Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dateline the EPA: From Very Bad to Awful or Even Worse and in Short Order

Pruitt (R) was bad — replacement Wheeler (L) may be worse

The EPA is going from bad to worse. Scott Pruitt got canned as the Administrator, and yes, he was awful. But, now his replacement, Andrew Wheeler (background data here) may be worse.

Cite this story with this headline >>>


A simple question: What the hell is wrong with Trump failing in his duty to protect the public’s health, safety, and “to promote the general welfare” (as the preamble to Constitution states)?

Oh, yeah, and BTW self-evident: Trump does not give a darn about much of anything despite all his campaign and rally rhetoric, unless something, say like axing public policy does not benefit him and his family directly or indirectly, then he skips over it.

And, boy does to cling to Alex Jones and Sean Hannity BS conspiracies with his policy and statement really pleases them, props himself up, keeps his base in tow, his empire,too, and naturally his BFF’s with benefits and profits, well then – it’s the best policy ever or in his words – “Best in history, best ever, believe me,” or so he rants constantly with that line.

Sorry, Mr. Trump: We do not believe or trust you, believe us.

Then all the while, we watch in awe at this GOP all-run Congress who sits on its collective backside and lets him run amok as they shirk their sworn duty to monitor the separation of power with their oversight of the other two branches of government in grand style, too.

So, a simple message as we move closer to this truly historical moment in time and November 6 midterm election: “Wake up America before it’s too late. The point of no return is closer than you think.”

This latest story at the EPA underscores my premise.

Thanks for stopping by



Friday, October 12, 2018

Subject Man in this Post is Perfect Fit: Stephen Miller, Anti-Immigrant Racist Hypocrite

Miller: Top racist bigot in the White House with Trump's ear

Very interesting and most-enlightening article which confirms what many of us have known for a very long time concerning the racist anti-immigrant hypocrite with a lot of power and influence over Trump – story here from Politico and related article from Slate here.

Below in part is from the man who knows Miller better than perhaps anyone else and if follows this short introduction from the Politico story:

The White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the US-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the United States.

One option under consideration is the so-called “Binary Choice” in which the government detains asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice:

(1)  — to stay in family detention with their child for months or years as their immigration case proceeds.

(2)  — to allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody.

This but one of several others under consideration amid the president’s frustration over border security. Trump has been unable to fulfill key promises to build a border wall and end what he calls “catch and release,” a process that began under past administrations in which most detained families are quickly freed to await immigration hearings. 

The number of migrant family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is now at a record level, according to DHS.

Senior administration officials say they are not planning to revive the chaotic forced separations carried out by the Trump administration in May and June that spawned an enormous political backlash and led to a court order to reunite families, but they feel compelled to do something as officials say senior White House adviser Stephen Miller is advocating for tougher measures because he believes the springtime separations worked as an effective deterrent to illegal crossings.

Recall at least 2,500 children were taken from their parents over a period of six weeks. Crossings by families declined slightly in May, June, and July before surging again in August. September numbers are expected to be even higher. Some inside the White House and DHS are concerned about the “optics and political blowback of renewed separations,” but Miller is determined to act.

Now the specifics about Miller to review who he really is as I said from the man who knows him best – his uncle:

First of all, Trump and Miller want to make us believe that these desperate migrants are an existential threat to the United States; the most powerful nation in world history and a nation made strong by immigrants.

Trump and Miller both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human.

Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews.

Almost every American family has an immigration story of its own based on flight from war, poverty, famine, persecution, fear or hopelessness. Most of these immigrants became workers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and soldiers of America.

Most damning is the administration's evident intent to make policy that specifically disadvantages people based on their ethnicity, country of origin, and religion.

No matter what opinion is held about immigration, any government that specifically enacts law or policy on that basis must be recognized as a threat to all of us. Laws bereft of justice are the gateway to tyranny.

Today others may be the target, but tomorrow it might just as easily be you and your family seeking to join you in America.

As free Americans, and descendants of immigrants and refugees, we have the obligation to exercise our conscience by voting for candidates who will stand up for our highest national values and not succumb to our lowest fears.

How do I know a lot about Stephen Miller? Because I am his uncle, writes David S. Glosser


Other sources for this same riveting story:


Stay tuned – and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ACA (Obamacare): Working Despite Trump-GOP Fav Punchline: “Repeal and Replace

Very sick, not fully covered: Attended by Dr. Evil
(Is he dead yet) 

Extremely critical issue for the 2018 midterms and beyond: Perhaps the #1 issue on the table — since it affects us all.

Update on GOP Drive to Repeal and Replace the ACA a quick analysis and although a long post, it has things that need to be said for clarity — enjoy.

Republicans last year succeeded in repealing the Obamacare requirement that people buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty – the so-called ACA mandate.

Trump said that repeal would end Obamacare – it has not and in fact has caused more bad than good contradicting Trump’s: “I’ll give you the best program ever – believe me.” Um, well Mr. Trump: We have proof otherwise – see below:

Purpose of the original ACA mandate: Get everyone insured to get lower prices for everyone with the basic same basic and necessary care. That did not work as hoped or planned and many reasons linger more so today under Trump – the so-called Fixer – more below shows he is not fixing anything.

However, now without the mandate more troubles have evolved:

1. To make up for the losses, insurance companies have had to (and many have already) charged more to the sick or medically vulnerable patients left behind and already with fixed premiums.

2. Premiums set by Trump have risen 232% and with less coverage.

Trump/GOP created the so-called “skinny” plans (official name: “Association Health Plans-AHP”) back in June 2017 some results:

1.  They allow insurance companies to offer cheaper yet less-comprehensive policies.

2.  These “skinny plans” only last up to one year, then customers start hunting all over again.

3.  Since these plans are short-term only up to one year (I note: That sounds like a new cell phone or cable deal wherein they get you hooked on a bargain change deal. But, READ THE FINE PRINT, which only lawyers do. They say small print: “New customers only - only for one year” – then what: We are supposed to just hide, go away, get sicker, or die?)

4.  Companies after one year can charge higher premiums or deny coverage based on medical history and pre-existing conditions, which BTW: Obamacare made illegal for long-term plans and people love that part.

5. These new skimpy or skinny plan initially appeal to young, healthy Americans (that is until they get in a health emergency and then back to someone else paying as they hit the ER’s – something also Obamacare said was not totally necessary except in real emergencies – not routine care that yes, even young people seek and need too despite their views on that).

6.  Some AHP’s may not/do not for example cover basics like Rx drugs or maternity care.

Other Trump plans harm:

Initially, under the ACA users had 90 days to sign up for insurance on the federal marketplace – Trump cut it down to 45 days, and then customers saw the on-line websites closed every Sunday for 12 hours – citing maintenance.

One cause for the “maintenance” shutdowns: The Obama “Navigator program” funding which trained people and companies to help people sign up for insurance  dropped from $62.5m to a mere $10m under Trump. (More saving they can brag about, I guess).

BTW: Trump also cut Obamacare advertising to $10m – a 90% reduction.

Ending cost-sharing reduction payments:

Cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments from the government to companies reimbursed them for covering lower-income Obamacare patients.

Trump cancelled that system and payments in October 2017 and immediately insurance companies increased their 2018 premiums to offset that programs and thus compensate themselves for any losses.

One bright spot is that ending those CSR payments had little effect on lower-income Americans – they still receive other healthcare subsidies to help them maintain a good plan, but that in turn led to higher costs for patients who pay full-price for their medical coverage.

It is obvious that “Trump-care” is not thinking about the little people.

What is the overall impact?

1.  Obama's signature accomplishment – the ACA – basically is still in good standing.

2.  The 2018 government report (CMS: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) shows 11.8 million Americans re-enrolled in Obamacare plans, and 27% were new users.

3.  That is around 400,000 fewer people than 2017, and a smaller figure than expected given Trump’s efforts to wipe out Obama entirely.

Key Study Points:

Gallup found 55% of Americans worry about having access to and affording good medical care – the 5th year healthcare has topped issues.

Gallup also reported the uninsured rate had dropped to a record low 10.9% in 2016, but has risen to 12.3% under Trump (that he said would not happen).

Reminder: What does the existing law do?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare or the ACA, was the largest overhaul of our healthcare system since the 1960s. 

1.  It aimed to eventually slow the growth of healthcare spending, which was still is the highest in the world. 

2.  It intended to extend health insurance coverage to the estimated 15% of Americans who lacked it and were not covered by other health programs for the poor and elderly.

3.  It created by law, state-run marketplaces - with websites akin to online shopping sites - where individuals can compare prices as they shop for coverage.

Some of the more popular provisions included:

1.  Children can stay on their parent's health care plan until age 26.

2.  No one can be denied insurance for a pre-existing medical condition.

3.  Companies can no longer charge women more than men.

4.  Businesses with more than 50 full-time employees must offer health insurance.

So, why do conservatives still oppose the ACA (Obamacare)?

They say – as they say about most things not their idea – it imposes too many costs on business, with many describing it as a “job killer.”

However, under Obamacare, healthcare sector jobs rose by 9%. A 2017 study found that around 2.6 million jobs could be lost by 2019 if it is repealed under Trump.

They decry Obamacare as an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private businesses and individuals.

Noteworthy: 

1. During the Obama presidency, the GOP-run House voted over 50 times to repeal the ACA and twice forces a partial government shutdown.

2. After repeated legal challenges, in 2012 the Supreme Court declared Obamacare constitutional.

3.  Despite having a majority on Capitol Hill under President Trump, a Republican repeal bid again failed and in dramatic fashion this year.

3.  Democrats many times have acknowledged ACA is not perfect and they have offered numerous times to work with the GOP to fix any flaws. The GOP refuses out of stubborn arrogance.

Related must-read sites:



Also related – short article from a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis they found that individual market performance insurers have become profitable again in 2017, and the first half of 2018.

• Insurers' gross margins are getting better. The margins — which measure how much their income from premiums exceeds their costs — are far higher than at any time in the history of the ACA.

• Their second-quarter loss ratios for 2018 averaged 69%, lower than at any point since the earliest years of the ACA.

• Between the lines: Premiums went up a lot between 2017 and 2018 (an average of 23% per member for the second quarter of each year).

B/L and what to watch: There are signs that the ACA population may be both older and sicker, having spent more days in the hospitals in the past 3 years. If so, that could be a sign that healthier customers are dropping out.

My 2 cents: Obama made promises, even with minor fixes (which were needed and the GOP hated in total resisted) was and based on the above working.

Any blame for rising costs, lack of good affordable, full-coverage plans, may I suggest the GOP collectively seek the nearest mirror – they will see a reflection the cause and ineffectiveness of their “resistance” – which they keep blaming on a program that has, is, and continue – but they will not – they are too stubborn and arrogant. Case closed.

But, the good news is outlined above with the more-recent awful Trump steps. 

So, I say: Thanks Mr. Obama — sorry, Mr. Trump Empire, Inc., not even close.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

More VA Troubles: Vets Owed GI Bill Money — VA Not Paying Forcing Many Into Debt

VA and Administration Not Living Up to This Motto
(All talk with little problem solving)

We all know by now how Trump brags all the time about himself. It's his nature to fluff himself and demand others do the same or they will suffer his wrath.

We have heard him brag how he, and he alone, serves Vets and the military better than anyone in history. 

Okay – so why is this story such big and serious problem right now with tons of Vets, um Mr. President Bone Spurs? I refer to this new and excellent in-depth analysis of another sad story about the VA – seen below from NBC News with this headline:


I can’t wait to hear the string of Trump excuses something along these lines: “Blame the DEMS” and of course blame Obama and then blame “Hillary for losing in 2016.”

Tic toc, Mr. President. We can hardly wait for your next 4 am tweet.

My 2 cents: Related: Trump by Tweet fired former VA Secretary (David Shulkin for some ethical issues). 

I also note that the VA has had many problems in the past and Shulkin seems to have worked on solving them, but personal issues seen in the article brought him down, and now this new mess. So, why can’t we get a competent savvy person in charge of the VA?

It seems that this GOP crew talks a good game but can’t seem to deliver except when it benefits them not the people in need like the Vets. Why is that?

Also, it more and more seems that the Lincoln quote above (the foundation of the VA) – is, well, is kind of passé?

More later I am sure when Trump, Huckabee-Sanders and crew get their talking points down pat and a new blame game segment airs from the White House.

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Antifa GOP New Boogeyman: But, Are Antifa & GOP's Fav “Alt-Right” Equally Violent


Alt-Right flags seen at their racist events
Nazi flag gets our blood boiling, but it can't be outlawed

On this post, more to the point when definitions have meaning and matter are these two definitions below and some background information from fact-checker Snopes here.

Alt-Right (Alternative Right): A loosely-connected and somewhat ill-defined groups of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-Fascists, neo-Confederates, Holocaust deniers, and other extreme far-right fringe hate groups.

Antifa (Anti-Fascist): A conglomeration of far left wing autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist militant groups.

The principal feature of Antifa groups is their use of direct action, harassing those whom they identify as fascists, racists, or right wing extremists.

Background: Violence has been ratcheting up on all sides during the white supremacist rally and confrontation in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017 between the two groups and this follow-up story from the LA TIMES.

But Antifa is not planning these rallies, and statistically poses a lesser danger than Alt-Right.

Words to live by: Violence (or hate) begets violence (and hate).” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Thanks for stopping by.




Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Trump-Kavanaugh Circle (or noose) Tightening: Craziness by McConnell Now Starting

Welcome to my world: Golden Rule is Duck, Dodge, Deny

Trump was asked about comments made by son, Don Jr., who stated that he was more afraid for his sons than his daughters in the era of #MeToo accusations saying:It’s a tough thing going on. You can be an exemplary person for 35 years and then somebody comes along, and they say you did this or that, and they give three witnesses, and the three witnesses at this point do not corroborate what she’s saying. It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has been delayed as the FBI conducts an investigation into allegations made by three women that he sexually assaulted them or others decades ago.
Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied all allegations against him, describing them as attacks by Democrats to derail his nomination.
Reminder: At least 20 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct between the late 1970s and 2013. Trump has likewise denied the allegations made against him – one source is this ABC News analysis and this story lists them by name and circumstances.
Partial list of Trump accusers

In Bob Woodward’s book: “Fear: Trump in the White House” he quotes Trump telling a friend about his strategy in cases involving sexual accusations wherein he told the friend:You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. That was a big mistake you made.”
Note: Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders both have dismissed Woodward’s book as a work of fiction.

My 2 cents: The Trump sexual accusation’s strategy is noteworthy: “Deny, deny, deny and push back on the women.” 
If that fails: Sue them.

So, as always, stay tuned … and thanks for stopping by.





Saturday, September 29, 2018

Trump Orders New Kavanaugh FBI Background Check: Although He Hates Process

Trump hates this route to find the truth about any topic


“Kavanaugh WILL be a truly great Justice of the Supreme Court” and just hours after a Senate showdown forced Trump to order a new probe by the FBI even as he admitted Christine Ford was “compelling and credible.”

KEY ELEMENTS OF THIS STORY:

• Jeff Flake, the key Republican moderate, said he would only vote 'yes' with a guarantee of an FBI probe
• Leading Democrats agreed to the week-long time frame of a FBI probe and the Senate Judiciary Committee has requested an investigation into “current, credible” allegations
• But request does not precisely define whose allegations are both current and credible - meaning it is unclear if they include Debbie Ramirez, who claims he exposed himself, and Julie Swetnick, who alleges gang rape
• Flake negotiated with Democrats after getting dramatically confronted by activists and revealing he had the support of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) red state Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
• At the White House Trump signaled his backing, saying he would let the Senate handle the issue
• Trump also called Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Ford's testimony “very compelling and credible”
• On Friday night, Trump tweeted: “Just started, tonight, our 7th FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He will someday be recognized as a truly great Justice of the United States Supreme Court!”
Mark Judge, an alleged witness the night of Ford’s assault, said he is willing to cooperate with law enforcement
• Kavanaugh needs 50 votes from the full Senate to gain the nomination (the Senate has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats)
• Moderate Sen. Doug Jones (D-GA) already revealed that he believed Christine Ford and would vote no

Just updated from the Washington Post (via MSN) in part here:

The FBI has begun contacting people as part of an additional background investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, including a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, a Yale University classmate of Kavanagh and possibly Julie Swetnik.

My 2 cents: As noted above Trump hates formal inquiries to anything or anyone around him… he hand has been forced on this Kavanaugh mess and he looks to blame the process which he was obligated to enforce.

Now we wait to see the final results. 

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Donald J. Trump, the N-in-C (Narcissist-in-Chief): Boasting to UN General Assembly

The biggest liar in American history - believe me

Trump's one-man plan to run America

Donald J. Trump, the N-in-C (Narcissist-in-Chief): Boasting in front of the UN General Assembly in his latest one-man stand-up comedy show – for surely that is was it was.
Short video on that here:
It got plenty of laughs
Also, this is an excellent article that helps answer this obvious question on that subject: “Has America ever gone it alone?”
Short answer: “No, we have not and we never should.”
Specifically:
The problem with Trump and his “America First” approach is that it describes his attitude, and not any valid or logical purpose.  
It substitutes his selfishness for realism.
It implies that we can go it alone, that we stand for nothing beyond our immediate self-interest, and that we should give little thought to how the rest of humanity thinks or lives. 
It suggests that if we are strong enough, we can prosper no matter how much chaos, disorder, or injustice surrounds and impacts us.
My 2 cents: This is Trump’s M.O. – sell a line of BS hoping it sticks, and with his loyalists, it usually does – they lap it up.
That is the sign of a clever, seasoned, skilled con-artist like Trump, which above all else, is precisely what he is.
Sadly, he is not done yet. 
Thanks for stopping by.






Saturday, September 22, 2018

Trump's Terrible Tariff Trade Troubles (T-5): Who's Hurt and Long Term Impact

Always black and white with Trump: His way, or hell to pay

Snapshot history of trade tariffs from a man who know economics, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, his latest article from the NY TIMES below in part:

In normal times, Donald Trump’s announcement of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, bringing us closer to an all-out trade war, would have dominated headlines for days. Things being as they are, it was a below-the-fold story, drowned out by all the other scandals underway.

Yet Trump’s tariffs really are a big, bad deal. Their direct economic impact will be modest, although hardly trivial. But the numbers aren’t the whole story. Trumpian trade policy has, almost casually, torn up rules America itself created more than 80 years ago — rules intended to ensure that tariffs reflected national priorities, not the power of special interests.

You could say that Trump is making tariffs corrupt again. And the damage will be lasting.

Until the 1930s, U.S. trade policy was both dirty and dysfunctional. It wasn’t just that overall tariffs were high; who got how much tariff protection was determined through a free-for-all of horse-trading among special interests.

The costs of this free-for-all went beyond economics: They undermined U.S. influence and damaged the world as a whole. Most notably, in the years after World War I, America demanded that European nations repay their war debts, which meant that they had to earn dollars through exports — and at the same time America imposed high tariffs to block those necessary exports.

But the game changed in 1934, when F.D.R. introduced the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act. 

Henceforth, tariffs would be negotiated via deals with foreign governments, giving export industries a stake in open markets. And these deals would be subject to up-or-down votes, reducing the ability of interest groups to buy themselves special treatment.

This U.S. innovation became the template for a global trading system, culminating in the creation (in 1947) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). And tariff policy went from being famously dirty to remarkably clean.

Then came Trump.

So far, Trump has imposed tariffs on about $300 billion worth of U.S. imports, with tariff rates set to rise as high as 25 percent. Although Trump and his officials keep claiming that this is a tax on foreigners, it’s actually a tax hike on America

And since most of the tariffs are on raw materials and other inputs into business, the policy will probably have a chilling effect on investment and innovation.

But the pure economic impact is only part of the story. The other part is the perversion of the process. There are rules about when a president may impose tariffs; Trump has obeyed the letter of these rules, barely, but made a mockery of their spirit. Blocking imports from Canada in the name of national security? Really?

Story continues at the NY TIMES link above.

My 2 cents:  Also consider these Trump policy and proposed trade and treaty approaches on the stage of his greatest “one-man reality show ever (one surprising point of view here): 


“Trump-world: I will rule the world – deal with it.”

All this is an ugly issue and comes from, need I remind anyone, from the “best and smartest man ever – believe me” or so Trump says about himself.  That on top of all his documented business failures, yet people still believe and trust him.

Boy have we lowered the bar on the common sense ladder of values and not just to the bottom rung, either. Seems in a sense that we have added a new lower rung. 

One needed for Trump to step on and ask his base to join him or so it seems almost on a daily basis or so it seems. The worst part – those Trump loyalist believe every word his says.  Why is that?

I still can’t figure it out except with one label: Their hatred for everything he hates is a stronger than the things they say used to be good about us and that only Trump bring back to life – whatever that means I also am pondering a logical answer. If you have one, let me know.

Thanks for stopping by.

Now check out the stories linked below. Real people stories.

Links to stories and impact of “The Terrible Trump Trade Tariffs”