Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sarah Palin Sues New York Times, Claiming Editorial Defamed Her

No truth the rumor that Ms. Palin would be called to the stand as an expert witness on defamation.

While Bernie Sanders Was Leading Rallies Against Health Care Cruelty Nancy Pelosi was Where?

We Don't Know But a Dinner Party in Georgetown is Most Likely

The issue of whether or not the Dems should dump Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader was illustrated over the weekend when she apparently did no public events campaigning against the GOP Tax Cut Bill for the Wealthy disguised as Health Care reform.  Sen. Sanders, who not even a Democrat did haul his 70+ year old body out to fight the bill both in person and on TV political shows.

Ms. Pelosi is toxic, and it is not her fault she has been the target of right wing smears for lo these many years.  But reality is reality.  She should go, she is not part of the solution, she is part of the problem.

Ed Sec “Born with a silver ingot in her mouth” Betsy DeVos to Cut Back Civil Rights in Schools

Unless the violations are against spoiled rich people

An ugly episode in an ugly administration

That civil rights violations take place in the nation’s schools is not disputed, even by conservatives who hate civil rights enforcements.  But they are just not a big deal to a billionaire appointed to head the Education Department.  So she will cut enforcement.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.
According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.

See, the problem is that is just not a priority for Bets.  She wants to gut public schools and use tax dollars to fund religious schools, religious schools that support her religion of course, others need not apply.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Impact of Republican Health Care in One Chart

From the NYT

Do You Get It?  Do You?

Republicans Will Spin Falsely About the CBO Report on Their Health Care Bill

So Here is the Quotes Right From the Horse’s Mouth

Republicans Speak From a Different Part of the Horse

The CBO has issued a report on the impact of the Senate Republican Tax Cut/Disguised as Health Care Bill.  Republicans will say it lowers premiums and produces better care.  Here is what it really says.

GOP:  We are not cutting Medicaid

Truth from CBO:  Medicaid is Cut by More than $700 Billion

The largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid—spending on the program would decline in 2026 by 26 percent in comparison with what CBO projects under current law—and from changes to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance

GOP:  Premiums Will Go Down

Truth from CBO:  Next Year Premiums Will Have Huge Increase

Under the Senate bill, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 20 percent higher in 2018 than under current law, mainly because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated, inducing fewer comparatively healthy people to sign up. Those premiums would be about 10 percent higher than under current law in 2019—less than in 2018 in part because funding provided by the bill to reduce premiums would affect pricing and because changes in the limits on how premiums can vary by age would result in a larger number of younger people paying lower premiums to purchase policies.

GOP:  Premiums Are Skyrocketing Under Obamacare

Truth from CBO:  Obamacare markets with a few exceptions are stable and affordable.

Although premiums have been rising under current law, most subsidized enrollees purchasing health insurance coverage in the nongroup market are largely insulated from increases in premiums because their out-of-pocket payments for premiums are based on a percentage of their income; the government pays the difference between that percentage and the premiums for a reference plan (which is the second-lowest-cost plan in their area providing specified benefits). The subsidies to purchase coverage, combined with the effects of the individual mandate, which requires most individuals to obtain insurance or pay a penalty, are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by enough people, including people with low health care expenditures, for the market to be stable in most areas.

GOP:  Premiums Decline With Their Bill

Truth from CBO:  Insurers will pay less, individuals will pay more.

That share of services covered by insurance would be smaller because the benchmark plan under this legislation would have an actuarial value of 58 percent beginning in 2020. That value is slightly below the actuarial value of 60 percent for “bronze” plans currently offered in the marketplaces. Because of the ACA’s limits on out-of-pocket spending and prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits on payments for services within the EHBs, all plans must pay for most of the cost of high-cost services. To design a plan with an actuarial value of 60 percent or less and pay for those high-cost services, insurers must set high deductibles—that is, the amounts that people pay out of pocket for most types of health care services before insurance makes any contribution. Under current law for a single policyholder in 2017, the average deductible (for medical and drug expenses combined) is about $6,000 for a bronze plan and $3,600 for a silver plan. CBO and JCT expect that the benchmark plans under this legislation would have high deductibles similar to those for the bronze plans offered under current law. Premiums for a plan with an actuarial value of 58 percent are lower than they are for a plan with an actuarial value of 70 percent (the value for the reference plan under current law) largely because the insurance pays for a smaller average share of health care costs.

So if upon reading this a person concludes that every talking point of the Republicans on this bill is a lie, well, then you understand the situation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why Is This Even Necessary?

What Rational and Sane American Would Go to North Korea? 

From the Washington Post

"Death of U-Va. student could lead to North Korea travel ban

Otto Warmbier, 22, was in a coma when he was returned to his family in Ohio last week after being held in North Korea for nearly a year and a half. His death intensified political reaction to his detention, with outraged critics calling it “murder.”

Now let's be perfectly clear.  Mr. Warmbier's death is solely at the hands of the North Koreans.  He is in no way responsible.  But going forward any American who travels to North Korea, or Iran or Syria or a myriad of other places is doing so at their peril.  Don't go, these people want to kill you.  

Sen. McConnell Explains Secrecy Behind Senate Health Care Bill

“Americans Are Just Too Stupid to Understand This” He Did Not Say

Editors note:  Because the Senate leader did not explain why he kept the American people from knowing what was in a health care bill that literally affected their life and death, the DPE thought he would put words in the Senator’s mouth and explain things.

Warsaw, Ky (FNNNN)  Kentucky Senator and Majority leader Mitch McConnell today said that the reason he kept the public from knowing the details of the Senate’s health care legislation was that “The average citizen doesn’t understand this stuff.  We in the Senate, that is we Republicans not the other guys, have full knowledge about what is good for the wealthy and we were elected to make sure those people did not suffer from paying taxes to help middle and lower income families have decent care.”

McConnell went on to say that “Just because a person is sick or injured doesn’t mean they should get treatment.  The Constitution doesn’t say that promoting the general welfare means regular people shouldn’t suffer from curable diseases.  It doesn’t say children must get to see doctors and nurses when they need to and it certainly doesn’t say that billionaires should pay taxes, and if they have to the Constitution expressly prohibits those taxes helping non-billionaires”  When asked about the billionaire reference and where that was in the Constitution McConnell replied that “Just because something is not stated explicitly in the Constitution doesn’t mean we can’t infer it if that furthers our agenda of helping wealthy people get even more money”.

The Senator concluded his remarks by arguing that “Our coal miners have lived for decades with sub par health due to lack of safety concerns by coal mine owners and there is no reason the rest of the nation shouldn’t follow the example set by the great state of Kentucky.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Republican Tennessee Leads in Making 2 Year College Free

Civic Minded Conservatives Can Benefit the Nation

This Forum and a lot of other sources look upon modern so-called conservatism as a danger to the health and prosperity of the nation.  But this is not a foregone conclusion and in Tennessee Republicans who control the state have done a great thing.  They have extended the right of young adults for education to providing for a free 2 year diploma.

Candace Ogilvie, a counselor at Antioch High School in south Nashville, assists students and parents with the Tennessee Promise application process. CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

SMYRNA, Tenn. — A high school assembly changed Nicole-Lynn Riel’s life.
In the fall of 2014, as Ms. Riel, a senior, was applying for jobs at Red Lobster, J. C. Penney and Target, a speaker came to her school to talk about a new state program, Tennessee Promise, that would pay the tuition for all students at the state’s community colleges.
When the speaker said school would be free for everyone, Ms. Riel said, she “perked up and said, ‘What?’”
This month, Ms. Riel graduated from Motlow State Community College here, and she will soon start working toward her bachelor’s degree at a four-year school.
Yep, that is correct. And the program has benefited the entire community.

Enrollment at community and technology colleges for first-time freshmen has climbed by 30 percent. And a majority of Tennessee Promise students who began at a community college in the fall of 2015 were still in school this year, compared with fewer than half of those who were not Promise recipients, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Of course national conservatives will recoil in horror at such a program, it costs money and does not benefit the most wealthy of citizens.  But now there is hope that decency and compassion will overcome greed and hate.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

On Thursday Night: Republicans and Democrats Come Together to Play Baseball

On Friday Morning:  Republican Senators Continued Their Secret Hidden Assault on Health Care and Exclude Democrats and the Public From Any Involvement or Knowledge

It Was Back to Politics as Usual - Destroying Democracy One Day at a Time

Friday, June 23, 2017

Notice To Republican Voters: Yes, Electing Trumpie is Hazardous to Your Health and Well Being

Just Don’t Get Sick GOP’ers

The Center for Disease Control seems to be one of the few government institutions that works.  Or at least it did.  From the WaPo.

Nearly 700 vacancies at CDC because of Trump administration’s hiring freeze

What does this mean.  Oh this.

Nearly 700 positions are vacant at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of a continuing freeze on hiring that officials and researchers say affects programs supporting local and state public health emergency readiness, infectious disease control and chronic disease prevention.
The same restriction remains in place throughout the Health and Human Services Department despite the lifting of a government-wide hiring freeze last month. At the National Institutes of Health, staff say clinical work, patient care and recruitment are suffering.

Yep,  can’t wait for all those ‘more righteous than thou’ Trump voters to get sick and find out that no, they cannot get help from the Feds.  But they won’t worry, after all the wealthy get a huge tax cut.

California Sen. Diane Feinstein Considering Running for Re-election


To see why the current status of the Democratic party in the U. S. is one of almost unconsciousness one need only consider the fact that 84 year old Senator Diane Feinstein of California may run for a new term. If she does then there is another six years where young dynamic leadership is blocked from moving into important electoral positions.

Sen. Feinstein would not be running to advance an agenda.  She would noy be leading the charge for progressive legislation.  She would be running purely to continue the ego trip of being a United States Senator.  Ms. Feinstein is wealthy, and wealth buys a lot of nice things, but wealth cannot buy political status.  Only an election can accomplish that.  So Sen. Feinstein may hold onto her Senate seat solely for the perks of being a Senator.  The progressive agenda, that’s secondary.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Single Quote Sums Up the Sorry State of the Democratic Party

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We no longer have a party caucus capable of riding this wave. We have 80-year-old leaders and 90-year-old ranking members. This isn’t a party. It’s a giant assisted living center. Complete with field trips, gym, dining room and attendants.”
— A Democratic operative, quoted by Politico.

Thanks Taegan Goddard

Conservative Health Care Policy is Killing Would-Be Mothers

In Texas in Particular

The United States has the most private sector providers of health care than any other major nation.  The result is that health care is expensive and spotty.  Furthermore, state policies which deny access to quality care by low income groups abound where Republicans control state government

In 2005, 23 US mothers per 100000 live births died from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. In 2015, that number rose to 25. In the United Kingdom, the number was less than 9. In Canada, it was less than 7.
Very few wealthy countries saw increases over those years. Many poorer countries, including Iran and Romania, saw declines. But here in the United States, things got worse.

And the poster child for poor material care, Texas.

Last year, a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the maternal mortality rate in the United States had increased by more than 25% from 2000 to 2014. This trend differed by state, however. Although California had shown some declines, Texas had seen significant increases.’

Texas in particular has been the focus of much of the news on maternal mortality in the last few years. From 2011 to 2014, the rate doubled. Although we lack good data to tell us why, many have postulated that changes to family planning in the state coincided with this increase. In 2013, for example about half of the state’s clinics that provided abortion in addition to other reproductive health services were closed because of regulations passed against them.

 In 2011, the family-planning budget was slashed in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Many clinics closed and more were forced to reduce their services.

Family planning matters. About 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and might lack preventive care that properly planned-for pregnancies might.

Thanks Rick Perry and the conservatives who rule Texas, thanks.

A Second Tragedy in the High Rise Fire in Britain

Flammable Panels Were Used to Save 2 Pounds per Panel

The fire of a high rise in England killed as many as 58 people.  And maybe it could have been prevented.

