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In The Age Of Trump, “Political Spin” Is So Passé!


Paul Krugman, NY Times opinion columnist, writes today about the demise of political spin in a piece entitled, “Goodbye, Political Spin, Hello Blatant Lies.”

Following is a reprint:

Do you remember political spin? Politicians used to deceive voters by describing their policies in misleading ways. For example, the Bush administration was prone to things like claiming that tax breaks for the wealthy were really all about helping seniors — because extremely rich Americans tend to be quite old.

But Republicans no longer bother with deceptive presentations of facts. Instead, they just flat-out lie.

What do they lie about? Lots of things, from crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court. But right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care — an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats.

The true Republican position on health care has been clear and consistent for decades: The party hates, just hates, the idea of government action to make essential health care available to all citizens, regardless of income or medical history.

This hatred very much includes hatred of Medicare. Way back in 1961, Ronald Reagan warned that enacting Medicare would destroy American freedom. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that happened. Newt Gingrich shut down the government in an attempt to force Bill Clinton to slash Medicare funding. Paul Ryan proposed ending Medicare as we know it and replacing it with inadequate vouchers to be applied to the purchase of private insurance.

And the hatred obviously extends to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans don’t just hate the subsidies that help people buy insurance; they also hate the regulations that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Indeed, 20 Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit trying to eliminate protection for pre-existing conditions, and the Trump administration has declined to oppose the suit, in effect endorsing it.

So if you’re a voter who cares about health care, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where the parties stand. If you believe that Medicare is a bad thing and the government shouldn’t protect people with pre-existing conditions, vote Republican. If you want to defend Medicare and ensure coverage even for those who have health problems, vote Democrat.

But Republicans have a problem here: The policies they hate, and Democrats love, are extremely popular. Medicare has overwhelming support. So does protection for pre-existing conditions, which is even supported by a large majority of Republicans.

Now, you might imagine that Republicans would respond to the manifest unpopularity of their health care position by, you know, actually changing their position. But that would be hopelessly old-fashioned. As I said, what they’ve chosen to do instead is lie, insisting that black is white and up is down.

Thus Josh Hawley, as Missouri’s attorney general, is part of that lawsuit against Obamacare’s regulation of insurers; but in his campaign for the Senate, he’s posing as a defender of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Dean Heller, running for re-election to the Senate in Nevada, voted for a bill that would have destroyed Obamacare, including all protection for pre-existing conditions; but he’s misrepresenting himself just like Hawley is.

And they aren’t just lying about their own position. They’re also lying about their opponents’. Incredibly, Republicans have spent the years since passage of the A.C.A. accusing Democrats of wanting to destroy Medicare.

All of which brings me to a remarkable op-ed article on health care in USA Today, which was published under Donald Trump’s name this week. (If he actually wrote it, I’ll eat my hairpiece — although, to be fair, it was rambling and incoherent, suggesting he may have played some role in its composition.)

Part of the article claimed that the Trump administration is defending health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions, when the reality is that it has tried to destroy that coverage. But mostly it was an attack on proposals for “Medicare for all,” a slogan that refers to a variety of proposals, from universal single-payer to some form of public option.

And what did “Trump” say Democrats would do? Why, that they would “eviscerate” the current Medicare program. Oh, and that they would turn America into Venezuela. Because that’s what has happened to countries that really do have single-payer, like Canada and Denmark.

Why do Republicans think they can get away with such blatant lies? Partly it’s because they expect their Fox-watching followers to believe anything they’re told.

But it’s also because they can still count on enablers in the mainstream news media. After all, why did USA Today approve this piece? Letting Trump express his opinion is one thing; giving him a platform for blatant lies is another. And as fact-checker Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post put it, “Almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.” Even the president of the United States isn’t entitled to his own facts.

So will the G.O.P.’s Big Lie on health care work? We’ll find out in a few weeks.

Photo | T.J. Kirkpatrick/NY Times


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Sorry Michelle But That Whole “When They Go Low We Go High” Thing Is A Recipe For Losers


For a clear snapshot of what is wrong with the Democratic Party, all one had to do was watch this Thursday’s press conference given by Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein after the FBI issued its Kavanaugh report.

For those who missed it, click this link.

