Category Archives: The Goshawk

100 days of fail: Tweeting the unwelcome rise of the fascist Trump regime

100 days profile image of trump showing many chins
100 Days of Fail: A look back at Donald Trump’s first months in office.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerSelected moments from Donald Trump’s first 100 days of fail. A retrospective, gleaned from actual Twitter tweets, of the First 100 days of fail that marked the unwelcome rise of the American Fascist Republic.

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The magical first 100 Days of Fail, @realDonaldTrump ..find you’ve been busily eating cake and plowing new ground.

100 days image of portly donald trump golfing
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As we expected, @realDonaldTrump ..you chose to celebrate your 100 Days of Fail with another rally limited to your adoring cult followers.

100 days image of trump greeting enthusiastic supporters at a rally

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Another fascist, now in the dustbin of history, used to stage his rallies in Nuremberg, @realDonaldTrump ..They looked like this:

100 days historical image of a Hitler Nuremberg rally
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.@realDonaldTrump ..Rallies are propaganda events, where you can control both the crowd and especially the media you so fear.

 

 

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No real president would fear a free press (or “enemy of the people” as you call them), @realDonaldTrump

100 days meme image of thomas jefferson on importance of newspapers

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You obsessively fear the media, @realDonaldTrump ..because you know they have a copy of your checklist of failures.

100 days image ofd onald trump's presidential checklist-o0o-

 Now you’re backpedaling, calling the 100-day deadline “ridiculous.” The timeline was your idea, @realDonaldTrump

100 days image of trump twitter tweet expressing fear of media-o0o-

You cannot defend your performance so far in public, @realDonaldTrump because it reeks of failure.

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.@realDonaldTrump ..What we’ve seen from you so far reminds  us of Trump Steaks. Those reviews … whew!

100 days image of Trump selling steaks-o0o-

.@realDonaldTrump ..Given your business record, all that winning you promised is never going to happen is it.

100 days meme image of trump business failures-o0o-

Why, do you suppose, you are widely reviled, @realDonaldTrump ? Why is resolve to #resist you still growing? Let’s examine the subject:

100 days Image of protester carrying sign

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Fascism is government in the service of commerce. It’s an un-American idea. @realDonaldTrump .. You are a fascist. We don’t like fascists.

100 days Composite image comparing Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini

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If fascism is the marriage of corporations and government, you, @realDonaldTrump performed the wedding.
100 days trump posing with image of his book

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.@realDonaldTrump You ignore conflicts of interest. So we see your regime as a pack of thieves.

100 days image of trump and one of his appointees

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If you really have no incentive to steer U.S. policy for your personal profit, prove it. Show us your tax returns, @realDonaldTrump

100 days Meme image of Thomas Jefferson on public trust

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.@realDonaldTrump  Your America is an oligarchy (a small group of people having control of a country) with unlimited corruption

100 days meme image of trump on corruption.

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We can see where this is going, @realDonaldTrump – A sellout to Big $$ by you and your fellow fascists, the #GOP
100 days cartoon image of a frog in a pot of boiling water

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Thomas Jefferson (now THERE was a president) explained why we must #resist you @realDonaldTrump

100 days Meme image of Thomas Jefferson regarding justice and duty

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.@realDonaldTrump What Congress would go out of its way to OK poisoning waterways? What leader would approve that?

100 days image of a tractor on a coal pile

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.@realDonaldTrump You believe pollution is OK if it’s in the interest of commerce. Is this your vision of our future?

100 days Meme image of Mordor as Donald Trump's vision for Anerica

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.@realDonaldTrump regime regulatory agencies are led by lobbyists & teabillies & bribe-takers bent on destroying them.

100 days trump with supporters at rally

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.@realDonaldTrump Your FCC boss would hand the Internet to a few big corporations, to our detriment. But you will profit.
100 days net neutrality

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Insurance companies add nothing to health care but cost. @realDonaldTrump says “Suck it up, sick people.”
100 days rally opposing repeal of the affordable care act

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.@realDonaldTrump Secular public education has prevented religious warfare, a plague elsewhere, in the U.S.

100 days image of portesters at anti-discrimination rally

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The Christian dominionist @realDonaldTrump secretary of education intends to “advance God’s kingdom.” This invites disaster.

100 days image of Betsy DeVos

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You piously tried to BS us about Pres. Obama violating “the very sacred election process.” No, @realDonaldTrump ..that’s what YOU did.

100 days Image of Trump Twitter tweet about sanctity of elections

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.@realDonaldTrump ..You publicly (and treasonously) invited Russia to tamper w/our elections. #TrumpRussia

100 days image of putin urging secrecy

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Your pathological need to accuse others of deeds you have done points to your election-tampering guilt, @realDonaldTrump

100 days meme image of theodore roosevelt on stealing an election

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.@realDonaldTrump did treasonously collude w/Russia. The evidence is solid. The walls are closing in. #Trumprussia isn’t going away.

100 Days image of fbi director james comey

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#TrumpRussia is the gravest crisis the American Republic has ever faced. You see it as a path to immense personal wealth.

100 days image of trump, putin and tillerson

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.@realDonaldTrump We know Rex Tillerson is a fake Secretary of State. The job is cover while he does oil deals with Putin.

100 days map showing arctic oil fields

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Vladimir Putin smirked when he called you a genius, @realDonaldTrump. He regards you as a “useful idiot.” (look it up).

100 days composite image of donald trump and vladimeir putin both gesturing

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.@realDonaldTrump You think $$ awaits you if fake SoS Tillerson works big oil deal with Putin. Makes you feel smug, doesn’t it.

100 days photo image of donald trump with a smug grin

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Putin could destroy you with a wave of his hand, @realDonaldTrump. When he’s done, he will dispose of you like a dead mouse.

100 days composite image of putin holding miniature trump in his hands

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We know about Jared Kushner’s stealth data machine and how it helped steal the election for you, @realDonaldTrump

100 days image of jared kushner

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.@realDonaldTrump .. If there was incidental E-surveillance of your campaign, there was a good reason.

100 days image of Trump tweet about surveillance

 

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We know you are running a lucrative criminal enterprise out of the Oval Office, @realDonaldTrump ..It w/be your undoing.

100 days composite image of trump and putin with american flag background

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Sessions & Bannon are white supremacists. Your regime is larded with these creeps, @realDonaldTrump

100 days image of stephen bannon

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Of course racial bigotry is something of a tradition in the @realDonaldTrump family.

100 days image of newspaper clipping about fred trump

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“It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.” The @realDonaldTrump AG was referring to immigrants

100 days image of jeff sessions at a trump rally

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Immigrants are “filth”?  Jeff Sessions calls this “the Trump era.” You own it, @realDonaldTrump

100 days image of donald trump and jeff sessions

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Banning Muslims from the U.S. is disgusting as it is foolish. The @realDonaldTrump policy of exclusion is profoundly un-American.

100 days image of donald trump scowling

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It looks like your silly border wall will be one of many unkept campaign promises, @realDonaldTrump .. That’s a good thing.

100 days image of ladder leaning against the border wall

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.@realDonaldTrump Political posturing toward foreigners is killing the tourism industry, to the tune of $10B a year. #MAGA you say?

