Paying Tribute: Would Anyone in Trump’s Republican Party Be Remembered Like John McCain?

Saturday saw the passing of one of the most storied and respected members of Congress in this generation. John McCain was an irascible political pugilist who managed to nurture close friendships with almost everyone with whom he did battle. And he did battle with everyone. His maverick status may have been an overwrought marketing scheme, but he did have a tendency to skirt partisan divides more frequently than most of his colleagues.

Donald Trump John McCain

Consequently, he earned the respect, admiration, and affection of his congressional peers. The remembrances expressed in the past twenty-four hours have been uniquely non-partisan, especially by today’s Trumpian standards. Naturally, McCain’s passing brought out kind words and loving thoughts from Republicans who regard him as an elder statesman. But he has also been lauded with effusive praise by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and many more from the ranks of Democrats.

The tributes generally include recognition of his valiant and selfless service to the nation as a Navy officer and a public servant for more than thirty years. They cite his courage, integrity, honor, perseverance, collegiality, fairness, and above all, putting his principles and his country before himself or his party. And those saluting him specifically used those words to described his enduring legacy. The only prominent Republican who failed to do so was Donald Trump, whose curt tweet offered only obligatory condolences, but said nothing at all about the man or his life’s work.


Compare that to the more fully realized sentiments of the man who defeated McCain for the presidency:

All of these accolades may seem customary under the circumstances when a notable public figure meets his destiny. But on reflection, it’s hard to imagine the same measure of esteem being shown toward any of McCain’s GOP pals were they to expire. Does anyone think that Mitch McConnell would be eulogized with words like courage, integrity, or honor? What about Paul Ryan? Or Jim Jordan? Or Chuck Grassley? Or Kevin McCarthy? Or John Cornyn? Or Mike Pence? Or (do I have to say it) Donald Trump?

What ever one thinks of McCain’s politics, he actually does represent a bygone era of bipartisanship that the GOP has been chipping away at for years. And with the emergence of Trump, the demolition crew has really stepped up their efforts to shred whatever fragile veil of unity has managed to survive.

As a result, it may be a while before America sees another passing of a Republican who garners such near universal praise. Maybe some of the GOP leaders in Congress and elsewhere should start to think about their own legacies and whether they would like to be remembered as heroes or narrow minded zealots.

This applies especially to those who can look the other way as Trump exacerbates partisan divisions, incites racial hatred and misogyny, puts the wealthy and corporations above everyday citizens, and worst of all, kowtows to foreign dictators and sells out the nation to our enemies. Support for that sort of anti-American agenda is unlikely to win over the hearts and minds of grieving Americans once you cast off your mortal bounds. Something to consider.

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

A Tweet For Everything: What Trump Said About the Stock Market Just Six Months Ago

The current President of the United States has shown repeatedly that he is an unstable and ill-informed custodian of the nation’s resources. Donald Trump has a tenuous grip on the complexities of economics, and reacts out of panic and vengeance more than careful study and reason. As a result the country has been burdened with policies that work against the interests of its citizens.

Donald Trump, Stock Market

About six months ago Trump joined with the Republican Congress to pass a tax reform bill that was widely criticized as a giveaway to the wealthy that would balloon the national debt by trillions of dollars. Trump celebrated the legislative victory at a White House ceremony where he reduced it to flagrantly personal terms saying that “It’s always a lot of fun when you win.” It didn’t get a single vote from Democrats.

Republicans, however, were swelling with pride, despite the unfavorable public response shown in most polls. The Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, said confidently that “When people see their paychecks getting bigger in February […] that’s going to change its popularity, I am convinced.” The GOP Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, gloated that “My view of this is, if we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.”

I hope he’s dusted off his resume, because the latest polling shows that the Trump Tax Scam is less popular now than ever. It currently has about thirty-four percent approval from the American people. Which isn’t surprising considering the fact that it was crafted to benefit corporations and the rich. Which makes this Trump tweet from December 14, 2017, all the more ironic and sad:

Well, that rosy scenario has wilted. Trump told reporters when the bill passed that “the results will speak for themselves.” Six months later it’s clear that his prediction is true, in the worst possible way. Workers have not received the benefits they were promised. Businesses are taking their profits and putting them into stock buybacks that benefit the executives. Harley Davidson announced today that is the latest company to be moving some of their operations (and jobs) out of the country.

