Trumpie will appoint him to be ambassador to Nambia.
Monday, September 25, 2017
In their zeal to take health care away from tens of millions the conservatives who rule the GOP are willing to abandon everything they say they stand for. Chief among these turncoats is the Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel who explains why Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski should vote to kill ACA.
First of all according to Kim ACA is dying in Alaska.
Health-insurance premiums have soared more than 200% and are now the highest in the country. All but one insurer has fled the state’s individual market. People are dropping policies. Doctors are refusing to take the flood of new Medicaid patients.
Wow, the states Governor must be livid and at the forefront of getting rid of ACA. Oh, maybe not. The Governor opposes the Graham Cassidy plan.
So why should Sen. Murkowski support repeal? It's because Alaska would get huge federal benefits. And Strassel says Alaska should be punished if its independently minded Senator votes against repealing ACA.
Alaska lives or dies on federal largess. It routinely tops the list of federal funding per capita. It receives billions in annual federal grants and billions more in defense spending. Federal money supports an estimated one-third of all the jobs and household income in the state.
Some of these funds come from mandatory entitlement programs, but the money that really matters is discretionary. It’s the Denali Commission. It’s the Essential Air Service, which subsidizes flights in rural Alaska. It’s grants for weatherization, and village water projects, and salmon recovery. It’s wildlife refuge payments and bridges to nowhere. It’s upgrades for military bases.. . .
But why should the nation continue to send outsize taxpayer funds to a state that is single-handedly condemning Americans to ObamaCare? Somewhere on Ms. Murkowski’s calculator is a button that reads “Trump Grudge”—and it adds a lot of zeros.
But on the reward side another word comes up. Bribery.
By contrast, what would Ms. Murkowski get with a “yes” vote? She would earn the support of conservative groups, which will matter most in any re-election bids. She would get to keep open the Alaska money tap and even gain leverage for new projects.
Some people will say this is conservatives giving up their integrity. That is not correct. There never was any integrity in people at the WSJ editorial pages.
And Why is it Taking So Long to Replace a Political Hack Like Jeff Sessions?
After Sen Sessions (R, Al) was appointed Attorney General so that he could deny rights to more residents of America his Senate seat was subject to an election. Before that could take place a man named Luther Strange was appointed to serve until an election could be held. The election required a primary, then a run-off and finally a general election which will ratify the winner of the Republican run-off.
Strange man is trying to win the seat outright against Roy Moore, a twice removed Alabama judge who kept losing his post because, and we are not making this up, he would not obey the law. Moore thinks the United States is a Christian nation where biblical laws trump (pun intended) secular laws.
As far as policy is concerned the two men are equal. But Moore will be a greater embarrassment to the Republican party so he should win. And everyone hopes he does, the entertainment value alone is worth listening to a holier than thou rabid conservative.
And yes we know things take longer in the South, but why is it taking so long to replace Sessions? Maybe it's because finding someone as terrible as Sessions is just not all that easy, even in Alabama.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
And Other Comments on the News
- The Federal government put the highest priority possible on getting billions appropriated to help wealthy Texas recover from a hurricane. Puerto Rico is in far worse shape, but since they are Hispanic and poor, well they can wait can't they.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R, Io) revealed what Republicans really think about health care legislation. He noted that there are at least 10 reasons to vote against Graham Cassidy but he would put party ahead of nation and state and vote for it. What a patriot!
- And notice that the President proprieties involve whether or not a professional athlete protests during the national anthem. That freedom of speech thingee is fine when it involves protecting bigot's rights, not so fine otherwise.
- Does Trump want a nuclear war with North Korea? For anyone who says otherwise please note his actions which seem designed to get that result.
- Lindsey Graham decried the process of voting for special provisions for certain states to get health care legislation passed until the bill had his name on it. Then it's ok.
- Alabama is slow and incompetent at many governmental things. It will take them almost a year to elect someone to the Senate as bad as Jeff Sessions. One would think they could have found a disgusting replacement a lot quicker.
- Why does anyone pay attention to what soon to be the former governor of New Jersey with the lowest approval rating Chris Christie?
