Sunday, December 31, 2017

Millions of poor rural voters now hate Trump and millions of rich voters still support him, but the press only profiles poor people who remain Trumpists


Trump won the election by welding together a coalition of racist rich people who wanted tax breaks and racist poor people who'd been living in Fox-induced terror for decades and believed the world was ending and thought that Trump would at least make brown people and liberals as miserable as they were on the way to total collapse.

Millions of poor people have defected from Trump: either they've realized that they were lied to, or that spite isn't as satisfying as they thought, or both. Meanwhile, the wealthy elites who voted Trump are counting the trillions that Congress handed them last week with the tax bill and contemplating buying memberships in Mar-a-Lago.

But while the press is happy to devote long, lavish profiles to "white working class voters" who still support Trump, there's virtually no coverage of the 25% of Kentucky Trump voters who no longer support him or the millions more in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Michigan who say they won't vote for Trump again.

Nor do they have much to say about genteel, high-earning college grads who voted for Trump and whose votes have just been bought into the next election cycle.

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Trump’s strategy for dealing with North Korea is in shambles

Signs abound that his economic isolation campaign is failing.

By Zeeshan  Dec 29, 2017, 4:10pm EST

As 2017 comes to a close, President Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with North Korea is in shambles.

Trump has sought to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs this year by crippling its economy, starving its weapons program, and hopefully forcing it to the negotiating table. He pushed the international community to cut off trade with North Korea and pressured China in particular — North Korea’s closest ally and trade partner — to sever economic ties with the hermit kingdom.

But recent reports indicate that China, Russia, and even close US allies like Germany have been quietly trading with North Korea anyway, keeping its economy afloat in the face of harsh international sanctions. And North Korea today is significantly closer to being able to deliver a nuclear bomb to the US mainland than it was when Trump came into office one year ago.

Trump’s economic isolation campaign doesn’t seem to be panning out as he had hoped — which could make him that much more willing to use force to try to solve the problem once and for all.

It sure looks like a lot of countries are secretly doing business with North Korea
South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported on Tuesday that US spy satellites have spotted Chinese ships secretly transferring oil to North Korean ships in the West Sea around 30 times since October.

A US State Department official confirmed Thursday that the administration has evidence that Chinese-owned ships have “engaged in UN-prohibited activities, including ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum and the transport of coal from North Korea.”

South Korea announced on Friday it has seized a Hong Kong-registered ship that it has accused of illicitly transferring oil to a North Korean vessel.

China has denied that it’s selling oil to North Korea in defiance of UN regulations. But if it is, it wouldn’t be the only one doing business with North Korea under the table.

Reuters reported on Friday that, according to unnamed Western European security sources, Russian tankers have have transferred fuel to North Korean ships at sea at least three times in recent months in defiance of UN rules.

In September, Reuters reported that this year at least eight North Korean ships carrying fuel sailed from Russia to North Korea despite officially declaring that they were headed to other destinations. While there isn’t definitive evidence that those ships violated international law, experts say that the activity bore classic signs of sanction evasion tactics.

A December report from the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank focused on nuclear nonproliferation, found that a whopping 49 countries have violated UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea between March 2014 and September 2017.

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Is Amazon really ripping off the US Postal Service?

Trump went after the online retailer on Twitter, saying USPS “should be charging MUCH MORE” to deliver packages.

By Jen  Dec 29, 2017, 5:40pm EST

Donald Trump went after the US Postal Service on Friday, claiming that the mail carrier is “losing many billions a year” charging low package rates, “making Amazon richer” and the Postal Service “dumber and poorer.”
Donald J. Trump
Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!
8:04 AM - Dec 29, 2017
 36,109 36,109 Replies   25,467 25,467 Retweets   107,488 107,488 likes
It is not clear, exactly, what prompted Trump’s tirade Friday morning. It might be the general package-heavy Christmas season, or it might have to do with a Washington Post story detailing the White House’s worries for 2018. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owns the Post, and its critical coverage of the president has inspired his ire before.

Donald J. Trump
The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!
8:06 AM - Jun 28, 2017
 29,697 29,697 Replies   13,184 13,184 Retweets   53,162 53,162 likes
Amazon’s stock took a slight dip after Trump’s tweet, which also suggested the Postal Service should be charging “MUCH MORE.”