On top of that, the stock market suffered a serious decline on Monday with the Dow Jones down 328 points (1.33%), and the Nasdaq down 160 points (2.09%). The market is negative by almost two percent year-to-date, and is down over 500 points since the tax bill was signed. Even more troubling is that it is off about 2,300 points from its high in January. You don’t hear Trump talking about any of that.

Short term movement in the market is never a good indicator of trends over time. But Trump’s boasting about the market’s performance has blown up in his face because he doesn’t understand it in even the simplest terms. And the trading in the wake of the tax bill, Trump’s punitive tariffs, and associated red flags in bonds and overseas markets are telling us a cautionary tale. At some point the markets are going to reverse course, as they always do, and it may come sooner rather than later. But Trump’s mismanagement of the economy has left us with few and/or weak tools with which to respond. The smart money is taking protective measures, and so should we all.

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

Donald Trump Actually Admitted He’s a Flaming Idiot Four Times Yesterday

The past two years has been a veritable circus as Donald Trump clowned his way through the presidency. He’s proven beyond a shadow of doubt that he is utterly incapable of governing. His pathological lying and relentless boasting are the hallmarks of his oratory. And for some reason he insists demonstrating that he’s a complete imbecile who fails to understand the simplest concepts.

Donald Trump

However, even with that record of buffoonery, Trump outdid himself in his speech yesterday that was supposedly about infrastructure. He spent maybe two minutes out of more than sixty on that topic, squeezed in between embarrassing exaltations of himself and infantile insults of his perceived enemies. But what distinguished this speech more than anything else were his own admissions of stupidity. It was a startling thing to watch. Here are a few of the things that Trump needed to make sure that everyone knew he couldn’t grasp:

He Doesn’t Know What a Community College Is:

“I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means […] and I tell people, call it vocational from now on, it’s a great word, it’s a great word. Call it vocational and technical perhaps, but use vocational, because that’s what it’s all about. People know what that means, we don’t know what a community college means.”

Who doesn’t know what “community college” means? The phrase is its own definition. It’s a college that’s in the community. Is that so hard? What’s more, it is not the same as a vocational or technical school. Vocational schools generally focus on a specific skill such as nursing or mechanics. Community colleges are more like conventional four-year institutions with a broad range of study. They award Associates Degrees and are often starting points to pursue higher education. But Trump is fixated on the word “vocational” most likely because he just learned it. He has done the same thing with other words like “comprehensive” and “reciprocal” when those entered his vocabulary. He doesn’t realize that the rest of America already knows these words, or he assumes they’re as dumb as he is.

He Doesn’t Know That His Wall is Not Being Built:

“We’re getting that sucker built. That’s what I do. I build. I was always very good at building. It was my best thing. I think better than being president, I was always very good at building.”

Somebody showed Trump a picture of a wall under construction and told him it was the border wall that he has been yammering about for two years. It wasn’t. It was a part of a wall in California that was undergoing an upgrade that was approved by the Obama administration. However. Trump’s assessment of being better at building than being president is an easy call. Not because he was ever good at building, but because he’s better at anything than he is at being president.

He Doesn’t Know How Judges are Made:

“You know, when I got in, we had over 100 federal judges that weren’t appointed. I don’t know why Obama left that. It was like a big beautiful present to all of us. Why the hell did he leave that? Maybe he got complacent?”

Why? Because the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, deliberately refused to hold hearings or confirmations for President Obama’s nominees. This wasn’t a secret tactic that might have eluded Trump’s attention. McConnell did it openly and was criticized harshly for his perversion of democracy. But Trump thinks the vacant seats were the result of that black president being lazy. Cause you know how “those” people are.

