Saturday, May 26, 2018

GOP and Trump's Attacks on USA's Democratic Principles and Institutions - a bibliography

Democracy Under Trump: What Is Being Lost?

It's been a while since I've posted, partly because I'm now quite busy and preoccupied with jobs, but also because I'm in a funk of disappointment.  What's the point of stealing the time and putting in the effort, when there's nobody out there?
Along with that, the malicious recall effort against Gwen Lachelt fell short, but was given two extra weeks to make up the difference, which they managed to do.  That they so easily gained over 2000 signatures in those extra two weeks reflects the Democratic Party's continued inability to invigorate their voters, or to effectively confront the deluge of deliberate and ruthless, amoral deception that was the hallmark of the so-called Save La Plata County's anti-democratic con-job.
While on the national scene Democrats remain as timid and tongue tied as ever, all very depressing.  Trump's bullies, the alt-right and evangelicals and oligarchs are relentlessly inflicting brutal damage on our democratic principles and ways of government.  Not to mention our EPA being eviscerated by the teflon plated Pruitt.

I guess I'm old fashioned, I believe patriotism demands action when our nation is in danger, and even if my actions are futile, they're better than rolling over and pretending our democracy isn't in the middle of a fierce existential crisis and that we stand on the cusp of losing our democracy to ruthless special interests.  A situation demanding all hands on deck, if there's to be any hope of turning back the tide!  If there's anyone out there with the same feeling, please let me know, the one hand clapping is getting old.

In any event this post is dedicated to sharing a bibliography of articles that discuss different aspects of trump's attack on our democracy.  This is the sort of background knowledge we need to learn about and to share with others.  Raising awareness and encouraging involvement is our only hope.  Following this list I've gone on to include key quotes from the articles as an introduction and hopefully encouragement for you to follow the links to the complete articles.  It is by no means a complete, but its a good start.

     May 27, 2018 - By Lauren Strayer, Democracy Fund
     May 22, 2018 - By Travis Gettys, Raw Story
     May 16, 2018 - By Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer
     April 25, 2018 - Jay Rosen, New York Book Review
     April 13, 2018 - Evan McMullin, The Atlantic
     April 4, 2018 - by Darrell M. West and Jack Karsten, Brookings Institution
     April 3, 2018 - Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg View 
     February 23, 2018 - By John Shattuck, American Prospect
     February 15, 2018 - John Shattuck, Amanda Watson, Matthew McDole
     February 8, 2018 - Congressman Ted Lieu
     February 8, 2018 - Bright Line Watch, Survey-Wave 4
     February 6, 2018 - By Michael Finnegan, L.A. Times
     February 3, 2017 - Rob Wijnberg, The Correspondent 
     January 1, 2018 - By Jeffrey H. Smith, Lawfare
     January 27, 2018 - Jill Abramson, The Guardian
     January 18, 2018 - Protect Democracy
           {Ensuring the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”}
     January 16, 2018 - Tracey Lee, Newsweek
     January 16, 2018 - By Zachary Cohen, CNN
     January 3, 2018 - Gary Grappo, Fair Observer
Art of the Lie - The tally after one year

     December 29, 2017 - By Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker
     December 12, 2017 - Daily Kos
     December 7, 2017 - By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt , The New Republic
     December 6, 2017 - By Scott Bolden, The Hill
     November 30, 2017 - By Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times
     November 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, The Hill
     September 6, 2017 - Carnegie Endowment
     September 5, 2017 - By Dr. Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D., Huffington Post
     Aug 18, 2017 - By Hugh Cortazzi , The Japan Times
     May 15, 2017 - Brian Klass, USA Today
     April 26, 2017 - Slate Staff
     March 10, 2017 - Brian Klass, Washington Post

Sunday, April 15, 2018

notes 4/14/18 - Of Hope - and evangelical patriarchy's victimization complex.

As they say, in the end it’s like the blink of an eye.  

