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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump Blasts Press For Not Reporting That Murder Rate is the Highest Its Been in 47 Years

And He's Right Except for the Fact That He's Wrong

And That Can Apply to  Most of What He Says

The President met with some sheriffs and this is what he told them.

"Trump told the sheriffs, “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” He blamed the news media for not publicizing this development, then added, “But the murder rate is the highest it’s been in, I guess, 45 to 47 years.”

Well gosh, we guess the press is hiding this statistic because they want . . . .,well we don't know why they would hide that news. The only reason the media would have for not reporting that is that maybe it isn't true and the press likes to report true facts not alernative facts.

"The country’s murder rate is not the highest it’s been in 47 years. It is almost at its lowest point, actually, according to the FBI, which gathers statistics every year from police departments around the country.

The murder rate is defined as the number of murders and non-negligent homicides per 100,000 residents. Beginning in 1957, when the rate was 4.0 murders per 100,000 residents, the rate rose steadily to a high of 10.2 in 1980. It then steadily dropped, to 7.4 in 1996, to 6.1 in 2006, to 4.4 in 2014. It went up in 2015 to 4.9. But that is less than half the murder rate of 1980, while the population has risen from 226 million in 1980 to 321 million in 2015."

So even factoring in the dead from the Bowling Green Massacre the murder rate is near its low point over the last many decades.  But like all good murder stories this one also has a mystery associated with it.  Why?  Why does Trump lie about this?  

Why Do Republicans Hate Wind Power - Because It's a Good Deal For Real People, Not Billionaires

GOP Show Less Than Zero Concern for the Environment - Supports Policies to Make Things Worse

One would think a wind turbine farm in a poor region of North Carolina would be a win-win situation, and it is.

But the project has brought relief for some residents in the region, one of the state’s poorest. The wind farm is now the largest taxpayer in two counties, employing 17 full-time staffers. Roughly 60 landowners signed deals to host turbines at $6,000 per turbine a year, funds that help offset increased competition and declining crop income from their fields.
Horace Pritchard, who agreed to have nine turbines on his 1,300 acres, says he hopes elected officials will see that wind energy helps farmers like him.
Horace Pritchard, who agreed to have nine turbines on his 1,300 acres, says he hopes elected officials
 will see that wind energy helps farmers like him. PHOTO: ALEX BOERNER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Don't count on it horace, benefits be damned, republicans have an
ideology to uphold
Third-generation farmer Horace Pritchard, 68, said he agreed to have nine turbines on his 1,300 acres because the $54,000 annual payment can help offset uncertainty in commodity prices and bouts of bad weather, like last fall’s flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Wow, sounds like a great deal. Who could oppose it? Oh, of course, conservatives.

The recent wind-energy push has caused an unusual fight among North Carolina Republicans, with some GOP politicians opposing the project because of its reliance on federal tax credits and potential risks to the military, . . .

Wind power “gets a lot of subsidies. People end up paying more for it,” said state Sen. Bill Cook, a Republican who represents the northeastern North Carolina region where the wind farm is located. Mr. Cook opposed the project.

The result of Republican opposition is huring people and the environment.

North Carolina’s contentious $400 million wind farm, run by a unit of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA, was built to provide power to an Inc. data center. State lawmakers have renewed a push against the project, citing risks to nearby military operations. The company says it wants to build more wind farms in North Carolina, but has put its plans on hold because of the political uncertainty. Another planned project is currently stalled: Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va., is scaling back its 105-turbine project after county commissioners denied a necessary zoning permit.
Other developers say they are staying away as the state legislature weighs tighter permitting guidelines.
“Until we get to a stable policy climate, we’re going to continue to see a lot of unknowns, and that is never good for multimillion-dollar investments,” said Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, a trade group.

Yep, jobs, cleaner environment, and future investment. No wonder the GOP hates it. As for voters the message is clear. WAKE UP, the Republicans are not on your side.

West Virginia Governor Wants to Allow Drilling on Your Land Even If You Have Not Given Approval

Conservatives Don’t Seem Outraged, Why Not?

A basic tenet of conservatism is property rights.  In fact for many conservatives property rights trump civil rights.  This may be something, you know, left over from pre 1865 America where there was human property, but maybe not.

Anyway the Governor of West Virginia who is a wealthy coal mining baron wants to do something that should enrage conservatives.

He also endorsed legislation the oil and gas industry would like to enable horizontal drilling across properties where most, but sometimes not all, landowners have agreed to terms.
“I’m going to make a lot of people mad, probably, at me,” he said, “but I cannot understand why in the world we can’t get that through,” Justice said to applause. “I would be an absolute proponent of that.

Image result for images of man in hammock
Conservative reacting to W. Va. Proposal to Drill on Your Land Without Your Permission

Well why not?  But if the Governor cannot understand opposition to that well he needs a course in government 101.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Heartfelt thanks to Trump for Pushing Some of the Most Odious GOP Politicos Out of the Public Spotlight

Praise Tempered Only by the Fact That in Trump an Even More Odious Person Has Taken Center Stage

As Trump proposes a hard right wing nominee to the Supreme Court, a Clarence Thomas clone who may be able to actually talk but not think, one looks for some good in all of this.  And there is some good, because some of the worst, most offensive Republicans no longer command the attention of the media.  So in case they are feeling sorry for themselves, here is some publicity for them, although to be fair they may not like it.

1.  Ted Cruz:  A senator so hated by his own party he ran for President sucking up to Trump voters.  Then when Trump turned on him and his family he fought back.  Then when Trump became the President-elect he started sucking up again.  Now he's just a failure, hoping that a more agreeable candidate, that is, anyone else, will not challenge him in his Texas primary next year.

2.  Carly Fiorina:  A failed CEO who failed in her campaign to win a senate seat she obviously felt this qualified her to run for President.  It did not.  Now in a desperate attempt to return to some semblence of recognition she apparently is considering a run for Virginia governor or senator.  In the meantime thanks to Donald this mean, vindictive person is on the sidelines.

3.  Mike Huckabee:  At one time this man was compassionate for immigrants and had a cause we could all support, government encouragement of nutrition and anti-obesity programs.  Now he's just living in Florida after two failed presidential runs, and it looks like only Fox News will touch him.  Fox, you're welcome to him.

4.  Rudy Giuliani:  Rudy made a fool of himself during the Presidential campaign, and recently re-surfaced as an architect of Trump's immigration orders, which explains much of the chaos and confusion and flat out incompetence of the thing.  Obviously ashamed to go on national TV to show  his stupidity hopefully he will continue to just slink off into the sunset.

5.  Chris Christie:  The soon to be former Governor of New Jersey set a new standard in obsequity but after not being offered the job of Doorman at the White House he slunk back to New Jersey where his approval ratings are about as low as can be measured.  In fact they may be negative as dead people have been known to come back alive just to register their disgust with the man.  Christie will finish out his term and soon be forgotten unless Trump needs a whiner to help him perfect his whining.

6.  Pat McCrory:  The former governor of North Carolina made the trek to Trump Tower looking for a new job but the bathroom staff at the White House will be carried over from the Obama administration.  McCrory is reported to be in line for a tenured Professor of Bigotry at Trump University.

7.  Newt Gingrich:  The former Speaker declined the offer of jobs in the Trump White House, that is, he would have had he been offered any.  Gingrich now has only fleeting job prospects on the soon to be announced Fox News sister channel called TBC, The Blowhard Channel.  But his wife is reportedly in to be an Ambassador to the Vatican.  Since she is the third wife of a philandering divorced man Trump thinks she is just the person to impress the Catholic heirarchy.

Well there it is folks, seven people we have hopefully seen the last of.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Democratic Congressman Steve Israel Explains to His Republican Colleagues What a Real Town Hall Managed Meeting is Like

Grow a Pair, Republicans

One thing that is constant is that whenever things go against them, Republicans can be counted on to whine and complain rather than confront with facts and data.  Of course that is because almost all of the time the facts and data are biased against them, or  their positions are in contrary to facts and data.

Anyway, Democrats had been the object of organized, rude, disruptive town halls in the Obama years, and one member of congress, Steve Israel, writes about it.

First of all, many attendees at Mr. Israel's town hall meetings were not his constituents.

Then it began: an avalanche of calls demanding to know when and where I’d conduct a town hall. Some of the voices had decidedly Southern accents (and I don’t mean the South Shore of Long Island). My interns usually took callers’ names and addresses, but strangely, many of the people who said they needed to attend a town hall didn’t want to leave a phone number so we could tell them when and where they could satisfy that urge.

And they were not polite or even rational.

Perhaps the lowest point of the town hall was when one member of my staff was taunted as being a socialist. She happens to be an Army veteran who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. We had arranged for the League of Women Voters to moderate the meeting so I couldn’t be accused of selecting favorable questions. That worked out fine until someone in the audience accused the League of Women Voters of being socialists, too.

And they were orchestrated by national groups.

Later I saw a memo by the Tea Party Patriots giving instructions to crowds like this across the nation. It was essentially a manual for what their strategy should be at a town-hall meeting: Scream loudly, be disruptive and make clear that a significant portion of the audience does not support the agenda.

But Mr. Israel reacted correctly.

The night of my town hall, I knew the crowd was effectively stage-managed and that many people there didn’t live in my district. But I didn’t make an issue of that, as President Trump does now. It was my obligation — my job — to listen to disagreement. The people there were Americans expressing their anger and anxiety; exercising a constitutional principle to petition their grievances to government. It wasn’t a pleasant night, but it was a patriotic one.

Republicans though run and hide.  It's in their nature, it comes natural to bullies. But if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the Congress.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Donnie Trump Sr. Discriminated Against Black Americans in His Early Real Estate Operations; Donnie Trump Jr. Ran a Business That Had Major Pollution Problems

What a Surprise?

It was documented during the campaign how Trump Sr. had to sign all sorts of consent agreements in his real estate dealings to agree to stop effusing to rent to African Americans.  Now the New York Times reports how a business his son Donnie Jr. started will have to pay millions to clean up an environmental mess.

South Carolina regulators on Tuesday rejected an effort by the Trump Organization to limit its environmental cleanup liabilities at an industrial site once owned by President Trump’s eldest son.
The decision is a rebuke of the Trump Organization and could result in millions of dollars in added costs for the company. It followed a refusal by the organization to provide regulators with required information about business and financial relationships between the president and his son Donald Trump Jr.
Of course like many Trump deals, when things went south, no pun intended, they tried to wriggle out of it and get the government to pick up the tab.

In 2014, Donald J. Trump, while he was still running the Trump Organization, bailed out his son, who was then facing payment of a $3.65 million bank loan to Titan Atlas. The elder Mr. Trump created an entity called D B Pace, which took over the loan and the six-acre Titan Atlas site.
Last year, D B Pace applied to take part in a state program that would limit the company’s liabilities for pollution on the property, like chemical contamination of groundwater.
To qualify for such protection, however, the buyer of a contaminated property must not be affiliated with a former owner or have had earlier involvement with the site. The safeguard is in place to prevent polluters from evading their legal responsibilities.
And like a lot of Trump deals, they kinda lied about things.

A Trump Organization lawyer, Michael Cohen, stated in D B Pace’s application that it met that standard because it had no ties to Titan Atlas and had never been involved in the management of the North Charleston property.

But in December, an article in The New York Times reported that filings in a lawsuit by a former tenant showed that Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Cohen had managed the Titan Atlas property for two years before D B Pace applied to the state’s program. Last month, the South Carolina Health and Environmental Control Department sent a letter to Mr. Cohen, demanding information about all familial, corporate and financial relationships between the principals of D B Pace and Titan Atlas.

And incredibly, in this case they didn’t get away with it.

But in December, an article in The New York Times reported that filings in a lawsuit by a former tenant showed that Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Cohen had managed the Titan Atlas property for two years before D B Pace applied to the state’s program. Last month, the South Carolina Health and Environmental Control Department sent a letter to Mr. Cohen, demanding information about all familial, corporate and financial relationships between the principals of D B Pace and Titan Atlas.

And it looks like in the process they will lose yet again in a lawsuit.

D B Pace has taken the position in a $4.5 million lawsuit brought by a former tenant at the Titan Atlas warehouse that Donald Trump Jr. had nothing to do with the building’s management. However, court papers show that the younger Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen, the lawyer, repeatedly rejected requests from the tenant to fix the building’s leaky roof unless the tenant extended its lease.

Yep, remember when Mitt Romney told the nation Trump was not a successful businessperson.  Well Mitt was right and all those voters fooled by Trump were wrong.

Wall Street Journal Opinion Piece Distorts Health Study to Attack ACA

When You Can’t Argue on Merits, Lie, Cheat and Fabricate

This headline on the opinion pages of the WSJ gave us pause.

How ObamaCare Punishes the Sick

The obvious reaction is ‘how can this be’.  One of the great, if not the greatest provision of ACA is that insurers cannot discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.  This means people with costly illnesses can get insurance, whereas under the so-called market system, they cannot.  So what’s going on here?

                 "Republicans are nervous about repealing ObamaCare’s supposed ban on discrimination                       against patients with pre-existing conditions. But a new study by Harvard and the          University of Texas-Austin finds those rules penalize high-quality coverage for the sick, reward insurers who slash coverage for the sick, and leave patients unable to obtain adequate insurance."

As we found out, the above paragraph is a pack of lies.  Why and How?  Well first of all the story is in the WSJ and second of all the author is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a well know conservative think(?) tank.  So immediately things are suspicious.  The article is based on a recently published study, so we decided to take a look at the study and see if it supports the conclusions of the opinion writer.

The basis of the above headline is this from the author of the WSJ piece.

“The result is lower-quality coverage—for MS, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility and other expensive conditions. The researchers find these patients face higher cost-sharing (even for inexpensive drugs), more prior-authorization requirements, more mandatory substitutions, and often no coverage for the drugs they need, so that consumers “cannot be adequately insured.”

The study also corroborates reports that these rules are subjecting patients to higher deductibles and cost-sharing across the board, narrow networks that exclude leading cancer centers, inaccurate provider directories, and opaque cost-sharing. A coalition of 150 patient groups complains this government-fostered race to the bottom “completely undermines the goal of the ACA.”

Well first of all those ‘150 patient group complaints’ do not want to do what the opinion piece does, they write to support ACA and want to see it improved.  So what’s the problem, well if one goes to the actual study,


Michael Geruso Timothy J. Layton Daniel Prinz

NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 November 2016

one learns that the problem here is that insurers are gaming the system. 

We first show that despite large regulatory transfers that neutralize selection incentives for most consumer types, some consumers are unprofitable in a way that is predictable by their prescription drug demand. Then, using a difference-in-differences strategy that compares Exchange formularies where these selection incentives exist to employer plan formularies where they do not, we show that Exchange insurers design formularies as screening devices that are differentially unattractive to unprofitable consumer types. This results in inefficiently low levels of coverage for the corresponding drugs in equilibrium. Although this type of contract distortion has been highlighted in the prior theoretical literature, until now empirical evidence has been rare. The impact on out-of-pocket costs for consumers affected by the distortion is substantial—potentially thousands of dollars per year—and the distortion creates an equilibrium in which contracts that efficiently trade off moral hazard and risk protection cannot exist.

Basically what is happening is that insurers can tell high risk patients in some cases by the medicines they take, and they can screen out those patients by putting those medicines into high cost tiers even in some cases where they are not high cost medicines.

The WSJ opinion recommendation is to end requiring insurers to take everyone regardless of a pre-condition. 

It doesn’t have to be like this. Employer plans offer drug coverage more comprehensive and sustainable than ObamaCare. The pre-2014 individual market made comprehensive coverage even more secure: High-cost patients were less likely to lose coverage than similar enrollees in employer plans. The individual market created innovative products like “pre-existing conditions insurance” that—for one-fifth the cost of health insurance—gave the uninsured the right to enroll in coverage at healthy-person premiums if they developed expensive conditions.
If anything, Republicans should fear not repealing ObamaCare’s pre-existing-conditions rules.

Ok, notice that the Employer plans are irrelevant here, they are group plans that insure the group at the same rate.  And notice you would have to be healthy to get the pre-existing conditions insurance, already have the symptoms and you get to die in the streets.  And the author states and then just blandly dismisses this.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Employer plans offer drug coverage more comprehensive and sustainable than ObamaCare. The pre-2014 individual market made comprehensive coverage even more secure: High-cost patients were less likely to lose coverage than similar enrollees in employer plans. The individual market created innovative products like “pre-existing conditions insurance” that—for one-fifth the cost of health insurance—gave the uninsured the right to enroll in coverage at healthy-person premiums if they developed expensive conditions.
If anything, Republicans should fear not repealing ObamaCare’s pre-existing-conditions rules.

So what to do?  Fix the system so insurers cannot game it to discriminate against pre-existing conditions like the law was supposed to do.  That is what those 150 patient groups want; contrary to the WSJ piece which lies in implying they want to end the policy of no discrimination for pre-existing conditions.

Georgia Mayor Talking About Special Election Admits GOP Only Vote for White Folks

Republican Comes Clean that They Won't Vote for People with Funny Names

Those of us who have observed the white male dominated Republican party give lip service to diversity always wondered when they would just become honest and admit their prejudices.  Well in Georgia they are going to have a special election to fill the House seat of the man who will destroy health care in this nation, and an article in the New Yorker says the Democrat may have a chance in this solidly Republican district.  Not so fast says the Republican Mayor of Roswell.

"Ossoff thinks he can turn the sixth blue, and claim the first congressional win against Trump on the G.O.P.’s own turf.

Jere Wood, the longtime Republican mayor of Roswell, disagrees. “This isn’t a youth vote up here,” he told me at his office, when I asked him about the makeup of the Sixth. “This is a mature voter base. If someone is going down the list, they’re gonna vote for somebody who is familiar.” He paused. “If you just say ‘Ossoff,’ some folks are gonna think, ‘Is he Muslim? Is he Lebanese? Is he Indian?’ It’s an ethnic-sounding name, even though he may be a white guy, from Scotland or wherever.”

Well there you have it folks, right from the horse's ass, a local Republican big shot crowing about how Republicans won't vote for a ethnic, or even a person with an ethnic sounding name.  Would be nice for Republicans to be real Americans for change, but under Trump, ain't gonna happen is it.

Thursday, March 16, 2017