Monday, June 26, 2017

A New Here's to the State of Donald Trump

Just Some Links

This is a sad article from Ted Gup with a lot of sad numbers.

We know numbers can be numbing. Take the number 4,000. That is roughly how many are estimated to have died last year from drug overdoses in my home state of Ohio. That’s 60 percent of American deaths in all the years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or half a million, the tally of overdoses nationwide from opioids and other drugs since 2000 — more than the number of Americans killed in World War II. As the totals grow, so does the numbness.

Must be numbers day. This is E. J. Dionne with 3 (potentially 4) big lies from the Senate on healthcare. 

Lie One: Democrats and progressives are unwilling to work with Republicans and conservatives on this issue.

Lie Two: This bill is primarily about improving health care for American families.

Lie Three: The Senate bill is a “compromise.

It'd be laughable if it wasn't so serious. 

A list of things that aren't normal from Amy Siskind. There are too  many to single out just a few.

And of course, Trump lies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Changing Minds and Hearts

Yeah, probably not. PS LTTE:

     Hopefully enough time has passed so we can mention the shooting that wounded Rep. Scalise. As I write this, he is still hospitalized. We all wish him a speedy and full recovery. I also wish him and our representative a speedy change of heart.
     Mr. Scalise has received $18,900 from the NRA and Ms. Stefanik, $4000. Much has been said, in the wake of the shooting, about the lack of civility in our discourse. The NRA sells a T-shirt with an eagle clutching a rifle. The slogan is, "Because you can't fist fight tyranny." Classy. We have a healthy enough system of government and a free press to prevent tyrants from taking root. It's worked well so far and seems to still be.
     Maybe it's time for Congress to make gun policy without the aid of these lobbyists for the gun industry. Would merchants of death have been uncivil? It's past time to get rid of the Dickey Amendment prohibiting funding of the CDC to reduce gun deaths. Jay Dickey himself, before he passed, called for its repeal. How about our reps doing the very least they can to address the problem? They can do it while they wait for the white puffs of smoke from the Senate chimney portending the "new and improved" AHCA.

pro-gun t-shirts

Fuck the Green Party

John Cole went with fuck Jill Stein. He probably doesn't have a perennial GP candidate running for Congress in his district. A year from now I'll be listening to Matt Funiciello inform me, condescendingly, how there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Fuck the whole party.

Stein didn’t just attend the gala—dressed in a shimmering silver shawl, she sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has barely disguised his glee at the political chaos that what he calls “patriotic” Russian hackers have unleashed in the United States. And she recorded a video from Moscow’s famous Red Square, in which she talked about “the need to rein in American exceptionalism” and replace “a U.S. policy based on domination”—words that sounded like they were ripped from Putin’s talking points.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut myself, who knows what the Russians are capable of? Yes, I'm aware it sounds crazy. We'll see, though. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PS Concern Trolling

The Post Star is concerned about the coarseness of our discourse after the shooting yesterday. The one where congressmen got shot not the one in San Francisco where 4 people died. I'll just recycle my comment from there. I'm Green like that and why mess with perfection.

Let’s end the jokes and the meanness and call out those who continue it.

Stop watching the cable news shows that have become a partisan divide and really try to understand an issue with some in-depth reading.

Turn off the late-night comics.

I suppose all of what you say is a nice thought. The comments preceding me shows that it's not going to happen. Personally, I don't watch TV and get my news from the WashPo and Guardian. Don't know how that places me as a partisan dweller with the editorial board of the PS. I know that my fellow commenters would say that that's "liberal media." Or worse. Not sure I even want to know what their news sources are. I have listened to right wing radio a bit. Don't ask me to give Breitbart or Drudge or Alex Jones a fair chance.

This latest gun tragedy, no not the one in SF where 4 people died, will do nothing to change our insane lack of gun laws and lack of concern about looking at ways to fix the problem. Repeal the Dickey Amendment! Many legislators' livelihoods depend on not doing anything about it.

I see that many on the right are pointing out that the shooter was a Sanders supporter (definitely not a HRC fan, FWIW). We can't allow his behavior to be generalized to all of us on the left. They cannot be allowed to use this to quash dissent toward the president's policies. I'm a little concerned that this editorial is leaning in that direction.

As far as "end the jokes" and "turn off the late night comics." Absolutely not! Satire is more essential than ever now. Sometimes comics go too far. Sometimes commenters go too far. That doesn't mean we should stop. Maybe an apology is in order occasionally. So be it. This is a president who has been married 3 times and cheated on, presumably (but certainly the first 2), all three wives. Then, he has the audacity (of chutzpah, not hope) to go in front of a group of evangelicals and say "we're under siege." Apparently Topo Gigio was in his pocket.  What? We're not supposed to joke about this guy? Do you take him seriously?

Don's and Ed's little friend. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Who Would Work for Deadbeat Donald?

Why would these law firms have represented him against people he hadn't paid? Why would they they think he was going to pay them?

And John Oliver on the Comey testimony

Someone's Got Muellergrets (or What Would J Edgar Do?)

Actually it seems like a few wingnuts do.

Popular conservative commentators like firebrand author Ann Coulter, pro-Trump radio host Bill Mitchell, Town Hall columnist Kurt Schlichter, and longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone echoed Gingrich.

So, like Newt Gingrich, these people were for Robert Mueller before they were against him. I suppose Coulter is out trying to pump up her flagging book sales. Mitchell I've never heard of and likely few other people have either. Schlichter, I thought was the former quarterback with the gambling problem. I'm a little disappointed it wasn't. The only things said about Stone should be at his upcoming trial. 

So, they're all calling for Mueller to step down or be fired because James Comey talked to him about the testimony to make certain he wasn't saying anything he shouldn't. I'm sure he'll pack his bags and go home to satisfy this group of nobodies. 

