Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Republicans seek to destroy the Artic National Wildlife Refuge




It is beautiful, vast, and wild.  It is the home to 36 unique fish species, 36 land mammals and a rich array of wildlife, some endangered.  160 bird species from four continents migrate to this area to breed, rest and feed from April to July each year. It is one of the most important polar bear denning area in the world.  It is the home of Porcupine caribou, Dall sheep, moose and musk oxen, grizzly and black bear.  It so remote that it can only be reached by air. 

It is the crown jewel of North America, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.
Republicans want to destroy it so that a few rich people and energy czars can enrich themselves from its oil, oil that we DO NOT need.

See this article from the Center for American Progress on the case against drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.  Share this with your friends,

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2017/11/13/442603/energy-case-drilling-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge/


See the video about this wonderful area.  Read about it.  Then write Congress and tell the Republicans NO.  You WILL NOT DESTROY this priceless refuge for GREED.



https://www.travelalaska.com/Destinations/Parks%20and%20Public%20Lands/Arctic%20National%20Wildlife%20Refuge.aspx

blob:https://www.huffingtonpost.com/af21a3c2-512c-4d4b-95cb-c4fa6a496b6d


blob:https://www.huffingtonpost.com/af21a3c2-512c-4d4b-95cb-c4fa6a496b6d

Write your Congressman here:  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials


Monday, November 13, 2017

Can the Senate Refuse to Seat Roy Moore?

If Roy Moore who has been accused of sexual harassment and child abuse is elected to the U.S. Senate in the Alabama special election, can the U.S. Senate refuse to seat him or remove him from office once he is seated?

The answer is Yes.  Article I, Section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution provides for expulsion of  a member upon a formal vote on a resolution to expel agreed to by a two-thirds vote.       

If elected, will Moore be expelled?  No.  Not only will Republicans refuse to remove a fellow Republican but the Senate historically has been extremely reluctant to remove a member who was elected by voters who were aware of his/her mis-behavior at the time of the election.  In other words, if Alabama voters want to elect a child abuser to represent them in the Senate, they will be allowed to do so.  The will of the voters will not be lightly overturned.

That’s sad, but true.

Read more about the expulsion process here:



Sunday, November 12, 2017

29% of Alabama voters think being an accused child molesters is a GOOD THING!

The latest Alabama Senate Poll, conducted by JMC Analytics and conducted between 11/9 and 11/11 has Democratic Party Doug Jones leading Republican and accused child molester Roy Moore by 4 points, 48% to 44%.

The most interesting thing in the poll is the answer to Question 8.  The pollsters asked:

Question 8: Given the allegations that have come out about Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct against four underage women, are you more or less likely to support him as a result of these allegations?

The responses were:

More Likely 29%
Less Likely 38%
No Difference 33%

Whoy Nelly…29% of Alabama voters think being an accused child molester is a GOOD THING.   WOW!  And, 58% of the respondents described themselves as evangelical Christian.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Hey Doofus, God is NOT in the Constitution

Yes Doofus Donald, as you told the religious hate group today, the authors of the Declaration of Independence reference the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” in the first paragraph of that document; say that “men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” in the second paragraph; and reference the “Supreme Judge of the world” and the “protection of divine Providence” in the last paragraph.  But, Donald, when it came to writing the U.S. Constitution, our Founding Fathers did not mention God at all.  Indeed, they purposefully left God out.

The Founding Fathers justified the revolution with reference to God-given rights but when it came to designing a system of government they wanted the government to have nothing to do with religion.  Indeed, in Article VI of the Constitution they declare that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”  The first amendment to the Constitution contains a clear statement that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  

Rather than establishing a system of government based upon Christianity or any other religion, the Founding Fathers demanded strict religious neutrality from their new government and its officeholders.  They viewed religion as a matter of individual choice which should and must be forever free of government coercion. They understood that the government that could compel one religion could just as well compel adherence to another or none at all.

Our Founding Fathers wanted government officials to exercise strict neutrality with regard  to religion when carrying out their official duties.  That means you, Doofus Donald.  You took an oath of office swearing to protect and defend the Constitution.   So, when acting in an official capacity as President of the United States, shut the fuck up when it comes to religion.  Keep your religion to yourself.  You have a Constitutional obligation to do so.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

HIGH RISK HEALTH INSURANCE POOLS DON’T WORK

The Repubs say they have found the solution for what to do with people with pre-existing conditions so that healthy people won’t have to pay higher premiums to cover the cost of insuring the sick.  Just create High Risk Pools in every state. 

Can High Risk Pools work?  The answer is NO.

Prior to the passage of Obamacare, 35 states used High Risk Pools of some sort to provide health insurance to residents under the age of 65 with pre-existing conditions.  While we cannot be certain how the High Risk Pools envision by Trumpcare would work, we can assume that they would work-or really NOT work-- very much like the High Risk Pools states used prior to Obamacare.

Here are some of the common features of the previous state High Risk Pools and they problems they encountered.

1. State High Risk Pools covered only a fraction people with pre-existing conditions.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study about 27% of Americans under the age of 65 have pre-existing conditions.  The average state High Risk Pool enrolled only about 2% of the non-group market, ranging from -.02% in Florida to 10.2% in Minnesota.  In other words, even the most successful state-run High Risk Pool, covered less than half of people who needed coverage and most pools covered a tiny fraction.  It is doubtful if the new Trumpcare pools will do any better.  In short, most people with pre-existing conditions cannot look to High Risk Pools for help.

2. Premiums were much higher than in the non-group market.

Most state High Risk Pools charged 150% to 200% of the rates in the non-group market.  We can expect Trumpcare High Risk Pools to do the same.  If so, most people will be unable to afford coverage. Take a 64 year old making $26,500 per year.  The CBO says his net premium under Trumpcare (premium after a tax credit of $4,900) will be $13,600 or half his income.  If he is unlucky enough to have pre-existing condition, his premium in a High Risk Pool could be anywhere from $20,400 to $27,200 or three quarters to more than 100% of his income.  He could not afford coverage.

3. Enrollees faced exclusions, high deductibles and lifetime limits on covered services.

Most state High Risk Pools excluded coverage for 6 to 12 months for people diagnosed with a pre-existing condition, set a lifetime limit on coverage of $1 million to $2 million, and had high deductibles ($1,000 to $5,000 per year or more).

4. All of the state High Risk Pools faced losses—expenses greater, often much greater, than premium revenue.

All of the states had to subsidize their High Risk Pools, usually by drawing from general revenues and/or from other revenue sources such as tobacco taxes or hospital assessments.  The average subsidy was $5,510 per enrollee, on average.  While the Federal Government provided grants in some years, the grants covered only 2% to 12% of program expenses.  The states with High Risk Pools lost a combined $1 Billion a year or more resulting in most states eventually capping enrollment to control costs.

BOTTOM LINE: High Risk Pools have been tried.  They don’t work.  In fact, they can’t work because the math doesn't work.  People with pre-existing conditions consume more health care at much higher costs.  When these high health care cost people are placed in a group all to themselves, the average cost to cover their health care expenses skyrockets, resulting either in premiums out of reach for most people and/or the need to provide huge subsidies.  The High Risk Pools eventually crumble under their own weight.

Here are a couple of links to the facts about High Risk Pools that you should make your Trumpcare fans read.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Latest CBO Scoring of House Health Care Plan-23 million More Uninsured

1. How much will the new plan lower the deficit over 10-years? 

The previous version of the bill saved $337 billion over 10 years.  The new version needs to save at least $2 billion for the Senate to be able to pass the bill under budget reconciliation—i.e., with 51 votes instead of 60. 

  • The CBO says the new version will save $119 billion.


2. How many more people will be uninsured?

Under the previous bill, the CBO estimated that 24 million fewer Americans in 2026 would have health insurance than under Obamacare.

  • The CBO says the under the new version 23 million will be uninsured in 2026 than under Obamacare.


3. How will average health insurance premiums change?

Under the previous bill, the CBO estimated that average health insurance premiums would be cut by 10%.

  • The CBO says under the new version average premiums will go down 4% in states that DO NOT obtain wavers (see #4 below).  In half of those states, average premiums may go down a s much as 10%.  Premiums will go down more in states that receive waivers but people in those states will have higher out-of-pocket costs that many people will not be able to afford so they will forgo seeking health care.


4.  The MacArthur Amendment allows states to waive a number of regulations contained in Obamacare.   How many states will request waivers?

If many states obtain waivers, we can expect drastic changes in what the average health insurance policy covers and its affordability.

  • The CBO estimates that half of the population lives in states that WILL NOT obtain waivers and about ONE THIRD live in states that  WILL obtain waivers to make MODERATE changes
People in states that obtain waivers, will “experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care” or be forced to forgo health services because of the cost.

Bottom Line:  The new version of the House American Health Care Act is:

Less favorable in terms of deficit reduction

Only slightly better in terms of how many people will lose coverage.—23 Million losing coverage vs 24 million.


Better in terms of the average cost of premiums in states that request waivers from Obamacare requirements but at the cost of huge increases in out-of-pocket costs which will result in fewer people getting care when they need it.


Likely to result in states with half of the population seeking waivers to Obamacare requirements resulting in lower average premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs and less coverage for people living in those states.

THIS BILL IS BAD FOR AMERICA




Friday, May 19, 2017

IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE: White House may have engaged in Criminal COVER-UP

McClatchy Washington Bureau reported this afternoon that “Investigators into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections are now also probing whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up.”  A “Senior White House Official” is being described as a “significant person of interest” in an investigation of possible criminal conduct.  If investigators are able to prove a cover up, someone could go to jail.  Additionally, a major charge in the articles of impeachment against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton included the charge of cover up.

Have high government officials, including possibly the President himself been engaged in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the Russia connection?  



Monday, May 15, 2017

Secret Health Care Reform—Senate Style.

Susan Davis at NPR reports that the U.S. Senate is drafting healthcare legislation in SECRET.

Secret talks are underway toward developing a Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The negotiating team consists of Senators hand picked by the Republican Senate leadership.  The negotiating team is MALE ONLY.  No women are being allowed to serve on the team.
The committee drafting the legislation meets behind closed doors and will hold NO PUBLIC HEARINGS.
Although Davis does not say so in her article, we can assume that:

The Senate bill will not be scored by the CBO.
It will be passed with a voice vote with NO amendments allowed.
It will be passed by a bare majority of 51 Republican ONLY votes under Budget Reconciliation Rules.
The bill will cover areas NOT impacting the budget, even though such items ARE NOT supposed to be allowed in Budget Reconciliation.  The Senate Parliamentarian will be overruled when she objects.
The bill will NOT be released to the public or non-partisan groups prior to the vote.
Most Senators voting on the bill will VOTE WITHOUT READING THE BILL since the bill will NOT be released to Senators in time.
The White House and the Senate leadership will LIE about the contents of the bill, its cost and its impact on American healthcare once it is passed.

The Senate bill will be sent to the House where the House leadership will push it through without allowing any amendments nor allowing members of the House time to read the bill.

Trump will sign the bill into law without ever even being briefed on its content.

Americans who had access to health care WILL DIE.

That’s the Republican form of government.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Text of Health Care Bill Passed by the House and My Summary

Here is a link to an official summary and full text of the Health Care Act of 2017 that the House passed.

SUMMARIES are here:


Clic on the drop down box to read the second summary.

ACTUAL TEXT OF THE BILL is here:


WHAT THE REPUBLICAN BILL DOES:

Here is my summary of the key provisions of the bill

The bill eliminates funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund that invests in programs to improve health and restrain the rate of growth of health care costs.  This fund currently provides about 12% of the funding for the Centers for Disease Control and is an important funding mechanism for public health departments.  The CDC’s former director, Tom Frieden, said that if the prevention funding is lost, “Americans will be at greater risk from vaccine-preventable disease, food-borne infections, and deadly infections contracted in hospitals.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/03/08/obamacare-repeal-guts-crucial-public-health-funds/?utm_term=.3db5f2c7cad9

The bill eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood for one year.

The bill fazes out funding for the Medicaid Expansion between now and 2020 and eliminates the requirement that Medicaid provide “Essential Health Benefits”-- ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, laboratory services, preventative and wellness services, and pediatric services.

The bill changes and limits the Federal funding for Medicaid.  Instead of picking up the full cost, the Federal Government will now provide a fixed amount per enrollee or a block grant.  States will have to make up the difference or limit enrollment.  Long term this may result in a substantial cut in the number of people eligible for Medicaid that states can cover.  Millions who might otherwise be covered with Medicaid will have no health insurance.

If a person seeking insurance in the individual or small group market has a break in coverage (no health insurance) for more than 62 days in the previous year, then the Republican laws says insurance companies MUST charge them 30% extra for their insurance for a period of one year.

Beginning in 2020, health insurance benefits no longer must conform to actuarial tiers (e.g., silver benefits, gold benefits, etc.)  These “actuarial tiers” provide a comparison of how good a plan is relative to the approximate amount of a person’s health care expenses the plan will cover.  The least expensive Bronze plan under Obamacare has an actuarial value of 60%-in other words covers about 60% of an average enrollees health expenses.  Under the Republican plan, Health insurance companies could offer much less generous plans—for example, a Coal Plan that would cover 10% or less of the average person’s health expenses.  See more about the actuarial tiers here: https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8177.pdf

Insurance companies may charge older individuals up to five times more than younger individuals.  The current ratio is three times more.  People over 60 would pay much more than under Obamacare for the same level of coverage.  People in their 20s would pay less.

The fine for not having health insurance is reduced to 0% or $0.00 compared to 2/5% and $695 under current law.  This is the Republican way of eliminating the Individual Mandate.  The mandate remains, but the fine is $0.

The bill repeals almost all taxes imposed by Obamacare designed to pay for the cost of the program. Eventually, whatever is left of Obamacare will be starved for lack of funding.

The bill ties tax subsidies (really advanced tax credits) for the purchase of insurance strictly to age without consideration of the actual cost of insurance for an individual in a market and/or the individual’s income and ability to pay.  Individuals in their 20s are eligible for a $2,000 supplement.  The supplement increases by $500 per age bracket (people in their 30s get $2,500 but to a maximum of $4,000 for individuals in their 60s.  The supplement is reduced by 10% for individuals with a Modified Adjusted Gross Income over $75,000 ($ 150,000) for couples.  Supplements are limited to $14,000 per year per family and the maximum amount the five oldest individuals in the family (husband, spouse and dependents) are eligible to receive based upon age.  Older Americans will find their out-of-pocket cost for health insurance on the individual market increase dramatically.  For example, the CBO in scoring an earlier version of the Republican plan said the out-of-pocket cost of premiums after the subsidy for a 64 year-old with an income of $26,000 a year could rise from $1,700 to $14,000, making the insurance unaffordable.

The bill allows states to request a waiver from Obamacare requirements for insurers to cover everyone at the same price regardless of pre-existing conditions and the requirement to offer Essential Health Benefits (see above).  While insurers in states with the waiver would still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, they could charge those individuals substantially more thus, in effect, making health insurance unaffordable for them.  States would be required to set up High-Risk pools to cover people with pre-existing conditions who can’t afford insurance.  The bill provides around $138 billion dollars through 2026 to help these Waiver states pay for the costs of these High-Risk pools, thus holding down premiums for people with pre-existing conditions who are forced into these pools.  Note: State High Risk Pool have not worked in the past because the funds provided to insurers to hold down the cost of premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions did not keep up with the ever increasing costs of the pools.  States with waivers could also allow health insurers to once again place annual and/or lifetime limits on the amount policies would pay.


THAT’S IT FOLKS.  The elderly and the poor are going to take it on the chin.

Don’t Count on Senate Rules to Save Obamacare

Many people are counting on the Democrat’s invocation of the Byrd Rule in the Senate to save Obamacare.  What’s the Byrd Rule?  

Adopted as part of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Byrd Rule—named after then Senator Robert Byrd of Virginia—allows a senator to block legislation or parts of legislation from being passed with 51 votes rather than 60, if the legislation or item in the legislation is “extraneous” to the Federal budget.  The Byrd Rule states that a item is “extraneous” if it meets one of more of the following conditions:
  1. if it does not produce a change in outlays or revenues;
  2. if it produces an outlay increase or revenue decrease when the instructed committee is not in compliance with its instructions;
  3. if it is outside the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;
  4. if it produces a change in outlays or revenues which is merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;
  5. if it would increase the deficit for a fiscal year beyond those covered by the reconciliation measure, though the provisions in question may receive an exception if they in total in a Title of the measure net to a reduction in the deficit; and
  6. if it recommends changes in Social Security.

  1. http://archives.democrats.rules.house.gov/archives/byrd_rule.htm


A number of provisions in the bill the House recently passed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, very likely will not pass the Byrd Rule tests.  In particular, the provision to allow states to seek waivers from some of the Obamacare regulations probably violate the Byrd Rule since waivers don’t produce a change in outlays or revenues or if they do, the changes are merely incidental to the non-budgetary parts of the legislation.  Since the waivers are key to the Republican strategy to unravel and kill Obamacare, a ruling by the Senate Parliamentarian that they don’t pass Byrd Rule muster and must be stricken from the bill in order for it to pass without 60 votes and the Democratic Party support would gut the Republican bill.  Obamacare would survive.

So, will the Democrats by able to save Obamacare by invoking the Byrd Rule?  Don’t count on it.  Here is why.

Republican’s can get around the Byrd Rule in three ways.

First, they can word the legislation to pass the Bryd Rule test.  For example, instead of repealing the Individual Mandate which the Parliamentarian told them would not pass the Byrd Rule, they simply made the fine $0.00.  There is still an Individual Mandate but your fine for not having insurance is zero.

Second, if the Parliamentarian rules against the Republicans, the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, can fire the current Parliamentarian and choose a new one who will rule differently.

Finally, the President of the Senate (Vice President Pence) can simply overrule the parliamentarian.  He does not have to take the Parliamentarian’s “advice” about what does and does not meet the Byrd Rule test.


Bottom Line: The Byrd Rule can’t stop Republicans from killing Obamacare and taking health insurance away from millions of Americans.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTE TO RETAIN OBAMACARE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE

After spending years railing against the Obamacare Individual Mandate, the House Republicans DO NOT end the mandate in their new Health Care Bill.  That’s right Obamacare Individual Mandate haters, the Republican bill that just passed retains the Individual Mandate.  You will still be required by Federal law to purchase health insurance whether you like it our not.  So much for the Republicans and Trump keeping their promise to end the most hated part of Obamacare. 

Don’t believe it? Don’t believe that the Repubs would really let Obamacare haters down?  Think again.  Tell your Repub Obamacare hater friends to take a look at the actual bill.  Here it is, right out of the Republican House bill that was just passed today.  No repeal of the Individual Mandate. NOT A WORD ABOUT REPEAL.  If you don't buy insurance, say Republicans, YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW.

SEC. 205. INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.
14 (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 5000A(c) of the Internal
15 Revenue Code of 1986 is amended—
16 (1) in paragraph (2)(B)(iii), by striking ‘‘2.5
17 percent’’ and inserting ‘‘Zero percent’’, and
18 (2) in paragraph (3)—
19 (A) by striking ‘‘$695’’ in subparagraph
20 (A) and inserting ‘‘$0’’, and
21 (B) by striking subparagraph (D).
22 (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
23 this section shall apply to months beginning after Decem-
24 ber 31, 2015.
VerDate Sep 11 2014 23:17 Mar 20, 2017 Jkt 069200 PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H1628.RH H1628
asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with BILLS
83
•HR 1628 RH
1 SEC. 206. EMPLOYER MANDATE.
2 (a) IN GENERAL.—
3 (1) Paragraph (1) of section 4980H(c) of the
4 Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by in-
5 serting ‘‘($0 in the case of months beginning after
6 December 31, 2015)’’ after ‘‘$2,000’’.
7 (2) Paragraph (1) of section 4980H(b) of the
8 Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by in-
9 serting ‘‘($0 in the case of months beginning after
10 December 31, 2015)’’ after ‘‘$3,000’’.
11 (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
12 this section shall apply to months beginning after Decem-
13 ber 31, 2015.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Source of Nunes's Claim about Trump Wiretapping Revealed?

Huffington Post (HP) just reported that the Source of Nunes info about Obama wiretapping Trump may have been found. 

The Source-which HP identifies- quotes an ex-CIA employee:

“Efforts to obtain a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant were initiated by political operatives in the Justice Department, and not by the FBI, all the way up to the attorney general or deputy attorney...They were not initiated because of possible criminal activity, but requested by officials acting on political motivations.”

The Source claims to have reviewed 132 pages of transcripts “outlining the contents of calls made from numbers inside Trump Tower in NYC to other unspecified numbers.”

The Source says a NSA employee reported that “the Obama administration turned the NSA’s Stellar Wind program against Trump for political sabotage!.

Who or what was Nunes’s Source?  HP says it may have been no other than that pinnacle of American journalism—The National Enquirer.

Makes sense.  Nunes says he went to a secure location to read the Source.  Obviously.  Who would want to be SEEN actually reading the National Enquirer? 



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Donald Trump may be committing a felony by not reporting his wiretapping evidence.

Donald Trump has accused Obama of committing the crime of wire tapping.  In fact, Trump may be guilty of a felony by not reporting everything he knows about this incident to the proper federal authorities.  Trump may be guilty of “misprision of felony” under federal law--18 U.S. Code § 4.  See: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/4

Why?  Let’s start by looking carefully at what Trump said in his tweets.

What did Trump actually say in his tweets about wire tapping?


Trump and his underlings are spinning like a top on what he really said about Obama and wire tapping.  Let’s not forget Trump’s exact words.  Here they are:






































Notice, Trump says “Obama had my ‘wires tapped.”  He says, “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’…”  He says “President Obama was taping my phones…”He says “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phone…”  There is only one way to read these tweets regardless of what kind of spin Trump and his underlings put on it.

Trump is clearly saying: “President Barack Obama ordered agents of the Federal Government or someone to tapp my phones.”  That’s the only possible interpretation of what Trump was saying. 

Let’s assume for a moment that when he used the words “wires tapped”, “wire tapping”, “tapping my phones,” and “tapp my phones,” Trump was referring to something broader than wire tapping such as “spying,” “surveillance,” “monitoring, electronic or otherwise,” “shadowing,” “watching,” or any other similar term.  It doesn’t’ matter.

Trump was clearly saying that Obama gave an illegal order for someone or some agency to engage in an invasion of Donald Trump’s privacy and thereby committed a felony.  It does not matter whether the alleged act was one of “tapping phones.”  This is clearly one President is accusing a former President of committing a criminal act.

Trump may be committing a felony by not coming with what he knows about the wiretapping.

Specifically, Donald Trump was accusing Barack Obama of violating “18 U.S. Code § 2511 - Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited”  which says in part “any person who—(a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication;”…” shall be punished as provided in subsection (4) or shall be subject to suit as provided in subsection (5).”  Section 4 calls says anyone found guilty of the section shall be subject to a $500 fine and/or up to five years in federal prison.

Trump said in his tweets that he has knowledge that Obama committed at crime—violated 18 U.S. Code § 2511.  Under the U.S. Code, Trump has an obligation to formally report this crime to federal authorities along with whatever evidence leads his to suspect that Obama committed the crime . 18 U.S. Code § 2511 says “Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 684; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(G), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)”  Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/4
  
Trump needs to come forward with everything he knows about Obama's "crime"  or be charged with the crime of misprision of felony.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Who will be uninsured under Trumpcare? The Poor and Elderly.

21 million more  nonelderly Americans will be without health insurance in  2020 and 24 million more will be without insurance than under Obamacare in 2026, if Trumpcare is adopted.  The Republicans will tell you that this growth in the uninsured will be largely due to Americans opting not to have health insurance.  In other words, people will be uninsured because they choose to be uninsured; they are exercising the FREEDOM of choice that was taken away from them by Obamacare.

That's not true.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that:

42% of the uninsured in 2020 and 58% of the uninsured in 2026 will be people who are kicked off Medicaid by cuts in Medicaid funding due to Trumpcare and can't afford to buy individual insurance even with the subsidies Trumpcare offers.  Remember, low income Americans are the ones who lose the most in subsidies under Trumpcare.

Another 33% of uninsured Americans in 2020 and 26% in 2026, will lose their insurance because their employer who under Obamacare would have been required to provide health insurance to their workers stop offering group insurance as they are allowed under Trumpcare.  Again, most of these will be low income employees who will find that the Trumpcare subsidies will not be enough to make insurance affordable to them in the private market.

Most of the remaining uninsured will be low income people who would like to be insured but can't find affordable insurance even with the subsidies Trumpcare offers.  Again remember, Trumpcare does not base subsidies on need.  Age is the only criteria.  And, the older you are and the poorer you are the less these subsidies help in offsetting your premiums.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't buy the Republican crap about the uninsured being Americans exercising their freedom of choice.  That's bunk.   MOST OF THE AMERICANS IN 2020 AND 2026 WHO ARE UNINSURED WILL NOT BE EXERCISING FREEDOM OF CHOICE.  THEY WILL BE VICTIMS OF TRUMPCARE.  An unknown number of these Americans will die due to lack access to medical care because Trump was elected and the Republicans obtained control of both Houses of Congress.


Monday, March 13, 2017

CBO Report: TRUMPCARE-Great for the YOUNG and RICH.

Here is a summary of the Congressional Budget Office estimate of the effects of adopting Trumpcare vs keeping Obamacare.

Premiums for the YOUNG in the individual market will go DOWN.  Premiums for OLDER AMERICANS will go UP.

Example:

The average premium for a 21 year-old will go from $5,100 under Opamacare to $3,900 under Trumpcare, a DECREASE of $1,200.

The average premium for a 64 year-old will go from $15,300 under Obamacare to $19,500 under Tumpcare, an INCREASE of $4,200.

Subsidies for a 21 year-old earning $26,500 will DECREASE from 3,400 to $2,450 or $950.  Subsidies for a 64 year-old with the same income would DECREASE from $13,600 to $4,900 or $8,700.  SENIORS take a much bigger hit at the time when their average premium INCREASES.

The Richer Americans get subsidies they would NOT have under Obamacare.  Poor American see their subsidies cut.

Example:

Single individuals with an income of 68,200 who DO NOT receive subsidies under Obamacare will RECEIVE subsidies of $2,450 to $4,900 under Trumpcare depending on age.

The number of UNINSURED will GO WAY UP.

Under Obamacare, the number of uninsured is expected to increase by 2 million between now and 2026—26 million to 28 million.

Under Trumpcare, the number of uninsured is expected to increase by 52 million in 2026, an INCREASE in the uninsured compared to Obamacare of 24 million. 

Under Trumpcare, the UNINSURED in 2026 will include:

14 million people who would have had coverage under Medicaid as a result of states cutting back on expanded access to Medicaid provided under Obamacare
2 million people who would have had nongroup coverage through the exchanges due to a reduction on subsidies
7 million people who would have had coverage through their employer due the removal of requirements and penalties for businesses not providing coverage.

Read the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate here:

Friday, March 10, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Trump Has Questioned BLS Unemployment Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an employment report today claiming that non-farm employment increased by 235,000 in February and that the unemployment rate is only 4.7 percent. 

Donald Trump has reacted this way to the BLS calculation of unemployment. 

“Such a phony number.  The number isn’t reflective.  I’ve seen numbers of 24 percent—I actually saw a number of 42 percent unemployment. Forty-two percent.  5.3 percent unemployment [the BLS February number was actually 4.7] that is the biggest joke there is in this country…The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it’s a 30, 32.  And the highest I’ve heard so far is 42 percent.”

In fact, a former budget director for President Reagan, David Stockman, has calculated that if you assume that there are at least 210 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 68, which he says is “a plausible measure of the potential workforce,” and that each of those people is able to hold down a full-time job then they would offer a total of 420 billion potential working hours. But, the actual working hours reported by the BLS have been only about 240 billion working hours.  Stockman says, run the numbers and you will see clearly that “the real unemployment rate is 42.9 percent.” 

Although the former budget director admits that his calculation is imperfect, Trump has said that he has far more faith in the accuracy of 42.9 percent figure than the fake and totally misleading “phony numbers” offered up by the BLS.

So, who are you going to trust, Donald Trump and Reagan’s budget director or the bureaucrats at BLS? 

A 42 percent unemployment rate is hardly the sign of a administration that creates jobs.

Check out the facts here:



Thursday, March 9, 2017

LOCK HIM UP! Is Trump illegally deleting his tweets?

Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) have sent a letter to the White House warning Trump and his servants that they may be violating the Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act by deleting tweets.  The Congressmen refer to recent news reports that Trump uses at least two twitter accounts and that he and/or his underlings are known to have deleted tweets for various reasons, such as removing tweets that might make Trump appear illiterate or just plain dumb.  Such deletions could be and very likely are, a violation of Federal laws, equal to or greater than deleting emails. 

Should we ask the Russians to help us recover these missing tweets and share them via Wikileaks?  Should we LOCK HIM UP?  Or, is fairness for the goose different from that for the gander?

Read the Chaffetz/Cummings letter here:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

AARP says Republican Obamacare replacement would be disaster for seniors

If you are over the age of 55, the Republican “Obamacare Replacement” is definitely NOT FOR YOU.  In fact, if the Repub health care plan becomes law, you are going to be scr**wed healthwise.

The AARP took a look at the provisions of the Repub’s American Health Care Act.  Their conclusion?  It would be a disaster for anyone over the age of 55.

According to AARP’s analysis, the Republican proposal would:

1. Cause the Medicare Part A Trust fund to go insolvent 4 years earlier than under Obamacare.  Say goodbye to your Medicare in 2024 if not sooner.  [Note: Obamacare ADDED 11 years to the life of Medicare.]

2. Cut $25 billion from Medicare Part B between 2017 and 2026 causing the Part B Trust Fund to go insolvent much earlier than it would under Obamacare.

3. Increase the annual premium for 50-64 year old Americans by $3,200.  Some 64 year olds could see their premiums go up by as much as $8,400 per year, making health insurance out of reach for many.

4. “Result in overwhelming cost shifts (for Medicaid) to states, state taxpayers, and families unable to shoulder the costs of care without sufficient federal support.”  [These shifts would result in drastic cuts to Medicare program eligibility and services with disastrous consequences for seniors with low incomes.]

5. Make it harder for older adults and people with disabilities to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible. [Note: On average institutional care is three times more expensive than home-based care.  Your tax dollars would have to make up this difference.]

NOTE: Most of this would hit 55+ Ameicans living in states that voted for Trump the hardest while providing millions of dollars of tax cuts to billionaires like Trump and his buddies.

Read the AARP analysis here:


Monday, March 6, 2017

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson says “Slaves were immigrants that worked really hard for less.”

In a speech to employees of Housing and Urban Development, our new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development said:

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

In Secretary Carson’s interpretation of history, which I have never heard before, slave traders were actually engaged in a humanitarian effort to offer African immigrants free transportation to the land of milk and honey where they could “really hard for less” in pursue their dreams.

Somehow, in his book The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Anti-Bellum South, Kennith Stampp, like most American historians, missed this explanation of slavery in America.

I assume next old Ben will be explaining how the U.S. Government in the 1800’s helped American Indians by providing them with free escort so they could pursue new opportunities in the American west and how the tears shed during the trail of tears were actually tears of joy.

Sorry, I can’t go on, my head hurts.  What an idiot.

Read the sad story here:


Friday, February 3, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Trump Retires from Office

In what is being called “an extraordinary act of patriotism matched only by that of George Washington,” Donald Trump announced today his retirement from the office of President. He tweeted this afternoon:

Friends and Fellow Citizens,

I am persuaded that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

I will only say that I have contributed towards the administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable.  Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome.

Donald Trump


Don’t you wish it was true.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Protect Yourself from Trump

Elections have consequences, none more so than the 2016 election.  This time a lot of the consequences are bad, maybe really bad.  This is particularly true if you are Black, Hispanic, a young woman of childbearing age, or a member of the LBGT community.  It is also true for anyone who depends upon Medicare, Medicaid or Obamacare for their health insurance or who hopes to retire and needs Social Security to do so.  It is also true for young people struggling to find the funds to obtain or complete their college education.  It is true for a lot of people, many who actually voted for Donald Trump, although they may not realize it, yet.  We all have something to lose from this very, very bad decision we just made.  We have less than two months to carefully assess our personal situations and prepare for the worst that may come.

The seriousness of the threat to you from the Trump administration depends in large extent on the source of your rights, privileges and protections.  If the source is executive orders, particularly recent executive orders from the Obama administration opposed by Republicans, those rights, privileges and protections are likely to disappear, perhaps in days or weeks of Trump taking the oath of office.  If the source is court decisions, such as many of Gay rights, then you have until new Conservative Supreme Court Justices are confirmed and have their chance at rolling back your legal protections.  That probably will not happen for several years, provided Democrats in the Senate can fight a successful delaying action to slow down confirmations.  If your rights, protections and so on are based upon legislation, you must also look to Democrats in the Senate to slow down what will likely be a determined effort by a Republican-controlled Congress to undo as much of the progressive legislation passed over the last 50 years as possible.

If you are dependent upon Obamacare for health insurance, you will most likely be forced to look for other options within the next few years.  Obamacare will not survive, at least not in the current form.  The Republican replacement, whatever that is and if it ever comes, will offer you options that may be cheaper for some, but certainly will be much less comprehensive and protective and many cases not much better than junk insurance that only gives the illusion of coverage.  Medicaid is in danger of becoming as a shadow of what it is today.  Medicare could become nothing more than a next to worthless voucher program, if not for current recipients, certainly for those who are under 55 when they become eligible.  If you have been putting off expensive treatment for an existing condition, now may be the time to take advantage of whatever insurance you have, since what you have today is certainly better than anything that will be available to you in the future.

Of course, there will be no comprehensive immigration reform and no hope of a path to citizenship if you are not a legal resident.  At least right away, I don’t think there will be mass deportations or internment camps, but these evils are not out of the realm of possibility in a few years if some in the Trump administration have their way.  The odds of many immigrant families being torn apart have increased dramatically. 

If you are a college student or about to become one, forget about any Trump administration help to reduce the enormous financial burden you are facing or about to face.  There may be even less help available in the years ahead.  Get as much education as you can now and take advantage of whatever financial aid might be available to you at this moment.  Student loans will cost a lot more under the Trump administration if they remain available at all.

If you are gay, the right to marry along with all the other rights you have fought so long to obtain and have only recently acquired are endangered.  The current Supreme Court will protect your rights for a few more years, but that will change as soon as the Republicans start packing the courts with their hand-picked Scala-type judges who could control the court for the next thirty to forty years.  Needless to say, any rights or protections you now enjoy as a result of executive orders will quickly be eliminated, at least if some backers of Trump have their way.  If you want full rights, you may have to leave the U.S.  If you want to stay in the U.S., your only option may be to relocate to a sanctuary city.

If you are Gay, Black, Hispanic and/or a member of any minority group, it is almost certain that you will experience increased hate crimes during the Trump years.  We are already seeing this.  Some really evil groups believe they have the President-elect’s permission, even encouragement, to engage in verbal and physical violence, to openly express their anger toward groups of people they dislike or with whom they disagree.  There is no doubt that you are threatened.  The best you can hope from Trump is that he does not openly encourage or condone attacks against you.  At best, he will remain silent.  Don’t expect him to try to stop very bad people from doing very bad things.  You are going to have to be very watchful and careful to avoid personal injury.  There probably will be areas of the country that you will need to avoid at all costs.

If you are worried about the environment and America’s natural treasures, you have a right to be.  Expect the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations, expand mining and drilling on public lands within national parks and federally protected areas.  Trump is surrounding himself with aides and appointees who deny the human impact on climate change and see nothing wrong with raping the land for money.  The Trump years are going to be tough for endangered species and fragile parts of the ecosystem.  You may see widespread destruction in the name of greed.  Go see the wonders this country has to offer now.  They may not survive the Trump years.

Bottom Line: There is no way to know to what extent Trump’s words during the campaign were just appeals to his base or whether he really believed what he said.  We don’t know to what extent he will actually do the things he said he would do.  He may not.  But, we dare not take the risk.  The United States could be on the verge of experiencing what Germany experienced in the 1930s.  An American “Hitler” may be about to be sworn into office.  We can hope that such an analogy is totally wrong and that Trump will only be a little worse that Nixon or Reagan or GW.  But, we can’t take the risk.  Better to assume the worst and be prepared.

What You Must Do—Right Now

As I said earlier, time is running out.  You have less that two months to imagine the worse and prepare to protect yourself.  Here are a couple of things you need to do, starting right now.

(1) You need to answer some tough questions and act upon your answers.  How might you and your immediate family be affected if the bad things I’ve talked about in this post really happen over the next few months and years?  What damage could they do to you and those most dear to you?  What can you do to minimize the damage?  You may have to move to a different part of the country or overseas for a while if you can afford to do so.  You may have to moderate your words or behavior in certain situations and around certain people or be careful to avoid certain places, people and/or situations entirely.  That probably makes you angry and it should.  But if the worst comes to pass, you will have to do what you will have to do and not just to protect yourself.  Many people will need your help if the bad days come.  You can’t help them if you have not helped yourself.  Your number one goal during the Trump years may be just simply surviving the bad days Trump will undoubtedly bring. 

(2) Once you have arranged for your own protection and for protecting those closest to you, you should provide as much financial and other assistance to the Democratic Party as you can.  No matter how much you would like to see the growth of a multi-party system, no matter how disillusioned you are with the Democratic Party’s shortcomings, this is not the time to toy with third party candidates.  The only hope we have of reversing the course the Republicans and Trump have put us on, is a strong and united Democratic Party.  That can’t happen unless Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Young People, Women, Progressives, Liberals, Environmentalists and all of the other natural supporters of the Democratic Party turn out in much larger numbers than they did in 2016 and vote only for the Democratic Party and not some third party.  Finally, you must accept and support efforts by the Democratic Party to win back support from Whites with less than a college education, particularly White Males.  Non-Hispanic Whites were 70% of the electorate in 2016 and nearly 60% of them voted for Trump.  If the Democratic Party becomes the party of minorities, it will forever remain the minority party in Congress and we may never again see a Democrat as President.  The policies of the Democratic Party are really the best hope rural, non-Hispanic Whites with less than a college education have for a better life.  We have to convince them that Republican promises are empty promises.  See the 2016 voter demographics here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37889032

I wish this post could be more positive, but the truth about our future as I see it is grim.  Better to face that fact and do what we can to minimize the damage Trump will do than live in denial. 

I’m not going to conclude this post by offering some reassurance that all will be well and that the bad things I’ve discussed in this post will not be as bad as they seem.  Maybe that will be the case.  I hope so.  However, the future Trump brings us could be even worse than any of us imagine.  Be prepared.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What to look for as you watch the election coverage tonight

Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight.com has posted an excellent guide to what to look for as the returns come in tonight.  Read Enten’s explanations of what to look for and why here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-to-watch-election-night/

Here is a brief summary of key points in Enten’s guide to the election coverage.

6 PM
Enten says a quick call of the Senate race in Indiana former Sen. Evan Bayh could signal that the Democrats will regain control of the Senate.

7 PM
Florida—Clinton should have an early lead. If she doesn’t, that could be a bad sign.
Georgia—A “too close to call” would be a bad sign for Trump
South Carolina—A 25% turnout by Blacks would be a good sign nationally for Clinton
Virginia—A “too early to call” would be a good sign for Clinton

8 PM
Illinois—Look for an early call for Democrat Tammy Duckworth. A “too close to call” could be bad sign for Democrats gaining control of the Senate.
Maine—If the statewide race is called early for either candidate, that’s a good sign for the winning candidate nationwide and a bad sign for the loser.
Michigan—Clinton needs a strong turnout in Wayne Country/Detroit. A low Black turnout is a bad sign for her.
Pennsylvania—A “too early to call” would be a good sign for Clinton.

9 PM
New Mexico—Clinton needs large margins in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County around Alburquerque.  Close results in these counties could signal trouble ahead for her in regard to winning the state.
Wisconsin—Trump should be leading in early returns.  If he is behind, he is in big trouble.

10 PM
Iowa—Clinton could be in trouble if she does not have an early lead.
Nevada—A Clinton win by 10 points or more in Clark County (Las Vegas) is a good sign for her. A win of less than 10 points in that county would be a bad sign.
Utah—Clinton needs to win big in Salt Lake City (Salt Lake County) and in Park City (Summit County) or she may not be able to take Utah.

11 PM
If Clinton has a good night, the race should be called by 11:15 or 11:30.  If it is still too close, it may be a long night.


Hopefully, we will be able to break out the champagne by mid-night or shortly thereafter.

Who is winning? Early estimates in six key battleground states

UPDATED: 11/8/2016  5:15 PM

Clinton continues to lead Trump in all 6 of these key states.  

Votecastr says Clinton has leads of 4 pts in Florida, 3 pts in Iowa, 4 pts in New Hampshire, 2 pts in Nevada, 1 pt in Ohio, and 3 pts in Pennsylvania.

According to estimates from Votecastr of votes cast based upon early voting and on election day at a sample of polling places in six battleground states:

Here are the estimated vote counts so far:

STATE
Hilary Clinton
Donald Trump
Florida
4,225,249
3,947,947
Iowa
524,152
505,385
Nevada
408,495
401,051
New Hampshire
204,682
188,947
Ohio
1,968,075
1,939,358
Pennsylvania
1,787,755
1,684,020


Friday, November 4, 2016

UPDATE: CLINTON WILL WIN

Final Consensus: Clinton will win the election

Final projections for the outcome of the election have been coming in all day today.  All 14 of the forecasters we are tracking project that Hilary Clinton will win the election with a minimum of 273 electoral votes and a maximum of 323.

The Attack Democrat is projecting Clinton will receive 322 electoral votes. Three other models—Frontloading HQ, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the New York Times are projecting the same.  Pollyvote, which has one of the best track records in predicting the outcome of Presidential elections, has Clinton gathering a total of 323 electoral votes.

There seems little doubt that Clinton will become the next President of the United States.  The only way Trump can win is if the polls are not just wrong, but way, way off the mark AND every forecasting model is badly flawed.  That could be true but the chances are not very good.

Some states still too close to call

Five forecasters that we track are still unable to project the winner of some states calling them toss-ups at this late date.  Four out of these five say Florida and North Carolina could go either way.  Three of the five add Arizona, Ohio and Georgia as toss-ups.

The consensus view of our forecasters is that Clinton has locked in at least 268 electoral votes, just two short of winning. Additionally, she has better than a 50% chance of carrying New Hampshire (4 Evs), Nevada (6 Evs), Florida (29 Evs) and North Carolina (15 Evs), bringing here total too a possible 333 Evs, about the same as Obama in 2012 but less than the 365 Evs Obama won in 2008.


The consensus view of our forecasters is that Trump starts with 151 Evs and has a better than 50/50 chance of taking Mississippi (6 Evs), Arizona (11 Evs), Nebraska-2nd (1 Ev), Georgia (16 Evs), Utah (6 Evs), Iowa (6 Evs), and Ohio (18 Evs).  If he won all of these, Trump would only have 215 Evs, 55 short of the number he needs to win.

The Attack Democrat projects that Clinton will win the election with 322 but not less than 272 electoral votes.

Here are some other projections of a Clinton win with from 273 to 340 electoral votes.

Forecast
Thur
Fri
Sat
Sun
Mon
Tues
340
340
340
340
322

293
293
293
293
322

294
297
291
291
297

303
285
302
323
323

278
278
278
278
278

278
274
274
274
278

274
274
274
274
274

317
312
312
314
313

288
288
284
284
302

322
322
322
322
322

317
317
317
317
317

323
323
323
323
323

317
302
302
273
273

323
323
319
312
313

The Attack Democrat
303
302
302
322
322