Project and Deflect – and a Call to Action for Obamacare

Donald Trump told us on Saturday that he’d share his great secret knowledge of hacking either yesterday or today. Is anyone actually holding their breath? The New York Times published its usual Transition Briefing this morning, and there’s just so much wrong it makes me want to scream. Here are the bullet points:

■ President-­elect Donald J. Trump appears to side with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over United States intelligence agencies.

■ Mr. Trump finds something “very strange” about his intelligence briefing on Friday — even though the White House says it was always planned for Friday.

■ Mr. Trump will hold his first news conference as president-­elect on Jan. 11 – at least that’s the plan.

Yep, the man who will be dependent on our intelligence agencies spends an inordinate amount of time trashing them. He takes the word of Julian Assange over the results of their investigations. No chance at all that will come back to bite him. And us, by extension.

He’s now claiming that intelligence officials have “delayed” his briefing on the hacking until Friday, although those officials say that’s when it was originally scheduled. Something tells me he’s looking for an excuse to put off his great revelations, even though he already knows “things that other people don’t know.” Yeah, sure he does. The man doesn’t even use email. I bet he wouldn’t know HTML code if it bit him…well, you get the idea.

He also continues to exaggerate the “terrible things” that were discovered in the leaked DNC emails. No, Donna Brazile shouldn’t have given the Clinton campaign a heads-up on a debate question, but it had to be the most obvious question ever: someone from Flint was going to ask why the government wasn’t doing more to get the lead out of the city’s water? Who would ever have anticipated that? CNN fired Donna Brazile even though they kept former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on the payroll while he continued to stay in close touch with Trump and receive checks from the campaign for “strategy consulting”. Are we really supposed to believe he didn’t serve as a two-way conduit of information?

This is all part of Trump’s ongoing “project and deflect” strategy that served him so well during the campaign. He preemptively slandered the highly-rated Clinton Foundation with accusations that only turned out to be true of his own foundation. By the time the truth came out, he’d managed to convince far too many people that up was down, left was right, and right was wrong. It’s a strategy he has used over and over with great success. He took to heart the saying about a lie going around the world before the truth gets its shoes on, and we let him.

acaOf course, I – and the Times – have somewhat buried the lede that all this distraction surrounds his support for repealing Obamacare. For EIGHT YEARS, we’ve heard “repeal and replace”, but we’ve never been told what the replacement will be. Now Congress wants to “repeal” and defund but delay implementation for some undefined period of time. This make NO sense. It will leave health insurance markets in chaos and, more importantly, hurt the people who need coverage most. Speaker Paul Ryan says he wants to “create a transition and bridge so that no one is left out in the cold,” but he won’t tell us what we’ll be transitioning and bridging TO. What’s his plan, to repackage Obamacare (which had similarities to a Heritage Foundation reform plan until a Democratic administration implemented it) and rename it Trumpcare?

Whether or not you purchase your insurance through an Obamacare exchange, we all benefit from the end of lifetime limits and exclusions for pre-existing conditions. The ability to keep kids up to the age of 26 on family policies has been a great thing for many of us. These aspects are popular, but they won’t work without the less popular individual mandate – an idea that the Heritage Foundation championed until it was included in Obamacare. It doesn’t take detailed knowledge of the health insurance market to recognize that spreading the risk over a larger pool of people is necessary to help keep costs under control. Insurance companies *are* in business to make profits, after all, even if they claim to be non-profits (I’m looking at you, Blue Cross).

While I think it’s important to call out Donald Trump’s lies and misrepresentations and whatever the Wall Street Journal decides to call them, the most important thing to do today is to call your Congress members and tell them you oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, at least without a legitimate plan to replace it. Don’t know the numbers? Click HERE  and HERE to find them. It’s just a couple minutes out of your day that might make a big difference. At least it will be more productive than sitting around waiting for Trump’s promised press conference.

Don’t Get Fooled Again

The New York Times published some excellent graphics yesterday of Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest. It’s a good thing for us to see these, because otherwise we can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume. The conflicts are so numerous and so massive that we’re in danger of shutting down under the deluge, and we can’t do that if we want to maintain any integrity within the federal government. Here’s one example: Trump’s new hotel in Washington DC, which is located in a building that is leased from the General Services Administration. The lease forbids any elected official from being part of or benefiting from it. Not only will Trump benefit from the business in general, but the hotel has been marketing itself to foreign diplomats as the place to stay when they’re in town.

Trump, whether purposefully or simply by some low cunning instinct, is doing his best to distract from his corruption with stupid tweets and a victory tour, and Congressional leaders have made it clear, at least for now, that Trump’s business conflicts are a-okay with them. We need to keep our collective eye on the ball.

Don’t let the deluge distract us from the individual raindrops.


Seasonal Blues

So..happy post-Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest – I hate this time of year. It’s been stressful since the kids were small, but now it has some terrible associations: my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 2005 and died in January 2007, and my brother died ten months later on Veteran’s Day. Not much to be cheery about.

This season has been full of ups and downs. Our middle daughter organized get out the vote efforts for Hillary Clinton and Democratic candidates in New Hampshire. Oldest daughter and I went up before the election and spent five days canvassing and doing paperwork. It was a real pleasure – having lived exclusively in red states, I’ve never been on the giving or receiving end of canvassing. MD’s area outperformed expectations, and despite the horrific Presidential election result, New Hampshire went blue, with a win for Clinton, a flipped Senate seat, and an all-Democratic and all-female Congressional delegation. We’re really proud of her and the work she did.

I keep looking for the overall silver lining, but it’s really hard to find. I miss the hell out of Danielle Juzan, who wrote here in the past as Del. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Her commentary on this election would have been priceless.

This place is called Birmingham Blues, and I definitely have them. But hiding under the covers isn’t an option in Trumpworld. I’ll shake it off. Resistance is NOT futile.

Donald Trump: I Was Just Kidding about That Blind Trust

Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but Donald Trump pretty much put to rest today any hope that he will separate himself from his business while he’s President:

Mr. Trump brushed aside questions about conflicts arising from his business dealings, declaring that “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

He said it would be extremely difficult to sell off his businesses because they are real estate holdings. He also noted that he had turned over the management of the businesses to his children. “If it were up to some people,” he said, “I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again.”

Though he repeated his assertion that his company was “so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing,” Mr. Trump acknowledged that the value of his luxury hotel in Washington had been driven up by his election victory. The Trump brand, he said, was now “hotter.”

Mr. Trump suggested that under the law, “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.”

In other words, “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Thank you, President Nixon, for providing Mr. Trump with that out.

Mr. Trump also seems to believe that his supporters assumed he was lying when he promised to put his business into a blind trust or something resembling one and let his kids run it:

Of course, we know better now. As President-Elect, he has met with Indian business partners, spoken with the Japanese Prime Minister and Argentinian President with his daughter (you know, the one who is running the business) right by his side, and told Member of Parliament Nigel Farage to help stir up opposition to offshore wind farms like the one he thinks blocks his view from his golf course in Scotland. He holds the lease on the new Trump hotel in DC and has thrown a party encouraging visitng diplomats to stay there. He owes hundreds of millions to a Chinese government owned bank. He owes money to Deutsche Bank, which is facing a multi-billion dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice because of fraudulent mortgage practices. Nope, no conflict there. And the list goes on.

The Wall Street Journal called today for Trump to liquidate his holdings, give the assets to his children, and cut off all communication with them regarding the business (no direct link because the editorial is behind a pay firewall):

“One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example…If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position,” the Journal said. “Mixing money and politics could undermine his pledge to ‘drain the swamp’ In Washington.”

I hope those 60 million voters aren’t holding their collective breath. Welcome to the kleptocracy.