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.

There Was A Wiretap!

Brian R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

Brian R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh my. There was a wire “tapp”. It was in 2013, in pursuit of Russian mobsters inhabiting Trump Towers. The Daily Kos has an excellent breakdown. Contrary to what Trumpholes might think, this isn’t, in any way, good news for the Tiny Tyrant. This simply highlights unsavoury and possibly illegal ties, and illuminates the nest of lies which pass for facts in Trumpland.

Via Daily KosABC News reports that the FBI obtained a warrant to eavesdrop on “a sophisticated Russian organized crime money laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower” starting in 2011 and ending in 2013.

ABC News notes that the FBI’s investigation into the mobsters led “to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov.” Despite the fact that the scheme was being run out of Trump Tower, Trump himself was not implicated in the FBI’s indictment.

Although Tokhtakhounov evaded arrest in the early part of 2013, he did manage to publicly resurface later that year when he appeared at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in November — where he was spotted near Donald Trump in the VIP section.

Oh look, there’s Donnie, happily hanging with the other villains. Trump’s insistence that he “doesn’t know any of these people” is such a weak attempt at covering up, I’m surprised he’s trying it on. Ah well, Trumpholes will swallow anything.

Trump in 2013 took to Twitter to express excitement about attending the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that year, and even wondered if Russian President Vladimir Putin would become his “new best friend.”

Yes. Look how that’s turned out. Tsk.

Via Daily Kos, ABC News, and Raw Story.

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.

Let’s Talk Budget.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

A person could easily conclude that budget is a nebulous abstract to the likes of Trump, which wouldn’t be terribly problematic if he was lost deep in his conman empire, but understanding a budget and how one works is crucial knowledge in the working of a government. To say that no one has been impressed with the Tiny Tyrant’s notion of budget is one hell of an understatement. It seriously underscores just how very unqualified he is, and it’s a terrible highlight on his base incompetency.

In his initial budget document released on Thursday, President Donald Trump called for huge reductions in government spending. Beyond simply handing some agencies and programs less money to work with, he wants to completely eliminate 78 programs — including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Services Block Grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Corporation, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Minority Business Development Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, United States Institute of Peace, and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

All told, the money saved from the functions that Trump wants to eliminate comes to just under $23.6 billion, according to a ThinkProgress analysis.

That may sound like a lot of money, but it’s not even half of the increase in funding he wants to give to the military: $54 billion. The United States already spends more on defense than the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined.

The sum is also dwarfed by the size of the tax cut that Trump has proposed enacting, which would cost the government $341 billion in the first year and $6.1 trillion over a decade. Under that plan, the poorest families would get just $110 in annual tax relief, while the richest 0.1 percent of Americans would get more than $1 million in one year.

The amount of money saved by eliminating these government programs wouldn’t even be enough to pay for the construction of Trump’s border wall, the price for which has been put at $25 billion. [Also see this about the idiotic fucking wall. – Caine.]

Even rethuglicans are flinching over the idea of dropping yet more money into military – even they know it’s bloated beyond excess. This is nothing more than an ego exercise on the part of Tiny Trump, who feels the need to have the bigliest toys, oh yes. Then there’s that tax cut. Wow, a whole $110 bucks a year. Well, most of us know just how far you can stretch a hundred bucks, right? Everyone will be fine on that big ol’ bonus for a year. (If you’re hard of sarcasm, insert a YUGE near-fatal eyeroll here.) Whereas, the filthy rich will get … more than one million a year! Wow, no disparity there, no sir. Y’know, I can’t even be sarcastic enough for this godsawful shit anymore. I need a sarcasm upgrade, more than weapons grade, so can I get in on that military money? It’s not enough to completely strip people of their healthcare, to kill off services for mentally ill people, to kill off pretty much every slim little safety net there was, to destroy any possibility of an education, let alone a good one, oh no, not enough. Let us toss those stupid little peons one hundred and ten dollars a year, while we shuffle the big bucks, and laugh all the way to our mansions.

I am reminded of the Marquis St. Evrémonde, played deliciously by Basil Rathbone, in the 1935 movie, A Tale of Two Cities:

Unfortunately, this is not a movie we are dealing with. This is a horror of reality, which is going to be just that for many millions of people, a horror. People who are already struggling will be locked into that struggle, with no hope of surcease.

Several of the programs Trump wants to cancel have very small price tags and very large impacts. Trump’s decision not to spare even these high-efficiency connections between the government and its people is impossible to justify in budget terms, given their low costs. Instead, these cuts seem to represent a philosophical choice to derail things the president doesn’t believe in doing — even if they help people.

There are murmurs of how unfeasible this budget is, but so far, no one has had the strength of character or the moral conviction to do the right thing. That’s what happens when you end up with republicans in charge. There might be a few weak protests, some workarounds, but in the end, no one will stand. This can be seen in the ramming through of the Health fuck you Care Plan, in spite of a minor muttering of objections. There’s a definite temptation to think that they all just want to rush the shit through, get it over with. In the end, that’s a rosier thought than the realization that most of them don’t have a problem with any of it. What will actually happen with the budget remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing I think we can all count on, it won’t be good news for all us common folk.

Think Progress has the full story.

Aaaaand, We Are Back to Reefer Madness.

The famous ending

The famous ending

Oh, the regressive idiocy never ends. The manufactured war on drugs has caused an untold amount of misery, primarily in the form of people being tossed into a prison without a glance, or worse, shot to death by those oh so valiant drug hunting cops. (Deep sarcasm, in case you’re hard of sarcasm.) Jeff Sessions, bigot extraordinaire, and asshole ignoramus has decided we need to go straight back to the days of Tell Your Children. Yes, lies, oh lies are wonderful! And just when we, as a society, were finally making some progress on the whole weed front. A nice smoke now and then goes a long way with my pain issues, but as I’m a pain patient, I’m under the federal thumb, and am routinely drug tested as a requirement to receiving scrips for mild pain meds. There may have been a shot at medical weed, but not any more. Fuck Sessions, and fuck the so-called war on drugs. Mano Singham has an excellent post up which tangentially addresses that manufactured mess. In that post, he quotes a bit from John Ehrlichman:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

And that’s the truth, right there. This shit has been going on all my life, and all it has done is fuel the prison complex, enable murderous cops, and cost taxpayers an obscene amount of money. There is no “war on drugs”. You’ll note that it’s never one, or even two specific drugs that remain a constant in this war, because that doesn’t keep the money pouring in to militarize cops even more. No, there’s always a new, terrifying “epidemic”, oh my yes! When I was a sophomore in high school, it moved from weed to speed. I still remember the stupid anti-drug comics which were handed out. They had as much value as a Chick tract. It’s just fucking propaganda, the same old propaganda. This is what they looked like:

14-15

Freedom Road. Full comic here.

Actually, it’s this specific image I remember, the rest not so much:

02

Anyroad, as most people will have noticed, it’s always a “new” drug “crisis”, weed, heroin, speed, coke, crack, meth, and on and on. Right now, we’re doing the prescription opiates “crisis”. You’ll also have noted, I’m sure, that none of these so-called crises are ever actually dealt with before moving on to the next exciting drug to titillate the masses and incite fear. And here we go the fuck again, back to weed.

Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,” Sessions said.

For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

“He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”

Oh well, that one’s easy, Sessions doesn’t have any medical training. He doesn’t have as much training as your average dog. Sessions is dragging out one of the oldest, most incorrect of all drug propagandism: “it’s just as bad as heroin!!111!!!” There is no reason for this bullshit to be waved about again, especially not by a suspect attorney general. As pointed out in Mano Singham’s post, this is to largely fuel the prison industrial complex. How else can you legally enslave people and get your labor done for free? This is absolutely intolerable, and people should not put up with it for one second. Unfortunately, I’ve had many years in which to watch people fall for this utter bullshit time and time again. It’s time to wake up.

Think Progress has the full story.

The What Healthcare? Roundup.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a health care news conference to oppose Republicans’ effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a health care news conference to oppose Republicans’ effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Okay, ready for all the bad? Here’s the current reading list:

Trumpcare could cost 24 million people their insurance, government analysis finds.

The Congressional Budget Office released its long awaited analysis of Trumpcare on Monday afternoon, and its findings were grim.

The CBO found that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2018 under the House GOP’s health care plan. By 2026, a full 24 million people would have gone uninsured relative to the number of people expected to be insured under the Affordable Care Act. The increase stems mostly from Trumpcare’s repeal of the individual mandate and changes to Medicaid.

White House analysis finds Trumpcare is even worse than the CBO estimated.

An internal White House analysis concluded that House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill, called the American Health Care Act, will cause up to 26 million people to lose their insurance coverage over the next decade, according to a copy of the analysis obtained by Politico.

Here’s how many people could die if Trumpcare becomes law.

Approximately 17,000 people could die in 2018 who otherwise would have lived if a House Republican health proposal endorsed by the Trump administration becomes law. By 2026, the number of people killed by Trumpcare could grow to approximately 29,000 in that year alone.

Determining the exact number of deaths that could occur each year due to a lack of access to insurance is not an exact science. But ThinkProgress calculated these estimates by examining two sources.

Premiums under Trumpcare would be lower for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the fact that a CBO report projected that 24 million more people would be uninsured under Trumpcare, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) is bragging about its lower premiums. But premiums would be lower because people would buy less generous plans and fewer older people would be able to buy coverage. […] But the premiums are lower because insurance would be so expensive for older people that they would exit the market and become uninsured. Under the House GOP plan, insurance companies would be allowed to charge five times more for older enrollees. Under the ACA, they could only charge three times more for older enrollees than younger people. This means there would be a larger share of younger people in the nongroup market and a smaller share of older people.

Trump signals his willingness to put even deeper cuts into Trumpcare.

Trumpcare is bleeding out.

Democrats oppose the bill en masse. Members of the Tea Party Caucus are deriding it as “Obamacare Lite.” And the more centrist wing of the Republican Party feels queasy at the prospect of voting for a bill that, according to Congressional Budget Office projections, would cause 24 million people to go without insurance over the next decade.

Virtually no one likes the proposed Obamacare replacement, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President Donald Trump aside. And so Trump, the dealmaker in chief, is reportedly looking to modify the legislation in order to win over a handful of new allies.

Specifically, he’s looking to his right.

Just hours after the CBO released its projections, Politico reported that the White House wants Trumpcare amended so that it will appeal to the House Republicans’ Tea Party wing. Among other things, that would mean phasing in the bill’s Medicaid cuts next year, rather than putting them off until 2020 as the legislation currently does.

The Political Email Entanglement: Wayne Tracker.

email

Oh, politicians and their email. If one is guilty of committing an email no-no, they all are. Honestly, it’s when politicians try to be smart that they plumb the depths of stupid. Emailitis is doing the rounds of many new appointees. We’ll start with Wayne Tracker, also known as Rex Tillerson. What a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive.

Another alias email account — that of “Wayne Tracker”— is poised to cause problems for a high-level official, this time former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson used an alias email account from at least 2008 to 2015 to discuss climate change, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said in a court filing Monday.

Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and the Securities and Exchange Commission are currently investigating whether Exxon defrauded the public by engaging in a campaign to discredit climate science, propping up the value of its oil and gas reserves. The Wayne Tracker email account — Tillerson’s middle name is Wayne — was discovered in the course of the investigation, known as the Exxon Knew case.

“This is a significant development in Schneiderman’s investigation into what Exxon knew about climate change, when it knew it, and what the company did to conceal it,” Naomi Ages, Greenpeace’s lead on the climate liability project, said in a statement. “Was Rex Tillerson that worried about climate risks for Exxon? Or was he more worried about the risk of revealing them to his shareholders and to the public? Or was it both?”

Documents uncovered in 2015 suggest that as far back as the 1970s, Exxon scientists knew that burning fossil fuels were the primary contributor to climate change.

Environmentalists have long been saying that to prevent catastrophic climate change, humanity needs to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels. But Exxon — as well as the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests — have worked against that effort, funding attempts to discredit the theory of global warming.

It is illegal for a company to withhold liability risks from its shareholders.

[…]

It has come to light that, as governor of Indiana, now-Vice President Mike Pence conducted official business via an AOL account that was subsequently hacked.

[…]

EPA head Scott Pruitt’s emails are also under scrutiny. His former office, the Oklahoma Attorney General, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit to force the release of emails between Pruitt, his deputies, and oil and gas interests. Pruitt also used a private email account to conduct official business, a fact he denied during his Senate confirmation hearing.

For all the people screaming over Hillary Clinton using a private, secured server for emails, to the point of wanting her locked up, where’s all the yelling over Pruitt, Pence, and Tillerson? Why is it their particular fuck-ups and deliberate obfuscation and lying is okay? It’s not even making minor scandal points among the Trumpholes, which goes to show, I suppose, they never actually gave one tiny shit about Ms. Clinton’s emails, they simply used it as an excuse, and unfortunately, it’s one that worked, as we now find ourselves neck deep in a corrupt regime.

Think Progress has the full 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.

Sunday Facepalm.

facepalm_estatua1

Today, we have the Compleat Batshit Sweepstakes! Who will win? Will it be Rick Wiles, Cindy Jacobs, Wayne Allen Root, or Lance Wallnau? This is also the S word alliteration contest: pick the winner: from Wallnau, we have sabotaging, sniping and snarling enemies, and from Wiles, we have a slithering cabal of seditious snakes. I think, on pure word performance, Wiles has to take the trophy on S alliteration. The overall winner in the Batshit stakes I will leave up to the reader.

We’ll start with the master of hyperbolic bullshit, Rick Wiles, who is on quite the tear over the Satanistic Cabal of Pedophile Baby Sacrificers. (Why Lucifer comes into this, I don’t know. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. – Psalms 137.9).

Rick Wiles dedicated his radio program yesterday to warning that a secretive pedophile ring is working to destroy President Trump before he can expose their murderous global network.

Wiles said that Trump is “besieged by a slithering cabal of seditious snakes” who are attempting to carry out a coup against him at the behest of the “perpetual war and pedophilia party that has ruled America since they assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963.”

Huh. I really think someone is confused, because conservatives have always been the ones in favour of war. Pedophilia too, actually. I did not listen to the broadcast, that’s simply asking too much, so I don’t know if he expounded on this “perpetual war and pedophilia party” business, or how they managed to assassinate Kennedy. It really is true, isn’t it, that conspiracies never die. They just get twisted about now and again.

They’re fighting like cornered animals to prevent their pedophile network from being exposed. … It’s about the darkest, most disgusting, vilest corruption you can imagine. And if the American people ever find out the truth about their politicians and their celebrities in Hollywood and their TV idols and their favorite TV anchormen and women, and they find out all these great famous people and they find out that they’re just child molesters—not only molesters, but child murderers, sacrificing children to Satan. When they find out, they will drag their bloody carcasses down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., with meat hooks! They’ll have meat hooks in their carcasses.

Bloody carcasses! Meat hooks! Meat hooks in their carcasses! Jesus Fuck, the bloodthirstiness of some christians is truly frightening. At least you know where all the projection is coming from, although that’s not at all comforting. Honestly, I’d think that if such a cabal existed, and were descended from the amazing perpetual war and pedophilia party, they’d just quietly carry out another assassination, rather than attempt to ‘destroy’ the Tiny Tyrant, which I read here as discredit. No one at all has to work at discrediting the Tiny Tyrant or his regime, they are bumbling about, doing a fine job of that themselves. The full story is here, complete with soundcloud.

Up next, in the Seriously Eeeuuuuw! category, is Wayne Allen Root, with his praise of just how very much Trump loves business…

[Read more…]

Lies Are So Gosh Darn Funny, Ha Ha!

Truth made up of lies by blogs.ubc.ca.

Truth made up of lies by blogs.ubc.ca.

The Labor Department on Friday released a strong jobs report showing the US economy added 235,000 jobs in February. During his White House press briefing later in the day, Spicer was asked about Trump’s previous claims that positive job reports under the Obama administration were “phony or totally fiction.”

“I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote them very clearly. They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now,” Spicer replied, prompting laughter from reporters in the room.

“I know it was delivered as a laugh line from Sean and got laughter in the room from reporters — I’m not so sure all of America will laugh at that,” CNN political director David Chalian said afterward.

“It is an admission of blatant hypocrisy,” he continued. “I mean, it’s like the most traditional politician thing you could do — which is not Donald Trump’s brand necessarily — to say that when it is not in my favor I’m going to say this, and when it is in my favor, I’m going to say that. That is the thing about politicians most people in the country don’t like. So I don’t know it is necessarily a joke. It is a total admission of blatant hypocrisy.”

I often speak of the implicit and explicit terror in the normalisation of the current regime. The press reacting with laughter to an open admission of lying? That’s not good, it’s not good at all. There should have been silence, followed by disgusted outrage. Fortunately, not everyone is asleep or busy digging into their pretense that everything is okay.

“Spicer’s breezy dismissal of the question was a tacit admission that Trump had indeed lied when he trashed good employment news during the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama,” Jon Levine wrote at Mediaite. “If the fourth estate treats future administration falsehoods as a joke, they will become the fake news which they have so often been accused.”

The question being, are Mr. Levine’s fellow journalists going to pay attention, or will they simply continue to treat lies as nothing more than a momentary gaffe? I realize that it cannot be easy to deal with the sheer volume of lies which tumble out of Regime HQ, however, that is in no way an excuse to start treating them as no big deal. There is a strong ripple of unease, that too many members of the fourth estate have succumbed to the temptation to treat our unpresident as a small sprog, who is simply being naughty and mischievous. One good sign was a woke reaction by many of the Twitterati.

@MSNBC This administration is an abusive relationship with the American psyche. Everything is bad in life until they tell you it’s good.

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@MSNBC Real funny–everyone accepting that our President is a serial liar & does so when it fits his own view of alt-reality. Ha-Ha-Ha.

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Sean Spicer jokes jobs numbers “may have been phony” before but are real now. Press laughs. Lying is now embedded.

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Cause everything un-Trump is “fake” and “phony” but everything Trump is “true & awesome sauce” This is just frightening.

The full story is here.