But is Trump right that Amazon is ripping off the Postal Service? The question of whether it should or could charge more is complicated. The Postal Service does lose billions each year, and has for the past decade. And it’s likely that Amazon gets a good deal, given that it ships millions of boxes a year.

But the Postal Service’s problems are deeper than just delivering packages. Larger institutional problems in the age of email and two-hour delivery are really to blame — but also much, much harder to fix.

The Postal Service bleeding money — but its parcel services are doing okay

The US Postal Service’s financial woes are, by now, well-documented: In November 2017, the Postal Service made a net loss of $2.7 billion. Magnified over decades, that figure represents a cumulative net loss of more than $63 billion since 2007. That is “many billions of dollars.”

But break down the losses, and the situation is a bit more nuanced. Delivering packages, it turns out, is a growth business, and it actually makes the Postal Service money: The revenue from package increased $2.1 billion, and was up 11.8 percent for fiscal year 2017. The problem is the revenue from first-class mail — still the biggest source of the USPS’s revenue — is declining.

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Trump's Cabinet of Billionaires operates in unprecedented (and illegal) secrecy


Eight of Trump's 17 cabinet secretaries do not release any information about their travel schedules -- a standard practice under the Obama and GW Bush administrations; 4 others only release incomplete, "sporadic" information; Treasury only started releasing Munichin's schedule in November and six departments illegally withhold details on who their cabinet secretaries meet with (two released some information after being sued).

Politico's detailed investigation revealed that the secretaries who release incomplete schedules generally do so in order to suppress public records of their meetings and speeches to industry groups that they are nominally in charge of regulating.

For some of Trump’s Cabinet appointees, who include wealthy business executives with little exposure to the often-harsh scrutiny of public life, secrecy may be less about hiding a policy agenda than about discomfort with the spotlight.

DeVos, the billionaire charter-school activist who never before held public office, puts some of her events on social media but leaves them out of her department’s official communications with the news media.

People following her online might have known she had met with the Saudi education minister in October — based on a photo she posted on Flickr — but the department never issued any information about it or said what they had discussed. The state-run Saudi Press Agency was more forthcoming, disclosing that the leaders had talked about “the importance of educational cooperation” between their countries’ universities.

In November, DeVos visited Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where she said in a later post on Instagram that she learned about education for the deaf and hard of hearing. The Education Department issued no advisories before or after the event.

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The GOP tax plan will pay millionaires to subsidize failing religious schools


Until the GOP tax plan came along, rich people who donated to religious schools only get partial tax write-offs for their gifts, because the constitutional principle of separation of church and state obliged them to use special scholarship funds that were not under direct state control.

The tax plan changes that, offering 100% federal tax relief on these "supervoucher" payments; however, in 10 states, millionaires who make these donations can also claim state tax relief of up to 37% on their donations -- that means that for ever dollar a millionaire in (say) South Carolina gives to a religious academy, the government will give him $1.37 back.

Private schools are in serious financial trouble, with sharp falls in their enrollments sparking closures across the nation.

The new tax plan, which takes money out of your pocket and puts it in the pockets of the richest Americans to literally pay them to prop up these schools, might just reverse that trend.

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Donald Trump's Lies

Donald Trump's Lies (103) - The first ten months.

Jan. 21, 2017.“I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.”
(He was for an invasion before he was against it.)

Jan. 21, 2017.“A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their
cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the
history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon
appeared 55 times.)

Jan. 23, 2017.“Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me
to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.)

Jan. 25, 2017.“Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd
was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.”
(Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more
heavily attended.)

Jan. 25, 2017.“Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter
fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)

Jan. 25, 2017.“You had millions of people that now aren't insured
anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the
Urban Institute.)

Jan. 25, 2017.“So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago
making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed
during his speech. You can't have that.” (There were no gun homicide
victims in Chicago that day.)

Jan. 26, 2017.“We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know
nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them.
They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know
anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You
can't.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.)

Jan. 26, 2017.“I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one
particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of
time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and
many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to
be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)

Jan. 28, 2017.“The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the
@washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually
apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never

Jan. 29, 2017.“The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.”
(There is no support for this.)

Jan. 30, 2017.“Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held
for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta
computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the
Delta outage happened two days later.)