8. And speaking of former governors, Pat McCroy who lost his North Carolina re-election bid because of his desire to police bathrooms my run again, since apparently he cannot get job.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Hard to Believe – Campaigning for Senator Strange in Alabama Trump Becomes Even (Roy) Moore of a Joke
Setting the Intelligence Bar So Low
For reasons unknown to anyone Donnie decided to get into the Republican Senate primary in Alabama and needless to say the results were strange (pun intended as Strange is the name of the candidate Trump is endorsing). Appointed Senator Luther Strange is running against disgraced Alabama judge Roy Moore. In endorsing Strange here is what Trump really said.
“I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake,” Trump told the crowd at one point during his nearly 90 minutes of remarks.
Although not reported, we are fairly certain derisive laughter could be heard from Mobile to Montgomery.
Friday, September 22, 2017
Every so often an exceptionally capable woman has to prove her worth by competing against a clown.
In the NYT, gosh we wonder what the reviewer was really talking about. Oh, right. Even if Mrs. Clinton and the nation lost, Mrs. Clinton still won.
In the NYT, gosh we wonder what the reviewer was really talking about. Oh, right. Even if Mrs. Clinton and the nation lost, Mrs. Clinton still won.
How to Help Kids, Help Their Parents and Help the Schools
If a family is economically disadvantages they can get reduced price or free school lunches for their kids. This is ridiculous. To implement the program requires income checks, subjects children to humiliation and causes untold administrative problems for the schools. No one knows how many teachers and school staff reach into their own pockets to make sure some kids have a meal, but the number is certainly large.
A better way, as a NYT editorial advocates, is just to make the lunches free to the kids.
New York City’s public school system set an important national example this week when it made free lunch available to all of its 1.1 million students regardless of income level. The program ensures that more children will get proper nutrition during the school day. It will also relieve the sense of stigma and shame that often leads children to refuse subsidized meals — and go hungry — rather than let classmates find out that their families are poor.
Three quarters of New York City schoolchildren had already qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. The new initiative reaches another 200,000 children, saving their families about $300 a year per child. These additional lunches are not expected to cost the city more money, thanks to the federal Community Eligibility Provision program, under which schools that offer free lunch and breakfast to all children are reimbursed based on students’ poverty level. A new state data system that matched poor families with the schools their children attend has allowed the city to sign up for the program.
Yes, we know, conservatives will decry making school lunches free, after all it would just make children and parents and school officials lives easier and we all know conservatives hate for government to do that. But the benefits are huge.
And free lunches are not free lunches. The farmers that produce the food get paid. The food companies that process the food gets paid. The staff that cooks and serves the food gets paid. The only difference with making all school lunches free is how they get paid for. Removing that burden from parents and schools just makes common sense.
Comments on Disasters
- Puerto Rico will probably need as much aid as Texas and Florida. Its residents are American citizens so expect them to be shafted by the government because, well you know, they are Hispanic.
- Lindsey Graham is getting the star treatment from the administration for his plan to repeal ACA. This is because his plan is even more reprehensible than the Republicans thought possible. Graham has been completely rolled, so much so that he is now going back on what he said about voting for a bill that had provision that are now in his bill.
- Who would have ever thought Jimmy Kimmel would be the hero in the fight for affordable health insurance. Even if evil prevails Mr. Kimmel is will be long remembered for showing up Sen. Cassidy as the fraud he is.
- Trump does not know what is in the GOP health care bill because, as he says, “Why should I bother learning legislation until it passes and has been in place for a couple of years”.
- Part of the aid to Texas is for grants to homeowners of expensive houses who did not have flood insurance. This will be paid for by taking away health care insurance from homeowners who cannot afford health care.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Huh? There's a Good Reason
For reasons unknown to mankind a park in New York state is named for Donnie Trump. Now the good people of that state want to change the name.
A bill set to be introduced by Assembly Member Nily Rozic directs the commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to change the name of the park to “Heather D. Heyer State Park." The bill cites the commission's policy that “state parks should foster and strengthen the sense of purpose, well being and identity of the citizens of this state."
So this seems reasonable, why is this Forum opposed? Here's why.
The park itself has been closed since 2010, and was recently described as an "ugly and dilapidated ... disaster."
Now really, doesn't that sound like Trump, doesn't that park personify him perfectly.
A Tough Goal, But He Has Made It
When health are debate started in the Senate one Senator, Dean Heller a Republican from Nevada surprised everyone by coming out against the bill. Unfortunately, his short lived admiration turned to hatred by fellow GOP members and he saw that he could lose his seat in the next election.