100 days image of mickey mouse at disneyworld

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Your loony travel restrictions are backfiring. Americans traveling abroad w/be victims of your shortsightedness, @realDonaldTrump

100 days image of tourists on a gondola in Venice

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Woody Guthrie was right, @realDonaldTrump  ..We expect no peace from your fascist regime. Expect none from us.

100 days image of woody guthrie

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America was and is already great, no thanks to you, @realDonaldTrump .. #MAGA is an empty slogan.

100 days image of donald trump MAGA hat burning

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You, @realDonaldTrump betrayed our forefathers by selling out the American Republic to fascism.

100 days meme image of uncle sam poster

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You, @realDonaldTrump undermined trust in the financial industry, making it legal for advisers to cheat investors.

100 days meme image of trump and bankers

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Made cheating legal! Who but a fascist would do that to his country? It is a truly @realDonaldTrump quality move.

100 days image of wall street protester with sign

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White House visitor logs have always been public. Not so with the @realDonaldTrump regime. Another bit of #MAGA, no doubt.

100 days image of ted nugent with donald trump in oval office

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Now @realDonaldTrump lobbyists, donors, #Trumprussia pals – and maybe dalliances – are free to come and go without scrutiny.

100 days image of donald trump behind an American flag

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@realDonaldTrump crows about eliminating the $148M National Endowment for the Humanities budget. Are you waiting for the applause?

100 days photo image of donald trump leaning on a golf club

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Eliminating NEH $$ will save 3 one-thousandths of 1 percent of the federal budget, @realDonaldTrump  Some potent #MAGA there!

100 days image of trump budget priorities

Cutting $$ for arts, humanities & public broadcasting won’t come close to covering @realDonaldTrump spending on golf weekends.

100 days image of trump falling on golf course

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Art defines civilizations, @realDonaldTrump ..WTH is the matter with you? Jefferson again..

100 days meme image thomas jefferson on false ideas

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.@realDonaldTrump whined about Pres. Obama’s executive orders – fewer than 35 per year. You did 66 EO’s in 90 days. Um, forgot one..

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Of the 66 @realDonaldTrump EO’s in first 100 days, not one benefits America as a whole. Fascists rule by fiat.

100 days meme satire image trump executive orders

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.@realDonaldTrump  You clearly did not write or even read the EOs you were signing & were surprised when Fox filled you in.

100 days image of surprised trump

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 That Bannon ..such a scamp! Rick “Oops” Perry is a reassuring National Security Council choice, @realDonaldTrump

100 days satirical meme image of rick perry

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Ronald Reagan was shot by a deranged gunman. @realDonaldTrump signed a measure assuring mentally ill people w/have access to guns.

100 days composite image of three mass killers

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.@realDonaldTrump revoked federal protection for transgender people. #MAGA in reverse. Why? That sort of bigotry didn’t play well in NC.

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.@realDonaldTrump ..Do you remember how you came to be known as “President Pussygrabber”? You earned the title.

100 days image of Billy Bush and Donald Trump

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You are a misogynist & a sexual predator, @realDonaldTrump so your attacks on women are in character.

100 days meme miage of trump with lewd quote about women

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Yes, a serial sexual predator, @realDonaldTrump ..You said so yourself. Your daughter readily agreed.

100 days image of donald and ivanka trump

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Here is @realDonaldTrump using a pen to assault women’s medical access. Look at all the women in attendance!

100 days image of trump signing document

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You have shown us who and what you really are, @realDonaldTrump ..Is it any wonder nobody respects you?

100 days meme image comparing how trump and obama treat their wives

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You may con some of the middle-class into believing they’ll get “massive” tax cuts. But you know it’s a lie, @realDonaldTrump

100 days cartoon image of trump speaking with fingers crossed

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 You made it legal to kill hibernating bears, including cubs, in their dens. How pro-life of you, @realDonaldTrump
 

100 days image of a bear walking

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.@realDonaldTrump  .. Why do you go out of your way to besmirch your legacy? Wait ..You already told us.

100 days imeme image of trump with quote about greed-o0o-

A good Reichstag Fire (look it up) might boost your poll numbers for a while, @realDonaldtrump  ..We anticipate one.

100 days composite image of donald trump against a fiery background

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Bombing an empty airfield didn’t help you or us, @realDonaldTrump ..Have some chocolate cake & look at what airstrikes often accomplish.

100 days image of man carrying an injured child

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Bragging of eating cake while ordering an attack on Iraq (actually Syria), was seriously creepy, @realDonaldTrump

100 days imageo f trump eating

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 Your flip attitude about attacking a country was horrifying, @realDonaldTrump ..but not surprising from one who casually steals valor.

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Blustering at N. Korea boosted pipsqueak leader Kim Jong-un’s credibility & diminished yours, @realDonaldTrump

100 days composite image of donald trump and kim jong-un

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Big Stick diplomacy only works when you don’t muck up the threat, @realDonaldTrump.

100 days image of Trump in theatrical military garb

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No, your popularity will remain in the tank, @realDonaldTrump  ..that pesky Jefferson had you pegged long ago.

100 days meme image of Thomas Jefferson on being defined by our acts

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There’s no redemption for you, @realDonaldTrump ..If there is a Hell, your soul is already there.

100 days composite image of donald trump as a demon

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.@realDonaldTrump Your constant lying has produced 100 days of fail. That won’t improve because you only measure up in 1 category.

100 days image of trump being measured

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It seems you can’t help it, @realDonaldTrump ..Pathological lying is a symptom of mental illness.

100 days image of trump pointing to the side of his head

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An example of @realDonaldTrump untrustworthiness? Look no further than Social Security, which you promised to protect.

100 days composite image of money and a social security card

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Social Security is insurance people pay for all their working lives.  It has proven good, @realDonaldTrump ..Unlike your word.

composite image questioning trump trustworthiness

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It’s been all failure, @realDonaldTrump ..You are the #fakepresident we expected. You have already left quite a mess for us.

100 days image of a twitter tweet by elliot lusztig

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Now you must go, @realDonaldTrump ..Leaving is the only thing that w/boost your poll numbers.

100 days lady liberty covers her face with her hands

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Do you get it? We #resist @realDonaldTrump ..because silence would be to accept the terrible things you are doing to our beloved country.

100 days composite image of American flag and Nazi eagle

Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For  Hire Media

America as a boiling frog: Dangerous political changes go unrecognized by many

boiling frog cartoon image of a frog in a pot of water
A frog in a pot of water on a fire will adapt to changes in its surroundings, oblivious to the danger.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerYou don’t have to even be paying close attention to notice the fascist Trump regime is gradually solidifying its coup d’etat by ratcheting up its grip on America and its institutions. All three branches of government are in their hands and the obstacles between them and total authoritarian power are few and tenuous.

A lot of this is occurring just under the radar of even politically attentive and astute observers. A friend whose thinking I admire recently concluded that the fashioning of an authoritarian fascist regime has yet to happen and is not likely to be accomplished without the acquiescence of the other branches of government,  federal agencies, the military, the national security apparatus, the media and the American people. He doesn’t see that cooperation happening.

