Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lucky Barn is the location

And "Subtle Love" is the title of this sweet song from Joan Shelley

If only we knew how badly he spelled

From the pen of Bill Schorr

Real ticks are spreading

Ticks have always been a problem
in warmer climates and now as our climate warms up their range is reaching farther north than ever before. And the ones coming up are more aggressive than previously and vectors of dangerous diseases.
With the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving. They provide ample blood meals for ticks and help spread the pests to new regions.

Originally from the Southeast, the lone star tick, for example, is heading north; it can now be found in 1,300 counties in 39 states. The blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick, is expanding its territory, too. In a recent study, Dr. Eisen reported a nearly 45 percent increase since 1998 in the number of counties with blacklegged ticks.

Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center, said it used to get reports of three or four lone star ticks in the greater Chicago area each year. Now, it is receiving up to 15.

When a tick species marches into a new region, it poses a double-barreled threat, said Jerome Goddard, extension professor of medical and veterinary entomology at Mississippi State University.

First, the species brings diseases from its original location. Second, the ticks pick up new pathogens from animals in their new ecosystem.

Physicians and patients in a tick’s new home may be less familiar with the diseases it carries. They can overlook symptoms or attribute them to a different cause, delaying effective treatment.

The best known threat is Lyme disease. Cases in the United States increased from about 12,000 annually in 1995 to nearly 40,000 in 2015. Experts say the real number of infections is likely closer to 300,000.

But scientists are finding ticks carry more than just Lyme: At least a third of known tick-borne pathogens were found in the last 20 years. Heartland virus and Bourbon virus, which can prove fatal, were discovered in just the last five years.

Powassan virus, a rare but dangerous pathogen that can cause permanent brain damage or death, can be passed from tick to human in just 15 minutes. It was discovered in 1958, and an average of seven cases are reported each year. Earlier this month, a resident of Saratoga County, N.Y., who had Powassan disease died.

Dr. Gary Wormser, founder of the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center at New York Medical College, said the most worrisome tick-borne contagion he sees is babesiosis, which can cause malaria-like symptoms and require hospitalization. A few of his patients have died from it; several required intensive care.

Before 2001, babesiosis was not found in Westchester, N.Y. But Westchester Medical Center has diagnosed at least 21 cases in the past year. A study of babesiosis in Wisconsin found a 26-fold increase in the number of cases between 2001 to 2003, and 2012 to 2015.

In places where the lone star tick is gaining prevalence, doctors also are seeing an increase in cases of alpha-gal syndrome, a strange allergy to red meat induced by tick bites.

Alpha-gal is a sugar molecule carried by the lone star tick. When the tick bites a human, it activates the immune system, which starts producing alpha-gal antibodies.

The body becomes wired to fight alpha-gal sugar molecules, which are abundant in red meat. Eating meat can trigger allergic reactions, from an itchy rash to anaphylactic shock.
It would be nice if the government would spend as much money seeking a cure for these diseases as they do on research to weaponize them. But we can delay any though of that until we get a real government in Washington.

How sharper than a serpent's tooth

It is to have a thankless Senator
. And this modification of the original Shakespeare is well applied to the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain. Except for a brief interlude in North Vietnam, John has had access to the best government provided health care possible from his cradle in Panama to his imminent grave. And to say thank you to all the taxpayers who have ponied up for this, he is dragging his own sick self back to DC to vote for the repeal of the ACA and the elimination of health insurance for over 30 Million of his fellow citizens.
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, is set to arrive at the Capitol at 2:45 p.m., despite a diagnosis of brain cancer, to cast his vote on whether to begin debating legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

After seven months of strategizing, debate and closed-door meetings, the Senate finally is voting. Senate Republican leaders can afford to lose only two Republicans. One is almost certainly gone, Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Senators Dean Heller of Nevada, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are still on the fence, but leaders think they can win them over. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, one of the most vocal opponents of the Republican bill to replace the health care law, now appears ready to at least debate it.

If the motion to begin debate passes, the first vote will be on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. That is likely to fail, and would be followed by a vote on the Senate Republican bill to replace the health law.

If that also fails, Senate leaders may fall back on a narrow bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that nearly everyone have health insurance, a separate mandate that most employers offer their employees health insurance and a repeal of the medical device tax.

The goal of that would be to simply get senators to negotiations with the House on a final repeal measure.
Nice to know these evil fuckers have a backup plan if their Plan C fails. It remains to be seen if the ever appreciative Sen. McCain will be around for that vote. His cancer is an aggressive kind, the same kind that killed his friend Ted Kennedy.

The only crime so far

Stephen Colbert on the Art of Self Pardoning

Boggles the mind

Monday, July 24, 2017

Linda with friends Dolly & Emmylou

Blue Train from her album Feels Like Home

I hope they find a cure

From the pen of Dave Granlund

Not sure I want Trump to end up this way

But the way Tom Tomorrow explains the current Russian crisis, his ending would just right for Cheeto Mussolini.

Having assailed the elfin A.G.

Cheeto Mussolini
has now bleated out a tweet asking why "our beleaguered A.G." hasn't been busily distracting the rubes with an unnecessary investigation of Hillary.
President Trump turned up the pressure on his own attorney general on Monday, calling him “beleaguered” in a tweet questioning why the Justice Department is not investigating Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Trump’s comments are remarkable because if the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is beleaguered of late it is largely because of Mr. Trump himself.

In an interview last week with The New York Times, Mr. Trump said he never would have nominated Mr. Sessions if he knew he intended to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling and the Trump campaign. Those comments raised speculation that Mr. Sessions would quit, but he did not. Instead, Mr. Sessions said he would stay on as attorney general “as long as that is appropriate.”

Mr. Sessions has made it a priority to address violence, gangs and drugs — carrying out Mr. Trump’s inaugural pledge to end “American carnage.” But his tense relationship with Mr. Trump has overshadowed his agenda at the Justice Department. Mr. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Mr. Trump’s candidacy and was an architect of his populist message on immigration and trade.

In his tweet, Mr. Trump returned to campaign rhetoric, suggesting his Democratic opponent should be the subject of an investigation into murky ties to Russia, not him.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump tweeted that “so many people” were asking why Mr. Sessions and the special counsel were not looking into Mrs. Clinton and her deleted emails.