Finally, Trump took to Twitter for another display of ignorance wrapped in a critique of one of his favorite foils. His tweet accused Jeff Bezos, owner of both Amazon and the Washington Post, of failing to pay taxes and exploiting the Post Office:

Really? First of all, the Post Office is everyone’s “delivery boy.” It’s their whole purpose for being. And Amazon’s use of their services is actually a source of enormous revenue for them. Secondly, Amazon does collect sales taxes in every state in the country that imposes them. The fact that Trump doesn’t know this just shows that he has never bought anything from Amazon or bothered to ask anyone who has. His real target is Bezos, who he thinks is ordering the Washington Post to write critical stories about him. Also, it’s hypocrisy on a grand scale for Trump to criticize others for not paying taxes. He has bragged about not doing so and insisted that it was evidence of his genius as a businessman. At least Amazon’s tax releases are public information, unlike Trump’s.

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

It’s one thing for Trump’s critics to lay into him whenever he does something foolish. But it’s another when he himself admits his foolishness and seems to revel in it. But what’s really frightening is that there are so many people who hear these admissions and don’t find anything troubling about them. His disciples are members of his cult and blindly believe whatever he tells them, no matter how obvious the truth is.

Trump Thanks Fox News for Helping Him Ignore His Duty to Protect and Defend the Constitution

Once again, Donald Trump is caught convening with his “outhouse” cabinet (too crappy to be in the kitchen) on Fox News rather than knowledgeable professionals. The “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends delivered another of their “Presidential Daily Briefings” to the only person in their audience that matters to them.

Fox News

The segment (video below) reiterated a White House talking point meant to distract from the reality that Russia invaded the United States with a massive and well-financed attack on our democratic system. They advanced the lie that President Obama didn’t do anything about Russia’s election tampering. In fact, Obama did quite a bit. He expelled thirty-five Russian “diplomats” and imposed new sanctions. These were actions that Trump’s soon-to-be National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, assured Russia would not be carried out if they won the election. Obama also tried to get Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell to sign on to a bipartisan public announcement revealing the Russian operations. McConnell refused, and Obama thought it would appear political if he were to proceed without GOP support. It could be argued that Obama could have done more, but not that he did nothing, as Trump did in this tweet:

Of course, Trump never has an original thought, and he didn’t in this case either. He was reacting to the policy dictates put forth on Fox and Friends. In addition to the tweet above, Trump also tweeted a quote that played on the Fox News program of Obama saying that…

It needs to be noted that Obama was talking about Trump’s campaign hysterics that Obama and Hillary Clinton were conspiring to steal the election. He was not talking about the sort of tampering that we know Russia engaged in. That’s a significant distinction, but one that Fox and Trump are too dimwitted to figure out. Or more accurately, too dishonest to admit. So Trump’s “Friends” merely repeated their well-rehearsed lines:

Brian Kilmeade: If you look at the President’s track record, it’s been anything but strong when it comes to Russia. [Steve Doocy had to interject that Kilmeade meant President Obama]
Steve Doocy: But here’s the thing, ultimately. Barack Obama was the president of the United States when Russia was meddling with our election. Trying to sow discord. So why didn’t he, as the chief executive of the country, stop it? And now, fast forward to now, what’s the narrative become? Forget about the fact that it happened on Obama’s watch, now it is ‘Well you know it looks like the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.’ Which there is no evidence, absolutely none that that happened. All we found out Friday with the Mueller indictment was there was this place called the troll factory. Spent about a hundred thousand dollars and put out a few Facebook ads. That’s it.”

First of all, there is plenty of evidence of Trump’s collusion, starting with Donnie Jr.’s meetings with Russians (which he initially lied about) in Trump Tower. There are verified connections between Trump, Wikileaks, and Russia, who Trump begged to hack Clinton and release the stolen emails. There are more than a dozen Trump associates who met with Russians and lied about it. And no one knows what further evidence special counsel Robert Mueller has that won’t be disclosed until he concludes the investigation.

What’s more, Doocy’s deliberate disinformation about Mueller’s indictments misstates the facts. It wasn’t a hundred thousands dollars and a few Facebook ads. It was over a million dollars a month and thousands of Facebook and other Internet posts seen by millions of Americans.

More importantly, Trump appears to be conceding now that the election interference did occur. And while he’s obsessing over Obama’s response, he’s ignoring that he has done nothing himself. To the contrary, he is letting his pal Vladimir Putin off the hook. Trump refuses to impose sanctions that were voted on nearly unanimously by Congress. And although he will criticize everyone from Obama to Clinton to Oprah, he has never said a cross word to or about Putin.

No matter what Trump thinks of Obama, he has a responsibility as the current president to protect and defend the country. But he’s never even had a cabinet level meeting on the threat of Russia’s election tampering. Nor has he directed his intelligence and law enforcement agencies to address the matter. If he thinks that Obama was negligent, then what is he saying about himself? It’s almost as if he’s happy with Russia’s political intrusions and wants them to continue. Or maybe that they have something on him that is costly to his financial empire or personally embarrassing. Nah – couldn’t be any of that. Could it?

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

Trump Echoes Fox News to Politicize Terrorist Attack in New York and Falsely Blame Democrats

Sadly, another terrorist attack has taken place in New York City. This tragedy has taken the lives of eight innocent victims and injured a dozen more. At times like these Americans are called upon to unite against such senseless brutality and to come together in support of those affected. It’s a manifestation of the strength and resolve that we have to endure and prevail.

Donald Trump Fox News

However, it is also sad that Donald Trump doesn’t share these principles. The President’s first reactions to the carnage were blathering assertions that what had just happened in America can’t happen in America. But what he later sought to convey, after having slept on it, was even more repulsive. In a series of brazenly political tweets, he declined to criticize the terrorist or the extremist views that inspired him. Instead, Trump lashed out at fellow Americans in Congress. Specifically, Senate Minority Leader (and the representative of the state that was attacked) Chuck Schumer and Democrats in general:

It’s nauseating that Trump appears to be more upset with Sen. Schumer than with the terrorist. What’s more, he is predictably misrepresenting the truth. The Diversity Visa Lottery program was supported by Schumer as an amendment to the Immigration Act of 1990. That bill passed in the Senate by a whopping 89 to 8 vote and was signed into law by George H.W. Bush. It was also supported by some notable Republicans including Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Funny, Trump didn’t attack any of them.

Something else Trump left out was that in 2013 a bipartisan group of senators, including Schumer, proposed to eliminate the Diversity Visa program. Known as the “Gang of Eight,” they offered a compromise immigration reform bill that would have ended the lottery. The bill was killed by conservative Republicans in the House.

Trump’s comments fly in the face of his response to last month’s terrorist attack in Las Vegas. After that horrific mass murder Trump and the GOP were aghast that anyone would talk about solutions to gun violence. And after the murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo Nazis, Trump declared that he couldn’t talk about it until he had the facts. But just a few hours after the attack in New York, while the investigation was still in progress, Trump was already pushing his partisan agenda and lying about his political foes.

Not surprisingly, it’s easy to figure out where Trump got these talking points. He was obviously watching Fox News. In the hours following the attack, Fox News hosts and pundits were pushing their biases out onto the airwaves. And their stridently anti-Muslim bigotry was on full display. Here are some examples:

  • Tucker Carlson: It seems obviously tied to immigration, why is the country unwilling to have that conversation, to face that?
  • Pamela Geller on Hannity: The fact is Muslim immigration means more Islamic terrorism. It’s just that simple.
  • Laura Ingraham: Why must we take the risk, knowing that we can’t tell if an Islamic individual is going to be radicalized?
  • Zuhdi Jasser on Tucker Carlson Tonight: [Americans] are in denial if we don’t believe that nonviolent Islamism is a precursor to militant Islamism.

Trump’s TV was typically tuned in to Fox and Friends. That’s where he got the Schumer connection, which was not even confirmed at the time. Co-host Steve Doocy said so when he stated that:

“According to Mark Levin, and I looked online, and there are a bunch of websites that say that Chuck Schumer was one of the sponsors. We have not independently confirmed that through our brain room yet.”

Let’s just set aside the dubious assertion that Fox News has a “Brain Room.” The network was admittedly disseminating rumors in order to blame political adversaries for a terrorist attack. And that was enough for Trump to regurgitate it and give Fox News credit. Doocy’s colleague, Brian Kilmeade, contributed to this deliberate disinformation. Undoubtedly, this is the first time Trump had connected the visa lottery to the attack:

“All right, let’s talk about how he got here. He applied to a lottery system, the diversity visa program […] And congratulations, you win the lottery and then eight people are run over in this case eventually down the line because of this.”

For the record, the Diversity Visa Lottery program was not a free pass to American citizenship. Recipients had to be vetted by all of the same criteria as any other immigrant applying for entry. They are also subject to the same requirements and waiting periods. Kilmeade’s description was patently dishonest and purposefully misleading.

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

The fact that Trump relies on the disinformation and lies of Fox News is appalling and dangerous. They clearly don’t have the credibility to be the foundation for government policy. But Trump puts more faith in them than he does in the intelligence agencies he oversees. This morning he called his own Justice Department “a joke and a laughingstock.” The result is ignorant policies that are infused with noxious racism and bigotry. Not to mention the corrosive division that is sown by a President who regards his political opponents, and the media, as worse than our nation’s real enemies.

Watch Trump say that Obama never called Gold Star families, then blame his generals for that lie

The catalog of lies accumulated by Donald Trump has broken all records. The Washington Post has compiled more than 1,100 just since his inauguration. No one who values honest discourse can pretend that this president engages in it. It’s an embarrassment and a stain on America’s reputation that may take decades to erase.

McMaster Trump

Perhaps the most repulsive lies are those that touch on the tragic fatalities of American soldiers. So naturally that’s precisely the course Trump took on Monday in an impromptu press conference (video below). He intended to address the media following a meeting with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. And he began by lying about what a tremendous relationship they have. But Trump was later asked about why, after twelve days, he had not bothered to make any public comment about four Green Berets who died in an ambush in Niger. His rambling, nearly incoherent response was filled with falsehoods:

“I’ve written them personal letters,” he began. “They’ve been sent, or will be going out tonight.” Less than a minute later he contradicted himself, saying the letters would be going out “either today or tomorrow.” Then, while pontificating about how “tough” it is for him, he said that he still plans to call the parents of the deceased:

“The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls. A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

First of all, You have to wonder what makes him “able” to make these calls. He has been golfing at his luxury resorts five times since the soldiers were killed. So obviously that cut into whatever time he had for this presidential duty. But more importantly, his assertion that other presidents didn’t make such calls was a blatant lie. Every president in modern history has done so.

Trump’s remarks are disrespectful to both the former presidents and the Gold Star families who expect honest and sincere sympathies. A few minutes later, Peter Alexander of NBC News pressed Trump on his statement:

Alexander: “Earlier you said that President Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers. How can you make that claim?
Trump: I don’t know if he did. No, no, no. I was told that he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t. They write letters. I do a combination of both. Sometimes it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama, I think probably did sometimes. And maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.”

WTF was that? Trump started to walk back his original lie. But then he tap danced back to it to say that Obama didn’t call, or did, or didn’t. Or who knows? And it’s just so darn difficult for him. Finally, Trump laid the blame on the generals who are advising him. So if there is anything wrong in what he says, it’s their fault. Remember, these are the generals that he said he knows more than.

The take away from this press conference is that Trump doesn’t know whether or not other presidents have called Gold Star families. Also, that he thinks his generals are feeding him lies. And he never gave an answer as to why it took him twelve days to acknowledge the sacrifice of these soldiers. But none of that will stop this five-time draft-dodger from exploiting the military tomorrow for a photo-op. And then declaring himself the biggest supporter they have ever known. Believe me.

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

Desperate President Tweets Threat to Republican Senators Who Are ‘Turning On Trump’

Apparently making reckless threats aimed at nuclear-powered madmen isn’t sufficiently fulfilling for Donald Trump. Perhaps his own reputation as a nuclear-powered madmen dilutes the effect. So Trump is now aiming his electoral weapons at his Republican colleagues in the senate.

Donald Trump

Included in his scheduled morning Twitter tirade was a retweet of his pals at Fox and Friends. [NOTE: Trump must be on the Fox News payroll as this is his 13th retweet of F&F so far this month, and the 121st since he launched his campaign] The article linked in the tweet was, of course, from Fox News. It dealt with the potential electoral tribulations of Republican senators who have had the audacity to be independent thinkers. In other words, they have disagreed with the wannabe dictator in the White House.

