Tramp AQSh sohillari yaqinida neft qazishni kengaytirmoqchi   
Obama davrida Arktika va Atlantika okeanlarida neft va gaz qazib olishni cheklovchi qoidalar joriy qilingan edi.
          Janubiy Koreya-AQSh: Pxenyan va savdo haqida muloqot   
Janubiy Koreya rahbari Mun Je-in fikricha, uning davlati Amerika bilan Barak Obama davrida erishilgan savdo kelishuvini ma'qul ko'radi. Oq uy esa uni bekor qilgan.
          'LACK OF OVERSIGHT' 'Obamaphone' hit by Dem over fraudulent findings   
          Tramp va Kuba   
Prezident Donald Tramp Kubaga nisbatan keskin tanqid bilan chiqsa-da, Barak Obama davrida boshlangan o’zgarishlarni butkul to’xtatmoqchi emas. Tramp joriy etayotgan yangi qoidalar amerikaliklarning Kubaga borishini qiyinlashtiradi, ammo Gavanadagi elchixona yopilmaydi. Aloqa uzilmaydi.
          Chicago crime wave prompts Team Trump to send reinforcements - Trump challenges GOP senators to repeal ObamaCare now, replace later if no deal - Republican state attorney generals threaten lawsuit if Trump doesn't end DACA   
          Obama making nostalgic visit to city of his childhood   

Former U.S. President Barack Obama walks during his visit to Prambanan Temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Obama and his family are currently on vacation in the country where he lived for several years as a child.

          Ray Appleton - 06.30.17 - A third of enrollees of the "Obamaphone" program may not be qualified   
San Francisco will pay $190K to an undocumented immigrant over sanctuary law violations. A list of esteem law professors suggest term limits for Supreme Court judges. A federal judge has blocked California's high-capacity magazine ban. California Senator Josh Newman supporters filed a lawsuit to stop the GOP recall effort over his vote on the gas tax. A new government audit finds more than a third of enrollees of the "Obamaphone" program may not be qualified among other fraudulent findings.
          6/30 Leland Live Hour 3   
In this hour, Leland discusses the Senate's possible option to repeal Obamacare, the Oliver Robinson-Luther Strange case, and CNN's vendetta against President Trump
          Dr Deane Waldman only repeal Obamacare interview   
          Steve Hildebrand in the Race for Sioux Falls Mayor? What a Wild Ride [OPINION]   
Former Obama campaign aid Steve Hildebrand said in an interview on The Patrick Lalley Show that he is seriously considering a run for Sioux Falls mayor. Continue reading…
          Photoshop & phones: Macron’s official portrait making rounds for all the wrong reasons   
Preview Emmanuel Macron often makes headlines for political reasons, but the newest buzz surrounding the French president centers on his official portrait. Claims of Photoshopping and a pose which appears to copy Barack Obama are among the long list of criticisms.
Read Full Article at
          Why Are Insurers Bailing on Obamacare?   
More and more health insurance companies have been pulling out of the state Exchanges. Is Obamacare doomed?
          Fox News host slams Trump over sexist tweet: 'They called Obama every name but he didn't lash out'   
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel defended the President
          Trump says Obamacare should be repealed even if it's not replaced with anything   
Senators from different wings of the Republican party disagree with key parts of the Obamacare repeal and replacement bill
          Trump appoints transgender rights opponent to USAID post   

Bethany Kozma helped organize a campaign protesting the Obama administration's guidance on trans students

The post Trump appoints transgender rights opponent to USAID post appeared first on Metro Weekly.

          #HellerVoteNo #HellAlwaysVoteNoAgainstRepublicanInterests! They did the same against Obama & Dems for 8 years. Se…   

from my Twitter. follow me on Twitter.

posted: June 25, 2017 at 12:27AM

          @realDonaldTrump Here is your shot to one-up Obama! Go get those Russian meddlers, tough guy! Also, since you admit…   

from my Twitter. follow me on Twitter.

posted: June 24, 2017 at 01:16AM

          The Agenda: Bill filed to make Sumter/Moultrie a national park; Haley's twitter issues; Citadel's Rosa retiring   

Congressman Mark Sanford and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott have filed a bill to make Fort Sumter National Monument, which includes Fort Moultrie, a national park. Source: AP, P&C

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is applauding an EPA move to repeal an Obama-era rule that sought to regulate small tributaries in an effort to clean water that feed into wetlands drinking supplies. more…

          What To Do About Obamacare   
Republican voters mostly aren't against it for reasons other than the fact that it was championed by the black Muslim guy from Kenya. They don't like the as-yet-unenforced mandate, and they don't like it for all of the reasons that few people actually like our health care system - at best it's needlessly a pain in the ass, at worst, well, you know the worst. A lot of them are pissed off because they think the blahs got the secret welfare ACA (Medicaid) while they got Obamacare (the exchanges), even though a big reason (not the only one!) a lot of them didn't get Medicaid was they yelled and screamed for their states to "reject Obamacare" and, thanks to Roberts, what they could reject was the Medicaid expansion.

