Saturday, February 18, 2017

"This Ought to Be Good"

Trump 2020

He's got to be better than the guy that's in there now.

Besides, the president is doing such a bad job that it is imperative that an outsider such as Trump finally run for public office. Please do not tell Trump what his current job is, as I fear it will come as a shock to his fragile system.

Just go read it all. It's wonderful. 

Okay, here is what the Wall Street Journal said Pence has been doing: Trump told him to go see the statue of Douglas MacArthur at West Point, and so he walked out in the freezing cold to see the statue and mimed polishing its shoes. That is the act of a man who is in the loop and has lots of important things to do!

That'll get you to read it. 

Baby Steps

Elise has decided to meet with a few constituents. Very nice. I'll just put my comments up here. Want to make sure they don't get lost in moderation. Ye Olde Patented Repsac What'd I Say?

Meetings will be closed to the press “to allow for candid and constructive conversations,” Flanagin said. 

Really? Is that it or does Rep. Stefanik agree with Donald Trump (and a lot of commenters at the PS)?

President Trump further escalated his attacks on the news media Friday afternoon when he tweeted that outlets such as the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN are not his enemy but “the enemy of the American People.” 

That has a familiar ring to it. A couple of weeks ago Trump was preemptively blaming judges and journalists for any terror attack that may happen. As an aside I'm blaming Trump and Stefanik for the next Newtown after the bill giving 75,000 people who shouldn't have access to guns the right to have them. It must be very difficult for our congresswoman now. Do you cling to Trump as his WH goes circling down the drain while 83% of Republicans still think he's wonderful? Sad.


Since we're talking Rep. Stefanik here just wanted to bring up this story. Awhile back I saw where she had given President Obama a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Regular readers will guess that I disagree. Guess what. Historians do, too

According to C-SPAN’s Presidential History Survey 2017, former President Barack Obama is the 12th best presidential leader in United States' history. 

For the record, the guy she worked for came in 33rd. Her judgment on Obama combined with her judgment supporting Trump's campaign might suggest that it's not so good. Maybe her reasoning is not what we want in a representative.

And along this same topic I'd like to point out a letter in the Wash Po that shows I'm not the only one with this problem: That of having my sarcastic comments easily recognized.

The Feb. 1 front-page article “Among federal workers, plans for pushing back” quoted me saying: “There’s nothing unusual about the entire national security bureaucracy of the United States feeling like their commander in chief is a threat to U.S. national security. That happens all the time. It’s totally usual. Nothing to worry about.” But the article added that I was speaking sarcastically. While this qualifier was accurate, in real life, one does not usually precede a sarcastic comment by alerting the listener that one is speaking sarcastically. It ruins the effect!

On behalf of all Sarcastic Americans, a broad, bipartisan coalition heavily represented among The Post’s subscribers, I demand that The Post allow readers to decide for themselves whether such comments are to be taken literally.

I feel your pain Tom. Sadly it has become necessary to point it out, though. I blame the media. Why not?

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Couple of Quick Op-Eds

Fareed Zakaria, whom spell check absolutely does not like. His piece talks a lot about the little that Trump has accomplished. This jumped, though.

According to The Post, of the 696 positions that require Senate confirmation, the president has yet to nominate 661 of them. 

Go to that link in the quote and see how empty it all is. Tillerson is an army of one at State.

And in case that's not bad enough, Michael Gerson.

In mid-January, after the appearance of some embarrassing material or another (it is hard to keep track), President-elect Trump tweeted: “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

That charge has made escalation of the Trump/intelligence conflict difficult. What is the next step after the Nazi card?

More recently, President Trump has called leaks from the intelligence community “un-American” and “just like Russia.” It is difficult to imagine a set of attacks more likely to be galling to intelligence professionals, some of whom risk their lives with no prospect of credit, in one of the purer forms of patriotism.

Trump himself may soon be an army of one. Charles Pierce.

So the president loses Harward because he insists on the counsel of the guy who made propaganda movies about Sarah Palin? Gotcha. The president*'s managed to alienate the intelligence community and he's on his way to alienating the military all the way up to flag rank. 

Trump Family Traveling Men

A little piece on our snowbird president.