He went on to suggest that collusion by the Legislative branch alone would be insufficient to allow the fascists to accomplish their ends.

I wish I shared his optimism. But the fascist coup has already occurred and the consolidation of power is rapidly taking place.

America, once the nemesis of fascists, has fallen to them

Takeover is complete

The regime’s appointees now run the military and the national security apparatus. Even the National Security Council, an analytical body traditionally insulated from the whims and dictates of politics, now has a political commissar (remember the Soviet Union during the Cold War?) in the person of Donald Trump’s chief strategist – self-described “Leninist” and political vandal Steve Bannon.

Trump did not write – or even read – order appointing Bannon to NSC

It is an unprecedented and breathkingly alarming move that will enable the regime to enforce the ideological purity of the NSC’s recommendations.

This is not some cockeyed conspiracy hypothesis. It is real and it is happening now. Look around you and draw your own conclusions.

Fascism is, at its core, government in the service of commerce. Fascists have no respect for, and certainly no fear of, such social niceties as Constitutional guarantees and the rule of law. If they choose to ignore the law or abrogate the Constitution (or at least the parts they find inconvenient) they will unhesitatingly do so.

And who will stop them?

In Trump’s rise, the fall of American democracy

Supremacy of the billionaires

“This nation of the people, by the people and for the people …” and blah blah blah is now run by billionaires. Defense, foreign policy, environmental policy, natural resources, education… even the Internet… are among other key areas now controlled by wealthy corporate powers.

They are abetted by an extreme religious wing – mostly religious Dominionists – which will provide the facile explanations of why it is all OK. Think VP Mike Pence, AG Jeff Sessions, “Advisor” Franklin Graham, etc. Betsy DeVos is both billionaire and dominionist. Her task as Education Secretary will (according to her) be to undermine the secularity of America.

How Dominionists gained control of the Trump campaign

So while the fearful many are distracted by the regime leader with such noisy nonsense as border walls and immigration bans and belligerent threats of war with China and Iran and Mexico, the fascists are quickly solidifying their power. “We are moving big and we are moving fast,” Bannon recently told the New York Times. “We didn’t come here to do small things.”

So far we have seen only moves to protect and enhance the interests of the corporate fascists while reducing regulations. Who will be the beneficiaries of returning free rein to avaricious insurance companies? How does removing the fiduciary rule (making it easier for financial advisors to cheat you) help small investors like you? Who will profit from completion, against all sensible deliberation, the filthy Dakota Access Pipeline? “Privatizing” Social Security, public lands, and even the Postal Service (among other things) is to whose benefit?

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that unlimited political bribery was not only legal but a form of constitutionally protected free speech (Citizens United), and that corporations are “people” in the eyss of the law, both houses of Congress, now solidly in fascist hands, have come to represent money interests, not public interests.

Legislating from the Oval Office

When President Barack Obama would infrequently issue a narrowly drawn executive order, the Republicans in Congress would deafeningly squeal and bellow about “executive overreach” and “power grab” and the “imperial presidency.”

Now, as the regime leader furiously legislates from the Oval Office, issuing a blizzard of orders he did not write or even read, the bobble-head GOP is approving or, for the most part, entirely silent.

image of donald trump twitter message disparaging a judge
When Donald Trump doesn’t like a judge’s ruling he attempts to undermine the judicial system.

Meanwhile the regime has been busily undermining the remaining checks and balances that have kept America free. We are told that courts and the judiciary system are damaging the country because judges insist on following the law.

We are told that, in the regime’s opinion, separation of church and state is unconstitutional and that religion – specifically Christianity – must become the guiding force in law and policy and public education.

image of Donald trump twitter message disparaging immigrants
When Donald Trump writes Twitter messages about “evil” he is usually dog-whistling immigrant groups he dislikes.

The Twitter-happy regime leader recently went so far as to darkly declare that “evil” (which is a Christian religious moral concept) must be kept out of our country. The purpose of this blast on his dog-whistle was to demonize dark-skinned immigrants and rally support for his wholly un-American attempt to simply ban many immigrants.

image of donald trump twitter message disparaging news media reports as fake.
The Trump regime likes to present itself as the only source of reliable information. Negative reports are disparaged as “fake news.”

White House propagandists assure us that they are the only source of accurate information and questioning the regime on any subject at any level amounts to lies by “crooked media.” The regime assures us it does not lie, it only presents “alternative facts” and goes so far as to claim there are no such things as facts anymore.

We are being conditioned to accept these Orwellian claims as sensible and normal.  The intended outcome is that we will be willing to meekly give up even more of our freedom in exchange for the empty promise of safety and security.

When, let’s say, a terrorist incident, manufactured or deliberately allowed, inevitably occurs, it will be met by the regime with an unrelenting appeal to fear and panic, along with a loud and unified demand  for more governmental power.

The boiling frog

This deliberate erosion of the American Republic is, for the moment, occurring slowly enough that many people either do not recognize it or hope against hope it will not continue to its logical (and wholly intended) conclusion. This sort of thinking is like the boiling frog that quietly adapts to slow changes in its surroundings and does not sense danger in the rising temperature of the water until it is too late.

The veneer of what we have come to regard as our representative democracy is thin indeed, and offers little protection from those who would dismantle it. The American Experiment only worked because wa all agreed it should. The Constitution has no power whatsoever, except that which it draws from the consent of the governed – the people.

So when those people, many of them dangerously inattentive to their own interests, allow their leaders to incrementally peel away protections and encroach on traditional guarantees, those protections and guarantees will eventually be gone.

Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.

How to steal an election: America’s Electoral College system is an easy mark

Electoral College image of President Theodore Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican worthy of a place on Mount Rushmore, had no tolerance for election fraud.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerElection 2016 smells like it was stolen. The improbable outcome and the lingering doubts about the integrity of the balloting have seriously damaged America’s confidence in its election process, and the Electoral College itself.  

We know the Russian government was actively meddling in the election. Even if someday that claim proves to be untrue, the damage is done. Without a credible investigation, Americans can never again be confident that their election system, and the Electoral College itself, is not being manipulated.


Election 2016 may indeed have been rigged

The distrust does not flow from fake news or crazy unfounded conspiracy theories. The notion that the election was stolen rests on solid and plausible possibilities which could fairly easily be confirmed or debunked.  

Invitation to fraud

Electronic voting machines are natural suspects in a massive election fraud scheme. But voting machines doubtless do not have an Internet connection, so how could hackers from a distant land have broken in?

Distance means nothing on the Internet, but a direct connection to the voting machines is not necessary for hackers.

A path to the Internet might have actually been an impediment to them because such a connection implies the existence of a file server with security software, activity logs, multiple passwords and authority levels, and access history – things the hackers would have had to evade or somehow disguise, to avoid being unmasked.


America embraces fascism

Because they are by far the most vulnerable to chicanery, the primary suspects in a voting fraud investigation would have to be the Direct Recording Entry (DRE) voting machines, which use no paper ballots and provide no paper trail.