Another Dissenting Voice on AHCA

The Albany Times Union finds much to dislike in Paul Ryan's monster.

The proposed federal legislation, currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate, would destabilize the individual health insurance market and increase premiums and out-of-pocket costs for lower-income New Yorkers who buy policies through NY State of Health, the state’s online exchange established under Obamacare.

Of particular concern for New York, the report said, are tax credits in the Republican proposal that are based on age rather than income or the cost of coverage, as under the current system.


Funding for about 25 percent of New York’s Essential Plan would also be cut under the Republican proposal, the UHF report said. The Essential Plan offers health coverage with premiums of $20 a month or less to about 650,000 New Yorkers above the income eligibility level for Medicaid.

Thank you, Governor Cuomo.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled his intent to maintain Obamacare in New York, with the announcement of emergency regulations that would keep the federal law’s provisions intact and penalize health insurers if they withdraw from NY State of Health.

Of course, that was gentle compared to the Washington Post.

Key Republicans understand the damage they are doing. “Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said Thursday, arguing that Congress should step in. As the administration still appears determined to stoke uncertainty, lawmakers would have to move quickly to prevent more damage.

The question of cost-sharing reductions is only the biggest of many fears the Trump administration is inspiring. The president’s maladministration could include lax enforcement of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, inadequate efforts to enroll more people in coverage and other gratuitous subversions of the finely tuned system Obamacare sought to create.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Russian Collusion is Fun

But, let's get to the meat. And I say that as a (mostly) vegan.

We were reminded Tuesday afternoon just how vast Trump’s potential problems are when Forbes’ Dan Alexander broke the news that Eric Trump’s charitable foundation has been lying to its donors and funneling significant sums of money right into his father’s pockets.

Ripping off kids with cancer. Yes, that's certainly a start. I'm really holding out for the money laundering. Hey, the more charges the better, though. 

“Even if the Eric Trump Foundation had to pay the full rate for literally everything,” Alexander writes, “Forbes couldn't come up with a plausible path to $322,000 given the parameters of the annual event (a golf outing for about 200 and dinner for perhaps 400 more).”

Put the whole criminal family behind bars. 

Looking back over the course of Trump’s business career, it’s striking how frequently he’s been caught breaking the law.

Very early on in his casino career he avoided bankruptcy only with the help of an illegal loan from his father. And from his empty-box tax scam to money laundering at his casinos to racial discrimination in his apartments to Federal Trade Commission violations for his stock purchases to Securities and Exchange Commission violations for his financial reporting, Trump has spent his entire career breaking various laws, getting caught, and then essentially plowing ahead unharmed. When he was caught engaging in illegal racial discrimination to please a mob boss, he paid a fine. There was no sense that this was a repeated pattern of violating racial discrimination law, and certainly no desire to take a closer look at his various personal and professional connections to the mafia.

Trump even paid out a $25 million civil settlement to make fraud claims against his fake university go away. And, remarkably, the fact that his university was fake wasn’t even the fraudulent part.

Yes, lock up Barron, too. He comes from bad stock.

I know Trump said he was vindicated by Comey's testimony. I don't think he can take much more vindication like that. 

Religion is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

And here I'd thought it was patriotism.

President Trump sought comfort in the figurative embrace of his evangelical supporters Thursday as the FBI director he recently fired told Congress about their conversations. The president told a religious gathering that “we’re under siege” but will emerge “bigger and better and stronger than ever.”

Could that be any funnier? Bible dudes, he's not one of you. He's one of those false prophets Jesus talked about. 

Courtesy of Elise's FB Page

Can't believe how much great stuff is shared on my wingnut rep's FB page. Apparently someone went all Secret Agent Man Devin Nunes at a meeting Rep. Sally from Arizona had with some bankers.

McSally complained that President Donald Trump and his tweets were creating troubling "distractions" and "it's basically being taken out on me. Any Republican member of Congress, you are going down with the ship. And we're going to hand the gavel to Pelosi in 2018, they only need 28 seats and the path to that gavel being handed over is through my seat. And right now, it doesn't matter that it's me, it doesn't matter what I've done. I have an 'R' next to my name and right now, this environment would have me not prevail."

Admittedly, McSally was making these comments as she was asking the bankers to open their checkbooks for her reelection campaign, so it could well be that she was just doing the ol' fear-mongering-for-dollars act. 

Wonder if Elise is running around with the same spiel. I loved that 5 members of the Indivisible group got tickets to the talk, but then 4 were revoked. Oops, they missed one.

But the fifth member (whose identity The Skinny is not privy to) did manage to appear bankerly enough to crash the party—and the spy recorded McSally's entire speech for the Randall's group, and from there, it fell into our hands.

Yes, I believe she has a lot of Stefanik in her.

Randall says she's still hoping McSally will do some open town halls in Tucson so her group won't have to resort to subterfuge to try to find out her positions.

"I'm pretty angry that she was willing to talk to out-of-district bankers but she's not willing to talk to us," Randall said.

All we are saying is give town halls a chance.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Senator King Questions Mealy Mouthed Motherfuckers

And does anyone know how to pronounce herculean

Dan Coats is taking the “intelligence” out of “national intelligence director.”

Testifying with Trump administration colleagues Wednesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, 

Coats read aloud from his written testimony about “herculean” efforts made by the National Security Agency.

“The NSA has made her-cyur-ROO-lian — this is hard for me to say,” said President Trump’s national intelligence director, a former Republican senator from Indiana. “They have made extensive efforts. Her-CYOO-lian, I think, is the, uh –”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a fellow witness, intervened. “Her-cyoo-LEE-an,” he coached.

