Friday, June 23, 2017

Senate Republican health care plan is cruel

Conservative Republicans in the Senate have released their health care plan. It's meaner than the House version. It will cut Medicaid at deeper rate and transfers those savings to make tax cuts for the rich. Yep, Republicans want to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. This will kill many poor people by kicking them off Medicaid. Here's a summary of Obamacare, and Trumpcare, the House and Senate versions. Huffington Post. Note the Senate plan breaks Trump's promises to cover everybody in the country. Video at the 10 minute mar k.

I've also included Seth Myers' video where he takes a Closer Look. We do need a laugh because frankly folks the conservative Republicans are inflicting a lot of pain to working people..

Rand Paul is an idiot

Conservative Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) is selling the working people of Kentucky a bill of goods. On Morning Joe, Paul is asked about what he would say to the working people of Kentucky who are going to be kicked off Medicaid under the proposed Republican health care plan. I've got the video below and check out his "answer" at the eight minute mark. He doesn't answer the question. That's because he clearly doesn't like Medicaid and the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. He then proposes "legalizing" health insurance to be priced at $1.00 a day. Not realistic.

Look, legalizing health insurance at $1.00 per day sounds great. Note that Paul doesn't say he would mandate insurance companies to sell it at that price. At this time no health insurance company is going to sell health insurance at that price. The only way that happens is if there is a large pool of consumers and huge amount of insurance companies competing to sell policies. Since the Republican plan gets rid of the individual mandate, there won't be that guaranteed pool of consumers. Insurance companies won't have enough in premiums to make a profit. Um.. Rand, insurance companies don't make money paying claims. There will be less insuarance companies hoping in to increase competition. You sir are an idiot.

Get insurance companies out of health insurance. This country should go to a single payer plan, i.e., Medicare for all.


Get Me Roger Stone review

Hollywood liberals are probably not going to vote Get Me Roger Stone for Best Documentary , the Netflix film on the conservative master of the dark arts of political dirty tricks, Roger Stone. They should. This film comes at a time when we have the most incompetent, dishonest, selfish, greedy man to occupy the White House in Donald Trump. And it was Stone who encouraged Trump to get into politics and advised him in the 2016 campaign.

Directors Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme had a large amount of access to Roger Stone. Hours of interviews with him, footage of intimate details that even includes a beauty shot of the tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. This gives us a detailed portrait of Satan. I kid. That's too simple. It's the portrait of Satan if he were a smiling, affable, handsome and well manicured man. Maybe, Satan comes to us that way.

This film traces Stone from a child doing his first political dirty tricks to his Watergate years, and to his triumph of riding Trump to victory in 2016 presidential election. What's telling is that first dirty trick. In a mock trial of the 1960 election at grade school, he spreads the lie that Nixon would have kids go to school on Saturdays. The result? Kennedy won. He learned that lies are a powerful weapon in politics. Something that Trump uses to this day.

He might have supported Kennedy as kid but somewhere he become enamored with conservatism starting with Barry Goldwater. Stone doesn't really get into much of the philosophy of conservative politics. In fact he claims in this day he's more of a libertarian, supporting gay rights. And this is where one might believe him. You see in the mid-1990's he get caught up in sex scandal and the Republican party kinda avoided him. That is until he's needed.

But what drives Stone is his Machiavellian philosophy in regards to politics. It's win at all costs. Damn morality. The ends do justify the means. Two examples come to mind. In the movie, he supports Trump in 2000 for the Reform Party nomination against conservative Patrick Buchanan. Part of the reason is that Stone does like Trump. But the movie points out, the other reason was to split and destroy the Reform Party so that it would not be a factor in taking votes from conservative Republican George W. Bush. The plan worked. Then in the 2004 Democratic primary, Stone was helping African American Al Sharpton who is very liberal. Did Stone change his politics? No. The movie hints it was more at disrupting the Democrats.

Stone's scorch the earth and Machiavellian strategies may get him in trouble. That makes this movie more relevant as time goes by. You see, Stone has come under the scrutiny of the government in the Trump Campaign's collusion with the Russians. Stone is prominently mentioned especially when it comes to his ability to predict negative Wikileaks data dumps during the 2016 campaign. A side note. The film also features commentary from two of Trump's men. Michael Caputo and Paul Manafort. Making this film interesting if they get prosecuted for Trump-Russia collusion.

Yet, Stone commands the film better than I have seen an actor or subject of a documentary in a long, long time. As evil as he is, it's hard not to like him. Take for example his Nixon tattoo. he says it reminds him of Nixon's resilience. Nixon got knocked down but he got up. True and not a bad idea. In the film, Stone is an arrogant, confident and also friendly rascal. He's got a nice and infectious smile. Even when he insults the filmmakers as a bunch of liberals, he does with a wink and in good nature. He may hate their politics but he knows they are also telling his story, hence he shows an affection for them. And there is no question, he loves his wife and children.

Get Me Roger Stone is also beautifully filmed. It's not just a portrait of Stone. But a view of his world whether it's impressive collection of Nixon memorabilia, the sunny landscapes of Florida or the domineering presence of Trump Tower. The film also follows Stone as he riles up the crowd by demagogically deriding Hillary Clinton. It's history.

I recommend seeing this film whether you are a liberal or conservative. Give this devil his due. Certainly, as a liberal, you can learn how your opponent operates. But as a documentary, Get Me Roger Stone is one fascinating portrait of a master of dark politics. The grade is A.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

John Oliver on Trump ond coal

Here's John Oliver on Trump and coal. Oliver points out that coal jobs aren't coming back no matter what Trump says. But there's always hope for those people in retraining. If only Trump would listen and care about the working man.

Bill Maher on jobs that can't be saved

Here's Bill Maher on jobs that can't be saved. There's a reality here. Progress may end jobs. Not all bad news. Look for other opportunities.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Democrats can learn from the Georgia 6th Congressional special election

Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossof in the special election for the Georgia's 6th congressional district. It looks like Handel won 52 % to 47 %. I know of one blonde, orange skin conservative Republican who is going to say it was a "great" victory for him and his policies. But what can liberals learn from this?

1. Look at the point spread. This district is solid Republican. Republican Tom Price won it last by a whopping 23 points. Huffington Post Something is going on in the country. Democrats now must focus in areas where the point spread is closer. Believe it or not, it's a good sign for Democrats.

2 And if you look at how well Hillary Clinton did, there are a lot of people who hate Trump. And if you look at today's South Carolina's 6th, the Democrats lost that one 51 to 47 percent. That was another huge Republican district.

3. Democrats must glue every Republican to Trump. Not that hard. There might be one or two Republicans in the whole country that do not support him.

4. Educate Bubba. Bubba was the fictional Bill Clinton voter. White, beer drinking male. Does Bubba know that conservative Republicans want to cut his Medicaid?

5. Field better candidates. Put a real fighter in there, someone who's all about ideas and not just getting elected. See Bernie Sanders. That being said, for the life of me, whey did the Democrats run a person who lived outside of the district? Here's my note to Jon Ossof and the Dems, dude if your'e going to run again, move into the district!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The case of Trump-Russia collusion

There are conservative Republicans who are making the argument that there is no evidence of Trump-Russian collusion. And I can certainly say we have not seen any direct evidence of collusion. That being said, we have not seen any evidence that law enforcement and intelligence may have. But that doesn't mean there isn't circumstantial evidence and plenty of smoke. The question when it comes to collusion between President Trump and the Russians is whether this smoke is a fire in the basement or a burned roast.

Let's go over some of the circumstantial evidence. I might miss some because there's a lot of it so forgive me.

1. Donald Trump's ties and financial connections to Russia go back a long way according to this US Today report. But one thing I want to bring out. Son Donald Jr. said this regarding the Trump Organization, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”

2. General Michael Flynn, future National Security Adviser, accepts $45,000 dollars to attend a dinner in Russia celebrating Russia Today, a propaganda TV station. He sits at the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (General Michael Flynn wikipedia article; I'm going to use this a main cite since there's so much stuff about Flynn)

3. While running for President, Trump continually praises Putin.

4. After Wikileaks dumps stolen Democratic Party emails, Trump calls on the Russians to help and get Hillary Clinton's deleted emails.

5. Two Trump campaign officials have significant Russian connections. Campaign manager Paul Manafort did work for pro-Russian Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych. That guy fled to, yes, you guessed it. Russia. Carter Page was a top foreign policy expert for Trump when Trump needed them. He was an investment banker in Russia and was investigated by American intelligence for Russian ties.

6. Republican National Convention. This little thing becomes significant. On the GOP platform, there's a call to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons to use against Russian aggression. The Trump campaign wanted the wording to be changed to "appropriate assistance." NPR report.

Now to most Americans, they wouldn't know anything about Ukraine. But if you're Putin, a guy who wants to keep Crimea and probably annex other parts of Ukraine with force, you don't wan't American lethal assistance going to the Ukrainians. This is the first public sign of payback to the Russians by Trump.

7. December 29, 2016. President Obama announces sanctions against Russia for the hacking of Democrats computers. On or about that day, Flynn now NSA designate, speaks to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The next day, Russia announces it won't retaliate. Hmm. I''m guessing that this was not about borscht recipes. According to Flynn's wikipedia there are allegations that his conversations with the Russians are about sanctions. Payback no. 2.

8. Jared Kushner, son-in-law to Trump and his most trusted adviser sought to set up a secure channel to the Kremlin. This occurred in December. I'm not kidding about this. The line would defeat American intelligence. There is some dispute as to what Kushner wanted from the Russians. He says it was about diplomacy. The Russians said it was about Kushner's business. And why did he need to talk to the head of VEB bank, a sanctioned Russian bank? Vox report.

We do know that Kushner's 666 5th Avenue Building is deep in debt. Bloomberg. Is it possible to get sanctions lifted on VEB then get a nice loan from them? Wouldn't that be a little obvious?

9. Trump takes office. The administration tries to rapidly and unilaterally lift Russian sanctions. Payback 3.

10. May 9. Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. And in an interview with NBC Lester Holt indicates it was about the Russian investigation.

11. May 10. Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorov and Kislyak. He gives them top secret information. Oh, he disallows the press from attending but lets in a Russian photographer. Payback 4.

12. There are reports that Trump will give back two compounds seized because of Russian hacking. Washington Post. Payback 5.

13. After Comey testified before the Senate we can come up with a timeline of his interactions with Trump. The interesting thing is that major Trump contacts occur after a General Flynn event. On January 27, 2917, one day after being warned about a compromised Flynn, Trump demands loyalty from Comey. On February 14, one day after Flynn is fired, Trump asks Comey who is alone to let Flynn go.

14. More from the June Comey hearing before the Senate. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to Comey, "Do you think Donald Trump colluded with the Russians?" Comey, "That's a question I don't think I should answer in an open setting." (Olberman video below at 30 second mark.) Note Comey does not deny which he could easily. Conclusion: There's evidence that's not public that indicates Trump colluded with the Russians.


Here's Keith Olbermann's take on the evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians.


CONCLUSION.

So conservative Republicans, what evidence do we know? And by the way I have not even talked about the Steele Dossier and the pee tape. Well, let's go over this like a quid pro agreement.


1. What Trump Gets From the Russians.


a. Russia has invested in Trump's businesses.
b. Benefited from Russian hacking of the DNC and other cyber attacks.

2. What the Russians get from Trump.


a. Lifting of sanctions
b. No American assistance of Ukraine
c. Wedge between NATO and America (Trump at a NaTO meeting, refused to endorse Article V. Scolded allies to spend more.)
d. More positive treatment of Putin.

Wow, the Russians do pretty well. As Keith Olbermann and I have been saying RESIST.