For example, the voting districts in the Miami-Dade- Gold Coast counties, and the greater Philadelphia area (places big enough to sway their state’s Electoral College votes, and where Hillary Clinton’s early-voting lead was mathematically impossible to surmount), primarily use DRE units.

DRE machines typically run on the unpatched, wholly insecure and long obsolete Windows XP operating system. Since access to the machines is restricted and they are never connected to the Internet, they probably all have a default password – or no password at all. But even that is not where the problem lies.

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
— Attributed to Joseph Stalin

Before the election, ballots for each district are loaded into machines to be used in that district. The process probably involves either a local area network (not the Internet) or technicians physically visiting each machine and using a USB flash drive, a CD or another computer to perform the ballot upload.

 Once the ballots are uploaded, the technician briefly tests the software to make sure ballots entered are properly counted.

DRE voting machines do not use paper ballots, so there is no paper trail and, therefore, no way to perform an accurate recount.

Before they are loaded into the DRE machines, the ballots (think of them as master files or source files) are created on a computer somewhere and stored there, or on another machine, until they are needed.

This is where the greatest vulnerability lies.

Electoral College is an easy target

Ballots for each voting district are different (different candidates, etc.) and each ballot would have a unique name, so technicians doing the loading can tell which ones to use. The naming convention would be readily apparent to hackers, too. That would make it easy to target which files should get the malicious code.

If a certain few of the ballot files, the ones to be used in the greatest population centers, can be compromised, the election outcome can be manipulated.

Note that the hackers are trying to game the “winner take all” Electoral College system, not the meaningless popular vote.

In a close election, swinging just one large state might provide enough Electoral College votes to elect the intruder’s preferred candidate.

This election result where the winner of the popular vote – by at least 2.7 million ballots – loses the election is the very thing the Electoral College system was created to prevent.  

Electronic balloting, with its inherent vulnerabilities and potential for mischief, stands the Electoral College on its head. The supposed (and illusory) strength of our Electoral College system would be used against us.

Difficult to detect

The ballot files might be infected with hidden code. Hiding code is preposterously easy. The XP system allows you to simply mark it as hidden. The possibilities for hackers to break into such an insecure system beggar the imagination.

Once an entry point is gained, loading the malicious code would be no problem. Anti-virus software, if there is any, would not detect it because the code does not have a malware signature; it looks harmless. 

Unlike most malware, the malicious code would use commonly available operating system resources. It would not be a formal “program,” but a snippet of code. It would be readily erasable. It would not try to capture keystrokes or data, or hijack a network, and would be deliberately (if unwittingly) entered by someone with administrator-level authority. One infected USB flash drive could conceivably get the job done.

Insidiously simple

The code, in this scenario, could do a simple Boolean line compare – let’s provocatively say Candidate Clinton vs. Candidate Trump. The “if/then” compare function would automatically adjust the Candidate Trump line to always be, for argument’s sake, one percent greater than the Candidate Clinton line.

In this example, no matter how many votes were cast for Candidate Clinton, the Candidate Trump tally would always be one percent greater. That is enough to skew the overall results, but not close enough to trigger automatic recounts.

This approach could result in more votes being cast than the number of registered voters. That would raise a flag, but given the usual low voter turnouts, it is not likely to happen.

Again, it wouldn’t matter if the results raised eyebrows because on a DRE machine, no accurate recount is possible.

There’s more.

Using the computer’s clock, the malicious code could include a “cron” function – a time-based scheduler built into the operating system – that would activate the script just before voting began. That means the aforementioned technician’s test would not have discovered it. When the polls close, that same cron job could automatically delete the malicious code.

Computers are really good at doing this stuff, and no serious programmer would find it difficult to write this sort of code.

Where’s the proof?

Did this actually happen? Proof, one way or the other, does indeed exist. It is on the hard drives of the suspect DRE machines. A forensic examination of at least some of those disk drives would reveal the truth or falsity of the claim.

Despite what Republican “investigators” led us to believe in the Great Bogus Hillary Clinton E-Mail Server Scandal, files can never really be “wiped,” erased or eradicated from a computer disk drive – even if the disk is reformatted and repeatedly written over. The “erasing” process actually involves only changing a file bit in an effort to make it unreadable by the computer.

Forensic software – think of it as an “undo” key on steroids – can peel back the erasure attempts, the reformat efforts and the obfuscatory overwrites until the original contents are revealed.

There is no way to truly obliterate a file on a computer disk drive, short of physically destroying the disk itself.

Far from farfetched

The stealthy infection of secure computers that are not connected to the Internet is nothing new. In fact it is a staple of the ongoing, and all but invisible, international cyber cold war that has been raging for years.

 Arguably the most famous example of sabotage to an off-the-Internet system is the so-called “Stuxnet” intrusion. Stuxnet is the name of a software worm that nearly brought down Iran’s uranium enrichment operation. Stuxnet was introduced to the Iranian computers via a compromised USB flash drive and went undetected for at least a year.

Whether Election 2016 was really sabotaged by hackers is no longer the main point.

No greater loss

Those who benefited from the sabotage, the “winners,” have no interest in examining the intrusion, lest the probe cast doubt on the authenticity of their victory. So we may never know for sure if the Electoral College system was actually gamed.

Unless and until a credible investigation proves otherwise, Americans can never fully trust their election system. Leaving this issue carelessly unexamined makes a mockery of all that America has stood for.

 That lingering and possibly well-placed doubt will lead to even less participation in elections and a strengthening of the incipient fascist state. The American republic of our forefathers – the America we have always known and loved – will have been lost, perhaps forever.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.

America, once the nemesis of fascists, delivers itself to them

fascist poster image uncle sam leads america to war
America used to go to war to defeat fascist countries. Now it has become one.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerAmerica used to stand as the bulwark against fascism. In four wars, from World War I to Vietnam, nearly half a million Americans gave their lives to defend the world against the truly evil darkness of fascism and its authoritarian political derivatives.

Our soldiers fiercely fought and bravely died, inspired by a sense of patriotism and belief in the rightness of their cause.

Their sacrifice was for more than protection of their nation’s freedom or its Constitutional guarantees. They fought for the idea that American democracy, with its ideals of fairness and equality and justice for all, was a birthright to be shared with the world. Theirs was a truly noble quest.

The enemy within

In the end they were betrayed by the very people and freedoms they so loyally defended.

Their America will soon be ruled by a cynical and fundamentally un-American regime of wealthy corporatist greedheads and Bible-babbling jackals, swept into power by the American equivalent of an Electoral College bookkeeping error – quite possibly the result of computer hackers sponsored by a foreign government  – in an election they lost by more than 2.5 million votes.


How Election 2016 may have been stolen

American voters, protest casters and abstainers included, the unwitting enemy within, with considerable help from an abetting press and foreign saboteurs working in concert with a politicized FBI, have delivered the country to the hands of fascists.

It is a measure of how far America has strayed from its roots that this turn of events is accepted with a shrug, and not seen as the national emergency it is.

Now those fascists are about to seize the levers of American power.

Theirs is an America where the business interests of corporations trump the general welfare of the people, where the many are plundered on behalf of the few, where the only social classes are the very rich and those who serve them, and only the servant class pays taxes.

The regime will bring us an America that actively divides us  by encouraging bigotry and violence and hate and distrust.

Will we ever again be able to trust the election process?

Theirs is a place where justice and quality education and a healthy environment are reserved for the privileged.

Theirs is a land of self-righteous zealotry, where pathological lies and corruption and unlimited political bribery and selfishness and greed are suddenly guiding principles, not only regarded as normal but good.

Death of the Dream

American exceptionalism is gone. The American Century has passed. The American Experiment, as we knew it, has failed. The American Dream died by its own hand on November 8, 2016. America’s vaunted claim to greatness, to leadership of the “free world,” is forfeit, perhaps forever.

It is a measure of how far America has strayed from its roots that this turn of events is accepted with a shrug, and not seen as the national emergency it is.

The fascists, strutting and posturing and wallowing in echoes of one of the world’s darkest periods, and rallying under whatever seditious flag or party banner, have made no secret of their intention to transform this once-tolerant and generous nation of immigrants into a walled fortress that bans and criminalizes the very things that made America so strong and great.

The world has never looked up to a nation ruled by fascists and never will. It is not yet clear which nation, if any, will step up to assume the mantle of greatness we have so carelessly cast off.

Who will become the champion of the oppressed and the powerless, the beacon of leadership and hope to the world? There is now a vacancy for that position and America has disqualified itself from regaining it.

Land of the Free no more

Fascist regimes are, by their nature, corporatist and authoritarian, and possessed of a pernicious ability to divide and subjugate. They are very good at it. Constitutional guarantees that do not further the fascists’ cause will come to be tightly controlled, disregarded or discarded entirely.

In the rise of Trump, the fall of America

The disaffected voters who, with thunderous applause, giddily swept the fascists into power may not have realized they were killing their democracy in the process. They may not have examined their actions deeply enough to know that only the already wealthy prosper under the rule of fascists.

Those merry fools will discover their error too late to correct it.

One other ominous thing about fascist regimes: Once they are established in power, they are never peacefully voted out. Any who think it will be different with America are tragically naïve.

November 8, 2016 will be remembered as the saddest day in American history.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media

 

 

In Trump’s rise, fascism and the fall of American democracy

fascism composite image of donald trump and benito mussolini
Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922 on the promise he – and he alone – could make Italy great again. That message has found a new voice and success in Donald Trump.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerAmerican democracy is not just in decline, it is in imminent danger of collapsing into fascism. An openly fascist regime is about to seize the reins of the greatest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, to the thunderous applause of Donald Trump’s cult followers – those who most benefited from the democracy his fascists will replace. Our government, “…of the people, by the people, for the people” may indeed perish from the earth.

Government in service of commerce

Since America has, heretofore, been a capitalist democracy, it is easy to confuse democracy with capitalism – which is a system where commerce and industry are controlled by private owners rather than by the government.

Capitalism can thrive under almost any political system, but it prefers fascism or similarly authoritarian permutations. To capitalists, democracy is the least hospitable form of government.

America was once the nemesis of fascist states. No more

Capitalists – spelled with a big C – loathe having to deal with a constant stream of uncertainties – taxes and worker rules and wage laws and safety demands and environmental limitations and other restrictions, and the regulatory agencies that create them.

It is much easier for capitalists to deal with an authoritarian leader who will simply order things done. Fascist goverments have had their duce, their führer, their “great helmsman,” and soon, their Trump.


Trump-style fascism is more Mussolini than Hitler

Democracy has been in startling retreat in places long identified as bulwarks of government by the people. For example, it is polling increasingly poorly in Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. 

“Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.”
—The Doctrine of Fascism (1932)

For an inattentive population, fool’s gold

America has been drifting toward fascism  for quite a while. It only came up on the political radar for most people when the government, acting on behalf of the corporatists, started pushing glittering fools-gold images of the benefits of “privatizing” (handing ownership and control to corporations) such successful American ventures as Social Security, Medicare, the Postal Service, national parks and public lands. etc.

Will we ever again be able to trust our election process?

There certainly would be benefits, but they would all accrue to the capitalists.

The effort was greatly aided by the Supreme Court ruling that unlimited political spending (Jimmy Carter called it legalized bribery) by corporations was protected free speech. The shift of Big Media away from its First Amendment underpinnings also helped the rise of fascism as a means of protecting its own corporate interests.

Since then the conversion of American democracy to fascism has been very successful and alarmingly swift. America is about to enter its fascist phase.


How the American election of 2016 may have been stolen

An extreme crisis

The enormity of this crisis cannot be overstated.

Trump, who lost the popular election by more than 2.2 million votes,  will control the White House, our vast military and intelligence agencies, the Justice Department, the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. The corporatists already own the Congress.

Add to these advantages a servile press and the demise of American democracy as we knew it seems all but inevitable.

If the fascist regime decides, years from now and for whatever reason, to stay in power, who will stand in the way? You do not need the 19th century German philosopher (and capitalist nemesis) Karl Marx to explain where this is likely to lead.

Suffice to say that once they are established, fascist regimes are never peacefully voted out. Do not delude yourself into thinking the wealthy and powerful will allow their privilege to be simply voted away.


Michael W.  Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media

Trust Trump? In one sense of the word, it may be possible, in a useful way

trust trump image of donald trump and a meter showing his dishonesty
Can Donald Trump be trusted? In one sense of the word, yes.

Trust Trump to be the shifty, immoral, unethical creature he has shown himself to be

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerMight there be a silver lining in the dark cloud that has enveloped America with the election of [I hesitate in disgust before I write the term] Donald Trump as president? Can we, at some level, trust Trump? It’s a long shot, and a tortured stretch of the language, but perhaps we can.

For more than a year, Donald Trump has consistently shown himself to be a boorish, selfish, narcissistic clod, and an ignoramus about anything not related to burnishing his brand or increasing his personal fortune. He has spoken the language fascism, bigotry, intolerance, misogyny, violence and hatred. He undoubtedly embodies all those things.  If he truly believes his words, we have much to be concerned about.


Was the outcome of Election 2016 rigged?

But remember that for much of his life, Trump identified as a Democrat. He is an actor who relishes ad-libbing his roles and exercising his unpredictability. He is also a pathological liar whose story sometimes changes in a matter of minutes, and whose word simply cannot be trusted. So who knows what lies beneath? How he will behave in the days ahead is anybody’s guess.

Trusted by no one

Trust is a big deal if we are to have a safe and functional world. More than half of Americans who bothered to vote do not trust him.

The corporatists and big banks and the economy in general don’t trust him – even though he is a fellow tax-evader and has already promised he will free them of most regulatory constraints.

Our military leadership does not trust the draft dodger. Our international allies accurately see him as reckless, and do not trust him.  His business partners never trusted him – except the naïve ones who learned their distrust the hard way.

Former Republican New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a real billionaire, derided Trump as a con artist. He said the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.

Donald Trump has no one’s trust. And he trusts no one.

If indeed there is a silver lining to be found, his utter lack of moral and ethical integrity may be it.

The Cult of Trump

A good many Trump supporters were enthralled by his enthusiastic willingness to viciously insult and disparage the objects of his scorn, including his political rivals. Anybody who stood in his way, who opposed him or was seen as even a minor impediment to his success was attacked, sometimes in a Twitter storm that might go on for days.


Trump is an equal-opportunity insulter

To offer anything but adulation was to risk being caught in the stink wind of his bellow. Not even Miss Universe escaped his fulminating wrath. The louder he roared, the louder his cult-like supporters cheered, and American ideals and values be damned. His confession that he is a serial sexual predator was no deal-breaker to them.

Why should the Republican Party leaders think it will be different for them?

A Faustian bargain

Now that the party controls all three branches of government, the GOP is giddy about enacting even the most extreme reaches of its agenda unimpeded. Like the legendary Faust, the Republican Party leadership eagerly sold its collective soul to the devil and quickly vowed to work “hand in hand” with Trump – cooperation denied President Obama for the past eight years.

But Trump has never worked hand in hand with anyone in the threescore and ten years of his life, except where he saw a direct benefit to himself. Now that he’s in the proverbial catbird seat, he isn’t likely to change that pattern.


Has the GOP made a deal with the antichrist?

That’s not to say he cannot be persuaded or manipulated; quite the contrary. The self-anointed Great Dealmaker’s weaknesses are ego and greed. Any decisions he is asked to make that will aggrandize or enrich him are likely to get his full attention. Conversely, decisions and actions, no matter how urgent, that imperil those two imperatives will be ignored.


Ego, tripped: How to use Trump’s personality disorder

Would we prefer a Supreme Court that is not rabidly conservative? Do we want better treatment for our military and veterans? Do we want Social Security to continue? Or Medicare or affordable health care? Or the Postal Service? Do we want to build roads and bridges instead of a border wall? Do we favor a rational American values response to climate change, or religious and sexual-identity tolerance?  Then we must cast these issues in terms of the values Donald Trump perceives and the language he speaks.

Dangerous days

Like Frankenstein’s monster let loose upon the land, Donald Trump will, from the outset, be dangerously out of control may end up destroying the village.


How to survive an autocrat

Taking the man at his word, the coming Trump administration, is likely to do great, even grievous damage to the America we have known all of our lives. We are not speaking figuratively here. He has in his hands the capability and the power of literally destroying the country, and us as well.


Trump campaigned against lobbyists. Now he’s hiring them

Trump, who brays about defending American workers while buying everything from steel girders to campaign hats from other countries, has amply demonstrated that he is no patriot. But there is evidence, however scant, that he is also no fool.

Can we trust Trump? Yes. We can trust him to remain consistently utterly unworthy of any foolish belief that he might actually ever keep his word or choose the common good of the nation over personal gain.

That knowledge is our only tool. It isn’t much to work with, but it seems to be all we have.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media

 

Stolen: How the outcome of Election 2016 may have been rigged

elecltion 2016 image of computer hacker
Did hackers manipulate the outcome of Election 2016? We may never know.

America’s lax attitude about the integrity of our voting process puts the legitimacy of Election 2016 in doubt

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerHow could so many high-quality polls have been so universally  wrong about the outcome of Election 2016? The losers always complain, but there is something suspicious about the shocking Election 2016 upset, something that feels stolen.

The experts would have you believe that rigging a national election in the U.S.A. is nigh unto impossible. States run the elections and there are thousands of polling places. Many use different methods of voting and have slightly different ballots. They correctly point out that manipulating votes in that many places is simply not possible without being detected.

But what if that were not necessary?

Few targets, big effects

To manipulate the outcome of a presidential election, you do not have to hack a wide variety of voting machines across the country. If the software in a few populous counties in a couple of key states could be compromised, the outcome of the election could be controlled.

 Is this even plausible? In fact, it is scarily easy to do. Stealthy software attacks like the Energetic Bear and the Stuxnet hacks show such sabotage can be quite effective and can go undetected indefinitely.


Trust Trump? How to exploit his weaknesses

There are any number of scenarios of how an attack on our voting process might be accomplished. Here is one:

The keys to Election 2016 were Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes and Florida with 29. The winner of the state takes all the electoral votes.

A handful of the most populous counties effectively determine the outcome of the election in those states: Philadelphia surrounding counties are the key to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, and Florida’s Gold Coast counties control that state’s electoral votes.

Both of those areas use the same sort of digital voting systems: direct-entry voting (DRE) without a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). With no paper trail, an accurate recount is impossible.

The equipment and the voting software used in those states are, for the most part, old and insecure.

An undetectable nudge

Let’s say a foreign government wanted to manipulate the outcome of Election 2016 to help their favorite candidate. They might do that by modifying the core vote tabulation software with some simple  coding that would continuously compare the vote totals of two candidates.

This could be accomplished by replacing the machines’ authentic source code, stored at a central location, with the malicious version. Nobody, even at the highest state level, might ever be aware of the sabotage.

The hacked software would faithfully record each vote – indicating the machine is working properly – but would tally those votes to slightly favor one candidate over another.

When the voting machines are updated, prior to being sealed and distributed to the polling places, they are prepared and calibrated with a brief test. The machine calibration process would not catch this cheating if the software did not begin skewing the votes until a larger number ballots were cast, or until the polls opened.

With the hack in place, no matter how many votes are cast (up to the number of registered voters), the favored candidate might always be, to choose a number, about one percent ahead of the rival candidate.

This is enough of a margin to assure victory, but it is probably not close enough to raise suspicion. Again, an accurate recount is impossible because there is no paper trail to compare.

Both Florida, Pennsylvania, and some others with similar voting schemes, provided surprise victories for Donald Trump. The margin of victory in each case was about one percent.

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing”

If investigators went to examine the software, they might find the malicious code had automatically deleted itself.

Russia was formally accused of actively interfering with Election 2016 – a bold intrusion tantamount to an act of war. This was a blockbuster charge. Yet we as a nation, caught in a historically divisive campaign, shrugged it off.

Remember it was Russian dictator (and Vladimir Putin idol) Josef Stalin who purportedly said “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”

Did intruders ultimately succeed in rigging the outcome of Election 2016? Because of our lax national attitude toward maintaining the integrity of our voting process, we may never know.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.

The scam that continues to drive Obamacare rates up

obamacare image of president pointing
Obamacare? Republicans still want to sabotage your ability to buy health insurance.

 

Scrapping the Affordable Care Act would return health insurance to the bad old days

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerThe annual Open Enrollment period has begun again as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) enters its fourth year. After all this time, thanks to lackluster explanations by its supporters and vigorous disinformation from the Republican-controlled Congress, it seems fewer people than ever actually understand the program. All they know is that rates are still going up, and they don’t like it.

To begin with, so-called “Obamacare” is not insurance. It is a marketplace where insurance is sold. Companies who set up stalls in that marketplace must all meet certain coverage requirements and they must sell to anyone, regardless of their current health status. You, the shopper, get to choose which plan you prefer.

Before the marketplace existed (just a few years ago) individuals found it all but impossible to buy health insurance at any price. If you had a pre-existing condition, or even if you were healthy but had a family history of, for example, cancer or heart disease, you were simply out of luck.

