National Insecurity Council

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Sledgehammer Squad in Session

When it comes to Trump’s rambunctious foreign policy, you don’t have to read between the lines to see the handwriting on the wall.  A malignant method to his madness is rapidly revealing itself as Trump’s national insecurity team implements Steve Bannon’s new world order.  Bannon’s elevation to the National Security Council (NSC) not only keeps him in the loop on state secrets and strategies, it coincides with Trump’s NSC downgrade of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence (the highest U.S. ranking military and intel officers respectively).  This means Bannon can team up with hothead Michael Flynn to bypass critical channels on the NSC to directly influence Trump’s war making decisions, dumping un-vetted action orders on his desk like candy at Christmas.

New National Security Advisor Flynn shares Bannon’s apocalyptic global outlook and is fond of retweeting hyped up fake news even though he used to head the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).  Under Obama, Flynn got canned at DIA after he trafficked in “Flynn facts” to support his aggressive and insubordinate ideology.  Flynn facts were coined by his DIA underlings to describe Flynn’s tenuous relationship with the truth.  Flynn was also described as “abusive” by his staff.  In other words, like Trump, this guy has an oversized ego, an ax to grind, and will lie to push his agenda.

Think about it.  Flynn, the former head of the DIA, an A-list intel agency, either got suckered by fake news or knowingly dealt it to help his boss get elected.  Also consider that some of these lies were peddled by Putin propagandists and that Flynn’s snapshot view of geopolitics says we’re in World War III.  Although I tend to agree with him, with failed states, civil war and terror from Tunisia to the Taliban, should we treat the sickness with a sledgehammer or a scalpel?

Steve Bannon’s background is just as alarming.  Before winning Trump’s ear as a trusted advisor, he headed Breitbart, a far-right fake news organization with white nationalist leanings.  Bannon believes radical Islam is threatening the very fabric of Western Civilization and that we currently face an existential crisis because of it.  Again, radical terrorism is certainly a dire threat, but powerful enough to defeat the West?  Sounds pretty paranoid and jibes nicely with Flynn’s World War III scenario.  It also creates an excuse to extend our longest war into a quixotic campaign to completely eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth.  In fact, these guys will perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy of eternal conflict with their aggression.

All of which brings us to the Navy Seal raid in Yemen on January 29, where our military reportedly wasted twenty four women and children.  This mission was an Obama leftover because the previous administration was waiting for a “moonless night” to launch the attack, but the carnage begs the question:  Did trigger-happy Flynn, Bannon and Trump do a rush job on this? Were they so eager to advertise their tough guy message to the world they ignored warnings of extreme “collateral damage”?  Based on reports, it sure sounds like a sledgehammer over a scalpel, and will only breed more terror if they’re true.

Finally, covert military operations don’t run into walls of gunfire, and elite seal teams don’t get surrounded by their targets.  It was almost like the jihadists were waiting for them, which means the bad guys were either tipped off or the White House was acting on incomplete intelligence.  Either way, it led to the tragic death of an elite serviceman, adding more misery to the mire.  This haplessness reminds me of Bush’s neo cons a decade ago rampaging through Iraq, kicking down doors, and chasing after “known unknowns”; flexing their muscles while trying to export democracy at the point of a spear.  So now, instead of neo-con cowboys, we’ve got a paranoid trio bent on stoking Armageddon to fuel an endless war on terror.

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Was the Yemen raid a sledgehammer or a scalpel?

 

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National Insecurity Council

Too High a “Price” to Pay

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Billionaire Trump’s “Pricey”Reverse Robin Hood Health Care Plan

Trump’s pick for HHS is deeply disturbing. Tom Price is a hardcore, right-wing, Tea Party founder who also happens to be a doctor, which is incredible given his war on universal healthcare and willingness to let countless Americans die for lack of coverage.  Under his odious plan, which Obama vetoed but Trump could easily sign into law, the Affordable Care Act would not be strengthened,  but shredded, and replaced with a regressive, reverse Robin Hood scheme that steals from the sick and the poor to feed the rich.

