Commentary on faith & politics committed to the truth in Jesus Christ and in all things around us. America once loved God but has become a land fallen, in love with money.Our politicians sellout votes for money, for favor to the rich. The Religious Right embrace mammon's ideology and glorify nationalism equating politics with faith, so "of the nation" instead of just "in the nation". The Religious Left cling to the nobel cause but decline the cure so afraid of a real internal personal relationship with the heavenly Father that yearns so very much to be close to them. As it is both Right and Left are so bereft of real introspection. Pray we all have the courage to stand up for what is right in one of the toughest places to do so - our in-group. A change is coming.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bannon Calls Trump's Supremacist Supporters Clowns, Freaks And Goobers. The North Korea "Got Us" Was Just Icing On The Cake

How's the "Everything is going great" thing going?
Get this; The news headlines have been all about Trump and his attempt at moral equivalency between the two protesting groups in Charlotteville, Virginia. You might add here that the Governor of Virginia has requested Trump stay clear of Virginia.

So what is happening here? It appears the Trump administration is on the fringe of major breakdown but that is not the case. The case is that this is providing great cover for the escalating Paul Manafort inquiry taking place right now in the Mueller investigation of Trump involvement in the Russia meddling but more on that later.

After Nazi, KKK and other fringe white supremacists descended or should I say ascended up to Charlotteville Va. to push hate and emphasize the lesser elements of human expression they were met with counterprotesters. Fights broke out after the KKKers left their designated areas. Seeing that both groups were involved in these skermishes President Trump in effect tried to cast both of them as equals. A white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter protesters injuring many and killing one girl and Trump can do no better than entertain some kind of moral equivalency between protesters protesting hate and the hating protesters. Trump's base is made up of many of these hating protesters.

So in the midst of this debacle it is revealed that Steve Bannon gave an interview with Robert Kuttner and Joshua Green, both taped by the way, demonstrating Bannon's true opinion of these white supremacist supporters of Trump.

This interview was revealed on PBS and can be seen here -

Keep in mind the white supremacist protesters so often praised Trump and indicated they thought he was on their side. Bannon in his interview in which he did not designate to be off the record revealed that he thought these white supremacist protesters and others like them were clowns, freaks and a bunch of goobers and indicated they were being used by the Trump administration as pawns in pursuit of Trumps own agenda.
Bob Dylan would be so proud considering the lyrics from his song "Only A Pawn In Their Game" which so clearly indicts this strategy of the Trump administration as we speak, poor white racist dogs-on-a-chain pawns, political manipulation, the game, all of it.
Or in this case, Bannon didn't say that.
So essentially Bannon was caught dissing down on Trump's own base of supporters and the ones Trump knows will be po'd more so than many. Really PO'ed if you know what I mean. Bannon called them freaks, clowns and goobers.
There was no way Bannon, the "alt right commander' could stay on after mocking and insulting so many of these, the followers of Trump and the "alt right commander". The bro-loyal trust was kicked to the curb big time and so something had to give. Man, does it get any better than this,lol.

So you see the day after that revelation about Bannon came out which was yesterday, Bannon is gone. Oh yes he was on the block but with that he is gone, bannoshed.

From the interview Bannon also was caught saying North Korea has "got us" because of the potential for South Korean casualities in the event of aggression by the North. General John Kelly surely wasn't pleased knowing a nation's leadership doesn't let the enemy know they "got us" in any military scenario although anyone on that tactical chessboard should have realized that. That little revelation was however just icing on the cake.

The PBS interview occurs yesterday and today Bannon is out. The lesser lesson is no doubt you don't say the enemy has "got us" before they got us and the greater lesson is you don't diss on Trump's beloved base of clowns, freaks and goobers but don't take it from me, just ask Steve Bannon.

- Doug Yearight

Facebook Shuts AI system After Bots Speak Their Own Language, Defy Human Instructions

Days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that artificial intelligence (AI) was the biggest risk, Facebook has shut down one of its AI systems after chatbots started speaking in their own language defying the codes provided.

According to a report in Tech Times on Sunday, the social media giant had to pull the plug on the AI system that its researchers were working on “because things got out of hand”.

“The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created,” the report noted.

Initially the AI agents used English to converse with each other but they later created a new language that only AI systems could understand, thus, defying their purpose.

This led Facebook researchers to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.

In June, researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) found that while they were busy trying to improve chatbots, the “dialogue agents” were creating their own language.

Soon, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and started communicating in an entirely new language which they created without human input, media reports said.

Using machine learning algorithms, the “dialogue agents” were left to converse freely in an attempt to strengthen their conversational skills.

The researchers also found these bots to be “incredibly crafty negotiators”.

“After learning to negotiate, the bots relied on machine learning and advanced strategies in an attempt to improve the outcome of these negotiations,” the report said.

“Over time, the bots became quite skilled at it and even began feigning interest in one item in order to ‘sacrifice’ it at a later stage in the negotiation as a faux compromise,” it added.

Although this appears to be a huge leap for AI, several experts including Professor Stephen Hawking have raised fears that humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, could be superseded by AI.

Others like Tesla’s Elon Musk, philanthropist Bill Gates and ex-Apple founder Steve Wozniak have also expressed their concerns about where the AI technology was heading.

Interestingly, this incident took place just days after a verbal spat between Facebook CEO and Musk who exchanged harsh words over a debate on the future of AI.

“I’ve talked to Mark about this (AI). His understanding of the subject is limited,” Musk tweeted last week.

The tweet came after Zuckerberg, during a Facebook livestream earlier this month, castigated Musk for arguing that care and regulation was needed to safeguard the future if AI becomes mainstream.

“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios -- I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible,” Zuckerberg said.

Musk has been speaking frequently on AI and has called its progress the “biggest risk we face as a civilisation”.

“AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we’re reactive in AI regulation it’s too late,” he said.

-Indo Asian News Service, San Francisco

Fox News Hit With Bombshell New Lawsuit Alleging White House Reviewed False Story & Pushed It's Publication

White House reviewed Fox News story about Seth Rich before publication, lawsuit alleges

President Trump and White House officials allegedly reviewed a Fox News story about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich before it was published and pushed for it to be published "immediately," according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The May 16 article, which allegedly contained fabricated quotes and was later retracted, fueled conspiracy theories that Rich was murdered in connection with a massive WikiLeaks data dump of 20,000 DNC emails.

In a stunning twist, the suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, alleges that then—White House press secretary Sean Spicer met with two Fox News contributors in April about the Rich murder and "asked to be kept abreast of developments."

"The motivation behind the article: establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election," the suit says.
Spicer confirmed to ABC News that he met with Dallas financial adviser Ed Butowsky, who was identified in the lawsuit as a "frequent contributor for Fox News."

"Ed is longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in the media. He asked for a 10 minute meeting, with no specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a contributor to Fox News. As Ed himself has noted, he has never met the president, and the White House had nothing to do with his story," Spicer said in a statement.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler, Fox News investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman wrote in her article that Rich provided DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential primaries.

The Fox News network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, were named in the lawsuit, as were Zimmerman and Butowsky. The suit alleges defamation and racial discrimination. Zimmerman declined to comment, according to a Fox spokesperson.

NPR was the first to report on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit includes a screenshot of a text message, dated May 14, allegedly from Butowsky to Wheeler, that reads, "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure."
The story was published on the Fox News website less than 36 hours after the text was sent, according to the lawsuit.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters today that Trump had "no knowledge" of the Rich article published by Fox News and dismissed any claims of White House involvement.
Just before Butowsky allegedly sent the text message, he purportedly left a voicemail for Wheeler in which he said, according to the lawsuit, "A couple minutes ago, I got a note that we have the full, uh, attention of the White House on this. And tomorrow, let's close this deal, whatever we've got to do. But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this now."

According to the lawsuit, Zimmerman, "with the knowledge and support of Butowsky," fabricated two quotes included in the story and attributed them to Wheeler, the only named source in the article.

According to the lawsuit, the article quotes Wheeler as saying, "My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks" and "My investigation shows someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward. That is unfortunate. Seth Rich's murder is unsolved as a result of that." Wheeler has denied making those comments.

Shortly after the article was published, Wheeler says, he called Butowsky and demanded an explanation for the fabricated statements. Butowsky said the statements were falsely attributed to Wheeler because "that is the way the president wanted the article," the complaint states.

Days later, Butowsky allegedly wrote to Zimmerman, "I didn't tell you yet but the federal government is involved at this moment, behind the scenes and believe your story," according to the lawsuit.

Fox News retracted the story on May 23, according to the complaint. A statement from Fox News President Jay Wallace, which was provided to ABC News, said accusations that the story was published to deflect attention from coverage of Trump associates' possible collusion with Russia was "completely erroneous."

"The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally, and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman," Wallace said. "Additionally, Fox News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit. The dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race."

The lawsuit alleges that the motivation behind the Fox News article was to "establish that Seth Rich provided WikiLeaks with the DNC emails to shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election."

In February 2017, Butowsky introduced himself to Wheeler and offered to bankroll an investigation into Rich's murder, the lawsuit alleges. Butowsky's intention was to confirm that Rich was behind leaks and prove that he was "murdered by a Democrat operative because he leaked the emails to WikiLeaks," the lawsuit alleges.

Rich, 27, was shot and killed on July 10, 2016, near his home in Washington, D.C. On July 22, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 emails from the accounts of seven DNC officials. In May, officials familiar with the investigation into Rich's death told ABC News that his murder was determined to be an attempted robbery gone wrong and that the FBI was not investigating it further.

The lawsuit alleges that Zimmerman and Butowsky "were not in this alone." In the months leading up to the May 16 article, Butowsky kept in "regular contact" with senior members of the Trump administration, according to the lawsuit.

Fox did not clear Wheeler's name or admit that Zimmerman misquoted him, according to the lawsuit, which claims that Wheeler suffered "irreparable damage to his reputation" and that his career "will likely never recover" as a result.
"Mr. Wheeler was subsequently forced to correct the false record, and, as a result, lost all credibility in the eyes of the public," according to the lawsuit.

In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit is seeking an injunction permanently restraining Fox News from engaging in "any such further unlawful conduct," an order directing Fox News to place Wheeler "in the position he would have occupied" if it had not been for the media company's "defamatory and discriminatory conduct," and a "declaratory judgment that the actions, conduct and practices" of Fox News violated U.S. and New York state laws.

In response to the lawsuit, Butowsky told ABC News that while he knows people at the White House, "I never talked to the president in my life."
He called Wheeler a "liar" and claimed he was attempting to get a job at the White House.
In a statement, the Rich family said it hopes the lawsuit brings closure to his death.

"While we can't speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth," the family said in a statement.
-Tom Llamas and Michael DelMoro

President Trump Is Now Directly Implicated In Trying To Cover Up The Russia Scandal

 Play Video 2:09
'Witch hunt, fake news, phony': Trump's defenses against the Russia probe
President Trump has repeatedly lashed out with insults to defend himself as the Russia investigation unfolds. Here are some of his go-to attacks. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
If the Russia scandal is nothing but a witch hunt, as President Trump so often says, it’s awfully strange that he’s going to so much trouble to cover it up.

Last night, Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Philip Rucker and Tom Hamburger broke the latest blockbuster story in this scandal, in which the president dictated a misleading statement about the nature of the fateful meeting his son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort had with a group of Russians during the campaign:

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany last month, President Trump’s advisers discussed how to respond to a new revelation that Trump’s oldest son had met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign — a disclosure the advisers knew carried political and potentially legal peril.

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.
But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.
 Play Video 2:00
President Trump personally intervened to write Donald Trump Jr. statement
President Trump personally dictated a statement that was issued after revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election. The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig explain. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

In case you haven’t been following, the meeting occurred because Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton that was presented to him as coming from the Russian government. He summoned Kushner and Manafort, forwarding them the email in which that offer was made. They joined him at the meeting, which was attended by a lawyer with close ties to the Kremlin, a former Russian intelligence officer and a gentleman who was once the subject of a congressional inquiry into an enormous Russian money-laundering operation. According to Trump Jr. and Kushner’s version of events, the damaging information didn’t materialize, and the Russians were more interested in discussing the potential repeal of the Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned certain Russian individuals accused of corruption and human rights abuses. So the line from the Trump team is essentially that they were trying to collude with the Russian government to help their campaign, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

This latest story is clearly one of the most significant developments in this scandal to date, for two reasons. First, it describes an organized effort to mislead the public — not to spin, or minimize the story, or distract from it, or throw out wild accusations about someone else, but to intentionally fool everyone into believing something false. Second, it implicates the president himself. Indeed, the most extraordinary part of the picture this story paints is that while other people involved were recommending some measure of transparency on the assumption that the truth would come out eventually, they were overruled by the president, who personally dictated the misleading statement.

And it gets worse. Once the story broke, Trump’s own lawyer went to the media and denied that the president was involved in the drafting of the misleading statement. In two televised interviews, Jay Sekulow said “the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement,” “The president didn’t sign off on anything,” and “The president wasn’t involved in that.” While it’s theoretically possible that Sekulow would make emphatic statements of fact like those about what his client did or didn’t do without actually asking Trump, that seems almost impossible to believe. Sekulow is a prominent attorney who knows exactly what kind of trouble that could bring, both to himself and his client. So the only reasonable conclusion is that he was repeating what Trump told him.

So, to put this together: The president of the United States personally wrote a statement about this meeting with the Russians, a statement that everyone involved knew to be false. Going further, he then either lied to his own lawyer about his involvement so that the lawyer would repeat that lie publicly (highly likely) or was candid with his lawyer and persuaded him to lie to the media on his behalf (much less likely).

We all know what the official White House line about this story is going to be: The real problem isn’t what Trump did; it’s the fact that it was leaked! I’m reminded of something the sadly departed Anthony Scaramucci said during his brief tenure as White House communication director: “There are people inside the administration who think it is their job to save America from this president.” He was right — or at the very least, they’re trying to save him from himself.

It has been entertaining to watch the ongoing soap opera of this White House — the infighting, the backstabbing, the firings, the general air of chaos — but it’s important to remember that the biggest problem it has is the man who sits in the Oval Office. The fact that Trump assumed that he could engineer this mini-coverup and the truth would never get out, both about the meeting itself and about his role in misleading the public about it, shows just how deluded he is about how his own White House works.
Let’s return to that scene on Air Force One. A damaging story is breaking, and Trump’s advisers are facing the dilemma many administrations have faced before: How do we deal with it? How much information should we voluntarily reveal? Is there a way to make the story go away that won’t set us up for even more trouble down the road? While they were debating those questions, the one person to whom no one could say no told them how it was going to be: They were going to lie. And as is so often the case with Trump, the lie was quickly revealed for what it was.

I promise you, the substantial number of people involved in that discussion were profoundly uncomfortable with Trump’s instructions. For a political flack, nothing inspires more dread than putting out a story that you know is bogus and that you don’t think will hold up.
Their fears were inevitably realized, and now the Russia scandal has reached all the way to the president himself. Something tells me there’s more to come.

- Paul Waldman

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

After Tuesday's Charlottesville Comments It Is Time To Censure President the very least.

Bodies dented in this vehicle. One girl died because Trump
has continually empowered ignorance, hate and fear. 
Republicans, put your votes where your tweets are: Our view

Several prominent Republicans took to Twitter on Wednesday to denounce hatred and bigotry in the wake of President Trump's shocking equivocations about the white-supremacist mayhem in Charlottesville, Va. That's all well and good. But the curse of Twitter is its driveby nature, allowing leaders to dip their toes in controversy without really getting wet.
Expressing disapproval in 140 characters or fewer is insufficient when the president angrily asserts that there were some "very fine people" among the bigots waving Confederate battle flags and swastika banners; when torch-bearing marchers chanted "Jews will not replace us"; and when police said one Nazi sympathizer rammed a sports car into a crowd, killing an innocent counterprotester. The victim, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was remembered Wednesday at a heartbreaking memorial service.

When these things happen in the United States, and the president blames "both sides," more formal condemnation is necessary. This is a moment of reckoning for members of the Party of Lincoln: Do they want to stand up for American values, or do they want to keep enabling a president whose understanding of right and wrong has slipped dangerously off the rails?

If congressional Republicans choose the former — and history will be watching — they should join together with Democrats to censure Trump. 

Censure is not impeachment. Whether that's appropriate will likely depend on the outcome of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. But censure would constitute a forceful way of rebuking the White House and condemning the vile views of a bigoted fringe, even as those people's right to free speech and peaceful protest is protected under the First Amendment.
Censure of a president would not be new, although many efforts in recent history have failed. A distant exception was a Senate censure of President Andrew Jackson in 1834, in a dispute over the continued existence of the federal banking system. 

I can't make this picture small enough.

Trump's heated exchange Tuesday with reporters in the Trump Tower lobby, where he drew moral equivalence between fascist and anti-fascist demonstrators, provided ample reason for a dressing down. Anyone viewing Vice News footage of the white supremacists would be hard-pressed to spot "very fine people" in their midst. Any such people surely would have disassociated themselves from the hate-mongers in a New York minute.

What could have motivated Trump's remarks, which further emboldened the racists and totally undermined a forceful condemnation of them that the president had read just a day earlier?
Maybe amid declining approval ratings, he's desperate to cling to even this extreme part of his political base, regardless of the bile they spew. Maybe his narcissism prevents him from criticizing those who admire him. Or maybe, in petulant "you're not the boss of me" fashion, he was acting out against aides trying to tell him what to do.

Regardless of motive, what matters is that other elected officials uphold American values. The political chasm between Democrats and Republicans may be wider than ever. 

But when it comes to ideologies of hate and racism, the nation's leaders need to speak forcefully with one voice.

- USA Today Editorial Board

- My take: President Trump must be impeached for the sake of our children, probably our own sanity and for the sake of our future. The heartbreaking tragedy is the impression made on our children especially in families that have or still support this president and can you believe some of these are Christian families. Hopefully the investigation into Paul Manafort will yield the necessary evidence to remove the problem. The pics and subtitles are mine.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trump Needs North Korea Or Anything He Can Get To Distract From The Paul Manafort / Russia Connection

The leader of North Korea has made threats before and this one concerning Guam is certainly provocative but make no mistake President Trump hyped it up with all the blowhard rhetoric he could drum up, ie fire and fury, locked and loaded etc. As usual these dramatics have usually been employed to facilitate distraction from something particularly threatening to Trump himself.

You may recall back in March, chairman of the House investigation into Russian involvement in our election, Kevin Nunes, finally recusing himself from that investigation.
At the start witnesses were lining up to be cross-examined and suddenly we began getting strange behavior from Nunes shuffling back and forth with the White House. The allegations relative to the investigation were explosive and the stage was set for the nation to witness the testimony about Russian involvement in the election and then Nunes goes off the rails delivering secret messages to the individual he was supposed to be investigating.
This conundrum between Nunes, the committee and the nation awaiting, went on for weeks and months without beginning any testimony. This committee was setting up to interview key individuals among them Paul Manafort.
Operatives for Trump were concerned about it all but especially Manafort, one because he had deeper dealings with Russia and two, he was Trump's campaign manager last summer. Many believed the testimony of Manafort could begin the fall of the Trump presidency and some Republicans were nervous but one thing continued on; Nunes remained the chairman of the committee even though he could have and should have been removed as chairman and the testimonies of Manafort and the others remained in flux.

The prevailing thought at the time was that the Republicans essentially delayed this committee because they were very afraid that Manaforts testimony could bring the Trump administration to a functional and political standstill meaning a conservative SCOTUS, repeal of Obamacare and the Republican agenda would be shelved for the foreseeable future. The Manafort testimonies in the Nunes House committee investigation never occured.

Fast forward a month and the Republicans got their SCOTUS nominee. Fast forward to now and the repeal of Obamacare is itself shelved. The point? These two major issues for the GOP are no longer in play. Any threat from investigation into Paul Manafort is now minimized.
It is at this time that Kevin Nunes's House committee investigating Russian involvement in the election has become irrelevant and the independent investigation by Robert Mueller is turning up the heat on Manafort big time.
The focus on Paul Manafort had to come but it is coming now that the two big issues for the Republicans are out of the way. The Manafort investigation still if not more now has the very real potential to take down the Trump administration.

The focus now on North Korea is an unnecessarily exacerbated distraction from what they fear will come from the emerging explosive publicity revolving around Paul Manafort's involvement with both the Trump administration and the Russians.

The more shiny objects popping up in the news now, the less that explosive publicity reaches the public and takes it's toll on Trump. Seen these political tactics before?

You think Trump is different but he's not and neither are his politics. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

At 33% Approval Trump Needs A War And North Korea Is Willing To Give It To Him?

