A few big lies, a few big questions and an excellent (and short) video about resisting media-empowered hate mongering…

Sent the following to my list. Might be of interest…

> Lying about lying…
Context: Donald Trump has lied an average of 13 times a day since becoming president, analysis finds. Large majorities of Trump supporters believe most, although not all, of his lies. This amounts to 1 out of 6 adults
https://bit.ly/2KvolMJ

Nobody around Trump has ever heard him lie, apparently
https://wapo.st/32gXLga

Fox host (Stuart Varney) insists Trump has never lied to the American people
https://bit.ly/2ZugUOQ
People value straight shooters. Unfortunately many modern Republican politicians / supporters appear to value brand management over straight shooting. The official statements from National Farmers Union (Democrat leaning) and Farm Bureau (Republican leaning) regarding recent Trump policy decisions illustrate the point. …
Escalating Trade War Exacerbates Weak Farm Economy, Farmers Union Says
https://tinyurl.com/yyh8zyk4

In retaliation against the United States’ most recent escalation in an ongoing trade war, China today announced that it will increase tariffs on $75 billion worth of American goods, including a number of agricultural products. Starting on September 1, the country plans raise tariffs on American soybeans from 25 percent to 30 percent and on pork from 50 percent to 60 percent. On December 1, they will increase tariffs on corn, sorghum and wheat from 25 percent to 35 percent.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the news:

“It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff – and why would we expect any differently this time around? And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target. In just the past three years, U.S. soybean exports to China have fallen nearly 80 percent, and once these tariffs kick in, things are likely to get worse.

“Things have been difficult for farmers long before this trade war rolled around. Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and they’ve taken on record levels of debt just to keep their doors open. Chronic overproduction continues to push commodity prices down, and extreme weather events and higher temperatures caused by climate change have made the job of growing food that much more challenging. But instead of looking to solve existing problems in our agricultural sector, this administration has just created new ones. Between burning bridges with all of our biggest trading partners and undermining our domestic biofuels industry, President Trump is making things worse, not better.”
The Farm Bureau’s statement doesn’t state the obvious …
Another China Tariff Announcement Signals More Trouble
https://www.fb.org/newsroom/another-china-tariff-announcement-signals-more-trouble
Other ag groups / people spoke out since then…
NE Corn Board and NE Corn Growers Assn…
Nebraska corn farmers outraged by Trump’s broken promises
https://nebraskacorn.gov/news-releases/waivercalltoaction/

The vice president of the North Dakota Farmer’s Union, Bob Kuylen, says he lost $400,000 because of Trump’s trade war with China. Kuylen says farmers have “pretty much lost all of our markets since Trump took over.” https://t.co/jamqfKbQ0H

Gripped with anger, some Iowa ethanol leaders say Trump should no longer count on their support in next year’s election, given his admin’s action to cut demand for the U.S. renewable fuel. “It was deeply disappointing.” https://t.co/BMTMVLLfWf

Related: https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1167112194619858945

On a related note…

Warren and Sanders propose supply-management-based farm policies
http://www.agpolicy.org/weekcol/2019/990.html

Warren and Sanders Think This Farm Policy Will Help Rural America Rebound.
Does it Stand a Chance?
https://bit.ly/2Pc9viq

John Hansen: The NFU supply management plan mentioned below would have doubled net farm income and cut tax payer costs in half. And, no, our organizational partners for the most part would not even give the idea a good listen.  So, how has that been working out for then?  Supply management is the same business concept as inventory management.  General Motors’ goal is to see how many cars they can produce and sell profitably, *not* to see how many cars they can produce and sell at a loss.

The proper role of government and farm policy is to cost effectively apply sound business practices to agriculture that farmers alone are not able to do.
Recent reversals in Trump policy suggest that at least some Republicans are getting in Trump’s face (i.e. when has Trump acted upon Dems’ concerns?). But reversals generally aren’t accompanied by Republican statements of disapproval. Here’s a recent example…
Sick Migrants Undergoing Lifesaving Care Can Now Be Deported
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/us/immigrant-medical-treatment-deferred-action.html

Trump deportation order like a death sentence for sick immigrants
https://t.co/vvvn8SboJM

Guess which DC party held their tongues…
https://cbsn.ws/2klbYbM

The Trump admin has announced that it would reconsider its decision to force immigrants
facing life-threatening health crises to return to their home countries. https://t.co/XSKr07IU7R


An alternative theory would be that Trump’s poll numbers are making him more sensitive to Dem push back.

> Washington Post’s Big Lie
The Washington Post’s Latest Fact Check of Bernie Sanders Is Really Something
Why did the paper’s fact checker call Bernie Sanders’s accurate claim about medical bankruptcies “mostly false”?
https://t.co/1mUOwFy61s

Bad news for @GlennKesslerWP and the @washingtonpost. The study they rely on
to give 3 Pinocchios to @BernieSanders “appeared tailor made to undercount medical
bankruptcies,” according to a new op-ed by the key experts on this subject:
https://t.co/K45JerMop1

See text graphic…
The Bernie 2020 campaign has just sent a detailed letter to @washingtonpost editor
@PostBaron demanding a retraction of the inaccurate “fact check” article about
@BernieSanders & medical bankruptcy. We await Mr. Baron’s response.
Read the letter: https://t.co/TUwKj3QoT9

See text graphic…
The @washingtonpost refused to retract its fact check accusing Bernie of lying by saying
“500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills.” Author of study:
“even the 530,000 figure is an underestimate of the number of people affected
by medical bankruptcies” …

I’ve had to run countless stories through libel lawyers before publishing. It’s pretty standard
in the business. This researcher has a plausible defamation claim, all the more so
because they’re now aware of his complaint and ignoring it


> Important questions & a brief and excellent video…
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee…
DSCC Raked In Cash From Health Care and Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Before Endorsing Hickenlooper. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is intervening in Colorado’s crowded Senate primary to boost a candidate who opposes Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
https://t.co/DnqUlfhA4P

When you see the DSCC trying to crush pro-Medicare-for-All candidates in Colorado,
please remember that Democrat @JaredPolis just won a huge victory in the Colorado
gubernatorial election by airing ads *in support* of Medicare for All. Watch:
https://t.co/7lSNbAoEZr

Question: When did the modern Democratic Party start despising those in need?

Question: Why does the following pass for modern conservatism?…

Fox News contributor calls homeless people in Los Angeles zombies
https://bit.ly/2NNcuf7

The Bible is full of history, Gordon Klingenschmitt. It speaks of people doing right & wrong.
Are you suggesting that we can’t read the Bible?
https://tinyurl.com/y2vbn6m6

Please watch this video…


Addressing the first question…
Context: Thom Hartmann on Reagan’s reversals…
Video: https://youtu.be/fBAew3gYtGM
Text: https://bit.ly/2LffKxO

…as Reagan was helping out corporate America he was waging an all-out war on labor in America. His attacks on organized labor in America and the NLRB drove down employee wages. His all-out assault on labor and his staunch opposition of the minimum wage led to three decades of flat wages while CEO and executive pay went through the roof. Between 1983 and 1988 Reagan’s policies led to ten million Americans losing their jobs through an epidemic of plant closings and lay-offs and of those ten million who lost their jobs many were forced to take lower paying jobs. The middle class began to crumble during the Reagan presidency. Under Reagan the number of families living below the poverty line exploded by a third and these same families were then hit by Reagan’s cuts to social welfare programs like Medicaid and food stamps. Oh and let us not forget ketchup is a vegetable for school lunches.

Since Reagan took office the share of total before tax income flowing to the top 1% of Americans has doubled. The destruction of our economy since Reagan took office is largely thanks to his failed theory of trickle-down economics which has over and over and over again been debunked. …

But a strong economy and government oversight of corporate America are not the only things we have lost since Reagan stepped foot inside the white house. We have lost trust in our government. After all, the Reagan administration was one of the most corrupt in American history, including by one estimate 31 Reagan-era convictions including 14 convictions in the Iran Contra affair and 16 in the Department of Housing and Urban Development scandal. Over 183 appointees of the Reagan administration either resigned under an ethical cloud or were indicted criminally. Reaganomics continues to devastate this nation and Reagan’s philosophy that America is bad, that our government has no value, that our government is the problem not the solution, continues to damage our body politic.

See chart…
“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that by 2023, federal
non-defense  investment including grants to state and local governments)
will be less than two thirds of its average share of GDP from 1962 to 2012.”

See chart…
Total net public investment has been on a clear downward trend since the mid-1960s.

The Democrats in ’88
https://t.co/KGNGLyExoc

…Here … is Biden on the Democratic Party:
“There is a consistent pattern that crept into the Democratic Party in the late 1960s and through the 1970s: We forgot who our people were. Our main concern has been the poor. Our people were the middle class. The moral business of this country is not the way liberals think of it. The moral business of this country is securing the middle class as well as taking care of the poor.”
A few points:
1) Letting the less fortunate die isn’t “taking care of the poor.”

2) “Centrists” like Biden followed the money after Reagan crippled Dems’ primary source of donations – which were union donations.

3) Biden trivialized the morality of Martin Luther King, Jr and so many others who fought and sacrificed to make the 1964 Civil Rights Act and war on poverty legislation a reality (see above quote).

4) We can design policy that helps everyone. Biden and his fellow “centrist’s” donors apparently don’t want them to do so.

As for the second question…

With respect to the media…
Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News
https://gawker.com/5814150/roger-ailes-secret-nixon-era-blueprint-for-fox-news

1984: The President and the Press
https://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/14/magazine/the-president-and-the-press.html

Thom Hartmann on the Fairness Doctrine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZuNiv09D0

Hartmann: How Do We Democratize Our Media? (covers the fairness doctrine and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 from Clinton and a Republican Congress)
https://truthout.org/articles/how-do-we-democratize-our-media/
With respect to trickle down economics…
The GOP used a Two Santa Clauses tactic to con America for nearly 40 years
This scam has been killing wages and enriching billionaires for decades
https://www.salon.com/2018/02/12/thom-hartmann-how-the-gop-used-a-two-santa-clauses-tactic-to-con-america-for-nearly-40-years_partner/

The only thing wrong with the U.S. economy is the failure of the Republican Party to play Santa Claus. -Jude Wanniski, March 6, 1976
To his credit, President GHW Bush called trickle down economic, voodoo economics. But that didn’t stop GW Bush or Trump and the GOP Congress from enriching the rich at everyone else’s expense.   Most recently…
As Deficit Explodes, GOP Demands Emergency Tax Cut for the Rich
Twenty senators have urged the Treasury
to give the wealthy another tax cut via executive order
https://t.co/kkLwsNiVcC

In a letter sent to Steve Mnuchin on Monday, the senator from Texas urged the Treasury Secretary to use his “authority” to index capital gains to inflation, a move that would almost exclusively benefit the mega-rich. Claiming, falsely, that the United States economy “has experienced historic levels of growth as a result of Congress and the current administration’s policies such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Cruz insists that it is now crucial for the Treasury Department to adjust capital gains for inflation “so that everyday Americans can continue to enjoy better lives and livelihoods.” And by “everyday Americans,” he of course means (but doesn’t say) the spectacularly wealthy.

Related: https://twitter.com/DeanBaker13/status/1156299101476024320

Letter is signed by Barrasso (R-WY), Blackburn (R-TN), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR),
Braun (R-IN), Burr (R-NC), Cornyn (R-TX), Cruz (R-TX), Cramer (R-ND), Daines (R-MT),
Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Kennedy (R-LA), Lankford (R-OK),
Paul (R-KY), Rische (R-ID), Sasse (R-NE), Tillis (R-NC), Toomey (R-PA), Wicker (R-MS)
https://tinyurl.com/y3utpv5u

This is the letter’s recipient…
Mnuchin Lied About His Bank’s History of Robo-Signing Foreclosure Documents
https://tinyurl.com/y2jsuyva

And this is the former CA Attorney General who’s running in part on law and order…
Kamala Harris Fails to Explain Why She Didn’t Prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s Bank
https://tinyurl.com/hov27ac
With respect to politicizing foreign policy…
The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘treason’
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21768668

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr’s oped on the movie, “Argo”
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2013/0305/Argo-helps-Iran-s-dictatorship-harms-democracy

Film Official Secrets Is Tip of Mammoth Iceberg
https://fair.org/home/film-official-secrets-is-tip-of-mammoth-iceberg/

My piece on the new film “Official Secrets” – a remarkably accurate Hollywood account
of how Katharine Gun attempted to stop the invasion of Iraq by exposing an NSA
document about the US and Britain spying on other UN members to bully and
blackmail their way to war.

