Sunday, January 21, 2018

Michael Gerson Tries and Fails to Make the Case for Anti-Abortion Rights

No Mention of the Rights of Women

After leaving the Bush White House conservative Michael Gerson has had a career as a columnist for the Washington Post. Because he has written thoughtful commentary at times he deserves a listen-to when he tries to justify eliminating the right of women to end a pregnancy. His main argument is that by outlawing abortion the nation is expanding rather than contracting rights and inclusion.

It is the antiabortion movement that appeals to inclusion. It argues for a more expansive definition of the human community. It opposes ending or exploiting one human life for the benefit of another. There are heart-rending stories that prevent the simplistic application of this approach. But most of the antiabortion men and women I know have the genuine and selfless motivation of trying to save innocent lives.

Of course the saving of innocent lives by the anti-abortion rights people does not include saving the life of the infant or the child once they are born. A large portion, almost certainly a majority of those in the anti-rights camp oppose government help with health care, education and other benefits that allow children to lead decent lives.

But the real and fatal error in Mr. Gerson's piece is his total lack of defense, or even recognition of a woman's right to control her own body. One must conclude that Mr. Gerson has no response to the position that the state must not, can not force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term during a time when the fetus is not viable. And because he has no response, Mr. Gerson simply ignores that argument. In that way he joins the rest of the anti-abortion rights movement, men and women who would use the power of government to enforce their desires for how a woman should behave on woman who do not want them to do so.

And of course if Mr. Gerson and others really wanted to stop abortions, they would spend their time and resources championing family planning. End unwanted pregnancies and you end abortions. It's that simple.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

For Once - Dems Do the Right Thing

The Politics Don't Matter - The Lives of Children and Men and Women Brought to the Nation as Children Are More Important.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Missouri's Republican Gov. Scandal is Also About Policy

In Addition to the Gov. Lacking Basic Morals

Missouri is currently being roiled by the fact that its recently minted Republican Governor admitted to cheating on his wife and family and is credibly accused of trying to blackmail his paramour. But equally troubling is what the Missouri Republicans count as progress.

Todd Graves, the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, said the governor’s style had hurt him with his political relationships but had resulted in some legislative victories, too.

Mr. Greitens achieved the passage of right-to-work legislation, long a goal among the state’s Republicans. He has signed into law bills that make it more difficult to sue an employer for discrimination and restrict how much plaintiffs can receive in injury lawsuits. And he has gotten the state to withhold $140 million that was slated to be spent on low-income housing tax credits.

Wow, that's kinda nice isn't. The war on low income, union and middle income families is alive and well in the state.

Republicans Want to Change Higher Education Finance and Rules

Some Good and a Lot of Bad

The college and university system in the U. S. is a disaster. The schools themselves are bloated bureaucracies. The faculty is overpaid and inefficient. Students leave college with large debt and in many cases no real career prospects. The athletic department needs drive the college. And for profit schools have left thousands with massive debts and no futures.

Republicans are going to try and change this.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives this week will propose sweeping legislation that aims to change where Americans go to college, how they pay for it, what they study, and how their success—or failure—affects the institutions they attend.

As usual with Republicans, part of the program is a bail out/gift to private sector schools who rip off low income, low performing students.

One of the biggest winners in the new higher education legislation is the for-profit college industry, which faced a major crackdown under the Obama administration, amid concerns about students who failed to finish programs and were left saddled with major debt and no way to pay for it.

The rollback of those regulations has been under way since President Donald Trump took office. The reauthorization proposal goes a step further by prohibiting future action by the Education Department on what’s known as the gainful employment regulation, which ties access to federal student aid to whether career programs lead to decent-paying jobs.

This will be a terrible outcome for the most vulnerable students. But some of the reforms may actually benefit students and their families.

As part of its plan to rein in student loans, graduate students and parents of undergraduates would face so far unspecified caps on how much they could borrow for tuition and living expenses—instead of borrowing whatever schools charge.
The change could cut into enrollment and potentially siphon off billions of dollars a year from universities.

This would end the free ride for colleges and force them to clean up their act, to become more responsive to their student body instead of themselves. But of course, since this is a Republican effort it has to have punitive measures.

The bill would also end loan-forgiveness programs for public-service employees, who currently can make 10 years of payments and then have their remaining debt forgiven, tax-free. It would also eliminate a program that ties monthly payments to income levels for private-sector workers. Current participants in both programs would be grandfathered in.

Reform is needed, and maybe just maybe common sense and Democrats could get rid of enough of the bad stuff to make the bill a net positive.

Hope doth spring eternal.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Lies and Distortions of Andy Puzder in the WSJ Op Ed Section

Why Can't Conservatives Just Tell the Truth

Update:  It turns out the wife abuser Puzder is being considered for a job in the White House, one that doesn't require Senate confirmation because, well, even some Republican senators don't like a person who abuses one's spouse.

The policy implemented in the last 10 months is so lacking in decency, compassion, logic and common good that the only way to defend it is to lie, distort and omit. The best illustration of this is an opinion piece by former Hardee's CEO Andy Puzder, and the omission starts with his designation.

Mr. Puzder is a former CEO of CKE Restaurants.

Ok, that sounds ok. Well no. Mr. Puzder is ranting against the minimum wage. He is the former CEO of a fast food company, the very people paying close to the minimum wage. He rants against the $15.00 per hour minimum wage. He is CEO of a fast food company whose profits might (or might not) dip with an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour.

But the real problem with Mr. Puzder's pseudo analysis is his boldface lie that the tax cut, only weeks old, is having a positive effect on the economy.

Raise Wages via Growth, Not Mandates

American workers are already benefiting from tax reform.

Really, how can that be. Oh, Mr. Puzder is fooled by a few companies giving employees a small bonus. But everyone, that is everyone not snowed by propaganda, knows that while the companies get a tax cut for every year, the bonuses are one time only. And amazingly, those companies are ones that need regulatory relief from the feds. But the real garbage is right here.

That “gut punch” turned out to be bigger paychecks. After the GOP passed its tax bill, major U.S. employers including AT&T , Bank of America , Boeing , Wells Fargo , Fifth Third Bank, Comcast NBC Universal and Sinclair Broadcasting immediately committed to investing billions in growth, special bonuses or higher wages. Wells Fargo and Fifth Third are voluntarily increasing their base wages to $15 an hour. . . . . .

That competition kicked in almost immediately as more than 100 diverse businesses, including Wisconsin-based Associated Bank ,North Carolina-based BB&T Corp oration, Pennsylvania-based PNC Financial Services Group , New Jersey-based OceanFirst FinancialCorp. , Georgia-based Sun Trust Banks, Minnesota-based US Bank, theBank of Hawaii , and South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals announced pay hikes for workers within two weeks of the tax bill’s passage.

Wow, employers voluntarily going to $15.00 an hour. Oh, how many employees do these banks have making less than $15.00 an hour? If you answered 'zero' you were probably pretty close. And if you have the chance, visit the dining areas of these companies. Think these workers will be getting $15.00 an hour. No. See they are employed by sub contractors so the person fixing lunch or cleaning up is making close to minimum wage and will not get a raise.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie – Gone a Day and Already Forgotten

A NYT Editorial Headline Says It Best -

With the leaving of office by NJ Republican Chris Christie a great sigh of relief has momentarily passed over the state, followed by collective amnesia. A really, really good editorial in the Times sums it up better than we could possibly do.

Now Chris Christie Is Just a Bad Memory

Here are just a few wonderful excerpts

But his miscalculations could be epic, perhaps none more damaging than his decision in 2010 to block a badly needed train tunnel to Manhattan under the Hudson River. The torment that now routinely afflicts New Jersey rail commuters underlines his shortsightedness.

The coarse, bullying style favored by both men may entertain people for a while, but the act eventually grows tiresome. The president might bear in mind that Mr. Christie’s plummet to 14 percent approval came after he’d won 60 percent of the vote in 2013. Mr. Trump, wallowing in the 30s, can only dream of 60 percent.

Enduring memories of his tenure will be of those traffic jams, of the governor happily sunning himself last July on a beach that was closed to the public during a budget dispute, of Mr. Christie standing almost worshipfully behind Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign like a footman out of “Downton Abbey.”

And to paraphrase the editorial, maybe someday NJ will miss Christie. Today ain't that day. Tomorrow don't look so good for him either.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trump Lies About What He Said About Relationship with North Korea Leader

Yes There is Audio Tape - Doesn't Matter to the Liar-in-Chief

Trumper raised eyebrows when he said to the WSJ interviewer that he had a good relationship with Kim, the leader of North Korea.  Now he is trying to lie his way out of it.  From USA Today

The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them “I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un” (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters...
The problem of course is their is tape, and it is clear that what the President says he said is not what he said. Of course, a decent, truthful person could say that he mispoke and he meant to say "I'd" but that would be admitting a mistake, something Trumpie never does even when he does make a mistake. Lying is the behavior of choice for this man.

Australia Votes for Equality and Compassion and Tolerance

Deals Heavy Blow to Religious Leaders

In the continent down under they put marriage equality on the ballot. Australia is a fairly conservative place so the result was largely unexpected.

A nonbinding referendum conducted by mail found 61.6 percent of Australians in favor of allowing gay couples to wed. Even though the measure was expected to be approved, the size of the win and the unusually large participation of 12.7 million Australians out of the 16 million eligible voters added to its political legitimacy.
Though the vote isn’t binding, all major political party leaders have promised to implement the decision, which would make Australia one of approximately 26 countries that allow gay couples to wed.

The vote went against the tyranny of religionists who sought to impose their own personal faith issues on the public.

In a wealthy, urbanized country where 52 percent of the population regards themselves as Christian, according to a census last year, the vote marks a defeat for Australia’s two big churches, the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, whose leaders were behind a well-organized campaign to defeat the referendum.

Yep, hatred and bigotry suffered another defeat, and hypocrisy in Australia is on the ropes.

Sinners going to hell in Australia - At least that what religion teaches

People celebrate after the announcement of the same-sex marriage postal survey result in front of the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. (Ascui/EPA-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Think a Work Requirement Is Needed for Medicaid? Think Again

But Conservatives Just Talk – They Don't Think

Kentucky has become the first state to try and impose work requirements for people receiving Medicaid benefits. See, in Conservative World the welfare class is just a bunch of able bodied men and women who choose to sit around and live off the welfare state, collect benefits like Medicaid and just laugh at the rest of the hard working world. Turns out this is not true.

When one looks at the data, data being to conservatives like garlic to a werewolf, the story is different, that is, real. Aaron Carroll of the excellent forum The Incidental Economist has reality.

Kaiser Family Foundation analysis from spring of 2017 found that almost 80% of adults in Medicaid are from working families. Almost 60% are working themselves, and this is without any work requirements at all. Unfortunately, many in the United States, even if employed, have wages so low that they still qualify for Medicaid because they earn less than 138% of the poverty line. That is, of course, if those states accepted the Medicaid expansion. In states that didn’t, many adults who work can’t afford insurance.
Disability and Illness
Of those who don’t work, about 35% are unable to work because of disability or illness. Another 28% are taking care of other members of their families in lieu of jobs. Of those that remain, 18% are students, 8% are looking for work but can’t find it, and 8% are retired. That leaves about 3% of the nonworking adult Medicaid population who we could, possibly, define as “able-bodied” yet choosing not to work.

Not that this will make any difference to the ideologists. Their beliefs are solid despite the truth.

Paul Krugman Unearths Tweet That Shows How Republicans View a Typical American Family

Yep, That's a Middle Income Working Family All Right

Paul Krugman's column in the NYT exposes the fantasy world of Republicans, where only high income high wealth white Americans live.

Consider, in particular, the tweet John Cornyn put out about how the tax bill will help what he apparently imagines is an ordinary family:


Yep just a typical American Apple Pie family, with $100k of income, two business they generate 40% of their income from.

But what happens when you take away the business income? Oh, you get a real typical American family. And what do they get? About a couple of $100 until their kids turn 17. And then they lose the child credits and their taxes go up, way up, more than what they were paying before.

That's life, that's Republicanism.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Donnie Tells Reporters

From the WaPo and Others:  "No, I'm not a racist,” he told reporters. “I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed.”

To which the only response is that if that is true those reporters must have interviewed only the most virulent of racists.

Hey Missouri Governor – Quit Threatening Lawsuit

We know you're not going to, so quit making a fool of yourself

Missouri Gov. Greithens has joined good ole boy Roy Moore and their leader, Slick Donnie in threatening lawsuits against women who accuse them of sexual assault. Greithens is accused to doing bad things to a woman who is not his wife.

The frenzy in Jefferson City was triggered Wednesday night by a story on St. Louis television station KMOV (Channel 4). It quoted a man who provided a recording of his then-wife telling him that Greitens partially undressed her, taped her to exercise equipment, took her photo and then threatened to release the photo if she ever told anyone about the encounter.
You’re never going to mention my name,” Greitens told the woman, according to her account on the recording. “Otherwise, this picture will be everywhere.”
Greitens in a cowardly move spoke through his attorney.

Greitens on Wednesday night confessed to having an affair, but denied through his lawyer that he took a photo, threatened the woman with releasing it or was ever violent with her.
Greitens’ attorney, James Bennett of the St. Louis firm of Dowd Bennett, said his client is considering a lawsuit in response to the stunning accusations. 
These threats of lawsuits are rediculous. No one is going to sue because no one is willing to go under oath. No one wants a public trial, least of how bullies like Trump, Moore and now Greitens. So they ought to quit making themselves out to be fools in additions to sexual predators.

Cowardly Republicans Take to Sunday Airways

Dems, as Usual, No Where to be Seen

On Meet the Press Chuck Todd got good ole boy Rand Paul (R, Ky) on to talk about what is wrong with the Racist-in-Chief.  Paul of course defended the President, like any other good Republican who has national ambitions.  Paul of course would like to be President and take health care away from every low income family, a noble goal that fits in well with Trumpie's morals.

On Face the Nation Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ak) was center stage.  Cotton of course is famous for 'hear no evil' as long as it  is a Republican.  Senator Cory Gardner (R, Co) is then on to just dismiss things, because, you know, he wants to stay in the Senate.

Dems, you don't deserve to be a party, you don't deserve to be elected and you don't deserve to be in public life if you cannot go on TV and denounce evil.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Justice Department Pushes Back Against Special Counsel to Investigate Clintons

Integrity Raises Its Non-Partisan Head

In order to deflect the investigation into Trumpie the Republicans want the Justice Dept. to go after Hillary and Bill and the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department is saying it is politics and they don't do politics.

Peter R. Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the probe of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, said “the best-case scenario” is that the attorney general is trying simply to mollify an angry president and doesn’t really plan to name a special counsel.
If one is appointed to probe Clinton matters, “I think the vast majority of people at DOJ would be completely disgusted and demoralized by it,’’ said Zeidenberg, referring to the Justice Department. “They don’t like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president.’’
A federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment freely, said the move is particularly frustrating because many of the subjects Sessions says could fall under the purview of a special counsel were previously investigated by the FBI or are under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
This is a turning point in American history. If Trumpster gets his way the U. S. will take a sharp turn towards being just another corrupt republic with a tin horn dictator at the helm.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

No Paul Ryan, Trump's Shithole Comment Was Not “Unfortunate”

It Was Morally Offensive, Disgusting and Revolting

Responses to Conservative Responses to a Shithole

In the aftermath of Trump's virulently racist remarks on nations where people don't (Thank God!) look like Trump fellow conservatives made some pretty ugly remarks. Here is our response to them.

  1. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House said the shithole statement was 'unfortunate' and 'not helpful'. And he said he knew a doctor from one of the shithole countries who was okay. Hey Paul, so if the comment had been helpful you would have been okay with it? And 'unfortunate' is when you can't find your keys, not when you personify racism.

  1. Tucker Carlson is quoted in the WaPo “Today, as you doubtless heard, during immigration talks,” he said, “President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with . . .” No Tucker, only the American racists you associate with agree with this. The rest of us are decent and tolerant and quite frankly horrified.

  1. Again WaPo. Some dickhead named Jesse Watters said “This is how the forgotten men and women of America talk at the bar,” he said. “If you’re at a bar, and you’re in Wisconsin, and you think they’re bringing in a bunch of Haiti people, or El Salvadorians, or people from Niger, this is how some people talk.  “ No Jess, it's not. Go there some time, and try listening instead of showing your ignorance by running your mouth.

  1. And there was this, also from the WaPo.  “CNN’s Kaitlan Collins spoke with White House staffers who predicted that “it will actually resonate with his base, not alienate it, much like his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem did.” Another former official with the administration rationalized the comments to BuzzFeed by pointing out that “there’s a large segment of voters who it resonates with as anti-P.C. ‘straight talk’.” Remember when the base was offended because they were called racist and deplorable. Well now its the White House who is doing it, saying the base is a bunch of racists.

Of course Trumpie handles the problem the way that suits him best. He lies.

Friday, January 12, 2018

10 Explanations of Trumper's Shithole Comment

What Might Have Happened - Make Your Pick

1. He is confused these days and mixed up his feelings on some countries with Melania's pet name for him.

2.  This is what he thinks the White House will look like after his family leaves.

3.  They have been trying out a new name for Trump branded hotels.

4.  He is confused and thought they were talking about Fox News.

5.  This is what parts of the nation will look like after the removal of environmental regulations.

6.  It's where he thinks poor people go to the bathroom.

7.  It's what historians have told him will be the one world that describes his Presidency.

8.  Trump is trying out an idea to replace the nickname 'Crooked Hillary' with something even worse but 'Shithole Hilary' just doesn't work for him.

9.  He is taking speech making lessons to coarsen his language.

10.  He is a bigoted, racist fool.

Screwing Workers One Walmart at a Time

From the WaPo

Walmart said it’s giving its employees a raise. And then it closed 63 stores.

How Tax Cuts Work in America

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How Corrupt is the Trump Family? Kushner Companies Taking Money From Israeli's

Just Another Day in Trump World

There have been plenty of wealthy people in high places in the federal government. FDR and JFK both came from wealth. Congress members from both parties uses their positions to make a lot of money. But none of these wealthy people have regarded the Presidency as a wealth building strategy. That is, no one until the Trump family took over the White House.

It turns out the Kushner real estate empire, by some accounts foundering, took $30 mil from an Israeli financial institution.

Last May, Jared Kushner accompanied President Trump, his father-in-law, on the pair’s first diplomatic trip to Israel, part of Mr. Kushner’s White House assignment to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Shortly before, his family real estate company received a roughly $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim, an insurer that is one of Israel’s largest financial institutions, according to a Menora executive.

The deal, which was not made public, pumped significant new equity into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Kushner’s firm. While Mr. Kushner has sold parts of his business since taking a White House job last year, he still has stakes in most of the family empire — including the apartment buildings in and around Baltimore.

And of course this transaction is just one of many. This is special because Kushner is supposed to be the point man in bringing a negotiated settlement to the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Maybe he thinks this is all a joke, and according to Steve Bannon when it comes to jokes Kushner is at the head of the class.

Trumpie Calls Sen. Feinstien 'Sneaky'

Over her release of non-classified transcripts that showed him to be a liar about so-called Dossier

Well that hurts.

Gosh, she just gave everyone a reason to support her re-election

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Could Lindsey Graham Be Any More of a Suck-Up

Well, Wait Until Mitt Gets to the Senate

From Taegan Goddard

Political Wire

Bonus Quote of the Day

Most fascinating meeting I’ve been involved with in twenty plus years in politics.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on Twitter, while complimenting President Trump for his “attitude, demeanor, and desire to get something done.”