The echo keeps trying to invent new scandals blaming the Dems to distract from the real scandal.  Whether it’s Hillary, Obama, Rice, Wasserman-Schultz, Comey or any other boogeyman they can think of, echo-reporting is like choosing the flavor of the week.  The echo has also successfully painted the establishment as evil, when the reality is the establishment is being blown apart by the polarization brought on by hardcore intransigence & radical agendas on both sides.  The real evil comes from the omnipresent echo as the links below allude to, that entire TV, radio & internet messaging complex, which in the case of Fox fake-news is not only in their on-air rhetoric, but also their long-term enabling of an internal culture of moral depravity.

As for the real media, they fell for (over-reported) Trump’s diversion on the NFL rule changes & kneeling for the National Anthem, as it took the focus away from his failing healthcare bill, his candidate losing in Alabama, the evolving crisis in Puerto Rico & the shoes that keep dropping in the Russian scandal.  So Trump got what he wanted, like he always wants, to steal the headlines, even though there’s lots of other issues he should be focused on.  In Trump’s tirade against the NFL over the weekend beginning with his Alabama speech, besides irresponsibly overlooking the recent medical revelations how players’ brains are vulnerable to CTE disease from repeated blows to the head, he also seemed to sound another dog whistle to rile his racist base while instigating (probably deliberately) the reaction from NFL/NBA players that was certain to come.

And as the most divisive President in America’s history, Trump apparently doesn’t believe in the 1st Amendment unless a person’s speech is only used to praise him, while everyone else are SOB’s or can go to hell according to Trump.  This from the person elected as President, whose job it is to lead ALL Americans & try to be a uniting force.  Ha!  I’ll always thank LeBron for breaking our city’s 52-year championship drought (which I suffered through all 144 consecutive seasons), & this week I also respect his thoughtful comments on the people are running the country, not a irresponsible demagogue.  The NFL kneelers aren’t so much disrespecting the flag as they are protesting Trump’s racist attitudes.  And there are way more important fights Trump should be picking than this.

An interesting dynamic is occurring with recent polling showing the GOP has all-time low favorability ratings.  It’s due to the Dem base not liking the GOP anyway & in particular the radical-right coached by the echo, while that radical-right controlled by the echo is taught to dislike the establishment GOP.  The low marks for the GOP come from both the left & far-right.  So the rational pragmatics within the party are being squeezed & taking the arrows, while at the same time keep losing representation in Congress & left without many effective messaging sources on their behalf.  Politically they’re stuck in the middle with no good options, even though moderate Republicans are our nation’s best chance to craft constructive legislation to actually address problems.  But we’ve seen how the conservative base have turned against the moderates.  It’s now the overriding narrative the base has bought into.  Trump is a clear & present danger to America but so is the echo.  And I sense the echo will be a lot more difficult to remove.  So even if Trump gets impeached/removed, the core problem which gave rise to Trump & extremism within the party remains.

Other articles below include an article about Robert Jeffress, Trump’s goofy religious advisor.  He’s a sorry excuse for a faith leader.  I don’t relish criticizing my own evangelical faith, but just like with the GOP, we need the courage to call out indiscretions in order to fix it.  My barbs aren’t what’s hurting our faith.  The damage comes from recognized international leadership defaulting on their higher purpose by getting mired in hyper-partisan politics & endorsing the personification of moral debauchery.  Just wait till the illegal activity by Trump is proven by investigators, the world will not be so forgiving letting evangelicals off the hook.  New faith leaders should emerge, keeping politics confined to biblical principles on social issues while sticking with their higher calling.

There’s an article in the final link where George Clooney critiques the Hillary campaign.  Since I’ve always been a never-Trumper, Cubs fan chides me for voting Hillary, but she may well have been a good President with her knowledge & experience.  But she was an overly-regimented & stiff campaigner whose narrative to working people never really resonated.  In other various links below, we have articles on nutwing Fox hosts, & a couple on that network who actually come off as reasonable.  There’s also reports on Sinclair, Breitbart & other sources of radicalized &/or fake news.  And just as I constantly harp on, Kasich in this first article asks what has become of Fox?  The second article reveals what America sees as our biggest threat, which may or may not surprise you.

Yes, remove his statue….

But only because suspicious circumstances surrounding a murder outside an Atlanta nightclub indicate he may have been complicit….

Economy Section

Geraldo Rivera reporting from Puerto Rico said it’s mindboggling how slow the relief aid effort has been there, which many other reporters concur.  Of course, Trump sent out loads of tweets over the weekend on the NFL without even mentioning Puerto Rico.  Maybe he doesn’t see them as worthy since the island owes so much to Wall St.  When he did mention Puerto Rico this week in the midst of their devastation & suffering, he took a dig at them for their massive debts which caused them to seek bankruptcy, this coming from a President who was bailed out multiple times with bankruptcies.  Those kinds of barbs are the last thing those desperate people need.  They need help & fast!  Pick up the pace!  Repeal the Jones Act (are the concerns of the shipping industry more important than lives?).  Mobilize relief troops.  Get the copters going to dropship water bottles & other supplies!  Cargo containers with important supplies are sitting idle at the docks.  It just seems like there’s been a lack of urgency & adequacy.  The bungling could make this Trump’s Katrina.  Like New Orleans, people are dying!  Admittedly, the situation down there is horrible, the terrain/access is terrible, the challenges daunting, plus is coming on the heels of two other major hurricanes, but the delayed response & Trump’s seemingly lack of focus on it is an open invitation for the media to hammer him, which they’re more than obliged to do.

