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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Belief in conspiracies largely depends on political identity(i.e. conspiracy theories GOPers believe

... An Economist/YouGov lists a number of screw-ball theories that Trump voters believe. The most incredible is that 46% of Trumpeteers think that Hillary Clinton is involved in a pedophilia ring, managed out of a pizza parlor in D.C!!

https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden/


One of the most notorious internet rumors of the 2016 presidential campaign, that there was a pedophile ring in the Clinton campaign, with code words embedded in the hacked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, is seen as “probably” or “definitely” true by more than a third of American adults. The poll was conducted after an armed North Carolina man tried to “self-investigate” the claim by going to the District of Columbia pizza restaurant that was alleged to be the center of the ring earlier this month and found nothing. But even afterwards only 29% are sure the allegation is “definitely” not true.




... [font size="+1"]However,[/font] this poll also indicates that 50% of Clinton voters think that "Russia tampered with vote tallies to help Trump". This is obvious bullshit. Yes, Russia hacked the DNC emails, and released selected emails to WikiLeaks, all to hurt Clinton but 'tampered with vote tallies'? I'm a Clinton voter and I think I have a pretty good idea of how other Clinton voters think. And I don't think very many Democrats think this. I wouldn't even guess how many would think this... maybe 5%, maximum: 10%?


Wielding Claims of Fake News, Conservatives Take Aim at M$M (their former partners in crime)

... with the recent emergence of patently nonsensical, fake news reports, Conservatives are taking the opportunity to call any news in M$M that is less than adulatory of Conservative policies or politicians, 'fake news'. Conservative propagantists have been purveying counterfactual bullshit for decades now. So it is particularly hypocritical of Conservatives to point an accusing finger at ANYBODY promulgating fake news. But for them to call legitimate news reports as 'fake' news is just one more step in the Conservative assault on a rational, fact based understanding of reality. Of course, the monstrous irony of the situation is that Corporate owned M$M has performed a service of incalculable value to the Conservative cause against Hillary Clinton, by helping to sell the biggest fake news story of the decade, the Hillary Clinton email "scandal". M$M played a major part, perhaps THE major part, in aing and abetting the King of Clowns with his Electoral College scam of Democracy in November. You'd think the Conservative Republicans would show some appreciation. I guess there is no honor among thieves or mountebanks.

Wielding Claims of ‘Fake News,’ Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/25/us/politics/fake-news-claims-conservatives-mainstream-media-.html?_r=0


WASHINGTON — The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news.”

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Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.

In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country’s increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.

“Over the years, we’ve effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it’s gone too far,” said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. “Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don’t see how you reverse it.”
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Trump Kicks Off the Return of the Czars

https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-kicks-off-the-return-of-the-czars/


Cast your mind back to 2009, when conservatives suddenly became quite concerned about executive power. They channeled their rage into Obama’s czars. These were special advisers to the president, who helped set policy from inside the White House, rather than at the cabinet level. The White House health-care czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle, appeared to have greater input on Obamacare than Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The energy-and-climate czar, Carol Browner, advised the president more regularly than then–EPA chief Lisa Jackson.

The Republican complaint seemed to mostly involve using the word “czar” a lot in a bid to make Obama sound vaguely Soviet, which looks rather quaint in retrospect. But other objections made sense. Unlike cabinet officials, czars did not have to seek Senate confirmation. They weren’t required to testify before or issue reports to congressional committees. Their communications could be protected through assertion of executive privilege, unlike more accessible cabinet-agency deliberations. In general, it was a method of centralizing power inside the White House bubble. “The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances,” wrote Democratic Senate lion Robert Byrd in February 2009. “At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

Flash forward to 2016, and Donald Trump is busy announcing czars. He added two yesterday: activist investor Carl Icahn as an adviser on deregulation, and economist Peter Navarro as a trade-policy czar. Neither will go through Senate confirmation. Icahn will reportedly not be a federal employee, which will keep all of his communications privileged. Financial vetting has been extremely slow for the cabinet choices; Icahn won’t need to jump those hoops. Every concern expressed about Obama’s czars hold for these appointees as well.

I eagerly await congressional hearings on the matter.

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Sham populism, shameless plutocracy - Kristina vanden Heuvel

..Whenever I hear GOP Toadies of M$M refer to ANY GOP candidate, who is particularly successful at conning working people to vote for him, as a "populist" it makes me want to throw up. So Kristina 'had' me with her title, but the entire article is great.



https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sham-populism-shameless-plutocracy/2016/12/20/dd52a8e4-c602-11e6-bf4b-2c064d32a4bf_story.html?utm_term=.0e4322384e7d


But as his administration takes shape, Trump is sending signals to the right that he is prepared to fulfill their wildest fantasies. [font color="red"]With his sham populism giving way to shameless plutocracy[/font], it appears increasingly likely that Trump will attempt to reverse more than the progress achieved over the past eight years under President Obama. The tremendous advances and reforms of the 20th century — from the New Deal to the Great Society — may be on the chopping block.

So far, Trump’s Cabinet picks offer perhaps the clearest evidence of how he intends to govern and how much is really at stake. In addition to surrounding himself with billionaires, bankers and crony capitalists, Trump has nominated several candidates to run federal agencies whose functions they fundamentally oppose on ideological grounds. As Jamelle Bouie writes of Trump’s Cabinet in Slate,[font size="+1"] “It’s less a team for governing the country than a mechanism for dismantling its key institutions.”[/font]

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[font size="+1"]Trump has also telegraphed his intention to smash organized labor and attack workers’ rights.[/font] His pick for labor secretary, fast-food executive Andy Puzder, is an outspoken enemy of minimum-wage increases with an appalling record of mistreating employees. The Labor Department has uncovered violations of labor laws in 60 percent of its investigations of Puzder’s restaurant chain locations. Indeed, as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently said, Puzder’s career has been “defined by fighting against working people.”

[font size="+1"]Almost every legitimate function of the federal government could be subverted by Trump’s wrecking crew. [/font]Under billionaire Republican megadonor advocate Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education could be reoriented to gutting the nation’s public education system and redistributing its resources to for-profit charter schools. Led by attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — who once condemned the Voting Rights Act as “a piece of intrusive legislation” — the Justice Department can be expected to systematically undermine civil and voting rights, denying justice to millions of Americans in the process. And if longtime ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson is confirmed, even the State Department could fall prey to private-sector fetishization.

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The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists - Slavery


The Founding Fathers had something particular in mind when they set up the U.S. presidential election system: slavery


Standard civics-class accounts of the Electoral College rarely mention the real demon dooming direct national election in 1787 and 1803: slavery.

At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president. But the savvy Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South: “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.” In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count.

Virginia emerged as the big winner—the California of the Founding era—with 12 out of a total of 91 electoral votes allocated by the Philadelphia Constitution, more than a quarter of the 46 needed to win an election in the first round. After the 1800 census, Wilson’s free state of Pennsylvania had 10% more free persons than Virginia, but got 20% fewer electoral votes. Perversely, the more slaves Virginia (or any other slave state) bought or bred, the more electoral votes it would receive. Were a slave state to free any blacks who then moved North, the state could actually lose electoral votes.

If the system’s pro-slavery tilt was not overwhelmingly obvious when the Constitution was ratified, it quickly became so. For 32 of the Constitution’s first 36 years, a white slaveholding Virginian occupied the presidency.
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We Need to Kill the Electoral College - The Nation

https://www.thenation.com/article/we-need-to-kill-the-electoral-college/


The Electoral College is an abomination: an antidemocratic relic of the unconscionable compromises made during America’s founding that should never have been allowed to linger into the 21st century. Designed to thwart the will of the people on those occasions when the voters might favor a candidate with what Alexander Hamilton described as the “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity,” the Electoral College has evolved as a uniquely destructive barrier to the modern practice of democracy.

Hamilton and others imagined that an elite institution of electors would ensure “a constant probability of seeing the [presidency] filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.” While that statement may intrigue #NeverTrumpers seeking one last avenue for averting a reality-TV presidency, the Electoral College has never operated as a quality-assurance mechanism: Superior contenders have often been rejected by partisan electors. Nor does it function in any way as an egalitarian institution, given its nsychant for overturning the popular will. If this foul remnant of 18th-century oligarchy (and the fears of Southern politicians that democracy might undermine the power of slave states) isn’t abolished or, at the very least, constrained, there is good reason to believe the College will continue to do so with greater frequency in the years to come.

This is no idle threat. For the second time in 16 years, the winner of the national popular vote will be denied the presidency by an institution that rejects the basic premise used to elect everyone from members of local school boards to members of Congress. This year’s rejection is epic in scope and nature: If it was objectionable that George W. Bush became president despite being defeated by Al Gore in 2000 by a margin of 543,895 votes, then it should be considered outrageous that Donald Trump will assume the presidency despite losing to Hillary Clinton by at least 
2.2 million votes—and claim a mandate, along with his Republican allies, to radically change America.

Clinton’s popular-vote lead is greater than those that put John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and, of course, George W. Bush in the White House. But Clinton’s victory is rendered meaningless by an institution that Trump himself once identified as “a disaster for democracy.”
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Mitch McConnell Assaulted the Constitution (and Got Away With It)

The senator refused to perform his duty in rejecting any consideration of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

https://www.thenation.com/article/mitch-mcconnell-assaulted-the-constitution-and-got-away-with-it/


 Patriotic indignation is currently pounding on Comrade Putin for his dirty tricks befouling the US presidential election and on Citizen Trump for his indifference to the cyber scandal. But a far greater crime against American democracy is under way that’s clearly visible and scarcely noted.

The Republican Senate leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, violated the Constitution, and he has not been properly punished for his offense. He unilaterally blocked any appointment to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February. McConnell announced within hours that there would be no replacement for the Supreme Court vacancy until after a new president is elected.

President Obama ignored McConnell’s illegal diktat and nominated a distinguished appellate judge, Merrick Garland, to sit on the Court. A few senators had polite conversations with Judge Garland, but the Judiciary Committee refused to hold any hearings on confirmation or even acknowledge that the president had fulfilled his duty as prescribed in the Constitution. The Senate majority leader simply refused to perform his constitutional duty in the “advise and consent” process.

McConnell wasn’t subtle about his political motive. He announced he was holding the Constitution at bay in the hope that a Republican would win the presidential election and therefore conservatives could restore their 5-4 majority. Trump’s victory fulfilled McConnell’s gamble. The country will suffer the damaging consequences of right-wing lawmaking for years to come.
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IF the Fraudster doesn't divest, Congress must Impeach

I have no doubt these articles have been posted before, but we really must start emailing, telephoning Congressmen with the message that if the Scumbag Fraudster does not divest, completely, the first order of business must be impeachment - if there is to be any respect for the rule of law in this country. THis should AT LEAST be attempted and if the Republicans stop it/prevent it - then the public should be able to understand that the GOP doesn't give a fuck about following the constitution, respect for the rule of law (except when it's to their advantage) or the principle that all are equal before the law.

Also, we must make it clear that there is nothing wrong with standing up and fighting for what you believe - or put another way: the days of "post partisan" politics (especially as practiced by one side only) are OVER. From this day forward Democrats will act like people who know what they believe in (an equitable society and democratic government) and stand - and fight - for what they believe in. This doesn't mean that compromise is verboten. It just means compromise is only considered after giving your 'all' for what is right. Let it be known that the unrealistic belief in "Post Partisan politics" is DEAD.


Trump poised to violate Constitution his first day in office, George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer says

Friday evening, the Washington Post reported that about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at President-elect Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC to “to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.” The tour included a look at the hotel’s $20,000 a night “town house” suite. The Post also quoted some of the diplomats saying they intended to stay at the hotel in order to ingratiate themselves to the incoming president.

“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’” said one diplomat from an Asian nation. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’”

The incoming president, in other words, is actively soliciting business from agents of foreign governments. Many of these agents, in turn, said that they will accept the president-elect’s offer to do business because they want to win favor with the new leader of the United States.

In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.
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Trump Must Divest Or Face Impeachment


media narrative that Dems lost 'working class whites' is BS. the split was the ol' rural vs urban


I kept hearing M$M talking heads saying that the Dems lost the working class whites - Hillary's fault - but the split was the same old rural vs urban voters. It's the same old story we've seen for decades. Rural people swallow GOP Bullshit, Hillary demonization and xenophobia, while urban voters are sophisticated enough to laugh at GOP propaganda. IT's been this way for decades .. as long as I can remember.


How the Election Revealed the Divide Between City and Country
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/clinton-trump-city-country-divide/507902/


Trump’s victory was an empire-strikes-back moment for all the places and voters that feel left behind in an increasingly diverse, post-industrial, and urbanized America. Squeezing bigger margins from smaller places, Trump overcame a tide of resistance in the largest metropolitan areas that allowed Clinton to carry the national popular vote, but not the decisive Electoral College.

This election thus carved a divide between cities and non-metropolitan areas as stark as American politics has produced since the years just before and after 1920. That year marked a turning point: It was the first time the Census recorded that more people lived in urban than non-urban areas. That tangible sense of shifting influence triggered a series of political and social conflicts between big cities teeming with immigrants, many of them Catholic, and small towns and rural communities that remained far more homogeneously, white, native-born, and Protestant.

This year, Hillary Clinton pushed that model just past the breaking point. Pending final results, she now leads in 88 of the nation’s 100 largest counties (including D.C.). Suffering a slight decline in African American support, Clinton did not quite match Obama’s vote margins in some crucial metropolitan areas, particularly Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia.

But overall, she delivered a dominant performance in most urban centers and many affluent white-collar suburbs. She held Trump to less than one-fourth of the vote in such mega-counties as Manhattan, Cook (Chicago), and Los Angeles; expanded on Obama’s margins in growing Sunbelt cities such as Miami, Charlotte, and Houston; and utterly routed Trump in thriving new economy centers like Austin, Silicon Valley, and Seattle. At latest tally, Clinton won the nation’s 100 largest counties by fully 12.6 million votes—an historic lead certain to widen with many more West Coast ballots yet to count.


Of the Country's 100 Largest Counties, These 25 Provided the Greatest Democratic Margin of Victory (please go to link to see chart of largest counties vote split between Clinton and Putin's Pet (it's a In-line frame which references some proprietary software that builds a chart using data from a proprietary data-base) not a picture.]-Bill USA)

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media narrative that Dems lost 'working class whites' is BS. the split was the ol' rural vs urban

I kept hearing M$M talking heads saying that the Dems lost the working class whites - Hillary's fault - but the split was the same old rural vs urban voters. It's the same old story we've seen for decades. Rural people swallow GOP Bullshit, Hillary demonization and xenophobia, while urban voters are sophisticated enough to laugh at GOP propaganda. IT's been this way for decades .. as long as I can remember.


Sorry, this was meant to go in 2016 Postmortem. Please see there: http://www.democraticunderground.com/12512661734

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