On Friday, President Donald Trump and his entourage will jet for the third straight weekend to a working getaway at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

On Saturday, Trump’s sons Eric and Don Jr., with their Secret Service details in tow, will be nearly 8,000 miles away in the United Arab Emirates, attending the grand opening of a Trump-brand golf resort in the ‘‘Beverly Hills of Dubai.’’

Meanwhile, New York police will keep watch outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan, the chosen home of first lady Melania Trump and son Barron. And the tiny township of Bedminster, New Jersey, is preparing for the daunting prospect that the local Trump golf course will serve as a sort of northern White House for as many as 10 weekends a year.

Glad to see he's taking the job seriously. Oh, he's not

“The focus can’t be on leaks. The focus can’t be on Hillary [Clinton]. The focus has to be on what happened,” said Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who served in senior positions under the past three Republican presidents. “He’s got to use this to clean house, and to essentially reboot his administration.”

The chaos, Haass added, “is both a cause and a symptom of a governing crisis.”

At least he won the biggest electoral victory ever. No? 

Latest on the Non-Plan to Replace ACA

Yes, I would not want to talk to my constituents about this either.

House Republicans came out of a highly anticipated meeting on health care Thursday morning with some new details on the options GOP leaders are considering to replace the Affordable Care Act, but not with the fully formed plan that those leaders and President Trump have promised.

Yes, that's some real progress. Wanted to point out this trinket.

Price, who served in the House until his confirmation last week and penned an ACA alternative plan, told members that Trump is “all in” on repealing the Obama-era law and replacing it “concurrently.” But he indicated that the House would take the lead in that process and did not endorse specific ­overhaul elements. He also gave only a broad overview of regulatory steps he would be taking as secretary to address turmoil in the insurance markets.

At one point, according to an attendee of the party meeting, Price quipped that he used to be frustrated when he was a congressman and Cabinet secretaries gave vague answers to his questions. Now, he said, as secretary, he is obligated to be vague.

I bet those who are running for election in a year and nine months appreciate that little jest.

To Town Hall or To Not Town Hall

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to?

I couldn't find anything in there about not getting re-elected, but I believe it is. Here's a good article at CSM on the slings and arrows coming Republican congresscritter's ways.

“Democracy is a messy thing, and this shows it – and it’s also a fragile thing,” says James Thurber, founder of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “That’s why members of Congress have got to get used to this and listen to the feedback or there will be consequences for them, electorally.”

Some seem to duck and parry well.

Rep. Justin Amash (R) of Michigan stayed an extra 40 minutes to talk with angry constituents. And Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) of Florida rejected the allegations that boisterous constituents at his events were bused in and paid, responding: “Most of these people are my constituents."

Some don't.

 At the Greensboro meeting, Ms. Keegan, a 20-something graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens, for the first time in her life told strangers about a chronic medical condition that could ruin her financially should ACA be repealed. The speech, she says, was well-received by both the crowd and the aides to Georgia's two US senators and the area's US representative – all Republicans.

Afterward, she says, her hands wouldn’t stop shaking.

“I felt deeply thrown off balance, because this wasn’t just sort of a political issue that I was concerned about, this was a feeling of intense vulnerability and fear for my own body, and it really surprised me,” says Keegan.

So when a spokesperson for Sen. David Perdue – one of the legislators holding the event – called it a “manufactured protest,” Keegan felt like she had been slapped in the face.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Couple of Quick Bookmarks

E.J. Dionne on an uncomfortable truth.

Let’s not mumble or whisper about the central issue facing our country: What is this democratic nation to do when the man serving as president of the United States plainly has no business being president of the United States?

The Michael Flynn fiasco was the entirely predictable product of the indiscipline, deceit, incompetence and moral indifference that characterize Donald Trump’s approach to leadership.

Even worse, Trump’s loyalties are now in doubt. Questions about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia will not go away, even if congressional Republicans try to slow-walk a transparent investigation into what ties Trump has with Putin’s Russia — and who on his campaign did what, and when, with Russian intelligence officials and diplomats.

Yes, I did just want to copy and paste the whole thing. And James Downey on the treason of James Comey. Yeah, maybe treason is too strong a word. I expect to hear it a lot in the following days tho. Just want to get my ears used to the sound. 

If Republicans had any remaining excuses for not investigating the relationship between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials, Tuesday night’s news obliterated them. “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials,” reported the New York Times. “Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn,” said CNN.

Then again, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday, it’s not “useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party.” So perhaps the country will have to wait while the GOP decides which matters more — the party or the truth. In the meantime though, Tuesday also destroyed any excuse for FBI Director James B. Comey’s conduct during the election.

Anyone mind if I use the word traitor in talking about Rand Paul, too?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Let's See Them Records

Thanks Jerrold Nadler.

Nadler’s resolution asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide “copies of any document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication of the Department of Justice” that pertains to any “criminal or counterintelligence investigation” into Trump, his White House team or certain campaign associates; any investment made by a foreign power or agent thereof in Trump’s businesses; Trump’s plans to distance himself from his business empire; and any Trump-related examination of federal conflict of interest laws or the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

Doesn't Trump have enough problems? 

So Now He Doesn't Like Leaks

They say Trump is mercurial.

In the final weeks of a dizzying presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump is suddenly embracing an unlikely ally: The document-spilling group WikiLeaks, which Republicans denounced when it published classified State Department cables and Pentagon secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump, his advisers, and many of his supporters are increasingly seizing on a trove of embarrassing emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign that WikiLeaks has been publishing — and that American intelligence agencies said on Friday came largely from Russian intelligence agencies, with the authorization of “Russia’s senior-most officials.”

Ooh, now I know what that means. Hypocritical, right?

Thanks For the Concern, Troll

All I had to do was put up a post on Jill Stein and magically Matt Funiciello appears. There was a demonstration in Glens Falls yesterday to prompt Elise to have a town hall. And Matt raised his snout.

Matt Funiciello, the Green Party congressional candidate in 2014 and 2016, participated in the demonstration on Tuesday.

Funiciello said he agrees with the demonstration’s goal to raise awareness of issues.

“It’s a good sense of community,” he said.

On the other hand, Funiciello continued, he is disappointed that national political organizations are attempting to “manipulate us into puppets” from behind the scenes. 

Yeah, it's a good sense of community. Too bad Democrats are manipulated by those unseen puppet masters. My comment at the article:

Funiciello continued, he is disappointed that national political organizations are attempting to “manipulate us into puppets” from behind the scenes. 

Thanks for the concern, Matt. I'l try not to be a Democratic puppet. Is the puppet-master Soros, like Shoeless Joe says? 

That's really insulting to say that Democrats an Republicans can't think for themselves. I can see why support is drying up. 

Manipulating us into puppets. Wheels within wheels, man.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jill Stein is an Idiot

That would be useful idiot of the Republicans and Russians. But, I repeat myself there. ?From Driftglass with a hat tip to Green Eagle and Infidel who sent me to GE. It's a tangled web, the interwebs.

Why would we have a tie on such an egregious nominee? Because Democrats serve corporate interests. 

That's a Jill Stein tweet. She's the regular kind of idiot, too. 

Mole People Caucus on ACA

I'll give Elise credit for not being a mole person. There, that's all the credit she gets.

The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative wing of congressional Republicans, voted Monday night to support a swift and aggressive repeal of the Affordable Care Act, complicating GOP efforts to unite around a plan to repeal and replace the healthcare law better known as Obamacare.

According to reports, the Freedom Caucus said it would not back a repeal if it did not include all of the elements of a repeal bill that debuted in 2015. It also said it wanted to quickly repeal the law, even if no replacement bill was ready.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Good News for Chaffetz

No one has told him that he can have Trump's tax returns. It's terrible that he's been left out of the loop.

“What the crap is this?” he asked. “They wanted me to investigate Trump even before he was sworn in. Really? Come on.”

In addition to his criticism of Conway, he said, his committee is examining the Trump Organization’s Old Post Office lease with the General Services Administration. During the campaign, he reminds audiences, he criticized Trump for not releasing his tax returns.

OK, that's no fucking way to swear. If that's the best he can do, he shouldn't even try. And as reported here, and in the Wash Po (more there actually), he can have them

Though our new president may not realize it, Congress has the power to obtain his tax returns and reveal them to the public without his consent, including returns under audit. As just urged by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), legislators seeking information on President Trump’s possible conflicts of interest should immediately exercise this authority rather than wait for the passage of new veto-proof legislation — a highly uncertain prospect — that would have the same effect.

Put down the burger and get those returns!

TPM, too.

Join Something

Some good advice from Dana Milbank. I do have to disagree with his choice of drinks. I go with an oatmeal stout or cherry porter during these cold Winter months. Otherwise:

Organizing • … there are groups that attempt to mobilize: Indivisible. MoveOn. People's Action. Center for Community Change. PICO. Center for Popular Democracy. Working Families Party.

Legal • Trump has already tried to stretch his powers beyond the usual limits. The Brennan Center, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center counter him.

Media • To combat Trump's alternative facts, subscribe to your local newspaper. Contribute to NPR. Even buy the "failing" New York Times if you must. 

Party • The Democratic National Committee leadership is so weak that it may not be worth your time. But state and county party committees could use help. Skocpol recommends that if you live in a "blue" state, get your local committee to form a partnership with a party committee in a swing or red state.

Politics • If you'd like to run for office, consult your party, or Emily's List (if you're a woman), and train with Wellstone Action. For everybody else, find out where your labors are needed. There are gubernatorial races this year in New Jersey and Virginia. will lead you to important state races. finds you the nearest congressional swing district in 2018.

Coordination • The left is desperately in need of people to align its identity-politics factions. America Votes and State Voices are attempting, against long odds, to do that.

Join • A church or synagogue, a union, your local Planned Parenthood chapter, the Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club, Elks Lodge, Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion post: The issue and the ideology don't much matter; what matters is connection.

And, of course, write letters to your local paper particularly if you have a Republican representative.

Terrific Plan Due Anytime Now

Rep. Tom Price Inside Trader has been confirmed.

“President Trump has made it the top priority of this new Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with health-care reform that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government,” Pence said.

Wow, that sounds good. Did Mike Flynn tell you that?

At his first news conference after the election in November, Trump said that his administration would submit a repeal-and-replace plan “almost simultaneously” with Price becoming secretary. He said the plan “will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day. Could be the same hour.”

In an interview with The Washington Post the following weekend, Trump said that a plan with the goal of “insurance for everybody” was “very much formulated down to the final strokes.” He reiterated that he was just waiting for Price to take office.

Well, he has.

“Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year,” Trump said, although “the rudiments” could be released in late 2017.

Rudiments? What the fuck are rudiments?

“The American people are still waiting for that one tweet that says, ‘I will keep my promise,’” Sanders said.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a sharply different portrayal, saying that Price “doesn’t just understand health-care policy as a policymaker, though he does deeply. He also understands it as a practicing physician inside trader.”

Fixed that for you, Yertl.

“For Americans struggling under Obamacare, today is a big step forward,” Ryan said in a statement. “Having Dr. Tom Price at the helm of HHS gives us a committed ally in our work to repeal and replace Obamacare and finally provide Americans with a better system.”

For the sake of Republicans running in 2018 it had better be. It has already passed from being Obamacare to being GOPcare. Guess Lyin' Ryan hasn't heard.

Elusive Elise

A couple of quick hits on Rep. Stefanik. I stole the title from a sign at the article. And I'm keeping it.

During the small protest, the group recited chants such as “What do we want? A town hall meeting! And when do we want it? Now!”

 “We don’t know what she’s doing until she’s done it,” Zeman said. “The schedule is two weeks behind.”

Things were so much better with Obama in there to run against. Weren't they Elise? 

And guns for folks who are mentally incompetent? Why not?

Boos to Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, including our congresswoman, Elise Stefanik, who voted to rescind a federal rule requiring the Social Security department to forward the names of people mentally incapable of managing their own affairs to the Justice Department. Those people — an estimated 75,000 of them — would then be ineligible to buy a firearm. 

Way to insure you keep that "A" rating from the NRA.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Good News on Trump's Tax Returns

We can have them.

Though our new president may not realize it, Congress has the power to obtain his tax returns and reveal them to the public without his consent, including returns under audit. As just urged by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), legislators seeking information on President Trump’s possible conflicts of interest should immediately exercise this authority rather than wait for the passage of new veto-proof legislation — a highly uncertain prospect — that would have the same effect.

Not Trumpcare, GOPcare

  This is my latest missive to the Post Star. I'm expecting that soon Elise Stefanik is going to introduce legislation to just take away my health insurance.

