When You Have All the Power and Do Nothing

When You Have All the Power and Do Nothing

When You Have All the Power and Do Nothing


Today I intended to write the final part of the “It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC” series, but I could not contain my outrage over the way that the President and Congressional Republicans handled “repeal and replace.”

To be clear, I’m not upset that the proposed repeal and replace bill didn’t pass. It was a horrible bill. I’m upset at the way that it was handled – upset for the Republicans across the country who faithfully voted for people who promised them something so much better, failed miserably, decided to leave things exactly as is, and shrugged off all responsibility for not living up to their promises.

Also to be clear, I am no fan of ObamaCare. I wanted, and still want, to see a single payer system, like nearly every other developed country in the world has. Surely America could examine their systems, get our brightest minds together to figure out what works and what needs tweaking, and create our own version that outshines all of them, no? But alas, that would be “socialism” – you know, like our socialist police and fire departments, our socialist military, our socialist highway maintenance, and all the other horrible socialist evils that our country is already woefully neck-deep in.

When ObamaCare was first proposed, you couldn’t go a day without hearing about the “death panels” – oh, the terrible death panels, the faceless government bureaucrats in their fluorescent-lit rooms, sitting behind their desks looking down coldly at the suffering masses, deciding with automaton-like indifference which people were going to get treatment for their health issues and which would be left to simply die a slow and agonizing death. Yes, we Americans much prefer our death panels to be faceless, profit-driven corporate bureaucrats sitting behind their fluorescent-lit desks and deciding with cold, automaton-like indifference who will get treatment and who will die a slow and agonizing death – and lose their home to pay for it. Because it’s not socialism.

In 2010, Obama reached out to Republicans with a healthcare compromise whose flaws were glaring. Everyone would be required to buy health insurance from the existing private companies, and there would be no caps on what those insurance companies could charge people and no caps on the what pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies could charge. What could possibly go wrong? The carrot for Americans was that they could no longer be denied coverage for “pre-existing conditions.” The plan began its implementation in 2014.

The result was painfully predictable. American citizens, now a captive audience for the health insurance industry, saw their rates skyrocket. In my own healthy family of three, our insurance rates with the same company for the exact same policy over four years went from $9,000 annually to a proposed $41,000 annually. What other industry can raise their fees by 60% each year and get away with it?

ObamaCare was a profound offense to Republicans in Congress. For years, its repeal became a key rallying cry for them. They couldn’t wait to get rid of it. Throughout Obama’s presidency, they introduced bill after bill to eliminate it, knowing full well that Obama would veto any such bills and save them from the consequences of what they were proposing. Along the way, Republicans used Obama’s unwillingness to end ObamaCare to further rile up their base.

Then suddenly the seeds of Congress’s faux rage bore fruit, and they found themselves in full control of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency. Nothing could hold them back – whatever policies they wanted to enact, now they could finally do it.

The cherry on top? Their elected Republican President had spent months at his rallies further stirring up and exploiting people’s anger, frustration and struggles by campaigning on “immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as ObamaCare.” Lest we forget this charlatan’s words amid his current claims that he never said them, here you go – of course, I could post hundreds more:

But Congressional Republicans also suddenly realized that now instead of just saying that ObamaCare was bad, they had to actually present something better, something that lived up to their new President’s flippant promise of lowering everyone’s premiums and covering all Americans. You know, the promise that helped him get elected. The President put Congress on the spot, telling them to put a plan on his desk immediately. But they couldn’t agree on a plan. They all agreed that ObamaCare was bad, but they had no unified idea for a replacement.

In the end, rather than take the time to come up with a solid plan on which they could get a consensus within their own ranks, Republicans hastily threw together a slap-dash plan. According to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, their plan would cause Americans’ premiums to go up, would result in 24 million fewer people being insured, and, because the American public demanded this, would give $197,000 tax cuts to all of the richest 1% of Americans. You remember all the struggling people working three jobs to try to feed their families insisting that any worthwhile replacement for ObamaCare had to give rich people a nice, big, fat tax break, right? It’s only logical.

It was obvious that Democrats wouldn’t support such a plan, but Donald Trump and Paul Ryan couldn’t even get sufficient support from fellow Republicans. By the time they were to vote on the bill, they were still anywhere from 9 to 36 Republicans short of the number of Representatives that they needed to pass it. Rather than experience the embarrassment of their bill failing, they called off the vote. House Speaker Paul Ryan went before the press and justified his failure with a weak “governing is hard.”

