ObamaCare More Popular Than Ever – Just As Trump And GOP Rush To Kill It

Since 2010, Republicans have been staunchly opposed to virtually any health insurance reform that actually helped those who needed it. They voted more than fifty times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) during Obama’s presidency. Now that the GOP has one of their own moving into the White House, they are giddy with anticipation of achieving their goal.

ObamaCare

There’s just one problem. The Wall Street Journal and NBC News just released a survey that has bad news for the GOP:

“As Republicans get closer to repealing it, President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law — or Obamacare — has never been more popular, according to results from a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.” […]

“50 percent of Americans say the law is working well (6 percent) or needs minor modifications to improve it (44 percent).”

The poll also notes that thirty-three percent of respondents think that ObamaCare could be improved with a major overhaul. However, only sixteen percent of the American people think that it should be eliminated entirely. What’s more, the public has very little faith in the Republican majority in Congress to produce anything to adequately replace ObamaCare:

“Just 26 percent of Americans have either a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a bit of confidence’ that congressional Republicans will replace the law with something better, while a combined 50 percent say they have either ‘very little’ or no confidence with the GOP here.”

In light of that, Trump’s slumping appeal to the nation registers even more prominently. He is by far the least popular president-elect in modern history with a mere forty percent favorability. Compare that with the last three presidents just prior to inauguration: Obama (84%), Bush (61%), Clinton (67%). And this is at a time when a newly elected leader enjoys a “honeymoon” period. It appears the American people are more in the mood for a quickie divorce. And true to form, Trump blames that on “rigged” polls.

For the record, the polls were actually remarkably accurate. They predicated that Hillary Clinton was favored by two to three percent in the days before the election. And that is precisely her margin of victory in the popular vote.

The people’s opposition to a repeal of ObamaCare has a factual foundation that Republicans strive to suppress. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of repeal found that up to 32 million people would lose their health coverage. They also found that premiums would skyrocket by up to fifty percent more than current rates. Also troubling is their finding that insurance providers would bail out of the market in droves. In Fact, they project that half of the nation would live in areas with no individual insurers at all. And that would rise to three-quarters by 2026.

Perhaps that’s why Republicans passed a bill to prohibit the CBO from scoring their ObamaCare repeal efforts. It’s a tactic designed to insure that people remain in the dark when their representatives are screwing them over. If they truly believed in the benefits of a repeal, they wouldn’t be afraid to let people know how it will affect them.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So Republicans are attempting to undo a popular healthcare bill, whose repeal will raise costs for both citizens and government. And they’re doing it behind a veil of self-imposed secrecy, at the behest of a historically reviled new president. Sounds like business as usual for the contemporary Tea Party infused, Ayn Rand inspired, Trump led Republican Party.

GOP Hypocrites Abandon Criteria For Cabinet Nominees That They Demanded From Obama

As Inauguration Day draws closer, Donald Trump’s transition continues to break with ethical standards that have had bipartisan approval for decades. Now his cabinet nominees are scheduled to have hearings in a slap-dash, marathon day of Senate gabfests. This is designed deliberately to make it impossible for senators and citizens to fully consider the nominees.

Mitch McConnell

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is expressed its misgivings with the Republican scheduling. The OGE director warned that the plan to hold confirmation hearings before the completion of ethics reviews is “of great concern.” In a letter to the Senate he said:

“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. […] I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

Also expressing concern was the Democratic National Committee. They called for the hearings to be delayed until the ethics office had sufficient time to complete the reviews. Absent that, DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that “the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed.”

Among the reviews still being conducted are FBI background checks, OGE investigations into conflicts of interest, and financial disclosures. And what makes this all the more interesting is that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the very same concerns. Not now, but back in 2009 when it was Obama’s nominees being considered. McConnell wrote to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid to insist that all these reviews must be completed and returned in enough time to review prior to the hearings.