Feb. 3, 2017.“Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are
proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA
GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)

Feb. 6, 2017.“It's gotten to a point where it is not even being
reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't
want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)

Feb. 6, 2017.“And the previous administration allowed it to happen
because we shouldn't have been in Iraq, but we shouldn't have gotten
out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (The
group’s origins date to 2004.)

Feb. 7, 2017.“And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest
it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.”
(It was higher in the 1980s and '90s.)

Feb. 9, 2017.“Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal,
never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in
Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo's first question.)

Feb. 9, 2017.“Sen. Richard misrepresents what Judge
Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)

Feb. 10, 2017.“I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report
is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn's actions for weeks.)

Feb. 12, 2017.“Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic
supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to
Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.)

Feb. 16, 2017.“We got 306 because people came out and voted like
they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was
the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush,
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral

Feb. 16, 2017.“Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the
United States just this year because of our various plans and
initiatives.” (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced
in October 2016.)

Feb. 16, 2017.“When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes
out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.”
(Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)

Feb. 16, 2017.“We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we
had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.)

Feb. 16, 2017.“They’re giving stuff — what was said at an office about
Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions.
Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.”
(It was widely covered.)

Feb. 18, 2017.“You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at
what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe
this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no
such attack.)

Feb. 24, 2017.“By the way, you folks are in here — this place is
packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no
evidence of long lines.)

Feb. 24, 2017.“ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.)

Feb. 24, 2017.“Obamacare covers very few people — and remember, deduct
from the number all of the people that had great health care that they
loved that was taken away from them — it was taken away from them.”
(Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)

Feb. 27, 2017.“Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the
insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the
Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.)

Feb. 28, 2017.“The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs
by the hundreds of thousands.” (There's no evidence that the Waters of
the United States rule caused severe job losses.)

Feb. 28, 2017.“We have begun to drain the swamp of government
corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch
officials.” (They can't lobby their former agency but can still become

March 3, 2017.“It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved
my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not
submitted to the Senate.)

March 4, 2017.“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires
tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is
McCarthyism!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.)

March 7, 2017.“122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama
Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just
another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President
George W. Bush.)

March 17, 2017.“I was in Tennessee — I was just telling the folks —
and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is
going to lose the insurance company.” (There's at least one insurer in every
Tennessee county.)

March 22, 2017.“I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next
day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden
broke out two days later and there were no deaths.)

March 22, 2017.“NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism.
They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.)

March 31, 2017.“We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that
were never going to be there if I — if I didn’t win this election,
those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.”
(These investments were already planned.)

April 11, 2017.“I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not
involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the
senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew
Steve Bannon since 2011.)

April 12, 2017.“You can't do it faster, because they're obstructing.
They're obstructionists. So I have people — hundreds of people that
we're trying to get through. I mean you have — you see the backlog. We
can't get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone
for hundreds of positions.)

April 12, 2017.“The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the
headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast
when they realized.” (There were separate headlines for print and web, but
neither were altered.)

April 12, 2017.“Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve
been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The
campaign was expected to take months.)

April 16, 2017.“Someone should look into who paid for the small
organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There's no
evidence of paid protesters.)

April 18, 2017.“The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance
on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.)

April 21, 2017.“When WikiLeaks came out ... never heard of WikiLeaks,
never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.)

April 27, 2017.“I want to help our miners while the Democrats are
blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for
certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored
by mostly Democrats.)

April 28, 2017.“The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion,
even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The
U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.)

April 28, 2017.“She's running against someone who's going to raise
your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he's for open borders
— lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff's positions.)

April 29, 2017.“As you know, I've been a big critic of China, and I've
been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have
to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China
stopped years ago.)

April 29, 2017.“We're also getting NATO countries to finally step up
and contribute their fair share. They've begun to increase their
contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be
satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in

May 1, 2017.“Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And
it'll be every good — bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”
(The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing

May 4, 2017.“Nobody cares about my tax return except for the
reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.)

May 5, 2017.“We pay the highest taxes anywhere in the world.” (We're

May 8, 2017.“But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly
rated. It was high — highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever
had.” (Colbert's Late Show debut had nearly two million more viewers.)