Give me a break, surely Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, realizes that Donald Trump has been cast as the worst president in history at this point in his tenure and is in the doldrums politically. The Republican congress is not flying too high itself. Kim Jong would know that politically nothing would benefit Trump or the Republicans more right now than a war with just about anyone, but a war with N. Korea?, oh yea. The throngs of many more than just his base would line up behind Trump and the approval ratings would soar through the roof.
Doesn't Kim Jong know that Trump and the Republicans would be sorely tempted to respond military, more sorely than at any moment in recent history?
N. Korea wants no interference in their nuclear plans so Kim Jong is going to dare Trump to "interfere" with their nuclear plans at such a trepeditious juncture? He is going to risk serious interference from the U.S. by actually threatening an attack on the island of Guam?

The turn of events in this world never seem to surprise me but the suicidal moves made by certain bad boys out there often stretches the realm of believability.

If you are creating a movement or trying to create something provocative in some nation or rogue nation the last thing you should want is opposition or interference from the most mighty nation on earth.

It brings to mind when ISIS was expanding it's influence across the middle east conquering area after area bringing so many under their control. ISIS was expanding it was succeeding. You would think the last thing ISIS would have wanted was to entice the mightiest nation on earth or for that matter anyone to intervene but in the middle of their success ISIS began creating videos of beheadings and torture of captives sending them out for all the world to see thus creating the likelihood of interference from, yes, the mightiest nation on earth. They were daring the U.S. to interfere.

That the U.S. was seriously about to curtail the expanding surveillance of the N.S.A relative to terrorists in the U.S.,and as we found out surveillance of all of us, is known and the Deep State needed nothing more than a new horrific threat of terrorists to get the political backing in congress to keep up and maintain the expanding surveillance state in the U.S. What happened was the watering down of The Freedom Act to almost nothing and ISIS provided the fear fodder. With all the focus on taking down terrorists, particularly Al-Qaeda there should have been no chance ISIS could arise in of all places the middle of the middle east. Only willful neglect could have permitted this, a willful neglect that offered the Deep State the bogeyman to manipulate policy. Any other conclusion is just stretching the bounds of believability where responsible cognizant humans are in charge of such serious matters.

So what you have here now, with all the reasons in the world for Trump and his government to respond, is an in your face incitement from N. Korea stating thusly "N. Korea is planning an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US".  They say this will be done by mid-August if the U.S. continues to provoke. And yes it's Guam, the island that is the spear tip of U.S. defense in the pacific.
North Korea has made threats before but never such a threat quite like this. I suggest sitting back and keeping a close eye on this one. Kim Jong Un is playing with fire, literally, if his comments are certified but certified as we have so often seen before is the question when it comes to inciteful statements popping up at just the right time when there are certain leaders in need.

Trump needs war popularity and he is so manipulatable but would Kim Jong Un just for the fun of it walk right into this? Free wag-the-dog? Selling is going on somewhere but the buying is not happening here.
Keywords - Unnecessary exacerbation, Distraction

Monday, August 07, 2017

At 33% Approval Trump Is Now Worst President In History

Republicans experiencing profound embarrassment over Trump's performance in office.

The voters who launched President Donald Trump into the White House appear to be growing tired with his administration just six months through his tenure.

A new poll this week from Quinnipiac University found that not only had Trump's approval rating sunk to a new low, but support among key demographics Trump won during the 2016 election—most notably white voters without a college degree—had also dropped off.

Just 33 percent of voters approved of Trump's job performance overall, a sharp decline from 40 percent approval in the Quinnipiac poll at the end of June. Sixty-one percent of voters disapproved of Trump in the latest survey.
But even among white, non-college voters—the folks often credited with handing Trump the presidency—the president's approval rating was underwater. Just 43 percent of that demographic approved of Trump's job performance while 50 percent disapproved. In June, 53 percent of white voters without a college degree approved of the president. In the 2016 election, meanwhile, 66 percent of whites with no college degree voted for Trump, according to exit polls.

"It's hard to pick what is the most alarming number in the troubling trail of new lows for President Donald Trump," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll in a statement. "Profound embarrassment over his performance in office and deepening concern over his level-headedness have to raise the biggest red flags. The daily drip drip of missteps and firings and discord are generating a tidal wave of bad polling numbers."

Even among white, male voters—62 percent of whom voted for Trump in November, according to exit polls—were split on Trump. Forty-seven percent of white men approved of the job Trump is doing while 48 percent disapproved.

Nearly every survey this week was not kind to Trump. For instance, Rasmussen Reports—a firm that has been criticized as right-leaning and has long found better results for the former reality TV star compared to other pollsters—found the president's approval rating at one point dipped to an all-time low of just 38 percent. By the end of the week, the weighted average from data-focused website FiveThirtyEight had Trump's approval rating at just 37 percent, an all-time low.

-Tim Marcin

The range of presidential approval ratings in Gallup's history stretches from a high of 90% (George W. Bush after 9/11) to a minimum of 22% (Harry Truman in 1952). The average is 53%. Trump is performing well below average, worse now than all other newly elected presidents at this point in their first year.
At roughly the same time in July of their first years in office, Dwight Eisenhower was at 69% approval, John Kennedy at 75%, Richard Nixon at 58%, Jimmy Carter at 62%, Ronald Reagan at 60%, George H.W. Bush at 66%, Bill Clinton at 45%, George W. Bush at 57% and Barack Obama at 58%.  -from Gallup

My Take:  Every poll from every outlet, even Trump's favorite polls, show support falling in every category including his base supporters and yet the clueless ego-ridden Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning to declare that his political base is “bigger & stronger than ever before” despite recent polling — which he branded “fake”.  What else can Trump be but a spoiled brat man/boy ignoring facts in a seemingly perpetual fit because he does not get what he wants.
Some of his supporters, as demonstrated in widespread polling, are in fact waking up but there is still a cabal of dumbed-down prideful Trumpanzees intentionally hiding in their insular bubble world, Lol. Some of these did get what they wanted out of Trump or think they did and some wouldn't know the difference. 
Really when you look it in the face, and I have, it is mostly all stubborn pride. When you corner them they can say really nothing rational. So what is actually underneath? Racism, hate, fear, jealously, take your pick of irrational emotional un-intelligence. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

How We Treat The Poor And Sick Is How We Treat Christ Himself

“Jesus tells us that how we treat the most vulnerable, the poor, and the sick, is how we treat him — how we treat Christ himself. This is a week of crucial votes on health care bills and we must remind Senators who call themselves Christians that the question before their vote must be: how any bill would treat Christ himself, who says ‘I was sick,’ and ‘as you have done to the least of these you have done to me.'

“Therefore, we are asking Christians across the country to tell their Senators to vote NO to cut in Medicaid, vote NO on a bill that take health coverage and care from millions of people, vote NO on a bill that would leave it to a majority conference committee to prepare final legislation, and vote NO on any bill that does not have bipartisan support.

“The votes this week are critical for tens of millions of Americans, especially for ‘the least of these.’ We must speak and act now to put our faith into action for a health care bill that does no harm; that includes and does not exclude people from health coverage. The moment is urgent, and our mission is to protect health and healing.”

-Circle Of Protection

The Senators still insist on taking healthcare away from millions of Americans so prayer and attention is still in order.

Republicans Do Have Their Own Plan To Replace Obamacare

Friday, July 28, 2017

Trump, “Mooch,” and the Rise of the New York Douchebag

The president and his foul-mouthed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, are members of a very particular species.

Normally, a president under siege would not hire someone like Anthony Scaramucci, the loudmouth financier known as “the Mooch” who joined the White House last week as communications director. Donald Trump’s strife-ridden administration already has more than its share of troubles, with the Russia collusion investigation escalating, the president feuding with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Republican discord over Obamacare repeal (RIP, for now). In the midst of this turmoil, Scaramucci created his own drama by calling up New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza and insulting his White House colleagues in the crudest possible terms. Scaramucci called Reince Priebus “a f''ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” and compared himself favorably to Trump’s chief strategist, saying, “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck #$%&@#!&. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f''ing strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

In most administrations, Scaramucci’s public badmouthing of his colleagues would be a major liability, likely a fireable offense. But Trump operates from a different set of rules—the same rules, it would seem, that Scaramucci operates from. Reading his rant to The New Yorker, it was hard not to recall the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasts about sexually assaulting women: “You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.” Indeed, Scaramucci is a sort of mini-Trump: brash, hyper-masculine, bro-loyal, sexually crass, and street smart, perhaps, but not actually smart.

Which is to say, Trump and his new minion aren’t just colorful personalities, but members of a particular species: the New York douchebag. That’s why Scaramucci may long remain in good standing—as long as he doesn’t break one golden rule.

The New York douchebag thrives throughout the tri-state area, particularly in New Jersey and the outer boroughs of the city proper. Usually white, he is belligerent, garrulous, ruthlessly competitive, and excessively confident in his persuasive abilities. He is also hypersensitive; the smallest perceived slight will trigger a full-scale defense of his pride. He demands to be respected at all times.

To the extent that the New York douchebag has politics, he tends to be a fiscal, hawkish conservative: reliably Republican, in other words, but only socially religious (if at all). He believes in his right to make loads of money without paying much taxes, advocates manly military responses to defend the pride of the U-S-A, but doesn’t want to ban abortion or roll back gay rights. Indeed, he will defend those rights if the issue affects a family member, for he professes to value blood relatives above all else.

Trump is the quintessential New York douchebag, but to win the Republican nomination, he had to make peace with the Southern evangelical base of the GOP. Toward that end, Trump implausibly reinvented himself as a social conservative, giving powerful posts to Southern traditionalists like Jeff Sessions and religious conservatives like Mike Pence.

But Trump is clearly happiest in the company of his fellow tri-state douchebags. During the campaign, he spent a great deal of time around figures like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, two exemplars of the species. Trump wasn’t able to find administration jobs for either of them, and met with resistance from conventional Republicans like Priebus for trying to hire Scaramucci, whom The New York Times described last week as “a financial showman who rivals Mr. Trump’s own outsize knack for self-promotion.”

Now that Scaramucci is in the White House, Trump has a fellow douchebag he can commune with. “Scaramucci’s arrival was described by one adviser as ‘a cannonball from a diving board into a pool,’” Politico reported on Thursday. “With his brash outer-borough New York ethos and flair for showmanship, Scaramucci is perhaps more like Trump himself than anyone else on the White House staff—and his appointment is a clear signal that the president is walking away from his initial embrace of establishment Republicans familiar with Washington.”

But as the Times noted on Friday, Scaramucci is just the latest of the species to join the White House. “Scaramucci’s fiery first week, a brash, blustering performance that at times verged on self-parody, illustrates a deeper truth about the Trump White House: New Yorkers have taken over the West Wing and are turbocharging its culture.” The Times cited a “long list of people from the New York metro area who occupy prime real estate near the president: Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino Jr., Keith Schiller, Kellyanne Conway, Gary D. Cohn, Dina Powell, Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Jason D. Greenblatt, Michael Anton, Josh Raffel—not to mention Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” Reporter Mark Landler added, tellingly, “The vibe, to be sure, is less Manhattan than tristate...”

The importance of loyalty for Trump has long been overblown: He demands loyalty from those beneath them, but offers none in return. He will—and does—jettison underlings the moment they become useless or inconvenient to him. But the bond between New York douchebags is real. The likes of Scaramucci are not invincible, but they have a much longer leash—so long as they know their role. For the New York douchebag is keenly aware of hierarchy. As he claws his way up the ladder, he’s keeping one eye below, and will kick anyone who comes too close. If Scaramucci does get booted out of the White House, it won’t be for making crude comments about his coworkers. It’ll be for getting more press than the president.

For one day, at least, Scaramucci did exactly that.

-Jeet Heer

My take: The profanity and vulgarity spoken by Trump's new cabinet appointee, Antonio Scaramucci is unthinkable for any presidential appointee but for a president supported strongly by many Christians it's, well beyond unthinkable but then what is that? And aren't you sick and tired of hearing the line that says "Trump operates from a different set of rules as if to buffer it or excuse it all? 
What do these so-called family value Christians believe the impression will be upon their own children? This is the president of America, the flag, the Constitution. Can you believe it is widely said that Trump is most like Scaramucci than any of his other appointees?

Clearly the only remedy for the sake of our children is the complete rejection and punishment of the Trump administration starting with impeachment on the issue of treason in colluding with the enemy.
An abominable lesson is being taught to our children across the board and far too many evangelicals and fundamentalists continue to promote the Trump administration but the lesson will have to be fully carried out one way or another. 
If the next generation grows up completely rejecting or itching to persecute Christianity it will be no wonder, and all for the sake of self-serving economic policy(money and tax cut money).

The Christian right know and have known that Republicans will actually do nothing about abortion and gay marriage yet they use it to justify clinging to an economic policy that serves themselves. They use it to justify themselves and deceive other Christians into essentially pushing Republican dogma in service to the rich. This is where we are. This is where we are relative to a significant portion of Christianity in America.

Pray about this and pray for all those like Trump and Scaramucci as even the most vulgar and violent of these are salvageable. What a mess of hypocrisy. What a mess period!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

With "Skinny Repeal" Republicans Own Obamacare As They Do Already

Obamacare is often referred to as a three-legged stool: Americans must buy health insurance, insurers must sell them generous benefits without discriminating and the government provides subsidies to help pay for it all. Using that metaphor, let's consider how Senate Republicans have struggled to pass an Obamacare repeal bill over the past two days.

First, Republicans tried to chop off all three legs with a bill replacing much of the Affordable Care Act. That failed Tuesday night.

Then, they tried to chop off just the first and third legs -- the individual mandate to have coverage and the subsidies -- in a repeal-only bill that failed yesterday.

Now, they're down to a third potential option: Chop off just one leg -- the individual mandate -- and leave the stool lopsided.

No. 3 Senate Republican John Thune said yesterday that they're "edging closer and closer" to 50 votes for this "skinny repeal" option, my colleagues Juliet Eilperin, Kelsey Snell and Sean Sullivan report. Details are still emerging, and could always change quickly, but the aim is to pass a bill repealing just the ACA's individual and employer mandates, its medical device tax and its public-health fund. Funding for extra Obamacare subsidies for cost-sharing discounts may be attached, too, and the legislation may also retain a provision blocking Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood clinics.

But if Senate Republicans voted for this skinny repeal today or tomorrow, they'd be backing policy that would undermine the already shaky individual insurance market, result in fewer covered Americans and drive up premiums.

Here's what is likely to happen under the "skinny repeal" approach: Without the individual mandate to buy coverage, some people -- disproportionately healthy ones -- would opt out of health coverage, worsening the risk pools and driving up premiums. According to new Congressional Budget Office estimates released last night by Senate Democrats, 16 million fewer Americans would have health insurance next year compared to current law, and individual market premiums would increase 20 percent on average (although the proposal would save the government money because fewer people would be enrolling and accessing subsidies).

"You're talking about cutting one leg off a three-legged stool," Linda Blumberg, a senior health-policy fellow at the Urban Institute, told me. "Keeping the subsidies in place, the stool may be able to rest on the stump and not completely fall over, but you are going to see the effects of that by significantly higher premiums."

Granted, Obamacare's individual mandate hasn't worked as well as everyone originally thought. Many analysts concluded the penalty for failing to buy coverage is just too small, set at either $695 or 2.5 percent of one's income, whichever is higher. That's much less than most people would pay in monthly premiums over the course of a year. Plus, the government has few tools for collecting the penalty -- it can't garnish peoples' wages or have them arrested, for example. It can only draw the penalty from a taxpayer's tax refund, if they have one.

But here's the irony: Republicans say it's essential that they repeal Obamacare because it's destroying the individual insurance market -- but this "skinny repeal" approach wouldn't fix the marketplaces and would probably make them quite a bit worse. Insurers would still be subject to the ACA's sweeping coverage requirements that they offer specific benefits and cover even the sickest, most expensive patients (called "guaranteed issue" and "community rating"), but without the promise the healthy must sign up too.

The irony gets even deeper when you consider that the bare-bones bill would cause premiums to rise, even though Republicans have made lowering premiums a central demand in their quest to repeal the ACA. That's actually why three Senate conservatives -- Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida -- said they opposed a repeal bill the House passed in 2015.
Like the potential "skinny repeal" for which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is currently gauging support, the 2015 House bill would have ditched only a few parts of the ACA -- including its individual and employer mandates, medical device tax, prevention fund and a few other provisions. At the time, Cruz, Lee and Rubio said the House bill didn't go nearly far enough.

“This simply isn’t good enough," the trio said in a joint statement. "Each of us campaigned on a promise to fully repeal Obamacare and a reconciliation bill is the best way to send such legislation to President Obama’s desk. If this bill cannot be amended so that it fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules, we cannot support this bill. With millions of Americans now getting health premium increase notices in the mail, we owe our constituents nothing less.”

Indeed, most Republicans do understand the need for an incentive for people to buy coverage to create a functional insurance market. Both versions of the House and Senate bills to replace the ACA contained penalties for those who didn't maintain continuous coverage -- violators would have to pay higher premiums under the House bill and they'd have to wait six months to enroll under the Senate version. And a bill proposed in 2015 by Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) also required people to maintain continuous coverage if they wanted protection against being denied coverage or being charged higher premiums based on their health status.

A group of Senate Republicans -- including 27 members still holding office -- submitted a brief to the Supreme Court back in 2012 when the ACA was being challenged as unconstitutional. In it, they argued that the individual mandate is the "heart" of the health-care law, and without it, both the number of uninsured Americans and premiums would skyrocket (Yale's Abbe Gluck explains more here).

And many conservative health policy experts agree repealing only the individual mandate is a crummy idea.

"Having guaranteed issue and community rating without some sort of mandate is structurally a rather dangerous thing to do," Robert Graboyes, a health-care scholar at the Mercatus Center. "It's an invitation to a death spiral."

As for insurers, they're terrified that Republicans are considering "skinny repeal" as a possibility. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association came out yesterday against "skinny repeal," saying it's "critical" for a health-care bill to include strong incentives for people to obtain health insurance and keep it year-round.

"A system that allows people to purchase coverage only when they need it drives up costs for everyone," BCBS said in a statement.

My take: So it comes down to this; If the Republicans pass "skinny repeal" they will then own Obamacare. They will own the rise in costs and the rise in premiums. They will own what is going wrong with people's healthcare and that is as it probably should be because they have tried to undermine it for 7 years and that effort to undermine it is the reason it is having the trouble it is having. Front and center is the fact that for the insurance companies to be able to offer cheaper plans they the insurance companies need stability in the market. The Republicans have done everything they could to promote the instability and failure of the ACA. They can pretend they would own it but they already do own, in significant part, the trouble with it now

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By 2-To-1 Margin, Americans Prefer Obamacare To Republican Healthcare Bills

 50 percent to 24 percent 
Americans say they prefer Obamacare.

Republicans racing to pass a bill that would overhaul the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) certainly understand that their efforts aren’t polling well. In survey after survey, a majority of respondents view their legislative proposals unfavorably. At the same time, survey after survey shows Obamacare as more popular than not.

In the new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday, we decided to ask the question directly: Which do you prefer, Obamacare or the Republican replacement plan?

There’s a split by party, as you might expect, with Democrats broadly favoring the existing law and Republicans the latter. But that split wasn’t even, with 77 percent of Democrats favoring the legislation passed in 2010 by their party and only 59 percent of Republicans favoring their party’s solution. Independents in this case came down on the side of the Democrats, with 49 percent favoring the existing law vs. 20 percent backing the GOP alternative.

What’s more, roughly 6 in 10 Democrats and a third of independents strongly prefer Obamacare. Only 43 percent of Republicans strongly prefer their party’s proposal.

Some respondents, unprompted, said they preferred some other proposal, or neither. One in 10 Democrats offered one of those responses, while about 2 in 10 Republicans and independents did.

More worrisome for Republicans hoping to pass a new bill is how the support broke out by demographic. Only among Republicans, conservatives, white evangelicals and white men without college degrees did more Americans support the GOP bill than Obamacare. In every other group analyzed, including older respondents and white women without college degrees — an important part of President Trump’s voting base in 2016 — backed the existing law by some margin.

Even among whites without college degrees, views were about split, once margins of error are taken into account.

These results aren’t surprising, as such, given the surfeit of polling showing how unpopular the Republican bill is. But it’s surprising when seen through the lens of the 2016 election, when Obamacare was unpopular and the GOP was pushing hard for its replacement. When Republicans gained control of the Capitol and White House, that replacement became a real possibility — and, suddenly, the idea became much more unpopular.

-Philip Bump

My take: 50 to 24 percent prefer Obamacare to the Republican tripe and we are talking about personal life sustaining, life saving healthcare, not some other bill about peripheral issues. Why don't the Repukes keep their hands off of our healthcare? Go do something else like cut some money out of the military of which Trump falsely claimed needed lots more money. They obviously don't care about your health, they care about giving billions of dollars to the rich and powerful. And make no mistake, this is about blood money-B-L-O-O-D M-O-N-E-Y.
Only 12% of Americans fully support the Republican bill yet the Republicans keep pushing it on us? What are we going to have to do, have a french revolution here in America? If you don't think Americans are up to it just keep on pushing it, keep on pushing your disregard for the will of We The People.