Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category
On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked about wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.
There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.
“Great lunch meeting with @POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)
President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”
“How good was the meeting with @POTUS?
I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”
Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”
And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.
Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.
Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.
This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know the cost of either.
Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.
Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel Forster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.
From Chapter 22
He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”
“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]
“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”
Helen quivered with indignation.
“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”
“I didn’t say–”
“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”
“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.
He stared at her.
“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”
It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.
“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”
“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”
Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.
WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.
And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.
What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.
Good (?) Monday Widdershins
Due to mb being very, very busy with real life and stuff I’m putting this post up to move things along and to provide us with some further topics of discussion.
His orangeness has decided to give D.o.D. a 10% increase in its budget because, you know, there’s never enough money to hand out to Lockheed Martin, Boeing Aerospace, Raytheon, General Dynamics and the like.
President Trump will propose a federal budget that dramatically increases defense-related spending by $54 billion while cutting other federal agencies by the same amount, according to an administration official.
The proposal represents a massive increase in federal spending related to national security, while other priorities, especially foreign aid, will see significant reductions.
Yeah because foreign aid is such a large part of the federal budget.
How much of the federal budget goes to foreign aid?
What’s your best guess? 10 percent? 20 percent? 1 percent?
If you’re like most Americans, you probably guessed wrong.
In December, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled 1,505 people. Only 1 in 20 knew the right answer: less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent estimated that 26 percent went toward assisting other countries.
What’s more, our ignorance colors the way we think about foreign spending. Fifty-six percent of the poll respondents thought the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid. Once they were told that the U.S. spends less than 1 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid, only 28 percent still thought the nation was overspending.
Going back to the WaPo piece:
“We are going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people,” Trump said. “We can do so much more with the money we spend.”
The White House did not specify how Trump’s budget would address mandatory spending or taxes, promising that those details would come later. The vast majority of federal spending comes from programs Trump can’t touch with his budget. Social Security costs were approximately $910 billion last year, and Medicare costs outpaced defense spending with a total cost of $588 billion in 2016. Medicaid, interest payments on existing debt, and miscellaneous costs made up an additional $1.2 trillion combined.
Ah the old familiar “do more with less” axiom. Generally it meant that shit just piled up and got backlogged as agencies tried to prioritize the elements of their mission.
More fallout from the alt-right/neo nazis?
Jewish facilities around the nation were rocked by yet another wave of bomb threats Monday, forcing evacuations in at least 12 states.
At least 20 Jewish community centers and day schools in Alabama, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia and Delaware received threatening phone calls, The Huffington Post has confirmed.
This is the fifth wave of threats JCCs have received since the start of the new year.
I just don’t understand it. What is the point in threatening children? You want to discuss terrorism Donnie, try the home-grown version.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said that sometimes Jewish community centers and day schools are either “co-located” or near each other. “It is deeply troubling to see that these anti-Semites are expanding their scope to target a broader section of the Jewish community,” Greenblatt said. “These JCCs often house preschools and elder care programs and they often house after-school activities for teenagers.”
There have now been more than 160 bomb threats made to over 60 Jewish community centers since January.
There’s much more at the HuffPo link including a graphic of the number of threats against JCCs.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (the turd) is already hard at work doing what he does best: turning back civil rights to the “golden era” say around 1850 or so.
The Department of Justice is reversing the federal government’s position in an important voting rights case, involving a Texas voter ID law. The switch was not unexpected following the election of Donald Trump and confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Both Trump and Sessions claim voter fraud is a major problem and have backed voter ID laws.
DOJ says it will file a motion later Monday asking a federal court to dismiss the department’s earlier claim that the ID law was enacted with the intention of discriminating against minority voters. That claim was made by the Obama administration as part of a broader legal challenge to the law, which is among the strictest in the nation.
I wish I had Adobe Photoshop or something similar so I could put Col. Cornpone’s face on a garden gnome since that’s about what he reminds me of.
In a written statement, Gerry Hebert of the Campaign Legal Center, which represents some of the plaintiffs, said, “I am appalled and disgusted that DOJ would abandon their claims, that they have advocated for the last six years, that TX’s photo ID law was enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose.”
A federal appeals court last year agreed that the law had a discriminatory impact, but asked the lower court to reconsider its findings that the law was passed with a discriminatory intent.
A few other news items in my RSS feed:
Yeah because 20 million people now having health care…SAD!
Alrighty folks. This was literally thrown together in about twenty to thirty minutes so ignore any typos, bad grammar or anything else that reflects a general sloppiness on the part of the writer.
Of course it’s an open thread.
Good Monday, all! As we begin the fifth week of the Worst Reality Show Evah (Make it stop, dear Goddess, make it stop…), it has become clear that Republicans in Congress are refusing to admit that the man James Comey, Vladimir Putin and the broadcast media forced into the Presidency is completely, 100% loony tunes. Why? Because they really, REALLY want to steal from the poor and give to the rich. Somehow these evil plans make their tiny Grinchy hearts swell with bile – I mean, happiness. So until they get their way and make tens of millions of people suffer so they can fill their empty souls with more meaningless expensive possessions, they’re going to pretend everything is just fine. Or at least, they’re not going to invoke the 25th Amendment, which it is long past time to do.
The 25th amendment says in part that the vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ can demand the president’s removal from office if they decide he is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties.’
Blumenauer said in a Wednesday op-ed that appeared on OregonLive.com that the amendment isn’t strong enough.
‘It has inherent flaws that need to be addressed. The amendment’s default decision-makers– the vice president and the cabinet — have a natural bias toward the existing officeholder that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve,’ he said.
Good (?) weekend Widdershins
What happened yesterday (and I’m writing ahead of time on Wed.) is a travesty and I believe portends a
future for our country that may shake it to its roots and possibly put an end to the American “experiment”. America has elected, and now inaugurated: a liar, a deadbeat who doesn’t pay his bills, a charlatan, a sexist of the first order, and possibly a traitor to the nation. Further, the electorate has chosen to give him control of the legislative branch and with that will also give him the opportunity to turn the Supreme Court decidedly to the right.
Friends, dark times are indeed ahead of us. The House and Senate could not wait a even a minute to start the repeal and unwinding of Obamacare. Nevermind that this could truly be a death knell for individuals (like moi!) who have depended on the exchange to get health insurance. tRump and the Repubtards on the Hill have no concern for those of us in that situation. Further, once Obamacare is completely done away with, our congress critter will be able to once again get their health insurance through the Federal Employees plans. So ask them how much they’ll care if you or I have to get health insurance through a high risk pool.
So this weekend I have no happy, sad, regretful, vengeful or any other types of songs or movies. Instead I’ve got some amusing things I’ve seen across the internet that might give you a little chuckle or two. And I’ll dedicate these to the Frederick County MD social media coordinator who got fired for correcting a student’s misspellings in a tweet.
5. And that is probably why they invented Febreze with Gain scent.
Widdershins, that’s all I have this weekend. Add your thoughts below if you wish. Naturally it’s an open thread.
Good Weekend to you Widdershins!
Well the talking yam has yet to take office but the congress critters have already started their session and naturally the first thing the Repubtards did, right out of the gate, was to start their “let’s kill obamacare” stuff. Paul “grannystarver” Ryan says things are too urgent and just can’t wait. Now that may be because he’s afraid of what folks and other congress critters might see. And indeed they would be correct in wanting to at least find a replace before they decide to repeal. Still, it’s going to be those angry folks who pulled the lever for Trump who will regret their vote the most.
Across rural America, the Rust Belt, Coal Country and other hotbeds of Trumpism, voters have repeatedly expressed frustration that the lazy and less deserving are getting a bigger chunk of government cheese.
I would say that getting some cheese is better than getting no cheese. What’s the old saying: Act in haste-repent in leisure? They’ll have plenty of time now for the new version: Act in haste-die without healthcare. So these folks are going to experience regret.
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Okay, those are my picks and I hope you will add some below.
Does anyone else feel like we are living through The Rapture? The Chosen ones – David Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, etc., – are being carried off to a better place while the rest of us heathens stay behind to suffer Drumpf for all eternity. We can all agree 2016 has been literally the worst. I’m not sure saying goodbye to it will make anything better though. Just when you think things can’t get any worse – they can. Do we have any reason to think 2017 will be an improvement with Drumpf – aka. King Jesus – and Pence leading the way?
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve also had some bizarre murmurings about HRC’s loss from Obama and everyone’s apparently favorite uncle Joe Biden. (Nevermind that Biden is a gaffe machine who once said it was nice that Obama was so clean, among many other stunning pronouncements). Obama declared he definitely would have won if he ran against Trump (thanks Obama!) and Biden said Hillary never figured out how to run. This is from a guy who has run for President how many times and always dropped out with single digit support? Now Biden says he might run in 2020. Ok fantastic, good luck with that uncle Joe. With friends like these who needs friends? So how about Obama and Biden shut the hell up at this point? And while they’re at it, can they shut Bernie up too?
Speaking of Bernie, I’ve had it up the wazoo with Bernie and his Bros. We are still hearing them tell us how much we don’t understand the suffering of poor white men in the rust belt, and how we should not look down on them, and our condescension of their deplorableness is one big reason HRC lost the election (they don’t really care about the popular vote any more than Drumpf does.)
Ok look, this might sound harsh, but we don’t care about political correctness anymore, right? And these are tough guys, they’re men damn it, they can handle the truth. So here goes: I have no doubt poor white men in the rust belt are suffering. But whose fault is it? Whose freaking fault is it? Apparently it’s HRC’s fault, and my fault and all of your fault Widdershins. We just don’t take care of them enough. Boohoo poor babies. Wahwahwahwahwah. My coal job is gone and I can’t get black lung disease anymore! And “fixing” Obamacare might get rid of my black lung health insurance!
Ok, you know what? I’m done being blamed for that shit. The world evolves and people must evolve with it. Once upon a time everybody was a farmer. Then the Industrial Revolution came and people had to evolve and adapt. So they lost their farming jobs and moved to the big cities and started working in factories. Now we are living in a post-Industrial world, we are in a technological age. Maybe these poor white men in the rust belt could turn off NASCAR and crack open a damned book and learn something? Maybe go to a community college and get a degree in something instead of longing for the golden age of coal mines? It’s just a suggestion. Stop mocking the coastal elites who work long hours in offices and who went to college and got college degrees and massive student debts. I have a friend who works full time at Teach For America and goes full time to the New School. He has asked me for small loans to buy food a few times because his entire salary is spent on school and rent (with roommates.) These are the choices he made and I’ve never heard him blame anyone for them. He chose to go to school to get a masters while working full time and living in Brooklyn. So how about these poor white men in the rust belt stop whining and demanding things from everyone, blaming coastal elites for their troubles, while accepting no responsibilities for their own choices and actions. And how about Bernie Bros stop patronizing them and treating them like little children who are apparently so stupid that after a two year Presidential campaign HRC was somehow unable to connect with them. Excuse me, are they complete idiots who are incapable of critical thinking? Well, I tend to think “Yes, they are.” These are the people who year after year vote against their won self interests. In 2016 they voted for Drumpf. Seems pretty stupid to me. But Bernie/Bros tell us to stop condescending to them. Ok fine, let’s stop condescending to them, let’s treat them like adults with a few still living brain cells and hold them accountable for their own actions. Stop blaming everyone for these people’s stupidity and maybe spread out some blame for our current predicament to these people themselves? I mean, go ahead and blame HRC for her failures (I’ll assign one: it was obviously a mistake to spend time, money and resources trying to flip Georgia blue.) But stop blaming HRC for these poor suffering white men’s own failures as well as her own. I think we are all tired of being everybody’s whipping boys/girls, no? Take some responsibility for your actions folks in the rust belt and Bernie Bros who love them. You voted for Trump because you don’t like women, because you get bored by policy, you never looked at HRC’s plans for job creation in your regions, you only watched Faux News and read Breitbart for your breaking news, you thought e-mails were a really big deal. Own it. Hmmkay thanx bye.
What’s on your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.
Rests on the shoulders of perennial presidential spoiler, and now epic Jewish Guilt sufferer, Jill Stein. Strange days, indeed.
For reasons of “electoral integrity” (aka: “Oh sh*t, what did I do?!”). Stein is determined to press forward with recounts in the three states previously considered part of the Democratic Firewall: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. At this point, Drumpf’s margin of “victory” in the 2016 election is down to about 70,000 votes. An automatic recount is very close to being required in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, due to the extremely small percentage of der Trumperer’s “win.” Whether or not this recount adds any votes for HRC is almost irrelevant, as what it is far more likely to find is evidence of vote tampering and/or hacking. Indeed, in Wisconsin, in one county, the seal on 5 of 9 ESS voting machines was clearly shown to be broken.
If the name “ESS” rings a bell, it should. The machines are notoriously favorable to Republicans. Yet they’re still used in both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Quelle coincidence! Here are some interesting parallels between a completely outrageous election result in South Carolina in 2008, based on ESS machines, and the still impossible-to-believe result in the 2016 election.
Strong disparities between absentee ballots and election day ballots
Dr. Miller performed additional tests to determine whether there was a significant difference in the percentage of absentee and Election Day votes that each candidate received. The result in the Senate election is highly statistically significant: Rawl performs 11 percentage points better among absentee voters than he does among Election Day voters. “This difference is a clear contrast to the other races. Statistically speaking, the only other Democratic candidate who performed differently among the two voter groups was Robert Ford, who did better on Election Day than among absentees in the gubernatorial primary,” Miller said.