For starters, it replaces Obama Care’s income based tax credits (subsidies that don’t go far enough as it is) with even more miserly, fixed reimbursements that crush the middle and working class.  Price’s plan also creates health “savings” accounts, which only work if people earn enough to save, and repeals Medicaid expansion in 31 states currently providing life-saving health care for the working poor.  This expansion was intended to cover all fifty states, but nineteen craven, immoral Republican governors and/or legislatures refused to expand the program to spite Obama, thus sabotaging the Exchange by reducing the flow of federal dollars into the system, driving prices higher, and forcing insurers to abandon it.  This obstruction also killed, sickened or indebted MILLIONS of low-wage earners who needed the expansion to qualify for Medicaid.

Now, even though the federal government would’ve paid for 90% of the expansion — FOREVER — Price and his Party of No will not only try to strip Medicaid expansion from ALL 50 states , but add work requirements and co-pays for regular Medicaid recipients.  What happens if these chronically under-paid, under-employed, under-educated citizens can’t find work or make their payments?  The GOP will either kick them off Medicaid, or these people won’t seek care when they get sick.  Then, they’ll run to the ER with the millions of other citizens kicked off Obama Care, driving prices ever higher for the dwindling numbers who can even afford insurance in Trump’s new banana republic.

What else is at stake? 

Preexisting conditions will kick in again for those between jobs who can’t afford healthcare, contraception subsidies will be dropped – jeopardizing women’s health – and mandatory coverage for preventative procedures like physicals, mammograms and colonoscopies will be abandoned, making people sicker, also leading to expensive premiums only the elite can afford.  Lifetime caps will be back on the table (punishing the sick for being sick) and Medicare will be “privatized”, which, in Republican-speak, means fixed vouchers that will NEVER cover costs for taxpayers expecting (and deserving) full coverage when they retire, after making LIFETIME payments into a system based on that expectation.  If that’s not the ultimate rip off of American workers, what is?  To add insult to injury, the super-sick will be thrown into high-risk pools with pricey premiums most of them won’t be able to afford.

What does all this add up to?

More money out of your pocket, and yes, that especially goes for the all the poor, marginalized, working class folks who voted for Trump.  How will you feel when your boss drops your health plan because she won’t have to provide it anymore?  Yes, Price wants to gut this safety-net too, so ponder that Trump vote on your next ER visit while the rest of us pay your bill.  You’ll have plenty of time to think, because millions of fellow citizens will be standing in the same line.

Conclusion

KNOW THIS:  Price, the President, and the GOP have absolutely ZERO interest in reducing healthcare costs as they boot sick, poor, working and middle class people off the rolls through a policy of greed and attrition.  In fact, their “free”-market plan crushes the cost curve.  It pushes prices UP, increasing profits for insurance companies, Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers, private hospitals, and for-profit providers, while covering LESS medical expenses for consumers, all of which equals exponentially ESCALATING out-of-pocket payments for those lucky enough to afford, or even USE a plan without going into DEBT.  Hmmmm . . . . how will that health savings account work when you’re in debt?

Believe it or not, despite all of its neo-liberal weaknesses, Obama Care is actually SLOWING the RATE of rising healthcare industry costs, primarily due to Medicare reforms that place PERFORMANCE over PROFITS.  Translation:  Medicare pays docs and hospitals more if their patients get well, and less if they just throw costly diagnostic procedures at their patients to make money (Price wants to chuck this policy too).

In short, Price’s unholy plan creates a self fulfilling prophecy of increased industry profits, under-insured and non-insured citizens, and decreased government assistance that can never be made up with middle class tax cuts.  This is why Bernie Sanders supports slightly higher middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, which not only simplifies a disgustingly complex health care system, but puts more money back in our pockets, and makes us healthier, happier and more productive, all of which is great for the economy.

