Trump’s Attack on the Census

Statistical analysis–MATH–is under attack today. Not content to only deny science, Trump has shown his disdain for the purest form of logic. The U.S. Census is the beginning of a great highway of information. Federal data is the fuel that goes into the gas tank and data and math are its main ingredients.

CRUNCHING DATA

Government agencies continually analyze the population and distribution of individuals across our country to make policy that works for the American public. Mathematicians crunch numbers for the Departments of Justice, Labor, Transportation, Energy, Agriculture, Education, Health, and Consumer Protection.

Under the GOP’s FY2017 budget, math does not appear to be a random sacrifice. Denying funds for statistics is every bit as nefarious as hiding the truth. Alternate facts are so much easier to promote. Trump’s proposed FY2018 budget denies even more.

FUELING UP

After each government agency publishes its data, the vehicles can then fuel up. With their tanks full, the public sector can begin to design, evaluate and improve policies on local, national and international scales. Public corporations and investors rely on this data to make decisions about housing, health, education, transportation, and economic development, among other things.

Such policies help businesses and investors support programs that improve all our lives.

DRIVING DECISIONS

The Association of Public Data Users is a coalition of statisticians, including corporations, investors, academicians and individuals. They are the drivers of our economic engines. These drivers–our public number crunchers–have been denied the best fuel.

In a letter to members of the powerful appropriations committees, Ken Poole, Executive Director of APDU, explains how math is important.


    “Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely and accessible. America’s families, firms and policymakers are able to make informed decisions because they have open access to this unbiased high-quality information.”

Poole points to two entities that take advantage of the federal data.


    “FedEx depends on timely and consistent data from across government agencies,” Tim Mullaly, Chief Economist, FedEx.

    “The Greater Houston Partnership relies heavily on Federal data to support our mission of making the region “a better place to live, work and build a business,” Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President, Research and Regional Economist.

HELPING EMPLOYERS

“Federal data,” says Poole, “enable the private sector by helping employers.” This data informs decisions on worker education, location of workers, prevailing wages, and the projection of future worker needs.

APDU’s “Friends of BLS*” combine their own big-data with the raw and statistically analyzed Federal information to help corporations make business decisions that drive profits. (*Bureau of Labor Statistics)

All of this is under siege from the Trump administration’s myopic “starve the beast” mentality. The number crunchers are getting cut.

THE “RAMP-UP” TO “HIGH-RISK”

The U.S. Census normally occurs in a process that “ramps up” at least three years before the decennial. Partisan gridlock began affecting U.S. Census funding under Obama. Now, the Government Accountability Office has labeled the 2020 Census a “high risk” program.

Contributing to the high risk status is Trump’s hard line on immigration. ICE Agents are deporting people with traffic tickets and waiting outside courthouses to cuff immigrant victims of domestic violence. Jeff Sessions revival of the failed “War on Drugs” continues to target minority groups disproportionately. The fear instilled in our nation’s minority and immigrant communities threatens to cripple Census efforts.

Additionally, Americans may be asked to respond to an online Census survey due to be launched in FY2018. Where an underfunded government agency is forced to provide cheaper internet-based solutions, these users may become targets of hackers. When the poor, immigrants, minorities and others fearful of government authorities fail to fill out the online forms, few Census workers will be trained to knock on doors.

TO TARNISH AND FOUL IS FOOLISH

The U.S. Census, with its Constitutional directive to count every person in the United States, is under attack.

Apportionment, redistricting, voting rights and civil rights–all primary objectives of a successful Census–underpin economic prosperity and the road to a politically stable future.

If Trump fails to get an accurate Census in 2020, he will tarnish the premier value of the U.S. Democratic Census and foul the tank of Census data for a decade.

“‘That’s the gold standard,’ said Ken Fears, an economist at the National Association of Realtors, which produces a monthly housing report that uses census data for its baseline. ‘If the gold standard becomes silver, you have a problem.'”

RESIST!

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LINKS TO SOURCES
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20130328 Washington Post 2020 Census will be done by Internet
20170409 Politico Trump’s Threat to the 2020 Census
20170316 APDU President’s Budget Overview for Public Data
20170208 APDU Help Support Federal Data (Ken Poole’s letter), and
Wikipedia: United States Census
20170508 Census Attack
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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Legal Discrimination and Retirement Crisis

Two simple letters to Congress. Cut and paste.

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Honorable Senator Schatz:
Honorable Senator Hirono:
Honorable Representative Hanabusa:

I OPPOSE TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER WEAKENING THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT.

“Religious Freedom” is a GOP code word for legal discrimination.

We must RESIST!

YOUR NAME
YOUR HOME TOWN, HI

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Honorable Senator Schatz:
Honorable Senator Hirono:
Honorable Representative Hanabusa:

I OPPOSE HJ RES 66 KILLIING STATE RUN RETIREMENT PLANS.

Another example of a GOP Congress refusing to acknowledge real-world problems. There is a retirement crisis.

We must RESIST!

YOUR NAME
YOUR HOME TOWN, HI

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Useful Links:

Senator Schatz:
Senator Hirono:
Representative Hanabusa:
House Joint Resolution 66

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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TheBus Fare Going UP, Again

RE: I OPPOSE C&C Bill 28(2017) Relating to Public Transit

Councilmember ___________________: (Find your C&C Council Member)

I OPPOSE BILL28’s INCREASE TO THEBUS FARES.

In a civil society, Public Transportation is a service that should provide superior economic, environmental and social benefits to the people who live and work in that society.

SB28’s intent to raise transportation fares on TheBus and the Handi-Van goes against the premise of a civil society. The increase in fares is very much like a regressive tax upon the poorest people who live and work here in Hawaii.

With 2015-2016 annual ridership at over 69 million and an FY2016 annual budget of $245.5 million, the single fare price proposed of $3.50 in July 2020 will nearly fully pay for the average cost of a ride.

For many low-income Oahu residents, the current $2.50 fare is already a deterrent to getting out of the house. With a round trip cost of $5.00, it’s easier–and cheaper–to get in one’s car.

Meanwhile, 780,000 vehicles travel Oahu roads everyday, predictably creating gridlock and traffic jams even when traffic is running smoothly. For an average passenger car weighing in at 2,600lbs, the per pound, registration, taxes and other fees add up to a mere $137 per year.

Instead of an increase in fares on the lowest income people, this council could create a dedicated Public Transportation Fund and charge vehicle owners a dedicated tax of $2.00 per year to help subsidize TheBus.

Such a fee could be increased over the course of 5 years to $10 per vehicle registration.

A well designed Public Transportation Fee would be a predictable source of income to offset the $160 million subsidy for TheBus coming out of the General Fund.

TheBus ridership helps us all achieve transportation freedom. Bill 28 takes away that freedom from many of us who depend on TheBus to get around.

I strongly oppose Bill28(2017) and you should, too.

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Please end each correspondence with your name and your voting area, for example:
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John Smith
Downtown, Oahu

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Say NO to the Border Wall

For Residents of the State of Hawaii:

Please address your letter appropriately, for example:

Honorable Representative Hanabusa
https://hanabusa.house.gov/, then click “Contact.”

Honorable Representative Gabbard
https://gabbard.house.gov/, then click “Connect.”
Email: TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov

Honorable Senator Schatz
https://www.schatz.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.”

Honorable Senator Hirono
https://www.hirono.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.”

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Fill in all required information. Name, Address, Phone, Topic, etc.
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THEN ENTER THE TEXT BELOW
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I OPPOSE A BORDER WALL.

Donald Trump is playing chicken with the American people. We need to tell him that promoting a border wall is gonna get him a wall of opposition.

A Border Wall is a crazy, wasteful, immature and demented answer to an issue as American as Apple Pie. My immigrant grandparents would have been deported at Ellis Island under Trump’s thoughtless regime.

Trump is creating problems by arresting innocent immigrants, forcing police officers to capitulate to militant ICE forces and frightening hard working people who are here only to try to make their lives better.

A border wall would be ridiculously expensive and bankrupt the Coast Guard which is actually doing a far better job of protecting our borders than any wall could.

A border wall would be the next target for terrorists.

A border wall sends the message that America is a prison state.

A border wall is a racist attack on all the positive work Obama did for humanity while President.

It’s not Democratic. It’s not Republican. It’s not American.

There are hundreds of reasons to OPPOSE A BORDER WALL.

But most of all, a border wall is just plain STUPID.

NEVER, EVER GIVE IN TO A BORDER WALL.

Thank you.

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Please end each correspondence with your name and your voting area, for example:
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John Smith
Downtown, Oahu

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LINKS TO INFORM: Don’t include these links with your text.
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To read more about how Trump’s immigration policy is affecting life in America, click below.
Or, just Google Trump and Immigration.

Trump Pressures Democrats on Obamacare to Get Border Wall Deal

Trump targets visas program for highly skilled workers

Trump’s new rules could swamp immigration courts

‘My entire life hangs here:’ N.C. DACA student might face deportation

Deported ‘Dreamer’ Sues Trump Administration for Answers

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Protect Dodd-Frank

Please address your letter appropriately, for example:
Honorable Senator Schatz,
Honorable Representative Hanabusa, etc.

Please end each correspondence with your name and your voting area, for example:
John Smith
Downtown, Oahu

TOPIC: Finance and Banking

Representative Hanabusa
https://hanabusa.house.gov/, then click “Contact.”

Representative Gabbard
https://gabbard.house.gov/, then click “Connect.”
Email: TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov

Senator Schatz
https://www.schatz.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.”

Senator Hirono
https://www.hirono.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.”

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I OPPOSE Hensarling’s FINANCIAL CHOICE ACT.

Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) reintroduced legislation to repeal Dodd-Frank reforms. Those reforms are keeping the banking industry from peddling specious products and engaging in deceptive practices that could lead us into another 2008 world-wide meltdown. Last year’s failed version of this bill was H.R.5983 (114th Congress 2015-2016).

At the same time, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman, Stanley Fisher, is warning Congress that rolling back “bank regulations could pose a serious threat to the financial system.”

Many in the GOP seem to have forgotten the millions of people who lost their homes. They have forgotten Obama’s anti-recession, economic stimulus that saved our country from free-falling into a world-wide economic depression. I have not forgotten the financial crisis that cost me and millions of other our jobs.

Hensarling would undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), neutering a government agency that has been a powerful force for the good of all consumers. The Choice Act would let the President fire the CFPB head at will and would turn the agency from a defender of consumer rights into another political punching bag.

With Trump’s regulation-less society, Hensarling is envisioning a world in which banks will have free reign to abuse customer deposits, engage in shadow banking and bring us all to the brink one more time.

The American Bankers Association loves this bill. The Choice Act provides bankers relief from dozens of Dodd-Frank safeguards to protect mortgages, small businesses, and depositors of every stripe.

The Choice Act protects the people who protect our money from accountability to us.

Dodd-Frank can and should be improved. But, in the same way the AHCA put our health at risk, the Choice Act is another “Repeal and Replace” that will put all Americans at greater financial risk.

Please OPPOSE the FINANCIAL CHOICE ACT and urge other members of Congress to do the same.

Thank you.

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Links to inform:

Get ready: Congress fires up Dodd-Frank, CFPB overhaul

Financial Choice Act Hearing Date Is Set

Hensarling’s Choice Act Includes Key ABA Priorities

SUMMARY OF KEY PROVISIONS OF THE FINANCIAL CHOICE ACT

H.R.5983 – 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Fed’s Fisher Warns Trump’s Bank Reform Changes Could Be Dangerous

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© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Meet Mick Mulvaney

In a solid block, 51 Republican members of the U.S. Senate confirmed John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney on February 16, 2017 as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget of the United States of America. (Thank you, John McCain (R-AZ) for standing with humankind.) This same office is responsible for paying all U.S. Federal employees and contractors. It administers the “Federal budget and oversees the performance of Federal agencies.”

Not like any of the Irishmen I know.

As a State Senator in South Carolina, Mulvaney introduced the “Woman’s Ultrasound Right to Know Act.” The bill was widely panned for, according to the Hasting Center, its unethical demand to legally require a physician to force a patient to view an ultrasound of a fetus before getting an abortion.

Mulvaney’s Wikipedia page highlights his 2010 rise to the US House GOP with a taxpayer funded real estate development that he quickly turned around for a $7 million profit. He received dark money from “the Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity,” a 501(c) organization with no known donors, violations of federal campaign laws and disclosure of false information to the IRS. He advanced cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies that permit individuals and corporations to hide and launder money using currency such as Bitcoin.

We know that a man like this didn’t simply oppose the Affordable Care Act; he loathed it, like many of his fellow “Just Say No” Republicans. He was an advocate of government shutdown during the Obama years because–in his twisted logic–funding the government is “about trafficking in pieces of dead children“. He advocated for legislation to update federal regulations that would have been “used to block policy measures protecting public health and the environment.”

In negotiations for a bipartisan budget for 2014, Mulvaney opposed the measure because it did not gut spending enough to be acceptable to fiscally conservative ideologues. That’s like a vampire who can’t get enough blood without killing his victim.

Forget fake news. Mulvaney introduced fake budgets in 2012, 2013 and 2014; strategically failing each time. The “alternative Obama-budgets” were a series of “political stunts” designed to put Democrats on record rejecting Obama’s real budget. These fake budgets were filled with poison pills, like cutting food stamps, cutting funding for planned parenthood and decreasing taxes on the wealthy. These fake budgets were a small part of GOP obstructionism that was driven by racially motivated overtones of birtherism and falsely calling Obama a Muslim; clarion calls feeding the rise of fake news and anticipating Trump’s most deplorable base. Anything to make Obama fail.

Mulvaney supported Tea Party politician, Rand Paul for President in 2016, an outspoken opponent of Trumpcare because it did not take away enough from the poor and give back enough to the rich.

In short, Mulvaney is a “starve the beast,” hard-line, right-wing Republican who never had to govern. You may not want to call him a racist, an ignoramus, a science denier, and a complete idiot, but I will.

And now he controls the Federal Budget

Watching him defend Trump’s budget, Mulvaney has completely outed himself–not as a human being, but as a sycophant, toady, and lickspittle surviving by feeding on the carcasses of old people and young children who fall down wells. By arguing with reporters that Meals on Wheels and after school programs are “unfair to taxpayers if such programs don’t show hard results he has shown the depravity he wears on his sleeve. “[W]e’re not going to spend on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.” Clearly, Mulvaney does not understand the word “results” or “deliver.”

Mulvaney is Irish like Wormtongue is a human

Eowyn: Leave me alone, snake!

Wormtongue: Oh, but you are alone. Who knows what you have spoken to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in? So fair, yet so cold like a morning of pale Spring still clinging to Winter’s chill.

Mick Mulvaney: The Creepiest Trump Appointee

RESIST!

© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Three Letters

Three Letters

Please address each letter appropriately, for example:
Honorable Senator Schatz,
Honorable Representative Hanabusa, etc.

Please end each correspondence with your name and your voting area, for example:
John Smith
Downtown, Oahu

Representative Hanabusa
https://hanabusa.house.gov/, then click “Contact.”
Issue of Concern: Foreign Relations, Environment, Immigration

Representative Gabbard
https://gabbard.house.gov/, then click “Connect.”
Email: TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov
Topics: Intelligence, Environment, Immigration

Senator Schatz
https://www.schatz.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.” Topics: Intelligence, Environment, Immigration

Senator Hirono
https://www.hirono.senate.gov/, then click “Contact.”
Topics: Foreign Affairs, Energy and Climate, Immigration

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SUBJECT (if required) SUPPORT Trump-Russia Independent Investigation

I SUPPORT an INDEPENDENT COMMISSION to investigate the Trump administration’s connections to Russia and its influence on our Democracy.

* David Nunes must recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. From his late night jaunts to the White House to his cancellation of Yates testimony, he is not conducting the Russia investigation in a non-partisan manner. Nunes-Trump loyalty proves that he is unable to conduct an independent investigation. Nunes is an embarrassment to the Congressional office he holds and he must go.

* Sally Yates must be permitted to testify. The White House is hiding something. They must allow Yates to testify freely and openly.

* Trump is in deep with the Russians. With his tweets calling the investigation a “hoax” and attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton, it appears more now than ever, that he is panicking over something that he needs to keep from the American public.

* Trump’s entire inner circle at the White House is deeply implicated in Russian business deals that make it impossible for Trump to run the United States Government unless and until the truth comes out.

Please urge Congress to create an independent commission to investigate the Trump-Russia connections.

Thank you.

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SUBJECT (if required) SUPPORT Obama-Era Climate Change Rules

I SUPPORT NEW LAWS FOR OBAMA-ERA CLIMATE CHANGE RULES.

