The Nicest Thing About the Recent Impeachment

During the days leading up to the Impeachment Trial, where partisan acquittal was ensured beforehand by a gentleman’s agreement to allow no fact witnesses or blocked documentary evidence to interfere with the smooth public exoneration process, and during the “trial” itself, there was a merciful silence from Attorney General Bagpiper Bill Barr.

Other Trump accomplices, (henchmen, if you prefer) were also blessedly silent during the “trial”.  We heard virtually nothing from Mick “I’ve got your Quid Pro right here!” Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, or even the unstoppable, self-indicting (under any other DOJ) Rudy Giuliani.  

Most blessed of all the silence was that of the most openly corrupt Attorney General in modern U.S. history, the president’s deeply religious Roy Cohn, Bagpiper Bill Barr.

I loved that I didn’t have to hear his caviling, often unreasonable, legal-sounding braying, his false gravitas and pretensions of integrity, the piety of this malignant right wing provocateur, strong legal right arm of the unbound malignant narcissist president.  Barr’s public silence in defense of the lifelong scofflaw at whose pleasure he serves was the single nicest thing about the recent impeachment, to me.

Sadly, that shit is now over, back to business as usual (the business of angry, privileged white men, anyway) making America 1953 again.  USA!  USA!!!   (etc.)

How To Avoid The Second Civil War

In a nation that has long been an innovator in the inter-related arts of public relations, advertising and propaganda, most of us get our news in a highly mediated, skillfully filtered form that caters, increasingly, to our own personal prejudices.    It seems impossible to find a reasonable consensus at this historically perilous moment.   At least 45% of the country sees Abuse of Power and unprecedented blanket obstruction of all investigations as not impeachable.

Many now believe that there are facts and there are equally valid alternative facts, in this threatening pre-civil war funhouse we are all living in at the moment [1].  We are living in a historically perilous time, like Kansas 1860, or Berlin 1932, with the unsettling overlay of the foreseeable end of a habitable planet ticking loudly in the foreground.   If we are to spare ourselves another actual bloody civil war, followed by mass extinction, we need to be very smart going forward.

We consumer-citizens rely largely on commercial mass media, run by profit-driven corporations with deeply intrenched interests– largely increasing profits — for most of our information about our limited political choices.   Noncommercial news sources like Democracy Now! and the Intercept, outlets that cover the struggles of activists against institutional injustice unreported elsewhere, (and never to my knowledge successfully sued by anyone over a false report), are unknown to most Americans and the news they report is easily dismissed by low information voters and pundits on the right and center as … choose your favorite word for the ranting of liberty-hating, unAmerican losers.

Old friends rage at each other over perceived political dogmatism, blindness, defeatism, stupidity, idiotic idealism, long friendships sometimes ending in bitter inter-partisan disagreement over how to get to the end result both may desire.   Rage is effortless on social media, where trolls reign, delighting in provocation.   

We are sharply drawn into inimical opposing camps, every one of us powerless except as part of a larger block.  As far as political action, we are largely constrained by the design of the two party system, the only game in town, and forced to vote for whichever candidate is chosen for us by a National Committee.  We try to choose the less hateful of the two and hope for the best, a sorry version of actual democratic participation.  

Both major parties run on corporate dollars and the dark money of our super-wealthy, many of them the privileged inheritors of vast fortunes.  Our Supreme Court is staffed by at least five hardcore corporate rights judges who believe that corporations are “persons” entitled to all the freedoms the rest of us enjoy, including the freedom to all the speech their vast money can buy.  Our highest court holds that corporations are citizens just like the rest of us, only with infinitely more power and influence than any thousand of us regular people working together can hope to exert. [2]   The individual, unless very wealthy (see several billionaires currently vying for the presidency) is almost utterly powerless in our democracy.  Except for our freedom to speak, to reason, and to organize.

(brace for a slightly disjointed next paragraph, citizens)

If you are the victim of an illegal practice committed against you by a corporation, join the club, it’s a gigantic one.   Millions of us are fucked by corporations on a daily, hourly basis — they are not in business to make sure consumers are not being fucked, they are in business for the bottom line– maximizing profit, by any means that is not specifically illegal and enforceable against them.  The Supreme Court itself clarified that the sole legal imperative of the American corporation is maximizing profits for shareholders.   If a corporation violates the law, the consumer must find the precise law it violated and then find a legal remedy.  No specific illegal act under law and/or pertinent regulations found, no remedy, stay screwed, asshole.