Call to Action

Trump has appointed an extremist to govern HSS with every intention of DECIMATING Obama Care, Medicare and Medicaid so Trump can pay for tax cuts for the super-rich.  In other words, a billionaire will STEAL your right to affordable healthcare, just to make the rich richer, if Tom Price has his way.

Working Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Independents:  You must fight this appointment with all your heart and soul.  Contact your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Tom  Price’s eventual outrageous plan.  Use social media, Tweet your thoughts on this injustice, and tell your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.  Join Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution to sign up to fight for Medicare for All, which a majority of Americans want.  Do all this NOW, before his bill starts to worm its way through Congress.  Send a CLEAR message that Tom’s bill will be too high a “PRICE” to pay.

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Your pocket under Tom’s “Pricey” plan.

Too High a “Price” to Pay

Going Green

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Elite media pundits love to degrade “fringe” candidates like Jill Stein as not “mainstream” enough or too much on “the margins” of the political landscape to pull the poll numbers needed to debate against establishment nominees like Clinton and Trump. Well didn’t these experts say the same thing about Bernie Sanders?  That no one really knew who he was; that he was a “Socialist” and Americans hate Socialists; that he didn’t have any big-money backers, and as Iggy Pop sang in the 80’s:  Blah, blah, blah . . .?

These talking heads also push the idea that Greens haven’t captured the public ‘s imagination even though Jill Stein has replaced Bernie as the candidate for bold change, offering , for example, the Millennials a chance to erase $1.3 trillion in student debt.  Gee!  That sure as hell sounds like news to me, yet Big Media won’t give the story traction, because they CHOOSE not to.

As Dr. Stein so aptly explained on Fox News this Sunday, Hillary Clinton has already snagged $2 billion in free media while King of Free Media Trump has pulled $5 billion of the same.  So it comes down to choice folks.   Unfortunately, big, elite media is still the gatekeeper for far too many American eyeballs (and brains), while making decisions based on profit over public service.   These plutocrats cover candidates based on their own sense of entitlement as elite members of a privileged class, meaning they screen for prospective politicians who suck up to the corrupt system they perpetuate.

Think about it.  If the world is turned upside-down, THEIR world is turned upside-down.  If, as Jill Stein proposes, we stop blowing trillions on endless Mid East conflicts, where will all the juicy war stories go?  If, as Jill Stein proposes, we use that money to forgive student loans, where will all the” human interest stories” go? If, as Jill Stein proposes, we pull the carbon climate plug, what’ll happen to all those super-storms?  Ratings will fall. Hey! Their taxes will go up to finance Medicare for All.  They might even have to cover more policy and less gossip.  Scariest of all, they might have to QUESTION the very system they are such an integral part of.  Woooooo! Now I bet that really spooks ‘em.

See, the 15% poll threshold for national debates is an arbitrary number set by “The Commission on Presidential Debates”.  Sounds  imposing doesn’t it?  Very official and governmental, so it must look out for our best interests right?  Wrong.  It’s actually a CORPORATE funded, non-taxable, 501c3 board controlled by the DEMORCRATIC and REPUBLICAN parties.  Hello!   A fourth grader could easily put two and two together, and tell you this entity was created to coddle a two-party system eager to maintain establishment policy, and that 15% aint a random number.  In fact, it’s an intentionally high bar which, combined with a deliberate third-party media blackout, makes it virtually impossible for change-makers to mount the debate stage.  By the way, establishment policy is a just fancy phrase for incrementalism, also known to my readers as baby-steps, which not only bolster corporate profits, but provide a steady trickle of horror stories for news outlets.  Why?  Because the status quo means nothing changes, or changes glacially enough to keep those sexy stories in the pipeline.

