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Current location: Seattle, WA
Member since: Tue Nov 23, 2004, 11:22 PM
Number of posts: 9,292

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Disrupt, distract, dissipate, while busily transforming our governement in ways...

...that are likely to take many, many years to repair.

Perhaps that’s precisely the intent: Disrupt, distract, dissipate, and drown out independent voices and inconvenient realities while fulfilling his agenda with an eager Republican Congress. Critics and the press chase their tails in a tizzy, while Trump’s executive orders get signed and cabinet picks get confirmed, one by one. More

Amid the distraction of the chaotic horror show he is definitely "getting things done."

All of this smoke is missing the steady progress that the modern Republican Party is achieving,” said Grover Norquist, the longtime anti-tax advocate. “The idea that Trump isn’t getting anywhere is wrong. Those free market guys are picking up maybe not all the marbles in the world, but a large quantity of them. And we haven’t thrown away any marbles.”... His appointment of Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission is one of them. Pai is poised to dismantle net neutrality rules, moving away from treating online content as a public utility and toward a system that allows cable and telecom industry interests to control content and traffic. “That appointment,” Norquist said, “is [determining] 16 percent of the economy.”

Some of the things tracked on presterity.org:
Executive action telling government agencies to slash "job killing" rules that environmentalists argue serve as important protections... executive action establishing a framework to scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law... killing off the so-called fiduciary rule requiring brokers and financial advisers to act in the best interest of retirement savers.... remove Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist groups from terror watch list and focus solely on Islamic groups... "unprecedented" approach to staffing cabinet without ethics vetting... spend taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it... Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many people... signs an executive order that will allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees... intervening in an important private employment case, urged a federal appeals court to rule that civil rights law does not bar job discrimination based on sexual orientation... revives Reagan-era ban on use of foreign aid for abortion counseling... FCC is stopping nine companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to the poor... Individuals with Disabilities Education website vanishes without explanation... Trump administration revoked a grant to Life After Hate, a group that works to de-radicalize neo-Nazis... DOJ Argues Title VII Does Not Protect LGBTQ People... appointed an activist who led a campaign to restrict bathroom access for transgender students to the office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in the US Agency for International Development.... emoving sexual orientation and gender identity from the list of categories explicitly protected from discrimination in its latest equal employment opportunity statement... executive order that will allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees... Appoints Anti-LGBTQ Activist to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office... rescinded directive that sought to curtail the government’s use of private prisons... Sessions and Cook bringing back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war... abandoning Paris agreement on climate change... made it harder for workers to set up retirement accounts and has delayed the implementation of workplace safety rules... repealed a regulation protecting workers from wage theft... allowed employers with spotty labor records to get government contracts... Occupational Safety and Health Administration has hit the brakes on a rule that would require firms to report worker injury data online.

I fear that the actions that are big enough, or implemented at a level high enough, to make the news are just the tip of the iceberg compared to damage being done by the systematic decimation of executive regulatory functions going on at every level. And this doesn't even touch on his abusive use of executive power over foreign policy, which is making the world a more dangerous .place, not to mention his withdrawal from efforts to use of our influence and dollars to advance human rights.

Human beings are naturally pulled in when confronted with something that is beyond understanding. As we witness DT's evermore explosive and bizarre verbal diarrhea, our attention is diverted. At the same time, we are being overwhelmed by the shear volume and breadth of the damaging actions he's pulling off. Generalized opposition is strong, but a whole lot is getting by without fanfare or organized opposition.

NYTimes: How to Make Fun of Nazis

The New York Times
The Opinion Pages

How to Make Fun of Nazis
AUG. 17, 2017

For decades, Wunsiedel, a German town near the Czech border, has struggled with a parade of unwanted visitors. It was the original burial place of one of Adolf Hitler’s deputies, a man named Rudolf Hess. And every year, to residents’ chagrin, neo-Nazis marched to his grave site. The town had staged counterdemonstrations to dissuade these pilgrims. In 2011 it had exhumed Hess’s body and even removed his grave stone. But undeterred, the neo-Nazis returned. So in 2014, the town tried a different tactic: humorous subversion.

The campaign, called Rechts Gegen Rechts — the Right Against the Right — turned the march into Germany’s “most involuntary walkathon.” For every meter the neo-Nazis marched, local residents and businesses pledged to donate 10 euros (then equivalent to about $12.50) to a program that helps people leave right-wing extremist groups, called EXIT Deutschland.

They turned the march into a mock sporting event. Someone stenciled onto the street “start,” a halfway mark and a finish line, as if it were a race. Colorful signs with silly slogans festooned the route. “If only the Führer knew!” read one. “Mein Mampf!” (my munch) read another that hung over a table of bananas. A sign at the end of the route thanked the marchers for their contribution to the anti-Nazi cause — €10,000 (close to $12,000). And someone showered the marchers with rainbow confetti at the finish line.

The approach has spread to several other German towns and one in Sweden (where it was billed as Nazis Against Nazis).

This week, following the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Wunsiedel has come back into the news. Experts in nonviolent protest say it could serve as a model for Americans alarmed by the resurgent white supremacist movement who are looking for an effective way to respond (and who might otherwise be tempted to meet violence with violence).

We've got to be able to come up with something equivalent. Let's work to turn every hate group rally into a pledge drive for the Southern Poverty Law Center (other suggestions welcome). Call on sane people to contribute X dollars to anti-hate cause for every every hateful person who shows up at the rally. Put up a big fund raising thermometer. Cheers and thanks to the assholes who show up for their part in raising money for such a wonderful cause.

DT is mentally ill: Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

DT is mentally ill. He meets the criteria for Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. And based on public conduct, I have no doubt that an evaluation would put him way up on the Psychopathy Checklist.

Lying and "distorting reality" are hallmarks. He breaks every rule in the book in pursuit of his own ends. He lies and distorts reality to rationalize and justify his wrongful conduct. To puff up his over-inflated ego he stereotypes and denigrates those he sees as out-groups. His callous disregard for others and sense of entitlement appear to know no bounds. He weaves grandiose tales of his fearsome power, omnipotence, and unequaled brilliance. He is proudly abrasive and offensive. He clearly enjoys humiliating and embarrassing others, but reacts to any perceived slight to his own person, appearance, or accomplishments aggressively and vindictively.

I'm sure there have been U.S. presidential candidates, and presidents, who could be diagnosed with a personality disorder of some sort, but I can't think any of who exhibited this level of psychopathy. I can't think of any who met as many diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, or who met as many criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Regarding Personality Disorders in general

There are four defining features of personality disorders. These are:

1) Distorted thinking patterns,
2) Problematic emotional responses,
3) Over- or under-regulated impulse control, and
4) Interpersonal difficulties.

I think it is pretty clear that DT exhibits these defining features.

Antisocial Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.7 (F60.2)

{Lengthy discussion that proceeds diagnostic criteria omitted}

There are four diagnostic criterion, of which Criterion A has seven sub-features
A. Disregard for and violation of others rights since age 15, as indicated by three of the seven sub features:
1. Failure to obey laws and norms by engaging in behavior which results in criminal arrest, or would warrant criminal arrest
2. Lying, deception, and manipulation, for profit tor self-amusement,
3. Impulsive behavior
4. Irritability and aggression, assaults others, or engages in fighting
5. Blatantly disregards safety of self and others,
6. A pattern of irresponsibility and
7. Lack of remorse for actions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

The other diagnostic Criterion are:
B. The person is at least age 18,
C. Conduct disorder was present by history before age 15
D. and the antisocial behavior does not occur in the context of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder

(American Psychiatric Association, 2013)

DT meets A. He shows "Disregard for and violation of the rights of others." He exhibits at least four of the seven "sub-features."
Specifically 1 (sexual assault clearly warrants arrest), 2, 3, and 7 (I don't think there would be any argument on these three). Arguably he exhibits some of the remaining features. For example, he probably meets 3. He is clearly "irritable and aggressive," but I don't know of any reports of physical assaults in adulthood.

He only needs three of the sub-features to meet the criteria for A "Disregard for and violation of the rights of others"

He is certainly over 18, and from descriptions of him as a kid in [link:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-choice-2016/transcript/"Frontline: The Choice 2016]" he exhibited the same characteristics (plus physical aggression) from a young age.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.81 (F60.81)

The definition of NPD states that it is comprised of a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
-- A grandiose logic of self-importance
-- A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love
-- A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
-- A desire for unwarranted admiration
-- sense of entitlement
-- Interpersonally oppressive behavior
-- No form of empathy
-- Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
-- A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes

On this one I'd say he's nine for nine (and only needs five for diagnosis).

The "Psychopathy Checklist" is highly correlated with the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Scoring is based on a structured interview, but, given the degree to which DT meets the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I have no doubt that DT's psychopathy score is very high.

What I want to see is a Dem "ACA fix" bill that adds the Public Option.

Right now we are engaged in a losing "ACA sucks" v. No it doesn't" argument. We need to move the fight to "our turf." Dems need to introduce a competing ACA "fix" that adds the public option. And they need to launch a coordinated effort to "sell" it to the public. They should be out their calling on people to contact Reps to tell them the Dem bill is what they REALLY want. And if/when it is blocked this session, call on people to elect Dems in 2018 so we CAN get it done.

Repubs claim "their" bill will reduce premiums. It's a lie, but people will be/are being duped by it. Without a competing bill, all we can say is "their bill won't lower premiums." And that's a classic "Don't think of an elephant" loser (See Lakoff). With a competing bill that has the public option -- which actually WILL cut costs through polling and negotiation -- we've got something positive to advocate. We need to do more than fight for the status quo if we want to move our health care system in the right direction (or stop reversal).

ACA is in fact not great. It needs fixing. The right kind of fixing. Let's accept the reality that the Republican noise machine has successfully demonized ACA. We are not going to be able to undo that damage. The only way to really protect what we've got is to change the game.

STOP GORSUCH Petitions/Actions

Of course, number 1 is calling/faxing your Senators (even Repubs so they can't say "nobody in my state is against Gorsuch"













Tweet links for Judiciary committee

Even if you've already called/faxe your Senators, might want to do it again to say NO Deals like this bullshit:

Universal Health Care must be front and center.

You are absolutely right.

The concept that you cannot have a functioning constitutional democracy if the people do not have equal access to a basic level of health care is a fundamental democratic -- little d and big D -- principle.

It is a given that you cannot have a functioning constitutional democracy if the people do not have equal access to a basic level of education. Education is pretty irrelevant if you are dead. Access to a basic level of health care is every bit as fundamental as access to a basic level of education.

Universal Health Care must be front and center because it goes to the heart of who we are as a nation. Are we a nation committed to making sure each and every citizen has the basic building blocks to thrive? Yes. Isn't health one of those basic building blocks? Yes, of course it is. Doesn't it follow that we must provide equal access to a basic level of health care for EVERYONE? Of course it does. It is a simple concept.

Are we powerful enough to make it happen? Of course we are.

A nation that makes these types of commitments, and endeavors to fulfill those commitments, is a nation to be proud of.

These are the types of visions we must build and work to make real because these are the visions that engage hearts and minds. Once we define ourselves as a nation committed to providing every person to the building blocks needed to thrive, we must necessarily start looking at where we are achieving this goal, and where we are not. The overarching definition of what kind of nation we are drives us in the right direction.

Universal Health Care must be front and center for another reason. Discussion of Universal Health Care is also a discussion of the limits of the "free market." Health care is NOT a commodity, and "Free market forces" don't apply. You need the health care you need when you need it. We all need a certain amount of preventative care. Some of us get sick. When we do, we need more. It's not like buying a car, or other commodity. You don't wake up one morning and think "I'd like to start injecting myself with Enbrel, I know it's expensive, but I deserve it!"

We do NOT need to get into the mechanics until we have built consensus on what it is we need to commit to achieving. What constitutes a "basic level" of health care? Define that free of concerns about cost. Only when you have defined some basic parameters of what the goal is do you shift focus to design.

The "extreme left" didn't give us Trump. The path to hell was paved by

... the Democratic leadership's refusal to do their duty and defend the Constitution they swore to uphold by fighting, win or lose, for:

1. Impeachment of Reagan for Iran-Contra.
2. Prosecution of Bush Sr. when the extent of his role in Iran contra was exposed.
3. An objection to the unlawfully appointed FL electors on Jan 6, 2001, as was their duty under the electoral count act.
4. Impeachment of Bush/Cheney for torture.

Too many of them failed to protect the constitution from Alito when they refused to join a winning filibuster that would actually have stopped him, and instead cast their useless No votes on the floor. Thinking things like "I opposed Alito, even tho I refused to do the one thing guaranteed to stop him" is the sort of thinking that has earned them their wimpy reputation.

As if their failure to stand and fight for our founding principles weren't devastating enough, they have stubbornly adhered to a policy of preemptive surrender on the proposed solutions they claim to support (The "Can't Win, So Don't Fight" policy.)

They give lip service to universal health care, progressive tax reform, ending mass incarceration, consumer protections, financial system protections, and on and on, but the leadership of our party almost NEVER actually takes concrete action. Over, and over, and over again they have refused to "whip up" support for proposals and bills that would make a real difference. The ONLY way to make a case to the American people for real change is to actually MAKE THE CASE.

Making a case for getting a slice of bread does not win hearts and minds over to the idea that we need, and can get, the whole loaf. Making the case for getting a slice does not demonstrate strength and leadership. It says "We are too weak to do the things that will make a REAL difference in your lives." Not a stirring message.