May 8, 2017.“Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the
fake media already knows — there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/
Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn't aware of an

May 12, 2017.“Again, the story that there was collusion between the
Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for
losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the

May 26, 2017.“Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very
successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and
millions of jobs.” (He's referencing an arms deal that's not enacted
and other apparent deals that weren't announced on the trip.)

June 1, 2017.“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional
coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to
this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by
2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.)

June 4, 2017.“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and
Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor was
specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the

June 5, 2017.“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original
Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they
submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not
the Justice Department.)

June 21, 2017.“They all say it's 'nonbinding.' Like hell it's
nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump
said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)

June 21, 2017.“You have a gang called MS-13. ... We are moving them
out of the country by the thousands, by the thousands.” (The real number
of gang members deported is smaller.)

June 21, 2017.“Your insurance companies have all fled the state of
Iowa.” (They haven't)

June 21, 2017.“If [farmers] have a puddle in the middle of their field
... it's considered a lake and you can't touch it. ... We got rid of
that one, too, O.K.?” (The Obama environmental rule to limit pollution
in the country’s waters explicitly excludes puddles.)

June 21, 2017.“Gary Cohn just paid $200 million in tax in order to
take this job, by the way.” Cohn sold Goldman Sachs stock worth $220

June 21, 2017.“We’re 5 and 0.” (Republicans have won four special
elections this year, while a Democrat won one.)

June 21, 2017.“Last week a brand-new coal mine just opened in the
state of Pennsylvania, first time in decades, decades.” (Another coal mine
opened in 2014.)

June 22, 2017.“Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest
top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between
Trump & Russia” (Johnson, who had a different title, didn't say that.)

June 23, 2017.“Ratings way down!” (CNN's ratings were at a five-year
high at the time.)

June 28, 2017.“Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate
bill — actually goes up.” (Senate bill would have cut the program

July 17, 2017.“We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through
the legislature — than any president, ever.” (Clinton, Carter, Truman,
and F.D.R. had signed more at the same point.)

July 19, 2017.“But the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the
president of the United States, which is interesting.” (He reports
directly to the attorney general.)

July 19, 2017.“She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing,
while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money.” (There's no
evidence Hillary Clinton was actively involved or benefited from the

July 24, 2017.“It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record
today.” (Many fewer than 45,000 were there, and the attendance was not
a record.)

July 25, 2017.“We have nearly doubled the number of veterans given
approvals to see the doctor of their choice.” (The increase was 26

July 25, 2017.“Since I took office we have cut illegal immigration on
our southern border by record numbers. 78 percent.” (The decline began
before Trump's inauguration.)

July 28, 2017.“The previous administration enacted an open-door policy
to illegal migrants from Central America. 'Welcome in. Come in,
please, please.'” (Obama deported millions.)

July 28, 2017.“We have trade deficits with almost every country
because we had a lot of really bad negotiators making deals with other
countries.” (The U.S. has a trade surplus with more than 100

July 31, 2017.“2.6 is a number that nobody thought they’d see for a
long period of time.” (Many experts predicted economic growth at least
this high.)

July 31, 2017.“And even the President of Mexico called me – they said
their southern border, very few people are coming because they know
they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate
compliment.” (Mexico's president says he didn't call Trump.)

Aug. 3, 2017.“The Russia story is a total fabrication.” (It's not.)

Aug. 15, 2017.“We want products made in the country. Now, I have to
tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they're leaving out of
embarrassment because they make their products outside.” (People
resigned from Trump's business councils over his Charlottesville

Aug. 22, 2017.“As everybody here remembers, this was the scene of my
first rally speech, right?” (Trump's first rally was in New

Aug. 22, 2017.“We have become an energy exporter for the first time
ever just recently.” (The U.S. isn't projected to become a net energy
exporter until 2026.)

Aug. 22, 2017.“Look back there, the live red lights. They're turning
those suckers off fast out there. They're turning those lights off
fast. Like CNN.” (CNN didn't turn off its cameras.)

Sept. 14, 2017.“Also with the fact that I know in the case of FEMA and
the case of Coast Guard, the job you've done in saving people, saving
lives. As an example, in Harvey in Texas, we talked – over 16,000
lives.” (The real number is smaller.)

Sept. 14, 2017.“And in Florida you got hit with the strongest winds
ever recorded.” (They weren't the strongest ever recorded.)

