Damn, son… The evidence of treason is mounting, Mueller’s net is tightening, and Trump appears to be cracking

It’s taken one hell of a long time, but the complete narrative of how Trump came to power is finally starting to come together, in large part due to the heroic work of Washington Post reporters, who, just yesterday, provided two more critical pieces of the puzzle. First, they let it be known that the U.S. intelligence community had evidence prior to the election that Vladimir Putin had himself given the order for Russian operatives to initiate a cyber warfare campaign benefiting Donald Trump. And, second, they shared a detailed account of how Mitch McConnell, when confronted with this information, worked to stop President Obama from making the American people aware. I’d suggest that you read the whole thing but here’s how the explosive report begins.

And there’s also video, which I’d highly recommend that you watch… I know some of you might think I’m exaggerating when I say this, but, when I watched it, I had the exact same feeling that I did when watching video of the World Trade Center come down on September 11, 2001. It felt like the floor had literally fallen away beneath me, sending me into free fall… It’s one thing to experience all of this if real time, reading the individual articles as they come out, over months, but it’s another to see it all boiled down into a ten minute video that methodically lays it all out, showing you when Trump was briefed on what was happening, and how, even with this knowledge, he continued to refer to Russian interference as a “hoax.”

If you only watch one thing this weekend, watch this…

So, just to reiterate, we knew well in advance of the November election that Putin had called for an all out assault against Hillary Clinton in hopes of swaying the election in Trump’s favor, and Obama had suggested a bipartisan response, which the Republicans fought him on… Had Obama thought Trump might actually win, he might have pushed back harder, but, instead, he worked behind the scenes to punish Russia for their interference by way of sanctions, sharing very little with the public about what was happening, for fear that anything he said might be used by the Trump campaign as evidence that he was lying to aid the Clinton campaign.

And, judging from Trump’s Twitter feed today, it would appear that the increased scrutiny is beginning to get to him.

Whether intentional or not, the above tweet would seem to confirm that, yes, in the opinion of the President, the Russians did, in fact, meddle in the election. This, I believe, is the first time he’s admitted as much. And I think that’s significant… As for him putting it back on Obama, though, that’s just laughable. Obama, as the Washington Post says, pushed for a bipartisan statement and he was stopped by the Republicans in Congress. And, furthermore, Trump, by this point in the campaign, was privy to the same intelligence briefings that Obama was, so if Obama knew that the Russians were meddling, so did Trump. The only difference was that, when Obama was pushing for sanctions against Russia, and trying to find a way to let the American people know, Trump was calling the stories of Russian interference a “hoax,” and suggesting that the hacking of the DNC could have been done by anyone.

According to recent polling, though, the American people really don’t seem to care about the investigation, wanting Congress to focus instead on things like jobs and health care… Here’s hoping that the Democrats don’t let up. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how it polls with voters. It’s imperative that we pursue this not because it wins elections, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Make no mistake, folks. We are at war. And it’s not just the Russians that are going to be caught up in Mueller’s net. Trump’s impeachment is just the beginning… We’re living though something that makes Watergate seem like child’s play… And, mark my words, one day, assuming we survive this, there will be statues to both Comey and Mueller in Washington.

Lastly, just because it pisses me off so much, I wanted to share these two photos that have been floating though social media today.

In the top photo, Obama confronts Putin prior to the election, during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. “Accompanied only by interpreters,” the Washington Post reports, “Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,’ according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama.” In the bottom photo, Donald Trump entertains Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak in the White House the day after firing FBI Director James Comey, the man heading the investigation into the Russian hacking of our election. This meeting was not to be public. The press had been kept out. And we would not have known about it, had the Russians not released photos. And, it should be noted that Trump, when this was taken, not only knew for certain that the Russians had, to use his own term, “meddled” in the election, but he was aggressively working to roll back the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration… Given what we’ve come to learn over these past several months, it’s impossible to look at these two photos and not believe that Trump will spend the remainder of his life in prison.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama declares the Senate health care bill, “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” and he’s right

Well, after weeks and weeks of secret discussions, Senate Republicans today shared a draft of their their health care bill, which, if passed, would replace Obamacare. Knowing the bill would be unpopular, the White House barred the news media from airing the press conference live. And, in hopes of diverting attention, Trump, at roughly the same time, took to Twitter to announce that, yes, he’d been lying a few weeks back when he’d suggested that he had secret tapes of him and former FBI Director James Comey discussing the Russia investigation. [According to Newt Gingrich, this was just an innocent little “bluff” on the part of Trump, who was, according to the former Speaker of the House, only “trying to rattle Comey.” Or, to put it a little differently, this was an attempt at witness intimidation on the part of the President.] Fortunately, though, the media, at least for the most part, stayed focused on the Senate health care bill, which the AARP was quick to label “harmful”. And with good reason, too. To quote former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, the legislation “raises deductibles, cuts coverage and slashes Medicaid,” all of which are things that the President promised the legislation wouldn’t do. And it hits older Americans particularly hard… According to our friend Charles Gaba, who studies these things, a 60-year-old earning $37,000 would go from paying roughly $3,600 a year for a “silver” plan today, to paying roughly $6,000 for a “bronze” one under the proposed Senate bill. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Before we get into details, though, I wanted to share the following letter from former President Barack Obama, which was just posted to social media.

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.
We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.

[And, yes, kids, that’s what real presidents used to sound like.]

Make no mistake, this Republican bill was not drafted with any thought as to what the American people wanted or needed. It was drafted with one question in mind – “What can we get away with?” And we cannot allow the Republicans in the Senate to get away with it. We need to draw attention to this legislation, and let people know how it will likely affect their families. Here, with that in mind, are a few specific examples from Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

This Republican bill, says Casey, will decimate Medicaid:

And end protections for pre-existing conditions:

And raise deductibles:

While we still don’t have a CBO score yet, and don’t know exactly how many people would lose their coverage if this bill should become law, we know already that a lot of people will be hurt. And why? To cut taxes on the wealthy.

Again, this has nothing to do with what the American people want, need or deserve, and everything to do with a desire on the part of Republicans to make good on their promises to members of the donor class – the wealthy individuals whose financial contributions keep them in office. [This is another great reminder of why we need to get the money out of American politics, but, for the time being, we need to focus on killing this bill.] Fortunately, people are beginning to take notice. Organizations like the AARP are informing their members, and people are beginning to engage in civil disobedience… Speaking of which, 43 were arrested during a protests outside Mitch McConnell’s Senate office this afternoon, many of whom were pulled from their wheelchairs and dragged out of the building. Here, if you missed it, is a little of the documentation.

This is America in 2017. This is what we’ve become. This is what we have to end, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Spread the word. And shut down the Senate switchboard.

[The photo at the top of the post was taken in the White House rose garden after the House version of Trumpcare was passed. Trump later would say that the legislation, which, according to CBO estimates, would rob 23 million Americans of their health care, was “mean.” He then urged the Senate to do something better. And, by all accounts, they did not.]

Posted in Civil Liberties, Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Apparently, as the Mexicans have refused to pay for Trump’s wall, he’s come up with a better idea… We’ll have the wall pay for itself!

I don’t think it’s that new of an idea. I’ve heard people say before, “You know, we should make that border wall of Trump’s solar.” Today, though, was the first time that I heard Trump say it himself. He was addressing a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when he made the announcement. Referencing the campaign promise that his proposed southern border wall wouldn’t cost us a dime, as he’d somehow force the Mexicans to pay for the whole thing, he told the people of Cedar Rapids that, even better yet, his new, improved wall would “pay for itself.” That’s right, now that the Mexicans have told us point blank that they’re… in the words of former Mexican President Vicente Fox… not going to pay for the “fucking wall,” Trump’s come back with an even more magical, and less feasible, plan. Now, thanks to the addition of solar panels, the wall will pay for itself!

And this new plan of his, in case you’re the kind of person who appreciates facts, really is unfeasible. First, let’s start with the cost of the wall. Trump told us during the campaign that it would cost us approximately $6 to $7 billion. Since then, however, we’ve learned that, according to an assessment done by the Department of Homeland Security, it would actually cost more like $21.6 billion. And, on top of this, the folks at Bloomberg are estimating that the addition of solar panels would drive the cost up by another $7.6 billion. Given all of this, and the fact that the proposed solar system would likely generate about $221 million in annual revenues, the folks at Bloomberg estimate that the wall could pay for itself in “just 125 years.” Of course, they then point out that, in actuality, once you calculate in the the changing value of money over time, and a few other factors, it’s likely, after 215 years, there would still be a $25.4 billion gap. So, according to their modeling, the wall would never pay for itself. And this model, I should note, was constructed on the assumption that the wall itself could be built for $20 billion, and not the $21.6 billion estimated by Homeland Security. And, second, even if we could build this solar wall, getting the power from it would be difficult, seeing as how, according to the Financial Times, “less than 2 percent of the U.S. population lives within 40 miles of the Mexico border.” In the opinion of the Financial Times, for that reason alone, the President’s plan is a “non-starter.” Just to get the power from the wall to where it could be put to use would require an investment of several billion dollars more in electrical infrastructure. And, third, even if this wall did stand for 215 years, the solar panels would have to be replaced several times over that period of time, especially given that the panels would be pointed toward the south, where one would imagine they might be the target of rocks and the like. [The demonization of Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers may play well here, but I think you’d find that folks living on the other side of our southern border don’t much care for it.] Oh, and fourth, it probably couldn’t be built in the first place as 1,254 miles of our currently unsecured border with Mexico runs right down the middle of the Rio Grande River.

So you can clap all you want, but this isn’t going to happen. Trump can say that the wall will pay for itself, just like he said that the Mexicans would pay for it, but that doesn’t mean that it’ll actually happen. If a wall is built, you can be absolutely sure, it will be us, the working men and women of America, and our ancestors, who will be paying for it… not the Mexicans, not the sun, and not the wall itself. It’ll just be us, and us alone.

With all of that said, though, can you imagine the impact of investing $30 billion in the installation of rooftop solar units across the United States? I know Trump likes to brag that he’s putting more people back under the surface of the earth, mining coal, than any president since Nixon, or whatever, but, really, wouldn’t people rather be working aboveground, installing solar panels, than filling their lungs with coal dust in darkness every day?

One last thing… If Trump loves coal so much, why not build the border wall from toxic coal ash? Given the trajectory we’re on, I think it would be kind of fitting, wouldn’t it?

Posted in Environment, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Barbie and Ken to teach children about the dangers of ticks

Apparently, the Russians, in an attempt to completely break the will of the American people, have somehow coerced the senior management of Mattel to roll out a man-bun-sporting Ken doll… and, as you might expect, conservatives across the country are losing their collective shit over it, wringing their hands, and suggesting that something be done immediately, before an entire generation of would-be American warriors starts demanding that their schools tear down their football stadiums and replace them with free, community-facing, holistic wellness centers. Personally, as no one with a man-bun ever beat me up in middle school, or called me a faggot, I don’t have any problem with it. In fact, I’m inclined to think it might be a good thing, even though, to be quite honest, I find the whole man-bun thing to be a little douchey. To each his own, though… With all of that said, however, it occurs to me that, if this new line of Ken dolls should fail, they could be reintroduced to the market as educational tools to be used by teachers when discussing the threats posed by ticks, which, by the way, are apparently more abundant this year than any in recorded history. I mean, it really does look like fully-engorged ticks are burrowing down into the scalps of these unsuspecting young men, doesn’t it? And isn’t that way more awesome than a man-bun?

Posted in Ideas, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Trumpcare, true crime, and my complete inability to focus

I want desperately to pick up where we left off last week in our discussion about the Trumpcare bill being drafted in secret by Senate Republicans, and how it looks as though the Democrats have decided to fight back with every tool they’ve got at their disposal in hopes of delaying the vote, but I went and got hooked on the Netflix documentary series The Keepers last night, and I just can’t seem to break free of it. So I guess you’ll have to go somewhere else for your political insight tonight, as Senators Harris, Merkey, Shumer, Sanders, Warren and company set out to stop the bill from being pushed through without a single public debate on its contents, or conversation about the millions of Americans who will left without health care as a result… I know I should be watching our Senate Democrats filibuster through the night in hopes that the American people might take notice and start calling their Senators, but apparently there’s something about the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik that’s got a hold over me. Rest assured, though, I’ll be calling the offices of my senators tomorrow. [Find the phone numbers for your senators here.]

The American people, I hope you’d agree, regardless of the party you vote for, deserve to know what’s in Trumpcare. Not only are lives at stake, but the health care industry represents one-sixth of our entire economy, and it’s absolutely imperative that the ramifications be discussed… I get that Republicans in Congress want to fund massive tax breaks for the wealthy, but this is absolute madness. One doesn’t just pass legislation effecting nearly 20% of the economy without so much as a debate. In the case of Obamacare, as you’ll recall, there were 100 hearings in the Senate alone.

I know it’ll get messy, but if you want to discuss either health policy or the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, please leave a comment… And here’s a short video about The Keepers, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.

Oh, it’s also worth noting that a bipartisan group of governors has come forward to ask Senate Republicans not proceed in this manner. The following clip is from the Washington Post.

…“While we certainly agree that reforms need to be made to our nation’s health care system, as Governors from both sides of the political aisle, we feel that true and lasting reforms are best approached by finding common ground in a bipartisan fashion,” the governors wrote in a letter to Senate leaders of both parties.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed the letter.

Kasich and Sandoval are particularly notable for their warning against the current Senate GOP approach, given that senators from their states, Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), are key votes on the bill…

So, if you happen to be reading this in either Ohio or Nevada, please consider picking up the phone and calling Portman or Heller, and asking whether or not they intend to do as their governors ask and bring this bill out of the back room, and into the light of day.

Oh, and, here, from the New Republic, is one more thing to consider. Not only are 13 men drafting this legislation is secrecy, but the men writing the legislation represent our least populated, reddest states. So, not only is this being written by older white men, but it’s being written by older white men from rural America… What could possibly go wrong, right?

Posted in Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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