Joining the call for adhering to ethical precedents was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted:

Not surprisingly, Reince Priebus, Trump’s Chief of Staff, is comfortable with jettisoning ethics reviews. On Fox News Sunday he said that “there’s no reason … they have all the information that they need. It’s no different from any other new administration coming in.” However, McConnell’s letter proves that it’s entirely different.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The standards that Republicans impose on Democrats is a much higher one than that to which they hold themselves. That’s why their nominees have been criticized for their blatant conflicts and unsavory behavior. And it’s why Republicans are so anxious to shove these cretins through the confirmation process before everyone finds out about them.

GOP’s Retreat On Ethics Office Doesn’t Erase Their Unscrpulous Intentions

In the past twenty-four hours congressional Republicans have given the nation a taste of the callous disregard they have for ethical conduct. On Monday it was reported that Republicans voted to neuter Congress’ ability to investigate misconduct in their ranks. They adopted a proposal to close the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics. Their plan called for replacing it with a panel comprised of members of the GOP-dominated Oversight Committee.

Paul Ryan GOP

Almost immediately this proposal was lambasted by both parties and pundits from across the political spectrum. It was seen as an attempt to protect themselves from scrutiny and punishment for malfeasance in office. Even Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter saying that:

With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it […] may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS”

Trump’s vague expression of disapproval perfectly illustrates the problem with the Republican’s lack of principle. Notice that he did not criticize the proposal’s intention, only its timing. In fact, he endorsed the baseless complaint that the current system is “unfair.” And that’s precisely what the GOP has believed ever since the office was created by a Democratic congress in 2008.

On Tuesday morning, the Republican’s anti-ethics proposal was put back on the shelf. It was a head-spinning reversal that made clear how terribly they had screwed up. This was the party that promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, but instead was feeding the gators. Politico reported that:

“Following a public outcry, and criticism from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on drastic changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules, and that was accepted by the GOP conference.”

What was not reported is that there was ample precedent for what Republicans tried to do Monday. Just two weeks ago Newt Gingrich addressed the ethics issue, complaining that for Trump “traditional rules don’t work.” He described Trump’s ascension to power as a “billionaire presidency,” which he meant as a justification for special treatment. In other words, the rules for the rich are different than those for the rest of us.

Furthermore, it’s possible that the House GOP was reacting to something the federal Office of Government Ethics did in November. A series of tweets were posted that sarcastically praised Trump for divesting himself of his business interests. Which not only has he not done, but he stubbornly refuses to do so. He even canceled a scheduled press conference to explain how he would handle his copious conflicts of interest. By closing up its own ethics shop, House Republicans might just be hoping to prevent other such embarrassing exposes of their affinity for corruption.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So for the time being, the House Office of Congressional Ethics will continue to operate. However, expect this matter to return when they think they can slip it by without arousing suspicion and criticism. They still believe it is in their interest to suppress ethics inquiries. They just don’t want to get caught doing it at the outset of their party’s domination of government.

Republicans In Congress Are TERRIFIED Of Trump And His ‘Horde Of Enforcers’

Donald Trump ran roughshod over his GOP opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries. It was a scorched Earth style campaign that left his foes, not just beaten, but humiliated. He didn’t merely challenge their policy positions or leadership skills, he used language meant to shame them. Fellow Republicans were viciously maligned as “Lyin’ Ted’ and “Little Marco.” Eventually Trump succeeded in capturing the nomination, but not without leaving bodies on the battlefield.

Trump/Bannon

Those same tactics are now being deployed against the Republicans in Congress. Many of them are saying privately that they are fearful of taking positions against Trump. That poses a critical problem because their traditionally conservative views are often at odds with Trump’s twisted brand of populism. Trumpulism favors cordial relations with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin. It proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements, mainly benefiting wealthy contractors. It is critical of the U.S. alliance with NATO. It would impose stiff tariffs on American companies with foreign factories. All of these positions are in direct opposition to decades of Republican doctrine.