* Former President Barack Obama wisely enacted a series of regulations to create clean technology jobs, to protect our climate and our future.

* Obama identified climate change as a national security issue, ordered agencies to reduce fossil fuel use, directed agencies to prepare for the effects of climate change, limited carbon and methane emissions from currently operating power plants, implemented a moratorium on coal mining on federal and tribal lands, tightened standards on fracking and restricted mountaintop mining affecting water quality and destroying pristine wilderness for profits.

* Obama did all this through the extreme vetting of the U.S. Government Rule Making process.

* Trump’s executive actions dismantle Obama-era climate change regulations without concern for people, for our land, for our nation or for our world. Trump places the future of our planet at risk from the bottom of our oceans to the farthest reaches of space. Trump’s actions create a risk to national and global security. Trump’s actions threaten green jobs. Trump’s actions are so short-sighted they threaten the future of science and technology.

* Climate change is not a partisan issue. Science is not democratic or republican. To save our planet, we need laws that support Obama-Era Climate Change Rules.

Please urge Congress to MAKE SCIENCE A POLICY and to pass laws reflecting Obama-Era Climate Change Rules.

Thank you.

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SUBJECT (if required) SUPPORT Censure Sessions for Sanctuaries Policy

SESSIONS SHOULD BE CENSURED FOR HIS SANCTUARIES POLICY

* Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threats against sanctuary cities are based on the false premise that “dangerous criminals” are wreaking havoc throughout the land.

* Instead, the people being deported are children, mothers, fathers, business owners, taxpayers and honest hard working people who just need a path to citizenship.

* Sanctuaries cities, localities, colleges, churches and other places provide protection against a draconian policy that threatens funding for the places where we all live.

* Sessions’ sanctuary policy pits law enforcement personnel and local police against people in their own communities.

* Sessions, simply put, is trying to strong-arm America into becoming a police state.

Please urge Congress to CENSURE JEFF SESSIONS for his draconian policy to defund grant monies from Sanctuaries.

Thank you,

© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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Internet Privacy is History

While the House GOP are wrangling with the Scylla and Charybdis versions of the AHCA, some Senate and Executive actions are barely getting any attention.

In it’s all consuming hatred of everything Obama, the Senate has voted “to kill the FCC’s broadband privacy rules.” “[T]he only privacy protections Americans can have when they use the internet or their mobile phones” will die.

This action has come quickly after Ajit Pai, Trump’s pick to lead the FCC, rolled back net neutrality regulations.

Under the specter of more to come, these actions will “allow broadband providers to sell customer data and browser histories without permission” and remove regulations intended to ensure that “internet service providers (ISPs) cannot intentionally slow or block any of the content in their networks—a prohibition that forms the essence of net neutrality.”

Under the Republican banner of deregulation, Pai has already cut off internet access to some rural “Trump voting” communities. These people are now in the dark and only connected to Washington, D.C. through their twitter accounts.

For those of us in metropolitan areas, the actions by Pai, the Senate, and Trump himself represent a consolidation of information sources under his control. It’s not clear, today, how far Trump will be able to control the national dialogue regarding his lack of fitness to be the President, but he has carried through with his promise to put some very intelligent people in charge of the agencies that run the government. Each and every one Trump’s picks is an anti-government zealot. Many of them have personal vendettas against our first Black President. They are determined to hang our progressive legacy of justice and gains for the common man on a very short noose.

Today’s deplorable Trump image is of him honking the horn in the cab of a semi truck while hosting trucking executives at the White House probably with the intent to roll back more Obama era regulations, such as the hours a driver may work to cut back on driver fatigue and the resulting hazards that overworked drivers pose to you and me.

Meanwhile, his minions are working hard to control a message that is getting more and more out of control everyday.

The Russian investigations are becoming more complex as a long history of Trump campaign staff involvement comes to light. How close will it reach Trump himself? Is he already compromised? Has he already sold our country to foreign powers? Does someone have information enough to blackmail such an already obviously corrupted President of the United States?

It’s not the first Trump volley against freedom in our country. But, by taking out internet neutrality and privacy, he may very well begun the war to affect every connected citizen of this planet.

RESIST!

© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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A Day of a Liar

Blind Contradictions

NPR examines Trump supporters from a slightly different angle. They don’t see his faults, though his faults are hardly small. They don’t see concern for conflicts of interest where a person, no matter how powerful, can be caught in a compromising situation and easily sell out his country. They don’t see him as a politician, but as a businessman, yet they don’t see his failure to conduct himself in a businesslike manner. I do not wonder why we cannot understand Trump supporters. They are led by blind contradictions as strong as faith. That concerns me.

Mafia in Chief

Bluffing. Jesting. Joking. The Washington Post reports on closed door meetings at the Capitol between Trump and members of the GOP Congress. “I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes,’ Trump said.” The not so subtle threat was made towards GOP members who are not standing in solidarity with Paul Ryan’s leadership on the American Health Care Act. Those members are balking not because the bill will leave 24 million more Americans without health insurance over the next ten years, but because the AHCA won’t do that today. Trump is treating them like apprentices and he is telling them to get in line or get out. In trying to make his presidency like a reality TV show, he is showing the rest of us that he has no business skills at all.

Financial Stick

NPR takes a look at the financial carrots and sticks in the AHCA for people to buy insurance. Well, it’s more switches than sweets. We all know that insurance works best when everyone is covered. But that’s not the premise in the GOP plan. The AHCA assumes that every consumer can afford food, shelter and healthcare. The reality is that some will have to choose between them. Some even argue that the AHCA penalty is not steep enough. It’s an insight into a perspective when looking through Trump colored glasses.

States Warning

The Hill takes the kill-count according to state think tanks who are tallying up the number of people in their own states who will lose under Trumpcare. 250,000 Iowans. 700,000 Ohioans. 600,000 in Colorado. 500,000 in New Jersey. And New York estimates that over a million residents will be impacted. On the flip side, Oregon acknowledges that it will lose 23,000 health care jobs. If all these people lose health care in all these states, how deep will the economic damage go? This is just one more example of a CEO making a really bad business decision. Except, this CEO is the President of the United States.

Pension Plan Warnings

Pensions & Investments, a trade publication, is looking at other signs in the economy. They have seen one multi-employer plan essentially succumb to bankruptcy. A failed pension trust fund can get bailed out by the U.S. Government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Taxpayers, like you and me, are on the hook for the errors these for profit trust funds made in handling monies received for employee pensions. The problem is that the PBGC is already financially stressed and under funded. Add to that, the number of multi-employer plans that are failing and you have a recipe for a pension plan melt-down. I don’t think this is the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back. I do think it’s a harbinger of the folly perpetrated upon the common working man. Over forty years ago, we were told that we could trust our money to large corporations who would invest wisely and guarantee a comfortable retirement. Then, the bank reformers repealed Glass-Steagall. We’ll soon see how all that works out.

Wolves Herding Sheep

Meanwhile, Trump continues to appoint key positions to Goldman-Sachs employees. This Washington Post article describes Trump’s nomination of Jay Clayton, “Wall Street’s bailout attorney,” to the Securities Exchange Commission. Democratic expectations of fighting on every front may not be reasonable. We are going to lose a lot of battles. This may be one of them. Clayton, if approved by the Senate, will become the head of the SEC. He will have the same power and authority that the Bush II SEC watchdogs had over the banking industry before the 2008 meltdown. To me, it just seems obvious. When the shepherd raises wolves to protect the sheep, he’s not looking out for anyone’s best interests.

Dodd-Frank under Fire

Reuters carries the banner of good financial judgement. The Dodd-Frank Act was a complex piece of legislation intended to deal with the issues that created the 2008 financial meltdown. Trump is looking to destroy the legislation because it is so fraught with details over the abuses that took place. The legislation, passed during the Obama years, dealt with the complexity of financial products and the many abuses bankers were able to foist upon unsuspecting shareholders and finally, all U.S. taxpayers with massive banking bailouts. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the “top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee,” spoke at a bankers’ gathering recently and told them that our party is NOT going to support drastic changes to the Dodd-Frank law. “Big changes create uncertainty, which is bad for everyone,” said Brown in a Yoda sort of way. Trumps efforts to dismantle the financial reform law will meet with resistance. Yet, we still need to hold our elected officials accountable.

