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AntiBank's Journal
AntiBank's Journal
June 8, 2016

The Myth of the Spoiler: Why the Machine Elites Fear Democracy


Spoiler arguments are part of an interlocking set of social control discourses that too often govern our thoughts and actions regarding elections and representational democracy. While “the spoiler” is deployed on the wings of the “lesser of two evils” and “electability/inevitability,” it most resembles corporate-inspired arguments about austerity.

Spoiler arguments are the political analogue to the “austerity” claims enforced so ruthlessly by corporate elites. Under austerity “we are broke.” But, we must add: except for the trillions of dollars in cash that the big corporations and billionaires are sitting on — at the peak of their wealth — in the richest country in the history of the world. This artificial scarcity is then imposed on the people who, the 1% insists, will have to sacrifice their jobs, incomes, pensions, social services, and security.

In spoiler arguments, the elites insist — and far too many progressives concede — there is a scarcity of votes. But, we must add: except for the 70-90 million non-voters that the dismal performance of government, triangulation, and our failure to organize have left disempowered and driven to the sidelines. This artificial scarcity of voters is then imposed on the people who are told by the corporate media to sacrifice their freedom, democracy, and political judgments by yielding to the parties and candidates they no longer believe in. The spoiler trains us to think that sacrificing democracy to fear is clever tactic. That is exactly why the spoiler is one of the most powerful rhetorical weapons the machines have. It functions to scapegoat dissenters and limit political engagement and competition, when we really need more democracy, more choices, more voices.

Elections are truly spoiled because the existing parties either do not want the American people to participate or make no attempt to register and mobilize the 40% non-voting public or to engage the millions of independent voters. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about social control discourse — given the wide acceptance of such ideas by seemingly rational people — is the degree to which these arguments are not based on facts. Speculation and ideology must masquerade as facts when facts threaten to undermine social control. So it is with “the spoiler.”

2000 Revisited

Since the election of 2000 is the most powerful reference for spoiler argument let’s unpack it........................... SNIP

great read
June 7, 2016

Trump surrogate calls Ryan racist


A Donald Trump surrogate on Tuesday called Speaker Paul Ryan a racist, after the Wisconsin Republican criticized the presumptive GOP presidential nominee's comments about a federal judge’s ethnicity. “Speaker Ryan is wrong, and Speaker Ryan has apparently switched positions and is now supporting identity politics, which is racist,” Jeffrey Lord told CNN. Earlier on Tuesday, Ryan called Trump’s comments regarding Judge Gonzalo Curiel racist.

"I regret these comments that he made," the Wisconsin Republican said. "Saying a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of the textbook definition of racist comments. ... I think that should be absolutely disavowed." Trump reportedly instructed his surrogates on Monday to attack those who criticize his comments about Curiel, saying that those who bring up the issue are racists.

"The people asking the questions — those are the racists," Trump said in a conference call. "I would go at 'em." Curiel is presiding over several lawsuits against Trump University alleging it defrauded students and left them with crushing debt. Trump said Curiel had a conflict of interest because he is of Mexican descent, and Trump wants to build a wall along the U.S.'s border with Mexico.

June 7, 2016

The Trump Campaign Is In Full Nuclear Meltdown Mode

Sources describe the campaign as an incompetent, backstabbing skeleton crew without any coherent message. And Donald Trump is making it worse.


For all the noise that Donald Trump makes, and all the amplification that noise gets from the media, it’s hard to see the campaign infrastructure that presumably exists behind it. Perhaps that’s because, as Trump aides and other sources close to the campaign revealed to NBC News, there isn’t any infrastructure. Instead, the Trump campaign is reportedly composed of a skeleton crew of a few backstabbing staffers unable to coordinate a coherent message about the presumptive Republican nominee’s vision for America.

The article, simply titled “Donald Trump does not have a campaign,” details the disarray within the campaign, which is described as “a bare-bones effort debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies and a message that’s prisoner to Trump’s momentary whims.” While the feuding between professional political operative Paul Manafort and neophyte campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is well-known, even more dysfunction exists below them. Hope Hicks, the campaign’s 27-year-old press secretary, reportedly works alone and without any support; a daunting task for a staffer responsible for managing Trump’s juggernaut media presence. A rapid-response team, crucial in traditional campaigns to rebut their opponents’ attacks before they damage the candidate further, does not exist. The Trump campaign struggles to publicize positive news, too: while Manafort corralled a host of local endorsements ahead of the candidate’s California tour last week, no press release ever went out, a source told NBC, because Lewandowski and Hicks vetoed every draft. And when Hillary Clinton delivered a devastating foreign-policy speech criticizing Trump’s temperament and credentials, Republican allies waited in vain to receive instructions on how to coordinate a counterattack. Trump tweeted about Clinton’s use of a teleprompter, but neither Trump nor the R.N.C. ever released an official rebuttal after the speech.