The problem now is that Republicans are literally afraid to speak their minds. They have been warned by Trump and his surrogates that any diversion from total obedience to his agenda would be viewed as betrayal. As reported by Politico:

“It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.” […]

“Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.”

The threat from Breitbart is a real concern. Especially since its chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently on leave to serve as Trump’s strategic advisor in the White House. But it doesn’t stop there. As South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford said, “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

Texas Rep. Bill Flores can attest to Sanford’s worries. After he made some rather tame remarks at a conservative conference, the Trump enforcers snapped into action. Breitbart began with an article condemning Flores for plotting to “stifle Trump’s campaign promises.” Sean Hannity of Fox News picked up the story and added his own vitriolic objections. He implied that Flores was using code to tell Trump to “Go to hell.” Subsequently, Flores was showered with complaints that included predictions of the end of his political career and even death threats. Never mind that he is one of the most conservative members of the House and a co-founder of its arch right-wing Freedom Caucus.

The media component of Trump’s Crusaders is a key to their intimidation tactics. They have the power of Fox News as well as dozens of other right-wing media outlets. Strain all of that through Facebook and Twitter and you get a powerful amplification of their defamatory propaganda.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The rest of the GOP caucus is learning a lesson from this. They are choosing to keep their mouths shut rather than risk offending Trump or his defenders. The StormTrumpers stand at the ready to crucify any Republican they view as disloyal or insufficiently resolute. It’s a chilling state of affairs that impinges on the core principles of democracy. And in that regard, it should not be a surprise coming from the Trump camp. His authoritarian leanings have been apparent from the start of his campaign. And since it’s clear that Republicans can’t be relied upon to defend democracy, Democrats better be prepared to do it.

WTF? Republicans Are Already Clamoring To Impeach Hillary Clinton

The Republican Party has just affirmed that they have given up on electing Donald Trump. There is no better sign of this than what they are now concentrating on as their next political priority. With election day still a couple of weeks away, Republicans are setting their sights on impeaching President Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

Never mind that there are no grounds for impeachment, or that Clinton has never been found guilty of any wrongdoing. And set aside the fact that the legal standard for impeachment may require that any “crimes” be committed while in office. The crackpot pundits and politicians on the right are determined to satisfy their fetish for removing Clintons from office. NBC News recently reported that:

“In the last few weeks alone, dozens of House Republicans have demanded that a special prosecutor investigate the Clinton Foundation for possible conflicts of interest. Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has called for a ‘serious criminal investigation’ into a Democratic operative featured in a sting video by conservative activist James O’Keefe. And Speaker Paul Ryan has promised ‘aggressive oversight work in the House’ of an alleged ‘quid pro quo’ deal between the FBI and the State Department over reclassifying an email on Clinton’s private server.

“Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who would likely serve as the chief antagonist of a second Clinton White House as chair the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News last week the ‘quid pro quo’ claim alone was worth at least ‘four new hearings,’ claiming it was a ‘flashing red light of potential criminality.'”

Clearly this Republican Praetorian Guard is establishing the battle lines for a prolonged war on American progress. They are reinforcing their reputation as obstructionists who couldn’t care less about doing their jobs for the American people. Their intention is to tie up the Congress and the White House with sham inquisitions. But their ultimate goal is even more absurd.

At least two GOP congressman have called explicitly for Clinton’s impeachment. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), asserts that “If all the things we’ve seen are true and they come out the way I think they will, then we should impeach her.” Mo Brooks (R-AL), agrees saying “With respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Along with these confused congressmen, many of the right’s top pundits are lobbying hard for Hillary’s ouster. Rush Limbaugh rants that “Hillary Clinton is the most prepared to be impeached in advance of any presidential candidate this country has ever had. Hillary Clinton will be elected to be impeached,” Fellow radio yakker Mark Levin whines that Clinton “has attempted to cover-up and obstruct her Espionage Act violations … she must be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors in what is and will be continuing revelations about her criminality.” Judicial Watch President, and longtime Clinton basher, Tom Fitton says that there should be a “serious criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s conduct” and that “impeachment is something that’s relevant.”