Sept. 22, 2017.“So he started off here, he was in third or fourth, he
went to third, second, and now it's like almost pretty even.” (Strange
consistently polled first or second in the Alabama Republican

Sept. 27, 2017.“I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me.”
(All available evidence suggests he would benefit.)

Sept. 27, 2017.“To protect millions of small businesses and the
American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the
unfair estate tax.” (The real number of small businesses and farmers
is vastly smaller.)

Oct. 6, 2017.“They also just said that there has been absolutely no
collusion. They just said that. Yesterday. Two days ago. Senate. There
has been no collusion.” (The Senate didn't say that.)

Oct. 10, 2017.“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by
recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what
I am dealing with!” (Corker asked the Times reporter to record the call;
his aides recorded it too.)

Oct. 11, 2017.“We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the
air. Ninety seven per cent of the time. If you send two of them, it's
going to get knocked out.” (The effectiveness rate is about 60

Oct. 16, 2017.“I hear that Ireland is going to be reducing their
corporate rates down to 8 percent from 12.” (Ireland has no plans to
cut its tax rate.)

Oct. 16, 2017.“If you look at President Obama and other presidents,
most of them didn’t make calls.” (They did call families of soldiers
killed in action.)

Oct. 16, 2017.“All I can say is it’s totally fake news. It’s just
fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful, what happens, but
that happens in the world of politics.” (Trump himself has bragged
about groping women.)

Oct. 18, 2017.“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said
to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof).” (The
wife confirmed Representative Frederica Wilson's account.)

Oct. 18, 2017.“Nobody has ever heard of a five hitting land.”
(Category 5 storms have hit land before.)

Oct. 24, 2017.“Under our plan, more than 30 million Americans who own
small businesses will get a 40 per cent cut to their top marginal tax
rate.” (The real number is estimated to be less than 1 million.)

Oct. 27, 2017.“Wacky & totally unhinged Tom Steyer, who has been
fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning,
never wins elections!” (Steyer has financially supported many winning

Nov. 7, 2017.“When you look at the city with the strongest gun laws in
our nation, it's Chicago.” (Several other cities, including New York
and Los Angeles, have stronger gun laws.)

Nov. 11, 2017.“I'd rather have him – you know, work with him on the
Ukraine than standing and arguing about whether or not – because that
whole thing was set up by the Democrats.” (There is no evidence that
Democrats "set up" Russian interference in the election.)


[I'm not sure of the source for this information, but I THINK it is taken from an article in the NY Times]

New Year’s Update for Trump Voters


Almost one year in, it’s time for another update for Trump voters on his election promises:

1. He told you he’d cut your taxes, and that the super-rich like him would pay more. You bought it. But his new tax law does the opposite. By 2027, according several nonpartisan analyses, the richest 1 percent will have got 83 percent of the tax cut and the richest 0.1 percent, 60 percent of it. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law, “You all just got a lot richer.”

2. He promised to close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors but unfair to American workers,” especially the notorious “carried interest” loophole for private-equity, hedge fund, and real estate partners. You bought it. But the new tax law keeps the “carried interest” loophole.

3. He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 23 million off health insurance, including many of you.) Instead, he’s doing what he can to cut it back and replace it with nothing. The new tax law will result in 13 million people losing health coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

4. He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’ crumbling infrastructure. You bought it. But after his giant tax cut for corporations and millionaires, there’s no money left for infrastructure.

5. He said he’d clean the Washington swamp. You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls than in any administration in history, to make laws that will enrich their businesses, and he’s filled departments and agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they recently worked for.

6. He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he has created the most dysfunctional, back-stabbing White House in modern history, and has already fired and replaced so many assistants (one of them hired and fired in a little more than a week) that people there barely know who’s in charge of what.

7. He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. But now the White House says that promise is “inoperative.”

8. He promised “a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.” You bought it. But foreign lobbyists are still raising money for American elections.

9. He told you “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” You bought it. But he and House Speaker Paul Ryan are already planning such cuts in order to deal with the ballooning deficit created, in part, by the new tax law for corporations and the rich.

10. He promised “six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” You bought it. But the giant tax cut for corporations and the rich doesn’t leave any money for this.