A lack of coordination isn’t the only reason Trump surrogates are in the dark. Trump himself is so mercurial, and his positions so inconsistent (and often at odds with the Republican Party’s own platform), that allies rarely know how to act or what to say. When Trump attacked Gonzalo Curiel, the judge presiding over a Trump University lawsuit, for his Mexican heritage, he refused to listen to the majority of “horrified” supporters and surrogates who urged him to apologize his comments. High-profile supporters like Newt Gingrich, who is widely considered to be a top pick for Trump’s V.P., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell either repudiated his remarks or remained silent.

But Trump hasn’t backed down. On a conference call Monday, reported by Bloomberg, Trump demanded that his supporters and surrogates ramp up their attacks on Curiel. When former Arizona governor Jan Brewer noted that Trump’s own staffers had previously sent a memo asking his allies to stop referring to the lawsuit, the New Yorker exploded. “ Take that order and throw it the hell out,” he said, according to two people who were on the call. “Are there any other stupid letters that were sent to you folks?” he asked. “That's one of the reasons I want to have this call, because you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren't so smart.”

June 2, 2016

Georgia ACLU director resigns over transgender fight

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The head of Georgia’s ACLU chapter opened a new rift in the debate over restroom rights this week when she stepped down in protest of the civil rights group’s support for controversial efforts to let transgender people use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

Maya Dillard Smith said Thursday she resigned because she was met with hostility when she questioned the organization’s stance on the policy, adding that she risked being branded a homophobe by even raising her critique. “There are real concerns about the safety of women and girls in regards to this bathroom debate,” Dillard Smith said in an interview. “It seems to me that instead of stifling the dialogue, we want to encourage a robust debate to come up with an effective solution.”

Many Georgia conservatives have aired similar concerns, but Dillard Smith adds a prominent liberal voice to the mix. She said she’s had misgivings about the bathroom debate since her young daughters shared a restroom in Oakland, Calif. with three transgender women with deep voices.

“My kids were visibly frightened. I was scared. And I was ill-prepared to answer their questions,” she said. “I’ve been asking those same questions, and now I want to raise an honest conversation about them.”

Read more: http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/06/02/georgia-aclu-director-resigns-over-transgender-fight/

June 2, 2016

N.Y. attorney general on Trump University: 'This is straight up fraud'

Source: CNN

(CNN)New York's attorney general, who is leading a lawsuit against Trump University there, made his view of the case clear on Thursday: "It's fraud. This is straight up fraud."

Eric Schneiderman laced into presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump over the suit during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," repeatedly describing the businessman as dishonest and manipulative in his role with the now-defunct program.
"The law is very clear. The law protects the gullible as well as the sophisticated. As we've seen over the course of the last year, there are a lot of people who fall for Mr. Trump's promises and rhetoric," Schneiderman said.

Trump is currently facing three separate lawsuits -- two class action suits filed in California and one in New York by Schneiderman -- which argue the program that took in an estimated $40 million, but was mired in fraud and deception.
Schneiderman's case argues that Trump and Michael Sexton, the former president of the program, engaged in fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct, and that although the program promised to offer courses taught by experts personally selected by Trump, the teachers were neither handpicked nor experts.

Schneiderman has repeatedly lambasted Trump and his "university," telling CNN's Carol Costello Tuesday on "Newsroom" that Trump "defrauded people out of money. They're entitled to their day in court."

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/02/politics/eric-schneiderman-attorney-general-trump-university-fraud/index.html

June 2, 2016

WSJ‘s Bret Stephens: Trump Must Lose So Badly That the GOP Voters ‘Learn Their Lesson’


Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday afternoon, Wall Street Journal‘s Bret Stephens said that it was important for Donald Trump to lose the general election so utterly that the Republican party and its voters “learn their lesson” and never nominate someone like him ever agin.

Stephens has been one of Trump’s most outspoken conservative critics, writing in March, for instance, that Trump is essentially an amplified version of Barack Obama. Both men were “epic narcissists who see themselves as singularly suited to redeem an America that is not only imperfect but fundamentally broken,” he wrote.

“The candidacy of Donald Trump is the open sewer of American conservatism,” he wrote on another occasion. “I most certainly will not vote for Donald Trump,” Stephens told Zakaria, adding that he wanted to “make sure he is the biggest loser in presidential history” in a very long time.

Stephens continued: “It’s important that Donald Trump and what he represents — this kind of ethnic quote ‘conservatism’ or populism — be so decisively rebuked that the Republican party, the Republican voters learn their lesson that they cannot nominate a man so manifestly unqualified to be president in any way, shape, or form.”

June 1, 2016

Wikileaks Asks If This Is The "Smoking Gun" Email That Will Bring Down Hillary


All along Hillary Clinton has pled that when it comes to her violation of Federal regulations, she was at worst naive, hardly malicious and - as of recently - merely doing what each of her state department predecessors has done; and she has been very careful to make it clear that she never purposefully and intentionally "stripped" confidential data in order to send it through her unsecured server as such an act would imply not only a breach of email retention policy, but a willful abuse of confidential documents.

Well, moments ago Wikileaks unveiled what it believes may be the FBI's "smoking gun" in its case against Hillary. In a tweet, Wikileaks highlights one specific email and asks "Is this email the FBI's star exhibit against Hillary Clinton ("H&quot ? "

The email in question

The full email chain is below

June 1, 2016

The Art of the Swindle


Predators, by and large, do not attack the strongest prey in the wild. They instead target the vulnerable, the very young, and the very old—the prey that is least able to defend itself. Trump University, the defunct real-estate education program created by presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, pursued a similar approach, according to its former employees in legal documents unsealed Tuesday.

“Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money,” said Ronald Schnackenberg, a sales manager at Trump University in 2006 and 2007. Those declarations and other internal Trump University documents depict an aggressive, ethically dubious business model that targeted potential customers’ financial fears and socioeconomic anxieties and offered Trump’s personal brand as the solution—a strategy later echoed in his presidential campaign.

In his declaration, Schnackenberg recounted meeting a couple after a live event in New York City in 2007. Apparently swayed by the presentation, they expressed an interest in purchasing a $35,000 Trump Gold Elite program, the most expensive tier available. “I did not think it was an appropriate program for them because of their precarious financial condition—they had no money to pay for the program, but would have had to pay for the program using disability income and taking out a loan based upon equity in his apartment,” he testified. “Trump University reprimanded me for not trying harder to sell the program to this couple.” A different salesperson closed the deal with them. “I was disgusted by this conduct and decided to resign,” Schnackenberg said.

Schnackenberg made the declaration in September 2012—about three years before Donald Trump announced his presidential bid—as part of a class-action lawsuit against the businessman by former Trump University customers. The declaration and other trial documents remained under seal until Tuesday after federal judge Gonzalo Curiel—a newfound target of Trump’s stump-speech anger—ordered many of them to be made public Friday in response to a public-interest motion by the Washington Post.

May 31, 2016

Obamacare's 2017 Insurer Rate Requests Are Mostly for Double-Digit Hikes


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as it's officially known), or Obamacare (as it's more commonly known), has had quite the tumultuous ride since being signed into law in March 2010.

Based on near-monthly data from the Kaiser Family Foundation's Tracking Poll, the vast majority of Americans don't like Obamacare. Despite this general apathy toward the health law of the land, it still managed to enroll 12.7 million people through its marketplace exchanges for the 2016 enrollment period -- and this doesn't count the millions of other individuals and families who've gained coverage in 31 states through the expansion of Medicaid coverage. According to both Gallup's first-quarter survey and the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which also includes Medicare enrollees), uninsured rates are at their lowest levels on record as of Q1 2016.

Affordability remains a key concern
But one problem has plagued Obamacare since day one: cost. Although Obamacare's regulations opened the door for many low-income individuals and families to get health insurance, many middle-class families are struggling with rising premium and deductible costs. And since the individual mandate requires everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a shared responsibility payment come tax time, it's leaving millions of Americans with a tough, seemingly no-win choice of struggling to meet their health insurance payments or paying a penalty.


New York: According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, insurers in New York are requesting hikes ranging from as low as 6.1% to as high as 89.1%, with a weighted average on the individual market of 17.3%. UnitedHealth, which only covers 2% of New York's Obamacare enrollees, requested an increase of (and I hope you're sitting down for this) 45.6%!



Hillary's ObamaCare problem


Obamacare Is Failing -- On Purpose?


UnitedHealthcare leaving Illinois Obamacare exchange


UnitedHealth To Exit California’s Obamacare Market


Here's how much the price of Obamacare changed this year for every state in the US (2015-16 rates)


we need single payer
May 29, 2016

Trump vs. Clinton: A Daunting and Ominous Electoral Map (this is from right wing website too)


Generally speaking, this writer ignores national presidential polls since we do not elect our President by the popular vote. Instead, one must do a state-by-state analysis to determine electoral votes with 270 being the goal. Many pundits have noted the so-called Blue Wall (ironic- Trump has to climb over that wall)- an advantage that the Democratic Party enjoys in the Electoral count.

If we look at the average margin of victory for the candidate of either party over the past four presidential cycles and exclude the states where the average margin of victory for either party was less than 5% and assign that group of states to the swing category, we find that the Democratic Party holds a 247-196 advantage in the Electoral vote count. They only need 23 electoral votes from a pool of remaining “swing states.” They can get all 23 in one fell swoop by taking Florida and their 29 electoral votes. Even losing Florida leaves them more possible combinations to victory. In short, there is a starting advantage for the Democrats.

Of course, the Republican candidate can upset that balance by taking a traditionally blue state. Some have suggested that Trump’s best path to the White House involves flipping a blue state in the Upper Midwest. Simply flipping Pennsylvania, for example, would still give the Democrats an advantage. The problem with that scenario is that practically every cycle, Republicans believe they can flip Michigan or Wisconsin or especially Pennsylvania, but when the votes are counted, they run into reality.

Obviously, we are still a long way from Election Day and a lot can happen between now and then and likely will happen. An unforeseen economic disaster or (God forbid) a terrorist attack on American soil can seriously alter the race. Further, many states are ignored when it comes to polling in hypothetical match-ups, while other states are over-emphasized. Either way, this cycle has taught us that polls really aren’t worth much- slightly more accurate than the punditry of supposed political experts.


here is my best guess atm as to the final election numbers (bear in mind FL, CO and OH can ALL flip to trump and Clinton still wins)

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