After winning the election, Mr. Trump declared that the Justice Department should not pursue investigations of Mrs. Clinton. But some of his outside advisers have called for him to push for such an inquiry. Mrs. Clinton also faced investigations into her family’s foundation and her use of a private email server.
Either Cheeto is so shallow he will say anything to make him look good or his dementia has trashed his short term memory.

Is he capable of giving testimony?

Jared Kushner
had to fill out a very detailed form listing among other things, foreign contacts and details of his finances. Somehow the whiz kid, most noted for overpaying for a prestigious property at the top of the market, managed to 'forget' to include over 100 contacts that should have been included and over $1 Billion in financing. Naturally when he was called to testify before Congress, he was not required to give his testimony under oath or in public.
President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, emerged Monday from a private, two-hour-long meeting with congressional investigators and said his meetings last year with Russians were not part of any attempt by Moscow to disrupt the presidential election.

“All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign,” Mr. Kushner said on the White House grounds. “I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did.”

He said President Trump won the election because he had a better message and ran a smarter campaign than Hillary Clinton, not because he had help from Russia.

“Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him,” Mr. Kushner said in brief remarks. He took no questions from reporters.

In his prepared remarks to investigators, Mr. Kushner said he had been unaware that a June 2016 meeting he attended at Trump Tower was set up in the hope that a Russian lawyer would provide the Trump campaign with damaging information about Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Kushner, who gave his statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, said he went to the meeting at the request of the president’s eldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr. Mr. Kushner said he did not read an email forwarded by the younger Mr. Trump saying that the Russian government was providing dirt about Mrs. Clinton as part of its effort to help the Trump campaign.

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Kushner gave his first public explanation of his contacts with Russian government officials and other Kremlin-connected people over the past year. He acknowledged that after the November election, he sought a direct line of communication to the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. He characterized that action as a routine part of his job in establishing foreign contacts for Mr. Trump’s transition team.

In the remarks, Mr. Kushner flatly denied any collusion: “I had no improper contacts. I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.”
We don't know yet what Jared said but we can tell from his remarks that he is in way over his head and the Republicans need to handle him carefullyso he doesn't do a Junior on them.It would be nice if they also pulled his security clearence and relieved him of duties he will never fulfill.

Life's solutions can be simple

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Everything Comes Apart

Nina Violet

Vlad cares for his ward

From the pen of David Horsey

The Land of The Cool Khat

In Ethiopia there is not much to do. The government is trying to change that and rebuild the economy of Ethiopia. The government has one serious quandary, the growing and selling of khat is one of the major sources of revenue. The government also sees khat as an impediment ot its efforts to revitalize the country.
The country’s government, which rules the economy with a tight grip, is worried that the habit could derail its plans to transform Ethiopia into a middle-income country in less than a decade ― a national undertaking that will require an army of young, capable workers, it says.

Khat is legal and remains so mainly because it is a big source of revenue for the government. But there are mounting concerns about its widespread use.

As many as 1.2 million acres of land are thought to be devoted to khat, nearly three times more than two decades ago. And the amount of money khat generates per acre surpasses all other crops, including coffee, Ethiopia’s biggest export, said Gessesse Dessie, a researcher at the African Studies Center Leiden at Leiden University.

That payoff, and the dwindling availability of land, has pushed thousands of farmers to switch to khat, he said. The changes have come as the government has pushed farmers off land that it has given to foreign investors in recent years.

Often associated with famine and marathon runners, Ethiopia is trying to change its global image by engineering a fast-growing economy, hoping to mimic Asian nations like China. It has poured billions of dollars into industrial parks, roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure projects, including Africa’s largest dam.

In cities across the country, skyscrapers grow like mushrooms, and along with them, dance clubs, restaurants and luxury resorts. According to government statistics, the country’s economy has been growing at a 10 percent clip for more than a decade.

But for all the fanfare surrounding what is often described as Ethiopia’s economic miracle, its effects are often not felt by the country’s young people, who make up about 70 percent of the nation’s 100 million people. There simply are not enough jobs, young people complain, often expressing doubt over the government’s growth figures.

It is because of this lack of jobs, many say, that they take up khat in the first place ― to kill time.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Shidigaf Haile, a public prosecutor in Gonder, a city in northern Ethiopia, which was rocked by violent protests last year, mainly by young people over the absence of jobs.

More than half of the city’s youth now chew khat, Mr. Shidigaf said. Many gather in khat dens away from prying eyes.

“It’s because there is a lack of work,” he added, saying there were numerous cases of people who were so dependent on the leaves, sold in packs, that they turned to petty crime. The government recognizes the problem, he said, but so far it has not been tackled directly.

“It’s bad for Ethiopia’s economic development because they become lazy, unproductive, and their health will be affected,” he said.
What to do? Khat is too deep in the economy and daily life of the country to easily root it out and its widespread use is hindering efforts to provide an alternative to chewing khat.Ethiopia is really caught between a rock and a hard place.

Trump's Loyalty

Seth Meyers and a Closer Look at Trump and his idea of loyalty.

Look ahead to the future

Hat available from Wonkette.com
Jesus you find on your own

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cook For You

Kellie Rucker singing and playing the harp.

Not that I want to know

From the pen of Joel Pett

Olive Yang, Drug Running, CIA Supported Burmese Warlord

All that and prison and torture too and you still managed to live to be 90. Truly a Badass.

He hasn't done anything wrong

But make no mistake Cheeto Mussolini has gas and he knows how to use it has the power to pardon anybody he chooses. And he says that with the sense that he does not know the limits of that power.
President Trump on Saturday asserted the “complete power to pardon” relatives, aides and possibly even himself in response to investigations into Russia’s meddling in last year’s election, as he came to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions just days after expressing regret about appointing him.

Mr. Trump suggested in a series of early morning messages on Twitter that he had no need to use the pardon power at this point but left the option open. Presidents have the authority to pardon others for federal crimes, but legal scholars debate whether a president can pardon himself. Mr. Trump’s use of the word “complete” seemed to suggest he did not see a limit to that authority.

“While all agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us,” he wrote on Twitter. “FAKE NEWS.”

The Washington Post reported in recent days that the president and his advisers had discussed pardons as a special counsel intensifies an investigation into whether associates of Mr. Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia to intervene in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump also responded on Saturday to an article by The Post reporting that Mr. Sessions may have discussed campaign activities and policy with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, last year, despite his public statements to the contrary. In the article, The Post cited intercepted communications between Mr. Kislyak and his home office in Moscow. Mr. Trump excoriated the newspaper and expressed no concern about his attorney general’s conduct.
Given the sleaziness of his administration, he could stay very busy pardoning his staff and appointees of various federal crimes, but he is mistaken if he believes he can pardon himself. He will have to trust President Pence to do that.