Trump took even less responsibility. His plan now, according to a call that he immediately placed to the Washington Post in order to put his own spin on the story, is to walk away, “let ObamaCare explode” and blame the Democrats: “We couldn’t get one Democratic vote … now they own ObamaCare.”

Really? You control the White House and both houses of Congress, your big effort on healthcare was to demand a vote on a hastily cobbled and deeply flawed plan that nobody could agree on, and when you couldn’t get enough votes for it from your own party, your “Plan B” is to walk away and try to blame the other party? Seriously?

“I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days,” Trump told Costa “How many days is it now? Whatever.” And he laughed. He freakin’ laughed.

Meanwhile, Americans who are struggling to pay their premiums, trying to pay for their skyrocketing medication costs, Americans who desperately need a better healthcare system and who voted for Trump and the Republicans based on an incessant, rabid and full-throated promise to “immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare” (see above video) are now simply left to continue their struggle, continue to watch their premiums and other costs go up, and are supposed to be placated by an infantile, pathetic, self-serving and logically feeble argument that Trump and the Republicans aren’t responsible for it?

I can’t even imagine how incensed Republican voters must be right now if I’m this angry for them.

– rob rünt


 

 

March 20 – 26, 2017

March 20 – 26, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Russia


During James Comey’s Hearing Before Congress, US Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) Lays Out Evidence for Russian Involvement in 2016 Presidential Election
(Video below – Huffington Post – 3/20/17– 8:20)
or read transcript (Time Magazine – 3/20/17)

Comey Confirms F.B.I. Inquiry on Russia; Sees No Evidence of Wiretapping
(New York Times – 3/20/17)

Former Trump Campaign Head Manafort Was Paid Millions By A Putin Ally, AP Says
(National Public Radio – 3/22/17)


Deaths and Injuries of Putin Critics


Lawyer For Russian Whistleblower’s Family Falls From Building One Day Before Hearing
(Huffington Post – 3/21/17)

Ukraine’s Leader Calls Killing of Putin Critic a Russian Terror Act
(CNN – 3/23/17)


Committee Chair Devin Nunes Bypasses Intelligence Committee to Inform President


Nunes Claims Some Trump Transition Messages Were Intercepted
(Politico – 3/22/17)

What Devin Nunes’s Bombshell Does and Doesn’t Say
(The Atlantic – 3/22/17)

Nunes Apologizes to House Intel Committee, Member Says
(CNN – 3/23/17)


Mental Illness


Trump Dismisses Risk of Falsehoods: ‘I’m President, and You’re Not’
(The Hill – 3/23/17)

Read President Trump’s Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods
(Time Magazine – 3/23/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Hate Crimes


White Man Traveled to New York to Kill Black Men and ‘Make a Statement,’ Police Say
(Washington Post – 3/23/17)


Healthcare Reform


Republicans Pull Healthcare Legislation Plan in Blow to Trump
(Reuters – 3/24/17)

‘Hello, Bob’: President Trump Called My Cellphone to Say That the Healthcare Bill was Dead
(Washington Post – 3/24/17)


Phones at Trump Tower WERE Tapped – Sort Of


Russian Mafia Boss Still at Large After FBI Wiretap at Trump Tower
(ABC News – 3/21/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Trump’s Weary Defenders Face Fresh Worries
(New York Times – 3/20/17)

A President’s Credibility: Trump’s Falsehoods are Eroding Public Trust, at Home and Abroad
(Wall Street Journal – 3/21/17)

Donald Trump Should be Immediately Removed from Office — Before We Hit Rock Bottom
(Shaun King – Daily News – 3/21/17)

Trump’s Terrifying Comey Tweet: the President is Using His Office as a Platform to Contest the Very Nature of Truth
(Slate – 3/21/17)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


‘I Believed Everything He Said’: Ex-Supporter Whose Son OD’d Says Trumpcare Made Him Turn on the President
(Raw Story – 3/21/17)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


NBC’s Hallie Jackson asks Press Secretary Sean Spicer an obvious question that leaves him stammering on 3/7/17:


Posted by US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

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Posted by Jake Akuna:

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Events & Actions

Two major nationwide protests coming up:

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches nationwide to let President Trump know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest march here!
  • Saturday, April 22, 2017: Scientists and people who believe in and support science will be having marches nationwide to encourage the use of science and facts in creating government policy – find your nearest march here!