For her part, Clinton responded to some of this nonsense way back in October of 2015 (yes, they were doing it then too), when she was asked about it by Rachel Maddow. Clinton laughed and said “Isn’t that pathetic? It’s just laughable, it’s so totally ridiculous.”

Indeed. It’s so ridiculous that News Corpse wrote a satirical article in 2013 predicting that Republicans would attempt to pre-impeach Hillary. But with today’s Republican Party, satire cannot compete with their twisted reality. And while it is obviously ridiculous, it may not be all that laughable.

What Republicans are doing is ensuring that the nation will remain mired in gridlock for the indefinite future. With innumerable urgent matters requiring attention, the GOP would rather play political games and conduct smear campaigns. They would rather act out their petty political vengeance than lift up the economy. Or, for that matter, improve health care, mitigate climate change, enhance education, or even defeat ISIS. And make no mistake, the investigations that Republicans are threatening would severely hamper every other critical function of governing.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

For that reason alone it is more important than ever to rid Washington of the Republican obstructionists. If Democrats can secure majorities in the Senate and the House, the chairmanship of every committee would be held by a Democrat. The Republicans would be unable to carry out the vendetta against America that they are promising. So be sure to vote (early, if possible) and get every Democrat you know to do so as well. It really does matter.

Republicans Have Fallen Out Of Love With Fox News – Thanks To Donald Trump

Hurricane Trump has been battering the Republican Party for more than a year now. The devastation it leaves behind is all too apparent as GOP candidates evacuate the low lands in a desperate attempt to avoid getting blown away. There is no precedent for the rush to safety that is taking place. Sixteen Republican senators refuse to endorse their party’s nominee for president. And pundits from across the conservative political spectrum – from the right to the far right – are renouncing Donald Trump and his inept campaign.

Megyn Kelly

Not satisfied with destroying the Republican Party, Trump can also take pride in demolishing the party’s PR division, Fox News. The BrandIndex survey regularly assesses major American commercial enterprises and ranks them according to their popularity with the public. It also breaks the findings out by political affiliation.

The most recent listing shows a precipitous decline by a former top performer. Fox News has fallen to a negative fifty amongst Republicans. As AdAge reports: “In 2014, Fox News was the brand 10th best-perceived by Republicans […] In 2015, Fox News slipped to No. 15.” For 2016, Fox News fell off a cliff dropping another thirty-five points to 50 below.

The most likely explanation for this involves the same destructive force that is roiling the GOP. Donald Trump was created by Fox and promoted throughout the election season. He received far more airtime and positive coverage than any other candidate. However, at the same time he was merciless in his criticism on those rare occasions when someone on Fox was less than adoring.

No one can forget the bitter feud that developed between Trump and Megyn Kelly after she had the audacity to ask him about some things he actually said. Trump later accused her of being overly harsh with him because of PMS (“Blood coming out of … wherever”). He then backed out of Fox’s broadcast of a GOP primary debate in order to avoid Kelly.

And that was just the beginning. Trump has spewed a steady stream of invective at the network that brought him to life. He said of Kelly that she “is the worst” and has a “terrible show.” He called Karl Rove a “total fool” and “a biased dope.” He said that George Will is a “broken down political pundit” and “boring.” Chris Stirewalt was deemed “one of the dumbest political pundits on television.” Trump laughed off Charles Krauthammer as “a totally overrated clown,” “a loser,” and “a dummy.” And wrapping up the whole network for his disapproval, he tweeted that he was “having a really hard time watching Fox News.” Then he called on his followers to boycott the network.