I was recently victimized by the corporate “person” that provides my health insurance under Obamacare.  On January 22, when I called to pay my premiums through June, I was told Healthfirst could not accept my payment and that my ACA health insurance for 2020 had been terminated.   A supervisor, Daiya by name, confirmed that this had been done “pursuant to the guidelines” for my failure to pay during a once-a-year ten-day “grace period”.   She told me the corporation had no obligation to inform customers in advance of the severe and irreversible consequence of failing to pay within this one-time “grace period”.  She initiated what she said was the only available appeal, an internal one within the company, and called two days later to pleasantly let me know that Healthfirst had not restored my insurance.

Working hard and having a great piece of good luck, I managed to find the only appeal process that could remedy this particular illegal act (at the NYS Department of Financial Services, naturally– here’s the LINK).   Two business days after my on-line complaint I had a call back from Healthfirst, apologizing for its “mistake” and accepting payment of my premiums through June.

Two weeks later, after my letters to the CEO of the corporation and the Attorney General’s office, I had a call from a “Resolution Supervisor” telling me “billing” had asked her to call me.  She assured me that my insurance had never been cancelled.  I was not reassured and questioned this long-suffering, apologetic woman at length.   She told me she’d try to send me the records of my dozen recent calls with Healthfirst, but had to first run it all by another office.

To my surprise, I learned there is an office at Healthfirst called “Regulatory”.  They were reviewing whether I was entitled to call records of my own calls to the private corporation.  I wrote an angry second letter to the CEO, cc’d it to the Attorney General.  I mailed it, then emailed it to her.   The next day I had a call from Healthfirst — I’d be receiving a written apology from Daiya, the confidently “mistaken” supervisor.  I’d get copies of my phone records with dates, times, person I spoke to, the substance of each call.

I am a perversely insistent motherfucker living in a corporately run nation where we non-corporate persons have  very few protections of any kind from routine predatory practices by largely unaccountable entities.   While I was helpless prey I managed to luck onto to a mechanism to almost immediately reverse an extremely stressful interruption of my ongoing medical treatments.   I was fortunate to find someone in an agency, a sympathetic woman who listened carefully, who told me how to get an emailed copy of the sections of the laws that Healthfirst apparently violated in putting me into that upsetting situation.   

I was surprised to learn today that the corporation is giving me everything I asked for without forcing me to bring a lawsuit against them.  I will soon be able to look over the law itself and see which specific sections and subsections were violated in my non-terminal termination.  I am positive than I am the lucky one in a thousand, or ten thousand, maybe a million,  getting almost immediate relief from intolerable, illegal mistreatment by a health care provider, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I am have a certain skill set, I’m diligent and, in this case, my illegally terminated health coverage was saved only by a miraculously fast resolution process that is well-hidden from the average consumer.   We live in a country where the powerful are free to oppress the rest of us, often without consequences to themselves, the burden being heavily upon those fucked to figure out how to unfuck ourselves (not easy, I can tell you for sure).   The laws that exist are co-written by expert lobbyists providing careful loopholes and provisions (like the now ubiquitous “arbitration clause” in every contract — thanks to now-Justice John Roberts, a genius of corporate law) that protect their fantastically powerful clients against things like class actions.

What was done to me, personally, can be multiplied by a hundred, or a thousand, or tens of thousands, just in New York City, where I live.  The woman at the NYC office I spoke to today (NYSDFS) told me they get HUNDREDS of health insurance complaints every day, many similar to mine.   

Do we have vast institutional problems in our country, including opaque laws that allow gigantic unaccountable private profit-driven institutions to do business largely unrestrained by effective laws?   You betcha.    Are many of our government officials, the people we trust to protect our interests, incompetent, lazy, corrupt, complacent or otherwise of little use?   You betcha.   Is the Republican Party, supported by vast funds from our wealthiest and most greedy, going to address this oppression of the many by the few?  Not likely.  (Picture me holding a fortune-telling 8-ball when I ask these questions)   Is the Democratic Party, supported by vast funds from our wealthiest and arguably slightly less greedy, going to address institutional injustice?   Perhaps over the next hundred years, if history is any guide.  If there are still two political parties by then.   If the earth itself is still a habitable place for human life.

