his intention to lower the cost of the jets, Seligman wrote."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s claim taking credit for cutting $600 million from the F-35 program.