Current Republican Philosophy in a Nutshell MineralMan - demo. underground
1. I've got mine. You should get yours on your own. 2. Don't take any money from us to support others. 3. People who cannot afford health care are a drain on society. 4. People should stay healthy. If they do not, death is an affordable alternative. 5. Don't take any money from us to help the poor. 6. Women are for housework and sex. They should STFU. 7. The Christian religion is good. All others are bad. Convert! 8. If your lot in life is bad, pray that it gets better. Don't come to us. 9. White people are the chosen people of God. We're very sorry you're not white. 10. America First! All other countries suck, and should not take our money. 11. Rich people are rich because God likes them. If you're poor, God obviously doesn't like you. 12. If your job has low pay, you should get a better job. 13. If you are old, you should have saved up for your retirement. 14. Every fetus is sacred. Poor children are a drain on society. 15. Trust Republicans to do the best thing for successful people. 16. Science is unnecessary and often contradicts our beliefs. 17. If you are not a Conservative Republican, what are you doing in our country? 18. Only Conservative Republicans are "The American People." 19. What "The American People" want is what we tell them they want. 20. Do not take our money for any reason. It is our money. Get your own. 21. Disagreement with us is Treason. Don't disagree with us. 22. We will decide what's best for you. You needn't worry about it. 23. What we do is none of anyone else's business. 24. Education is an option people should buy. It is not a right. 25. Do not take our money. It is OUR money! Give us yours, too. 26. If we think your sexual habits are icky, stop doing that. We'll make a law against it.
Henry David Thoreau: Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
Paul Krugman: Republicans don’t give a damn about the country or its Constitution
“This structure…rewards, indeed insists on, absolute fealty. What this means is that nearly all Republicans in today’s Congress are apparatchiks, political creatures with no higher principle beyond party loyalty.
"In a perverse way, we should count ourselves lucky that Trump is as terrible as he is,” he observes, ominously. “The point is that given the character of the Republican Party, we’d be well on the way to autocracy if the man in the White House had even slightly more self-control. Trump may have done himself in; but it can still happen here.”
*gop headlines - hi-lites of gop fools, racism, and hypocrisy dedicated to the dumber-than-dog-shit people who vote for gop (sources: raw Story, daily kos, and politicus usa) 7/23 - 7/29
*MORE THINGS YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE TO BE A REPUBLICAN TODAY: US 240 EDITION (article below)
Less than 24 hours after demanding return to 'regular order,' John McCain votes against doing that
By Hunter Wednesday Jul 26, 2017 · 2:21 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: Yesterday evening, everyone's favorite do-nothing "maverick" senator made an impassioned speech asking the Senate to cast aside their partisanship and work together, Democrats and Republicans, to pass meaningful healthcare reforms. For this he was once again feted by the punditry, for reasons that only they can adequately explain.
The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation's governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.This afternoon Democrats made a motion to do exactly that—send the health care bill to committee so that both parties could work together on it through regular Senate process rather than continuing this mish-mash of nonsense and misdirection McCain so “eloquently” spoke out against less than 24 hours ago. Guess which way John McCain voted.
Yep. He voted against it. This has been your semi-regular update on John McCain giving grand speeches about comity and principles and then, reliably, doing the exact opposite the moment the cameras are turned away again. Or, in John McCain's Senate career, your average Wednesday.
Republican congressman says Senate opponents of Trumpcare should be beaten
From Think Progress: During an MSNBC interview on Wednesday, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) was asked about President Trump’s Twitter attack on Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). --- Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) were the only two Republican senators to vote against a motion to proceed on health care discussion on Tuesday. (The motion passed 51–50, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.)
Carter characterized Trump’s attack as “perfectly fair,” before suggesting that Murkowski and Collins deserve a beating.
“Lemme tell you, somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass,” he continued. “I’m telling you, it has gotten to the point where — how can you say I voted for this last year but I’m not gonna vote for it this year. This is extremely frustrating for those of us who have put so much into this effort.”
While it’s unclear exactly what kind of violence Carter was alluding to, it certainly doesn’t sound pleasant. And his comment represents the second time in a week that a male House Republican has suggested they’d like to commit acts of violence against female Republican senators who oppose Trumpcare.
Last Friday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told a Corpus Christi radio station that he finds it “absolutely repugnant” that “the Senate does not have the courage to do some of the things that every Republican in the Senate promised to do,” singling out female senators in particular.
He went on to suggest that if they were men, he’d ask them to settle things with a gunfight.
“Some of the people that are opposed to this [i.e., repealing Obamacare] — there are some female senators from the northeast,” Farenthold said. “If it was a guy from south Texas I might ask them to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.”
House Republicans are using a sneaky tactic to grab $1.6 billion for border wall funding
By Gabe Ortiz Tuesday Jul 25, 2017 · 10:41 AM PDT
From Daily Kos: Nearly everything about Donald Trump and his racist agenda is unpopular, including the popular vote loser himself. It’s a main reason why House Republicans are planning to use “a deceptive legislative gimmick” to sneak nearly $2 billion in border funding into the “minibus” spending package House Republicans are considering this week. As Politico’s Ted Hesson notes, the reason House Republicans won’t single out border wall funding for a clean up-or-down floor vote is “probably because the wall doesn't have enough Republican support to pass there.”
In a press conference earlier today, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus blasted House Republicans for “stroking Trump’s ego by funding a dumb wall that we don’t need and can’t afford”:
“Not only is the border wall expensive and unnecessary, but Members of Congress who care deeply about our national defense shouldn’t be forced to decide between voting for the wall and voting to fund our military,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07),a Marine Corps veteran who fought in Iraq. “House Republicans are clearly embarrassed that they are stroking Trump’s ego by funding a dumb wall that we don’t need and can’t afford – and that’s why they are resorting to legislative gimmickry in order to avoid a clean up-or-down vote. That’s simply wrong. On such a momentous issue, the American people deserve to know where their elected representatives stand.”
“Republicans have taken a nonsensical approach by burying border wall funding in the national security-focused omnibus funding bill,” said Texas Rep. Filemon Vela, one of the exactly zero members of Congress from the southwest border area to support building this monument to Trump’s racism. ”Voting against border wall funding will protect hard-working Americans from seeing their tax dollars wasted on a ruse to secure our border.” It’s not just the 72 percent of border residents who oppose a useless wall that will do nothing to make America safer--America’s Voice notes that a March Quinnipiac poll found that 64 percent of Americans oppose the border wall that Mexico will never, ever fucking pay for. Read More
House Republicans want to kill funding for family planning services
The House appropriations committee’s spending measure nixes $286 million for low-income people’s reproductive health.
From Think Progress: Hundreds of millions of dollars that help low-income people access reproductive health care are at risk. The House Appropriations Committee approved discretionary funding for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments for 2018 last week, and in the process, eliminated$286 million in Title X funding for family planning services.
Hospitals and clinics receive Title X funds for provision of contraception, screening for breast and cervical cancer as well as sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and education and outreach. This funding disproportionately helps low-income people and people of color, said Amy Friedrich-Karnik, senior federal policy adviser for the Center for Reproductive Rights. Although no clinics operate solely with funding from Title X, many clinics would have to reduce services.
“If Title X were to be defunded, the impact would be extraordinary and a lot of people would lose these services and clinics have to pick and choose and make choices about how and what services they can offer. They definitely would suffer,” Friedrich-Karnik said.
Tile X provides family planning and other health services to an estimated four million low-income uninsured and underinsured people each year. Title X funds supported a network of nearly 4,000 service sites in the U.S. in 2015, according to a report released by the Office of Population Affairs last year.
Cuts to the program will seriously hurt poor and low-income Americans. The majority of 20 million women who need publicly funded contraceptive care — 77 percent — are poor or low-income adults, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And already, the program’s budget isn’t large enough. An American Journal of Public Health article published last year found that Title X would actually need at least $737 million for its annual budget to cover care for all of the women who need publicly funded family planning. Current Title X funds reach areas of the country that desperately need assistance in family planning services, said Friedrich-Karnik.
“Half of [the programs] are state and local health departments, so those are able to reach rural counties because the money is able to go directly to the local health department,” said Friedrich-Karnik. “The other half goes to hospitals, family planning councils, Planned Parenthood and others, so it does have a broad reach across the country.”
