The Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Care Plan. UPDATED.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote. Yes, be happy. That said, go ahead and read all the following, and remember. Remember just what they wanted to do, and still want to do. We cannot afford to forget.

 
This post brought to you with a leaden heart sinking in a simultaneous sea of fury and despair. It’s going to be a roundup, because I just can’t. I can’t.

Trump budget boss: If you want insurance to cover maternity care, lobby your state legislature. Trumpcare: Giving you the freedom to purchase health insurance that covers nothing.

On Thursday, President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus tentatively worked out a deal: Trump would agree to remove mandatory coverage of “essential services” from his health care bill in order to win the far-right caucus’ support for it.

Essential services include maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, emergency services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drug coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan sold in the US must cover them.

White House says maternity care won’t be more expensive for women —if they’re on a family plan: A story of male priorities on women’s health care, in two acts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that women wouldn’t have to worry about paying more for maternity care under Trumpcare, as long as they’re on a family plan.

The exchange came as a reporter pressed Spicer on reports that the GOP is considering repealing Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits mandate — a requirement that all insurance plans cover services such as hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventative care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

Spicer called the furor over these benefits a “philosophical discussion,” and argued that repealing them was a way to bring premiums down.

The White House may have skirted federal law to try and save its failing health care bill: Several official Twitter accounts lobbied Congress in support of the AHCA bill.

On Thursday morning, as the Trump administration frantically tried to save its deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement bill, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted out a message to Trump’s dwindling pool of supporters urging them to call their congressperson in support of the American Health Care Act.

Hours later, similarly worded tweets were sent from the official @POTUS account and Donald Trump’s personal account.

But as some people were quick to note, directly lobbying Congress in support of (or opposition to) a bill using federal dollars—including White House staff who earn federal salaries—is strictly forbidden under 18 U.S.C. § 1913.

The Trump White House seems confused about how pregnancy works: Let me teach you about the birds and the bees.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill that, if a faction of the most conservative House Republicans gets its way, will eliminate the requirement that insurance plans cover certain essential health benefits. These benefits include maternity care, a fact that the Trump White House views as an opportunity to pit men against women.

It’s a common joke among the Affordable Care Act’s opponents. Why should a man pay for women’s health care? Hilarious!

At least with respect to maternity care, however, there’s a very simple answer to this question. Because of the unusual nature of pregnancy, either everyone must pay for pregnancy coverage, or no one will have pregnancy coverage.

The reason why is a problem known as “adverse selection.”

In last ditch effort for votes, Trump says goal of Trumpcare is to end Planned Parenthood: Trump quite literally plays politics with women’s health.

A photo of the House Freedom Caucus and Mike Pence went viral on Thursday, and for good reason — it showed that in a discussion over the future of women’s health insurance plans, the only people in the room were white men.

In a bid to get the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, President Trump and GOP leadership (again, all men) offered to repeal Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits provision, which mandates that health insurers offer coverage for basic care like hospitalizations, prescriptions, and notably for women, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

According to reports, however, the Freedom Caucus still doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. And on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to levy one more threat at its members, dangling women’s health coverage in front of them as bait:


The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!

There’s many ways in which Trumpcare would disproportionately affect women. It would price abortion care out of reach for many women, even some on employee-sponsored plans. It would roll back Medicaid and charge seniors more for health insurance, hurting two populations that are predominately female. With the new revisions, it will roll back maternity coverage.

And, as Trump alludes to, it would federally defund Planned Parenthood —which in practice, actually means preventing low-income and rural women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control consultations. In 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only birth control clinic. Annually, 2.5 million women and men seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Trump knows this.

So Much For An Investigation.

Nunes, speaks with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday following a meeting with President Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Nunes, speaks with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday following a meeting with President Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) claims to have evidence that President Donald Trump was surveilled after all.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers both said they know of no information supporting the president’s allegation. They also confirmed that President Trump’s connections with Russia are under investigation. On Wednesday, however, Nunes called a press conference and said he “recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition.”

He framed his claim as big news.

And there’s a problem. It’s not big news. It’s not a vindication. It is obstruction of justice, which Nunes doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about.

But incidental collection isn’t uncommon when American citizens are in touch with foreign agents. Leaks regarding Michael Flynn’s talks with the Russian ambassador were what led to Flynn’s ouster as Trump’s national security adviser, because they confirmed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence regarding the substance of those talks.