SCOTUS Donors in the Dark

Finally, SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch, spent the last two days at hearings for his Senate nomination. 60 votes are needed and GOP is already threatening changing the rules so that only 50 are needed. But, Gorsuch was cool under fire today as well as under the many friendly questions lobbed at him from GOP Senators eager to get the one liner talking points. While many media outlets gave Gorsuch good reviews for rebuking Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, “No man is above the law,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took a different tack. He asked Gorsuch whether he would “ask as a matter of courtesy to the process” to disclose the contributors to the Judicial Crisis Network. The JCN spent $7 million in advertising dollars against Obama nominee, Merrick Garland and are spending $10 million for Gorsuch’s nomination. Gorsuch’s response, “If you want to have more disclosure, pass a law.”

The Whirlwind

The individual events and the scope of impact of these events occuring in U.S. politics today is unprecedented in my memory and in all of my learning of U.S. history. The number of issues that crops up each day is changing the world in which we live. I haven’t even mentioned the lap-top ban, North Korean missiles, NATO negotiations, ICE abuses, Russian connections, the NASA bill, and the many other fronts Democrats must be informed about just to let our Congress know how we feel.

Resist Trump is not the same as what I felt against George W. Bush. It’s not the same as Nixon was a crook. It’s about the President of the United States being compromised by foreign governments. It’s about GOP efforts to change the very nature of our country into their Utopia. It’s about the world that our children will have to inherit.

Will we accept the autocratic rule Trump will bring, or will we RESIST!?!

© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

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This Land Was My Land

This Land Was Your Land, From California to the New York Island.

Being a second generation mix of immigrants who came from Europe during the 1920’s and 1930’s, I have grown up living the diversity that makes America great. The idea that we need to be great again never made any sense to me, except to sow fear that, somehow, we lost some of that greatness.

Trump has continued his campaign imagery about building a wall, deporting immigrants, getting rid of the bad hombres, suspending immigration from terror prone places, enacting punitive tariffs on foreign goods, and dismantling mutlinational trade and protection agreements. Each time he does so with the language of fear.

The immigrants are taking our jobs. They are rapists and criminals. “Radical Islamic Terrorists” are entering our country even as we speak. We must “extremely vet” anyone coming into the country who does not have Christian values. NATO members like Germany are not paying their fair share. They make us pay for everything. NAFTA costs American manufacturing companies jobs. TPP is a bad deal, very bad. So sad.

Fear breaks out

It’s not a big jump to look back at November 2016 and realize that what happened to Trump’s America was an outbreak of fear. It may have been Hillary’s flawed candidacy, flawed campaign, fake news, Russian hacking, Wikileaks, whatever. All that is behind us now. I’m not looking to cast blame. What I want to know about is what effect that fear has had on our America.

American Muslim Students Cancel Spring Break Plans Because of Trump’s Travel Ban” They are afraid of what will happen if they leave the country.

Even though the new travel ban was held up in court by Hawaiian and Maryland petitions, Muslims now live in fear. These are people who know people in foreign countries who are Muslim. That fear has spread to anyone who is different that what they believe Trump’s America has become. It’s not just the Muslims in other countries, who have never experienced this level of fear in America, who are now wondering “How will America ever be without fear again?

Of course, Trump is not one to let fearful people become complacent. The Washington Post writes, “Trump administration files notice it will appeal ruling against second version of travel ban. By appealing the Maryland order, Trump’s case goes to “a fresh set of eyes, unclouded by a precedent of the prior order.”

Is it possible that the appeal could work?

If the judge overseeing the appeal is in any way negatively affected by the language of fear, logic would say, “No,” the appeal cannot prevail. I would venture to say that is most of us, perhaps up to 90% of Americans.

But if that judge is one of the people promoting Trump’s message of fear, there is a chance the appeal could prevail.

We would all have to ask, “What could possibly make America great again?”

The Health Care Fear

With the GOP majority in Congress driving health care in America, one gets the idea that, in Jim Morisson’s words, “There’s a killer on the road.” The entire plan appears designed to evoke fear in all Americans that the safety net of health care created under President Obama is about to be murdered by an axe wielding psychopath.

To understand our fear, you have to acknowledge that, once not long ago, bad health was one of the driving factors of bankruptcy. If you were a person with preexisting condition, you could not qualify for health care. If you were an independent, 18 year-old student in a campus dorm, you could not get insurance. If you lost your job, your insurance was gone. If you got pregnant without insurance, your baby was at risk. You could not buy health care insurance on the open market. My human health was my weak link to the random effects of living on a planet populated by 7 billion other humans.

