Trumpcare FAIL — as the Republican Party’s repeal of Obamacare pulled from House of Representatives


Thanks Ian Bremmer for the cartoon

Republican repeal of Obamacare fails as healthcare bill pulled from House vote…

Donald Trump suffered a major legislative reversal on Friday as Republicans were forced to pull their repeal of the Affordable Care Act from the House floor…

As it became clear that Republican resistance to the bill was hardening, House speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to tell Trump in person that he did not have the votes to pass the bill.

However, as the 3.30pm deadline slid by, first reports emerged that Trump had asked for the vote to be pulled.

Minutes later House Republicans, short of votes, had withdrawn the health bill.

Sometimes the truly corrupt get what they deserve. True, there isn’t much difference between Congressional Republicans [or Blue Dog Democrats] and a slug like Donald Trump. Corrupt. Liars. Useless to the real needs of American workers, American working-class families.

Trump is more of a pathological liar than the crafty slime stinking up Congress with each of their several sects, e.g. Tea Party, so-called Freedom Caucus, neo-cons, whatever. So, give him credit for being the worst of the lot.

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Former head of Colorado Republican Party charged with voter fraud

❝ A Colorado talk radio host who once chaired the state Republican Party and has accused Democrats of widespread voter fraud has been charged with forging his ex-wife’s signature on a mail-in ballot in the 2016 election…

Steven Curtis, 57, who served as state GOP boss from 1997 until 1999, is charged with one felony count of forgery and one misdemeanor count of tampering with a mail-in ballot, according to a criminal complaint filed in Weld County District Court.

❝ The case stems from an inquiry lodged with the Weld County Clerk and Recorder’s Office by Curtis’s former spouse, Kelly Ireland, who contacted the agency in October to check on the status of her voter registration after the couple split.

Ireland was informed then that a signed mail-in ballot bearing her name and voter information had already been submitted, according to Carly Koppes, an elected Republican who serves as the county clerk.

“At that point, my office researched the situation further, and the signature was questionable, so we then contacted the District Attorney’s Office to start an investigation,” Koppes told Reuters.

❝ If convicted, Curtis faces a maximum three years in prison for forgery and up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine for ballot-tampering, said Tyler Hill, a spokesman for the district attorney.

❝ The former Republican Party boss hosts a morning political talk show on conservative Denver radio station KLZ-AM called “Wake Up With Steve Curtis.”

Curtis spoke about election tampering in a segment titled “Voter Fraud and Other Democratic Misbehaviors” on his Oct. 6, 2016 broadcast.

“It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,” Curtis said…

The Republican Party really should check and see if anyone holds the trademark for hypocrisy. They should register it as their own. Modern history bears out their ownership.

Election Security in America is OK, Donald

❝ The U.S. secretaries of state, charged with running elections, recently met in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the past election season and to discuss what they can do to improve the process. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, who serves as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, spoke with The Pew Charitable Trusts about the security of voting in America.

Q: What is on the minds of secretaries of state?

❝ A: The security of the elections. We’re seeing the Department of Homeland Security declare elections critical infrastructure. This happened just a few months ago, and we’re still trying to figure out what exactly is the role of the federal government in a highly decentralized system. We’re also thinking about issues of whether or not there is voter fraud, how much is there, and should we have some sort of national voter ID, or even a national ID card—those are the big issues this year.

Q: You’ve been working on reducing long lines at the polls. Do long lines mean people might not vote at all?

❝ A: Oh, absolutely. There’s no problem with a long line if it’s moving. The problem is when it gets stuck because of bad management—not enough poll workers or enough lines, or the lists divided incorrectly. These are all management issues…

Q: The 2016 election has been covered extensively, but what might the public not know?

❝ A: There are over 100,000 polling places in this country. None of them is connected in any way to the internet. Hacking an election is completely impossible.

Q: Voter fraud has been in the news. Tell us the facts.

❝ A: The reality is that voter fraud is highly unusual, especially the type that’s being discussed: in-person voter fraud. Actual fraud—people impersonating a voter or trying to vote when they’re not eligible to vote—is extremely rare…

RTFA for more about ideas to make voting easier, reporting quicker, accurate and timely. The Republican fake news about voter fraud pisses me off, no end. We went through the whole crapload of lies when we got our “moderate” Republican governor, Susana Martinez.

The Secretary of State – later thrown out of office for fraud unrelated to voting – spent a year with a specially chartered investigation of voter fraud with focus on undocumentados getting on the voting rolls. The study “discovered” fewer than a dozen people in the state registered who didn’t qualify. Only two of them had actually gone to the polls to vote because they thought it was mandatory. The usual appointed poll-watchers caught the mistake – they realized the mistake and left. None actually voted once they were notified of the mistake and the system worked just fine.

Except for the creeps in the NM Republican Party wasting $200,000 of taxpayer funds on one of their phony issues.

Congress’ Analysis says – Republicans will take away health care coverage from 24 million Americans


“You’re a bigger liar than I am”

❝ Fourteen million Americans would lose coverage next year under House Republican legislation remaking the nation’s health care system, and that number would balloon to 24 million by 2026, Congress’ budget analysts projected Monday. Their report deals a stiff blow to a GOP drive already under fire from both parties and large segments of the medical industry.

❝ The Congressional Budget Office report undercuts a central argument President Donald Trump and Republicans have cited for swiftly rolling back the 2010 health care overhaul: that the insurance markets created under that statute are “a disaster” and about to implode. The congressional experts said the market for individual policies “would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the (GOP) legislation.”

The report also flies in the face of Trump’s talk of “insurance for everybody,” which he stated in January. He has since embraced a less expansive goal — to “increase access” — advanced by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans…

You have “access” to the best medical care in the world, right now. If you can afford it. Obamacare made healthcare affordable for millions more Americans. Trumpcare takes it away...

❝ The budget office’s estimates provide a detailed, credible appraisal of the Republican effort to unravel former President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul. The office has a four-decade history of even-handedness and is currently headed by an appointee recommended by Price when he was a congressman…

❝ …The budget office said the GOP measure would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the coming decade. That’s largely because it would cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income Americans and eliminate subsidies that Obama’s law provides to millions of people who buy coverage…

Truly kind-hearted crew in the Republican Party. If you’re a millionaire.

❝ The American Medical Association, which has opposed the Republican bill because it would reduce coverage, said the report shows the legislation would cause “unacceptable consequences.”…

❝ By 2026, the office estimated, a total of 52 million people would lack insurance, including 28 million who would have been expected to lack coverage under Obama’s statute. People with lower incomes age 50 to 64, generally too young for Medicare, would represent a disproportionately large share of the uninsured, and growing numbers of people would lose coverage from jobs.

One of the best economists currently teaching in the United States tweeted calculation of an individual example for someone just short of making it to Medicare:

You really gotta give it to the Republicans. If you don’t, they’ll come to your home and take it away!

Conservative capitalist Koch holds Trump accountable for his bigotry

❝ Conservative patriarch Charles Koch and his vast network is vowing to oppose President Donald Trump if and when he deviates from their dedication to “free and open societies.”

This weekend alone, Koch raised concerns about whether the Republican president will adopt an “authoritarian” governing style. Koch’s chief lieutenants condemned the nascent administration’s plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects. And the Koch network’s many donors lashed out at Trump’s push to block immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

“It doesn’t do any good for us to be positioned as hating whole classes of people,” said Erick Brimen, who, like the other 550 or so donors who gathered at a luxury California hotel this weekend, will pay at least $100,000 this year to fund Charles and David Koch’s nationwide network of policy and political organizations…

❝ The sentiment was in line with a formal statement released Sunday by the Koch network, which said Trump’s “travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

❝ Many who attended this weekend’s Koch donor conference reported anxious optimism about the extraordinary opportunity for conservatives. They highlighted strong ties between the Koch network and the Trump administration. And even before it is announced, Koch’s team is preparing to devote its tremendous resources to defend Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

Yet there are also deep concerns about a new president with no long-term commitment to conservative priorities like free trade, free markets and small government.

“Our suspicion is we’re going to get three parts good and one part bad,” said Chris Wright, a Colorado-based energy entrepreneur. “We’re worried about the one part bad.”

Always interesting to see the way America’s rightwing devolves – when push comes to shove. Mike Pence is one of those political cretins who rejects an inclusive democracy altogether. He claims to be a Christian, conservative and Republican in that order. The Koch Bros own all three of him.

Trump OTOH cares for nothing more than the world of real estate development – and folks tugging on their forelock when they address his majesty. The Koch Bros leave the ignorant, the idiocracy to Trump.

Pic of the day


Click to enlargeAndrew Kelly/Reuters

Iraqi immigrant Hameed Darweesh walks out of JFK with Congressman Jerrold Nadler (L) and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (R) after being released

The whole world is watching. Trump’s official bigotry is halted for a brief while. The Republican Party’s acceptance of official bigotry is halted for a brief while. Congress’ acceptance of official bigotry on behalf of the United States of America – is halted for a brief while.

Amazon didn’t kill Macy’s — Macy’s did

❝ It has been a very bad week for some of the country’s biggest department stores, with Macy’s feeling the brunt of it. The mass-market retailer’s stock has dropped 16 percent since it announced disappointing holiday sales results and details on thousands of job cuts on Jan. 4.

Macy’s has said that it has too many stores, in too many underperforming locations. It’s closing 100, and no one should be surprised if that number grows in future years.

❝ Macy’s has also blamed what it calls “changing customer behavior.” That’s code for the rise of Amazon.com and the adoption of e-commerce shopping in general. It’s also the idea that a new generation is spending more money on experiences over physical goods.

But while Amazon has certainly had a hand in Macy’s struggles — and we’ll get back to this in a bit — Macy’s should look within, first, for the cause of its current predicament. Because if not Amazon, someone else would have come along and taken advantage of the complacency that’s been on display inside Macy’s over the last decade.

❝ For starters, a trip into Macy’s this holiday season felt like a visit to a teenager’s bedroom: In its Paramus, N.J., store, items were strewn everywhere and no useful answers were to be had.

Even in a neat Macy’s, the selection of merchandise has left a lot to be desired — namely because there doesn’t appear to be much stuff that you can’t find elsewhere.

Prior to the rise of e-commerce, Macy’s could get away with some of this. But you can now buy the same stuff in lots of places — whether from Amazon or a brand’s own website. Comparing prices has gotten infinitely easier, too.

❝ The bottom line, however, is that Macy’s stores, by and large, have looked and felt the same forever. And in digital, Macy’s has long been on the defensive.

Now, take this object lesson and show it to someone in the “leadership” of the Democratic Party.

With the exception of Obama’s presidential campaigns pretty much everything that party has offered around the country for decades felt like 1984. With the addition of candidates whose main qualification was “they’ve been waiting long enough for a chance”. Not just presidential candidates; but, everything down the ballot to governors and state representatives.

Losing a few here and there was akin to simply missing your turn. We’ll try, again, later on. Little or no thought of changing times inside Macy’s or Democrat politics. Macy can blame Amazon and the Republicans will claim superior strategy. Both are about intellectual laziness and ennui.

Republican War on the Environment marches on — Michigan just banned banning plastic bags


The queen of a Republican fundraising festival

❝ A new law in Michigan will prohibit local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. You read that correctly: It’s not a ban on plastic bags — it’s a ban on banning plastic bags…

The new public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers,” including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.

❝ Bans and restrictions on the use of plastic bags are widespread in other parts of the country and around the world. The rationale is simple: Plastic bags are infamous non-biodegradable sources of pollution — although they will eventually break down into tiny pieces, scientists believe this process can take hundreds of years, or even up to a millennium, in landfills…

❝ Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban certain types of thin plastic bags in 2002, after they were found to have choked the nation’s drainage systems during a series of devastating floods. China instituted a similar ban in 2008, and also prohibits businesses from giving out thicker plastic bags to customers for free. Other nations, including South Africa and Italy, have also enacted similar restrictions.

San Francisco became the first U.S. municipality to institute a plastic bag ban. And in 2014, California became the first state. Many other municipalities around the country have bans or fees in place, including Austin, Seattle and Chicago…

❝ On the other hand, Michigan is not the only state to have implemented a ban on bans. Idaho, Arizona and Missouri all have enacted similar laws. In these cases, proponents of the laws have defended them as a way of protecting businesses from having to comply with additional regulations.

Today’s Republican mind considers any facet of economic life beyond profit margins to be trivial. Perhaps, suspect and subversive.