Use that filter before you speak

Blogger-friend Keith has written a most excellent post that needs to introduction from me. Thank you Keith … you hit the nail on the head with this one!

musingsofanoldfart

In my efforts not to curse, the above title is a euphemism for what I would prefer to say. My message is to those who have decided to bypass any filters and say the most inflammatory things.

Two public figures – Johnny Depp and Kathy Griffin – decided that they should make suggestions about the demise of the President. And, a Democrat official was appropriately fired for making a statement about how he was glad Representative Scaliae was shot because of his role in passing unfavorable legislation.

There is no call for these comments or actions. I fully understand the President has incited, promoted and condoned violence against others. He has failed to call out violence against minority groups, but has a quick comment for when a Muslim may be the perpetrator. This is not right, either.

So, let me be frank. One set of actions does not condone the…

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It’s Not The Rhetoric, It’s The Guns – Bill Press, 16 June 2017

I almost never do this, copy an article in its entirety, but this one stands out and I think deserves to be heard.  Bill Press is a political analyst/commentator, author, and talk show host.  He is among my favourites because, though liberal leaning, he is always fair and respectful.  The column you are about to read was actually deleted by Opinionated, a weekly op-ed aggregator to which I subscribe.  My curiosity was piqued when I saw that this column had been deleted last Sunday morning, so I went in search of the column to find out why it was the victim of censorship.  After reading the column, I am still not certain why, but I believe these words should be shared.  

bill-press

Bill Press

It’s not the rhetoric, it’s the guns – Bill Press, 16 June 2017

No words can adequately describe the tragedy we experienced this week when a lone gunman opened fire on a group of congressmen doing nothing more than playing baseball — getting in one last practice in Alexandria, Virginia, before this year’s version of the last occasion left in Washington where members of both parties actually have a good time together: the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Within minutes, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA.) was down and one staffer and one former staffer were wounded, as were two brave Capitol Police officers who rushed the shooter and returned fire. Without a doubt, had those two officers not been present, the ballfield would have turned into a slaughterhouse.

In the wake of the shooting, there were those who seized the moment to unite the country in the right mix of outrage and sorrow, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, who told House Members: “An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.” One image of that day he’ll never forget, said Ryan: “And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news.”

Sadly, there were also dunderheads who seized the moment to divide the country by scoring political points, led by former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called the shooting “part of a pattern” and told Fox News: “You’ve had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” While Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) rushed to blame Democrats: “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric.”

Turning an attempted assassination into cheap partisan sniping is not only disgusting, it’s dead wrong. Just because the gunman happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter who hated Republicans doesn’t mean he represents all Democrats, any more than a mass murderer who happens to be a Christian represents Jesus Christ.

Moreover, while it’s true there’s too much hate-filled language in today’s politics and everybody needs to tone down the rhetoric, the most inflammatory language is not coming from the left. It’s from the right. And nobody’s guiltier of it than Donald Trump, who has called James Comey a “nut job,” Barack Obama a “sick man,” Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman,” and journalists “the enemy of the American people.”

Or consider this tweet from Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) campaign, just one year ago, on June 23, 2016, quoting Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano: “Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical.” One can only hope the good Senator had second thoughts about that kind of incendiary rhetoric when he himself was one of those shot at on the Alexandria ballfield.

More importantly, the whole discussion about political rhetoric misses the point. It doesn’t matter whether the gunman was a Democrat, Republican, independent, socialist, communist, or Green Party member. The point is: He had no business being able to buy, own, and tote around an assault rifle and an automatic pistol.

Where’s the outrage about gun violence? In 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 384 mass shootings — defined as four or more killed or wounded by gunfire — in the United States. More than one a day! So far in 2017, there have been 154. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, between 2001 and 2013, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. An average 31 Americans are murdered by guns every day.

What happened in Alexandria, in fact, wasn’t the only shooting on June 14. Three people were also gunned down at a UPS facility in San Francisco. Six people were killed and 37 wounded by gunfire on the streets of Chicago last weekend. And, as shocking as it was to see a U.S. congressman struck by gunfire, let’s not forget this: the life of every one of those victims in San Francisco and Chicago is worth every bit as much as the life of any Member of Congress.

What will it take for Congress to act? What will it take before Congress stops protecting the gun manufacturers and starts protecting the American people?

Even though they failed to act after Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Charleston, or Orlando, you might think they’d consider some common-sense gun safety measures after one of their own is struck.

Think again. Six years ago, Congress did nothing after Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot. They’ll do nothing this year after Congressman Steve Scalise was shot. The NRA still rules the U.S. Congress. Shame!

Back On The Campaign Trail …

Donald Trump is once again out on the campaign trail … on our dime and time.  This time the venue was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the local paper, the Gazette, placed an ‘Open Letter’ to Trump on its front page.  A few highlights:

The last time you visited us, you were a candidate for the presidency. Now, you’re the commander in chief. And you’ll no doubt be happy to know interviews by Gazette reporters show some of the local voters who supported you are still in your corner, even after your rocky start. [emphasis added]

It’s always a big deal when a president comes to town. But we couldn’t help but notice the main event of your trip today is a campaign rally. Mr. President, the campaign is over. You won. Now is not the time to rally. Now is the time to sell your policies, listen to Americans with a stake in those efforts and govern. Iowans have questions and concerns about your plans. They can’t be heard over the cheers of a rally.

And although we understand addressing climate change is not among your priorities, we will point out that the more frequent heavy rains it spawns have brought major flooding to this city twice in eight years. Preparing for the worst is a priority here, not a hoax.

We understand your strong desire to save America’s coal industry. But here in Iowa, we’re already generating a large percentage of our power through alternative energy sources. We’re a state that benefits from economic opportunities sparked by producing energy from the wind, the sun and the crops we grow.

More than 70,000 Iowans face losing health insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act as uncertainty, indecision and partisan politics roil the health care system. You promised a “terrific” Obamacare replacement, but we haven’t seen anything resembling a terrific plan.

As Iowa struggles to afford its state investments in public schools, human services, the justice system and many other services used by Iowans every day, your proposed budget would make the situation worse.

But we think it’s critical you understand the real world implications of these and many other policies your administration is proposing.

We concede it’s not as much fun as hearing the cheers and chants of folks convinced you’re making America great again. But it’s what presidents do.

I have never been in Cedar Rapids, have never read the Gazette, but the editor(s) who wrote this letter have my respect.  Trump was put in his place without rancor, and I know from experience how hard that is to do!  Hats off to the Editorial Board at the Gazette.  If you would like to read the letter in its entirety, here is a link.

Apparently, as this is his fifth such ‘rally’ in as many months, he intends to turn the presidency into a four-year-long campaign rally.  I vote we impeach him now and put an end to this waste of taxpayer money … money that could be better spent on environmental issues, education and health care.

But let us look at just a bit of his ‘rally-rhetoric’ …

In reference to Tuesday’s special election in Georgia: “All we do is win, win, win. We won last night. The truth is, people love us … they haven’t figured it out yet.”

In reference to the ongoing, multiple Russian investigations: “They have phony witch hunts going against me.”

In reference to wind-harnessed energy: “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your house and your factory as the birds fall to the ground.”

When he mentioned Hillary Clinton, the crowd lustily chanted, “Lock her up,” as if the election had not taken place. When are these people going to get over their obsession with Obama and Hillary???

He told the crowds he has made “amazing progress” in his first five months. HUH?

Trump said he will soon introduce legislation that would bar immigrants to the United States from being on welfare for their first five years in the country.  It should be noted that under a 1996 welfare law signed by President Bill Clinton, legal immigrants must live in the United States for a minimum of five years to become eligible for social aid programs.

Trump also told the crowd that he is contemplating putting solar panels on the wall that he has pledged to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is, Pretty good imagination, right? . . . We could make it really look beautiful, too.”

But the part of his speech I find most offensive is the defense of his uber-wealthy cabinet officers.  This topic will ultimately get a post of its own, but briefly, he stated, “Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”  Trump’s cabinet is the first ever cabinet comprised of multiple billionaires. Because “that’s the kind of thinking” he wants.  That single statement tells us all we need to know about how Trump views We The People.  Our thinking, our needs, are irrelevant to him unless we have ten digits in our net worth column.

To clarify his point, he spoke of his economic adviser Gary Cohn, saying, “[Gary] had to give up a lot to take these jobs,” and that Cohn in particular, a former president of Goldman Sachs, “went from massive pay days to peanuts”.  It is true that Cohn’s salary at Goldman Sachs was in the 9-figure range, however to say that his government pay is peanuts, when he receives more than twice what the average American family earns, is a slap in the face to us all!  And Donald Trump is too stupid to realize it, and what’s worse is he doesn’t care.

Trump’s handlers have had their hands full trying to keep him off Twitter, and they have reportedly encouraged him to get out of Washington, in light of his falling poll numbers, the fallout over his ill-advised firing of James Comey, and the ongoing Russian investigations into Trump, his family and staff.  I understand their view and their frustration, but it is an abomination for him to be spending our money campaigning for an election in 4 years where his name will NOT even appear on the ticket.  Especially at this time, when we are being told that we have so little value that Congress and Trump will be signing our death warrants with their “health care” bills.

estupidos

These two seem happy to have been hoodwinked, don’t they?  Fools.

Break Time For Filosofa!!!

Dear readers …

I will be taking a 4-day break beginning Friday morning and returning with a post at some point on Tuesday.  I have a couple of posts scheduled during that time, but otherwise will be “off the grid”, as I spend a relaxing weekend with my friend H.  For my U.S. friends … PLEASE keep the Idiot-in-Chief from doing anything too terrible during my absence!  I shall miss you all, but I really, really need a break, and promise to return well-rested (well, maybe not rested, since this weekend will entail some 18 hours of driving time) and ready to start pounding the keys again!  I had hoped to have time to do a Jolly Monday post, but with house chores, and preparing for this trip, I did not, so I will re-post an older one.  My apologies, and I shall make it up to you … I promise! Keep safe and have a lovely weekend.  Hugs and love from Filosofa!

Dear Resistance: It Is Time To Man The Phones, Call The US Senators About The AHCA Bill

Senator Mitch McConnell, who criticized Democrats for working on ACA (Obamacare) behind closed doors, has been working for several weeks on a bill to “repeal and replace” ACA … behind closed doors. A bit of hypocrisy? The bill is designed to repeal ACA, which has a solid foundation but needs some additional work. But the kicker is the ‘replace’ part … the replacement would rob many of the health insurance they currently have. Mitch and his goons are determined to try to ram the bill through prior to the July 4th break with little or no discussion, and likely without an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The bill does NOTHING to serve We The People, but is instead geared toward the wealth. Blogger and friend Gronda is, as always, on top of this and I am sharing her post because she provides valuable information regarding how We The People can … and MUST … make our voices heard by our elected senators. Please take a few minutes today, not only to read this excellent information, but to reach out to your senators and let them know how you feel about their underhanded tactics and about this abominable “health care” bill. Thank you Gronda for your hard work and the information you provide us all!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of 4th july celebrations in washington dcD-Day for the passage of the republican (AHCA) healthcare bill by the US Senate, is set for just before July 4, 2017. This is not a bill that this country wants for its birthday celebration gift. Talk about, “bah-humbug!

By now, most of us, as part of the resistance have heard that for almost two months, 13 republican senators (no women or Black members welcomed) have been working on a SECRET health care bill, based mostly on the AHCA Bill passed by the US House of Representatives and which only 17% of the public favored. Even their fellow republican senate colleagues would have you believe that they are also in the dark about the contents of this bill.