Premiums are free to soar

Controlling costs is not one of the ACA rules. The Republican-controlled Congress saw to that. They claimed competition alone would hold costs down. That has not worked out because, for a relatively small amount of money, young, healthy people can avoid buying insurance.

Health insurance is not about health care. It is a scheme to turn a profit by managing risk. It is a corporate bet that while some people will file claims, many others will not. If more people have insurance, the risk is spread around and the bet is likely to pay off.

Health insurance becomes a losing proposition for companies when only people likely to file claims have insurance. To maintain profitability (which is the sole reason corporations exist), insurance companies have no choice but to raise premiums.

The GOP has worked assiduously to undermine this insurance industry basic. They wanted to eliminate the coverage rules – which leveled the playing field and prevented insurance companies from using the fine print in their policies to deceive customers and deny coverage. They also wanted to make carrying insurance optional.

Together these acts of political vandalism would have destroyed the ACA. The Republicans took their recalcitrance all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – where they lost. But they have not given up.

After scores of failed votes to repeal the law, the GOP is still vowing to try and try again.

Bribe money trumps regulations

Why do Republicans hate allowing people the freedom to buy affordable quality health insurance? Follow the money.

Unlike in most of the rest of the world, health care in the United States is a huge for-profit industry. It is controlled by Big Medicine (hospitals, physicians and other providers), Big Pharma (the drug companies) and Big Insurance.

The companies are legally allowed to spend as much money as they wish to attempt to influence (or call it what it is, bribe) Congress and government regulators, at the expense of your interests.

Complain to your Republican congressional representative if it makes you feel better. But your opinion, quite frankly, doesn’t matter to them.

On the other hand, your vote still counts.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.

What campaign? It may have been all a market study for Trump TV

Trump TV Cartoon image of Donald Trump speaking with his fingers crossed.
Donald Trump duped the GOP into nominating him. Now he may be planning to outfox Fox News.

GOP was duped into providing a national platform for a seedy narcissist who never intended to win

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerTrump TV. Now it is clear what has been happening. There is no real Trump presidential campaign. If there ever was, it has become just a marketing test – an elaborate focus group, a research technique that tests reaction to a product, service or idea. The group participating in the test is the electorate of the United States of America.

Skeptics have long wondered how Donald Trump could possibly expect to win the presidency, given his relentless antagonism and broad-brush disrespect for so many people. It seemed his presidential campaign might be nothing more than a scam, an elaborate hoax, or an example of a vain egotist who grabbed the proverbial tiger by the tail and was afraid to let go.

Intentions in doubt

By September 2015 it had become evident that “presidential candidate” Trump really did not want the job. He was resolutely going out of his way to anger, insult or alienate as many people as possible, as if to assure defeat.

Some six months later, Stephanie Cegielski, a strategist for the Make America Great Again super PAC, quit her job and confirmed that Trump had originally embarked on his campaign as some sort of protest. Neither he nor his closest advisers ever seriously expected he would be the GOP nominee.

But things happened. Like some real-life Max Bialystock, the protagonist of the 1968 movie “The Producers” who tried desperately to produce a flop musical, only to be thwarted at every turn by success, every time Trump tried to go lower, his poll numbers went up.

The more scurrilous Trump was, the louder his audiences cheered. When, in a chilling echo of Berlin 1932, he exhorted them to violence, time and again they eagerly obliged.

A revelation

Trump at first seemed incredulous and amazed by the deep vein of supercilious chauvinism he had tapped into. His followers openly identified with a perniciously aggressive form of selfish, exaggerated nationalistic patriotism, and really did believe themselves to be superior to everyone else.

He recognized the opportunity. So began the Cult of Trump.

Trump subtly shifted from being a presidential candidate to being the smirking, strutting smartest-guy-in-the-room who deftly hijacked the GOP nomination and converted the bully pulpit to his own purposes.

In his private thoughts he realistically gave up seriously trying to win and began to probe the boundaries of acceptability – seeing how far his newfound base was willing to allow him to go in insulting anyone and everyone.

Player on the national stage
Composite image of Donald Trump and Roger Ailes.
Donald Trump and Roger Ailes.

Donald Trump has long fancied himself a player on the national political stage and has never been shy about seeking favors. But his flirtations with public office have always come to naught, owing mainly to his deeply flawed personality.

He will never see that, though. In the narcissistic Trump mind, the reason for his serial failures – political, financial and setbacks in other aspects of life – has always been that the system was rigged against him.

What the faltering casino magnate needed was his own system, one where the rules heavily favored the house, a system he could rig, control and manipulate. The opening he needed arrived with the abrupt and spectacular downfall of Fox News creator Roger Ailes.

Filling a void

Despite giving him more than a year of free publicity, the media (including sycophantic and increasingly wussy Fox) was never enough of a cheerleader.

With disarrayed Fox stumbling in the wake of the seismic shift that toppled the serial sexual predator Ailes, a window had opened; a partial political vacuum had been created that he might be able to fill. Trump TV would outfox Fox News!

Trump TV is born

Enter Trump TV – a television network that will have him calling the shots. As a former reality TV star, the tax-dodging, woman-abusing real estate mogul would finally have a reliably doting venue.

Trump cozied up to Ailes, who, for a time at least, happily came on board as a high-profile adviser. The once highly public Trump-Ailes bromance seems to have cooled somewhat. This is no great surprise considering that one of the strings on Ailes’ golden parachute, provided when Rupert Murdoch fired him, was a non-compete clause.  A discreetly lower profile might avoid legal problems down the road.

Trump has attracted a wealth of other talent to help form his TV alternative to Fox, and has not hesitated to incorporate them into his “campaign.”

His campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, is a ruthless political arsonist who recently led the attack-dog media outlet Breitbart.

Trump also has close relationships with a Star Wars Cantina assortment of like-minded talking-head conspiracy wackos – for example, Alex Jones (the government is controlling the weather), Rush Limbaugh (Al Qaeda gave up Bin Laden to make Obama look good), Roger Stone (the moon landings were faked) and Sean Hannity (Everything conspiracy theorists have said is true).

Trump cultists love this sort of thing; they eagerly lap it up. Throw in ginned-up outrage over whatever might be the cause of the day, rabid screeds about border walls, purple-veined defenses of the Second Amendment, images of fleets of black helicopters descending to invade Texas, Trumped-up beauty pageants, tales of sinister crop circles and some chupacabra sightings and you have reached a sizable audience of low-information and willingly ignorant folks who will be hanging on your every word.

Wearing out his welcome

Trump’s campaign-trail ranting finally reached the point of diminishing returns. While his base numbers held steady, the inflammatory rhetoric finally began to frighten mainstream America. Trump’s poll numbers plummeted, sending his candidacy into an unrecoverable graveyard spin.

By then it no longer mattered. His market research was complete. Donald Trump the braggart, race-baiter, bully, misogynist, bigot … you name it … now has a pretty good idea of what he can get away with and still maintain brand loyalty. He has accurately gauged the size, preferences and demographics of the target Trump TV audience.

