The Trump Narrative

Since the election of Trump to POTUS I have questioned my ability to see reality.  I struggle to understand the Trump Narrative.

I completely agreed with Obama when he said, “Americans do not elect Donald Trump.”  And, wow, were we wrong!

I just came across a story about Raymond Ciotti.  http://www.redstate.com/scotthounsell/2017/03/13/the-democrat-disconnect-and-the-reign-of-the-right/

An historically Dem voter that not only voted for Trump, but thinks he is doing a good job.  (The only reason Raymond doesn’t think Trump is doing a great job is the “Media.”)

The narrative in this post from Scott Hounsell, is that Dems are “wildly disconnected from the American voter.”

Even though, a majority of total USA voters actually agree with Dems, it is a great point to note that Dems are, correctly, wildly disconnected from Trump Voters.”

My explanation is that Trump Voters are brainwashed by the Rich and The Evangelicals to believe that giving money to the rich and powerful will either make them rich and powerful, or save them for entirety, or in the best case both.

Reading the quotes from a Trump Supporter in this post, Raymond Ciotti, and knowing that here, The Georgia 6th Congressional District, Trump still has a 51% approval rating, scares the crap out me.  It scares me because either my grasp of reality is non-existent or Raymond Ciotti, and other Trump voters, are brainwashed to believe facts mean nothing.  That it is all about the Trump Narrative.

This is my major focus right now. I need to know if I am brainwashed or Raymond here is brainwashed.

A One Man Case Study as told by Scott Hounsell of Redstate

 

Meet Raymond Ciotti.  Raymond is a 60 year old retired steel worker, who now drives a medical-transport van.  He lives in the heart of Pennsylvania Steel Country, a fixture in the once bustling City of Johnstown.  He is representative of apple-pie America as much as anyone out there.  He’s married, has 3 kids, (and now 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild as he proudly shared), religious, and as a lifelong registered Democrat, has voted for Democrats since Reagan. I happen to know Raymond relatively well from having lived in Johnstown for a short period in 2005.  In the years since, I have been by to visit several times.  During those visits, Raymond and I have had some pretty heated discussions about George W. Bush, Barack Obama and everyone in between. Raymond and I could not have been more philosophically opposed.

Now imagine my surprise as I sat on the sidelines of this last election cycle (OG NeverTrump) and saw Raymond don his proverbial red cap and begin his MAGA chants.  I could not have been more confused.

I decided to discuss with Raymond what was the deciding factors for him in the 2016 election.

“I was ready to vote for Hillary when it all got started,” Ciotti began. “It wasn’t until Donald Trump started really shaking things up that I started paying attention. He didn’t sound like the rest of them.  I knew he was going to shake things up.”

Raymond stated he followed the news during the election, watched the debates, and heard both candidates.  Ciotti questioned, “If Hillary didn’t know what the rules were as Secretary of State, how could we know she would follow the rules as President?”  He voiced some concern with Benghazi and the email server, but the majority of his issue seemed more pro-Trump, than anti-Hillary.

I asked him if there was anyone of the other GOP candidates that he could have seen himself voting for instead of Hillary.  “No, I didn’t like any of the other candidates.  Had Paul Ryan ran, it might be a little different.  He seems like he’s reasonable and knows what he is talking about.  Of the declared candidates, No one.”

Republicans need to understand that their message didn’t exactly win either.  Trump connected with people in a way I may never full understand.  “No one in Washington is working for us,” continued Ciotti.  “It seems the middle class gets ignored in favor of Wall Street and the uber-wealthy and the impoverished and lower class.  I was tired of being told to get in line while it seemed no one was looking out for me.”  When asked what the number one issue was for him in this election?  “Obamacare.  It is a disaster.  It has increased costs for so many.  It needs to go.”

As for how he thinks President Trump is doing so far? “I’d give him a B or B-.  I think he is doing all the things he said he was going to do, and I am okay with that.  It would probably be an even higher grade, but all the negativity from the mainstream media seems to give me some of that feeling of negativity.”

