April 1, 2019

Crisis: Don't Give to the DCCC, The Trump Slump, On Health Care, O'Hehir on Mueller, Deport Children

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from April 1, 2019

This is a Nederlog of Monday, April 1, 2019.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from April 1, 2019:
1. Give Directly to Candidates, Not the DCCC
2. The Trump slump is coming — it may already be here

3. Republicans want to do vast harm on health care

4. Robert Mueller, the media and the "Russia skeptics"

5. 'Shame!': DHS Asks for Power to Deport Unaccompanied Children
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Give Directly to Candidates, Not the DCCC

This article is by Jake Johnson on Truthdig and originally on Common Dreams. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

Denouncing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s new policy of cutting off firms that work with primary challengers as “divisive” and “harmful,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday advised small-dollar donors to stop giving money to the DCCC and instead donate to progressive candidates directly.

“The DCCC’s new rule to blacklist + boycott anyone who does business with primary challengers is extremely divisive and harmful to the party,” tweeted the congresswoman from New York. “My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC and give directly to swing candidates instead.”

Yes, I entirely agree with this proposal of Ocasio-Cortez. She might have added that the policy of the DCCC is also quite undemocratic, for it seeks to help those who have been elected (many of whom are corrupt) at the costs of those who have not been elected.

Here is one more bit from this article:

Ocasio-Cortez went on to list three swing-seat House Democrats up for reelection in 2020: Reps. Katie Porter (Calif.), Mike Levin (Calif.), and Lauren Underwood (Ill.).

The New York congresswoman’s call for small-dollar donors to “pause” donations to the DCCC comes amid a growing progressive revolt against the campaign arm’s new policy, which states that the organization “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting member of the House Democratic Caucus.”

Progressives vowed to fight back against the rule, arguing it will disproportionately harm left-wing organizations looking to transform the party by ousting conservative Democrats.

Yes indeed. And this is a strongly recommended article.

2. The Trump slump is coming — it may already be here

This article is by Ian Reifowitz on AlterNet and originally on Daily Kos. It starts as follows:

It appears this was the week where the economic fantasies put forth by The Man Who Lost the Popular Vote came back to reality. The headlines on Thursday were not pretty:

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Economy Had Less Momentum Heading Into 2019 as Corporate Profits Stalled 

NBC News: Economy slumping faster than expected, with fourth-quarter GDP revised down 

Washington Post: GDP revised downward for 2018 as U.S. economy shows more signs of slowing

As the headline of a New York Times analysis put it: “Trump Owns the Economy Now, for Better or Worse.”

Yes - or at least I think the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and the Washington Post wrote the truth, in so far as that can be derived from statistics (which is less than many people who do not know much of statistics believe).

Here is some more:

Trump, both before and since taking office, has repeatedly promised to increase U.S. economic growth to 4 percent per year: “We’re bringing it (the GDP) from 1 percent up to 4 percent. And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent.” Putting aside legitimate concerns about the usefulness of GDP as a measure, we now know that Trump has failed, again, to not only reach 4 percent annual growth, but even to reach 3 percent.

Well... I suppose I agree that Trump probably was fantasizing, but I think it is a bit too strong to write that "Trump has failed", indeed mostly because this certainly was not only or mainly Trump's mistake (I think).

What seems true is that the American economy is declining. Here is the last bit that I quote from this article:

Legitimate economic outfits, like the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund, have significantly reduced their economic outlook for 2019 and beyond. And here’s Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi: “2018 will be the high-water mark for growth in the Trump administration.” Zandi predicted growth would slow to 1.1 percent next year, and sees a recession in 2020 as more likely to occur than not.

I don't know whether Zand is correct, and indeed no one knows, but I do hope for a recession in 2020, for the simple reason that a recession would considerably increase the chance that Trump is not re-elected in 2020. And this is a recommended article.

3. Republicans want to do vast harm on health care

This article is by Leo Gerard on AlterNet and originally on the Independent Media Institute. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

This week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a Republican, announced that his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, just hadn’t gone far enough when he asked a federal judge to kill the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions—that is, stuff like asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Barr told an appeals court that he does not want it to merely murder that one provision but, instead, will insist that it massacre the ACA’s entire 1,990 pages—death to every clause protecting patients from insurance company abuses, every portion devoted to containing costs, every phrase extending health care to the nation’s young adults and working poor.

I say, for I did not know this. Also, what I want to know is how Barr is going to help those who need the Affordable Care Act. Well... this seems to be the answer:

It is essential, Barr contends, that the court rip insurance from 21 million people covered by the ACA health insurance marketplaces and Medicaid expansion; that the court deny insurance to 2 million young adults covered by their parents’ plans; that the court foreclose substance abuse treatment to 800,000 Americans suffering opioid addiction.

It is critical, Barr insists, to deprive the ACA’s guarantee of medical insurance access to 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and to increase medication and premium costs for 60 million senior citizens on Medicare. Also, of course, Barr says, the court must restore the medical insurance caps that bankrupted and killed Americans who suffered diseases that are expensive to treat, like cancer, or whose babies were born prematurely requiring costly long-term care.
I say! For this means that Barr wants to rip the medical insurance of some 150 milliom Americans (or 133 million if the 21 million are included in the 133 million).

Well... I said in 2016 that in my psychologists' opinion, Trump is insane (and yes, I have extensive experiences with insane persons) and I wrote on the same day that I think that Trump is a neofascist.

I still think so, and I now include William Barr as a neofascist.

Here is a basic explanation for those who need basic explanations:

People who drive a Mercedes, spend half a million bucks to get their children into high-status universities and lull away weekends at $3 million Nantucket beach homes will always have health care. The price is irrelevant to them. Even if denied insurance, they can afford chemotherapy, or the monthly bill for insulin or the cost of a leg broken in a sail-boating accident.

For everyone else, for coal miners and code writers, for registered nurses and Starbucks baristas, for Amazon warehouse workers and independent truck drivers, health insurance is vital. Workers, whether low-income or middle class, don’t have hundreds of thousands sitting around for a heart transplant or repeated cancer treatments or neonatal care.

Yes, of course. And here is some more evidence of how sick other Republicans get:

As a result, Republican governors and lawmakers denied Medicaid to millions of eligible low-income working people and their families. Some Republican governors went so far as to defy the will of the people of their states. In Maine, for example, voters approved expanding Medicaid in 2017 in a binding referendum by 59-to-41 percent after the Republican governor five times vetoed Medicaid expansion proposals. Even after the referendum and a court decision ordering expansion, the Republican governor refused to do it. Not until a Democrat took the governor’s seat this year did it happen. Similarly, Virginia and Kansas got Medicaid extensions only after they elected Democratic governors.

In Idaho and Utah, just like Maine, Republicans are defying the will of the people in their states who passed referendums to extend Medicaid.

I fear all of that is quite true. Here is the ending of this article:
The message is clear: to Republicans, health care is a right only for the rich; the rest can suffer and die. The GOP Hippocratic oath is: Do vast harm.
Yes, given the evidence that is in this article that is alas quite true. And this is a strongly recommended article.

4. Robert Mueller, the media and the "Russia skeptics"

This article is by Andrew O'Hehir on Salon. I abbreviated the title. It starts as follows:

It’s not all that surprising, I think, that Robert Mueller has filed his report to the Justice Department on whether President Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russians and we don’t really know what’s in it. What’s perhaps more surprising is that Mueller’s unread report has become yet another symbolic black box in a world that seems full of them, a mysterious cipher that represents everything we don’t know, don’t understand and don’t agree on — and perhaps on some broader plane the difficulty of knowing anything for sure, amid the existential disorder of American democracy.

That’s too much weight to carry, no doubt. I’m as curious to read Mueller’s full report as the next person, but I hold out no hope that it will resolve all unanswered questions about the nature of Donald Trump and what really happened in the 2016 election.

Well... I consider all of the above obviously true, but add that one must be fairly to very naive to expect from any government's report (by any government, I'd add) "that it will resolve all unanswered questions".

Also, I have read too little of Salon and also too little of O'Hehir to say what their position on - let's say - Russiagate was since 2016, but it seems to me that the opinions of O'Hehir on that question were (and are) not mine.

Here is some more:

[T]his has been a bonanza week for the tribe of “Russia skeptics” on the left. By that term I mean those who believe that elaborate conspiracy theories about Trump, the Russians and the 2016 election, and an accompanying mystical reverence for Robert Mueller and his sacred task, were either completely delusional or a waste of time (or both).

Perhaps the leading Russia skeptics in the media are Intercept editor and former Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald and Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, although there are certainly others. I have a cordial relationship with Greenwald (although I don't know him well), who recently told Democracy Now! that mainstream had gotten the Russia story "radically, fundamentally and deliberately wrong ... in a very dangerous way."

Well... as far as I am concerned - and I have read most of Greenwald's writing on Russiagate - I think Greenwald was almost completely correct on this issue.

Here is some more:

Arrayed against them, of course, have been the “Russia alarmists” of the mainstream media, led by Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes of MSNBC, Jonathan Chait of New York magazine and an army of establishmentarian talking heads, including former CIA director John Brennan, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and numerous others. Following their lead, if more cautiously and with more attention to detail, have been the teams of reporters and editors at the New York Times, the Washington Post and elsewhere, who have consistently produced defensible but arguably slanted reporting along the lines of “beneath all this smoke, there’s got to be a fire.”

I think all of the above were not only quite mistaken, but also quite dishonest. Also, these liars wrote most of the mainstream news that most Americans consume.

I still do not know either O'Hehir's position or Salon's position, but I suppose by now it was considerably more pro Russiagate than myself, Greenwald or the VIPS.

Here is the ending of this article, which is plain baloney:

But the really important part, I believe, is not to keep a scorecard of who’s right and who’s wrong, but to recognize that nobody is 100 percent right about any of this. In the famous words of screenwriter William Goldman, nobody knows anything.

Well... as to the first statement above:

If you believe that it is "really important" "
not to keep a scorecard of who’s right and who’s wrong", firstly you are not thinking as a journalist, and secondly you should (and would) not have written the present article.

And as to the second statement (" the famous words of screenwriter William Goldman", which I never heard before, and whom I never heard of):

As quoted it is pure bullshit, for the simple reason that every sane adult knows quite a number of things, to start with the language in which Goldman denies he knows anything. And I do not think this is an honest article, and will not recommend it.

5. 'Shame!': DHS Asks for Power to Deport Unaccompanied Children

This article is by Eoin Higgins on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:

The Donald Trump administration is looking at ways to codify deportation of unaccompanied minors, a move that was decried by progressives, liberals, and even some on the right.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in a letter to Congress, asked for authority to begin deportation of children who arrive at the border without accompanying parents or family members.

I say! Well... I have said above that given the opinions of William Barr, who wants to exclude something like 125 million or more poor Americans from being medically insured, that Barr is a neofascist, and I now also include Kirstjen Nielsen.

Here is some more on Nielsen:

The request—which also asks for the authority to keep families seeking asylum in detention while they await their cases being heard and for the authority to allow requests for asylum to be done in their home countries rather than at the border—is likely a non-starter. The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is not inclined to vote in favor of helping DHS, or the Trump administration more broadly, with immigration. 

Nielsen also took her case to the American people via Twitter in a lengthy thread detailing her goals for the request.

"My greatest concern is for the children," said Nielsen, "who are put at high risk by this emergency and who are arriving sicker than ever before after traveling on the treacherous trek."

First of all, I do not think that families seeking asylum commited any crime by seeking asylum, and I also think that the only persons who should be locked up "in detention" are those who have provably committed a crime, which means that I think Nielsen's request seems to me to be a form of criminal sadism.

And second of all, she gets a first prize for sickening hypocrisy: Your greatest concern is not at all for the children; your greatest concern is to keep as many people as is possible - always excepting white billionaires - from immigrating into the USA.

Then again, I am happy that "the
Democratic majority in the House of Representatives is not inclined to vote in favor of helping DHS, or the Trump administration more broadly, with immigration", so Nielsen's plans are less likely to be realized.

Here is one last bit that shows that not all Republicans have lost their humanity:

Even Nicolle Wallace—a proud Republican and the former communications director for George W. Bush, for whom Nielsen also worked—was amazed.

"What is happening??" Wallace tweeted. 

Yes indeed, and this is a strongly recommended article.

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 3 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
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