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red dog 1

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: San Francisco, Ca.
Home country: U.S.A.
Member since: Tue Sep 14, 2010, 03:05 PM
Number of posts: 6,160

About Me

San Francisco State University grad (Psychology).

Journal Archives

Feeling blue in deep-red America: Advice for progressives in Trumpland

Monday, June 26, 2017

An ethical culture specialist has advice for progressives in predominantly conservative areas.

According to Dr. Richard Koral, a leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture,
it's a lonely life - but it doesn't have to be.

"Progressives living in predominantly conservative areas sometimes feel isolated and alienated from their community and yearn for the society of others who share their most basic outlook in life, even if they do not agree on every feature of a plan or program," Koral explained to Salon.
"People find emotional sustenance in having an opportunity to be heard and understood by other people.
It gives them confirmation of their core beliefs as well as support and encouragement to take a moral stand."

His advice for these individuals?
Become activists, even if the opposition around you feels overwhelming.

"In the age of screaming, it's important to stop and listen - even to those who do not support our views.
We strive to remember and recognize the humanity of others who have a different perspective.
In order to effectively communicate one's views, especially in a way that will spark change,
it is important to be patient, empathetic, and a listener as much as a talker."

This advice may seem obvious - get involved in activist movements, think beyond yourself and show empathy toward those with whom you disagree.
In a era that elected a race-baiting, science-hating reality TV star as it's president, however, even common sense sometimes needs a boost.
Regardless of whether one agrees with the ethical culture movement's broader objectives,
it's hard to dissent from their sense that our society needs a lot of activism and empathy at this juncture in it's history.

Read entire article:

Third Annual Trump Limerick Contest

There once was a grumpy old fart
Who turned lying into an art
He couldn't be trusted
But never got busted
His lawyers were always too smart

White House officials complaining they can't get through to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Washington Post via Raw Story
June 23, 2017

White House officials have complained they can't get through to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose chief of staff has closed off access to her boss.

The former Exxon Mobil chief executive has frustrated White House officials by surrounding himself with a tight circle of aides, led by his chief of staff, reported the Washington Post.

State Department chief of staff Margaret Peterlin has built a barrier around Tillerson, some Trump aides told the newspaper, and put herself - "and only her," one administration official sniffed - at the center of information and decision making in the diplomatic agency.

Peterlin has been limiting access to Tillerson, one outside advisor told the newspaper, which has forced White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other top officials to "sneak around" or call the Secretary of State on his cell phone.

"It is stoved-piped," one senior administration official said.
"Calls aren't getting returned. It's that kind of crap."


What's your favorite Beatles album?

Senate Democrats Need To Go Nuclear On Trumpcare Right Now

The New Republic

Senate Democrats need to go nuclear on Trumpcare right now.
Senate Republicans are working to fast-track a health care bill in utmost secrecy before the
July 4 recess.

It's clear that the bill - which is shaping up to be as disastrous as the House-passed
American Health Care Act - won't be let out of the dungeon until the very last second to avoid scrutiny.
Republicans aren't planning to hold any hearings and they won't publicly release a draft of the bill because, as one senior GOP aide told Axios, "We aren't stupid."

If Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority want to pass a bill taking away health insurance from some 20 million Americans, there isn't much that Democrats can do about it in the end.
But they can delay the process - and activists are pushing them to do just that.
Groups like Indivisible and MoveOn want Democrats to withhold consent - a parliamentary maneuver that slows down Senate business - to trip up McConnell.

According to Jeff Stein at Vox, Senate Democrats don't have any current plans to do so.
They argue that "going nuclear" would only unify Republicans in their resolve and would, at most, stall the inevitable by a few weeks.

But those few weeks can be vital.
When the House passed the AHCA in May, speed was of the essence: Activists were caught flat-footed and were unable to put pressure on House members in full force.
The political theater of Senate Democrats making a last stand to defeat the bill would help garner more publicity for that effort.
More importantly, it would shine a light on what Republicans are doing:
They are jamming through a massive overhaul of the health care system IN SECRET, one that will likely kick millions of Americans off their health insurance, literally leaving some people to die by 2018.

More + links:

"TRUMPCARE: Tell Democrats to shut down the Senate now"

Senate Dems finally planning an offensive against Trumpcare

Daily Kos
June 16, 2017

The clock is winding down and unless Senate Democrats take bold action, Republicans will repeal Obamacare

Democrats can slow Trumpcare down for days and possibly weeks by forcing votes on an unlimited number of amendments, delaying the vote until they run out of amendments.
This vote-a-rama will finally force a public debate on the bill Mitch McConnell has been hiding from everyone.

(From LA Times last Friday, June 9, 2017)
"While You Watched Comey, Senate GOP Moved to Cripple Health Care")
Having learned from their colleagues in the House that the best way - possibly the only way --to pass a grossly unpopular healthcare repeal bill is to hide the details, the Senate GOP used the cover of the Comey hearing Thursday to move the repeal along.
While the eyes of political wonks across Washington, D.C., and the nation, were glued to telecasts of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony about his closed-door encounters with President Trump, Senate Republicans worked to fast-track their version of the American Health Care Act, the measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act that was passed by the House GOP on May 4.
On Wednesday (6/7/2017), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), invoked Senate Rule 14, which allows a bill to bypass committee consideration and be brought to the floor for a vote....That means no hearings and no debate, and improves the prospect of a vote before the Senate leaves Washington for it's August recess.

(From Democracy for America, June 11, 2017)
"Elizabeth Warren is Sounding the Alarm: Trumpcare is Coming To a Vote in the Senate"
Here's what Sen. Warren said:
"Senate Republicans are going to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act by the end of the month...And here's the horrifying part - They seem to think they have the votes in the Senate to do it...I'm not crying wolf here...I'm really worried...Health care for millions of Americans is on the line in the next (two) weeks...The Republicans are counting on the fact that so many terrible things are happening right now - and everyone thinks that Trumpcare is dead - that they can slip this through before we have a chance to get organized."

The Senate version of Trumpcare is just as bad as the bill that passed the House last month.
It would destroy Medicaid and leave millions without health care.
It would still leave people with illnesses and pre-existing conditions being unable to afford or receive health care.
However, if just three Senate Republicans vote against Trumpcare, we can stop this bill in it's tracks.

Back to: "Senate Dems finally planning an offensive against Trumpcare"
Senate Democrats CAN "slow Trumpcare down for days and possibly even weeks by FORCING votes on an unlimited number of amendments, delaying the vote until they run out of amendments...This vote-a-rama will finally force a public debate on the bill Mitch McConnell has been hiding from everyone."
"Senate Democrats Plan Offensive To Try To Save Obamacare"

What Daily Kos is suggesting is that we call our DEMOCRATIC senators and ask them to prepare as many amendments to Trumpcare as possible.
If the phone lines are busy, send e-mails.

(Use the sample script below )
"Hello, my name is ___ and I'm calling from (your zip code) in (your city or town).
We need to delay the Trumpcare vote as long as possible.
I'm urging you to prepare as many amendments as you can to the healthcare bill.
Please hold a vote-a-rama to stop Republicans from repealing Obamacare.
Thank you.

Republican senator tells 73,000 West Virginians they're not losing Medicaid, they're in "transition"

Daily Kos
June 14, 2017

Last time we checked in on the Republican Senate, Nevada's Dean Heller was the big weasel on Medicaid, trying to pretend he wasn't supporting the massive cuts to the program that he most definitely is supporting.

That level of weasel-ness has now been matched by Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia, who is trying to redefine phasing out Medicaid expansion as a "transition period."
She told The Hill's Peter Sullivan not to call it a phase-out of the money.

"I phrase it as a seven year transitional period either to Medicaid or to coverage that's as good as the Medicaid coverage that folks are on.
I've said repeatedly, I don't want to drop anybody off.
I'm not phasing anybody out of anything."

"But once the higher federal funding is gone, how would people maintain coverage?"

"Well, we have to make sure that if that goes forward that they have the availability of coverage that's affordable and as broad as what they need, that's the transition."


Something you can do to stop Trumpcare (and it's free) from MoveOn.org

June 14, 2017
Letter to MoveOn.org members:

As the clouds of corruption from the Russia investigation engulf the White House, down the street, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bypassing debate and attempting to ram through a health care bill that, if signed into law, will be an unmitigated disaster for tens of millions of Americans.

Make no mistake: The GOP knows the public is against their Trumpcare scheme, but they're counting on keeping us in the dark in order to ram through this bill.

It might be frustrating to know that a handful of senators are going to make the difference for all Americans.
And we shouldn't call Senate offices in a different state - It's important for our elected officials to hear from constituents.
But there is a way MoveOn members, wherever you live, can make a difference - by using our free, easy, text messaging tool to send text messages to those MoveOn members in these key states, encouraging them to call their senators, show up at events, and do all they can to stop Trumpcare.

We need to build up our member-driven Text Team this week to reach hundreds of thousands of members in key states to urge them to raise their voices and demand their senators vote NO on Trumpcare before the Senate votes later this month.

One thing we've learned during the Trump regime is that public pressure can grind their right-wing agenda to a halt.
As we've seen at town hall meetings across the nation, conservatives in Congress are afraid to face the American public because they can't justify their agenda.
That is why they're resorting to shady schemes to shut down debate and limit their public exposure.

But we're not letting them get away with silencing the public.
We're mobilizing the resistance, and out Text Team program is a critical and effective way to do it.
After joining a quick training, you'll be ready to reach hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members just like you with an urgent message to call their senators and demand they vote NO on Trumpcare.
With enough public pressure, we can expose this conspiracy to steal health care security from tens of millions of Americans and stop this disastrous bill before it becomes law.

Sign up now to join the MoveOn Text Team and help stop Trumpcare.

To join MoveOn.org (it's free to join)

Profiting off pain, Trump confidant cashed in on housing crisis

Aaron Glantz, Reveal (PRX)
via The Texas Tribune
June 12, 2017

One of President Donald Trump's closest friends and confidants took advantage of the Great Recession to build an unprecedented real estate business that makes him tantamount to a modern-day slumlord - buying up homes, bumping up rents, and allowing the properties to fall into disrepair.

Southern California billionaire Thomas J. Barrack is the mastermind behind the scheme, founding a company five years ago that has taken 31,000 single-family homes off the housing market and calling it "the greatest thing I've ever done."

His rental empire includes nearly 5,000 homes in Texas - concentrated in suburban Dallas and Houston.
Unlike earlier corporate landlords who built apartment complexes, the company that Barrack founded focused on three-bedroom, single family homes near good schools.
In Texas, it's homes average around 2,000 square feet and rent for $1600 per month.

Last Friday, after (Center for Investigative Reporting's) "Reveal" published an expose detailing problems in the company he founded, Barrack cashed out.
He sold all the stock he owned in the company and resigned his position as co-chairman of it's Board of Trustees.

Nevertheless Barrack, like other close Trump associates, now stands to cash in on looser federal regulations, which he is in a position to shape.


(From PRX & Center for Investigative Reporting's "After the bubble burst")
Reveal's Aaron Glantz looks at the national home rental empire that Trump's friend Tom Barrack created from the ashes of the foreclosure crisis.
Barrack in good at profiting from others' misery - his business model is based on a fast-churning cycle of penalty fees and eviction notices.
Having made millions from single-family rentals, Barrack began leveraging his profit by bundling the homes into giant mortgage-backed securities - an inventive financial product similar to what many remember as the catalyst of the housing crash.

Listen to "After the bubble burst"

This Tweet Thread Breaks Down What You Must Do To Stop Trumpcare

June 12, 2017

Like the House, the Senate is trying to get their version of the Trumpcare bill voted on by the end of June.
Like the House, they are doing so with almost no public debate on the contents of the bill.
But even the House bill was made available to the public for reading, and the Senate has, so far, revealed virtually nothing about what changes they plan on making to the health care system.

With so much at stake, and so little time to change minds, MoveOn.org's Washington policy director Ben Wikler wrote in a Twitter thread exactly why the next few days are so important.
He also noted what you can do to make your voice heard and possibly influence your senator.

Congress was deluged with phone calls by angry constituents in the first few months of the Trump administration, particularly when it came time for the House to vote on the AHCA.
But that effort appears to have fallen off somewhat, and Wikler makes it clear that calls to Congress have the best chance of convincing Republicans that their vote in favor of Trumpcare will have consequences.

Finally, Wikler cautions not to call Senate offices of a state you don't live in pretending to be a constituent, as it would cause Congressional offices to assume all calls are fake and disregard them.
At this point, there are a number of Republican senators rumored to be wavering on certain aspects of the bill, and losing even three of the 52 Republicans in the Senate would mean Trumpcare can't pass.
A deluge of phone calls might get any one of these Senators off the fence and into the "no" camp.

Read Tweets:

"Today is the day to defeat Trumpcare"
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