Category Archives: Politics

Bubble Boy Gets Ready for the White House

Bubble We could call it the Bubble Presidency – as the president-elect tries to stifle dissent and distract the media from his plethora of broken promises, outright lies, fake news, and conflicts of interest.  One way to strengthen the bubble is to prevent protests which might call into question the appointments, and by extension the policies of the next administration.  The clock starts now, as the “massive omnibus blocking” of protest permits during Inauguration Season comes to the fore.  In the instance of the Women’s March and the ANSWER protest we see a familiar pattern:

“In the past, inaugural committees have let the park service know what land they won’t be using, and then permits have been issued, Litterst said. The park service is awaiting word from Trump’s inaugural team about its plans. Verheyden-Hilliard said activists are concerned that the inaugural committee will run out the clock on dissidents and she will take legal action in a bid to prevent that.} [ABC3]

Running out the clock is nothing new to the Trumpsters.  The clock ran on with the tax returns – now 2054 days since their release was promised.  The clock ran out on a plan to divulge how a blind trust might be established to reduce conflicts of interest.  The clock is running on plans to replace the ACA. The clock is running on promises to “drain the swamp”  and a plethora of other false inferences and hints.

In the midst of it all is a president-elect who lies with impunity, makes hypocrisy an art form, and elevates statement reversals to the pinnacle of officious palaver.  A few examples in the table below.

January 16, 2016 Trump charged that opponent Senator Ted Cruz was “owned” by Goldman Sachs (Tweet: Daily Wire) As of December 9, 2016 Goldman Sachs related associates of Trump were holding positions as: National Economic Council Director; Secretary of the Department of the Treasury; Senior White House Adviser; Lead Transition Team Adviser.
Trump billed himself as the advocate of Main Street America (“Make America Great Again”) His selections of Wilbur Ross and Steven Mnuchin to head Commerce and Treasury mean that Wall Street is more likely to intersect with the White House than Main Street. [NYKR]
Trump, the rally signs said, “Digs Coal” Republicans are calling the legislation to restore the Miner’s Health Plan a “bailout,” and bipartisan legislation is stalled in Congress.  Trump has had nothing to say that’s been reported on this issue. [Politico]
Trump called for an increase in American manufacturing, said he wants to “buy American and hire American” [CNS] The GOP House voted to cut the “buy American” rules from federal projects (H.R. 2028) Again, the president-elect has made no public comment on this disparity.
Trump claimed to have an “open mind” about human related climate change [VF] Trump appoints climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

 

All is well in the Bubble – in which Trump supporters believe the economy got worse under the Obama Administration (it didn’t); that crime is at its highest rate in 45 years (it’s at the lowest rate in the last 51 years); and, that poverty is an African American problem (while in terms of percentages of a minority population this is defensible, the fact remains that as of 2013 some 18.9 million white Americans were poor, 8 million more than African Americans, 5 million more than Hispanic Americans [Root]).

Facts don’t permeate the outer membrane of the Bubble.  There’s enough fake news and phony reporting out there to restore the outer layer of protection and to keep it reinforced.  However, eventually clocks and calendars do run out, and there’s no more excusing current blunders and problems on past administrations – not that the GOP won’t try.

Restoring a Fact Based Government will depend on the efforts of independent reporters and media, independent thinkers, and independent analysts.   Dissent may have consequences, perhaps not the ones Mrs. Conway has in mind?

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Filed under House of Representatives, Politics, Republicans

Graphic of the Day : Waiting for Tax Returns

Clock Where are Tax Returns

Seems an appropriate question to keep asking since the Orange Foolious badgered the President of the United States for his birth certificate for 8 years, and wasn’t satisfied with the long form when presented.  And, no, it doesn’t seem proper to “move on” since we haven’t seen any documentation proving OF has sold stock, or actually created any sort of blind trust that would pass muster.

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Filed under Politics, Republicans

GOP Air Balls: ACA Repeal would increase Nevada uninsured by 95%

Trump Favorite Picture This ought to be just a little chilling:

If Republicans go through with their plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act using a similar model as their failed 2015 Obamacare repeal, the number of uninsured would double, a new report by the Urban Institute report warns. (pdf)  Taking into account the two or so year delay GOP lawmakers say they will include in the repeal bill, the non-partisan think tank estimates that in 2019 the number of uninsured nonelderly people would rise from about 29 million to nearly 59 million.  [TPM]

And the numbers represent what? Answer:

Eighty-two percent of the people becoming uninsured would be in working families, 38 percent would be ages 18 to 34, and 56 percent would be non-Hispanic whites. Eighty percent of adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees. [UrbanInst. pdf]

Percentages have a way of sounding bland, so some clicking on the Plastic Brain results in approximately 33,040,000 of those people who would lose their health insurance by 2019  being non-Hispanic white people.  47,200,000 would be those without a college education, and thus presumably not in a position to secure the kind of employment providing the resources to find individual health plans.

If the 2015 bill is used as the framework or model, then the Urban Institute projects that there will be 762,000 uninsured individuals in Nevada only 18% of whom would be eligible for assistance; causing a 95% increase in the number of uninsured in Nevada.   Those Nevada politicians who have been denouncing the Affordable Care Act (read Rep. Mark Amodei R-NV2) may want to pause before “taking credit” for creating a 95% increase in the number of Nevadans without health insurance.

It’s important to recall that the Big Lie about the Affordable Care Act is that it is “socialized medicine.”  In reality it’s an Insurance Law. It doesn’t create a nationalized health care system – it merely increases the number of people who have “access” to health care by providing more people with the capability of purchasing health insurance policies.

Senate Democrats have already signaled that should the “Straight Out Of The Gate Repeal and Replace” come from the majority Republicans the GOP can expect no assistance from the Democratic side of the chamber. [TPM]

And, then there’s the politics of the repeal.  If the GOP decides to use the Reconciliation Process (needing only 51 votes for repeal) then Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) raises a question:  “What we are trying to figure out is what the restrictions on reconciliation,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) told TPM. “Does reconciliation allow for a replacement? And it may or may not.” [TPM]

If the process doesn’t allow for “replacement” then the Republicans have chucked the insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, insurance coverage for mental health, insurance coverage maternity care, protections from junk insurance policies with maximum limits, and other popular features of the ACA.  They may also be chucking hospitals under the bus.

One private equity spokesperson noted last November, “… hospitals, especially those in rural areas, could be tremendously hard hit if the replacement rolls back the progress made under the ACA to insure patients and incentivize them to get care before their illnesses require emergency room visits or hospitalization.”

Thus, with the lack of any specificity from Republicans about the nature of the “replacement” we could posit some serious problems for the members of the Nevada Rural Hospital Partners – in Winnemucca, Fallon, Battle Mountain, Boulder City, Carson Valley, Ely, Winnemucca, Incline Village, Hawthorne, etc.   A 2016 report for the American Hospital Association provides some general conclusions from which we can contemplate the effect on Nevada’s rural health providers:

”The loss of coverage would have a net impact on hospitals of $165.8 billion  with the restoration of Medicaid DSH reductions; The ACA Medicare reductions are maintained and hospitals will suffer additional losses of $289.5 billion from reductions in their inflation updates; Full restoration of Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital  (DSH) payment reductions embedded in ACA would amount to $102.9 billion.”  [AHA pdf] 

The technical term for these losses might be “ouch?”   There is a point at which rhetoric meets the road.  It’s all well and good to bellow “Repeal and Replace?” Or, “Get Rid of Socialized Medicine.”  It’s another thing entirely to puzzle out the impact of repeal on all the stakeholders in this issue – the customers and patients, the health care providers, the hospitals and clinics, the insurance companies, and the investors who have an increasing stake in privatized health care in this country.

There are some elements of the Affordable Care Act which could be improved.  However, the Burn the Barn Down political pandering on full display among Republicans isn’t leading to any current and serious discussions of how to make these improvements viable.  And, this is chilling for policy holders, insurance companies, health care providers, hospitals and clinics, and the investors therein.

Perhaps the Pottery Barn rule applies to Republicans: If you break it you own it.

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Filed under Amodei, Health Care, health insurance, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics, public health, Republicans, Rural Nevada

UNR won’t play Trump’s Game

Trump Favorite Picture The Orange Foolious campaigned on a well constructed platform of xenophobia, hate-mongering, and anti-immigration rhetoric – including attacking DACA.  UNR’s president is having none of it:

“University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson said he is supporting students who illegally immigrated to the United States as children and are now enrolled in college.

He is one of more than 500 college and university presidents that as of Tuesday had signed a statement calling for continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, a 2012 Obama administration policy has allowed undocumented students to temporarily stay in school without the fear of deportation.”  [Full article: Reno Gazette Journal]

This will probably not play well with the White Supremacy Crowd.  oh well

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Filed under Immigration, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans

The Taiwan Call: There’s a message in here somewhere

trump tie scotch tape It’s amateur hour in Washington, D.C.  Not just for the Trumpster’s transition team but for the Beltway Media too?  45 years of foreign policy precedent just got reversed, and the punditocracy doesn’t seem to understand that the Orange Foolious isn’t thinking in terms of national issues. Personal ones perhaps, but national – not so much.

The Reagan administration understood; the GHW Bush administration understood; the GW Bush Administration understood – but his Republican version hasn’t grasp the finer points of international diplomacy, perhaps not even some of the more blatant ones to date.

There is really NO reason for having three different answers to the same question (Why did you take the call?) in today’s world.

Personal issues, perhaps:

“Weeks before President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, a businesswoman claiming to be associated with his conglomerate made inquiries about a major investment in building luxury hotels as part of the island’s new airport development. Weeks before President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial phone call with Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, a businesswoman claiming to be associated with his conglomerate made inquiries about a major investment in building luxury hotels as part of the island’s new airport development.” [Guardian]

And, we note the carefully phrased disclaimer from Trumpster Aides:

“A representative for Trump Hotels said there had been no authorized visits to Taiwan on behalf of its brand for development purposes, nor are there any active conversations.”  [WSJ]

Humm, no “authorized visits” and no “active conversations.”  This is interesting verbiage because from the same WSJ article we find:

“Reached Saturday by The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Chen, who is also known as Charlyne Chen, said she’s not a Trump employee, but has worked as a promoter and salesperson of real estate properties in Las Vegas and has a letter stating that she is a “sales ambassador” for Mr. Trump’s company.

She said the meeting with Taoyuan’s mayor to discuss the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project was arranged by former Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu, whom Ms. Chen said is a friend who had hoped to bring the Trump brand to Taoyuan, where she had previously served as magistrate. She said the meeting took place in September, “way before” Mr. Trump’s election, and talks about any project are at a “very, very early stage and there has been zero details.”  [WSJ]

Thus we are now in the realm of – What’s an “authorized visit?” And, what’s an “active conversation?”   It seems there is another lady in the mix:

Anne-Marie Donoghue, who identifies herself on her Facebook page as a Trump Hotels Asia sales director, posted a photo from a visit to Taiwan this fall, saying that she was in Taipei and enjoying the trip. “Work trip but it has been so fun!!!” [WSJ]

It’s not “official” but there’s a “sales ambassador” involved?  It’s not “active” but there have been two individuals involved in “work” on behalf of the Trumpster’s brand in Taiwan?  One of which was having “so much fun!!!”

Deniability is a lovely thing but it doesn’t work when back door dealings are posted on social media and published in the business press.

First it was Argentina, now it’s Taiwan… the message is that the Orange Foolious is still “selling his brand,” and quite possibly selling out American interests.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans

Trump’s Conflicted Interests

Trump Favorite Picture There is little more chilling today than this piece of information from Mother Jones concerning The Trumpster’s conflicts of interest:

That concern exists with Trump, but he presents a unique problem when it comes to conflicts of interest: He and his companies have borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars. These are loans that potentially afford his lenders leverage over Trump. This creates the possibility that Trump may find himself in the position of choosing between US interests and his lenders’ interests. There’s no better example of this than the $364 million Trump owes the struggling Deutsche Bank, which is staggering under fierce pressure from US financial regulators who want the bank to pay for its misdeeds during the run-up to the 2008 mortgage crisis. (Trump is in a real estate partnership that borrowed $950 million from a group of banks including a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank and the state-owned Bank of China.) (emphasis added)

The entire article is well worth the time it takes to read it.

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Filed under Economy, Politics

No, I’m not all that thankful, not really

If you haven’t read the outstanding rant by Charles M. Blow, please click over there as soon as possible and read it.  There are many things for which I am thankful this season, and the editorial opinions of Mr. Blow are among them.  However, there are several things for which I am definitely  NOT thankful.

I am not the least bit thankful that the Executive Office is going to be host to rubbish like Steve Bannon and his ilk.  There is no “normalizing” Nazis.  There is no way to white-wash over the anti-Semitic, racist, and corporatist ideology which moves him.  These people aren’t conservative, and definitely aren’t Conservative. Nothing about them reminds any sentient being of William Buckley or even Lewis Powell.  They aren’t populist or even Populist. They aren’t anything like Mary Elizabeth Lease or William Jennings Bryan.  To label them “populist” is a measure of the lack of historic knowledge imparted to or retained by our journalists and political writers.  Honest Conservatives were worried Bannon would bring this collection of misfits and simpletons into the White House.  They were correct. No sooner did the Trumpster move toward the Oval Office than the neo-Nazi were in full Heil Trump form.

I am not thankful for any suggestion that there’s even a remote way of legitimizing “registries” for members of minority groups.  When Trumpster spokesperson Carl Higbie suggested that the internment of Japanese Americans set a “precedent” for the registry of Muslim Americans, alarm bells should have gone off all over the country.  This country, in one of its worst moments, rounded up approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans along the west coast and herded them into internment camps. They sold their homes, their businesses, their farms, mostly at a fraction of their value.  And, now we have Chris Kobach inches from the Trumpster’s ear calling for a repetition of the failed NSEERS program to register Muslims in America.

“The program was considered a failure, both within the Bush administration and by outside experts. By the time the Bush administration ended the domestic registration portion of the program in December 2003, it had registered nearly 100,000 men and led to the deportation of nearly 14,000 ― many of them for overstaying visas or ignoring previous deportation orders. It did not lead to a single terrorism charge against any individuals.” [HuffPo]

That’s correct: 100,000 registrations; 14,000 deportations, and not a single terrorism charge against any individual.

I am not thankful that anyone near the White House should spout such nonsense as “I don’t know any woman who can’t afford birth control.”Just Google it.”  If that weren’t enough, there’s Wayne Allen Root, Trump supporter extraordinaire, who thinks any woman who seeks public assistance, food assistance, or gets free or inexpensive contraceptives should be struck from the voter rolls. [RWW]  This level of misogyny and sexism is long out of date, and way beyond the pale.  I am thoroughly tired of the blatantly mischaracterized attacks on Planned Parenthood.  They are manufactured out of heavily edited, purposefully misleading, and dubiously sourced material – whole cloth as it were.  I am not the least bit thankful for that.

No, I’ll continue to call neo-Nazi’s Neo Nazis.  I’ll call sexists Sexists. I’ll call racists Racists.  Remember when the Right was so sensitive to politically correct speech?  Let’s be politically accurate – a Nazi is a Nazi; a Sexist is a Sexist, and an Anti-Semite is an Anti-Semite.

No matter how much “nuance” the editors and publishers may want to cover over those matters with some tasteless seasonal canned gravy.

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Filed under Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans