Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for March 23rd, 2017

What’s Missing From This Photo of Politicians Deciding the Future of Women’s Health?

leave a comment »

From Mother Jones:

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 6:12 pm

The Senate just voted to undo landmark rules covering your Internet privacy

leave a comment »

When the GOP takes over, the protection of the public starts rapidly to erode. Brian Fung reports in the Washington Post:

Senate lawmakers voted Thursday to repeal a historic set of rules aimed at protecting consumers’ online data from their own Internet providers, in a move that could make it easier for broadband companies to sell and share their customers’ usage information for advertising purposes.

The rules, which prohibit providers from abusing the data they gather on their customers as they browse the Web on cellphones and computers, were approved last year over objections from Republicans who argued the regulations went too far.

U.S. senators voted by a 50-48 margin to approve a joint resolution from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would  prevent the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy rules from going into effect. The resolution also would bar the FCC from ever enacting similar consumer protections.  It now heads to the House.

Industry groups welcomed the vote.

“Our industry remains committed to offering services that protect the privacy and security of the personal information of our customers,” said NCTA — The Internet and Television Association, a trade group representing major cable providers. [That seems to me to be the usual approach of companies who want to do something the public will dislike: they simply lie about what they’re doing because there is no penalty at all for lying, as President Trump repeatedly demonstrates. I do not believe the NCTA for one single second. – LG] “We support this step toward reversing the FCC’s misguided approach and look forward to restoring a consistent approach to online privacy protection that consumers want and deserve.” [No, they look forward to selling to anyone who will pay, everthing they can learn about you from monitoring your internet activity 24/7, which they can easily do through software: building detailed dossiers for each customer, selling the information for as much as they can get. And it’s profitable, because it can’t be a one-time purchase: the data are continually updated, so what you bought a few months ago is badly dated. – LG]

Consumer and privacy groups condemned the resolution.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Senate voted today to sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major Internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon,” said Neema Singh Giuliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The FCC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The agency’s rules are being debated as Internet providers — no longer satisfied with simply offering Web access — race to become online advertising giants as large as Google and Facebook. To deliver consumers from one website to another, Internet providers must see and understand which online destinations their customers wish to visit, whether that’s Netflix, WebMD or PornHub.

With that data, Internet providers would like to sell targeted advertising or even share that information with third-party marketers. But the FCC’s regulations place certain limits on the type of data Internet providers can share and under what circumstances. Under the rules, consumers may forbid their providers from sharing what the FCC deems “sensitive” information, such as app usage history and mobile location data.

Opponents of the regulation argue the FCC’s definition of sensitive information is far too broad and that it creates an imbalance between what’s expected of Internet providers and what’s allowed for Web companies such as Google. Separately from Congress, critics of the measure have petitioned the FCC to reconsider letting the rules go into effect, and the agency’s new Republican leadership has partly complied. In February, President Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, put a hold on a slice of the rules that would have forced Internet providers to better safeguard their customer data from hackers. [And that is quite revealing, don’t you think? The companies can’t be arsed to protect your data from hackers—and note that once this change (allowing ISPs to sell everything they can learn about you), there will be a LOT of your data on line, ripe for hackers. Of course, the ISPs don’t want to have to protect that data: it’s a big pain to try to keep it safe, and if it’s stolen, they really don’t suffer at all: the data will be renewed, but in the meantime, the hacker(s) and whoever they share the data with will know an awful lot about you. No biggie for the ISP, though; the apologies and promises to be made following a big loss of private customer data have already been written. No wonder they don’t want a law that will force them actually to protect the data. – LG]

The congressional resolution could make any further action by the FCC to review the rules unnecessary; Flake’s measure aims to nullify the FCC’s privacy rules altogether. Republicans argue that even if the FCC’s power to make rules on Internet privacy is curtailed, state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission could still hold Internet providers accountable for future privacy abuses.

But Democrats say that preemptive rules are necessary to protect consumers before their information gets out against their will.

