Category Archives: Politics

She Worked For Me? She works for all of us.

There’s one thing in this life we can count on.  Whenever there is an opportunity for Donald J. Trump to offer the nation’s condolences, he’ll blow it.  He blew it when discussing the Queen of Soul — Aretha Franklin.  But, yes, in a way she works for all of us — just differently than the narcissist in chief might presume.  For example,  should I be having one of those days in which I feel inundated by idiots — I can always hit “play” on “Chain of Fools,” and it works for me.  It’s worked for me since about 1968.  And, OK, I know other people have their renditions and the lyrics aren’t exactly about being inundated by idiots, but that doesn’t matter. It works for me.  She works for me.

Or, having one of those episodes in life during which a person would like to stand up and bellow “Will Someone Please Listen to Reason?”  Much social and vocal discomfort can be mitigated, almost completely alleviated, by listening to a full round of “Respect.”   ‘Works for me. She will keep working for me. She works for me every time.

Do I need to be taken to church?  There’s an entire 1972 album “Amazing Grace”  for that — but more was released in CD format in ’99.  (Unsolicited advice: Get the whole thing!)  I have a theory that only one person could put “Precious Lord Take My Hand” together with Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend.”   Aretha made it work. Still works for me.

So, yes, in a very special way the Queen of Soul (and Gospel, and Pop, and anything else to which she wanted to apply that Special Voice and Passion) did work for us. All of us.  Long after the politicians and pundits have ceased blathering, long after commentators and critics have faded into oblivion; there will still be Aretha Franklin, The Voice, The Heart, The Soul, of America.  And she’ll still be working for us.

She works for me every time.

 

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Clearing the Swamp More Efficiently

Alligators at the deli.jpg

Remember when t’was said the current administration was only going to hire the Best People?  Yes? Well, unfortunately for that self-same administration, so does everyone else.  First, there’s the view from well above the field (or swamp):

“Already, 57% of Trump’s “A Team” staffers have left the White House in just its first year and a half, according to statistics maintained by Brookings Institute’s Kathryn Dunn Tenpas. That nearly equals the turnover among top staffers for the entire first terms of Barack Obama (71% turnover), George W. Bush (63%), Bill Clinton (74%) and George H.W. Bush (66%).”   [CNN]

Please note that Trump has blown through five communications directors, counted as one turnover by Brookings, and that the contrast is being made between 18 months of one presidency and a full four years of the Obama, Bush II, Clinton, and Bush I presidencies.  CNN continues:

“Focusing just on Cabinet secretaries, the numbers are equally stunning for Trump. He’s already seen seven Cabinet officials — three in his first year, four in his second — leave in his first 18 months in office. Obama had zero Cabinet departures in his first year and four in his second. George W. Bush lost only four Cabinet members in the entirety of his first four years.”

Business Insider has been tracking the departures.  Additionally, the resignations during the previous administrations were a bit smoother than the Price firing, the Flynn abrupt departure, and the McMaster mess.  For example, the change from General Colin Powell to Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State for George W. Bush was a planned transition.  Of the Obama resignees, we’d have to include Eric Shinseki, forced out of the VA as a “scandal” casualty; and, General David Petraeus as a victim of his own infidelity, the others left for work in academia or the private sector.  Or, in the case of Secretary of State Clinton, to pursue her own political career.   It might be easier for us if the current cabinet and top level officials would TAKE A NUMBER.

On the waiting list — Wilbur Ross.  There’s this description of his problem:

“A watchdog group has asked for a government investigation of whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made a “false statement” to the Office of Government Ethics about his stock holdings and violated insider trading rules when he engaged in a short sale of a shipping company with links to Russia.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Acting Director of the Office of Government Ethics David J. Apol to investigate whether Ross made a false statement about divesting himself of his stock in Invesco, the firm he managed before taking office in the Trump administration.

The group’s executive director Noah Bookbinder and chair Norm Eisen also asked for an investigation of Ross’s sale of his shares in Navigator Holdings, the shipping firm, in October 2017. That company did business with a Russian energy firm whose directors included a Russian oligarch who was subject to U.S. sanctions and a son-in-law of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.”

There’s enough for investigators to chew on in those three quick paragraphs to keep them busy for a bit.

And to this we’d add Secretary of the Interior, the Flag Flying Ryan Zinke.  Here it comes:

Zinke, a former Montana congressman, initially proposed the development in 2012 Politico first reported. The project, a large commercial development on a former industrial site, is largely backed by a group funded by Lesar, and a foundation established by Zinke is playing a key role in the plans. Interior IG’s office originally confirmed late last month that it was assessing the allegations, but did not not confirm a formal investigation. [The Hill]

The Secretary has already had a brush with travel expenses and other allegations of taxpayer funded/subsidized hanky-panky.

Waiting as an alligator, or to be consumed by the others —

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.  Nothing says ‘job security’ quite as tentatively as to have the word “embattled” precede your name in the press reports and releases.

Kirstjen Neilsen, Secretary of Homeland Security has some explaining to do about migrant children taken by the US government from their parents at the southern border, and not returned in good order, or in a timely manner.  A change in the composition of the House of Representatives after the mid-term elections could cause some oversight improvements in the way the DHS handles its immigration policy.

Betsy DeVos, has some explaining in the offing concerning her attitude toward student loans and the repayment thereof.   In short, it probably doesn’t do to complain about having one of your yachts banged up about the same time one is proposing to cut back on the assistance given to students who’ve been ripped off by for-profit educational schemes.

At any rate, it would be very helpful for all of us who are trying to follow the current administration through its swamp if the alligators would queue up politely, take a number, and let us proceed in a more efficient manner.

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559 Questions for Senator Dean Heller

On June 18, 2018 Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was pleased to let us all know he had taken a baby step away from the Trumpian child separation policy at the US – Mexico border:

“Senator Heller doesn’t support separating children from their families, and he believes that this issue highlights just how broken our immigration system is and why Congress must act to fix it.” [LVRJ]

As of August 9, 2018 Time reports there are still 559 migrant children (of an original 2,551) who have not yet been reunited with their parents. 386 parents have already been deported.  There are 26 parents for which the government says it has no information at all.  The authorities say they’ve heard from 299 parents in the previous week.  As of August 9, 2018 the Trump mis-administration still had no plan in place to reunite children with their parents.

Then, on August 10th NPR reports:

“More than 360 immigrant children in U.S. custody are still separated from parents who were deported by the U.S. government. About 200 immigrant children are still without their parents for other reasons. This afternoon, the government presented its plan to San Diego federal judge Dana Sabraw about how to reunify deported parents with their children. Part of that plan includes a heavy lift for the ACLU, which brought the case to reunify the families.”

Wait a minute. Why is the “heavy lift” assigned to the American Civil Liberties Union?  Simple, the administration wanted to make the ACLU assume the burden of proof that the parents really wanted their children back.  The ACLU responded:

“…they say that the parents who have been deported were either confused or in some cases coerced, tricked into agreeing to deportation because they believed that meant they’d be reunified with their kids. And the ACLU has consistently pointed to the fact that, you know, in large part, the government has really – they’ve had to have been ordered for most of this to be able to act. The government really hasn’t done much willingly. But the ACLU is also privately acknowledging at this point that they also need to talk to these parents individually. And they recognize that they’re going to be part of this solution to reunify these parents.” [NPR]

Focus: The administration officials haven’t done much. They’ve had to be forced to do what little they have done, and now they want the burden shifted to the attorneys for the plaintiffs… I haven’t been to law school, however, this sounds more than a little like the southbound product of my ever faithful metaphorical northbound bull.

Meanwhile back on July 25, 2018 Senator Heller spoke on the Senate Floor about the separation policy:

Heller said on the Senate floor today that he’d heard concerns from more than 3,500 constituents over the family separations. Thousands of children, some still in diapers, have been separated from their family members as a result of the Trump policy.

“My constituents have spoken to families split apart at the borders and some are being held in Southern Nevada,” he said. “And they are, frankly, asking for help. So being reunified with their children is their top priority.” [LVSun]

It doesn’t seem to have been a top priority for the administration.  August 10th was also the day the federal authorities finally announced they had a “plan,” or at least the outline of a plan. [MJ]  That would be one day after it was reported that ICE withheld phone numbers of deported parents from the ACLU attorneys. [HuffPo]

We have three touch points here, and for the sake of clarity let’s note that on the first touch point, June 18th, Senator Heller is his usual vague self — the policy is bad and Congress should fix it.  Nothing more specific is on offer.  By the second touch point, July 25th, Senator Heller has signed on to some legislation which purports to “solve the problem.”  It doesn’t address the general issue of immigration reform, and frankly does little beyond repeat the protections of the Constitution already in place — children should not be separated from parents during the administrative and/or legal review of their cases.  Finally, the court ordered plan (or at least the outline of the government’s plan, by August 10th obviates the need for Senator Heller’s showcase bit of legislative co-sponsorship.  Courts have ordered what the Senate couldn’t get around to doing, i.e. ordering the administration not to separate children and parents, and not to remove them (especially out of the country) during the adjudication of their cases.

Return with us now to another touch point.  It is June 27, 2013 and the US Senate has just passed a compromise Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill.  The measure included:

The Gang of Eight bill would essentially revamp every corner of U.S. immigration law, establishing a 13-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, with several security benchmarks that have to be met before they can obtain a green card. The measure would not only increases security along the border, but requires a mandatory workplace verification system for employers, trying to ensure no jobs are given to immigrants who are not authorized to work in the United States.  It also includes a new visa program for lesser-skilled workers – the product of negotiations between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions. And it shifts the country’s immigration policies away from a family-based system to one that is focused on more on work skills.

Sound familiar?  The 2013 bill had many of the features still under consideration today, and Senator Heller was a “yes” vote on the comprehensive bill on June 27, 2013. Thus it seems fair to ask, if the Senator held a favorable view of the 2013 bill then why has he not encouraged, sponsored, co-sponsored, or promoted an updated version since?  Instead, Heller charges that comprehensive immigration reform isn’t possible because Democrats don’t want immigrants to work. [TP]

In an audio recording of a March 2 speech, obtained by Politico and released Friday, Heller claimed that no progress can be made on immigration reform for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. “Republicans want illegal immigrants to work but not vote. Democrats want them not to work, but to vote. Think about that for a minute,” he told the audience. “That’s why we can’t come together on a solution for this.”

This statement is demonstrably false.

Well, we could “think about that for a minute,” and reach the same conclusion.  Senator Heller is playing to the Trumpian audience.  The statement is, in fact, demonstrably false; but useful as part of a dog-whistle/bull horn/fire siren stump speech to the faithful.

Here is where the incumbent Senator gets himself entangled in his own rhetoric.  It’s hard to generate sympathy for his protestations concerning the Zero Tolerance/Maximum Pain policy of separating parents and children at the southern border when it’s noted he’s perfectly willing to play the “immigrants as the ignorant tools of corrupt Democrats” card.

It’s also difficult to find any reason for a round of applause for his co-sponsorship of a fairly narrow, and decidedly right wing 2018 version of immigration policy reform, when doesn’t come all that close to what he was willing to support in 2013.   The hard sad fact is that comprehensive immigration reform bills passed the Senate in 2006 and 2013 and failed to find sufficient support among House Republicans to pass them. [Politifact]

We could come to a solution on this if we ignored (or replaced) Senators such as Dean Heller who wish to beat their drums while continuing to blow on their dog whistles, and elected members of the US Congress who would be willing to take up the issue as it was addressed in 2006 and 2013 — and DO something.

 

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Under The Radar: Deregulation and Setting Up the Next Big Bank Debacle

If a person were thinking that the current administration, and those politicians in Nevada who espouse Trumpism, are dangerous in terms of health care insurance affordability, women’s’ health issues, and environmental sustainability — let me offer one more thing to worry about:  Financial deregulation.

Let’s start with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for a position on the US Supreme Court, this would be the self-same Kavanaugh who once ruled that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was “structurally unconstitutional.” [Politifact]  Please recall for a moment that one of the reasons for the CFPB’s creation was the propensity in some  retail banking circles to generate consumer indebtedness (which could in turn be used as the basis for derivatives) in ways that were definitely not beneficial to both the borrower and the lender.   We know one man’s debt is another man’s asset, but when the debt level becomes impossible and default becomes probable the derivatives become unstable.  This, as the saying goes, “ain’t rocket science.”  But wait! How do we know when things are likely to become unstable?  There’s supposed to be an agency for that, the Office of Financial Research.  However, the Trump nominee to head this agency would really rather eliminate it.

But the fact that this nomination is flying under the radar is not surprising. The OFR is arguably the most important piece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that is never discussed. Despite its lack of public attention, the OFR’s crucial financial stability role demands a leader willing to aggressively execute its lofty mission. Unfortunately, President Trump’s nominee to lead the OFR is more likely to defang and defund the agency than to strengthen it. [AmBanker]

The American Banker explains further:

In the lead-up to the 2007-2008 crisis, financial regulatory agencies did not have a good grasp of how risks that were building across and outside of their specific jurisdictions could threaten financial stability. Regulators were not sharing sufficient data with one another and there were significant pockets of the financial sector where data was not available to any regulator. The Dodd-Frank Act sought to address this issue, in part, by creating the Office of Financial Research.

So, the budget was cut by 25% and the staffing levels by 38%.  This really isn’t conducive to sharing sufficient data and making data available to regulators.   If this is beginning to sound like telling the CDC it can’t investigate and collect data on gun violence in this country because then we might have more relevant statistics in order to understand the problems, that’s because it is.  So, let’s not collect data because then we’d find out things some folks would be happier if we didn’t know.

Then there are the more blatant attempts to roll back the Dodd Frank provisions, for example, see Investment News from last March.  On compliance teams from last May.  And, the JOBS Act 3.0 is just about a death knell for consumer protections, as of August 7 2018.

But wait yet again! There’s more.  There’s that matter of $1.4 trillion — that would be trillion with a T — in student debts in this country a larger portion of which Wells Fargo would really like to access. [Bloomberg] And, yes, this would be the same Wells Fargo which agreed on August 2, 2018 to pay out $2.09 billion in fines for a decade old mortgage loan scheme. [HuffPo]  This, while Secretary of Education, our Yacht Collecting Betsy DeVos, is proposing a rule which would cut student loan debt relief by some $13 billion. [LATimes]  [NYTimes]  So, if a person were scammed by, say, Corinthian, [WSJ] or The Fly By Night School of Urban Hang Gliding, or … Trump University [NBC] … good luck with that?

Did we take our eyes off the major players from the 2007-08 debacle?  Kindly review the “Malaysian Problem” re-emerging at Goldman Sachs.  Or, are we paying attention to what’s happening with a Goldman Sachs whistleblower case of possible wrongful termination which bubbles to the surface every so often? Stick a pin in the name Lars Windhorst for future reference? Why is Goldman Sachs moving jobs out of New York and into Utah? [BusinessInsider]  Cut costs? Yes, but why move back office compliance jobs to “remote” areas?

Then there’s the CFPB’s inexplicable turn to weakening the rules made with regard to loans made to members of the American Armed Forces. [NYT]  This reporting from NPR is pretty chilling:

“NPR has obtained documents that show the White House is proposing changes that critics say would leave service members vulnerable to getting ripped off when they buy cars. Separately, the administration is taking broader steps to roll back enforcement of the Military Lending Act.

The MLA is supposed to protect service members from predatory loans and financial products. But the White House appears willing to change the rules in a way that critics say would take away some of those protections.

“If the White House does this, it will be manipulating the Military Lending Act regulations at the behest of auto dealers and banks to try and make it easier to sell overpriced rip-off products to military service members,” says Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah, who reviewed the documents.”

Bank deregulation didn’t work.  It didn’t work in the 1920s; it didn’t work in the 2000s; and, it’s not going to work now.  Notice, please, how when Republicans like Senator Dean Heller refer to Dodd Frank and other financial reform legislation they get vague and highly general. They speak of “onerous” regulator burdens, which are “job killing,” and don’t promote “free enterprise.”   These politicians need to be nailed down with specific questions, such as:

(1) Should the Federal Government collect data about banking trends and risk management and share this with relevant regulators?

(2) Should the Federal Government promote safe lending practices including the regulation of payday loans and similar loans made to members of the US Armed Forces?

(3) Should the Federal Government be taking a more critical look at the levels of student indebtedness, and at the accountability of the institutions offering student loans?

It’s hard to focus on some of the important news involving financial regulation, consumer protection, and other topics whilst we’re being fire-hosed with a daily inundation of surreptitious tapes, the latest cabinet level scandal du jour, and the musing of the misogynist in chief.  However, these are topics on which we should hold candidates accountable in November.

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Thank you yet again for your patience, it’s appreciated

Thanks yet again for your patience while DB’s been remiss in posting.  This hasn’t been a particularly good week.  We lost a good friend from the Rez.  A good woman whose life of hard work, good humor, and consummate integrity made her a community favorite — in town and on the Rez.

So, yesterday I was hustling to town for Community Hall supplies, while others were getting the Community Hall ready for her services; the facilities on the Rez being too small to handle what will surely be an overflow crowd.  This morning I’ll set up the Hall’s little PA system, and other pick ups will be going thither and yon gathering chairs, tables, and all the other appurtenances we think we’ll need.  We may end up with too many or too much, but all of us fear we’ll end up with too little.

This isn’t the week I want to listen to divisive rhetoric. It’s the week I want to think of a community in which some pickups have the remnants of Trump/Pence stickers and others have Water Is Life stickers and they will all get a wash job this afternoon… in which we’ll tidy up … some will understand parts of the services tomorrow better than others … the Paiute speakers will understand all of it, the English speakers most of it, as will the Basque and Spanish speakers.  And then we’ll eat.

That’s what we do while we attempt to adhere to at least part of St. Francis’s prayer, the part that says, “…grant that I may not so much be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.”

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Get Grampy Out Of The TV Room, or at least don’t give him the remote!

Some wise wiseacre on Twitter the other day commented that if someone’s seanathair (grandfather) were behaving like Dolt 45 it would be high time to get him out of the assisted living facility TV room.  I couldn’t agree more.

I am tired of getting my news from a fire hose of misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies. Grampy is up to about 7.5 lies per day. [WaPo] That’s closer to 7.6 if we want to be more precise, but at this level who cares?  It’s embarrassing.   It’s Grampy telling a story about how he met Grammy at Cambridge — that would be Cambridge, Idaho.  Or, Grampy chattering on about his exploits during his motorcycle riding days. No, he didn’t own a Harley, it was more like a Honda Super Cub. Only when it’s the president of the United States it matters.

I make no pretense of being the most original thinker in the flock, but I can recognize when someone is being led — by the nose if not by some other body part — toward policy positions which make absolutely NO sense whatsoever unless someone else is calling the shots.  Why else would we have tariffs on aluminum products from our friends but refuse to impose such import taxation on the Russian firm Rusal? [NYT]  Why are we imposing tariffs on the Chinese such that they’ve moved their purchasing of agricultural products like soybeans from American farmers to the Russians and Brazilians?  Why? It’s not like we’ve  spent years developing markets for American agricultural products and then want to see those same markets frivolously dribbled away in a ridiculous trade war.

It’s not like we welcome divisive rhetoric of the kind on full display as Dolt 45 fulminates against yet another African American, offering yet one more example of his proclivity to call African Americans “low IQ,” or “stupid.”  There’s a pattern here.  [LATimes]  African Americans and women are the usual subject of Dolt 45’s derision, and to be both African American and a woman will get a person the treatment he reserves for Congresswoman Maxine Waters.  He might want to give this another “think.” A quick click into the Google-verse shows 11,700,000 results in less than one second for t-shirts and other stuff imprinted with “Don’t Test The Waters.”

Grampy seems pleased to continue his performance for a steadily contracting audience of hangers-on and sycophants.  Analogous to seeing the little elder ladies thin out to go play another hand of canasta in a quieter location, and some of the men retire to a quiet session counting golf tees.  Pretty soon Grampy is down to the nodding few whose addled pates (complete with male pattern baldness) aren’t really registering what he’s saying, just parroting his rants and encouraging his repetitions for their entertainment value.  The problem is that he’s attracting and thereby promoting the fringe.  These aren’t the people who can still recite their own grandparents’ recipes for marmalade and barbecue sauce; instead they’re the ones who maintain the moon landing was a hoax, UFOs are real, and chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Thus we have former Bush Administration ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, twittering away, sounding like the kid in the back seat of the family wagon: “Are we there yet?” Only Painter is talking about the 25th Amendment.   This isn’t normal.  None of this is normal.

Most of the reporting on the subject of Grampy’s wildly varying, disassociation laden, rants seems to be on target — it’s usually the headline writing that misses the point.  The Dolt 45 is “not forthright.”  Or, “not accurate.”  Or, “not informed,” Or, “at odds with other administration sources.”  Gee, we can’t say he’s lying because we can’t determine his motive ?  OK, then go ahead and say he’s being untruthful.  The motive may not matter so much, especially as it becomes ever more situational; and what comes out in the end is simply a good old fashioned bit of the southbound product of a northbound bull.  There are enough fact-checkers on the case to set most records straight. What Grampy seems to want on the record is his version of his story — his courtship of Grammy, his motorcycle, his feats on the barbecue grill, his conquests in business, his “whatever” — out there in the TV room for his audience to applaud.  The story changes.  Cambridge becomes Oxford (Oxford, Mississippi) and the cycle becomes a vintage ’57 Harley Sportster, and he started out with even less money from his father to start his business than he said two months ago.  We can call it cognitive decline. We can call it situational obfuscation. We can call it anything, any euphemism we’d like. We just can’t call it normal.

Nor can we allow Grampy the luxury of pontificating in the TV room to his ever declining audience, about his ever expanding range of complaints and grievances, while we try to rationalize the irrational.  At least someone needs to retake control of the Remote.

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Thank You For Your Service, Sort Of…

To all the flag-wavin’, flag-clutchin’, flag-wearin’, flag-supportin’ members of the the GOP,  and this includes senatorial candidate Dean Heller,  here’s some unsolicited advice on how to truly be supportive of our Armed Forces and veterans. Some of these don’t translate well into bumper stickers or shouted slogans, but they just might be more effective.

#1. Let’s start with NOT separating from service members of the military and reservists who happen to be immigrants on a path to citizenship. [USAT]  For crying out loud, these people are VOLUNTEERS.  They have volunteered to place themselves deliberately in harm’s way to protect the safety and security of the rest of us.  Aren’t these exactly the kind of people we want to join us as citizens of these United States?

#2.  Let’s stop creating deportation issues for some 11,800 members of our military families [MilTimes] and let’s stop deporting the spouses of our veterans [NBC].  Where, please, are the voices of our members of the US Senate — yes, Senator Heller, this includes you — and the voices of our Representatives in the House?  And, yes, Rep. Amodei (R-NV2) this means you as well.  Please don’t try to convince me of your love and respect for active duty personnel and veterans while you allow them to worry about the deportation status of their spouses — and the mothers and fathers of their children.

#3.  Let’s start paying members of the military what they are worth rather than beginning the calculation with what we think is the least amount we can pay and still meet budget restrictions. For example, the pay increase for member of the US military for 2017 was 2.1%, and granted that’s above the “austerity years” previously, but the inflation rate for 2017 was also 2.1% so our members of the armed forces didn’t actually get a raise in terms of real purchasing power.  The latest bill includes a 2.6% pay raise. Will this cover inflation rates? [Mil.com] [FedPay] Can I get an “Amen!” from Senator Heller? From Representative Amodei?  I’m not hearing anything…

#4. And, while we are discussing purchasing power… Remember back in April 2018 when the White House floated a proposal to cut SNAP benefits? [Mil.com]  Those cuts would effect members of the US military. [Mil.com]  That argument was still going on as of July 5, 2018. [SanAntonioC] How about we decide not to have this argument at all. How about paying members of the US military enough so SNAP benefits are unnecessary, or if they must be then making sure military families have sufficient resources to put food on their tables? This would seem to be a very supportive thing to advocate? Yes? Senator Heller? Yes? Representative Amodei?

Meanwhile, what’s happening in the current legislation headed to the Oval Office [USNI]  on Basic Housing Allowances? Whenever Senator McConnell says things including the phrase “more opportunity,” I begin to wonder Whose Opportunity to do what.  On Tricare? On dental treatment plans?

In short, let’s stop talking about “thank you for your service,” and “support the troops,” and DO something that allows them to be thankful they joined the US Armed Forces.  If we truly appreciate their service then we ought to be willing to pay for it.

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