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Hometown: Green Mountains
Home country: US
Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM
Number of posts: 9,958

Journal Archives

"I voted for Trump"

Tom Evslin: I voted for Trump


This commentary is by Tom Evslin, an entrepreneur, author and former Douglas (Vermont governor) administration official. This post first appeared on his blog, Fractals of Change.

Didn’t want it to be that way. During the primary season Mary and I and some friends wrote and paid to run full-page anti-Trump local ads on the day of his campaign stop in Vermont. We criticized his protectionism, misogyny, apparent racism, praise for Putin, and his practice of leaving investors and suppliers clutching the empty cloak of bankruptcy while he slipped profitably off into the night.

We were astonished as it became apparent that he really could and then did win the primary. We were equally surprised at Bernie’s strength in the other primary. Like many members of the establishment, we underestimated and under-respected the rage of people who are suffering from miserable schools, stimulus programs aimed at saving bankers, and – from their point of view – diminishing opportunity.

But he did win his primary and Hillary won hers. Now what to do? At first I thought I’d vote for Hillary; I would’ve voted for her over Obama if I’d voted in a Democratic primary; I’m not constrained by party loyalty. I admire assertive people, including women. But Bernie sucked her further and further to the left on one issue after another. She radiated insincerity. The day I decided I couldn’t vote for her was the day a reporter asked if she’d wiped her email server. “You mean with a dishrag?” she smirked. The intentionally ditsy reply was an insult to women. The smirk was more than I could stomach. It seemed to cover everything from Whitewater to the Clinton Foundation to the fortunes Bill Clinton got for speaking in Russia while the sale of American uranium assets to Russia was in the hands of Hillary’s State Department. Throw in Benghazi, too.

I looked at the platform of the Libertarians. Too naively pacificistic for a dangerous world.

I thought about not voting for president. Mary convinced me that was a cop-out, not that my vote in Vermont was going to make a difference. I filed an absentee ballot, hesitated but voted for Trump, and headed to Houston on business. Didn’t think he had a chance. The rest, of course, is history.

Why am I writing this now? Because a very intelligent and principled friend said, “No use arguing with Trump voters; they’ll never change their minds about their man.” That made me realize that many intelligent and principled people are making the intellectual and political mistake of assuming that the 63 million Americans who voted for Trump are a mindless monolith. Certainly some supported Trump from the beginning. Some are racists and white supremacists. Others were Sanders supporters appalled at the treatment their candidate got from the Democratic establishment or just angry at the establishment in general. Most Republicans had originally supported some other candidate in the primaries until Trump wore them all out. I think many people were like me; they chose what they perceived to be the lesser of two evils. Except for Trump, Clinton had the highest negatives of any major party presidential candidate in modern polling history. Trump wouldn’t like this theory, but I’m not sure he could’ve beat anybody (well, almost anybody) else.

That brings us to the next election. Suppose you want Trump outta there. I agree – and I promise you many Trump voters agree – we should do better than a petulant bully with a Twitter addiction. But, if you want Trump out, just attacking him won’t do it. Didn’t work for me or others. There needs to be a credible alternative. The ballot is set up to vote for somebody. Whom do you think should be the candidate? Whom are you working for? What are you doing to assure that the many legitimate grievances that became Sanders and Trump votes get the attention they deserve? How are you helping the establishment reform and regain the credibility it has squandered?

In the May 29 New York Times Thomas Friedman sounds a code red urging all and sundry to vote for any Democrat they can find to check Trump in Congress. That may happen; Obama had a disastrous midterm but still go re-elected two years later. Voting by party label is hardly a good idea in any circumstance.

But far down in the article https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/opinion/midterms-trump-democrats.html Friedman makes much more sense:

“… Democrats can’t count on winning by just showing up. They still have to connect with some centrist and conservative voters — and that means understanding that some things are true even if Trump believes them: We do have a trade issue with China that needs addressing; we cannot accept every immigrant, because so many people today want to escape the world of disorder into our world of order; people want a president who is going to grow the pie, not just redivide it; political correctness on some college campuses is out of control; people want to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country in an age where globalization can wash out those identities.”

I’d add to the list that the Iran agreement was bad for America and that China needed to be threatened with the trade weapon to get it to pressure North Korea.

I’m not sorry The Donald is president instead of Hillary; I would like to see us do better. I’ll change my vote once I have an alternative.

Trump's Appointees Pledged Not to Lobby After They Leave. Now They're Lobbying.

Source: ProPublica

Despite agreeing to five-year bans, at least six former administration officials are registered lobbyists and others are doing similar work without registering.

Lobbyists who joined the Trump administration and now want to return to their old trade have a problem: President Trump said they can’t.

Days after taking office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring every political appointee to sign a pledge as a condition of taking office. The appointees agreed not to lobby the agencies they had worked in for five years after they left government service. Nor would they lobby anyone in the White House or political appointees across federal agencies for the duration of the Trump administration.

But never doubt the ingenuity of the Washington swamp class. At least eight former Trump officials have found ways around the so-called ethics pledge.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-appointees-pledged-not-to-lobby-after-they-leave-now-lobbying

Slippery slope into the slimy swamp.

Parkland students criticise NRA for gun ban at Pence event

Source: BBC

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has drawn the ire of gun-control advocates over a weapons ban at a forum attended by Vice-President Mike Pence.

Survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting have criticised the powerful gun lobby for the weapons ban, saying schools deserve the same.

The NRA has long been against gun restrictions of any kind, but cites Mr Pence's safety for the weapons ban.

Mr Pence will speak at the NRA's annual meeting in Dallas, Texas on Friday.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43952652

Typical hypocrisy by the supporters of mass murderers:
"Due to the attendance of the Vice-President of the United States, the US Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum," the NRA said in a blog post about the event.

"As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance."

Four key dates that shaped the US gun debate
America's gun culture in 10 charts
Why is US gun lobby NRA so controversial?
While the NRA said the policy was due to US Secret Service protocol, survivors of the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in February called out what they said was hypocrisy.

Syria 'chemical attack': Russia and US in fierce row at UN

Source: BBC

The US and Russia have traded barbs at a UN Security Council meeting on the alleged chemical attack in Syria.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said the incident in Douma was staged and that US military action in response could have "grave repercussions".

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Russia had the "blood of Syrian children" on its hands.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43706579

It's unfortunate that we have had to mistrust our own government as much as the other evil empires.

I trust our professionals who have worked hard to make this country work. I totally distrust the carpetbaggers that were installed in last election.

Is it just me, or does anyone else object to calling the country of the USofA - America?

Even in the days when I could feel proud about being an "American" (post WW-II), I felt that it was not sufficiently descriptive and also seemed to include other parts of this continent who didn't want to be lumped in with the US.

Many US residents (maybe USrs - not to be confused with USSrs) seem to think that they speak for the two large continents joined by a fantastically varied isthmus of cultures. I think it is only USRs that call themselves "American". Geologists and historians probably also refer to this group as "The Americas".

So, if I were a Canadian, or a Mexican, Nicaraguan, Ecuadoran, whatever - would I want to be lumped into the crap that is happening in the USofA through the use of a common label: American?

I propose we don't voluntarily use the term "American" unless we are talking about the two continents in some logical fashion. I also ask that y'all propose a better terminology.

Next time you travel to "Olde" Europe or China or Mozambique - when they ask you what country are you from - do you answer America?

Research Misconduct Allegations Shadow New CDC Head

Source: Medscape - Kaiser Health News

The Trump administration yesterday announced that HIV expert Dr. Robert Redfield will lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignoring complaints that his work on high-profile vaccine research more than 20 years ago was flawed.

The Army in 1994 acknowledged accuracy issues with HIV vaccine clinical trials led by Redfield, but concluded at the time that the data errors did not constitute misconduct.

In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar emphasized Redfield's care of HIV/AIDS patients and his work as a researcher, which included the controversial research.

Yet one of the whistleblowers who first raised the matter to the Army told Kaiser Health News this week that he remains so troubled about Redfield's handling of the vaccine research that he has decided to speak out publicly.

Redfield was principal investigator over clinical trials of a treatment vaccine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The research was conducted at a time when there was intense pressure to come up with a treatment for HIV/AIDS, which often killed patients within a matter of months.

"Either he was egregiously sloppy with data or it was fabricated," said former Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hendrix, a doctor who is now director of the division of clinical pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It was somewhere on that spectrum, both of which were serious and raised questions about his trustworthiness."

In a letter to Trump this week, Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the health committee, cited the research controversy as an example of a "pattern of ethically and morally questionable behavior" by Redfield that should prompt the president to reconsider the appointment.

Redfield's appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, was leaked to the news media over the weekend. Redfield did not respond to questions.

Redfield, who denied any scientific misconduct at the time, is now an HIV/AIDS expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has been praised by his supporters for his care of patients. He oversees a clinical program that treats 6,000 patients in the Baltimore-Washington area, according to an online bio.

But Redfield's critics said the appointment demonstrates that the Trump administration is not vetting appointees thoroughly. The first CDC head, Brenda Fitzgerald, stepped down in January after a controversy over her purchase of tobacco stocks, and former HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned late last year amid criticism over his use of government and private planes for official travel.

Read more: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/894351

Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors

Source: US-CERT: US Computer Emergency Readiness Team

This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides information on Russian government actions targeting U.S. Government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. It also contains indicators of compromise (IOCs) and technical details on the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by Russian government cyber actors on compromised victim networks. DHS and FBI produced this alert to educate network defenders to enhance their ability to identify and reduce exposure to malicious activity.

DHS and FBI characterize this activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors who targeted small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks. After obtaining access, the Russian government cyber actors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems (ICS).

Read more: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA18-074A

This is more serious than anything I've seen before - with many years in US gov't and private industry security.

Get prepared!

The price of a childs life


They came with the usual predictability, facing the bright lights and cameras, offering the familiar prayers and condolences that have become the air kisses of carnage. They encouraged us to keep the victims in our own prayers, offering sanctimonious platitudes for young lives cut short and how it would dishonor those who died to have crass, political conversations right now. There would be time for that later.

Of course there will never be an appropriate time to have a discussion about school shootings in the United States. Not because it dishonors anyone, but because the frequency of school shootings overlaps with the proscribed wait time to respond. You see, there’s always a school shooting to avoid addressing. They’ve become as reliable as Republicans circling the wagons to protect the National Rifle Association from being victimized by public opinion after another bloody masterpiece.


Every single parasite, every Republican co-conspirator who marched lockstep onto a podium, delivering mea culpas for their masters since the school shooting in Florida last week was purchased, like something from the back page of a cheap tabloid to sell out their constituents back home; to make excuses for murdered children; and to provide cover for the treacherous NRA.


A classroom full of dead kids shouldn’t be the price of freedom. To suggest otherwise takes us closer to a national insanity from which we may never recover.

Trump security team sees building U.S. 5G network as option

Source: Reuters

resident Donald Trump’s national security team is looking at options to counter the threat of China spying on U.S. phone calls that include the government building a super-fast 5G wireless network, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

The official, confirming the gist of a report from Axios.com, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself.

The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China’s threat to U.S. cyber security and economic security.

The Trump administration has taken a harder line on policies initiated by predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-5g/trump-security-team-sees-building-u-s-5g-network-as-option-idUSKBN1FH103

And of course a "nationalized" 5G network would be subject to the Nationalized Security Apparatus which will make sure that all US residents will have access to only The Best News about their Feckless Leader!

Stephen Colbert sells out to Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop

Not sure if this should be in this forum or elsewhere. I enjoy Colbert but I also know about "alternative" medicine (and facts.) She's been promoting an incredible set of cures that all seem to be money-makers.


I’ve been a fan of Stephen Colbert for a long time, ever since his days on The Daily Show and continuing through his years doing The Colbert Report. One reason is that his comedy is, in general, the sort that skeptics appreciate. For example, his recurring “The Wørd” segment on The Colbert Report, for instance, brilliantly deconstructed the deceptive ways that politicians and others use language. Then, he coined the term “truthiness,” which describes the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. Then, of course, there’s his regular segment, which debuted in 2015, on The Tonight Show With Stephen Colbert mocking the expensive quackery and nonsense that Gwyneth Paltrow sells through her Goop lifestyle brand. In it, Colbert touts his own lifestylbrand, Covetton House.

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