Tag Archives: Sessions

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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Filed under Politics

Caveats and The Unspoken Big Lie

So, we have two sources telling us that approximately 24 to 26 million people will lose their health care insurance if the Republicans are successful in jamming through their tax shift proposal masquerading as a ‘replacement’ for the Affordable Care Act.  Therefore, it’s now time for a new ‘talking point’ from the GOP, especially since some Republicans like Rep. Mark Amodei are on record saying:

When asked what his plan for a change to Obamacare would be, Heller said, “If you like your health care, you can keep it,” a statement that echoes a promise from Obama that later ended up being false.  Amodei said he would not vote for any plan that resulted in reduced coverage for anyone.  “No, I don’t think you can say forget it, we’re going to let them be uninsured because as a practical solution, that’s not an answer and somebody ends up paying in the end anyhow,” Amodei said. [RGJ 2/22/17]

Well, now we know with some certainty that the GOP replacement bill will result in reduced coverage, and some people and families will be uninsured.  How to escape this trap? A new talking point!

“No one will lose their coverage.” 

The HHS Secretary Tom Price, whose replacement would have cost some 18 million their insurance, opined:

“Success, it’s important to look at that,” he said. “It means more people covered than are covered right now at an average cost that is less. I believe that we can firmly do that with the plan that we’ve laid out there.”  Not exactly.

Then, there was Pete Sessions, a Republican from Dallas, telling his listeners:

“Nobody is going to lose their coverage,” Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN. “You’ll be able to keep your same doctor, you’ll be able to keep your same plan.”

A spokeswoman for the congressman later explained that Sessions meant Americans will have the choice whether to obtain or maintain coverage — not that the GOP bill would take coverage away. The American Health Care Act would nix the ACA mandates requiring Americans to have health insurance.” [DMN]

And, there it is, the Big Caveat, which makes taking health insurance away from working American all AOK.  You can “choose” to keep your health insurance! IF and ONLY IF you can afford it. ?

However, even IF you can afford it, the policy you can purchase may not be truly comprehensive. A young person may have to get additional insurance if he or she marries and there is a pregnancy in the plans. More cost. A plan may not cover preventative care? Or mandatory coverage for cancer screenings?  More cost.  It doesn’t take too long to add up the extras until what has been basic coverage becomes optional coverage. Then the risk pool is reduced and the premiums go up. That is how insurance works. The larger the risk pool the lower the premium costs.

Thus, “you can keep your health insurance” IF:

  • You can afford it in the first place, not likely if you are among the low wage workers in this country.
  • You can afford it and are willing to accept lower levels of coverage, and you don’t mind having to pay for additional services for additional  premiums.
  • You are willing to shop for insurance coverage every time the circumstances of your life changes; as in pregnancies, pre-natal care, caring for a special needs child, a family member needs rehabilitation or mental health care.
  • You are willing to see your local, and especially rural, hospitals see higher levels of uncompensated care.
  • You are willing to accept that your doctors and other health care professionals will see less reimbursement for services rendered.
  • You are willing to forego coverage for preventative screening and treatment for medical conditions.

Access to health insurance isn’t the same as having health care insurance.  As the now commonplace tweet has it: “I have access to a Mercedes Benz dealership — that doesn’t mean I can afford to buy something of their lot.”

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Filed under Amodei, Health Care, health insurance, nevada health, Nevada politics, Politics

Chills Down the Spine Time

Pro America Anti Trump If this isn’t chilling I don’t know what could be.

“Neo-Nazi Website Daily Stormer: Sessions Is “An Aggressive Anti-Black Racist,” “We’re Going To Get Absolutely Everything We Wanted.” The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website that worships Adolf Hitler and Trump. It helps lead online attacks against Jewish journalists, whom it routinely refer to as “kikes.” The site has frequently praised Sessions, calling him “a hero,” “our second favorite Trump guy (second to Bannon),” and “basically the only guy in the Senate who is an immigration purist.”

Site editor Andrew Anglin reacted to the Sessions news in a post headlined “It’s Like Christmas: Sessions for AG, Gen Flynn as National Security Advisor.” He praised Sessions for being “an aggressive anti-Black racist” and wrote, “Honestly, I didn’t even expect this to all come together so beautifully. It’s like we’re going to get absolutely everything we wanted””


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Filed under Politics, racism, Republicans