Friday, March 31, 2017

Republicans Determined to Convert Victory into Defeat on Health Care Reform

You Just Cannot Cure Stupidity

The strategy to pass the Republican health reform policy, which was not really health care reform but a destruction of Medicaid combined with a tax cut for the rich was to first  ram a bill through the House. So no hearings, no amendments, just introduce and pass.  The next step would have been to ram the law through the Senate, same lack of input, and then adjourn for the early spring recess (as compared to the mid spring recess and the late spring recess which precedes the early summer recess).  The Republicans could then go home to voters and hope their wrath would fade before next year’s elections.

But it turned out this so-called health care reform was deeply unpopular.  So in killing the bill those who opposed it did the GOP a great favor.  But Republicans may be too dumb to take their victory lap.  They are talking about reviving the bill and voting on it, like in a couple of days. 

Now no one thinks this will happen, but in the crazy world of the GOP, who think God is talking to them and telling them to remove health care from tens of millions this is possible.  After all the whole purpose here is for the House members to say they did their job and leave it up to the Senate to save them from their idiocy. 

How dumb are they?  How low does the scale go?

How Do Republicans Fight Global Warming and Its Damages – They Don’t Speak the Words

Yep, They Really Think That Will Help

More unbelievable news, this time from Bloomberg

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’

“A supervisor at the Energy Department's international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" or "Paris Agreement" in written memos, briefings or other written communication, sources have told POLITICO.

Employees of DOE’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy learned of the ban at a meeting Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order at EPA headquarters to reverse most of former President Barack Obama's climate regulatory initiatives. Officials at the State Department and in other DOE offices said they had not been given a banned words list, but they had started avoiding climate-related terms in their memos and briefings given the new administration's direction on climate change.”

See if you can’t say its name, it won’t happen.  Just ask that guy what's his name, Valde . . 

Trump Administration to Wage War on Americans With Individual Health Insurance

They Want to Destroy the Market in Order to Save Destroy It

Everyone now knows that the major goal of the Ryan/Trump health care bill was to take health insurance away from millions and to raise the costs of those who remained on individual coverage.  We know this because the CBO scored the Republican bill and after they released their results Republicans including Ryan and Trump increased their advocacy for the measure.

With the defeat of the bill the WSJ is documenting how Republican will still be able to gut the individual market and attack low income and disabled people on Medicaid.  And a new goal is now added, place the blame on the out of power ineffective Democrats.

“The Trump administration could weaken a requirement that most Americans pay a penalty for not having insurance. It could usher in work requirements for Medicaid recipients and ease a directive that insurers cover such services as contraception. And it could also allow an end to certain subsidies that insurers get, which could quickly cause the individual markets to crater.

Some of these steps, such as new likely requirements for Medicaid enrollees, are already under way. Republican leaders have long said administrative changes are a key part of their plan to change the health-care system. Now it may be largely the only one left.

Dr. Price and Seema Verma, the administrator of HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recently wrote a letter to states assuring them of support if they request waivers to impose work requirements on recipients of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled.”

The most damaging thing the Republican can do is to eliminate enforcement of the individual mandate, the requirement that everyone have health insurance.  This will result in low risk individuals withdrawing from the exchanges, and the remaining individuals will then face much higher premiums.  The cherry on top of this sundae, the GOP will blame Dems. 

Gutting health care and being able to blame the Democrats, it’s a Republican dream come true.  The right wing propoganda machine is already gearing up, heck they may pubish the stories before they happen.

In the Penn State Child Abuse Scandal Another Ugly Person Raises His Head

For Victims, Not Enough to be Victims, 

At Penn State, for many people including a Trustee nothing is more important than protecting the University from criticism that it allowed a football coach to sexually molest boys on the campus.  Now here's one who's piling on, no not on PSU, on the victims.

"Penn State trustee Albert L. Lord said he is “running out of sympathy” for the “so-called” victims of former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to an email sent to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lord, a former CEO of student loan company Sallie Mae, also defended Graham Spanier, the dismissed Penn State president who was convicted of one count of child endangerment last week for his handling of complaints about Sandusky.
"Running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth," Lord said in the email sent Saturday. "Do not understand why they were so prominent in trial. As you learned, Graham Spanier never knew Sandusky abused anyone."

Penn State has of course disowned these vile comments. But Mr. Lord has been put on the Board by the alumni, and he is running again. So the issue in the election to the Board at PSU is what is more important, football or sexual abuse of children. Yeah, we know for a football factory like Penn State just how that will turn out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

White House May Be Trying to Create Fake News - Releasing a Tax Return and Planting Intel Info

And They Are So Bad at It

The propoganda machine that now characterizes the Trump folks may be the source of recent news.  The mystery of the release of the Trump tax return can be explained but not proven by the suggestion that the Trumpies released it to show that at least in one year Trump paid taxes.  And now it looks like the White House may have given Rep Nunes info that was supposed to exonerate Trump in his now totally discredited claim that Obama surveiled him.  From The Hill.

