Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thank the Pilgrims who began America’s quest for religious freedom

Summary:
The Pilgrims got the ball rolling but it was only the beginning. They saw freedom of religion freedom from a government run religion that persecuted them. It was not freedom for others...but after the colonies provided a rocky start of hanging heretics and hunting witches, the Constitution gave all of us freedom of religion. Application of that First Amendment is still a work in progress.
________________________________________________________________________________
This Thanksgiving we should give our thanks to the Pilgrims who have become an icon of what made the New World so unique in the civilizations that preceded them.. They left England and the old world to seek freedom to practice their own religion, free from a government backed state religion that oppressed them.  It was a beginning.  There was a rocky road ahead to laws guaranteeing religious freedom for everyone, not just one group.
 Some colonies adopted laws with limited forms of freedom of religion while others established state sponsored religions, hung heretics, and launched witch hunts.  Pennsylvania and Virginia   had enacted their own laws effectively protecting freedom of religion. The Constitution authors adopted those concepts in the First Amendment, ““Congress shalll make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Congress  later passed  civil rights and hate crimes legislation that protected religious practitioners and punished those who interfered with their practice.

So, disconcerting in 2018 is that many seem to have forgotten the lessons leaned from experience, traditions, and history. So heartening in the 2018 midterms is that many more Americans rejected an Oval Office leadership condoning and even promoting hate and fear of “others”, including Donald Trump's attempted immigration ban of anyone who was a Muslim, .
In 2016 this country had given the reins of power to Donald Trump whose soaring oratory appealed to the worst of human nature. He set the example. It was alright to be uncivil, no longer to be politically correct, to denigrate and disrespect’ others”, especially people of color and women, and to express such feelings publicly. His inflammatory words have continued in rallies and tweets to this day.
 While protected by the Constitution, words of hate have deadly consequences. That was brought home shortly before the 2018 midterms by the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre. While Donald Trump did not target his hateful words toward the Jewish community, he tolerated and promoted intolerance. Our President opined about the neo-Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville in 2017 that there some were “fine people” among them. The tiki torch bearing marchers shouted anti-Semitic slogans in German while raising arms in the Nazi salute.  
 An atmosphere of permissive hatred does not confine itself to specific targets.  It is infectious and even if originally unintended, it can spread to harm other targets, including religious ones. In 2017, the year after the election of Trump, the FBI reported a 37% spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes over 2016, and the Anti-Defamation League found the number of anti-Semitic incidents, mostly vandalism, was nearly 60 percent higher in 2017 than 2016, the largest single-year increase on record.
 Alt- right conspiracy theorists and Trump friendly media inspired the Pittsburgh synagogue killer. The shooter posted on his social media that a Jewish immigration group was bringing in immigrants to kill “his people”. Reviving references to the international Jewish conspiracy theories, other alt right proponents claimed a wealthy liberal Jewish-American-immigrant philanthropist, George Soros, was funding the “caravans” of central Americans storming our southern border. Numerous fact checkers found that false. Others before had claimed Soros paid “mobs” of women protesting the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Fact checkers: Soros paid none of the demonstrators. Last week In Baltimore, attendees of the performance of Fiddler on the Roof, the musical about Russian persecution of Jews, were still on edge from the mass killing in Pittsburgh. They panicked when a man in the audience shouted, “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump”, fearing it signaled another anti-Semitic mass murder attack. Fortunately, no one was hurt running to the exits. The man apologized later, said he was trying to compare Trump to Hitler but said it the wrong way, and he had been drinking before the performance and claimed protection of free speech. Note: The Supreme Court ruled many years ago shouting fire in a crowded theater is not protected speech. (Schenck v United States: Oliver Wendell Holmes crowded theater reference)
________________________________________________________________________________
Recent rulings by the Supreme Court  concerning  freedom or religion set no precedents that altered the underlining intent of the First Amendment or related laws.
The “muslim ban”, halting practitioners of one of the world’s greatest religions from entering the US simply because of their religious affiliation, was rejected by the courts, requiring a total rewrite of rules to comply by those facing extreme vetting to enter the US, now based on selected countries that harbor terrorists and not all had a Muslim majority . It was even retitled as a "travel ban"
 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/26/supreme-court-rules-in-trump-muslim-travel-ban-case.html

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a cakemaker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because it violated his religious beliefs...however, the ruling set no precedent because it based it on the specific  hostility of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/04/politics/masterpiece-colorado-gay-marriage-cake-supreme-court/index.html
Kim Clark, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to a gay couple because of her religious beliefs, spent jail time over it in 2015 and was defeated in her attempt to be re-elected in 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/26/supreme-court-rules-in-trump-muslim-travel-ban-case.html

A number of Evangelical Christian ministers have recently proclaimed that the US is a "Christian nation".  It is not a state one per the Constitution, nor is the Evangelical brand of Christianity (full disclosure..I am a Mainstream  Protestant Christian) even the majority of the population.  Per a recent Pew Research study, Evangelicals are 25% of the population.  http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/

Evangelicals have had an impact, though, in exemptions of  employers providing ACA coverage of reproductive rights based on religious beliefs, first in the Obama administration and more so   under the Trump administration. The battle yet to be fought is over further proposed  restrictions on  birth control  insurance accessibility coverage. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/fact-sheet-religious-exemptions-and-accommodations-for-coverage.pdf     https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/us/politics/trump-birth-control.html
Roe v Wade will also face challenges in the very conservative tilt in the Supreme Court    As a public policy regardless of religious affiliation, 71% of Americans polled oppose overturning Roe v Wade, https://www.wsj.com/articles/record-71-of-voters-oppose-overturning-roe-v-wade-1532379600
and 72% support birth control as basic health issue    https://powertodecide.org/about-us/newsroom/new-polling-shows-strong-support-for-birth-control-basic-part-womens-health-care
The backlash to religious restrictions on reproductive rights was palapable in 2018. The womens' marches and demonstrations against  confirmation of pro life anti birth control Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the doubling of the women gender gap to 19% of the voters were certainly contributors to the Democrats turning the House blue.

 Following US right wing efforts to alter the protection of freedom of religion,   in Europe and South America forces desiring to persecute and discriminate against  religious  minorities are raising their ugly heads. In Brazil, a fascist government was just elected, vowing to turn that country comprised of centuries of immigrants and native population, into a Christian nation.  In Europe a long list of countries electing very right wing, anti- Muslim immigrant governments are being elected to political leadership. http://www.pewresearch.org/topics/restrictions-on-religion/


Friday, November 9, 2018

Democrats, don't blow it.

A version of this was published in Sky Hi News print and e-edition November 14, 2018 and on line
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/opinion/opinion-muftic-democrats-dont-blow-it/
.
Democrats scored heavily on November 6 in the midterms.  There were significant gains in the suburbs and in bringing new voters to the polls .  The result was a large shift to blue in many state legislatures, seven governors, and in the  U.S. House of Representatives. The structural foundation  has been laid for Democrats in the 2020 presidential year, especially in the Senate and in states where redistricting and gerrymandering activities would be in control of more Democrats than in 2016.  The GOP remained in control in the Senate and  gained some seats  in the Senate though some races are still facing recounts. In 2020  many more sitting Republican Senate seats will be contested in blue states. Democrats can build on this if they do not blow it .

Colorado went deep blue.  GOP Congressman Mike Coffman lost his suburban seat to Democrat Jason Crow, and the state Senate flipped from red to blue, as did every single state office currently held by Republicans. The governor’s seat and state House legislature  remained in Democratic hands.  Joe  Neguse , a Democrat ,  won Jerad  Polis’ vacated seat as Polis won his race for governor. Neguse will be Grand County's representative to Congress.  Colorado Politics, a publication limited to subscribers, reports a poll showed that much of the Democratic wins were due to unaffiliated shifting to them because they loathed Donald Trump himself. https://coloradopolitics.com/poll-finds-unaffiliated-voters-in-colorado-dont-like-republicans-loathe-trump/

Grand County  has always been very red, but it went pink this year.  Grand County’s registration’s most recent  party affiliation  (Feb. 2018) numbers were   21.6%  Democrats,   38.3% Republican,  and  40.1  independents/Libertarians/Green.  However, in the midterms  Democrats impressively  outperformed their registration share  especially when  compared to 2016 results of Trump(52%)-Clinton (38%), a 14% difference.   In the 2018 midterms, Grand County GOP voters trumped Democrats by only  a 5% margin of total votes  in the Governor and Congressional race and 8% in the other state wide positions. Grand County, part of a state House district with  the county's  majority voting for the GOP candidate,  found its Democrat state representative, KC Becker, re-elected and named Speaker of the House for the next two years.
Democrats can take a lesson from their  national midterm success. The winners and the near winner gainers emphasized solving local problems, red tide, water quality, roads and bridges,   and focusing on access to health care. Protecting the pocket books and health of middle income Americans was a winner.
However, fundamentally contributing to  Democrat’s wins was Donald Trump.  He made the midterms an election about himself and voters took him up on that.  The Democrat’s pitch, check him by turning the House blue, appeared to have resonated.  Per  PBS exit polls. race, gender, age,  and education levels were  also determining factors per Pew Research. Per Politico, race and age were not factors in Colorado, but the richer, more educated counties tilted to Democrats.   Trump’s  constant belittling and  insulting  women, especially women of color  (horse face, pig, empty barrel, a graduate of Yale law school, state legislature minority leader was unqualified) who challenge him resulted in a 19 point  gender gap for women, doubling the 2016 gap per pollster Fivethirtyeight.
Here is how the Democrats can blow their growing advantage for 2020.   Democrat’s control of the House and a slightly increased GOP control of the Senate  makes impeachment unlikely, but it also saves Obamacare and meaningful coverage of pre-existing conditions from GOP Senate efforts to repeal, and not replace.  The  Democratic House turns any   GOP Senate  initiative to sabotage and repeal Obamacare a futile exercise.  A Senate still in GOP hands makes impeachment unlikely. If Democrats had a weakness at the beginning of 2018, it was viewed as just “anti-Trump” and no one knew what it stood for. Saving Obamacare (ACA) Medicare and Social Security, emerged as their plank .Not only must  Democrats make an effort to   deliver, they also must be perceived by the middle class voters as looking after their family budget concerns.  Having every news cycle dominated by sensational House investigations into Trump administration misdeeds could drown out efforts to develop Democrats’ credibility as advocates for middle class pocket book issues. In 2020,  Donald Trump may not be the GOP candidate.
________________________________________________________________________________


  That is going to be a challenge. Donald Trump has already thrown down his gauntlet with a move the day after the elections, in an overt maneuver to cut the Mueller investigation off at the knees. He fired Attorney General Sessions and replaced him with a loyalist,  anti-Mueller probe, who had never been confirmed by the Senate, setting off  charges that this appointment was illegal. A media firestorm erupted.
_________________________________________________________________________________

House Democrats are aware of the balancing act of checking Trump v positioning themselves on winning public policy issues before 2020.  I heard one Congressperson comment that "don't worry; we can walk and chew gum at the same time".  The problem is that media gets fixated on the the more sensational, headline grabbing, breaking news stories and the grind of the legislative process is a slow burn and, as often noted: "like sausage being made", some times ugly and taking many steps. The hot topic on health care will be the media fixation on what faction of the Democratic party wins: the Bernie Sanders Medicare for All or the more moderate: repair Obamacare.  In the next two years, given the GOP control of the Senate, legislation will likely become deadlocked and Democrats will be lucky just to see preservation of Obamacare  as it is now. Should the Supreme Court, now firmly ideologically to the right, rule Obamacare is unconstitutional or that the coverage of pre-existing conditions is the part of Obamacare that is unconstituional, then the job of the House is to make sure any replacement legislation is not just a bill title, but truly is an equivalent and comparable replacement.  The worst screw-up  the Democrats could do would be to break up into two factions over which form of health insurance they want. Medicare for All is a moot issue until 2020 when the Democrats have a chance to flip the Senate blue, keep the House, and have someone in the White House who will not use the veto pen.

One possible strategy for the next two years would be for the House to originate two health care insurance bills: one woud be for Medicare for All , to pass tha,t and ship it to the Senate for them to be on the record of killing it and then, after it is killed,  send through an Obamacare repair bill.  That would permit the CBO to score it so we really know what the comparative  costs would be on the   official record. Otherwise there will be wild claims made to scare people away from either partisan side.  It would also put on record where every member of Congress stood on the issues for the purposes of the 2020 election cycle.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/how-voters-viewed-trump-health-care-and-immigration-according-to-exit-polls
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/11/08/the-2018-midterm-vote-divisions-by-race-gender-education/
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/how-grand-county-voted-2018-midterm-election-results/
https://www.politico.com/election-results/2018/colorado/
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-2018-gender-gap-was-huge/
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/9/18075536/midterm-elections-2018-results-governors-state-legislatures-agenda
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/7/18071410/democrat-state-legislature-colorado-minnesota-election-results
https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/11/07/littwin-polis-trump-stapleton-crow-neguse/
https://elections.denverpost.com/results/county-break-down/all/?Grand/08049
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/06/us/elections/results-senate-elections.html
http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_32260366/boulder-rep-kc-becker-will-be-next-state?source=most_viewed
https://denver.cbslocal.com/2018/11/09/jason-crow-congress-washington-aurora-mike-coffman/

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The rule of law trumps the rule of a ruler: USA 101

A version of this appeared in the e and print editions of the Sky Hi News November 7, 2018 and on line November 8.

 https://www.skyhinews.com/news/opinion/opinion-usa-101-the-rule-of-law-trumps-the-rule-of-the-ruler/

The morning after November 6:  Still sitting in the Oval Office is a president who views laws as a barrier to his power, a challenge  to get around them or  claim he can bend the rule of law to his benefit. He brought with him to the White House this scofflaw attitude,  rooted  in his business experience. His midterm election promise to reverse the 14th Amendment is only one case in point. (added later November 7 A crisis is being engineered by Donald Trump to impede the Mueller investigation by appointing a yes man flunky on record to criticizing Mueller acting in place  of fired Jeff Sessions This is a direct result of Trump holding onto the Senate...By doing so, Trump has insulated himself against impeachment and can operate with all of the arrogance, retribution, and abuse of power he thinks he has...rule of law be damned. This is a third finger raised against Mueller and democracy. It is also one more element in building an obstruction of justice case  against Trump Mueller could use if Trump's appointee takes action to rein in Mueller.  A constitutional crisis is just beginning.  Expect Trump to take advantage of the lame duck session to get away with whatever he can before the newly blue majority  House is sworn in.  )

Throughout his life as an heir to a fortune which he nurtured into a greater fortune with a family run real estate  enterprise, Donald Trump  only needed  his  simple command to rule his business. Any challengers were to be hit back harder than they hurt him. For him, as expressed in interviews , fear is his power.  His reputation was not good  in the real estate field, already filled with con artists and puffing sales people and he shrugged off  a long list of suits and bankruptcies as  just another cost of doing business.  He survived claims of fraud and misdeeds   by  settling  disputes with money, as he did in the Trump University case or his problem with infidelities and abusive  behavior with women.
When he became  president, he tried  to run the White House with the same attitudes and ethics  as he had run his business. His TV reality show and real estate hawker mentality, his frequently uttered lies and exaggerations  continued. He arose to political power by leading causes like birtherism, claiming Obama was an illegitimate president because he was born in Kenya, contrary to overwhelming evidence.  This  appealed to many  who resented that  their preservation of ethnic and racial power was constrained by the rule of  law, political correctness (AKA civility),  and the Constitution. Later he was claiming he was above the law because of his position as president. He asserted  he could not be subpoenaed to testify  in a criminal case and he could pardon himself.
 He  has made promises that would challenge the very supremacy of the Constitution.  In a last minute midterm election promise, Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order to overturn the 14th Amendment. It guaranteed a  person’s  children born  or naturalized in the US  would be  US citizens.  With a stroke of a pen signing an executive order, he proposed to change the constitution. He would destroy this odious  birthright citizenship. It was obviously a promise made to appeal to his white nationalist base. If he had the power to change the Constitution by executive order,  then he could also  take action against his critics, the enemies of the people, the free press,  and  keep on going, until the rule of law, the Constitution, was not worth the parchment on which it was written. To keep some wannabe despot,   king , or dictator from altering that fundamental  document from which all laws flowed, the Constitution made itself very difficult to be amended, fortunately for democracy.    “Amendments must be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.”
Subject to interpretation, the application of some Constitutional provisions are  altered. However, the 14th is one of the most unambiguous amendments ever written.    “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” He was trying to pull off another  con, counting on  the ignorance of his devout followers.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-says-maybe-u-s-will-have-a-president-for-life-someday

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Why the fuss about midterms? Donald Trump is not on the ballot

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News, Oct.30-Oct 31, 2018
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/opinion/opinion-muftic-why-the-midterm-fuss-donald-trump-is-not-on-the-ballot/

Donald Trump is not on the ballot but he  says he wants the November 6 midterms to be a referendum about him.  If so, send him a message with your vote.  That is the American way. What is not the American way are his  words of hate and fear or to deliver the same in return. Words have consequences." Violence begets violence" (MLK.Jr)

Both parties use  heated political oratory, but no one is  equivalent to the bully pulpit of a president  and no one equals Trump’s constant insults of rivals by name, his demeaning racial and religious minorities, and his exhortation of  violence against reporters.  This is still a citizen driven democracy. If that is the president we want to continue to empower, that is the president we get.  My hope is that  most Americans  see an America better than that.  We are becoming two countries: one mired in yearning for a past where racism was not tempered by political correctness  and patriarchy reigned unchallenged.  There is another America driven  by tolerance, fairness,  and idealism of our founders who gave us a form of democracy that, unless abused, would protect us from hate mongers.  In the Novembers of  2018 and 2020, this country has the opportunity to choose which country it will be for years to come.

The horrific massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday reminds us  of what an atmosphere of hate of “others” can foster. The anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant shooter posted his beliefs on social media. Chants of “lock her up”, “Build the wall” rocked and still rocks Trump’s  rallies. Earlier in the week, a  frequent Trump rally attender addressed letter bombs to the who’s who of Trump’s  named enemies and critics  and  had plastered his van with targets drawn over faces of those who were to become  bomb recipients.  The FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly put to rest Trump media promoted conspiracy theories that this was a hoax, committed by Democrats to make the President look bad. The bombs were real. The accused was a partisan.

Trump cannot control how every unhinged follower will react, but Trump with his powerful position  bears a special responsibility not to be a match that lights the fires.  Trump  does not stop hate filled chants at rallies; he regales in them.  Trump, taking no responsibility in inspiring hateful violence,  blamed the bomber  on the mainstream media he had frequently called  the  enemy of the people. For what? For reporting and preserving Trump’s own words, for providing live coverage of his rallies, and  fact checking?

Not to be lost in breaking news, are issues that impact many,  health care coverage and Roe v Wade’s survival.  We are voting for  state officials who can shape them .Twenty GOP State Attorney Generals have sued  to declare the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)  unconstitutional, ending subsidized health insurance  premiums and  coverage of pre-existing conditions. There is no comparable replacement.  The Democrat  Colorado Attorney General candidate Phil Weiser would  defend  the ACA against the Texas suit destined for the Supreme Court. His GOP opponent  George Brauchler, once had backed repeal.  The conservative Supreme Court  majority is likely either to rule against Roe v Wade or to give more power to states to restrict access. The Governor can veto  what  its legislature passes.  Democrat Jared Polis is pro choice. His opponent Walker Stapleton is pro life and  is mum if he would sign state legislation further restricting abortions. In the Attorney General’s race, Weiser is pro choice.  Anti choice Brauchler has left open  whether he would file  a brief  before the Supreme Court urging  repeal  of Roe v Wade

 Forgot to register?  No problem. In Colorado, you can register up to and  on election day , November 6. Visit https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/home.xhtml for how.  For candidate positions, google.

(This  posting draws on, condenses, joins and updates some recent postings
Footnotes and sources can also be found in prior postings on similar subjects)
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/what-to-know-about-the-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/latest-trump-claims-blamed-mail-bombs-58764292
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_begets_violence
https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/413519-director-of-adl-we-will-continue-to-call-out-trump-but-this-is#.W9cIA9nCQ4Y.facebook

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trump's power tools: hate, fear and lies. On October 24 there were consequences.


Updated  of a prior posting on October 24. Trumps  words of hate, fear and lies have consequences. His oratory of hate was heard by someone who used his words to target his  letter bombs exactly  to his most  frequently named  subjects  of his angry, degrading  rhetoric.  It  happened October 24. Trump then blamed in a tweet the fake mainstream media he called the enemy of the people. For what? For reporting his  own words on video and in live coverage?
Donald Trump wants the November 6 midterms to be a referendum about him.  If that is so,  bring it on. Trump  has faith in the gods of hate and fear that will rally to his cause as he summons them with lies and racist and sexist code words and calls the free press an enemy of the people.   If that is the president we want to continue to empower, that is the president we get.  My faith lies with the hope that  most Americans  see America greater than that, a shining city on the hill, the beacon of freedom and democracy, in Ronald Reagan's stirring words. We are becoming two countries: one mired in yearning for a past where racism was not tempered by the rule of  law and political correctness  and patriarchy reigned unchallenged.  There is another America driven  by changing demographics and remembered idealism of our founding fathers who warned us of a return   to kings and despots led by populist demagogues .  In 2018 and 2020, this country has the opportunity to choose which country it will be for years to come.

We have been there before when  hyping  hate and fear were in your face political tactics.  In the late 1930's the US was swept with isolationist fever and a rise of Nazi sympathizers. America Firsters led by Charles Lindbergh as their chief spokesperson wanted peace at any cost and advocated for the US  to stay out of the Nazi advancement in Europe.   22,000 American  filled Madison Square Garden to mimic Hitler's Nuremberg rallies.   Franklin Delano Roosevelt was running for an unprecedented third term which he won in a landslide in 1940, dimming the lights of the American Nazis and the American Firsters. Nonetheless less, the GOP Senate  isolationists were strong enough to keep us from sending troops to Europe to help the English and the French.  The Day of Infamy, Pearl Harbor, delivered the final blow to both the American Nazi movement and the political isolationists..  The folly of our disengagement  with the world was revealed in a smoldering, mangled fleet in a Hawaiian harbor.  Isolationism remained  out of fashion until 2016 when another generation of GOP American Firsters revived it and hate and fear became a core rally message  delivered by Donald Trump.

Charlottesville, Virginia  has been the scene  of two pivotal declarations:   FDR, in an address to University of Virginia law school graduates in June of 1940, called out the Nazi aggressors  as "the gods of war and hate".  Donald Trump, orating from afar, called the neo Nazi, White Nationalists,  tiki torch bearers chanting Nazi slogans in German and in English in that very  same city in the summer of 2018, as some" fine people".  That was no slip of the tongue, but a continuation of his racism and campaigns of coded appeals to a large group of core supporters, who feared brown and black people would end their domination. The rest of his party either tolerates, ignores  his hate filled tweets and oratory, splits tickets,  or changes party affiliation. Shouted chants of "build the wall" at his anger filled rallies  were and are  code words  for his  racially tinged anti immigrant campaign aimed at keeping Mexicans who he lied " were murderers and rapists "from flooding into America . While Nazi tiki torch marchers were fine, women who flooded the streets in revulsion of his amoral, woman grabbing boasting,  his  anti women rights, his anti #me too movements, were mobs to be deplored and feared as a bunch of hysterical, emasculating females. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh became the symbolic  martyr of the counter attack by white males frightened by  such an out of control challenge of demonstrators and were  told by Trump  wing media those mobs of women  were  obviously organized and  paid by George Soros.  Soros has been a frequent  right wing scapegoat. That  fact checker three Pinocchios lie  was a twofer: it appealed to both fearful white males and anti-Semites.

It is a oft repeated truism that fear is the greatest  political motivator .  Candidate Donald Trump himself in an  interview with journalists  Bob Woodward and Robert  Costa  in  April 2016  opined that"real power was fear. "  If there was not enough fear to turn out his voters, his contribution to that strategy of fear was to tell lies so that he could  cause  even more intense fear.  Brown immigrants, murderers and rapists and gang members  were not flooding the border, as he claimed; in fact, illegal immigration was at its lowest  in years and nearly all  were women and children fleeing gang warfare in Central America. That mid easterners, gang members, and Democrats comprise a caravan of migrants are fact checked as lies: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/ap-fact-check-trump-on-migrants-saudis-and-the-hispanic-vote  He tells you Democrats want open borders.That too is a lie . He rejected the Democrat's offer of a compromise on immigration (the famous Chuck and Nancy sit down)  this summer that provided for greater border security. Those minority voters were not voting illegally ,either.. Voter fraud was a myth and Trump's commission to prove his point was shut down when, embarrassingly, no evidence was found. Nonetheless, in the name of voter fraud, dirty tricks were launched from South Carolina to North Dakota to suppress Democratic votes, constructing voter ID conditions impossible to meet, failing to process 53,000 voter registrations of mostly African American, strategically removing poll sites from minority neighborhoods, dropping less frequent voters too quickly  from registration rolls.  The Trump administration's inhumane policy concocted to scare off migrants  by separating families at the border resulted in  12,800  young migrant kids in tent gulags and shelters.  That  cruelty was  condemned world wide as a violation of human rights. Donald Trump has pulled the plug on the light of that shining city on the hill.

; https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/23/nazi-german-american-bund-rally-madison-square-garden-215522

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-rally-violence_us_5bd121b1e4b055bc94882565?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-doubles-down-on-blaming-media-as-suspicious-packa

https://www.yahoo.com/news/shep-smith-methodically-fact-checks-090230287.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/us/politics/nationalist-president-trump.html

Trump ramps up fear and hate with lies in advance of midterms: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/ap-fact-check-trump-on-migrants-saudis-and-the-hispanic-vote

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-revolution-of-1940-americas-fight-over-entering-world-war-two
Lindbergh America First
Joseph P Kennedy...JFK father...Ambassador to Great Britain
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-revolution-of-1940-americas-fight-over-entering-world-war-tw


https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/the-debate-behind-us-intervention-in-world-war-ii/277572/  FDR: June 10 1940  "Gods of War and Hate" Charlottesville

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/23/nazi-german-american-bund-rally-madison-square-garden-215522

Trump has said the real power is fear. "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/04/02/transcript-donald-trump-interview-with-bob-woodward-and-robert-costa/?utm_term=.df1ec3bf6177
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/11/bob-woodward-donald-trump-fear-time-feel-afraid/1255246002/

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/America_is_a_shining_city_upon_a_hill

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/04/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-days/?utm_term=.228b6545036f

Examples of recent Trump lies to raise hatred  and fear levels and scapegoating:
In appealing to anti Semitism and fear of women rising in mobs,  George Soros paid them:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/05/no-george-soros-isnt-paying-kavanaugh-protesters/?utm_term=.833096f3d39d
https://www.thedenverchannel.com/newsy/factchecking-the-suggestion-george-soros-paid-kavanaugh-protesters
https://www.snopes.com/tag/george-soros/
Immigrants are murderers and rapists:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-trumps-false-comments-
Caravans of Mexicans etc swarming the border.  Truth: illegal immigration at new lows..down 18% in past years;https://www.wral.com/trump-renews-fiery-immigration-rhetoric-as-midterms-near/17927212/
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/defend-his-immigration-agenda-trump-points-riots-dont-exist?cid=sm_fb_maddow

Democrats want open borders to let in these rapists and murderers and get more Democrativ votes
false:   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/us/politics/fast-check-donald-trump-democrats-open-borders.html   "
"Democrats have argued that building a wall on the southwestern border is ineffective and a waste of resources, and rejected hard-line proposals to limit legal immigration. But Mr. Trump is grossly exaggerating Democrats’ positions when he conflates their opposition to his signature campaign promise and immigration priorities as “open borders.” And there is no evidence that they “want anybody,” including MS-13, to enter the United States freely.
While criticizing Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, the Democratic National Committee has committed to improving border security.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leaders, have rebutted the president’s charges. Additionally, their aides cited several examples of legislation that are supported by Democrats and would have provided border security funding."

