Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rand Paul (R, Ky) Desperately Needs Attention – So He Says He's Against GOP Tax Plan

Yeah, Right

Senator Paul got a lot of notice when he came out against ACA repeal. The man lives for attention and now that ACA repeal is somewhat dead the Senator has to find a new way to get people to notice him. So from Taegan Goddard we have this.

Paul Says He Doesn’t Like the GOP Tax Plan

October 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm EDTBy T
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted his disapproval of the Republican tax reform plan.
Said Paul: “This is a GOP tax plan? Possibly 30% of middle class gets a tax hike? I hope the final details are better than this.”
Axios: “Republicans can only afford to lose three votes on tax reform, and retiring Sen. Bob Corker has made it clear that he won’t vote for a bill that increases the deficit. Now, Paul’s tweet only complicates the matter further — and puts the pressure on Mitch McConnell to deliver a final bill that’s acceptable to his members.”

Now anyone who believes that any member of the GOP will doom tax reductions for the wealthy just isn't paying attention. Paul may vote no, but only if his vote, like his time in the Senate, doesn't count or mean anything.

Paul Manafort Better Hope He Has Something on Trump and Russia

Otherwise He is Up That Famous Creek With No Paddle and No Boat

The indictment that came down against former Trump campaign Paul Manafort is so damning that it is easy to conclude that Paulie is looking at the rest of his life behind bars. His only out is if he has the goods on the Trump campaign which he can use to bargain.

Manafort says he has nothing. Of course, given his past record his word is about as good as Trump's. So if he has something now is the time to sing that song. Otherwise, bye, bye.

His attorney looks like a complete idiot.  The attorney spoke after the arraignment to say that Manafort's indictment showed there was not Trump collusion with Russia and strongly implied Manafort could not help Mueller with any of that.  Well that is totally inappropriate; the attorney is supposed to support his client, not shill for Trump. And if the message he is sending is that Montafort cannot help Mueller then he just doomed his client to years in prison.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Democrats Doing Their Best to Lose, Lose, Lose

Plan to Make Lobbyist Superdelegates

Can They Be Any More Stuipid? Probably So, These Are Democrats

The Democratic party is largely responsible for the current government. Their ineptitude, their stupidity, their inability to defeat Donald Trump and the gang of heartless conservatives that currently inhabit Washington is testimony to their ineffectiveness.

Now the Dems have a great plan, make lobbyist superdelegates to their convention and turn government over to the most despicable group of folks you can imagine.

The Democratic Party this week plans to name 75 people including lobbyists and political operatives to leadership posts that come with superdelegate votes at its next presidential convention, potentially aggravating old intraparty tensions as it struggles to confront President Donald Trump.
The new members-at-large of the Democratic National Committee will vote on party rules and in 2020 will be convention delegates free to vote for a primary candidate of their choice. They include lobbyists for Venezuela’s national petroleum company and for the parent company of Fox News, according to a list obtained by Bloomberg News. At least three of the people worked for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in 2016 while also casting ballots as superdelegates.
If the Dems want to self destruct, fine, but don't take the country down with them.

The Tech Industry – Just Another Greedy Anti-American Industry Putting Profit Over Nation

Using Their Millions to Fight Revealing Who is Buying Advertising – Including Russians Trying to Fix the Elections

It is hard to imagine an industry that has gotten more support from the United States than the tech industry. The industry has been the recipient of massive aid in the form of government sponsored research and government funded education. And now the nation is calling on the industry to help unmask foreign influence in American democracy.

Senator John McCain and two Democratic senators moved on Thursday to force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising, after revelations that Russian-linked operatives bought deceptive ads in the run-up to the 2016 election with no disclosure required.

The industry reaction is about as anti-American as is possible.

But the tech industry, which has worked to thwart previous efforts to mandate such disclosure, is mobilizing an army of lobbyists and lawyers — including a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to help shape proposed regulations. Long before the 2016 election, the adviser, Marc E. Elias, helped Facebook and Google request exemptions from the Federal Election Commission to existing disclosure rules, arguing that ads on the respective platforms were too small to fit disclaimers listing their sponsors.

Now Mr. Elias’s high-powered Democratic election law firm, Perkins Coie, is helping the companies navigate legal and regulatory issues arising from scrutiny of the Russian-linked ads, which critics say might have been flagged by the disclaimers. In a two-front war, tech companies are targeting an election commission rule-making process that was restarted last month and a legislative effort in the Senate.

What is it that makes a person who is worth millions and billions turn upon the very nation that enabled him or her to get that wealth?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The FBI Persecutes an American Hero

What is Wrong with These People

One would think a person with this background would be honored by the government.

 Since the early 1990s, he had periodically seen blood in his urine and semen, and he had received a diagnosis of sterility from Army doctors in 1997. He joined the F.B.I. in 2001 and hoped that a job with more stability would allow him time to deal with his infertility, but after the Sept. 11 attacks, he was recalled to active duty, leading a seven-man Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan. . . .

Mr. Litton was a veteran of the Hostage Rescue Team and multiple deployments to Iraq, and his wife was a counterintelligence agent in the bureau’s Washington field office. 

So what's the problem here/ Well Mr. Litton did not disclose on his employment form that he was taking drugs for infertility. This resulted in a criminal charge, since dropped because it was ludicrous, and then fired by the FBI. He has been in court trying to get reinstated and back pay. He just won.

In September, the judge ruled that Mr. Litton had a disability — his sterility — and that he did not need to disclose the treatments. The judge said the F.B.I.’s use of the medical form violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. The judge also said Mr. Litton was telling the truth when he said the sole reason for seeking the drugs was to treat his condition.

Of course in our crazy judicial system, winning is not winning.

There are still hurdles ahead. Ms. Litton is owed substantial back pay. It is not clear whether Mr. Litton will ever be able to return to the F.B.I. The appeals process could drag on for years.

Nevertheless, Mr. Litton, who is eligible to retire in three years, hopes his ordeal will end at some point. He wants to go back to work on the Hostage Rescue Team, which undertakes some of the F.B.I.’s most dangerous missions, both in the United States and abroad, and works closely with the military.

No one is saying why this insanity is taking place. But we all know the reason, no one, particularly the arrogant FBI ever wants to admit they were wrong. In this case it is a personal tragedy for the Littons, We all admire their courage in fighting on.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Immigration Police Going After 10 Year Old Girl with CP in Surgery

Today in Cruelty

A lot of people think those who want to sic the immigration police on what they perceive as criminals (as opposed to decent freedom loving people which is what they are) consider themselves moral. This story from the NYT on how the immigration authorities went after a 10 year old girl who needed gall bladder surgery exposes that lie.

One of the newest arrivals this week at the Baptist Children’s Home Ministries facility for child migrants in San Antonio, Tex., is 10 years old.
She has cerebral palsy. Her name is Rosa Maria Hernandez, and she does not understand why, days after undergoing emergency gallbladder surgery, she has not yet seen her mother, even though they are less than a three-hour drive apart.

“Do I get to go home tomorrow?” she asked her mother on Wednesday evening, when they spoke over FaceTime.

“I told her that she was only there because she was recovering, and once she was recovered, then she could come with me,” recalled her mother, Felipa de la Cruz, speaking in Spanish.

“O.K., Mommy.”

The truth is that Ms. de la Cruz does not know when her daughter will be released.
They live in the border town of Laredo illegally, and when Ms. de la Cruz sent Rosa Maria to Corpus Christi for the surgery early Tuesday, the girl’s ambulance was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint. After agents learned the girl was an undocumented immigrant, they followed her to the hospital and guarded her room. When she was discharged, the agents took her to the shelter, which houses juveniles in immigration custody.

There she is, the terrible threat to the nation's border security

Rosa Maria Hernandez, 10, who has cerebral palsy and was brought to the United States illegally as a baby, was detained this week after undergoing surgery in Texas.

Wow, wonder what the brave men and women of the Border Patrol tell their children when they go home at night. We bet its about how they went after a 10 year old patient and got her shipped to a juvenile facility. Wonder if they leave out the part about the CP or that she just had gall bladder surgery. Such courageous men and women who serve the Trump immigration agenda.

Meanwhile, all of the attendants at the Value Voters meetings and all the right wing ministers said . . . . nothing.

The Sad and Courageous March of Sen. John McCain Through the Senate

Compare Him to the Current Resident at 1600 Penn

Senator John McCain may be one of the most complex individuals ever to be in public life. A war hero, he got caught up in a scandal with Charles Keating when he got to Congress. As a presidential candidate in 2000 he was open and honest. As one in 2008 he was towing the Republican line but then had a moment of pure character when he defended Obama against a scurrilous personal attack.

Now he is dying, as is evident as he marches down the corridors of the Senate. But he is still at work, still trying, still standing up for his principles and one can only admire that even as one disagrees with some of those principles.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Trumpie Realizes He is the Last Person in America to Know That There is an Opioid Crisis

And Comes Up With a Real Solution – ADVERTISING!!!

Somebody, we don't know who, alerted Donnie to the fact that uncontrolled opioid distribution and addiction was a major health crisis in the United States. So Trump declared it a major problem!

President Trump declared a "nationwide public-health emergency" on the opioid crisis today. Although the declaration doesn't open up new funds (some estimate more than $9.3 billion is needed), Trump argued that "the federal government is aggressively fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts."

'On all fronts, wow. Who knew?

So how is the feds under Trumpster going to deal with this going forward. Well there is this.

Trump shared the personal story of his brother's alcohol abuse and offered a solution to the opioid crisis: "Really tough, really big, really great advertising so we get to people before they start." His prediction: "If we can teach young people not to take drugs ... it's really, really easy not to take them."

So yes, Trumpie took a good thing, talking about a personal tragedy that we acknowledge affected him (Don does not drink) and turned it into farce. And here is some more.

  • He will spend "lots of money" when "pushing very hard the concept of non-addictive pain killers."
  • He will discuss the flow of Chinese opioids into the United States with China's leader, Xi Jinping.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will launch a new task force for best practices in pain management across the U.S.
  • POTUS insisted that the federal government will use "every appropriate resource available" to address the opioid crisis.
Okay, anybody want to bet that the opioid epidemic will be better after this Trump stuff? No one, didn't think so.

The Mark Halperin Story is Going to be Very Ugly

Too Bad He Didn't Work for Fox News – His Future Would be Secure

If there is any doubt as to the difference between Fox News and professional, decent and objective news organizations that doubt should be resolved by the reaction of MSNBC to the reports on the highly inappropriate and possibly criminal misconduct of commentator Mark Halperin. While at ABC Mr. Halperin apparently engaged in sexual harassment and possibly sexual assault. He has admitted some wrongdoing and denied some.

The interesting thing is what his employer has done.

The fallout from the CNN report has been swift. HBO said Thursday thatit has canceled a miniseries based on “Game Change.” MSNBC said Halperin “is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.”

Mr. Halperin, absent complete vindication is done, as well he should be. But compare his situation with that of Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. Fox News gave O'Reilly a huge new contract even after they learned of all of his unacceptable treatment of women. They looked the other way until advertisers started leaving. They saw nothing wrong with sexual harassment and paid millions to settle cases. But then, they are the network of family values.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Unlike Dems, Steve Bannon is Willing to Go Out and Fight for His Cause

And Other Snarky Comments on the News

  1. Democrats are failing as a party in part because they just don't have the energy or the will to make their case to the American public. The Republican strategist Steve Bannon who wants to destroy the Republican party (yes, odd thing for a strategist to do but that's where we are) is willing to do the hard work of traveling and speaking to make his argument. Dems are not   even willing to appear on the news shows.

  1. An NFL football player seems to have immediate access to federal courts while the rest of us have to wait months and years to get a hearing. Could it be that the system plays favorites? Nah, that can't be, Lady Justice is blind.

  1. In recent weeks Sen. McCain has shown what he could have been. Now it's just too late.

  1. The NCAA refused to do anything to the University of North Carolina which created fake courses so its athletes could stay eligible to play. Just another nail in the coffin of the idea that college athletes are amateurs playing for the love of the game. And just another indication of the corruption of American colleges and universities by big time sports.

  1. Has there been any greater lying than what is taking place with the CRS payments?

  1. The Kurdish people will once again be treated badly by the United States. The Kurds are in many ways a problem for the region but there is no doubt they have been instrumental in fighting ISIS. As a reward the current administration, like others before it will abandon them.

  1. Many people thought Brexit would destroy the EU. Now it looks like it will destroy the Conservative party in Britain. To the extent that this allows a socialist party like Labour to take over the British government this is not a good thing.

  1. Conservatives are outraged that some network comedy shows are anti-Trump. They think broadcasters should not take political sides, and say things like “Who do they think they are, Fox News?”

  1. Notice how quickly Puerto Rico has dropped from the news. Well they are Hispanic.

How Does a 2 Person Firm in Montana Get a $300 Million Contract to Restore Electricity in Puerto Rico?

Oh – Company From Same Town as Sec. Of Interior

The Washington Post is reporting that a large part of the effort to help Puerto Rico recover is a big contract that has been given to a firm from Montana to rebuild the electrical grid.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.

Okay, that sounds good. Oh, maybe not.

Whitefish officials have said that the company’s expertise in mountainous areas makes it well suited for the work and that it jumped at the chance when other firms were hesitating over concerns about payment. The company acknowledges it had only two full-time employees when Maria struck but says its business model calls for ramping up rapidly by hiring workers on short-term contracts.

Wow, two people. How does a company like that get a contract? Well start with a no-bid situation. Then add this.

Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Its chief executive, Andy Techmanski, and Zinke acknowledge knowing one another — but only, Zinke’s office said in an email, because Whitefish is a small town where “everybody knows everybody.” One of Zinke’s sons “joined a friend who worked a summer job” at one of Techmanski’s construction sites, the email said. Whitefish said he worked as a “flagger.”
Zinke’s office said he had no role in Whitefish securing the contract for work in Puerto Rico. Techmanski also said Zinke was not involved.
Well if you believe that we have a bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn for you to buy. But wait, was there any alternative?

The unusual decision to instead hire a tiny for-profit company is drawing scrutiny from Congress and comes amid concerns about bankrupt Puerto Rico’s spending as it seeks to provide relief to its 3.4 million residents, the great majority of whom remain without power a month after the storm.
The fact that there are so many utilities with experience in this and a huge track record of helping each other out, it is at least odd why [the utility] would go to Whitefish,” said Susan F. Tierney, a former senior official at the Energy Department and state regulatory agencies. “I’m scratching my head wondering how it all adds up.”

Alright, if things turn out well and this company does a fantastic job in restoring electricity to Puerto Rico this Forum will bed the first to admit we were wrong and that the decision to engage Whitefish was the right one. But our expectations are that a year from now an investigation will find massive corruption and incompetence. Why? The people in government are all doing things to enrich themselves, the public be damned. And that is a non-partisan plague.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Flake and Corker are Cowards, Not Heros

They Vote the Trump Line Issue after Issue

The press which is about as shallow as the shallow end of the kiddie pool will be praising Senators Corker and Flake for standing up to the bully in the White House. But words are all they offer. They are both leaving the Senate rather than face losing a Republican primary. They could go out with principles in tact, voting against the harsh policies of the Trumpet but instead they will go lockstep in supporting tax cuts for the wealthy, destruction of health care for the low income families, espulsion of young men and women who were brought to the country illegally when they were children and had not choice in the matter, etc, etc, etc.

Here is the lowdown on Sen. Flake.

But Flake's peril is especially remarkable when you consider that he has among the most conservative records in the Senate — and in the House before that. Despite that, he created an untenable situation for himself by criticizing Trump and separating himself from the president's signature issues, which he conspicuously mentioned in his quote.

And same conservative record applies to Corker. They will be replaced by the truly repulsive Republicans but the good news is that the nation will see them for what they are.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Tx) Has a Great Plan to Confront North Korea

Put Their Name on a List – That Will Scare Them

The issue of how the United States and North Korea resolve the situation where it appears the leaders of both countries want military confrontation demand serious people with serious strategies. So here comes a blowhard Senator, Ted Cruz, to insert silliness into the debate. His solution to the problem,

On Oct. 31, the State Department faces a critical decision in our relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill enacted in August included legislation I introduced that requires the secretary of state to decide whether to relist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism within 90 days.

Look at the accusations against Pyongyang: the unspeakable treatment of Otto Warmbier; the assassination of a member of the Kim family with chemical weapons on foreign soil; collusion with Iran to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles; cyberattacks on American film companies; support for Syria’s chemical weapons program; arms sales to Hezbollah and Hamas; and attempts to assassinate dissidents in exile. Given this, the decision should be easy. In fact, Americans could be forgiven for wondering why North Korea is not already designated as a sponsor of terrorism.

Senator Cruz always struck us as someone who is all hat and no cattle, a spiteful little man whose main action is to 'take names' and not do anything of substance. Exactly how listing North Korea as a terrorist nation, which it probably is, would resolve a potential nuclear war is not clear, because of course Teddy has no idea of how that would work.

 Hey Ted, when you have a good idea of how to prevent a war, get back to us.  Till then, try not to waste our time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Great Day in Law Enforcement and Justice – Joe Arpaio's Conviction Stands

Sheriff Found Guilty Wanted It Erased After He Accepted Pardon

One of the more disgusting individuals in modern American immigration issues has been Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. Not only did he violate the rights of Hispanics he openly defied the law and court orders not to do so. And finally he was tried and convicted.

But Donnie sees lawless behavior against minorities as being done by 'fine people'. So Donnie pardoned the sheriff. But Arpaio wanted more, he wanted his pardon to mean he was never convicted. And this is what has happened to that wish.

Federal judge refuses to erase Joe Arpaio’s conviction despite Trump pardon

See, when one accepts a pardon one admits guilt. But like all of the arrogant folks who think they are above the law, Sheriff Joe wanted to get a pardon but not admit his guilt. It don't work that way.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton said the pardon only freed Arpaio from possible punishment. In a four-page order offering a check on the president’s executive power, Bolton wrote that a pardon could not erase the facts of the case.
The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping,” Bolton wrote in the decision. “To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”

An Appellate decision might still overturn justice, after all there are conservatives on the courts who think it is their duty to impose their philosophy on the public regardless of the law. In this case Arpaio's options were simple. If he thought he was innocent he should not have accepted the pardon, after all you can't pardon an innocent person. But that would have taken a person with courage, not a bullying sheriff.

Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore is a Tax Cheat

But He is Very Religious, So In His Mind It May Not Matter

Why Can't the People Who Claim Moral Values Have Any?

There are many things that Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore has done that are undeniably disgusting. He has twice, yes twice, been removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for misconduct. He has called for policy like criminalizing homosexual activity. And now it turns out that not only did he set up a charity whose only purpose seems to have been to enrich himself, he is also likely guilty of tax evasion.

The issue is not complex, although many people think it so as to not have to make judgment. In the eyes of the IRS when you have compensation made available to you, it is taxable whether you receive it or not. The regulations are clear.

§ 1.451-2 Constructive receipt of income.
(a)General rule. Income although not actually reduced to a taxpayer's possession is constructively received by him in the taxable year during which it is credited to his account, set apart for him, or otherwise made available so that he may draw upon it at any time, or so that he could have drawn upon it during the taxable year if notice of intention to withdraw had been given.
With respect to Judge Moore the situation is also clear.

In early 2011, the charity’s board agreed to pay Moore for “arrearages of salary during the past four (4) years,” according to the charity’s record of the meeting. The board issued a promissory note for $393,000 and arranged a second mortgage on the group’s building to back it up. In December of that year, the note and the mortgage were updated to guarantee Moore $498,000.
The entire principal balance will be due and payable on demand,” said the updated promissory note on Dec. 19, 2011.
Now one argument could be made that the note was not good because the payments could not be made. But this fails because the note was secured by a mortgage.

Judge Moore should have declared the amount of the note income. He did not. He cheated on his taxes. And yes, in case anyone has any doubt, he is a conservative Republican. He should not go to the Senate, he should go to jail.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Think All-Electric Cars Are Not Coming? Think Again

It's Not If but When

General Motors has become the latest auto company to embrace all electric vehicles.

G.M. said it would introduce two new all-electric models within 18 months as part of a broader plan toward what the company says is its ultimate goal of an emissions-free fleet. The two models will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that G.M. plans to bring out by 2023.
The announcement came a day before a long-scheduled investor presentation by Ford Motor that was also expected to emphasize electric models. After the G.M. news emerged, Ford let loose its own plan, saying it would add 13 electrified models in the next several years.

Now auto companies are notorious for not delivering on their concepts. But even if they don't meet the deadlines, they will be bringing out electric vehicles at some time. As for the oil industry, maybe there won't be much for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to slink back to after he decides he has had enough humiliation from Trumpie.

Drug Ad Discloses Its Not About Golfer Phil Michelson

Ad Says Actors are Seen and Account if Fiction

The massive amount of advertising by drug companies, advertising that is as disgusting as it is unwanted reaches a new low with something called Anbrel.

The ad has a story about the great golfer and even greater person Phil Michelson. But a disclaimer in small print, so no one will notice it, says that the people in the ad are actors and the scenario being portrayed in fictional.

How in the name of a stinking sack of shit can this happen?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sanctimonious Former Fox News Cretan Bill O'Reilly Reported to Have Paid $32 Million to Make Sexual Misconduct Case Go Away

What the Hell is a “Nonconsenual Sexual Relationship”?

One of the most arrogant and nauseating personalities on Fox Fake News in the past has been Bill O'Reilly. It turned out that he has been a sexual predator and earlier this year Fox reluctantly fired him. Reluctantly because he made the network a lot of money, and what's a little sexual assault if millions can be made. But when millions were at risk, well out he goes.

But by April, the Murdochs decided to jettison Mr. O’Reilly as some of the settlements became public and posed a significant threat to their business empire.
Early that month, The Times reported on five settlements involving Mr. O’Reilly, leading advertisers to boycott his show and spawning protests calling for his ouster. About the same time, the O’Reilly settlements arose as an issue in 21st Century Fox’s attempt to buy the European satellite company Sky.

Now details of a new settlement have come out.

Although the deal has not been previously made public, the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, acknowledges that it was aware of the woman’s complaints about Mr. O’Reilly. They included allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her, according to the people briefed on the matter.

What the hell? Nonconsensual sex? Don't know what you call it but we probably think it is the
'R' word. And of course Fox News which knew about the settlement just turned a blind greedy eye.

It was at least the sixth agreement — and by far the largest — made by either Mr. O’Reilly or the company to settle harassment allegations against him. Despite that record, 21st Century Fox began contract negotiations with Mr. O’Reilly, and in February granted him a four-year extension that paid $25 million a year.

Fox News is Trumpie's favorite news outlet. Anyone see a reason why? Anyone?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Think Gen. Kelly Isn't Just Another Politician Who Ignores Facts

False Attack Because He Didn't Know the Facts (Or Didn't Care)

In the midst of the lionization of Gen. John Kelly, Chief of Staff in the White House comes a true story which shows just what kind of man he is. From the AP is a report that completely contradicts Kelly's depiction of an event a Democratic Congresswoman who had the temerity to criticize Trump on his call to a Gold Star family.

John Kelly said she stunned the audience at the somber ceremony by recounting how she had been the driving force behind raising money for the building, the FBI's South Florida headquarters. But a video of her remarks at the dedication shows she never took credit for getting the government to come up with the money for the project. Indeed, the building was approved several years before she entered Congress.

Now people make mistakes. A decent person would apologize and move on. But that cannot be done by anyone associated with Trump. The Trumpie corrupts everyone around him. And in this case there is no spin, just the facts and the video to back them up.

KELLY: "And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million, to build the building, and she sat down. And we were stunned, stunned that she'd done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned."
THE FACTS: Kelly's recollection is incorrect. In her nine-minute speech at the April 10, 2015, dedication ceremony, a video of which was found by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Wilson never mentions the building's financing.
She did, though, spend up to three minutes talking about an effort she did lead — to have the building named after the special agents, Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove, who were killed in a 1986 gun battle in Miami. She recounted how she was asked by the FBI four weeks earlier to expedite a bill through Congress to name the building after Grogan and Dove. She said the process normally takes eight months to a year.
"I went into attack mode," she told the audience. She said she approached then-Speaker John Boehner, telling him "the FBI needs your help and our country needs your help." She said Boehner got the bill to the House floor for a vote in two days. She said she then rushed the bill to Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, who got the bill passed by that chamber two days later. President Barack Obama signed the bill three days before the dedication ceremony. The audience responded with loud applause.
"It's a miracle but it speaks to the respect that our Congress has for the Federal Bureau of Investigation," she said.
She then asked all first responders to stand so they could receive applause.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Justice in Virginia Like It's 1955

Just a Regular Headline from the Washington Post

Time travel is alive and well. For example, one can go back to mid 20th century bigotry and hatred in Virginia and find this headline.

Black man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville faces felony charge

Yes, it seems that inVirginia anyone an file a police report and then go to a magistrate and get a warrant issued. This particularly applies to white men who attack African Americans and then want the victim prosecuted for, well you know, getting in the way of a fist or a club or a gun.

The black man beaten in a Charlottesville parking garage by white supremacists after a “Unite the Right” rally has been charged with a crime in connection with the incident, even as police continue searching for some of the people who kicked him to the ground and pummeled him.
A local magistrate issued an arrest warrant Monday for DeAndre Harris on a charge of unlawful wounding after a man, identified by Harris’s attorney as Harold Ray Crews, reported that he was injured by the 20-year-old during the August brawl. Crews, who describes himself as a “Southern Nationalist” and an attorney on Twitter, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

But not to worry, Pence and Trumpie will be right on this as soon as they deal with the terrible problem of football players kneeling when the national anthem is played.

Trump's “Administration of Lies” Spreads to Economic Theory

Cutting Corporate Taxes Will Raise Employee Compensation – Huh?

One result of the election of an individual totally unqualified to be dogcatcher, much less President is that public officials are no longer held to the truth in supporting their policy proposals. So it is not really a surprise that the economic advisers in the administration go out and lie about the effect of cutting corporate taxes will have on employee compensation.

In a sign of how heavily the administration will lean on the argument, the president said last week in a speech in Pennsylvania that the proposal would “likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise,” citing his Council of Economic Advisers.

The council is led by Kevin Hassett, an economist whose academic work has argued that high corporate tax rates hurt workers, and that when those tax rates fall, worker incomes rise sharply. The Monday report is the council’s first published study on the potential effects of the tax proposal.

How exactly does that happen? Maybe like this. When corporate taxes go down CEO's all around the country gather and say things like “You know, we have all this extra money now. Instead of increasing our pay or giving it to shareholders let's raise hourly rates and salaries of our middle managers. They deserve it and besides we have a lot of money anyway and the increased profits are just a windfall.” Yep, that's sure to be what happens.

The interesting thing is that the report this garbage is based on contradicts it in its first sentence.

The report begins with a declaration that “wage growth in America has stagnated,” even as corporate profits have soared, because “the relationship between corporate profits and worker compensation broke down in the late 1980s.”

That's right, for the last several decades corporate profits have sharply increased while real wages have been stagnant. So increasing corporate profits will increase wages? Right.  As for the economics, take a look at any college text on the subject and try to find this idiocy.

Sen. Lindsey Graham Sheds The Last Remnants of His Dignity

Not That He Had Much to Lose

Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina has sometimes, not always but sometimes been an honest critic of the administration. In the campaign he called out Trumper for what he was. This summer he stated that he would not vote for health care reform that was just pushed through the Senate with no hearings or debate.

But apparently enthralled by being close to the Presidency he has completely caved. He urged the Senate to pass a bill without any consideration solely because his name was now on the bill. And instead of telling it like it is on the President he is now his golf buddy.

Graham may well be afraid that Bannon the Destroyer will support a primary campaign against him. But it was once thought craven political ambition was less a part of his DNA than it is in his fellows. But Lindsey has now gone out of his way to show that he is just as bad as the rest of them.   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

General Kelly Allows the Death of His Son in Combat to Become a Political Talking Point for Trumpie

Gen. Kelly Joins Others Who Give Up All of Their Self-Respect

Update:  Gen. Kelly has just come out with a strong defense of Trump and his call to the family of a fallen soldier.  This is just sad, just terribly sad.  This man has let a disrespectful President use the death of General Kelly's son for political purposes and has dishonored himself.  It is hard to believe that the pursuit of influence in the White House would lead a man to humiliate himself in this way.

The General also talked about how women used to be 'sacred'.  Turn around General, look at the man you are currently defending and enabling

Anger evolves into sadness when people like Gen. John Kelly, current Chief of Staff in the White House so adore their political positions that they will accept any humiliation and any injection into their personal lives. General Kelly's son died in Afghanistan. It was a horrific loss, as horrific as every other loss of life by the military in a situation that is not tenable in the long run. General Kelly has kept this very private, as is his right.

But Trumpie, who cannot touch anything without it turning to shit, used Gen. Kelly's son to make a political point. To build himself up Trump constantly tears down Obama, and in this case his strategy was to claim that Obama had no outreach to the families of fallen soldiers. And so he invited reporters to talk to Gen. Kelly and ask him what Obama had done. Of course it turned out Obama had Gen. Kelly seated next to him at a memorial meeting for families who had lost sons and daughters and spouses.

For Gen. Kelly now is the time to show courage and leave Trump. For the nation it is just another reason to recognize what the nation has placed in its highest office. And we say 'what', not 'whom' deliberately.

The Ultimate Word on the Stupidity of Suspending Cost Sharing Payments for Health Insurance

From Nicholas Bagley at TIE

When Someone Else Says It Better Than We Can We Print Them

Over at The Incidental Economist, a great health care forum, law professor Nicholas Bagley explans the idiocy of the administration's decision to end cost reduction payment to insurance companies. Here is his summary.

So taxpayers will have to pay increased premium subsidies at the front end. Then they’ll also pay the cost-sharing money through litigation at the back end. It’s a financial bath, and for no good reason other than sheer political cussedness.
What a stupid, profligate, and unnecessary mess.

The issue straight forward legally is this. Congress required the payments by law. Because Congress did not appropriate money for the payments the President could and did suspend them. But because we live in a nation of laws the insurance companies can go to court, get their payments and the appropriations issue will not stand in the way of a court ordered payment.

All we are left with is higher costs for everybody, and less health care for low and middle income families. That second thing, of course is what the Republicans always wanted.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Believe It or Not – A Cretin Even Bigger Than Donald Trump in Treatment of Women

Vindication for All Those Who Said Trumpie Was Not the Worst; Terrible But Not the Worst

No comments needed on this story from the WaPo.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, already suspected of decades of sexual harassment, came under withering fire Tuesday with a new report accusing him of raping three women he had worked with during his long tenure as one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures.

The new report in the New Yorker magazine was followed within hours by a second article in the New York Times that included accounts from actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie about Weinstein’s harassment of them early in their careers.

The World is Beginning to Understand – The U. S. Will Not Fight Other Nation's Battles

Even If It Wanted To – Which It Does Not

It is no longer 1941. It is no longer 1945. The world military situation is shaped by events since then. And that situation is that despite the fact that the United States has a far more powerful armed forces than any other nation, or even a bunch of nations combined, the United States is not going to fight global wars.

The Saudi's are considering not taking their state oil company, Saudi Aramco, public. A major reason for the change in stated in a Financial Times blog.

In common with many other countries traditionally dependent on the superpower role of the US, the Saudis are beginning to realise that the United States simply cannot be relied upon as their ultimate defender. The realisation started under President Obama who made clear that the US did not want any further involvement in foreign wars. In Libya after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi the US said it would do no more than “lead from behind”. Under President Trump that sense of disengagement has been compounded by the realisation that US decision making is erratic and unreliable. Even a warm embrace can turn out to be meaningless.

There are many reasons why the U. S. is not and will not be a global military power. Nuclear weapons is one, the aging of the U. S. population is another. A third is the politics, the nation no longer has a stomach for massive foreign intervention and instead operates on the stealth in many countries.

Reality, there will be no more Vietnam's, no more Iraqi type wars. This will be tragic in many cases because of massive human rights violations that will take place. But World, you're on your own.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Justice Department Investigating Reverse Discrimination at the College Level

White Folks Must be the Victims – Just Look at Any Big College Campus

Since the 1960's the Justice Department has pursued, well, justice. The institutions in the United States had openly discriminated against minorities, primarily African Americans. All of us are proud of what the government did to correct what in effect was segregated higher education.

Now the Sessions Justice Department lead by a man so bigoted that he could not be confirmed as a federal judge because of his bigotry is continuing the tradition of confronting discrimination. Well, maybe not.

A Federal Investigation Into ‘Reverse-Discrimination’ at Harvard

The Justice Department appears to be looking into whether the Ivy League institution discriminates against certain applicants based on their race.

Okay, that sounds good. Finally the horrific bias against white folks will be corrected. That's right, the Attorney General is terribly concerned that white people suffer discrimination. How could he get such an impression. Well we presume the AG watches Alabama football and concludes that the racial make up of the football team reflects that of the University.

No People – Bob Corker is Not a Hero – Just Another Hard Right Wing Senator

Who Doesn't Care How Many People His Positions Harm

Under the rubric “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” a lot of folks are praising retiring Senator Bob Corker (R, Tn) for his attacks on the Trumpster. These people have just disregarded Corker's voting record. Far from being an independent thinker, Corker just parrots and votes the straight right wing way.

The man has no accomplishments in the Senate, he will soon leave and not even be a footnote in history. His legacy will be mixed in with those who think government should help the wealthy and harm the rest of the population. He is Trump with a southern accent.

Trump and Republicans Flat Out Blatantly Lie on Cost Sharing Reduction Payments

GOP Goes Beyond Spin

Health care and health insurance is complicated, as Trumpie found out once he started paying slight attention to the area. Here, as simply as possible, is the truth on Cost Sharing Reduction Payments (CSR).

When the ACA was adopted it provided for reduced deductibles and co-pays for low to middle income families for their insurance policies. The mechanism was for their insurance company to fund the reductions and then for the insurance company to be reimbursed by the government. This reimbursement requirement is law, nothing unclear about it.

But Congress, in their usual ineptitude did not provide for permanent appropriations to make the payments. So a judge ruled they could not be made. But they are still a legal obligation of the government.

So basically the insurance companies will have to go to court, which they will, to get their money. And they will get their money, the law is clear. So no, this is not subsidization of insurance companies, this is not a bail out. This is simply the government paying what it owes.

As for what the Republicans are saying on this issue, it just confirms that their strategy is that when they are wrong they just lie, lie, lie. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Football Player Russel Okung Shows Courage, Humility and Grace

Calls for Players to Be an Active, Positive Force

Some NFL players were silently, peacefully and gracefully protesting the killing of unarmed African Americans by police. The start was made by a San Francisco player named Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted from the NFL for his efforts.

Russell Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers before an exhibition game in August. CreditJohn Hefti/Associated Press

Now another player has spoken up. Russel Okung is a Los Angeles Charger who has written an open letter to his fellow players. The first thing he did, the thing that gives him credibility is that he admists to being wrong.

Things have clearly gotten out of control. As a pragmatist, I will admit, I initially doubted the merits of Colin Kaepernick’s protest and questioned his strategy.

I was wrong.

There is now no doubt in my mind that what he did last season was a courageous, prophetic, self-sacrificial act that has captivated a nation and inspired a powerful movement.

If I had his cellphone number, I would tell him that.

That makes his message powerful. And the message is for the players to act as Americans, to communicate as one in a peaceful and powerful voice. Would that Trump and Pence learn from his quiet dignity.

Is There Still a Democratic Party?

Near Total Absence on the National Media Would Suggest Maybe Not

One of the most important things a political party can do is to be visible, to make itself and its positions known to the American voter. Republicans and their media lapdog Fox News do a great job of this. Democrats don't even both to show up.  It's not that so many people watch the shows, it that they get reported on Monday and get publicity for the people that speak.

On the Sunday morning news shows Republicans dominate. Is the problem that there are no leaders of Democrats to show up and defend their policies, or that there are just no policies to defend?  Democrats are certainly invited but just fail to show up. If they lose in 2018 and 2020, they have only themselves to blame.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Courageous Letter to the NYT From Amy Farah Fowler

Otherwise Known as the Wonderful Actress Mayim Bialik

In the midst of the chaos that is the revelation that Harvey Weinstein is the biggest pig in Hollywood, a designation not easily achieved is a great piece in the NYT from an actress who portrays a character on The Big Bang Theory.

Mayim Bialik is a real person. She looks like a real person. After a successful career as a child actor she left the entertainment business to obtain a Ph D. in a difficult science area. She returned to acting to great acclaim as the girlfriend of Sheldon Cooper in a hit TV series. She writes of the pain of not being one of the glamorous people.

I grew up constantly being teased about my appearance, even from members of my family; my nose and chin were the main objects of discussion. As a teenager I started obsessing over the possibility of a nose job so that I would look more like Danica McKellar, with a chin job to balance things out. Soon I wondered if I should get breast implants to look more like Christina Applegate, who got so much attention for her curves. I consistently felt like a troll compared to many of my contemporaries. A “TV Guide” critic described me, in a review of the pilot episode of “Blossom,” as having a “shield-shaped” face of “mismatched features.” I never recovered from seeing myself that way.

A beautiful young actress

This should never happen in America. The nation is built on the principal of the supremacy of the individual and personal appearance has no place in the evaluation of a person, Trumpie be damned. Ms Bialik rightfully condemns Hollywood and more rightly calls on the nation to change.

I believe that we can change our culture, but it won’t be something that happens overnight. We live in a society that has treated women as disposable playmates for far longer than Mr. Weinstein has been meeting ingĂ©nues in luxury hotel rooms.
One major bright spot: We are seeing more women taking on prominent roles behind the camera. Women like Jenji Kohan and Jill Soloway are showing the kinds of female characters on their shows that we all know in real life but never got to see on TV. And more women and men are waking up to the fact that it is on us all to sound the alarm on unacceptable behavior.

In the meantime, I plan to continue to work hard to encourage young women to cultivate the parts of themselves that may not garner them money and fame. If you are beautiful and sexy, terrific. But having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life.

And a beautiful young lady in red