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Monthly Archives: November 2016


This election is a dream come true for the Dupublicans as they feel now they can run the country as they see fit ( notice I said as “they” see fit) no matter what is desired by the voters and needed to run the country. Since the existing Congress has done nothing of merit except obstruct, what do you suppose they will do for  (or to) us now? My expectations are that the Congress will create another pre 2008 scenario where the neediest will still be needy, the economy will still slide and we could very well still be at full-out war in the middle east.

Will the new President truly be President or just a shill for the Dupublican Party? After denouncing the candidate earlier, the main Dupublicans , Ryan and McConnell seem to be smiling through clenched teeth (in photos published).There are several possible scenarios for the next 4 years:

  1. Some good things will be done
  2. Our allies will be still our allies (or not)
  3. The Congress will continue their anti citizen activities
  4. None of his agenda will be accomplished but stifled by the Congress or replaced with what they like.
  5. Trumps backers will remember him for what he did not do and not elect him
  6. Trump will find that the Presidency is not another Trump Company that he can control.
  7. The Trump method of lashing out at the media over what is reported (true or not) will be watched and tested.
  8.  There are a number of unknowns for the actions of this President who in my opinion has a business (his) as usual attitude toward the top office.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Unfortunately the proof of good or bad will come at a cost to all of us. It has become a national concern and not just the cause of  fringe elements. Our only job in this is to start now and assessing what your elected officials have done in the past 4 years, pay more attention to the news (real news) about politics. The key to good government is a well informed public.

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The current political after “party” is a watchable event. The Dupublicans are still in a quandary as to what to expect from “their” President. Their expectations are high in getting “their” agenda in place. Our expectations as voters is preparing for the worse and hoping for the best. Our first issue is to insure all eligible voters do vote in upcoming local, State and Federal elections. Since we do not know who will be running for what offices aside from the existing office holders we need to pay attention to any upcoming potential candidates. The Trump administration will be a demonstration of disarray that will affect us all for years to come. The people in his administration are not dumb people but true idealists who have lost sight of what Government is about. Their focus is on converting Mr. Trumps statements into implementable items. The issue will be what the Dupublican Congress will allow to be done and what the Congress will push for. Either way there is a boil brewing in government that will not move us too far ahead of where we are now. The primary things to watch” Education, The High court, International relations and Health care. The smaller issues are the rise of the Racist fringe and the unenlightened who only want something better for themselves and their families. At some point the unenlightened will become enlightened and understand their situation has not changed much since their Congressional representatives are not doing anything different. You can be sure that the Pro-Trump media and the near to far right media will be extolling the actions of the Trump administration while the “main stream media” will be trying to keep the truth out there.

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This article caught my eye while scanning news for this blog. Even though I already know that Racists do what Racist do, Bigots- religious, gender, ethnic  or any other types do what they do. These are the folks emboldened by Mr. Trump. His tolerance of their actions before and now after the election amounts to abetting criminals as evidenced in the article below. This is not just about Race, this is about America as we want it to be and as the Constitution provides. MA

Opinion

November 27, 2016 1:53 PM

They said despicable things about the Obamas but say they’re not racists. Yes, they are

04:15

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“The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right.”

A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.

We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help.

By day, John Jansen is head of engineering at Master-McNeil Inc., a tech company in Berkeley, Calif. In the interest of real news he helped us track down the owner of Denverguardian.com.

Jansen started by looking at the site’s history. “Commonly that’s called scraping or crawling websites,” he says.

Jansen is kind of like an archaeologist. He says that nothing you do on the Web disappears — it just gets buried — like a fossil. But if you do some digging you’ll find those fossils and learn a lot of history.

The “Denver Guardian” was built and designed using a pretty common platform — WordPress. It’s used by bloggers and people who want to create their own websites. Jansen found that the first entry ever for the site was done by someone with the handle LetTexasSecede.

“That was sort of the thread that started to unravel everything,” Jansen says. “I was able to track that through to a bunch of other sites which are where that handle is also present.”

The sites include NationalReport.net, USAToday.com.co, WashingtonPost.com.co. All the addresses linked to a single rented server inside Amazon Web Services. That meant they were all very likely owned by the same company. Jansen found an email address on one of those sites and was able to link that address to a name: Jestin Coler.

Online, Coler was listed as the founder and CEO of a company called Disinfomedia. Coler’s LinkedIn profile said he once sold magazine subscriptions, worked as a database administrator and as a freelance writer for among others, International Yachtsman magazine. And, using his name, we found a home address.

On a warm, sunny afternoon I set out with a producer for a suburb of Los Angeles. Coler lived in a middle-class neighborhood of pastel-colored one-story beach bungalows. His home had an unwatered lawn — probably the result of California’s ongoing drought. There was a black minivan in the driveway and a large prominent American flag.

We rang the front doorbell and a man answered, his face obscured by a heavy mesh steel screen. I asked for Jestin Coler. The man indicated that’s who he was. But when I asked about Disinfomedia, he said, “I don’t know what to tell you guys. Have a good day.”

We left Coler our contact information thinking he wasn’t likely to talk. But a couple of hours later he had a change of heart. He sent us an email and we set up an interview.

Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right.

“The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could kind of infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction,” Coler says.

He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.

“What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened,” Coler says

During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. “It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they’re about to get served,” Coler says. “It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election.”

Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.

Coler’s company, Disinfomedia, owns many faux news sites — he won’t say how many. But he says his is one of the biggest fake-news businesses out there, which makes him a sort of godfather of the industry.

At any given time, Coler says, he has between 20 and 25 writers. And it was one of them who wrote the story in the “Denver Guardian” that an FBI agent who leaked Clinton emails was killed. Coler says that over 10 days the site got 1.6 million views. He says stories like this work because they fit into existing right-wing conspiracy theories.

“The people wanted to hear this,” he says. “So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then … our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.”

And as the stories spread, Coler makes money from the ads on his websites. He wouldn’t give exact figures, but he says stories about other fake-news proprietors making between $10,000 and $30,000 a month apply to him. Coler fits into a pattern of other faux news sites that make good money, especially by targeting Trump supporters.

However, Coler insists this is not about money. It’s about showing how easily fake news spreads. And fake news spread wide and far before the election. When I pointed out to Coler that the money gave him a lot of incentive to keep doing it regardless of the impact, he admitted that was “correct.”

Coler says he has tried to shine a light on the problem of fake news. He has spoken to the media about it. But those organizations didn’t know who he actually was. He gave them a fake name: Allen Montgomery.

Coler, a registered Democrat, says he has no regrets about his fake news empire. He doesn’t think fake news swayed the election.

“There are many factors as to why Trump won that don’t involve fake news,” he says. “As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage.

Coler doesn’t think fake news is going away. One of his sites — NationalReport.net — was flagged as fake news under a new Google policy, and Google stopped running ads on it. But Coler had other options.

“There are literally hundreds of ad networks,” he says. “Early last week, my inbox was just filled every day with people because they knew that Google was cracking down — hundreds of people wanting to work with my sites.”

Coler says he has been talking it over with his wife and may be getting out of the fake-news racket. But, he says, dozens, maybe hundreds of entrepreneurs will be ready to take his place. And he thinks it will only get harder to tell their websites from real news sites. They know now that fake news sells and they will only be in it for the money.

Below are highlights of NPR’s interview with Coler.


Interview Highlights

Tell me a little about why you started Disinfomedia?

Late 2012, early 2013 I was spending a lot of time researching what is now being referred to as the alt-right. I identified a problem with the news that they were spreading and created Disinfomedia as a response to that. The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly false or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction.

What got you engaged in this?

My educational background is in political science. I’ve always enjoyed the ideas of propaganda and misinformation. Then I coupled that with an interest in what makes things go viral. So that led me to finding those groups and ultimately to finding contributors. But it was just something I had an interest in that I wanted to pursue.

When did you notice that fake news does best with Trump supporters?

Well, this isn’t just a Trump-supporter problem. This is a right-wing issue. Sarah Palin’s famous blasting of the lamestream media is kind of record and testament to the rise of these kinds of people. The post-fact era is what I would refer to it as. This isn’t something that started with Trump. This is something that’s been in the works for a while. His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters. When we were coming up with headlines it’s always kind of about the red meat. Trump really got into the red meat. He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat.

We’ve tried to do similar things to liberals. It just has never worked, it never takes off. You’ll get debunked within the first two comments and then the whole thing just kind of fizzles out.

How many domains do you own and run?

Well, I would say there’s somewhere around 25 domains that I am currently managing. National Report has been my bread and butter, where I’ve spent most of my time. I have people who work with me and for me in developing and maintaining the other sites and social media kind of stuff. [Coler later said not all his sites are fake news.] So I, for the most part, focus on National Report, and a lot of the other stuff is run by other folks on the team.

So, you’re the publisher of an empire.

Well I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an empire but, yes, its several sites [chuckle].

How many people do you have writing for you?

It comes and goes, and as for actual employed writers, again these guys sort of make their own money through ad code. So I don’t say, ‘Hey, you have to write 10 stories this week’ and this and that. Really, we have a more free-form idea where people, when their creativity strikes them then they can write something. And if they’re in a slump then they just go dormant for a while. With that said, at any given time there’s probably 20, 25 contributors all over the country. …

Talk about the “Denver Guardian.”

Well, it’s kind of a side project. We have some people working on next steps in the fake-news industry, and that came from that whole discussion. We had purchased several domain names that sounded legitimate. … More local news sort of stories. The idea was to make the sites look as legit as possible so the home page is going to be local news and local forecast, local sports, some obituaries and things of that nature, and then the actual fake news stories were going to be buried off the home page.

We’ve tried lots of things in the past. The dot-com-dot-co domains were something I toyed in for a while. Those I quickly got away from because you don’t get away long with borrowing someone’s copyright or trademark. That was something that worked very well from a fake-news perspective. People were fooled into the domain name, but that wasn’t so much what we were after. So again, the next step was to go after more city-type sites. And the “Denver Guardian” was one of those sites.

You’re talking about the future of this (fake-news business) which looks more insidious because it’s more real?

That’s the way that it’s going to be. Not just from where I am. I mean, this is probably going to be my last run in the fake-news biz, but I can promise you that it’s not going to go away. It’s even going to grow bigger and it’s going to be harder to identify as it kind of evolves through these steps. …

Do you know who wrote the actual FBI Clinton story?

I do know who wrote the story, but only through an anonymous pen name. Privacy is something that we take very seriously in our writers group. The actual reasonings behind that story … it’s one of hundreds that have been written about mysterious deaths of Clinton associates or political foes. This one kind of took off more than others, I believe, just because of the nature of the story. The people wanted to hear this. So all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional. The town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. Then, we had our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.

Why hide your identity?

This isn’t the safest business to be in, to be honest. Just the number of death threats I’ve received. I have a beautiful family, a beautiful life.

Some of these people that we … bait is probably the right word — are often — let’s call them the deplorables, right? They’re not the safest crowd. Some of them I would consider domestic terrorists. So they’re just not people that I want to be knocking on my door.

It seems like National Report is getting spoofier.

If you went to National Report today, it’s specifically satire. “Chris Christie nominated to Supreme Food Court.” “Sarah Palin Banning Muslims from Entering Bristol Palin.” They’re a little bit more offensive than some people care for their satire. I mean fat-shaming and slut-shaming isn’t something that is normally met with applause. But again, it’s a lot more fun in nature.

Do you make serious money?

It depends on what you would call serious money. I think I do pretty well.

Can you say how well?

I would rather not. There have been some people who have been reported on recently. The folks in Long Beach that were doing just all right stuff. They were reporting $10,000 to $30,000 a month; I think that’s probably a relative ballpark.

So you’re doing as well as those?

Yes.

You’re making money through the ads?

Yes.

Who do you work with?

We have several advertisers. Google was one, although they shut down my account last week. We’ve replaced them with other advertisers.

Can I ask who?

There are literally hundreds of ad networks. Literally hundreds. Last week my inbox was just filled everyday with people, because they knew that Google was cracking down — hundreds of people wanting to work with my sites. I kind of applaud Google for their steps, although I think what they’re doing is kind of random. They don’t really have a process in place for identifying these things. I happen to know a very successful site that, as of today, of this morning is still serving Google ads. So it seems to be a kind of arbitrary step that they’re taking either based on, I don’t know if it was my reputation within the industry or specifically the “Denver Guardian” site that angered them, or I don’t know what it is, but back to your question, there’s hundreds of people that will work with me.

What can be done about fake news?

Some of this has to fall on the readers themselves. The consumers of content have to be better at identifying this stuff. We have a whole nation of media-illiterate people. Really, there needs to be something done.

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?

Sure.

Are you one of the biggest in the fake-news biz?

If you look at someone who has specifically sometimes peddled in fictional news then I think that I would probably be considered one of the larger sites.

As a liberal, do you have any regrets?

I don’t. Again, this is something that I’ve been crying about for a while. But outside of that, there are many factors as to why Trump won that don’t involve fake news, right? As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage.

You don’t feel responsible.

I do not.

Do you think you would have kept doing it if it wasn’t so lucrative?

Really, the financial part of it isn’t the only motivator for me. I do enjoy making a mess of the people that share the content that comes out of our site. It’s not just the financial incentive for me. I still enjoy the game I guess.

Would you do this all over again?

Well, I guess it came to a head here and we’re talking about it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens moving forward. If I had to, if I knew specifically the “Denver Guardian” situation, that would have been handled differently. But everything else, as far as the work I’ve done with National Report, I’m very proud of, and I’m going to continue doing it.

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Matt Bai 36 minutes ago


The next few years will be interesting. We have a “business man ” in the White House and his influence in the election has brought out the  worst elements of America. If we compare the varied factions that have appeared in this past election to the factions in the middle east we could find several similarities. These assorted and varied factions on both sides all appear to want  the same outcomes except for the extremes of each. The worst case in each is the “I want what I want and I want to blame someone else for my issues while getting it”. Mr. Trump has tapped into that sense and has gloried in it.  His ascension has unfortunately left us with void that will be filled with the “less than what we need” people to run things. I do not believe  Mr. Trump  expected (perhaps hoped not to) win but now the real job begins, he will have to put up or shut up. Being an entertainer is a world away from Government (regardless of Ronald Reagan). At best we can expect Congress(?) to step up and do something right, at worse we can expect our trading partners and the outlier Nations to get bolder in their interactions with us. The Real issues we as voters need to pay attention to are the one the Congress address and how they address them. The Congress will use the ineptitude of this administration to do their worse to us, the voters. We can only hope that some one in Congress will continue to push back on the issues that will harm us in general. It is especially important that we as voters pay more attention to detail in this administration as well as the 535 seat fillers who really are the Government. Forget about getting the real story from the media, concentrate on reading for your self and ignore what the Congressional leaders say as they have lied before and will continue to do so. Unfortunately too many of us have missed the shift in the separation of Church and State that the Constitution calls for due to the hype put out by the extreme elements of our society. If we  do not press for the return to the real purpose of  the Constitution we will soon find that the extremists will have us all in camps for as simple a thing as being a voter and use the misreading of the Constitution as the reason.

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Scott GalupoNovember 21, 2016

1. The Northeastern moderate
Before he discovered birtherism, Trump gave every indication that he was a finger-wetting, wind-direction-checking, big-city Northeastern moderate. In 1999, he described himself as “very pro-choice.” As recently as December 2012, he had urged the Republican Party, still licking its wounds over the re-election of President Obama, to get ahead of the immigration issue and win over Hispanic voters with comprehensive reform. Even during the 2016 GOP primaries, he signaled a break from the Republican mainstream by vowing to protect Medicare and Social Security.
Maybe President Trump will govern like his old self.
Throughout his public life, Trump has maintained a hard-line posture on law-and-order issues. But that’s a posture common to New York/New Jersey moderates like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, who, not surprisingly, were among Trump’s earliest boosters.
Trump has also been a persistent critic of small-l liberal trade orthodoxy. In this 1988 appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, in which he presaged every major theme of his successful presidential campaign (“Do you want to see the United States become a winner, David?”), he complained about trade deficits with Japan (“They dump the cars and the VCRs and everything else”) as well as the U.S. guarantee of the island nation’s security (“We defend Japan for virtually nothing, which is hard to believe”).
In light of this, it’s possible that all the race-baiting of the 2016 campaign, all the bluster about Mexicans and Muslims, was a crude but necessary ploy to dislodge the Republican base from its fealty to the economic libertarianism of the party establishment in Washington. To get downscale Republican voters to finally vote in their material self-interest, he had to appeal to their basest cultural instincts.
As president, Trump might well prove to be a pragmatic dealmaker. He owes nothing to the Republican congressional leadership. If anything, they owe him for their astonishing good fortune. Consequently, Trump could be as willing to cut deals with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as he is with GOP leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
In this scenario, a clear truth will materialize: It took a brazen figure like Donald Trump to break the partisan logjam in Washington.
2. The president of pomp
Judging from the incoherent, often downright juvenile way in which Trump spoke about policy, it’s safe to say he knows virtually nothing about virtually everything. The Trump campaign reportedly tried to entice Ohio Gov. John Kasich to join the ticket by promising that he’d be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy — leaving the vaguely momentous job of “making America great again” to the president.
What if Trump does not want to be bothered with the details of day-to-day governance and international relations? As long as he gets the credit for the legislation he signs into law; as long as it’s known that he is vested with final authority; as long as he is the “decider,” he will not sweat the details of public policy or diplomacy.
Under this scenario, the Trump administration’s policy agenda will be farmed out to Vice President Mike Pence (a right-wing conservative in good standing with the movement) and congressional leaders McConnell and Ryan. President Trump will essentially rubber-stamp into law a massive tax cut for the wealthy, the partial privatization of Medicare, the block-granting of Medicaid, plus the repeal of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank financial-industry regulations.
3. The people pleaser
Donald Trump has a deeply felt need for people to like him, to be “nice” to him. As a result, during the campaign he found himself on every side of every issue, often inside the same sentence. It was difficult to keep track of the evolution of his policy positions. (You can peruse an attempt to do so here.)
Trump may well try to govern every which way, in the same way he campaigned every which way. We will get a border wall. Or a fence. Or an “electronic fence.” It will be big and beautiful … and porous … and virtual. And he will countenance a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented “terrific people,” after having made a show of deporting criminals in no greater number than the Obama administration.
He will repeal Obama Care. But not really. Or not immediately. Maybe never. Those with preexisting conditions will still have insurance and the 26-and-under cohort will be able to stay on their parents’ plans. No one will lose coverage and he will maintain the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act. He’ll call the whole thing “TrumpCare” and declare victory for freedom.
He will cut taxes and make up for the shortfall in revenue by … making American revenue great again. That is, he will deficit-finance his tax cuts in the same fashion as Presidents Reagan and Bush 43.
When faced with a tough choice or politically painful trade-off, he will not choose at all. He will be all things to all people.
4. The pernicious president
The premise of Trump’s campaign was that pluralism has failed. Pluralism has made us less safe. Political correctness has made it impossible to utter the truth. And the law-abiding white Christian majority in this country is under siege from multiculturalists, Islamists, and globalists.
With the installment of Steve Bannon as a top White House strategist and the appointment of Gen. Michael Flynn and Sen. Jeff Sessions as national security adviser and attorney general, respectively, Trump may well intend to run an administration every bit as uncompromising as his most vitriolic campaign rhetoric. We will get a border wall and a ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries. The Trump administration will further gut the Voting Rights Act and make it yet harder for minorities to cast a ballot. Otherwise law-abiding undocumented workers and their families will live in a climate of fear, always looking over their shoulder.
Further, it will become clear that Trump wasn’t bluffing when he threatened to “open up” libel law to combat unfair attacks in the press and initiate antitrust action against Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. He will persecute unfriendly media and opponents in the business world via the vast regulatory power of the executive branch of government.
5. The agent of chaos
What if none of these scenarios entirely comes to pass — but instead, all of them do to one extent or another? Maybe we’ll see a partial realization of and a bleeding between each scenario. It will all depend on who has the president’s ear at any given moment — on who was the last operative to stroke his ego and seduce his narcissism. The incoherent nonsense that issues from his mouth will result in “red line”-like international confusion on a monthly basis, or worse. Our allies will never be sure if Trump can be trusted, if the intelligence we share with them isn’t already known to geopolitical rivals like Russia.
And all the while, Trump and his family will enrich themselves. The line between the Trump Organization and the Trump administration will be blurry at best, nonexistent at worst. The Trumps will co-opt the federal bureaucracy to ensure favorable regulation of their business interests. Authoritarian governments around the world will curry favor with Trump by laundering money through his network of international business contacts.
Terrifying, right? Well, I’m sorry to tell you that it’s all too possible. And this is why America urgently needs to formalize an Independents Against Trump movement — the subject of my next column. Stay tuned.

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A long read but offers the reason Obamacare is not as successful as it should be MA.
Obamacare has quite a handful of critics, but the majority dislike it because of this reason.
Sean Williams
(TMFUltraLong)
Oct 25, 2014 at 10:11AM
Source: White House on Flickr
It’s no secret that Obamacare, known officially as the Affordable Care Act, is a polarizing law that has drawn a pretty strict divide between supporters and those who oppose it.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Tracking Poll, which takes a somewhat regular look at the public’s opinion of Obamacare, as of September 47% of respondents had an unfavorable view of the law, 35% a favorable view, and 19% were undecided or simply refused to answer. The unfavorable view percentage was down 6% from July, but the favorable view also fell 2%.
Glass half full versus glass half empty
Americans who favor Obamacare tend to focus on the ACA’s easier access to health insurance. In the 28 states that have chosen to expand Medicaid, lower-income citizens who were previously out in the cold now have access to covered medical care for the first time in their life. Additionally, those who favor the law prefer the beefed up minimum benefit requirements that insurers are to provide, as well as the fact that those with preexisting conditions can’t be turned down.
Source: White House on Flickr
On the flip side, Obamacare’s opponents don’t like the idea of being required to purchase health insurance, which is especially true for a younger generation of adults that feels invincible and is unlikely to utilize their physician or a hospital often. Also, some question whether or not Obamacare will really slow the rise in insurance premiums. Keep in mind the ACA wasn’t implemented to stop medical costs and health insurance premiums from rising, but merely to control the rate of inflation at which they rise.
Politics, of course, is one of the more common reasons cited as to why a majority of Americans oppose Obamacare. While there are some clear party divides on who likes Obamacare and who doesn’t, I don’t think this properly encapsulates why the law is viewed so unfavorably by the majority of Americans. Instead, I’d turn to a recent study from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to get a more complete answer as to why Americans dislike Obamacare.
The real reason Americans dislike Obamacare
AP-NORC’s 1,004-person poll conducted between July and September focused on two key questions:
If offered a choice between the following to health insurance plans, which would you prefer: Option A, a plan with a relatively low monthly premium but higher out-of-pocket costs if you need healthcare. Option B, a plan with a relatively high monthly premium but lower out-of-pocket costs if you need healthcare.
How confident are you that you could pay for medical care if you or someone in your family had an unexpected medical expenses?
In response to the first question, 52% of respondents chose Option B (the plan with a higher monthly premium and lower out-of-pocket costs), 40% chose option A, and the remainder either didn’t know or refused to answer. For the second question, 36% noted that they felt “very confident” in paying for unexpected medical expenses, 39% were “somewhat confident,” and 25% were “not confident.”
Source: Flickr user Jim Simonson
The initial takeaway from this study is that at least one in four Americans (based on question two) find Obamacare to be unaffordable. An additional 39% are also in in a gray area of being “somewhat confident.” Furthermore, of the Americans that AP-NORC polled that had switched plans within the past year, 45% noted that they were paying more than they previously were prior to the ACA being implemented, 29% said they were paying less, and just 11% of respondents believed they were getting better value for their healthcare dollar. The implication here is pretty simple: Americans are unhappy with the price of their plan.
Plan cost is a big problem
As noted by the answers to the first question, more than half of the respondents would prefer a higher premium plan that would result in lower out-of-pocket costs should medical care be needed.
A typical bronze plan, the cheapest of the Obamacare tiered plans on a monthly premium basis, has an annual deductible of around $6,000. By comparison, the average silver plan has an out-of-pocket annual deductible of closer to $3,100, which is probably why it was by far the most selected plan in 2014. In other words, the more people pay upfront, the lower they’ll pay out of pocket should medical care be needed.
Source: Flickr user Dan Moyle
Yet herein lies the dilemma: not everyone can afford a gold or platinum plan. In fact, it would seem based on this poll that a good chunk of Americans (25% who are “not confident” and 39% who are in the gray area) are having a questionable time simply keeping up with their current plan, which is likely of the silver and bronze variety (these two tiers accounted for more than 80% of total plans sold in 2014).
Of course, AP-NORC’s findings also clearly showed that the inability to meet medical bills, or the need to make financial trade-offs in order to pay medical costs, is more pronounced in Americans with high-deductible plans.
Two interesting insurance implications
AP-NORC’s survey results may also have some unexpected implications for the health insurance industry.
On one hand, this survey has to instill some degree of concern in insurers like WellPoint (NYSE:ANTM) and Centene (NYSE:CNC), which have not been shy about targeting lower-income consumers. Thankfully, both companies netted a substantial number of government-sponsored enrollees via the Medicare expansion in slightly more than half of all U.S. states, but there’s clearly the potential here that consumers could run into issues paying their end of out-of-pocket costs should a medical emergency arise. That could leave insurers footing hefty consumer bills, or simply cause consumers to drop their coverage altogether, which would be bad news for these companies and the entire industry.
But if consumers trade up to higher premium, lower out-of-pocket plans it could also wind up stinging insurers. The initial inference would be that higher premiums would lead to healthier insurance profits. However, lower premium and higher out-of-pocket plans are actually bigger margin boosters for insurers since they require less initial money to come out of insurers’ pockets. In reality, silver and bronze plan sales are fantastic for insurers who stand to reap solid rewards as long as Americans continue to pay their bills.
In short, it’s going to be interesting from both an investor and consumer perspective to see whether consumers are able to successfully and affordably move toward higher premium plans in 2015, as well as determine whether or not consumers continue to stay current on their out-of-pocket obligations.

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The award of opportunist of the year goes to Ted Cruz-who can trust any of these forked tongued politicos? MA

Dylan Stableford

Senior editor
November 17, 2016

Ted Cruz sharply criticized those protesting the election of Donald Trump as hypocrites who cried foul when Trump suggested he might not accept the results if he didn’t win.
“This is hypocrisy on rank display,” the Texas senator said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday morning. “All of the folks who jumped on their high horse and were lecturing to President-elect Trump, ‘You’ve got to accept the results of the election’ — look, these are now the idiots protesting in the street, laying their bodies down in front of cars and disrupting traffic.”
“We had an election,” Cruz continued. “The people spoke. Democracy is a powerful, powerful way of choosing. And I think Americans across this country — this is across the line of Republicans, of Democrats, of independents, of libertarians — I think Americans are excited about the opportunity to have an administration that actually protects our rights.”
Since Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in last week’s presidential election, anti-Trump protests have erupted in cities around the country, some turning violent. In Portland, Ore., on Saturday night, 71 people were arrested after a protest devolved into a riot, police said.
Cruz, whose name has been floated as a potential member of Trump’s administration, met with Trump at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday.
“I’m eager to work with the new president in any capacity I can,” Cruz said.

He wasn’t always so eager.
During the Republican primary, Trump frequently referred to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted,” insulted his wife and suggested that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On the eve of the Indiana primary, Cruz unloaded on Trump, calling him a “bully,” a “narcissist,” a “pathological liar” and a “serial philanderer,” among other things. At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Cruz was booed when he gave a speech while declining to endorse his party’s nominee.
Cruz’s endorsement of Trump didn’t come until September — and it wasn’t exactly full-throated.
“I’ve made the decision that on Election Day I’m going to vote for the Republican nominee,” Cruz said at a GOP phone-banking event in Fort Worth, Texas. “Like a whole lot of voters here in Texas and across the country, this was not an easy decision for me to arrive on.”

Ted Cruz greets members of law enforcement as he leaves Trump Tower on Tuesday. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Cruz insisted his endorsement had more to do with his commitment to the party, and his opposition to Hillary Clinton, than his support for Trump. He noted that he signed a pledge to support the nominee.
“A year ago, I stood onstage and promised to support the Republican nominee, whoever that was, and I am honoring my word,” Cruz explained in September. “Although I have long had significant concerns with Donald, by any measure, Hillary Clinton would be an absolute disaster as president.”
But on Thursday, the tea party firebrand sounded more like a Trump surrogate, dismissing reports of transition chaos as “complete silliness.”
“Nobody should be surprised that their are media critics trying to throw rocks at the president-elect and the transition team — they don’t want the president to succeed,” Cruz said. “What I saw from the president-elect on down to every person at the transition team was men and women working hard with an enormous task in front of them of putting together a new administration of hopefully talented principals, effective leaders — leaders who will be loyal to the president, and loyal to the agenda that he campaigned on and that we promised the American people.”
Sen. Ted Cruz phone-banked for Donald Trump at a GOP office in Texas. He has come a long way from his RNC speech this summer where he famously did not endorse Trump. He formally got behind Trump in September.

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Interesting facts about elections and television. MA.

On November 14, 1959, TV Guide published a brief essay about politics and television by Senator John F. Kennedy that contained some prophetic words about the influence of money and public relations on presidential campaigns that still seem true today.

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Ironically, within a year of the TV Guide article, Kennedy would be president-elect of the United States, in no small part helped by his ability to use television as a campaign tool. And Kennedy’s effectiveness as a “TV candidate” would become a template for future politicians.

But in 1959, Kennedy said that campaign contributions and the presentation of candidates for a mass television audience were two trends that voters needed to watch closely.

Kennedy’s articles appeared as part of a series called “Television As I See It,” and his article was titled “A Force That Has Changed The Political Scene.”

“It is in your power to perceive deception, to shut off gimmickry, to reward honesty, to demand legislation where needed. Without your approval, no TV show is worthwhile and no politician can exist,” concluded Kennedy.

Kennedy spent much of his essay stating how television, in the right hands, could help politicians bring out their best moments.

“Honesty, vigor, compassion, intelligence—the presence or lack of these of other qualities make up what is called the candidate’s ‘image,’” he wrote. Kennedy then states that despite a candidate’s public record on issues, “My own conviction is that these images or impressions are likely to be uncannily correct.” But in the wrong hands, television could be used for “manipulation, exploitation and gimmicks,” Kennedy said. “It can be abused by demigods, by appeals to emotions and prejudice and ignorance,” he said.

Kennedy then railed about the potential takeover of campaigns by public relations experts. “Political shows like quiz shows can be fixed—and sometimes are,” he said. The other problem Kennedy warned about was the item of “financial cost.”

“If all parties and candidates are to have equal access to this essential and decisive campaign medium, without becoming deeply obligated to the big financial contributors … then the time has come when a  solution must be found to this problem of TV costs.” Kennedy was particularly upset that a total of $5.8 million had been spent on TV advertising during the 1956 presidential campaign.

In the following year, as a presidential candidate Kennedy would come under criticism for allegedly employing some of the tactics he warned about in the TV Guide article. Kennedy and Richard Nixon each raised and spent about $10 million in the 1960 campaign, about $2 million more than President Dwight Eisenhower needed in 1956. Kennedy, as the richest person ever elected president, also didn’t lack for resources.

In 1964, the price of a presidential campaign jumped to $16 million for contender Barry Goldwater and the era of big spending in campaigns started.

By 2012, the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney cost an estimated $2.76 billion, with much of that money going into media buys. The 2016 contest featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton cost about $2.65 billion.

To relate those numbers to the Nixon-Kennedy era, Nixon and Kennedy combined spent about $161 million in 2016 dollars on their campaigns, using the CPI to calculate inflation. It was the 1968 race featuring Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and a slew of primary candidates that set the tone for future campaign spending, with a total of nearly $600 million in current-dollar spending. It would be the most expensive presidential election on record until the 2004 Bush-Kerry race.

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