Related: https://theintercept.com/2019/08/31/official-secrets-iraq-war-film/
With respect to redefining Christianity…
Being 60 Minutes Means You Never Have to Say You are Sorry – Except Once
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/1/5/14192/68149

On Restoring America
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2005/11/23/85532/138

Report From the Belly of the Beast 2 (Update)
http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/2/8/161949/3712

Institute on Religion and Democracy Continues Campaign Of Disinformation
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/institute-on-religion-and_b_847261

Jeff Sharlet…
Soldiers of Christ I: Inside America’s most powerful megachurch
http://brainstorm-services.com/wcu-2005/pdf/megachurch.pdf

So the Catholics are out, and the battle boils down to evangelicals versus Islam. “My fear,” (Pastor Ted Haggard) says, “is that my children will grow up in an Islamic state.”

And this is why he believes spiritual war requires a virile, worldly counterpart. “I teach a strong ideology of the use of power,” he says, “of military might, as a public service.” He is for preemptive war, because he believes the Bible’s exhortations against sin set us a preemptive paradigm, and he is for ferocious war, because “the Bible’s bloody. There’s a lot about blood.”
> Question

A recent conversation about hybrid cars (I don’t have access to a 220v outlet) led to my being asked, why I was thinking about buying a car. In addition to not being able to buy replacement parts for broken door handles I mentioned my need to take responsibility for my carbon footprint. The two fellows exchanged knowing looks… but didn’t  explain what they knew.

I came across something yesterday that might explain. If you’ve got a better idea, please let me know…
The critics of the Fridays-for-Future movement say that young people believe in the urgency of climate change because this fulfils deep emotional needs of theirs (you know: fascination with apocalypse, feeling important by saving the world, etc.)

This is analogous to the Marx/Freud view of religion:
people believe in God because religion fulfills deep emotional or societal needs.

However, debates in the philosophy of religion have revealed at least two problems
with the Freud/Marx view (apart from the fact that neither of them base their view
on solid empirical evidence – a reproach that also many of the “climate=religion”
people deserve!):

Problem I: Yes, belief in God might fulfill certain psychol./societal needs. However,
disbelief in God might do so *as well*. We need to look at *both* sides and claim
that belief in God fulfills *more* needs than disbelief in order for the argument
to even get off the ground.

The same for CC (climate change): Yes, belief in the urgency of CC fulfills certain needs.
However, disbelief in it *also* fulfills needs (in particular the need to avoid the discomfort
of lifestyle change & new taxes). And: it seems to me that disbelief in CC fulfills *more*
needs than belief.

Problem II: Yes, belief in God might fulfill certain psychological/societal needs. But the fact
that some people believe in God for these reasons is zero evidence for/against God’s
existence. If we want to know whether God exists, we must look at the arguments
for/against it.

Same for climate change: Yes, belief in the urgency of CC might fulfill certain emotional &
societal functions. But the fact that some people believe in the urgency of CC for these
reasons is zero evidence for/against the urgency of CC.

If we want to know whether climate change is real & urgent, we must look at the empirical
evidence. And: it seems to me that the empirical evidence is very clear. /end


…the nation’s federal regulatory agency is proposing to dramatically cut back its “Regulatory Oversight Process” in what is being called a “transformative process.”

The NRC proposal announces staff recommendations that, if adopted by the Commissioners, hands over yet more of its oversight authority to the financially failing and aging U.S. nuclear industry. The industry cost-saving recommendations include a reduction in the scope and frequency of NRC baseline reactor safety inspections and radiation protection inspections. They also include undercutting requirements and the issuance of mandatory orders in favor of industry “self-inspections,” “self-assessments,” and “voluntary initiatives”.
Paul Gunter in “Nuclear power regulation slips deeper into the shadows”
https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2019/08/25/total-eclipse/

Russia floating nuclear power station sets sail across Arctic: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49446235

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