Waters remain roiled

The decisive defeat of Donald Trump, historic and welcome as it may be, will not put an end to the sort of angry, deranged, uncivil politics that propelled him to notoriety. Far from it.

The momentum of his run (don’t call it failure because it seems to have been calculated to fail; indeed it may have been quite successful) may carry the politics of misogyny, suspicion, bigotry and hate to new high-profile and lucrative heights.

And the so-called mainstream media – the attention-driven lap dog corporate infotainment peddlers who perpetuated the phony political horse-race narrative as they sopped up audience shares and page views and advertising revenues by pandering  to Trump’s recklessness and fueling his rise, will happily continue to abet him.

Do not expect the Cult of Trump to fade from view anytime soon.


Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media

 

Can congressional term limits prevent future Trumps?

image of Donald Trump as Julius Caesar
History is littered with populist fear-mongers. Donald Trump is only the latest.

 

Entrenched politicians encourage unrest among voters and give rise to those who play on fears

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk header
Presidents are limited to two terms in office. There are no such term limits for Congress. If you would understand why a political situation exists or a problem persists, look at who profits from the status quo.

Populist demagogues – political leaders who seek power by playing on popular desires, prejudices and fears – have, over the history of the republic, caused plenty of mischief and led us to no few ill-considered decisions.

We have been persuaded to trade major freedoms for the illusion of security; we have been dragooned into wars that should never have been fought and avoided involvement in wars we should have entered far sooner. We have foolishly tinkered with social change that flew in the face of human nature (Prohibition comes to mind).

People (including Americans, believe it or not), are easily misled by bombastic politicians and bobble-head media who cheer them on. The spirit and tenor of the times – what the Germans call zeitgeist – has a lot to do with it.

A weakness of democracy

Democracy is prone to this sort of thing. John Adams, a founder of the nation and our second president, warned that the Constitution would protect American democracy only so long as its leaders followed a moral path that prized fairness and justice, and avoided greedy self-interest, insidious policy and a lust for power. He was not optimistic.

When war fever, expansionism, xenophobia (fear of foreigners) or indignation over social or economic change periodically engulf public opinion, rational thought goes out the proverbial window and demagogues find their opening.

If our democracy is ailing, national political figures like Donald Trump are an opportunistic infection. In Trump’s case, his popularity is a reaction, a product of a widespread and understandable, if misguided, national dissatisfaction over deliberately obstructionist political dead wood and corruption-tainted business as usual  – a set of circumstances that has been left unattended for far too long.

Popular,  dangerous … and false

Writing in the National Review (uber conservative Bill Buckley’s old outfit), correspondent Kevin D. Williamson reduces the dangerous false-flag conservatism projected by Donald Trump.

“[He] rejects conservatism. He rejects free trade. He rejects property rights. He rejects the rule of law. He rejects limited government. … He meditates merrily upon the uses of political violence and riots, and dreams of shutting down newspapers critical of him. He isn’t a conservative of any stripe, and it is an outright lie to present him as anything other than what he is.”

Swaying an inflamed public

The appeal to popular illogic is nothing new.

For example, in 1897, famed artist Frederic Remington asked his boss, William Randolph Hearst, for permission to come home from Cuba after the battleship Maine blew up in Havana harbor. “Everything quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return.” In response to Remington’s message, Hearst, a war hawk and master manipulator of public opinion, reportedly replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

(Here I digress: The poorly designed Maine blew up because its coal bunker caught fire and set off the ordnance in an adjoining locker. Spanish saboteurs had nothing to do with it. But with Hearst and his ilk pounding the war drums, the Spanish-American War soon resulted)

(Another digression on the Spanish-American War: How deeply and easily people can be caught up in the fevered passions of the moment is illustrated by Gen. Joseph Wheeler, one of four former Confederate generals who served in that war. Wheeler seemed to still be fighting the last war when, during the Battle of Las Guasimas – a patch of jungle outside Santiago, Cuba, which was said to be in the process of being abandoned by the Spanish – the old general supposedly called out “Let’s go, boys! We’ve got the damn Yankees on the run again!”)

Fast-forward to 1947: Republicans, having seized the levers of power despite having triggered the Great Depression, and having prolonged it by unanimously opposing recovery efforts (sound familiar?); and having delayed our entry into World War II long enough for Hitler and the Nazis to become established, were determined to never be humiliated by another Roosevelt, who had proved unbeatable at the polls. So they whipped up fervor over the imagined power of an “imperial” presidency and rammed the 22nd Amendment through.

The amendment was ratified in 1951 and the GOP immediately regretted it when the immensely popular Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected as the next president. There was similar gnashing of GOP teeth when Ronald Reagan ascended.

Change is not always for the better

The American revolution notwithstanding, when the governed grow restless with those who govern, good things do not always follow. People are apt to embrace a leader who promises to “shake things up” – and the eventual cost to the nation be damned. History is littered with precedents.

Philip Freeman, writing in Time, observed that “Julius Caesar was a charismatic and unconventional politician who knew what the masses wanted to hear. He used his immense wealth to fight his way to the highest ranks of political power. The old guard politicians of Rome were horrified at his rise and did everything they could to stop him, but nothing worked. The more the establishment spoke against him, the more the common people loved him.”

Caesar managed to seize power and quickly dismantled the centuries-old democracy of Rome. Five years later, with elections effectively gone, it was left to assassins to remove the run-amok Caesar from power. By then Roman democracy was already dead.

America now finds itself ruled by a coterie of self-interested and self-perpetuating politicians operating in a political climate where representative government has been replaced by an oligarchy, a small ruling class fueled by systematic bribery.

Our political system has proven dismayingly easy to corrupt with political machinations and Big Money – a situation that has only grown an order of magnitude worse in recent years.

Term limits as a bulwark against voter unrest

Amending  the Constitution to limit the number of terms – or at least consecutive terms – a person may serve in Congress will not change human nature, but it might prove an effective levee against the pernicious influence of money and power flowing unchecked and disruptive across the lives of the many from the wealthy and well-connected few.

Don’t we already have effective term limits – in the form of elections? Not so long as those in power control the process. It is the political elites who decide who the candidates will be (voters get to choose only from the list of those presented) and, through gerrymandering, they decide who will, or will not, vote for those candidates.

Williamson again: “As difficult as it is to imagine Donald Trump taking the presidential oath of office, it is much more difficult to imagine him taking it seriously, or indeed to imagine that there exists anything that is to him a ‘sacred obligation.’”

Williamson could have been speaking about any of the ruling class that has abetted the mindset and rise of Trumpian politics.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that the wealthy and powerful will quietly allow their wealth and power to simply be voted away.  The American Experiment is an expensive nuisance to them, an impediment to their goals and ambitions. Do not expect support from the so-called “One-Percent.” They know they would do well, perhaps even better, under an openly fascist or autocratic form of government.

A long and difficult struggle

So accomplishing an effective term limits amendment will be much more easily said than done, for it will be left to the political class to vote an end to their lucrative sinecures.

Late in his life, John Adams wearily wondered  …”When will mankind listen to reason, to nature or to revelation?” History seems to suggest that, so long as mankind manages to exist, probably never.

Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.