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-rejects-yet-another-bipartisan-compromise-immigration
https://www.vox.com/world/2018/6/20/17483738/trump-family-separation-border-trudeau-may-reaction
On Trump lies about sanctuary cities...https://www.yahoo.com/news/twitter-agog-trump-whopper-californians-055804686.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_index

Trump lies re Dem support of opoid legislation:
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/senate-sends-opioid-package-to-trumps-desk

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/us/politics/fast-check-donald-trump-democrats-open-borders.html

Praises a candidate for bodyslamming a reporter who asked hard questions while helping Saudi Arabia put the best foot forward of being caught killing and dismembering a dissident journalist. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/montana-rally-president-trump-praises-greg-gianforte-body/story?id=58596529

And without need to document because it has become an every day occurrence or oratory: Trump's rise to power on bitherism, claiming Obama was born in Kenya and turning Kavanaugh into the poster child of male patriarchy under attack.. His claim that all press and media criticizing him are "fake news", regardless of facts, proof, and corroboration, a common technique of  demagogues rising to dictatorships.  Praises a candidate for bodyslamming a reporter who asked hard questions while helping Saudi Arabia put the best foot forward of being caught killing and dismembering a dissident journalist.
 Calling those who accuse men of sexual missdeeds liars.  Calling women who threaten him with power pigs, horse faces, confused, mobs, an empty bag.. Men are the victims.  Neo Naxis are some fine people who march with torches and giving white nationalist and Nazi salutes.

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/

Backing  and campaigning those who officials who use dirty tricks  to suppress African Americans and Native Americans votes.https://www.politifact.com/georgia/article/2018/oct/19/georgias-exact-match-law-and-its-impact-voters-gov/
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/native-americans-north-dakota-fight-protect-voting-rights/story?id=58585206
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/20/trump-georgia-republican-brian-kemp-stacey-abrams

Trump's disdain for the rule of law, contending he has a right to pardon himself if charged with crimes.

Examples of promises made and not kept:  Better cheaper health care for all (and backing  law suits and candidates advocating overturn of Obamacare and coverage of pre-existing conditions, as well as legislation backed by the GOP in Congress).    Tax cuts for all became a sham cover for giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations; the middle class has already figured that one out and now the GOP is afraid to run on his tax programs.  That the trillian dollar  tax cut would pay for itself by increasing growth and income to the treasurty has resulted in ballooning debts and deficits.  Going it alone without alliances, trade or otherwise, would make America greater in the world, yet Trump has become the laughing stock at the UN and his world approval ratings have tanked, the exact opposite from Obama's.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

So what if Trump tells lies

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News  October 23-24, 2018
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/opinion/opinion-muftic-so-what-if-trump-tells-lies/


I have seen chains of Facebook comments posted on time lines of friends that had me shaking my head.  One was "so what if Trump lies, I like what he is doing".  Another: "If you disagree with Trump, it is because  you are a socialist,  so go live in Venezuela".  The latter writer has no idea of the shades of kinds of socialism, but right off the bat, I hope they turn in their Social Security card and give up Medicare, because those are socialism by any definition.  For the record, I want capitalism to succeed. I do not support government ownership "of the means of production",  but capitalism has its rough edges that  leave many in the economic dust unless the bad parts are recognized and dealt with, whether by government or by the private sector or  by charitable giving. If  that does not represent your values, at least consider it is key to a stable society in which all have hope they can be treated fairly.

I am not freaked out by the word "socialism" itself. My questions are how much, what kind,what for,  and are we willing to pay for it.  I have lived in Europe and have close family members who live there now, but the extent of government involvement  in their economy is their own choice because they also live in a democracy.    They get the economic system the majority  wants decided in a democratic process.  They have lived under fascism and communist dictatorship  and gone down those hell holes. What does frighten me is a large number of Americans who do not support  or understand democracy and do not recognize a demagogue wannabe despot  or condemn one when they see one.  In my view,  I fear they are passengers on the Titanic dancing to the music they love.

 Remember that Hitler, Hugo Chavez, the Marxists, and Putin and all of the other despots, strong men, absolute  kings and dictators seized and kept  power using and abusing existing democracies or took advantage of chaos, economy's  hard times,  anarchy, and  inheritance. They made promises that could not work and told lies to exaggerate victimization, intensify hatred  and fear,  and  scapegoating  others so they could appear as a savior.  This happened whether the existing systems were fascism or socialism  or market or oil based, communist, capitalist, socialist,  industrialized  or agricultural, and with well educated or illiterate populaces.

Here is the comment I posted in response to the one who wanted my friend to move to Venezuela calling her a socialist because she criticized Trump for lying. It is also  my answer  to the one who does not care if he lies.  "What the heck does  lying to cover your tail have to do with socialism? Seems like any form of government or despot of any economic or political ideology that lies is trying to fool its citizens or the world to maintain power. If citizens swallow lies because they like what the lies or promises sound like and suppress  and muzzle  those who tell uncomfortable truths, eventually their experiences in real life reveal the lies. Demagogues tell you what you want to hear, true or not, as they oppress, intimidate,  destroy the opposition, and that is how they become dictators. The fooled eventually get disillusioned, and try to revolt peacefully in the ballot box in a democracy with fair elections and a free press. That peaceful transition of power is  the gift of democracy, given us through our Constitution  by our country's founders.  If it is too late, that  people have already handed over all of their power to a dictator , the revolt takes place in the blood of the streets or on a battlefield. That is the story of political history ".    That is no lie.

Trump has said the real power is fear.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/11/bob-woodward-donald-trump-fear-time-feel-afraid/1255246002/

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/04/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-days/?utm_term=.228b6545036f

Examples of recent Trump lies to raise hatred  and fear levels and scapegoating:
In appealing to anti Semitism and fear of women rising in mobs,  George Soros paid them:https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/05/no-george-soros-isnt-paying-kavanaugh-protesters/?utm_term=.833096f3d39d

Anti immigration has become Trump's code word for making America White again, appealing to racists and fear of brown and black people:
Immigrants are murderers and rapists:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-trumps-false-comments-
Caravans of Mexicans etc swarming the border.  Truth: illegal immigration at new lows..down 18% in past years;https://www.wral.com/trump-renews-fiery-immigration-rhetoric-as-midterms-near/17927212/

Democrats want open borders to let in these rapists and murderers and get more Democrativ votes
false:   https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/us/politics/fast-check-donald-trump-democrats-open-borders.html

On Trump lies about sanctuary cities...https://www.yahoo.com/news/twitter-agog-trump-whopper-californians-055804686.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_index

Trump lies re Dem support of opoid legislation:
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/senate-sends-opioid-package-to-trumps-desk

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/us/politics/fast-check-donald-trump-democrats-open-borders.html

Praises a candidate for bodyslamming a reporter who asked hard questions while helping Saudi Arabia put the best foot forward of being caught killing and dismembering a dissident journalist. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/montana-rally-president-trump-praises-greg-gianforte-body/story?id=58596529

And without need to document because it has become an every day occurrence or oratory: Trump's rise to power on bitherism, claiming Obama was born in Kenya and turning Kavanaugh into the poster child of male patriarchy under attack.. His claim that all press and media criticizing him are "fake news", regardless of facts, proof, and corroboration, a common technique of  demagogues rising to dictatorships.  Praises a candidate for bodyslamming a reporter who asked hard questions while helping Saudi Arabia put the best foot forward of being caught killing and dismembering a dissident journalist.
 Calling those who accuse men of sexual missdeeds liars.  Calling women who threaten him with power pigs, horse faces, confused, mobs, an empty bag.. Men are the victims.  Neo Naxis are some fine people who march with torches and giving white nationalist and Nazi salutes.

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/

Backing  and campaigning those who officials who use dirty tricks  to suppress African Americans and Native Americans votes.https://www.politifact.com/georgia/article/2018/oct/19/georgias-exact-match-law-and-its-impact-voters-gov/
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/native-americans-north-dakota-fight-protect-voting-rights/story?id=58585206
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/20/trump-georgia-republican-brian-kemp-stacey-abrams

Trump's disdain for the rule of law, contending he has a right to pardon himself if charged with crimes.

Examples of promises made and not kept:  Better cheaper health care for all (and backing  law suits and candidates advocating overturn of Obamacare and coverage of pre-existing conditions, as well as legislation backed by the GOP in Congress).    Tax cuts for all became a sham cover for giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations; the middle class has already figured that one out and now the GOP is afraid to run on his tax programs.  That the trillian dollar  tax cut would pay for itself by increasing growth and income to the treasurty has resulted in ballooning debts and deficits.  Going it alone without alliances, trade or otherwise, would make America greater in the world, yet Trump has become the laughing stock at the UN and his world approval ratings have tanked, the exact opposite from Obama's.








Friday, October 19, 2018

Your vote for state races are more important than you think for health care and choice

What is the big deal about these midterms? Donald Trump is not on the ballot and aren't the big issues decided in Washington? OK, a vote for my Congressperson we send to the House of Representatives is understandable. In Colorado, there is no  US Senate race this year.  What does a governor, the attorney general, secretary of  state and our  legislature have to do with these national issues  such as affordable health care insurance, social security and Medicare, and Roe v Wade ?The answer is  tmuch more than you might think. 

 This next year the US  Supreme Court could rule Obamacare  (ACA) is unconstitutional  and throw affordable health insurance out the window, including coverage of pre-existing conditions.  Got high blood pressure, cancer in your past, pregnant? Heads up. The Trump administration, speaking out of both sides of its mouth,  is promising pre-existing coverage while backing  a court cases that would end it and they just allowed states to issue insurance that would not  cover pre-existing conditions.  Even if laws are passed forbidding insurers to reject insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, the GOP  Congresss has proposed legislation that allowing insurers to  charge you more than you can afford or not even cover treatment. State legislation could be just as sneaky. Even if Obamacare does survive, our state legislature has the power to pass legislation to end Colorado’s Medicaid expansion  to cover the  near very poor.

Twenty GOP State Attorney Generals have joined in a Texas court case to declare the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)  unconstitutional, ending subsidized health insurance  coverage of pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration says they will not fight that suit. The Democratic  Colorado Attorney General candidate Phil Weiser would act to defend  the ACA. His GOP opponent  George Brauchler, is  inclined to leave it to Congress though once he had backed repeal, per a Colorado Pols publication.  

65 or over? The GOP dominated Congress and  Senate Majority Leader. Mitch McConnell,  is  threatening  to cut social security and Medicare to offset ballooning debt .   If the Senate remains red, the only brake  on steamrolling  that anti-senior, anti health consumer  agenda is for  the House gets a Democratic majority. 

The future of  Roe v Wade is on the line in the conservative  dominated US Supreme Court. Roe v Wade put   state  anti abortion laws on hold.   The Governor  can veto or sign into law its legislature passes.  In the Governor’s race, Democrat Jared Polis is pro choice; his opponent Walker Stapleton is pro life and  is mum if he would sign legislation further restricting abortions. In the Attorney General’s race, Democrat Phil Weiser is pro choice. His GOP opponent George Brauchler is pro life and he has left open  whether he would file file a brief  before the Supreme Court urging  repeal  of Roe v Wade. For state legislature candidates, google to find their web sites or media reports. 

Have not voted yet?  Forgot to register on line or by mail by October 29? No problem, no excuses  in Colorado. You can register up to and  on election day , November 6. (visit https://www.sos.state.co.us/voter/pages/pub/home.xhtml) If you are registered and have not received a mail in ballot, call your county clerk at once. Not sure you know enough to vote?  What are  these amendments ? There is a  bluebook supplied by the state of Colorado  (http://leg.colorado.gov/bluebook) ,  but I also found the I found the Colorado League of Women voters website helpful. lwvcolorado.org/lwv/ 
_____________________________________________________________________________

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/10/16/mcconnell-calls-ballooning-deficit-very-disturbing-says-medicare-social-security-need-to-be-cut/

https://www.5280.com/2018/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-colorados-attorney-general-candidates/







Monday, October 15, 2018

Warren's native American heritage generations back is not unusual in Oklahoma

Elizabeth Warren and I both have eastern Oklahoma roots:

I, too, am from eastern Oklahoma, though neither of my parents were from there. In my school classroom in the late 40's and early 50'nearly 2/3 were native American on tribal rolls and nearly everyone else could report somewhere in their backgrounds were native American ancestors, and told so by a grandmother.. The native Americans there were moved by Andrew
Jackson from the southeastern US. in the 1840's. While Warren's DNA was not weighted enough to qualify for the tribal rolls, it did not negate the fact that her grandmother believed she had Native American in her heritage and now she has strong evidence it was so. Check out http://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes

Elizabeth Warren never claimed she was on the Cherokee tribal rolls nor did she rely on Cherokee heritage for job applications. However, her DNA contains a bit of Cherokee in her. To be on the tribal rolls (per the Cherokee nation web site)" To be eligible for Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship, you must be able to provide documents that connect you to a direct ancestor listed on one of the Dawes Final Rolls of Citizens of the Cherokee Nation. To be eligible for a federal Certificate Degree of Indian Blood, you must demonstrate through documentation that you descend directly from a person listed on the Dawes’ “by Blood” rolls. This group of census rolls were taken between 1899-1906 of Citizens and Freedmen residing in Indian Territory (now northeastern Oklahoma). If your ancestor did not live in this geographical area during that time period, they will not be listed on the Dawes Rolls."



CNN.COM
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released the results of a DNA analysis showing she has distant Native American ancestry, which could pre-empt further questions and attacks should she run for president in 2020.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The GOP is swinging wrecking ball at affordable health care insurance and coverage of pre-existing conditions

A verson of this was published in the Sky Hi Daily News October 15-16, 2018
https://www.skyhinews.com/news/opinion/opinion-muftic-the-gop-is-out-to-cost-you-money-for-health-care/

 If Donald Trump has failed to make good on at least one of his campaign promises, "cheaper and better health insurance for all" is the one.  In fact his party and his administration  are hell bent  to  make health insurance cost more and  even become  out of reach for families  on a budget.  Worse, some of their actions, if successful, would end all affordable coverage including  treatment of pre-existing conditions.  The GOP has tried before to either subvert the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or completely destroy it. Now they have some new stealth tactics and they just might succeed.

 The part of their   scheme already implemented  is to let the healthy go scott free without insurance and soak those who need it.  The Trump administration did this  to placate the better heeled who made too much money to qualify for subsidies and  did not want all of the bells and whistles and  those who felt confident they would never get sick and were never hurt in an accident.  With an executive order the  Trump administration  removed the requirement that all must  have health care coverage whether they were  healthy or not or pay a penalty. Trump reduced the penalty to $0. Most insurance plans covering casualties  mix those they think will not ever use their coverage with those who think or know they will. This varied  pool spreads the risk around and keeps premiums to all lowered. This order makes the pool left with more of the sick in it who file expensive claims, raising premium costs or deductibles  for everyone.

Another GOP backed action would  kick  budget conscious families where it  really hurts. It  would jeopardize  affordable coverage of  pre -existing conditions as it takes down the entire the ACA (Obamacare) with it,  premium subsidies, Medicaid expansion and all,  leaving 17 million unable to afford health insurance.  They are doing this  through a law suit in the courts to try to declare the entire ACA unconstitutional.  The Trump administration has announced it  will not defend the ACA   against a GOP initiated  Texas  court case  that seeks to declare the entire  ACA unconstitutional.  Twenty GOP state attorney generals have jointed in the suit. That case could make it to the Supreme Court, now firmly dominated by  GOP conservatives.

The Colorado Attorney General  race on the ballot Nov. 6 has no incumbent , but the Democrat, Phil Weiser, is committed to defending the ACA. His GOP opponent, George Brauchler, is vague, leaving the ACA up to Congress.

Particularly angering  voters is the GOP engineering the loss of pre-existing conditions coverage. 27% of Americans  between 18 and 64 have pre-existing conditions.  Under the ACA provisions, those with pre-existing conditions do not pay more than those who do not have them. Pre-existing conditions range from cancer and heart problems to  high blood pressure to pregnancy. 

Both GOP legislators and Donald Trump pay lip service to retaining coverage of pre-existing coverage. The Trump administration argues  that only the portion of health care pertaining to pre-existing conditions would be removed by the Texas court case.  Some  GOP members of Congress propose to  "save" coverage of  the   pre-existing conditions part of the ACA if it is destroyed and the rest of the ACA is left standing by the Courts. That bill  is a deceptive and useless  ploy.  Not only does their bill  not tell at what price you will be charged for coverage,  it does not  require insurers to cover treatment.  it would  still permit higher premium costs for factors such as age,sex and where you live.
______________________________________________________________________________

What if the Supreme Court agrees in total with the unconstitutionality of the entire ACA? Seventeen  million consumers will return to   the olden days before the Affordable Care Act with nothing to replace it .I had been an executive with a consumer credit counseling agency then helping people get out of debt. The most frequent cause of bankruptcy and dire financial problems  were medical bills.  Family finances were being destroyed by high cost of health insurance.Their  choice was to go without insurance or  risk no one in their family would get sick,  relying on emergency room and charity and nothing left for cancer screenings or annual checkups or prescriptions. Many gambled and lost, destroying their family finances. I recall constant fund raising in Grand County to cover medical bills of such and such a person who desperately needed help to fend off life threatening illnesses.   That is not a time you would ever want to revisit.





https://www.thebalance.com/how-could-trump-change-health-care-in-america-4111422

https://www.cbpp.org/health/commentary-texas-suit-is-one-among-many-attempts-to-undo-pre-existing-condition-protections

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/10/11/fact-check-whos-right-about-protections-for-pre-existing-conditions

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/05/politics/texas-affordable-care-act-obamacare-lawsuit/index.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mcconnell-defends-trump-backed-suit-080000483.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=fb

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumpcare-will-hurt-people-next-year-201655059.html

https://www.kiplinger.com/article/insurance/T027-C001-S003-cost-of-employer-health-coverage-to-rise-in-2019.html

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/09/gop-preexisting-conditions-bill-may-have-usd1-million-premium.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/05/politics/texas-affordable-care-act-obamacare-lawsuit/index.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/25/obamacare-affordable-care-act-repeal-preexisting-conditions-attorney-general-elections/1419481002/

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/10/13/colorado-attorney-general-race/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-senate-mcconnell-policy/mcconnell-says-senate-republicans-might-revisit-obamacare-repeal-idUSKCN1MR2QE

Monday, October 8, 2018

It is possible neither Dr. Ford or Brett Kavanaugh were lying: Here is my theory

I have heard at least two reports, one from a friend, women who reported being raped when they were younger, yet could remember all of the details.Here is what I did reply to my friend in a text exchange.  It is possible neither Dr. Ford nor Kavanaugh were lying.  Here is my theory:
 Dr Ford never claimed she was raped; it was an attempted rape, so this is not exactly a parallel situation as my friend's.   Both do not believe Dr. Blasey Ford because they say it was  a case of mistaken identity. That theory was also not corroborated and had been thoroughly debunked. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/another-man-ford-assault/    They think Kavanaugh was speaking the truth. There was no one who could remember or corroborate the incident; therefore Blasey Ford was just mistaken. I have already posted my sarcastic thoughts on the sham of the treatment Ford got in another blog posting (Hell hath no fury than women scorned), An FBI extra interview of only those witnesses permitted to be interviewed by the White House  made sure nothing was corroborated that helped Blasey Ford, not her psychologist, her husband, and now a new witness coming forth ...all fingering Kavanaugh as the assaulter before he was even the nominee on a short list...2015 to 2016.

Kavanaugh was adamant he did not do it and the carefully picked FBI interviews could find no one who could recall anything...even the only eye witness Mark Judge or the attendees in the downstairs at the event.

There was no mistaken identity if one takes time to review the testimony of Dr. Ford.  She indeed know Kavanaugh. She was introduced to him by her boyfriend. traveled in the same social circles. She described in vivid detail the house layout and where it was: between the country club and home.
She remembered he was already drunk when she arrived. The stairs, the bed location to the right of the door in a room across from the bathroom, into which she was shoved as she went upstairs to a toilet. She was not raped, only thought she was going to be, screamed, hand over her mouth, and when Judge jumped on them both, she ran terrified after she locked herself in the bathroom and heard them ping pong down the narrow stairs. She remembered their laughter as they assaulted her. There was no semen...nothing to prove anything. This was not a rape.  She just fled. That she did not remember how she got home is not unusual in a situation like this as psychologists will testify.  At age 15 a brisk walk for ten miles could have gotten me home in those days easily.
That is a positive ID if there ever was one, and the trauma she suffered for 36 years was true. I remember an incident that happened to me sixty years ago in equal detail, though the incident did not rise to attempted rape. I describe that in an earlier blog post: "A personal story: why I took Donald Trump's mocking Dr Ford so personally".

So how could both be telling the truth? My theory. The victim is the one who is traumatized..not the attacker, who, if not too drunk, is likely to feel pleasure or glee, as Dr. Ford recounts their laughter at her expense, and forget the entire incident. What guys get out of it is not what victims feel. Kavanaugh was also telling the truth. He was  drunk to some degree  and not the one traumatized, so being the frequent party guy he was, this was just another party among many, and not particularly a memorable one.

This theory has a benefit:  It avoids having to prove the  charge that Kavanaugh drank until he blacked out. He did not need to drink to that extreme to forget that particular party. It gives Dr. Ford the benefit of any doubt in all aspects, including the positive identification of her attackers, and eliminates the strange acceptance of some conspiracy theory  of mistaken identity that had zero corroboration to explain away doubts about Kavanaugh.  It also underlines the different reaction between  of the lasting  trauma to the victim and the sexual release of the attacker that is not traumatic and  may not even be memorable.



o

Friday, October 5, 2018

Hell hath no fury like women scorned

Revised: October 6, 2018.
Want to know why so many women are outraged with the GOP's engineered process in confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  Let me spell it out.
Here is the message the GOP has sent women: "yes, we will listen to you with mock respect".  Young women, here is my grandmotherly advice.Just make sure as you are being sexually assaulted in an attempted rape that  you have a trusted  eye  witness friend of yours that is not a  friend of the attacker who can stand up in court or before 11 GOP old men and be the kind of witness that might give them the proof that would satisfy them. Otherwise you will just be dismissed with a mock sympathetic pat on the head, ignored, and sent on your way as a confused woman who mistook the identification of the wannabe rapist. Then, as you flee after fighting the attacker off, run through the rest of the party goers crowd who are  somewhere  else in the house for whom this was just another unremarkable one of many  usual beer drinking gettogethers, screaming  as you flee that so and so just tried to rape you..    Make a mental note of how you got home. Oh, by the way, text everyone you know, too, immediately.. The attack may have stuck in your brain, but just make sure it stuck in others' brains as well. You may never know if this will ever come in handy.

 As in the case of Dr. Blasey Ford, the core issue with women reporting sexual assault, what they are asking,  is that  frequently those  who are reporting such incidents are assumed to be lying or are somehow assumed to be the guilty party or are confused and mistaken. Women are demanding that those who are victims reporting sexual assault should be treated with respect and their allegations impartially investigated and fairly.

Sen.Susan  Collins (R-ME), the critical vote,  made a judgment call based on an assertion that Dr. Ford mistook an identity and there was no corroborating evidence.. Anyone listening to Dr. Ford's testimony heard her say  she traveled in Kavanaugh's  social circles and knew him from previous social gatherings.  including information about the person who introduced her to Brett Kavanaugh.  Collins joined the rest of the GOP in subscribing to a conspiracy theory that had been debunked weeks before that someone else was the attacker, with no evidence of anything.. Just a theory. No corroborating  witness, no individual proved to be that mystery man.  That  must have made those supporters of Brett Kavanaugh feel much better about themselves to believe him since it gave them the luxury of expressing their belief in the rest of Ford's  story and offer their sympathies, Yet at the same time they dismissed the key accusation, the positive I.D. 

Senator  Susan Collins gave a detailed argument of why she concluded there was no corroborative evidence and thus there  no preponderance of evidence to support Dr. Ford's accusation.. Brett Kavanaugh's testimony was more believable to her than Dr. Ford's... So in a future" he said she said situation" does that mean the  bar of preponderance of evidence will now be the new standard in an attempted rape case.?  Presumption of innocence is certainly a rule in criminal procedures as well as "beyond a reasonable doubt". as the GOP likes to assert.  However, this Senate action on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation  is not a criminal procedure.It does not even rise to the preponderance of evidence burden placed on an accuser  in a civil case  that Sen Susan Collins cited  as her standard for drawing her conclusions.based on the evidence. Come now.  It is a matter of fair treatment to get at the truth before conclusions are made.

 Dr. Blasey Ford was not fairly treated nor was there an honest effort to get at the truth..  
While bemoaning the unfairness of the  attack on Brett Kavanaugh's reputation, an nth hour  left wing surpise,  the GOP Senators  engineered a process that was even less fair than the storied similar case in 1991 of Anita Hill's treatment in her complaint about Court nominee Clarence Thomas. 
Hill was afforded an FBI investigation before her appearnce and testimony, not a sham one after it, plus she summoned 22 witnesses.  Neither Kavanaugh nor Dr. Ford could call on witnesses, even  her therapist and husband,  she had told about the attack years before Kavanaugh was even a potential  Court nominee,  nor could she even have the person who adminstered her lie detector test testify.  Another complainant alleged that in Yale an out of control, drunken Kavanaugh had exposed himself  to her and she did have witnesses. They were not interviewed, either.. The FBI, working under the direction of the White House and from the GOP staff list did not interview any of those witnesses that could have corroborated the women's testimony. They  contacted only those they suspected or knew remembered nothing.  Therefore, since there was no corroboration, voila, neither women had a credible case.   Besides, the FBI only had a week. Of course, the week was an artificial deadline, as well, which could have been cured if the the GOP were willing to extend the time period.. 

In any case, had Kavanaugh been proved to be a liar, I suspect  the GOP was set to confirm him anyway, since the attack on Kavanaugh was some left wing conspiracy to spring Dr. Ford on him and besides, the sins of a 17 year old should not be visited on a 50 something year old, whether lies were involved later or not.  It was just the way men functioned. Boys will be boys. Assaulting girls they got drunk is not a big deal to them.  So what if  it is a big deal to their victims.  

Trump then turned this victimization upside down, telling young men these are scary times. You could be ruined by such accusations lose a big corporate job, he opines. . Sleep easy. First, the standards for a seat on the Supreme Court are much higher than usually required for positions. Sometimes a frat boy mentality is actually considered an asset in some business sectors.Second,the cards are stacked in your favor, boys.. Kavanaugh's confirmation is proof. Besides, what were you doing indulging in under age drunkenness and trying to assault girls, anyway.  Maybe a dollop of fear is not a bad thing. 

That Mitch McConnell referred to the women demonstrating in DC as "mob rule" in his remarks on the floor debate  is  a fundamental misreading by the GOP of the anger women are feeling and that will haunt the GOP for years to come. Those demonstrating were channelling the anger for many women who could not be there. In a poll taken Oct 3-4, only 36% of women approved of Kavanaugh's confirmation and did 55% of men per an Axios/Surveymonkey poll. That is a huge gender gap.  
Another poll: "A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday found that 45% believe Ford to be telling the truth, while 33% believe Kavanaugh. Both of these figures mark an increase from a poll taken ahead of their respective testimonies, but the jump is more significant for Ford: up from 32% who said they believed her, and 26% for Kavanaugh.The hearing also had an impact on Americans who had previously been unsure of whom to believe, dropping from 42% before the hearing to 22% in the week after."The GOP must think women can be taken for fools so easily. Hell hath no fury like women scorned.

 ....
 Strangely enough, confirmation of Kavanaugh  may be the best thing that could happen to Democrats in Nov 6 and 2020... The Trumpsters will feel less is now at stake in Nov 6 since they won and the non-evangelical suburban women will really be angry since they lost. It will also free Democrats to concentrate on health care and consumer issues...issues which are their strong voter appealing issues..  That theory is yet to be tested since the final vote did not take place until October 6 a month before the midterms and two years before the next general election. Polls taken now will not reflect what women are thinking after what has happened to them has soaked in. 

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/another-man-ford-assault/

http://fortune.com/2018/10/04/kavanaugh-ford-credibility-poll/

https://www.axios.com/exclusive-poll-kavanaugh-dominates-conversation-16ef9514-df25-4dd6-9d2c-cb4ae3d850d3.html