Sunday Reads: View from the Photo Booth

Good Morning

Once again…today’s thread will be a short one. Springing ahead…time change, is always a difficult one for me to handle. I wish Georgia would take a leap from Florida and make this latest time spring forward…the last.

Florida lawmakers vote to stay in Daylight Saving Time all year long – CNN

Lawmakers in Florida are tired of the whole “fall back” and “spring forward” rigamarole. So they’ve approved a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time going throughout the year in their state.

It took the state Senate less than a minute Tuesday to pass the “Sunshine Protection Act.” There were only two dissenters. (The House passed it 103-11 on February 14.)
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott — but it’s far from a done deal after that,
Even if the governor approves, a change like this will literally take an act of Congress.
But if all is approved, Floridians — who’ll set their clocks ahead one hour this Sunday when Daylight Saving Time begins — won’t have to mess with it ever again.

Act of Congress or not…Scott signed a bill last week bringing the legal age to buy a rifle  in Florida up from 18 to 21. And now the NRA is suing.

Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – BBC News

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is suing Florida after it passed a gun control law in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Governor Rick Scott, a staunch ally of the gun lobby, enacted the bill, which the NRA says violates the constitution.

The law raises the legal age for buying rifles in Florida, but also allows the training and arming of school staff.

It does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the 14 February massacre in Parkland.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

[…]

What’s in the new law?

  • It raises the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21 in the state – although 18, 19 and 20-year-old police officers and members of the security forces will still be able to buy rifles and shotguns
  • It bans bump stocks – devices that raise the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles
  • It introduces a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases (previously this only applied when people bought handguns)
  • It makes it easier for police to confiscate weapons and ammunition from people who are deemed to pose a threat of violent behaviour (a measure that has been proposed by five other states in the last month, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
  • It allows school staff to carry guns, with the agreement of their school district authorities and sheriff’s department. This is already allowed in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas and Texas

NRA filed a lawsuit within an hour from Scott signing the new law…you would think that the bloody bloodthirsty gun lobby would be ecstatic about that last part of the new legislation. The bit about school staff being able to carry and lock and load.

 

According to this article from The Tampa Bay Times, school districts are too big on arming their staff: Florida’s biggest school districts may skip out on armed ‘guardians’ program, even if Rick Scott signs it | Tampa Bay Times

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers.

The Legislature’s new plan to arm school employees as a last line of defense to an active shooter might never get tested in Florida’s biggest school districts.

Officials in 10 of the state’s largest systems, which educate nearly 60 percent of all Florida school children, said they have no intention of giving teachers or other staff guns to carry into classrooms.

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers. “I do not support our hard-working teachers having the responsibility of carrying a weapon.”

The Broward, Duval and Hillsborough county school boards adopted formal statements Tuesday opposing the idea of arming school personnel, and calling for adequate funding to support sworn officers in the schools instead. A day earlier, Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho made clear his district’s position, saying anyone who thinks arming educators is a solution is “absolutely out of their mind.”

Also this week, a majority of Pasco County board members have signaled their dissent, as have officials in Pinellas County.

“What’s the liability on that?” Pinellas board chairwoman Renee Flowers asked in an interview. “We’re here to educate our students. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Cafeteria workers, maintenance people, librarians. … That’s not what they were hired for.”

This is good to hear…I am glad that question on liability is being brought up.

Remember this victim of gun violence, from Alabama?

That “accidental” shooting?

 

Teen Charged With Manslaughter in Alabama School Shooting via Voice of America

A 17-year-old high school junior was charged Friday with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student at an Alabama high school.

This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.
This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.

The charges against Michael Jerome Barber were announced after authorities interviewed witnesses and reviewed video in connection with the shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham. Courtlin Arrington, 17, a senior who had dreams of becoming a nurse, was killed in the shooting.

Barber recklessly caused Arrington’s death after bringing a gun to school, prosecutors said. They did not release details of the shooting.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred. This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton said in a statement.

The shooting took place Wednesday as school was dismissing for the day. Police initially said it was possible the shooting was accidental.

It is so disturbing…

Arrington’s mother, Tynesha Tatum, was quoted by al.com as saying that she told her daughter she loved her and to have a “blessed day” as she left for school that morning. The next time she saw her was to identify her body at a Birmingham hospital.

Arrington was a caring and fashion-conscious teen who was determined to become a nurse, her mother said.

“Whatever she put her mind to, that’s what she was going to do,” she told the newspaper.

Her funeral will be held the same weekend as what would have been her senior prom.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring this week described Arrington as a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”

“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.

Barber is a junior who plays on Huffman’s football team and has posted recruiting videos online. Court records were not immediately available to show whether Barber had a lawyer to speak for him.

Huffman High School has metal detectors but they were not in use on the day of the shooting, school officials said.

Herring said the school has increased security and is reviewing safety procedures and protocols.

More on Courtlin Arrington here: Mom, family heartbroken after daughter’s promising life ended in shooting at Huffman High | AL.com

 

What a beautiful young woman, such a tragedy.

I am so glad that the students are standing up to the NRA and gun lobby lovers…

The NRA May Underestimate Young People. But We Don’t. – Rewire.News

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, have inspired us with their determination, grit, and relentless courage. We owe those brave students more than awe and admiration; this moment of national outrage must become a moment of national action. Right now, powerful special interests are betting against them and cynically speculating that the urgency will pass and America will return to business as usual. The National Rifle Association (NRA) underestimates the power of young people. In doing so, they are fools.

There is a new “old” language afoot….it is taking some fucked up folks by storm…I should say “stormfront.” Check this article out, By Ryan Lenz at Southern Poverty Law Center: White Nationalists Are Pushing for a ‘Blue-Eyed’ English | Alternet

They call it Anglish.

White nationalists have gone looking for a mothertung. No, that isn’t a misspelling; rather, it’s how the word would look for white nationalists obsessed with seeing Anglish in widespread use.

Anglish? I must mean English, right? Nope.

Derived from “linguistic purism,” an idea that dates to the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglish is the English language either expunged of words with Latinate or Greek origins, or with those words completely reimagined with deference to Germanic roots. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy favored the style, even introducing words like “birdlore” instead of ornithology and “bendsome” in place of flexible.

But in the last year, as the so-called “alt-right” has moved further into the mainstream, this old idea has seen some newfound enthusiasm. (Maybe racists have come to realize that if a white ethnostate can’t be built on a gene pool, grammar will do.)

As early as 2010, Anglish was casually discussed in places such as Stormfront, once the largest white supremacist website in the world. Last summer, someone with the username Hail Britain, lauded Anglish after someone posted a YouTube video exploring the question, “What if English were 100 percent Germanic.”

“Good to see this sort of thing circulating,” a user named Branmakmorn wrote. “Hopefully it’ll spur a few normies to start asking more questions about their white identity.”

More recently, last November, an author revisited the idea of Anglish in the Renegade Tribune, an online anti-Semitic newspaper that has dabbled in Holocaust denial and featured headlines such as, “The jewish [sic] Plans for 2018: Immigrant Invasion, Miscegenation, and White Genocide.”

“How is that White countries with languages derived from Latin fell easier to Jewish universalism than Germany? Of course language is not the main reason but it is certainly related to it, and it had its own contribution,” an author last opined last November for the Renegade Tribune.

He added, in a comment to his own post: “Latin is a slave language because it is intended to be universal, to facilitate the breeding together of different humans.”

While the idea is bizarre, there have been discussions about pushing Anglish into the mainstream on Reddit and online forums elsewhere dedicated to Anglish.

Read the rest at the link above…I doubt the new “anguage???” will take hold…as it is way too difficult for these racist shitasses to learn something new.

Here is something to ponder: Colombia’s Farc: Choosing the ballot box over violence – BBC News

In the Colombian town of Fusagasugá, about two hours from the capital, Bogotá, Senate hopeful Julián Gallo Cubillos is on stage for the close of his campaign.

It is pouring down with rain but for a man used to living in the jungle, it is hardly a problem.

Better known by his nom de guerre, Carlos Antonio Lozada, he fought for three decades with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the left-wing rebel group better known as Farc.

I remember Farc, and Colombia and all the shit that was going down when I was in high school in 85/88 and college in the end of the 80’s and early 90’s and when I was getting my second degree in the mid 90’s.  If any of you have seen the series Narcos…I am sure it will be fresh in your minds.

The Farc started life in the 1960s as a Marxist-inspired rebel group demanding land reform.

The guerrillas soon became a key player in a conflict involving the government, right-wing paramilitaries and other armed groups, which left an estimated 220,000 dead and millions displaced over five decades.

The turning point was the peace agreement signed between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc in 2016.

As part of the deal, the Farc were given 10 seats in Congress up until 2026, regardless of how many votes they received.

Same name, different game

After the Farc rebels disarmed last year, the group announced its new party. It kept the acronym Farc but changed what the letters stand for to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

A man holds up a banner urging to vote for the Farc

“We had to maintain our name because it’s linked to our history of struggle and resistance,” explains Mr Lozada.

“It wouldn’t have been ethical to hide behind any other acronym.”

But the new political party is having trouble convincing the general public of its new role.

“How are we going to pardon a group who has spilt so much blood and is now expecting us to put them in power?” asked Alejandro Castañeda, who was walking through Bogotá’s main square, Plaza Bolívar.

It seems there aremany who feel this same way, but to them I would ask…how many deaths can be linked to a corrupt government that continued to propel a drug war and its devastating violence.

Colombians are not against the idea of peace but they are divided about how to go about it.

And for many, it is hard to forget the crimes the Farc committed during more than five decades of armed conflict.

One of the biggest criticisms of the deal was allowing Farc members to run for office without having to serve prison time first.

“They get seats with no votes and they aren’t facing justice,’ says 24-year-old Nicolás Ordoñez Ruiz, who is part of Colombia’s main opposition party, Democratic Centre. “It’s an irresponsible message. It will create more violence in the future.”

That, says conflict expert Jorge Restrepo, will be reflected on voting day. “People won’t want to vote for them because they were not punished,” he says.

“That lack of justice, that need for revengeful justice, has not been satisfied in Colombia.”

More at the link…I don’t know, I just find it all very fascinating.

Coming up to the end of the thread…just a few more links.

These next two video embeds are from Facebook. If you cannot see them, just click the links I’ve provided:

 

She’s a 91-year-old practicing physician, granddaughter of a slave, and one of the first doctors to treat women with opioid addiction. #InternationalWomensDay

 

 

Activist Fraidy Reiss On Ending Forced Marriage In AmericaChild marriage is still legal in all 50 states — but this activist doesn’t want any girl to go through what she experienced

 

 

 

Speaking of Child Marriage. I wanted to share this letter/email I received from Rachana this past week. I am so honored to be connected to this woman. The plans are shaping up for her school for girls…and now they are getting down to the point where they can begin the fund raising.

Dearest JJ

I wish you a happiest day on this beautiful occasion of international women’s day. I wouldn’t lose this moment to think of women whose are special to me and who have potential to change the world. I’m blessed to be in touch with such an amazing, bold, creative, generous women over seas.
I’m very grateful for what I have got and very optimistic for the future that will bring us together to fix things and fight for human rights.
It’s been a long time I was trying to reach you out since my sister in law was in the hospital plans got changed.finally I managed to tell the things i was keeping in my heart.
Hope you’re having good time there.
Here i have a good news to share.
Last week our team members have planed to open a kindergarten in Surkhet from May.
The idea behind of opening a kindergarten
1: provide childcare, good education
2: to raise children in respectful, peaceful and in friendly environment.
3: to generate young mothers, give them life skills, training, parenting skills and income opportunity
4: to make healthy and happy livelihood
5: to give second opportunity to child bride to continue their school and free time to set their carrier.
6: to end violence against women and children.
These are our goals to achieve from the small step towards changing the bad train by educating children and women.
What do you think of It?
I would like to invite you to Nepal someday to help in our plan. We need people to bring different ideas, methodology and strategies.
For this difficult but beautiful missions we need money
• To build the house
• rent for the land
• For furniture
•For teaching materials
• playing toys and children books
• food and nutrition
We also need fund for organizing different events and activities for young mothers.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think can we make this mission as our mission? Can we be a part of this dream project? I feel there is something really connected with you. I get good vibes when I think of you.
Could it be possible to donate us to make our dream come true?
I’m passing this email holding my heart with big hope.
I believe investing in education today will empower our next generation tomorrow.
I wait for your response
Once again happy women’s day.
Cheers for us.😊😍
Warmest thanks regards

 

 

It is thrilling to be a part of this movement in Nepal. I feel like this can be a chance to actually do some good and see it come to fruition. In a small village…for a small group of young girls, women and mothers. It will be an opportunity to give aid and watch the empowerment work through the daughters of this amazing corner in our world.

Photo by Rachana Sunar

This is an open thread.

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Sunday Reads: A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

 

A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

-Paul Verrall from Born Yesterday

 

 

Good afternoon…..

Now…

This is frightening:

 

Donald Trump Says He May Want To Be President For Life – News & Guts Media

Speaking at a GOP fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago Saturday afternoon, Donald Trump dropped a bombshell.  First, Trump talked about the 2016 election, which he won but still can’t get past.  He remains distraught over a “rigged system” and wonders why Hillary Clinton hasn’t been prosecuted, among many topics in a free-wheeling speech.

But his off-the-cuff remarks took a bizarre turn when he praised China’s President Xi Jinping for consolidating power and effectively making him president for as long as he wants.  It’s an appealing idea to Trump.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Pause and think about that for a second.  What would possess him to say this out loud?  This is scary territory.  The remarks were closed to the press but a recording was obtained by CNN.

What the fuck, right?

 

By the way, Flake: ‘There should be’ Republican challenger to Trump in 2020 – CNNPolitics

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he thinks President Donald Trump will and should have a Republican challenger in the 2020 presidential election.

“I do think the President will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think that there will be an independent challenge,” the Arizona senator said in an interview for David Axelrod’s show…
Uh…a challenger in 2020? How the hell these people still see that tRumphole in office in 2020 is beyond me…(I realize that he will more than likely get away with all this shit, but fucking hell.)

More Tweets of note:

 

I know a lot of you are like me, overwhelmed at all the shit. Who knows, maybe it is just that we are not meant to be up in the morning…Check this out: Can’t get to sleep early? Science is on your side. – Vox

We live in a world that worships the early riser. Think of everything we’re told on the virtues of waking up early:

”The early bird catches the worm.”

”Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man… “ (Ben Franklin’s most famous saying).

”Nice of you to join us today” (snarky dictum of teachers and bosses everywhere).

The message is clear: Starting early is the way to get ahead; lateness is ugly as sin.

In 2016, I reported on the science of chronobiology, which finds we all have an internal clock that keeps us on a consistent sleep and wake cycle. But the key finding is that everyone’s clock is not the same. Most people fall in the middle, preferring to sleep around 11 pm to 7 am. But many — perhaps 40 percent of the population — don’t naturally fit in this schedule.

There are night owls among us — whose whole circadian schedules are shifted later — and morning larks, who are shifted earlier. These traits are determined by genetics and are extremely hard to change. What’s more, the research is finding that if we fight our chronotypes, our health may suffer.

But most striking to me wasn’t the health implications of messing with your clock. It was the stigma late sleepers feel in a society ruled by early risers. Simply put: These late sleepers are tired of being judged for a behavior they cannot easily control. If they can’t change their sleep patterns, maybe society should become more accepting of them.

Then there is a story like this to just get you so pissed off….There’s No Such Thing as ‘Consensual Sex’ When a Person Is in Police Custody | American Civil Liberties Union

On the night of Sept. 15, 2017, Edward Martins and Richard Hall, narcotics detectives with the New York Police Department, pulled over an 18-year-old woman and her two male friends for being in a park after dark. After finding marijuana in the car’s cup holder, they handcuffed the woman and told her friends to leave. The woman says that the detectives then put her in their unmarked police van with tinted windows and raped her as she cried and repeatedly told them “no.” Semen collected in a forensic evidence kit matched the DNA of both men.

In November, Martins and Hall resigned from the NYPD and currently face rape and kidnapping charges. Both pleaded not guilty. Their defense against these allegations is almost as disturbing as the crimes they are accused of. They claim that they had consensual sex with the woman while she was in their custody.

And here’s the thing: This defense might actually work because New York state law allows it.

Read the rest of it at the link…

Tonight is the Oscars…will you be watching?

03/04/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

“Statuette” (Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News)

 

 

 

Hope everyone has a good day and evening…this is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: The “Twits” are strong with this “Orange” dickhead.

 

The image above is from the Instagram of one of the survivors from the Valentine’s Day murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is just one of the victim reactions to the killings…another has been the vocal call outs and public outcries from many MSDHS students. They are not taking the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. They want action. Take a look at what these brave student survivors are doing to stand up for their murdered friends and fellow children nationwide.

 

As many have pointed out, the out spoken nature of this reaction is different from the mass murders of before. Perhaps because the media is actually paying attention to them?

I don’t know. But as you can see, tRump has been busy this morning:

Fucking hell…

 

Parkland students are fighting back…

I only want you to realize that this is the world we live in….

 

And this is the pretender to the throne, the president that we have to serve as protector in chief:

 

 

This is an open thread…


Wednesday Reads: Splat!

Demasiado miedo a la vida o Plaf (1988) Film poster by Eduardo Muñoz Bachs (Cuba)

The quick storyline of the film which this poster above is portraying is spectacular:

A superstitious middle-aged woman falls in love with a taxi driver, while trying to learn the identity of the unseen person tossing eggs at her.

Honestly the plot to, Too Afraid of Life or Splat, seems to make more sense than the reality we are experiencing now…

Tabio’s screwball soap opera takes us into the lives and loves of a family in the middle-class suburbs of Havana. It’s tacky, it’s wacky, it’s, well, serious too. Widowed Concha (Granados) distrusts the alliance of brawn and brain when her beloved baseball-player son marries a girl engineer with her own ideas (about bureaucratic impedimenta, the role of women, and Concha). Concha has problems enough: made wary of men by the philandering of her dear departed, she distrusts the charms of taxi-driver Tomas, so is forced to take comfort in the spells of a Santeria-cult priestess. When the young marrieds move in, splat! – eggs start to fly. Tabio leaves no doubt that this is farce, not so much admitting the presence of the camera as flaunting it. Every mirror reveals the camera crew, props are thrown onto the set, the film cranks to a halt for apologies about missing scenes. The sight gags, absurd histrionics and hyperbolic use of sound communicate an infectious sense of fun, but the film can’t quite hide a deathly conventional morality which, sadly, hauls it back into sanity and nauseating good faith.

If only there was a mirror to reveal the true farce behind the facade…meaning that this past year is all just some crazy ass twisted fraud of a disaster film that has been in production…simply to run out of money.

Now we are at an end, with the reality finally at hand; that it is over…sorry about the missing scenes, especially the last act that included the impeachment.

(Honestly, I still thing the asshole will get away with it.)

But, on with the cartoons:

Oh, and please…why hasn’t it happened yet!

Again, many of these cartoons above are foreign press.

CHIP RESTORED: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - CHIP RESTORED

DEAL MAKER: 01/22/2018 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - DEAL MAKER

The following is exactly what the GOP wants you to believe:

Untitled: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Bob Gorrell

Cartoon by Bob Gorrell - Untitled

01/23/2018 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

01/18/2018 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

01/23/2018 Cartoon by Lisa Benson

Cartoon by Lisa Benson -

Nick Anderson cartoon: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson - Nick Anderson cartoon

Empowered Women: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Empowered Women

Monster Larry Nassar: 01/19/2018 Cartoon by J.D. Crowe

Cartoon by J.D. Crowe - Monster Larry Nassar

Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Congress’ continuing resolutions: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Gary Varvel

Cartoon by Gary Varvel - Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Congress' continuing resolutions

01/23/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

01/21/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

Cartoon by MStreeter -

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 01/21/2018 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Hannibal Trump: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Hannibal Trump

Great Power: 01/21/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Great Power

GOP Health: 01/19/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - GOP Health

Wretched Refuse: 01/18/2018 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Wretched Refuse

01/23/2018 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

Applause: 01/23/2018 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Applause

01/23/2018 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

01/23/2018 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

01/24 Mike Luckovich: Travel ban! | Mike Luckovich

01/23 Mike Luckovich: Miller time. | Mike Luckovich

01/21 Mike Luckovich: Tummy ache. | Mike Luckovich

01/19 Mike Luckovich: Dealmaker. | Mike Luckovich

01/18 Mike Luckovich. full disclosure form. | Mike Luckovich

01/18 Mike Luckovich. Weight of the Presidency. | Mike Luckovich

I had to end it with Luckovich…fucking awesome.

This is an open thread!


Tuesday Reads: Future of what?

 

Good Afternoon

Boston Boomer is under the weather today, so I’m bringing you the round up for the day.

First up I have to start this thread with a little tongue in cheek;

Okay, now let’s get serious.

Why do I get the feeling the passengers that were “randomly” chosen for United to “reaccommodate” perhaps had a little more than a random pick behind it?

Controversy over United passenger’s ‘troubled past’ – Business Insider

People are rallying around the passenger who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday, in response to what many see as attempts to vilify a victim.

On Tuesday, the Louisville Courier-Journal published an article reporting that the passenger, David Dao, “has a troubled history in Kentucky.” The article cites past drug-related felonies in the early 2000s, noting that the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure allowed Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015.

Soon after the article published, many people took to social media to criticize the Courier-Journal for seemingly attempting to justify an incident in which Dao was dragged from United Express Flight 3411 by law enforcement officers. Dao suffered injuries to his face, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

None of this man’s past has anything to do with the atrocious treatment he received…but I would not put it past the company to have orchestrated the chosen 4 for just this possible situation. I bet that is part of the protocol. Pick people that can be exploited negatively in the press if you need to…

Louisville’s Courier-Journal Gets Smacked Around For Piece About United Victim’s Past | Mediaite

More tweets of anger at CJ and support of David Dao at that link.

Onward to the shooting and murder of two people at a California primary school.

 

The next series of links will deal with Trump and Syria and Russia…Trump and North Korea…China.

I mentioned in a comment last week that my dad is part of this survival group, and that there was a rumor going on about the strike force heading to the Korean Peninsula…well, last night he told me the new rumor is that China is dealing with a huge number of refugees from North Korea flooding into the country because of the fear that tRump is going to blow Kim Jong Un off the planet.

I don’t know, the shit is hitting the fan.

 

I had to do it…

But here are some news links about all that shit.

Trump threatens via Twitter to ‘solve the problem’ in North Korea | MSNBC

North Korea Threatens ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ Over Approach From U.S. Navy Ships | Mediaite

Geez.

As for the Syria and Putin and Assad shit. (The word shit has become my go to expression for everything lately, you can take a look at some of these updates.

US plans to attack Syria and blame Assad, Vladimir Putin claims | The Independent

Somehow, Russia knew about Syria’s chemical weapon bombing before it happened – Salon.com

It is all so disturbing.

Did Trump Attack Syria For Personal Profit? | Crooks and Liars

At any other time, the questions raised by (fill in the blank) would be the scandal of the decade. Now, with Donald Trump as president, we call it Monday.

Thursday evening, Trump attacked Syria, a sovereign country, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. This act of war was done without Congressional authorization, even after Trump’s August, 2013, tweet that “Obama needs Congressional approval” before attacking Syria in nearly-identical circumstances.

The following morning, headlines like this one appeared in the business press: Raytheon, maker of Tomahawk missiles, leads premarket rally in defense stocks:

Defense and energy stocks dominated the list of premarket gainers on the S&P 500 Friday, led by Tomahawk missile-maker Raytheon Corp., after U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base overnight.

Donald Trump apparently owns Raytheon stock. In May, 2016, Trump reported to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he owned Raytheon stock. Interestingly, this FEC report does not appear to include the extensive web of offshore anonymous shell corporations Trump uses to mask assets.

Since that filing Trump’s assets have not been sold with the proceeds placed into a “blind trust,” and there is no public record of his having otherwise sold the stock. Not only that, but Trump is able to draw cash from his “trust” at any time. He could literally have pocketed cash from his gains from attacking Syria.

Read the rest at the link.

But tRump is not only profiting on the attack in Syria. He is making money on his time off, away from, the White House:

 

Again, I can’t believe that nothing has been done to move forward with impeachment.

 

Just a few other links to make you cringe:

 

Trump and Ryan are planning to gut Social Security | Suburban Guerrilla. Susie Madrak

 

Federal Judge Rules That Texas Intentionally Discriminated Against Minority Voters | Mother Jones

The Sessions’ Justice Department had tried to stop the ruling.

Read This: The Handmaid’s Tale author on how Trump is too unbelievable for fiction · Great Job, Internet! · The A.V. Club

Margaret Atwood—author of The Handmaid’s Tale and dozens of other novels, short-story collections, children’s books, works of poetry and criticism, and the new comic-book series Angel Catbird—is the subject of a lengthy and insightful profile in The New Yorker. She speaks briefly on Donald Trump’s presidency, telling New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead, “If the election of Donald Trump were fiction… it would be too implausible to satisfy readers.” It’s an insightful viewpoint from the writer of speculative fiction (her preferred term over “science fiction”), who’s penned arguably the most influential speculation through the lens of patriarchy. Atwood goes on to say:

Fiction has to be something that people would actually believe. If you had published it last June, everybody would have said, “That is never going to happen.”

No shit. (See, I’m using that word “shit” for everything!)

This study looks like an interesting read….

No democracy without women’s rights | EurekAlert! Science News

Why did the Arab spring fail? Despite a number of revolutions in the Arab world, in the end only Tunisia emerged as a functioning democracy. Results from an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Gothenburg indicate that the problem might be traced partially to the lack of women’s civil rights in the region.

A new study published in the European Journal of Political Research discusses the importance of women’s rights for countries to become democratic. The researchers used a dataset developed by V-Dem, a research institution cohosted by the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the University of Notre Dame (USA). The dataset includes the state of democracy in 177 countries over the years 1900 to 2012.

The study demonstrates that countries do not become fully democratic without political and social rights for women. This is particularly true for the Arab Spring countries, where the failure to foster women’s rights compromised any attempt at democratic governance in the area.

According to Professor Staffan Lindberg, director of the V-Dem Institute, the result is important because it shows that democratic development is not gender blind: societies transitioning from authoritarian regimes strongly need women in order to develop functioning democratic governments.

This next link is for Dak, another grave for you.

 

The desert bloom from space….is something to see.

 

And I will end it on that note.

This is an open thread. I hope BB starts to feel better, and that y’all have a good afternoon.

 

 


Monday Reads: America Held Hostage Day 53

Good Morning!

Well, things are not looking up at all. We continue to have Pressers based on questions from Right Wing Conspiratorial Web sites.  Our allies continue to question our rationality and priorities as a nation. Millions of people face the very real possibility they may not have their healthcare, retirement funds, or any kind of service or help from their government in the near future.

One of the things that I’ve been very worried about is the continual disconnect between the performance of the equities market and what’s going on in the bond markets.  This is usual a symptom of what we call “animal spirits” and often a sign that a crash is imminent on Wall Street.

Bond investors and those concentrated in Equities have very different priorities. Bonds are usually safe and liquid assets while Equities are risky. Their prices can be volatile.  Here’s something I read about a week ago as a lead up to something I read this morning.

Are stocks and U.S. Treasurys sending mixed signals? Treasury prices have rebounded since Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in January, pushing down yields, as stocks continue to ascend record heights. That’s in contrast with the bond market rout that followed the November election.

Why is a simultaneous rally a problem? Some investors see it as a sign that investors are losing faith in the so-called Trump trade, in which investors bet on aggressive fiscal stimulus and other growth-friendly measures from the new administration.

Much of the boom in equities has been due to speculation that deregulation and expansive fiscal policy favorable to private businesses may fuel business profits.  None of this has come to fruition yet so it’s basically speculative.  The economy is healthy and growing strong at the moment but is it enough to support the increased levels seen in the stock markets?  Is it real and sustainable?

Historical patterns suggest that it’s not and we may be looking at a future crash which would not bode well for any one who is or soon to be reliant on 401ks.  This is when I’m happy about my small but very stable pension coming in monthly. I’ve lived through way too many bubbles now and seen my 401k bounce around like a jumping bean.  My Uncle was one of the pioneer gnomes of the chartist movement after Black Friday.  I loved to see his huge charts that frequently blanketed the tables of his Kansas City mansion.  It could be why I ended up doing something similar.

It’s already been a big year for the Dow industrials, which have stretched a near-decade-long bull market to historic heights.

But if the technical stars collide, as one chartist predicts, the blue-chip gauge could soon plunge by more than 6,000 points to 14,800. That’s nearly 30% lower, based on Friday’s close.

Sandy Jadeja, chief market strategist at Master Trading Strategies, claims several predicted stock market crashes to his name — all of them called days, or even weeks, in advance. (He told CNBC viewers, for example, that the August 2015 “Flash Crash” was coming 18 days before it hit.) He’s also made prescient calls on gold and crude oil.

And he’s extremely concerned about what this year could bring for investors. “The timeline is rapidly approaching” for the next potential Dow meltdown, said Jadeja, who shares his techniques via workshops and seminars. Timelines are at the heart of his predictions, which he bases on repeating cycles in the market that are connected to specific times.

“People need to look for three things,” Jadeja told MarketWatch in a late-January interview and follow-up conversations. “Price, pattern, and … time. You can get the price pattern wrong, but if you get in at the right time, the other two don’t matter.”

He sees 2017 as littered with pitfalls for the Dow DJIA, -0.18%  . Below is his so-called “timelines” chart of the stock index, defined by green horizontal lines. He’s currently on the lookout for the benchmark to approach that upper green line, which represents a range of 21,800 to 22,000.

For me, it starts with a small alarm in my gut that says what are these people smoking?  Where are they seeing all this good news?  The Trumpcare fiasco alone should be sending signals that say things are not looking up.  Removing the ACA and replacing it with any thing close to what the Republicans are offering is going to severely disturb the healthcare markets as well as the labor markets.   Purchases by Households are still the primary driver of any US economy. They represent nearly 70% of all spending.

It was never a secret that Republicans would take a risk by repealing Obamacare, as unpopular as it was, and taking ownership of what happens next. But it’s striking just how many political dangers they’re putting themselves in — and how they’re ignoring pretty much all of them. Democratic operatives are already testing which ones resonate the most in swing districts, I’m told.

 Here are the one to watch:
Coverage losses. They’ve already dismissed the idea that they should worry about it, because they won’t be requiring people to buy coverage anymore. “There’s no way we can compete” with a government mandate, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday. But if the Congressional Budget Office estimates that people will lose coverage, that’s going to be the headline for days, because …
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody.” That’s what President Trump told the Washington Post in January. He’s since fallen in line with the mainstream Republican position that they should guarantee access, not coverage. But that quote is not going to disappear.
Pre-existing conditions. Republicans insist they’re going to keep covering them, but Democrats are going to keep stoking fears that they’ll either lose coverage or have to pay more — especially with the 30 percent penalty for people who don’t keep themselves insured.
The “age tax.” AARP is going to be hammering them for allowing insurers to charge older customers five times as much as young adults, compared to three times as much under Obamacare. Republicans can try to dismiss AARP, but they do have a lot of power.
“Nobody will be worse off financially.” That’s what Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday. His point was that people will be able to buy cheaper health plans if they have more choices than the standard Obamacare ones — but it won’t be hard for Democrats to find people who are worse off.
Medicaid. Ryan insists that the switch to per-person funding limits would be a major entitlement reform that conservatives have wanted for decades — but the reality is that millions of people have gained coverage through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which is why Republicans are divided over when it should end.
The “giveaways to millionaires.” Democrats are already hitting the decision to get rid of a tax deductibility limitin the law — giving a tax break to insurance executives making more than $500,000 a year. That could be a hard one to explain to populist Trump supporters.
Deductibles. The sky-high deductibles under many Obamacare plans has been a standard GOP criticism of the law — but wait until people find out that the health savings accounts they’re promoting are tied to health plans that have the same thing.

Trump has made it clear that his budget will eliminate a significant part of the Federal workforce.  This is a really really recessionary move.  The states of Kansas and Louisiana have done this and its created significant economic distress in both places. Plus, it’s created a distinct lack of service and action in crucial public services.  For example, the state of Louisiana cannot train as many doctors and provide as many residents to hospitals.  That’s not good at all.

President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.

Meanwhile, the Trump Family Syndicate continues to score.  The Trump Economy appears to be wonderful for the Trumps. The Kushners are getting a windfall from the Chinese that is a deal that’s more than just a little suspicious.

A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million from a prominent Chinese company that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.

The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It provides them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.

The details of the agreement, which is being circulated to attract additional investors, were shared with Bloomberg. It would make business partners of Kushner Cos. and Anbang, whose murky links to the Chinese power structure have raised national security concerns over its U.S. investments. In the process, an existing mortgage owed by the Kushners will be slashed to about a fifth of its current amount.

The document offers a rare look at a major deal by a close Trump associate and family member. It’s unclear whether the deal could prompt federal review, as occurred when Anbang bought other properties, like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Anbang could also face review by the Chinese government, which has been clamping down on overseas investments and which has a range of pending issues with the Trump administration.

Check out how the controversial EB-5 VISA program works its way into the numbers.  I’m still appalled at the idea that Camp David sits idle while Kremlin Caligula profits from using his private resort as a cash cow dressed up as a mini-White House.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, exposed Donald Trump’s claims about his so-called “Winter White House” today, pointing out that Mar-a-Lago is not a winter white house but a private for-profit business, with all the ethical and security problems that entails …

As Schiff says, Mar-a-Lago is “one ethical quagmire” out of many in the Trump empire. He is right when he points out that Trump is a “walking, talking violation of the Emoluments Clause” and has been since Day 1 of his administration.

There is no question that Trump’s business interests will not always align with American interests or with National Security needs (and forget for a moment the security risk his holding court in public places poses).

Donald Trump has shown Americans and the world that he cannot be trusted to place what’s best for America above his own interests. This is a basic problem of corporations, which see not the public good but their bottom line as what matters.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has just asked the ethics office to look into T-Rump’s foreign business deals for conflicts of interest.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey asked a government ethics office Monday to assess whether President Donald Trump’s business dealings make his administration vulnerable to conflicts of interest.

“President Trump has exposed his administration to possible conflicts of interest on an unprecedented scale,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker says in a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.

 Casey asked whether any of Trump’s foreign business deals could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits U.S. officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign countries.The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Walter Shaub, the director of the ethics office, strongly criticized Trump earlier this year for not divesting from his businesses. Shaub said Trump was breaking decades of tradition by presidents who set up blind trusts for their assets.

There’s currently a call to investigate the possibilities that that the Trump Family Thug Syndicate has been laundering Russian Thug money through Deustche Bank.  Calls have been made by Democrats to the DOJ to investigate the Bank itself.  Congresswoman Maxine Waters is leading the charge on this.

Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for a congressional investigation into the justice department’s handling of an ongoing inquiry into Deutsche Bank, saying that Donald Trump had conflicts of interest with the German bank, his biggest creditor.
Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House financial services committee, urged her Republican colleagues to launch their own investigation into the nature of Deutsche Bank’s money-laundering scheme, who participated in the arrangement and whether it involved any other violations of US law beyond the failure to maintain anti-money laundering controls.
Deutsche Bank has already been ordered to pay more than $800m (£660m) in fines in the US and UK for failing to stop the improper and corrupt transfer of more than $10bn out of Russia. It is also being investigated by the justice department (DoJ).
The Guardian reported last month that the German bank undertook a close examination of the president’s personal bank account and those held by his family, in order to ascertain whether they had any suspicious links to Russia. None were found.
According to an analysis by Bloomberg, Trump now owes Deutsche about $300m. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche’s private bank.
Waters said in a letter to Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the House financial services committee, that she was concerned “about the integrity of this criminal probe” given Trump’s “conflicts of interest” and the “suspicious ties” between Trump’s inner circle and the Russian government.

The Atlantic has printed a ‘crib sheet’ of all the Trump conflicts of interest.  The list is huge. The demand for forensic accountants is also going to be huge.

When it comes to President Donald Trump’s constellation of foreign investments, properties, and companies, much of the attention so far has been on his business’s apparent violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bars officeholders from taking gifts from foreign leaders. According to numerous ethics experts, the clause takes an expansive definition of gifts, encompassing everything from a direct bribe to a foreign official’s approval of construction of a new Trump property. But some of the Trump Organization’s properties raise additional red flags due to the specific partners involved. That’s true in Indonesia, for example, where Trump’s affiliates have been involved in bribery scandals and radical Islamic nationalist parties, and Brazil, where the company pulled out of a branding agreement amid a criminal investigation of a local business partner.

Such is the case in Azerbaijan, which Transparency International ranks as among the most corrupt countries in the world, where the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Baku remains unopened. Though the long-stalled development has generated a steady drip of news and rumors for years, an overview by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker, entitled “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal,” puts into perspective just how convoluted the situation is, and just how much the project has led Trump and his company into a partnership with numerous corrupt officials in the Middle East. The details suggest that, on top of the continual underlying breach of the Emoluments Clause, the Trump Organization’s involvement may also violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which forbids American companies from participating, even unknowingly, in bribery schemes in other countries, with a penalty of up to $2 million and up to five years in jail.

When all of this finally begins to unravel in a manner befitting of such a serious level of scandal, it can’t help but take our economy with it.  How much damage can Trump, Ryan et al inflict on us and at what point will ‘enough’ actually be ‘ENOUGH!!!!’?  Take these examples.

The price of drinks at his new hotel in Washington DC has reportedly increased significantly since it opened last September. His sons, Donald Jr and Eric Trump, have opened new hotels in Dubai and Vancouver since their father’s Inauguration, and told The New York Times that the Trump brand is “the hottest it’s ever been”. The initiation fee to join the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, named the “Winter White House”, where the President has spent several weekends, has recently soared.

The President’s motivation for choosing the six countries to include in his newly-reworded travel ban – Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia – will more likely be featured in lawsuits which challenge the constitutionality of the executive order than in the lawsuit from Mr Eisen and Mr Painter.

Asked how much the travel ban was motivated by racism and business interests, Mr Eisen replied: “I believe the predominant motivations for the ban are illegitimate, but I’m unable to isolate the different strains of the unsavoury virus that produced this legal inflammation.”

The original travel ban, signed in late January, was struck down by a federal judge in Washington state for being unconstitutional. Mr Trump’s emergency appeal was denied. The ban was re-written, taking Iraq off the list and scrapping the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugees. Green card and visa holders were no longer affected.

Several states have already indicated they will sue, joining Washington state’s original effort.

Mr Painter told Business Insider that the six countries still on the list are “quite poor and have no dealings with the Trump Organisation”.

It kills me to read all of this knowing that the idiots that put this crime syndicate into government don’t appear to care or have a clue about any of this.  When will the Republicans actually do their job and drop their ideological goose march long enough to save our country?
And what’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Friday Reads: Death Spirals Real and Imagined

Good Afternoon!

It’s getting really difficult to find anything upbeat these days out there on the news front. Usually,there are several areas with persistent messes.  Today, things folks never thought we’d have to worry about are suddenly in play. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day nor did it fall in day. It seems like the US is on a downward spiral that rivals the speed of light or at least a hefty meteor.  Bets on how long we last at this rate?

Suggestions on how can we stop this?

Much of the destruction is going on inside the federal government while Kremlin Caligula puts on a show. We’ve learned that Trump and cronies are planting lobbyists and ideologues to cripple agencies.  The State Department appears to be one of the major functions of government that is in a death spiral. The Russian Connections between Trump and his cronies run deep. There’s no longer a need to connect the dots. It’s a four lane highway between Trump Tower with off ramps all over the place.
It appears that the Trump Syndicate may have been laundering money for Russian Oligarchs.  Here are some links to get caught up on the Russia fiasco.  Many of these are updates from stories that BB wrote about yesterday.

From CNN: “The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation“.

From the Palm Beach Post: “Trump in Palm Beach: Why did Russian pay so much for his mansion?”

From The American Interest: “The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections”

By the late 1990s the actual chaos that resulted from Yeltsin’s warped policies had laid the foundations for a strong counterrevolution, including the rise of ex-KGB officer Putin and a massive outpouring of oligarchic flight capital that has continued virtually up to the present. For ordinary Russians, as noted, this was disastrous. But for many banks, private bankers, hedge funds, law firms, and accounting firms, for leading oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as for needy borrowers like the Trump Organization, the opportunity to feed on post-Soviet spoils was a godsend. This was vulture capitalism at its worst.

The nine-lived Trump, in particular, had just suffered a string of six successive bankruptcies. So the massive illicit outflows from Russia and oil-rich FSU members like Kazahkstan and Azerbaijan from the mid-1990s provided precisely the kind of undiscriminating investors that he needed. These outflows arrived at just the right time to fund several of Trump’s post-2000 high-risk real estate and casino ventures—most of which failed, since people doesn’t go to casinos that much anymore, people prefer to play and gamble online in different sites, for example here is a List of Betfred’s bonus codes for all their products. As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in Manhattan in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):

[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

All this helps to explain one of the most intriguing puzzles about Donald Trump’s long, turbulent business career: how he managed to keep financing it, despite a dismal track record of failed projects.4

According to the “official story,” this was simply due to a combination of brilliant deal-making, Trump’s gold-plated brand, and raw animal spirits—with $916 million of creative tax dodging as a kicker. But this official story is hokum. The truth is that, since the late 1990s, Trump was also greatly assisted by these abundant new sources of global finance, especially from “submerging markets” like Russia

Paul Ryan power point meme1
Rex Tillerson is incapable of doing an actual job.  The State Department is in disarray and it’s hard to see how Tillerson is doing anything to change that.  Here’s some analysis from David Ignatius writing for WAPO.

Tillerson’s State Department has been in idle gear these past two months. He doesn’t have a deputy or other top aides. His spokesman can’t give guidance on key issues, because decisions haven’t yet been made. Tillerson didn’t attend important meetings with foreign leaders.

As a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is accustomed to a world where a visible display of power is unnecessary, corporate planning is meticulous and office politics are suppressed. But this is Washington

“I am an engineer by training. I seek to understand the facts,” Tillerson said at his confirmation hearing. That sounds reassuring, but it doesn’t fit the glitzy, backstabbing capital that spawned the television series “House of Cards.”

“He may pay some cost up front for not meeting Washington expectations,” notes Stephen Hadley, national security adviser for President George W. Bush and a Tillerson supporter. “The short-term buzz was that he’s out of the loop, but Tillerson is playing for the long game.”

Tillerson couldn’t even get his choice for a deputy pass President Bannon.

The Republicans in the House and Senate are using the chaos to cover up their end game. Obamacare replacementThey’re trying to dismantle everything from Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, the EPA, Social Security, Dodd Frank, and just about anything used to protect citizens from the malfeasance of of short sighted, profit-oriented business practices which rule the US commerce landscape.  The GOP is planning a full scale assault on Federal Regulations.

There is a flurry of anti-regulatory legislation floating around Capitol Hill, but it is becoming clear that the key Republican vehicle to rein in rulemaking will be Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act. A 16-page draft of the legislation obtained by POLITICO was significantly less radical than several aggressive bills recently passed by the House of Representatives, but industry groups have pinned their hopes on this one attracting support from enough moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster and make it to Trump’s desk. And even if the Portman bill won’t automatically ensure “the deconstruction of the administrative state” promised by White House adviser Steve Bannon, it could still dramatically curtail the power of government regulators in the long run.

Portman has not yet introduced the bill, but behind the scenes in Washington it is already the subject of furious lobbying by more than 150 public interest groups that oppose it as well as more than 600 business groups that support it. It is much narrower than a bill the House passed last month with the same name, but would still revamp and insert new bureaucratic hurdles into the federal regulatory process, which the Obama Administration used to enact tough new restrictions on coal plants, Wall Street banks, for-profit colleges and other corporate entities. The Portman bill would add new obstacles for agencies to overcome before enacting economically significant rules, require them to choose the most cost-effective alternative, and give judges more discretion to block regulations when the regulated interests object.

“When I visit a factory or small business in Ohio, one of the complaints I hear most from employers is that there are too many costly and unnecessary regulations that limit their ability to invest in their business,” Portman said. “We need a smarter regulatory process that promotes job creation, innovation, and economic growth.”

Portman and the Washington business community are portraying his reforms as a pragmatic approach to burdensome red tape, hoping to distinguish them from more extreme Republican bills that would give Congress a veto over all major rules, eliminate the deference that courts traditionally give to federal agencies, and even forbid those agencies from implementing rules until every lawsuit against them is resolved. House Republicans have passed five regulatory reform bills this year, and have introduced a dozen more, but insiders say most of them are doomed to die in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to overcome a filibuster. That’s why Portman is now negotiating over his more temperate language with Democratic senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who are both up for reelection in 2018 in states Trump won easily. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida and independent Angus King of Maine have supported similar bills in the past.

Trump has not outlived his usefulness to the Republican Agenda of installing a warped Christian Theocracy and a kleptocracy capable of ruining the environment and killing people.  Portman obviously decided Trump was the way to sneak a lot of things through.

And then there’s Paul Ryan who thinks the only thing that should occur right now is decimation of the ACA regardless of the results.  It’s right there on his Power Point.  It pretty much looked like the Republican version was DOA yesterday but now Senate Republicans are actually talking about changing the Senate rules to get it shoved through one way or another.  This is despite the massive outrage about the repeal.

A growing number of conservative lawmakers on Thursday urged GOP leaders to push the limits of how much of the health law they can reshape under a powerful procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation — and to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she doesn’t decide in their favor.

Such a gambit would require the unlikely buy-in of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a noted institutionalist who earlier this year avoided talk of changing his chamber’s rules to kill the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

If the Senate changes precedent for what can be passed under reconciliation now, a future Senate — whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats — could enact a wide range of legislation with just a simple majority.

“There are limits to what we can do” on Obamacare while complying with the Senate rules, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, said in a Thursday floor speech. Under reconciliation guidelines, bills can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority and cannot be filibustered, as long as their provisions have a direct impact on spending or tax levels.

I wake up every day in fear of what’s coming next.  It seems that everything I’ve ever planned my old age around is now collapsing around me.  The Republican Plan is a massive DumpsterFire. 53_192516Paul Krugman has some great analysis.

 Obamacare rests on three main pillars. Insurance companies are regulated, prevented from denying coverage or charging higher prices to Americans with pre-existing conditions. Families receive subsidies linked to both income and premiums, to help them buy insurance. And there is a penalty for those who don’t buy insurance, to induce people to sign up even if they’re currently healthy

Trumpcare — the White House insists that we not call it that, which means that we must — preserves some version of all three elements, but in drastically, probably fatally weakened form.

Insurers are still barred from excluding the sick, but they’re allowed to charge older Americans — who need insurance the most — much higher premiums.

Subsidies are still there, in the form of tax credits, but they’re no longer linked to either income (as long as it’s below $75,000) or the cost of insurance.

And the tax on those who don’t sign up becomes a small surcharge — paid to insurance companies, not the public — on people who sign up after previously letting coverage lapse.

Affluent young people might end up saving some money as a result of these changes. But the effect on those who are older and less affluent would be devastating. AARP has done the math: a 55-year-old making $25,000 a year would end up paying $3,600 a year more for coverage; that rises to $8,400 for a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year. And that’s before the death spiral.

For the combination of price hikes and weakened penalties would lead many healthy Americans to forgo insurance. This would worsen the risk pool, causing premiums to rise sharply — and remember, subsidies would no longer adjust to offset this rise. The result would be even more people dropping out. Republicans have been claiming that Obamacare is collapsing, which isn’t true. But Trumpcare, if implemented, would collapse in a Mar-a-Lago minute.

How could House Republicans under the leadership of Paul Ryan, who the media keeps assuring us is a smart, serious policy wonk, have produced such a monstrosity?

The only thing that’s been fun about this is the Twitter Attack on Paul Ryan and his Power Points.

So, I know a few people that have been basically kidnapped by their families and put into conversion therapy.  This story of a survivor is chilling reading.

TC, a 19-year-old gay man who spoke to The Huffington Post anonymously for this article in order to protect his safety, is a survivor of conversion therapy practices.

TC was subjected to conversion therapy in 2012 when he was 15 years old after his parents discovered he was gay. The conversion therapy practices took place in the basement of a church after school hours, and were explained to TC and his parents as having two separate components. He told The Huffington Post:

The first step ― which usually lasted six months ― [is] where they “deconstruct us as a person.” Their tactics still haunt me. Aversion therapy, shock therapy, harassment and occasional physical abuse. Their goal was to get us to hate ourselves for being LGBTQ (most of us were gay, but the entire spectrum was represented), and they knew what they were doing…. The second step of the program, they “rebuilt us in their image.” They removed us of everything that made us a unique person, and instead made us a walking, talking, robot for Jesus. They retaught us everything we knew. How to eat, talk, walk, dress, believe, even breathe. We were no longer people at the end of the program.

TC said that the conversion therapy sessions would take place every weekday, with shock therapy treatments lasting approximately an hour, and aversion therapy lasting three.

This is torture. Pure and Simple.

So, this is what they’d fund while getting Insurance 101 wrong.

Paul Ryan actually said “The whole idea of Obamacare is…the people who are healthy pay for the…sick. It’s not working, & that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”

No Speaker that’s a risk pool and it’s how insurance works.

011917coletoon

Everyone pays into the pot and draws on it when they’re sick. Younger people, who tend to be healthier than older people, pay for health insurance like everyone else. They’ll rely on it when when they need it, probably more when they’re older and there are younger, healthier people filing in behind them. It’s the same with car insurance

. Some people pay for decades and never get into an accident and never collect on their coverage (though the likelihood of anyone never using health insurance is unlikely).That’s what actuarial figures are all about, so an insurance system can assess the risks of segments of customers to determine what everyone needs to put into the pot so there’s enough to pay out when someone needs the money.

Ryan has perhaps been on taxpayer-paid health insurance for so long that he has forgotten how the concept works. He believes that’s only the way it works for Obamacare. “The conceit of Obamacare,” he said at his press conference on Trumpcare, is that “young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older, sicker people.” That’s why Obamacare is in a “death spiral,” he noted.

Twitter had a pretty predictable response to Ryan’s summary of health insurance: Duh.

Meanwhile, every one except the stupid, the greedy, the mean, and the crazy resist.

Well, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?