Any intelligence report detailing communications between Trump transition officials and foreign agents would be classified. But instead of bringing whatever information he has to the attention of the intelligence community, Nunes addressed reporters and then headed straight to the White House to inform the target of an ongoing FBI investigation.

[…]

After talking to the president, Nunes again faced the media and contradicted himself about what his evidence means, saying in the same breath that it both supports and refutes Trump’s wiretap allegations. He was also evasive about where the alleged surveillance occurred, who it targeted, and what form it took.

Yes, that happens when you don’t have evidence, and you simply make shit up out of whole cloth.

On MSNBC, Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the CIA, said he’s “never heard of a chairman of an oversight committee going to brief the president of the United States about concerns he has about things he’s read in intelligence reports.”

“The job of the committee is to do oversight over the executive branch — not to bring them in to their investigation or tip them off to things they may have been looking at,” Bash added. “I’ve gotta believe other members of the committee are horrified at what they just witnessed.”

I certainly hope someone other than all us reading about this are horrified. This is not on the same level of Keystone farce the rest of the regime show has been, this is very serious, and it should be taken seriously, and be investigated properly.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Community, released a statement saying that whatever information Nunes has “should have been shared with members of the committee” before the president was informed.

“The Chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation,” Schiff said. “I have expressed my grave concerns with the Chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way.”

I fully agree. It remains to be seen if a proper, credible investigation can even take place inside the big ol’ circus tent which used to be a government.

As chair of the Intelligence Committee, Nunes is currently overseeing the House’s investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia.

Right. An oversight chair who is going to go running to the press with nonsense every 5 seconds, and while busy decrying leaks, running off to leak to the Tiny Tyrant at every opportunity.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Key to Republican Votes? More Cruelty.

Disney.

Disney.

It seems the key to all the Republican Cruellas is Cruelty. The Fuck You Care Plan was looking at crashing and burning, but the two prime Cruellas, Trump and Ryan, have found a way to pull in the reluctant rethugs, who felt the “replacement” was simply too kind.

In a sane world, the problem with the House’s Trumpcare bill would be that it kicks 14 million people off of their health insurance in year one and uses the savings to give rich people a big tax cut.

In our world, though, the problem for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was that scores of his own members didn’t think the bill was harsh enough. With only a couple dozen votes to spare in the House, and party leaders rushing toward a vote to minimize public scrutiny, the initial revolt was enough to force tweaks.

Those changes landed Monday night in the form of a “manager’s amendment” to the Trumpcare proposal. The amendment makes Medicaid cuts even deeper, frees up governors to raid the program to plug other budget holes, and ends Medicaid expansion under Obamacare much sooner than Ryan’s original bill.

This would be why there was the previous insistence of a vote first, without looking over the changes. No one is being allowed all that close of a look, however, so there are no estimates as to how many people this version will screw over. You can be certain it will be more.

The new version accelerates that process of shoving poor, disabled, and elderly people off a health care cliff. Medicaid expansion would freeze immediately rather than in two years. While the 11 million slightly-less-poor-than-the-poverty-line Americans who today receive health insurance thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid would technically be grandfathered in, there’s a false bottom to their recently-gained financial and medical security.

Anyone whose coverage lapses, or who takes a seasonal job that bumps their income up too high to be covered, would not be able to re-enroll in Medicaid after that blip. At the same time, the topline reductions in federal Medicaid spending would create fiscal attrition, effectively forcing states to throw Medicaid expansion patients back into the uninsured gutter a bit more quickly than the first version of Trumpcare.

The amendment also adds a cash incentive for states to impose work requirements for non-pregnant, non-disabled, non-elderly Medicaid recipients. Work requirements in anti-poverty programs are a longstanding and bipartisan white whale, despite their failure to achieve anything other than higher poverty rates.

Medicaid will be no exception, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities health care policy expert Judy Solomon told ThinkProgress. “While most adults on Medicaid already do work, the work requirement would likely prevent other eligible people from enrolling, including, for example, a young adult attending college, a married mother taking care of an infant, or an adult caring for an aging parent,” Solomon said.

There really is no limit to just how much rethuglicans want to stomp all over poor people. I expect what they’d truly like to do is “cull the herd”, but as that might meet some hard edged resistance, this slow way of killing people will have to do.

A few key low-ranking Republicans have already hinted the changes will secure their votes. A dozen members of the hard-right Republican Study Committee summoned to the White House on Friday agreed to embrace Trumpcare if the deeper Medicaid cuts were added, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) told the Washington Post.

Is everyone feeling loved by their representatives?

The amendments to Trumpcare effectively trade American lives for Republican votes. Like its predecessor, the 2.0 version is a swindle masquerading as technical, wonky reform. It will take medical care away from low-income families, which will mean more people in those families die sooner than they would have if they could still afford insurance coverage.

The bodies will be piling up against The Great Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

Oh yes, almost forgot – this is what the Tiny Tyrant is concerned about:

According to CNN, Trump began his meeting with Republicans by congratulating himself for the crowd size at a Monday night rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The president warned that the value of his earned media would be diminished if the health care bill fails.

“We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he reportedly complained.

The Hidden History of A Homicidal Cop.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

The cop who murdered Eric Garner is still employed. As of last year, his salary was $119,996 , a 14% increase over what he was making when he murdered Garner. A person could get ideas about that. I certainly have number of ideas, none of them painting cops in a good light. Think Progress has gotten an exclusive look at hidden documents which highlight Pantaleo’s past behaviour as a cop, and it’s not a good record in any way. The article is long and in-depth, so head on over for a read.

Now, documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress indicate that Pantaleo, who is still employed by the NPYD, had a history of breaking the rules. These records are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the city refuses to release them.

Before he put Garner in the chokehold, the records show, he had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

Neither Pantaleo nor the NYPD responded to Think Progress requests for comment.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner.

Outside the Gold Curtain: Ugly Americans.

Students party on a beach in Cancun (Screen cap).

Students party on a beach in Cancun (Screen cap).

The Gold Curtain is on its way down, to encompass oh-so-special Amerikka, but unfortunately, the ugly is still escaping, and is busy leaving trails of Trumpslime all over the place.

CANCUN — What would be a dream night for Suly and Anaximandro Amable, a newly married couple who went to Cancun for their honeymoon, became a bitter experience on Monday March 13.

During a family show on the high seas, young American spring breakers began to sing the controversial “Build That Wall” chant, which shocked Mexican national tourists and workers.

This is just one of the many blameworthy behaviors that young spring breakers have shown recently in Cancun and that are described as acts of xenophobia and discrimination against Mexicans within their own country, which is (or should be) totally unacceptable.

Anaximandro, from Perú, made the following statement on social networks: “Today I was with Suly, my wife (who is a native of Mexico), watching an entertainment show off the coast of Cancun aboard a boat, and at the end of the show, a flock of Americans (maybe under the influence of alcohol, or maybe not), began to sing the infamous “Build that wall” chant louder and louder”.

[…]

Several Mexican tourists on board the ship expressed their annoyance, but the Americans did not stop at all and continued singing the racist hymn.

This situation is far from being an isolated incident, and it adds to the growing number of complaints from tourism sector workers, who point out that in recent days many Spring Breakers have been offensive, rude and haughty towards Mexican people.

This is way beyond embarrassing. Light years beyond. This is a type of terrorism: ugly, screaming, insistent braggadocio of invasive idiots, who are utterly certain of their greatness and specialness. Well, you’re special alright, you excel at being fucking idiots. Here, have a teeny star for mindless braying, never once having a thought invade those shit filled heads, about how you would feel, if upon arrival for your drunken revelry, you were greeted with “Back behind the Gold Curtain!” and swiftly expelled from a place you expected to enjoy. Americans have a tendency to assume they are oh so grand, and of course, always welcome, and oh yes, always right. There’s little realization of just how many Americans are poisonous, entitlement-stuffed bigots, whose mouths are one hundred times larger than their brains. Many times, even when that’s realized, there’s a bit of scuffing, grabbing a broom to sweep such under the rug, and an assumption of innocence. This doesn’t even cover the exceptional stupidity attached to exceptionally ugly Americans: they are spending money in the country they so denigrate. Heeeeeey, we’re spending Amerikkkan money here, so we have a perfect right to be shit-filled, obnoxious fucking idiots! Yaaaaay Amerikkka!

Christ. I’d think such fucking idiots would have been insistent on being really truly good Amerikkans, and spending behind the Gold Curtain, in Florida or something. Guess the good ol’ USA ain’t good enough for the Trumpholes.

Given the incredible ugliness of too many Americans, I don’t think it’s going to be long before other countries decide they have had enough, and just ban us all. If you want a fine example of the ugly I’m talking about, head on over to the Yucatan Times, and read the comments. You might want to make sure you have an empty stomach.

Via The Yucatan Times.

The Expressive Rights of Others.

The California Aggie, Jay Gelvezon/Courtesy.

The California Aggie, Jay Gelvezon/Courtesy.

“The expressive rights of others.” Quite the phrase, isn’t it? That’s the new free speech, at least applied to those with repugnant viewpoints. In the ongoing effort to quell dissent, this is the new rallying cry of the decidedly exclusive conservatives and lovers of fascism.

…The intent of these bills isn’t to protect student speech; it’s actually to suppress it in favor of guest speakers who, at times, support white nationalism, LGBTQ discrimination and other hateful worldviews. By funding the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, wealthy conservatives are enabling the promotion of hate speech while stifling student dissent. Whether or not Koch, for example, agrees with the hate speech he indirectly sponsors, he certainly benefits from a more friendly academic environment for far-right ideologues who often deny climate change and praise his extreme brand of tax- and regulation-free capitalism.

The Goldwater Institute’s model bill allegedly ensures “the fullest degree of…free expression,” but it explicitly states that “protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity shall not be permitted and shall be subject to sanction.”

It goes on to say, “Any student who has twice been found responsible for infringing the expressive rights of others will be suspended for a minimum of one year, or expelled.”

Under this code, imagine that a student protests a climate change denier and gets a brief suspension. Then the College Republicans group brings in a full-on white nationalist. Will this student do what she thinks is right and protest a racist who’s given a platform at a respected university, or stay home because she’s risking expulsion? This campus “free speech” legislation is essentially an attack on student speech and an elevation of ultra-conservative ideas that many people in university communities think have no place in American society.

“These laws would create a chilling effect on students who reject the idea that white supremacists or climate deniers are simply representing an ‘opposing viewpoint’ that should be tolerated, and who are rightfully relying on their first amendment freedoms to stop the rise of fascism and prevent global climate catastrophe,” Wilson, UnKoch’s senior researcher, told AlterNet. The group has been conducting research into Charles Koch’s considerable ideological donations to higher education, most of which goes toward free-market programs.

Charles Koch Foundation representatives say that conservative views are underrepresented in higher education, and the foundation’s massive university donations—which fund free-market academic centers, professorships, grad students and lecture series—are necessary for academic freedom. This view is shared by other conservative billionaires and higher ed donors including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who recently said to the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “The education establishment [tells you] what to think…the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”

the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.” Okay, then why are you doing just that? Oh, because you don’t mean that at all, no. You’re fully in favour of free speech, er, expressive rights, as long as those expressive rights are extolling the virtues of white supremacy and fascism. Anything else, not so much. It’s of minor interest to note how much the cons have jumped on the branding wagon. “Different words will make it great!” No, they won’t. To paraphrase Shakespeare, fascism by any other name would still stink.

Legislators in some states including Illinois and Tennessee have introduced bills in 2017 that explicitly mention sanctions on student protesters. Illinois’ bill, proposed by two Republicans, lifts this language, and additional passages, nearly verbatim from the Goldwater model. Also sponsored by Republicans, the bill in Tennessee—nicknamed the “Milo Bill” after an event at the University of California at Berkeley featuring the racist “alt-right” icon Milo Yiannopolous was canceled due to protests—directs universities to enact free speech policies that include “sanctions for anyone under the jurisdiction of the institution who interferes with the free expression of others,” and it gives faculty “the right to regulate class speech.”

In North Carolina, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest intends to work with legislators on a Restore Campus Free Speech Act, which would create “a discipline policy that would punish students who shout down visiting speakers or deprive others of their right to free expression, a tactic commonly known as the ‘hecklers’ veto.'”

Last year, Forest floated a measure calling on the University of North Carolina’s board of governors to create a system-wide policy that would impose harsh penalties, including expulsion, on students, staff and faculty members who disrupt classes, public meetings or events. The Koch-funded Generation Opportunity lauded the effort at the time. Forest has said that yelling at a guest speaker “has never been free speech,” and he’s called campus protest methods “terrorist tactics.” No one introduced a free speech bill that year.

Other proposed laws, like North Dakota’s, which was introduced by six Republicans, omit sanctions provisions but state that a university may restrict student speech if it blocks entrances to buildings, obstructs traffic or interferes with events. Much of the North Dakota bill comes directly from the text of the Goldwater model legislation.

That’s by no means the end of it, either. Alternet has a good, in-depth look at the “new” expressive rights of others, and how it will strip a great many people of their expressive rights. Recommended reading.

A Congress of Tantrums: No, Vote First!

paul-ryan

There’s the face of Republican empathy, folks. Are you impressed? Didn’t think so. Ryan is emulating the Tiny Tyrant, and going with the Tantrum Method. This is one of those days I could just slam my head into a wall, yelling loudly “this is not how a fucking government is supposed to fucking work, noooo!” As that wouldn’t do much good, I’ll refrain and just cuss my head off here. The Fuck You Care Plan (FYCP) is meeting resistance from both sides of the aisle, and now Ryan is insisting that a vote is taken before the changes made to it can be scrutinized. Remind you of recalcitrant 3 year old? “No! Swallow it without looking first!” I don’t think so, Paulie. You’re a tad too toxic for that kind of nonsense.

Speaker Paul Ryan announced Sunday he would be willing to make major changes to the Republican health care bill this week, but not push back the scheduled vote Thursday. He’s considering those changes in response to division among party members over the bill in its current form: conservatives say they won’t vote for it because it’s “Obamacare-lite,” while moderates are spooked by the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment that 24 million Americans stand to lose coverage if it passes, among other warning signs.

He told Chris Wallace Sunday that unspecified changes would “help bring market freedom and regulatory relief to the insurance markets to dramatically lower the price of the plan for the 50- and 60-year-olds.” Other changes under discussion would impose work requirements for people receiving Medicaid benefits and increase tax credits for older Americans.

Oh, there’s a poison pill. Ryan has been trying to kill medicare for years. As for the regulatory blather, don’t be falling for that crap, either. Every single person in uStates is about to get royally screwed by all the deregulation, oh, pardon, not everyone. The billionaires will be okay. The rest of us, we’ll be screwed over, and we will be living on poisoned land, rivers which will once again burn, choking on pollution, dealing with food scarcity, no healthcare, all while trying to figure out how not to get screwed over financially by every single company we have to deal with in daily life. Oh, right, FYCP. Okay, here’s the little poster boy for sociopathy:

But Ryan wants members of Congress to vote on the updated bill before they know what its impact on constituents will be. The House will still vote on Thursday, before the CBO has a chance to make another assessment.

Emphasis mine. This is not how a government runs. It is how a regime runs, even if those in it are still trying to deny the switchover.

Still, Ryan says he is confident it will pass, despite his own admission that major components are still under construction. “The reason I feel so good about this is because the president has become a great closer. He’s the one who has helped negotiate changes to this bill with members from all over our caucus.”

This is not a godsdamned corporate raiding thing, you fucking dimwitted monstrous asshole. It’s supposed to be a fucking government. Wait, what am I saying? Yeah, it’s a corporate raider thing these days. Sorry, I’ve been accustomed to a government most of my life.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote Ryan last week and demanded he give the CBO an opportunity to analyze the changes health care bill before any floor vote.

“Republicans are terrified the American people will see the reality of their disastrous TrumpCare bill. If the GOP are afraid of the public having the facts about their bill, they shouldn’t be voting on it,” Pelosi said in a statement released Sunday after Republicans announced they will not wait for the CBO.

Yeah, that’s the truth, but what good is it going to do? FYCP it’s gonna be, praised to the skies by the filthy rich here behind the Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

“No One Is Safe.”

Hassan Aden -- via Facebook.

Hassan Aden — via Facebook.

Writing on Facebook on Saturday, retired cop Hassan Aden said he was returning from Paris where he helped his mother celebrate her 80th birthday when he was singled out and pulled from line by a customs official at John F. Kennedy International Airport who asked, “Are you traveling alone? Let’s take a walk.”

“I was taken to a back office which looked to be a re-purposed storage facility with three desks and signs stating, ‘Remain seated at all times’ and ‘Use of telephones strictly prohibited’—my first sign that this was not a voluntary situation and, in fact, a detention,” Aden wrote. ” By this point I had informed CBP Officer Chow, the one that initially detained me, that I was a retired police chief and a career police officer AND a US citizen—he stated that he had no control over the circumstance and that it didn’t matter what my occupation was.”

According to Aden after handing his passport over he was told that someone was using his name and that he had had to be cleared “so that I could gain passage into the United States… my own country!!!”

Aden said that he was not allowed to leave or contact his family at the same time an official told him he wasn’t being detained.

“He had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge—but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion,” he wrote. “I certainly was not free to leave.

[…]

“I spent nearly 30 years serving the public in law enforcement. I interface with high level U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Court officials almost daily,” he wrote. “Prior to this administration, I frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms. All that to say, if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be ‘profiled.’ No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.”

I’m a little torn here. What happened to Mr. Aden was not, in any way, right. Just another instance of the police state. Mr. Aden, unlike many people being caught up in the nets of the current police state, had considerable resources to call on. I’d say it’s a good thing for a cop to experience what it’s like, being in the clutches of such; that said, it’s not an experience I would wish on anyone. In the end, Mr. Aden was released, and reunited with his loved ones. That certainly cannot be said for scores and scores of people who are being picked up, detained, and wrenched away from their families and their lives. And no, please don’t point out that what happened to Mr. Aden was somehow in defense of stopping a terrorist; it wasn’t, and no, please don’t point out this is way different from the current “round ’em up and deport them!” business, it isn’t. It’s all one and the same thing: xenophobia, accompanied by the clang of The Gold Curtain™. America First, y’all.

Via Raw Story.

Rewriting the Constitution.

Photo Credit: Kim Davies / Flickr.

Photo Credit: Kim Davies / Flickr.

Imagine if the U.S. Constitution barred the EPA and Department of Education from existing. All union protections are dead, there are no more federal workplace safety standards, and even child-labor laws are struck down, along with a national minimum wage.

Imagine that the Constitution makes it illegal for the federal government to protect you from big polluters, big banks and even big food and pharma—all are free to rip you off or poison you all they want, and your only remedy is in state courts and legislatures, because the Constitution prevents Congress from doing anything about any of it. The federal government can’t even enforce voting or civil rights laws.

To add injury to insult, the federal government has to shut down Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, because all of these programs (along with food stamps, housing supports and any programs that help the middle class, the less fortunate or disabled) are “beyond the reach” of what the federal government can do.

A few years ago, it would have been a thought experiment; now it’s nearly reality. Billionaires and the groups they fund are working to rewrite our Constitution to provide corprations and the rich with more and more protections and benefits, and chop away at anything smelling of “socialism” like Social Security or child labor laws.

The fact is that they’re just a few states away from meeting their goal, and have already held dress rehearsals in Washington D.C.—with representatives from all 50 states—for a Constitutional Convention that would change America forever.

[…]

On April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against fascist Germany and Japan, the New York Times published an op-ed by Vice President Henry Wallace discussing explicitly the issue of very wealthy people setting out to take over our government.

Wallace spoke directly to the danger of multimillionaire and corporate power, defining right-wing industrialists as people “who in case of conflict put money and power ahead of human beings.” He added that “in their search for money and power [they] are ruthless and deceitful. … They… follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.”

In his strongest indictment of that day’s equivalent of today’s billionaire class, Wallace wrote, “They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

As Wallace’s president, Franklin D. Roosevelt said when accepting his party’s re-nomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, “out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties…. It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.”

We stand at the same crossroads Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II, only this time the Supreme Court (in 1976 with Buckley, 1978 in Bellotti and in 2010 with Citizens United) has given American billionaires the power to spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to own politicians and demand behavior from them so outrageous that they’d even lie on live TV and deny science itself.

The billionaire right’s behavior today eerily parallels the day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”

President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace’s warnings have come full circle. It’s critical that we call out these economic royalists for what they’re doing, and not let them and their minions rewrite our Constitution.

Thom Hartmann’s full article is at AlterNet, and very scary reading, but it’s important reading. Highly Recommended.

“Not One Negro Was Harmed.”

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

White supremacists are outraged after a couple was sentenced to 20 years in prison for displaying a Confederate flag and making “terroristic threats” to black people who were attending a child’s birthday party in Georgia in 2015.

The defendants, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton, who were convicted last month, also “pulled out a shotgun and threatened to kill people at [the] party, including children,” according to Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner.

White supremacist groups have responded to the sentencing online in Facebook posts and petitions in protest of the conviction, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports. James Oliver, a member of the country’s largest neo-Nazi organization, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), made a video over the weekend about the sentencing, though it appears to have been removed. The NSM is rooted in the original American Nazi Party.

According to SPLC’s report, Oliver argued in his video, “20 years for f*cking freedom of speech … for name calling … some high school, middle school, kindergarten bullsh*t.” Oliver was reportedly joined in the video by former Klansmen John Girton, who said, “Not one negro was harmed. However, one of them did get their feelings hurt by the use of the n-word.”

I just don’t have words. It’s a rare thing to see justice done anymore, especially when the victims are not white.

White supremacists also threatened Douglas Circuit Judge William Beau McClain, and circulated a petition demanding that the conviction “be overturned or at least reduced dramatically.” A Facebook user named Branden Young commented on Girton’s post, writing, “Something needs [to be] done about judges like this.”

Right. So now it’s time to threaten and harass anyone who does see justice done. And maybe worse than that. People often speculate that current events may devolve into a civil war here in uStates, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at things. We’re already in the middle of a war.

Full story here.

Call It What It Is, Class Warfare.

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Wikimedia. Click for full size.

Steve Rosenfeld has a good article up at Raw Story, about the insidiousness of the new, so-called healthcare plan. Definitely recommended, just a bit here:

It’s important to note what Republicans are not talking about. While their messaging is emphasizing premium increases under Obamacare and how the program’s insurance exchanges are suffering from lack of competition, the GOP is not discussing who is making undue profits in American health care. Nor are they discussing the simplest reform that would address the maladies they cite, allowing Obamacare states to create interstate pools where risk and costs could be shared among greater numbers of people and insurers.

While the politics of the Obamacare repeal effort are only beginning, what’s clear is its GOP sponsors are tinkering with the rules governing one-sixth of the economy in a manner that appears to be a giant transfer of wealth upward. These Republicans can talk about “free markets” and “individual choice” all they like, but there’s a better phrase for it: class warfare.

Republicans are poised to unleash a wave of health insecurity and economic hardship on poor, working- and middle-class Americans, as well as on the nation’s system of medical providers, public health institutions and social safety nets. On social insurance listservs and discussion forums Wednesday, there was a debate about what to call the GOP bill: The Deplorable Care Act? The Unaffordable Care Act? Trumpcare? The I Don’t Care Act? No matter what one chooses, this is class warfare and it will be painful.

If you aren’t rich, you’re going to find yourself getting poorer, and constantly caught between a rock and a hard place, none of which concerns the Regime in the least. All that matters to them is that the rich get richer, and the most basic of rights be reassigned to privileges available only to those who can pay for them. Go have a read!

More. There’s Always More.

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War is peace. Freedom is slavery. And an historic health care initiative providing health care to millions of low-income Americans actually takes away their access to care.

Confused? So, apparently, is the Secretary of Health and Human Services. At a press conference on Tuesday, HHS Secretary Tom Price claimed that “Medicaid is a program that by and large has decreased the ability for folks to gain access to care.”

In fact, nearly 70 million people receive health coverage through Medicaid. An Obamacare provision that expanded eligibility for the program extended coverage to 11 million people. A 2016 poll shows that 87 percent of these beneficiaries are “satisfied with their Medicaid coverage and benefits.”

Nevertheless, House Republicans released a bill this week that would make massive cuts to Medicaid. Price spent his remarks touting this bill.

Well, it’s definitely Nineteen Eighty-Four. We have arrived: Healthcare Is Sickness. Apparently, it is also slavery, along with freedom. What can you even say anymore?

There’s video at the link. Think Progress also has a new article up about just who is going to be targeted the most by the new “healthcare”.

Facts Be Damned. Oh, And Fuck Women.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the White House on January 31. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon listens at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the White House on January 31. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

One of the uglier aspects of the ‘new’ Muslim ban is a focus on ‘honor killings’, even though that’s not a massive problem here in uStates, but it’s a convenient thing to rail about when you’re attempting to incite a racial panic. Just how much the Regime does not care about victims of honor killings is highlighted by the fact that the Violence Against Women grants are going to be eliminated, even though roughly 1,500 women are murdered as a result of domestic violence per year. It should not be ignored that both Trump and Bannon have been accused of domestic violence. Nor should Trump’s attitude toward women in general, which is incredibly ugly. The reasoning behind the ban is nothing more than slimy white nationalism, and there isn’t all that much to cover the shit over, they simply don’t care. Well, that’s not quite fair. They do care about any possibility of having this ban legally overturned as well. As usual the problem does not just rest with the Regime’s legislation and executive orders. It also lies on the shoulders of all those Regime voters and supporters.

I am sick to death of people wringing their hands over these poor, poor Trumpians who start crying when the chickens come home to roost. No, I do not have sympathy for them, because they have none for anyone, they were firmly and flatly in favour of bigotry, hatred, and misogyny, and any of them who claim they weren’t, they are liars. Trump’s whole fucking campaign was nothing but a constant litany of bigotry, hatred, and misogyny, as well as a paen to the might of white, and a psalm sung to the filthy rich.

The whole excuse of “well, some of them just wanted to throw a brick at the establisment” is a fucking lie, too. One Big Lie. If those people truly wanted to buck the establishment, Trump would have been dumped and Sanders would have ended up in the white house, and we would be moving towards a properly socialized government. That would have been tossing a brick at the man. Voting for Trump? For fuck’s sake, how could you possibly get more establishment? The excuse of “they thought he was a good business man!” won’t wash either. Trump’s constant failures over the years were not a secret. His incompetency was out there for all to see, during the whole campaign. The regime voters chose to ignore it. The excuse of “oh hey jobs”? No, doesn’t wash either, because what all those white Trumpians meant by that was “stomp all over those brown peoples!”. They never have anything to say when you point out that they don’t want to work cleaning toilets and peoples’ houses.

No, no more fucking excuses. The assholes who voted in the regime who are now crying? They’re only crying because they weren’t supposed to get bitten on the arse. They wanted all those others to get fucked over. Anyroad, back to the fucked up, shit-caked ban…

President Trump’s second Muslim ban, signed on Monday, includes a provision directing the Department of Homeland Security to collect and make public “information regarding the number and types of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the United States by foreign nationals.”

According to numbers from a Department of Justice-sponsored study conducted in 2014, there are less than 30 such “honor killings” in the country each year. The killings — which are “perceived by the perpetrator to be a way to restore honor to the family in the face of a perceived damage,” according to the report — are sometimes “motivated by a radical and dark interpretation of Islam,” as Fox News wrote in late 2015.

The inclusion of the “honor killings” provision in the new Muslim ban marks the second time in a week the Trump administration has outlined a plan to use federal resources “to whip up as much racial panic as possible,” as Matt Yglesias of Vox puts it. The first instance was Trump’s vow to create the Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office, or VOICE, during his speech to Congress last week, even though immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

In a similar vein, the number of “honor killings” in the U.S. stands in stark contrast to the roughly 1,500 women who are murdered as a result of domestic violence in a given year. But according to numerous reports, Trump’s budget proposal will eliminate the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women grants. Those grants had a $480 million budget last year and funded 25 grant programs helping domestic violence victims, according to Mother Jones. Trump and chief strategist Steve Bannon have both been accused of domestic assault.

[…]

But the “honor killing” provision is just the latest example of Trump trying to portray Islam in a violent light. Despite the fact that a person in America is much more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than a Muslim terrorist, the Trump administration has signaled it wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims. And after the Department of Homeland Security released a report last month undermining the administration’s core rationale for the Muslim ban  — “citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity,” it found — the administration tried to downplay the report.

“The president asked for an intelligence assessment,” the a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal. “This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for.”

Right. An accurate assessment is provided, but the Tiny Tyrant doesn’t want that, and neither does shadow tyrant Bannon. They want shit shoveled onto a platter, and shaped into the form of whatever they asked for, providing them with a basis for the regime.

Think Progress has the full story.

Also see: The mass deportation of African immigrants that isn’t getting media attention. Nobody noticed.