“Say that again?” Coats requested.

Bonus Angus.

The Price of Fake News

What Alex Jones and his ilk have wrought.

A Florida woman who sent death threats to the father of a boy who was killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been sentenced to five months in federal prison.

Lucy Richards, 57, who believes the shooting that killed 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, was all a hoax, was sentenced on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale after pleading guilty to transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

No Sword Dance For You

Mayor Khan of London is keeping the red carpet rolled up for Trump's visit in the fall.

“I think one of the things, when you have a special relationship, is no different to when you’ve got a close mate,” he continued. “You stand with them in times of adversity, but you call them out when they’re wrong. And there are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mr. Chivalry

Nice Company You're Keeping, Elise

What the hell, though. This woman (and Elise) represent the crazy that makes up the Republican base.

NCPR was able to confirm that as early as 2011, Ashendorff was claiming inaccurately that Barack Obama is a Muslim who in Ashendorff’s words “hates Jews.”

In 2015, Ashendorff posted another inaccurate claim that then-CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam secretly while stationed in Saudi Arabia, a conspiracy theory distributed widely in far-right circles. 

Oh yes, she's a Seth Rich Truther, too. Done in by serial killer, Hillary Clinton, I believe. 

Blind Eye to Some Terror

Philip Bump on the difference in Trump response times to various acts of terror.

Critics of the president were quick to note how long it took Trump to get around to any mention of the Portland attacks, and from his secondary Twitter account. Compared with violent incidents that were a function of Islamic terrorism, the demure @POTUS tweet was remarkably late.

And Jen Rubin, bless her heart:

Meanwhile — and it pains me to write this — our president acted like a clod, a heartless and dull-witted thug in sending out a series of tweets. He — commander in chief and leader of the Free World — first retweeted an unverified, unofficial Drudge headline about the unfolding terrorist attack. Then he aimed to bolster his Muslim travel ban (which is not supposed to be a Muslim travel ban). “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” he tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” (Aside from the inappropriateness of President Trump’s tweet, he fails to grasp that the courts in these cases are reaffirming our rights against an overreaching, discriminatory edict.)

I have no doubt that it does cause her pain to write it. To experience her agony in full, go read the whole column.

Friday, June 2, 2017


I hope not.

Twelve years later, as Democrats swept back into the majority, their victories included the defeat of a 30-year incumbent from Iowa, Republican Jim Leach, and a 26-year veteran from South Florida, E. Clay Shaw Jr., who two years earlier had won with 63 percent of the vote.

That's funny. Elise got 63% in November. 

David Bromberg

I dropped a link at Infidels'. Why not end the week with a full concert.

And I have it on good authority that he is not a Randian. Around 43:15 is Danger Man. Think of Jared Kushner while listening to it. It's just eerily prophetic. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Charles Pierce on the Greatest Story Ever Yet To Be Told

Waiting, just waiting.

Weissmann is a wartime consigliere about this stuff. He has worked as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer in the area of white-collar crime. His specialty is international financial fraud, and unwinding its complexities in such a way that the rest of us schmoes can understand. And we, the schmoes of the world, make up jury pools. Robert Mueller is not fooling around and, for all the bizarre behavior concerning secure comms and Russian ambassadors, he seems to have homed in already on the key to the whole sorry mess. Somewhere, at the heart of it, there's nothing more or less banal than the classic American hunger for a quick and easy buck. That's where this whole thing is headed.

Prudes in Hometown

I suppose I should show the cartoon first. Leave now if you're easily shocked. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On to the upstate NY blue noses. First up, Dean Pickett

The illustration in Saturday, May 20 Viewpoints was not fit for publication in any local paper that minors read. It is disgusting pornography designed to denigrate our president and in turn every citizen in this country. It is beneath the moral integrity of your publication and most of your subscribers.  

Second is an old favorite in Hometown, John Siebrecht. Such a favorite that his last name didn't even upset the spell check. Kudos John. 

Boo to The Post-Star for the outrageous "cartoon" of our president wearing only a leaf and depicted as a lazy pervert touching hands with the just recently departed Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes, a colleague of yours, is also naked with frightened children scattered about. One such child is down around Mr. Ailes’ waist, with only the back of his head visible.

I've been trying with some success to limit my LTTEs. There is only so much stupidity I can stand, though. 

       I'm writing in response to the two letters about the editorial cartoon, "The Creation ..." Dean Pickett says, "It is disgusting pornography designed to denigrate our president and in turn every citizen in the country." The cartoon was obviously inspired by "The Creation of Adam" which graces the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Maybe it has been described as "disgusting pornography," but probably not often. Personally, I didn't feel denigrated. But then, I've been called a nihilist. 
     John Siebrecht writes, "our president wearing only a leaf and depicted as a lazy pervert touching hands with ... Roger Ailes." It's hard to believe anyone ever looked at the original and opined that Adam was being portrayed as a "lazy pervert." Michelangelo didn't even cover him with a fig leaf. Creation, then Tree of Knowledge, then fig leaf; the rest is history. Ailes as God is the truly disturbing part. Mr. Siebrecht is also upset about the position of one "child" (the age is nebulous). I'll recommend an article, "6More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them." It's online in New York Magazine. One of them was 16 at the time. At least he didn't draw smutty cartoons for the Post Star.
     The point of the editorializing was that Ailes is responsible for the Trump presidency. He was a right wing propagandist with no regard for journalism. I doubt any folks at the Post Star would claim him as a colleague, as Siebrecht suggests. Anyone upset by this drawing should probably leave the kids home if they visit the Vatican. The art it's based on is more explicit and much more realistic. 

Yes, you dear online reader get a link. If the cartoon shocked you, Ailes' behavior will be way beyond the pale, I'm afraid. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Siding with the Sunnis

A British view on Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia.

Trump called in Riyadh for an unrelenting, international campaign against religious extremism, at the same time fatefully placing the US firmly on the Sunni Muslim side of the Middle East’s gaping Sunni-Shia divide.

Ignoring the fact that most of the region’s terror victims, for example in Iraq, are Shias, ignoring the reality that both al-Qaida and Islamic State are hardline Sunni groups and ignoring Saudi complicity in the spread of extremist beliefs, Trump chose instead to direct his fire at Shia Iran. All “nations of conscience”, he said, should band together to isolate Iran and “pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve”.

The Reality of GOP Healthcare

Number infinity for the statement that, "I'm glad I live in a blue state and not a red state hell-hole."

Under the GOP plan, the report states, "about one-sixth of the population resides in areas in which the nongroup market would start to become unstable beginning in 2020."

To break that down: The "areas" the report refers to are mostly red states, and the "nongroup market" refers to people who do not have health insurance through an employer or through the government. 

And "unstable" means that people in those two categories who have preexisting medical problems might no longer be able to buy insurance.

Eventually, according to the report released Wednesday, markets in those states would resemble markets before Obamacare was implemented. Less healthy consumers would not be able to afford coverage, because insurers would be able to examine their medical histories and charge them more if they were likely to need expensive treatment in the future.

Republicans have claimed that their bill would maintain Obamacare's protections for those people, but according to the CBO report, about one-sixth of the total U.S. population could be at risk if they have preexisting problems. Those patients would generally live in red states.

I'm happy with the thought that I'll never have to suffer the pangs of Trumpgrets either.

Republicans Recognizing the Dickishness of Sean Hannity

And he was so good for them for so long.

As Sean Hannity hyped a conspiracy theory about the murder of a Democratic National Committee staffer last week, touting it with the zeal of a true believer without citing evidence that justified that belief, the combative Fox News host declared himself under fire and in need of backup. Lashing out at what he called “Twitter snowflakes” and “the liberal effort to silence me,”

Sounds like the tough guy, karate dude Hannity is the snowflake in this instance. 

Not only is it a toxic workplace where the harassment of women is rampant; it is also a no-fact zone. The Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact found that nearly 60 percent of the statements it checked on Fox News were either mostly or entirely false. Another 19 percent were only half true. Only Fox News viewers are likely to believe that climate change is a hoax, that there is a “war on Christmas,” that Obamacare would create “death panels,” that there is an epidemic of crime committed by immigrants (they actually have a lower crime rate than native-born Americans), that President Barack Obama forged his birth certificate and wiretapped Trump with the aid of Britain’s signals intelligence agency, and that the accusations bedeviling Trump are a product of “Russophobia.” FNC might as well stand for Fake News Channel, and its myths have had a pernicious, indeed debilitating, effect on U.S. politics.

Welcome to reality, Max Boot. I'd love to see Hannity taken down at Fox. I still want to see him and his ilk pinned on the Right forever, though. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Statement from Elise

From the PS:

  • "Congresswoman Stefanik is encouraged that the CBO has found this legislation will lower taxes, reduce our deficits and lower premiums. Congresswoman Stefanik fought to add language to ensure Members of Congress live by the same rules as everyone else under this legislation. She also fought to have $15 billion added for maternity care and worked to support our county governments by adding language to reduce the burdensome Medicaid mandate that crushes their budgets. We will continue to work with the Senate to improve this legislation and build a healthcare system that lowers costs, improves quality and increases access for North Country families."

In Defense of Witch Hunts

This is a great article on how Carter Page became a member of the Trump campaign's foreign policy team.

Multiple people familiar with campaign operations, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that Page and others were brought into the fold at a time of desperation for the Trump team. As Trump was starting to win primaries, he was under increasing pressure to show that he had a legitimate, presidential-caliber national security team. The problem he faced was that most mainstream national security experts wanted nothing to do with him.

That's the heart of it. 

As Donald Trump surged in the Republican primary polls in the early months of 2016, his outsider campaign faced growing pressure to show that the former reality-TV star and noted provocateur was forming a coherent and credible world view.

So when Carter Page, an international businessman with an office near Trump Tower, volunteered his services, former officials recall, Trump aides were quick to make him feel welcome.

He had come with a referral from the son-in-law of Richard Nixon, New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, who had conveyed Page’s interest to the campaign, Cox said.

And that's how it started. Do you suppose Ed Cox is with the Russians, too? It's always irresponsible not to speculate. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Houston, We Have Collusion

Small, but it's a start.

A Republican political operative in Florida asked the alleged Russian hacker who broke into Democratic Party organizations’ servers at the height of the 2016 campaign to pass him stolen documents, according to a report Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.

The Washington Post Scathes the House GOP

Apparently scathes is not a verb. Well it should be.

REPUBLICANS SOLD the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan that the House passed last month, with a number of untruths, chief among them that Obamacare is collapsing and the GOP effort is nothing short of a rescue plan. The Congressional Budget Office, Congress’s official scorekeeper, found Wednesday that the Republicans’ bill is no such thing. Not only would it result in 23 million more people lacking health insurance in a decade, but it would destabilize some states’ individual health-care insurance markets for all but relatively healthy people.

But really, don't stop there. Go and read the rest. 

Instead of contending seriously with this analysis, some Republicans have embraced the argument of last resort, claiming that you can’t trust the experts. It’s true that, because the bill’s effects would depend heavily on how states react, they are particularly hard to assess. But that does not mean the CBO is therefore safely ignored. The experts could, in fact, be underestimating the pain the AHCA would cause. No one, and certainly not the bill’s backers, can produce more credible projections.

Sorry, I gave away the ending.

The Bloom is Off the Trumpkin

At least in New York.

The survey found support for President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress dropping sharply, even in more conservative parts of Upstate New York.

The poll shows that 60% of voters in the Upstate region now have an unfavorable view of the President. When asked about the future of the Afforadable Care Act or Obamacare, 65% of Upstate voters said the healthcare law should be kept and improved — not overturned as Republicans have promised to do. Stefanik voted earlier this month to repeal and replace Obamacare. Siena found that only 34% of New Yorkers in the Upstate region support that approach.

When asked if Republicans should continue to control both chambers of the US Congress, less than a third of voters said that was a good idea. Asked about Russian meddling in last year's presidential election, 66% of Upstate voters said they were "concerned" or "very concerned" about the threat.

The bloom may be off Stefanik, too.

New York Rep. John Faso (R) questioned whether the waivers would affect one-sixth of the population, as the CBO projected: “Frankly I doubt any state would try to take advantage of that provision,” he said. “I think that is completely out of the ballpark.”

Yes, Faso in the district to the south of me is pretty sure that no state would eliminate the waivers anyway. And besides, he said at another point, the Senate will take that out. He's pretty sure.

Asked why the House included the provision if no state would seek such waivers, he replied, “I’m sure it will be stripped out in the Senate.”

Maybe Elise has the right idea not saying anything at all.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senator Gillibrand on the Trump Budget

From Senator Gillibrand's FB page:

The President's budget proposal is heartless and immoral in countless ways, but I want to focus on one aspect of it in particular.

President Trump, who lived in a gold-plated luxury tower before the White House, proposes to cut the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, by $191 billion dollars.

He’s not the first politician to demagogue those who receive these vital benefits. He certainly won't be the last.

Let me help paint a picture of who needs nutritional assistance. It’s more people than you think. 

Whether you know it or not, it is likely you know someone who depends on SNAP.
→1 in 7 families in small towns and rural areas need SNAP to make ends meet.
→1 in 8 families in cities need SNAP to eat
→1 in 6 children in the U.S. live in a home dependent on SNAP
→1 in 10 seniors use SNAP to afford a healthy meal
→1 in 10 veterans need SNAP to get by

The SNAP program is one of the best run and most efficient programs in the federal government. In addition to helping to feed Americans who are hungry, SNAP puts money in the pockets of the farmers who grow and produce food and the small businesses who sell it.

I hope you’ll raise your voice: Share this post to spread the word and stand up for our neighbors, friends, and families who deserve better than to be left behind.

Some Great Congressional News

And can't we use great congressional news these days?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday announced it has added U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to its list of targeted House races in 2018.

The 21st Congressional District, where Stefanik is the incumbent, is one of 20 Republican seats added Monday to the DCCC "offensive battlefield" races, according to the press release.

Be seeing you, Elise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Couple of Articles on Elise

A very nice piece by Sara Schaff.

Stefanik ceded the moral high ground months ago. Earlier this year on Facebook, she threatened to call law enforcement on civically engaged constituents. When I and fellow citizens organized a public town hall in Canton and invited her to it, her spokesperson told a local news outlet that we were merely trying to embarrass her and President Donald Trump. Based on her AHCA vote and her comments following it, it appears she's entirely capable of embarrassing herself.

And another fact check of Elise's recent (and probably last) town hall. This one from NCPR.

And yet another fact checking of Elise on healthcare. She seems more knowledgeable than Trump, but that's only because he knows absolutely nothing. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trump Never Got Returns Like This

Who knew a little hacking and spreading of bullshit among the websites catering to troglodytes would reap such a dividend?

Comey’s firing on Tuesday triggered a new wave of ­Russia-related turbulence.
His removal was perceived as a blow to the independence of the bureau’s ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Current and former U.S. officials said that even if that probe remains on track, Comey’s ouster serves broader Russian interests.

“They feel pretty good overall because that’s a further sign that our political system is in a real crisis,” said Eugene Rumer, a former State Department official who served as the top intelligence officer on Russia issues from 2010 to 2014. “The firing of Comey only aggravates this crisis. It’s now certain to be more protracted and more painful, and that’s okay with them.”

And leftist James Clapper:

“The Russians have to be celebrating the success of . . . what they set out do with rather minimal resource expenditure,” Clapper said. “The first objective was to sow discord and dissension, which they certainly did.”

Clapper went further in interviews on Sunday, saying that U.S. institutions are “under assault” from Trump and that Russia must see the firing of Comey as “another victory on the scoreboard for them.”

Synopsis of Trump's Incredible Week

In a plea for Rod Rosenstein to save himself, as if he hadn't abandoned all hope upon entrance to Trump's Chamber of Horrors.

●The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, hiding among the bushes on the White House north lawn and demanding that journalists turn off their camera lights before he would speak to them about the Comey affair.

●Comey learning that he had been fired when he saw it on TV on a West Coast swing; he thought it was a prank.

●The White House offering a profusion of conflicting accounts about Comey’s dismissal, culminating in Trump contradicting his own aides by saying he would have fired Comey even if Rosenstein hadn’t written that preposterous memo citing the Clinton email case.

●The White House blocking American reporters and photographers from covering Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov but admitting a photographer from the Russian state news agency Tass, which published photos of the meeting.

●The president going on Twitter to attack, again, a Democratic senator for mischaracterizing his military service years ago and to renew his long-standing feud with Rosie O’Donnell.

●The very same president registering the approval of just 36 percent of the country in a new Quinnipiac University poll. When Americans were asked to volunteer a word that comes to mind when they think of Trump, the top answer was “idiot.”

But the most surreal happening this week was none of the above. It was the Wall Street Journal’s report that Rosenstein “pressed White House counsel Don McGahn to correct what he felt was an inaccurate White House depiction of the events surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s firing.” The Journal reported that “Rosenstein left the impression that he couldn’t work in an environment where facts weren’t accurately reported.”

Yes, Rosenstein values truth above all else, even justice and the American way. Better update that old resume. 

Picture 1000 Words Etc.

Thank God for the Russian media

The pictures from the Oval Office on Wednesday — published by a Tass photographer, as no U.S. media were present — are jolly and good-humored. President Trump, who fired his FBI director a day earlier, is grinning for the cameras and shaking hands with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. They, too, smile and laugh, relishing the many ironies of the moment.

Have a close look at those happy faces; keep the images in your head. Then turn your attention just for a moment to the story of Ildar Dadin, an unusually brave young Russian. Dadin was arrested in Moscow in 2015, one of the first to fall victim to a harsh new Russian law against dissent. His crime was to have protested peacefully and repeatedly, mostly by standing silently in the street with a sign around his neck.

Sometimes it concerns me that a real billionaire owns the Washington Post. So far, I love what he's doing with it more than what the fake one in the White House is doing with his new acquisition. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ivanka Got All the Brains

Donald and Elise:Joined at the Hip

This is a great link showing how often Rep. Stefanik has voted with Trump. Since the suspense is likely killing you, it's 93.1%. C'mon Elise, you can do better.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fuck It! Let's Get Rid of Trump Then

It's so easy, if someone is not doing a good job they can be fired. Who knew.

“He was not doing a good job,” Trump said, referring to Comey. “Very simply, he was not doing a good job.”

But, relatively speaking ...

Trump is Like the Buddha

Possibly fatter. But Buddha-like nonetheless.

If the president didn’t see that his precipitous firing of the man in charge of investigating the Trump campaign’s connections with the Russian regime might instead alienate some of his allies and outrage much of the public, that’s no anomaly. Rather, it’s an illustration of several of the president’s core character traits — a belief that the past doesn’t matter, a penchant to act swiftly and unilaterally, and a conviction that even the most unpopular actions can help build his brand.

What is the sound of one tiny hand clapping? 

Joe the Plumber for FBI Director?

Actually I'm pretty sure the confirmation hearings are going to be must-see TV no matter who is the nominee.

Trump was angry that Comey would not support his baseless claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped. Trump was frustrated when Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And he fumed that Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to investigating leaks to journalists.

Are Republican congresspeople going to bend over backward to put a hack in the job? Stay tuned. 

We Are Reprehensible

It's not deplorable, but still pretty good.

Here's a good take-down of Elise's answers to healthcare questions from the PS. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Elise Gets a Rare Grilling

I believe it was a full moon last night, but not a blue moon. Nonetheless, Rep. Stefanik deigned to answer a few questions and duck some as well. I got miracled yesterday afternoon when Mountain Lake called and said they had an opening. A day late for my birthday, but I took it. Disappointingly, I had to remain an observer only as my number didn't come up. The folks that did ask questions did a much better job than I would have in any case.

She skirted the question of banning votes from legislators who accept money from drug companies.

The gentleman seated next to me asked if she would vote to approve a tax reform bill without knowing how it would affect Trump's wealth. He actually tried asking it a few times. Apparently there was no good answer to that one.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

"Nobody Dies Because They Don't Have Access to Healthcare"

Oh, and thanks to Rep. Labrador for the post title. Occasionally I like to outsource. I'm hoping Elise can come up with some good material Monday night.  

Putting Elise on the Record

Our congresswoman was one of those proud to put her stamp of approval on the heinous AHCA bill. And afterward she spread some bullshit in the pages of the Post Star.

Stefanik said that the CBO analyzed the previous version that was the basis of Thursday’s legislation, and that the text of the legislation was posted at for public review.

Stefanik said the process was more transparent than the process of passing President Obama’s health care plan in 2009.

“’Obamacare,’ you remember the quote, ‘We have to pass the bill before we can see what’s in it,’” she said. “That is not what happened. This bill has been public.” 

Reportedly, we'll have CBO numbers out this coming week on the new version. We'll see how those match up with the previous one. Maybe the same maybe not.

What? You want more bullshit?

“This is the first part of a long legislative process,” she said. “There are going to be lots of opportunities for constituents to weigh in. There will be opportunities to improve the bill throughout the process.”

Many constituents attempted to contact Stefanik’s offices in the hours before the vote on Thursday to weigh in, one way or the other.

Elise is holding a town hall Monday if her feet don't get a chill. We'll see. This will be the first since, well who knows when. Should be a fun time. I'm planning to make a trip to P'burgh for it. No Golden Ticket, though. I'll be outside the Chocolate Factory looking longingly at the gob-stoppers.

Almost 270 constituents registered to attend the event and 100 of those have been randomly selected through a lottery by Mountain Lake PBS to attend live in studio. 

So, I had a better than 1 in 2.7 chance and didn't get in? Bullshit! It's rigged, I tells ya!

Updated: Have to apologize about the rigged allegation. Late birthday present and I'm going into the Chocolate Factory. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Few Links On Yesterday's Assholishness

Because I don't fell like thinking about it much.

David Weigel

First, they struggled to answer questions about the need to vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had estimated the costs of an amended AHCA.

“I would prefer to have it scored,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus who was elected in the 2010 backlash to President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

Next, they brushed off questions about whether they’d read the bill, which would impose a significant change on one-sixth of the U.S. economy and was polished off in a Rules Committee meeting after nightfall Wednesday.

Catherine Rampell 

For years, reports of a mythical figure have lingered in Washington and reverberated through congressional districts around the country. Its legend is spread by talking heads, donors, even many of us in the news media.

This is the Myth of the Moderate Republican.

To be sure, among the general population, moderate Republicans are real and plentiful. But not on Capitol Hill, where the Moderate Republican — a creature whose prudence and clearheadedness will rescue the country from the uncompromising dogmatism of the House Freedom Caucus — is an extraordinary popular delusion, a madness of crowds.  

The Tuesday Group was really just a subsidiary of the Freedom Caucus all along. 

Last and certainly not least, Betrayal, Carelessness, Hypocrisy (that covers some of it).

No need for a tease on this one. You know you're going to read all of it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

She Likes It, She Really Likes It

Thanks Elise. It's not like I was going to have a hard time voting against her in 2018. It's nice that she's making it easy for so many others. It's good for her that she has amassed such a formidable war chest.

"Congresswoman Stefanik has always advocated for repealing and replacing Obamacare with health care that improves quality and accessibility and lowers costs while covering pre-existing conditions," her spokesman Tom Flanagin said in a statement Wednesday night.

"She appreciates the work done by her colleagues to amend the legislative package to support costs for those with pre-existing conditions."

Someone on Facebook came up with ABE2106 (Anyone But Elise). So far, I believe there are at least seven people interested in running. May the best Anyone win.

I'm, of course, holding out hope CAHCA doesn't pass for the usual reasons. My dream is that it doesn't have the votes this time either. We can safely say adios to Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy if that happens. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Alex Jones, Super Gigolo

I got this from a guy at Screw Loose Change. Hat tip to you, Uncle Sporkums.

When I was 16, I didn’t want to party any more. I didn’t want to play games any more.

I grew up. I’d already been in the fights, all the big rituals. I’d already had probably – I hate to brag, but I’m not bragging, it’s actually shameful – probably 150 women, or more, that’s conservative. I’d already had over 150 women. I’d already been in fights with full-grown men. I was already dating college girls by the time I was 15-years-old. I was already a man at 16.

The less said about that, the better.

Comments From Climate Change Article

Just want to make sure my comments don't get lost.

I was there, so I guess I'm one of "these types" that don't pick up their litter. I carried a sandwich with me (PB and home preserved elderberry J) in a tupperware container. I had water in a insulated container from FSO (which I highly recommend). I also use a refillable coffee mug from Cool Beans and canvas shopping bags from various sources. I try to live in such a way that I don't have a lot of litter to strew about the planet. Didn't see anyone else doing so either. Maybe those types are on the other end of the political spectrum. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist!


Myself, I believe the sun is more of an influence on climate change than man, and that the sun is entering a calm or quiet period, that usually brings a cooling on the earth. So I'm expecting it to get colder going forward, and IF man can cause it to get warmer thru his actions to offset this cooling, great, I wouldn't fight it. 

Do you have a reason for believing that?


In the early 20th century, we were perilously close to extinction because all life on earth dies at 150ppm. More carbon dioxide means more life, whether it's 2 degrees colder or 2 degrees warmer.

I couldn't find any source that said we were close to extinction because CO2 was so low in the early 20th century. There's a chart at this link. And no I don't believe the more the better

While it is true that plants photosynthesize, and therefore take up carbon dioxide as a way of forming energy with the help of the sun and water, this gas is both a direct pollutant (think acidification of oceans) and more importantly is linked to the greenhouse effect. When heat energy gets released from Earth's surface, some of that radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases like CO2; the effect is what makes our planet comfy temperature-wise, but too much and you get global warming.

Funding For Planned Parenthood, But Not the Wall

The Democrats made out pretty well for being in the minority. There are advantages to actually believing in government.

We knew last week there would be no money to start construction on a project that the president says is more important to his base than anything else. But the final agreement goes further, putting strict limitations on how Trump can use new money for border security (e.g. to invest in new technology and repair existing fencing). Administration officials have insisted they already have the statutory authority to start building the wall under a 2006 law. This prevents such an end run.

The $1.5 billion for border security is also half as much as the White House requested. Additionally, there are no cuts in funding to sanctuary cities, something a federal judge said last week would be required for the Justice Department to follow through on its threats. And there is also no money for a deportation force.


 He didn’t defund Planned Parenthood. Despite the best efforts of social conservatives, the group will continue to receive funding at current levels.


To keep negotiations moving, the White House already agreed last week to continue paying Obamacare subsidies. This money, which goes to insurance companies, reduces out-of-pocket expenses for low-income people who get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration justifies giving up on this because of the potential to resolve the bigger issue by repealing Obamacare.

I might get tired of this winning thing after all. Bonus win:

Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. The final deal trims its budget by just 1 percent, with no staff cuts. As part of a compromise, the EPA gets $80 million less than last year, but the budget is $8 billion. 

Four more at the link.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Everyone's Doing It, Here's Jake Tapper

Supporting the Wall in Upstate NY

Some wingnut group called Americans for Limited Government is pushing Elise to support the border wall. They do know it's on the southern border I hope. I'll just put my comments up here. Why mess with perfection.

Americans for Limited Government, a political advocacy group that focuses on property rights and free market policy, on Friday announced it is conducting an online marketing campaign to urge U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to support including funding to build a southern border wall 

What about the people whose property is being snatched by eminent domain in order to build the wall. Good luck with your peeps there, Elise.


A little info on just how grassroots astroturf this organization is. The funding for ALG comes from three donors.

Americans for Limited Government, the tax-exempt organization that bankrolled a series of controversial ballot initiatives this year, raised 99 percent of its $5.4 million in total contributions in 2005 from just three donors, the Center for Public Integrity has learned.

Trump's First 100 Days

In a few words from Josh Marshall.

When we consider the 100 day marker, it is not so much that Trump has accomplished virtually nothing of substance. It is that nothing of substance is really underway either. That’s the key thing.

