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Puerto Rico and the NFL

      Is it just me or does the current occupant of the White House spend more time ranting and raving about the NFL players who protest the playing of the National Anthem by kneeling than he spends trying to solve the ongoing and ever growing crisis in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico IS an American possession and the residents there are American citizens. So why the warped priorities...something else to try to distract us from the Russian Collusion Probe?

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A Bad, bad, BAD Cable TV show that should be ended as soon as possible

      Donald Trump has once again lowered the bar where human decency and good taste is concerned.    Trump has called the members of various football teams who knelt or failed to stand during the national anthem "sons-of-bitches" and demanded that the owners summarily fire them and as an extra added attraction suggested strongly that everyone boycott the NFL. Good luck with that, Lil, Donnie. It would seem to me that if you call someone a "son-of-a-bitch" that reflects directly on their parentage. I'm not sure that's a good idea for a president who thinks a 43% approval rating is something to cheer about.Those are voters too, Lil, Donnie and I feel fairly safe in sayin' you just lost a good percentage of them.

      I recognize this as a diversionary tactic; a move to draw attention away from the Russian probe which seems to grow broader by the hour(not that I'm complaining--cuz I'm not) and the sense that while he may be able to pardon lots of people that power doesn't extend to himself.  Trump is, ONCE AGAIN embarrassing the nation, our allies and potential allies. He's giving aid and comfort to our enemies(Does ANYONE think PM UN is afraid of this clown?)and turning the Presidency of this Great Republic into a badly written, directed and produced, low budget cable show. It's time for him to go--the sooner the better. The greater problem here is that the Congress is led by two men who go far beyond being spineless. Unicell organisms have more spine than McConnell and Ryan. The House of Rep's must initiate impeachment proceedings(like Boot-licker Ryan is going to allow THAT to happen) and Impeachment is tried in the Senate Chamber--same as above for McConnell. Sadder still, this is not a cable show whose sponsors we can boycott.--Dan

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Government Shutdown

       The following is an excerpt from the 10 August 2017, Politico. All comments following the link belong to yours truly.---Dan

LET'S MAKE A DEAL - The White House is looking to make a deal to avert a government shutdown this fall. The offer? White House officials would agree to lift the spending caps long opposed by Democrats in exchange for border wall funding. "Marc Short, the White House's director of legislative affairs, met with top staffers from both parties on the Senate Appropriations Committee last week to make a hard sell for the proposal," Seung Min, Rachael and Bres scoop. Trump has insisted he won't back off his request for border wall funding this time around - even if it means shutting down the government. But Democrats show no signs of relenting in their opposition, calling wall funding a "poison pill." More: http://politi.co/2uJmYyM

      Okay, so the Trumpenfurher wants his wall and he doesn't care about the consequences. Oh, how like him--it's little Donnies way or the highway? Fine, I'll take the highway. As a carrot he offers to lift the spending caps the Dem's have opposed but in return he wants funding for his wall. The stick? He's willing to shut down the government. Okay, go ahead. We remember what happened when Ted Cruz shut things down, that did the GOP a world of good, huh? They lost a ton of seats then, so if the Donald shuts down things now while the Russia collusion investigation heats up it can only cause his popularity numbers to fall below even the 33% reported by CNN last week. At some point the Congress will have to come to realize their political survival depends on how far they let this man go in destroying this Great Republic, in which we are so fortunate to live. At what point does the conservative agenda being pushed by Trump become more destructive than (in his view) corrective?  The late Paul Wellstone (D) Senator,  Minnesota once said that the purpose of politics is not power, not raising money but to improve peoples lives (Something I believe is an excellent summary of the Obama Presidency)and that purpose seems to have eluded this Congress.

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The Cost of Trump's Mar-a-Lago

 

 This article by Lindsay Gibbs from ThinkProgress.org

      Coast Guard spends more to protect Trump at Mar-a-Lago than the military spends on trans health care

Trump is on track to spend more money on travel in 2017 than Obama spent in eight years combined.

President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at Raleigh County Memorial Airport, in Beaver, W.Va., Monday, July 24, 2017, en route to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, W.Va.. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Coast Guard leaders are bracing themselves for significant cuts as Trump’s most recent budget proposal suggested cutting its budget by 2.4 percent, or $267 million. But there’s one place the Coast Guard is not going to be able to scale down—protecting President Trump’s waterfront Mar-a-Lago club during Trump’s frequent trips down south.

When Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago, which he has done seven weekends of his six-month long presidency, the Washington Post reports that Coast Guard has to deploy “cutters, patrol boats, helicopters, and anti-terror specialists from across the country,” which amounts to about a $1 million cost per trip to protect the Trump-dubbed “Winter White House.”

So far this year, the Coast Guard has spent $6.6 million protecting Mar-a-Lago. And it isn’t the only government department doling out for these trips—according to conservative estimates calculated by Politico based on figures from the Government Accountability Office, the government spends about $3 million per Mar-a-Lago visit when you factor in costs for security and travel on Air Force One in addition to the Coast Guard expenses.

That means that the government has already spent far more this year on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips than it has on transition-related health care for transgender service members. Last year, a Pentagon report found that transition-related health care expenses would cost between about $2.4 and $8.4 million per year.

Earlier this week, Trump cited the “tremendous financial costs” and “disruption” that the transgender community has “burdened” the military with when he impulsively tweeted that all transgender Americans would be banned from the military.

Trump’s travel excursions, which are typically to properties he owns, have been raising eyebrows since he first took office. In April, the Hill reportedthat Trump was already on pace to spend more on travel in 2017 than Obama spent the entire eight years he ran the country.

While members of the conservative media and Trump himself were extremely critical about President Obama’s travel expenses when Obama was in the White House, Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago have been characterized as “necessary to safeguard the president’s work.”

In June, Fox News was still complaining about the lavish trips President Obama is taking, despite the fact that he is no longer in office.

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Democratic platform

  For all those interested here is the new Democratic platform

https://democrats.org/party-platform

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A Few Thoughts on Russian Sanctions

 According to a CNN news alert on Saturday night, Donald Trump will sign the Russian Sanction's bill sent to him by Congress. What makes this so interesting to me, is that the House voted 419/3 and the Senate 98/2 to pass this bill. In the era of partisan politics, this is virtually unheard of. What's really interesting?  If Trump had decided to veto the bill, Congress would have, or should I say, "could" have easily overridden the veto—had they wanted to do so.

                        I believe that's the reason Trump agreed to sign. The rightness of this action has no part in this equation. Trump may not be a genius (said this writer laughingly even as he wrote it), but he's smart enough to want to avoid the "thumb-in-the-eye" embarrassment of a veto override. The bill handicaps him in several ways: 1) Signing the bill into law will send an inexperienced and undisciplined White House—even Trump has to know of its internal chaos—into an escalating confrontation with Russia. This, at a time when actions taken to reduce tensions during the Obama administration have eroded under Trump and domestic pressure in the guise of a collusion investigation will make it very, very hard to reverse course; 2) Trump's fantasy of "I'm the deal maker and I'm in charge here," will be over. He would now have to admit, even to himself—surely the most painful admission of all—that he is not all powerful in that office; 3) While his first instinct will be to blame the Congress and disloyal and unpatriotic members of the Democratic and Republican Parties, I think he will also cite this as evidence that there is no collusion between his campaign, his family and/or his administration and the Russians.

                        This will not draw attention away from the ever burgeoning Russian investigation, any more than his attempts at distracting attacks on the LGBT community, or his own Attorney General do or will. It will placate and convince his followers while the rest of us wait for Bob Mueller to develop his findings. Trump doesn't seem to realize that nothing is going to make this go away. The more he threatens, the more people he fires, the deeper the hole he digs for himself, his family and his administration. The first rule of being in a hole? Stop digging; Donald doesn't seem to understand that adage, or its meaning. He's content to try and bully his way through his term.      

       Apparently that tactic didn't work for the "skinny bill," i.e., the health care bill with just enough in it to please as many GOP members as possible. It didn't work when he threatened the entire state of Alaska through their Senator Lisa Murkowski when she announced she'd vote against it (she's not up for reelection—he has no leverage over her—so the entire state of Alaska will suffer from a threatened loss of Federal Aid). It didn't work on Susan Collins of Maine, and it didn't work when he tried to sweet talk John McCain in person, or when VP Mike Pence and the Senator from Arizona disappeared for several minutes into the Senate Cloak Room. When McCain came out the last time, he caught the attention of the Senate Clerk—who was already calling the roll—and gave a thumbs down signal. That act of political courage was enough to sink the bill. Mitch McConnell can count, and he knew it too.  I realize there are still open venues for the Grand Obstructionist Party to derail the American Care Act (aka Obamacare) but I have to wonder...in the wake of all of the failures of all the attempts to repeal/revoke/replace Obamacare...do they have the stomach for the fight? I guess we have to wait to find out that answer, although I doubt it will come before the November 18 elections.  For now, the White House states that the Russian Sanction Bill will be signed. In the face of this, the ongoing Russian Collusion Investigation will continue.

             According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, "[the near unanimous votes]" represent the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the US." Someone's going to have to explain to me how tightening economic sanctions is going to make them like us more, but I'm a Democrat and this is obviously Republican logic. Does Tillerson realize that public opinion isn't a major force for change in Russia?

      I guess Trump now has the major bill he has so desperately sought for his first months in office...although I don't think Russian Sanctions were exactly what he had in mind.

       There is an old Chinese saying:” May You Live in Interesting Times.” Some people call it a Chinese curse, but surely we do live in interesting times.  And so it goes.

 

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Senate Vote to Repeal

    This morning the Senate voted to not pass the "Skinny Repeal" of  the American Care Act, aka Obamacare. The vote was 51/49 with Lisa Murowski, John McCain and Susan Collins voting against it.

"The Trump administration threatened to block federal aid to Alaska in an effort to bully one of the Republican senators opposed to the current Senate GOP push to roll back the Affordable Care Act", according to a report by the Alaska Dispatch News.. Murowski in an act of political courage, rarely seen these days, voted her conscience. As did Susan Collins and an ailing John McCain--who took this opportunity to show he's still "a maverick".  Think about that for a moment. The man who ran against Barrack Obama voted AGAINST the GOP health bill.

      Yet, I'm unsure that this wasn't exactly what Mitch McConnell wanted to have happen.  Not many in Congress  would want to go home and explain how deleting 32,000,000 citizens-by CBO estimates--from the insurance rolls would be good for the nation, or how, again by CBO estimates, the cost of insurance (for any who could still afford it) would rise by a minimum of 20%.. Especially since there was no program in place to replace that safety net. So the Republican promises of the last 8 years have come to nothing. Next up...the Defense Appropriation bill. It should be an interesting few days ahead.

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The Donald’s Other Headache

The ongoing headache of the Russian collusion investigation became a migraine for Donald Trump Sr. last night. His son, Donald J.Trump Jr. spilled the beans by publicly displaying his "chain of emails" from an acquaintance in Russia inviting him to a meeting with a person alleged to be a "Russian government lawyer" to discuss incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton. If you don't believe this reporter, pick up any newspaper you like, the story will more likely than not be there. Aside from the obvious problems this presents an already acrimonious White House, one has to wonder how it will affect the remainder of the Trump agenda.

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The GOP Health Bill

      The following list contains the names of those US Representatives who voted in favor of the GOP American Health Care Act(aka Trumpcare) The act, according to AARP, contains a provision which adds as much as $13,000(thirteen-thousand dollars) to the cost of insurance for those 50-64 and would discriminate against those with pre-existing disabilities such as cancer and diabetes. The list follows:

IL-6, Peter Roskam            IL-15  John Shimkus 

IL-12 Mike Bost                 IL-16  Adam Kinzinger

IL-13 Rodney Davis            IL-16 Darin LaHood  

IL-14  Randy Hultgren    

     If you are as outraged by this as I am, feel free to phone your reps---I did.-----Dan  

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Trump Impeachment calls

 Personally I think it's too early to call for his impeachment. An idea I think would be DOA in the Republican dominated House. If Trump were  to be impeached AND convicted, here is the short list of his successors. It ain't pretty.  VP; Speaker of the House, President Pro-Tem of the Senate; the Secretary of State; Sec of Treasury; Sec of Defense;and the Attorney General. If we reach the point where the Secretary of State is placed in charge of the nation, we are in very deep trouble. Pence, while the darling of the Evangelicals, is, in MY estimation very weak as a leader; Ryan would be one disaster falling upon another, day after day--judging by the first Health Care vote, he's very ineffective.; the President Pro-Tem is Orrin Hatch. Hatch as been around since the beginning of the Republic I think. He's sharp and knows the Senate well. He would be an interesting man to watch. Most of this, of course, hinges on the Russia Investigation, something Trump obsesses more daily with each news story. It's gonna be...interesting.

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