It’s done and I’m feeling good about it.  500 fliers, I stuck to my resolution and engaged with nearly 400 people, actually more, I’m not counting declines.  

Though I kept them to a minimum since I was targeting a specific audience, young, intelligent, serious looking like they were here for business.  Of course, scientific method loving people was there in my introduction and that sorted 'em out in a hurry, with over three thousand people I wasn't planning on wasting copies, or time, I was looking for the chorus and pretty much found them.  ;-) . 

Walking around scanning the crowd, you could say profiling.  In fact, I did say it, it was a good ice breaker.   Not that everyone was chronologically young, many were rather flattered to hear they made my liberal cut, exuding youthful vibes goes a long ways.    ;- )

Dare say I swept up a number self identified scientists, cool people, love the hard eye, yet willing ear, then some nice discussions.  Experiences like those lets me know that I'm not totally bonkers and that I best keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.  (Guess that's what 'bliss' - of the Joseph Campbell variety - is all about, no other options if one's going to be honest with oneself.)  

I had a basic pitch thought out and it held up fairly well through a couple hundred variations.  I was reassured at how many people engaged my intro question with stories and outlooks of their own, before returning back to the flier I was holding in my hand.

Would like to write about it sometime, but not tonight (nor this morning, I'm going home.) 

There is this last item, ironically in light of various discussions centered on evangelical amorality, hypocrisy and their blind-sidedness, after returning to my room, Dartagnan at Kos pointed me to this timely, illuminating opinion piece. 

I never thought about evangelical patriarchy quite this way.  Hessinger and Tobey wrote a column that's like a good hypothesis - it clears up a lot riddles.  As for my title, today at the Convention I saw the hope, the following describes the problem.  I’m quoting the first few paragraphs to get your interest, please read the full column, bet you'll find it time well spent.

By Guest Columnist/  | Posted Apr 11, 2018
Rodney Hessinger is a history professor at John Carroll University.  Kristen Tobey is an assistant professor of religion and the social sciences at John Carroll University.
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The most recent Pew polls suggest that President Donald Trump hasn't just held his support amongst white evangelicals but actually has grown his support since the Stormy Daniels story took hold.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Memes Courier - Colorado Democratic Assembly 2018 - Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking

I'm at my fourth Colorado Democratic Assembly and I've always been a pamphleteer.  Not the easiest for a private shy sort of guy.  So I've been rather passive, offering my pages and ready for dialogue but not stepping forward to engage people.  Time passes, we learn more with every day and this year I've promised myself to step it up a little and reach out to people to introduce the topic and establish an interest before offering my flier. 

Had a little practice during the short district assembly this evening.  At first looking at the 350+ District 3 delegates it seemed the crowd of the usual old folks, and not that many young faces.  But, then I started spotting them.  Not in the numbers I had hoped.  Then I heard a couple powerful speeches by young speakers.  Followed by a few good conversations,
as in 'yippy, they get it.'  I realized their small number way under-represented the energy and substance and power they possess.

It was fun.  I'm feeling a little better already and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  Here's side one, a lifetime's distillation.  I'll share side two tomorrow, now I'm going to bed, it's late and tomorrow will be a long busy day.
The Memes Courier
    Colorado Democratic Assembly -  April 13, 2018  
Intellectually Confronting Faith-Based thinking and Dogma Driven Tribalism.

The opposing sides: Children of the Intellectual Enlightenment vs Faith-based dogmatism spearheaded by the evangelical movement (driven by wannabe oligarchs).  Winning at the polls is only half our challenge when well over a third of our country fully supports this amoral president and his white supremest bullying and his attacks upon our government and democratic institutions.  
Beyond winning in the 2018 elections, we need to nurture a massive grassroots movement of informed and engaged voters who are willing to confront faith-based delusional thinking on an individual level, while also standing behind those we elect to make sure they get their jobs done.
Faith-based thinking demands a rejection of serious science along with hostility towards learning from down to Earth evidence.  This attitude is enabled and reinforced by a constant flow of contrived high pitched fear-mongering and paranoid machinations towards “the other” be it different people or ideas.
Why have we allowed their religion and God a free pass?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Greenman, Rahmstorf - "Red Team" Kelly killed it. Opportunities missed, it's a shame.