"Nunes struggled to provide an explanation for the unusual trip on Monday even as Democrats demanded that he step aside as leader of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
The visit raised questions about whether the White House itself was the source of the mysterious intelligence that Nunes, but no one else on Capitol Hill, has seen. Nunes has vowed to protect his source while offering contradictory descriptions of what the documents reveal."

Wow, just when you think they have reached rock bottom something else comes along.  And now we know why even Trump doesn't trumpet the Nunes info as support.  Even he is not dumb enough to take this poisoned fruit to dinner.

Robocalls Disrupting a 911 Call Center – And Congress is to Blame

Don’t These People Have Any Sense of Responsibility?

The greed, avarice and indifference of those who sponsor robocalling is unlimited.  And now the report in the WSJ is that they are disrupting at least one 911 operation in Florida.

“For about two months last fall, as many as 500 robocalls flooded the 911 system in Florida’s Palm Beach County, pitching everything from dental insurance to vacation packages, said Chuck Spalding, director of technical services for the county’s 911 system.
While handling genuine emergencies, operators were also receiving those automated telemarketing calls. In one example, after the operator answered, the robocall began: “Hi, this is Heather. I’m calling from the dealer processing department regarding your vehicle’s warranty. We sent you a final notice in the mail letting you know that your warranty has expired.”

Young man in the office and answering several phones at the same time
911 -Can you hold please while we take this robo call Congress wants us to answer

Yes this is illegal, and it ought to be easy enough to stop.  Just respond to the call, learn the sponsor and throw a few butts in jail for a couple of years.  So why blame Congress for this ugly practice.

Palm Beach County, home to about 1.4 million people, fields about 100,000 911 calls a month. The robocalls were “frustrating for the call takers, especially when they’re busy,” Mr. Spalding said.
In 2012, the FCC voted to create a do-not-call registry for 911’s 10-digit numbers, so telemarketers could scrub them from their calling lists. That registry hasn’t been created, however, because Congress denied the FCC’s request for $600,000 to develop it, an FCC spokesman said.”

Oh, right.

Fake Fox News Strikes Again - Network Trying to Support Trump Strikes Out

So What's the Problem?

From the Great Political reporting, The Fix at the WaPo

News Alert: @POTUS spending weekend working at the White House.

Oh, he was playing golf.  Never mind

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Republicans Reach New Lows (Highs) of Stupidity on Cutting Taxes and Spending

The Most Idiotic Statement to Date

Now that they have failed on health care reform Republicans are looking to fail on tax reform.  For them tax reform is cutting taxes on the wealthiest, and the conservatives who were all worried about the national debt under Obama now don't care.  But that is not even the worst of their idiocy.  Look a this from the WaPo.

"Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) hinted at that last month on CNN, suggested he would be willing to consider new spending on some of Trump's priorities once taxes had been reduced. "Those spending pieces, we'll debate those coming up — the military, the wall, the infrastructure plan — but you've got to see tax reform in place first," Brat told CNN last month. "Otherwise, we can't afford it."

Yes this man is saying that unless the Congress reduces revenues the nation cannot afford to spend more money. In what universe does that make sense? Oh, the Republican universe, reality is optional there.

Thanks to Coal Country, Trump Won Coal States; Trump to Coal States – Screw You

And They Have Only Themselves to Blame

How gullible were the voters in coal states like West Virginia and Kentucky to vote for Trump.  Pretty  gullible.  Everyone else knew Trumpie didn’t care for coal miners and their families and their economy.  But he whispered sweet things in their ears and they voted for him.  Here is their reward.

Earl Gohl (C), co-director of the Appalachian Regional Commission, is participating in a coding demo with Interapt trainees in Paintsville, Kentucky, U.S. on March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Valerie Volcovici

Sorry, No Can Afford

Trump seeks to ax Appalachia economic programs, causing worry in coal country

"President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown on the heels of the coal industry’s collapse.
The 2018 budget proposal submitted to Congress by the White House on Thursday would cut funds to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Washington-based organizations are charged with diversifying the economies of states like West Virginia and Kentucky to help them recover from coal’s decline.
The proposed cuts would save the federal government $340 million and come as the Republican president seeks to slash a wide array of federal programs and regulations to make way for increased military spending.
But they are perceived by some in Appalachia as a betrayal of his promises to help coal miners.
"Folks that live in Appalachia believe that the ARC belongs to them," said federal ARC Co-Chair Earl Gohl, bemoaning the proposed cut. "It's really their organization."

So will these people change their minds and realize that they have been betrayed?  No way.  They would rather suffer than admit they were wrong and the Dems were right.

Devin Nunes - The Person Who Surfaces After the Bottom of the Barrel Has Been Scraped

Could Nunes Be the Worst Person Involved in the Investigation of Trump and Russia?

Let's hope so, it's hard to imagine a bigger partisan idiocy.

Devin Nunces, a fatal combination of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Soviet Sean Spicer Says Trumpcare was a Bad Deal - But Trump Said Trumpcare Was Great

Confused - So is the Incompetent White House That Knows Nothing About Health Care

To listen to Trumpie is to believe the Republican health care bill was just great, exactly what he had been promising.  But then when it crashed and burned, well it was a bad deal.

“I think the president understood that where we were, that while you can get a deal at the time, that sometimes a bad deal is worse than getting a deal,” Spicer continued. “And I think he smartly recognized that what was on the table was not going to be keeping with the vision that he had, and so he decided that this was not the time and that a deal was not at hand"

Huh?  But no to worry Trump is looking forward to winning, that is to start winning, so far he ain't winning.

From Politico

Spicer: Trump 'eager' for legislative wins

Gosh, Trump looks forward to having a Republican Senate and a Republican House pass Republican bills.  Gosh, what a triumph that would be against just incredible odds.  Yeah right.

Not Sure ifPharmaceutical Companies are the Greediest Bastards on Earth? Well Marathon Pharmaceutics is Out to Prove That

Charging $89,000 for a drug that costs less than $2,000 in Overseas Markets

Ok Donnie, you said you were going to do something about high drug prices, well here's your chance.

"Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC says it will charge $89,000 annually in the U.S. for a decades-old steroidal drug that was approved for U.S. sale for the first time on Thursday, a price that is as much as 70 times higher than the drug’s price overseas.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the drug, called deflazacort, to treat a rare type of muscular dystrophy that affects some 12,000 boys in the U.S., most of whom die in their 20s and 30s. The drug isn’t a cure, but it has been shown to improve muscle strength compared with a placebo, the FDA said in a statement announcing the approval."

And what about the CEO of the company, well he thinks he's doing everyone a great favor.

"Marathon Chief Financial Officer Babar Ghias defended the price in an interview. He said the company will likely receive much less in net revenue than its $89,000-per-patient list price, after providing discounts to government insurers and financial assistance to patients who can’t afford the drug.

The company will start selling the medicine under the brand name Emflaza in March, Mr. Ghias said.

Mr. Ghias, a former mergers-and-acquisitions banker, said the company showed restraint in how it priced the drug. Other new drugs for so-called orphan diseases, which affect fewer than 200,000 people nationally, have carried price tags of $300,000 annually and higher, he said.

“It’s modestly priced for an orphan drug,” Mr. Ghias said."

Gee, Mr. Ghias is a former M&A banker, who would have guessed?  Babar Ghias, another named to be added to the deplorables list. As for action by Trump, well don't hold your breath.  As for action by his HHS Secretary, well that guy probably bought stock in the company.  As for those who suffer from MD, well your money or your life.

Memo to Paul Ryan: You Got One More Chance Buddy, Don’t Blow It

Actually We Hope You Do Blow It -  Good Riddance If You Do

Paul Ryan is a near perfect House Speaker when his party is not in power.  He can pontificate and polish his false persona as a man of ideas.  But when he has to deliver, the bankruptcy of his intellect goes center stage for all to see. 

After the debacle of so-called health care reform, which was actually a huge tax cut for the wealthy combined with the evisceration of Medicaid Paulie No-Nuts (apologies to the Sopranos) still had the support of the Trumpster.  Well, maybe.  See Trumpie publicly said he was supporting Ryan, but then he sent out this tweet.

Donald J. Trump 

Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M.

Ok, so what’s the problem.  Well Judge Jeanine (who?) had this to say.

In her commentary, Pirro took aim squarely at Ryan for the bill’s failure.
“Speaker Ryan, you come in with all your swagger and experience and you sell 'em a bill of goods, which ends up a complete and total failure, and you allow our president in his first 100 days to come out of the box like that, based on what?” she said. “Your legislative expertise, your knowledge of the arcane ins and outs of the bill writing-process? Your relationships? What? Your drinks at the Hay Adams with your pals?”

Not very subtle way of the Cowardly Lion President getting the message to Paul.  But if Trump did not have the courage to tell Ryan these things to his face we guess the next best way is to use an obscure Fox News host.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Post Mortem on the Health Care Bill – Rest in Peace AHCA – Well at Least Rest

The First of Many Legislative Post Mortem’s to Come

What can be said about the crash and burn of Paulie and the Health Care Nuts?  Well there’s this

  1. The bill failed for the simple reason that it was a bad bill.  At the end it had the support of 17% of the public.  Even Republicans can understand 17%.

  1. Republicans came away from their meetings with the President amazed at his near total lack of understanding of health care.  The rest of us were amazed that they were amazed.

  1. The Republicans actually won here.  Had this bill been approved they would have been tarred with a policy that had no redeeming values.

  1. The challenge for VP Pence is to see if there is any way in which he can suck up more to Trump. 

  1. Plan B for the GOP is to blame future problems in the health care exchanges on the Democrats.  To assist in this HHS will do everything in its power to destroy individual health care policies.  They don’t care about a few million people losing health care, their goal is tens of millions losing health care.

The Good News: Xarelto Is Much Better At Preventing Blood Clots Than Low Dose Aspirin

The Bad News:  You Ain't Got Insurance, You Ain't Wealthy, You Ain't Going to Get It

For an illustration of the idiocy in America's health care system the story of low dose aspirin and prescription drugs is a vital lesson.  Low dose aspirin costs about 50 cents a month and is very effective at preventing blood clots that cause all sorts of health problems.  But a prescription drug is much better, per report in the WSJ.

In a study of 3,365 patients from about 30 countries, presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology here Saturday, researchers said a low dose of a blood thinner called rivaroxaban reduced the risk of a recurrence by about 70% compared with aspirin, without increasing the risk of bleeding. The patients, whose median ages were 59 or 60, had already been on blood thinners for up to a year; it was unclear whether they needed further treatment.
The researchers followed the patients for a year and found that 1.5% of patients on 20 milligrams of rivaroxaban daily, and 1.2% of patients on 10 milligrams daily, had a recurring blood clot. By contrast, 4.4% of patients on aspirin had recurrences. The number of patients who experienced bleeding was similar in the rivaroxaban and aspirin groups.

So what's the problem? Well the prescription drug costs about $5,000 a year. Oh. That. One can just imagine how giddy Trump and Ryan are that millions of Americans could lose health insurance coverage that reduces that cost to a manageable level.

Trump Gives Merkel Bill for Over $300 Billion for Nato Support

Real News Apparently, Not Even Real Fake News

Redefining and upping his game with respect to crassness, apparently the President of the United States gave the head of the German government a bill when she visited with him.  Really, unless the Sunday Times of London is joking (and they never joke) the Commander in Clueness gave Ms. Merkel a real bill.

Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill

Donald Trump is insistent that other Nato countries increase their military spendingALEX WONG
Trumpie Shows Off his very small hands to merkelshe is not impressed
Donald Trump handed the German chancellor Angela Merkel a bill — thought to be for more than £300bn — for money her country “owed” Nato for defending it when they met last weekend, German government sources have revealed.

No, you cannot make this stuff up.  Actually, you can make this stuff up but no one would believe you. 

Donald Trump, lowering the bar even further than thought possible.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Justice is Served in Penn State Cover-up of Abuse of Boys in Shower Case

Former President of the University is Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

Nothing says more about how America’s willingness to put college sports above education and morality than the Penn State case where a football coach molested boys in the shower room of the athletic department and the school covered it up.  Now the former president of Penn State has been found guilty of a crime in covering up the abuse in order to protect the football program.

See, he was told about at least one incident but chose to do nothing.  That’s right, nothing.

A jury convicted former Penn State President Graham Spanier on one count of child endangerment for his handling of a 2001 complaint involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was later convicted of child sex abuse.
The verdict closes another chapter in the criminal cases stemming from the Sandusky scandal, which first rocked the university in 2011. The jury in Dauphin County Court in Harrisburg acquitted Mr. Spanier, 68 years old, on separate child endangerment and conspiracy counts. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Prosecutors said Mr. Spanier broke the law by not telling child welfare authorities in 2001 about a complaint that Mr. Sandusky acted inappropriately with a boy in a Penn State shower. They said he wanted to protect the university’s reputation.

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier leaves the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier leaves the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday. PHOTO: MATT ROURKE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Evil Wears Brooks Brothers or Something Like It
Wonder if His Wife plans on a long shower after toching him?

Hopefully this contemptible man will spend a lot of time in jail.  And hopefully everyone will learn a lesson.  But don’t count on either of these things happening, as leniency flows to people like Mr. Spanier and very little will stop the march to collecting millions from an athletic program at major colleges.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old Headline: Repeal and Replace on Day 1

New Headline:  Reject and Disgrace on Day 64

How Do You Cut Millions in Expenses at Illinois Universities? Fire a Few $10.50 an hour Student Workers

Why Spread the Pain When You Can Direct It to Students

Higher education for state supported universities is in crisis in this nation as Republicans have taken control of more and more state governments.  But in Illinois it is a horrific disaster because government is split between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.  Here is the result.

With the budget stalemate in Illinois in its 21st month, public universities in the state are going beyond belt-tightening to deal with a funding drought that has no end in sight.

Campuses already have pressed pause on new construction and stopped hiring for vacant positions. Now, universities including Northeastern Illinois, Governors State and Southern Illinois are looking to fixes like hiking tuition, cutting academic programs or laying off student workers.

“We are in a crisis situation,” said Beth Purvis, the state’s education secretary. “The next set of cuts will affect outcomes for our postsecondary students.”

So what to do? Well how about going after the least amount of savings in a way that affects the hardest working students.

The Chicago school must cut $8.2 million to meet payroll through June. It will temporarily lay off 300 student workers during spring break and force about 1,100 employees to take a total of eight furlough days in an effort to save $2.8 million.

Amy Sticha, a biology major who works about 20 hours a week in a lab on campus, has been putting in applications at area bars and restaurants, and even at a bike tour company, in case her campus job falls through altogether.

“I have no idea if I will still have a job a month from now, and I’d like to have a backup,” said Ms. Sticha, who earns $10.50 an hour at the lab, which she says covers a big part of her rent and tuition.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump to Nation: We Are Going to Destroy Individual Health Care Insurance and Blame Democrats

President Forgets He and Republicans Are in Charge of Government.

Wondering Why Dems Are Not Participating in Health Care Debate on House Floor?

USA Today has that answer.

Republicans to Democrats:  Shut the Hell Up

Democracy in Action!!!

"The changes were offered in an attempt to attract support from the hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans who have so far mostly opposed the repeal-and-replace bill because it retained too much of the structure of the Affordable Care Act. It was not clear Friday whether the changes were sufficient to appease that group. There will be no amendments allowed on the floor." (emphasis added)

The Coalition of Republicans Legislating Health Care in the United States - the Perfect Picture

White, Male and Mean

That's What They Are

How Did Conservatives Manage to Change the Republican Health Care Act and Raise Costs Over $150 Billion with no Increase in People Covered?

Amazing What Conservatives Can Do When They Really Try to Screw the Public

As the House scrambled last night to make changes to their health care bill to make it even more offensive so that conservatives would support it, the CBO announced that while the changes would not increase the number covered or lower the number who lose insurance, it would cost the government more than $150 billion over the next ten years.

It seems that not content with a $1 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, the changes to mollify conservatives provides for another $150 billion plus in tax cuts, none of which will go to anyone but the greediest of the wealthy.

Not fair, huh, its Republican, what were you expecting.

Explaining the Inexplicable – Interpreting the Republicans on Health Care

Here’s What’s Really Happening

Why Couldn’t  Republicans Have a Vote Thursday Night?

Well Trump stepped into the negotiations directly, and the so-called deal maker could not make a deal.  Why?  Because he met some people who could not be bullied. 

How long before Trump blames Paul Ryan if this fails?

See Funk and Wagnall’s for the definition of micro-second.

Why are conservatives unhappy with the House bill?

There would still be people with health insurance, people who had low incomes and needed help with paying premiums.  Conservatives believe that no one who cannot afford health insurance should have it.

Can premiums really be lowered as conservatives want, is that possible?

Absolutely, you would be amazed how low premiums can go if coverage of medical needs is not in the policy. 

Why should men have to pay for maternity benefits?

Last we checked it was impossible to get pregnant without male involvement.

Are there any side effects to the Republican prescription for health insurance?

Yes, side effects include neuralgia, neuritis, sleep deprivation, hives, nausea, disease and death.  Some participants might turn into zombies and forced to walk the earth searching for real health care.

Do Republicans Like Sen. Heller (R. Nv) Lie Because They Have to or Just for the Fun of It

Well It Could Be Both

The standard for truth telling in politics, never very high, has now reached a new low with the new President.  Outright lying has replaced shading the truth or misleading the public.  Case in point is Senator Heller of Nevada in a Town Hall Meeting.

“It's been eight years, eight years since I've heard a treasury secretary talk about economic growth,” Heller said. “They never talked about economic growth. You know what? We didn't have economic growth for the last eight years."

United States GDP Annual Growth Rate
No, your eyes are not kidding you - the line is above zero since 2010
More facts with a liberal bias

Note that this is a totally un-necessary lie. First of all it is a statistical fact that is easily checked. Second, no on disputes that economic growth did not take place, Trump himself allows for that while claiming that he will increase it. So why lie Dean Heller? Oh, maybe you just can't help it, or maybe it is a virus that only infects Republicans seeking re-election or maybe it just feels so good.

Why Republicans Against Paul Ryan’s Non-Repeal, Non-Replace Health Care Fraud Aren’t Afraid of Trump

As a public service we take on the questions too difficult for other Forums

Question:  Why don’t the House Republicans fear that Donnie will sponsor candidates against them?

Answer:  They recognize him as a bully and bully are characterized as cowards afraid of a fair fight.  Trump will not go after these Republicans because it would involve stepping up to the plate and facing a pretty strong opponent.  Trump only goes after the weak and powerless, which explains his attacks on Medicaid.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Senate Republicans Want to Pass Health Care Bill With No Thought Whatsoever

But Maybe They Are Not Capable of Thought

If and when a health care bill passes the House the Senate Republicans want to rush it through the Senate.  The reason for the haste if obvious, if people understand what is going on they will oppose it.

“Mitch McConnell is being tasked with fixing what GOP senators and House members say is a flawed Obamacare repeal proposal — one with little to no chance of passing in that chamber in its current form — in a week’s time.

The Senate leader and his deputies are nevertheless barreling ahead — assuming a health care bill clears the House Thursday in what’s expected to be a razor-thin vote. Senate leaders say they have a plan to jam through legislation on a party-line vote next week before opposition has time to bubble up.”

Now normally Congress holds hearings on major legislation, giving supporters and detractors a voice in trying to have a rational debate on the issues.  But not this time.  The House held no hearings and it looks like the Senate is also shutting down an free speech on the issue.

Senate Republicans are unlikely to hold any committee hearings, and many of them haven’t even read what the House is about to pass. It’s unclear, to put it mildly, how proponents can placate enough moderates or conservatives to get the bill across the finish line.

But GOP leaders are showing no signs of applying the brakes.

“We’re not slowing down,” McConnell said on Tuesday. “We will reach a conclusion on health care next week.”

No, we don’t know what to call this either.  But we do know that democracy it ain’t.

Like Everyone Else, The National Restaurant Association Puts Its Own Financial Greed Ahead of Public Welfare

They Don’t Care if You Eat Too Much Salt

In New York a rule requires large restaurant chains to place a little warning symbol next to high salt items.  This is so diners can order with knowledge rather than taking in an excessive amount of salt unknowingly.  All in all it seems like a nice thing to do.

The logo of a salt shaker, meant to warn consumers of high sodium content in food, appears on a menu.
The logo of a salt shaker, meant to warn consumers of high sodium content in food, appears on a menu. PHOTO: ANDREW BURTON/GETTY IMAGES

But the trade group for restaurants doesn’t like having to tell diners there are high salt items on the menu.  So it sued.

The National Restaurant Association, a trade group, sued the city in 2015, arguing the Board of Health overstepped its authority in requiring restaurants to post the warning. A trial court judge ruled for the city last February. The association then appealed that ruling.

What was their complaint?  Oh, it cost too much to print the little symbols.

Cicely Simpson, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president, said the group would explore all its legal options. Local sodium rules are costly and onerous, she said. “Instead of confusing state and local mandates, we believe the best approach to disclosing nutrition information is the uniformed national menu standard that will go into effect this year,” she added.

Fortunately the appeals court upheld this common sense approach.

A panel of justices from the Appellate Division’s First Department wrote that the saltshaker warnings provide information but don’t restrict what consumers can buy. The rule, enacted by the city’s Board of Health, requires restaurants with at least 15 locations nationwide to post saltshaker icons next to items with more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, the daily recommended limit.
“Notably, the Rule does not restrict or even regulate what Chain Restaurants may offer for sale,” they said.

Because it provides information but doesn’t restrict sales, the rule differs from a proposed ban on large sugary drinks, which the Court of Appeals rejected in 2014, the panel wrote.

High salt diets have been shown to be a leading cause of cardio-vascular disease, the type that can, let’s see, can kill you.  So every now and then the good guys do win.

Trump Refuses to Believe that Justice Department is Part of the Executive Branch and Reports to Him

Needs Congress to Investigate the Executive Branch on Fictional Wiretap Charges

Don’t you think if I could find out the answers someone would have told me that” Trump did not say. And he also did not say “Look, I am the President and that means I can lie at Will (or Sam or Judy)

In order for Trump Tower to have been the object of surveillance and wire tapping the Justice Department had to be the one to do it (unless it was the Brits, sorry just kidding).  Now apparently unknown to the President the Justice Department is part of the executive branch of the government.  So if one is President and if one wants to know if anyone was the target of surveillance as part of an investigation into Americans acting as agents of foreign government, one just needs to pick up the phone and ask. 

Unfortunately for the current President, if he did such a thing he would learn that no, there was no wire tapping and that he, the current President, said was wrong.  Since by definition Trump cannot be wrong, he cannot determine that he was wrong.  So we will have the Congress trying to investigate (really cover up) the lies here. 

Crazy at the Ben Carson level of crazy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Imaginary Conversation Paul Ryan Has with his Children on His Cruel Cuts to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford It

Explaining to Them What He Did to Increase Illness and Disease for Low Income Families

For Paul Ryan,  the House plan to eviscerate Medicaid is the culmination of a lifelong dream.  Harming, even causing the death by lack of health care for low income people appears to be his holy grail, something he can now see happening.  So we wondered how he would explain this to his children.  If they did ask it might go something like this.

Children:  Daddy, what did you do at work today?

Paul:  Well I have just about completed a law that would leave millions of boys and girls just like you and their parents without health care.  Everyone is very proud of me.  With luck and the good Lord willing over 24 million people will lose health care after we finish.

Children:  But what happens when they get sick?

Paul:  They are just going to have to suffer.  See those people are just lazy and worthless and don’t deserve government supported health care.  Government should not be providing health care anyway, and if it does it should be only to good people.  And good people are not poor or disabled.

Children:  But mommy says the government helps provide us with health care help and that is why we have to go and get shots and can see a doctor when we don’t feel good. 

Paul:  Well that’s because I have worked all my life in government, not like those poor people who have decided to work at low paying jobs.  See government gives me a job because I try to help a lot of rich people get even richer so they can employ those other people, it’s called trickle down economics.  We help people like our old friend Mitt make millions a year so he can pay $7.25 an hour for people to clean his house and fix his pool, although don't tell anyone, but we think they are not legal residents of this country.  That's okay, Mitt needs them.    Remember, Mitt has a lot of houses so he employs a lot of maids and cleaning people. 

Children:  What if those people get sick?

Paul:  Then they can go and wait in the emergency room and after 8 or 10 hours they may see someone who can help them.  That wait is good for them, cause if they are just kinda sick and not facing, you know, death and maybe they will go home and take some aspirin and not bother the good doctors and nurses who are busy treating people who have real health insurance.

Children: Is that a lot of people?

Paul:  Well it’s tens of millions but I hope the make it a lot more.  We are a very religious family and as you know the Bible tells us that we help poor people by keeping them from just getting health care and not going to work just because they are sick or dead.

Children:  God must really love you for doing all this!

Paul:  Yeah, we are kinda special that way.  And I just hope when you grow up you can help us take away Medicare from old people.  We'll teach them to stand on their own two feet and pay for every dime of their health care.  They will be free at least, free of government tyranny giving them health care that only people like us deserve.

Small Amish Sect Claims Right to Pollute with Horse Manure under Religious Freedom

Just another group trying to hijack the Constitution

As a member of a religious minority that has been persecuted for about 2,000 years the DPE yields to no one in his zeal for freedom of religion.  But ultra fundamentalists have used that principle to try and impose their beliefs on those who have different beliefs.  This is not particular to any one religion, fundamentalist Christians want to make the U. S. a 'Christian' nation ruled by biblical law.  Fundamentalist ultra orthodox Jews want Israel to be governed by what they and they alone believe Judiasm is.  And radical fundamentalist Islamists want to kill anyone who doesn't adhere to their practices.

So now we have the weird story where a very strict Amish group in Kentucky will not prevent their horses from littering the roads with manure because doing so would in their twisted minds impose a burden on their practice of their religion.

"Two Amish men in Auburn, Ky., filed a lawsuit last month saying a city ordinance requiring horses to wear equine diapers—bags designed to catch manure—violated the ability of Amish residents to exercise their religion.

The ordinance, passed in 2014, broadened an existing law mandating the removal of dog waste in public places. The new law, which the city said was spurred by complaints from neighbors about horse manure, requires a “properly fitted collection device” to be placed on all horses walking on the street."

Unknown to almost everyone apparently this along with other nonsense has been an issue elsewhere.

"The equine diaper issue has also come up in Wisconsin, southern Indiana and upstate New York. Many disputes in recent years have centered around whether Amish homes must adhere to building codes, including the installation of smoke detectors."

If it exists Hell is littered with a lot of people, but if it exists one doubts that it is populated with people that installed smoke detectors, you know, the kind that prevent their children from burning to death.

Now one can only hope that this case is dismissed just as fast as humanly possible.  The DPE has interacted all of his life with the Amish and the Mennonites and finds they are wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate people worth of great adminiration.  But there's always the exception. 

 What kind of people can call themselves religious who believe one of the commandments is 'Thou shall litter the earth with horseshit'.  What kind of people call themselves religous but say they should be allowed to practice in a way that endangers the health of the community and pollutes the environment.

On a serious note this is sad and serious.  

Trump SEC Nominee Clears Ethics Review – Here’s How Current Nominees Do That

Snarky Comments on the News

The Wall Street Journal reports that Trumpie’s pick to head the SEC has been cleared to go ahead by an ethics review.  How do Trump’s picks do that?  By showing that they have no ethics at all of course, what did you expect.

The WaPo has reported that the current administration will seek deep cuts in the agencies that work on weather and weather related research and reporting.  In Trump’s mind the best way to fight global warming is to forbid any news about it or climate in general.  People can’t be upset if they don’t know about the coming disaster the Trumpman did not say.

Trump is also wanting to cut thousands of jobs at the EPA, part of his put America back to work again by firing people.  Apparently the administration never really understood what the term ‘jobs’ meant when they promised more of them. 

The WaPo is also reporting that the EPA will pull back on mileage standards that the auto industry agreed to.  There was no support for the rumor that the EPA wants to cause a gas shortage just so Trump can fulfill a campaign promise to take over Iraq’s oil as ‘war booty’ which this nation deserves for de-stabilizing the region and destroying the nation of Iraq.  The administration will deny this claim, arguing that once the defense buildup is complete the U. S. can take whatever it wants from Iraq with no need to justify actions.

Lying Attorney General Sessions is likely to protest charges that he perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by asking the rhetorical question, “Could I be that stupid and still be the Attorney General?”  A Fox News Poll found that 67% of Americans thought the answer to that question was ‘yes’ and majority of Fox News viewers responded that they,  the stupid people of the world needed someone stupid to represent them. 

Trump is reported to be furious that Democrats are not approving appointees that he has not yet nominated.  A team of scholars from the conservative Heritage Foundation has been rushed to the White House to give the President a crash course on how Washington works, included a whole day to explain that the Senate cannot vote on a position until someone has been nominated for the position.

Arnold Schwarzenneger will not return to hosting The Celebrity Apprentice in part because no one was ever able to recognize the celebrities on the show. 

Ivanka Trump Follow Up - Fake News Not Fake News Edition

From Taegan Goddard's Wonderful Site

Fake Fake News

“I am not trying to get ‘top level security clearance’ for my children. This was a typically false news story.”
— President-elect Donald Trump, quoted by Politico, on November 16, 2016.
“Ivanka Trump to get top security clearance and office, White House official says”
— CNN headline, March 21, 2017.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trump is Installing Daughter Ivanka in White House Because . . .

We Answer Questions That Most Forums Cannot

Trying to make sense of politics and government these days is a tricky job.  The current administration is so irrational that trying to find any rationality is a difficult job for even the smartest pundits.  But fear not, the DPE is here to clear it all up.

Question:  Why has President Trumpie put his daughter in the White House as an adviser?

It turns out that because none of the White House staff and counselors have any experience or knowledge of governing  real people, that is, people with credentials are refusing to join the team.  And the current team has told everyone in no uncertain terms that they would be embarrassed if real experts came on board.  So Ivanka Trump has been chosen so the others will not feel threatened as they would if someone who was actually qualified were appointed.

Question:  Why won’t Trump say he was wrong about being wiretapped?

Trump is apparently afraid that if he were to admit he was wrong on that issue people would expect him to admit when he was wrong on other issues, and as Trump reportedly said about that “Look, there are only 24 hours in a day, if I start admitting where I have been wrong I could not get anything else done.”  A number of colleagues anonymously told the press they thought Trump not getting anything else done would be a positive.

Question:  Why does Paul Ryan want low income people to do without healthcare?

Ryan once had to wait 4 minutes in a doctor’s office for treatment of a spinal condition (he lacks one) while the office took care of an emergency Medicaid patient.  He has been incensed that a poor person with a life threatening condition would get preference over him and has fought health care for anyone making under $120,000 a year ever since.

Question:  Exactly how much damage to national security did Ms. Clinton having a private e-mail server do?

None, but the FBI has asked that no one mention that.

FBI Involvement in Finding Stolen Tom Brady Jersey Supports Conservatives Who Are Thinking

Maybe Government is the Problem

The news reports that the FBI was signficantly involved in hunting down a thief sounds like good news, but in the case the news reports were about the FBI aggressively pursuing the stolen jersey of Super Bowl winning quarterack Tom Brady.

Uh, folks at the FBI, listen up.  There is a lot of crime out there.  See if you can't find something better to do, you know, the opioid addiction, the Russia connection, heck even finding out where Sean Spicer buys his suits would be more productive.

Paul Ryan's Faith Based Tax Policy

It Must Be Because It Sure Ain't Logic Based

Republicans are working their way towards what they call tax reform, what the rest of the world calls tax cuts for the wealthy.  First of all they hope Trump doesn't muddy the water with his own plan because he knows even less about taxes than Ryan.

 Supporters of Ryan’s proposal are crossing their fingers that Trump doesn’t introduce a detailed tax plan at all, worried it could complicate their work.

Well not to worry Paulie, we think Trumpie is too concerned with fictional wiretappings to think about tax policy.

And Ryan wants a border tax, which is a huge tax on imports.  No logic, just religious faith.

“I heard 'keep your powder dry' as, ‘Don’t articulate your cogent arguments against our bad idea,’” one senator said. “I have not yet talked to a single senator who’s enthusiastic about it. Ryan and [Ways and Means Chairman Kevin] Brady seem to have a near-theological commitment to it.”

Image result for images of preaching the gospel
Paul Ryan explaining his border tax

That's probably right. All of the other Ryan stuff is faith based, on a hope and a prayer so why should this be different.