Sunday Morning Links



This county needs a health plan — stat! (Today’s Times Standard)

  • I don’t think higher wages from the county is the answer, or daily air service.  The problems are deeper and we require federal programs to assist rural areas like ours.  One idea would be better programs to pay for medical school for students willing to spend 5 to 10 years of their lives in our provincial rural backwater. (that is obviously not how I view the North Coast)  Another is federal money to help rural areas maintain the first rate medical care that urban areas can enjoy.  You know, something akin to a 3 letter program from FDR’s America.  Not the WPA or TVA or CCC, what about a RHA (Rural Health Administration).  Obviously these are not solutions that will be available to us in the next 4 years.

Will Donald Trump Cave on Social Security?  (Today’s NYT)

“What Mr. Trump actually will do is unknown, but his actions so far don’t inspire confidence. By law, the secretaries of labor, the Treasury and health and human services are trustees of Social Security. Mr. Trump’s nominees to head two of these departments, Labor and Treasury — Andrew Puzder, a fast-food executive, and Steve Mnuchin, a Wall Street trader and hedge fund manager turned Hollywood producer — have no government experience and no known expertise on Social Security.

His nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, has been a champion of cuts to all three of the nation’s large social programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

Arguing the Truth with Trump and Putin  (Today’s NYT)

Let us imagine the conversation we would be having if we were not preoccupied with Mr. Trump’s denial of the C.I.A.’s conclusions. We would now be discussing the appropriate response to the hacking. We would be talking about consequences for the American electoral process in general and for the results of this election in particular. We would be asking why it matters if Russia’s hacking efforts were intended to benefit Mr. Trump. …

Double standards in politics are not uncommon. They are not even necessarily wrong. But they are also not obvious, or obviously correct: They need to be understood and articulated. The conversation we should be having right now is a complicated one. We should be talking about how public opinion is formed in an interconnected world.

The Tent Cities of San Francisco  (Today’s NYT)

“Californians came together for public works in the mid-20th century — freeways, public housing, the finest public schools and universities in the nation. Caring for the least among us, however, has never been a hallmark of California liberalism, and our most notable innovations of the past 50 years have been more about environmental conservation, tolerance and technology — sustainable agriculture, gay marriage, Snapchat — than formation of mutual aid societies, except for communes and cults that end with industrial-scale marijuana cultivation or mass suicide. The technology industry takes this to a millennial extreme by celebrating the moral neutrality enshrined in Google’s corporate motto, “Don’t Be Evil.””



Covered CA Extends Deadline for January Coverage Until Monday

coveredcalifornia_tmOpen enrollment for Covered California plans happen once a year.  This year this period began November 1st and goes through January 31st.

Generally, you have to apply by the 15th of the month for coverage that begins on the 1st of the next month.

However, for coverage that would begin on January 1st, Covered California has extended their deadline, again.  It was to be tonight but checking the website just now, it turns out the deadline is now Monday at 8 p.m.

For more, including hours (They are open today until 6pm PST and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST) and phone number (800) 300-1506, visit the link below.

Having said all that, keep this in mind.  The Monday deadline is only if you are looking for coverage to begin in January.  You sill have until the end of January to sign up for coverage that will begin in February or March.

Here is a link to their site.  Be careful of imposters, because there are a great deal of them that come up if you search for Covered California.

Some Morning Internet Tubes

A “My Word” from 99 year old Mayer Sagel in the Times Standard today.

Ungoverning in North Carolina

North Carolina Republicans Sink to New Depths

The World, Not Just Assad, Is to Blame for Aleppo Tragedy



What Do We Do?

When the gaslighting* overwhelms us, there is nothing like satire to sum it up so we can digest what is happening.  Stephen Colbert summed up where we are well last night.

For the record, the hacking wasn’t limited to the Presidential election.

So Stephen asks, what do we do?  What do we do?  We can’t look to any of our three branches of government, we shouldn’t look for a redo election or impeach any of our leaders, not in my opinion.  So what do we do?

The Republicans Party and it’s members, are sitting at the helm after an election won fair and square – technically.

Like Stephen I do have confidence in the vote.  More people went out and voted for Trump and the GOP ticket (in red and purple states) than voted for Democrats.   Donald Trump will be our President and the GOP will control the House, Senate and Judiciary for four years.  We can’t go backwards.

We have to go forwards with the understanding that we have been hacked.  Much more important that what the Russians have done is the political hacking of reason that the GOP has been focused on for decades.  The GOP has let us down by their own standards.  The Supreme court, which the GOP will tell us is a-political, was used as a political prop by blocking a President’s nominee in a-historical fashion.  The party of law and order was silent when nation’s top cop told us that there was something up with Hillary’s emails on October 28th, yet then on November 6th said there was nothing there.  Now the CIA is bringing forward evidence that Russia hacked both national parties, but passed on the leaks of only one party to semi-news sites.

What do we do when the governing party has depends on these double standards to win elections?  Remember, some huge fraction of this election was about Hillary’s use of a private e-mail server yet look at just what happened.

I think the answer to Stephen’s question is the only path we have. Democrats have to be good.  We have to remind people that we are electing representatives to help decide how we are going to best allow all people entry to our hospitals and clinics, how to balance growth and our economy while protecting that which deserves not to be lost, how to understand and manage what 8 billion people can do to our blue marble, etc. etc. etc.

It’s boring, but that is the type of stuff that government officials do.  Government officials in the United States are not there to endorse a certain world view or gender (see below) or to prop-up this or that favored industry or monopoly in a perpetually changing society, but in the election of 2016, that is what the people wanted, and that is what they got.

Democrats have to be better and win without lowering themselves to the GOP’s level.  In elections we need to remember that we cannot manipulate reality and we should be the party that institutionalizes means of minimizing the manipulation of our electoral system.  We have to be the responsible governors of our society because the GOP has forsaken that responsibility.

There is always today, tomorrow, 2018 and 2020.   America and it’s people is good, it’s just sometimes we believe what that guy on TV or our cell phones are saying, even if what he is saying is what some guy in the Ukraine wants him to say.

And one last thing.  Fox Host Jeanne Pirro asks the question of President Obama, if he knew about the Russian meddling during the campaign, why bring it up now, after the election.  There is a simple answer to that imho, President Obama was a good and decent man and a great President.  He was trying to avoid doing what James Comey did.

*BTW,  there is a great article from, of all places, Teen Vogue on Trump’s Gaslighting of America.  You can find it here.

To gas light is to psychologically manipulate a person to the point where they question their own sanity, and that’s precisely what Trump is doing to this country. He gained traction in the election by swearing off the lies of politicians, while constantly contradicting himself, often without bothering to conceal the conflicts within his own sound bites. He lied to us over and over again, then took all accusations of his falsehoods and spun them into evidence of bias.

Two Great Reasons to Head to 501 K St @ 6 pm Tonight

Reason #1:

NCPA emailed this to it’s members last night

We at NCPA are so proud of Austin Allison for winning his race for Eureka City Council. He’s a bright, focused, progressive guy, with energy and enthusiasm to make great strides for the City.

Austin will be sworn in at the start of this Tuesday’s city council meeting – that’s December 13th at 6:00 at Eureka City Hall (531 K Street). Please join us to show support for Austin as he embarks on this journey!

Reason #2:

Let’s thank Councilmembers Ciarbellini and Atkins for their time and service with of course a special thank you for Councilmember Atkins.

I think there is very little doubt that she changed for the better many city policies over her eight year tenure even though she was often a minority of one on many topics and issues before the council.

But I also hope that Linda’s legacy will note that she has been the backbone of a community movement toward more inclusive politics for Eureka.  I’m fairly certain Councilmember Bergel would not have been elected without Linda.  Would Councilmember Arroyo have run without Linda’s example?  Natalie’s first 2 years certainly wouldn’t have been as successful without Councilmembers Bergel or Atkins.  Would the NCPA and Councilmember elect Allison have even been able to run without Linda and those that she has motivated to be active?  Would we have had the motivation to get out the vote for both Austin Allison if Linda Atkins hadn’t helped to bring a return to true democracy to Eureka?

Linda Atkins is living proof of what one determined person can have on her community not only in moment but with rippling effects through time.  Thank you Linda for all you have done.  We love you and your presence behind the City County dais will be sorely missed.


Charles Blow on Trump’s Ungoverning

From today’s NYT:

Nothing is safe or sacrosanct in Donald Trump’s developing governance team, and America had better start being alarmed about it and moving to actively oppose it.

He has chosen a man hostile to immigrants and with a complicated — to put it mildly — history on race to be attorney general.

He has chosen a man who is anti-abortion, pro-fetal “personhood,” and anti-Obamacare to be secretary of health and human services.

He has chosen a man who has criticized paid sick-leave policies and opposes increasing the federal minimum wage to lead the Department of Labor.

He has chosen a climate change denier and anti-environmental-regulation crusader to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

He has chosen a vocal proponent of school vouchers to run the Department of Education.

In a way, Trump seems to be trying to destroy these agencies from the inside out, the way a worm slowly devours an apple.

I know that it can feel like we are all drowning in a deluge of compounding outrages, with every headline about this impending administration appearing to one-up the last, but take heart.

You may have been on the losing side of this year’s election, but you are on the right side of history. In the final tally, courage will always defeat fear; love will always conquer hate; the beautiful diversity of America, and indeed all of humanity, will always outshine.

Thank you Mr. Blow for describing Trump’s America yet reminding us that this is but an aberration.  American history is not on Trump’s side, it may seem like it at this particular moment four and a half decades from the beginning of the Reagan revolution, but it’s not.  We know this to be true even if the evidence in all three branches of our national government currently indicate otherwise.  Be strong, keep calm and carry on!  We will make it though this, but we are going to have to work hard and smart to protect our shared public infrastructure that is there for all of us, not just those with money.


Motivating Cultural Resentment in Today’s Times Standard

From today’s opinion page in the Times Standard.  Syndicated conservative columnist Susan Stamper Brown. (emphasis mine)

Besides their recount temper tantrum, Republican Electoral College members across the U.S. report harassment and threats from disgruntled Clinton supporters in a last-ditch effort to put their candidate who should be in the big house in the White House.

The Detroit News reports Michigan electors received “intimidating emails or messages” demanding members vote for Clinton and ditch Trump. The report says one young Michigan elector, Mike Banerian, received a message “containing a death wish” and another, “a death threat” in which someone threatened they’d “put a bullet” in his mouth.

Democrat leadership would be wise to detach itself from these whack jobs because the party will continue to implode unless they eradicate the despotic progressiveness which currently rules within the ranks.*

These despotic dimwits don’t give a whit that America’s founders created the Electoral College to prevent the kind of mob rule democracy that Alexis de Tocqueville once called “the tyranny of the majority” — which will happen if a few big cities and states always control the outcome.

Electoral college frames aside, please let me know when people on the left can get away with rhetoric like this and win elections.  This is a winning formula for conservatives.

This victimization of conservatives by progressives or liberals or elites works on at least two levels.  First, Americans in general are people that strive to do and be good.  If we can link progressives, or Democrats to threats and paint their chosen leader as a criminal, well that goes a long way to winning any political argument you might have.

It also works because it diminishes the truth of violence or violent intimidation as born out by hate crime data.  Here is a chart from this week’s Economist that is based on almost 6,000 hate crimes recorded by the FBI for 2015.


This chart is from a short but good article from a great business-leaning British publication.

While not all states recognise all these types of hate crime, in 2015 a total of 5,850 of them were recorded by the FBI. Hatred itself is not a crime, but crimes motivated by hate result in longer sentences. The vast majority of hate crime is comprised of racist intimidation and assaults, and vandalism of religious buildings.

The FBI probably undercounts this kind of crime, because police departments are only required to submit numbers on a voluntary basis.

Lookit, comparing what is in essence a political threat to hate crime data is comparing apples and oranges.  Hate crimes, by definition, do not include victims defined by their political leanings.  But hate crime data sets are the only solid information we have of what is going on in the real world.   Do you not think that there is at least as much tit for tat from political view in horrific anonymous threats to try to frighten  politicians, leaders, or representatives?

I’d like it if we kept the data of threats against politicians too, the more data, the better.  Something tells me though that Republicans wouldn’t be on board.  Maybe part of the reason why is they have a pretty good thing going on now priming cultural resentment by asymmetrically reporting obnoxious and criminal behavior.

*Susan, I’m not a leader, but I feel fairly confident I can speak for all of them when I say we condemn ANY Democrat (or person for that matter) who would threaten ANYONE with violence or murder.  Please.

Also, Times-Standard, really?  I would ask that you think again about printing this kind of baloney.  Do any of you know of any Democrat or progressive or liberal or elite or … that would threaten someone?  If you know someone, please provide a link to this news story or let me know about it because it needs to be shunned. If not, please re-consider what syndicated opinion pieces you are reporting.  Muchas Gracias!

Samantha Bee on GOP Lie # 312: Voter Fraud.

Rated R.  Definitely NSFW.  Also a way to deal with inanity and insanity with laughter.  We are going to need laughter to help us understand our new world.

Also, a cameo from my all-time favorite GOP truth-speak – Paul Weyrich’s Goo-Goo syndrome clip.

Fun fact, did you know Paul Weyrich was the founder of The Heritage Foundation?

Ungoverning: Expanding the Oligarchy

If they were honest, the Republicans would tell you they are governing for the wealthy, protecting them from the majority of those who know they will never be wealthy (1).   Now that we can look back at the 2016 election, we can say the strategy of keeping this an open secret still works pretty well in the modern era, in fact Republicans have now won eight of the last thirteen elections with this political pandering.  Kudos.


In my opinion, the ungoverning coalition consists of four major constituents a) the oligarchs and their enablers, b) theocrats and their flocks, c) found causers(2) and d) those concerned that they are losing their culture.  All of these important players have something which trumps (sorry, it’s going to be a long four years) their concern for the relatively boring (not to mention unprofitable) subject of governing.

In regards to economic and those topics which are related such as organizing workers, how to spend public sector revenues and regulating economic activity (say for example, for environmental reasons) the oligarchs are the preeminent member of this ungoverning coalition.

Now, we shouldn’t forget that the oligarchs are not a monolithic group.  The Club for Growth for one was an early never Trumper.  President Elect Trump, as a real-estate developer is not against wielding governmental power when necessary and that scares those oligarchs who are trying to  protect their wealth from the tax-person and who would like to do what they want, damn-it, with their own property.  It’s America.  Freedom.

Having said that, it is not like us 85% of the population who own just 15% of the nation’s wealth will every be able to tell the difference.  Just look at how Trump’s cabinet is panning out so far in this ongoing tongue-only-slightly-in-cheek “Swamp Watch” analysis by Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum.  The oligarchs are going to have a pretty tight grip on Trump’s America.


And with these folks ungoverning for us, do you think the Trump administration will ameliorate or worsen the economic situation represented in the graph below?


Ugh.  It’s going to be a rough four years, and I’d prefer not to think about the mess our children will have to clean up afterwards.

(1)At least wealth in terms of money.  Many of us non-wealthy feel, and in many ways are, much richer than President elect Trump will every be.  Please don’t let conservatives tell you liberal politics is about envy.  It’s not.

(2)Found causers:  Those who would rather not be governed by Yankee-styled government.  The Lost Cause of the Confederacy:  (from Wiki) The beliefs endorse the virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the American Civil War as an honorable struggle for the Southern way of life.  (minus slavery)

Matthew Owen, You Are Awesome.

(NOTE: 12/11/16  Matthew called to remind me his last name has 4 not 5 (Owen not Owens letters in it.  OOPS, sorry Matthew title corrected!  I can’t update the link to Lost Coast Outpost sadly.)

Matthew Owen before the election:

“It don’t take a genius to figure out the White House is gone. Short of Bernie supporters not voting for Hillary miracle, put a fork in it. I’m calling the Presidential race for Hillary Clinton in a landslide. My mother used to say, “Ya gotta lie in the bed you made.” Unfortunately for Republicans, you nominated Trump and are stuck with a narcissistic megalomaniac until November 8 at 9:00 pm (or earlier) PST when the balloons drop from a hotel ballroom where Hillary Clinton is having her election night party.”

Matthew Owen yesterday afternoon on LoCO.

“If you’re still asking, “What the hell happened?” then you’re probably living in “The Bubble.” The Bubble is where only like-minded people hang out together. They drive their Prius hybrids from their Bayside McMansions after retiring at 55 with their six-figure CalPERS pension checks (inflation adjusted for life), while complaining how bad things are out there. In case you haven’t noticed there are two America’s and you can’t stick your head in the sand and say, “I’m right and you’re wrong!”…

The final numbers tell us there’s a huge difference between a 48 year old charismatic African-American man with great oratory skills who looks like a Nordstrom’s model and campaigned relentlessly versus a soon to be 70 year old woman that wears pants suits from a thrift store and put us to sleep with her wonky speeches between naps. Hillary was very good with numbers and policy, but she was a seriously flawed Democratic candidate to start with. You can’t be under investigation by the FBI and expect to generate voter enthusiasm. Hillary earned almost $3 million from her Wall Street speeches. Good for her. Just don’t run for President as a Democrat. You can’t earn $15 million a year and say you understand what the average American is going through ‘cuz ya got no clue. Hillary didn’t do live interviews for over six months as she was above the media. Hillary turned down a Megyn Kelly prime time interview on Fox News, which probably could have converted some undecided voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Hillary, Bill and Chelsea all turned down Showtime’s documentary “The Circus” interviews, while Donald Trump and his team were the stars.”

(emphasis mine)

He has an answer to everything.  If Democrats lose, it’s Bernie’s fault, when he is wrong, it’s presumably his progressive neighbor’s fault that created a progressive bubble around him.

And wait, did he really write this?

“Hillary earned almost $3 million from her Wall Street speeches. Good for her. Just don’t run for President as a Democrat.”

Should she have run as a Republican Matthew?  Maybe Democrats should have elected a better candidate.  Who would you have supported?  Bernie?  That rock-star body builder from Rhode Island?  Joe Biden?

Of course there is only one alternative Democrats nationwide would have voted for and you, as a Democrat, would never have supported a regressive (using your words) like Senator Sanders.

While we are on the subject, let’s enjoy once again wise words from Linda Atkins handily linked by Mr. Owen in one of the few bright spots of his latest column.

Political parties exist to advocate for the values that they consider important. Heartfelt disagreements about who should be endorsed by a particular political party in an election are a part of how our democracy works. In the election of 2010, we locally had the new twist of people from one political party changing their registration to another party in order to take advantage of the local political climate. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than being opportunistic, but the party into which these people came has every right to doubt the sincerity of these sudden converts until they show that their values fit with those of the party.

… When people move into the opposition’s party, however, things become intentionally confusing.

Progressive values of compassion, equality and support for the working person are … values that deserve a place in our local conversation about where we want to go in building a community that is respectful and dynamic. Disagreements about our path to building that future are healthy, not debilitating. However, there is no reason that people who hold views that are in opposition to the values of a particular political party should feel welcome in that party. That is why we have more than one party in our country, as well as the option to belong to no party at all.

Those of us who consider ourselves progressive are not about to stand back and let our community be manipulated by an interest group that represents a narrow slice of the people while having the financial backing to run campaigns that overwhelm any grassroots candidate.

I’ve removed a couple of sentence of Linda’s piece.  You can find the entire piece here.

Councilwoman Atkins was responding to a My Word by John Chiv which you can find here.