Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Easier


Daphne and The Mystery Machines


You can tell a man by his pets


From the pen of Steve Sack



After trying 60+ times for show


It would be hard to imagine the Republican Party giving up on ACA/Obamacare repeal after just one try. There are millions of non-donors who need to be beaten down and kicked and then kicked again. With that in mind, the GOP leadership has let it be known they will try again.
House Republican leaders and the White House, under extreme pressure from conservative activists, have restarted negotiations on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with House leaders declaring that Democrats were celebrating the law’s survival prematurely.

Just days after President Trump said he was moving on to other issues, senior White House officials are now saying they have hope that they can still score the kind of big legislative victory that has so far eluded Mr. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for lunchtime talks.

“We’re not going to retrench into our corners or put up dividing lines,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said after a meeting of House Republicans that was dominated by a discussion of how to restart the health negotiations. “There’s too much at stake to get bogged down in all of that.”

The House Republican whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said of Democrats, “Their celebration is premature. We are closer to repealing Obamacare than we ever have been before.”

It is not clear what political dynamics might have changed since Friday, when a coalition of hard-line conservatives and more moderate Republicans torpedoed legislation to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The replacement bill would still leave 24 million more Americans without insurance after a decade, a major worry for moderate Republicans. It would also leave in place regulations on the health insurance industry that conservatives find anathema.

Mr. Ryan declined to say what might be in the next version of the Republicans’ repeal bill, nor would he sketch any schedule for action. But he said Congress needed to act because insurers were developing the premiums and benefit packages for health plans they would offer in 2018, with review by federal and state officials beginning soon.
They may all have the same end in mind but as long as theyinsist on their own paths to get there they will never make it. And with a traffic director like Lyin' Paul Ryan that should be a solid result,

Corporate help for public lands


Sure, they are looking after their own bottom lines as they do so, but the companies supplying those who enjoy the great outdoors are helping to organize their customers in the fight against the Great Republican Rape And Pillage of Public Lands.
Two generations ago, they were often written off as a bunch of hippies making backpacks and climbing gear for niche markets. But in recent decades, companies such as Patagonia and REI have become consumer powerhouses and political players, increasingly eager to influence decisions over public lands.

A sign of that clout came this year, when the outdoor industry decided to pull its twice-yearly trade show from Salt Lake City, where it been based since 1996. The shows injected tens of millions of dollars into the Utah economy, but industry leaders decided to pull out after Gov. Gary Herbert and other Utah Republicans started lobbying President Donald Trump to roll back the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million-acre conservation area in south Utah that Native Americans and environmentalists have championed for years.

Industry leaders said they had mixed feelings about leaving Salt Lake but felt compelled to make a move after Herbert refused to reconsider his position.

“Outdoor recreation is a huge economic driver in Utah and Colorado, and we felt it wasn’t being respected,” said Sam Mix, outdoor marketing manager for Osprey Packs, which is headquartered in southwest Colorado. “Public lands are where our customers go to recreate. Without these big wide-open spaces, we’d have no business and no reason to exist.”

Made up of 1,200 companies, the Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, with an outreach office in Washington, D.C. The group estimates that consumers spend about $120 billion on outdoor recreation products each year, ranging from apparel to tents, bicycles and camping gear.

Since 1989, dozens of leading outdoor companies have paid into a mechanism to support public lands and environmental causes. With membership dues based on a company’s annual revenues, the industry’s Conservation Alliance has doled out more than $15 million in grants.
The Outdoor Industry may not be the biggest lobby but they have the advantage of catering to a socially conscious and active customer base who don't normally need as much prodding to get out and make their feelings known. And it will take a lot of activity in the fight against two notoriously ruthless groups, Big Cattle and Big Mining.

Colbert returns


From a week off to a lively dissection of The Great Republican Health Care Failure.


You may have a different ordering



Monday, March 27, 2017

New album called Semper Femina


Laura Marling performing "Nouel" from the album.


More informative than tax returns


Join us as we learn Cheeto Mussolini's inner thoughts as he presidents, from his newly leaked diary that Tom Tomorrow reveals to us.