     Color me still puzzled by the status of the Affordable Care Act. A few weeks ago President Trump's "terrific plan" was "formulated down to its final strokes." But then I watched his interview with Bill O'Reilly. After demeaning the United States in order to defend Vladimir Putin, he discussed the ACA. He said, "Maybe it'll take till sometime into the next year." What happened to the final strokes? Did his pen run out of ink signing executive orders? He went on to say, "Obamacare is a disaster. You have to remember Obamacare doesn't work, so we're putting in a wonderful plan." So, it's one of the signs of the apocalypse, but it can wait until next year or maybe the year after?
     As far as I know Rep. Ryan and Sen. McConnell are still saying they're going to repeal and replace around the end of March, and Rep. Stefanik that it'll be done over three years. These people are all in the same party. Do they not speak to one another? gives the figure 83,463 enrolled in the 21st district that will lose insurance with a full repeal. ACA has problems that are curable. Or did have. It was not the disaster it was portrayed as. It's becoming that, though. There are over 20 million insured who have no idea if they will be in 2018. Worse yet, Republican dithering has just about killed the health insurance market. To Trump's credit, what little there is, he's a late-comer to playing politics with it. It wasn't a fiasco before, but it sure is now. Give credit where it's due. Instead of Trumpcare, let's call it GOPcare.

Just want to link to couple other good pieces along the same line. Dana Milbank saying what I said better. But hey, I've got a maximum of 300 words. Actually I peter out after 270 or so anyway.

 The Obamacare repeal effort was already in unstable condition. Now its status must be downgraded to critical — and completely unserious.

After years of Republican yammering about the urgent need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and months of fruitless pursuit of an alternative, President Trump now says he may not unveil a replacement this year at all. And from Capitol Hill comes new word that Republicans aren’t even talking about a plan.

But sadly:

What Republicans don’t seem to have come to terms with is that, as a political matter, they already will be held responsible for whatever happens to health-care markets, even if they don’t introduce a replacement soon. An executive order Trump signed relaxing enforcement of Obamacare, and the constant talk of repeal, have injected a debilitating uncertainty into the health-care market — essentially beginning the unraveling of Obamacare with nothing to replace it.

Oh, I meant sadly for us not Congressional Republicans.

Take Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who in 2011 called Obamacare “the single greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime. It will destroy our health-care system. ... It must be repealed.”

Now Johnson has shed the hysteria. “Let’s start working with Democrats,” he said on CNBC. “Let’s transition to a system that will actually work, that, you know, Democrats are talking about. ... It’s way more complex than simply repeal and replace.”  

What's much sadder is this story about what the future looks like. It looks like Idaho.

Jamie Gluch lumbered into the kitchen and pulled from the freezer a bag of corn, the only affordable analgesic he had for his swollen face.

He had a rotting tooth. I had an infected wisdom tooth once and it was agony like I didn't know existed. I can't imagine what a rotting tooth would cause. 

Needs More Cowbell

Moments after the ruling Thursday, Trump tweeted, "SEE YOU IN COURT," adding that "THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"

I think this post needs more cowbell, too. How about some Ivanka?

Conway’s endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s business also highlighted an awkward reality for a White House threatening U.S. companies seeking to move jobs or operations overseas. Nearly all Ivanka-brand merchandise is manufactured in low-cost-labor countries, including China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

That's gonna be awkward around the dinner table when the tariffs go on Ivanka's over-priced crap.

Still, Michael Flynn may turn out to be the bigger gift than Conway.

The emerging details contradict public statements by incoming senior administration officials including Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect. They acknowledged only a handful of text messages and calls exchanged between Flynn and Kislyak late last year and denied that either ever raised the subject of sanctions. 

Do they both work for the Democrats?

An article that touches on the home of more cowbell.

Melissa McCarthy’s frustrated, unhinged parody of White House press secretary Sean Spicer on last weekend’s SNL unsettled the White House and bothered Trump, and her performance was seen as potentially hurting Spicer’s longevity in the job, Politico reported, citing people close to the president.

Yes, a late-night comedian’s performance could affect what Trump does as president — and this is exciting some anti-Trump comedians.

“I was just so excited to hear he was upset about it, because it feels like comedy is a weapon that we can use against them, that they don’t have,” said standup comedian Nikki Glaser.

Keep it up. I don't think Trump has an eating disorder yet.

“His comebacks are so weak,” Kindler added of Trump. “I hope it keeps going. I hope it makes him resign.”

“He can’t laugh it off. He doesn’t get comedy — it’s being misinterpreted by him, but it’s great it’s angering him so much,” said Glaser.

That's all good, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Postcards to Stephen

Make President Bannon feel the love.

Participants have embraced the tactic for two reasons: It focuses attention on the White House chief strategist, who prefers to avoid the limelight and the scrutiny that comes with it; and it needles President Trump, who apparently does not appreciate the nickname his opponents have given his chief strategist.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Not to Be Forgotten

Amongst all the lunacy that is Trump this story kind of faded.

The suspect in the shooting at a Quebec City mosque was known as an Internet troll who frequently voiced his support for President Donald Trump online.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, who is the suspect in the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec shooting that left six people dead and 19 others injured, was known among the city's activist circles for making 

Facebook comments in support of extreme-right-wing and nationalistic views, the Globe and Mail reported on Monday.

Sorry Canada for exporting our hate Northward.

Why Does Elise Get This Money?

Comment I left at Americans for Affordable Products:

Just want to comment on your gift of the $30,000 to Rep. Stefanik of NY. Your giving her this money to influence her to fight a policy proposed by the president of her party whom she strongly supported in the election of 2016? Have I got that right? I know how Alice felt now. You do know that Hillary Clinton would not be putting 20% tariffs on gods from Mexico?

Mostly just to annoy them. 

Here's the backstory

Members of the new Americans for Affordable Products coalition, formed to oppose a border adjustment tax, contributed $30,000 to the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Yes, $30,000. That's impressive. Can I assume they are only contributing to goopers? For comparison:

  • National Apparel and Footwear Association -- $2,000
  • Autocare Association -- $1,000
  • Best Buy -- $500
  • Consumer Technology Association -- $5,000
  • Food Marketing Association -- $2,000
  • Retail Industry Leaders Association -- $1,000
  • Rite Aid -- $4,000
  • Target -- $3,000
  • Wal-Mart -- $7,000
  • National Retail Federation -- $4,500
I didn't add it up, but I don't believe there's $30,000 total there. I think we have a swamp here in the Adirondack region that needs draining. 

"Our country's so innocent?"

I'm glad it's not Barack Obama I'm quoting there.

O'Reilly then said about Putin: "But he's a killer, though. Putin's a killer."

Trump responded: "There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country's so innocent?"

This was just an excerpt from the interview with O'Really. Hopefully, Donnie will provide more details. Will he call US troops baby-killers? Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Signs of the Times

Yeah, it's a horrible pun. But, if you want to see clever stuff Infidel has a bunch and so does Caitlin Gibson.

Protesters turned Trump’s own words against him, with their “Nasty Woman” banners and flaunting signs that declared “This p—- grabs back.” They scorned his seemingly cozy relationship with Russia: “Tinkle tinkle little czar, Putin made you what you are.” They mocked his appearance: “We Shall Overcomb” and “Hands too small to build a wall.”

Effect of Trump Travel Ban

Yes, it's a travel ban.

“The policy on the surface, and perhaps under the surface, is anti-Muslim [and] makes it hard for any Muslim country to be an open partner with the US,” says Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI special agent. “At a time when even the Trump administration is reluctant to deploy troops in the region, it really limits the options on the counterterrorism playing field.”

Say It Ain't So

It almost looks like Orrin Hatch is calling Trump a liar.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the progress he is making on overhauling Obamacare in recent weeks.

He has said he was putting finishing touches on a plan that would provide "insurance for everybody" and would submit a proposal as soon as his nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services is confirmed.

But according to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a key player in the GOP's efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, there may not be a Trump Obamacare plan.

"No. That's not my understanding," Hatch told CNN Tuesday afternoon when asked whether he believes Trump or his administration is working on a separate Obamacare proposal. "I don't know what they have in mind other than they know it isn't going to work."

Can I get a con man? C'mon senator.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Some Good News

Let's hope the chips fall where they may.

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said in a joint statement Thursday that the investigation would focus on Russian efforts to influence elections “both here at home and abroad.”
… The statement also noted that the subcommittee will seek to provide the FBI necessary tools to “keep its investigative work protected from political influence.”

After Getting the Go-Ahead

I don't know if that is factually factual, but does it matter anymore? Putin and his (or Bannon's) puppet talked and then it's all OK to bomb the shit out of Ukraine and poison a dissident.

ONE DAY after President Trump and Vladi­mir Putin held their first phone call, Russian-backed forces mounted their largest offensive in months in eastern Ukraine. Now, days later, one of Russia’s most prominent opposition activists is in a coma in a Moscow hospital, where he was rushed after suddenly taking ill on Thursday morning. Vladi­mir Kara-Murza, a writer and civil- society activist with many supporters in Washington, is believed by his family to be the victim of a poisoning attack — the second they believe he has suffered since 2015.

With the new assault on Ukraine and the felling of Mr. Kara-Murza, the Kremlin hopes to establish that such crimes will be tolerated by the new U.S. president as part of a refounded relationship with Moscow.

So far, Mr. Putin’s gambit is succeeding: Mr. Trump, while sparring with close U.S. ally Australia, has had nothing to say about the events in Ukraine and Moscow. 

It's all coincidental, I'm sure. Buzzfeed.

“Is it just a coincidence that Russian-backed separatists escalating attacks in Ukraine after Trump-Putin phone call?” Michael McFaul, a US ambassador to Russia under Obama, asked on Twitter on Tuesday.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, echoed that question in a statement released on Thursday, prior to Haley’s remarks. “It appears only Russia can escape a harsh word from the President,” Schiff’s statement reads. “What does this say about his ability to be the leader of the free world?”

Putin bought a lot of compliance with just a little hacking.

Ukranians are also being hit by standard artillery and mortars.

Ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, tallied 2,260 "ceasefire violations," and that was just on Sunday. Starting, or maybe just continuing, in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning, the separatist forces launched another attack on the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka. The shelling seems to be continuing to this moment.

Which sort of makes all of us wonder, what is Trump's response?

Probably a tweeted attack on Arnold Schwarznegger.

Pissing Off the Old Folks

Do you really want to do that if you're a Republican? It did get the AARP my membership renewal, though. I really liked this piece for explaining the block grant thing and bringing up age bands which I hadn't heard of.

The nation’s most famous retiree organization, which represents 38 million older Americans, has fired off letters critical of two proposals that have figured prominently in GOP discussions about replacing the Affordable Care Act. One of those proposals would relax the law’s “age bands.” The other would transform Medicaid into a so-called block grant.

First up, age bands.

The Affordable Care Act put a stop to that, by stipulating that insurers could charge their oldest customers no more than three times what they charge their youngest ones. This requirement is a big reason why many younger people pay more for insurance now than they did before the health care law came along.

Republicans love to talk about how relaxing or eliminating the age bands would mean lower premiums for younger people. And that’s true, even if the benefits for young consumers would be less dramatic than Republicans sometimes suggest. What Republicans don’t mention is that, as a consequence, premiums for older people would go back up again.

And block grants.

Republicans boast about these savings for the federal Treasury, along with the control it would give governors who bristle under Washington’s oversight. But with less money to spend, states wouldn’t be able to finance as many benefits for as many people.

They’d have to make cuts of their own ― some of which would almost surely fall on older people, particularly since the majority of spending in Medicaid goes to elderly and disabled people who use it to supplement Medicare. Among other things, Medicaid is the nation’s largest payer of nursing home care.

Yeah, the Cleveland Clinic is pissed, too. 

Doctors, nurses and students have signed an open letter pleading with the clinic to publicly condemn Trump's immigration ban and use its power to protect medical professionals from deportation. The letter also urges the hospital system to cancel a fundraiser set for later this month at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

“Through this action you are supporting a president who has, in his first ten days in office, reinstated the global gag rule, weakened the Affordable Care Act, fast-tracked construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines through legally protected native lands, and banned legal U.S. residents from majority-Muslim countries,” the signers said about the Cleveland Clinic's upcoming fundraiser. “All of these actions directly harm human health and well-being in the United States and abroad.

“Your willingness to hold your fundraiser at a Trump resort is an unconscionable prioritization of profit over people. It is impossible for the Cleveland Clinic to reconcile supporting its employees and patients while simultaneously financially and publicly aiding an individual who directly harms them.”

As of Friday morning, the letter had 1,141 signatories.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reuters Knows a Dictator When They See One

The Reuters news organization is going to cover Trump the way they cover authoritarians everywhere. Good!

I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists. We respond to all of these by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information – and by remaining impartial. We write very rarely about ourselves and our troubles and very often about the issues that will make a difference in the businesses and lives of our readers and viewers.

Number of ACA Enrollees in Elise's District

Courtesy of ACA signups. There are 14,400 in my district according to KFF. That's right, my district. I've lived here for going on 60 years. Stefanik grew up here and then booked.

Go see the interactive map.

Don't They Know About Trump's Terrific Plan?

I do but I guess health insurers don't have that much faith.

Leaders for the health insurance industry, state insurance commissioners and brokers warned Wednesday that more health plans almost certainly will defect from Affordable Care Act marketplaces unless Congress and the Trump administration provide some concrete assurances within the next two months.

Unless the government promises to continue subsidies and other features of the law for at least another year, some states probably will not have any insurers selling health plans to individuals buying coverage on their own for 2018, the witnesses warned at a Senate hearing.

Yes, they know a clusterfuck when they see one.

While the committee’s chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), was discussing how to preserve that market, the Finance Committee’s chairman, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), was espousing a different view.

In a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hatch said Congress should eliminate immediately the taxes created by the 2010 law. Some of those taxes, however, cover the cost of the insurance subsidies that 85 percent of people with ACA health plans receive.

“All the Obamacare taxes need to go as part of the repeal process,” said Hatch, who also reiterated his contention that Congress should rescind the law right away and then design a replacement plan.

At the hearing, Alexander contradicted him. “No one is talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete alternative in its place,” he said.

Right hand: "What are you doing left hand?"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) quizzed Tavenner on whether health insurers have learned any specifics about how the White House intends to carry out an executive order that Trump signed the night of his inauguration calling for ACA rules to be waived or deferred.

To each question, Tavenner replied that the White House had conveyed no details. Insurers need predictability to keep selling individual policies and set realistic ­prices, she said. “We need long-term predictability.”

Try to stay healthy for the next 4 years or so.

The Biden Rule

Monica Hesse is concerned about the health of Ruth Ginsburg. And rightly so. If kale will keep her going that's all to the good. We all wish her well.

On Tuesday evening, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s long-empty seat. On Wednesday morning, liberals woke up, did the math and realized it was time to be concerned about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fiber intake. Also bone density. Also exposure to airborne viruses (Madame Justice, what is your flu shot status?), and salmonella, and slippery ice, and also: Has anyone heard how scientists are coming along with a Zika vaccine? 

Fortunately, Mitch McConnell (or Mr. Chao as I like to refer to him) was in the Wash Po today too.

When our nation lost Scalia in the middle of a contentious presidential election, I looked to the precedent set forth by Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee declared that Supreme Court vacancies arising in the midst of a presidential election should not be considered until the campaign ended. It was, he said, “what history supports [and what] common sense dictates” and the only way to prevent the nomination process from being further “ racked by discord and bitterness.” It’s what we know today as the Biden Rule. 

Behold the mighty power of Joe Biden. So, if Ms. Ginsburg can hold off retirement until Februaryish of 2020 no replacement by Trump (or more likely Pence, maybe Bannon).

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Elise Sort Of Opposes the Travel Ban

Stefanik came out and boldly opposed the the travel ban in the most tepid way imaginable.

In a statement posted on Facebook Sunday, Stefanik, R-Willsboro, called the order “rushed and overly broad.”

She said it was Congress’s role to write immigration laws.

“Our first role as the federal government is to protect our national security, and I believe we need to work in Congress to reform and strengthen our visa vetting process,” her statement said.

“I strongly urge the president to work with Congress moving forward as we reform our immigration system to strengthen our homeland security.”

So her main complaint is that Congress wasn't notified and if it had been tweaked a little bit it would have been all good. 

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Stefanik said she advocates for Iraqis and Afghans who have served side by side as U.S. allies to be prioritized for visas.

Does that mean screw the rest of them? 

Back to the notification thing. Want to link this Josh Marshall story

The White House worked with senior staffers on the House Judiciary Committee to draft the order. But those staffers, who work ultimately for Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), didn't tell their bosses. In other words, they secretly collaborated with White House staff without informing the members of Congress they work for. Indeed, the administration went so far as to have them sign non-disclosure agreements swearing them to secrecy!

President Bannon doesn't need you Elise.