Simply put, there was very little that worked about health care in America. Insurance companies only wanted to offer health care for those who could afford it. If the sick, the unhealthy, and the pregnant could not afford it, those companies basically self-selected themselves into predefined markets of healthy individuals. If you got sick, they had lifetime limits on the amount of insurance they would cover. If you got really sick, you were better off if you died.

Oh, wait. We all die. Obama simply codified that.

America is great because of the Affordable Care Act.

If Congress passes Trumpcare, we will return to fear of pain and sickness and poverty then death knowing that Trump has picked those who will profit from our passing.

Fear Manifest in Trump’s America

Clyde Graham depends on the ACA for his healthcare, but he voted for Trump for the “hope” of a job in the coal mines which, probably, have increased his need for health care. Forbes writes, “needy white voters are not interested in the public safety net. They want to restore their access to an older safety net, one much more generous, dignified, and stable than the public system – the one most well-employed voters still enjoy.

When you get people used to the promise of a lottery; “You can’t win if you don’t play“, Trump’s promise sounds like the America that could have been great for you or me if we hadn’t lost our jobs. If we hadn’t had those medical bills. And, damn, that tooth was expensive to have capped.

People with jobs that have insurance, paid for by public tax dollars, are doing well, but they have no idea that what they have is an entitlement system for the select few. Except when they get unemployed and can’t find another job to fit.

While Trump’s America is focusing on what they’ve lost and the promise Trump made to them, they have no idea what’s coming.

The Budget Fear

I have friends who are freaked out. They fear for their jobs right now. These are real people in NASA, in the EPA, at the State Department, the USDA, CDC, FDA. Real people who are making a real difference in this world, not only for themselves and our country, but for our children and the world they will live in after we are gone.

Nearly every federal agency is under attack from Trump’s budget. But the agencies affected the most are those tasked with answering questions about weather, pollution, our planet and how habitable our world will be for our children.

Who would name Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA but a science denier?

Katerina Politi, PhD, writes, “The continued success of U.S. scientific research requires expert leadership, consistent financial support and opportunities for the most talented individuals including foreign scientists, women and minorities to pursue scientific careers.” Trump threatens “to jeopardize our scientific progress, making American science more vulnerable than at any other time in recent memory.

Through his appointments of science deniers in Cabinet level and leadership positions throughout the Executive Branch, Trump has issued a very direct threat to Americans. Science is on notice. Facts are on notice. Truth is on notice. Our future is on notice.

Fear” is the message from Trump. If you contradict his determination to expunge facts and truth from verbal discourse,”Be afraid.” Any political discourse above the level of the Apprentice is not allowed. Thoughts of our future and questioning the edict is not allowed.

And if you are a federal worker who was leeching off the public dime, don’t count on that post-retirement health insurance package.

Fear leads to anger.

Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Yoda, you got this!

There is one person among the 320 million or so people in the United States who is suffering. We can tell by his language. Just reflect on this little bit from Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

If I had the greatest bill in the history of the world, they would not vote for us, because they hate the Republicans, probably hate me, but they hate the Republicans so badly that they can’t see straight. So they’re always going to vote against us. It’s really a shame.. the Democrats are always going to vote against us. It’s been simmering for years. The hatred has been there for years, not just with me. I mean the hatred has been there for years.

Notwithstanding the entire universe of reasons to RESIST! Donald Trump, you can see, in this interview, that the “billionaire” who may not be, the reality TV personality who failed, the businessman who doesn’t even know how to deal is trying to make ME believe that he is the ¿¿victim?? of this “hate” of which he speaks.

Trump may be suffering, like Voldemort is suffering. But, pity, compassion, fear, hate…? No. These are not the things which I feel today.

I am a brother to every man and woman. I am the son of an immigrant. I am citizen of this world. I am a caretaker of this planet.

This land IS my Land. This land IS your land. It was made for you and me!

I will not be afraid!

I will RESIST!

© Copyright 2016 LawrenceJHolbrook.US. All rights reserved.

The above article is an opinion piece. If you wish to express an opinion about my opinion, please consider writing in a thoughtful way that can promote discussion on an issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment