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Category Archives: postings from others


The rise of anonymous trolls has brought out the usual uninformed/ under informed/ possible Racist comments, the article below is an example of the types of responses required for these trolls who hide behind anonymity. MA

Chrissy Teigen responds to people who say she ‘never looked or acted as if she was genuinely suffering’ from depression

Yahoo Beauty 18 hours

0:18 0:48

 

Chrissy Teigen has been extremely candid about her recent health struggles, and unfortunately, she’s facing criticism for it. The supermodel wrote a tweet on Monday night with the simple message, “I dunno how you can be this mean” next to snapshots of the jabs people have taken at her on social media.

Model Chrissy Teigen has been candid about her struggle with health issues from postpartum depression to drinking too much. (Photo: Getty Images)
In some of the comments, people reference Teigen’s recent revelation that she’s sworn off alcohol after saying that she has difficulty controlling how much she drinks, as well as taking a stab at her history with postpartum depression. Teigen was specifically called out for being “melodramatic” about her health issues, and a commenter said that she has “never looked or acted as if she was genuinely suffering” with depression.

Teigen recently revealed to Cosmopolitan that she has difficulty controlling how much alcohol she drinks. “I was, point blank, just drinking too much,” the supermodel said. “I got used to being in hair and makeup and having a glass of wine. Then that glass of wine would carry over into me having one before the awards show. And then a bunch at the awards show. And then I felt bad for making kind of an ass of myself to people that I really respected. And that feeling, there’s just nothing like that. You feel horrible.”
She also opened up in March about her battle with postpartum depression, saying in an essay for Glamour that she “couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy” after having her daughter Luna. “Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed,” she wrote. “John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
It’s a common misconception that people suffering from depression look or act a certain way, but it’s just that — a misconception, Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist Jessica Zucker tells Yahoo Beauty. Postpartum depression in particular “has a variety of faces and can express itself through anger, having the inability to tolerate emotion — a whole range of things,” Zucker says. “These people are just being cruel.”
Unfortunately, these kinds of comments are not surprising, clinical psychologist John Mayer, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Beauty. “There is no typical way depression looks,” he says. Rather, people suffering from depression have root characteristics like sadness, weepiness, feelings of hopeless, and low motivation. Depression also affects people differently, he says, and people cope with the condition in different ways.
Appearance isn’t even part of the diagnostic criteria for depression, unless you count sudden weight gain or loss (which doesn’t happen to all sufferers), Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells Yahoo Beauty. “The sad truth is that mental health disorders often have no visible signs of what someone is experiencing in their mental health,” he says.
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for adults aged 15 to 44, according to data from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and about one in nine women is affected by postpartum depression, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s also an equal-opportunity illness. “It can affect anybody,” Rego says. “It doesn’t select by age, intelligence, or socioeconomic status — it impacts everyone.”
It’s easy to dismiss the comments that Teigen received as mean words from internet trolls, but statements like those can make an impact on people suffering from depression, Zucker notes. Depression and postpartum depression in particular are often stigmatized, she points out, and comments like these don’t help — and they may even discourage someone who is suffering from seeking treatment.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression or postpartum depression, it’s important to seek help. “The sooner you get help, the sooner you get better, and the sooner things turn around,” Zucker says.

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ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press 11 hours ago

A handful of descendants of Confederate Civil War leaders Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis are siding with those who believe monuments to their famous ancestors should be pulled down and moved to other settings, such as museums.
And a relative of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee says he would be fine with removing statues to his storied ancestor if it helps the country heal.
The director of a Mississippi estate that was Davis’ retirement home, meanwhile, has suggested that the monuments could be relocated there.
Criticism of Confederate monuments has been intensifying since Saturday, when a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent after white nationalists opposed to the city’s plan to remove a statue of Lee clashed with counter protesters.
President Donald Trump agrees with some in the South who say the monuments speak to America’s history and heritage; but opponents of such symbols believe they glorify a shameful era of slavery.
On Thursday, a great-great-grandson of Stonewall Jackson told The Associated Press that he believes the monument to his legendary Confederate ancestor, as well as others in Virginia’s capital of Richmond, were constructed as symbols of white supremacy and should be taken down.
“They were constructed to be markers of white supremacy. They were constructed to make black people fearful,” Jack Christian said. “I can only imagine what persons of color who have to walk and drive by those every morning think and feel.”
Christian told the AP that he used to be open to the idea that the statues on Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue — which memorialize southern Civil War leaders, including Jackson — might be acceptable if context were added to explain why they were built.
However, the racially charged violence in Charlottesville has shown that to be impossible, Christian said.
A descendant of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, said he supports moving the statues to appropriate settings, such as museums.
Bertram Hayes-Davis told the AP on Thursday that he believes that “complete removal is wrong” and believes the best solution would be to put the statues “in a historic place where the entire story can be explained.”
Tom Payne says he knows the perfect place: Beauvoir, a privately run museum on 52 acres (20 hectares) in Biloxi, Mississippi, that once served as Davis’ retirement home. Payne, executive director of the museum, issued a statement Thursday offering to accept monuments that “any city or jurisdiction has decided to take down.”
Payne said he would hope for donations, but would consider raising funds to cover any costs of relocating the monuments. He said the monuments could serve an educational purpose for Beauvoir visitors while being displayed in gardens out of general public view.
Robert E. Lee V, an athletic director at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, the great-great-grandson of the Confederate general, said the family hates to see the statues be a source of division.
“If taking down the statues helps us not have days like Charlottesville, then we’re all for it,” Lee said. “Take ’em down tonight.”
Christian and his brother, Warren Christian, said in a letter to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney published by Slate on Wednesday that it is “long overdue” for the city to remove overt symbols of white racism and white supremacy. The men said they want to make clear that the statue — and their great-great-grandfather’s actions — do not represent them.
“While we are not ashamed of our great-great-grandfather, we are ashamed to benefit from white supremacy while our black family and friends suffer,” the brothers and Richmond natives wrote. “We are ashamed of the monument.”
Michael Shoop, who wrote a book on the genealogy of the Jackson family, confirmed that the men are descendants of the Confederate general.
Christian said he would like to see the statues preserved after they are removed from public display. He said he has heard from one relative who said she agreed with the sentiments expressed in the letter.
Christian said he’s pleased the Richmond mayor has decided that the former capital of the Confederacy will consider removing or relocating its statues.
The mayor had previously said he thought the monuments should stay but have context added about what they represent and why they were built, but changed course after the events in Charlottesville, where white supremacists rallied after the city voted to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Chaos erupted at the Charlottesville rally, which included neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Ku Klux Klan members, and is believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade. They clashed violently with counterdemonstrators, and after authorities ordered the crowd to disperse, a car plowed into a group of marchers, killing a woman and injuring 19 people. Two state police troopers who had been monitoring the chaos were also killed when their helicopter crashed outside the city.
The events in Charlottesville have quickened the pace of the removal of Confederate monuments across the country. Four Confederacy-related monuments were hauled away on trucks under cover of darkness late Tuesday night and early Wednesday in Baltimore. In Birmingham, Alabama, a 52-foot-tall (15-meter) obelisk honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors was covered by wooden panels at the mayor’s order.
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Associated Press writers Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; and Matt Barakat in McLean, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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The recent clash and injuries in Charlottesville show the extent of Trump’s influence on the Neo-Nazi’s, alt right and New Klan. Mr Trump is considered their champion. There have been many “spokespersons” for Mr. Trump who have “parsed” his statements. No one can actually speak for the President except the President and what he says is usually not the whole truth or any truth at all. The President in real words is just a Bully who now has a national platform. He is a half (?) step away from megalomania. It is unfortunate that his cabinet is composed of folks who have no good intentions for us as a nation and  are merely high profile folks who are determined to undo anything done by President Obama and making their supporters like it even though it harms them as well. Article below explains it all very well. MA.

 

My meeting with Donald Trump: A damaged, pathetic personality — whose obvious impairment has only gotten worse

I didn’t get his endorsement when I ran for governor — but the severely troubled man I met has only gotten worse

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In 1994, I visited the home of Donald Trump. He was a Democrat then, of sorts, and I was the party’s nominee for governor of Connecticut. He’d taken an interest in our state owing to his keen desire to lodge a casino in Bridgeport, an idea I found economically and morally dubious. I had scant hope of enlisting him, but made the trip anyway, thinking that if I convinced him I might win, he’d be less apt to bankroll my opponent.

I arrived at Trump Tower in early evening, accompanied by my finance chair and an old friend and colleague. Stepping off the elevator into his apartment, we were met by a display of sterile, vulgar ostentation: all gold, silver, brass, marble; nothing soft, welcoming or warm. Trump soon appeared and we began to converse, but not really. In campaigns, we candidates do most of the talking; because we like to, and because people ask us lots of questions. Not this time. Not by a long shot.

Trump talked very rapidly and virtually nonstop for nearly an hour; not of my campaign or even of politics, but only of himself, and almost always in the third person. He’d given himself a nickname: “the Trumpster,” as in “everybody wants to know what the Trumpster’s gonna do,” a claim he made more than once.

He mostly told stories. Some were about his business deals; others about trips he’d taken or things he owned. All were unrelated to the alleged point of our meeting, and to one another. That he seldom even attempted segues made each tale seem more disconnected from reality than the last. It was funny at first, then pathetic, and finally deeply unsettling.