The plutocracy club fears Jill Stein because, like Bernie, she equals change.  If we stop regime change, whack-a-mole terrorist policy, arms exports, and support for corrupt dictators who hate human rights, America will save TRILLIONS and gain good standing in the world, but the current system – THEIR SYSTEM – will collapse.  If we pull the carbon climate plug, we’ll build a 21st Century, tech-based, innovative, clean-energy economy that the world will envy.  This new economy will generate MILLIONS of high-wage jobs, save TRILLIONS in super-storm costs, TRILLIONS in healthcare, and TRILLIONS more in wasted hours sitting in traffic by expanding mass transit, but THEIR SYSTEM, which BENEFITS THEM in ways unimaginable to average Americans, will collapse.

Remember, Bernie Sander’s political success occurred DESPITE the media’s initial antipathy and outright hostility to his outsider status.   Now, they praise him because he’s no longer a threat to their way of life, at least for now, but their coverage is more akin to a eulogy. He moved mountains to even get heard in the first place, which is why despite his current role as an Anyone-but-Trump Clinton supporter, Bernie admitted the 15% bar is too high on Meet the Press today.  He also knows, but didn’t say, that Clinton doesn’t want Stein on the stage because she’ll take votes from her, and the fact that Trump isn’t fighting to get Stein up there is baffling.

Bernie’s in a box because he’s a man of his word who promised to support the Democrats if they made liberal concessions at the Convention, which we all know may not be worth the platform paper they’re written on.  But while Bernie holds them accountable, some of us may not want to wait.  I will vote for Clinton instead of Stein because I live in a swing state and, despite a few interesting ideas, Trump’s immigrant scapegoating, love for guns, regressive tax policy, climate change denial, and narcissistic unpredictability disqualify him in my book.   However, whether or not Hillary is president, I’m watching the Democrats, and if I don’t see real progress, I’ll be leaving their party to register as a Green.  In the meantime, I urge all Democrats in safely Red or Blue states to vote for Jill Stein, support Bernie’s Democratic candidates through Our Revolution, support Brand New Congress’ candidates through their organization (which I hope is coordinating with Bernie and the Greens), and, of course, support Greens, particularly in primaries against establishment Democrats.

So, once more, like when Bernie’s show hit the road, let’s dream big and fight for real over false freedom, an egalitarian economy over an unequal one, and a shining city on a hill that’s not a myth, but a reality.  Peace.

Going Green

No More Next Years:

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Was Brooklyn-born Bernie in the stands with the rest of “dem bums” . . . ?

It’s become increasingly apparent that the most vital plank in the 2016 Democratic Convention Platform will be reforming the entire nomination process.  For starters, Bernie wants to “open up” the primaries to parties of every political persuasion, including Republicans and Independents.  The standard argument against this is that it opens the door for the GOP base to vote for a “weaker” candidate in the primary so they can beat him/her in the general election.   Well what does “weaker” candidate really mean anyway?  Someone who truly represents old school Democratic values?  Someone like Bernie Sanders?

History of the Hijack

Back in ’72, George McGovern got blown out by the incumbent (Nixon) because the economy seemed strong and Vietnam was winding down, yet McGovern’s loss is commonly cited as a rationale for the Democrats current super-delegate system.  Question:  Is this when the Democratic Party lost its way, selling out instead of taking one on the chin and regrouping?  Apparently, party leaders couldn’t swallow such a bitter pill, namely Tricky Dick winning in ’68 with the Southern Strategy and in ‘72 by dumping the Gold Standard, which saved jobs in time for the election but bred inflation for Ford and austerity for Carter.  Pretty clever huh?

Then Reagan beat Carter in ’80 with more Southern strategy, tax-cuts for the rich and deregulation, but this time with the incumbent battling both a brutal recession (thanks to Nixon’s fuzzy math) and a Ted Kennedy primary.  That’s a triple whammy folks, and maybe Carter pulls it out if Ted waits his turn, but, typical of politicians faced with losing power, party panic set in.  Instead of reframing, rebranding, and offering alternatives to Reaganomics, these self-appointed super-delegates inherited dictatorial powers while silently shifting Right.