It's in the definition



Stupid can be very expensive


Just consider the state of North Carolina. It instituted a Peckerchecker Bill to prevent a problem that did not exist but sure did sound dangerous. Decent people across the country were appalled and the reaction included companies leaving the state and musical and sporting events staying away. And the cost $3.76 Billion.
Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Over the last year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state's economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town's amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state's biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.

North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won't be among them as long as the law is on the books. The NAACP also has initiated a national economic boycott.

The AP analysis — compiled through interviews and public records requests — represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.

Still, AP's tally is likely an underestimation of the law's true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.

Some projects that left, such as a Lionsgate television production that backed out of plans in Charlotte, weren't included because of a lack of data on their economic impact.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan — who leads the largest company based in North Carolina — said he's spoken privately to business leaders who went elsewhere with projects or events because of the controversy, and he fears more decisions like that are being made quietly.

"Companies are moving to other places because they don't face an issue that they face here," he told a World Affairs Council of Charlotte luncheon last month. "What's going on that you don't know about? What convention decided to take you off the list? What location for a distribution facility took you off the list? What corporate headquarters consideration for a foreign company — there's a lot of them out there — just took you off the list because they just didn't want to be bothered with the controversy? That's what eats you up."
But that cost will pale in comparison to damage that will be done if Texas adopts their own Peckerchecker Bill, a very real possiblity in a state with some of the dumbest politicians ever to walk the face of the earth. And all for a problem that doesn't exist.

Congress is going to Jared


Not for any jewelry, they wouldn't buy that cheap shit, but for information regarding Jared Kushner's father-in-law's connections with Russians and their running dogs in his administration. And the curious serial remembering of meetings that honest people would would log in and memorialize for the file.
Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials.

The White House Counsel’s Office was informed this month that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Mr. Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the government officials. The meetings, which took place during the transition, included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.

Until now, the White House had acknowledged only an early December meeting between Mr. Kislyak and Mr. Kushner, which occurred at Trump Tower and was also attended by Michael T. Flynn, who would briefly serve as the national security adviser.

Later that month, though, Mr. Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Mr. Kushner asked a deputy to attend in his stead, officials said. At Mr. Kislyak’s request, Mr. Kushner later met with Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which the United States placed on its sanctions list after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.

Members of presidential transition teams routinely meet with foreign officials, and there is nothing inherently improper about sitting down with the Russian ambassador. Part of Mr. Kushner’s role during the campaign and the transition was to serve as a chief conduit to foreign governments and officials, and Ms. Hicks said he met with dozens of officials from a wide range of countries.

She added that Mr. Kushner was willing to talk to Senate investigators about the meetings with Mr. Kislyak and the banker, saying, “He isn’t trying to hide anything and wants to be transparent.”

Still, meetings between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to Mr. Putin are now of heightened interest as several congressional committees and F.B.I. investigators try to determine the scope of the Russian intervention in the election and links between Russians and anyone around Mr. Trump.

The Senate panel’s decision to question Mr. Kushner would make him the closest person to the president to be called upon in any of the investigations, and the only one currently serving in the White House. The officials who initially described that Senate inquiry to The New York Times did so on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about Mr. Trump’s son-in-law.

The F.B.I. declined to comment. There are no indications that Mr. Kushner is a focus of its investigation, and Ms. Hicks said he had not been questioned by the bureau.
Jared as a member of the campaign team did have legitimate reasons for talking to various Russians and also as a member of the Potemkin President's business team. However in both cases a legitimate meeting should have produced either a transcript of a memo of what was discussed and a log of such meetings should have been kept. To have not done so is more than amateurish, it strongly suggests something shady.

Be glad of what you are not



Sunday, March 26, 2017

What would we do without all of her recordings


Linda Ronstadt, "What'll I Do?"



And a hat tip to the late Nelson Riddle for arranging those 3 fantastic albums.

Wile E. GOP does it again


From the pen of R.J.Matson



When your career is all self-proclaimed


You really have to be careful about avoiding mistakes. Lyin' Paul Ryan Speaker of the House self proclaimed policy and budget wonk, has proved once again that Paul Krugman's assessment of Ryan as "a man whose fraudulence, lack of concern for those he claims to care about and lack of policy coherence should have been obvious to everyone" is spot on. This time his failure is great enough to actually damage the balloon man.
Less than 18 months after being elected speaker, Mr. Ryan has emerged from the defeat of the health care bill badly damaged, retaining a grip on the job but left to confront the realities of his failure — imperiling the odd-couple partnership that was supposed to sustain a new era of conservative government under unified Republican rule.

So far, to the surprise of some close to Mr. Trump, the president has remained upbeat on Mr. Ryan, a frequent punching bag during the 2016 campaign and an ideological mismatch whose instincts informed the molding and selling of the health bill far more than the president’s own.

But after a humiliating defeat, which many Trump advisers are eager to pin on the speaker, Mr. Ryan is now tasked with defending not just his leadership abilities but his very brand of conservatism in a party fitfully searching for a coherent policy identity that can deliver tangible victories.

In this first fight, Mr. Ryan’s more orthodox right-leaning vision was co-opted only halfheartedly by Mr. Trump, who has few fixed political beliefs, in service of a bill the president never well understood, even as he laid on the superlatives in praising it. Now, Mr. Ryan must tug a ruptured conference toward future agenda items, like overhauling the tax code, made all the more difficult by this initial failure.

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll get blamed,” Representative Billy Long, Republican of Missouri and a vocal Trump supporter, said of the speaker as he left the Capitol on Friday, making clear he did not believe this would be fair. “He’ll get blamed for everything.”

The episode not only demonstrated an inability to honor a longstanding pledge that powered Republicans through a string of election cycles. It was also a remarkable setback for Mr. Ryan as the body’s principal arm-twister, in his first major test as the speaker under a Republican president.

In January, he coasted to re-election with almost unanimous party support, prompting allies to gloat that he had tamed the hard-line House Freedom Caucus far more deftly than his predecessor, John A. Boehner.

By Friday, his bill had at once alienated those archconservatives and more moderate members who abandoned the legislation as Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump began caving to demands of the far right, to little effect.

“We were a 10-year opposition party, where being against things was easy to do,” Mr. Ryan said at a sheepish news conference shortly after the bill was pulled, adding with uncharacteristic candor that Republicans were not yet prepared to be a “governing party.”

“We will get there,” Mr. Ryan said, “but we weren’t there today.”
No, they weren't there and probably never will be without a major replacement of the membership. Before that happens, Lyin' Paul Ryan may be the one tossed out as Fux Nooz's Jeanine Pirro has begun the calls for his head. Is this the beginning of his end?

A closer look at Republican Healthcare Failure


With so much involved you might have missed a few points


Ancient wisdom



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Still in mint condition


Despite having a few years under its belt "Mint" by Kathleen Edwards still freshens the air.


Brackets is harder than I thought


From the pen of Joel Pett



The monkey in the middle


Devin Nunes, Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee show clearly the disadvantage of selecting the least capable people for to serve on the various House and Senate committees. Instead if quietly and efficiently steering the investigation of our Potemkin President away from his Russian master. his evey step this week has led to a bigger disaster and earned him the enmity of everybody.
Even on Fox News, Representative Devin Nunes, the beleaguered Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, could not escape the venom from his left.

Mr. Nunes, the California lawmaker, stood inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday evening, assuming a familiar set of positions: in front of a camera, giving cover to President Trump and defending himself.

The subject this time was his decision on Wednesday to brief Mr. Trump, whose campaign his committee is investigating, about possible “incidental” surveillance of the president or his associates. “I still think it’s the right call,” Mr. Nunes said of his decision not to tell members of his committee about his trip to the White House.

But as he spoke inside the Capitol, a committee colleague, Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, peered into a different camera, belonging to CNN, a few feet to the left. “It is almost inconceivable,” Mr. Himes said of his chairman’s behavior, more than loud enough to hear nearby. “Lo and behold, a couple of hours later, Donald Trump gets to put the barest of fig leaves on the outrageous tweet about Barack Obama wiretapping him.”

Since Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Nunes has proved an eager purveyor of executive fig leaves. As the leader of an investigation involving the campaign of a man he cheered vocally and served directly as a transition team official, the congressman has often appeared almost incurious about the chief subject of the inquiry.

Of greater concern in the intelligence sphere is his recent burst of media exposure, with a public speaking style that can at times seem cavalier while discussing sensitive information. This has led to misgivings about sharing national security details with him, a senior American intelligence official said.

Many lawmakers crave attention, racing to microphones and pounding lecterns in search of cable news glory. But Mr. Nunes, who can seem by turns earnest and reticent in person, is something different: After over a decade in the House, he has appeared to lurch haphazardly into the spotlight, like Kramer entering a room on “Seinfeld,” straining to keep his balance as a human shield in Washington’s daily Trump wars.

Mr. Nunes said on Fox News that he felt he “had a duty and obligation” to tell Mr. Trump about the possible surveillance. “Because as you know, he’s taking a lot of heat in the news media.”

Now the president has company in that regard: Mr. Nunes, a former dairy farmer, elected to Congress in 2002 at age 29, from a deep-red section of a deep-blue state. The Democratic National Committee has even adopted a new label for him: “White House stooge.”
Having covered for Trump, the question becomes, does Nunes really think that Trump will have his back when he needs it? If Trump's history is any indication, and the many repetitions would indicate so, the answer is a big fat NO.

It was always "Bait and Switch"


Bill Maher explains The Great Con that Orange Don is running.


When opportunity presents itself



Friday, March 24, 2017

Long Dark Hallelujah


Beth Bombara from her album Raise Your Flag


Trump Shit Is Always Biglyer


From the pen of R.W. Matson



R.I.P. Chuck Barris


Your creation of The Gong Show offset all the other shows you created

After seven years of practice


With every Republican member who requested being allowed to introduce their very own Repeal Obamacare bill, when it came time to shit or get off the pot, the Republicans in Congress failed to drop their favorite dookie.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, facing a revolt among conservative and moderate Republicans, rushed to the White House Friday afternoon to inform President Trump he did not have the votes to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to decide whether to pull the bill from consideration.

The president and the speaker faced the humiliating prospect of a major defeat on legislation promised for seven years, since the landmark health legislation was signed into law. President Trump had demanded a vote regardless, which has been scheduled for Friday afternoon. But House leaders were leaning against such a public loss.

The Republican legislation, called the American Health Care Act, would end the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that almost everyone have health care, replacing it with a system of age-based tax credits to purchase health insurance — a shift that would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars and would cut taxes, but could leave 24 million more Americans without coverage in a decade, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said.

Republicans said President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the 2010 health care law, had been a failure, disrupting coverage for millions of people and fueling big increases in health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs. Insurers in many states, they said, were losing hundreds of millions of dollars under the health law and have dropped out of the public marketplaces.

“For seven years, Americans have been hurt by Obamacare,” said Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “They have pleaded with Congress to get the government out of the examining room and give them health care they can afford. This failed Obamacare experiment is over. It’s time to act.”

But Republican divisions were still on public display. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced Friday that he would oppose the Republican bill, joining other moderates from Northeastern states.

“Seven years after enactment of Obamacare, I wanted to support legislation that made positive changes to rescue health care in America,” he wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents in New Jersey.”
And the irony of its defeat is that it failed to be painful enough to poors and others to satisfy the most cruel and reactionary elements of the GOP. But if it had pleased that group it would have offended that small remaining group that still have a breath of humanity in them. So in the end it is like our Potemkin President, it looks good on the face of it but has nothing to back it up.

With experts like this


The terrorists have nothing to worry from our Potemkin President, as Samantha Bee explains to us.


A man of many promises



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poor Man's Melody


Bonnie Bishop


What? You wanted a ride?


From the pen of Dave Granlund



Schumer moves in the right direction


As of now, it looks like the Senate Democrats will filibuster the nomination of notorious torture enabler and all around asshole Neil Gorsuch.
Democrats signaled on Thursday that they would filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, setting up a showdown with Republicans who may be forced to change longstanding rules to seat him on the nation’s highest court.

“He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor Thursday morning, citing the threshold for breaking a filibuster on the selection. “My vote will be no.”

The announcement came one day after Judge Gorsuch completed his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerging largely unscathed amid a series of bland deflections and folksy digressions.

Many Democrats are facing dual pressures as they make their decisions: The party’s progressive base has pressed them to oppose Mr. Trump at every turn, and many are still seething over the treatment last year of Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Obama’s nominee, whom Republicans refused to consider in an election year.

But several lawmakers face re-election races next year in states that Mr. Trump won, compelling some to weigh supporting Judge Gorsuch. Still, based on interviews and internal discussions, Judge Gorsuch appears to be short — at least for now — of the eight Senate votes he must earn from the Democratic caucus to reach 60 votes. (Republicans hold a majority with 52 seats.)

Also on Thursday, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat of Pennsylvania, who is up for re-election next year, said he would vote against Judge Gorsuch.

“I have serious concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s rigid and restrictive judicial philosophy,” he said, suggesting that the nominee “employs the narrowest possible reading of federal law and exercises extreme skepticism, even hostility, toward executive branch agencies.”

Both Mr. Schumer and Mr. Casey echoed longstanding Democratic attacks on Judge Gorsuch: that his decisions tend to favor the powerful.

“His career and judicial record suggest not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Mr. Schumer said.

Republican leaders have signaled an openness to changing longstanding rules regarding the filibuster and confirming Judge Gorsuch on a simple majority vote. And Mr. Trump has urged them to pursue this so-called nuclear option if necessary.
Mitch The Turtle has said he would employ the rule change option if necessary, but as with all other moves, that is only if he has the votes to do so. It remains to be seen if Gorsuch is sufficiently attractive a candidate to allow that.

As Trump slashes environmental regulations


Oil and gas companies are telling their shareholders, the important people in their world, that the regulations have little or no effect on their bottom lines.
In annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 13 of the 15 biggest U.S. oil and gas producers said that compliance with current regulations is not impacting their operations or their financial condition.

The other two made no comment about whether their businesses were materially affected by regulation, but reported spending on compliance with environmental regulations at less than 3 percent of revenue.

The dissonance raises questions about whether Trump’s war on regulation can increase domestic oil and gas output, as he has promised, or boost profits and share prices of oil and gas companies, as some investors have hoped.

According to the SEC, a publicly traded company must deem a matter "material" and report it to the agency if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important.

"Materiality is a fairly low bar," said Cary Coglianese, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who runs the university’s research program on regulation. "Despite exaggerated claims, regulatory costs are usually a very small portion of many companies’ cost of doing business."

Continental Resources (CLR.N) CEO, Harold Hamm, who advised Trump on energy issues during his campaign for the White House, told the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July that stripping regulation could allow the country to double its production of oil and gas, triggering a new "American energy renaissance."

Yet Continental's annual report, filed last month with the SEC, says environmental regulation - after eight years under the Obama administration - does not have a "material adverse effect on our operations to any greater degree than other similarly situated competitors."

Continental's competitors who reported actual spending on environmental compliance told investors that such expenses amount to a small percentage of operating revenues.
So a few individuals are jonesing for return to smog filled filthy air but the companies affected repeatedly say, No big deal. A normal president would say Meh! but a Tangerine Shitgibbon is guaranteed to attack. And we have to breathe that shit.

Samantha Bee and the Trump "Budget"


There will be a hot time in the old town tonight.


Impeach The Motherfucker Already!



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lighthouse


The Waifs


Hence the need of a Special Prosecutor


From the pen of Pat Bagley



GOP Governors Hate Trumps Budget


Ever since the advent of St Ronald of Reagan, Republicans in Congress have been beavering away at the funding provided to people and states to save their corporate masters from paying taxes. As a result states have had to either raise taxes and fees to provide what the citizens want or submit underfunded programs to the Death of a Thousand GOP Cuts. And now with the first budget of Cheeto Mussolini, this process has reached its ultimate end, slashing everything except defense and corporate welfare.
In private, Mr. Bevin has been blunter about the party’s disagreements. Just days before appearing with Mr. Trump in Louisville, he joined a conference call with the president’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to protest a White House proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development agency that spans 13 states and steers millions of dollars in federal money to Kentucky.

