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Fast Walker 52

Fast Walker 52's Journal
Fast Walker 52's Journal
March 2, 2017

A LOT of Trump nominees/cabinet members have made false claims to Congress under oath

see linked tweets for links

Rex Tillerson

Jeff Sessions

Scott Pruitt

Tom Price

Steve Mnuchin

Betsy DeVos

What a freaking disgrace, to put it mildly. This administration needs to be torn from power, the sooner the better.
March 1, 2017

"Salesman-in-chief"-- excellent write-up by Michael Grunwald


President Donald Trump basically told Americans last night that he’s going to make sure we can have our cake and eat it, too—and by the way it will be a spectacular cake, it won’t cost much, and it’s going to help us lose a lot of weight.

Trump used his first speech to Congress last night to lay out a heroic vision of an America where “every problem can be solved.” He promised to ensure clean air and water while getting rid of environmental regulations. He vowed to ratchet down taxes on corporations and the middle class while jacking up spending on the military, immigration enforcement, infrastructure and veterans—and at the same time somehow rescuing America from its crushing national debt. He suggests that he'll increase tariffs on foreign goods, and that foreign countries would respond by lowering tariffs on U.S. goods. And he pledged to replace Obamacare with terrific reforms that “expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and provide better health care.” He didn’t explain in much detail how those reforms would work, or whether they would also do something about those embarrassingly skimpy gowns patients have to wear in the hospital.

The media takeaway was that Trump’s speech sounded optimistic, which was true compared to his dyspeptic inaugural address, and also true in the sense that infomercials promising baldness cures or eight-minute abs are optimistic. But there’s a fine line between optimism and magical realism. Politicians routinely deploy sunny rhetoric about “cures to illnesses that have always plagued us” and “American footprints on distant worlds,” but Trump was playing a high-risk game by promising just about everything to just about everyone—especially when he also declared that “above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.”

In the real world, policy choices have tradeoffs. For example, Trump vowed to kill Obamacare’s individual mandate, but he also complained that insurers are abandoning the Obamacare exchanges—a problem that would only intensify if the mandate went away, and young and healthy consumers weren’t required to buy insurance. He suggested he could fix the problem by lowering the overall cost of health care, but in fact Obamacare has already helped bring health care inflation down to its lowest level in half a century. As for the big goal of "repeal and replace"? He handed that ball to Congress, where some Republicans want to eliminate many of the subsidies that have helped Obamacare cover 20 million additional Americans as well as the new taxes on the wealthy that helped pay for it, and other Republicans hope to preserve some of Obamacare’s benefits for the working poor. It’s not clear how they’ll pass anything, much less how they could pass - or even think up - a cost-cutting, tax-cutting, coverage-expanding, care-improving plan that squared Trump’s various circles.

Though I think con-artist-in-chief would be more appropriate...
February 27, 2017

The People vs OJ Simpson and the Presidential Election

We watched the American Crime Story: People vs OJ Simpson over the weekend (now streaming on Netflix).

We hadn't seen it before, but wow, what a powerful production. Great acting, amazing script. Everything about it resonated so much still.

The biggest thing that hit me though were the parallels of that crazy media environment of the trial to a presidential campaign, where every little thing gets blown up and there's endless intrigue, undercutting, infighting and skullduggery.

More specifically though, if you think of Marcia Clark as Hillary Clinton and OJ as Trump, there were just unbelievable parallels. Poor Marcia Clark works her butt off and can't catch a break, gets criticized endlessly for her style, not smiling enough and so forth. OJ is an obvious sleaze ball, a massive liar, an abuser and narcissist and has a weak, needy personality.

In the end OJ totally gets away with it because of a couple key mistakes by the prosecution and a lot of heavy work by his lawyers and serious demagoguery by Johnny Cochran. The prosecution was also totally over-confident (sound familiar?).

But mainly OJ got a away with it because people lost sight of the key facts in the case and the big picture.

I hope the lessons are are learned!

February 26, 2017

Advice about subscribing to my local newspaper, the IndyStar (Indianapolis)

I've been subscribing to it off and on over the years. I stopped for a bit during the Bush years because their coverage was far too favorable for that horrible president. I started getting it again about 6 years ago, to get some more local news flavor and also because I feel it's important to support local journalism.

But their news coverage of Trump has been horrible. They've totally normalized him. From reading the news section, you'd never know he called the media the enemy of the American people or that he tweets delusional things or that anything bizarre has happened with him at all. It's weird, they've made him dull. Their coverage of his talk to CPAC just presented him as giving red meat to his base, and nothing about his lies and delusion. These articles are largely derived from other sources such as USA Today.

They do have opinion columnists, and there have been a decent number of columns on the editorial page criticizing Trump from the expected columnists. The problem is I think it's too easy for their conservative readers to just ignore the columns or write them off as silly liberals.

There have been no columns from the editors of the paper truly critical of Trump. There was one mildly critical of Pence recently, for supporting some Trump nonsense, but it totally gave Pence the benefit of the doubt.

They've published a couple rare letters to the editor against Trump, but nothing that properly captured just how crazy and abnormal Trump is. I sent in my own letter but they have not published it (yet). And there have been several totally clueless letters in support of Trump.

Of course this is Indiana, which overall went big for Trump, but the city was still quite blue. So I guess they need to make their paper palatable for their audience, but I feel like Trump is so extreme and abnormal that he needs special attention.

ANYWAY, my question is-- it is worth continuing my subscription for the sake of supporting the local news (and getting the comics pages )? Or should I cancel and tell them why?

February 26, 2017

If you're a member of ICE or CBP, what are the odds that you are a racist Trump supporter

versus a normal, decent human being?


"Agents Discover Freedom on Deportations Under Trump"

The Trump administration’s plan to deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants was introduced in dramatic fashion over the past month.

Much of the front-line work has fallen to thousands of ICE officers who are newly emboldened and empowered.

Two officials in Washington said that the shift — and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.

ICE of course was one of the few if only (?) unions that endorsed Trump for president.
February 26, 2017

Kuwait could pay up to $60,000 for party at Trump Hotel in Washington

Source: Reuters

The Kuwaiti government could pay up to $60,000 to President Donald Trump's hotel in Washington for a party on Saturday that will be an early test of Trump's promise to turn over profits from such events to the U.S. Treasury.

The Kuwait Embassy is hosting an event to mark their National Day. Similar National Day celebrations at the Trump International Hotel for a crowd of several hundred can run from $40,000 to $60,000, according to cost estimates from the hotel seen by Reuters. The hotel declined to comment on the figures.

One of Trump's lawyers, Sheri Dillon, pledged at a Jan. 11 press conference to donate any Trump Hotel profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.

The White House and Alan Garten, the general counsel for the Trump Organization, did not return calls for comment on whether any profits from foreign government payments to the hotel have been donated. Dillon's firm declined to comment.

Read more: http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1640LE

Clearly a violation of the constitution if this happens. IMPEACH!
February 23, 2017

Lawyers: ICE detainee with brain tumor removed from hospital

Source: The Hill

An undocumented immigrant diagnosed with a brain tumor while under Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody was returned to a detention center from a Texas hospital, her lawyers said.

The woman, a Salvadoran national identified only as Sara, was released from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and taken to Prairieland Detention Center against her will, according to her lawyers.

"She told us they tied her hands and ankles in her condition," Melissa Zuniga, a member of Sara's legal team, told The Hill. "She's complaining of a lot of pain."

Zuniga said Sara, 26, was cut off from communication with her family and lawyers, even after the hospital and ICE had cleared Sara's mother for unrestricted phone access.

Read more: http://thehill.com/latino/320755-lawyers-ice-detainee-with-brain-tumor-removed-from-hospital

welcome to Trump's America... now I'm sure someone will say this sort of thing happened under Obama, but there's no doubt that this will get worse under Trump.
February 23, 2017

Trump is right about the media being the enemy of the American people

In an ironic way, Trump is right about the media being the enemy of the American people. The main reason is that the media is the number 1 reason we have Trump, and he is absolutely the enemy of the American people.

Of course, the media is not a monolith and some news outlets are far better and more responsible than others, but Trump actually shares an amazing number of features with the worst of the corporate media:
1) sensationalism
2) superficiality
3) refusal to talk about climate change, a massively important issue
4) over-hyping of Islamic-based terrorism
5) pro-corporation, pro-capitalism
6) little regard for the environment
7) ratings-driven
8) cheer leader for US wars and US war crimes
9) glorification of US soldiers and the military

He really is a creature of the worst of our media.

February 18, 2017

The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine-- and how it led to Trump's election


This is disturbing as hell... Dems need to figure out how to use this or beat it.

There’s a new automated propaganda machine driving global politics. How it works and what it will mean for the future of democracy.

By Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath

This piece was originally published at Scout.ai.

“This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go,” said professor Jonathan Albright.

Albright, an assistant professor and data scientist at Elon University, started digging into fake news sites after Donald Trump was elected president. Through extensive research and interviews with Albright and other key experts in the field, including Samuel Woolley, Head of Research at Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project, and Martin Moore, Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at Kings College, it became clear to Scout that this phenomenon was about much more than just a few fake news stories. It was a piece of a much bigger and darker puzzle — a Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine being used to manipulate our opinions and behavior to advance specific political agendas.

By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

Most recently, Analytica helped elect U.S. President Donald Trump, secured a win for the Brexit Leave campaign, and led Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign surge, shepherding him from the back of the GOP primary pack to the front.

February 18, 2017

I'm obsessed with the fact that the President of the US is out of his mind

Am I wrong?

I can't stop thinking about this. I don't know why everyone ISN'T talking about this.

I'm really WORRIED.

This is just so freaking BONKERS, BARKING MAD, I can't take it anymore.


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Hometown: Southern California
Home country: USA
Current location: Indiana
Member since: Thu May 14, 2015, 06:31 AM
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