Resources & Organizations


It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington, DC (Part 2 of 3)

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington, DC (Part 2 of 3)

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington, DC (Part 2 of 3)


Many Americans have witnessed the tragedy of chemical dependency – in a friend, in a family member, or even in themselves. Those in recovery from this illness are aware that it is not just the alcoholic or addict who is sick: it is a family disease. Those close to the addict often develop a behavior called “enabling,” in which they try to cope with the behavior of their loved one and maintain the illusion of normalcy by either denying their loved one’s illness or constantly picking up the pieces of the damage caused, making excuses for them, and trying to hide the evidence. Such enabling behavior can require as much of an intervention as the behavior of the addict himself/herself.

Less known to many Americans is that the same dynamic often develops in the family or friends of an individual suffering from a mental disorder.

Last week, I discussed how the clinically diagnosable mental illnesses of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder can co-exist in one individual –not uncommon in those who suffer from the DSM-listed “Cluster B” Personality Disorders. I also wrote about how numerous mental health professionals have broken from the traditional ethics of their collective practice to warn the public of their belief that the President suffers from at least one of those mental disorders.

Many of our legislators in Washington DC, particularly on the Republican side, are displaying enabling behavior. They are trying to act as if our President’s reckless episodes are normal, glossing over careless and damaging antics that are rapidly eroding our nation’s relationships and our credibility in dangerous ways.

Take, for example, the most recent drama, carried out over the past couple of weeks. On March 4, the President heard a news story (he says on Fox) alleging that his phone had been tapped at Trump Tower in October, 2016. Rather than reaching out to any number of bright, credible individuals to whom he has instant access 24 hours a day – the FBI Director, the head of the CIA, among others – to verify the validity of this wild claim, he immediately tweeted the first thing that popped into his head for the whole world to see, accusing former President Obama of a felony without any substantiating evidence:

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Obviously such a claim from a sitting President would require investigation, because America operates on the assumption that the individual holding the office of the Presidency is responsible, sane, and understands the weighty implications and impact of his/her public statements – even when they are made on Twitter at 6am.

FBI Director Comey immediately asked his superior, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to deny the accusation, because it was untrue and Comey was concerned that it would reflect in a legally damning way on himself. The majority-Republican House Intelligence Committee investigated the matter thoroughly – at taxpayer cost, of course – and concluded that there had in fact been no surveillance of Trump Tower.

So the President then changed his story and claimed that Obama (the man whom Trump had spent years falsely claiming was born in Kenya – long after being given concrete evidence to the contrary) had actually enlisted British intelligence do the surveillance, because Obama wanted “no American fingerprints on this.” British intelligence uncharacteristically and angrily denied the absurdity of the accusation, yet as of this date, the President continues to cling to his story that Obama was tapping his phones at Trump Tower.

The entire scenario is consistent with the behaviors associated with Histrionic Personality Disorder, which include (among others):

A need to be the center of attention

Making rash decisions

Being easily influenced by others, especially those who treat them approvingly

Speaking dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up

(There are links to several full lists of the behaviors associated with Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder in last week’s post)

In the world of reality TV, the wiretapping drama might be an entertaining sideshow, and one might debate the ethics and morality of making entertainment out of the unusual behavior of an individual suffering from mental illness. But this is the office of President of the United States – our nation’s highest visibility ambassador to the world, and simultaneously, the person in charge of our military and our nuclear arsenal. The wiretapping claim, like so many other examples of President Trump’s erratic and unstable behavior, contributes to a picture that increasingly puts our nation at risk. How?

Imagine for a moment a situation in which America must legitimately go to war, and needs the assistance of our allies. In order to commit their men and women to a battle in which their country’s citizens may lose their lives, those allies’  leaders need to feel confident that our President is telling the truth, and is basing his/her perceptions on facts, reality, and legitimate intelligence. If you were the leader of another country, would you send your people off to war based on the word of Donald Trump, as you have for other American Presidents for decades? Could hesitance of America’s allies to provide military back-up to the United States put American lives at risk?

Or consider the same scenario here at home. How many American parents would be confident that their sons and daughters currently in the military are being sent off to fight for a necessary, just cause that is not based on fantasy, overreaction, delusion, or some perceived slight to an overinflated but fragile ego? And how confident would those soldiers themselves feel that their lives are not being needlessly put at risk over a pipe dream or crackpot conspiracy theory? Would some disobey? Would doubts about the cause and about our President embolden our enemy? Would hesitance or uncertainty in some soldier likely put the lives of other soldiers – or of Americans overall – in danger?

These are just some of the implications – in one area alone – where a mentally unstable individual in the office of the President can pose a significant risk to our nation, and does not even look at the direct military scenarios that could result from “rash decision making.” There are countless other concerns: one need only consider an issue (particularly one that involves relationships, sober decision making, or foreign policy) and apply basic logic.

Yet most members of Congress – especially the Republicans – seem to want to pretend that everything happening is normal, that our President is just “unconventional,” that he’s “shaking things up in Washington just as he was elected to do.” Their only real concern seems to be that the taint of the odd behavior not cause too great a stain on themselves politically in the short term.

I believe that this denial – this unwillingness to look squarely at what is happening, acknowledge it for what it is, and take appropriate action – is either pathetic political cowardice, short-sighted partisanship, or willful enabling. Regardless of the motive, an intervention is needed for the majority of our Republican US Senators and Representatives to snap them out of their enabling and denial so that they can begin looking seriously at the need for impeachment/removal from office – before America experiences the consequences of Congressional inaction.

To be clear, this is not about policy. I disagree with Mike Pence as much on policy as I do Trump, and I would likely be vocal in my opposition to the policies of a President Pence. But my opposition would be in the communally understood context of democracy and my own sense of ethics, morality, and justice. My push-back on policy would be balanced with my ability to accept the relative soundness and stability of Mike Pence’s leadership, and the four year wait for a chance to elect a President that I consider “better.”

In the case of Donald Trump, however, I do not believe that we have anything close to four years for our political system to address the clear and present danger posed to the American people. Congress needs to act now.

– rob rünt

Trump’s Mental Health:“The Elephant in the Room”
(MSNBC, 2/23/17)


March 13 – 19, 2017

March 13 – 19, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Russia


The Definitive Trump-Russia Timeline of Events
(Politico – 3/3/17 – updated as new information comes out)

Trump Reverses Pledge To Mandate U.S. Steel For Keystone Pipeline. A Direct Beneficiary Is A Russian Oligarch With Close Ties To Vladimir Putin
(Huffington Post – 3/6/17)

Russian Spy Ship Returns Off U.S. Coast, Near Sub Base
(CBS News – 3/15/17)

New Web Site Dedicated to Ongoing Tracking of Trump-Russia Connections
(US Representative Eric Swalwell)


Trump’s Budget


“America First” – Trump’s Proposed Budget
(The White House – 3/16/17)

What Trump Cut in His Budget
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

If You’re a Poor Person in America, Trump’s Budget is Not for You
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney justifies cuts to programs like “Meals on Wheels” and school lunch for low income kids because the programs are “just not showing any results.” Apparently feeding someone who can’t afford to
(CSPAN – 3/16/17)

Fact Check: Budget Director’s Claims That Programs Don’t Work
(New York Times – 3/17/17)

White House Cites Satire Column to Tout Budget
(The Hill – 3/17/17)


Mental Illness


In a Repudiation of Trump, a Senior House Leader Rejects Wiretap Claim
(New York Times – 3/15/17)

Trump Says Obama Wiretapping Accusations are Based on Some News Reports
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

Spicer says Trump ‘stands by’ unproven allegation that Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower
(Washington Post – 3/16/17)

British Complain After Trump Spokesman Cites Wiretapping Report
(Bloomberg – 3/16/17)

US Makes Formal Apology to Britain After White House Accuses GCHQ of Wiretapping Trump Tower
(Telegraph, UK – 3/17/17)

White House: No Apology to British Government Over Spying Claims
(CNN – 3/17/17)

Ahead Of House Hearing, Committee Head Says No Evidence Of Collusion Or Wiretapping
(National Public Radio – 3/19/17)

Trump Says Merkel Meeting was ‘Great,’ Then Blasts Germany for NATO Bills
(Los Angeles Times – 3/18/17)

German Defense Ministry Contradicts Trump, Says it Doesn’t Owe U.S. Money for NATO
(Washington Post – 3/19/17)

In One Rocky Week, Trump’s Self-Inflicted Chaos on Vivid Display
(New York Times – 3/18/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Conflicts of Interest


Kushners Set to Get $400 Million From Chinese Firm on Tower
(Bloomberg – 3/13/17)


Hate Crimes


Temple De Hirsch Sinai Vandalized With Anti-Semitic Graffiti
(KOMO News – 3/10/17)


Internal White House Dynamics


‘People are Scared’: Paranoia Seizes Trump’s White House
(Politico – 3/15/17)

“There was an article that week that talked about how you can surveil people through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. We know that is just a fact of modern life.”

– Kellyanne Conway
    Counselor to the President
    3/12/2017


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Trump’s Mental Health:“The Elephant in the Room”
(MSNBC, 2/23/17)

Ready or Not, Here Come Trump and North Korea
(Bloomberg – 3/19/17)

When the Fire Comes
(Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist, New York Times – 2/10/17)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe

Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


Why the Poorest County in West Virginia has Faith in Trump (Video – 10:32)
(The Guardian – 10/13/16)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Cartoon by Tom Toles, Washington Post:

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Source: Unknown

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Posted by @vicsepulveda

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Posted by Occupy Democrats:

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Footage of Irish Prime Minister delivering St. Patrick’s Day address calling attention to Trump’s immigration policies as Trump stands feet away from him:


John Oliver of “This Week Tonight” describes the Republican replacement for ObamaCare
(Warning: some profanity)


Posted by US Senator Bernie Sanders:

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Events & Actions

Two major nationwide protests coming up:

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches nationwide to let President Trump know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest march here!
  • Saturday, April 22, 2017: Scientists and people who believe in and support science will be having marches nationwide to encourage the use of science and facts in creating government policy – find your nearest march here!

Resources & Organizations


It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC (Part 1 of 3)

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington DC (Part 1 of 3)

It’s Time for an Intervention in Washington, DC (Part 1 of 2)


By now, many Americans have seen the headline of at least one editorial (there are several) written by one or more mental health professionals proclaiming that Donald Trump is mentally unfit for the office of the Presidency, that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Unfortunately due to the meaning of the term ”narcissist” among mental health professionals and the meaning of the term among the greater population, many people likely responded to such editorials with a shrug: “So he’s vain, what’s the big deal? He’s got a good track record in the business world, and we need someone in Washington who has some business sense to shake things up. Besides, anyone who runs for President is bound to have a big ego.”

So one thing that needs to be clarified is that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not the same thing as the character trait of being narcissistic: NPD is a serious and diagnosable personality disorder with significant negative implications, particularly when embodied in the President of the United States.

Mental health is an inexact science. It often requires an assessment of thoughts, which cannot be seen. Since there is no way to determine for certain what a person is thinking, their thoughts must be understood based upon their words and actions in the world. In order to bring some standardization to the diagnostic process, several decades ago the American Psychiatric Association developed the “DSM” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which is updated periodically based on new understandings. The DSM describes the behaviors and expressed beliefs that are associated with each mental illness. When a person is observed to fit most or all of the criteria for a particular illness, a mental health professional can diagnose the person with relative confidence.

What is it about Donald Trump’s behaviors and expressed beliefs that have led thousands of mental health professionals to break with the long-held traditions and ethical standards of their practice – potentially risking their licenses – to sign a petition warning the public about what they are seeing?

Below is a series of links to information about the “Cluster B” personality disorders listed in the DSM, of which “histrionic ” (code 301.50, F60.4) and narcissistic (code 301.81, F60.81) are the most worthy of attention. It is not uncommon for more than one Cluster B personality disorder to occur simultaneously in one person (a phenomenon referred to as “comorbidity”). Please read through the relevant sections of any or all of the links. It is rather staggering.

(Note: The actual DSM is not available online and may not be reprinted without permission from the American Psychiatric Association)

The Cluster B Personality Disorders (includes both Narcissistic and Histrionic)

Described by Mayo Clinic

Described by Boundless.com

Described in Psychology Today

Described by Psych.TheClinics

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Described on Wikipedia

Described in Psychology Today

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Described on Wikipedia

The top concerns with a high profile government leader who has narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, or both are the effects of the behaviors on their ability to form stable and positive relationships with other world leaders, the impact of their rash decision-making on policy and global relations, the potential for their weaknesses to be exploited by others within the US government, and the potential for their weaknesses to be exploited by foreign governments.

Let’s hope that the thousands of mental health professionals who have gone out on a limb to publicly diagnose President Donald Trump are wrong.

– rob rünt

“I’ve been in this town for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this. I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy President.”

Eliot Cohen
Former State Department Official under George W. Bush
(Full Article – Huffington Post)

March 6 – 12, 2017

March 6 – 12, 2017

 


Articles & Editorials:


Main Stories


Russia


Unexpected Deaths of Six Russian Diplomats in Four Months Triggers Conspiracy Theories
(The Independent – 2/27/17)

State Department Bars Release of Russian U.N. Ambassador’s Autopsy
(NBC News – 3/10/17)


Russia Investigation


US Spies Have ‘Considerable Intelligence’ on High-Level Trump-Russia Talks, Claims Ex-NSA Analyst
(The Independent – 3/6/17)

CIA Providing Raw Intelligence as Trump-Russia Probes Heat Up: Congress Has Entered a New Phase in its Investigation
(Politico – 3/7/17)


Trump’s Mental Health


White House Rejects FBI’s Denial of Trump’s Wiretapping Claims
(Huffington Post – 3/6/17)

McCain Calls on Trump to Clarify Wiretapping Claim
(CNN – 3/12/17)


Other Stories That You Should Know About:


Michael Flynn


Michael Flynn Was Paid to Represent Turkey’s Interests During Trump Campaign
(New York Times – 3/10/17)


Preet Bharara


U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara Says He Was Fired After Refusing to Quit
(New York Times – 3/11/17)

After Firing Preet Bharara, President Trump Beware
(CNN – 3/11/17)


Keeping Track of the Basics:


Editorials


Donald Trump’s Wiretap Tweets Raise His Risk of Impeachment
(Chicago Tribune – 3/6/17)

The Trump Experiment May Come to an Early Tipping Point
(E.J. Dionne Jr., New York Times – 3/5/17)

Hey, It’s a Problem the President Believes Things That Aren’t True
(Vice – 3/6/17)

Trump Knows the Feds are Closing in on Him
(Foreign Policy.com – 3/6/17)

How to Escape Your Political Bubble for a Clearer View
(New York Times – 3/3/17)

Believe it or Not, Science Deniers Aren’t Stupid
(Big Think – 1/3/17)

A Philosopher’s 350-Year-Old Trick to Get People to Change Their Minds is Now Backed up by Psychologists
(Quartz – 9/11/16)


Alternative Facts from an Alternative Universe


Self-selecting our news sources, a reluctance to hear opposing ideas, and the choice by many of us to surround ourselves only with like-minded individuals has resulted in many Americans becoming oblivious to the beliefs of those with whom they disagree. This bubble helped create the world of “alternative facts” in which Donald Trump could become President.

To counter this, each week I will present a little of what Trump’s supporters are thinking. Their reality may be very different from yours. Please listen/read to the end, and consider what respectful questions you could ask to better understand and have a conversation, rather than seeking to prove them wrong as quickly as possible and shut them down. We can’t change minds if we can’t talk to each other.


Listening to Trump Voters with ACA Coverage: What They Want in a Healthcare Plan
(Kaiser Family Foundation – 2/22/17)


Cartoons, Images & Videos


Chart on Trump’s Russia ties prepared by US Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

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Source: Unknown

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Events & Actions

Two major nationwide protests coming up:

  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Trump Tax Day Marches nationwide to let President Trump know that it’s not just reporters who care about his undisclosed tax returns – find your nearest march here!
  • Saturday, April 22, 2017: Scientists and people who believe in and support science will be having marches nationwide to encourage the use of science and facts in creating government policy – find your nearest march here!

Resources & Organizations


On Not Forgetting

On Not Forgetting

 

On Not Forgetting

On Monday, I had lunch with a friend – a very thoughtful Jewish man and one of my favorite people in the entire world. The conversation eventually turned to politics. Having had relatives who were caught up by the Holocaust, he has visited the concentration camps in Germany as well as the Holocaust Museum in Germany and in Washington DC. He said that the most chilling thing for him in those places was not the photos or the artifacts. It was a video screen at the Holocaust Museum in DC. It showed no graphics or photos, just text, slowly scrolling through the small, incremental changes – small lines drawn and then crossed and then redrawn and crossed again – that took place in what came to be known as Nazi Germany. Each change was undesirable, but ultimately tolerated. The cumulative effect was the extermination of six million human beings.

– rob rünt