BEYOND TRUMP: The issues are more important than Trump. Trump’s election turned a spotlight on some of the worst elements of this nation. This is good, because those elements have always been there, but now they are exposed for all to see. This is bad, because it helps normalize the hate and inhumanity.
What future do you want? What does the world look like 20 years from now? Are the prisons overflowing? Are we at war? Does the future seem bright or dim? Work toward your future.
RIGHT ON THE RIGHT?: This is unsettling. I agree with the CEO of Newsmax. How is that even possible? I’m so discombobulated I can’t even link to the Newsmax page. Here’s the Vox explainer. It’s not my favorite health care plan, but I’d be impressed it this gained traction among other conservatives.
Ditch the Freedom Caucus and the handful of Senate Republicans who want a complete repeal of Obamacare. They don’t agree with universal coverage and will never be placated. Find a few parts of Ryancare II [i.e., the AHCA; Ryancare I refers to Paul Ryan’s longstanding desire to privatize Medicare] that can win passage in the House and Senate with either GOP support or bipartisan support. Declare victory. Rekindle the bipartisanship in Congress that President Obama destroyed. Impanel a bipartisan committee to report back by year’s end with a feasible plan to fix Obamacare. Reject the phony private health insurance market as the panacea. Look to an upgraded Medicaid system to become the country’s blanket insurer for the uninsured. Tie Medicaid funding to states with the requirement that each pass legislation to allow for a truly nationwide health care market. Get Democrats to agree to modest tort reform to help lower medical costs. While bolstering Medicare and improving Medicaid, get Republicans and Democrats to back the long-term fix of health savings accounts. This allows individuals to fund their own health care and even profit from it.
PERSISTENT RESISTANCE: Don’t forget to check out the Resistance Calendar.
ALERT TIP: Go to Google News. Search for Your State & legislature (and put it in quotes, so for me it’s “Florida legislature”.) Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the button Create Alert. Set up your alert (say, for once a day). Now, you’ll get emails when a news source mentions Your State legislature. This is one way to keep track of you local state government.
WORD OF THE DAY: Teratocracy – Rule by monsters.
Jamais Cascio contemplates teratocracy in three posts from 2011/2012.
“The real test of whether a society that uses a plebiscite to determine leadership is really a democracy is whether the losing party accepts the loss and the legitimacy of their opponent’s victory. This is especially true for when the losing party previously held power. Do they give up power willingly, confident that they’ll have a chance to regain power again in the next election? Or do they take up arms against the winners, refuse to relinquish power, and/or do everything they can to undermine the legitimacy of the opposition’s rule?”
“It’s the business of the future to be dangerous, as Alfred North Whitehead said, and you don’t get much more dangerous than attacks on the legitimacy of democracy. By no means is it guaranteed that this movement will win; in fact, I think it’s more likely than not that they prove unable to get rid of democracy, although they are more likely to weaken it considerably, at least for a time. But that they are willing to attack the fundamental philosophy of the modern state in such blunt language, and have the resources to do more than just write noisy blog posts, suggests that this fight will be neither brief nor insubstantial.”
“American democracy is shifting from debates over policy to debates over legitimacy.”
THE WEEK’S MOST STOMACH-CHURNING MOMENT: Sean Spicer laughs about Trump’s blatant lying and the press room guffaws along with him.
Throughout the campaign Trump disparaged the jobs numbers as ‘phony.’ When the first jobs report of his presidency is positive, they are suddenly not phony.
SIX YEARS OF SYRIAN WAR: The protests that sparked the Syrian Civil War were held on March 15, 2011.
MASS INCARCERATION: Excellent snapshot of our current prison system.
“This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why people are locked up in all of those different types of facilities.”
SHRINKAGE: Trump has instructed OMB Director Mulvaney to shrink the executive branch of the government. Remember Clinton did this in 1993 and tasked Gore with leading the ‘reinvention of government.’ Gore’s plan, despite Congressional resistance, eliminated thousands of field offices, reduced the government workforce by 24,000 employees, and saved billions of dollars. ‘Small government’ Republican voters, of course, voted for Bush who instigated one of the largest (if not THE largest) spending increases ever in the federal government. I expect Mulvaney will recommend cutting Executive Departments to the bone and for it to have very little impact on the overall budget.
WINNER WINNER: Congratulations to Ken Fisher AKA Ruben Bolling for winning the 2017 Herblock Award.