The article is titled “Senators learn the hard way about the fallout from turning on Trump.” That’s a perfectly legitimate subject of discussion. And there are GOP incumbents whose seats are in jeopardy next year. Although that’s true for those still fluffing the unpopular president. However, by posting that article Trump is blatantly warning all Republicans to refrain from challenging him, or face his wrath. There is nothing subtle about promoting the perils of “turning on Trump.”

This heat-seeking rhetorical missile is meant to frighten Republicans who may be wavering in their otherwise unyielding adoration of the President. He demands constant support for everything he does and says. Any healthy expression of doubt or criticism is regarded as disloyalty. And the temptation to distance oneself from Trump’s toxicity will not be tolerated. That’s a harrowing dilemma for politicians attached to a president who can’t raise his approval ratings out of the thirties.

Trump has already made very public and embarrassing attacks on the GOP’s Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. He has characterized McConnell as a weak loser who is responsible for Trump’s failing agenda. Never mind that Trump ran on the promise of his unparalleled negotiating skills and how easy it would be to achieve every goal he put forward. By now we should have defeated ISIS, repealed ObamaCare, cut taxes for the rich, locked up Hillary Clinton, and built a wall on the Mexican border. You know, made America great again.

Trump, however, has failed achieved to any of his campaign promises. Instead, he has brought the world to the brink of a thoroughly unnecessary nuclear conflict. His administration is a pitiful mess that has undergone unprecedented upheavals. And he is being investigated for financial corruption and collusion with Russia’s attacks on our democracy. Is this what he meant when he told his rally-goers that they would soon be “sick and tired of winning?”

So while Trump is playing nuclear chicken with Kim Jong-Un, he is also alienating his allies on Capital Hill. Previously loyal colleagues like Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Dean Heller, and John McCain are becoming more comfortable defying his authority. How he expects to shepherd his agenda through Congress without their help is a mystery.

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

Trump thought the presidency was like his family business where he was the king. But now he is discovering that his only tool is whining and bullying. And the more offensive he is toward his own party, the more likely they are to join in impeachment proceedings as his legal troubles continue to unfold. Keep in mind, Republicans in Congress have always preferred Mike Pence anyway.

A Republican Appeal for ‘ObamaCare Horror Stories’ Backfires Spectacularly

Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are continuing their efforts to kill ObamaCare. Never mind that that their proposed replacement is overwhelmingly opposed by the American people. In recent polls its support has languished in the teens. You have to wonder why a party would fight so hard for something so unpopular. Well, actually, you don’t have to wonder. It’s because they are committed to giving millionaires tax cuts, denying hard-working Americans basic human rights, and erasing President Obama’s legacy.

Medicare For All

Republicans have been unable to pass their TrumpCare legislation despite having majorities in both houses. The Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell promised to bring it to the floor for a vote before July fourth. However, he couldn’t get his own party to support the bill so he postponed the vote indefinitely. Now he is engaged in backroom horse-trading (i.e. bribery) to try to get some members to flip.

In the meantime, the GOP PR machine is reaching out to improve the awful perception of their healthcare agenda. In Indiana, the home state of Vice-President Mike Pence, the party posted a request on Facebook for public feedback. Here is what they asked in a brazenly leading question:

“We were promised Obamacare would make healthcare cheaper, better, and more available, but in reality it’s turned out to be the opposite. What’s your Obamacare horror story? Let us know.”

Unfortunately for them, what they got was surely not what they hoped for. Hoosiers were appalled at the prospect of losing the Affordable Care Act. They were equally disturbed by the GOP bills currently circulating around Congress. And more than 7,000 of them made their opinions abundantly clear. Here are some select examples of the replies:

  • I saved over $100/month on individual coverage through the marketplace, for the exact same coverage from the exact same insurer! The horror!
  • Being able to afford to buy insurance through a market rather than having to rely on employer-provided insurance allowed my best friend to leave her job and start her own business.
  • My kids have a genetic illness. After the ACA was passed, we felt relieved that they would never be denied coverage. And there is no worry of a lifetime cap on their care. Thanks Obamacare!
  • I lost my job and found out I had skin cancer 2 weeks later. If it weren’t for Obamacare, I wouldn’t have been eligible for another insurance plan because I would have had a major preexisting condition. I was able to go on to the open market place and select an affordable option that covered the bulk of my treatments. I’m now cancer-free and didn’t have to lose everything to pay for chemo. Thanks Obamacare for being there exactly when I needed it!
  • The “horror” is that Republicans would take it away without a decent replacement. Or replace it with a giant tax cut to the wealthy instead of actual…ya know…health care.
  • No horror story about ACA. The real horror is a bunch of white guys making decisions about women’s health and bodies.
  • I am a single mom of two young children. Before IN joined the ACA, I was denied health coverage. Thanks to Obamacare my children and I both have healthcare while I’m back in school pursuing my nursing degree. Thank you Obama!
  • Prior to the ACA (Obamacare) I was denied coverage for my pregnancy because it was considered a pre-existing condition. I then went on state funded Medicaid because it was he only available option, besides going bankrupt.
  • Obamacare makes my dad able to obtain insurance with a preexisting and covers his $15k/month medication. Thank you, Obama, for giving my dad years on his life!
  • I’m a pastor here in Indiana, and Obamacare has been wonderful for some of the people in my congregation. Thanks to Obamacare, they now have affordable health insurance for the first time.
  • My premiums went down in 2017 under the ACA. My daughter had her gall bladder removed in January that left a bill totaling $93,000.00 but under the ACA my bill was $ 2000. I love my ACA. Stop lying.
  • My son was dx with leukemia at 5 months old. Thanks to ACA he can not be denied health coverage. The horror
  • My mom is fighting cancer because of the ACA. So your party of “pro life” and “family values” can shut the hell up. You don’t care about us. You care about tax cuts for the billionaires.

Will the Republicans pushing for their cruel and greedy alternative to ObamaCare be moved by these comments? It’s impossible to tell from this Facebook post. The party has not responded to any of the comments. But there are some diehard, Fox News infected, Trump disciples out there making irrational contributions to the debate. One found it “Interesting reading all the Soros-hired leftwing shills and their fake posts.” Right. George Soros hired more than 7,000 people to post unique and moving appeals to retain and improve ObamaCare.

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

That’s the sort of lunacy that we have to contend with in order to preserve the first national healthcare plan the United States ever had. It’s indicative of a deeply deranged segment of the population that regards anything they don’t like as “fake.” The good news is that mental health care is covered under ObamaCare. So these poor souls may be able to get the help they desperately need. That’s is, if they don’t succeed in killing it.

Warren Buffett Blasts GOP Healthcare Bill as the ‘Relief for the Rich Act’

On Tuesday the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was forced to make an embarrassing announcement. After insisting that the Senate would vote on the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill before the July fourth recess, he has now removed it from the schedule. He had a good reason. There was no way it pass. At least nine Republican senators had indicated that they would vote no.

Warren Buffet

The so-called “Better Care Reconciliation Act” is not only unpopular with some senate Republicans. Recent polling shows that the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to it. The USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll puts its approval at only twelve percent. The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll is only slightly better with seventeen percent of Americans approving. That includes support from only thirty-five percent of Republicans. [And this just in: Even the latest poll from Fox News shows approval at only twenty-seven percent. Twice as many oppose]

These are disastrous numbers for any public policy. It’s startling that the GOP would even be interested in pursuing this farce. And yet, McConnell continues to be optimistic about its prospects for passage. So does Donald Trump, who just met with the GOP senate caucus and celebrated their non-achievement.

Among the skeptics of the Republican plan to make twenty-two million more people uninsured is billionaire investor Warren Buffett. In an interview with PBS’s Judy Woodruff (video below), Buffett made his opinion crystal clear. He expressed his support for a more inclusive healthcare plan saying that single-payer “probably is the best system.” Then he outlined what is one of the most troubling and unfair aspects in the GOP bill in the following exchange:

Woodruff: “One of the things the Republicans are looking at, as you know very well, is doing away with the so-called Obamacare surcharge on people earning a higher income. So, Republicans are looking at taking that away, or doing away with that, which would mean a tax cut, you have said, for people like you.”

Buffett: “Well, I brought my tax return along for the last year. I filed this on April 15. And if the Republican — well, if the bill that passed the House with 217 votes had been in effect this year, I would have saved — I can give you the exact figure. I would have saved $679,999, or over 17 percent of my tax bill.

“There’s nothing ambiguous about that. I will be given a 17 percent tax cut. And the people it’s directed at are couples with $250,000 or more of income. You could entitle this, you know, Relief for the Rich Act or something, because it — I have got friends where it would have saved them as much as — it gets into the $10-million-and-up figure.

Bringing in his tax return to provide a tangible example of how the wealthy would benefit was a nice touch. It was an effective method to drive the point home. But it was also subtle dig at Trump, who still refuses to release any of his tax returns. And Buffett had something to say on the subject of politicians feathering their own nests as well:

“I might point out — it might be an interesting question. I think members of the Senate and the House get $174,000 a year. But most of them have — if you look at the disclosures, they have substantial other income. If they get to higher than $250,000, as a married couple, or $200,000 as a single person, they have given themselves a big, big tax cut, if they — if they voted for this.”

Indeed. The median net worth of members of Congress is slightly more a million dollars. Fifty-one percent are millionaires. Obviously, they would personally profit from the changes proposed in the Republican bill. And that profit comes at the expense of millions of Americans being thrown off of their insurance plans. Millions more would suffer higher premiums and deductibles, fewer services, and denial of coverage for preexisting conditions.

Buffett has long been an advocate for average Americans, despite his great good fortune. His critical observation that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary became known as the “Buffett Rule.” He’s a shining example of a Patriotic Millionaire (billionaire) who puts the welfare of his country and fellow citizens above his own personal interests. It’s the sort of compassion that Republicans ought to exercise when crafting their healthcare bill. But then, why would they start now? They have never done it before.

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

FEC Commissioner Calls Trump’s Bluff, Demands Evidence Of Voter Fraud

Three months ago Donald Trump managed to corral more electoral college votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. He also lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. And he’s still whining about it. His obsession with the historically unprecedented popular vote deficit has glommed onto his psyche like a fetid leech that won’t let go. And despite having the burdens of the office weighing on him, he’s still yowling about it.

Donald Trump

Trump’s reaction to the popular vote loss was to assert that 3-5 million people voted illegally in November. That blatantly false contrivance has been thoroughly debunked. PolitiFact rated it a “Pants-On-Fire” lie months ago. Repeated requests for documentation of his claim have been ignored, but for a promise to launch a federal investigation. That inquiry, Trump said last week, would be led by Vice-President Mike Pence. Much like the claim of voter fraud itself, there is no evidence of any inquiry. Even the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is skeptical. On CNN he said that “I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that.”

Which brings us to Trump’s Friday meeting with a group of senators and former New Hampshire senator, Kelly Ayotte. Proving that he’s still controlled by his image-conscious ego, Trump offered a new version of the voter fraud lie. According to Politico, Trump blamed his loss of the state of New Hampshire on “thousands” of people who were ‘brought in on buses’ from neighboring Massachusetts to ‘illegally’ vote.” Once again, he refused to provide any documentation of the claim.

This time, however, the allegation was noticed the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Ellen Weintraub, a George W. Bush appointee to the commission, made a public request for Trump to fess up. Her letter said in part that:

“President Trump has alleged an astonishing voter-fraud scheme [that] would constitute thousands of felony criminal offenses. [And that] democracy rests on the faith of the American people in the integrity of their elections. […] I therefore call upon President Trump to immediately share his evidence with the public and with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities so that his allegations may be investigated promptly and thoroughly.”

Trump’s allegations of voter fraud are problematic for more than their dishonesty. It is irresponsible to foment distrust of the election process in ways that are demonstrably false. There are indeed flaws in the process of voting. They include gerrymandered districts, campaign financing, and voter suppression through registration obstacles. But every credible study done on voter fraud shows that it occurs so infrequently as to be irrelevant.

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

Nevertheless, Trump and his sycophants in the White House and the press continue to disseminate lies. It is part of a concerted strategy to deceive and confuse the public. They want people to doubt democracy. Just like they want people to doubt academia, science, the media, and government in general. By sowing suspicion of society’s institutions, the Trump regime aims to exert ever greater control of a frightened populace. He must not be allowed to succeed.