The government sets an “unparalleled standard of clinical care” for providers to receive the funds, said Audrey Sandusky, director of advocacy and communications for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. “That means that if a health center receives even $1 of Title X funding, it must follow a rigorous set of requirements that ensure patient confidentiality and the provision of a wide range of contraceptive methods for all patients regardless of ability to pay,” Sandusky said.
A Republican-controlled Congress that is hostile to reproductive rights has a partner in the Trump administration, which hired a professor who doesn’t believe in the effectiveness of birth control to administer the Title X program. The House committee made the decision to eliminate this funding during the same week that the Trump administration axed $213 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs. Some of the programs affected were counseling and testing for sexually transmitted infections and the Choctaw Nation’s program to reduce teen pregnancy in Oklahoma, Reveal of The Center for Investigative Reporting found.
The elimination of Title X has yet to be approved by the House, but the Senate has not been friendly to Title X either. Earlier this year, Senate Republicans nixed an Obama administration rule requiring state and local governments to distribute Title X funds to health providers for family planning services and cervical cancer screenings without any consideration of whether those providers also perform abortions. Vice President Mike Pence, who is deeply opposed to reproductive rights, cast the tie-breaking procedural vote to let states stop clinics that perform abortions from receiving those funds for other services, such as breast cancer and sexually transmitted infection screenings.
Title X wasn’t always this political, Friedrich-Karnik said, since it was originally a bipartisan effort. The program is in greater danger now that Republicans are making more targeted attacks contraception and women’s access to reproductive services, she said.
“Ever since the [Affordable Care Act] passed, and it broadened access to contraception, we have seen contraception and birth control come back on the scene as a target by elected officials who have no interest in investing in women’s health,” Friedrich-Karnik said. “It’s just becoming increasingly a political target where women’s reproductive rights are constantly under attack.”
The decision to eliminate this funding, and deny many low-income people health care, is essentially a human rights violation, said Friedrich-Karnik, who recounted a visit to the Texas region of the Rio Grande Valley to talk to women who lost family planning services. The Rio Grande Valley, where many residents lack basic services such as electricity, saw its abortion clinics close due to the state’s abortion restrictions. These clinics also provided Pap smears and birth control, so residents also lost that preventive care. Friedrich-Karnik presents this regional crisis as a cautionary tale for the rest of the country.
“We talked to women who had an irregular pap smear result and had absolutely no way to do anything about that and were just sitting on that for three years, hoping symptoms wouldn’t develop or finding a lump in their breast and not being able to get care,” Friedrich-Karnik said. “The personal toll that takes is hugely impactful on women’s lives, and it means something for their community when women of reproductive age cannot access healthcare.”
‘Republican-on-Republican violence’ breaks out in wake of humiliating Trumpcare collapse Brad Reed 18 JUL 2017 AT 08:14 ET
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reports that the House and the Senate are both pointing fingers at one another over the latest major setback in the party’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, and one GOP staffer tells the reporter that the feud amounts to “Republican-on-Republican violence.”
One Republican congressman told Ball that there was increasing frustration that the party couldn’t get any major piece of legislation passed, despite the fact that it controls all the major levers of power in Washington.
“We’re in charge, right?” the Republican asked rhetorically. “We have the House, the Senate, and the White House. Everyone’s still committed to making progress on big issues, but the more time goes by, the more difficult that becomes. And then the blame game starts.”
While the Senate is taking heat for the failure of the Obamacare repeal bill, the House is shouldering blame for a delay in bringing up a sanctions bill against Russia and Iran that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
And then there’s the White House, where some Republicans say President Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to help sell their health care bill to the American public.
“We’re a big-tent party, so of course there are divisions,” the Republican congressman told Ball. “But the only thing that could unite the clans is consistent and engaged leadership from the president. And it’s fair to say we’ve gotten mixed signals.”
Nonetheless, few Republicans are willing to come out publicly to attack the president’s leadership — as one GOP staffer told Ball, “it’s just easier to attack people without 13 million Twitter followers.”
Trump-loving GOP committeewoman wants John McCain to ‘please just fucking die already’ Elizabeth Preza 17 JUL 2017 AT 20:11 ET
From Raw Story: Nevada’s Republican national committeewoman Diana Orrock on Monday seemed to cheer for the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), retweeting a post that begged, “please just f*cking die already.”
“Amen,” Orrock wrote in her retweet, which linked to an article focused on McCain’s foreign policy positions (the post she retweeted contained the hashtag “Neocons”—a political movement that advocated for the use of military force to push a pro-democratic agenda.
Orrock told CNN she’s not a “big fan” of McCain, but added she does not want the Arizona senator to die. She insisted her “amen” was in support of the “sentiments” of the article.
McCain is recovering from a surgery to remove a blood cot “above his left eye.” Experts say the surgery is more serious than the senator originally led on, with a recovery time that will likely extend several weeks. McCain is due back in Washington D.C. as soon as possible to place a critical vote for the GOP’s latest healthcare plan.
As CNN notes, the article Orrock retweeted literally called for McCain’s death. “If you’re waiting for the part where I say I’m just kidding and would never wish death on anybody, please allow me to make myself clear,” the author wrote. “I sincerely, genuinely hope that Arizona Senator John McCain’s heart stops beating, and that he is subsequently declared dead by qualified medical professionals very soon.” According to her Twitter page, which includes references to “America First” rhetoric, she is an avid supporter of Donald Trump.
The president—who’s previously insisted the Arizona senator is not a war hero because he was captured and imprisoned during the Vietnam War—wished McCain well, adding he expects the senator to return to Washington “very soon.”
“We miss him,” Trump said. “He is a crusty voice in Washington.”
In addition to thanking well-wishers, McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain on Monday took aim at the media and politics website Mediaite for posting an article entitled, “Why is the Senate Filled With Decrepit Old People?”—which featured a photo of McCain.
“I can’t express to you how disrespectful and gross this headline is—and how deeply insulting I find it,” Meghan McCain wrote. “Shame on all of you.”
a fool speaks!!!
Congressman claims ‘radical Islamists’ plan on using transgender U.S. troops as a recruiting tool
“Friendly Muslims” told him this.
From Think Progress: Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) thinks that transgender members of the U.S. military are an “advertising bonanza” for “radical Islamists.”
“When it’s advertised that the United States Congress is in favor of taking men and surgically making them into women with the money that they would use to protect the nation otherwise…then it is an advertising bonanza for the radical Islamists,” Gohmert said Friday in a speech on the house floor, after referring to transness as a “type of lifestyle.”
“Because my Muslim friends tell me, the recruits, you’re right, if that’s how stupid they are, this society has no right to remain on the earth. We need to take them out. They are too stupid.” He had referred to these unnamed “Muslim friends” earlier in his speech: “friendly Muslims — Muslim friends, yes, I do have them from around the world.” The bizarre claim was made in defense of an amendment to the NDAA which would prohibit the military for providing spending money on transgender-related health needs other than mental health treatment. Gohmert was disappointed that the Senate rejected the amendment on Thursday.
Earlier, Gohmert had disparaged transgender service members in general. “We will take that money that could save another member’s life, and we’ll spend that on this expensive surgery to change your organs, maybe cut ’em off or add some,” Gohmert said, referring to gender reassignment. In another recent floor speech, Gohmert claimed that a Matt Damon movie proved anti-gay discrimination was justified.
rewards for gop voters!!!
GOP Eager to Repeal Rule that Allows Consumers to Sue Conniving Banks
Republicans pretend it’s about dismantling the “administrative state.” But it’s all about market power
Justin Miller July 13, 2017
From The American Prospect: ...It may take the Republican-controlled Congress even less time to undo a landmark rule issued Monday by the consumer watchdog agency that will widely forbid mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Banks, credit-card companies, and other financial-services firms will no longer be able to force individual consumers into corporate-friendly mandatory arbitration hearings to settle disputes.
For instance, Wells Fargo used arbitration clauses as a way to block a potentially gigantic class-action lawsuit from depositors who found that the bank had created fraudulent accounts for them, just to juice its numbers. Most customers are unlikely to undertake a time-consuming arbitration process on their own to recoup a couple hundred bucks. As a result of the CFPB’s new rule, however, consumers will once again be able to join together in class-action lawsuits to address corporate malfeasance.
Since its inception, Republicans have cast the CFPB as a liberal, job-killing, over-regulating, big government boogeyman—a “rogue” agency with too much power and too little accountability. Meanwhile, the agency’s enforcement initiatives have returned almost $12 billion to some 27 million consumers who were defrauded in the marketplace. So it comes as no surprise that leading Republicans in Congress immediately called for the rule to be repealed through the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an obscure provision that allows Congress to repeal recent regulation with simple majorities, avoiding the typical 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Republicans have used the CRA to eviscerate more than a dozen late-term rules enacted by former President Obama.
Texas Congressman and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling quickly issued a statement declaring that, “In the last election, the American people voted to drain the D.C. swamp of capricious, unaccountable bureaucrats who wish to control their lives. Congress must work with President Trump to make good on this mandate by fundamentally reforming the CFPB and dismantling the Administrative State.”
Hensarling, who is one of Wall Street’s fiercest allies and who has taken millions in campaign contributions from companies that would be impacted by the arbitration rule, has repeatedly used his chairman’s megaphone to condemn the CFPB. He’s called for an end to its independent status by replacing its single director with a commission, bringing its funding under Congress’s purview (it is currently funded through the Federal Reserve), and neutering its enforcement capabilities.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton also called on Congress to immediately repeal the rule using the CRA. “The Bureau’s new rule on arbitration clauses ignores the consumer benefits of arbitration and treats Arkansans like helpless children, incapable of making business decisions in their own best interests,” Cotton said. “The last thing Americans need is more anti-business regulation that will prompt frivolous lawsuits while hurting consumers.”
Let’s be clear: This isn’t about the “Administrative State” or, as Cotton absurdly accuses, about demeaning consumers’ intelligence. It’s about a rule that stops an increasingly prevalent, insidious tactic by big corporations that want to avoid accountability for fleecing workers and consumers alike.
The rule would shift the scales of the market a little by bolstering consumers’ ability to get fair treatment, and preserve one of the only ways consumers can exercise power, which is en masse, through class-action suits.
Rather than draining the swamp, Cotton and Hensarling are carrying water for Wall Street. Talk about demeaning Americans’ intelligence! Of course, it’s swamp drainer-in-chief Donald Trump who’s leading the charge on this. Just two weeks ago, his Justice Department took the extraordinary action of switching the White House’s position (formulated by the Obama administration) on an impending Supreme Court case dealing with mandatory arbitration. Trump, of course, is siding with the corporation.
gop is ok with corporations robbing consumers!!!
Serving Wall Street Predators, GOP Launches Swift Attack on New Rule Protecting Consumers
The rule from the CFPB blocks 'a fine-print trick that banks and predatory lenders use to evade accountability and conceal illegal behavior'
byAndrea Germanos, staff writer - Published on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by Common Dreams
A new rule by a federal watchdog—hailed as having "paramount importance" for protecting consumers from Wall Street predators and curbing corporate abuses—is under direct attack by Republicans just days after being issued.
The rule from the successful and broadly-supported Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) bans companies from using mandatory arbitration clauses, which makes consumers give up their right to file or join class-action lawsuits. In other words, it blocks "rip-off clauses" that are "a fine-print trick that banks and predatory lenders use to evade accountability and conceal illegal behavior," as advocacy group Public Citizen put it, noting that they are also used by many corporations.
As the CFPB outlines,
No matter how many people are harmed by the same conduct, most arbitration clauses require people to bring claims individually against the company, outside the court system, before a private individual (an arbitrator). Companies know that people almost never spend the time or money to pursue relief when the amounts at stake are small, so few people do this. In being able to stop group lawsuits, making people "go it alone or give up," companies can deny consumers their day in court; avoid paying out big refunds; and continue harmful practices, the agency states. "By prohibiting class actions," the Economic Policy Institute's Celine McNicholas writes, "companies have dramatically reduced consumer challenges to predatory practices."
Announcement of the new rule on Monday drew praise from consumer advocacy as well as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped create the agency in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Warren, for her part, said the new rule "will allow working families to hold big banks accountable when they're cheated and help discourage the kinds of surprise fees that consumers hate." Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, said it marked "a good day for investor and consumer protection."
"Over the past decade," added Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, "large corporations have turned fine-print clauses buried deep in their contracts into a license to steal from American consumers and cover up the evidence. The CFPB rule will right this egregious wrong by restoring consumers' ability to enforce their most basic rights and protections in court."
And according to Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the rule marks "yet another example of how the CFPB is living up to its mandate—to put the concerns and welfare of the consumer above those of corporations that too often seek to take advantage of them."
The agency, however, has been in the cross-hairs of Republicans since its inception, and its latest action drew swift rebuke from GOP lawmakers who vowed to kill it.
In a statement issued Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas accused the agency of having "gone rogue again, abusing its power in a particularly harmful way."
Cotton said he started the process of getting rid of the rule through the Congressional Review Act—a "sneaky tactic" that's been "gleefully employed" by the current House GOP, which allows Congress to get rid of rules put in place during the final six months of the previous administration. And Cotton's not alone.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), chair of the Senate Banking Committee and committed foe of the CFPB, also said Tuesday he'd pursue a similar path. He argued: "Driving dispute resolutions into class actions is probably harmful to consumers rather than helpful to consumers."
Also slamming the rule was Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who called it "anti-consumer" and urged Congress to "fundamentally refor[m] the CFPB and dismantl[e] the Administrative State."
Referring to Cotton's resolution, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said the Arkansas Republican "is making clear which side he's on: the banks that want to predate; the payday lenders that want to fleece; the credit card companies that want to defraud; in short, the financial industry that spends hundreds of millions every year on lobbying and campaign contributions."
"And he's making very clear who he's standing against: American consumers who are routinely victimized by these very financial corporations," Weissman said.
Republicans Reluctantly Acknowledge a Failure of Governing
From Demo. Underground: Source: New York Times By CARL HULSE JULY 12, 2017 WASHINGTON — 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.
GOP lawmaker: Universal health care is too expensive but tax cuts for the rich are necessary
“We have to take into account our financial limitations and do the best we can.”
From Think Progress: As moderate Republican lawmakers move away from the Senate health care bill over concerns it doesn’t do enough to preserve insurance access, hardline conservatives are arguing it should be even more stringent — including Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks (R), who thinks universal health care is a non-starter but the wealthy should receive a tax cut.
Appearing on CNN Monday morning, Brooks, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, argued that health care for all is an unrealistic goal, while discussing the health care bill currently being reviewed by the Senate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, approximately 22 million Americans will lose their health insurance under the bill. That number has attracted outrage — but Brooks argued such reactions are overblown.
“I would love for every American to have a perfect health care system where we can deliver perfect care every time someone is ill, but we don’t have enough money,” Brooks said. “We have to take into account our financial limitations and do the best we can.”
But Brooks also seemed unwilling to back away from his support for tax cuts aiding wealthy Americans, despite pressure from host Chris Cuomo.
“The folks that had the money are the ones that create the jobs that employ us,” Brooks argued. “We can take money from the people who have been successful, but every time we do so they have less money to invest. In a free enterprise economy, it’s the wealth that creates the businesses that creates the jobs for our blue collar and middle class workforce. It’s all interrelated and a tough balance to achieve, as evidenced by the Senate having such a difficult time.” -- The Senate health care bill itself is a large tax cut for the wealthy, cutting around $765 billion over the course of the next decade. But Brooks’ comments are in line with previous remarks he has made about health care coverage. In May, Brooks made headlines when he argued that pre-existing conditions are the price people pay for failing to live a healthy lifestyle.
At the time, Brooks said the GOP’s effort to overhaul the health care system would “allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool.” Brooks was defending changes made to the House of Representatives’ version of the health care bill, which gave providers room to effectively deny people with pre-existing conditions coverage, placing them in high-risk pools.
“That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now those are the people — who’ve done things the right way — that are seeing their costs skyrocketing,” Brooks said.
The White House has attempted to spin the health care bill as “choosing not losing,” arguing that those who lose their insurance under the plan will actually be choosing to go without it.
While tweaks to the House bill helped the legislation pass that chamber earlier this year, the Senate’s bill has so far failed to advance. The latter’s bill does even less to help people with pre-existing conditions. That’s not completely surprising — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) recently compared pre-existing conditions to a car crash, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has proposed an amendment that would allow insurers to offer policies that don’t cover pre-existing conditions, as long as they offer one plan compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
But Brooks’ latest remarks do come at a precarious time for the latest version of Republicans’ health care effort, which has faltered in the Senate — and across the country. Not a single U.S. governor has fully endorsed the Senate bill; one poll from late June found only 17 percent of Americans support it. Senate Republicans are also fiercely divided, with both Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) insistent on coverage for pre-existing conditions, a notable step away from many of their colleagues. GOP senators from rural strongholds, including John Hoeven (ND), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Boozman (AR), and Bob Corker (TN), have also been slow to voice support, in large part because of the bill’s likely ramifications for their constituents.
Brooks himself indicated that the current draft of the bill is unlikely to make it out of the Senate, implying that the House might reject it.
“I’d be extraordinary surprised — if that’s the bill that actually comes out of the Senate,” he said. “So we’re talking about a Senate bill that we don’t know about because the Senate has not yet drafted it. And we’ll see whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate can do its job.”
Paul Krugman: Republicans Have No Ideas at All
Why can't the GOP come up with a viable alternative to Obamacare? The answer is obvious. By Ilana Novick / AlterNet July 10, 2017, 6:10 AM GMT
From Alternet: We'll find out soon enough if Republicans are craven enough to sell out their constituents' health care in the name of tax cuts for the rich. What we do know is that they're every bit as terrible at governance as they are effective at obstruction. As Paul Krugman writes in his Monday column, one reason they can't come up with a credible alternative to Obamacare is that, "You can't change any element of the Affordable Care Act without destroying the whole thing."
The ACA is incrementalist by nature, an acknowledgement that many Americans enjoy their employer-provided insurance and that the insurance industry, with all its lobbying clout, would not allow a single-payer system. To provide better plans at a lower cost to more people, it offers a three-legged stool approach. The first leg, Krugman explains, requires "insurers offer the same plans, at the same prices, to everyone, regardless of medical history." This addresses the problem of pre-existing condidtions, arguably the most-beloved part of legislation, even if Republicans want the public to believe its "death spiral" is imminent.
Without additional legs, they'd be right: "Healthy people would wait until they got sick to sign up, so those who did sign up would be relatively unhealthy, driving up premiums, which would in turn drive out more healthy people, and so on." The solution was a much less popular leg of the stool, the individual mandate, which Krugman explains is, "a requirement that people sign up for insurance, even if they’re currently healthy. And the insurance must meet minimum standards: Buying a cheap policy that barely covers anything is functionally the same as not buying insurance at all." For those who can't afford the individual mandate, the government provides sudsidies. Americans at the very bottom of the economic ladder receive a 100 percent subsidy in the form of Medicaid. This constitutes the third leg of the stool.
It's a delicate balance, and one that requires extensive cooperation from state governments. According to Krugman, "where states have in fact cooperated, expanding Medicaid, operating their own insurance exchanges, and promoting both enrollment and competition among insurers, it has worked pretty darn well."
But red-state governments have proven largely uncooperative, refusing Medicaid expansions, de-incentivizing competition among insurers, eliminating the individual mandate, and generally cutting off any leg of the stool they can.
Now Republicans are trying to do the same at a national level. Take, for example, Ted Cruz and his Cruz Amendment, which would allow insurers to offer skeleton plans with minimal coverage and sky-high deductibles. That's fatal to people with pre-existing conditions, effectively cutting off the most popular leg of the ACA, and pushing the sickest Americans into the most expensive insurance market.
"Obamacare," Krugman reminds us, is "a well-thought-out law that works where states want it to work." Sure it should be made to work better and more effectively, but Republicans are hell-bent on killing it. It's a tragedy for America that they don't have anything in its place.
Republican lawmakers move to cash in on healthcare repeal by buying up stock in insurance companies
By Dartagnan Saturday Jul 08, 2017 · 3:01 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: Who knew kicking 22 million people out of their health insurance could be so lucrative?Just as the Republican bill to slash much of the Affordable Care Act moved forward, Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican and member of Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership team, added a health insurance company to his portfolio.
An account owned by Conaway’s wife made two purchases of UnitedHealth stock, worth as much as $30,000, on March 24th, the day the legislation advanced in the House Rules Committee, according to disclosures.
Health care stocks have soared in recent weeks as insurance companies salivate over the prospect of gouging more Americans with inflated premiums and cuts in benefits. The Republicans have also promised to loosen the regulations that prohibit these same companies from denying coverage to whomever they choose, which promises to bump up the share price of conglomerates like United Health.
Conaway was not the only Republican cashing in on his plans for other people’s sickness and death: As the health care system overhaul advanced last month on the other side of Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma purchased between $50,000 to $100,000 in UnitedHealth stock.
With the United States under Trump devolving into a Putin-esque kleptocracy, the stink of corruption has apparently become so normalized in Republican ranks that they’ve become completely desensitized to it. In Conaway’s case, however, enriching himself with insider information had already passed his personal smell test:
Conaway, who serves as a GOP deputy whip in the House, has a long record of investing in firms that coincide with his official duties. Politico reported that Conaway’s wife purchased stock in a nuclear firm just after Conaway sponsored a bill to deal with nuclear waste storage in his district. The firm stood to directly benefit from the legislation.
Making money off sick children and the elderly who your party plans to leave without any health care coverage represents a new low, even for a Texas Republican. However, the rest of his party (and some Democrats as well) have made every effort to help him along. In 2012 Congress made a big show of passing something called the STOCK act in an apparent attempt to curb insider trading among lawmakers and their staff. The bill was subsequently watered down and partially repealed, specifically those provisions which would have made congresspersons’ stock transactions accessible to the public. And when the Securities & Exchange Commission moved forward with its first investigation of alleged violations of the act, the Republican-led Congress filed a brief with the SEC claiming the act could not be applied. New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz explains why Conaway’s and Inhofe’s trading in individual stocks timed to coincide with legislation they are working behind closed doors to pass is not just “business as usual”:
It’s worth noting that, for the ordinary investor, it’s rarely wise to buy and sell individual stocks — as opposed to investing in mutual funds — unless one has access to special information. And given that the mere appearance of corruption has a corrosive effect on our republic, it’s difficult to understand why members of Congress don’t restrict their investments to such instruments.
But then, the Trump-era Republican Party has grown quite comfortable with complicity in manifest corruption — let alone with giving the appearance of it.
With the entire executive branch awash in graft from the top down, it’s simply become ridiculously easy for members of Congress like Conaway to blend in with their own petty corruptions, without being noticed. And as for the “corrosive effect on our Republic,” well, that ship sailed last November.
Conservatives want to restrict abortion so much they’ll endanger their own health care bill
Senate Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place.
From Think Progress: Senate Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they decide to include anti-abortion language in their health care bill, it may be struck down, but if they take it out, anti-choice groups will oppose their bill. Conservatives’ intense desire to limit people’s access to abortion may undermine the success of — or completely set back — their own health care bill.
The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, who interprets Senate rules, told Republicans that a provision that stops people from using refundable tax credits for private insurance covering abortion may not be allowed, according to the Hill.
Republicans decided to push this legislation through using budget reconciliation, so they wouldn’t need any Democratic votes, but anti-abortion language does not fall under budgetary changes. This means they would be in violation of the Byrd Rule, which says that a bill’s language can’t be more about policy matters than how much money is being spent.
But if Republicans fail to include the language, influential anti-choice groups will oppose the repeal-and-replace bill they’ve worked months on and spent the majority of the Obama administration vowing to pass. Anti-choice groups, such as the Susan B Anthony List and Family Research Council, have pressured Senators to include prohibitions on abortion coverage and funding of Planned Parenthood in the health care bill, or they will oppose it. Some Republican Senate leaders similarly say that the bill can’t stray too far from the caucus’ stance on abortion, according to Politico.
Some Republicans are content to ignore the parliamentarian’s warning that the language will not be allowed. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told Politico, “There’s still not a clear ruling from the parliamentarian about the House Hyde language… I don’t think we go to contingencies or Plan Bs until we know that.” “No taxpayer funding is consistent with the majority of our caucus,” Thune added.
David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at Family Research Council, a far-right conservative group, told the Hill, “If the Byrd Rule were to be an obstacle to ensuring the GOP replacement plan in the Senate does not subsidize abortion, that’s something that would be a serious problem for us and the pro-life community.” Orrin Hatch said he believed that a bill without anti-choice language could possibly doom the bill. Republicans are looking for workarounds that could allow them to restrict abortion coverage and still make it through budget reconciliation.
Mulvaney: We must lower the debt for unborn children by taking food from existing children
The OMB director conjures abstractions to justify Trump’s draconian budget.
From Think Progress: During a hearing about the $3.6 trillion in cuts to domestic programs included in President Trump’s proposed budget, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made a case that the fiscal interests of the unborn should take precedence over the lives of present-day Americans — or at least those who rely on food stamps to eat or public schools to educate their children. During a hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) grilled Mulvaney about the budget’s 25 percent cut to food assistance for the poorest Americans.
“Mr. Mulvaney, at least 20 percent of people eligible for SNAP don’t even receive SNAP because of stigma and other reasons,” she said. “So there are more people who need SNAP benefits… And you have a 13 percent cut in the Department of Education. The most vulnerable kids who need — ”
Mulvaney cut her off and made an impassioned case that people like Lee aren’t sufficiently concerned about his “unborn grandchildren.” He said:
What about the standard of living for my grandchildren who aren’t here yet? Who will end up inheriting $30 trillion in debt? Fifty trillion dollars in debt? A hundred trillion dollars? What about their standard — who’s going to pay the bill, Congressman? That’s what this is all about. That’s what this new perspective is. Who is going to pay for all the stuff you just mentioned? Us? Or somebody else? And I suggest to you if it’s important enough to pay, to have, then we need to be paying for it. Because right now, my unborn grandchildren are paying for it, and I think that is morally bankrupt.
Lee responded by saying, “I have grandchildren also, and I want to make sure that they have the opportunity to get a job, so they can help pay for our government, which is a government that should be enhancing the standard of living and making sure that everyone has a chance for the American dream.” Mulvaney’s comments fall squarely in the deficit hawk tradition of caring more about the unborn than kids who are actually alive. He suggests the budget’s $191 billion cut to food assistance and $40 billion cut to public service loan forgiveness over the next decade are necessary sacrifices, but fails to mention that Trump’s budget includes a $5.5 trillion tax cut that will mainly benefit the wealthy.
Besides, Trump’s budget — which includes a $52 billion increase in military spending next year alone — wouldn’t really bring down the national debt, despite what Mulvaney claims. As Politico details, Trump’s “first budget as president would increase the debt by more than $3 trillion — and that’s only through rosy assumptions about economic growth and double-counting of tax revenue.”
“The budget uses an optimistic assumption about economic growth, which few economists believe is realistic, and assumes the president’s tax plan is deficit-neutral, despite independent scores that the plan would reduce revenues by around $5 trillion,” Politico reports. “Worse, it double counts up to $2.1 trillion in revenue, a blatant accounting error.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, the unrealistic assumption embodied in Trump’s budget were criticized by Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), who said, “This budget assumes a Goldilocks economy. And I think that’s a very difficult thing.” On Tuesday, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) criticized the budget’s impact on poor people, saying in a statement that “the proposed cuts to some federal programs are not mere shavings; they are rather deep and harmful to my district spanning Kentucky’s Appalachian region and other rural, impoverished parts of the country.”
Mulvaney, however, has signaled that the Trump administration is more concerned about reducing tax burdens than preserving services for those who rely on them. In an op-ed published yesterday, he wrote that the budget represents a reversal from prioritizing the interests of the poor to “putting taxpayers first.”
“Taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt. It is theft,” Mulvaney writes. “This budget makes it clear that we will reverse this larceny.”
Mulvaney’s professed concern about the well-being of future generations is belied by the budget’s drastic cuts to Environmental Protection Agency programs meant to ensure his “unborn grandchildren” will have a habitable planet to live on.
The face of Republican evil: It’s not Donald Trump
Mitch McConnell's gruesome health care scam reveals the corrupt, antidemocratic character of the entire GOP
AMANDA MARCOTTE - THURSDAY, JUN 22, 2017 02:00 AM PDT
From Salon: In the hellish months since Donald Trump’s inauguration, a dark parlor game of sorts has cropped up in liberal circles that I like to call “Would an Impeachment Even Be Worth It?” With the full acknowledgment that it’s unlikely to happen as long as Republicans are in charge, participants still sip cocktails and ponder out loud the question of whether booting out Trump on his butt would be enough to save our democracy, considering the fact that the Republican slimeball taking his place would invariably sign a bunch of retrograde legislation setting back this country decades.
These discussions break down into two camps: those who think Trump presents a unique threat to our democracy and replacing him with someone in the succession line, like Vice President Mike Pence or House Speaker Paul Ryan, would at least preserve our democratic norms; and those who think the corruption started long before Trump and has spread throughout the Republican Party, rotting it from the inside out.
Consider me in the latter camp, which makes me kind of unpopular in these discussions. Unfortunately, my view that the Republican Party as a whole is irredeemably antidemocratic has been borne out, yet again, in the process that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put into motion to destroy the Affordable Health Act, a process that will likely take out the U.S. health care system as we know it.
One could even argue that bog-standard Republicans, under the leadership of Ryan and McConnell, represent an bigger threat to our democracy than Trump, possessing as they do more competence and cunning than the TV-addled overgrown toddler in the White House.
As Heather Digby Parton, writing for Salon, recently detailed, McConnell has arranged to have the Senate version of the House’s American Health Care Act (which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would ultimately leave 23 million Americans uninsured) written in secret, with no hearings, no public discussion and no real debate. Republicans are barely even pretending the reason is anything other than the obvious: The bill is so terrible that it defies the will of people of all political stripes and sensibilities, whom legislators supposedly were elected to serve. When called out on this obvious fact, Republicans are just smirking or squawking “fake news” but not actually offering any contravening evidence.
McConnell’s contempt for the processes, much less the defining principles, of democracy couldn’t be more apparent. But he doesn’t really care. No doubt the election of Trump helped confirm the rising sense among Republicans that they can wipe their collective butts with the Constitution, flip the bird at their constituents and not really worry about losing many seats. Republican voters might not like it, but they like liberals, black people and feminists even less, so they will show up and dutifully vote against the Democrats every time. Losing health care access isn’t great, but for conservative voters, admitting that liberals might have a point is a hell from which there is no escape.
This Republican contempt for democracy was evident long before Trump started grasping for the presidential nomination with his stubby orange fingers. McConnell was so unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s two substantial presidential election victories that the Republican leader refused to acknowledge Obama’s right to nominate a Supreme Court justice after Antonin Scalia’s death. Not only did that work out perfectly for McConnell — he got Neil Gorsuch onto the high court, instead of rightful nominee Merrick Garland — but it proved once and for all that bedrock conservative voters don’t care about niceties like the rule of law or government by the people. They just want to punish women for having sex and gripe about “Obama phones,” and don’t care if the price paid is the ultimate ruin of this country.
Trump didn’t make Republicans corrupt. They were already there. That’s why he hasn’t really needed to do any arm-twisting or commit blackmail, no matter how much he’d like to, in order to get a GOP-controlled Congress willing to look the other way when presented with a growing pile of evidence that something weird is going on with Trump and the Russians.
It’s easier to not care if Russian intelligence is actively seeking to subvert U.S. elections for those who aggressively try to deny voting rights to millions of Americans, especially people of color and younger voters who insist on voting for Democrats.
At this point, the Republican rejection of democracy is an established fact. The only question is how far the ruling party is willing to take it. The antidemocratic, secretive process surrounding the GOP’s health care bill suggests there may be no real limit.
The myth of Republicans in Congress ‘pulling away from Trump’
A few are “concerned” over Comey’s ouster and Trump sharing secrets with Russia, but not concerned enough to do anything.
On Thursday, CNN cast Trump’s reported disclosure of highly classified information to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” None of this is true.
The CNN article, notably, does not quote any Republican breaking from Trump in a meaningful way. One anonymous Republican source quoted by CNN asserts “siding with the Democrats gets you nothing but a primary challenge.”
The New York Times credits Republicans with breaking with Trump if they publicly support him but privately express doubts.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Republicans “expressed concern and frustration” over Trump spilling secrets to the Russians, but also didn’t identify anyone willing to do anything about it.
Republicans are still overwhelmingly supporting Trump’s agenda and are unable to support basic steps to restore Democratic norms.
Cowering on Comey
Trump made headlines with his abrupt firing of FBI chief James Comey in the midst of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and possible collusion with Russia. Written documents released by the White House asserted that Trump made the decision at the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General. That recommendation cited Comey’s unusual public comments about the Hillary Clinton email investigation — comments that Trump publicly cheered at the time.
Trump later admitted that he had made the decision before the Deputy Attorney General produced his memo and that Comey’s stewardship of the Russia investigation was a factor in the decision.
This, by many accounts, has poisoned the ability for the FBI to pursue the investigation free from political pressure. Nevertheless, not a single Republican Senator supports the appointment of a special prosecutor to take over the investigation. (One Republican House member supports a special prosecutor but only if the prosecutor also investigates Hillary Clinton’s emails, the IRS, and Susan Rice.)
Just six Republicans, including one Senator, have come out in support of a special Congressional committee or independent investigation. Both of these options would still ultimately rely on the Justice Department to enforce the law.
More Republicans (41) have “questions or concerns” about the firing of Comey by Trump. But such concern has so far not translated into support for any kind of action.
Votes don’t lie
Republican Senators have voted with Trump an average of 98% of the time. Only two Republicans have voted with Trump less than 90% of the time, Senators Paul (89.7%) and Collins (87.8%).
In the House, out of 247 Republicans, only 11 have voted with Trump less than 90% of the time.
It starts at the top
Trump retains the support of rank-and-file Republican members of Congress. But more importantly, he retains the support of Republican leadership — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Ryan and McConnell both offered their full-throated support for Trump’s controversial firing of Comey. Even after news broke that Trump reportedly shared intelligence secrets with Russian officials, Ryan’s response was muted.
“We have no way to know what was said, but protecting our nation’s secrets is paramount,” a spokesman for Paul Ryan said in a statement. “The speaker hopes for a full explanation of the facts from the administration.” Ryan’s reaction reflected the current overall posture of Republicans in Congress. They will not provide a check on Trump. They will simply wait for his explanation, accept it and move on.
from under a rock!!
surprise, surprise another GOP racist!!
VA gubernatorial candidate blames the left for anti-Semitism
He also took a swing at a Muslim congressman.
From Think Progress: Virginia Republican Corey Stewart thinks that the left is to blame for rising anti-Semitism in the United States.
According to the Washington Post, Stewart, a gubernatorial candidate, was speaking at a Northern Virginia synagogue in Fairfax County Sunday night when he blamed progressives in the United States for an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents across the country.
“Today most of the anti-Semitic bigotry is not coming from the right. It’s coming from the left. We have to face it,” Stewart said, while the audience at Temple Rodef Shalom reacted with surprise.
He didn’t stop there, going on to list several accusations of anti-Semitism and sexism lobbed at Democrats. “What about Keith Ellison from Minnesota?” he asked, reviving a smear campaign against Ellison, who is the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress and the first African American elected from Minnesota to the U.S. House, and thus a frequent target of Islamophobia and racism.
“What about Trump?” members of the audience yelled back.
Stewart’s comments come at a time of mounting concern for Virginia’s Jewish community. Hate crimes have been on the rise since the election of President Donald Trump, leaving minorities feeling incredibly precarious. In February, a Virginia Jewish couple’s home was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. Two months later, a college student was arrested in Fairfax County after painting swastikas on the walls of a Jewish community center during Passover and plastering a community college with anti-Semitic flyers. Earlier this month, the Jewish mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia condemned white nationalist protests in the town, and was then targeted with a storm of anti-Semitic tweets. “I smell Jew,” read one.
Events like these have unsettled the community, but at Sunday’s event, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC), Stewart seemed unwilling to acknowledge the role that his party has played in the vitriol, choosing instead to deflect blame on to Democrats.
A former co-chair of the Trump presidential campaign in Virginia, Stewart has drawn controversy for his remarks before now. In April, he defended the Confederate flag and Virginia’s slave-owning “heritage” while voicing opposition to any removal of statues honoring Confederate figures.
“It’s the state of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. That is our heritage. It is what makes us Virginia,” he said. He claimed the Confederate flag was unrelated to racism or slavery. “I’m proud to be next to the Confederate flag,” Stewart said. “That flag is not about racism, folks, it’s not about hatred, it’s not about slavery. It’s about our heritage. It’s time that we stop running away from our heritage.”
He returned to the topic in late April. “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter,” he tweeted. (Respondents were quick to note that Stewart is originally from Minnesota.)
Defending white nationalism has been a core component of Stewart’s campaign. He has aligned himself with the alt-right, labeling his primary opponent, Ed Gillespie, a “cuckservative,” a term denoting conservatives who, per the Washington Post, “seem to have made peace with elements alien to traditional white Americanism.” (Editor’s note: ThinkProgress does not use the term alt-right, used to describe modern white nationalism and white supremacy.)
But despite targeting Gillespie, Stewart is trailing in the race, and his remarks on Sunday don’t seem to have helped. Guila Franklin Siegel, the associate director of the JCRC, expressed misgivings about Stewart to the Post following his remarks. “I thought it was disappointing he didn’t take the opportunity to speak about what he could do within his own sphere of influence to combat anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry and intolerance, instead of looking at what other people are doing in other parts of the political spectrum,” Siegel said.
House Republican didn’t know the health care bill he voted for could cost his state $3 billion
Rep. Chris Collins didn’t read it before he voted for it.
Aaron Rupar - May 5
From Think Progress: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) didn’t read the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation to dismantle Obamacare that will result in millions of people losing access to affordable insurance, before House Republicans voted to pass it on Thursday. And he had no idea the bill would cost his state billions of federal dollars used to insure thousands of his constituents.
During a CNN appearance on Thursday, Wolf Blitzer asked Collins if he’d actually read the AHCA before voting for it.
“I will fully admit, Wolf, that I did not,” Collins said. “But I can also assure you my staff did. We have to rely on our staff… I’m very comfortable that we have a solution to the disaster called Obamacare.”
“Congressman, this legislation affects a fifth of the U.S. economy and millions and millions of Americans — don’t you think it was important to actually sit down and read, read the language of this bill?” Blitzer pushed back.
Collins replied by suggesting he was hardly the only Republican who didn’t read the bill, which was rushed through before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could score it to detail its specific impact.
“You know, I have to rely on my staff, and I could probably tell you that I read every word, and I wouldn’t be telling you the truth, nor would any other member,” he said. “We rely on our staff, and we rely on our committees, and I’m comfortable that I understand this bill in its entirety, Wolf, without poring through every word.”
But not reading bills can have serious consequences. Later on Thursday, Collins admitted that he didn’t know the AHCA will cost New York $3 billion in federal funds — money that’s used to insure 19,000 of his constituents.
From The Buffalo News:
Told by a Buffalo News reporter that the state’s largest loss of federal funds under the bill would be $3 billion annually that goes to the state’s Essential Health Plan, Collins said: “Explain that to me.”
The Essential Plan is an optional program under Obamacare, offered only by New York and Minnesota, that provides low-cost health insurance to low- and middle-income people who don’t qualify for Medicaid. State Health Department figures show that more than 19,000 people in Erie and Niagara counties were on the Essential Plan in January.
Asked by The Buffalo News if he was aware of the bill’s cut in funding to the Essential Plan, Collins said:
“No. But it doesn’t surprise me for you to tell me that there were two states in the nation that were taking advantage of some other waiver program and New York was one of the two states.”
In an attempt to defend Collins’ comments, his spokesman, Michael McAdams, tried to blame The Buffalo News.
“Once again The Buffalo News is twisting a Republican’s words to fit its out-of-touch, liberal narrative,” McAdams said, according to the publication. “Congressman Collins has been intimately involved in the creation of this legislation from its inception… He understands the impact it would have on Western New Yorkers. To infer Congressman Collins doesn’t understand the disastrous impact Obamacare has had on our region and our nation is absolutely shameful.”
Collins is correct that he’s not the only GOP lawmaker who didn’t read the legislation before casting a vote for it. During a CNN appearance Friday morning, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) admitted that he too hadn’t read all of the AHCA before Thursday’s vote.
“I turned through every page,” Sanford said. “As to whether or not I got through some of the details on some of the pages, no. But yes, I attempted to read the entire bill.”
This is a far cry from the fall of 2010, when House Republican leaders unveiled their “Pledge to America,” which contained a “Read the Bill” promise. “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives,” it said.
Paul Ryan Is Plotting An Evil $500 Billion Cut To Medicare, Medicaid, And Food Stamps By Jason Easley on Thu, May 4th, 2017 at 10:04 am
From Politicus USA: For their next act of malevolence after voting to take away health care from 24 million people, House Republicans are plotting to cut $500 billion from Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment benefits in 2018.
Bloomberg reported, “House Republicans are considering an ambitious target of about $500 billion in cuts to so-called mandatory spending in their fiscal 2018 budget resolution, according to two people familiar with the plan. The House Budget Committee is considering instructing Congress to pursue the cuts to a rarely-touched slice of the budget that totaled $2.4 trillion in 2016 and which includes spending on safety-net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.”
The Republicans can pass these cuts, and avoid a Democratic filibuster, by using budget reconciliation which requires a simple majority for passage. The cuts that are being proposed would harm the most economically vulnerable people in US society. The vast majority of Medicaid recipients are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Over 80% of households receiving food stamps contain a child, disabled, or elderly person. Cuts to unemployment benefits would harm anyone who lost their job through no fault of their own, and any Medicare cuts would harm seniors.
Republicans are targeting people on fixed or low incomes or dependents who have no income potential because they are children. These are the type of cuts that are based on an ideological cruelty that is unfathomable in world’s only superpower.
Taking away health care from tens of millions is just the beginning. There are other even more dangerous cuts coming.
The battles being fought in 2017 against the Republican agenda can only be decisively won at the ballot box in 2018. The fight is about more than health care. The very survival of millions of people is on the line.
GOP Congressman Says People With Pre-Existing Conditions Are Bad People Who Should Pay More By Jason Easley on Mon, May 1st, 2017 at 7:28 pm
From Politicus USA: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) tried to justify allowing insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more by claiming that people with pre-existing conditions lead bad lives.
On CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Rep. Brooks said, “My understand is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all of these costs thereby reducing the costs to those people who lead good lives. They’re healthy. They’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy, and right now, those are the people who have done things the right way, who are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”
Brooks realized that what he just said sounded really bad, so he tried to clear it up by saying, “Now, in fairness, a lot of those people with pre-existing conditions have those conditions through no fault of their own, and I think our society, under those circumstances, needs to help. The challenge though is that it’s a tough balancing act.”
The same Republican Party that bashed Michelle Obama for trying to get Americans to eat healthier is now judging people as good or bad based on whether or not a person has a pre-existing condition.
The rationale behind the Republican health care legislation has always been that sick people are bad people who deserve to pay more for their health care because they did something wrong. What they did wrong was get sick, or develop a pre-existing condition.
Who gets to decide whether or not a pre-existing condition deserves more health care coverage? According to Trumpcare, the insurance companies will make that decision. Republicans have moved from imaginary Obamacare death panels to empowering insurance companies to act as real death panels.
People with pre-existing conditions did not get sick due to some moral failing, and this argument is one of the main reasons why voters will make Republicans pay if they repeal Obamacare.
GOP lawmaker confesses: Republican pledge to repeal Obamacare is ‘one of the biggest shams in history’ Brad Reed 28 APR 2017 AT 11:10 ET
From Raw Story: The Republican Party has pledged for seven years now that it would repeal the Affordable Care Act — but now that it’s in a position to do so, it suddenly seems to have gotten cold feet.
Talking with the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, one anonymous Republican lawmaker acknowledged that many Republicans in Congress don’t actually have any desire to fully repeal Obamacare, despite the fact that it has been a staple of the party’s platform for multiple election cycles.
“A pure repeal would get less than 200 votes,” the lawmaker admitted, even as he fumed that he would like to see the law entirely repealed. “It really is one of the biggest political shams in history — many of these members would not have been elected without promising repeal, and now they are wilting.”
Why are so many Republicans queasy about doing something they vowed to do for years? According to York, they believe that doing so would badly hurt people in their districts — and thus kill their hopes of getting reelected.
“The reason is fear,” York explains. “When the lawmaker said colleagues don’t want repeal “because of their district,” that was another way of saying the members are all representatives, and the voters they represent don’t want repeal.”
GOP senator from Matthew Shepard's state: A 'guy who wears a tutu to the bar' is 'asking for it' By Gabe Ortiz Tuesday Apr 25, 2017 · 2:20 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: Here’s what Wyoming’s senior senator reportedly had to say about LGBTQ Americans in the state where Matthew Shepard was beaten, tortured, and left to die on a fence post two decades ago in one of the nation’s most brutal anti-gay hate crimes:
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) told a group of high school and middle school students last week that it’s fine to be a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer community ― as long as you aren’t too open about it.
On Thursday, Enzi spoke to students at Greybull High School and Middle School and responded to a student who asked him what he was doing to support LGBTQ communities in Wyoming. He said that “the guy who wears a tutu to the bar and is surprised” when he is treated different is “asking for it.”
Mathew Burciaga, an editor at the Greybull Standard, was at the event. He said he has audio of the exchange, which the paper will release on Wednesday.
“Max D’Onofrio, a spokesman for Enzi, said the senator stressed the importance of respecting other people and argued that protections mandated by Washington are not always the best solution,” according to the Huffington Post. Odd, because it was both Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.’s murders that led to historic federal hate crimes legislation getting signed by former President Obama in 2009. And it’s hateful rhetoric like Sen. Enzi’s that often incites even more violence against LGBTQ people. Read More
Oklahoma GOP names EPA head in fundraiser invitation, potentially violating federal law
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed a Hatch Act complaint over an invitation to the event promoting Pruitt’s political actions.
From Think Progress: Next Friday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt — former Oklahoma Attorney General — will give the keynote address at the Oklahoma Republican Party’s annual gala.
And already, at least one Democratic lawmaker is arguing that Pruitt’s appearance at the fundraising event violates federal law.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, filed a complaint on Tuesday with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, alleging that Pruitt is in violation of the Hatch Act, which limits the political participation of federal employees. In a flyer advertising the event, the Oklahoma GOP touts Pruitt’s role as EPA administrator, highlighting steps he has taken since February to roll back environmental regulations.
“You do not want to miss Pruitt at this year’s OKGOP Gala, as he discusses his plans to slash regulations, bring back jobs to Oklahoma, and decrease the size of the EPA,” the flyer reads.
The gala is a fundraiser for the Oklahoma GOP, with tickets to the dinner running $100 and tickets to the VIP reception costing $50. Attendees also have the option of purchasing sponsorship packages, which run from $2,000 to $5,000.
Under the Hatch Act, federal employees can engage in political activities, but cannot allow their official title to be used in connection with fundraising. Federal employees can give speeches at political fundraisers, but must appear only in their personal capacity, and can’t use their position in the federal government to help solicit donations. And while an employee’s name may appear on invitations to a fundraising event, the employee’s title cannot be used.
The invitation appears to violate all of those requirements, referencing Pruitt’s official title at least three times and citing his actions as administrator to promote the gala.
“The unmistakable impression one receives from the May 5 invitation is that by purchasing a ticket or agreeing to sponsor the OKGOP Gala, the attendee will have special access to federal employee discussing official actions already taken, and to be taken in the future,” Whitehouse writes in his complaint. “This is clearly impermissible political activity under the Hatch Act.”
It is rare, though not unheard of, for sitting cabinet members to violate the Hatch Act. Two of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries — former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro — were found to be in violation of the Hatch Act for making personal political statements while operating in an official capacity. Federal employees found to be in violation of the act can be reprimanded, suspended, or fired. Violations against presidential appointees are referred to the president, who ultimately makes the decision about what penalties the appointees will face. Neither Sebelius nor Castro were punished for their violations.
According to the EPA, Pruitt’s appearance at the event was approved by the agency’s ethics office and the flyer was created independently by the Oklahoma GOP, Politico reported.
But Whitehouse’s letter cites Pruitt’s “long history of political solicitation from industries he now regulates,” suggesting such activities present “a pattern of behavior that warrants close scrutiny.” Before becoming EPA administrator, Pruitt led the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), where he worked to increase donations from fossil fuel companies and organizations. Under Pruitt’s tenure, fossil fuel giants like the American Petroleum Institute, ConocoPhillips, Alpha Natural Resources, and American Electric Power all joined the association.
Large donations to RAGA became so common that Pruitt oversaw the creation of the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which claimed nonprofit status and therefore has never had to disclose its donors. But public reporting shows that Freedom Partners — a Koch-backed organization — has contributed at least $175,000 to the Rule of Law Defense Fund. During his confirmation process, several Democratic senators unsuccessfully requested more information about the Rule of Law Defense Fund and about Pruitt’s financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. Despite failing to provide the requested information, Pruitt was eventually confirmed by a vote of 52 to 46 — only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), voted against him.
TODAY'S GOP What is not surprising is that Republicans will not lift a finger to protect sick people with pre-existing conditions, the disabled, the poor, women, children, Veterans, or young adults; it isn’t in their nature and contrary to the will of the Kochs. But by dog, they will move the proverbial ‘heaven and Earth’ to protect a fetus, the oil industry, corporations, and their corrupt standard bearer Trump. Republicans aren’t just callous and cruel, that’s not enough for them. They are evil, vicious and cold-blooded without an anti-cruelty law to stop them.
*racist GOP bill to limit legal immigration will wreak havoc on Africans, Asians, and Latinos
*legalized bribery for oil companies
*eliminate retirement assist. to workers
*Trump's Missile Attack on Syria Justified With Fake Intelligence
to be continued
muslim terrorists- banned countries
*al queda leader calls trump an idiot.
to be continued
Jen Sorensen on 'The Republican Guide to Screwing the Working Class' And laughing all the way to the White House. By Jen Sorensen / AlterNet December 20, 2016
Fools elect them and they screw you
the party of unending racism and hatred!!!
‘Minnesota’s head Muslim goat humper’: GOP caught posting racist rant against Rep. Keith Ellison Sarah K. Burris 02 MAY 2017 AT 09:37 ET
From Raw Story: The Minnesota Republican Party is coming under fire after a district branch of the GOP posted a racist rant on its Facebook page about America’s first Muslim congressman.
The post has since been deleted, according to Fusion, but showed a meme of Rep. Keith Ellison (D) with a turkey he shot while hunting. It read: “Collin Peterson has been sliding up to Minnesota’s Head Muslim Goat Humper, Keith Ellison. Heck, they’re not Hunting Buddies. Does that mean Muslim Refugees coming to Western Minnesota [sic]?”
Collin Peterson is another Democratic Congressman from the MN-07 district.
The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party was quick to issue a statement calling out “the ignorance and bigotry displayed in this post.” DFL Chair Ken Martin called the comments “staggering and disheartening.”
GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan was just elected to head the party last week. She was adopted as a child from South Korea and when she was elected announced people are “going to have a really hard time calling us the party of racists and sexists.”
Carnahan did call for the staffer responsible for the post to step down and tweeted, “this person no longer represents our party.”
More Things You Have To Believe To Be A Republican Today: US 240 Edition
From Demo Underground: Today marks the 240th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and by tradition is the United States' birthday, which is celebrated with fireworks, cookouts, and great prices on mattresses!!!
The bad news is that we have four more months to go in an election season that already seems to have lasted about two hundred and forty years all by itself. The polls look good for Secretary Clinton right now, so hopefully this won't be the United State's last birthday.
(No. 23 in a series)
Some revisiting of older entries:
The list that will continue to inevitably grow:
* Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Alan West, Todd Akin, Joe Walsh, Ted Cruz, Steve Stockman, EW Jackson, Glenn Grothman, Joni Ernst, Mike Pence, Ben Carson, and Robert Morrow are intelligent, rational human beings.
A few of the past mentions of Der Drumpfenfuror, updated where necessary:
* Donald Trump is qualified to be President because of his business expertise in multiple bankruptcies, losing money on casinos, and having high profile business partners sever their ties with him.
* Bill Clinton was a draft dodger for not serving in Vietnam. But it was okay for Dick Cheney, George W. and Jeb Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Clarence Thomas, Dan Quayle, Tom Delay, Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, Donald Trump, and Willard Mitt Romney not to go.
* Getting sent to military school is just as good as actually serving in the military.
* After thirty-five years of bellicose anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-science, pro-rich rhetoric it is shocking and confusing that an obnoxious, ignorant, racist billionaire businessman has won the Republican presidential nomination.
* A billionaire who made his money from inheritance, shady land deals, brain-cell killingly stupid reality shows, and incessant self-promotion has earned the right to say that working people's wages are too high.
* A guy who's been married multiple times and has a creepy erotic interest in his own daughter has the moral authority to call Bill Clinton sexist.
* Just because Neo Nazis and the KKK love Donald Trump doesn't mean he's a fearmonger pandering to racists.
* Barack Obama is a horrible tyrant, and the only way to save our country is to vote for a man who admires Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung Un.
* It is terrible that all of our jobs have been sent to China, so you want to elect a guy who has Chinese laborers manufacture his own "signature line"
* A sure sign of the Presidential toughness needed to deal with Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un, and Daesh is refusing to show up to a debate where a woman may ask tough questions.
* Donald Trump's business record is one of the reasons he is qualified to be President. Do not talk about Donald Trump's business record because doing so is a liberal smear campaign and he'll sue you.
* It is inappropriate of the Pope to question the religious faith of a man who constantly questions Barack Obama and Ted Cruz's religious faith.
All-New All-Different More Things You Have To Believe To Be A Republican Today:
* Valid for Hitler Comparisons: A black man wants to make health care more affordable to more people. Not Valid for Hitler Comparisons: A bombastic bigot with a bad haircut wants to stop immigration, persecute believers of a religious minority, torture people, demand loyalty oaths, and punish those who criticize him.
* You're the son of immigrants and support new standards so stringent that your own parents wouldn't have been allowed to stay in the country.
* You can ignore your duties as spelled out in the Constitution if you don't like the current President.
* You think politics has gotten polarized and vile in this country. You approve of Donald Trump encouraging his supporters to beat up protesters.
* The Democratic and Republican parties have the exact same positions on race relations as they had 150 years ago.
* As the Constitution clearly states, Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the Heritage Foundation and approved with the advice and consent of the National Rifle Association.
* You've spent the last seven years making fun of everything Michelle Obama says or does, but are horrified that people are saying things about Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz.
* You resent satire that depicts conservatives as violent and misogynistic, and think the dumb whores that create it should be raped and murdered.
* Laws protecting LGBT Americans are "government overreach". Laws preventing the protection of LGBT Americans are not.
* Threat Requiring Immediate Action: Planned Parenthood. Not A Threat Requiring Immediate Action: Zika.
* A prized endorsement: a failed gubernatorial candidate who emailed pictures of a woman having sex with a horse.
* You complain about musicians "discriminating" against Christians just because they canceled their shows due to your law discriminating against LGBT people.
* You're glad the "Fairness Doctrine" was junked, but are enraged by allegations that Facebook blacklists "topics of conservative interest" from their news feeds.
* Discussing what Hillary Clinton's husband did in the 1990's is a valid topic for criticism. Discussing what Donald Trump did in the 1990's is a "low" blow and a smear campaign based on dredging up old, irrelevant news.
* A True Christian will forgive Donald Trump for cheating on his three wives, but not Bill Clinton for cheating on his one wife. Or her for being cheated on.
Because, of course, as we saw on the last list: * The embodiment of Christian values: a thrice-married avatar of Mammon who doesn't know much about the Bible, lusts after his own daughter, and can't open his mouth without bragging about how awesome he is.
* "Acting Presidential": insulting a sitting female United States Senator on Twitter.
* The proper response to an editorial writer comparing Trump's campaign positions to fascism is clearly to call the writer a dumb Jew and suggest that he and all the other dumb Jews be shipped to concentration camps.
* Violent felons who have served their time should be allowed to have whatever firearms they want. Violent felons who have served their time should never be allowed to vote ever again.
* Donald Trump's campaign being broke despite getting the equivalent of two billion dollars of free, obsequious media coverage is a sure sign that he's the kind of financial wizard we want making Federal budget decisions.
* Indiana is in Mexico. New York City is in Afghanistan.
(I guess we shouldn't be surprised at this from someone who also thinks Hawaii is in Kenya)
* Four justices out of nine would have made a majority.
(I think we're seeing one of the reasons Drumpf has been bankrupt so many times--he can't freakin' count!!!)
I think opiods ARE involved here, but not in the way they're suggesting...
* Ethanol causes drug abuse.
Oh, just one more shot at Hair Furor's followers...
* Donald Trump's constant boasting and construction of gaudy buildings bearing his name in giant letters show that he's a humble servant of the people and God. Hillary Clinton is a dangerous egomaniac who's only in it for herself.