Rather than saving fast-fading unions, they scattered to every K-Street corner, rattling their tin cups at the well-heeled boots of a vast lobbyist army marching on Capitol Hill.  Presto!  The stage was set and the road paved with gold for the “New” Democrats, Republican Lite, Blue Dogs and Purple People-eaters to hijack the Party.  Big Business never had it so good, and the rest is history.

Clinton Coronation

Fast forward to 2016:  Now the super-delegates have morphed into a gigantic Coronation Committee for Clinton, even after she loses primary after primary down the stretch and polls half as high as Bernie vs. Trump.  This is anti-democratic (and counter-intuitive), yet the lame-stream media continues to serve as an echo-chamber for the Clinton campaign by refusing to acknowledge Sander’s momentum.  Of course, it all makes sense when you consider that television, radio and print media were gobbled up and consolidated by corporations around the same time Democrats sold us out thirty years ago.  Do you really think some talking head will expose the charade and risk losing star status, a 1% income, and a really cool job over truth?  Think again.

Bernie’s Big Fix

So here’s the bottom line:  Bernie’s call to trash the super-delegate system targets the Achilles Heel of the Democratic Party, namely, its inability to differentiate from Republicans.  It forces the Party to return to its roots by opening up the primaries, the platform and nomination process to outside campaigns fueled by small donations, not corporate capture.  Otherwise, the system will continue to operate like a modern day Tammany Hall; a churning, burning, old fashioned political machine where instead of passing bags of money around, Party Bosses nurture a complex system of legalized corruption.

Bernie’s political revolution is the antidote to this grand illusion; this Matrix where the appearance of change cons us into believing it’s right around the corner, when in reality the base is teased like Brooklyn Dodger fans (“dem bums!”) every cycle with front office promises of: “Wait ‘til next year!” Meanwhile the bank-rolled Bronx Bombers (a Wall Street dynasty) keep winning, year, after year, after year . . . and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, year, after year, after year, and the middle class disappears, year, after year, after year . . . and the climate gets hotter and health care more costly, year, after year, after year . . .

No More Next Years

Well guess what?  Berners aren’t waiting ‘til next year, next week, or even tomorrow.  We want real, big, bold, change NOW!  And like it or not, the party powerful WILL hear our VOICE at the Convention in June, because we’re sick of the con, and because, most important of all:  We are the real Democrats.

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Fellow “bums” . . . I mean Democrats:  You have nothing to fear but fear itself!  Sooooo . . . squash those pesky Super-delegates and return to your ROOTS!

 

No More Next Years:

Citizens United to Kick Congress in the Can!

PinkSlipAnother current critique fomenting Bernie bias is that Sanders would be a lame duck president, with tone-deaf pundits trashing his aggressive agenda as “D.O.A.”, “down for the count”, and “dead as a doornail” in our cash-infused conservative Congress. These egoist establishment naysayers argue that if centrists like Obama couldn’t push “pragmatic” policy past the GOP, how will a hard-hurling lefty hit the strike zone in the Land of No? Well, if that’s your attitude folks, why not just vote Republican so we can “get stuff done” like Hillary keeps hollerin’?

But such maximal measures may be moot, because if Bernie wins the nomination turnout tallies will explode, sending a stampeding storm of victorious voters to the polls, not for charity (as red baiters believe), but to destroy disastrous disparity in America.  This history-making horde will flip the sinister Senate, even that hellacious House of horrors, back to our Democratic damsels in distress. Bernie’s message will energize these voracious voters as will the prospect of triumphing over a tirading Trump, the demonizing demagogue who fosters fear and strikes terror in trans-migrant hearts.

But wait! What about those Democrats who danced on Bernie’s coattails all the way to D.C., sizing up their shiny Senator seats on Inauguration Day? Won’t they be bought-and-paid-for with cold, hard campaign cash? How will Bernie dissuade these dishonest Dems from lapping at the well-heeled loafers of lascivious lobbyists?  Answer:  By boarding T.R.’s train to the Bully Pulpit and bellowing, from sea to shining sea:  PURSUE THE PEOPLE’S PROGRAM.  PRONTO!