11. He said that on Day One he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. But then he met with China’s president Xi Jinping and declared “China is not a currency manipulator.” Ever since then, Trump has been cozying up to Xi.

12. He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. But then he bombed Syria.

13. He said he’d build a “wall” across the southern border. You believed him. But there’s no money for that, either. Chief of staff John Kelly says it is “unlikely that we will build a wall, a physical barrier, from sea to shining sea.”

14. He promised that the many women who accused him of sexual misconduct “will be sued after the election is over.” You bought it. He hasn’t sued them, presumably because he doesn’t want the truth to come out.

15. He said he would not be a president who took vacations. “I would not be a president that takes time off,” he promised, and he called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief.” You bought it. But since becoming President he has spent nearly 25 percent of his days at one of his golf properties for some portion of the day, according to Golf News Network, at a cost to taxpayers of over $77 million. That’s already more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama cost in the first 3 years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump business.

16. He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America, and that there would be “consequences” for companies that shipped jobs abroad. You believed him. But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM, and the rest have continued to ship jobs to Mexico and China. Carrier (a division of United Technologies) has moved ahead with plans to send 1,000 jobs at its Indiana plant to Mexico. Notwithstanding, the federal government has rewarded United Technologies with 15 new contracts since Trump’s inauguration. Last year, Microsoft opened a new factory in Wilsonville, Oregon, that was supposed to herald a new era in domestic tech manufacturing. But in July, the company announced it was closing the plant. More than 100 workers and contractors will lose their jobs when production shifts to China. GE is sending jobs to Canada. IBM is sending them to Costa Rica, Egypt, Argentina, and Brazil. There have been no “consequences” for sending all these jobs overseas.

17. He promised to revive the struggling coal industry and “bring back thousands” of lost mining jobs. You bought it. But coal jobs continue to disappear. Since Trump’s victory, at least 6 plants that relied on coal have closed or announced they will close. Another 40 are projected to close during the president’s four-year term. Utilities continue to switch to natural gas instead of coal.

18. He promised to protect steel workers. But according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year. That import surge has hurt American steel workers, who were already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel. For example, ArcelorMittal just announced it will soon lay off 150 of its 207 steel workers at its plant in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

19. He said he’d make America safer. You believed him. But according to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 377 mass shootings so far this year, including 58 people killed and hundreds injured at a concert in Las Vegas, and 26 churchgoers killed and 20 injured at a church in Texas. Trump refuses to consider any gun controls.

20. He said he’d release his taxes. “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released,“ he promised during the campaign. He hasn’t released his taxes.


Why American doctors keep doing expensive procedures that don’t work

The proportion of medical procedures unsupported by evidence may be nearly half.

By Eric Patashnik  Dec 28, 2017, 9:10am EST

Outside contributors' opinions and analysis of the most important issues in politics, science, and culture.

The recent news that stents inserted in patients with heart disease to keep arteries open work no better than a placebo ought to be shocking. Each year, hundreds of thousands of American patients receive stents for the relief of chest pain, and the cost of the procedure ranges from $11,000 to $41,000 in US hospitals.

But in fact, American doctors routinely prescribe medical treatments that are not based on sound science.

The stent controversy serves as a reminder that the United States struggles when it comes to winnowing evidence-based treatments from the ineffective chaff. As surgeon and health care researcher Atul Gawande observes, “Millions of people are receiving drugs that aren’t helping them, operations that aren’t going to make them better, and scans and tests that do nothing beneficial for them, and often cause harm.”

Of course, many Americans receive too little medicine, not too much. But the delivery of useless or low-value services should concern anyone who cares about improving the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of medical care. Estimates vary about what fraction of the treatments provided to patients is supported by adequate evidence, but some reviews place the figure at under half.

Naturally that carries a heavy cost: One study found that overtreatment — one type of wasteful spending — added between $158 billion and $226 billion to US health care spending in 2011.

The stunning news about stents came in a landmark study published in November, in The Lancet. It found that patients who got stents to treat nonemergency chest pain improved no more in their treadmill stress tests (which measure how long exercise can be tolerated) than did patients who received a “sham” procedure that mimicked the real operation but actually involved no insertion of a stent.

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Religiously speaking

The results of American GunFail

News, opinions, tweets and more 12.31.2017 #2

News, opinions, tweets and more 12.31.2017 #1