On the drive home, we all burst out laughing, then grew quiet. What the hell just happened? My first theory, that Trump was high on cocaine, didn’t feel quite right, but he was clearly emotionally impaired: in constant need of approbation; lacking impulse control, self-awareness or awareness of others. We’d heard tales of his monumental vanity, but were still shocked by the sad spectacle of him.

That visit colored all my later impressions of Trump. Over time, his mental health seemed to decline. He threw more and bigger public tantrums; lied more often and less artfully. The media, also in decline and knowing a ratings magnet when it saw one, turned a blind eye. Sensing impunity, Trump revived the racist ‘birther’ lie. In 2011, he told the “Today” show’s Meredith Vieira he had unearthed some dark secrets:

Vieira: You have people now down there searching, I mean in Hawaii?

Trump: Absolutely. And they cannot believe what they’re finding.

As Trump recycled old lies, Vieira had a queasy look but no apparent knowledge of the facts. Of course, there weren’t any. Trump had no proof of Obama being born in Kenya. (Since there is none.) It’s highly doubtful he had any researchers in Hawaii. (It was only after Vieira asked him that he claimed he did.) Later, when Trump’s story crumbled, he followed a rule taught by his mentor, Roy Cohn, infamous architect of McCarthyism: Admit nothing. To Trump, a lie is worth a thousand pictures.

By 2016, the private Trump was on permanent public display, raging over mere slights, seeing plots in every ill turn of events and, as always, stunningly self-absorbed. He was called a racist, a sexist and a bully. But his mental health issues were euphemized as problems of “temperament.” He lied ceaselessly, reflexively and clumsily, but his lies were called merely “unproven” or, later, “false.” The New York Times called the birther story a lie only after Trump grudgingly retracted it. Not till he was safe in office claiming that millions of phantom immigrants cast votes for Clinton did the paper of record use the word “lie” in reference to a tale Trump was still telling.

In 2016, the precariousness of Trump’s mental health was clear to all with eyes to see, but like extras in a remake of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” reporters averted their glances. The day after the election, they were all in a state of shock, like staff at an asylum who woke one morning to find that the patient who thought he was Napoleon had just been named emperor of France. Once he took office, many publications began keeping running tallies of his lies. But all take a more cautious approach to questions of their origins in his deeply troubled psyche. To date, no major network, newspaper or magazine has run an in-depth analysis of Trump’s mental health.

The pathologies of American journalism are by now clichés: aversion to policy analysis; addiction to horse-race politics; smashing of walls that once separated news, opinion and advertising; an ideology that mistakes evenhandedness for objectivity. Yet we hear scant talk of reform. The press excels at public rituals of soul-searching but has little taste for the real thing.  That said, its reluctance to discuss mental health reflects its virtues as well as its vices. Of major outlets, Fox News does by far the most psychological profiling. (It turns out all liberals are crazy.)

Like the language of politics, the language of psychology is imprecise; the term “sociopath” is as hard to nail down as “liberal” or “conservative.” What separates a serial liar from a pathological liar? Mere suspicion from paranoia? Righteous anger from uncontrolled rage? How do we ever tell mental illness from ill character? Our view of any antisocial behavior hinges on whether we view it through a moral, legal or therapeutic lens; to take a human life other than in self-defense is insane, and also criminal and, to many, sinful. Do we treat, punish or forgive? It’s so hard to say.

The diagnosis we associate with Trump is “narcissistic personality disorder” (a term that only lately replaced “narcissistic character disorder”). You’ll find it in the Diagnostic Survey Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, fifth edition. Back in February, a principal author of the prior edition, Dr. Allen Frances, wrote a letter to the Times rebuking mental health professionals for “diagnosing public figures from a distance” and “amateur diagnosticians” for “mislabeling” Trump with narcissistic personality disorder. Allen says he wrote the criteria defining the disorder and Trump doesn’t have it. His reasoning: Trump “does not suffer the disorder and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.”

Frances does what he accuses others of doing. By saying flatly that Trump doesn’t suffer a disorder, he diagnoses a public figure we assume — for multiple reasons — he hasn’t treated. Nor can he or anyone else tell “from a distance” that Trump doesn’t suffer the requisite impairment and disorder. No president ever seemed so impaired or disordered, but we needn’t compare him only to other rotten presidents. Trump is the Chuck Yeager of lying, a shatterer of records thought untouchable. That he is frozen in pathological, crotch-grabbing adolescence is well documented; that his judgment is often deranged by rage is self-evident.

This week the world watched two men of obvious, serious emotional impairment in control of ungodly nuclear weapons trade puerile taunts while threatening to incinerate millions of innocent human beings. Donald Trump, having made war on Mitch McConnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nordstrom, China, Mexico, Australia and the cast of “Hamilton,” baiting a man who idolizes Dennis Rodman and just murdered his own brother. This is simply unacceptable. We know how Kim Jong-Un got his job. It’s time we thought about how Trump got his. One answer is that he got it the way authoritarian leaders do in liberal democracies: by exploiting the weakness and naïve politesse of the old order. To contain him, let alone remove him, we must relearn the rules of debate.