Sam gives a shout out to Loony Louie Gohmert

While discussing transgender confusion among Republicans during House general orders.

Collusions Eleven

Stephen Colbert touts the newest blockbuster hit of the summer.

The progress of denial

Friday, July 21, 2017

Oh how the rose is red

And "Lily's Fair" sung by Terra Lightfoot

The Senate will conduct any impeachment trial

From the pen of Glenn McCoy

Now that they are insured

The black guy gave them affordable health insurance
and they never forgave him for it so when it came time to elect a congressmoop, they went with the moop who promised to repeal it. And now that repeal may actually happen, millions of people are starting to realize it would be a very bad idea.
Five years ago, the Affordable Care Act had yet to begin its expansion of health insurance to millions of Americans, but Jeff Brahin was already stewing about it.

“It’s going to cost a fortune,” he said in an interview at the time.

This week, as Republican efforts to repeal the law known as Obamacare appeared all but dead, Mr. Brahin, a 58-year-old lawyer and self-described fiscal hawk, said his feelings had evolved.

“As much as I was against it,” he said, “at this point I’m against the repeal.”

“Now that you’ve insured an additional 20 million people, you can’t just take the insurance away from these people,” he added. “It’s just not the right thing to do.”

As Mr. Brahin goes, so goes the nation.

When President Trump was elected, his party’s long-cherished goal of dismantling the Affordable Care Act seemed all but assured. But eight months later, Republicans seem to have done what the Democrats who passed the law never could: make it popular among a majority of Americans.

Support for the Affordable Care Act has risen since the election — in some polls, sharply — with more people now viewing the law favorably than unfavorably. Voters have besieged their representatives with emotional telephone calls and rallies, urging them not to repeal, one big reason Republicans have had surprising trouble in fulfilling their promise despite controlling both Congress and the White House.

The change in public opinion may not denote newfound love of the Affordable Care Act so much as dread of what might replace it. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that both the House and Senate proposals to replace the law would result in over 20 million more uninsured Americans. The shift in mood also reflects a strong increase in support for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor that the law expanded to cover far more people, and which faces the deepest cuts in its 52-year history under the Republican plans.

Most profound, though, is this: After years of Tea Party demands for smaller government, Republicans are now pushing up against a growing consensus that the government should guarantee health insurance. A Pew survey in January found that 60 percent of Americans believe the federal government should be responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health coverage. That was up from 51 percent last year, and the highest in nearly a decade.
The Republicans, especially the ignorant sods in the Fredom Caucus are realizing it is much easier to prevent people from getting something than it is to take away what they enjoy and know is good for them.

Because he has no defense

Our Great Orange Protector Cheeto Mussolini
has commanded his minions to find all the dirt they can on Robert Mueller and his team of investigators as they dig deeper into the ordinary workings of the Trump crime family along with their espionage activities.Whatever they find will be magnified a thousand fold and given to his horde of flying monkeys to fling at Special Counsel Mueller.
President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.

The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging. It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as F.B.I. director is part of the special counsel’s investigation.

The effort to investigate the investigators is another sign of a looming showdown between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mueller, who has assembled a team of high-powered prosecutors and agents to examine whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers aided Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

Some of the investigators have vast experience prosecuting financial malfeasance, and the prospect that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry could evolve into an expansive examination of Mr. Trump’s financial history has stoked fears among the president’s aides. Both Mr. Trump and his aides have said publicly they are watching closely to ensure Mr. Mueller’s investigation remains narrowly focused on last year’s election.

Mr. Trump also said Mr. Mueller would be going outside his mandate if he begins investigating matters unrelated to Russia, like the president’s personal finances. Mr. Trump repeatedly declined to say what he might do if Mr. Mueller appeared to exceed that mandate. But his comments to The Times represented a clear message to Mr. Mueller.

“The president’s making clear that the special counsel should not move outside the scope of the investigation,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said during a news briefing on Thursday.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment.
Cheeto wants Mueller to only look for the turd that he has hidden away where it can't be found. Mueller, like any good prosecutor is following the evidence and if it uncovers Trump's Friendly Money Laundry along with his espionage, so be it. Don Cheeto needs to remember that confession is good for the soul.

Samantha Bee explains the Voter Suppression Commission

Colbert is still the greratest

Talking about Trump

When you blow hard and suck harder

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sweet Troubled Man

Jill Andrews

He's doing just fine as he is

From the pen of R J Matson

Putin & His Toys

Trevor Noah shows us the toys he likes and the toys he doesn't.


The Nevada Parole Board
is reviewing the case of Orenthal James Simpson to determine if he is eligible for parole. His chances are quite good he will get parole.

Also Ford Motor Company will begin selling their new Ford Bronco in the second half of this year, about now.

Coincidence ?? We shall see.

Trump's Last Bank

The last legitimate bank
willing to lend him money, Deutsche Bank, is now under serious investigation because of its association with Donald Trump and Donald Trumps association with big time money laundering.
During the presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump pointed to his relationship with Deutsche Bank to counter reports that big banks were skeptical of doing business with him.

After a string of bankruptcies in his casino and hotel businesses in the 1990s, Mr. Trump became somewhat of an outsider on Wall Street, leaving the giant German bank among the few major financial institutions willing to lend him money.

Now that two-decades-long relationship is coming under scrutiny.

Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks.

Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts, according to two people briefed on the matter. And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

It was not clear what information the bank might ultimately provide. Generally, the bank is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances since it is the only major financial institution that continues to conduct sizable business with him. Deutsche Bank has also lent money to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and to his family real estate business.

Although Deutsche Bank recently landed in legal trouble for laundering money for Russian entities — paying more than $600 million in penalties to New York and British regulators — there is no indication of a Russian connection to Mr. Trump’s loans or accounts at Deutsche Bank, people briefed on the matter said. The bank, which declined to comment, scrutinizes its accounts for problematic ties as part of so-called “know your customer” banking rules and other requirements.

And with one of its most famous clients headed to the White House, the bank designed a plan for overseeing the accounts of Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner and presented it to regulators at the New York State Department of Financial Services early this year. The plan essentially called for monitoring the accounts for red flags such as exceptionally favorable loan terms or unusual partners.

Additionally, the New York regulators recently requested information related to the hundreds of millions in loans Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management division provided Mr. Trump, one of the people said, paying particular attention to personal guarantees he made to obtain the loans. Those guarantees have declined as the loans were paid down and the property values increased, but it remains a source of interest to the regulators.
Donald's position as the seller of overpriced real estate makes him the perfect foil for for money launderers and Russia makes the perfect source of money to launder. Trump and Russia perfect together and guaranteed to get your money squeaky clean.

Not impressive by any standard

Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump 'N Stuff so we don't have to.

GOP has every angle covered

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

There is a musician called Hemming

She has a website and an album. This song, "Vitamins" is on it.

What he has made in America

From the pen of Jack Ohman

The mark of a failed president

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was unable to pass his horrible Trumpcare or even simply repeal the ACA/Obamacare with no replacement, Cheeto Mussolini threw a hissy fit and cried to his minions to "Let Obamacare Fail". That this would endanger the lives of millions of Americans and show his total lack of leadership never occurred to the Man In The Cheap Blue Suit.
The seven-year Republican quest to undo the Affordable Care Act appeared to reach a dead end on Tuesday in the Senate, leaving President Trump vowing to let President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement collapse.

Mr. Trump declared that his plan was now to “let Obamacare fail,” and suggested that Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a bill to bury the Affordable Care Act. If he is determined to make good on that pledge, he has plenty of levers to pull, from declining to reimburse insurance companies for reducing low-income customers’ out-of-pocket costs to failing to enforce the mandate that most Americans have health coverage.

“It’ll be a lot easier,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, adding: “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”

The fate of the repeal effort looked to be sealed on Tuesday, when a last-ditch attempt to force a vote to abolish the health law without a replacement fell short of support. The majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, seemed resolved to force senators to vote next week, but by Tuesday afternoon, it was clear he did not have 50 votes even to clear a procedural hurdle before considering a repeal-only measure.

The collapse highlighted a harsh reality for Senate Republicans: While they freely assailed the health law when Mr. Obama occupied the White House, they could not come up with a workable plan to unwind it that would keep both moderate Republicans and conservatives on board. It was an enormous embarrassment for a party that rode electoral waves to control first the House, then the Senate and then the White House, but has not been able to deliver a major legislative victory.

“This has been a very, very challenging experience for all of us,” Mr. McConnell said. “Everybody’s given it their best shot, and as of today, we just simply do not have 50 senators who can agree on what ought to replace the existing law.”

The reaction on Wall Street was muted. Stocks spent most of the day lower as shares of health insurers declined, and the dollar, which has steadily lost ground for most of the year, slipped further.

Mr. Trump has considerable leverage to gum up the works of the Affordable Care Act. He could throw insurance markets into a tailspin at any time by cutting off the subsidy payments to insurers, as he has threatened to do. He could further destabilize the markets by not enforcing the mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

And he could cancel advertising and other efforts to encourage enrollment under the Affordable Care Act when the annual sign-up period begins in November. A barrage of negative statements from the administration could project an official view that the health law is collapsing, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I guess we should be happy that he doesn't have any clue about being a president but he is surrounded by folks who do know how to destroy so until he is removed he will create a great deal of damage.

The Absurdities of Trump

Seth Meyers tries to explain them without laughing

Look for The 3 Fingered Sphincter

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Catch Me If You Can

Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds

The only thing Trump will make in America

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Last night Mitch lost 2 Senators

When Ted Cruz's mini-me Mike Lee and his own mini-me Jerry Moran came out against Mitch McConnell's Killer "health Care" Bill it effectively killed any hope of the bills passage at this time. With a mindless base howling for repeal of the ACA/Obamacare and an equally mindless President too Mitch had to do something. So he threw ACA/Obamacare repeal off the cliff.
With their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in tatters, Senate leaders on Tuesday pushed to vote on a different measure that would repeal major parts of President Barack Obama’s health law without a replacement — but that plan appeared also to collapse.

Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, all Republicans, immediately declared they could not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum.

“I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” Ms. Capito said in a statement. “I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio hinted strongly that he too would oppose it.

The collapse of the Senate Republican health bill — and the failing struggle to find yet another alternative — highlighted a harsh reality for Senate Republicans: While Republican senators freely assailed the health law while Mr. Obama occupied the White House, they have so far not been able to come up with a workable plan to unwind it that would keep both moderate Republicans and conservatives on board.

By midday Tuesday, the Republican Party’s seven-year-old promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared broken. At the White House, President Trump said his plan was now “to let Obamacare fail,” suggesting Democrats would then seek out Republicans to work together on a health measure.
Despite controlling the White House and both Houses of Congress the frequently delusional President Trump thinks the people will blame the Democrats. One thing is certain, he and the Republicans will be all over Fux Nooz trying to sell that bullshit.

It's Russia Week For Colbert, Too

Order of Business

Monday, July 17, 2017

Who's Your Fool

Kat Wright and her band ask the eternal question. From their Audiotree Session.

Just your basic collusion

For those who may be confused, Tom Tomorrow illustrates the current status of Donald Trump Jr's collusion obfuscation. Tune in tomorrow for the latest changes.

Gotta love it to wear it

From the pen of Bill Day

R.I.P. Martin Landau

Bela Lugosi rose from the dead when you played him in "Ed Wood"

Mitch's Killer "Health Care" Bill really in limbo

Mitch and his goons
still want to bring it to a vote as soon a possible, but the absence of Grampa Walnuts McCain makes it almost certain to fail a vote at this time.
A top Senate Republican vowed on Sunday to bring the party’s health care bill to a vote as soon as possible, even as detractors said they would use a delay caused by the absence of Senator John McCain to mobilize further opposition to the measure.

“I believe as soon as we have a full contingent of senators, that we’ll have that vote,” the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”The timing of the Senate vote is crucial. The more it is delayed, the more likely the bill is to fail, supporters and opponents say. Moreover, the Senate schedule will soon be packed with other legislation, like an increase in the statutory limit on federal borrowing and spending bills for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. In addition, Republicans are eager to cut taxes and simplify the tax code.

The Senate has struggled to pass a health care bill, delaying a vote on a previous version of the legislation in June.

Several Republican senators have expressed reservations or outright opposition to the new version as well, and Republicans need Mr. McCain’s vote to have any chance of passing it.
Grampa Walnuts is currently recuperating from a surgical procedure to remove a blood clot in his head. Initial reports were optimistic that a week's recovery was all he needed. Others are saying that is far too rosy an outlook for an 80 year old man.
The statement from Mr. McCain’s office said a two-inch blood clot was removed from “above his left eye” during a “minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision” at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, “following a routine annual physical.” Surgeons there are not conducting interviews. Mr. McCain’s communications director, Julie Tarallo, said further information would be made public when it became available.

A craniotomy is an opening of the skull, and an eyebrow incision would be used to reach a clot in or near the left frontal lobes of the brain, neurosurgeons who were not involved in Mr. McCain’s care said.

“Usually, a blood clot in this area would be a very concerning issue,” said Dr. Nrupen Baxi, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

He added, “The recovery time from a craniotomy is usually a few weeks.”

A statement from the Mayo Clinic Hospital said that the senator was recovering well and in good spirits at home, and that tissue pathology reports would come back in several days.

But many questions have been left unanswered, including whether Mr. McCain had symptoms that prompted doctors to look for the clot. In June, his somewhat confused questioning of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, led to concerns about his mental status, which he later jokingly dismissed by saying he had stayed up too late watching baseball the night before.

“Usually, a blood clot like this is discovered when patients have symptoms, whether it’s a seizure or headaches or weakness or speech difficulties,” Dr. Baxi said. “Generally, it’s not found on a routine physical because doctors would not know to look for it.”

The cause of the clot has not been disclosed. The possibilities include a fall or a blow to the head, a stroke or certain brain changes associated with aging. Mr. McCain is 80.
Mitch will have to wait a little longer, maybe even until Grampa Walnut's replacement is named by the Arizona Governor. We shall see.

Presidenting is easy

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Speak Low

The Divine Sarah Vaughn sings the Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash tune "Speak Low" from the musical One Touch of Venus.

Kris Kobach, "Super Hero??"

From the pen of Brian McFadden

Grampa Walnuts life saving surgery

Not his life, but the many lives currently sustained by Medicaid and the ACA who got a brief from Mitch "Killer Turtle" McConnell's efforts to end them as quickly and brutally as possible. The vote on the Turtle's Killer 'Health Care' Bill has been put off at least a week because of Walnut's surgery.
The Senate will delay votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, announced Saturday night, because of a new obstacle to winning enough support for one of the Republican Party’s most cherished goals.

Mr. McConnell said the Senate would “defer consideration” of the bill, scheduled for this week, because Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, would be absent, recovering from surgery that he had on Friday to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

Mr. McConnell had said that he wanted to begin debate on the bill and pass it this week, using special fast-track procedures. But without Mr. McCain, Senate Republicans would not have the votes they need to take up or pass their bill to repeal and replace major provisions of the health care act that was the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.

It was unclear how long the delay will be. “The leader has not announced a date” for the Senate to take up the legislation, said an aide to Mr. McConnell. “Just that we will defer.”

The announcements, first by Mr. McCain, then by Mr. McConnell, dealt another setback to the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which once seemed inevitable after years of promises by congressional Republican leaders that they would dismantle it.

With control of the White House and both houses of Congress, Republican leaders foresaw a quick strike coming as soon as January or February. But the House struggled to pass its version of the bill, and the Senate has had even more troubles. Mr. McConnell had to postpone the first votes before the July 4 recess when it was clear he did not have enough support for a procedural motion to take up the bill.

A revised measure unveiled last week was supposed to win over more Republicans, but it was greeted quickly with two Republican defections: Senators Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a conservative. Both have said they oppose the bill in its current form, for very different reasons, and will not vote even to begin debate.

That left Mr. McConnell without a vote to spare. Mr. McCain’s ailment cost him the final vote — at least for now.
Now, if only the Turtle could suffer something long term and life threatening.

BBC makes a wise choice

The BBC has chosen a new Doctor
for its long running TV show "Doctor Who" and this time they made a huge change from the usual run of Scotsmen they have gone with in the past.
The lead role in British sci-fi television series "Doctor Who" will be played by a woman for the first time in its more than 50-year history, the BBC said on Sunday.

After much speculation over the role, Britain's public broadcaster said 35-year-old British actress Jodie Whittaker, who starred in the award-winning television crime drama series "Broadchurch", will play the 13th Doctor.

The news was announced in a one-minute video clip broadcast on television after the Wimbledon tennis men's final match, showing the actress walking through a forest wearing a long coat and hiding her face with a hood until the final moment.

"I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we're thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role," said Chris Chibnall, the show's new Head Writer and Executive Producer.
Hopefully the writing for future episodes will be as intelligent as the choice. The selection of Ms Whittaker should open up a whole new range of plot possibilities. Let's see if the producers are smart enough to use them.

Call a turd a turd

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What's New

Linda Ronstadt from her first album with Nelson Riddle.

The Sudden Realization

From the pen of Jim Morin

Alaska Senator only cost Mitch $1.8 Billion

And at that rate the Senate Majority Leader has plenty of sweeteners to keep the other Senators in line, barring other influences on the spineless weasels. Lisa Murkowski was one of the outspoken critics of Mitch's first attempt at killing the ACA. Now with the promise of a unique provision in the revision, she is remaining silent.
Buried in Senate Republicans’ new health care bill is a provision to throw about $1 billion at states where premiums run 75 percent higher than the national average.

Curiously, there’s just one state that meets this seemingly arbitrary designation: Alaska.

That state also just so happens to be represented by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a crucial Republican swing vote who has spent months threatening to torpedo the entire Obamacare repeal effort over her concerns about Medicaid cuts.

Nobody believes this special fund was created to give Alaska alone a big boost through sheer coincidence. Reporters on the Hill have taken to calling the carve-out to help Alaskans the “Polar Payoff,” the “Kodiak Kickback,” and even the “Juneau Jackpot” — a special gift to the state, inserted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to win Murkowski’s vote.

“They really, really, really need Lisa Murkowski to vote for this, and they’re thinking this may help,” said Timothy Jost, a health care expert and a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University.

The big question right now is whether the approximately $1 billion in additional health spending for Alaska will be enough to win over Murkowski to a bill that would gut Medicaid and result in about $1 trillion less health spending for America overall.

As Vox’s Sarah Kliff has documented, Alaska in the past struggled with high and rapidly increasing premiums that put the state’s Obamacare exchanges on the verge of entering a death spiral. To avert it, the state started paying back insurers for especially high claims. Premiums stabilized, and the Trump administration just decided to let Alaska spend the savings.

But premiums in its Obamacare marketplace are still high, and the current Republican health bill would make subsidies for most low-income people much skimpier. A midlevel plan in the state’s Obamacare marketplace cost $905 in 2017 — partly because Alaska’s isolation makes it difficult to get patients to specialty doctors, and partly because such a large percentage of its population uses health insurance provided through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“It’s because they have a very small market and because health care is very expensive in the state,” Jost said. “The Alaskans in the individuals markets is a pretty small group of people, and when you have a really small risk pool it doesn’t take many high-cost cases for premiums to soar for everybody.”

Senate Republicans’ newest bill includes a special $182 billion fund that will give the Department of Health and Human Services broad latitude to help stabilize the Obamacare markets. This fund, which has increased as the vote on the bill draws near, is intended to reassure moderate Senate Republicans worried about its impact on the individual markets.

But to make sure it helps Alaska — and, perhaps, its moderate senator — lawmakers added a new clause to that special fund this week that will require at least 1 percent of it be spent on states where premiums run 75 percent higher than the national average. One percent may not sound like a big number, but we’re talking about Alaska, which only has 700,000 people. The state is still set to receive nearly $2 billion over 10 years.
The residents of the lower 49 should be very pissed that Mitch hasn't given them their own $1.8 Billion.

Before the 17th Amendment

The widespread opposition of state governors, Republican and Democrats, would have effectively put an end to any more discussion of Mitch's Killer "Health Care" Bill. Back then state legislatures selected who would be Senator and they were often on the same page as the governor on this.
The nation’s governors, gathered here for their annual summer meeting, came out strongly on Friday against the new Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, turning up the pressure on Republican leaders struggling to round up the votes to pass the bill next week.

Opposition came not just from Democratic governors but from Republicans who split along familiar lines — conservatives who said the legislation did not go far enough and moderates who said it was far too harsh on their state’s vulnerable residents.

Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, who at the moment may be the most pivotal figure in the health care debate, said he had “great concerns” with the legislation, and all but declared that he could not support any bill that would scale back Nevada’s Medicaid program. His decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act had been “a winner for the people of our state,” he said of the government health insurance program for poor and disabled people.

“I have to be comfortable that those 210,000 lives are going to continue to enjoy the quality of life and health care that they have right now,” he said, referring to the number of Nevadans who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

Conservative governors were not much more supportive. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin suggested that Congress consider a better-funded version of the measure proposed this year by two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, that would offer states more flexibility over how to run their health care programs.

Pursuing that approach, Mr. Walker said, would obviate differences between the states that did and did not expand Medicaid while averting the intractable split between conservative and centrist members of Congress over how to structure a replacement. “None of these plans right now do us justice,” he said.

The response mirrored the struggles of congressional Republicans to forge consensus on legislation that would make good on a seven-year vow to repeal the health law. With two Senate Republicans already opposed, Senate leaders cannot lose any additional votes, and on Friday, some of the most influential Republican governors indicated a willingness to torpedo the bill entirely.

Mr. Sandoval’s views are likely to influence Nevada’s Republican senator, Dean Heller, while Mr. Walker’s could play on Wisconsin’s undecided Republican, Ron Johnson.
The threat of governor's to put someone else in the Senate is no longer quite so direct but still formidable in some states. It remains to be seen which Senators will get in line with their states.

Colbert eats up Li'l Jeffy Sessions

Krauthammer gets it

And his column is a MUST READ for Americans.
The Russia scandal has entered a new phase and there's no going back.

For six months, the White House claimed that this scandal was nothing more than innuendo about Trump campaign collusion with Russia in meddling in the 2016 election. Innuendo for which no concrete evidence had been produced.

Yes, there were several meetings with Russian officials, some only belatedly disclosed. But that is circumstantial evidence at best. Meetings tell you nothing unless you know what happened in them. We didn't. Some of these were casual encounters in large groups like the famous July 2016 Kislyak-Sessions exchange of pleasantries at the Republican National Convention. Big deal.

I was puzzled. Lots of cover-up, but where was the crime? Not even a third-rate burglary. For six months, smoke without fire. Yes, President Trump himself was acting very defensively, as if he were hiding something. But no one ever produced the something.

My view was: Collusion? I just don't see it. But I'm open to empirical evidence. Show me.

The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there's a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a "Russian government attorney" possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor. (Error: Britain has a Crown Prosecutor. Russia has a State Prosecutor.) Donald Jr. emails back. "I love it." Fatal words.

Once you've said "I'm in," it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were copied on the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.

"It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame," Donald Jr. told Sean Hannity. A shame? On the contrary, a stroke of luck. Had the lawyer real stuff to deliver, Donald Jr. and the others would be in far deeper legal trouble. It turned out to be incompetent collusion, amateur collusion, comically failed collusion. That does not erase the fact that three top Trump campaign officials were ready to play.

It may turn out that they did later collaborate more fruitfully. We don't know. But even if nothing else is found, the evidence is damning.

It's rather pathetic to hear Trump apologists protesting that it's no big deal because we Americans are always intervening in other people's elections, and they in ours. You don't have to go back to the '40s and '50s when the CIA intervened in France and Italy to keep the communists from coming to power. What about the Obama administration's blatant interference to try to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in the latest Israeli election? One might even add the work of groups supported by the U.S. during Russian parliamentary elections -- the very origin of Vladimir Putin's deep animus toward Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, whom he accuses of having orchestrated the opposition.

This defense is pathetic for two reasons. First, have the Trumpites not been telling us for six months that no collusion ever happened? And now they say: Sure it happened. So what? Everyone does it.

What's left of your credibility when you make such a casual about-face?

Second, no, not everyone does it. It's one thing to be open to opposition research dug up in Indiana. But not dirt from Russia, a hostile foreign power that has repeatedly invaded its neighbors (Georgia, Crimea, Eastern Ukraine), that buzzes our planes and ships in international waters, that opposes our every move and objective around the globe. Just last week the Kremlin killed additional U.N. sanctions we were looking to impose on North Korea for its ICBM test.

There is no statute against helping a foreign hostile power meddle in an American election. What Donald Jr. -- and Kushner and Manafort -- did may not be criminal. But it is not merely stupid. It is also deeply wrong, a fundamental violation of any code of civic honor.

I leave it to the lawyers to adjudicate the legalities of unconsummated collusion. But you don't need a lawyer to see that the Trump defense -- collusion as a desperate Democratic fiction designed to explain away a lost election -- is now officially dead.

The times they are a-changin'

Friday, July 14, 2017

All the way from Yazoo City to NOLA

Lynn Drury singing "What Good Is The Rain"

The Turtle's Delight

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

GOP Right Wing kissed Putin's ass before Trump

Some elements of the Republican Party have been planting great sloppy wet kisses on Putin's ass long before this last election. They have just been waiting for their Great Shining Orange Prince to lead them to the Promised Dacha.
Years before the words “collusion” and “Russian hacking” became associated with President Vladimir V. Putin, some prominent Republicans found far more laudatory ways to talk about the Russian leader.

“Putin decides what he wants to do, and he does it in half a day,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and longtime friend and adviser to President Trump, gushed in 2014.

Mr. Putin was worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, K. T. McFarland said in 2013, before going on to serve a brief and ill-fated stint as Mr. Trump’s deputy national security adviser.

“A great leader,” “very reasoned,” and “extremely diplomatic,” was how Mr. Trump himself described Mr. Putin that same year.

Though such fondness for Mr. Putin fell outside the Republican Party’s mainstream at the time, it became a widely held sentiment inside the conservative movement by the time Mr. Trump started running for president in 2015. And it persists today, despite evidence of Russian intervention in the 2016 American election and Mr. Putin’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies at home.

The veneration of Mr. Putin helps explain why revelations about Russia’s involvement in the election — including recent reports that members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle set up a meeting at which they expected a representative of the Russian government to give them incriminating information about Hillary Clinton — and Mr. Trump’s reluctance to acknowledge it, have barely penetrated the consciousness of the president’s conservative base.

Mr. Putin is no archvillain in this understanding of America-Russian relations. Rather, he personifies many of the qualities and attitudes that conservatives have desired in a president of their own: a respect for traditional Christian values, a swelling nationalist pride and an aggressive posture toward foreign adversaries.

In this view, the Russian president is a brilliant tactician, a slayer of murderous Islamic extremists — and not incidentally, a leader who outmaneuvered and emasculated President Barack Obama on the world stage. And because of that, almost any other transgression seems forgivable.

“There are conservatives here who maybe read into Russia things they wish were true in the United States,” said Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. “And they imagine Russia and Putin as the kind of strong, traditional conservative leader whom they wish they had in the United States.” To these conservatives, she added, “Russia is the true defender of Christian values. We are decadent.”
Another example of the poisonous influence religion has on life. And isn't it fun to see old Rudi Ghouliani as one of Pooty's cheerleaders. This raises the question of whether an Italian can be a made man in the Russian Mafia?

Senators still don't want Mitch's shiny bits

Mitch brought forth his new and improved Killer "Health Care" Bill and aside from a few new shiny bits and some polish on some of the more exposed points, it is still the same turd as it was last time. And he has not attracted any of the more intelligent Republican dissenters.
Senate Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a fresh proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, revising their bill to help hold down insurance costs for consumers while allowing insurers to sell new low-cost, stripped down policies.

Those changes and others, including a decision to keep a pair of taxes on high-income people and to expand the use of tax-favored health savings accounts, were intended to bridge a vast gap between the Senate’s most conservative Republicans, who want less regulation of health insurance, and moderate Republicans concerned about people who would be left uninsured.

But Republican leaders will have to battle for votes ahead of a final showdown they hope will come next week. Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a conservative, said they were not swayed — even on a procedural motion to take up the bill for debate.

Several others, from both sides of the party’s ideological spectrum, expressed misgivings.

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah and a strong conservative, said, “The new Senate health care bill is substantially different from the version released last month, and it is unclear to me whether it has improved.”

But more moderate members were upset by cuts to Medicaid, the health program for low-income people.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia and a moderate voice, expressed “serious concerns about the Medicaid provisions” in the latest draft, and Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, expressed similar concern.
Do not be fooled by the references to "moderate" Republicans, there is no such thing. The Republican Party is made up of violently misanthropic reactionaries. Some are just too invested in their election personas to give them up.

Colbert does Trump

Always a necessary part of the day.

Letter to the GOP

Joyeux Jour de la Bastille

And thanks for taking Donny for a few days

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bound For Glory

Tedeschi Trucks Band

DJT Jr has an Inigo Montoya moment

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

Donald Trump Jr is an Idiot

Even the NY Post agrees

The first show is for the nice guys

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has unveiled the latest iteration of the Republican's so-called "Health Care" bill and it is obviously aimed at the alleged "moderates" in the party.
Senate Republican leaders on Thursday unveiled a fresh proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, revising their bill to help hold down insurance costs for consumers while keeping a pair of taxes on high-income people that they had planned to eliminate.

With the revised bill, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, is trying to keep alive his party’s seven-year quest to dismantle the health law that is a pillar of former President Barack Obama’s legacy.

Republicans said the revised bill would provide roughly $70 billion in additional funds that states could use to help reduce premiums, hold down out-of-pocket costs and otherwise make health care more affordable. The bill already included more than $100 billion for such purposes.

The new bill, like earlier versions, would convert Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a system of fixed payments to states. But in the event of a public health emergency, state Medicaid spending in a particular part of a state would not be counted toward the spending limits, known as per capita caps.

In a departure from current law, the bill would allow insurers, under certain conditions, to offer health plans that did not comply with standards in the Affordable Care Act. Under that law, insurers sell regulated health plans through a public insurance exchange in each state.

Policies that comply with the Affordable Care Act would provide more extensive coverage but would also attract sicker people with higher medical costs. To address this concern, the Republican bill would create a fund to make payments to insurers for the costs of covering high-risk people enrolled in health plans on the exchanges.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, has pushed to allow stripped-down plans, and he called the inclusion of the provision “very encouraging.”

“I think we’re making serious progress towards coming together and unifying our conference and getting a bill that can command the support of at least 50 senators and pass into law,” Mr. Cruz said on the radio station KFYI.

“I think failing to get this done would be really catastrophic,” he added, “and I don’t think any of the Republican senators want to see failure come out of this.”

People who enroll in catastrophic health insurance plans would be eligible for federal tax credits to help pay premiums. Such plans typically have lower premiums and high deductibles. But under the Affordable Care Act, consumers generally cannot use the tax credits for such plans.

The bill would, for the first time, allow people to use tax-favored health savings accounts to pay insurance premiums. Republicans said this policy change would increase health care coverage.
These and other changes favored by "moderate" Republicans would only last until the final vote when they would be removed to satisfy the Ultramontane "Fuck America" caucus who wish to destroy all that is good in this country. By that time, Mitch will have maneuvered the "moderates" into being unable to change their position and 22 Million Americans would be sent on their way to health disaster. And Mitch would smile proudly at his accomplishment.

The Fux Nooz Doncathalon

As they all try to cover up his shit as fast as possible.

They know when they are being fucked

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sad song of a lost way of life

Mary Gauthier sings of the last of those who rode the rails and traveled the country wide.

OK for Russians to adopt US babies

From the pen of Kevin Siers

They never say it in so many words

But there is no mistaking the actions of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. When he cancelled the traditional Senate recess in the middle of summer, the most miserable time in DC, he admitted the failure of his Republican Party to govern this country.
Republicans are failing at governance. And they know it.

Their senatorially painful decision announced on Tuesday to sacrifice some of lawmakers’ usually sacrosanct August recess was a public confession that they have not gotten the job done even while controlling the White House, Senate and House of Representatives.

In deciding to forgo at least the first two weeks of their regular summer getaway, Senator Mitch McConnell and his colleagues essentially admitted that they could not afford to go home to face constituents without making a concerted effort to pass contentious health care legislation and put some other points on the board.

“It is time to get results for the American people,” said a group of 10 Republican senators who had pressed Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, to force the Senate to stick around.

Legislative results have been in short supply for unified Republican government as first the House and now the Senate have gotten badly bogged down in trying to overhaul the Obama administration’s health care law — a top priority of Republicans since 2010. The stalemate has been ugly, preventing Republicans from moving ahead on long overdue budget, spending and tax priorities and leaving Mr. McConnell and Senate Republicans frustrated and doubting their abilities.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, was perhaps the most blunt when he said on Twitter over the weekend that the 52 Republican senators should “be ashamed that we have not passed health reform by now.” He added, in all caps for emphasis: “WE WONT BE ASHAMED WE WILL GO FROM MAJORITY TO MINORITY.”

Leadership vows to cut off recess are a staple of congressional theater, used as a ploy to force lawmakers to address an issue or face the prospect of seeing their overseas fact-finding trips canceled. But the threats usually produce some action and are very rarely acted upon. The fact that Mr. McConnell felt compelled to actually abbreviate the recess, just days after Republicans were snickering at the very idea, underscored the seriousness of his party’s plight.
Being a party of a minority of the population, they only know how to act as a minority and obstruct the wishes of the majority of Americans.When they seek to act on their evil agenda, they fall flat on their faces.

How sharper than a serpent's tooth...

Is an idiot son like Donald Trump Jr.

Even Stephen is gobsmacked by the Stupid

But he recovers and carries on

The next Blockbuster Best Seller

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

FM Radio

Dar Williams

The Internet of Putin

From the pen of Jack Ohman

If they fail you can blame it on them

And in the meantime, the various mercenary 'armies' will have made huge profits at public expense. After 15 years of failure in Shitholeistan it is one almost new idea that let's the Pentagon slip out from under the burden of blame for that failure.
President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old.

Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Bannon sought out Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon to try to get a hearing for their ideas, an American official said. Mr. Mattis listened politely but declined to include the outside strategies in a review of Afghanistan policy that he is leading along with the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster.

The highly unusual meeting dramatizes the divide between Mr. Trump’s generals and his political staff over Afghanistan, the lengths to which his aides will go to give their boss more options for dealing with it and the readiness of this White House to turn to business people for help with diplomatic and military problems.

Soliciting the views of Mr. Prince and Mr. Feinberg certainly qualifies as out-of-the-box thinking in a process dominated by military leaders in the Pentagon and the National Security Council. But it also raises a host of ethical issues, not least that both men could profit from their recommendations.

“The conflict of interest in this is transparent,” said Sean McFate, a professor at Georgetown University who wrote a book about the growth of private armies, “The Modern Mercenary.” “Most of these contractors are not even American, so there is also a lot of moral hazard.”

Last month, Mr. Trump gave the Pentagon authority to send more American troops to Afghanistan — a number believed to be about 4,000 — as a stopgap measure to stabilize the security situation there. But as the administration grapples with a longer-term strategy, Mr. Trump’s aides have expressed concern that he will be locked into policies that failed under the past two presidents.
Every other would-be conqueror of Shitholeistan eventually counted up their losses and withdrew with whatever dignity theystill retained. The military geniuses in the Pentagon seem determined to hang on until every shred of dignity has disappeared.

About that fox guarding the hen house

DON'T LET THE FOX GUARD THE HENHOUSE - "Don't assign a job to someone who will then be in a position to exploit it for his own ends. Said to one who entrusts his money to sharpers. The proverb has been traced back to 'Contre-League' and is similar to the Latin: 'Ovem lupo commitere' ('To set a wolf to guard sheep.') First attested in the United States in 'Poet's Proverbs' . The proverb is found in varying forms: Don't put the fox to guard the chicken house; Don't let the fox guard the chicken coop; Don't set a wolf to watch the sheep; It's a case of the proverbial fox guarding the chickens, etc.
This bit of wisdom has been known for centuries and yet the United States has chosen to put the foxes in charge of our national hen houses. Donald Trump is mostly acting on the advice of others because he lacks the intelligence and experience to personally know anything about regulations.That being said his appointees do know what they want to trash, for fun and profit, mostly profit.
President Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.

But the effort — a signature theme in Mr. Trump’s populist campaign for the White House — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.

Most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. But The New York Times and ProPublica identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.

The appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and at least three people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.

At the Education Department alone, two members of the deregulation team were most recently employed by pro-charter advocacy groups or operators, and one appointee was an executive handling regulatory issues at a for-profit college operator.

So far, the process has been scattershot. Some agencies have been soliciting public feedback, while others refuse even to disclose who is in charge of the review. In many cases, responses to public records requests have been denied, delayed or severely redacted.
They know full well the damage they are doing but the lure of increased profit from stealing from customers, fouling the air and water and generally acting without a care for the communities they work in, is too much to resist. And since conflict-of-interest no longer exists in the Trump administration, those charged with dismantling government protections are feathering their own nests, as well.

Has there ever been such incompetence?

Trevor Noah outlines the current contenders

Stephen explains Collusion

So simply even a Trump can understand it.

Education obstructs Republican values

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pale Moon

Shannon McNally from her album Ran on Pure Lightning

Cheap instrument successfully played

From the pen of David Horsey

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