“At a time when our personal data is more vulnerable than ever, it’s baffling that Senate Republicans would eliminate the few privacy protections Americans have today,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the top liberal on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Pallone added in a statement Thursday that he hoped his House Republican colleagues “will exercise better judgment” when it becomes their turn to vote on the resolution. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 1:28 pm

Mindfulness: The next step in routine self-care

leave a comment »

If you’ve read my guide to DE shaving, you’re familiar with the idea. If not, this little video provides a good (and very brief) introduction:

More info in this Open Culture post, which is where I saw the video.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 1:02 pm

Donald Trump is Unimpeachable. Here’s Why.

with 2 comments

SIIP Campaigns is something new to me. Info at the link, but I wanted to quote just one of their articles in Medium. (I can’t find author name.) It begins:

There is no question that Donald J. Trump is a lying, thieving, backstabbing, two-faced, violent criminal.

There is also no doubt that he is the front man for a far-right network of white nationalist politicians and businessmen that want to revive the Confederacy. This network has been contracted by Vladimir Putin to facilitate the takeover of the federal government of the United States as part of a larger effort to dismantle western nations, alliances and power. Collectively, they have occupied the White House and begun the process of dismantling the federal government, isolating the US from its allies, bankrupting the economy, restructuring and hyper-funding the military and cleansing the nation of people of color, the poor, people living with disabilities, non-Christians, and anyone else not deemed part of the master race. Together, under the authority of Donald Trump and his Republican Congress, the GOP and the Russian government are gutting the corpse of the United States and positioning its zombie carcass to carry out the will of an adversarial Putin led eastern alliance that is openly working to dismantle the Western World.

And he is legally unimpeachable.

In the United States, the only entity that can impeach Donald Trump is Congress. A Congress that has formed a united front against the Democrats, against Civil Rights, against the people of the United States and in support of Vladimir Putin. They do not respond to their constituencies, their duties as officials, the constitution, media pressure or public shaming. They respond to their contracts. Which have been implemented with the explicit intent to prevent the removal of Putin’s GOP puppet government.

Congress will not impeach Trump.

Here’s why. The Constitution gives only the House of Representatives the legal authority to bring formal charges of impeachment against a sitting president. It would take half of Congress to successfully bring charges. The Senate has sole power to bring a president to trial for impeachment. Two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict and remove Trump from office to successfully impeach him. With the GOP in control of both the House and the Senate, as planned, there is no chance that the GOP will violate its contract with the Russian government in order to impeach Trump.

So here’s the quick takeaway:

The United States has been taken over by a white nationalist puppet government contracted by the Russian government. They want to dismantle federal authority in the United States and all western nations for their own political, economic, social and military visions of an ethnically-cleansed, post western world order.

They are willing to lie, cheat, break laws, and murder to accomplish their goals. They know how to rig elections and utilize mafia tactics. They don’t respond to constituencies, political pressure, or the media. They cannot be shamed away, tweeted away, marched away or phone called away. The will not be investigated by the GOP controlled House and Senate Oversight Committees or Department of Justice. They cannot be impeached.

Ok, that’s a lot. It might be more than you want to hear. But it’s what’s happening. Take it in. Take a breath.

Let’s continue.

This isn’t going to be easy to digest.

The formal plan to overthrow the federal government of the United States has been in action for years. Vladimir Putin is a ruthless military and political strategist. He knows the offensive and defensive histories, strengths and weaknesses of his nation, its alliances, it’s adversaries and those standing in the way of his ultimate goals. And his ultimate goals don’t begin and end with Hillary Clinton or even the United States. Vladimir Putin is years into a strategy designed to take over the federal governments of the Western powers, install puppet regimes, dismantle their individual and collective authority and usher in a Russian led new world order.

Putin didn’t just up and one day decide that he was going to partner with a C level businessman and celebrity to embarrass Hillary Clinton. He has been plotting to tear down the western alliance — including the UN and NATO — since his days in the KGB and has spent years successfully guiding the GOP to victory in their efforts to take Congress and the White House.

Putin considered every lever necessary to pull to ensure his puppet government would take the White House and that there would not be anything that could be done by Congress or the federal government to unseat him. He planned, he executed and he won. He didn’t just win, but Putin and the White Nationalist network he contracted to carry out his agenda kicked our assess. And they are still in power — kicking our asses.

What’s worse, the Democrats had numerous opportunities to counter the maneuvers of the GOP and they did nothing. As the stated defenders of minority rights and the strategic defenders of the nation against the Conservative Confederacy, they failed to live up to their responsibilities. This failure allowed them to be easily defeated by the GOP’s efforts to dismantle federal authority and Putin’s efforts to dismantle the West.

Every nation has specific governmental, political, and social systems that must be considered when designing a strategic agenda. Different strategies were required for the UK than in the United States. Different levers needed to be pulled to accomplish Brexit than to pull off MAGA.

In the United States, Putin needed to identify a far-right conservative network that aligned with his vision to dismantle federal authority and implement a system of white nationalism. He did not have to look hard to find the GOP and its neo-Confederate heart. That core has functioned since the Civil War and its Confederate flags still fly high around the United States. It has used force, laws and criminal activity to dismantle civil rights, suppress voting, incarcerate and impoverish communities not of the chosen race, and take land from sovereign entities.

The overwhelming majority of GOP candidates and members of the Trump administration are funded by Robert Mercer, David & Charles Koch, Sheldon Adelson, the Scaife family, the DeVos family and other core members of the far-right funding megalith, the Donor’s Trust. These individuals are responsible for such entities as the Tea Party, Freedomworks, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Federation of American Immigration Reform. They are behind the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the implementation of illegal voter ID and citizenship requirements. They train “poll watchers.” These individuals funded Breitbart and produced anti-Democratic media and campaigns. They invented the War on Cops and actively work to dismantle civil rights and pass anti-immigrant and anti-POC legislation. The most prominent members in their network are currently occupying the white house and enacting the agenda contracted between them and Vladimir Putin.

Putin also had to identify his opposition and their strengths and weaknesses in countering the maneuvers of the GOP. That honor would go to the Democratic Party — and its defensively inadequate core. The Democrats have stood by and done absolutely nothing as communities of color stood helpless against police brutality and the inaction of Congress, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General. They did nothing as the Crosscheck voter purge system was implemented across the country and the Voting Rights Actwas gutted. They did nothing to protect Tribal sovereignty at Standing Rock. They refused to take action to provide a living wage and fair housing to their working-class constituents and refused to enforce compliance with ADA standards even on election day. They even refused to legally counter Citizens United v FEC or Shelby County v Holder.

The Left has allowed the GOP to get away with almost every single policy maneuver they attempted. Especially those that functioned to deprive the rights of minorities, the poor, and people living with disabilities. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 10:42 am

Just a sample from one of several scathing columns from Jennifer Rubin this morning

leave a comment »

See previous post, in which I recommend reading Rubin’s Right Turn columns this morning, including the always excellent “Morning Bits” (the first column of the day, consisting of carefully selected quotations on current political issues). Here’s a section of just one of the columns:

First, in an effort to help the administration run from the headlines that confirm ties between President Trump’s former campaign chairman and Russian officials and that underscore the FBI’s evidence of collusion between Trump aides and Russian officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) destroyed the pretense that he was conducting a conscientious investigation in accordance with his constitutional oversight duties. He ran to the White House to disclose what he allegedly found and to the cameras to suggest nefarious behavior by the intelligence community. As the Lawfare blog explained:

Assuming that anything Nunes said was true, it appears to involve material obtained under FISA. Nunes confirmed as much in his White House press conference; when asked if the targets were subjects of surveillance “under FISA orders,” he said, “It appears so.” Silly us, but we thought such material was classified until affirmatively declassified by the original classifying authority. Have [the National Security Agency] and FBI declassified the facts that Nunes publicly described today? Remember that Nunes apparently hasn’t even spoken to [FBI Director James] Comey about this yet.

When asked whether the Justice Department authorized him to make the information public, Nunes said he thought the President “needed to know,” presumably indicating he did not, in fact, have DOJ permission. Considering the focus on leaks of FISA material of Republicans at Monday’s hearings, the question of whether Nunes himself has just improperly discussed classified FISA matters in public is one that deserves at least some attention.

Considering that Nunes and other Republicans spent the lion’s share of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing condemning leaks and release of classified information, this is the height of hypocrisy.

Second, Nunes reportedly consulted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) before racing to the White House and the cameras. In failing to prevent the stunt, Ryan confirmed his own poor judgment and intellectual dishonesty. He’s now an enabler in Nunes’s efforts to disrupt the investigation, one that Ryan promised would not require a select committee or independent commission.

Third, the president in an interview with Time magazine demonstrated how divorced from reality he is, how contemptuous he is of anything — including the press, the voters, the Congress, the facts — that impede his assertion of power. His rambling answers, filled with self-congratulation, illogical assertions and lies, reflect the mindset of a seriously troubled mind:

But you would agree also that some of the things you have said haven’t been true. You say that Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast. …
But isn’t there, it strikes me there is still an issue of credibility. If the intelligence community came out and said, we have determined that so and so is the leaker here, but you are saying to me now, that you don’t believe the intelligence community when they say your tweet was wrong.
I’m not saying—no, I’m not blaming. First of all, I put Mike Pompeo in. I put Senator Dan Coats in. These are great people. I think they are great people and they are going to, I have a lot of confidence in them. So hopefully things will straighten out. But I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways. I inherited a mess in the Middle East, and a mess with North Korea, I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, OK. And I inherited a mess on trade. I mean we have many, you can go up and down the ladder. But that’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?

This man is frighteningly divorced from reality — happily so from his standpoint — and unable to process facts. Republicans who excused his behavior and rationalized his outbursts are responsible for this sorry episode. The 25th Amendment addresses situations in which the president is unable to perform his duties. We’re getting perilously close to that point.
Fourth, in the last-minute wheeling and dealing on the American Health Care Act, Ryan and Trump have apparently shredded the original bill, removing, for example, the list of minimum benefits for insurance. This bill now does not resemble the bill voted for in committees, nor does it adhere to the president’s pledge to provide everyone with better coverage than they had under Obamacare. We do not know how much this costs and how it will affect coverage. There is no more vivid example of the thirst for victory for victory’s sake, the abandonment of principle and of concern for the public’s well-being. Few, if any, members will know what is in the bill before voting for it, if in fact the bill goes to the floor today.

In total, this is a portrait of a party contemptuous of everything but winning and defending the indefensible. It is no longer a party deserving of respect or support.

Read them all.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 10:15 am

What The Heck Is Devin Nunes Talking About? A Guide for the Perplexed

leave a comment »

Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, and Quinta Jurecic write in Lawfare:

Earlier today, Devin Nunes held a headline-making press conference on Capitol Hill in which he made the following statement:

[F]irst, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Details about persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trmp transition team members were unmasked. And fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia, or the investigation of Russian activities, or of the Trump team.

Nunes said the HPSCI would be investigating the following questions:

Who was aware of it?

Why it was not disclosed to Congress?

Who requested and authorized the additional unmasking?

Whether anyone directed the intelligence community to focus on Trump associates?

And whether any laws, regulations, or procedures were violated?

Nunes repeated many of his claims at a later press conference at the White House this afternoon, and made the additional claim that there are FISA warrants connected to—though not necessarily targeting—President Trump.

Let’s start with the basics. The full text of what Nunes actually said appears at the bottom of this post. The video is here.

What exactly Nunes is alleging remains a bit opaque. In his initial statement, he makes what seem to be bold and unequivocal claims, but he then spends the question and answer period significantly undercutting several of them.

His statement, for example, says that he has “confirmed” that the intelligence community “incidentally collected” the information in question. But he later says he will say only that it “looks like incidental collection” and acknowledges that he does not know how it was “picked up.”

Nunes repeatedly says he thinks the collection was lawful under FISA, but then characterizes himself as “alarmed.” Furthermore, his statement only references the Trump transition, and it is unclear whether that does or does not involve communications involving President Trump himself. When asked if the President’s own communications were involved, in fact, Nunes gives a number of contradictory responses. It’s not clear at the end of the day whether the issue here is communications about Trump, by Trump transition officials, Trump’s own communications, or a combination of the above.

Still, there’s enough information on the table—assuming any of it is accurate—to begin addressing some questions that lots of people are probably asking. So here’s what we can say based on Nunes’s comments.

Does any of this vindicate or validate Donald Trump’s claims that President Obama wiretapped him?

Answer: Not even close—even assuming that the most flamboyant version of Nunes’s comments are wholly true.

Trump did not wake up early on a Saturday morning and tweet that the NSA or FBI in the course of its normal foreign intelligence operations incidentally intercepted communications or data involving the Trump transition. He didn’t allege that communications were intercepted legally. And he didn’t allege either that the problem—if there is a problem—lay in the masking or unmasking of U.S. persons in lawful intelligence community reporting.

Trump alleged, rather, (1) that his own wires were tapped—with two p’s, no less, (2) that a specific facility in the United States (Trump Tower) and that he personally were specifically targeted for collection, (3) that the surveillance was illegal, (4) that it took place during the campaign, and (5) that it was all ordered by his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

All of those claims appeared to be malicious lies when he made them. And nothing that Nunes is saying, even if it’s all true, supports any of them.

Is it surprising or scandalous that Trump transition communications might be subject to incidental collection?

Answer: Almost certainly not.

Nunes concedes that all of the interceptions appear to be lawful. So we’re not dealing here with a situation of scandalous political spying on an American presidential transition. The nature of incidental collection is that the targets are lawful overseas non-US persons who happen to have contact with US persons, whose communications thus get swept up in the course of spying on someone else.

Now remember that the Trump Transition violated a lot of norms under which transitions don’t generally run entirely independent foreign policies before taking office. The Trump transition organized all sorts of calls with foreign leaders (legitimate targets for surveillance) without coordinating with the State Department or, presumably, the intelligence community. Trump himself famously chatted with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, undid (temporarily) the One China Policy by taking a call from the President of Taiwan, and did his best to torpedo a UN resolution against Israeli settlements, leading Egypt to withdraw the resolution (only for the U.S. to abstain from the vote on the resubmitted resolution the next day). His staff presumably had any number of other communications with folks abroad whom the intelligence community would be derelict not to be listening to. So it’s not remotely surprising that some communications by some Trump transition people ended up being incidentally collected. Indeed, it would be surprising if none had.

Is there anything surprising or upsetting here?

Answer: Maybe.

Nunes makes two allegations that we put in the category of upsetting if true. The first is that “details with little apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting”—a matter he later alleges took place dozens of times. This should, of course, never happen. When US person information is collected, it is supposed to be minimized unless it has foreign intelligence value. So if Nunes is right here, he’s describing a genuine problem.

He also alleges that he has “confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked”—additional, here referring to in addition to General Flynn. There’s nothing wrong with unmasking in and of itself. But in combination with the previous allegation—that material with little foreign intelligence value was disseminated—unmasking could be a very serious matter. That is, Nunes appears to be alleging that the intelligence community reported a whole lot of material incidentally collected about the Trump transition that was of no foreign intelligence value and then unmasked the US persons involved. This would be a significant abuse if it were true.

But that only raises the question: Is it true?

Color us skeptical—at least for now. Nunes is clearly shooting from the hip here. He clearly does not have all the facts himself (he admits as much). And his allegations are a deep challenge to the professionalism of the men and women of the intelligence community in the conduct of some of their most politically sensitive work. So at least until we learn more facts, we’re going to take Nunes about as seriously as we take Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald when they are comparably breathless in alleging intelligence community malfeasance without knowing all the facts in pursuit of their political goals. One shouldn’t presume what he says is false. But we’re not going to presume it true either.

So why is Nunes shooting from the hip here and going public before he has any idea what he’s talking about?

Answer: Beats us.

It’s a bit of a puzzler, really. Nunes says he doesn’t have any reason to think this collection was illegal. In his second press conference, he said that he thinks there is some level of surveillance activity “perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right and I don’t know that the American people would be comfortable with it.” Does Nunes mean to say he believes that there are forms of lawfully authorized surveillance which he believes are ethically wrong? If so, this is an odd format for a HSPCI Chairman to make such a startling revelation to the American people. He says that the Administration was not yet aware of the information and that he would be speaking to the White House later in the afternoon. According to both Nunes and the office of committee Vice Chair Adam Schiff, Nunes did not speak to Schiff prior to the press conference. He says he has spoken to NSA Director Admiral Rogers but not FBI Director Comey. So why is he holding a press conference before getting even his basic facts straight?

Bob Dole once famously quipped that the most dangerous space in Washington was the space between then-Rep. Charles Schumer and a TV camera. Just a hunch, but something similar might be going on here.

Did Nunes publicly disclose anything classified?

Answer: We’re not sure but it’s a question well worth asking.

As Comey said at Nunes’s hearing on Monday, “ . . .

Continue reading.

Also, it’s well worth reading Jennifer Rubin’s Right Turn columns this morning, beginning with the always interesting “Morning Bits.” She’s a conservative Republican, and she’s clearly livid with anger over how Nunes is making things so much worse.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 10:07 am

The GOP healthcare reform bill: costs and benefits by income level

leave a comment »

It’s pretty much as you expect, given the GOP’s proclivities:

That’s from a NY Times article by Haeyoun Park and Margot Sanger-Katz, which begins:

An average family making more than $200,000 a year would gain $5,640 while a family making less than $10,000 a year would lose $1,420 if Congress passes the health care plan proposed by House Republicans, according to a new analysis.

The analysis, from the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, looked at the combined impact of changes proposed under the Republican plan, including repealing Obamacare taxes, cutting Medicaid funding and changing the system of government subsidies for people who buy their own insurance.

Taxes would decrease for families earning $50,000 or more a year in 2022, when most of the law’s provisions would be in full effect. Families with incomes above $1 million a year would pay about $50,000 less in taxes.

The cuts to Medicaid would hit the poorest families hard. Even though some would be able to take advantage of new subsidies to buy health insurance, the researchers found that, on average, their benefits would decline substantially. Those making less than $30,000 a year would take three-quarters of the total losses.

More than 70 percent of the tax cuts, however, would go to families with incomes above $200,000 a year, and more than 46 percent would go to those making more than $1 million a year.

The Republican plan eliminates taxes Obamacare imposed mostly on the rich, including taxes on investment income and wages above $200,000. (Cuts to other Obamacare taxes, including ones on medical devices, prescription drugs, and indoor tanning, benefit the population more broadly.) . . .

Continue reading.

The GOP seems to actively hate the poor, for reasons that are unclear to me. Chauncey DeVega looks at this in Salon:

Republican Paul Ryan, like most other members of the U.S. Congress, is a millionaire.

Christa Patton is 68 years old. She is frail and no longer able to leave her home. She lives on a fixed income. Patton told Van Jones on a recent episode of his CNN show “The Messy Truth” that she would not be able to eat without the Meals on Wheels program.

Paul Ryan is the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. By his own account, in college he used to hang out with his friends and drink beer while sharing his dreams of cutting Medicaid. When Ryan was 15 years old, his father died from a heart attack affected by alcoholism. Ryan and his family then received his father’s Social Security survivor’s benefits. Ryan used that money to attend college. This was not the only money that Paul Ryan received from the federal government. His family built its wealth from receiving government contracts.

Like his idol Ayn Rand (who argued against the very idea of government and the commons yet received Social Security and Medicare), Paul Ryan has combined meanness, cruelty and callousness toward the weak and the vulnerable with gross and unapologetic hypocrisy.

Republicans like Ryan — along with the millionaires and billionaires who comprise Donald Trump’s Cabinet and inner circle — literally want to take food, shelter and health care away from poor people like Christa Patton. Today’s Republicans view these Americans as useless eaters to be disposed of by means both passive and active.

It is normal to feel aghast at and disgusted by the Republican Party’s war on the poor. The more challenging and perhaps even more disturbing task is to ask why today’s conservatives feel such antipathy, disregard and hostility toward poor and other vulnerable Americans. Certainly greed and a slavish devotion to a revanchist right-wing ideology are part of the answer. But they may not be sufficient

Conservatives are more likely to exhibit social dominance and bullying behavior. This is a function of their authoritarian tendencies. The election of Donald Trump exemplifies this phenomenon.

American political elites often use language that robs poor and other marginalized people of their individuality, humanity and dignity. This language also creates a type of social distance between “middle class” or “normal” Americans and those with economic disadvantages.

Conservatism is a type of motivated social cognition that by its very nature is hostile to members of groups on the lower rungs of the social hierarchy.

And conservatives are more likely than liberals or progressives to believe in what is known as the “just world fallacy,” whereby people who suffer misfortune are viewed as somehow deserving their fates. Conservatives are also more likely than liberals or progressives to not use . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 9:22 am

Vie-Long and Meißner Tremonia Lavender de Luxe, then the Progress and Chatillon Lux

with 7 comments

The Vie-Long horsehair brush shown did an excellent job of bringing lather from Meißner Tremonia’s excellent Lavender de Luxe, and it does have a great fragrance.

I must have just changed the blade in the Progress: the feeling during the shave was an extreme smoothness, gliding over my face with no problems, just wiping away the stubble.

A splash of Chatillon Lux’s Champs de Lavande, and I’m refreshed and ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2017 at 9:12 am

Posted in Shaving

%d bloggers like this: