Repeal And Replace

I usually close down my posting day with the “Closing Thought” but there are times when stuff happens and I need to rub it in…..

The GOP has been everywhere on the airways tell us ignorant peons that their new health bill will solve all the ills of society…..Trump sped down to the Capital and worked his magic to save the dying bill…..after one vote pulled an attempt to save their piece of work for the wealthy the GOP ran around skipping and jumping trying anything to save their precious bill…..

And in the end the patient crapped out and “repeal and replace” has been put on hold…..

A House vote on the American Health Care Act was canceled just before it was scheduled to happen, avoiding what the AP says would have been a “humiliating defeat” for President Trump and GOP leaders while still being—according to Politico—a “staggering defeat” for Trump and Paul Ryan. On Thursday, Trump had demanded a vote on the Republican replacement for ObamaCare despite it appearing primed to fail. On Friday, CNN reports Trump called Ryan and asked him to pull the bill without a vote. Sean Spicer says Trump “left everything on the field” trying to make a deal to get the AHCA approved. Hospital and insurer stocks saw an immediate improvement with the news there would be no vote, according to Reuters.

What can I say?

All that work and the best you guys could do was piss it up…..

You guys crapped in your chili…….Time for a new slogan dudes.

What The Hell Is Going On At State?

As a degree holder in international relations and conflict management I am always interested in the doings at the State department…..since it is suppose to be the diplomatic arm of the US government it gives us wonks a scale by which we judge the actions globally of this country.

Since Pres. Trump nominated Rex Tillerson we have been struggling to get a grip on his attitudes to his new position of power.  So far I am NOT impressed.  This man is an amateur…I do not care how many companies he ran and how many trips he has made overseas….he is an amateur and needs replacing with someone with experience.

For instance. he has decided not to go to the FM meeting at NATO instead he will travel to Russia.  Russia?  Why?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel plans aren’t sitting well with his counterparts in Europe. Tillerson will skip a NATO meeting early next month, the first time in more than a decade a secretary of state has done so, reports Reuters. On top of that, Tillerson will travel to Russia later in the month. “No matter how you spin it, this is unfortunate symbolism,” a veteran European diplomat tells Reuters, referring to the perception that the Trump White House is anti-NATO and pro-Russia. The State Department didn’t provide an official reason for Tillerson’s decision to skip the April 5-6 meeting in Brussels, notes CNN, but it appears he’s opting instead to be in Florida for Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 6-7.

Tillerson will, however, see foreign ministers from NATO in Washington on Wednesday in a meeting about the Islamic State, notes Politico. The semiannual planning session in Brussels will be more focused on NATO itself, and Tillerson will be represented there by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who served under President Obama. After the China meeting in Florida, Tillerson will attend a G7 summit in Italy on April 10-11, and the State Department says he’ll visit Moscow after that. Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision—”a grave error,” says one House lawmaker—and ABC News rounds up their criticisms.

Then there was his visit to China…..BTW he blew off part of his South Korea visit because he needed a nap……and his words while there were at best confusing…..

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. “I express my appreciation for this.”

Beijing could not be more pleased with Tillerson’s choice of words. Chinese state media is now crowing because the American diplomat, who seemed resolute in Tokyo and Seoul, appears to have turned deferential in Beijing—perhaps unwittingly. In the Chinese capital, he repeated in public the preferred Chinese formulation of relations between the two powers. On the preceding day at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Tillerson said ties between the two countries were guided by “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Source: Tillerson’s Deference to Beijing or Unfortunate Rookie Mistake? | World Affairs Journal

Since Trump has decided that diplomacy is not important I am guessing that the various desks with State are vacant and this leads to moronic words and actions….

His impotent tenure so far is nothing but amateur hour at the cost of the nation’s reputation…..if he is not so good at this job then why would he want to do it?

As the old saying goes: Behind every successful man there stands a woman … making him become the United States’ secretary of state. At least that’s how the adage was apparently interpreted in Rex Tillerson’s household, per an interview with Tillerson that appeared Tuesday in the International Journal Review. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” says the secretary, who IJR notes seems to have a “relative disinterest in the pomp and circumstance” of the job he now holds. In fact, Tillerson reveals that pre-2017, he’d been planning on retiring this month and heading off to hang out with his grandchildren at his Texas ranch. So what changed his mind? A little finger-wagging from his wife, Renda St. Clair.

“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” Tillerson tells IJR, noting that St. Clair exclaimed, “I told you God’s not through with you!” when he came home “stunned” after meeting with Donald Trump post-election and finding out the then-president-elect wanted him to run the State Department. Not that Tillerson, who turns 65 on Thursday, hasn’t since come around. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this,” he says, adding he’ll stick around “at the pleasure of the president.” Read the rest of the interview—including his take on how diplomacy mixes with the “America First” concept, and how an aide says he and Defense Secretary James Mattis “get along like gin and vermouth”—at IJR.

My wife told me I wanted the job….well maybe she should have got the nod and left hubby to screw with the oil industry.
This is not the person we need as pilot of American foreign policy…..time for Trump to see the writing on the wall and replace this toad before his does some real damage….but then that may have been the plan all along.
Further reading:

A Coup Of A Different Color?

I have been writing and speaking about the possibility of a coup happening in Foggy Bottom.  Mostly it is a “what if” scenario.  Students find it a fascinating subject and seem to devour every word during the speech.

At first I was concerned about a possible military coup simply because of the amount of generals that Trump has placing in key positions….I even wrote a bit on this possibility….

A couple of my closing thoughts posts were on this subject.

Source: Closing Thought–13Jan17 – In Saner Thought

Source: Closing Thought–07Mar17 – In Saner Thought

Then I started thinking that all the problems that Trump is having with leaks in his administration I have changed my thinking into a “soft coup”….meaning that it is a takeover of the government without the use of violence and destruction…the Constitution can be used in this coup…the 25th amendment……

The answer lies in Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

The amendment states that if, for whatever reason, the vice president and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries decide that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” they can simply put that down in writing and send it to two people — the speaker of the House and the Senate’s president pro tem.

The site Vox took a look at this type of coup……

Source: The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve – Vox

With all the leaks and the reports of conflict of interests and the ranting, mindless ranting and of course the leaks all seem to be leading down a path for the use of the Constitution.

The American Conservative is also looking into this possibility…..

We Americans have long regarded coups as undesirable political turmoil afflicting nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America in which governments are changed by force rather than through the ballot box. During the past several weeks, political commentators are beginning to use the word when describing the series of events that began last summer with the claim that Russia was somehow interfering in our national election on behalf of one candidate. To be sure, no one expects the country’s armed forces to march on the White House and force Donald Trump out, but some commentators are suggesting that a political environment is deliberately being created that will either make it impossible for Trump to govern or, if the pieces fall together nicely, will provide grounds for impeachment. As those who might be promoting that kind of regime change are civilians who will not be resorting to armed insurrection, it might be most correct to refer to the possible coup as “soft” or even “stealth.” Conservative radio host and author Mark Levin refers to it as a “silent coup.”

Source: A Soft Coup, or Preserving Our Democracy? | The American Conservative

Has anyone heard of Wikileaks?  Of course you have it has been in the news for years and now its founder is writing about a soft coup by Mike Pence…..

Over the weekend we noted chatter that some saw Mike Pence as “the Deep State’s insurance policy,” and now, judging by tweets from Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, that may well be the Clinton/Intelligence Officials plan…

Source: Assange Claims Hillary, Intel Officials “Quietly Pushing A Pence Takeover” | Zero Hedge

I know….I know….all this sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory and it is in a manner….but there are too many analyst and pundits that are starting to think along these lines to not take it a bit more seriously.

Just keep an eye on the upcoming Congressional hearings and investigations…..those could be very telling of something in the wind…..and the Constitution will make it a bit more justified sounding.

Keep in mind that DC is a town full of predators and predators are always looking for a vulnerability…..even the mighty will become prey.

God, I Love This Stuff!

I could not leave today until I had my say about health care…..after all the vote is tonight and we will be done with Obamacare.

In case you are not aware there will be a vote (maybe not) on the replacement for Obamacare or as it is now being called Trump care and/or Ryancare.  I love it because these twats in DC make it out like it is rocket science…..

Trump has been having a hard time trying to push this abortion through the House so he decided to flex his political muscle and take on the naysayers….

With a House vote on the American Health Care Act just hours away on Thursday, it still didn’t appear as if the Republican replacement for ObamaCare had the necessary votes, the Washington Post reports. Republicans can only afford for 22 GOP representatives to vote against the bill (it’s assumed no Democrat will vote for it), but 36 are on the record as saying they’ll vote against it. Another 14 GOP reps say they’re leaning toward voting against it. But the vote could’ve still been close, as President Trump held a last-second negotiating session with the super-conservative House Freedom Caucus. At least a dozen representatives said they could switch their vote depending on the results of that negotiation.

The Freedom Caucus—having already gotten Trump to agree to removing a required minimum level of “essential” benefits from insurance plans—wanted all facets of Obama’s Affordable Care Act repealed if its members were going to support the AHCA, Politico reports. That includes two popular parts of the ACA that Trump has vowed to preserve: allowing adults up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ insurance plans and prohibiting the denial of insurance due to pre-existing conditions. But following Trump’s negotiation attempt, the caucus’s chairman said there’s “no deal,” according to the AP, and Republican lawmakers emerged saying that the Thursday vote might be delayed, notes the Hill. The GOP’s ObamaCare replacement isn’t just unpopular with lawmakers: Vox reports a newly released poll shows only 17% of the public approves of it, while 56% disapproves.

He says parts of Obamacare can stay as part of the new plan….and yet it looks a lot like Obamacare……but with more benefits for the wealthy than the other one….

The vote will be tonight…..

STOP THE PRESSES!

GOP House leaders delayed their planned vote Thursday on a long-promised bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, in a stinging setback for House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Trump in their first major legislative test, the AP reports. The decision came after Trump, who ran as a master dealmaker, failed to reach agreement with a bloc of rebellious conservatives. Moderate-leaning Republican lawmakers were also bailing on the legislation, leaving it short of votes. The bill could still come to a vote in coming days, but canceling Thursday’s vote was a significant defeat. It came on the seven-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican legislation would halt Obama’s tax penalties against people who don’t buy coverage and cut the federal-state Medicaid program for low earners. It would provide tax credits to help people pay medical bills, though generally skimpier than Obama’s statute provides. It also would allow insurers to charge older Americans more and repeal tax boosts the law imposed on high-income people and health industry companies. The measure would also block federal payments to Planned Parenthood. In a count by the AP, at least 30 Republicans said they opposed the bill, enough to defeat the measure. But the number was in constant flux amid the eleventh-hour lobbying. The bill would be defeated if 23 Republicans join all Democrats in voting “no.”

Now that just sucks for Ryan and Trump…..all their chest thumping and what did they accomplish?

Absolutely NOTHING!

Time for the alt-Right horde to start their whining and bitching…HAhahaha…God I love this shit!

Closing Thought–23Mar17

This day in History!

On this day in 1919 the movement known as Fascism was born……

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was the first twentieth-century fascist dictator in Europe.

Source: On this day in 1919: Mussolini founds his radical Party and modern Facism is born

Moving on to the meat of the thought……

I recall in history class we use to talk about the suspicion that some governments had that they had “spies” in all positions keeping an eye on their bosses….making sure that they stayed on track with the approved dialog.

Off the top of my head there was that political experiment in Germany and the one within the Soviet Union….controlled for political purity…..ring any bells?

What made me think of those weasels of history was something I read about the Trump admin…….

The White House has installed political appointees at Cabinet agencies to track secretaries’ loyalty to the president and his agenda, the Washington Post reports, citing unnamed officials. Under the unusual arrangement, which has created tensions within the Cabinet, White House aides sit in on Cabinet meetings and report to White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn (above left, with Trump adviser Stephen Miller).

From the Washington Post:

The political appointee charged with keeping watch over Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his aides has offered unsolicited advice so often that after just four weeks on the job, Pruitt has shut him out of many staff meetings, according to two senior administration officials.

At the Pentagon, they’re privately calling the former Marine officer and fighter pilot who’s supposed to keep his eye on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “the commissar,” according to a high-ranking defense official with knowledge of the situation. It’s a reference to Soviet-era Communist Party officials who were assigned to military units to ensure their commanders remained loyal.

Read Full Article »

That is what makes for a strong government….trust those around you…..secure political purity.
Speaking of spying on people…..
Is it possible that the president could spy on his political opponents?

The controversy continues over President Trump’s Twitter storm accusing President Obama of wiretapping him. On Monday, members of Congress peppered FBI Director James Comey with questions about the claims, who once again dismissed them as lacking support. Even Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who originally defended Trump’s claims, has defected. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” the congressman said last week at a news conference. None of these statements seem to have affected President Trump, however, who continues to stand by his accusations.

Source: Could the President Spy on His Political Opponents? | The American Conservative

Yes, the games politicians can play…games we all pay for in the end.

Well sports fans that is my last words of the day…..tomorrow will be tomorrow…..be well, be safe…..chuq

This Was The Week That Was (So Far)

Our new president has had a bad week….but according to the alt-Right news and the toads in their blogs it is all a made up agenda by the “liberals’ or is it the “apologist” or maybe “globalists”….oh Hell who knows who they want to blame for the idiot they elected?

Back to the point of this post…..Mr. Trump is having a really shitty week

It wasn’t the best of news cycles on Monday for President Trump, who will presumably be displeased with negative headlines on multiple fronts. The biggest: FBI Chief James Comey told Congress that he sees no evidence to support Trump’s claims that President Obama wiretapped him. Plus, Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign during the election. Also making news:

  • Low numbers: The daily tracking poll at Gallup has Trump’s job-approval rating at 37%, his lowest mark so far, and his disapproval rating rose to 58%. It’s being chalked up to controversy over his wiretapping comments and opposition to the GOP health care plan, reports CNN.
  • Net worth:Forbes says Trump’s net worth has fallen $200 million since he took office to $3.5 billion. That drops him 220 spots to 544 in its ranking of the world’s richest people. Trump’s decline, however, isn’t about politics but about the New York real estate market.
  • Stephen Hawking: The famed physicist said in an interview that he’s not sure he’d be welcome in America under Trump because of his opposing views on the environment. See story.
  • Billboard: An anti-Trump billboard in Phoenix is making headlines thanks in part to its dollar-shaped swastikas, per Fox News.
  • Loyalty: The Washington Post has an unflattering front-page story about the White House that says it has installed senior aides in Cabinet departments whose main job is to monitor the loyalty of Trump’s secretaries. ProPublica also reported elements of the story here. Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton did not use such a system.

Trump recently went on and on about the money owed by Germany for NATO ops…well it seems that his SecDef does not agree with his rant…..

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday that NATO does not calculate “past money owed” and Germany is on track to meet its alliance commitments, despite President Trump claiming that the country owed money.

“I cannot give you an accounting for past money owed, because that’s not the way we do that in NATO,” Mattis told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. “We do it through capabilities. That’s the commitment each nation makes.”

How humiliating to be contradicted by a subordinate…..

There is more…..an FBI investigation of the Russian thing….I could go on with this subject for many more words….but why?  We all have a good idea what it that is being said…just move on…..

Today is the big day….the House vote on Trumpcare replacement for Obamacare…..but the bad news is there seems to be a lack of votes in favor of it….

  • Reuters explains the stakes: 216 GOP votes are needed, which means the party can suffer only about 20 defections. There are two major camps of concerned GOP parties: centrists who worry an ObamaCare repeal will hurt their constituents, and fierce conservatives who think the replacement isn’t aggressive enough.
  • An $85 billion bone was thrown to moderates, reports Politico, which explains that per the amendment, that amount would be earmarked as tax credits for those ages 50 to 64, whose premiums would soar under the American Health Care Act. For context, it gives this scenario from the Congressional Budget Office: a 64-year-old making $26,500 would see what he pays explode from $1,700 to $14,600.
  • But there’s a twist, observes Matthew Yglesias at Vox: The amendment doesn’t define those tax credits, instead shifting that task to the Senate. His take: “This is a very unusual way to legislate and reflects House Republicans’ desperation to push through basically anything as soon as possible and pass the buck to the Senate.”
  • Also at Vox, Ezra Klein bullets the other substantial changes: The amendment bumps up the repeal of some ObamaCare taxes in a concession to those who want to erase the Affordable Care Act ASAP; prevents the rollover of used tax credit money into a Health Savings Account, ostensibly because anti-abortion activists feared the money could then fund abortions; and gives more wiggle-room around how states handle Medicaid. Klein’s take: the “tweaks” are designed to win over conservatives, but don’t really address the bill’s “flaws.” More here.
  • Axios expects “drama” between now and Thursday night, in part because of what the amendment doesn’t address. More here.
  • As for what’s next, the Washington Post gives context to Trump’s Tuesday meetings: They indicate “GOP leaders and the president consider larger-scale talks with key blocs of House members to be essentially complete. The effort now turns toward persuading individual members to vote for the package.”
  • The AP reports on the message Trump presented: Pass it or there may be hell to pay, essentially. How Rep. Walter Jones framed it: “If you don’t pass the bill there could be political costs,” those costs being lost seats.
  • Will it work? The Wall Street Journal reported Monday night that House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows says more than 21 members remain a “nay.”

The big question is will the Repubs play ball?  They are a spineless bunch so any guess is as good as another.

This is going down as his worst week ever….and the reign is only 60+ days old……it can get worse…

The “Lone Wolf” Scenario–Redux

Terrorism is not too much the rage right now…..people are more worried about protecting the prez from criticism for his over loaded mouth…..I have been teaching a course on terrorism and right now there is not much interest….but all that will change as soon as we have another attack by a single player that wants some headlines.

While writing that paragraph and BAM!  It’s baaaaaack!

A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage at the heart of Britain’s seat of power Wednesday, first using what NBC News describes as a 4×4 vehicle to mow down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before stabbing an armed police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Five people were killed, including the attacker, and about 40 others were injured, the AP reports. Lawmakers, lords, staff, and visitors were locked down as the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament and just yards from entrances to the building itself after he scaled the security wall toward the Parliament’s grounds. He died, as did two pedestrians on the bridge, and the police officer. A doctor who treated the wounded said some had “catastrophic” injuries. Three teenage French students were among those injured on the bridge, the Guardian reports.

Police said they were treating the attacks as a terrorist incident and had launched a full counterterrorism investigation. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. “We are satisfied at this stage that it looks like there was only on attacker,” said Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley. “But it would be foolish to be overconfident early on.” The threat level for international terrorism in the UK was already listed at severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely.” Wednesday was the anniversary of suicide bombings in the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people, and the latest events echoed recent vehicle attacks in Berlin and Nice, France. As lawmakers were voting inside Parliament, many reported hearing the sound of gunshots. Parliament was locked down for two hours, and adjoining Westminster subway station was shuttered.

Not since 9/11 has the US been attacked by multiple attackers….most of the attacks that followed were carried out one or two perps.

That is where the problem is….how to stop the “Lone Wolf”…..I have covered this phenom in the past….trying to get people to understand the danger of the “Lone Wolf”….but read it for yourselves…..

Source: The “Lone Wolf” Scenario – In Saner Thought

We have been fighting the War on Terror for 16+ years and all that time we are NO closer to identifying or control the “lone wolf” scenario…..

…….the subject of a new bipartisan report that warns of a serious flaw in U.S. defenses against homegrown terrorism: the lack of an effective, comprehensive system for finding, redirecting and rehabilitating Americans who may be on a path to violent extremism. Unless such a system is put in place, the report says, law enforcement officials will be left to try to prevent attacks only after the would-be terrorist becomes operational.

Source: Report: U.S. lacks system for spotting, defusing homegrown extremist threats – The Washington Post

We have spent a fortune on homeland security to the point of building a worthless wall that will cure all the immigration ills this country has…..and yet they are NO closer to figuring out a way to identify and eliminate the Lone Wolf….