Image result for photos of the 13 senators working on ahcaLed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the 13 architects/ senators  of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — also known as Trumpcare —have yet to release a text of its work…

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What Are They Up To Today ?????

candlesThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is, lest you think otherwise, alive and well.  And they are on top of the really, really important things!  But beware!!!  They are coming for your candles!  The agency that once issued memos about carbon pollution from power plants and the threat that they posed to public health, is now warning that burning candles and incense can irritate the lungs of asthma sufferers.  Oh yes, and beware, too, of those summer bonfires, as the wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks.  Isn’t it wonderful that an agency with an $8 billion budget is spending our money to warn us about the dangers of candles and wood smoke?

As one who has had asthma since birth, I can assure you that candles burning in my home are not a problem.  My two biggest problems are the air outdoors when it is warm and humid, and flowers.  Ohhhh … I better watch what I say there, or perhaps the EPA will come dig up all my flowers!!!

Just days after the announcement about candles and incense, the EPA also announced that it would seek a two-year delay in the implementation of a rule requiring oil and gas companies to detect and repair leaks of methane and other air pollutants from oil and gas wells. In announcing the delay, the EPA acknowledged that it could have a disproportionate impact on the health of children, but argued that delay was worthwhile because it would save the oil and gas industry roughly $173 million.

Liz Purchia, a former EPA communications official under the Obama administration:

“They are just distracting from the larger issues by focusing on the really small ones. I’d love to see the last time they talked about carbon pollution from power plants and the threat that they posed to public health. It’s pretty unbelievable. They are using smoke and mirrors to make it appear like they are trying to protect public health, and meanwhile they are doing everything that they can do rollback regulations and work with the fossil fuel industry to bend to their will. They are showing a willful blindness towards the health of the American public.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has not, as of yet, taken any legal action against incense or scented candle manufacturers.


In other EPA news …

The Environmental Protection Agency has given notice to dozens of scientists that they will not be renewed in their roles in advising the agency. Members of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) whose terms end in August will not see them renewed, according to an email sent to members this week. They may re-apply, but were given a June 30 deadline to do so. The BOSC functions as an advisory board for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, and helps the office make sure that it is using sufficiently rigorous science in its research and development programs.

Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“The Board of Scientific Counselors was formed to make sure the EPA does the best possible scientific work with limited taxpayer dollars. This independent advice is needed now more than ever. By sacking dozens of scientific counselors, Pruitt is showing that he doesn’t value scientific input and the benefits it offers the public.”

Is anybody surprised by that?

In May, when Pruitt announced the terminations of nine scientists, his spokesman, J. P. Freire, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, such as the chemical, oil and gas industries. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.”  Putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop?


And in other climate news …

At an Energy and Natural Resources Committee budget hearing earlier this week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came under fire from Senator Al Franken over his inane comments that “the vanishing glaciers at Glacier National Park have undergone a “consistent melt” since the end of the last ice age”.  Franken informed Zinke that “scientists who work for you” have found the melting has “dramatically accelerated” in recent decades.

Franken: “Can you tell me how much warming government scientists predict for the end of the century under a business-as-usual scenario?”

Zinke: “The Paris accord, in the president and my judgement, it wasn’t about climate change, it was about a bad deal.”

Huh???

Franken interrupted to ask Zinke to answer the question.

Zinke: “I don’t think the government scientists can predict with certainty. There isn’t a model that existed it can predict today’s weather given all the data. If everyone adhered to the Paris climate accord, that change would be roughly 0.2°, which is insignificant.”

Franken: “No, no, no!  I just want you to answer the question that I asked you. That’s all I want you to do.”

And so it continued, as nauseam. Keep in mind that Mr. Zinke is the head of the Department of Interior, a position that pays in the $100,000 per year range, yet intellectually I would pit almost any 8th grader against him in a debate.


Meanwhile, out in the real world …

The Southwest is experiencing its worst heat wave in decades. Excessive heat warnings have been in effect from Arizona to California and will be for the remainder of the week. On Monday, temperatures in Phoenix hit 118 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, which announced the record-tying heat.

heatIt was so hot that dozens of flights have been canceled this week at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

My vote is for sending Trump, Pruitt and Zinke to Phoenix, make them stand on the airport tarmac for about three hours in their suits and ties, then ask if they still believe climate change is a ‘hoax’.

196 Democratic Lawmakers Of US Congress Are Suing President over Foreign Emoluments Clause

The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution is the topic of the day. It is intended to ensure “that our nation’s leaders would not be corrupted by foreign influence or put their own financial interests over the national interest.” By now, it should be clear to all that Trump will always put his own interests, financial and otherwise, over the national interest. 196 Democrats in Congress have filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause. This lawsuit is right and proper, though I suspect it will die a quick death in light of the plutocracy of the day. Fellow-blogger Gronda has, as always, summarized and explained the issue for us in her latest post. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post, for this is important information! Thank you, Gronda, for both the post and for allowing me to share!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of 196democrats suing president

Democrats of the US Congress have decided to act to force the republican President Donald Trump to comply with the US Constitution with regards to its “Emolument’s Clause.”

There are House republicans who argue that this clause has never been enforced against a sitting US president or the members of the US Congress. The obvious retort to this assertion is that previous presidents have fully complied with the intent of this clause. And the US Congress representatives are bound by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act to prevent it from acting counter to the emoluments clause.”

Image result for photos of us congress buildingThe Heritage Guide to the US Constitution states the following:

“The Framers intended the Emoluments Clause to protect the republican character of American political institutions. “One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.” The Federalist No. 22 (Alexander Hamilton). The…

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Press Briefing … No Sound, No Picture … No Information

Sometimes I pass over a story that I might normally be expected to tackle.  First, I can only manage to write two posts a day, sometimes not even that.  Second, I try to be sensitive and some topics just really ought to be left alone.  Third, some topics get old after a few posts and one finds oneself being repetitious.  There is, however, one topic that I will always tackle when I see it, and that is free press/free speech issues.  Today, it is back on my radar.

Reporters were barred from recording video or audio footage during Monday afternoon’s White House press briefing. The reason for this aberration?  Who knows?  The excuse Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave was that Trump had already given a comment earlier in the day and would be making another comment later in the day, thus … “there are days that I’ll decide that the president’s voice should be the one that speaks and iterate his priorities.” Who knew that we are limited to two comments per day?

CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta said, “Make no mistake about what we are all witnessing. This is a WH that is stonewalling the news media. Hiding behind no camera/no audio gaggles. It just feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”

Even when cameras and recorders are allowed in, the press briefing has become a Cliff Notes version, yielding little, if any, useful information.  Spicer’s briefing on Monday may have set a record for brevity — he took questions for less than 11 minutes. Among his responses to 22 questions, he cited previous presidential statements, deferred answering or said he didn’t know 11 times.

“One major change [from previous administrations] is the hostility emanating from the administration for certain members of the press,” said April Ryan, who has covered the White House since President Bill Clinton’s last term. Ryan said Mike McCurry, Clinton’s press secretary, once described the White House’s interactions with the media as “a friendly adversarial relationship. Nowadays the friendly has been dropped from that analogy.”

Larry-Sabato

Larry Sabato

Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, whose opinion I generally respect, says that perhaps the daily press briefings no longer have value:

“Particularly in this administration, most of what you hear in a press secretary’s press conference, in that daily briefing, is misrepresentations, outright lies, and propaganda. And, on the whole, I think people would do better without that.”

I certainly agree with the first part of his statement, but disagree that we would do better without them.  The press briefings are the chance to at least attempt to pin down the administration, to hold them accountable. Martha Kumar, a professor who studies White House communications, also disagrees with Sabato, saying …

“The briefing is an opportunity to hold people accountable, and just knowing that reporters are going to ask questions, that becomes part of policy thoughts and discussions within an administration.”

The level of secrecy within the administration is unprecedented.  According to a Washington Post article this evening, in addition to the secrecy surrounding the senate health care bill, numerous federal agencies are refusing to share internal documents with Congress, Trump is still refusing to release his tax returns, visitor logs are no longer released by the White House, and Trump even refuses to admit whether he played golf on the weekends.  “More and more in the Trump era, business in Washington is happening behind closed doors. The federal government’s leaders are hiding from public scrutiny — and their penchant for secrecy represents a stark departure from the campaign promises of Trump and his fellow Republicans to usher in newfound transparency.”

Even outgoing Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz said, “I see a bureaucracy that doesn’t want documents and the truth out the door . . . and just flipping the middle finger at Congress.”

I already believe Trump and his White House staff are guilty of gross abuses of power, lies, secrecy and deflection.  Can you imagine how much worse it could be if there were no oversight by the press?  If nobody had to answer, or at least pretend to answer the tough questions?  Once we take away oversight by the press, we have opened the door for far more corruption than currently exists.  We have opened the door from which our democratic freedoms will exit.

WE THE PEOPLE Are Being Crushed Under The Senate’s Heel

In May, when the House of Representatives passed an unconscionable health care bill, I noted that the bill would not stand a chance in the Senate.  I must retract that statement at this time, for it appears that the Senate has no more conscience than the House, and plays an even dirtier game of pool.

Nobody can say for certain what is in the Senate’s version of the bill that promises to repeal ACA (Obamacare) and replace it with … who knows?  It is apparent that the main goal is simply to repeal ACA, to pander to Trump’s narcissistic desire to erase President Obama’s name from every and anything and replace it with his own.  Never mind that ACA has worked fairly well, despite its entirely fixable problems.  Never mind that the House bill would rob some 24 million U.S. citizens of their ability to even have health care. The goal of the GOP members of Congress has nothing to do with We The People, and everything to do with tax cuts for big corporations.

Republican Senate leaders are now trying to ram through their own version of the the bill the House passed last month, one that, all reports suggest, will differ only in minor, cosmetic ways. And they’re trying to do it in total secrecy. It appears that there won’t be any committee hearings before the bill goes to the floor. Even the senators have not received so much as a draft of the text of the proposed bill.  Some have seen a PowerPoint presentation, but the “slides are flashed across the screens so quickly that they can hardly be committed to memory.”

“Clearly, the goal is to pass legislation that will have devastating effects on tens of millions of Americans without giving those expected to pass it, let alone the general public, any real chance to understand what they’re voting for. There are even suggestions that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, might exploit loopholes in the rules to prevent any discussion on the Senate floor.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times, 19 June 2017

Recently Vox asked eight republican senators what, exactly, the bill is intended to do, what problems it will solve, and who stands to benefit.  Let us look at two of these interviews:

Tara Golshan, Vox and Senator John McCain:

Goldshan: Generally, what are the big problems this bill is trying to solve?

McCain: Almost all of them. They’re trying to get to 51 votes.

Golshan: Policy-wise. What are the problems [in the American health care system] this is trying to solve — and is the bill doing that right now?

McCain: Well, it’s whether you have full repeal, whether you have partial repeal, whether you have the basis of it. It’s spread all over.

Golshan: But based on the specifics of the bill you have heard so far, is it solving the problems [in the health care system]?

McCain: What I hear is that we have not reached consensus. That’s what everybody knows.

Golshan: Right, but outside of getting the votes. From what you hear of the actual legislation being written, is it solving the problems you see —

McCain: It’s not being written. Because there’s no consensus.

Golshan: But generally speaking, what are the big problems it is trying to solve?

McCain: You name it. Everything from the repeal caucus, which as you know, they have made their views very clear — Rand Paul, etc. And then there are the others on the other side of the spectrum that just want to make minor changes to the present system. There’s not consensus

Jeff Stein, Vox and Senator Chuck Grassley:

Stein: I want to ask a very broad question: What do you think this health care bill will accomplish that will improve America? What’s the positive case for this bill?

Grassley: Well, I can tell you what it’s going to do for Iowa. We are one of those states that in a couple of weeks if [the insurer] Medica pulls out, we’ll have 94 of our 95 counties won’t have any insurance ,even for people who have the subsidies. That’s what we have to concentrate on now.

Stein: How do you think the bill will fix that problem?

Grassley: Well, by bringing certainty to the insurance market. They don’t have that certainty now.

Stein: By bringing certainty to the insurance market. What certainty?

Grassley: What?

Stein: What do you mean by certainty?

Grassley: Well, they can’t even file. They have to check the rates real high if they don’t know what the government policy is. And so the certainty is that passing a bill gives the health insurance companies certainty.

Stein: Wouldn’t not passing a bill also do that?

Grassley: No, it … well, yeah — it gives them certainty that you’ll have a lot higher rates than if you pass the bill.

Stein: So you’re saying [the bill] will lower the rates?

Grassley: Um, if you’re talking about lowering the rates from now down, no. The rates could be way up here. [Points to sky] And if they — if we get a bill passed, it maybe wouldn’t go up or would go up a heck of a lot less than they would without a bill.

Stein: By “rates,” are you talking about premiums?

Grassley: Yeah, premiums. … I’m sorry I have to go.

There is more, but obviously I cannot replicate the article here … to read the full article click this link.

Both McCain and Grassley came across as having the intellect of a high school sophomore … how did they even get elected in the first place? And these people are the ones who will vote for a bill that they do not understand, simply in order to maintain their standing with a so-called president who also does not understand health care, and to rob the American people of the opportunity to seek medical care when they need it.

One of the biggest problems in health care today stems from the greed of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Many health insurers could see significant tax cuts if ACA is rolled back. Repealing ACA’s taxes on the industry, plus the anticipated corporate tax cut, could save health care companies upward of $200 billion over the next decade, by some rough estimates. If anybody still believes that “trickle-down economics” actually works and that the insurance companies will somehow share that $200 billion with people in need of healthcare, then I have a beautiful bridge I will sell you cheap!

health-care-2The senate bill will likely, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his way, come for a vote very soon.  If passed, it then goes to the House, then to Trump.  If this bill is allowed to go all the way and become law, more people than ever in this country will die because they cannot obtain medical treatment.  It is that simple, folks.  All that is required is for three republican senators to find their conscience and vote against this bill … just THREE!  What can we do?  We can e-mail and call our unconscionable senators and make it very clear that if they vote for this bill, they will be out of a job next time they come up for re-election, either in 2018, 2020, or 2022.  Tell them that we have longer memories than they believe and they will not receive our vote.  If we do not use our voices, WE LOSE!

Senator Kamala Harris Appears To Make The Old Boys’ Network In The Senate, Nervous

To some of us, there was never any doubt that it’s still a man’s world, especially in Washington. Freshman Senator Kamala Harris is getting a taste of this lesson, and blogger-friend Gronda has written an excellent, informative post about Senator Harris’ attempt to get answers in the ongoing investigation into the Trump-Russian connections. Please take a moment to read this post, and also pay attention to the comment by crustyolemothman, who has made a prediction that I would like to naysay, but I’m not sure he’s off-base at all! Thank you, Gronda for the post and permission to re-blog!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of kamala harris during hearingsThere is not a woman alive who has ever held any executive type position who has not experienced this phenomenon of being interrupted, talked over by male co-workers while she was simply doing her job. There are literally hundreds of published articles out there in the real world, advising women how to navigate successfully under these set of circumstances.

There have been credible studies which validate this assertion. For example the Harvard Business Review has published empirical data in its review dated 4/11/17, demonstrating that the Supreme Court female Justices are interrupted by their male counterparts at a rate of 3 times greater than their male colleagues.

Image result for photos of kamala harris during hearingsMost women who have been watching the US Senate Intel Committee hearings within the first half of 2017, have noticed the former prosecutor, former attorney general and freshman Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), as she performs her expected role in a professional manner, by…

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