We can start by distinguishing name calling (bad) from merely naming (which is not just good but vital). I too recoil from quack therapists diagnosing strangers on cable TV. But you don’t need to be a botanist to tell a rose from a dandelion. In 2016 Trump compared Ben Carson to a child molester and pronounced him “incurable,” but few raised the far more real question of Trump’s own mental health. Do we dare not state the obvious? You needn’t be an amateur diagnostician to see that Donald Trump is mentally ill.

Trump embodies that old therapists’ saw “perception is projection.” You can use this handy tool to locate the truth, exactly opposite from whatever he just said. He has a weight management problem, so women are “fat pigs.” He can’t stop fibbing, so his primary opponent becomes “Lyin’ Ted Cruz.” His career is rife with fraud so the former secretary of state becomes “Crooked Hillary.” He is terrified of ridicule, so Barack Obama is a “laughingstock.” When he says America’s a wasteland but he’ll make it great again, we know his secret fear.

Late in the presidential campaign Hillary Clinton famously dubbed some large portion of Trump’s base a “basket of deplorables.” A constant theme and core belief of her campaign was that his campaign was fueled by racism and misogyny, evils against which Democrats stand united. The evils are genuine and enduring, but political corruption and the economic inequality it fosters did at least as much and probably more to fuel Trump’s rise.

It’s likely that Trump’s arrested development also got him white working-class votes, among males especially. The infantilization of the American male is a phenomenon we have been slow to recognize. It is a product of fast-narrowing economic horizons fueled by cultural forces; by beer ads and anti-intellectualism, by addiction and violent video games, and now by Trump, on whom Jon Stewart pinned the fitting moniker “man baby.”

Countless surveys say our children are less racist and sexist than our parents. What many may not be is more adult. The issue isn’t the bros in the beer ads; we assume they have jobs. It’s the tinderbox we create by mixing ignorance and inequality with dashed hopes and an overwrought sense of victimization. They say presidents lead us down the paths we’re already on. It’s our job to make sure this one doesn’t.

One thing Trump has taught us is that the drafters of the 25th Amendment weren’t thinking about mental illness. It is unlikely anyone it puts in charge would have the courage to take action. In any case, progressives must put their primary emphasis on crafting a blueprint for political reform and economic justice. While they’re at it they could try making better cases on national security and climate change.

They must take another lesson from Trump: to say out loud things they never said before, not as Trump does, but with honesty, decency, reason and specificity. Trump got to be president in part because there were so many things Democrats and the media didn’t think or couldn’t bring themselves to say. Trump’s whole life is a fraud that Robert Mueller may soon expose as a criminal enterprise. His business career was a disaster till a book someone else wrote and a TV show someone else produced made him a celebrity. He then fell into the only line of work he ever prospered in: licensing that celebrity. He does it pretty well, but Zsa Zsa Gabor did it first and Kim Kardashian did it better and neither of them should be president.

In 2016 Trump’s real vulnerabilities were his mental health and personal finances. We can now add his proto-fascism and his possible or intended treason to the list. Trump was lucky in the draw. His defects were so monumental, so toxic, we had no protocol for talking about them. There are effective and responsible ways to talk about all such things, but first our media and political elites must find the courage to name them. They know as well as you or I who he is.

 

Bill Curry

Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut. He is at work on a book on President Obama and the politics of populism.

Behind closed doors the Administration and its minions are portraying their personal beliefs as the will of the people . MA
ADELE M. STAN
JULY 19, 2017
In a single day, an absurd pile of events suggests that the government may indeed be trying to “immanentize the eschaton.”
In a speech delivered behind closed doors to an anti-LGBT hate group, the attorney general of the United States held forth with his philosophy of religious freedom. It wasn’t “the government’s job to immanentize the eschaton,” he said.
The reason we know that is an actual thing that Jeff Sessions said—or at least planned to say—in his July 11 speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is that Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden prepared a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the speech, which apparently prompted the Department of Justice to release the text, as prepared for delivery, to a right-wing website, The Federalist. The ADF earned is classification as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its work as “a legal advocacy and training group that specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBTQ communities in the U.S. and internationally,” according to the SPLC website.
I should perhaps note here that it is not really normal for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer to address a hate group, or address any group in secret.
To those unfamiliar with eschatology, the eschaton is a fancy Greek term for the End of Days or Kingdom Come, or whatever name you wish to call the apocalypse.
In fairness to Sessions, it should be noted that on the matter of the eschaton he was quoting William F. Buckley, a man mistaken by right-wingers for having been a brilliant mind because he knew a lot of words. To those unfamiliar with eschatology, the eschaton is a fancy Greek term for the End of Days or Kingdom Come, or whatever name you wish to call the apocalypse. Some use it as a catch-all for a combination of the Heaven-on-Earth period that some Christian sects claim will precede the big Lights Out/Party Over itself. Others take the Greeks at their word, seeing it as the End. In his coinage of the phrase “immanentize the eschaton,” Buckley, who never said in two syllables what he could say in twelve, was speaking of that combo-concept, meaning that it wasn’t government’s job to make things nice for people by granting them their civil rights and feeding the starving poor. To do that would create Heaven on Earth, which would necessarily bring about cosmic extinction. And who would want that?
The topic of the attorney general’s speech to the ADF, which is defending Christian-owned businesses for the right to discriminate against queer folk, was “religious freedom.” Sessions promised that, any day now, he would issue a guidance to government agencies on how to apply the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in ways that conform to his novel interpretation of the First Amendment. The ways in which an anti-LGBTQ bias could be applied to the work of government agencies boggles the mind, given that the government is charged with providing health care to millions, fair housing protections, asylum requests, and ensuring the rights of all. For many, the eschaton may indeed be immanentized.

I FIRST LEARNED the term “immanentize the eschaton” not from Buckley, but from the Illuminatus Trilogy, a trippy, satirical, phantasmagorical 1975 novel by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea rooted in the jokey-but-not-a-joke Discordian philosophy birthed in the 1960s. Discordianism takes a spin on Taoism, but uses avatars of Western civilization—two minor Greek goddesses whom the Discordians seem to have invented themselves—to illustrate its concepts. Along the way, there’s lots of fun made of all kinds of religions and philosophies, and most of all, any presumption of order in the world. I’ve never been one to latch on to a single philosophy or to live strictly within the bounds of a particular ideology, so in the Age of Trump, I find myself drawn to the rueful humor and syncretized heresies of those ancient Discordians. The events of Tuesday alone give me cause.
As I write this, we’ve just learned that, try as he may, the Senate majority leader has failed to revoke the health care of millions by legislative means. In light of that failure, the president plans to use administrative action (or inaction) to allow the Affordable Care Act to stop working on its own in places where market forces are not holding it together.
Another of Tuesday’s revelations is the previously unreported ad hoc hour-long meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a banquet at the G20 summit, to which only an interpreter on Putin’s payroll was privy. (Among the Illuminatus Trilogy’s more memorable lines is an admonition to “never whistle while you’re pissing,” which may have particular salience in the Russia investigation, given the compromising information Putin is alleged to have on Trump.)
It was a treasure trove of absurdist horrors, Tuesday was, with the added development of an eighth member named of the famous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting convened by Donald Trump Jr.—the one from which he hoped to glean dirt on Hillary Clinton that was described as having been obtained by Russian intelligence services. The newly revealed kompromat trafficker is an employee of a real-estate company owned by the oligarch who partnered with the president in the production of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
In the meantime, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer returned to the podium for no-camera briefing to the press corps, where he was unable to answer basic questions about what the president discussed with Putin, such as the diplomatic tussle over two U.S. vacation houses owned by the Russian government and used by its diplomats and/or spies, depending on whom one talks to. (A sometimes brilliantly annotated transcript of that press conference was posted by The Washington Post’s Callom Borchers.)
“The president really liked the firetruck,” Borchers wrote in his notes on the transcript.
Spicer spent a good chunk of the presser highlighting the administration’s naming of this as “Made in America” week, with a forklift from Mississippi and a firetruck from Wisconsin gracing the White House lawn, examined and applauded by a president wearing a tie likely made in China with his own name on the label. (“The president really liked the firetruck,” Borchers wrote in his notes on the transcript.)
And while Spicer attributed the slow pace of filling administration positions to Democratic obstruction, Garry Kasparov, the chess champion and Putin critic who is a Russian ex-pat, took to Twitter to note that the vacancies Trump has been slow to fill likely serve the president’s purposes well by keeping control of agencies to a tight circle of insiders.
In the meantime, the State Department announced it would shutter its war crimes office.
“It was the year when they finally immanentized the eschaton,” Wilson and Shea wrote in the opening line of the Illuminatus Trilogy. Though set in the 23rd century, the authors may have been too optimistic in their timeline. If not yet immanentized, the eschaton is standing at the ready. It will take a mighty resistance to stave it off. Time to get to work.

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This is about Trump trying to push his faulty agenda at any cost and at the same time save (take) money from cities that aids in policing (keeping people safe). MA

By Chris Kenning and Joseph Ax, Reuters 13 hours ago

By Chris Kenning and Joseph Ax
CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chicago will sue the Trump administration on Monday over threats to withhold public safety grant money from so-called sanctuary cities, escalating a pushback against a federal immigration crackdown, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sunday.
The federal lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the U.S. Justice Department would bar cities from a certain grant program unless they allow immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.
“Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” Emanuel, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”
Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants provide money to hundreds of cities, and the Trump administration has requested $380 million in funding next year. Chicago, a regular target of Republican President Donald Trump because of its murder rate, expected to receive $3.2 million this year for purchasing equipment.
Emanuel said the lawsuit would prevent the Trump administration from setting a precedent that could be used to target other funding.
Under Trump and Sessions, the federal government has sought to crack down on sanctuary cities, which generally offer illegal immigrants safe harbor by declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Dozens of local governments and cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have joined the growing sanctuary movement.
The Justice Department said more Chicagoans were murdered last year than residents of Los Angeles and New York combined, and cited comments by Sessions last week saying sanctuary cities “make all of us less safe.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a Sunday statement: “It’s especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago’s law enforcement at greater risk.”
Police and city officials in sanctuary cities have said deporting illegal immigrants who are not accused of serious crimes harms public safety by discouraging immigrants from coming forward to report crimes.
Chicago’s lawsuit is the first to challenge the department over the Byrne program, though city officials said they are in contact with other cities. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is also considering a similar lawsuit, the Sacramento Bee has reported.
The Trump administration has already faced legal battles over its sanctuary city policies. Last month, a U.S. judge refused to revisit a court order that blocked Trump’s January executive order denying broader federal funds to such jurisdictions, in a case filed by San Francisco and the California county of Santa Clara.
(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago and Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Typical Trump usage of incomplete or incorrect facts in describing serious matters. MA

GABRIELLE GURLEY
AUGUST 4, 2017
A throwaway comment undercuts the president’s own drug addiction commission and spotlights his tone-deafness on combatting a national epidemic in one of the worst-hit states.

New Hampshire can be safely added to the encyclopedia of people, places, and things that the 45th president of the United States has publicly insulted or, in the case of the Granite State, denigrated on the phone with foreign leaders. In his continuing desire to remind the world that Americans elected him and not Hillary Clinton to put his business acumen to work on drug abuse and trafficking across the southern border, he told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in late January, “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den.” (As usual, Trump has a tenuous acquaintance with verifiable facts. He did win the first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary but Clinton inched to victory in New Hampshire in November 2016.)
No topic is safe from Trump’s loose lips and poor judgment. It’s not the first time that he has trivialized New Hampshire’s drug abuse epidemic. “You know what really amazed me when I came here and I got to know so many people?” he said at a campaign rally in the state last fall. “They said the biggest single problem they have up here is heroin. … And I said how does heroin work with these beautiful lakes and trees?” The president’s effortless way of getting in his own way on New Hampshire’s most serious health problem by riling up people on both sides of the partisan divide, underscoring the Republican Party’s health-care debacle and renewed commitment to losing the war on drugs, and undercutting the work of his much-vaunted opioid commission takes uncommon skill.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a conservative Republican who signed a bill establishing needle exchange programs in June, labeled Trump’s comments “disappointing.” “The president is wrong,” Sununu said in a statement. “Our administration inherited one of the worst health crises this state has ever experienced, but we are facing this challenge head on. We have doubled our resources to support prevention, treatment, and recovery; dedicated millions to law enforcements efforts to keep drugs out of our state; increased the availability of naloxone; and are rebuilding our prevention programs for our kids.”
If Trump and his White House communications gurus took a respite from their full-frontal assault on the First Amendment and an unhealthy preoccupation with the mainstream media, they might better focus not only on the epidemic but on the innovative effort that one New Hampshire town has taken to address the drug abuse.
Last month, The New York Times Magazine delivered a compelling profile of Eric Davis, a pioneering Laconia, New Hampshire, police department prevention, enforcement, and treatment coordinator who, single-handedly, takes an intensive, 24/7 approach to dealing with the epidemic that includes everything from finding housing for addicts, to handling relatives’ pleas for interventions and buttonholing skeptical public officials. New Hampshire has the second highest rate of death from drug overdoses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only West Virginia has a higher overdose mortality rate.
The writer, Benjamin Rachlin, a New Hampshire native, explored Davis’s Sisyphean work with addicts and people in recovery and continues to ponder how that effort could be scaled up from small rural communities to larger towns and cities. “What is important about what’s happening in Laconia is not simply that you have one officer, social worker, or nonprofit doing this particular thing but that there has been a community-wide reckoning with the situation that the region has found itself in,” Rachlin told The American Prospect.
Not surprisingly, Trump has offered inconsistent views on drug abuse. Most of the Republican Senate’s forays into repealing and replacing Obamacare had Trump’s full-throated support even though the proposals would have decimated the already scarce treatment options in New Hampshire and elsewhere. The Better Health Care Reconciliation Act framework proposed a paltry $2 billion in 2018 alone to cover substance abuse and treatment. Republicans also were posed to slash Medicaid, the largest insurer for addiction treatment services. At the same time, various Republican versions of repeal-and-replaced had modest increases in sums for dealing with opiate addition, to provide window-dressing for legislators from heavily afflicted states.
On the enforcement side of the drug policy ledger, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has turned national drug enforcement back to the 1980s with his revival of the war on drugs, a fight that many local enforcement agencies no longer want to wage, given the failure of current efforts and the new prevalence of deadly and powerful (and easily manufactured) synthetic drugs. Sessions’s interest in criminalizing medical marijuana will also set him on a collision course with more than half of U.S. states, along with almost dozen others that have legalized recreational marijuana. Medical research is also stacking up against the attorney general. Marijuana has been demonstrated to be a viable remedy for chronic pain management, one that even the National Football League is ready to embrace, and could preclude prescribing the opioids that have spawned widespread abuse.
The New Hampshire dustup has even overshadowed the interim report from President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which already suffered ignominy by being released on the same day that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The commission has called for a national public health declaration of emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act and for the elimination of certain existing restrictions on Medicaid drug treatment programs. With more than 140 deaths every day, “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11 every three weeks,” the report said.
Treating opioid-driven substance abuse as a public health crisis is not new. Six states, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia, have already declared states of emergency. Four of these have Republican governors. What would be new is a serious or at least scripted commitment by President Trump to address a problem that has killed tens of thousands of Americans with the seriousness it merits rather than as a detail in his obsession with campaigning instead of governing.

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This article  explains a question I have had and found hard to get an answer for. MA.

CONOR FRIEDERSDORF

The Atlantic
2017

 

The word is invoked to refer to a number of surprisingly diverse worldviews — and politicians take advantage of that.
Roughly two-fifths of Americans call themselves “conservative.” What do they mean by the word? It depends. And during a Republican primary, that can be problematic. Every candidate is vying to be the standard-bearer for conservatism, and exploiting the fact that its meaning is variable.
Thus, the need for this exercise.
What follows is an attempt to tease out the many different worldviews Americans are referring to when they invoke the word conservative — and then to figure out which of these worldviews best describe Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, the choices before Republicans. Bear in mind that what follows aren’t my definitions of conservatism, but what various Americans mean when they use the word.
1. An aversion to rapid change; a belief that tradition and prevailing social norms often contain within them handed down wisdom; and mistrust of attempts to remake society so that it conforms to an abstract account of what would be just or efficient.
2. A desire to preserve the political philosophy and rules of government articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
3. A belief that it is imperative to preserve traditional morality, as it is articulated in the Bible, through cultural norms.
4. A belief that it is imperative to preserve traditional morality, as it is articulated in the Bible, using cultural norms and the power of the state.
5. An embrace of free-market capitalism, and a belief in the legitimacy of market outcomes.
6. A belief that America is an exceptional nation, a shining city on a hill, whose rightful role is leader of the free world.
7. A belief that America should export its brand of democracy through force of arms.
8. The conviction that government should undertake, on behalf of the American polity, grand projects that advance our “national greatness” and ennoble our characters.
9. An embrace of localism, community and family ties, human scale, and a responsibility to the future.
10. A belief that America shouldn’t intervene in the affairs of other nations except to defend ourselves from aggression and enforce contracts and treaties.
11. A desire to return to the way things once were.
12. Affinity for, identification with, or embrace of Red America’s various cultural cues. (For example, gun ownership, a preference for single-family homes oriented around highways rather than urban enclaves organized around public transit, embrace of country music, disdain for arugula and fancy mustard, etc.)
13. Disdain for American liberalism, multiculturalism, identity politics, affirmative action, welfare, European-style social policies, and the left and its ideas generally.
14. A desire to be left alone by government, often coupled with a belief that being left alone is a natural right.
15. A principled belief in federalism.
16. The belief that taxes should be lower and government smaller.
17. The belief that the national debt and deficits put America in peril.
18. The belief that whenever possible, government budgets should be balanced.
19. Consciousness of the fallibility of man, and an awareness of the value of skepticism, doubt and humility.
20. Realism in foreign policy.
21. Non-interventionism in foreign policy.

Granting that any list of this kind is imperfect, I contend the foregoing is sufficient for our purposes. So where do the presidential candidates I’ve mentioned fall?
As best I can tell, Mitt Romney definitely shares the attitudes in 2, 3, 5, 6, 16, and 17. There is controversy about whether he in fact believes in 4 or 13. And he may well believe in 15, but if so it isn’t a defining part of his worldview.
Newt Gingrich definitely subscribes to 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 13. He inconsistently invokes 15 and 16, taking actions contrary to them on many occasions.
Rick Santorum is a believer in 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 17, and 19. He claims to believe in 16 but has been inconsistent.
Ron Paul subscribes to 2, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 21.
Unwieldy as this approach to grappling with the candidates is, it complicates the conversation about who is “most conservative” in a way that increases rather than detracts from clarity. And for that reason, I hope this is the beginning of a conversation, for I’m sure my imperfect product can be improved upon, especially by folks who actually self-identify as conservatives. Are there any significant strains I’ve missed? Are distinct ways of thinking conflated in a single item? Are the beliefs of the candidates accurately summed up? Is there a more concise way to lay all this out? I’ll be checking comments, reading email, and surveying the blogosphere to see how this might be improved.

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Was there a fire extinguisher nearby during this press conference? MA

Politics

Jenna Amatulli, HuffPost 12 hours ago

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Wednesday’s briefing that she didn’t think it was “appropriate to lie from the podium or any other place.”
Sanders’ job is to defend President Donald Trump’s actions, and defend she does. But despite her saying that her job is to “communicate the president’s agenda” and “answer questions as honestly” as she can, Sanders has a history of not doing that with complete truth.
Here are just a few examples of Sanders giving us reasons to pause:
1. When she said at Wednesday’s press briefing that Trump didn’t lie about calls from the Mexican president and leaders of Boy Scouts of America.
Trump said Monday that the president of Mexico called him directly to offer praise for his immigration policies. President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a statement that he “has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump.” Sanders said in the briefing that this call Trump claimed to have had was actually a reference to a conversation the two presidents shared at the G20 summit. As for the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, Sanders said they “congratulated” and “praised” Trump after his controversial speech at the National Scout Jamboree last week (though the group says this never happened).
Sanders then admitted that no “actual phone calls” took place; rather, they were in-person conversations. When ABC News’ Cecilia Vega indicated that the president lied, Sanders said she “wouldn’t say it was a lie.”
2. When she said “the president is not a liar.”
In June, former FBI Director James Comey said in his Senate testimony that the Trump administration had spread ‘‘lies, plain and simple,’’ “defaming’’ him at the agency. Sanders then disputed this testimony amid an off-camera briefing at the White House by saying, “The president’s not a liar.’’
According to The New York Times, Trump “told public lies or falsehoods every day for his first 40 days.”
3. When she said that the White House heard from “countless members” of the FBI about their respective lack of confidence in James Comey.
The acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, told lawmakers in a congressional hearing May 11 that that was inaccurate and said that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”
4. When she said that Trump has never “promoted or encouraged violence” after a slew of tweets about the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
During his presidential campaign, in February 2016, Trump said to a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?”
“Seriously. Just knock the hell … I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees,” he added.
5. When she said “multiple news outlets” reported that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump.
Sanders said “high-profile sources” like The New York Times and BBC had reported this, but the only claim appears to have come from “a November 2016 blog post based on anonymous sources that has not been corroborated by independent U.S. journalists.”
Sanders clearly needs to rethink her definition of honesty ― we’re not even 200 days into this administration.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost .

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So we can see with clarity that Mitch McConnell is useless and not a legislator, he is without a doubt a self serving politician whose legacy will be remembered in the harshest terms. He is the true definition of a :Snollygoster”.MA
08/02/17 11:28 AM

By Steve Benen
The last major overhaul of the federal tax code was in 1986. It was the result of a multi-year effort, which was largely bipartisan. That’s not to say it was easy – the process was excruciating at times – but the Democratic House and Republican Senate eventually reached an agreement, which the Reagan White House accepted.
With this in mind, the Senate Democratic minority acknowledged yesterday that another tax-reform push is poised to get underway, and they released a letter presenting some benchmarks, including a package that doesn’t cut taxes for the top 1% and doesn’t increase the deficit.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t exactly welcome the Democratic recommendations. Politico reported:
Senate Republicans are sticking to their plans to pass a tax bill with 50 Republican votes, despite Democratic pleas not to be sidelined as they were on health care.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday reaffirmed the GOP’s long-standing intention to shield any tax overhaul from a likely Democratic filibuster by using the procedural protections of budget reconciliation.
The GOP leader pointed to the Democrats’ letter as a justification to exclude Democrats from the process. Politico’s report added that, as far as McConnell is concerned, Dems are “not interested in addressing” Republican priorities.
McConnell added, “I don’t think this is going to be 1986” – which is true, because apparently he doesn’t want it to be like 1986.

It’s worth emphasizing that House Republican leaders have, at least in recent months, suggested they don’t want to use the reconciliation process, because they want permanent changes to the tax code, and reconciliation opens the door to temporary changes (such as the Bush/Cheney tax cuts approved in 2001).
In other words, this will be something GOP leaders will have to figure out among themselves while working on the legislative blueprint.
Either way, however, Democrats seem prepared to play a role in the process, and Mitch McConnell appears to have a different plan in mind. It’s an inauspicious beginning to the broader tax-reform push.
Explore:
The MaddowBlog, Economy, Mitch McConnell, Tax Policy, Tax Reform and Taxes

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