After what many labeled a sham and a whitewash of an investigative report, all the soft-spoken and staid Feinstein (85) could muster was to call the report “a product of an incomplete investigation.”

The milksop and mealy-mouthed Schumer added, “ We had many fears that this was a very limited process that would constrain the FBI from getting the facts … those fears have been realized.”

They left the press conference without taking questions.

At a time when the two senior Democratic leaders should have been blowing a gasket, we saw measured restraint. When they needed to do what Lindsey Graham did during the Senate confirmation hearing (give an impassioned screed), we got polite criticism.

Yes, the Republicans had the votes no matter what histrionics the couple could have engaged in. But that is not the point.  At a critical moment in our history, the Democrats lacked passion and failed to show the rightful indignation the situation called for.

The future of the Democratic Party looks dim with leaders like Schumer and Feinstein.

In a tweet later in the week, the 78-year-old House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi added:  “Today is a profoundly heart-breaking day.”

How profoundly inadequate, Nancy!

Democrats need to learn to fight fire with fire. Going into a battle holding a knife while the other side has a gun is not only dangerous but also stupid.

What will it take for Democrats to learn?

No, Michelle, “going high when they go low” is not a way to defeat a ruthless opponent.

Yes, your advice might get you brownie points in the afterlife, but it will do nothing to stop the evil in this human realm.

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Something Even The Writers Of “Animal House” Could Not Have Imagined


During the final scenes of perhaps the greatest frat movie ever made, the audience of National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) is treated to a glimpse of what becomes of some of the wild boys of Delta Tau Chi. Ladies’ man Eric Stratton (“Otter”) goes on to become a Beverly Hills gynecologist.  Eternal loser Kent Dorfman (“Flounder”) finds his calling as a sensitivity trainer and obnoxious boozer John Blutarsky (“Bluto”) becomes a U.S. senator.

It now appears the movie’s comedy writers were too timid in their satire. They needed to think bigger, especially for John Belushi’s “Bluto” character. But back then, even satire had its limits. To be fair, how could the writers have ever imagined that in the year 2018, an actual hard-drinking frat boy could be appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

Without a doubt, in the Age of Trump, satire is dead.

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Brett Kavanaugh Set To Star In New Beer Ad



Brett Kavanaugh may have hurt his image as a judge while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he certainly enhanced his reputation as a beer lover. By repeating, “I like beer,” Kavanaugh caught the ear of some very savvy beer execs.

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The Only Bench Kavanaugh Deserves To Sit On Is The One In The Park


Something unusual happened this Thursday during Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing. The man who would sit on the nation’s highest court took off his mask.

Supreme Court nominees normally look to portray themselves as cool, fair-minded, neutral arbiters of the law. As John Roberts said during his confirmation hearing, “Judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes.” A judge’s job, said Roberts, “is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.”

Starting with his opening statement, Brett Kavanaugh, currently a D.C. Circuit Judge, came out with a bat in his hand. He attacked the Democrats on the committee saying, “This confirmation process has become a national disgrace. The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.

Calling the confirmation hearing “a circus,” Kavanaugh even went “Fox News” by bringing in the Clintons.

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record,” Kavanaugh said. “Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

Kavanaugh’s rant on Thursday revealed him to be the right wing, conspiracy-theory- loving, political hack that he is.

He clearly showed he does not have the judicial temperament to sit on the Supreme Court, or any other court for that matter.

By denying provable facts about his past, he showed himself to be a liar in the mold of the man who nominated him to the position.

What is truly amazing is that all the Republican members on the committee voted to send his nomination to the full senate for a vote!

Now that one Republican senator, Jeff Flake, has done the honorable thing by calling for an FBI investigation into the serious, and credible, sexual assault allegations levied against him by a number of women, accepting Trump’s offer for a seat on the Supreme Court could be one of the worst decisions in his life.

Almost as bad as the decision he made 36 years ago when he attacked a 15-year-old girl at a house party.

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Kavanaugh Channels His Inner Thomas


Reprint from

Looking to counter the accusation he attempted to rape a girl in high school, Brett Kavanaugh takes a page from the successfully disingenuous “socio-economic” outrage employed by Clarence Thomas at his own Senate confirmation hearing.

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