Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Siding with the Sunnis

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

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

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

The Reality of GOP Healthcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans Recognizing the Dickishness of Sean Hannity

And he was so good for them for so long.

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Statement from Elise

From the PS:

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

In Defense of Witch Hunts

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

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

That's the heart of it. 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Houston, We Have Collusion

Small, but it's a start.

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

The Washington Post Scathes the House GOP

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

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

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

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

Sorry, I gave away the ending.

The Bloom is Off the Trumpkin

At least in New York.

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

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

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

The bloom may be off Stefanik, too.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senator Gillibrand on the Trump Budget

From Senator Gillibrand's FB page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Great Congressional News

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

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

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

Be seeing you, Elise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Couple of Articles on Elise

A very nice piece by Sara Schaff.

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

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

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

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trump Never Got Returns Like This

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

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

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

And leftist James Clapper:

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

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

Synopsis of Trump's Incredible Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture 1000 Words Etc.

Thank God for the Russian media

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

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

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ivanka Got All the Brains

Donald and Elise:Joined at the Hip

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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fuck It! Let's Get Rid of Trump Then

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

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

But, relatively speaking ...

Trump is Like the Buddha

Possibly fatter. But Buddha-like nonetheless.

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

What is the sound of one tiny hand clapping? 

Joe the Plumber for FBI Director?

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

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

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

We Are Reprehensible

It's not deplorable, but still pretty good.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Elise Gets a Rare Grilling

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

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

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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

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

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

Putting Elise on the Record

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

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

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

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

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

What? You want more bullshit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Few Links On Yesterday's Assholishness

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

David Weigel

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

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

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

Catherine Rampell 

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

This is the Myth of the Moderate Republican.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

She Likes It, She Really Likes It

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thanks Pinku Sensei

For suggesting I look for this. 

And don't miss brainfightstore.com

Monday, May 1, 2017

Alex Jones, Super Gigolo

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

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

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

The less said about that, the better.

Comments From Climate Change Article

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

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

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist!


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

Do you have a reason for believing that?


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

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

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

Funding For Planned Parenthood, But Not the Wall

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Four more at the link.