Friday, June 30, 2017
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Marie Mitchtoinette explains it all
Turning ICE into Thugs
Samantha Bee on the Tangerine Shitgibbons Gestapo.
This bill sucks
Stephen Colbert on Trumpcare
Medicaid's Last Stand
The Grift remains the same
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Sending out to all who are still working
Nellie McKay "Work Song"
Some cuts are too tough
Pity the poor judge.
U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto has been tasked with presiding over the trial of Martin Shkreli who is on trial for illegal stock manipulation, not for raising the price of a generic and necessary drug to astronomical levels. However it is the second flaw in his character that is making it impossible to impanel a jury for his trial.
“Our shareholders expect us to make as much money as possible,” Shkreli said during a health-industry summit in 2015, dressed nonchalantly in a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. “That’s the ugly, dirty truth.”Everybody hates him for his drug pricing policies and can't seem to separate that from his bog standard stock manipulation which will put him away for years. Maybe prosecution should try for a change of venue.
These two images of the Brooklyn native are playing out in federal court this week as Shkreli faces eight charges that could land him in prison for years.
Packed into the second-floor courtroom in Brooklyn, several potential jurors said they had already formed strong opinions of Shkreli. One potential juror told U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto that Shkreli is “the price gouger of drugs. My kids are on some of these drugs.”
Another said, “I know he’s the most hated man in America,” while another asserted that “from everything I’ve read, I believe the defendant is the face of corporate greed in America.” All were excused from the jury.
Shkreli sat a few feet away by himself, intermittently appearing to write on a yellow pad or staring up at the ceiling. Dressed in a gray suit and no tie, he yawned and leaned his head against his arm. In the back row of the courtroom sat his father. During one break, Shkreli greeted friends in the courtroom and warned them to stay away from “fake news.”
The trial is slated to last from four to six weeks, and Matsumoto told potential jurors that it “promises to be interesting and educational.” So far, more than 250 potential jurors have been interviewed, but not a single one had been seated. On Wednesday, the judge and lawyers were interviewing candidates again in hopes of finding 12 jurors and six alternates. If they find enough, opening statements would likely start either late Wednesday or early Thursday.
With news trucks stationed outside and more than a dozen reporters flowing in and out of the courtroom, Shkreli is facing intense media scrutiny. Citing negative news coverage of his client — which included the New York Post front-page headline “Jury of His Jeers, 134 jurors out in ‘Pharma Bro’ trial: They all hate him” — Shkreli’s attorney requested a mistrial, which was denied. He also asked that reporters not be allowed to listen to potential jurors’ voice their opinions about Shkreli, which was also denied.
Federal prosecutors alleged that for five years Shkreli lied to investors in two hedge funds and biopharmaceutical company Retrophin, all of which he founded. After losing money on stock bets he made through one hedge fund, Shkreli allegedly started another and used his new investors’ money to pay off those who had lost money on the first fund. Then, as pressure was building, Shkreli started Retrophin, which was publicly traded, and used cash and stock from that company to settle with other disgruntled investors, prosecutors contend.
But potential jurors appear to be struggling to separate Shkreli’s public persona with the charges he is facing. One juror told the judge that she had been in the health-care field for half her life and knew someone who used the AIDS medication whose price skyrocketed under Shkreli. “I have cried with them,” she said. “I don’t think I could be the right person to sit” on the jury. Even after advised by Matsumoto that Shkreli is not facing charges related to raising drug prices, the potential juror said she couldn’t be impartial and was excused.
Not so easy when you can't obstruct
Mitch McConnell was considered a masterful parliamentary tactician when all he had to do was obstruct the black guy. It was easy to get his caucus to agree to that in whatever form he offered. Now that he actually has to produce something, in this case repeal and 'replace' Obamacare, he finds that not all his choir are singing from the same page.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has long enjoyed a reputation as a master tactician. But when it comes to repealing the Affordable Care Act, he seems to have miscalculated in the first round of play.They could all agree on what they didn't want, but when it came to what they did want they were all over the map and The Great Mitch hadn't bothered to get his ducks in a row before he brought forth his magnum opus. Now he has to see if he can buy everybody's agreement to get his dog's breakfast passed, his reputation in tattered shreds.
He assumed that his conservative and moderate colleagues would come together to make good on their seven-year promise to repeal the health care law, and quickly.
But when he assembled a group of senators to cobble together a health care bill last month, he seemed to go out of his way to exclude some of the most knowledgeable members and moderate voices on health care, like Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a doctor, and Susan Collins of Maine, an insurance expert and one of the few women in the Senate Republican conference. Views outside of Mr. McConnell’s on health care did not receive extensive consideration.
When Republicans from states that had expanded their Medicaid programs quickly found themselves at odds with more conservative members who wanted a large rollback of Medicaid, Mr. McConnell did little to allay those worries. Conservatives generally wanted to rein in costs while moderate members wanted to increase spending, particularly in states where health care costs are high and opioid addiction is escalating.
On those key issues, Mr. McConnell put his legislative thumb on the scale in favor of conservatives, quickly alienating many senators from states that had expanded Medicaid, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, as well as Ms. Collins, who became an early and vocal opponent of the bill.
Ms. Murkowski raised concerns on several levels. She expressed worries about soaring health care costs in rural areas, about women’s access to health care if Planned Parenthood were defunded, and about how the most vulnerable citizens, such as Alaska Natives, would get health care. Those concerns were largely unanswered.
Conservatives point out that, compared with the House bill, the Senate bill delayed the phaseout of the expansion of Medicaid as detailed in the Affordable Care Act, and that preserving protections for patients with pre-existing conditions was something that moderates wanted. But over all, the bill was similar to the House version in broad strokes that moderates disliked, and conservatives won out on the key issue of reining in the growth of Medicaid in the long term.
Mr. McConnell may have been betting that pressure from a majority of Republicans — who have been promising for the better part of a decade to unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — would get senators from Medicaid expansion states on board to do just that.
But the forces arrayed against Mr. McConnell were many, including doctors and hospitals, patient advocacy groups and, perhaps more than anyone else, governors — many of them Republicans — from states where tens of thousands of residents have found themselves newly insured under the health care law and are not eager to see that evaporate.
“There may be some philosophical, you know, kind of textbook disagreement,” Gov. John R. Kasich, Republican of Ohio, said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. “But when you sit in a room and you say to people, ‘Should we strip coverage from somebody who’s mentally ill?’ I’ve never heard anybody say yes.”
Or it can wait until after the barbecue
Stephen Colbert helps cut through the piles of GOP bullshit.
Trump and Private Prisons
Seth Meyers looks at their cozy relationship.
All day lollipops
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Some old time Texas R & B
Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps
He's proud of it
Seems people like affordable health insurance
And in the end it is not what you call it, but what you get that is convincing. And Republican Senators are finding out that their voters are not happy with that monstrosity from Mitch McConnell. When the CBO numbers came out, Republican senators started shuffling toward the wings.
The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was edging toward collapse on Monday after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026.Despite his stretch of the reconciliation process, Mitch still can't afford to lose as many Republicans as are now grumbling about this son of a Mitch bill. Mitch is going to need to lavish lots of goodies on the hold outs. And that assumes more don't join in to get their share.
Two Republicans, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, said Monday that they would vote against even debating the health care bill, joining Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who made the same pledge on Friday. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin hinted that he, too, would probably oppose taking up the bill on a procedural vote expected as early as Tuesday, meaning a collapse could be imminent.
“It’s worse to pass a bad bill than pass no bill,” Mr. Paul told reporters.
Ms. Collins wrote on Twitter on Monday evening that she wanted to work with her colleagues from both parties to fix flaws in the Affordable Care Act, but that the budget office’s report showed that the “Senate bill won’t do it.”
The report left Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, with the unenviable choices of changing senators’ stated positions, withdrawing the bill from consideration while he renegotiates, or letting it go down to defeat — a remarkable conclusion to the Republicans’ seven-year push to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
But the budget office put Republicans in an untenable position. It found that next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law. Premiums and out-of-pocket expenses could shoot skyward for some low-income people and for people nearing retirement, it said.
The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade, the budget office said.
Mr. McConnell, the chief author of the bill, wanted the Senate to approve it before a planned recess for the Fourth of July, but that looks increasingly doubtful. Misgivings in the Republican conference extend beyond just a few of the most moderate and conservative members, and Mr. McConnell can lose only two Republicans.
A Closer Look At Trump/McConnell Deathcare Tax Cuts
Senate deliberations - updated
Monday, June 26, 2017
Lake Street Dive
Why we don't have single payer
It really is very simple and Tom Tomorrow's BFF Sparky has it explained to him
Trump does death panels right
Brand new yuge profit centers
Building the infrastructure of America has always been a profit making business, but with its limitations and regulations to insure it served the public need and provided for the commonwealth. Builder Donny has plans to provide huge amounts of public money to his friends and known associates for infrastructure projects without as many of those pesky rules and regulations as he can get away with.
Since that day, the president has tapped various friends and supporters to help shape his infrastructure agenda, including CEOs who have a financial interest in the regulatory relief Trump is promising and implementing. These include Stephen Schwarzman, who heads the New York-based Blackstone equity firm, which has multi-billion-dollar investments in infrastructure nationwide. They also include lesser known figures, such as Veresen CEO Don Althoff, whose Canadian company was unable to get permits during the Obama era to build a liquified natural gas export terminal in Oregon.So apparently Republicans are quite comfortable with oppressive Federal authority when it suits their purpose. When it is used to insure all parties are treated fairly and protect the little guy then it must be stopped. Can't let little people stand in the way of progress and profit.
Trump’s appointments to regulatory agencies have delivered a boost to these allies, and also to others, such as Alan S. Armstrong, CEO of Williams, an Oklahoma-based gas pipeline company. Trump has made clear he wants the federal government to clear a path for new energy projects.
“No longer can we allow these rules and regulations to tie down our economy, chain up our prosperity, and sap our great American spirit,” Trump said in a June 9 speech. “That is why we will lift these restrictions and unleash the full potential of the United States of America.”
As president, Trump can operate numerous levers of regulatory relief. His appointments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are reversing decisions of the Obama administration that tripped up energy and water projects.
At one point, Trump was considering Hamm — a major campaign donor and pioneer in extracting oil from shale rock in North Dakota — to serve as his energy secretary. When Hamm backed out, Trump appointed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had to resign from the board of Energy Transfer Partners — the company developing the Dakota Access pipeline — to take the Energy Department job.
EPA, Interior and Energy all have influence over infrastructure, but possibly the most influential agency is one that many Americans have never heard of — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC has licensing authority over transmission lines, hydro-power projects and cross-state gas and oil pipelines. Dozens of these private projects are in the works, raising concerns about use of eminent domain to build them.
For years, energy industry CEOs have complained about FERC’s slow pace, partly caused by multiple public hearings and comment periods, so affected landowners can express their concerns. That pace is expected to change when the Senate confirms Trump’s two nominees to FERC, which will give the commission a quorum again. They are Neil Chatterjee, a senior energy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Robert Powelson, a member of the Public Utility Commission in Pennsylvania, a state friendly to the oil and gas industry.
These appointments, and Trump’s public statements, have emboldened energy company CEOs, some of whom have publicly urged the president to intervene on their behalf.
One of these is Armstrong, the CEO of Williams, one of the nation’s largest developers of natural gas pipelines. Last year, Williams suffered a setback when New York regulators, pressured by the state’s anti-fracking activists, declined to act on a needed water quality permit for the company’s Constitution Pipeline. The decision effectively stymied the 125-mile pipeline, which would ship natural gas from northeast Pennsylvania to lucrative markets in New York.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Williams CEO Armstrong said he has been urging the Trump administration to override the New York decision by assuming permitting authority for the project, which he says the Army Corps of Engineers could do on its own. “The issue has been purely political,” he said. “That’s exactly when, for interstate commerce, the federal government should use their authority.”
John Oliver on Vaccines
It's long but it is to the point and, sadly, needed.
The Hard Part
Sunday, June 25, 2017
She plays harp and sings the blues
And Kellie Rucker has been doing it for some 25 years. She sings "Nothin' To Lose"
Kids recognize their best opportunities
The first ones to die
If Mitch McConnell's Monster Trumpcare Death bill passes will be the elderly in nursing homes paid for by Medicaid that don't have families to fall back on. As Republicans like Tom Reed tell us, their deaths will be a good thing if it saves money for tax cuts for the wealthy.
“You think you’ve got enough money to last all your life, and here I am,” Ms. Jacobs said.AWith or without families, most of the elderly need specialized care to survive because most people do not put granny in a home if she can still function. Those geezers with families will be lucky to last a few months longer.
Medicaid pays for most of the 1.4 million people in nursing homes, like Ms. Jacobs. It covers 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of poor adults.
On Thursday, Senate Republicans joined their House colleagues in proposing steep cuts to Medicaid, part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Conservatives hope to roll back what they see as an expanding and costly entitlement. But little has been said about what would happen to older Americans in nursing homes if the cuts took effect.
Under federal law, state Medicaid programs are required to cover nursing home care. But state officials decide how much to pay facilities, and states under budgetary pressure could decrease the amount they are willing to pay or restrict eligibility for coverage.
“The states are going to make it harder to qualify medically for needing nursing home care,” predicted Toby S. Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “They’d have to be more disabled before they qualify for Medicaid assistance.”
States might allow nursing homes to require residents’ families to pay for a portion of their care, she added. Officials could also limit the types of services and days of nursing home care they pay for, as Medicare already does.
The 150 residents of Dogwood Village include former teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, stay-at-home parents and health aides — a cross section of this rural county a half-hour northeast of Charlottesville. Many entered old age solidly middle class but turned to Medicaid, which was once thought of as a government program exclusively for the poor, after exhausting their insurance and assets.
A combination of longer life spans and spiraling health care costs has left an estimated 64 percent of the Americans in nursing homes dependent on Medicaid. In Alaska, Mississippi and West Virginia, Medicaid was the primary payer for three-quarters or more of nursing home residents in 2015, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“People are simply outliving their relatives and their resources, and fortunately, Medicaid has been there,” said Mark Parkinson, the president of the American Health Care Association, a national nursing home industry group.
With more than 70 million people enrolled in Medicaid, the program certainly faces long-term financial challenges. Federal Medicaid spending is projected to grow 6 percent a year on average, rising to $650 billion in 2027 from $389 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Even if Congress does not repeal the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid will remain a target for cuts, experts say.
“The Medicaid pieces of the House bill could be incorporated into other pieces of legislation that are moving this year,” said Edwin Park, a vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington nonprofit that focuses on how government budgets affect low-income people. “Certainly, nursing homes would be part of those cuts, not only in reimbursement rates but in reductions in eligibility for nursing home care.”
Fooling His People All Of The Time
Trevor Noah shows how easily Trumpoons will buy whatever he is selling.
It may well be more
Saturday, June 24, 2017
I Love You, I Do
Trump said everyone would be covered
Stuck in the middle, again
The Senator from Nevada, Dean Heller, finds himself in a bind. There is only one of him but three different political power points want more than a piece of him, they want all of him.
Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, is the man everyone wants. This has not been a good thing for him.Tough spot because Mitch can't give in to what Sandoval wants. If Sandoval backs off then both he and Heller are more vulnerable to the Democrats. And the Democrats and the lunatic Teabaggers both want Heller gone, though they have different ideas on his replacement. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes but if he does his best Republican Turd imitation he may well float to the top.
Brian Sandoval, the governor of Mr. Heller’s home state, is a Republican, but he is counting on Mr. Heller to provide what could be a crucial vote to maintain President Barack Obama’s health care law, which has been a boon for small businesses in Nevada. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader who this week will be rounding up votes to fulfill his party’s biggest promise of the last decade — repealing the Affordable Care Act — is trying to prevent Mr. Heller from undermining that goal.
Democrats also want Mr. Heller, but in the form of an unemployed senator. As the only Republican who is up for re-election next year in a state that Hillary Clinton won, he may be their only shot at picking up a seat. Democrats and health care interest groups have been unloading on Mr. Heller all spring with no end in sight.
Far-right Republicans in his state — who strongly support President Trump — also have their eyes on Mr. Heller to see if he will abandon the president. Already a group that Vice President Mike Pence has supported is preparing a seven-figure ad campaign against the senator.
“He’s in the eye of the storm here,” Mr. Sandoval said Friday at a news conference in Nevada as Mr. Heller stood next to him, looking vaguely miserable as Mr. Sandoval announced his opposition to the Senate bill. The legislation could affect 210,000 Nevada residents insured through the health care law’s expansion of Medicaid.
On Friday Mr. Heller said that he, too, was against the bill as it is currently drafted, leaving himself just enough wiggle room to continue his longstanding practice of being the senator in the middle, the man who wants to see the Medicaid program phased out, except when he decides he doesn’t. (Mr. Heller has taken both positions publicly.) He has also voted to take away money from Planned Parenthood, but tells some select audiences that “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”
Mr. Heller, whose spokeswoman said he was not available for an interview, said Friday at his news conference that “this bill, that’s currently in front of the United States Senate, is not the answer. It’s simply not the answer.’’
Behold! The Turd!
Bill Maher expounds on Trumpcare: The Death Panel Edition
When The Takers are in charge
Friday, June 23, 2017
GOP medicine men
R.I.P. Gabriel Pressman
When TV journalism was starting you were the man to watch for news in the City.
War without End, Amen
Ever since the end of WW II the US has been slowly but at a recently accelerating pace, inserting its military into countries around the world. It began innocently enough with the occupation of our fallen foes after The Big One. It suffered a hitch when we were pushed out of North Korea and Southeast Asia after military failures. It began again with the Bush War I against Saddam Hussein and has steadily encroached upon every country we could for any reason we could manufacture. And now we are about to try for war in Iran and include Syria.
To hear the Pentagon tell it, the United States still has no intention of getting involved in Syria’s six-year civil war; the American presence there is solely to help its allies defeat the Islamic State.Since Donny Metmucilini has given the Pentagon carte blanche to blow up or shoot whoever they please, we cn expect an unhindered increase in our efforts to bring eternal war to the Middle East for the benefit of our good friend Bugsy Netanyahu.
But a recent spate of incidents have raised alarm from diplomats and national security officials that the United States may be inadvertently sliding into a far bigger role in the Syrian civil war than it intended.
“We don’t seek conflict with anyone other than ISIS,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Wednesday, using an acronym for the militant Sunni extremist group that is rooted in Syria and Iraq.
This month alone, the United States has shot down a Syrian warplane, come close to shooting another and downed two Iranian-made drones that were nearing American-backed troops on the ground.
Russia has retaliated by threatening to treat American planes as targets; in a dramatic “Top Gun”-style maneuver on Monday, one of Moscow’s jets buzzed within five feet of an American spy plane.
None of these encounters involved the Islamic State. The contradiction opens a larger question, national security experts say, of what kind of broader strategy the Trump administration plans once the Islamic State — now on the defensive — is defeated in Syria.
With each episode, “we own more of the conflict in Syria without articulating a strategy,” said Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “We are sleepwalking into a much broader military mandate, without saying what we plan to do afterward.”
American military gains in Syria have far outpaced any diplomacy toward a political settlement of the Syrian civil war.
When President Barack Obama first began airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria three years ago, the instructions to the Pentagon seemed clear: Defeat the Islamic State through alliances with Syrians who oppose the brutal extremist group, but do not help them fight President Bashar al-Assad.
The Islamic State is now reeling in Syria. It has been battered by strikes from a host of enemies, from the United States and its regional allies to the Syrian government that is backed by Russia and Iran. It no longer holds one-third of the country, according to American officials who say that the group has lost around half of the territory it once controlled.
In past years, the Pentagon and its allies could stay out of the Syrian government’s way — and that of Mr. Assad’s backers in Russia and Iran — as all fought the Islamic State. Now, all sides are converging on a smaller piece of territory, resulting in competing forces increasingly turning on one another, in addition to the common enemy.
Captain Davis, at the Pentagon, noted that when American-backed ground troops are confronted by “armed drones, that leaves us with no choice but to defend ourselves and our partners.”
He said that the downing of an Iranian-made drone this week was done in self-defense. Defense officials insist that does not amount to a greater United States involvement in the broader war.
But privately, American military officials acknowledge that they are quickly running out of space in Syria to stay out of Mr. Assad’s way — not to mention Russia’s and Iran’s.
In Europe, the new president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced that he would be taking a distinctly different tack on Syria than his predecessor. Mr. Macron said that getting rid of Mr. Assad was no longer a top priority.
Instead, Mr. Macron said, getting rid of terrorists is more important — and he is prepared to work with anyone toward that end, including Moscow.
“The real change I’ve made on this question is that I haven’t said the deposing of Bashar al-Assad is a prerequisite for everything,” Mr. Macron said in an interview with European newspapers, according to Agence France-Presse.
Can we add another crime?
Donny Metamucilini is well recorded admitting that he tried to obstruct justice by getting to change his testimony before Congress. Now he has recorded another admission that he did try to alter Coney's sworn testimony to Congress.
President Trump appeared to acknowledge on Friday in an interview that his tweet hinting of taped conversations with James B. Comey was intended to influence the fired F.B.I. director’s testimony before Congress, and he emphasized that he committed “no obstruction” of the inquiries into whether his campaign colluded with Russia.Trump wants us to believe he committed no crimes in the face of evidence to the contrary. And now he has recorded one more piece of evidence that he tried to suborn perjury from Comey, a crime he has not yet been charged with.
The interview, with “Fox & Friends,” was shown one day after the president tweeted what most people in Washington had already come to believe: that he had not made recordings of his conversations with Mr. Comey.
Instead, the president explained in the television interview, his tweets were referring to the possibility that anyone could have taped those discussions.
“I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months about the seriousness of the horribleness of the situation with surveillance all over the place,” the president said in the interview. “So you never know what’s out there, but I didn’t tape, and I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape.”
When the Fox interviewer suggested that the possible existence of recordings might make sure Mr. Comey “stayed honest in those hearings,” Mr. Trump paused before responding, “Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that.”
Referring to Mr. Comey, the president said that “when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, I think his story may have changed.”
Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to his statements over the months, which Mr. Comey confirmed in his testimony, that the then-F.B.I. director had told the president that he was not under investigation.
Mr. Trump, according to his advisers, had become enormously frustrated that Mr. Comey would not say so publicly.
The president also raised questions about the impartiality of Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director who was named special counsel for the Russia investigation after Mr. Comey was fired.
“He’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump repeatedly refused to say whether he believed Mr. Mueller would have to recuse himself from the inquiry. The president is said to have railed in private about Mr. Mueller to aides and has said he wants to leave open the option of firing him.
Mr. Trump said “there’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that,” and he added that some of Mr. Mueller’s legal team had supported Hillary Clinton.
A Closer Look At Mitch's Monster
The Republican Congressional Death Panel
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Growing up in Bluegrass music
It's not hard to know why Molly Tuttle is such a good singer and musician. She also has that extra that will make her a leader in the new generation of Bluegrass musicians. From her new album Rise.
The Tail tells the Tale
Mitch's Monster Unveiled
And it is the true horror that anyone who actually works and pays taxes could imagine. On the other hand, if your net worth has lots of zeros in it you can expect a yuge gift from the 1%'s Uncle Sugar.
The 142-page bill would create a new system of federal tax credits to help people buy health insurance, while offering states the ability to drop many of the benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, like maternity care, emergency services and mental health treatment.So the takeaway on this bill is what it takes away. It takes away any support for people who can't otherwise pay for health insurance, the cost of which will go up in the bill. It also takes away to annoying taxes which kept obscenely rich people from getting just a wee bit richer. And it takes away any prospect of economic revival ans it guts approximately 1/6 of the economy which will not be replaced by spending by the 'wee bit richer' because they never do. In spite of all that Mitch's Monster already has one Republican opponent.
The Senate bill — once promised as a top-to-bottom revamp of the health bill passed by the House last month — instead maintains its structure, with modest adjustments. The Senate version is, in some respects, more moderate than the House bill, offering more financial assistance to some lower-income people to help them defray the rapidly rising cost of private health insurance.
But the Senate measure, like the House bill, would phase out the extra money that the federal government has provided to states as an incentive to expand eligibility for Medicaid. And like the House measure, it would put the entire Medicaid program on a budget, ending the open-ended entitlement that now exists.
It would also repeal virtually all the tax increases imposed by the Affordable Care Act to pay for itself, in effect handing a broad tax cut to the affluent, paid for by billions of dollars sliced from Medicaid, a health care program that serves one in five Americans, not only the poor but almost two-thirds of those in nursing homes. The bill, drafted in secret, is likely to come to the Senate floor next week, and could come to a vote after 20 hours of debate.
Mr. McConnell faces a great challenge in amassing the votes to win Senate approval of the bill, which Republicans are trying to pass using special budget rules that will allow them to avoid a Democratic filibuster. But with only 52 seats, Mr. McConnell can afford to lose only two Republicans, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. He may have already lost one — Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has indicated repeatedly that the bill is too liberal for him.Imagine that! Too liberal, and from a doctor, no less.
Protecting the perverts
Samantha Bee explains why the Republican controlled NY Senate can't pass the Vhild Victims Act after 11 years of trying.
Half as good as The Mummy
Seth Meyers expounds on the secrecy surrounding the Senate Tax Cut health care bill
Mitch put a sock over it
Stephen Colbert describes the Senate Tax Cut Bill on health care
Getting the bad news
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
15 years in NO and it's starting to show
Lynn Drury performs "Frenchmen Street" at the 2011 Ladyfest New Orleans
If you control the voting....
Can't have real fear with permits
So the NRA in its quest to guarantee every American is totally living in fear 24/7 is seeking nationwide repeal of concealed handgun permits so that anyone, anytime and in any condition can carry lethal hardware any place they please. Schools, banks, hospitals, jails and courtrooms, anywhere.
After swiftly expanding gun-rights laws during the first few years that Republicans took control of the state legislature, the charge to loosen firearms restrictions has slowed – until now.The NRA says that the 2nd Amendment guarantees your right to buy unlimited lethal hardware, carry it anywhere and if your locale has a "Stand Your Ground" law, shoot anybody anywhere. What the NRA position really guarantees is a constant state of fear which insures steady sales of lethal hardware to far too many people who can't handle what they buy. This insures the profits of the gun manufacturers and dealers who kick back to the NRA executive committee and insures they profit from their vicious misbegotten ideas.b
The state House passed a bill this month that pits gun owners against each other. It would nearly eliminate concealed handgun permits and the training that goes with them, and would set the minimum age at 18 to carry a concealed gun. Under current law, people 21 and older can apply for a permit to carry a concealed gun, and anyone 18 or older can carry a handgun openly.
The bill’s sudden movement was surprising, considering three similar bills had been dormant since they were filed in February, and the legislators pushing the bills are the most conservative Republicans in the legislature, who are not always in step with the rest of the House GOP caucus or its leaders.
[Concealed handgun permits would no longer be required]
What has given this gun bill momentum — besides the persistent backing of the statewide gun-rights Grass Roots N.C. — is advocacy by the National Rifle Association. Promoting permitless carry — also referred to as constitutional carry — laws has become a top priority of the NRA across the country.
Twelve states now have permitless carry laws. Eight of those states enacted the laws in the past two years. At least three more are considering it.
A rapidly increasing number of North Carolinians have gone through the training and background checks required to qualify for permits: currently more than 600,000.
The argument for permitless carry is the same in North Carolina as it has been in other states: that it protects law-abiding citizens who don’t want to break the law simply by putting a coat or sweater over a legal, openly holstered handgun, carried for self-defense.
“Law-abiding citizens in North Carolina can already open carry a handgun without a permit,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said in an emailed statement. “This legislation simply recognizes that it is often more convenient to carry discretely. More Americans than ever are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-protection and the NRA wants to ensure they can do so in a manner that is most convenient to them.”
Gun-control advocates are chasing the NRA around the country to counter gains the formidable organization might make with state legislatures.
“We watch them very closely, that’s what we do,” Peter Ambler, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, said in a recent interview.
“What’s most important is that permitless carry does not become law,” Ambler said. “... You don’t want folks carrying around an incredibly dangerous consumer product like a firearm without knowing how to use it. That’s not only common sense but a part of the ethos of responsibility in this country that’s accompanied the traditions of gun ownership, that unfortunately the gun lobby is getting away from.”
The proper way to stop Trumpcare
Trevor Noah suggests a little more drama.
Just so you know
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
John Sebastian by way of Joe Cocker
And elegantly redone by the Tedeschi Trucks Band. "Darling, Be Home Soon"
1 lifts you up, 1 let's you down
R.I.P. William Szathmary
Under the name Bill Dana, you told us your name was Jose Jimenez. You were not Latino and you were never mean spirited.
With no more political restraint
Thanks to a combination of Donald Trump's ignorance and unwillingness to work, the Pentagon may be on its way to attacking every one of the distractions blamed for its inability to win the war in Shitholeistan in 16 years. It appears the military will get carte blanche from The Tangerine Shitgibbon for whatever they want to do. And the latest irritation is Pakistan.
President Donald Trump's administration is exploring hardening its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, two U.S. officials tell Reuters.What a dreadful situation. Having blown up all the mud huts available as targets, the military sets its eyes on greener pastures in neighboring Pakistan. In the same way they took out Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam Debacle, the military is ready to take out Pakistan's safe haven's. So what if they are our allies and have nukes. We can drop the alliance and we got more nukes than they do. Normally the political side would hold those crazy Brassholes in check, but now our political side is too busy tweeting shit. WASF!
Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding U.S. drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Other U.S. officials are skeptical of the prospects for success, arguing that years of previous U.S. efforts to curb Pakistan's support for militant groups have failed, and that already strengthening U.S. ties to India, Pakistan's arch-enemy, undermine chances of a breakthrough with Islamabad.
U.S. officials say generally they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, once the administration finishes a regional review, due by mid-July, of the strategy guiding the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.
Experts on America's longest war argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents a place to plot deadly strikes in Afghanistan and regroup after ground offensives.
Although long mindful of Pakistan, the Trump administration in recent weeks has put more emphasis on the relationship with Islamabad in discussions as it hammers out a regional strategy to be presented to Trump, who took office in late January, one official said.
"We've never really fully articulated what our strategy towards Pakistan is. The strategy will more clearly say what we want from Pakistan specifically," the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Other U.S. officials question whether any mix of carrots and sticks can get Islamabad to change its behavior. At the end of the day, Washington needs a partner, even if an imperfect one, in nuclear-armed Pakistan, they say.
The United States is again poised to deploy thousands more troops in Afghanistan, an acknowledgment that U.S.-backed forces are not winning and Taliban militants are resurgent.
Unless you're black
Trevor Noah wraps up some under covered news items including an example of NRA Total Silence.
Not possible until Republicans are eliminated
Monday, June 19, 2017
What if they had spoken Truth to Trump?
Our intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow presents us with a view of the Trump cabinet meeting as if it had occurred in reality.
Not meant to be seen
Will Trump fight his BFF?
Or is this just some more smoke and mirrors to distract from Trump's Treason Troubles? Yesterday the US Air Force which no longer has to check in with the president before shooting down a jet flying in its own airspace, did just that to a Syrian Air Force jet that allegedly attacked the people on the ground that we like. The reaction?
Russia on Monday condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane, suspending the use of a military hotline that Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatening to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies over Syria.The most likely scenario is that Russia will shoot down a plane of two belonging to our allies so as not to upset enough people to forcr Donny to attack his BFF Putin's planes. And if Donny does nothing as expected, Putin will continue to do so until....?
The moves were the most recent example of an intensifying clash of words and interests between the two powers, which support different sides in the yearslong war in Syria.
The Russian military has threatened to halt its use of the hotline in the past — notably after President Trump ordered the launch of missiles against a Syrian air base in April — only to continue and even expand its contacts with the United States military. It was not clear whether the latest suspension would be lasting.
Its announcement came in response to an American F/A-18 jet’s shooting down a Syrian government warplane south of the town of Tabqah on Sunday, after the Syrian aircraft dropped bombs near local ground forces supported by the United States. It was the first time the American military had downed a Syrian plane since the civil war began in the country in 2011.
The Russian Defense Ministry called American attacks against the Syrian forces “military aggression” and announced that it would suspend cooperation with the United States intended to prevent airborne accidents over Syria.
“All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The United States will continue to conduct air operations over Syria, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State said on Monday.
“We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground,” the spokesman, Col. Ryan Dillon, said in a telephone interview from Baghdad.
But Pentagon officials emphasized that the situation was still unfolding.
The Hideous Republican Health Plan
John Oliver touches on some of the reasons why this abomination stays hidden.
You thought you got rid of them
Sunday, June 18, 2017
When the singer and the song are classics
Bonnie Raitt performing John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery"
Mitch working in the secret Batshit Cave
The Profits of Privatization
The Two Faced Turtle
Trevor Noah looks at Mitch and his Son of a Mitch Health Care bill which may or may not exist.
The Forgotten Man in Today's Christianity
Saturday, June 17, 2017
A player from Down Under
Anne McCue has been playing, singing, writing, producing and more since 1988. "Ballad of An Outlaw Woman" was from her first live album.
Jefferson Beauregard....I Don't Recall The Rest
Any country that wants a favorable US policy
Nowadays just needs to call up one of Donald Trump's spawn and make a deal. Once the papers have been signed, a country's leadership can commit any atrocity that pleases it and the United States of Trump will staunchly stand at their side.
President Trump has done business with royals from Saudi Arabia for at least 20 years, since he sold the Plaza Hotel to a partnership formed by a Saudi prince. Mr. Trump has earned millions of dollars from the United Arab Emirates for putting his name on a golf course, with a second soon to open.Commercial interests have often been a part of international relationships, but seldom have they been so completely focused on the financial benefit of one person at the expense of the country.
He has never entered the booming market in neighboring Qatar, however, despite years of trying.
Now a feud has broken out among these three crucial American allies, and Mr. Trump has thrown his weight firmly behind the two countries where he has business ties, raising new concerns about the appearance of a conflict between his public role and his financial incentives.
Mr. Trump has said he is backing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because Qatar is “a funder of terror at a very high level.” But his stance toward Qatar, which is host to the largest American air base in the region, has differed sharply from the positions of the Pentagon and State Department. The secretaries of defense and state have stayed neutral, urging unity against the common enemy of the Islamic State.
Mr. Trump is the first president in 40 years to retain his personal business interests after entering the White House. Other senior officials in the executive branch are required to divest their assets. Critics say his singular decision to hold on to his global business empire inevitably casts a doubt on his motives, especially when his public actions dovetail with his business interests.
“Other countries in the Middle East see what is happening and may think, ‘We should be opening golf courses’ or ‘We should be buying rooms at the Trump International,’” said Brian Egan, a State Department legal adviser under the Obama administration. “Even if there is no nefarious intent on behalf of the president or the Trumps, for a president to be making money from business holdings in sensitive places around the world is likely to have an impact.”
A spokesman for the White House declined to address questions about the appearance of a conflict of interest. The spokesman, Michael Short, said in an email only that Mr. Trump had “formally extracted himself” from management of his business, the Trump Organization.
Stepping away from management without giving up ownership does not diminish Mr. Trump’s financial incentives or conflicts, as the director of the Office of Government Ethics warned before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
Wingnut welfare lets you fail upward
Just look at the case of the Yugest Republican failure in the last few years, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas. After being elected Republican governor with a solid Republican legislature, he proceeded to enact all the worst financial ideas Conservatives have been embracing over the years. And very effectively drove the Kansas economy into the ground with all the accompanying disaster that follows. And now, as he reaches his term limit as governor, he is being considered for a post in the Trump administration.
Federal officials are in the process of vetting Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for a position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.I guess he wasn't eligible for any new post until his failure in Kansas was complete.
Two close associates of Brownback confirmed to The Star that they were interviewed by federal officials about the governor’s character and qualifications last month. And a congressional source said people close to the governor and senior officials at the White House have said that it’s a matter of when, not if, he gets a post.
“It’s the worst kept secret that he’s going to be nominated for something,” said a former Trump adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But the timeline for the appointment, which will most likely be with the U.S. State Department, is uncertain, the adviser said.
The speculation about Brownback’s return to Washington comes at a time when his stature in Kansas has diminished greatly. Brownback, who was first elected governor in 2010 by a more than 30-point margin, has seen his popularity and influence wane in recent years as the state has repeatedly faced budget shortfalls many blame on his tax cuts.
Republican officials in Kansas said that an announcement of Brownback’s departure could come in the near future. His exit would elevate Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a Johnson County plastic surgeon, into the state’s top office.
“I’m aware that they’ve already done background checks and all that good stuff,” said Kelly Arnold, the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. “But I’ve not been informed about the specific position or when an announcement will happen.”
Arnold said an announcement could happen as early as next week or could take another three months. He said officials in Topeka are already readying themselves for the transition from Brownback to Colyer.
“People are preparing for a change,” he said.
The White House and State Department declined to comment on the vetting process.
Brownback’s name has been floated for multiple jobs since Trump won the presidency in November, but speculation of Brownback’s imminent departure has intensified in recent weeks after one of the longest legislative sessions in the state’s history climaxed with the repeal of his signature policy, his 2012 tax cuts.
Shop before all the shops disappear
Bill Maher examines the current great shift in employment
Down, Down, Down
Friday, June 16, 2017
Sweet Memories of Youthness
Ruby and The Romantics
The Real NRA 2nd Amendment Freedom
If they didn't shred them before now
It is officially too late to shred files related to the Trump Transition Team, they have officially been requested to preserve any that still exist.
Members of President Trump’s transition team were ordered on Thursday to preserve documents and other materials related to the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.And which investigative body will win 'Flip A Trump Associate' first?
The memo, from the transition team’s general counsel’s office, is the latest indication that the investigation’s special counsel, the former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III, is casting a wide net in his inquiry into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
The memo says former transition team members “have a duty to preserve any physical and electronic records that may be related in any way to the subject matter of the pending investigations.”
The so-called preservation order covers any transition team information involving Russia or Ukraine. It also seeks any background investigation records involving the former manager of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and his business partner, Rick Gates; the former foreign policy adviser Carter Page; and the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Flynn was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of a call with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
The memorandum also names Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to Mr. Trump.
With the order, the transition team lawyers are indicating that they have reason to believe that the five men’s actions are part of investigations by the Justice Department or the House or Senate Intelligence Committees, or will be.
All five of the men named in the memo, except for Mr. Gates, had been previously linked to investigations by the F.B.I. or Congress.
Mr. Gates said late Thursday that he was not aware of the memo. He added, “At this time, I have not been contacted by any law enforcement organization in connection with the Russia investigations.”
The order came on the same day that it was revealed that Mr. Pence had retained a criminal defense lawyer to represent him in the various investigations encircling the White House.
The king of spiking the ball at the six yard line
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look
Only then will it end
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Before Nancy Wilson had Heart
Another Nancy Wilson had Soul. I can't take my ears off her as she sings "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
Making Salem Great Again
One climate isn't changing. Thanks NRA
Let the Fox guard the henhouse
And the first thing you know, he will be hiring some wolves to help him provide complete 'coverage'. Scott Pruitt, notorious hireling of the worst polluters on the planet, has just hired one of their bad ass lawyers to be a top enforcement lawyer in the EPA.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt may have skipped the G7 climate meeting more than a day early, but he has certainly kept busy staffing his agency.No doubt, Big Pollution will be well defended in any upcoming court cases.
POLITICO reported that Pruitt has named energy industry attorney Patrick Traylor as a deputy in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
The office, which the Trump administration reportedly tried to cut, enforces key anti-pollution laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to protect the environment and vulnerable communities.
Traylor, whose LinkedIn profile indicates he started the job in June, was a longtime partner of the international law firm Hogan Lovells and has represented companies owned by the Koch brothers and other energy industry giants.
Per POLITICO, "clients include utility Southern California Edison; Venture Global LNG, a natural gas exporter; Flint Hills Resources, a Koch subsidiary refiner; Koch Nitrogen, maker of synthetic fertilizer; and several wind companies seeking Endangered Species Act permits."
Traylor has also defended Dominion Energy and TransCanada, as New York Times reporter Eric Lipton tweeted. Dominion is behind the highly contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline and TransCanada's is responsible for the Keystone XL.
The Sessions Session
Stephen Colbert on what the evil little shitweasel didn't say, plus a Happy Birthday to the First Fart in the White House.
The Sessions Sessions
Samantha Bee looks at the cute little AG in despair.
Not your father's patriotism
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Minneapolis does Beatles
By way of Joe Cocker. Tina Schlieske does "With A Little Help From My Friends" from the Sweet Relief III album.
Donald assembles the perfect cabinet
R.I.P. Rosalie Ann Stringfellow Sorrels
You never got rich from your singing but the world would be a poorer place without the music you gave us.
After 16 years, a new winning strategy
Same as the old winning strategy, send in more troops. It is not often that a war provides its own history for strategists to study, but in addition to British and Russian histories, our own time in Shitholeistan should provide grist for the military minds in charge of the war. For some strange reason they keep grinding out the same crappy meal which does no one any good.
President Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine troop levels in Afghanistan, three administration officials said Tuesday, opening the door for sending more American forces to a war that the Pentagon chief acknowledged the United States was “not winning.”Spiffy uniforms with lots of ribbons and brass do not seem to correspond with military genius. If anything they denote a career cementhead and more Americans will die for no fucking reason at all.
Mr. Mattis is believed to favor sending several thousand more American troops to strengthen the effort to advise Afghan forces as they push back against gains made by the Taliban, the Islamic State and other militant groups. But officials said he had not yet decided how many more forces to send to Afghanistan, or when to deploy them.
One United States official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing internal deliberations, said that Mr. Trump decided on Tuesday morning to grant Mr. Mattis the authority. It was the latest in a series of moves by the White House to give the Pentagon and its military commanders more latitude to deploy forces and carry out operations.
Mr. Mattis alluded somewhat cryptically to the decision when he testified on Tuesday morning to the Senate Armed Services Committee. During his appearance, the defense secretary promised Congress that the Trump administration would develop a new strategy for Afghanistan by mid-July to turn around the war.
That timetable led to a feisty exchange with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and the committee’s chairman, who complained that the Pentagon had yet to present a plan to regain momentum in a conflict that has been going on for more than 15 years.
“We’re now six months into this administration,” Mr. McCain said. “We still haven’t got a strategy for Afghanistan. It makes it hard for us to support you when we don’t have a strategy.”
Mr. Mattis sought to ease his concerns by hinting that some troops might be sent as an interim step before the administration’s new strategy is finalized. “There are actions being taken to make certain that we don’t pay a price for the delay,” Mr. Mattis said.
Mr. Trump has already given his Pentagon chief similar authority for Iraq and Syria.
They have what they want
But The Tangerine Shitgibbon's advisors and handlers are afraid of the mercurial nature of Trump's madness. What he is for today can change before his next meal. His soon to be announced policy for Cuba isone example.
President Donald Trump has a draft plan that would at least partially reverse the Obama administration’s decision to ease Cuba restrictions. But even some of his trusted advisers are wondering whether they can bank on it, given the president’s history of changing his mind on the fly.And between now and Friday, Raul Castro could call up Eric Trump and offer a deal for a Trump Tower and golf resort in Cuba's finest tourist area and that would change the whole deal. Or Tangerine could just wake up Friday having forgotten what he was going to do and make something up on the spot to the horror of his handlers. With a fool for a president, all things are possible.
According to people familiar with White House deliberations on Cuba policy, Trump is expected to prohibit companies from doing business with the small country’s military, tighten travel to the island and possibly set conditions on the communist government if Havana wants to maintain diplomatic relations.
That kind of plan, if it sees the light of day, could be welcome news for South Florida Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who have been lobbying the White House to impose more restrictions. But it could hurt the American agriculture and tourism industries, whose executives tell McClatchy they have been pushing the Trump administration to keep newly opened, and potentially lucrative, business lanes open.
Advisers, having seen how the fight for influence among factions within the administration has played out on other controversial issues, such as support for NATO, say they won’t truly know until the words come out of the president’s mouth. Certainly, the group seeking a return to tighter restrictions knows there is a rival contingent inside the White House that opposes Trump’s campaign promise to roll back parts of former President Barack Obama’s opening to the island.
“I believe in nothing until the president says it because of what we’ve seen, especially with what happened with the Article 5 and NATO,” said a source familiar with the administration’s discussions about Cuba. “The president was going to come out with a statement that he supported Article 5 and collective defense and then at the last second, certain elements at the White House got to him and he didn't say that.”
The announcement is expected to be made by Trump on Friday in Miami.
Is it real or shade
Trevor Noah gives a quick lesson on the difference
But they let the mentally ill keep their guns
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The Avalon Jazz Band perfom a song by Charles Trenet
Better driven through his heart
Torture R Us?
Take a man who protested against his government, one that our own government was openly opposed to because it nationalized its oil business, was arrested and tortured and upon his release, fled to the US for asylum. Once upon a time he would have accepted here while his case was being examined. Now, under the reign of the Tangerine Shitgibbon, he is arrested and thrown into detention in anticipation of his deportation.
Marco Coello, then a skinny 18-year-old high school student, was grabbed by plainclothes agents of the Venezuelan security services as he joined a 2014 demonstration against the government in Caracas.Two different agencies that do not seem to talk to each other and one, the ICE Thugs seemingly working on a biggest number biggest bonus system regardless of any possible extenuating circumstances. If only they had such a system in place when Tangerine's pimp grandfather came to these shores.
They put a gun to his head. They attacked him with their feet, a golf club, a fire extinguisher. They tortured him with electric shocks. Then Mr. Coello was jailed for several months, and shortly after his release, he fled to the United States.
Human Rights Watch extensively documented his case in a report that year. The State Department included him in its own human rights report on Venezuela in 2015. With such an extensive paper trail of mistreatment in his home country, his lawyer, Elizabeth Blandon, expected a straightforward asylum interview when Mr. Coello appeared at an immigration office this April in Miami.
Instead, he was arrested and taken to a detention facility on the edge of the Everglades. He was now a candidate for deportation. “Every time they would move me around, I would fear that they were going to take me to deport me,” said Mr. Coello, now 22.
Mr. Coello’s case drew extensive media coverage in both Miami and Caracas and, eventually, the intervention of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The senator helped secure Mr. Coello’s release, though he could still be deported.
The case may have been a sign of just how far the government is willing to go to carry out President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
“It’s very unusual — almost unprecedented — that ICE would arrest an asylum applicant who is at a U.S.C.I.S. office waiting for their asylum interview,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell Law School.
He was referring to two agencies that are part of the Department of Homeland Security but, as Mr. Coello discovered, have very different missions: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles citizenship and asylum cases, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which arrests people believed to be in the country without permission.
In the first three months of the Trump administration, ICE agents arrested some 41,000 people, an increase of nearly 40 percent over the same period last year. At the same time, the administration has expressed a desire to be stricter about allowing people into the country with asylum claims, as most such claims are ultimately rejected.
When Mr. Coello was taken to the Krome detention center, another asylum seeker was already there.
Who would do that?
Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look at Donald Trump
The Shillboard Top 5
Trevor Noah does Trump excuses
Where are the forces of good?
Monday, June 12, 2017
Trouble Over Me
Where the past is prelude
That intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow shows us that we already know what will happen when the proof of Der Trumpenfuhrer's crimes comes out.
Hinky Zinke makes his pitch
Gonna be some major twisting needed
And after the second appeals court threw The Tangerine Shitgibbon's illegal Muslim ban on the shitheap again, the current body of law will have to be distorted and twisted into an unrecognizable shape for SCOTUS to uphold it.
A second federal appeals court on Monday ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban. The decision, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, was the latest in a string of court rulings rejecting the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.Maybe someday Tangerine will realize that Executive Orders are not Imperial Decrees with which he can impose whatever he pleases on the peasants. That day may very well be long after that useless lump of shit is dead and buried.
The administration has already sought a Supreme Court review of a similar decision issued last month by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va.
The new ruling affirmed a March decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson, of the Federal District Court in Hawaii. Judge Watson blocked major parts of the revised order, saying they violated the Constitution’s ban on a government establishment of religion. Judge Watson wrote that the statements of Mr. Trump and his advisers made clear that his executive order amounted to an attempt to disfavor Muslims.
The Many Ways To Say Yes In DC
John Oliver on the Comey Hearing
GOP Congress never takes the easy way
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Cartoons from the '30s & Music from the Present
A Triumph of Trumpian Transport
Drugs to cure drug addiction
What better way to the necessary feeding of the bottom lines of Big Pharma than selling mass quantities of opioid pain killers to create a problem, and then cleverly marketing a drug to treat opioid addiction.
The ads have been popping up on billboards, buses, subways and in glossy magazines, with portraits of attractive men and women and a simple question in bold letters: What is Vivitrol?With Tom Price's unstinting praise of the drug should also come an examination to see how many shares are owned or beneficially owned by him. After the fiasco with his insider trading efforts with Innate Immunotherapeutics, Tom seems reticent to share this hot tip. Al least not with people who can't keep their mouths shut.
Five years ago, Vivitrol was a treatment for opioid addiction that was struggling to find a market. Now, its sales and profile are rising fast, thanks to its manufacturers’ shrewd use of political connections, and despite scant science to prove the drug’s efficacy.
Last month, the health and human services secretary, Tom Price, praised it as the future of opioid addiction treatment after visiting the company’s plant in Ohio, setting off a furor among substance abuse specialists by criticizing its less expensive and more widely used and rigorously studied competitors, buprenorphine and methadone, as medications that “simply substitute” for illicit drugs.
It was the kind of plug that Vivitrol’s maker, Alkermes, has spent years coaxing, with a deft lobbying strategy that has targeted lawmakers and law enforcement officials. The company has spent millions of dollars on contributions to officials struggling to stem the epidemic of opioid abuse. It has also provided thousands of free doses to encourage the use of Vivitrol in jails and prisons, which have by default become major detox centers.
With the Trump administration sending $1 billion in new addiction prevention and treatment funds to states over the next two years through the 21st Century Cures Act, Alkermes’s marketing has shifted into even higher gear.
The company’s strategy highlights the profit opportunities that drug companies and investors see in an opioid epidemic that killed 91 Americans every day in 2015 and is growing worse. But some of its marketing tactics, and Mr. Price’s comments, ignore widely accepted science, as nearly 700 experts in the field wrote the health secretary in a letter.
Not a single study has been completed comparing Vivitrol to its less expensive competitors. Some studies have shown high dropout rates, or found that many participants return to opioid use while taking Vivitrol or after going off it. In one study that the company used to secure the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Vivitrol for opioid addiction treatment, conducted with 250 patients in Russia, nearly half of those who got Vivitrol failed to stay abstinent over a six-month period, although they stayed abstinent and in treatment longer than those who got a placebo.
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