Fighting, win or lose, is how you make things happen. It's how you demonstrate the strength the electorate craves. Chances of "winning" today are irrelevant. Fighting now makes it possible to win down the line.

Until the Democratic leadership really "gets" this, our downward spiral will continue.

They could learn something from the right-wingnuts who unceasingly advocate for things long considered DOA. (Look at how many of those formerly DOA ideas are on the verge of becoming reality.) The Democratic leadership has not provided an effective counterpoint to the relentless corporatist/reactionary drum beat for decades.

The bottom line: The party leadership's immoral refusal to stand and fight for the Constitution coupled with their cowardly policy of preemptive surrender paved the road to our current hell.

The post asserting that the "extreme left gave us Nixon, Bush and now Trump" couldn't be more wrong. The REAL problem is the leadership's irrational phobia that they will look "too extreme" if they actually fight for meaningful change. Promoting the wrongheaded notion that the "extreme left" is the problem feeds their phobia. If you want to turn things around challenge their irrational fear. Help them overcome their phobia and step up.

On Edit: For those who see this as "bashing" and would call me a "Democrat hater," or who think I am being an apologist for the voters who opted out, perhaps the following posts will help you recognize what I am actually saying: Posts #449 and #274.

An example of what I mean by "driving the policy debate": Post #399

Call to Action: Letters to editors to refocus on what Repubs in Congress are doing.

Let's follow the lead of George Lakoff!

We've gotta start seeing all the DT lunacy as a side-show intended to distract us from what Congress is doing to destroy crucial protections and cut off resources that benefit us ALL..

One way to refocus attention is through letters to the editor. Letters expressing horror at the dismantling of a specific protection or cut of a specific resource. Letters telling them they need to keep their eye on the ball and do more reporting about the systematic dismantling of basic protections and decimation of public institutions and funding that benefit us all.

Read Lakoff's "Ten points for Democracy Activists" for guidance on how to frame things:

Psychopath / Antisocial personality disorder

His public conduct can be evaluated against the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. I think there is very little doubt that he meets the criteria. I also think there is very little doubt that he would score extremely high on the psychopathy scale.

DT breaks "every rule in the book" in pursuit of his own ends. He lies and distorts reality to rationalize and justify his wrongful conduct. To puff up his over-inflated ego he stereotypes and denigrates those he sees as "out-groups." His callous disregard for others and sense of entitlement appears to know no bounds. He weaves grandiose tales of his fearsome power, omnipotence, and unequaled brilliance. He is proudly abrasive and offensive. He clearly enjoys humiliating and embarrassing others, but reacts to any perceived slight to his own person, appearance, or accomplishments aggressively and vindictively.

These are the traits of a psychopath. Of someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Sure, he may have other things going on too that would we exposed with extensive evaluation. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is undoubtedly in there too, but I think his psychopathy is more significant. I think labeling him a psychopath is useful. It captures so many of the malignant traits he exhibits.

I don't think labeling him a psychopath unfairly maligns psychopaths. And psychopaths are definitely capable of doing the sort of harm that can only be characterized as evil. So labeling him doesn't "let him off the hook."

My two cents. FWIW

Yes, protest, but we also...

... need to get "up close and personal."

Find out who the scheduler is for your representative and Senators. Connect with leaders in the organizations you belong to. Get some fellow members to join in. Fax the scheduler a meeting request. Tell them who you are, the subject.

I think the first oder of business is to lobby members of the Senate to Filibuster Gorsuch. Trump needs him on the bench to codify his unconstitutional EO's and legislation. We must STOP him. A deadlocked court that can set no precedent is better than one that destroys constitutional protections.

Getting a meeting with the Senator themselves is unlikely. Find out the names of senior staff, and don't them them try to fob you off on some intern or something. (When we were lobbying for rejection of the Ohio electors, Alito filibuster, and impeachment in NJ, we were unable to get meetings with rep/Senators, but did manage to meet with senior staffers).

Don't let them make it a meeting in which you just "have your say." You aren't just going "to be heard." Do everything you can think of to create a dialog. If the rep/senator holds an indefensible/immoral/unprincipled position, formulate questions that force them to defend the indefensible. Hearing their own words has power. If you can't get answers at the meeting, follow up. Noodge. Post the evasions here and elsewhere and ask others to call them. And if the person is on "your side" -- e.g., if they are already on board with a Filibuster -- meet with them to find out what you can do to help make it happen. Who is needs to be pressured? Who's on the fence? Who needs to be shamed as an example to others?

Corporations know the power of face-to-face lobbying. We need to harness that power for ourselves.
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