So now he is not only in favor of taking health care away from millions, he is actually sponsoring a bill to do so. The irony of course is this is too late. A primary challenge will certainly challenge his ability to even get the nomination for 2018, and strong Democratic opposition would suggest he won't return to the place in government that he is so anxious to retain that he has sold his integrity to try and get it.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Why Are They Using Russian Security Software?
Buried somewhat in the news is that the GAO has decided that maybe, just maybe it is not a good idea for federal agencies to use Russian security software in their computer systems.
The U.S. government on Wednesday banned the use of a Russian brand of security software by federal agencies and gave them three months to remove the software amid concerns the company has ties to state-sponsored cyberespionage activities, according to U.S. officials.
Acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke ordered that Kaspersky Lab software be barred from federal civilian government networks, giving agencies a timeline to get rid of it, according to several officials familiar with the plan who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Duke ordered the scrub on the grounds that the company has connections to the Russian government and its software poses a security risk.
Gee, you think? The question that comes to mind of course is what complete and total idiot thought it would be a be a good idea for software developed by Russians to have a role in U. S. Government computers in the first place. Did it never occur to anyone that this might be a bad idea? It would have occurred to a four year old. And yes it gets worse.
At least a half-dozen federal agencies run Kaspersky on their networks, the U.S. officials said, although there may be other networks where an agency’s chief information security officer — the official ultimately responsible for systems security — might not be aware it is being used.
Well of course an agency's chief information security officer might not know it is on his or her systems. Not like that would be part of the job of a chief information security officer. And finally, he nail in the coffin of incompetency.
The U.S. intelligence community has long assessed that Kaspersky has ties to the Russian government, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The company’s founder, Eugene Kaspersky, graduated from a KGB-supported cryptography school and had worked in Russian military intelligence.
Greed Personified –
Saudi Arabia Anti-Semites, Who
Billionaire managers of investment funds get a huge tax break. Because of a technical glitch in the tax code they pay tax on their income at very low rates. And they are outraged, outraged that someone would try to take that tax break away from them.
Word of mouth says that Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman got suddenly very passionate when talking about tax hikes in July.
He was speaking to board members of a nonprofit organization when, apparently, Schwarzman started comparing the proposal to increase taxes on private equity firms to the conditions in Nazi Germany.
Newsweek doesn't name the charity board in question, nor their sources, but rumor is that Schwarzman said fighting with the administration over the taxes is something like this:
“It’s a war."
“It’s like when Hitler invaded
Now the NYT reports how Schwarzman has cozied up to Trumpie and as a result has been awarded the right to manage a $20 billion Saudi fund.
But Mr. Schwarzman’s stature in both the world of finance and in Mr. Trump’s Washington helped Blackstone nail down one of the biggest deals on Wall Street this year — its selection by Saudi Arabia to manage a new $20 billion fund, according to a person with knowledge of the selection process.
In May, while the president was visiting
Blackstone announced the agreement to manage the fund, the largest in the world
to invest in infrastructure projects. The announcement was made at the royal
palace in Riyadh
as Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner looked on.
In 2015, the state-appointed grand mufti preached that Jews were planning to destroy
Al-Aqsa Mosque and called ISIS “part of the
Israeli army.” The top state-appointed religious body praised what it called
the Palestinian “jihad and defense of the sanctities of Muslims in Palestine,”
terming Israel’s so-called “violation of the sanctity of Islamic holy sites” an
act of “terrorism.”
One member of that state-appointed council has contended that Jews plot against the entire world, and in 2016 sermons from
Grand Mosque called for divine intervention against the “usurper Jews,” whom he
dubbed a “criminal people.” Last year King Salman handed that preacher an award
“for service to Islam.” This past June, Saudi state TV gave five hours of
airtime to a zealot with a government title who had recently called for
God to “destroy” the Jews and save Al-Aqsa from their “claws.”
Jewish men, women and children will be killed because of Saudi policy. Men like Stephen Schwarzman don’t care. Their billions are not enough; they want more.
Why the Police Need to Help Themselves and Society
The huge, huge majority of law enforcement officers are great people dedicated to public safety and service. The few who violate the law, the rights of citizens and commit other offenses against the public get the publicity. And they need to be stopped by the only people who can stop them, their fellow officers.
