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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Twelve ways to spot a misognyst- or a Trumponian zealot?

"...first signs of misogyny are barely noticeable," 

Although I'm not a psychologist, 
my profession as a registered nurse intuitively tells me to identify Donald Trump and his Trumponian followers with the characteristics described about misogyny, in Psychology Today.

12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist
Misogyny: Hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, hostility, male supremacist ideas, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.

Image result for donald trump pictures

You may have heard of misogynists? Donald Trump fits  in the descriptions below, the characteristics in many of the bullets- including the public degradation of women.

But what you may not realize is that they can be anywhere around you. Indeed, they're notoriously hard to spot. Unfortunately, they don't come with a label attached, and they may even come across as being pro-woman.  (ahhhh....Enter Donald Trump stage right).

In most cases, misogynists do not even know that they hate women. Misogyny is typically an unconscious hatred that men form early in life, often as a result of atrauma involving a female figure they trusted. An abusive or negligent mother, sister, teacher or girlfriend can plant a seed deep down in their brain’s subcortical matter.

Once planted, this seed will germinate and begin to grow, the tiny root working its way into the fear processing and memory areas of the brain as its tiny stem works its way into frontal areas of the brain, affecting emotion and rational decision-making.

The first signs of misogyny are barely noticeable, but with additional exposure to neglect, abuse, or lack of treatment, this behavioral seeding will grow larger and more prominent. But even when the misogyny reaches maturity and the tendency toward acting with hatred toward women can no longer be controlled, the misogynist and the women around him will often fail to notice the condition until it’s too late.

The following traits are typical of the misogynist:
He will zero in on a woman and choose her as his target. Her natural defenses may be down because he’s flirtatious, exciting, fun, and charismatic at first.

As time goes on, he begins to reveal a Jekyll & Hyde personality. He may change quickly from irresistible to rude, and from rude back to irresistible.

He will make promises to women and often fail to keep them. 

With men, on the other hand, he will almost always keep his word.
He will be late for appointments and dates with women, but be quite punctual with men.

His behavior toward women in general is grandiose, cocky, controlling, and self-centered.

He is extremely competitive, especially with women. 

If a woman does better than him socially or professionally, he feels terrible. If a man does better, he may have mixed feelings about it but he is able to look at the situation objectively.

He will unknowingly treat women differently from men in workplace and social settings, allowing men various liberties for which he will criticize female colleagues or friends.

He will be prepared (unconsciously) to use anything within his power to make women feel miserable. He may demand sex or withhold sex in his relationships, make jokes about women or put them down in public, “borrow” their ideas in professional contexts without giving them credit, or borrow money from them without paying them back.

On a date, he will treat a woman the opposite of how she prefers. If she is an old-style lady who prefers a "gentleman" who holds the door for her, orders for both and pays for the meal, he will treat her like one of his male buddies, order for himself, and let her pay for the whole meal if she offers (and sometimes even if she doesn’t). 

If she is a more independent type who prefers to order her own meal and pay for herself, he will rudely order for both and pay the check while she goes to the bathroom.

Sexually, he likes to control women and gives little or no attention to their sexual pleasure. Foreplay, if it occurs at all, is only a necessary means to an end. He likes oral sex but only as a recipient. His favorite positions enable him to avoid looking the woman in her eyes.

He will cheat on women he is dating or in a relationship with. Monogamy is the last thing he feels he owes a woman.
He may suddenly disappear from a relationship without ending it, but may come back three months later with an explanation designed to lure the woman back in.

Only rarely will a misogynist possess every one of these traits, which makes it harder to identify them. Their ability to lure women in with their charm and charisma adds to the difficulty of spotting the early-warning signs.

Women haters (unconsciously) get off on treating women badly. Every time they can put down a woman or hurt her feelings, they unconsciously feel good because deep down in their hidden brain, their bad behavior is rewarded with a dose of the pleasure chemical dopamine—which makes them want to repeat the behavior again and again.

Berit Brogaard is the author of On Romantic Love

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Washington Post leads against Trumponian leadership

The Washington Post:
Mr. Trump is not a typical candidate. He is a unique threat to the Republican Party and to the country. The party should reject him as a nominee, using any and all legitimate means to do so. 

Principled Republicans must make a concerted stand in Indiana and California, the two states left to vote that could keep Mr. Trump short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. As long as there is opportunity to resist his rise, those who recognize what he is must take it. This is not because beating Mr. Trump is a likely outcome. It is because, morally, there is no other option. New math does not change the ethical calculation.

This brutally honest Washington Post editorial board opinion makes a strong position for the newspaper and likely sets the national "stop Trump" messaging- into the national campaign.

The Post's View
Why Republicans still must not rally around Trump

By Editorial Board April 27 at 3:37 PM

WITH SWEEPING wins in five East Coast states Tuesday, Donald Trump socked the forces within the Republican Party that have vowed never to support him. 

Picking up more than 100 pledged delegates, he brought himself closer to clinching the GOP nomination on the first ballot at July’s Republican National Convention, before most of the gains Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) has made in the party’s arcane delegate selection process could come into play. 

These facts in hand, Mr. Trump declared himself the presumptive GOP nominee.

If Mr. Trump were anything like a typical candidate, mathematical reality would result in a quick consolidation of the party behind him. In fact, that would have happened weeks ago. 

Now that the numbers are approaching prohibitive for “Never Trump” Republicans, pressure to rally around Mr. Trump will build. The excuses for making peace with the front-runner will be faulty but numerous — preserving party unity; avoiding a nasty convention fight; beating Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. In his Tuesday night victory speech, Mr. Trump claimed — as usual without any corroborating details — that Republicans are already calling him seeking to mend fences.

They shouldn’t — because Mr. Trump is not a typical candidate. He is a unique threat to the Republican Party and to the country. The party should reject him as a nominee, using any and all legitimate means to do so. Principled Republicans must make a concerted stand in Indiana and California, the two states left to vote that could keep Mr. Trump short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. As long as there is opportunity to resist his rise, those who recognize what he is must take it. This is not because beating Mr. Trump is a likely outcome. It is because, morally, there is no other option. New math does not change the ethical calculation.

Mr. Trump degrades people, serially insulting women, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, Jews and others. He erodes the discourse, frequently and flagrantly lying about things such as whether “scores” of terrorists have recently entered the United States as migrants — one of numerous false claims he made in a speech on foreign policy Wednesday. He proposes undermining foundational civic institutions such as the free press. He shows contempt for the separation of powers by threatening the speaker of the House. Where his policy agenda is not thin, it is scary, such as his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States. In short, he should inspire fear that someone so lacking in judgment and restraint could acquire the powers of the presidency.
Washington Post- Trump positions are scary - #NeverTrump

If Mr. Trump nevertheless got the GOP nomination, many Republicans would face a similar dilemma to the one they face now. Once again, appeals to party unity and victory in November would offer them excuses to ignore the simple moral calculation required to recognize Mr. Trump’s unacceptability. In fact, they would have at least three ways to avoid making this error — voting for Ms. Clinton, running a third-party conservative candidate or refusing to vote at all. None of these options promises to put a Republican in the White House. But each would at least spare some Republicans the moral stain of association with Mr. Trump.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Women voters alert - All eyes on Mary Pat Christie! "Deal me in..."

As Donald Trump, inappropriately, criticized Secretary Hillary Clinton during his wrong minded victory speech, post the Tuesday (April 26) night, primaries, saying she was only getting support from other women because of their gender, the New Jersey first lady, Mary Pat Christie's expression, stole the show.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump concludes his remarks to supporters at Trump Towers as New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie looks on.
Mrs. Mary Pat Christie (right of Donald Trump) doesn't apprear to be celebrating as Donald Trump criticizes gender, rather than policies, after a 5 state primary delegate win.

Obviously, pictures speak louder than words. This was evidenced by Governor Chris Christie's wife, Mary Pat Christie, while Donald Trump used inappropriate language about Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, it was obvious while watching Donald Trump during his "woman's card" statement, post his 5 state primary election wins, while he was supposed to be speaking "Presidential" on Tuesday, April 26th...when he shoulda' taken the high road, but instead, sunk to the low road (again)....OMG! Typical Trumponian caustic rhetoric.

Mrs. Christie's lackluuster response is now the response seen around the political world. Clearly, she wasn't celebrating the five state Trumponian primary wins. There was no joy in Mary Pat Christie's response. She would've been better off watching the primary celebations on a television, in her hotel room. Her position located behind Trump in the TV scene was obviously staged, but it backfired.

All eyes were on Mary Pat Christie! Chris Christie’s wife appeared to roll her eyes during Donald Trump’s victory speech in New York, after he won 5 Republican primaries on Tuesday, April 26.

Toward the end of his speech, Trump, 69, slammed Democratic front-runner Secretary Hillary Clinton, saying that she'd only get “five percent of the vote” if she were a man. “The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her, OK? And look how well I did with women tonight,” the real estate mogul said. (Except, Mrs. Christie wasn't amused!)

Mary Pat Christie, 52, who was standing right behind Trump, appeared emotionless through most of the speech — until he started bashing Clinton. New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro was one of the first to point out that Mary Pat glanced over at her husband and seemingly rolled her eyes at the comments. 

Other Twitter users also claimed to see the eye roll and a smirk. The New Jersey governor, 53, didn’t look overly happy to be Trump’s sidekick at the press conference either. Mary Pat’s reaction quickly went viral as people debated whether it was a sign of disapproval or simply a turn of her head.  (Honestly, I also noticed this lack of emotional affect from Mrs. Christie, but, while watching, I truly didn't know the lady's name.)

In her timely "real time" response, Mrs. Clinton Embraced Trump's 'Woman Card' Attacks: She said, 'Deal Me In'

Hillary Clinton was quick to fire back at Donald Trump after he accused her entire campaign of resting on the “woman card” during his victory speech following Tuesday night's primaries.
“If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in,” a fired-up Clinton said in a video posted to her Twitter feed. Her comments were taken from her own Tuesday night victory speech and contrasted with video of Trump disparaging her:

Clinton shared the video both Tuesday night, shortly after Trump’s address ended, and on Wednesday morning. It also features footage of the GOP frontrunner claiming that she wouldn’t get “5 percent of the vote” if she were a man.

Trump was characteristically unapologetic Wednesday morning as he made the rounds on morning cable news shows.

He told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he still hasn’t “recovered” from Clinton's "shouting” about his remarks on the so-called woman card. On CNN’s “New Day,” he insisted discussing this subject was a winning strategy for the general election.

"She is a woman. She is playing the woman card left and right," Trump said. "She will be called on it."

Thank goodness, Secretary Hillary Clinton responded to the Trumponian attack on her feminism, in rapid real time, immediately! You Go Hillary 2016!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Baltimore my Baltimore

As a Baltimore native, now a resident of the beautiful state of Maine, the biggest change I see in the city I grew up in is regarding cleanliness. Baltimore needs a clean up, the soap and water kind. When my mother joined other women with buckets filled with soap suds, to keep those East Baltimore white marble steps sparkling, this visible clenaliness was onec a bright reflection on the entire city. Image result for white marble steps baltimore
Baltimore was a city with trees, and the landscaped Patterson Park and Druid Hill Park.Image result for patterson park baltimore
                 Yet, today, some Baltimore city officials are quoted as saying, "We are in a state of emergency," said Calvin Young, a Harvard-trained engineer, citing the city's soaring murder rate and budget deficit. "We need new, fresh leadership." (Yup! In my opinion, the city also needs a fresh clean up.)
In my opinion, every Baltimore City Council civic leaders should be issued a bucket with soap suds to clean grafitti off the buildings in blighted neighborhoods. They also need personalized trash bags to fill with discarded paper trash and liquer bottles, often seen clogging the city's storm gutters.
Former Mayor Sheila Dixon is the early front-runner for re-election to her formerlly held office- in the Baltimore's City Hall. She speaks about Baltimore's crime. "It was my administration that began to reduce crime," said former Mayor Dixon. "I know what it takes. I have what it takes." (But crime has not declined.....I watched drug and prostitution  deals happen before my eyes, while pulling into a restaurant parking lot!) - In fact, Cahterine Pugh a Maryland State Senator, defeated Dixon in the Democratic primary's mayorial election.

Crime hides in flithy environments. In my opinion, Dixon ad her successors (like Pugh), should also focus on the concrete municipal appearances, especially cleanliness. Obviously, she doesn't see the city's decay because her office, if she becomes mayor again, will be inside this beautiful building: 

1city hall baltimore.jpg
Baltimore City Hall is an impressive piece of archectiture. It's the official seat of government of the City of Baltimore, in the State of Maryland. The City Hall houses the offices of the Mayor and those of the City Council of Baltimore. Notice- there is no graffiti on the beautiful Baltimore City Hall.
The Rotunda in the Baltimore City Hall. It's difficult to imagine any trash laying around the floor inside the Baltimore City Hall or beneath the lovely Rotunda.

But in contrast......
A youth rides a bicycle past a blighted property that will be restored by Come Home Baltimore. The run-down unit is sandwiched between renovated properties on North Bond Street in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood.
A youth rides a bicycle past a blighted property that will be restored by Come Home Baltimore. The run-down unit is sandwiched between renovated properties on North Bond Street in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood.

Weary of worrisome dangers and destruction, the take-back-Baltimore movement has helped heal sections of the city wounded by caustic conditions. Nevertheless, I still do not see any pots of flowers or trees. Rather, many parts of Baltimore are bleak.

This one upon a time beautiful building on the city's Arlington Avenue was tragically left to decay. This is shameful! 

There's plenty of money in Baltimore and this once proud building should never have been allowed to fall into such ugly disrepair. Even if people in Baltimore are reluctant to invest municipal resources, they can at least buy soap and sponges to clean up these buildings.  

"I'm fed up with the way the city has been run," said Democrat Patrick Gutierrez,. "I'm fed up with the way people have been treated. I'm fed up with the way money has been wasted. ... Previous mayors have set a very low bar."

Although Maine has its fiscal problems, the people take pride in being the most tree populated state in the nation. Certainly, it would be very easy, and not expensive, to transplant a few Maine trees in downtown Baltimore. It would be wonderful to see the Rotary Club of Baltimore lead such a green-park development.

Meanwhile, I hope "Baltimore my Baltimore" will soon become aware of the inexpensive beauty in simple cleanliness. It doesn't take much money to scrub the city, just like my dearly departed mother took pride in keeping those white marble steps as clean as the walls of the city's beautiful city hall.  

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Republican party implosion: "As the Trump Turns"

"I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state,” Romney said."

Finally a "stop Trump" strategy has a measurable goal. As the LATimes reports- Texas Senator Cruz (aka "to loose") and Ohio's Governor John Kasich made a decision to support an open GOP convention, when the candidates will spar in Cleveland for the presidential nomination.

In fact, the"As the Trump Turns" campaign saga builds to support an open convention. Like a soap opera character who returns from the dead, the political activists, the Koch brothers (the rich guys who throw millions to conservative candidates), are actually hinting at how Secretary Hillary Clinton may be preferable to either Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz!  (This is like the time when the 60's personae of actress Jane Fonda became a Born Again Christian!)
Jane Fonda's religion and political views
Jane Fonda, a 60s anti-Vietnam war political activist, converted from being a cultural icon and award winning actress to a professed Born Again Christian - analogous to the Republican Koch brothers nearly endorsing Secretary Hillary Clinton for President, in the "As the Trump Turns" saga.

LATimes reports (by line - Seema Mehta): Cruz and Kasich team-up to stop Trump, saying they'll each sit out future primaries.

In the latest effort to upend Republican front-runner Donald Trump's bid for the presidential nomination, the campaigns of rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced Sunday night that they would join for a divide-and-conquer strategy in three states as they scramble to seize remaining delegates in a rapidly dwindling primary season.

Kasich will halt campaigning in Indiana, allowing Cruz to focus on the 57 delegates up for grabs in the state’s May 3 primary. Cruz will forgo Oregon later in May and and New Mexico in June. Those two states have a total of 52 delegates at stake.

The strategy underscores the unprecedented nature of the Republican presidential race, with GOP stalwarts refusing to line up behind the front-runner and instead embarking on an effort to stop Trump from securing the 1,237 delegates he needs for the nomination.

Though the campaigns did not say they were coordinating, the language in their announcements was practically identical and the statements were released within minutes of each other.

The prospect of Trump as the GOP nominee would doom Republicans both in this fall’s general election and the party’s long-term prospects, warned Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager.

"Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by [Hillary] Clinton or [Bernie] Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation," Roe said in the statement.

Kasich's goal is to have no candidate win the 1,237 delegates required to clinch the nomination, leading to an open nominating contest at the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland, said John Weaver, his top strategist.

Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans – not even close, but he currently does have almost half the delegates because he’s benefited from the existing primary system," Weaver said.

The move marks a notable shift for Cruz, who has derided Kasich as a spoiler who was helping Trump’s chances of winning the GOP nomination.

"A vote for John Kasich is a vote for Donald Trump," Cruz said in late March in Utah. "I don't know if John Kasich is perhaps campaigning to be Donald Trump's vice president, but he has been eliminated mathematically from having any chance of being the nominee."

Both statements were aimed at super PACs supporting Kasich and Cruz, as well as groups formed with the express aim of stopping Trump from winning the nomination. Weaver even urged outside groups to “honor the commitments made by the Cruz and Kasich campaigns."

An official with a leading anti-Trump group, #NeverTrump, hailed the plans.

“We’ve seen from victories in places like Ohio and Wisconsin that when #NeverTrump forces unite behind the one alternative that’s better suited to that state that we can beat Trump decisively,” senior advisor Rory Cooper said. “… We're happy to see the Kasich and Cruz campaigns strategically using their resources to deny Donald Trump delegates where they are in the strongest position to do so."

Trump immediately dismissed the effort, though, tweeting that Cruz and Kasich were desperately colluding.

Cruz and Kasich believe they can win the GOP nomination if no candidate reaches a majority of delegates on the first ballot at the convention and they can secure votes on subsequent ballots when fewer delegates' votes are bound to their state's popular votes.

Their campaigns said they plan to compete vigorously in the remaining contests, though California, the biggest prize left, offers another opportunity for their strategy of detente. The vast majority of the state’s 172 delegates are awarded by congressional district, not statewide popular vote. Though Trump leads in early polls, Cruz shows strength in the Central Valley and Kasich has potential to pick up delegates in the Bay Area. They have a stronger chance of keeping delegates from Trump if both campaign in the state but cede some districts to each other.

But for Cruz or Kasich to nab the nomination, either must vanquish Trump.

Talk has long swirled on the campaign trail about the men forming a temporary alliance to allow each to compete where he is strongest and to avoid diluting the anti-Trump vote. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, suggested such a tactical agreement in a March speech excoriating Trump as unfit for the presidency.

“I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state,” Romney said.

Rubio, the Florida senator, and his campaign suggested such an effort for the March 15, contests, which offered a bounty of delegates in several populous states. Rubio urged his supporters to back Kasich in the Ohio primary and Kasich’s and Cruz’s backers to vote for him in the Florida primary.

Kasich’s campaign did not return the sentiment; Kasich won Ohio, and Rubio lost Florida and dropped out of the race.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Feminism and nakedism

Women obsessed with showing off their body images (and seductive "parts") ignore reality. Their bodies will fail them over time. Chelsea Samelson writes an interesting perspective in the New York Post. (Reported in "The Week")

Mona Lisa retains the essence of the feminine mystique- it's her fashion and her modesty

In my opinion, although a woman's body image is fascinating when enhanced by nature or creative fashion, the female who depends on her nakedness to draw attention to herself is living in a translucent bubble.  People are only fascinated with her nakedness until the bubble bursts.

Age is one ephemerally transition, whereby a woman will eventually have the brutal experience of comparing an aging image with her narcissistic youthful delusion.  

When a woman is introduced - any woman- the initial response will be to her personae. She's attractive based on her first impression. Sexuality is second to her personae. Women who sell their sexuality first and personae second are only as interesting has their body allows. In other words, after you've seen their breasts, what's next?  On the other had, women of mystery reveal themselves a little at a time, the Gypsy Rose Lee (an artistic exotic dancer) effect, and an aloofness remains her attraction to others.

Here's what Samelson says in New York Post:
Are celebrities (and likewise our own acquaintances and even some friends) who post naked (or even near naked) photos of themselves empowering themselves, asked Chelsea Samelson. That's the contention of Kim Kardashian and her many defenders, who've insisted it's "slut shaming" to criticize her habit of tweeting photos of her naked breasts and butt- a stunt many other celebrities are now competitively imitating.  Please. Kardashihian is perhaps the most famous woman in the Western world, yet all she has done is to flaunt the fact that she has "a physically attractive body".  Her appearance is everything, "and she lives for validation of her sexiness and desirability." That's not empowerment. Indeed, it's not even feminism. "It's the mindset of body and breasts over brains."  Wen celebrities promote their careers this way, "women everywhere lose". If you want to see truly empowereed women, you won't find them taking naked (or near naked) selfies. Rather, you'll find them graduating from college at higher rates than men, "running companies, running for office, and running the hoems that are raising America's next generagtion".  Today, a woman "can do anything in the world she wants to do." Why would she define herself by her breasts?

Moreover, while breasts sag over time, a woman's sexuality improves with age when she maintains her beauty through modest attention to fashion and by keeping herself sexually aloof.  

Just check out Leonardo DaVinci's "Mona Lisa"...and follow the example the artist created.  She's still here.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Republicans have no alternative to Obamacare- keep calm and move on

"...It's impossible to design a health-care plan that is both consistent with conservative ideology and acceptable to the broader public....

Although Donald Trump claims he has a plan to recall and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as Obamacare, neither he or the GOP reveal their alternative plan. Rather than fill up media time talking about recalling Obamacare, the Republicans should tell Americans about their replacement plan.  

6 Years After Obamacare’s Passage, Haters Refuse to Accept Reality  By Jonathan ChaitFollow @jonathanchait
Obamaccare data supports the achievement of the program's goals but Republicans will not accept the obvious success.

The Week
reports- Wondering about that Republican alternative to Obamacare? It will come along any day now, said Johanthan Chait.

During the Obama era, the keenest minds in the conservative movement have had to develop policy responses to the administration’s agenda. 

But those policies had to be crafted within bounds established by Republican politics — conservative ideas were useful only insofar as conservative politicians could plausibly advocate them. Republican politicians, in turn, had to operate within the bounds of what their voters considered acceptable. And Republican voters, as the 2016 election cycle has made abundantly clear to even those long committed to denying it, are bat-shit crazy.

That frothing quality burst forth in its fullest form during the debate over health-care reform, in the summer of 2009. 

Angry Republicans flooded town hall meetings to denounce a law that they saw as redistributing resources from people like themselves to people who were not, identifying sources of grievance both real (cuts to Medicare) and imagined (death panels). The Republican Party’s stance on health-care reform took shape during those days of rage, and even six years after the law’s passage, its position on Obamacare has remained unaltered. The law is a failure and must be repealed, and no evidence can convince conservatives otherwise. A half-dozen years after its passage, none have dared revise that stance.

One of Obamacare’s goals, beyond expanding access to health insurance and paying for its budgetary costs, was to “bend the curve” of health-care inflation, which has historically grown faster than the cost of other things. The law implemented a wide array of reforms designed to bring more cost-consciousness into the system. Indeed, health-care inflation has not only slowed, it has dropped to the lowest level since the government began measuring it:
Some aspects of the lower health-care-inflation rate can be clearly tied to Obamacare reforms. For instance, the old Medicare system gave hospitals little incentive to keep their patients healthy once admitted. Just the opposite: A patient who acquired an illness in the hospital, or had to be readmitted, would receive more treatment, making more money for the hospital. Obamacare changed its reimbursements to penalize hospitals with high readmission rates. And sure enough, medical errors in hospitals are down, as are patient readmission rates:

Other reforms have worked through the medical economy in ways that are harder to measure as precisely. It’s impossible to know just what proportion of credit the law deserves for the lower inflation rate, some of which might have occurred anyway. (Or it might not — it can’t be proven.)

Among conservatives, though, it remains an unchallengeable certainty that Obamacare has failed. What about the historically low medical inflation? Ramesh Ponnuru, a leading conservative intellectual, expresses his certainty that the entire trend would have happened without any of the law’s cost reforms. (Hello? Does ice melt in the heat? How do we know?...OMG!)

According to Ponnuru, health-care inflation was already falling before Obamacare’s enactment:

The administration argues that the law has contributed to a slowdown in the growth of health spending. But that slowdown started in 2002. Obamacare can’t be the cause. The best that can be said about the law's effect on health spending is that its early years haven't interrupted that slowdown.

This data point is the state of the art in gainsaying Obamacare’s success. Here is what Ponnuru is referring to. During the middle of the last decade, health-care inflation had a mini-spike, which had already begun to recede by the time Obamacare was signed into law. But this doesn’t mean that health-care inflation was on an inexorably falling trajectory. It simply means that the unusually elevated levels of health-care inflation that took place during the Bush administration’s second term had given way to historically normal health-care inflation rates that were still unsustainably high. What has occurred since 2010 is not more of the same. It is a rate of health-care inflation far lower:

I followed the health-care debate extremely closely. In 2010, I was not aware of any influential analysts who predicted that health-care inflation was poised to drop to historically low rates on its own. Not only was that view unheard-of at the time, there was a deep skepticism that Obamacare could do much if anything to ameliorate it. Indeed, conservatives were unanimous in their belief that Obamacare would not only fail to bring down health-care inflation, it would cause health-care inflation to skyrocket. Ponnuru predicted that Obamacare would “exacerbate” health-care inflation:

The trouble is that the cost explosion is in the first place largely a function of the way the government has used its power as a provider and regulator of health insurance. The open-ended structure of Medicare and of the employer-based-insurance tax exclusion, together with the way Medicaid costs are shared by states and the federal government, have created huge incentives to spend more on health care, and therefore pushed costs upward. Obamacare would double down on an approach to limiting Medicare costs that has failed for decades, would massively expand Medicaid without reforming it, and would largely keep in place the tax exclusion while adding a new entitlement on top of it. It would exacerbate the causes of the cost problem while moving us further away from a real market in health insurance.

This was a testable hypothesis. If health-care costs rose at a higher rate than they had before 2010, conservative critics of the law would have reason to claim vindication. Indeed, they seized on every preliminary scrap of data that seemed to indicate higher health-care costs. National Review(where Ponnuru works as a senior editor) editorialized, beginning in 2010, that Obamacare was already causing health-care inflation to rise:

Health-insurance rates already are rising even more quickly than they had been in the past because of concern about the costs that will be imposed by Obamacare … These consequences were unintended, but they were not unpredictable: They were, in fact, predicted by a very large number of critics, not least those writing for National Review.

Conservatives have gone from absolute ideological certainty that health-care inflation would rise in the wake of Obamacare to absolute ideological certainty that the drop in health-care inflation has nothing at all to do with Obamacare. It’s obvious that no conceivable data can falsify conservative opposition to Obamacare. The premise that Obamacare has failed is a matter of doctrinal writ, as holy as the sanctity of the great Ronald Reagan. To abandon this position is to abandon conservatism itself. Conservatives can try to redirect their base’s rage toward the construction of an alternative plan to replace Obamacare, but they cannot concede that the law has actually succeeded in advancing its stated goals. Republicans hate Obamacare not for its concrete outcomes but for what it represents to them. If Trump’s campaign has demonstrated anything, it is the hopelessness of crafting technocratic justifications for the pulsating right-wing Id.

In other words, reports Chait, "the long promised Republican alternative to Obamacare will keep receding into the future".
Obviously, Republicans must accept the inevitble while they "keep calm and carry on," regardless of their inability to redesign a viable, quality based alternative plan.


Museum about Impact of war violence: another view of World War II in Natick Massachusettes

"..true impact of violence, and what Museum of World War II founder and director Kenneth Rendell calls the 'reality' of war."

"Mr. Rendell has spent more than a half century building this World War II collection, of which the 7,500-plus objects on display represent only a tiny portion. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (and museum trustee) Doris Kearns Goodwin has called the array 'the most extensive in the world'.”

Historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin

Christian Science Monitor:

Difference Maker
With World War II museum, a collector wants to get people to think

Kenneth Rendell has spent more than 50 years collecting World War II artifacts. More than 7,500 objects are on display in Natick, Mass.

By David Hugh Smith, Correspondent APRIL 21, 2016

Kenneth Randall World War II created a museum to portray  the terror and horror of war.
Published in the Christian Science Monitor

NATICK, MASS. — Amid the World War II artifacts stands a Sherman tank, dominating the room. Though battle-scarred – sharp divots of metal punched out on every side – this formidable vehicle appears ready in an instant to throw its armor back into combat.

Absorbed in inspecting the tank on a Saturday is a teenage boy. While some of his peers might be at home playing violent video games, he is instead quietly connecting with the true impact of violence, and what Museum of World War II founder and director Kenneth Rendell calls the “reality” of war.

Mr. Rendell has spent more than a half century building this World War II collection, of which the 7,500-plus objects on display represent only a tiny portion. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (and museum trustee) Doris Kearns Goodwin has called the array “the most extensive in the world.”

But you would never sense the drama of the collection, and the events it illustrates, by its location. The museum lives in a nondescript, one-story building in Natick, Mass., about 20 miles west of Boston, near sprawling strip malls.

It's not the location or setting, but that his collection gets people to reflect on this chapter in history.

Take the museum’s displays of Adolf Hitler artifacts. From his years as German chancellor, there are dramatic portraits of him in heroic poses. And there’s a mannequin wearing Hitler’s own paramilitary “brown shirt.” But from later, there are grim artifacts from Hitler’s last days, which he famously spent in his bunker as the Russian army was swallowing Berlin.

“When you look at the rise of Nazism, you can come up with a half-dozen [reasons for its initial success],” comments Rendell, who has poured the fruits of his work as an internationally respected historical-document dealer into this world-class collection. “Maybe the pageantry stands out. Maybe the music. Maybe the economics.

“But I’m not going to tell you what to think,” he says. “I’m going to provide you with the information for you to think.”

While still in his teens, Rendell started his business of collecting and dealing in historical letters, autographs, and documents. Ultimately he had prominent galleries in New York; Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Tokyo – the themes of his offerings ranging from Americana to world leaders, from science to music. He’s written books on collecting and on authenticating documents, and played a key role in uncovering several famous historical forgeries.
Growing up right after the war

His special interest in World War II was triggered by growing up in its immediate aftermath. 

The war “was the biggest thing in my life when I was a kid,” he says. “It was the biggest thing in anyone’s life.”

But at the time Rendell began his World War II collection, people were not interested in war artifacts. “I felt like I was saving a generation, because this stuff would be thrown away. Nobody was collecting” objects from World War II, he explains. “People wanted to forget [the war] ... to move on.”

He remarks, “Almost everything I have comes firsthand” – often from soldiers who returned from the war with souvenirs. Many other pieces came from people with close connections to the artifacts. For example, two paintings by Hitler were acquired from the widow of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess.

Rendell finally opened the museum itself in 1999 – and he is still vigorously making acquisitions for its collection.

To not overcrowd the museum’s densely but adroitly arranged 10,000-foot space, visitors must make an appointment. Once inside, they are treated to a rare museumgoing experience, where many artifacts – such as encrypting machines and children’s war games – can be touched and even picked up.

Visitors can inspect the telegram announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, as well as Japan’s declaration of war against the United States. They see the original map pinpointing where Allied troops would land in Normandy on D-Day – and letters from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to his wife lamenting that many soldiers would never return home. They can also examine the operations order to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan in August 1945.

“War is not entertainment,” Rendell says. “The interactive here is with your own mind – and [with] your imagination, and your empathy, and your relating to [people who lived through and fought in World War II].”
A ‘talking exhibit’

Surrounded by a small group of engrossed visitors on this Saturday, Richard Dinning sits next to the cockpit control panel for a B-17 bomber. Mr. Dinning piloted 34 missions over Germany in B-17s for the legendary Eighth Air Force, and this “talking exhibit,” as he calls himself, is describing his own dangerous efforts to stop the Nazis.

Later he comments, “Something in this museum is going to grab your emotions.” He says he wants visitors to realize that “World War II was the greatest social tragedy in the history of mankind” and that “massive grief” comes from not recognizing and addressing toxic trends.

Annie Murphy, executive director of the Framingham History Center in Framingham, Mass., admires the museum’s “incredible” collection. “History should make you think about where you are in the [present] moment,” she says. “You can’t help but compare [the history the museum tells] to today.”

The museum also features an almost overpowering multination collection of propaganda posters. The “Rise of Nazism” room, for example, contains the poster of a young woman, her face sunny with enthusiasm, and behind her is the Nazi factory where she works.

Paired on display is a poster with the grim face of a helmeted soldier. The caption: “Und du?” – “And you?”

When Rendell was growing up in Somerville, Mass., he witnessed anti-Semitism, and was particularly sensitive to this because his father’s best friend was Jewish. This experience has prompted him to gather a large collection of documents and artifacts on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism – many on display at the museum.
Next steps for the museum

Rendell is retiring from his document business to focus on the museum. His biggest task: during the next two years creating a larger museum next door to the current building, which will be torn down.

The new two-story building will be 63,000 square feet, the first floor housing the museum. With triple the exhibition space, Rendell plans to spread out the collection and display such items as a D-Day landing craft. On the second floor will be archives and the new Shipley Education Center.

High school students from Boston Public Schools are among the groups that visit the museum. Kerry Dunne, K-12 director of history and social studies for the district, says one theme that inspires students is that “all elements of our nation banded together to preserve safety and freedom.” These mostly minority students, for example, see the “contributions of African-Americans, of women, and of native Americans [to the war effort].”

At the end of a visit, Ms. Dunne says, students need to be “extracted” because they are “so thoroughly engaged by [the museum].”

Former school principal Marshall Carter, now education director for the museum, is in charge of its greatly expanded educational initiative. “I see the new museum as not just being a place where field trips happen,” Mr. Carter says. “I see the museum almost as becoming a hub of history education.”

Echoing Rendell, he says his objectives include “creat[ing] critical thinkers and imaginative citizens who can think for themselves when they see things in front of them.” He also wants them to see that their attitudes and behavior matter – to “remind students that they have agency.”

Maine Writer- given the purpose of Rendell's museum I certainly  look forward to visiting.  Review will certainly follow!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Republicans are ignoring important issues

Let's take ISIS, for example.

Although the evil Islamic State (ISIS) continues to terrorize the world and victimize the people in the Middle East, the Republicans are imploding because of internal political turmoil over numbers of convention nomination votes.

It's impossible to  understand why the news isn't covering news!
Especially, this important news about progress against ISIS, as reported on CNN:

ISIS: The Business of Terror
ISIS is struggling to fund its war machine

ISIS is loosing oil money like a bucket with a hole in it- but it's fascinating to ponder how the information in this CNN article was verified?  Think about it (or, in Twitter language #TAI.)

It's getting harder for ISIS to finance its evil war machine, due to its shrinking territory and crippled oil business.

ISIS' monthly revenue has fallen by 30% in recent months, according to information and analysis firm IHS.

In March, the group collected only $56 million, a significant reduction from estimated monthly revenue of $80 million in mid-2105.

The decline in revenue is now seriously constraining the ISIS' ability to fund its reign of terror, according to the U.S. State Department and several scholars who track the group.

Already, ISIS has been forced to cut its fighters' salaries in half. Additional pressure is now forcing ISIS to ration medical supplies, according to counterterrorism analysts.

It's a major change for a group that became the world's richest terrorist organization by taxing the people on its territory, selling oil on the black market, smuggling stolen archeological artifacts, and demanding kidnapping ransoms.

last month reported that ISIS was struggling financially, but it was unclear to what extent. Now there's evidence ISIS is taking major steps to compensate.

Lost land, new taxes
ISIS has ceded 22% of its territory to Kurdish, Syrian and Iraqi forces over the past 15 months, according to IHS. During that time, the population living under ISIS rule has fallen from 9 million to 6 million.

"There are fewer people and business activities to tax. The same applies to properties and land to confiscate," said Columb Strack, a senior analyst at IHS.

Tax revenue, which provides roughly half of the group's funding, has fallen by 23% since last summer, IHS reports. As a result, ISIS is desperately finding new ways to squeeze money out of the people still living in its territory.

We already know the group imposes a 10% income tax, 15% business tax, 2% sales tax and 5% fee on cash withdrawals from banks. There's also a mafia-like protection insurance, called jizyah, that Christians are forced to pay.

New rules require anyone who repairs a broken satellite dish to pay ISIS a special fee. People must also pay a religious fine if they are unable to accurately answer questions about the Quran, IHS analysts said.

ISIS is so strapped for cash it has also started giving people accused of violating Sharia law the option of paying a cash fine instead of suffering severe physical punishments, IHS reports.

"This new stance represents a strong indicator of the financial difficulties the group is going through," Ludovico Carlino, senior analyst at IHS, wrote in his latest report.

More air strikes, less ISIS oil (Nevertheless, can't imagine if the landscape will ever recover but, like the dessert sands shrouded Egyptian pyramids and ruins, eventually the earth will reclaim the devastation caused by the war against ISIS.)
The U.S.-led coalition bombing campaign is also hurting ISIS' oil business, according to IHS.

Revenue from crude sales is down 26% from last year, IHS reports. And daily production in the region has dropped from 33,000 barrels last summer to 21,000 barrels.

Crude oil sales account for 42% of ISIS' revenue, but experts said the group has not raised the price it charges smugglers at the wellhead.

Carlino said ISIS cares more about quick sales -- even if that means lower revenue. Plus, many people inside its territory -- who buy ISIS oil -- are running short of spending money.

The terrorist group is also having trouble recruiting engineers and repair its oil and gas equipment, according to Jean-Charles Brisard, chairman of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism.

"These reasons also explain why ISIS is dedicating large resources to expand itself, notably in Libya," Brisard said.

Even though Libya is 1,400 miles southwest of the ISIS stronghold between Iraq and Syria, experts say the terrorist group is now shifting resources to take advantage of poorly policed coastlines in the region.

Horror never ceases, because, the new potential ISIS business?
It's Drugs.

CNNMoney (New York) First published April 21, 2016

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