Funny, but I can’t disagree with much of that. However, now that Trump is getting his ass handed to him by Hillary Clinton, his vitriol is accelerating. His protests that the election is rigged are neatly dovetailed with complaints that the media is rigged. And he doesn’t exclude Fox. Not surprisingly, his legions of glassy-eyed disciples are all too happy to obediently shun Fox News. They now consider the right-wing propagandists to be in cahoots with the liberal establishment. It’s all a big conspiracy.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The result is that the Fox News brand is becoming toxic to a certain segment of those who were once its core audience. The only question is whether they will come back to Fox after Clinton is inaugurated and begins confiscating their guns, forcing them to get gay-married, and have abortions under the new Sharia law.

Trump’s Refusal To Accept The Results Of The Election Is Not ‘Suspense’ – It’s Treason

The third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is now history and that’s precisely the place it will reside. Never before has a candidate outright refused to respect the will of the voters. However, Trump is not an ordinary candidate. From the outset of his campaign he’s taken every opportunity to express disrespect for American principles and for his opponents. And that was true during the Republican primary as well as the general election.

Donald Trump

There were many times during the debate that Trump embarrassed himself. He blatantly lied about his prior support for countries like Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, to acquire nuclear weapons. He defended Russia against charges that they hacked American citizens and institutions. And he denied insulting the women he’s accused of assaulting even though videotape exists to prove it. Trump even blamed Clinton for his failure to pay federal income taxes for nearly two decades.

But the most disturbing thing Trump said last night was that he was unwilling to accept the results of the election if he loses. His baseless assertion that the system is “rigged” against him is typical of his paranoid, narcissistic approach everything. His specific complaints were a cacophony of incoherence. Beginning with this:

“I’ll look at it at the time. What I’ve seen, what I’ve seen, is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile on is so amazing. The New York Times actually wrote an article about it, but they don’t even care. It is so dishonest, and they have poisoned the minds of the voters.”

Even if the media were biased against him, that would not equate to voter fraud or make the election invalid. And he praises the New York Times in the same sentence that he criticizes it. Then he insults voters for allowing their minds to be poisoned, but only if they don’t vote for him. For the record, studies show that Trump received far more favorable coverage in the press than any other candidate.

Trump continued his anti-democratic rant with more blathering that is impossible to translate into human:

“Millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote. So let me just give you one other thing. I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people. I’ll tell you one other thing. She shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s … She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run, and just in that respect I say it’s rigged.”

First of all, the millions of people he’s referring to appear to be names that appear on registration rolls that may not be updated for deaths or relocations. Of course, there is zero evidence that anyone in those circumstances ever voter improperly. But what “serious crime” Trump has in mind is never mentioned. And in any case, he is not the arbiter of who is permitted to run for office. The Constitution doesn’t prohibit even felons from running. He is simply demonstrating his affinity for tyrannical rule. Just as he did when he promised to investigate and incarcerate Clinton if he should become president.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News reminded Trump that his refusal to accept the election results contradicted pretty much everyone in own sphere of influence. Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chair, insisted that the election results should be respected. So did his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, his running mate Mike Pence, and his daughter, Ivanka. Nevertheless, Trump himself veered off to say only that “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?” He still seems to think this a reality TV game show.

For her part, Clinton was appropriately appalled. She interjected to say “let me respond to that because that’s horrifying.” Continuing she said:

“This is a mind-set. This is how Donald thinks, and it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”

Exactly. That is how an adult behaves in a democracy. It’s a question of valuing the principles and traditions that define a free people. And it isn’t an act of partisanship. When you have people like GOP strategist Steve Schmidt saying Trump’s remarks are “a disqualifying moment,” and Fox analyst Charles Krauthammer calling it “political suicide,” it’s safe to say that party affiliation is not involved.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

What Trump has done is to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of his gullible followers. He is saying that American elections are untrustworthy and not to be respected. That’s a recipe for chaos and it encourages the most demented malcontents to take matters into their own warped hands. If Donald Trump had an ounce of patriotism he would immediately reverse course and pledge to honor the election. But knowing him that would be way too much to expect.

