Blue Wave, Red Trough- World Comes Down on Trump and GOP.

#NeverTrump

Donald Trump and the Republican Party are both in full meltdown. Over the course of this chaotic week, we have seen just about everything go wrong for these people.

It was not even five full days ago that the FBI raided the office, home and hotel room of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney.

Since then, CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza has pointed out that there has been the staggering figure of twenty-six major headlines dealing with the Trump administration. With thanks to his assistance in compiling the list, we thought it was best left in the raw.

Monday:
Tuesday:
Wednesday:
Thursday:
Friday:

What a week.

For the purposes of posterity, every one of these things should be kept an eye on, so that we might raise awareness about them. But in the here and now, it’s only necessary to look at the general trend. You don’t have time to examine each drop of water in a flood, nor is that necessary, in order to understand that it’s time to seek high ground.

Nor have things been better for the other Republicans, which is good. Not in the history of America, have we seen a weaker and more morally bankrupt set of criminals stinking up the halls of our great government.

But at least one of them will soon be gone! Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking member of the House of Representatives is the latest to join a flood of Republicans to decide against seeking re-election. He wasn’t even the only one to do so that day.

GOP Representative Dennis Ross of Florida told his hometown paper that his fourth term in the House will be his last.

This is all very ominous, for the GOP. A Blue Wave, and a Red undertow.

In this world, there are few things certain, but one thing we can count on is being presented with bills to pay.

For Donald Trump and the GOP, the check has bounced.

As this was going to publishing, a determined Western coalition including the United States, Great Britain, and France launched strikes against targets at three sites in Syria in the early hours of Saturday morning, following a week of threats of retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in the Damascus enclave of Douma.

The world is teetering on the brink of war, this morning, and the worst people in the country are in charge of running it.

Sleep well, America!

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Our Last 100 Years? Climate Change and Partisan Denial.

Merry Christmas!
“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

This tweet was Donald Trump’s reaction to the news that it’s going to be a cold New Year’s Day out East.

Climate refers to atmospheric action over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s to be happening in the near future. The climate can be thought of as the sum of long periods of weather. The climate is the forest; the weather is the trees.

The percentage of Americans unaware of this is dangerously high already and growing.

In 2016, Stephen Hawking made a dire prediction. In 1000 years or less, the human race would not survive. Epidemics, rogue AI, and various other factors would combine to make the planet unfit for human life.

Many of us, knowing the brilliance of Hawking’s mind, read those words and shivered. They were, after all, surrounded by the rest of the news.

But here we are at the end of 2017, and Hawking has come up with some new numbers!

Thanks to modern-day health care, 100 years is nearly a lifetime, but in May, Hawking proposed that this is how long humans have left on Earth.

Where’d the other 900 go? In a word? Trump. You read the tweet.

In July, Hawking told the BBC that humanity is at a “tipping point”. If we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

But a week of cold temperatures was enough for our president to call for more global warming.

Nor was this said in jest. Trump used the frigid East Coast weather as an opportunity to boast of what a good decision he’d made, in withdrawing from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Hawking predicted that humanity’s natural greed would impede us from being able to properly address this problem.

According to Hawking, Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of this deal might turn out to be the final step towards the drastic climate problems scientists have been warning us about.

Trump’s history of climate change denial highlights a number of problems our society is currently solving.

A presidential administration hostile to climate science is a disaster. It is certain to deepen the already endemic scepticism on the topic existant in American political life.

Scientific reality has not escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States.

Scepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP has been a worsening problem over the course of the last decade.

Like it or not, fossil-fuel corporations relative to the government have a gigantic power and influence over the conduct of the rest of us because they’re the ones who own so much of the information we see. They pay a lot of money to keep this issue frozen in political polarity.

As for Trump himself, his record of making stupid remarks about climate change goes back years. In 2015, he tweeted out something nearly identical to the nonsense he spit out today. As soon as he selected Scott Pruitt to run his Environmental Protection Agency, we could already guess at the rest.

Not long before taking office, Pruitt co-wrote an article claiming that scientists “disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Trump’s choice to run the Energy Department, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, claimed “the science is not settled” on climate change.

His pick to lead the Interior Department, Republican Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said that global warming is “not proven science.”

Most Americans know that climate change is real. According to a poll done by Yale, six out of ten Americans consider themselves worried about it.

However, this is where we encounter the crux of the problem; in fact, of all problems dealing with why change in America comes so hard and slow. We are not getting our information from the same sources anymore.

Conservative media and political mouthpieces such as the Koch– funded Tea Party have created a toxic environment for healthy discourse. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as an “alt-fact”. There’s only errors, blunders, and lies.

If they can succeed in helping people to forget this, they can blur the lines of truthful news and spread cynicism like a plague. What better way to turn a good country into a lousy mess?

Back to our subject, the same Yale poll, Climate Change in the American Mind, finds that although people are indeed legitimately concerned about global warming, if you include a partisan watchword in the question, people start answering through a different frame.

They give the answer that matches their political affiliation, even if they may harbour doubts about it.

For instance, on the question of whether scientists near-unanimously agree that human industrial activity is causing global warming, there is vast partisan disagreement.

Lest there be any doubt on this issue, they do; nearly every study finds unanimity on this issue among scientists.

But only 13 percent of Republicans are aware that is the case, as compared to 55 percent of Democrats.

Climate science scepticism within the GOP has intensified greatly since 2016. Trump’s administration has made every effort to combat anti-global warming efforts as an expensive waste of time.

His withdrawal from the Paris Accord has now increased the odds of a species-ending disaster to the point where Stephen Hawking, for one, has lost all hope.

Trump has made a habit of airing his climate scepticism on Twitter. He has snidely tweeted on the topic of “climate change” or “global warming” more than 100 times since 2011. But it’s more alarming now by far. He’s the President these days.

Some people are bound to follow him, no matter how hard we fight against normalizing his administration. It’s that same recalcitrant third of our populace who says they’d support Trump over Jesus. 

There’s been something in the air these last few years. Instinctively, everyone seems to know that the species is at a crossroads and coming closer and closer to being forced down one path or the other.

We have all made decisions we regret; we have all burned bridges before. There is no walking backwards in time. We learn from these things, we move forward, and we try to help others learn from our mistakes. But when speaking of a geological extinction event, one has to realize there won’t be any more moving forward.

Add your voice to ours, with measured conviction, and help to save the world. Donald Trump’s moronic attempts at levity notwithstanding, it really is that serious. Somehow, we have got to find a way to spread the word. Or the days of saying things like Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are going to be coming to an end, real soon.

Image result for when the last tree is cut
Why Climate Change Matters

Modern Indulgences- Trump and the Religious Right.

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right declared itself for Trump, with great enthusiasm and thunderous applause. Trump went on one of his rants about saying Merry Christmas, and the crowd went wild.

This is a travesty, and a hard to understand one. This president is the antithesis of every religion’s value systems, all of which emphasize right living and a connection with a higher power. Trump is a sack of walking debauchery. Christmas will not be merry at all, until he’s been shown the White House door. Neither will Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday.

The Values Voter Summit is an annual political conference, held in Washington, D.C. for ultra- conservative operatives and elected officials from across the United States.The president was received there as a conquering hero, especially after declaring that there’s been a War on Christmas going on all this time, and that it has just been won.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that if the president wanted to win an imaginary war, he might have invested some of his billions into an X-Box.

Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, who both were fired from the White House due to their virulent extremism, were both present, and both out for blood. “There is a time and season for everything,” said Bannon. “And right now, it’s a season for war against a GOP establishment.” The whole event was a fraud. That’s a room full of people at war with itself.

This is the bill being presented to the likes of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. The alt-right is a golem, called forth to do the bidding of a small and shrinking group of men. And like any golem worth its salt, it has risen to consume its masters.

These are the fruits of the policies that the Conservative Coalition started. This term refers to an unofficial, Tea-Party like outfit in the U.S. Congress that existed between the 1960’s and 1990’s. Its goal was to bring together the Northern Republicans and the minority of Southern Democrats who were incapable of changing with the times.

The term became obsolete once there weren’t any Democrats left; we showed the door to the reactionary and bigoted elements of the Democratic Party long ago. The philosophy and approach lived on, however, and seems to be making an unfortunate comeback.

Many people think this way of doing business came largely to an end with Jerry Falwell’s declaration to end the Moral Majority in 1989, declaring under George H.W. Bush that their goals had been achieved. It didn’t. It just shifted gears and chose a new name.

Since then, America has continued watching the process of one of its political parties drained utterly of mercy and benevolence. This has never been so clear as since Trump took office.

Over this last year, the Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, and the education system. The Environmental Protection Agency was placed in the charge of Oklahoma’s former attorney general, Scott Pruitt, a man who has spent his entire life opposing it.