In Utah a police detective got downright violent when a nurse refused to allow him to draw blood from an unconscious person. She was right he was wrong, she was assaulted and arrested.
By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient.
The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples — not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.
Still, Detective Jeff Payne insisted that he be let in to take the blood, saying the nurse would be arrested and charged if she refused.
And did he follow through, you betcha.
Payne snapped. He seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.And what happened to the offending officer?
Salt Lake police spokesman Sgt. Brandon Shearer told local media that Payne had been suspended from the department’s blood draw unit but remained on active duty. Shearer said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown had seen the video and called it “very alarming,” according to the Deseret News.
C'mon police in Salt Lake, get rid of these problems. Help us help you help us.
Update: The police involved are facing disciplinary action. But only because of the publicity.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Lies, More Lies, Maybe the Most Lies
There is so much wrong with the Senate's last ditch effort to repeal and not replace ACA that it is impossible to discuss every horrible aspect of it in a Forum like this. But here is one of the worst things, from the WaPo.
The drop in funding “gives strong incentives for the states to be more efficient with their program,” said Ed Haislmaier, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. That is, states may be able to maintain the ACA structure and regulations as long as they streamline operations.
Mean spirited people, conservatives in today's world have been using this argument for centuries to punish the unfortunate and make their lives miserable. The argument is that helping low income families really harms them, because it causes them to be dependent on aid and removes their incentives for improving their lives or being more careful with their spending. It ignores the problem that for the vast majority of people who are not doing well it is either not their fault (disabilities, lack of education, etc) or that some how they are happy in their miserable lives and don't want to change.
Modern America, at least the thinking and compassionate part of it moved away from this a long time ago. But the conservatives whose greed and avarice and spite and meanness have never left them, it is a thinking that remains. If Graham Cassidy is put in place it will cement their thinking in American health care policy for decades. That policy is that low and middle income people should not get sick, that if they do get sick it is their fault, and if they cannot pay they do not get treatment. And that is an ugly, ugly thing.
Get Over It Crabby Progressives
For reasons almost impossible to understand there was some blowback from former Press Secretary Sean Spicer's appearance at the Emmy's where he made fun of himself and his outrageous claims on behalf of the Trumpster.
But soon after, Colbert posed the question of how many people were watching the Emmys. The answer came in the form of Spicer’s cameo. The Republican operative wheeled out a podium like the one Melissa McCarthy used in her SNL impression of him. In a mock-stern voice, he announced: “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period, both in person and around the world!”
Okay, somewhat funny, nothing offensive and among the least important things in the world certainly the Emmy's rank near the top. But . . .
Many viewers were quick to air discomfort with the Spicer bit. “There’s nothing funny about the damage [Spicer] assisted in planning, defended, & celebrated when he worked in The White House,” tweeted the activist DeRay McKesson. The actor and former Obama adviser Kal Penn wrote, that Spicer “can normalize himself in good fun, but he still passionately advocated against human rights, health care, & American values.”
Get real here people. Among the many atrocities that have been committed and will be committed by the current administration the silly ravings of Spicer when he was in the administration is just not that important. And kudos to a person who can mock themselves on national TV.
CNN’s reporting also noted that the Spicer cameo was Colbert’s idea: “He and his producers knew there would be blowback. … But Colbert thought it would be funny and surprising, and that’s what mattered most.”
Right on Stephen, right on.
Monday, September 18, 2017
No Thanks to Conservatives
One of the most amazing statistics to come out of Hurricane Irma's path of destruction is that 25% of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed or damaged. This is remarkable, one would have expected only 25% of the houses to survive given the ferocity of the storm.
One expects that the major reason why so many homes were not destroyed is that government played a huge role. In this case it is building codes that made houses hurricane proof. Yes this is strong control by government but the results cannot be argued with if the data holds up. And yes, this is the sort of thing conservatives hate; they believe everyone should have the freedom to build as they see fit. There is a name for that, Houston.
The Man Has No Idea What He is Doing
Fumbling, Bumbling and Stumbling Foreign Policy
Remember when Donnie thought the Iran nuclear deal was the worst deal ever, except of course for NAFTA and health care and all the other worst deals ever. He was going to tear it up Day 1. Well guess what Day 1 passed a long time ago and Trumpie still has no idea what is going on. He doesn't even suspect what is going on.