Mr. Bevin was not alone in his dismay.

As Mr. Trump and his advisers press for bone-deep cuts to the federal budget, Republican governors have rapidly emerged as an influential bloc of opposition. They have complained to the White House about reductions they see as harmful or arbitrary, and they plan to pressure members of Congress from their states to oppose them.

Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization, including regional development agencies like the Appalachian commission and the Delta Regional Authority, which serves eight Southern and Midwestern states, seven of them with Republican governors. They are also protective of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3.4 billion job-training program funded through the Labor Department.

Mr. Trump’s budget office has proposed to eliminate or deeply slash funding for all of those programs, along with dozens of others.

Kim S. Rueben, a budget expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said the retrenchment in Mr. Trump’s spending plan appeared to be significantly out of step with his campaign promises to use the federal government as a machine for creating jobs, especially in distressed Midwestern and rural areas.

“It just seems like you’re going after places that are so pivotal to what you are arguing you wanted to do for your base,” Ms. Rueben said of Mr. Trump’s budget. “They’re cutting all sorts of infrastructure projects and economic development projects at the same time that the president is still talking about how much of an investment he’s going to put into infrastructure.”

The White House’s proposed cuts would be felt in matters well beyond economic development: A budget briefing circulated last week by the National Governors Association, a nonpartisan group, identified a long list of Trump-backed cuts to programs that support states. They include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a $3 billion project in the Department of Health and Human Services that helps people pay for heating and air conditioning, and the Community Development Block Grant program, a $3 billion initiative of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that funds local projects from affordable housing to Meals on Wheels.
And none of this includes the anticipated decimation of Medicaid which is guaranteed to make any governor feel like a sack of corn in a gristmill. Maybe Trump will be the end of the Republican dominance in the South. He certainly will leave destruction in his wake worthy of the biggest hurricane.

Gorsuch grilled on Torture


Which is only fair as he was one of the Bush administration lawyers involved in torturing the law tofind a way to legitimize torture and extend Dick Cheney's life.
Senator Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, pressed Judge Gorsuch about a torture-related document from his time as a senior Justice Department official in 2005-6. It was a set of questions about the C.I.A. program, including: “Have the aggressive interrogation techniques employed by the administration yielded any valuable intelligence? Have they ever stopped a terrorist incident? Examples?” In the margin next to this, Judge Gorsuch had scribbled, “Yes.”

Ms. Feinstein, who was the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when it conducted an investigation into the Bush-era torture program that concluded otherwise — asked Judge Gorsuch what information he had received that led him to write “yes.”

He replied: “My recollection of 12 years ago is that that was the position that the clients were telling us. I was a lawyer. My job was as an advocate, and we were dealing with detainee litigation. That was my job.”

Senator Leahy, of Vermont, also returned to the question of whether Judge Gorsuch believed in the Bush administration’s theory that the president, as commander-in-chief, could override torture and surveillance laws.

Asked about that on Tuesday, Judge Gorsuch had repeatedly said the president was not “above the law.” Mr. Leahy pointed out that Mr. Bush’s legal team did not argue that he was “above the law,” but rather that “the law” meant the Constitution gave presidents inherent authority to lawfully bypass such statutes.

The senator pressed Judge Gorsuch to be more specific. He replied that “presidents make all sorts of arguments about inherent authority — they do — and that is why we have courts, to decide.”

Mr. Leahy followed up, asking whether Judge Gorsuch could think of a case in which a court decided that a president could override a statute. Judge Gorsuch said he could not think of one, and Mr. Leahy agreed.
Gorsuch did so well at his legal justifications that he was appointed to his current position. Imagine that! An unindicted felon sitting in judgement of others.

Some news bits you may have missed


In all the excitement as The Gilded Dumbass moves ever closer to impeachment.


Send him up the river


#ITMFA



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