Saturday, October 21, 2017

Maybe They're Just Big Fans

Apparently some scoundrel is registering domain names in hopes of, I don't know, cashing in on my rep running for senate or president? Of course, in the Age of Trump speculation takes precedent over any actual facts. This is Stefanik spokesman Lenny Alcivar.

“Desperate attempts from desperate candidates and their partisan allies to smear Elise with false political attacks are not new,” he said. “Congresswoman Stefanik ran on always placing the people of the 21st District first. That is why, in the face of similarly false attacks from previous political opponents, our district has overwhelmingly supported the congresswoman’s bipartisan record of real results, it is why she recently won re-election by over 30 points, and it is why she will continue her fight for every family and every small business across the North Country.”

First, what happened to Tom Flanagin or how many spokesmen does a representative to Congress need? A few, I suppose, if you never actually say anything yourself. In the spirit of random hypothesizing I left this comment.

Alcivar has no evidence at all that Democrats registered those names yet he goes on a riff slamming them in true Trump style. Just make stuff up.

Since that's the way he wants to play. Maybe Russian trolls registered those domain names since they're so closely allied with the Republican Party now. Could be.

Another possibility that occurs to me is that her camp or fans of hers are registering these domain names in order to stir up talk of her running for these offices. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Representative Cheerleader

So here's Rep Stefanik giving an attaboy to burning more coal.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose northern New York district includes the Adirondack Park, has a nuanced response to the Trump administration canceling the Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Republican from Willsboro never supported the Clean Power Plan because it was started on President Barack Obama’s executive authority rather than by Congress.

“When Congress is circumvented in the process, the policy can easily be undone from one administration to the other,” Stefanik’s spokesman, Tom Flanagin, wrote in an email Thursday. “Congress, not federal bureaucrats, should set our national energy policy.”

Now Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan to protect coal production, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this week. The plan was never enacted; a court blocked it shortly after Obama announced it.

A nuanced response is a lot more than we normally get from her. Apparently, laws passed and signed by the president are also easily undone from one administration to another

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, issued the following statement on Thursday supporting President Trump’s executive order to expand choice in health care for families and businesses:

“Families and businesses in my district, deserve more choice in healthcare, and I applaud these efforts to lower costs,” Stefanik said. “Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage. I will continue to work in Congress on bipartisan healthcare solutions to help lower costs, increase access and improve quality.”

So, the last letter ended up in the "letters I've written never meaning to send category." This one is sent. 

    It's not surprising to see Rep. Stefanik praising President Trump for ridding us of President Obama's evil executive order attempting to regulate coal burning. While Obama wasn't able to get that passed in Congress, he was able to get ACA passed. It seems a little hypocritical for our congresswoman to then extol Trump for an executive order undermining this established law. Having failed to "repeal and replace," the GOP is embracing the Samson option. Steve Bannon, a few days ago, "Not gonna make the CSR payments. Gonna blow that thing up, gonna blow those exchanges up, right?"
     "Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage," from Stefanik statement. That means loosening laws on association health plans that will allow the skirting of the essential health benefits required under ACA. Commonsense is enabling insurers to choose the states with the most lenient regulations, I suppose. The insurance market won't work when the healthy and the sick self-select into their own respective niches and policies are not subject to regulation. That's the beginning of the race to the bottom.
     In 1992, there were plans such as these, referred to as multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs).  They "left at least 398,000 participants and their beneficiaries with more than $123 million in unpaid claims between January 1988 and June 1991" (Washington Post). "MEWAs have proven to be a source of regulatory confusion, enforcement problems and, in some instances, fraud." (GAO). It's not much of a shock to see them promulgated 25 years later by the man who was successfully sued for Trump University. It is disheartening to see our representative giving him thumbs up for doing so, though.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dissenting View on My Representative

Haven't been writing on the blog or to the Post Star much. Let's kill two birds. Mark Westcott wrote to the local paper today lavishing praise on Rep. Stefanik. God knows I can't let that pass. So here's a first draft anyway.

     I’m responding to Mark Westcott’s letter commending Rep. Stefanik’s performance. He touts her bi-partisanship by listing different pieces of legislation she has supported. I think it’s great that she’s not aligned with the extreme positions of the Freedom Caucus. Of course, I’d also be curious how often she votes in line with them. I’m fairly sure everything he mentioned would have been supported by a hypothetical Democratic representative. That Democrat likely wouldn’t have voted to send the flawed AHCA to the Senate in the vain hope that it would be mended there. They would, God willing, be working to make real fixes to the existing policy, the ACA. I suspect that the “repeal and replace” she ran on twice is more important than making changes to improve the existing policy.

     There’s a bill making silencers easier to acquire that has been postponed twice. The first time it was put off by the shooting of Rep. Scalise and the second time by the Las Vegas tragedy. Having fully made her bones with the NRA, I have no doubt how she’ll vote on that and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act if it comes up. I’m hopeful that if we get a Democratic rep who’s not hypothetical it will lead to gun policy not dictated by the gun industry. They’re maybe going to allow bump stocks to be outlawed. Wonderful. What does that do for the 20,000 suicides in a given year? They’re not going to allow the repeal of the Dickey Amendment that would send some money toward researching how to cut gun deaths. And neither is Rep. Stefanik. 

And here's an actual writer, David Frum at The Atlantic, writing on my favorite hobby horse