WASHINGTON — President Trump kept the Iran nuclear deal alive on Thursday as a critical deadline lapsed, a sign that he is stepping back from his threat to abandon an agreement he repeatedly disparaged. He is moving instead to push back on Iran’s ambitions in the Middle East in other ways.
Thursday’s congressionally imposed deadline, to renew an exemption to sanctions on Iran suspended under the 2015 deal, was significant because had the president reimposed economic punishments on Iran, he would have effectively violated the accord, allowing Tehran to walk away and ending the agreement.
Like everything else, Trump just promises something 'next month' And for sure it will be 'big, big, big'.
“We are not going to stand for what they’re doing to this country,” he told reporters. “They have violated so many different elements, but they’ve also violated the spirit of that deal. And you will see what we’ll be doing in October. It will be very evident.”
Of course the people that actually know what is going on find that Iran is complying.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said Iran has complied with its commitments under the arrangement, including inspections.
Is it incompetence or ignorance that rules the Trump White House? Inquiring minds want to know.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Saturday, September 16, 2017
So Many Lies, So Little Blog Space
The Republicans in the Senate are making a last ditch effort to repeal ACA in the final days of the government's fiscal year. The deal this time is to
- Repeal the mandates which will drive premiums up dramatically and drive up the number of uninsured.
- Change the funding to block grants to the states which will take money away from Dem states and give money to GOP states along with cutting funding to Medicaid and premium support.
- Allow states to waive requirements for comprehensive coverage resulting in insurance companies offering policy which will be insurance in name only.
This will probably get a vote in the Senate, with a 50-50 chance of passing. In support the WSJ wrote an editorial that is so bad it may well be in the Hall of Fame for bad policy analysis.
The bill replaces money spent on tax credits and Medicaid expansion with block grants to states, which would allow Governors to experiment with insurance reforms. Another selling point is that a rejiggered formula will divvy up federal dollars more equitably, as states such as Massachusetts and California haul in an outsize share under current law.
Experiment with reforms means gutting coverage requirements. And the reason Massachusetts and California get more money than say, North Carolina is that those states expanded Medicaid with the Feds paying for it while states that got less money got less money because they did not. And now they would be rewarded for denying health care coverage to people.
The Obama Administration’s Medicaid expansion enrolled working-age, childless adults above the poverty line, and the feds footed most of the bill to bait states to participate.
For some reason conservatives think people who work but don't make enough money to buy health care insurance shouldn't get health care. Don't know the logic there. And the feds footing the bill meant that the states could expand Medicaid without burdening their budget or their taxpayers. Somehow this is a bad thing?
And then there is this.
ObamaCare’s exchanges will continue to deteriorate, and Democrats will blame Republicans for every premium increase from here to November 2018.
I guess even though they are in the news business the WSJ editors don't follow the news. If they did they would know that now every county has ACA insurers. They would know that increases in premiums are the result of Trumpers trying to sabotage the program. They would know that a large number of insured are not subject to premium increases because they receive subsidies that limit their costs.
But of course they don't want to know any of this. Reality would contradict their positions.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Hatred and Prejudice Does Not Disqualify Personnel in the Trump Arena
Politco is reporting on the battle to confirm a former Congressman who is openly and visciously anti-gay to head a key government agency.
President Donald Trump’s nomination of former Rep. Scott Garrett to lead the Export-Import Bank has opened up yet another front in the Republican Party’s civil war.
Pro-business trade groups, free-market advocates and even social conservatives and gay-rights activists are targeting GOP senators with competing lobbying efforts as they clash over Garrett’s past attempts to shut down the bank and his controversial views on LGBT issues.
So who is this guy and why is this important? Well first of all as a Congressman he wanted to end the agency is now trying to run. But the big deal given the pro-bigot stance of Trump during the
Charlottesville demonstrations is his horrific
anti- LGBT attitude.
His views attracted controversy in July 2015, when POLITICO reported that he told a group of fellow Republicans that he had refused to pay National Republican Congressional Committee dues because it recruited gay candidates.
Garrett later denied that he was against gay candidates and said his concern was with support for same-sex marriage. But the political fallout contributed to his failed 2016 reelection bid and is becoming a more prominent issue in his Senate confirmation.
Apparently in his view the Constitution prohibits folks who are gay from serving in the Congress. The fact that the Constitution promises equal protection for everyone doesn’t bother him, he just wants to write his own version.