From a scientist's perspective Dr. Rahmstorf is correct and I completely agree with him.  What everyone seems to be overlooking is what a fantastic public education opportunity a Red Team Blue Team showdown could be.

Blue team, not of scientists, but a team of savvy climate science communicators with thorough understanding of GOP contrarian arguments and tactics along with their scientific understanding.  Why not set it up to provide the public with a close-up examination of the evidence and arguments on both sides?  My thoughts on the opportunity it would provide after Dr. Rahmstorf explains the scientist's perspective.

greenmanbucket  -  Published on Mar 12, 2018
Interview with Stefan Rahmstorf 
There will be no "red team" debate about the settled science of climate change. 
Even supporters of the fossil fuel agenda were too embarrassed to participate.

John Kelly killed Pruitt’s climate science debate
By Timothy Cama  - 03/09/18 

2:15 exactly "it's just a public show" - that's the point.  

Think about this a little - could be golden opportunity - but rather than climate scientists, make the Blue Team savvy climate science communicators - and then turn the tables on the contrarians!

Demand evidence and facts - when they produce their tainted manipulated evidence and juvenile arguments - call them on it!  Bring it back to the basics - "Just the facts Ma'am."
Intellectual Confrontation, expose and describe the game they're playing as they play it.  Of course, it would require very sharp, well spoken individuals with cojones to go with their smarts.  Individuals ready and wanting to dissect and expose the details of how the contrarians' dishonesty and siren song unfolds.

Tear apart their juvenile arguments one after the other, it would be a golden opportunity, the smarter folks at the WH realize it better than we, so it's not happening.   What a lost opportunity, I myself believe taking their bluff in this election season could be a shrewd move.  

Why not put together our own R-B team - either with actual contrarians, or with videos of their words, since they never seem ready to debate on an even playing field.  Put contrarian arguments, and their reason on trial.

It might also offer a great platform to proclaim that, a sane society requires that we honestly represent our opponents' positions - yes, also to listen to corrects - life is a learning process.  Mistakes are learning opportunities and should not get frozen into bludgeons.  

Repeatedly and willfully ignoring corrections (object facts and data) to one’s own mistakes is a whole other story that needs to be exposed when it happens.

We have a duty to honestly represent known physical facts and evidence.

Repeating factual lies, should be called out, and dogged, dogged, dogged until the errors get acknowledged.  Not attacking people, attacking the idiotic lies!  That would be so much better and more productive than the silent acquiesce that extends a free pass for malicious lies to flourish.  

Seriously, think about what's happening in public media and the news, we've allowed the Alt-right to own and dominate the narrative so completely that in politics lying about the most important of facts and using malicious dirty tricks have become standard operating procedure, enjoyed with a ghoulish joy.   

Start with a simply factual review of our global heat and moisture distribution engine and the atmospheric insulation that makes our Earth habitable.  A quick review of our complex biosphere (of a sense of its folds within folds of cumulative harmonic complexity) and how all within it is a product of the available energy and the resulting climatic regime.  

How changing the mean temperature of the Earth impacts this biosphere and its inhabitants.  It can be done in a fairly short period of time.  Perhaps touch on uncertainty vs. certainty issues; map vs. territory problem; "How exact does our data need to be to know enough?"; and such.

Then turn the discussion over to the competing arguments, logic and evidence.  

Turn the klieg lights on the GOP's dishonest maliciously fraudulent debate tactics. 

2018 is a frightening election season with more at stake than in any time in America's history (suggest a rival if you can) my nightmare is that too many people still don't appreciate what's at stake, or even the game being played  - what we don't know, will hurt us.

If we don't all start engaging, and networking, and learning, and informing, and engaging more friends, and doing it now, things could get very dark indeed.  Check out this info kiosk

Dr. Schneider 2008 - Do we know enough to warrant action?

Stanford  |  Published on Sep 15, 2008  |  Stephen Schneider
July 24, 2008 presentation by Stephen Schneider for the Stanford University Office of Science Outreach's Summer Science Lecture Series.  
Professor Schneider discusses the local, regional, and international actions that are already beginning to address global warming and describe other actions that could be taken, if there were political will to substantially reduce the magnitude of the risks. 
The Stanford Summer Science Lecture Series is a set of informal lectures about cutting edge research from four of Stanford's most esteemed professors.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

White House quietly issues OMB report vindicating Obama regulations

More facts to help expose the lie behind Libertarians Deregulation Siren’s Song.  Here's another example of Enlightened Self-Interest showing itself to be the more rational constructive way to approach our problems.  I’ll leave the rest of this story to someone who can explain it better than I can.  
These are the facts we need to learn about and share with others. 

Contradicting Trump, OMB report highlights rule benefits
Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter
Published: February 26, 2018 

The White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday evening released its annual report on the costs and benefits of federal regulations, showing that the benefits of major Obama-era rules far exceeded the costs.

E&E News broke the story, but it’s only available to subscribers so I’ll relate David Roberts report from

Trump White House quietly issues report vindicating Obama regulations
It was easy to miss, but OMB demolishes the GOP’s deregulatory claims.
By David Roberts  |  |  Mar 6, 2018, 9:30am EST

For a copy of the Report itself, this has been posted by E&E
2017 Draft Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Agency Compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

President Donald Trump’s administration has been on a deregulatory bender, particularly when it comes to environmental regulations. As of January, the New York Times counted 67 environmental rules on the chopping block under Trump.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Is What Democracy Looks Like - Breen LandUseCode Community Meeting

After a short intro with a big digression, here's the follow up to my previous post, which looked at the connections between "SaveLaPlata" and the Koch octopus.  Here's a report on a very informative local meeting and example of genuine democracy in action.

I appreciate this concerns but one obscure county, still change the names and the contrived local "issue" - and this is playing out throughout the USA in the run up to the Nov. election.  
By Jonathan Easley - 01/27/18 - The

Why am I sharing this?  Guess, I still dream of a genuine grassroots uprising, and yes perhaps even networking with some people of passion, ethics and being part of it. (citizenschallenge at gmail.)    

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

“O the irony!” says "Save"LaPlata's front man, Peters. The irony indeed.

This is an updated version of  "SaveLaPlataCounty's "Facts" Tainted by Koch's DarkMoney Tentacles" (2/16), this expanded version was inspired by SaveLaPlataCounty's Dave Peters' bile filled PR release of 2/22.  I submit another study in Intellectual Confrontation, you could also call it simply speaking up for honesty, and trying to rationally describe the process.  In any event, it's something we need more of.
Durango Herald's February 22“O the irony!” said Dave Peters, another (Lachelt) recall organizer, in the news release. “It turns out the queen of outside dark money is actually Commissioner Lachelt herself.” Recall supporters created a website, Save La Plata County, which explains why they are seeking her removal from office.”  
Oh the irony indeed!
What about The Rest Of This Story? 

What about’s many ties to unabashedly oil loving, environmentalist hating outfits with their vast amounts of Koch DarkMoney ready to be lavished on any go-getters ready to join their fabricated war on rationality and raise hell in their communities?

A network that Ken Francis alluded to in his thoughtful November 17th, 2017 Durango Herald opinion piece,” “Big oil and gas behind county commissioner attacks.” (at the end of this I share his insightful final paragraphs.)

Where is getting their funding from?  No hint at their blog.  I’ve sent Mr Peters an email requesting that information, we’ll see if I get a response. I will keep you updated. (still no word 2/27)

Here we look at the brain-trust three locals depended on to fabricate their malicious effort to do an end-run around the democratic voters' will. 

(click on images for clearer view)

To begin with, isn’t their summary title a bit hysterical?