We, people of good faith who are living through these viciously partisan times, when even old friends savagely attack each other like angry rats in a failed lab experiment, must find a way forward.    We must talk to each other as reasonably as we can, allow ourselves to hear and consider reasonable arguments. 

We need to meet likeminded strangers, and strategize and organize for effective influence and representation in our Republic. 

We need to act in concert to put pressure on, and keep pressure on, elected officials and the political parties that choose them.    How we do that is a great challenge in our atomized social media surveillance state.   I embrace that challenge as my only alternative to crippling hopelessness, though I have no immediate way forward to report.

I leave you with these wonderful, wise words from historian Howard Zinn, delivered while accepting a prize, toward the end of his life, for his groundbreaking A People’s History of the United States :

I wanted, in writing this book, to awaken a consciousness in my readers, of class conflict, of racial injustice, of sexual inequality and of national arrogance, and I also wanted to bring into light the hidden resistance of the People against the power of the establishment.   

I thought that to omit these acts of resistance, to omit these victories, however limited, by the people of the United States, was to create the idea that power rests only with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth.  I wanted to point out that people who seem to have no power — working people, people of color, women– once they organize and protest and create national movements, they have a power that no government can suppress.

I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements, but to think that history writing must simply recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. 

And if history is to be creative, if it’s to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I think, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win.

I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in the solid centuries of warfare.

(you can watch Zinn deliver these short remarks HERE, highly recommended)

 

 

[1]  fact or alternative fact?   From CNN:

The Department of Justice has dropped its criminal investigation into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe without bringing charges.

Back to me (channeling an alternative fact citer): a president pursuing “groundless” two year DOJ criminal investigations into his personal enemies is not an abuse of power, and even if it was, fuck off you partisan haters!   See Article Two!   It’s the only one you need to read!

[2]  The great Bill Moyers had the best reply to the legal fiction of “corporate personhood.”   He said “I’ll believe that corporations are people when the State of Texas puts one of them to death.”

Fuhrerworte haben Gesetzeskraft, yo

The hallmark of autocracy is unquestioning fealty to the unfailing wisdom and absolute power of the autocrat.   If the leader did it, it cannot be wrong.  If the leader said it, it must be the law, in a dictatorship.  That was the express credo and supreme legal principle of the Nazi regime, “the leader’s word is law” to wit:

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After his party-line acquittal in the first trial in American history free of witnesses and evidence, the President’s impeachment “trial” in the Senate, the President exercised his legitimate power to punish the civil servants who had complied with legal subpoenas and testified honestly in the impeachment inquiry. 

The purge included the blameless twin brother of Alexander Vindman, one of the officials who gave sworn public testimony that directly contradicted the President’s claim that his 7/25 call to the new president of Ukraine was “perfect” (leaving aside a: what a “perfect call” even means and b: why the only record of the perfect call was hidden in a top secret government server until the Barr-squelched “credible”  and “urgent” Whistleblower complaint became known on September 9th).   

Although the vindictive purge by the President looked like the act of a petulant dictator, the firings were within the absolute right of every head of the Executive Branch, to purge the ranks of his enemies.   No reason to get all morally indignant about that.   Purges happen, the law says it’s fine, everyone in the Executive Branch works “at the pleasure of” their boss, the President, as we all know.

A few days later, late the other night, the President tweeted that the upcoming sentencing of his longtime ally Roger Stone was “horrible” and “very unfair”. 

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All Stone had been convicted of, after all, was loyalty to his old friend while the sick and dangerous Democrats were getting a pass on all their many crimes.  Barr’s DOJ, by the way, is conducting criminal investigations into some of these sick bastards, including two sick and dangerous former FBI directors who refused to swear personal loyalty to the President, even when directly asked by the President [1].

Stone was only trying to help the President by lying under oath to federal investigators about his role in Russia’s sweeping and systematic attempt to help Trump eke out a 78,000 vote Electoral College win over an almost equally reviled opponent in the 2016 presidential race.  Where is the crime in that?!!!   Being a loyal friend is now a crime?!  Stone’s open defiance of the judge’s gag order?   He was nervous, because he’s INNOCENT!  What don’t you understand about “very unfair” and “horrible”?!

Asked yesterday, after the unabashedly corrupt Bagpiper Bill Barr’s Justice Department modified their own sentencing memo to the judge in the Stone case, based on the President’s sophisticated legal arguments in his “horrible” and “very unfair” tweet,  the President was asked if he has learned anything from impeachment.   Here is the question and the dumber than a pile of scats fiery red meat response:

Reporter:  What lesson did you learn from impeachment?

POTUS:  That the Democrats are crooked, they’ve got a lot of crooked things going.  That they’re vicious, that they shouldn’t have brought impeachment…

Reporter:   … anything about yourself?   

POTUS:   … and that my poll numbers are ten points higher because of fake news like NBC which reports the news very inaccurately, probably more inaccurately than CNN, if that’s possible, uh, MSDNC, and you’re MS… uh, and if you take a look at NBC… no, I think they’re among the most dishonest reporters of the news.

Case closed.  Trump 2020. 

The mass media (except for FOX, Breitbart, Der Sturmer and a few other reliable outlets) is the Enemy of the People, some very sick and dangerous people lying about truly great Americans while covering up the crimes of other sick and dangerous Democrat traitors!  It is finally almost time to turn the tables and bring justice to these sick and dangerous criminals.

Trump 2020.  Say it with me:  “Fuhrerworte haben Gesetzeskraft, yo.

 

[1] The investigation into one, Andrew McCabe, was ended shortly after this post was weitten, with no finding of an actionable criminal charge.  

Look Away at Your Peril, Citizens

Terrible things happen regularly in our world, under the heading of “man’s inhumanity to man.”   At any given time one group of humans are catching hell from another.  For example, in 1921, a group of angry men in Tulsa, Oklahoma decided it was an intolerable outrage that another group of men, men who didn’t look like them, were prosperous while they themselves were struggling economically.   They went on a full-scale rampage, burning down a large section of Tulsa and killing an untold number of the other, hated, ethnic group.  After the pogrom, the survivors of that orgy of destruction, their former fine homes in ruins, were herded into an outdoor holding camp, presumably for their own protection from the still murderous mob.  

We don’t hear much about this particular racist massacre by a group of men who honestly believed they were superior to the people they were slaughtering, and fully justified in their violent actions.  Next year, when the centenary of the massive Tulsa Pogrom comes around, this particular little known slaughter will be placed before the public again. as if for the first time.

We can observe the sickening echoes of history, the sequences of unfolding events that “rhyme” with the most troubling episodes of the past.   We can see a familiar progression before every outpouring of mass rage:  legitimate grievance, harnessed and enflamed by finger-pointing demagogues, an “other” vilified (often as rapists and child murderers) and then, after sufficient time for this malignant brew to fully ferment, the chants begin, torches are lifted, men with guns ride to the rescue, the villains are brought to “justice,” swiftly, violently, without regard to the ordinary niceties for determining guilt or innocence.

It is a human instinct to look away from this kind of horror.   The impulse is understandable, even if it can also be fatal.   Historical comparisons are always slippery, often used to advance supremely idiotic arguments.   Certain things, however, always follow the same pattern.   In times of vast economic insecurity, for example, when massive transnational corporations employ armies of the world’s poorest, at slave wages, to maximize their profit margin, it is predictable that masses of their former decently paid workers, now without the prospect of employment for a fair wage, will rightfully feel betrayed and angry.  Angry people look for somebody to blame.  Demagogues direct their righteous rage towards some historically powerless group, the scoundrels who are to blame for this savage injustice.

It is predictable that when hundred year killer storms become the norm, instead of rare exceptions to the natural order — despite the robust right wing cries of hoax, fraud, lies, hysterical liberal alarmism — people affected by the storms will feel enormous desperation.  Every news report of a deadly tornado in an area that had never seen one, earthquakes in areas that had never had them, another large city flooded by a killer hurricane, landslides, wild fires, drought, rising sea levels causing floods … increases anxiety.  

It’s impossible to fully quell the thought, with the regular front page news of these now frequent natural disasters, that maybe this increasing natural destruction is not all a Chinese hoax invented by evil job-killing enemies who want to destroy our freedom.   The awful thought that maybe a hundred years of man’s wanton pollution has caused this scary change of the climate will creep in from time to time, especially after your own home is destroyed by an aggrieved Mother Nature.

Look away if you must.  Politics has become an ugly blood sport, the instinct to look away is stronger than it’s ever been, by deliberate design of the game.   As you turn your gaze inward to your own life, and making it as good as you can, in spite of the horrors around you, understand that only one side in the tribal wars has been actively and energetically organizing and preparing for this war for decades.  

Right now that side is winning bigly, while the other side cowers, afraid, torn by debate, many of its would be advocates turning away from “politics” and clinging to the things in life that make them feel most comfortable as the terrible rhymes of the worst episodes of history are jangling like ominous, maddeningly loud wind chimes agitated by a killing breeze.

Here in America only one side of our political divide, the extreme right, has organized a methodical long game to “right the scales” in the culture war.   One party now embraces views that, forty years ago, were the unthinkably paranoid, self-interested (and, frankly, racist) magical thinking of extreme fringe fanatics like The John Birch Society  [1].   The well-funded, smartly engineered campaign that created and funded influential “think tanks” to intellectually argue for their preferred public policies and shape national debate, endowed chairs at hundreds of universities for professors who espouse their liberty-loving views, founded, and funded, an influential national society of ambitious young lawyers and law students to ideologically indoctrinate and promote, through a fellow-traveler career ladder, future federal judges who will act as one to advance their agenda, given a case with the wiggle room to do so, funding national “grassroots” campaigns that appear on television to give the appearance of a massive, spontaneous public outcry, really has no analogue on the left. 

The protection of vast financial privilege, inequalities of wealth and grotesquely unequal chances for life or dignity, has long been the project of the privileged.  There is nothing mysterious about this; you or I, if we were cynics, would probably do the same, under these conditions.   If you stand to inherit a billion dollars from the family trust, and the government seeks to claim half of that in a punitive Death Tax, you will donate however many millions you are required to kick in for the cause of keeping it all.

Liberty, in fact, according to this orthodoxy, demands that the government not be allowed to coerce its citizens or unfairly confiscate the rightful property of  citizens.    An army of desperate poor people will be assembled to stand on the mall in Washington D.C. and every other major city and, in one voice, rail against this vicious government intrusion on human freedom!   Give ’em each fifty bucks and a free lunch, pay an additional ten if they make their own signs.   Why not?   That’s democracy in action, after all.   USA!  USA!!!!

The radical right has played a clever long game, learning from its mistakes, tweaking the program like a skilled engineer does to fix bugs in it.  It doesn’t hurt that they have unlimited money to deploy in sustaining their ever more effective long game.  Every beneficiary of the tangible privileges accorded to wealthy followers of the ideology will gladly kick in to advance the agenda for her own children and the children of her children’s children.   This is simply human nature, which you are free to judge, but powerless to do anything about.  

On the progressive side, historically, and presently, we tend to argue from entrenched positions — incremental change advocates (the practical art of the possible) versus institutional change advocates (justice delayed is justice denied).  We have moderates, urging us to not attempt to frontally attack long-time institutional injustices.   We have liberals, telling us that certain intolerable social evils should be reformed, must be reformed, to the extent possible in our divided political culture,  but that it may take a generation or two, or perhaps, as our recent history shows, a century or more.  

We have a few public radicals on the organized left, pointing out, correctly in my view, that the long slide toward autocracy (and bear in mind, the wealthy architects of the right wing revolution, in their hearts, prize their own liberty to be free of social coercion of any kind above everything else– autocracy for all!) cannot be countered with half measures.  We are fighting unscrupulous reactionary radicals, controlling untold wealth, who are busily spending to entrench themselves in permanent power, and only an equal and opposing energy, organizing and willingness to fight can make any difference.

The dilemma in a nation trained from birth to be pliant consumers — if you are appalled by the rapid advance of an extreme right wing agenda, there is really no place you can visit today, and directly participate to fight, that compares to any of the effective and massively well-funded one-stop shops of the formerly radical right.   If you are a young Libertarian, there is an easily findable career network and ready funding, from a variety of sources, for your liberty-enhancing ideas and a group of likeminded idealists ready to welcome you to their ranks.   Young leftists?  Good luck to you finding an organization to work with, finding people to organize, strategize and march with, in your city or town.

So, to the traumatized people of good conscience I know, I understand 100% your revulsion, and the reason you turn away from the ugly spectacle as our nation drops even the pretense of democracy.   It is painful and scary to witness, and a feeling of helpless anger is difficult to sit with.   There are wonderful entertainments to take our minds off this unsettling state of affairs, a host of diverting and excellent, healthy things to do– rather than watch in horror as the dark clouds of autocracy blot out all hopes of the light ever returning.   I get it, absolutely.   

And I will do my best to console you, sickeningly insistent realist (or unhinged, overwrought imaginer) that I am, in the cattle car, on our trip toward the relocation center.   At that point it will be senselessly cruel to remind anyone that all evil needs to flourish is for people of good conscience to look away, to do nothing.   How were you to really know how bad it was actually getting?   The New York Times was not freaking out, that much.

And, more to the point, it is not as if it was our children, or the children of anyone we know, who were snatched from their mothers’ arms and lost in a system of cages spread across many states, in the name of enthusiastically chanting crowds, for the profit of politically connected entrepreneurs who, flushed with a love of liberty, increased their bottom line bigly with government contracts to house these miserable sons and daughters of rapists and drug dealers.  

Do you think that on our way to the retraining center I would be crass enough to reproach anyone for their natural turning away from horror?   Not at all.   You won’t hear a word of reproach from me.  Why would you?

 

[1]  One of these wingnuts, the wildly influential, opiate-addled Rush Limbaugh, was decorated with the nation’s highest medal for a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, hung around his neck by First Lady Melania.   Why not?   Rush was one of the pioneers of this brutal new politics, and one of the most successful promoters of ideas previously considered too insane to publicly advocate.  Without Limbaugh, you don’t get to Trump.   A grateful president acknowledges his debt, without getting too close to Rush, whose late stage cancer might be contagious, after all.  Wind farms also produce cancer, a shit ton of cancer, people are saying.  You can’t be too careful, if you want to live to see the full ripening of your movement towards absolute liberty from government coercion.

Lest we forget Mr. Trump’s greatest achievement

Fairness demands that I point out that Mr. Trump and his billionaire son-in-law, Mr. Kushner,  have done what nobody in history has come close to doing.   They brought peace to the Middle East by brokering a historic peace deal between the eternally complaining Palestinians and our great democratic allies in Israel.   

Don’t take it from me, here’s Jared Kushner, author of the detailed eighty page plan that solved an explosive and long-festering problem that has generally been considered insoluble.   Jared summarizes his delicate diplomatic work in ten seconds or less HERE.

Our democratic institutions remain as strong as our booming economy

And the natural world has never been a less polluted, safer, more sustainable and harmonious place for all living creatures.

Now that the president has been solidly acquitted of Abuse of Power (no such high crime specified in the Constitution, losers) and Obstruction of Congress (the traitors don’t have the votes to make me obey their so-called “subpoenas”, losers) he is bringing the country back together again.   

About the acts that led up to his impeachment, a hoax he is now trying to have “expunged” from history– he has been completely and totally vindicated.  Any U.S. president, including Trump, can now comfortably do things like withholding military aid to an ally for three months, as they are under attack by a bellicose neighbor,  as leverage to exact a personal political favor– as long as he TRULY, HONESTLY AND SINCERELY BELIEVES HE IS DOING IT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE U.S.A.  He can hide the records of his long campaign to pressure that ally without any consequences whatsoever.  He can have his loyal party vote on acquittal after a trial without hearing any witnesses or seeing any new evidence.  Fair is fair, and it’s always good to have the rules clarified.

To show he understands his impeachment far better than all the wise-ass, well-spoken “lawyers” who tried to make the totally bogus “legal” case against him, he reached down deep for some of his best words:

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In a rare bit of eccentric copy editing, the New York Times quoted the eloquent, often uneditable, president on the rumor that he plans to replace loyal Mick Mulvaney, Koch-funded Tea Party zealot, as acting chief of staff.  Mark Meadows, another Trump loyalist, has been traveling with the president to campaign events, leading to speculation about the change.   Here is the Times, quoting the ever-quotable most powerful man in the world, to somewhat odd effect:

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A great false relationship with Mark Meadows?   Not hard to believe, I suppose.  Everything is a self-interested transaction to the greatest president in American history.   Ask any of his wives [1] or children, or members of his own party who dare to oppose any detail of his rule, or anyone of the countless “losers” he has ever exacted vengeance on for the ultimate crime of “disloyalty”.   Loyalty to this man is a one way street.   

That street is paved with fake gold and leads directly to the ever-angry childish ego of the most powerful man in the world.  It is a street where that man could shoot somebody in the face, according to him and his own lawyers, with no consequence to him — particularly if he sincerely believes he is executing a sick and dangerous criminal traitor who desperately needs to die.

Ah, you’re better off watching this, which I pasted in here accidentally:

 

[1]   One lurid example:

The punitive prenuptial agreement between Donald and Ivanka, The Donald’s first wife, was written by none other than Roy Cohn himself.  Cohn, one of the most evil men who ever exerted undue influence in America, a self-hating gay homophobe who specialized in persecuting his enemies, using, among his most powerful tools, long-cultivated contacts in the press to rapidly spread lies advantageous to his clients, was Trump’s role model.  Cohn died of AIDS he claimed was cancer, disbarred and under criminal indictment at the time of his death.  Trump, who values loyalty above all else,  turned his back on his long-time mentor as Cohn was dying.

When Trump’s original AG Jeff Sessions did the wrong thing (in Trump’s eyes), by following DOJ ethics lawyers’ solid legal advice about recusing himself from an investigation he’d already lied about under oath, Trump, after grunting “I’m fucked!” immediately attacked Sessions for not protecting him like “Roy Cohn”.   “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” he cried out in anguish at the betrayal by DOJ “ethics” weasels who worked for him, seeking the protection of his mythical unconvicted criminal and unrepentant criminal fixer.  Bagpiper Bill Barr stepped forward to give the president such snug, cozy protection it would have given Roy Cohn an erection.   

What to do if your ACA health insurance is illegally terminated

If your insurance company terminates your insurance, claiming you missed a once a year ten-day “grace period”  for payment, go to this site and make an immediate on-line consumer complaint.   The complaint at this agency restored my illegally terminated health care in two business days.   The New York State Department of Financial Services (yeah, I know) now, finally, does the consumer protections functions of the abolished (in 2011) Department of Insurance.  The NYSDFS does what the Attorney General cannot do.  (I know…)

Here are the numbers of two offices in New York City that were enormously helpful while I was trying to have the illegal decision terminating my insurance overturned:

For immediate support, and solid advice during this illegal termination, contact the New York City Human Resources Administration, Department of Health, Public Engagement Unit (212-331-6266  M-Th  9am-8pm  Fri til 6:30).   Alexa at this office urged me to file the NYS Department of Financial Services’s on-line consumer complaint form.  She also assured me, 100%, that the unappealable corporate decision to terminate my insurance without notice would be reversed, which it was.  Bless her.

In addition to excellent and knowledgable support they will direct you to New York City’s new  program, NYC Care.  It  provides an extensive safety net for low-income individuals who lose access to affordable health care.   This wonderful pilot program can save a lot of lives, because it provides for low cost doctor visits long before a too late, ER diagnosis of a fatal stage of a once treatable disease.  This compassionate, life-saving program should be well-known by all New Yorkers and well-publicized until it is.   

NYC Care has a helpline at 646-NYC-CARE (692-2273).  The program is only active in the Bronx, so far, but if you go to any public hospital (Bellvue, Harlem Hospital, Jacobi, Lincoln, Montefiore and others)  you can enroll, at the Financial Planning or Business Office of that hospital, in the low-cost, pay-as-you-go “Options Program”.