Raymond lives in a Democrat district in Pennsylvania.  I asked him if his views on politics have changed or if its the people who are in office?  “It’s the politicians,” Ciotti told me.

I presented Raymond with three hypothetical election choices, of elections between a democrat who opposes Trump for the sake of opposing Trump and a democrat who finds things he can work with Trump on, versus a Republican who agreed to vote with Trump on everything and a Republican who would challenge Trump on certain things.  Raymond (again, a lifelong democrat) said that he would vote against anyone who opposed Trump simply to opposed Trump.  “If that person (the candidate), isn’t willing to work with the President, I won’t vote for them.”  When asked if ideology mattered, if said it mattered for the candidate.  “Personality plays into it.  If the guy is likeable, and seems level-headed, I might vote for him.”

The place where Democrats need to be terrified is in the question of Democrat who opposes Trump vs. any of the hypothetical Republican candidates.  “I’d vote for the Republican if the Democrat said he would just be against Trump,” said Ciotti.

In other words, there were no circumstance where Raymond said he wouldn’t consider the Republican candidate and a huge issue of why he wouldn’t consider a Democrat candidate for the same office.

 

Bruce LaVell’s Attack on Bob Gray is Another Example of GOP Eating Its Own

I just saw this attack tweet on Bob Gray by Bruce LaVell.

 

This is perfect.

This is what Conservatism is teaching us;  to attack and be mean to each other.  Trump has set the tone of campaigning – Attack, Attack, Attack.

What is more interesting here is that Bruce LaVell is going after the same Trump Supporters that Bob Gray is going after.  And of course, Trump Supporters love this kind of mean spirited campaign.

The Math That Gets Dems the Top 2 in the Georgia 6th District Special Election

I just ran the numbers.

The Top 2 vote getters win.

Assume 700K Voters.  40% Vote in the Special Election.  60% are GOP.  40% are Dems.  Dems look like 80% will go to Ossof – 90K.  If the second place Dem gets 80% then that Dem gets 34K votes.

If the GOP top vote getter gets only 18% that equals 30K votes

So, based on these numbers even if Ossof only gets 30%, or 33K votes, the Dems will win the top two slots.

Can you check my numbers to see if this makes sense.

Total Residents 700,000
Likely to Vote 40% 280000
GOP 60% 168000
DEM 40% 112000
GOP
Handel 18% 30240
Gray 14% 23520
Hill 8% 13440
Kremer 3% 5040
Moody 2% 3360
Levell 0% 756
Others 1% 1680
46%
Dem
Ossof 80% 89600
Slotin 20% 33600

GOP Healthcare Plan Struggles to Win Over Experts

Conservatives Want to replace Obamacare.  They’ve published a  policy paper on dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).  The current GOP proposal, “Obamacare Repeal and Replace: A Policy Brief and Resources,” was released on February 16.

A post by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent for MedPage Today suggests that health policy experts, from both sides, “are not impressed.”

“It’s a repackaging of ‘A Better Way’,” said Kavita Patel, MD, a nonresident fellow in economic studies at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, referring to the alternative ACA plan Ryan released in June 2016.

Joe Antos, PhD, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, agreed that the new document was “largely the same” as the previous one. However, he did note one difference — “The word Medicare doesn’t appear at all” in the current policy paper.

“Medicare has always been the piggy bank for health policy,” he pointed out.

Shannon reports that “Patel, who is also a primary care physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, suggested the impetus for Ryan’s policy paper was the House Freedom Caucus’ push for the speedy repeal of the ACA; Ryan felt compelled to stake his claim, she hypothesized”  I agree with Shannon’s conclusion here since the Freedom Caucus put forth its own plan for a fast-tracked repeal on February 15.

“It would be nice to have more details, but what details are there are troubling,” particularly for vulnerable populations, such as low income families that depend on subsidies and on the Medicaid expansion, Patel added.

When people begin to talk about turning health insurance purchase into a tax credits, it’s highly likely people will lose coverage, she added.

“How many of the 21 million people who have been insured since the ACA started would lose their insurance?” Patel stated. “We don’t have that answer.”

Another expert

Antos said the lack of mention of Medicare doesn’t mean that there won’t be changes to program, but they will likely involve financing any reforms.  As for “voucherizing” Medicare, that’s “a dead issue,” he said.

As for the plan put out by the House Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), it recommends repealing Medicaid expansion, de-linking health insurance from employers, and offering a $5,000 tax credit which beneficiaries could invest in HSAs, according to the Washington Post.  The Caucus wants “a clean repeal” of the ACA, and has suggested using the budget reconciliation bill that President Obama vetoed last year.

“What exactly is in a clean repeal?” Antos said. “[Republicans] are all speaking at a level of generality that doesn’t lock anybody into anything yet.”

The GOP Plan suggest that their proposal would “ensures more choices, lower costs, and greater control over your health care.”  I strongly disagree.

Here are the key points in the GOP Plan and my comments:

  • The GOP Plan says it “Moves health care decisions away from Washington and to where they belong: with patients, their families, and their doctors.”
    • The key for me is that there is no mention of Insurance Companies in this comment.  They say they want to move decisions from Washington (Washington is always the bogieman/whipping boy/scapegoat for conservatives) to patients, families, and doctors.  But they leave out Insurance companies.  I don’t decide what I care I get the Insurance companies get to decide.  Which may not be a bad thing if there is competition between insurance companies and transparency of the doctors and insurance companies.  But, since there is no transparency, consumers cannot make the decisions the GOP Plan says we should make.
  • The GOP Plan says it “Provides coverage protections and peace of mind for all Americans—regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances.”
    • No it doesn’t.  Any evaluation of the plan leads to the reasonable conclusions that their plan will “guarantee” none of those things.  
  • The GOP Plan says it “Gives patients the right tools, like Health Savings Accounts, to make their health insurance more portable and affordable.”
    • This is laughable on its face.  HSAs do nothing to make insurance more portable or affordable.  I could be wrong here, but I don’t think so.  The supporters of this bill need to provide the details of how HSAs make insurance more portable and affordable.
  • The GOP Plan says it, “Allows those who don’t receive insurance from an employer or government program to have access to quality coverage.”
    • Again, this is laughable on its face.  They need to explain what they consider “quality coverage” and how the plan provides more access to the plans.  Plus, and I love this one, in their first bullet they talk about doing away with government, yet in this bullet they talk a government program.  It confuses the hell out of me.
  • The GOP Plan says it, “Breaks down barriers that restrict choice and prevent Americans from picking the plan that is best for them and their family,
    • Name that tune!  How does your plan do this.  This is a great example of what Dr. Patel says is a lack of details.  
  • The GOP Plan says it, “Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid to protect the most vulnerable.”
    • From my perspective this is simply a lie.  And they hope no one calls them on it.  They do not want to strengthen Medicare or Medicaid.  They believe that Socialized Medicine is a bad thing.  They believe that poor people abuse these benefits and that the only way to stop the abuse is to stop the benefits. The new policy paper actually states that the enhanced match rate for Medicaid expansion states — the ratio of funding states receive from the federal government for the expansion population — will drop to the regular match rate at “a date certain,” Antos said.

 

My reading of this policy paper is that it is not a true plan, but has elements that will become a plan.

Here are some of the questions about the policy paper that need answers:

  • What will the refundable tax credits look like?
  • How does the refundable tax credit increase with age?
  • At what point will employer sponsored insurance be taxed and at what rate?
  • How will the plan affect gender rating, the practice of charging men and women different prices for healthcare based on their gender?
  • If you cannot afford to pay will you not get treatment?
  • Is pregnancy a preexisting condition?

 

 

“Marxist Lugenpress” was 1930’s Reference to Trump’s “Fake News.”

Adolf Hitler used to refer to the lying press of his enemies, as in the “Marxist Lügenpresse,” while today Donald Trump, disturbingly, does the same.

Lügenpresse” is a Nazified word from 1914 when it was used by German author Reinhold Anton to refer to foreign propaganda.

The German Defense Ministry even used the word in a book title in 1918, “The Lügenpresse of Our Enemies.” That sounds like Trump too but the enemies were foreign then.

The Führer turned it around to include anyone in the German press who disagreed with him – at least until he had made the German press entirely state-controlled – a state of affairs Trump has already shown he desires.

As The New Yorker observes, “’Dishonest’ and ‘lying’ are Trump’s go-to insults when talking about the press.”

Watch Trump’s complaints about a “rigged” and “dishonest press” courtesy of The Washington Post:

He repeated these refrains the other day in Melbourne, referring to the “fake news”:

“I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news. The dishonest media which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases.”

And of course, there is that now infamous tweet:

Like Trump, Hitler liked to talk a lot about the “will of the people” which was, of course, in the German dictator’s view, strictly behind him and him alone. That’s why Trump is so sensitive about his victory. Losing makes talks about popular mandates difficult. Sure he won the electoral vote, but by a historically low margin, so he has to lie about that too.

The real problem is less the lies about a mandate or a will of the people (disturbing as those are) and more about Trump’s willingness to embrace Hitler’s language, because language reflects thought. A really disturbing video from Trump’s Cleveland rally in October 2016 captured by The Atlantic‘s Rosie Gray illustrates the point well:

 

From Lügenpresse to Hitler salutes to personal oaths of loyalty these reflect a mindset – the mindset and worldview of Adolf Hitler. In 1922 Hitler was using Lügenpresse to refer to the Marxist press, as in the “Marxist Lügenpresse,” a formulation repeated by the Nazi-controlled paper the Volkischer Beobachter in 1932.

No surprise since Adolf Hitler personally owned the paper, which fancied itself the “fighting paper of the National Socialist movement of Greater Germany.” It is not reasonable to suppose that this is the sort of thing to which Donald Trump himself aspires.

It wouldn’t be the first time Donald Trump quoted Hitler. He employed words and anti-Semitic tropes virtually out of Hitler’s own mouth to attack “secret meetings” and “international banks” back before the election.

We also saw Trump supporter and Nazi Richard Spencer use the term recently, in celebrating Donald Trump’s election victory: “the mainstream media — or perhaps we should refer to them in the original German, Lügenpresse.”

Naturally, this is all very disturbing. Trump has been repeatedly criticized for his frightening display of autocratic and dictatorial behavior and quoting Hitler isn’t any way to reassure people as to his good intentions.

When called out, Trump, like Hitler, prefers to simply lie about something else. When Hitler was put on the spot as a witness in a trial of his murdering SA thugs in 1931, he could only lie and sputter angrily in defense because, as in Trump’s case, the lies were all his.

We can easily imagine Trump doing the same, because we have already seen it when confronted by unappetizing questions from the press, and then afterward, in the unhinged and appalling dishonesty of his tweets.

We may or may not ever see such a day of Trump on trial; what we can see are the frightening similarities in how they view the world, between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler

Early Georgia 6th District Special Election Poll Numbers

Apparently – Landmark/Rosetta Stone polled 500 likely voters found that fully 55.7 percent of them are undecided about who they would pick as a replacement for Rep. Tom Price, should Price be confirmed as HHS secretary by the Senate.

Among the minority of voters with a preference, former secretary of state Karen Handel was the choice of 21.7 percent of those polled, followed by Tom Price’s wife, Betty, with 10.0 percent and state Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) at 8.4 percent.

Bringing up the rear are Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) at 4.0 percent and former legislator Dan Moody at 0.2 percent.

As this election plays out, the issues will be highlighted because of the large number of candidate’s will have to promote their ideas as a way to get attention.