They want to defund Planned Parenthood, they want to restrict abortion. Legislature has been proposed in sixteen states to stifle public protest. Increased risk of violence against transgender persons and other at-risk groups are the inevitable result of a roll back of anti-discrimination laws, but they do not seem to hold this important.

What they do hold important is to funnel wealth from the poorest to the richest. Their desire seems to be to roll back the clock arbitrarily, to a time that most of us are very glad is past. All of this is being done with the full support and sanction of the religious right, who are making big bank too.

This is why they were so happy to see the election of Donald Trump. They knew he would be good for their finances. Franklin Graham at the time said that he was convinced it was the “hand of God that got Donald Trump elected. Not Wiki-leaky, or anything else. The hand of God”.

The finances of the people who make up their congregations were not considered. Even the ability of those people to receive basic health care and keep breathing was ignored, as none of them were heard protesting Trump’s decision to gore Obamacare. The disgraceful examples set by Trump, i.e. greed, profligacy, nepotism, corruption, etc. were shown a blind eye also. Even the infamous “Grab em” tape in which he blatantly proves himself a sex offender didn’t do the trick. All of it was ignored.

One thing only was taken into account- their plan to lay waste the First Amendment, with its insistence on enforcing the separation of church and state.

Leaders of the religious right recently started demanding federal benefits for churches hit by Hurricane Harvey, even as the cleanup started. It seems innocuous, but actually it represents a highly significant milestone in their plan to lay waste the First Amendment. They have preparing groundwork to lay claim to public funds for a long time.

If they can gain a toehold by getting legal recognition collecting federal money, they can slowly worm their way into positions of influence in a government they are legally forbidden to enter.

This is why they’ll forgive Trump anything. It’s why Franklin Graham attributed his victory to the Hand of God, and not “Wiki-leaky, or anything else”.

The way the whole thing works out is markedly similar to the historical sale of indulgences, where corrupt priests caused an entire Reformation, selling God’s permission to live licentiously to the rich. Wow. In the meantime, we’re to start saying Merry Christmas again, but one wonders what Christ might think.

It’s all being made possible by Donald Trump, which is why they’ll forgive him anything. Martin Luther must be turning over in his grave, to see Protestants selling indulgences. The whole operation drags the spirit of the church through the mud like nothing since the Spanish Inquisition.

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,” President Donald Trump said on Friday. “That’s what’s happening. We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

It is the very definition of irony, that the people who’ve been screaming about the End of Times and the Antichrist all these years, would end up lining up with the guy who best fits the description. For Democrats, this all provides a pleasant reminder of the reasons we can look at ourselves in the mirror and sleep at night.

 

The Koch Network- Enemies of Democracy Revealed.

When examining American political life today, the discussion has to include the Koch network. This conglomerate of groups covers a wide range of recent and radically conservative organizations, such as the infamous Tea Party movement. They have been responsible for a great deal of trouble in recent history as a result. It is therefore worth taking a close look at who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it.

Charles and David, the Koch brothers, are the sons of Frederick C. Koch, who co-founded Koch Industries. It has grown to be the second-largest privately held company in the United States, of which they own 84%. If their individual fortunes were combined in one place, they would likely represent the wealthiest person on earth.

They have used this gargantuan wealth to subjugate one of the two parties and subordinate it to an ultra-conservative and authoritarian agenda. They have spent a fortune on it. Most estimates show numbers of more than a billion dollars, every one of which proves the rise of the Tea Party movement was far from an accident. It was orchestrated, and it was well funded. It also had a deliberate aim: to destroy Washington’s ability to pay for its social programs, which would be to break Washington itself.

In this way, bothersome regulations passed down from the Teddy Roosevelt era could be smashed at last. Unions could have their backs broken, forever. The era of graft and corruption and big bosses could return with a police state to back it up. They tipped their hand when they used Wisconsin as a model, by creating the golem known as Scott Walker.

In short, the entire apparatus of American government itself, is to gradually be delivered, bound hand and foot, to the door of big capital, thereafter to act at its behest. Fascists are not against centralized authority per se, although they will make such a pretense if expedience requests it. They fight it because they are trying to gain control of it. It’s an exercise in reverse engineering. They want to strip it down to the core and reassemble it, to suit their laissez-faire agenda. The goal is as ugly as it is audacious.

Koch Industries was initially a company for refining crude oil, which has always played a big part in the Koch family fortune, dating back to the 1930’s. Fred Koch was one of its founding members. He was a founding member in another organization also- the John Birch Society.

The society was built on Fred Koch’s oil money in the 1950’s. It can fairly be considered the center of neo-conservative politics. Both the JBS and the Tea Party fit into this mold of liberalism being the root of all evil, mustrust and hostility toward persons of color and other groups of at-risk persons, and a deep seeded fear of change.

This value system, which is typified by racism, nationalism, and an ideologically devoid will to power, is the essence and spirit of fascism. So the question begs asking: when did Fred Koch become so attached to the ideas he passed on to his sons? Foreign radicalism is generally not thought to have taken deep root over here. But evidence now suggests that may not be the case at all.

One book, “The Kochs, A Nazi Past, Oil & The Foundation of The Rights,” by Damien Crisp, claimed that Fred C. Koch was both related to and involved with Hitler-era Nazis. Crisp made the statement that “Koch Industries is the child of the violence of Buchenwald.”

Information concerning the family backgrounds of Buchenwald commandant Karl and Ilse Koch is hard to find, and it should be noted that this claim is unproven. While there are fragments of information that suggestively connect the American and German Kochs, and although it gives a clear image of the sentiment behind the Tea Party and conservative American politics since the 1950s, the connection between the Buchenwald Kochs and Fred Koch is tenuous at best and should probably be discounted.

Democrats fight with honor, and have no need to rely on disinformation. That’s what the German Kochs were doing back then, and that’s what the American Kochs do now. The significance of this claim, lies rather in the fact that it’s so easy to believe and that its belief is prevalent.

If you have embarked down a course of conduct that makes you resemble those two monsters(Karl was executed by other Nazis for corruption, whilst Ilse, known best for her plan to make lampshades of the skins of tattooed Jewish prisoners, was the only woman charged for war crimes during WW2), closely enough so that millions of people would suspect to ask this question and believe the accusation true, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that you ought to cut it out.

However, although there is no solid evidence the American Fred Koch was related to Ilse’s family, there are ties to other Nazis named Koch that are far more solid. Erich Koch was a Nazi official placed in charge of Prussia in the days of Nazi Germany, who invited Fred Koch to sell his oil there. After the Nazi fall, Erich and Fred Koch expanded their oil empire to the Soviet Union. Erich Koch had been in charge of Prussia for Hitler, so his ties to the neighboring Soviet Union ran deep. However, a few years later, the Soviets purged some of his colleagues and prosecuted Erich for war crimes.

Fred Koch returned to the US as the most fervent anti-communist crusader one could imagine, and was allowed to do business in the States again. He hated Communism and Communists so much that he even expressed public admiration of Mussolini’s tactics against it. When he embraced this sort of thinking, he started down a road that led him to become a staunch opponent of civil rights. He grew more rigid as he grew older, and he passed both his grudge and his empire to the sons who have carried on his causes.

Since then, the brothers have attempted to impose this secretive agenda on the rest of America. Significant financial contributions by the fascist Koch network have been made to conservative, Libertarian, and Republican causes by way of effecting these changes. They pledged to spend $889 million from 2009–2016, and although the Citizens United ruling makes it impossible to say exactly how close they came, most specialists agree that this estimate is very low. The political infrastructure they have built has been said by Politico to rival that of the Republican National Committee.

Conveniently, the Koch brothers’ fervent commitment to libertarianism coincides precisely with their foremost, bottom-line interest: the elimination of government regulations aimed at containing toxic pollution and ozone-damaging emissions. Koch companies are spewing these everywhere. Around the country, around the clock.

It is no accident that Scott Pruitt ended up heading the EPA. It was one of the concessions made by Trump’s team to reconcile themselves with the Koch brothers, who were opposed to him all the way up until when it became inevitable he’d be the Republican candidate.

Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, recently published a  book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, detailing the corrosive practices of the Koch network.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right”, or what we now have come to think of as the alt-right, to to prepare a counterattack. The attacks came from the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

At some point, the Libertarians, particularly people who are part of the apparatus in one way or another — either academics or the think-tanks — weighed in, and did the same thing with my work as they have done with climate science,” says MacLean.

MacLean’s book charts the “radical right’s stealth plan” through the fortunes and influence of the late James M Buchanan, a pioneer of so-called economic “public choice theory” who was awarded a Nobel memorial prize in economics in 1986. For a look at his thinking process, we can look to the explanation given by Buchanan himself in a famous essay. By helping the unlucky, we cushion them against the consequences of their bad choices.

Luckily for no one, the dutiful Kochs are busy as can be even now, making sure to seek out and destroy every such cushion they can find.

Their most visible front is Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded by David Koch. This branch comprises the ground forces of the Koch Network. They hold rallies in 34 states, they bus people into them, and they use them to exert pressure for their anti-government, anti-education Libertarian agenda. For example, Koch think tanks spend at least $19.4 million annually, to cripple the public school systems.

The Koch donor network has exploited Buchanan’s economic system to mutate the rules of American politics. This is exactly the sentiment voiced by Republicans of both branches of Congress who voted to strip away Obamacare.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Doug Deason, one of the few known donors in the Koch network’s fundraising rolodex, told GOP leaders recently. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done.”

Every new proposal the Republicans tried jamming through the Congress would have sorely punished people with preexisting medical conditions. They were perfectly aware of this, of course. Congressman Mo Brooks even touted it as a benefit in one CNN interview, stating that the new bill has the advantage of “reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives.” This is a pure application of James Buchanan. The term he used was “misguided Good Samaritanism”.

In the wake of America’s increasing disgust with Trump, the Koch brothers are currently enjoying a new level of ascendancy. The announcement last week by the Koch network that Vice President Mike Pence will be the keynote speaker at the brothers’ policy and political strategy meeting, set for October 12 and 13 in Manhattan, is a big sign.

Another sign was the placement of Americans for Prosperity president, Tim Phillips, just one seat from Trump at a White House dinner last week for conservative group leaders. Phillips has long been one of the Kochs’ top lieutenants. In announcing Pence’s appearance, top Koch aide James Davis crowed, “Pence truly understands how good policies can help all Americans improve their lives.”

Also notable was that the only Trump cabinet member at the dinner, seated across the long table from the president, was Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. Pruitt, the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, has literally spent his entire life fighting the agency that he is now the head of. This appointment in particular embodies the Trump administration’s desire to turn over crucial environment and energy policy decisions to the collective fossil fuel and chemical industries of which the Kochs are bedrock members.

This donor network has been tremendously successful in the spreading of self-serving misinformation to elected officials. They’re doing it for banal reasons like the rights to save money dumping waste in local rivers. This is why climate change is a reality the oil moguls do not want to face.

The consequences of that policy are so far reaching and brutal in their effects, that they require most of the populace to be kept in a disgraceful state of ignorance. They can’t let us learn, because what they’re up to is so obvious, and they don’t really bother to hide it. They just counterattack with viciousness and lies. A people softened up by decades of misinformation coming from the Koch Brothers and others were lambs to the slaughter for disinformation coming from the Russians.

It’s a liberal tendency to assume that Republicans and the right wing media can’t possibly really believe its message, but there’s too much evidence that the contrary might be true. At the level of the populace, those who deliver and receive the message are being manipulated by their fears, for a profit so large that it’s hard to imagine: global domination in total. This reality has to be faced and fully realized before counter-efforts will prove effective.

The disastrous election of Donald Trump has had one good effect and one only- it has brought America’s people to the point where more and more people are recognizing the issue and acknowledging the problem. Women in particular are mobilizing like never before. We must all join their struggle, en masse and in dead earnest.

That is the only hope we have of taking back the reins of our democracy.

If the majority understood what they were doing, they would stop it. I think that’s a really powerful thing to know,” said MacLean.

They are doing all of this in the knowledge that they can’t win if they say openly what their end game is. If people work to patiently inform and activate the majority, then they could be stopped.”

Moving forward, our goal will be to do exactly that. We will spread the word every way we can. We will also be sure to avoid the past errors of excess and rage that awareness of these people and their garbage have caused in the past. It’s understandable to want to get back at people who are hurting you, but if in so doing, you strengthen their position, you are only making sure you get hurt some more.

We have learned from the lessons of Occupy. We won’t make those kinds of mistakes again. We will remain calm. We will acknowledge the existence of their propaganda tanks. We will drag them out into the light. We will refute both their pseudoscience and their petty lies.

We will learn to recognize their organizational structure and the techniques they have employed to subvert our democracy. They are like poison ivy, sucking life out of a grand old oak tree. The record shows that clearly. We will just have to highlight it. Most importantly of all, we will continue to provide better alternatives to their unkind and ungenerous schemes. America is strong, because America is kind. The strong are always kind. We can do better than Charles and David Koch.