Thousands Raised To Rebuild Bombed GOP HQ – By DEMOCRATS – As Trump Blames Clinton’s ‘Animals’

An explosive device was thrown through the window of a Republican Party office in Hillsborough, North Carolina yesterday. The perpetrators left a disturbing warning in spray paint saying “Nazi Republicans, leave town or else.” This act of violence is contemptible and indefensible. But the reaction to it has also highlighted the differences between responsible Democrats and the human firebomb, Donald Trump.

NC GOP

Immediately after the news broke, Hillary Clinton expressed her disapproval and sympathy. She tweeted that “The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.” By contrast, Donald Trump posted his own tweet with a somewhat different message. He said that “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP.”

Trump’s approach to this crime is typical of his emotionally stunted relationship to the world around him. His first instinct is to insult and dehumanize his perceived enemies as “animals.” Then he assigns blame to them despite having no evidence of responsibility. And finally he politicizes the act for his personal gain. For the record, Clinton is leading in North Carolina in every recent poll.

The police are still combing over the crime scene and have not released any details of their investigation. But before drawing conclusions, people should ask themselves the old question in these circumstances: Who benefits? Clearly this sort of behavior would only be detrimental to Clinton’s campaign. So who would benefit from engaging in it? Certainly not Clinton. Nevertheless, Trump makes the illogical jump to condemn her rather than his own violence prone followers who stand to profit from the false implication.

But that’s not the only demonstration of how Democrats react responsibly when tragedy strikes. Within a few hours of the bombing there was a fundraising appeal posted to the website GoFundMe. Democrats sought to raise money to help the GOP reopen their office. The appeal condemned the bombing as “abhorrent” and declared that “this is not how Americans resolve their differences.”

The response was swift and inspiring. It took less than four hours to exceed their goal of $10,000. More than 500 people donated to the cause. Typical of the comments from donors was one that read “I’m a Democrat but I don’t believe in violence.” Another donor said “This act of terror was an attack on all of us. In moments like these, there’s no partisanship. We’re all Americans. We stand by you.”

That’s the proper way to address situations like this, especially before any facts are known. Americans generally reject violence as a political tactic. They come together to restore the victims and renounce the perpetrators.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Ironically, it’s Trump who regularly incites violence at his rallies. He’s currently making baseless charges of a rigged election that are roundly criticized as harmful to democracy and potentially dangerous. His response to this incident is in line with that and only encourages further animosity. Trump and his followers should take a lesson from the Democrats who promote peace and unity in the face of violence. Sadly, based on Trump’s response, they are not likely to do that.

GOP Politburo Demands All Party Members Submit To Trump – Or Else

At last July’s Republican convention, the party went to great lengths to portray themselves as united behind their nominee. It was an uphill effort considering many of the most prominent members of the party were openly contemptuous of him. Donald Trump had alienated a broad swath of his colleagues. His childish insults, flagrant bigotry, and embarrassing ignorance didn’t sit well with party regulars. Many refused to attend the convention, including the governor of the state that hosted it.

Reince Priebus

During the course of the primary Trump made up disparaging nicknames for his opponents (Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, etc.), belittled John McCain’s heroism, mocked Carly Fiorina’s looks, and maligned other respected Republicans including past presidents. As Trump transitioned into the general election he continued to estrange his peers and discount their usefulness to his campaign. Consequently, former candidates like Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich have refused to endorse him. Many others have announced their support for Hillary Clinton. The list of Republicans who are abandoning their party over Trump grows by the day.

Now the Republican Party has decided to crackdown on these drifters. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee told John Dickerson on Face the Nation (video below) that wayward Republicans “need to get on board.” He made thinly veiled threats that anyone who fails to support Trump could be prohibited from running as a Republican in the future:

“If they’re thinking they’re gonna run again someday, I think we’re gonna evaluate the nomination process and I don’t think it’s gonna be that easy for them. […] If a private entity puts forward a process and has agreement with the participants in that process, and those participants don’t follow through with the promises that they made in that process, what should a private party do about that if those same people come around in four or eight years?”