But this won’t do the trick, even in tempestuous times, if the Almighty Dollar rules the roost.  Will unsatisfied citizens in a sickly system have the power, or the means, to circumvent the High Court’s campaign-cash cabal?  Unless these judicial figureheads of finance frustrate their overlords by finding religion on the true frequency of free speech, Bernie’s bellows will fall on deaf ears.  So how will the people confront this confounding conflation of the First Amendment franchise and Big Business-backed bucks?

With diminutive democratic donations of course! Bernie’s bastion of small contributors will continuously crash our occupied offices like waves at Normandy Beach.  Voters will recoil at repugnant Representatives reneging on (and reigning in) the People’s promise.  Millions of Mr. Smiths will “go to Washington” to chastise craven Congressional charlatans hooked on corrupt campaign cash, and cry:  “KICK ‘EM TO THE CURB!” on Capitol Hill.

And we will!  No mid-term melancholy here folks; no reprise of those dreaded days when oscillating Obama cobwebbed his campaign until Term Two. Sanders will keep the fire BERNing while we brazenly boot irreconcilable Representatives off the reservation.  Not with virulent violence as Trump would tout, but by virtue of VOICING OUR VOTE.  That’s right!  Bernie-backers will blast the blithering bums into oblivion, re-setting the mid-term that laughed its way to the bank in lieu of lighting Lady Liberty.

So Citizens Unite!  After all, according to the Court’s munificent majority, money equals speech.  Right?

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/bernie_sanders_political_revolution_still_can_transform_america_20160317

 

Citizens United to Kick Congress in the Can!

Mo’ Message

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Turnout trounces Trump in a general election.

Keep heart Bernie-backers! The revolution continues. He (we) may not have done as well as expected Tuesday, but as long as we feel the Bern, this movement will hound Hillary to the convention (and beyond).

First, Clinton won Florida because that primary was CLOSED, shutting out Independent voters more likely to vote for Sanders. Many of these voters were also older, comfortably retired, died-in-the-wool Clinton fans who aren’t looking for a revolution. Trust me, if you’re retired in Florida, you’re probably doing OK and won’t rock the boat (I mean yacht).

Second, exit polls revealed voters in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Missouri believed 2 to 1 that Clinton has a better shot at beating Trump than Bernie, even though a Hillary nomination will depress turnout and serve the White House to Trump on a silver platter (he loves silver platters).

So it behooves Bernie-backers to knock these folks off the fence (gently please) and get ’em to feel the Bern again. Look: 8 in 10 exit-polled voters on Tuesday trusted Bernie more than Clinton, which means those uncertain citizens wanted to VOTE FOR BERNIE, but feared (wrongly) he’d lose in the general. This is a disturbing development, and I’m even hearing it from friends, but it’s a scam, rooted in the illusion of “electability” – a synonym for status-quo.

These folks need to know that, unlike Hillary, Bernie excites the base and INCREASES turnout, because he’s already won the message. Witness Hillary’s sudden stance on unfair trade agreements (TPP), her out-of-left-field anti-corporate talking points, and her 180 pivot on whether Michigan’s governor should resign over the Flint water crisis. But like the old 80’s hit, Hill is just “talk-talk” while Bernie’s all walk-walk, even though her new songs spawn side-splitting SNL skits.

Why does Bernie walk while Hillary talks? Because the American people know lobbyists can’t buy him, which is why 80% of those exit-polled voters trusted Bernie more than a finger-to-the-wind flip-flopper. Now all we need to do is get ’em to vote for the candidate (and the movement) they trust instead of against a false fear.

The convention is in June, so time is on our side. More time means more democratic donations, more voracious volunteers, and above all, mo’ message.

Two months is a lifetime when information (and a donation) travels at the speed of light.

Mo’ Message