Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tick Tock Motherfuckers!

John Oliver on ACA.

Donald Trump is a Gutless Bastard

And here's a prime example. Nothing is ever his responsibility.

President Trump responded to the father calling for an investigation of his Navy SEAL son's death in a Yemen military raid, with the president expressing sympathy for the service member's family but defending the mission as one "that started before I got here."

"This was something that they were looking at for a long time doing," Trump said in an interview on "Fox & Friends" that aired this morning. "And according to Gen. [James] Mattis it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information."

"This was a mission that started before I got here," the president said. 

No empathy. Just, "It's not my fault."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ryan's a Coward, Too

Saw this at Charles Pierce's place.

Lining up behind microphones Sunday evening, a few hundred of Rep. Paul Ryan’s constituents directed their wrath and disapproval toward an empty chair.

“It says a lot to me that he’s not here,” said Lee Hansen of Racine, who served in the 82nd Airborne in the 1970s. “Maybe we should repeal and replace Paul Ryan.”

Amen to that. Same with Elise Stefanik.

Cleaning Up Behind the Trump Elephant

Bigly doodies! Just want to point out this one anecdote.

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s new national security adviser, broke with the president when, in his first staff meeting last week, he rejected the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” the New York Times reported. The “radical Islamic terrorism” label is one Trump used frequently — and often with gusto — but McMaster told his team that it was not helpful and that terrorists were not accurately representing the religion of Islam.

OK, now the reason Obama lost to ISIS was because he refused to say the magic words radical Islamic terrorism. I've heard that from both Trump and spokesman at Fox, Sean Hannity. This does not bode well. And speaking of that

While the Obama administration deserves blame for sidestepping Iraq’s political challenges, Mr. Trump has quickly exacerbated the trouble. His repeated suggestions that the United States might seize Iraq’s oil fields have alienated forces across the political spectrum, notwithstanding a disavowal by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Worse, his inclusion of Iraq on a list of majority-Muslim nations from which visitors and immigrants would be banned has prompted Mr. Abadi’s opponents to demand that Americans — including the more than 5,000 U.S. troops now operating against the Islamic State — be expelled from the country.

Mr. Abadi managed to resist a parliamentary resolution to that effect after that ban was issued. But if Iraq remains on the list of banned nations in a revised order the White House says it is preparing, he could face another political rebellion that could cause his government to collapse. 

Fox News Going Full Breitbart

Sweden is getting more and more confused. Apparently they have no idea what is happening in their own country. Good thing the rabid right in the US is there to tell them.

On a Thursday segment of Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly directed a debate over crime and immigration in Sweden. On one side of the issue was a Swedish newspaper reporter Anne-Sofie Naslund, who argued against the notion that immigration was making her country dangerous. 

On the other side was a man named Nils Bildt, who was identified onscreen and verbally as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor."

And since he's a "Fox News Expert."

Bildt may be even more of an outsider than the show seemed to indicate. Swedish officials in the Swedish Defense Ministry and Foreign Office said that they had never heard of Bildt, and that he was not associated with any part of Sweden's government.

"We have no spokesman by that name," Marie Pis├Ąter of the Ministry of Defense told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

His background seems impeccable. 

 According to Dagens Nyheter, Nils Bildt was born Nils Tolling, who emigrated to the US in 1994 and changed his name in the early 2000s. Allegedly, Tolling was convicted of assaulting a law enforcement official, public inebriation, and obstruction of justice while living in Virginia and sentenced to a year in jail in 2014.

Bildt, however, disputes this claim.

Probably all those criminals he talks about in Sweden would say the same thing. 

A Couple on Immigrants

Trump is making America greater one deportation at a time. Sarcasm fully intended.

The number of undocumented immigrants is downMore people are leaving the United States than are arriving. The only rise in immigration is among women and children fleeing violence in dangerous parts of Central America.

And the cost of the undocumented? Their contributions to the economy far outweigh their burden. 

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants pay $11.6 billion in taxes each year. According to the Social Security Administration, undocumented workers contribute $15 billion annually to the fund, but only withdraw an estimated $1 billion.

There’s also little evidence that most undocumented immigrants pose a threat to national security. In fact, studies have confirmed that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

Let's deport Trump and President Bannon instead. How's this working out economically?

President Trump’s promised clampdown on illegal immigration is having a distinct impact on the Washington region’s immigrant-rich suburbs, according to residents, advocates, workers and business owners. Fewer people are venturing out into once-lively shops and commercial strips, and the economies of those communities are suffering as a result.

“It’s too hard, and people are too scared,” said Julio Umanzor, a carpenter and legal permanent resident from Mexico who comes to the shopping center off New Hampshire Avenue to find workers to put up drywall, paint or run wires for a day’s wages.

Saqib Choubhry, part of a large Pakistani family that owns the Fair Price International Supermarkets in Northern Virginia, said not as many customers are coming in, and those who do are buying less.

“We had a plan to open another location, but we postponed it,” Choubhry said last week, on a day when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) visited the store in Alexandria to demonstrate his support for immigrants. “It’s very slow — just look around.” 

I saw another article that I believe was set in Florida that reported pretty much exactly the same thing. Good work Dumbf.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Et Tu Darrell Issa

My New Favorite Writer

Benjamin Landry has had two letters in the PS. After the first, I wrote in the margin, "I think I love you." After the second, I know I do.

In 2009, Sarah Palin created the bogey-man “death panel” to scare the public and undermine support for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). John Boehner and Chuck Grassley fanned the flames of this pants-on-fire lie. We are seven years into the ACA and – surprise, surprise – no “death panels” have materialized to ration care or prescribe euthanasia.

That's the opening paragraph. I believe the way things are going with Republican efforts we will soon have those "death panels."

Saturday saw Mr. Landry taking on Matt Funiciello. 

On Feb. 14, The Post-Star covered a protest at Congresswoman Stefanik’s Glens Falls office. The protesters demanded Stefanik hold town halls to hear her constituents’ concerns, a reasonable request. One conspicuous attendee, quoted at the end of the article, was two-time Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, who said of the rally, “It’s a good sense of community,” but then expressed “disappointment that national political organizations are attempting to ‘manipulate us into puppets’ from behind the scenes.” 

Funiciello was implying that the rally was organized by a national group, a favorite conspiracy theory of the right wing.

I always say that most of Funiciello's criticism of the Democrats sounds lifted from Alex Jones. 

While Greens have many laudable initiatives and ideals, even Mr. Funiciello must concede that some pragmatism is in order, given the absolute disaster say, of a person like Scott Pruitt being picked to head the EPA. Rather than run another vote-splitting effort in 2018, he should locate a bit of humility and help vet a more viable candidate on the left with strong environmental credentials.

Wow, courtesy. I may have to give that a try in my letters. 

“You’ve Had 7 Years — Let’s Hear It!”

You don't know what you've got til it's gone (or going).

The surge in activism comes as congressional Republicans prepare to take their next steps toward repealing the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and replacing it with what they say will be a more free-market-oriented system that is expected to cost the government less but cover fewer Americans.

Looky who got religion (metaphorically, of course). Jesus would kick 'em in the nads. 

Sanders, who spent Saturday evening talking to Democrats in Kansas, said that the conservative state was getting a hard lesson in supply-side economics. Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who had signed a series of tax cuts, was among the Republican governors now asking that any reform of the ACA save the Medicaid expansion — something Republicans had sued to get rid of.

“There’ve been massive cutbacks in programs for working families,” Sanders said. “This is what Donald Trump is threatening to do for the whole country — he told working families he wouldn’t cut their Social Security or their health care, and we are going to expose him for that hypocrisy.”

This is probably one of the reasons Boehner says these guys are never going to be able to pull off the repeal and replace charade.

As Republicans try to unite around a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, one of the most popular parts of the law will be among the most difficult to replace: the guarantee of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

The challenge of providing insurance for Americans who have no other alternative has some congressional Republicans considering whether to ask the states to reboot high-risk pools, an option with a rocky history. In the past, the pools served as insurers of last resort for people in poor health who could not get an individual policy from a commercial insurer.

"It's definitely a hand-off to the states," said economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who has reviewed the GOP plans and a recent briefing document for members of Congress. "It's a commitment for money. It doesn't say how much."

If you want dessert, you've got to eat your individual mandate. 

This from today's PS. It wasn't the topic of the column, but want to put it up because I didn't understand it before. That is, the talk about expansion of Medicaid.

Part of the Obama administration’s overhaul of health care involved an expansion of Medicaid, but 19 states have still not taken part in that expansion, because leading politicians in those states refused to cooperate.

As a result of those refusals, low-income families that would have qualified for the expanded Medicaid program were instead pushed onto the health insurance exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act. Since low-income families tend to be sicker than families that are better off, turning a profit became more difficult for insurance companies in those states and drove up premiums for everyone. The conservative administrations in those states thus achieved their goal, which was to undermine President Obama’s signature policy.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Thanks Shaw

The Trump years are getting weirder and weirder.

Maybe they were a gift from President Putin?

During President Donald Trump's address Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference, fans in the crowd waved tiny red, white and blue flags with the name TRUMP in white letters as they cheered. 

Where's Elise?

There was a town hall without our congresswoman that was held in Glens Falls a few nights ago. It's not her fault. She's agoraphobic.

Maya Vangelder of Porter Corners said she wants U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to urge President Donald Trump to release his income tax returns.

Vangelder, who attended the 21st Congressional District town hall forum at Crandall Public Library on Wednesday, said she is also worried that Congress will repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law without a replacement plan in place.

Vangelder, in an interview on her way into the forum, said she was not aware that Stefanik already has publicly called for Trump to release his tax returns, and that Stefanik has said there should be a three-year time frame for repealing the health care law so a replacement plan can be in place for a smooth transition.

“That’s good to know. She should keep pushing,” Vangelder said. “I would have thought she would have been here to clarify.”

Absolutely don't apologize Ms. Vangelder. Publicly calling for Trump to release his tax returns is drivel. Take it, Senator Collins

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia.

Collins, a Republican who has served as a U.S. senator from Maine since 1997, sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. She appeared on Maine Public radio to talk about issues including the investigation.

If Elise showed up maybe we could ask her if she's open to a subpoena. Look Susan Collins is on an intelligence committee just like Elise is. 

Yes, the three year time frame on repealing ACA is utter nonsense too.

I saw this in the Wash Po today. This is more in depth, tho.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) issued a report last week urging her Republican colleagues to hold town halls to engage and win over millennial voters.

But Stefanik isn’t taking her own advice.

The second-term Republican has no current plans to hold a town hall meeting in her district during this week’s so-called “district work period,” even after pushing out a 22-page report last week that strongly advises members to be accessible to millennials and other voters.

“Millennials are a generation that expects their government to be open and honest, even if the message they deliver isn’t what they want to hear,” Stefanik writes in the first section of the report. 

Hoisted on your own petard. 

Duffer in Chief, But Don't Tell Anyone

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Friend of Fossil Fuel

Hope no one is surprised.

In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator regularly huddled with fossil fuel firms and electric utilities about how to combat federal environmental regulations and spoke to conservative political groups about what they call government” overreach,” according to thousands of pages of emails released Wednesday.

“The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events,” said Nick Surgey, research director for the Center for Media and Democracy, which has sued to compel the release of the emails.

Here's friend of the environment Stefanik. 

A national environmental organization is praising U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, for her recent vote against rescinding an Obama administration intended to reduce methane pollution from offshore oil and natural gas wells.


I realize that as a Rep, Ms. Stefanik doesn't have a vote on Scott Pruitt. That said, he was put in at head of the EPA by the president of her party whom she supported in the election in November. And there is the whole voting to allow coal debris into streams thing.

In his previous role as Oklahoma’s attorney general, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator regularly huddled with fossil fuel firms and electric utilities about how to combat federal environmental regulations and spoke to conservative political groups about what they call government” overreach,” according to thousands of pages of emails released Wednesday. “The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events,” said Nick Surgey, research director for the Center for Media and Democracy, which has sued to compel the release of the emails. 

Not sure she can really be allowed to have it both ways.

Cut the Crap

Nice list of things Trump is going to magically cause to cease.

A database search finds that in recent months Trump has announced that all of the following are "going to stop": Foreign interventions. Ridiculous trade deals. Terrorism. Nation building. Outsourcing. Illegal immigration. Drugs (all of them). Refugees. Currency manipulation. Corruption. Gangs. Tax havens. Tax loopholes. The media. The decline of coal. Foreign aid. Trade deficits. Regime change. Job loss. Heroin deaths. Repatriating terrorists. Bullying. Lobbying. Unspecified "things." And poop.

"We're going to stop that crap from coming into our country," he has ordered.

Milbank said some nice things about Pence in his piece. Let's balance that.

When the Trump administration unveiled an executive order trying to bar Syrian refugees from coming to the United States, many who have resettled here in the American heartland felt a familiar sense of dread: Mike Pence is trying to ban us. Again.

It's Not Safe Anywhere

For GOP Congress critters.

During a 2009 town hall in the Hawkeye State, Grassley led the fight against the Democrats’ health care proposal, saying the plan had an “end of life” provision that would allow the federal government “to decide when to pull the plug on Grandma.”

Peterson told Grassley on Tuesday, “Over 20 million will lose coverage. And with all due respect, sir, you’re the man that talked about the death panels. We’re going to create one great big death panel in this country [because of the fact] that people can’t afford to get insurance.”

“Don’t repeal Obamacare,” Peterson added. “Improve it, for God’s sake.”

The death panels have changed hands. 

In Defense of the Castle

Among the many things I don't know much about is guns. It doesn't stop me from being happy to see this. I have no problem with guns for hunting or defending one's home or plinking tin cans.

"For a law-abiding citizen who, for whatever reason, chooses to protect his home with a semi-automatic rifle instead of a semi-automatic handgun, Maryland's law clearly imposes a significant burden on the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home,” wrote Judge William Traxler in a dissent, calling for a stringent review of the decision. 

I don't live in an area where I feel a great need to keep a loaded weapon at the ready. If I did however, an assault rifle wouldn't be my first choice. I'm thinking shotgun. Why bother having to aim? Word of warning to all reading this. I do have an impressive collection of chef's knives and know how to use those.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not That He's Going to Listen

Margaret Sullivan has advice for our Tin God on how to avoid future episodes like Sweden terror attacks.

1. Compare and contrast information sources. ...

A Google search would have helped. Or a quick check with someone in, say, the CIA.

2. Don't share without verifying. ...

For a presidential speech before thousands that will be televised globally? Definitely check at least once.

3. If you put out misinformation, correct it quickly. ...
No such correction yet for the Swedish gaffe. He backed off a little in a tweet, saying that his statement suggesting a specific attack was in reference to a TV report. And, two days later, Sweden did experience a riot in an immigrant-heavy suburb of Stockholm, though it certainly didn't bear comparison to terrorist attacks in Paris or Nice.

4. Be skeptical. .... Even "Fox & Friends" makes a mistake once in a while.

This Should Help Quell Immigration

Can I blame Trump for this?

Life expectancy at birth will continue to climb substantially for residents of industrialized nations — but not in the United States, where minimal gains will soon put life spans on par with those in Mexico and the Czech Republic, according to an extensive analysis released Tuesday.

Thanks, Tin God

Apparently, Trump's war on the media is having a salutary affect on their readership.

“In fact, contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy, Donald Trump is not the man who will kill the mainstream media. He is the man who could save it,” writes Amol Rajan, media editor at the BBC.

Paid subscriptions to news outlets have jumped during the Trump presidency. The New York Times reports a surge in digital subscriptions – 276,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016, the single best quarter since 2011, when its pay model launched.

Donations have spiked to the nonprofit investigative outfit ProPublica and to liberal standard-bearer Mother Jones. Online-only outlets have seen a surge in Web traffic, boosting ad revenue. CNN, perhaps the cable channel most reviled by Trump, reports 2016 was its best year for viewership. 

Russians? What Russians?

The brave members of the House have decided that it would be a better use of their time to investigate leaks than Trump's ties to Russia.

House Republican leaders are pressing the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate whether officials “mishandled” classified information, including leaked communications between members of the Russian government and the Trump administration that brought about Michael T. Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser.

In a letter to the inspector general, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) demanded “an immediate investigation” into whether the leaks broke protocol.  

Thanks Jason and Bob.

The American People Are The Enemy Of The American People

Nice column by Dana Milbank pointing out the backgrounds of many at the Washington Post.

Everybody in the newsroom — everybody in America — has an American story.

Such stories are so commonplace as to be unremarkable — or at least they seemed unremarkable until Trump declared some of us enemies of the American people. 

Trump's Lack of Knowledge About Economics

Have to put up a link to this because it covers so many of the insane ideas Trump has about economics.

Trump claimed the GDP was “below zero.”

First, this suggests that Trump doesn’t even know what the gross domestic product (GDP) is. It’s the total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy in a period (quarterly or yearly). It can’t be less than zero, by definition.

Trump claimed that the U.S. never “beats” China in a trade deal: “They kill us.”

The first thing false about this claim is that we don’t have any trade deals with China. Our trade relations with China aren’t based upon “deals.” They are based on our membership in the World Trade Organization, which China joined in 2001, long after the rules were established. China doesn’t “kill us” in trade deals, because there are no such deals.

The second false thing is that we do kill China on trade, anyway. The WTO has a dispute resolution process and, as pointed out on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Enforcement page, the Obama administration’s record was remarkable.

Trump claimed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.”

Let’s consider something else Trump has said about China. In a November 2015 GOP primary debate, Trump ludicrously claimed that the TPP was designed to benefit China, when its guiding rationale was precisely the opposite — to create a Pacific Ocean trade agreement that excluded China.

There’s just one problem with Trump’s rant on China, as Sen. Rand Paul emphatically pointed out at the debate: China isn’t actually a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump sowed massive confusion over the possibility of defaulting on the federal debt.

Trump sent shockwaves through the financial world with his May 5, 2016, interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin and Becky Quick. (Recapped by PolitiFact here.) When asked whether he thought the United States should “pay 100 cents on the dollar” or whether the U.S. debt could be renegotiated

Trump called Michael Flynn at 3 a.m. to ask whether a strong or a weak dollar was good for the U.S.

Flynn has a long record in counterintelligence but not in macroeconomics. And he told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, that, perhaps, Trump should ask an economist instead.

Trump has claimed that the “true” unemployment rate is 42 percent.

Trump is referring to the number of working-age Americans who are not in the labor force. As we pointed out when then Texas Gov. Rick Perry in 2014 said he was “worried” about those not in the labor force, they include everyone age 16 and over who isn’t working or looking for work: teenagers, college students, folks who are well into their retirement years, stay-at-home parents, the independently wealthy and more.

In fact, the current figure — 95 million as of January — includes only 6 million who say they want to work.

Trump has claimed he will produce sustained 4 percent growth.

In September 2016, Trump’s economic team claimed that his economic plan wouldraise annual economic growth to 3.5 percent, while Trump himself claimed it could be 4 percent or better. Trump had even said, earlier, that it would be “easily attainable.”

For Trump to have any chance of meeting his target, the CBO projections would have to be wrong by a lot. On top of that, Trump’s mass deportation plan would shrink the labor force, taking us in exactly the wrong direction. Comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for many undocumented workers, would almost certainly lead to higher productivity, because citizens and documented immigrants generally have higher job skills and can take on jobs that produce more valuable goods.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Friday at Elise's Place

Yes, I'm using my blog as a calendar now.

A newly formed coalition of progressive groups in the 21st Congressional District will hold a vigil and petition-signing event at noon Friday outside the Glens Falls district office of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, the Greater Glens Falls Democracy for America chapter announced Monday.

Speaking of Elise, one of her challengers is going to be making a few appearances. Never too early.

Democratic congressional candidate Patrick Nelson announced he will hold a campaign town hall forum at 5 p.m. March 13 in the community room in the basement of Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.

Nelson said he also will hold a “tavern hall” fundraiser at 5 p.m. March 4 at Lawrence Street Tavern in Glens Falls, his first formal fund-raising event.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Trump Vacuum

Thank God Congresspeople are saying in private they don't agree with Trump. Maybe Elise even is doing so. 

BS From Melbourne

I'm so sick of reading fact-checking articles. Of course, it's necessary. Hire more fact-checkers and we'll get unemployment down to zero. Anyway this is at least some of the lies from the campaign rally.

Dana Milbank with historical tweets.

Napoleon, 1812:

“My so-called advisers warning of famine, dysentery, typhus if I invade Russia. Lies! Only emboldens the enemy!”

Here's a nice long debunking of that "I inherited a mess" BS. 

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. Flippable.org will lead you to important state races. Swingleft.org 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?
     ACASignups.net 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.