In other words, fall in line or be cast out as heretics. Dickerson noted that “It sounds like a brush-back pitch,” to which Priebus coyly grinned but did not deny. In fact, Priebus was letting the stragglers know that they could suffer penalties for their independence. In order to be a Republican candidate, he implies, one has to conform to the party’s demands. Of course, Priebus has no legal authority to decide who can run as Republican and who cannot. Anyone who registers as a candidate and meets ballot access requirements can mount a campaign.

The attempt by Priebus to strong arm party members into compliance is unprecedented and unenforceable. But mostly it reveals the shaky foundation of the party’s professed unity. It shows that their candidate is so toxic that they have to employ threats to secure support. The list of anti-Trump Republicans includes many of the party’s most respected leaders. In addition, fifty top GOP national security officials publicly condemned Trump as not qualified to be commander-in-chief. They warned that he would be “the most reckless President in American history.” Most recently former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote a scathing editorial for the Wall Street Journal in which he said that “A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America.”

In this environment it is going to be hard for Priebus to enforce his autocratic ultimatum. Too many free thinking Republicans are horrified that their party has been hijacked by a celebrity ignoramus. They are unwilling to bow down to an unstable, tantrum throwing, narcissistic, wannabe dictator. And no matter how much party apparatchiks like Priebus complain, Trump will never unify the party. To the contrary, his campaign from the start has sought to upend it. On that measure he can claim a somewhat dubious victory.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LMFAO: Donald Trump Just Made A Pro-Clinton ‘Deplorables’ Ad – No, Really!

With everything that is circling the media drain at the moment, Donald Trump has proven once again that he is an incompetent candidate and his purported media prowess is a myth. The most prominent story currently getting play is about Hillary Clinton’s remark that “you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’” She’s wrong of course. It’s way more than half.

So the Trump Team set off to exploit what they regard as the “worst mistake of the political season.” They produced an ad (below) featuring Clinton reciting the allegedly controversial remarks. There’s just one problem.

Trump Deplorable Ad

The ad’s visual are mostly of Clinton and stadium audiences cheering wildly. Trump’s audiences. If you watch it with the sound off it appears to be a positive presentation of Clinton on the campaign trail. What’s more, nowhere in the ad does it say that Clinton’s comments were wrong. The gist is that they insult Trump’s voters. But why would any of them feel insulted unless they thought it applied to them? They’re assuming that they are in the half that Clinton called deplorable. In effect, they are admitting that they are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

As the ad proceeds it contains shots of a Trump a rally with the word “DEPLORABLE” over it like a label. Then Clinton’s words – racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic – are played over video of Trump supporters as if they are examples of what she’s referring to. The ad ends with a narrator saying that Clinton is “viciously demonizing hard working people like you.” But by then the damage is done.

The visual messaging in this ad is powerfully pro-Clinton. The negative tone of the voiceover is unlikely to carry much weight. The theory behind this was explained by former CBS political correspondent Lesley Stahl who was schooled by a Reagan operative on the optics of reporting. She had broadcast a critical segment about Reagan’s funding cuts for children with disabilities and public health. The piece showed him speaking at the Special Olympics and a nursing home. The next day Reagan aide Richard Darman called to thank her. This exchange followed:

Darman: Way to go, kiddo. What a great piece. We loved it.
Stahl: Didn’t you hear what I said?
Darman: Nobody heard what you said.
Stahl: Come again?
Darman: You guys in Televisionland haven’t figured it out, have you? When the pictures are powerful and emotional, they override if not completely drown out the sound. I mean it, Lesley. Nobody heard you.

Because Stahl’s piece spoke about some dreadful policies by Reagan, while showing him looking dapper at popular events and institutions, what she said simply did not register. Apparently Trump’s media team still has not learned that lesson. And all this new ad will do is amplify the message that Trump appeals to a deplorable community of bigots. His campaign says they will be spending two million dollars to air this ad in swing states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Clinton should send them a thank you note.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.