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As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote.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.

Oh, the Stupid. Too Much.

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

See that list in the photo? Those are all things we are about to lose here behind The Gold Curtain. America the Fucked Up. CNN tackled Spicer, who was going with full out bluster, in an attempt to defend this monstrousness. I’m just going to remark on a bit of the stupid, I’m close to overdosing on it already today.

According to Spicer, “older men, older women” who had “gotten passed [sic] maternity age” were being forced to pay for maternity care, driving up the overall cost of insurance.

When, exactly, do men get past maternity age? There are men in their 70s who have very young children, under the age of 5. Also, a lot of women don’t have children until they are in their 40s, so can we at least define this “passed the maternity age” business? Then, if you don’t mind, would you answer as to why you think any of this is your fucking business? Also, y’know, lot of people out there, older ones, who have children who are now having children, and they have a vested interest in them having good healthcare. That sort of thing is called family. You should look it up.

“People who were at the younger end of the age scale were buying end-of-life benefits,” he added.

What, I wonder, do you mean by that one? It’s not in the least uncommon for younger people to make plans for the end of their life, that would be why people make wills, have insurance, and so on, you stupid dipstick of an idiot. What in the fuckety fuck makes you think being younger automatically rules out catastrophic health problems? Accidents? Terminal illness? Not everyone dies at the age of 100something. Most of us won’t make it that far. At your age, Mr. Spicer, I’d think you’d know just how fast it flashes past, and before you know it, you aren’t 25 anymore. Trying to have some safety nets laid out in front of you is one way to prepare, so you can have a good life that isn’t completely wiped out by one unforeseen complication.

The people in charge of the Fuck You Care Plan, now with added Fuck. You.!

Via Raw Story.

ETA: In the comments, I included a link to yet another callous rethuglican, who made a very nasty remark about mammograms. The tweetstream following his notpology is very long, and a good many people brought up a very important point: men also have breasts, and yes, they can get breast cancer too. This is not brought up enough, and men, seriously, if you find you have a lump, get your self to a doctor, immediately! Ignoring such a thing leads to one place: death. Also, manhandle your breasts every month, have a check for anything suspicious. If you have a partner, it can be fun to check each other!

The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.

One Big Facepalm.

 

Photo: Tyler Lake.

Photo: Tyler Lake.

After a good double face palm, I’m sitting here, staring at a story, shaking my head and sputtering. Oh, I just don’t grok some people. I really don’t. There’s a level of extreme cognitive dissonance that I don’t even understand how people reach in the first place.

The family of a northern Indiana restaurant owner who ICE detained during a routine check-in in February says he’s scheduled for deportation Friday.

Roberto Beristain is the owner of a popular restaurant in Granger called Eddie’s Steak Shed. His family says he came to the United States from Mexico City illegally in 1998. He later obtained documentation to work in the country and checked in with ICE each year.

It was during one of those check ins last month that ICE took Beristain into custody because of an incident in 2000. Roberto and his wife, Helen, were visiting Niagara Falls that year and accidentally crossed into Canada. Officers there detained Roberto when they realized he was in the U.S. illegally. Helen says a lawyer helped get Roberto out on bail, but he was told he had to voluntarily leave the country within a month.

Roberto decided not to self deport because Helen was pregnant at the time. An ICE spokesperson says when Roberto failed to deport himself, his voluntary order revered to a final order of removal, meaning ICE could detain him. They didn’t act on that order for more than a decade.

[…]

During an interview earlier this month, Helen said she voted for President Donald Trump because she supports his immigration policies. She said criminals should be deported, but she didn’t think her husband would face that fate.

“[Trump] did say the good people would not be deported, the good people would be checked,” Helen said.

For Chrissakes, how do you, I uh, okay, I give up. I don’t know how anyone could think this way. It’s a mystery to me. I would have thought that someone who loved a person who was initially an illegal immigrant, then legal, would at least have had more sympathy for other immigrants, if not compassion, but no. I guess all those other ones are bad ones.

Via IPM.

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.

What Is It About Wisconsin?

Rep. Glenn Grothman (YouTube).

Rep. Glenn Grothman (YouTube).

Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Glenn Grothman…is there some pool deep in the wilds of Wisconsin that tosses out empathy-devoid politicians? Grothman has decided that it is very necessary to cut federal aid to students because … goodies. Yep, goodies.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) complained Tuesday during a congressional hearing that low-income students are spending their Pell Grant funds on commercial goods that he deems unnecessary, reported Inside Higher Ed.

“I know in many ways in this country we hate the middle class,” Grothman said. “We love the rich, we love the poor and we hate the middle class.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. “We” love the poor? Since when has anyone or anything rethuglican demonstrated a love for poor people? The constant efforts to strip every teensy safety net is love? Yeah, definitely Nineteen Eighty-Four here.

People wonder why — sometimes they use the Pell Grants, too, for goodies and electronics, and they resent the fact that by doing it right, their kids are penalized.”

Uh, most middle class kids have all the goodies and electronics, y’know. I realize it’s probably been a hundred or so years since Mr. Grothman has seen the inside of a classroom, but these days, it’s rather important to have those goodies and electronics. Things do change over the years, sir. I’m still a bit at a loss over just what constitutes “goodies”. Computers and phones are pretty much standard equipment these days, and quite necessary in pursuit of your education.

Grothman complained that poor students were given grant aid that he believes is largely subsidized by the middle class, and he said those taxpayers are resentful that their own children must take out loans to pay for their education.

He “believes”? How about some evidence? That would be good. You aren’t supposed to govern based on your opinion.

“People get tired of the American government hating the middle class, and they have to kick in for their kids’ programs, so their (own) kids have to take out loans,” Grothman said. “Well, the kids from some other families seem to get things for free.”

Oh gods. Yet another fucking idiot who doesn’t have the slightest idea of how things work, or just how damn difficult it is for kids in poverty to attain college, or how hard you have to work to get a grant in the first bloody place. No recognition of all those kids who don’t make the cut for a grant, either. Of course, if America was the kind of country that actually gave a shit about its citizens, an education wouldn’t cost much, if anything, at all. Other countries have such a system, and they have smart, happy, productive people. Oh, but that would be socialist, oh no! And yes, to fund such a system, you have to pay taxes, but it is to the benefit of everyone. Here in Amerikka, if the bloated military budget was brought down to be in line with most other countries, you wouldn’t even have to raise taxes by much. You could educate a whole lot of peoples with that money. This would also mean completely overhauling the fucked up college system here, too. Much better to just make sure poor kids can’t ever get in.

He suggested first-year students should be ineligible for Pell Grants so the government was not “wasting money” on students who won’t graduate.

“At least have, for your freshman year, have the kids who aren’t in the middle class take out loans like the kids in the middle class already have to,” Grothman said. “That way you could make sure that everybody was going to college after are more serious about college. Do you think that would be a fair thing to do?”

No, I don’t think that’s fair at all. No one should have to go into debt to get a fucking education. That is something a government should provide. Insisting poverty ridden students get into equal debt of their middle class peers is not fair. And why do I have this feeling that what you really mean by “students who won’t graduate” are women, who are only in college to husband hunt, because of course they don’t want an education, no.

Grothman also claimed he had “anecdotal evidence” that Pell Grants, which are allocated based on financial need, discourage students from getting married so their income remained low enough to qualify for aid.

“If you don’t get married, of course, it’s easier to remain in poverty and not get Pell Grants,” he said. “I’ve heard it from several people.”

AAUUUUGGH NO NO NO. That’s it – it’s more than obvious Grothman had no fucking education whatsoever, and any fucking idiot who uses anecdotal evidence as if it means something – that should immediately disqualify you from the job. What. A. Fucking. Idiot.

Via Raw 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 ‘Working for Women’ Award Goes To…

fox_ff_pence_foodstamps_141

Mike Pence! Aww, here ya go, you walking meatsack of sexism and hate:

star.001

…Naturally, he’s being honored with a “Working for Women” award by the “Independent Women’s Forum,” a conservative non-profit for which Kellyanne Conway is a board member. Ah, it all makes sense now.

A press release sent to the Cut describes the…honor…thusly:

“The award recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.”

According to its website, the mission of the IWF is to “improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty.” Just to be clear, an award from a group that celebrates “personal liberty” is going to a man who is working feverishly to curtail the rights of women to control their own bodies. This is like giving Idi Amin a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts.

Jesus Christ. Every time I think they just really couldn’t sink any lower, they manage it. Pence is someone who has spent his whole career trying to destroy women. He certainly has no use at all for them as actual autonomous, thinking human beings. Of course, this “award” is coming from a group which does not view other women as full human beings either. It scares me to think of the near to insane level of cognitive dissonance ringing in the brains of women like Carrie Lukas and Kellyanne Conway. That might explain the inability to actually think, that ringing has got to be awfully loud.

Via Jezebel.

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.

Trump-Russia Ties Confirmed.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

FBI Director James Comey opened Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with a big reveal: The FBI is, in fact, investigating Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election, including links between the Trump campaign and Russian government and any coordination between the two.

Naturally, this led to the appearance of a rabid Mr. Tweet again. The multiple tweets can be seen at Think Progress and Raw Story. A certain sense of weariness sets in when I once again glance at the manic ravings of Mr. Tweet, but I can’t help but notice just how stuck the Tiny Tyrant is, like a skipping needle on a glaring scratch. Without fail, he always regresses back to the election, the one moment where he felt competent. He continues to bring up Ms. Clinton, like a superannuated revivalist preacher, terrified of letting go of one thing he knows will whip up a froth among his faithful. In the same manner, he drags back the old bone of the electoral college, desperately trying to remind people of his big “win”.

Then, of course, there’s the old “Fake! Fake I say!”, this time over a CNN poll, which points to plummeting approval ratings. Mr. Tweet scorns CNN, while patting the head of FOX, seeming to be blissfully unaware of a FOX poll which also showed a tremendously decreasing amount of confidence and approval in the Tiny Tyrant. Oops. The Tiny Tyrant demonstrates his own lack of relevance, by continually parroting the recent past, unable to move on, and unwilling to face the realities of being a despot who does something other than tweet and continually take 3 million dollar weekends.

This directly contradicts statements made both by President Trump himself as well as his administration. Monday morning — likely in anticipation of Comey’s hearing — Trump tweeted that any insinuation of collusion between him and Russia is “FAKE NEWS” and that Democrats simply invented the scandal. He nevertheless insisted that the leakers responsible for that information getting out should be investigated.

Oh yes, that too. What is becoming yet another old, old song, “Leaker!” Perhaps, given the rumours about the Tiny Tyrant’s obsession with having people leak on the beds of his enemies, he should attempt to find a different word. Unfortunately for him, people will talk, that’s one of those things people do.

In the wake of Comey’s confirmation of the investigation, it remains to be seen if the congressional Republicans defending Trump will continue to insist that the FBI should be investigating the leaks of the classified information that raise these concerns, but not the concerns themselves.

Think Progress has the full story. For a quick rundown:

 

The Poisonous Glee of Paul Ryan.

Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.

Another one heads to President Trump’s desk. This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.

Last year, President Obama’s Department of Labor issued a regulation restricting the number of unemployment insurance beneficiaries that would be subject to drug testing. The move infuriated Republicans like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who had made such a program a centerpiece of his agenda.

Despite their vows to eliminate wasteful government spending, the Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump are now poised to overturn that rule — despite significant evidence that similar drug testing regimes cost a lot more than they save.

In February, the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 42  — nearly along party lines — disapproving the regulation. Because such rules are not subject to filibuster, the Senate approved the same last week on Friday 51–48, strictly along party lines. The Trump administration has indicated it “strongly supports” the effort, making it very likely the bill will be signed very soon.

A smiling Ryan could barely contain his glee, tweeting out a picture of himself signing the House version of the resolution, alongside its author, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).

That crushing sensation? Oh, that’s the federal thumb of the regime over your head, about to come down. All that constant talk about getting “government” out of peoples’ lives. Hmmm, what happened to that not so brave sentiment? It seems to be limited to removing healthcare. Unfortunately, people are still refusing to see and understand what is happening to them, and amazingly enough, there’s still a great deal of blind trust in the Tiny Tyrant, “oh, he wouldn’t do anything bad!” Even people who do understand simply sigh and have another beer. (That’s explained in the AJC link.)

Many states — including Ryan and Walker’s home state of Wisconsin —  have adopted rules in recent years to require beneficiaries of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to be screened for drug use. ThinkProgress published examinations of the 2014 and 2015 data provided by each state with those rules and found that the states paid millions of dollars to implement the testing and combined to find only hundreds of positive tests.

[…]

TANF is a federal welfare program through which the states provide aid to their poorest citizens. Unemployment is an insurance program; employers are required to pay-in to it for their employees during the time they are employed. Now, in Wisconsin and other states that followed its lead, people will have to endure drug screening just to get access to their own insurance benefits.

Emphasis mine. Right. A massive waste of money, to no point at all, outside of punishing people for not being wealthy. Now, there’s going to be an even bigger waste of money! But it’s not some kind of commie socialist plot, like healthcare, so I guess it’s all okay. Yep, everything is grand behind the Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

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.

People Will Die, What’s New?

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

That’s a familiar scene. Living rural, I’m on propane for heating and cooking. Propane is expensive, very expensive. Most people who live rural have large tanks, which when full, might be able to see them through a winter. Depending on how harsh the winter might be, sometimes a tank will last, sometimes it won’t. We have two tanks, totally 1,500 gallons. We rarely have the full amount. Naturally, it’s cheaper to fill your tanks in the dead of Summer, but that won’t keep you all the way through to winter, especially in places like Maine, or nDakota. We’re still in Winter here. There have been times when there’s been no power; there have been times when there’s been a heating failure, and it’s not easy to cope when you don’t have heat. When you don’t have heat, you’re prone to doing unsafe things, like opening the oven, and cranking it up, stringing electric heaters everywhere, lighting candles, firing up kerosene heaters and so on. And in such cases, people often die. People also die of hypothermia, because yes, it gets that damn cold. Out here in rural land, USA, we’re a tad short on mansions. Houses tend to be old, and not terribly energy efficient, and subject to drafts. A lot of older people simply close off most of their house and live in one or two rooms come winter, as do a lot of people without a ton of money. Most of us rural types don’t have handy get aways in Florida, either.

The Tiny Tyrant is so unhinged from reality, it never crosses that atrophied pea brain of his that most people in this country are not wealthy, they don’t have mansions, they don’t have the wherewithal to con people in order to stuff their pockets, and get very concerned when faced with the choice of either starving to death or freezing to death. The same people who, while faced with such dire choices, are having their pockets picked clean by the fucking Tiny Tyrant, so he can hide out in his Florida Fucking Mansion near to every weekend. Over $3 Million every effing trip. This weekend marks the 5th weekend, and the 7th weekend spent flaking off to huge sums of money. The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump is happily planning to kill off the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which uses very little money in comparsion to say, the military budget, but is crucial in keeping people alive in not only brutal winters, but brutal summers as well. As Global Warming gets worse, also hastened by the The Monstrous Narcissist Evil Trump, both of these extremes will worsen, and without aid, even more people will die. Not that the thought of people dying ruffles Trump’s tiny, smooth brain.

“You’ve got a population that’s got very little money, not able to work because of their age or their health, and this is the way we keep them in their apartments and keep them safe,” said Wolfe.

“If you withdraw that, some of them will die. But that doesn’t seem too important to them at the moment,” he said.

“He doesn’t know anybody like that. They don’t belong to Trump’s club.”

And that last line sums it up. In the Tiny Tyrant’s world, people without money aren’t even on the radar. As far as Trump is concerned, they barely exist, and they certainly don’t matter. Not that it would make much difference if he was more aware, it still wouldn’t register. There isn’t any empathy in The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump. There is plenty of hypocrisy, though! There’s a mine full of it. If only hypocrisy were food, then everyone would have enough. The Tiny Tyrant is intent on killing off any and all programs which so much as hint of helping people, and won’t shut up about “slashing” the budget (while massively increasing the military money), while the money being spent out of taxpapyer’s pockets by the fucking evil asshole is overwhelming:

President Trump doesn’t want to spend federal dollars on after-school programs, meals for poor people, or heating assistance that helps keep folks alive.

But he has no problem wasting more than $3 million a pop to spend weekends at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Trump has already made four trips there since becoming president on January 20, and on Friday he confirmed he’s headed there this weekend for the fifth time.

[…]

Despite vowing during his campaign that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off,” Trump has visited Trump-branded properties each of the past six weekends. That streak will hit seven when Trump lands at Mar-a-Lago later Friday.

In fact, Trump has spent time at Trump-branded property every weekend of his presidency other than the very first, when he created chaos throughout the country by signing a Muslim ban executive order that was later stayed by a federal court.

[…]

As Quartz reported on Friday, after this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago. For that amount, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year.

Remember though, that starving seniors and children don’t matter! Nope.

On Thursday, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the draconian cuts included in the Trump administration’s proposed budget by arguing that the federal government can’t ask “a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for” programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But one wonders whether those struggling Americans would rather have public radio or dole out their share of the $3.3 million a self-proclaimed billionaire is spending each weekend to mingle with his ludicrously wealthy club members down in Florida.

Oh yes, of course, why a coal miner or a single mom are just your general dumbfucks who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in quality educational TV, or good quality radio broadcasts, oh no. Why, they are just stupid peons, they don’t think, or feel, or care about anything at all, no. Certainly, they’d have no interest in their children having access to good education and information, no sir. They are, however, supremely happy to have the food taken out of their mouths in order to support the Tiny Tyrant when he wanders off to play golf and collect those $200,000 dues from his “friends” at the club.

Via Think Progress: Ending home heating subsidies is a choice to let people die. Trump to spend 7th consecutive weekend at Trump-branded property, at enormous cost to taxpayers.

Mr. Tweet, Coward at Large.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as President Donald Trump accuses a German reporter of engaging in 'fake news.' (Screen cap).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as President Donald Trump accuses a German reporter of engaging in ‘fake news.’ (Screen cap).

Take a moment, and look at that screen cap, again. Most people have seen it, the look of “unfuckingbelievable” on Ms. Merkel’s face when Trump pulls his fake news clown act on a German reporter. I cherish that expression, because it’s a clear divider between adult / child. Unfortunately for us in uStates, we’re stuck with the terrible infant.

Naturally, having to limit his childish outbursts during the press conference, as soon as possible, unpresident Jekyll found a dark corner, and let the craven Mr. Tweet loose, to spew forth all the shit he knows he can’t get away with saying in person. He’s doing all this, by the way, from his hidey mansion in Florida, y’know, the place he swore up and down he wasn’t going to go. This makes his 5th weekend there, at a cost of over $3 million a trip, so all us taxpayers are on the hook for more than 16.5 million dollars for Jekyll & Tweet to play, all while his sputtering temper adds more instability to the world.

As is his custom on Saturday mornings when he is vacationing at his Mar-a-Lago resort, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter to complain about something — this time taking shots at both the media and Germany.

Following a meeting and press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel — where Trump refused to shake hands with the German leader and she gave him a dismissive glance when he brought up surveillance of both of them — Trump felt the need to set the record straight in typical Trump fashion on Twitter.

“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Trump began in his first tweet before getting to his latest complaint.

“Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” he continued.

Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…

…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

:Drops head gently onto desk: No. Just No. It’s the weekend, I slept in, and I was feeling kind of good, and then … No. I’ll content myself with a “Hey, Donnie! Go Fuck Yourself!”

Via Raw Story.