In other headlines, Lindsey Graham is perfectly accurate in his talking points selling his healthcare proposal, in that if nothing is done to arrest the escalating costs going to Medicare/Medicaid, over the next two decades would consume the entire federal budget & throw us into bankruptcy.  That’s the type of honest talk that really should be coming from the President, but he’s not an honest person, plus he’s painfully unaware of the details so lacks credibility as a spokesman.  He doesn’t even seem to care what’s in the healthcare bill, he just wants to pass something.  Instead of Trump & the echo passing the blame onto GOP Senators like McCain or McConnell, the right approach would be crafting a bipartisan plan worthy & capable of being sold to the public.  Trump has indicated a willingness to work across the aisle (with real hearings?) when trying again in 2018.  Just think about the buffoonery offered up in the current bill which went down in flames this week, after we’ve heard blistering attacks on Obamacare for eight years from the right & this is the plan they came up with?  And Trump’s lack of involvement in the policy details & horrendous sales job were one of the worst performances of presidential leadership we’ve ever seen.

There’s word Bob Corker will not run for reelection in the Senate, continuing a disturbing trend going through Congress for years that the rational pragmatics keep leaving, while the radical extremists are increasingly taking over to gum up the works.  On the plus side maybe Corker will be freed up to help rein in the President, calling out his dishonesty & providing comments on the Russian case with the curiosity & gusto it deserves.  Also the far-far-right just defeated the far-right candidate in the Alabama Senate primary.  As I mentioned in the first section above, this further indicates to the large extent the evil echo has their fangs in the neck of the GOP & leading the base around by the nose.  The congressional leadership jobs of McConnell & Ryan, who are trapped in the middle, have just gone from extremely difficult to impossible.  There is no passing major legislation when there’s no way to cobble together various factions to form a majority.  The GOP civil war has just escalated to the next level.  With moderates falling by the wayside, the GOP continues to be a party we in the center-right find very hard to support.

The more the extremists in the GOP take over, the more bipartisanship goes out the window & we’ll continue getting nothing done.  Just like with Trumpcare, when the far-right tries to jam something through along party-lines without even entertaining the prospect of bipartisanship, it backfires.  That will likely be the case with tax reform, infrastructure or anything else the country needs.  Then Trump & the echo will blame establishment GOP leadership/moderate Republicans, when they should be blaming themselves.  This is quite a racket the echo has going, when they cause the gridlock problems in the first place, blame it on others, yet their loyal audiences believe them.  Indeed, extremism is the biggest problem we have in DC, really coming from both sides, but with the base from both parties buying into their own extremist messaging & existing in their own bubbles, there’s no easy or quick way to solve this.  Maybe our only choice is to blow it all up so we can start over.  Until it gets to the point our elected leaders are committed to working together & the people insist that they do, America’s problems will continue to fester & worsen.

Now it’s onto tax reform, likely a budget buster since dynamic scoring is wishful thinking.  But I like the idea of doubling the standard deductions, more in line with a bottom-up approach rather than pursue a top-down trickle down.  Plus we need to do everything we can to incentivize work & discourage living off the government dole.  But my fear is the details of the plan actually provide tax relief for the wealthy over the middle class, which can make it a non-starter.  Trump will hype it with his usual BS with no relation to reality.  And taxes alone are not a panacea.  Smart fiscal policies in general are badly needed but missing for far too long.  The very best way to reduce governmental benefit programs is start by creating a vibrant economy with advanced job training & friendlier environment for better jobs.

So the links below in addition to articles on taxes, Puerto Rico & healthcare, starts off with yet more articles about the struggling working class & small business, which any tax reform plan needs to provide a major boost for them.  The links toward the bottom provide insights on practical health ideas, the Alabama primary, Corker, DACA & various other areas of interest.  In the last couple links, the Dems “A Better Deal” is at least providing an opening salvo in the discussions we need to be having to fix our uneven economy stuck in 2nd gear.  To ever correct this long-running malaise for the middle class, we should pursue the best ideas from both parties, with a laser-like focus on restoring opportunity, upward mobility & the American Dream.

Therapy for Trumpeters….Just trying to get them mentally prepared for the inevitable end, especially with the Russian investigations heating up, with this folk classic from the early 70’s.

When you reach the part where the heartaches come

The hero would be me
Heroes often fail

And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just to hard to take

I never knew I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it
I don’t know where we went wrong
But the feelings gone and I just can’t get it back….–A-IaZnA