Republicans want to stop 500,000 schoolkids from having a free lunch


Ellen O’Nan/AP

❝ The Trump administration recently proposed changes to the food stamp program, but omitted the fact they would make half a million children ineligible for free school meals…

The Department of Agriculture outlined an overhaul of the food stamp program that would reduce the number of Americans that are eligible for those benefits…

❝ Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, notes the proposal neglects to note the USDA estimates more than 500,000 children would lose their eligibility for free school meals. Currently, families receiving food stamps are automatically entered into a program that provides children with free breakfast and lunch at school.

❝ “…However, when the rule was published in the Federal Register, the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) did not include discussion of the rule’s impact on free school meal eligibility.”

The whole truth and nothing but the truth doesn’t mean diddly-squat to the corrupt Republican Party afraid to challenge their Führer.

Trump’s shutdown lets Violence Against Women Act expire


Capitol Rotunda empty as Trump’s heartAP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

❝ The partial shutdown of the U.S. government, which is affecting more than 800,000 federal workers and numerous government agencies, also has consequences for the Violence Against Women Act, which expired at midnight on Friday…

❝ VAWA funds and administers numerous programs assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Its expiration does not prevent all of these programs from being administered — according to The Washington Post, grants already awarded under the law will not be affected. But future payment requests from programs that receive VAWA funding will be delayed until the law is reauthorized.

…A bill introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, in July would have extended and expanded VAWA, introducing additional measures that prohibit the sale of firearms to people subject to protection orders and to persons convicted of stalking…so, of course, Republicans couldn’t vote YES without offending the NRA.

Reducing trade with China doesn’t increase jobs, it increases prices

❝ Before announcing import tariffs on more than 1,300 types of Chinese-made goods worth around $60 billion per year, in early March Trump unveiled sweeping tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, which he justified on the basis of national security. Trump insists that a tariff on a small fraction of imported steel – the price of which is set globally – will suffice to address a genuine strategic threat.

Most experts, however, find that rationale dubious. Trump himself has already undercut his national-security claim by exempting most major exporters of steel to the US. Canada, for example, is exempted on the condition of a successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, effectively threatening the country unless it gives into US demands…

❝ As is often the case, Trump seems to be fixated on a bygone problem. Recall that, by the time Trump began talking about his border wall, immigration from Mexico had already dwindled to near zero. And by the time he started complaining about China depressing its currency’s exchange rate, the Chinese government was in fact propping up the renminbi.

Likewise, Trump is introducing his steel tariffs after the price of steel has already increased by about 130% from its trough, owing partly to China’s own efforts to reduce its excess capacity. But Trump is not just addressing a non-issue. He is also inflaming passions and taxing US relationships with key allies. Worst of all, his actions are motivated by pure politics. He is eager to seem strong and confrontational in the eyes of his electoral base.

Neither good sense nor knowledgeable decisions prevail. Trump’s rule by mouth continues to be perfectly acceptable to the ignorant cult of his followers and cowards in Congress.

Why Are Republicans Rushing This Tax Scam?


Al Drago for the NY TIMES

❝ So, it seems that Republicans are responding to the devastating defeat in Alabama – which is part of a sustained pattern of underperformance in special elections, demonstrating that bad polls reflect reality, not bad polling, by … doubling down on a massively unpopular tax plan, whose main focus is on cutting corporate taxes.

In fact, they’re rushing to jam the thing through before Doug Jones can be certified, in a stunning act of hypocrisy from the same people who demanded that Obamacare wait until Scott Brown was seated and held up a Supreme Court seat for a year. It’s outrageous. But it also looks like really bad politics, especially given what we know is coming: calls next year for cuts in popular social programs, because of a deficit Republicans just voted to explode. So what are they thinking?

❝ I don’t know for sure, but I’d suggest three possible factors in this mad rush.

❝ First…Today’s Republicans are apparatchiks, who have spent their whole lives inside an intellectual bubble in which cutting taxes on corporations and the rich is always objective #1…that the whole game was to win by playing on social issues, national security, and above all on racial antagonism, then use the win to push fundamentally unpopular economic policies…

❝ Second…The idea is that voters are impressed by your record of wins, or conversely that they’ll turn away if you don’t win enough.

Trumpublicans repeat that stupidity all day long.

❝ Third – “I guess I’ll be looking for a lobbying job/ think tank position/commentator role on Fox News in 2019” – in which case your mission in what remains of your Congressional career is to keep donors and the party machine happy, never mind the voters.

Which is what public service in a 2-party system made up mostly of corporate pimps ends up offering to voters.

John McCain tries to put some backbone into Republicans

❝ Americans recoiled from the repugnant spectacle of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville to promote their un-American “blood and soil” ideology. There is nothing in their hate-driven racism that can match the strength of a nation conceived in liberty and comprising 323 million souls of different origins and opinions who are equal under the law.

❝ Most of us share Heather Heyer’s values, not the depravity of the man who took her life. We are the country that led the free world to victory over fascism and dispatched communism to the ash heap of history. We are the superpower that organized not an empire, but an international order of free, independent nations that has liberated more people from poverty and tyranny than anyone thought possible in the age of colonies and autocracies.

❝ Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again.

❝ Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.

That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to.

It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other.

❝ That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.

We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.

There’s not much in politics when I agree with John McCain. His class loyalties do not lie with America’s working class. He does have an historical, sound understanding of our Constitution. That doesn’t require extra scholarship — only common sense and the ability to read beyond a 6th-grade level. Neither of which includes our fake president.

Still, click the link above and reflect upon the whole piece.

Professional analysts respond to Republican incompetence and cowardice


Don’t omit avarice

❝ Top Republican legislators have spent months now attacking the Congressional Budget Office. House Speaker Paul Ryan derided the agency’s Obamacare numbers as “bogus,” speaking to reporters at an event in Massachusetts Thursday.

The CBO directors are fighting back. All eight signed on to a letter Friday to raise a “strong objection to recent attacks on the integrity and professionalism of the agency.”

❝ The letter continues:

Relying on CBO’s estimates in the legislative process has served the Congress  —  and the American people  —  very well during the past four decades. As the House and Senate consider potential policy changes this year and in the years ahead, we urge you to maintain and respect the Congress’s decades-long reliance on CBO’s estimates in developing and scoring bills.

❝ This is the first time, I’m told, that all eight former directors have signed on to a joint letter. The group includes those appointed by Republicans and Democrats

❝ The CBO directors don’t expect to become a regular presence in the fight over the office’s numbers. One reason there was some hesitation to put out the letter is that they didn’t want to commit to an ongoing feud with Congress — but felt the attacks had become fevered enough to warrant a response.

As the former CBO director I spoke with put it to me, “We believe in the norms of our political system. And we believe, strongly, that the CBO is one of those norms.”

Like many nations, the United States can count on the dedication and professionalism of virtually the whole of our civil service. Most could earn more in private industry. The concept of serving your country is meaningful to most civil servants as it is to our military lifers.

Which is different from the sort of lifers we encounter all too often in Congress. Not all. But, too many.

Republican healthcare


Click to enlarge

Here’s how Republicans want to “repeal and replace” Obamacare…

❝ Republicans have repeatedly identified what they don’t like about the Affordable Care Act: It doesn’t cover enough people, and the deductibles are too high. They then went ahead and drafted legislation that would cover fewer people and drive deductibles even higher.

Thanks, Vox