On Monday, President Trump’s 102 day in office, he will begin from more or less a cold start, as though the first three months hadn’t happened. The difference is that he’ll face a calendar that is far less friendly to legislation and he’ll have squandered whatever degree of good will, momentum or confidence he had from congressional Republicans in his ability to be an effective President.

I can't help but think the tax reform attempt is going to make the repeal and replace debacle look like a walk in the park. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Next Battle

I know the health care fight is not over. TPM has had a couple of posts on how "moderate" Republicans are getting knifed by the actions of the White House and their nuttier brethren.

After being steamrolled in the negotiations surrounding Obamacare repeal, House Republican moderates appear poised to be run over once more—and perhaps, a final time—as momentum grows behind a revived version of the repeal bill.

Their rival faction, the House Freedom Caucus, has backed the newest form of the legislation having received another round of concessions. That means the pressure is on the conference’s centrist wing to fall in line, despite having gained little throughout the negotiation process.

The Washington Post commentators have a few columns up today on the tax reform "proposal" by Trump. It seems like if the health care debacle was bad for supposed moderates, it's not gonna get better when the debate shifts to tax reform. 

Catherine Rampell has the most complete take down. There's lots of good stuff, but I'll just note her explanation of pass-though income since this seems to be an egregious evil inherent in the plan.

(P)ass-through income refers to business income that gets paid at individual income tax rates rather than corporate ones. Income earned by partnerships, sole proprietorships and S-corporations — the vast majority of all companies — falls into this category.

Lots of people, including White House officials, associate pass-through entities with small businesses. But plenty of ginormous companies get taxed this way, including hedge funds, big law firms, publicly traded partnerships and even — coincidentally? — the Trump Organization. In fact, according to the Treasury Department, more than 80 cents of every dollar earned by pass-throughs come from big firms (defined as companies with more than $10 million in income).

Soon we will all be Kansas.

In 2012, the state undertook a huge suite of tax cuts, including eliminating taxes on pass-through income. That overhaul, too, was supposed to “pay for itself.” 

Instead, many more people took advantage of the loophole than expected, the state economy and tax receipts slowed to a crawl, and a gaping budget hole forced legislators to close schools early. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded multiple times

Eugene Robinson with my favorite lie about the plan.

“The plan will pay for itself with growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. His rosy projection is that increased growth would produce $2 trillion in new revenue over 10 years. But the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, estimates the tax cuts would cost $6.2 trillion in revenue during that same period, leaving a $4 trillion gap. Even the conservative Tax Foundation, which has rarely seen a tax cut it didn’t like, foresees a $2 trillion gap. 

Max Ehrenfreund with another great lie from Steve Mnuchin. 

Pitching the plan on Wednesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said again it will not cut taxes on the rich overall: “Effectively, the effective tax rate will not be a reduction for the rich,” Mnuchin told Tucker Carlson. “This is really about a middle-income tax cut.”

But experts on taxation who have reviewed Trump's ideas say the wealthy would enjoy the greatest benefits, with uneven and uncertain savings for ordinary households.

The broad outline was generally similar to a proposal that Trump had put forward as a candidate, which the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated would save a typical taxpayer in the richest 1 percent of households $317,000 a year. That amounts to 14.1 percent of the annual income of a typical household in that rarefied group. By contrast, typical households with middling income would save about $1,100 a year on average, which translates to only 1.5 percent of their yearly income.

Meanwhile, some could even pay more, especially single parents and large families. Trump's plan would eliminate certain provisions that currently work to these groups' advantage.

What's with the tax brackets being 10, 25 and 35%? Does that seem a little odd? Those just happened to be the best numbers?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

White House Extortion Exposed

I sound like the National Enquirer. Final draft of letter.

    Nice health insurance policy you got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. That sounds like the sort of protection racket the White House is running. "We'd offer them $1 of cost-sharing reductions for $1 of wall payments. Right now that's the offer we've given our Democratic colleagues." That's Mick Mulvaney from OMB. This is a tweet from President Trump. "Obamacare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going - otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought."
     Does that sound like low-income folks who depend on subsidies for their health insurance are represented by Democrats and not Republicans? "The Dems need big money to keep it going." The Republicans preference is to see it fail, that seems clear. Savings from the repeal of ACA are still needed to give tax reform any chance of succeeding. The wealthy still need their tax cuts. Both are more important than health insurance for the poor.
    This week Kaiser Family Foundation came out with an analysis of the effects of ending the CSR subsidies that are being held hostage. "The increased cost to the federal government of higher premium tax credits would actually be 23% more than the savings from eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments." It's worth losing money to eliminate every last vestige of President Obama and to build a big, beautiful wall. Maybe Mexico will pay for our health insurance, too.

The Money Was Laundered

So, no problem.

“I didn’t take any money from Russia, if that’s what you’re asking me,” Flynn said at first. Then, when asked who did him pay him, Flynn replied: “My speakers’ bureau — ask them.”

Blame-shifting seems to be a prominent feature of the Trump Administration. Along with money laundering, of course. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Never Know What You'll Find

I still want to know the back story on the red sports car, though.

A vast battlefield landscape of tunnels and trenches dug to train troops for the first world war has been discovered on army land being cleared for housing.

Archaeologists who worked on the site at Larkhill, in Wiltshire, said the century-old complex was a valuable discovery – although it posed hazards.

“This is the first time anywhere in the world that archaeologists have had the chance to examine, excavate and record such an enormous expanse of first world war training ground,” said Si Cleggett, of Wessex Archaeology. “These men were being trained for the real thing, using live grenades – we know that because we found over 200 grenades in the tunnel and 50% of them proved to be still live. We had to work side by side with experts in dealing with live ordnance, or it could have got very tricky.”