In the wake of the fire, it has emerged that the panels fitted to the outside of Grenfell Tower during a substantial refurbishment in 2011 were the cheaper flammable version, that cost £22 each, compared to the “fire-resistant” version which cost £24 each. The total saving from using the non fire-resistant panels has been estimated at around £6,000. There are also concerns that the addition of the panels to the outside of the building created a “chimney effect” sending flames up the outside of the building, spreading the fire faster.

No one knows why or how this happened.  But if it turns out this was a failure of the regulatory process of the state then those who want to destroy governmental oversight need to take a good long look at themselves.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ohio Lt. Gov. Has Two Sons Who Are Opioid Addicts – And She Wants to Severely Cut Medicaid Treatment for Addiction

A Republican, How Did You Know?

The Dayton News has a moving story about the horror of drug addiction.  The family of Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor has been fighting this horrific condition for years.

Both sons – Joe, 26, and Michael, 23, — are now doing well, according to Taylor, though one remains in drug treatment. But every step on the road into addiction, treatment and recovery was marked with worry, anxiety and terror, she said.
There were so many traumatic moments, Taylor can’t even isolate one single event that stands out.

But what is newsworthy is the aspiring candidate for Governor’s take on Medicaid.  First of all addiction is a huge problem in Ohio.

Ohio ranks number one in the nation for unintentional drug overdoses. Despite investing almost $1 billion a year to fight drug abuse and addiction, accidental overdoses claimed 3,050 lives in Ohio in 2015, up 20.5 percent over 2014. Preliminary data from the Ohio Department of Health shows 3,835 fatalities in 2016 — a 25.7 percent hike over 2015.

And Ms. Taylor has no plan to help things other than meaningless platitudes and generalities.

Despite her personal story and six-year service in the Kasich administration, Taylor does not yet have a detailed plan on how she would fight the opioid epidemic if she is elected governor.
“We need a comprehensive solution and it’s going to involve the feds. It’s going to involve everybody,” she said. “We need law enforcement, we need community activists, we need churches and faith-based groups. A comprehensive solution is going to be just that.”

But she does have a firm opinion on Medicaid, and Medicaid plays a key role in treatment.

A centerpiece to Kasich’s approach, however, is opposed by Taylor. Kasich initiated an expansion of Medicaid, made possible by Obamacare, and has been accepting federal funds to serve an additional 715,000 low-income Ohioans, including roughly 215,000 with drug abuse and addiction issues.

Ms. Taylor undoubtedly has the resources to pay for treatment for his sons, maybe they are even covered by the government provided group health care plan she probably gets.  But as far as anyone else is concerned, those who cannot pay, her attitude is pretty Republican mainstream.  Screw You.

The Jury is Still Out on That "Stupid" Thing

From Taegan Goddard's Wonderful Site

Democracy in Action, Kremlin Style in the U. S.Senate

Senate GOP Won’t Release Draft of Health Care Bill

“Senate Republicans are on track to finish writing their draft health care bill this evening, but have no plans to publicly release the bill,” Axios reports.
Said one of the aides: “We aren’t stupid.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trump Apparently Thinks He Can Pressure Mueller – Trump is Wrong

A Decorated Veteran Will Not Be Intimidated by an Orange Haired Person Who Sat Out Military Service

The WaPo and NYT have stories about how Donnie thinks he can threaten Mueller with firing and thus get the former FBI Director to give Trump a favorable outcome on the various investigations currently being undertaken.

A person who spoke with Trump on Tuesday told the New York Times that the president was pleased by the intentional ambiguity of his position on firing Robert S. Mueller as special counsel, “and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.”

Really, the President of the United States can be this clueless?  Look at Mueller’s background.

Mueller, 72, earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor for his gallantry in Vietnam before devoting most of the rest of his life to public service. Trump, 71, avoided military service by claiming a medical deferment for “heel spurs,” and he’s said that his “personal Vietnam” was avoiding sexually-transmitted diseases while sleeping around in New York. “I feel like a great and very brave solider," the president once told Howard Stern.

Decorated Vietnam War Vet vs sufferer of ‘heel spurs’.  Not exactly a fair fight.

Trump Administration Seeks Delay in Supreme Court Hearing on Travel Ban – We Guess that Immediate Dire Threat Never Existed

Trumpie Shoots Himself in the Foot and Other Body Parts

Remember how the Muslim travel ban was necessary to respond to an immediate threat, that terrorists were streaming into the nation.  Well first of all the administration did not appeal the first court ruling against the ban and instead drafted a new ban.  And now instead of hurrying before the Supreme Court the Trumpster is saying wait a minute, no big deal, no big hurry.

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to give the Trump administration more time to explain why the high court should take up the case of the president’s embattled travel ban.

In a letter sent earlier in the day, Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall proposed a change to the expected briefing schedule to allow it to formulate a response to an opinion issued Monday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Justice Department's maneuver risks delaying Supreme Court consideration of the case until October, inviting administration critics to question whether the sense of urgency that inspired Trump's travel ban is shared by the lawyers who are defending it.

So once again the Trump people are exposed for what they are.  And everybody knows what they are.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Donnie Celebrates Father’s Day Trying to Remember the Names of His Children

And Other Fake, Funny and Almost Real News

  1. On Twitter Sunday Donald said he appreciated his children Eric, Don Jr., Ivanka and ‘that other one’.  When asked about getting only three names Press Secretary said that ‘this was 75% and that was much more than any other President had ever done on Father’s Day. 

  1. A secret decoder ring was found which allows the holder to get into the meetings the Republican Senators are having to craft a health care/tax cut for the wealthy bill.  The ring apparently does not work as the finder attended several meetings and reported they were pure gibberish.

  1. In order to promote harmony in the House the Speaker Paul Ryan invited Nancy Pelosi over for dinner.  “Just bring anything you like and you can heat it up in the microwave” he apparently did not say, adding “I’ll have my girl set it up with your girl”.

  1. The Republican controlled Senate passed a bill that gives the Congress control over the lifting of sanctions against Russia in defiance of Trump. The Senate based its vote on the certainty that Secretary of State Tillerson would convince the House not to go along, and instead let Russia name the next head of the Republican National Committee.

  1. Trump announced he was being investigated for firing James Comey, then his attorney said he was not being investigated but took it back after the Washington Post said he was being investigated.  “If the Post says it, it must be true” Trump’s attorney said, “I mean, they got everything else right”.

  1. In a poll just released 2% of American voters said that Trump was violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution and 98% said they thought the word ‘emoluments’ was a misspelling of the word monuments.

  1. O. J. Simpson will be let out of jail early to search the Trump golf courses to find the person who decided to fire James Comey.  “I won’t rest even if I have to play every course” Simpson did not say.

Trump’s Ignorance on Air Travel Leads Him to the Wrong Solution

Infrastructure Week  Kicked Off with Privatizing Air Traffic Control


Trump wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure but he doesn’t want to spend any money because his highest priority is tax cuts for people like Trump, that is wealthy people.  So his first step will be to try and put Air Traffic Control into a private company, something that does nothing to address the problems of air travel.

President Trump will seek to put a spotlight on his vows to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system and spur $1 trillion in new investment in roads, waterways and other infrastructure with a weeklong series of events starting Monday at the White House. . . .

The president has invited executives from major airlines to join him as he kicks off the week with one of his more controversial plans: spinning off the air traffic control functions of the Federal Aviation Administration to a nonprofit corporation.

Note the disconnect here.  The goal is to invest in roads, waterways etc; the action is to change management of air traffic. 

Now there is plenty wrong with air travel, and the air traffic system could certainly use investment in new systems.  But the main problem is greedy monopolistic airlines that make air travel excruciatingly painful and insufficient airport resources.  But fixing that would mean more anti-trust regulation and more spending, two things Republicans don’t want to do.  And Trump of course flies private, none of the horrors of air travel have ever affected him.

So the solution is to spend nothing, make a big PR splash and for Trump, hopefully take the spotlight away from what everyone expects will be devastating new info about his abuses.