Hospitals hate the idea of repeal. Insurance companies mostly don't like it. For people with employer insurance, people who got Medicaid, and people who can kinda sorta afford the individual plans, it's mostly better (and since the mandate isn't even enforced, it's basically better for anyone who chooses to buy it).

Ultimately any "Republican healthcare plan" is basically Obamacare, but shittier. Even my glibertarian college facebook friend who HATES OBAMACARE earnestly described what the health care system should be, and it really was Obamacare without the mandate, to the letter.

The sociopaths in Congress wants to take away Medicaid, make it less affordable and with fewer benefits (at worst, completely fake insurance, at best something slightly better than that). Remove revenue from insurance companies and hospitals, including forcing them to eat more emergency room bills. Oh, and people don't get needed care and go bankrupt and die.

The leading liberal think tank has decided to make another stab at bipartisan fixes to Obamacare because I guess whatever was in the water that made Obama think elected Republicans were interested in such a thing is still in the water in DC. I'm not sure why "here's a really complicated plan that people won't like much more than the status quo and has no chance of passing" is better than "here's a really simply-sounding (nothing is simple, of course, but the bureaucracies should handle the bureaucracy, not us) idea that would be popular and better and universal and has no chance of passing right now" but centrists gotta centrist I guess.

          What the Senate's Obamacare Replacement would mean for Mental-Health Treatment (Pacific Standard)   

By Francie Diep

June 26, 2017

See Original Post

When Obamacare repeal was but a twinkle in Republicans' eyes, Pacific

Standard wrote about how the disappearance of the Affordable Care Act might

affect Americans who need mental-health care, including addiction treatment.

At the time, we didn't ...

Read more

          Trump: Afskaf Obamacare nu og find på noget bedre senere   
Præsident Donald Trump skriver på Twitter, at republikanerne i Senatet øjeblikkeligt skal afskaffe Obamacare. Så kan de senere beslutte sig for en ny sundhedsreform. - Hvis republikansk ...
          Seismic Blasting Would Deafen Marine Mammals   

Seismic Blasting Would Deafen Marine Mammals

The endangered North Atlantic right whale is just one of the marine animals that seismic testing off the East Coast would harm.

The endangered North Atlantic right whale is just one of the marine animals that seismic testing off the East Coast would harm.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Imagine an underwater blast so loud that it can be heard by marine mammals that are 2,500 miles away. That’s the level of noise generated when companies fire airguns to blast the ocean floor with sound in order to find oil and gas deposits.

Such seismic testing could begin soon off the U.S. East Coast after Trump ordered federal agencies to reconsider the Obama administration’s five-year ban on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. On June 6, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed five authorizations for companies on the hunt for oil and gas. These companies want to conduct seismic surveys of the Atlantic seabed.

The noise would have serious impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, which rely heavily on sound to communicate, navigate and find prey. Flooding the ocean with noise from seismic surveys could inflict permanent hearing damage on these creatures, leaving them deaf and stranded. At the very least, seismic blasts would disrupt the animals’ behavior hundreds of thousands of times and could drive them away from vital habitats.

By granting these five proposed authorizations, the National Marine Fisheries Service would allow marine mammals to become casualties of oil and gas exploration. But it’s not too late—the service is taking public comments on these proposed authorizations until July 6. Below, you can tell the service to deny these dangerous permits, and protect whales and dolphins from seismic airgun blasting.

Take Action! Send your comment to the National Marine Fisheries Service today, and tell the agency that marine mammals deserve a fighting chance.

The following numbers demonstrate how devastating these seismic surveys would be:

240 decibels

Approximate volume of seismic airgun blasting underwater. For a little perspective, one of the loudest animals, the blue whale, makes calls louder than 180 decibels. When you go up by 10 decibels, it means a sound gets 10 times more intense. So a seismic airgun blast is 1 million times more intense than a blue whale call—powerful enough to deafen one of these massive creatures.

2,500 miles

How far seismic blasts can travel underwater—approximately the distance from New York City to Los Angeles. That means it’s possible for a whale near Florida to hear seismic surveys operating off the coast of South Carolina.

200,000 square miles

Area of the Atlantic Ocean that the proposed seismic airgun surveys would blast. The airguns discharge resounding booms at 12 to 16 second intervals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for months on end.


Approximate number of times in one year that whales and dolphins will be harassed by seismic blasting, according to permits drafted by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The service estimates that nearly 2,000 of the exposures will be loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss, which would severely impede the marine mammals’ ability to communicate and find food.


Species of marine mammals that the National Marine Fisheries Service would allow companies to harm, if the agency’s proposed authorizations are finalized. Six of these species are endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, including the North Atlantic Right Whale—a critically endangered species with a population of less than 500.

          Why Obamacare is here to stay   
Senate Republicans continue to work to repeal and repeal Obamacare, but even if they succeed, it has become clear this week that the law has fundamentally shifted expectations surrounding health care in the country.

Ova masaža namenjena je samo hrabrim osobama!
          Poor People Don’t Need Blue Cross Insurance, They Only Need True Cross Insurance   

As the Senate prepares to repeal ObamaCare and insure 22 million people don’t ‘run up the bill’ trying to take care of their ‘ailments’, America is in a unique position to remind poor people of the nation of one simple fact:  you don’t need Medicaid, Medicare or even Blue Cross, you only need True Cross. The science is simple:  prayer is a more powerful and affordable health insurance for poor people than any commercial insurance plans in the market place. […]

The post Poor People Don’t Need Blue Cross Insurance, They Only Need True Cross Insurance appeared first on ChristWire.

          FINALLY! Trump & Congress Moving Toward First Full Repeal And Replace Later   
Repeal and Replace

President Trump’s most recent comments on the GOP attempts to fix our nation’s failing healthcare system is music to conservative ears. First repeal and replace later.  If healthcare is done that way, “repeal” would mean get rid of every last sentence, every punctuation, of that freedom-killing Obamacare bill and toss it in the nearest fireplace. Conservative […]

The post FINALLY! Trump & Congress Moving Toward First Full Repeal And Replace Later appeared first on The Lid.

          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   

President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed...

          Trump: Kill Obamacare now, replace later   

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump urged Republican senators today to repeal Obamacare immediately if they cannot agree on a new healthcare plan to replace it, potentially sowing confusion as congressional leaders struggle for a consensus on healthcare legislation. Senate Republican leaders had set today as the target for rewriting legislation that would repeal extensive parts […]

The post Trump: Kill Obamacare now, replace later appeared first on MassDevice.

          President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”   

President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” $GOOGL, $FB, $AMZN, $TWTR, $YHOO President Donald Trump withdrew from Obama’s anti-American Paris Climate Agreement saying, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The Paris Accord was one of many anti-American agreements made by the most lawless anti-American President […]

The post President Trump, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” appeared first on Live Trading News.

          Freedom of Speech and The Internet, Red Level Emergency   

Freedom of Speech and The Internet, Red Level Emergency $GOOGL, $FB In October, US President Barack Hussein Obama surrendered control over the Internet to the United Nations.  Now after the November Presidential election the main-stream media complains of “fake news” and wants to ban news sources outside the control of the corporate media. The European Union […]

The post Freedom of Speech and The Internet, Red Level Emergency appeared first on Live Trading News.

          Washington’s Non-Elite Elite Were Hammered Tuesday   

Washington’s Non-Elite Elite Were Hammered Tuesday $GOOGL, $FB Biased and incompetent elite Americans polluted the Y 2016 election in the US, and they have gotten what they deserved. There were a lot of losers Tuesday, including the Barack Hussein Obama’s, Hill and Billy Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, thier staff for senior to junior, the smug, […]

The post Washington’s Non-Elite Elite Were Hammered Tuesday appeared first on Live Trading News.

          TS247: Loud Kids, San Jose Police Dept, Donald Trump, Guest Nina Parker   
This week Erin and Bryan are at odds with the youth of America and aren't feeling too apologetic about it...the children gotta learn! And while the San Jose Police Department jumped on the anti-gay bandwagon by secretly conducting sting operations that single out gay men, Donald Trump has been delighting the nation with his world class, shakespearean thoughts on workplace sexual harassment. Also, host, television personality and all around goddess Nina Parker is here to talk about the Kardashian hustle, her early days at TMZ and missing the Obamas.
          TS218:DWP,Tap shoes,Luxury Periods,David Daleiden   
Good news, Bryan settled his insane electric bill and is now only slightly overpaying like the rest of us! This week, Republicans are sticking to the their principals that public bathrooms are the safest, cleanest places in the world and must be protected from the transgender community! Also Ingrid Nelson asks Obama why tampons are considered luxury goods. Last time we checked getting blood all over our new Egyptian cotton sheets wasn’t considered a privilege!
          On Ad Hominem and Relative Morality   
A few hours back, @riffraaf whom I follow on twitter and have great regard for, and I had a disagreement over the aftermath of the Rosen-Romney episode. We exchanged a couple of emails. She wrote this post.

This is my response

Very well put. I agree mostly.

Here's where I am coming from: Rosen made a stupid comment. Faux outrage about how Ann Romney is such a victim ensued. (never mind our FLOTUS is bashed in ugly ways every day but that's probably the partisan in me talking, you might say).

Oh, Michelle is definitely bashed in the ugliest ways. It is bizarre to me that someone can make combating obesity into some evil plot!

Some of the people I follow on the right started labeling it as #waronmoms. This was a completely cynical response to left's #waronwomen. Now they wanted to beat the left at their own game. I get it.

Yup, they're just being cynical. But being helped by the left propagating articles like the rude pundit's.

But there was more to #waronwomen (though I personally loathe to use this slogan): Most women I know who are not into partisanship in general (because they're too busy raising kids and handling jobs unlike me :) ) got really riled up with a series of events that hurt women's rights: starting from planned parenthood defunding by Komen to birth control access issues to Sandra fluke (and Rush Limbaugh harassing Fluke for 3 entire days calling her a slut, prostitute, how she should put her porn videos online so he can watch it and so on) to ultra sound bills to new arizona laws infringing rights further.

Agree. That's how my wife (Indian-born American-raised) wife is. She is not as much into politics. She does follow it more than others. She is, like me, a fiscal conservative. But for her, this #waronwomen trumps anything else. Anything related to planned parenthood (which she loves) and birth control gets her riled up. So even if Obama raises taxes by gazillion percent (she hates tax raises even on rich folks), the social aspect of it against women's rights will always make her vote democrat.

So it irritates me to no end that suddenly Risen is somehow equivalent of Limbaugh and all the incivilities shown against women in the last year are equivalent to one insensitive remark made by a Rosen who was a nobody until now (even w/ her hillary support in 2008 and apparently having contributed to Obama campaign in 2008).

I don't think Rosen is equivalent of the much much viler and nastier and just plain-worse-human-being Limbaugh. I am not drawing the equivalence, so I am not going to defend the equivalence.

However, on its own, what Rosen said is definitely insensitive and stupid. And undoubtedly ad hominem. That's all that matters to me, as someone who doesn't count himself on the left or the right when it comes to identifying with movements. By saying what she did, Rosen attacked who Ann Romney, not what Ann or Mitt Romney were saying, making it a classic ad hominem attack.

It's politically damaging I agree. But it's a huge fake outrage and no where near what's really happening to women all over the country (whether w/ healthcare, minimum wages, equal pay, infringing on woman's body, unemployment and so on that affect women in REAL ways).

So I know Obama was doing what any Dem politician would do, but I'm still turned off by this whole latest, what I call Faux outrage.

Granted that some of those outraging are just fake-outraging. Just taking the chance to score points against their political opponents. Granted that many of those outraging on the right have possibly said much worse and more misogynist stuff against women.

But what Rosen said was still stupid and insensitive. And IMO, the Obama campaign by denouncing what Rosen said, is doing not just the politically expedient thing, but the right thing. And elements of the left by digging in and writing posts/articles undermining the worth of Ann Romney's life, are doing the WRONG thing, be it politically or morally.
          TS204:Groceries,Theater Actors, Amanda Simpson,Borgata   
Hello?! New York theater actors are you there? It’s me, Erin y Bryan. We need your snooty energy to high kick this episode into gear! Speaking of high kicks, we’re giving two to Obama for promoting Amanda Simpson, a trans woman, within the Department of Defense. And we’re giving none to the Borgata Hotel for refusing to let their women employees gain weight. Word of advice: Don’t ride your bike by a 99 cent store!
          32 million people would lose coverage if Obamacare was repealed   

Republican senators are skittish enough that their health care bill would leave 22 million people more without health insurance by 2026, compared to Obamacare.

They likely won't be too keen on President Trump's suggestion to just repeal Obamacare immediately and replace it later if they can't get enough support to pass their bill.

That move would probably leave 18 million more people without coverage in the first year after its enactment and 32 million more by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report that looked at an earlier GOP bill to repeal Obamacare.

It would also cause premiums on individual market policies to increase by up to 25% the first year and to nearly double by 2026.

All this would happen mainly because the individual mandate -- which requires nearly all Americans to get coverage or pay a penalty -- would be repealed. But some insurers would also likely pull out of the market, the CBO said. The remaining carriers would likely raise rates dramatically because the remaining enrollees would tend to be older and sicker.

This is one reason why Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate moved away from a straight repeal of Obamacare without a replacement bill. That left insurers, consumers and other Republican members in a tizzy. Only 19% of Americans supported repealing Obamacare first and replacing later, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in March.

That hasn't stopped some conservative GOP members from pushing for a full repeal. Both Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Rand Paul of Kentucky have recently broached the topic with Trump, likely leading to his tweet Friday morning.

While senators are expected to ignore Trump's suggestion, it does inject more uncertainty into the future of Obamacare and the individual market. And that's the last thing insurers need.

Already, many are raising rates or even dropping out of the individual market completely for 2018. Some 36 counties in Nevada, Ohio and Indiana are at risk of having no carrier on their exchanges next year, according to Kaiser.

Their main concerns: the mandate that everyone have insurance and the cost-sharing subsidies for lower-income Americans.

Insurers are brushing off the president's comments, saying they are moving forward with the efforts in Congress.

"We're focused on making recommendations to improve the [Senate bill], and on ensuring a stable 2018," said Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.

Follow this story

          Warner: Why is US Soccer absolved?   

Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner has told The Times that the Garcia report into corruption around the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids is “not even worth the paper it has been written on” and questioned why U.S. Soccer was absolved after he and Sepp Blatter met President Barack Obama.

The report, produced by American lawyer Michael J. Garcia in 2014 but only released in full this week, said the England 2018 World Cup bid team was found to have “accommodated or at least attempted to satisfy the improper request”of executive committee members, including Warner, ahead of the voting in 2010.

The United States’ effort to host the 2022 World Cup, meanwhile, was found to have generally followed FIFA’s bidding rules.

Warner, who was arrested and charged as part of the FBI’s probe into money-laundering in 2015 and then banned from taking part in any football-related activity for life, told the English newspaper in an email that he continues to “sleep very soundly” following the report’s release.

He wrote in an email: “For me the report is not even worth the paper it has been written on and of course not the whopping fee paid for it either. As it relates to me personally, I continue to sleep very soundly at nights for nothing in the report implicates me personally in any sleaze.”

The investigation found that Warner had requested England 2018 to find his “adopted son” Richard Sebro, a man with no obvious football credentials, a job with Tottenham, then at Wembley, before moving to Aston Villa.

Other favours granted to Warner were the waiving of a £168,000 debt owed to the Football Association by the Jamaican Football Federation and the sponsorship of a £36,000 Caribbean Football Union gala dinner.

Undisclosed “favours and benefits” were also granted by the FA to a team Warner owned — Joe Public Football Club.

Warner told The Times that all the requests he made to the English FA were “for other persons or entities and never for my family or me.”

He also questioned the decision to absolve the U.S. bidding team, citing a visit that he and then FIFA president Blatter had made to the Oval Office in 2009.

He wrote: “I have also taken note that the American investigator has absolved the US Soccer Federation and I ask myself how come? Was this not the same USSF that facilitated a visit to the White House for Sepp and me to meet Obama? How do you characterise that?

“Was this not the same USSF that arranged for [then Confederation of African Football president Issa] Hayatou and his Ex Co members to do the same? But then again this is the US that I guess determines if you fall, live or die.”

Meanwhile, the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom is analysing the Garcia report.

The decisions to award Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 edition have been dogged by allegations of bribery and corruption since they were made in December 2010.

An SFO spokesperson said: “The SFO is reviewing the Garcia Report. We can make no further comment at this stage.”

Confirmation of the SFO’s interest comes 20 months after its director, David Green, told MPs of potential money-laundering offences, including a payment of 500,000 Australian dollars (£295,000) made by the Australia 2022 bid committee to former CONCACAF president Warner, which may have gone through London.

At the time, Green, who was giving evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said the SFO “cannot touch FIFA with the Bribery Act as things stand” as it became law in July 2011 and most of the World Cup allegations took place before then.

In October 2015, the SFO had a team of five going through more than 1,600 documents provided by the FA relating to England’s failed 2018 bid.

          TS63: Obama's Inauguration, Notre Dame, Gay Republicans, Lance Armstrong   
Four more years! We love beers! Jury of our peers! Bryan and Erin dive thumb deep into Obama's gay friendly speech, Notre Dame's image problem, althetes who rape, GoProud, and Matthew McConaughey's ex-bestie, Lance "Live Strong Bracelet" Armstrong. Ring around the rosey!  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Official Max Fun Page Facebook page RSS Feed
          TS43: Lady Products, The New Normal, K-Pop, TV Sex   
Erin and Bryan chat it up about why certain products are just for ladies, bans on The New Normal, Kpop, 2NE1, and all the old bits Bryan's pulling out for his new audience at Funny or Die. We come together cause opposites attract. Baby! Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS42:Todd Akin, Gay Money, Sex Addiction, The Nanny   
Buckle your Xanax 'cause this week Bryan and Erin get all up into the drama over Todd Akin's rape comments, an inheritence based on pretending to be straight, sex addiction and of course, Fran Drescher. Listen as Bryan tries to keep his food down while Erin discusses the most boundry pushing sexual situation she's ever been in. Never gonna get, never gonna get it. Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS41:Fifty Shades of Gay, Louisiana Teen Moms, Summer Heat   
This week Bryan and Erin sweat thru their shirts to bring you this podcast about openly gay Matt Bomer as Christian Grey, Louisiana's Delhi school's ridiculous teen pregnancy rules and the longest, most indepth "Would You Rather" that's ever been attempted. All I wanna do is zooma zoom zoom and a boom boom. Shake your rump.  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS40:Olympics, KStew, Chick-Fil-A, Arizona Abortion   
We're back and worse than ever! After a one week hiatus to celebrate Bryan's birthday and reset our brains, we jump ass first into the hottest topics outside of Hot Topic - the most athletic Home Depot employees compete for Olympic gold, Kristen Stewart breaks Robert Pattinson's sparkley heart, Chick-Fil-A fires up the controversy grill, and Arizona continues to make everything awful. I don't heart Huckabee.  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS39: Personal Stories, Worst Dates, Car Poop, and Conditioner for Your Insides   
Yee-haw! Bryan's in Texas this week watching Fox News and eating Xanax with his parents, so get personal with Bryan and Erin in this very special pre-recorded Throwing Shade. Erin delights with stories of what happens when you put conditioner in your privates, while Bryan discusses the worst first date he's ever may or may not involove Mischa Barton. With all this heat, you deserve a little shade!   Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS38: Gandhi, Daniel Tosh, Gay Clubs, Gifs   
This week, on a very special Throwing Shade, was Gandhi gay? Did Daniel Tosh go to far? And what's the difference between "gifts" and "gifs"? Bryan and Erin answer these questions and also lie a bunch in this tender, caring, and affectionate Throwing Shade. Keep it dirty!  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS37:Frank Ocean, 4th of July, Women Can't Have It All, Turkey   
Claude have mercy, it's hot! And not just outside, Bryan's been making roasted turkey and chili and hot water all week! Lots of other things happened this week - Katie got Suri, Frank Ocean came out the closet, and Erin read an article in the Atlantic that was really long about how women can't have it all. Baby, you're a firework!  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS36:Anderson Cooper, Donatella Versace and Feminism, Madonna, Katie Holmes   
It's summertime so put on your headphones for a little bit of shade! This week Bryan and Erin talk Underground Rebel Bingo, Anderson Cooper's Coming Out, Donatella Versace's stance on Feminism, and a special phone call with Madonna! Run Katie, run! Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Throwing Shade Ring Tone (thanks @bcevans) Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter http:/ Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!!  " target="_blank">Throwing Shade on Get Glue HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS35:Gay Pride Cleveland, Death of Marriage, Shirley MacLaine, Stranger's Sweaters   
Gimme an T! T! Gimme a S! S! What's that spell? Nothing. But it is the initials for Throwing Shade, an irreverent slip 'n slide down the abyss of the disenfranchised.Dive into Bryan and Erin's deep thoughts about the death of marriage Gay Pride Cleveland, Shirley MacLaine and sweaters. Don't forget your papers!  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Throwing Shade Ring Tone (thanks @bcevans) Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 
          TS29:Obama Hearts Gays, Field Guide to Chicks, AgainstMe!, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson   
Despite the fact that NOTHING happened last week, Bryan and Erin talk about Obama's commitment to gay rights, the best book in the world - "Field Guide to Chicks of the United States", Tom Gabel of AgainstMe!, and Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson and his one man war against women. Cowabunga, dude.  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed
          TS28:Obama vs. Weed, Joe Biden, Utah hates women, and Armed Dynasty   
Another week another wig. Bryan and Erin talk about Obama's war on marijuana, Joe Biden's comfort level with gay marriage, Utah's new abortion bill and the gay teen Dynasty who took on bullies with a stun gun. Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop.  Subscribe and Rate on iTunes @gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod Bitly for twitter Official Max Fun Page RSS Feed Alsonso Duralde's Linoleum Knife
          TS25:Ann Romney, Ashley Judd, Roddy White, President Obama and Gays   
In Episode 25, Bryan takes an hour from doing Oxy Clean to hang out with Erin and discuss Ann Romney, the Atlanta Falcons homophic wide receiver, gay discrimination in the workplace, Ashley Judd's puffy face and the lack of foreplay in Game of Thrones. It's shake 'n bake, and I helped! 
          Trump’s Travel Ban Is Back   
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Travelers wait in line near an Emirates ticket counter at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

A limited version of President Trump’s controversial travel ban is back in place after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could impose restrictions on certain foreign travelers and refugees. The constant back-and-forth rulings have created a bureaucratic nightmare for those involved in the refugee resettlement process, and Thursday’s developments promise even more disruption.

While President Trump proclaimed victory, refugee and human rights advocates have been on tenterhooks this week. The high court’s decision was certainly a blow to opponents of the ban, but just how hard that blow is will depend on the Trump administration’s next moves.

The government’s new guidelines would significantly limit the total number of noncitizens and refugees that can enter the country, according to a State Department background briefing Thursday afternoon. The department released its guidance just four hours before the ban is scheduled to go into effect. However, the Department of Homeland Security, which controls border enforcement, has not issued its own guidance on the new policies.

During its short but turbulent existence, two versions of the travel ban have been issued, blocked by federal courts, and now given the go-ahead with certain restrictions. But the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent federal guidelines do not reassure refugees advocates. “Nothing is off the table when it comes to this travel ban,” says Justin Cox, a National Immigration Law Center (NILC) staff attorney. “We can’t assume smooth sailing.”

On Monday, the justices said that they would wait until October to hear two cases regarding Trump’s travel ban. Until then, the high court granted a partial stay to injunctions freezing the controversial executive order, allowing a limited version of the travel ban to go into effect.

Noncitizens who can show they have a “bona fide relationship” with a “person or entity” in the United States will be allowed to enter the country, as will anyone who has already been issued a visa. People who cannot prove that they have a close relationship with a U.S. citizen will be banned from entering the country for 90 days if they are from the six Muslim-majority countries included in the executive order. That time period increases to 120 days for refugees from any country who have not yet received permission to enter the U.S. 

The high court gave a few examples of what constituted a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., such as visiting a relative or traveling to work or study, but stopped short of providing comprehensive definitions, preferring to leave the work of coming up with more nuanced characterizations to the federal government and lower courts.

But under the new guidelines, relatives only include immediate family members already in the country: parents, spouses, children, adult sons or daughters, sons- or daughters-in-law, and siblings. Grandparents were not included in the guidelines.

Refugees who have already been admitted to the U.S. and are booked to travel before July 6 will be exempt from the ban. A senior administration official said that the fate of those who’ve been booked travel after that date would be addressed at a later time. The briefers also said that establishing valid connections with American entities by refugees would need to be “formal” and “documented”: Simply being connected to a resettlement agency would not be sufficient. Roughly one-third of refugees waiting to be admitted do not have family ties in the United States, according to resettlement agency estimates.

“This is an unduly restrictive approach,” says Eleanor Acer, director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program. “Refugees who go through multiple security entities, are approved by the DHS [Department of Homeland Security], vetted by various government agencies, and have long relationships with resettlement agencies should all be viewed as having requisite bona fide relationships.”

The limited ban could still leave thousands of people in limbo. “This isn’t like postponing a vacation,” says Melanie Nezer, vice president of policy and advocacy at HIAS, a Maryland-based Jewish resettlement agency. “These are life or death situations that refugees could be forced to remain in.”

Of the top 10 countries for total numbers of refugees granted permission to enter the United States during the last fiscal year, only three—Somalia, Syria, and Iran—were listed in Trump’s original executive order. Iraq is also among the top 10, and there are tens of thousands of people who worked with the U.S. government who are waiting to get clearance to resettle in this country. Under these current guidelines, it’s not clear if they would be granted entry.

The reinstated ban has stoked fears of a return to the chaos that played out in airports across the country following the haphazard rollout of Trump’s first executive order.

Naureen Shah, Amnesty International’s senior director of campaigns announced that the organization would be sending researchers to airports to “monitor how the ban is being implemented.”

“There’s going to be massive confusion in airports around the world,” says Acer, who anticipates a heightened legal response to refugees connected to resettlement agencies being blocked from entering the country.

In his partial dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas warned that the court’s decision would “invite a flood of litigation”—a comment that will likely prove prescient in the months to come. Lawsuits challenging the original and updated versions of the travel ban have inundated federal courts.

“I expect that we’ll be back in court soon,” says Cox of the NILC. “No one is going to take this lying down.”

Critics of the ban argue that refugees are already the most rigorously vetted group allowed into the U.S., undergoing a process that can take up to two years or more. “I don’t know how much more extreme the vetting can get, frankly,” says Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.

This new wave of uncertainty unfolds at a time when the number of approved refugees approved to enter the U.S. had just started to bounce back after Trump’s initial immigration restrictions. Resettlement numbers plummeted in the wake of Trump’s first two attempted travel bans: In January, the U.S. admitted nearly 7,000 refugees admitted by March that number had declined to just 2,000 in March, according to State Department data

More than 46,000 refugees have been admitted and resettled in the U.S. in fiscal 2017, nearly reaching the 50,000 limit that Trump had specified in his original executive order, but still a long way off from the 110,000 ceiling that the Obama administration had put in place.

The Supreme Court allowed the U.S. to cap refugee arrivals, but justices did not allow the Trump administration to prohibit refugees with bona fide relationships, even if “the 50,000-person cap has been reached or exceeded.”

Officials at HIAS, one of nine agencies that work with the State Department to resettle refugees, were already worried they wouldn’t hit their resettlement targets before the travel ban was reinstated. Even in the “best-case” scenario, the agency expects to resettle 1,400 fewer than they had been approved to resettle at the beginning of the fiscal year. Other resettlement agencies have reported similar drops.

“The program changes on an almost weekly basis,” says Nezer. According to Nezer, these changes in policy can stall refugee case processing. That can often result in medical and security clearances expiring, which in turn creates even lengthier delays.

Trump had originally ordered federal agencies to wait 72 hours after the court’s decision to implement the ban. Trump maintains that the ban is necessary to protect the nation from terrorist activities and praised the court’s decision as “a clear victory for our national security.”

          Trump's Appointment to Gender Equality Office Has Hateful Anti-Trans Record    
PoliticsTransgenderFeminismWomenDonald Trump Tracy E. Gilchrist

Adding to his record of appointing people to posts they are fundamentally unqualified to hold, Donald Trump has named an anti-trans activist as a senior adviser to the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Bethany Kozma, who held positions in the White House and Homeland Security under George W. Bush, vehemently opposed guidelines issued by President Obama's administration that advised schools to let trans students use their preferred names and pronouns and use the restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, Buzzfeed reports. And to Google the woman who will advise on gender equality in the office that is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to uncover a treasure trove of hateful, woefully misguided anti-trans propaganda. 

“A boy claiming gender confusion must now be allowed in the same shower, bathroom, or locker room with my daughter under the president’s transgender policies,” Kozma wrote in a 2016 piece about the Obama administration guidelines. “When I learned that predators could abuse these new policies to hurt children in school lockers, shelters, pool showers, or other vulnerable public places like remote bathrooms in national parks, I realized I had to do something.” 

In a disgusting attempt to equate trans women with sexual predators, Kozma’s story included a video of women sharing their stories of how they were sexually assaulted by cisgender men in spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms. 

While naming Kozma, who clearly doesn’t believe that trans women are equal to cisgender women, as an adviser at the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment is a slap in the face to all women, her position in the office is further complicated by the fact that USAID has a long history of supporting programs that advance LGBT equality around the world, including a program that leverages financial contributions to support “LGBTI human rights and development in 14 countries around the world,” HIV and AIDS prevention efforts, and an initiative to empower Asia’s LGBT people, according to its website.

A spokesperson for USAID said Kozma’s appointment does not mean there has been a change in policy in terms of its commitment to LGBT rights, according to Buzzfeed. 

"USAID is committed to promoting a work environment that is free from sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination, in accordance with existing federal law," the spokesperson said. 

But Kozma's anti-trans crusade did not end with her campaign to oppose Obama’s protections for trans students in 2016. Earlier this year she wrote a piece for The Daily Signal (part of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation) in which she patted herself on the back for being a part of the movement that she believes helped influence the Trump administration to rescind those protections.  

“Trump’s decisiveness on this issue shows that he cares more about people than political correctness — that all our children deserve a safe and respectful learning environment, not just a very small minority, and that privacy and free speech are rights that American parents hold dear,” Kozma wrote this February. 

          Who is set to take the lead on Facebook polititions   
Yesterday I was adding my support to a few politician on Facebook and noticed some interesting trends. We all know that Barack Obama is the hands down winner when it comes to Facebook fans and activity, which shouldn’t surprise us. But lets look at the rest of the top lineup of who is being supported, … Continue reading Who is set to take the lead on Facebook polititions
          Comment on Trump Administration Unapologetic Following President’s Latest Twitter Tirade by fadista   
I realize thinking and analyzing are not your strong suits, Mike, but claiming Obama's accomplishments have been "washed away" is even ignorant for you. Just because a complete imbecile occupies the White House and has appointed the most reactionary of corporate shills to his cabinet who, in consort, are attempting to undo as much of the Obama legacy as possible -- particularly regarding the environment and healthcare so far! -- such efforts cannot be classified, by any human with a functioning brain, as being "washed away". Your comments should be an embarrassment even by the low standards of your fellow reactionaries. Apparently, you come here because you're a glutton for punishment. Why? Can't find anyone to p-ss on you during weekday mornings?
          Comment on Trump Administration Unapologetic Following President’s Latest Twitter Tirade by Another Mike   
I've never seen a male anything with a derriere like Mrs. Obama's.
          Comment on Trump Administration Unapologetic Following President’s Latest Twitter Tirade by marte48   
I guess you were asleep when they called Michele Obama a male transvestite
          June 30 Digest    

Republicans call on Ginsburg to recuse herself in travel ban case

Corrected: Fifty-eight Republican lawmakers are calling on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself in the travel ban case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Read the full story at ABA Journal

Despite exposés and embarrassments, hundreds of judges preside in New York without law degrees

The news releases are sent out with considerable regularity, brief and basic accounts of actions taken by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct: A judge is sanctioned for misconduct on the bench; another agrees to give up their job because of questionable behavior in his or her private life.
Read the full story at ABA Journal

Globe-trotting attorneys offer new-era strategies for efficient business travel

In this age of ever-changing rules and regulations, business travel can be more difficult than ever. The reality is that the more preparation and planning that go into a business trip, the more likely it will be a success.
Read the full story at ABA Journal

How to be your own advocate at work without stepping on toes (podcast)

Even trained advocates don’t get everything they want at work. But what are some good strategies for knowing when to accept a manager’s decision, or continue to press for what you want?
Read the full story at ABA Journal

Trump's Labor Dept. Tells Court It Will Revise Obama's Overtime Rule

The U.S. Labor Department told a federal appeals court Friday that while it intends to revise the Obama-era rule that made millions of workers eligible for overtime pay the agency will continue to defend its authority to create and enforce such a regulation.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

          Now is Not the Time to Come to the Aid of the Party   
There used to be “moderate” Republicans whose views were no worse than, say, Barack Obama’s. That is ancient history now. These days, for anyone who is not at least a multi-millionaire or an acolyte of the moneyed interests, Republicans are like mosquitoes. They cannot be ignored but, from a human perspective, they do no earthly good. And yet, they abound. This can only be because, as they say, “there is a sucker born every minute.” More
          Koch Brothers Take Aim at Republican ‘Moderation’ and the Constitution   
The Republican Party isn’t extreme enough. So say the Koch brothers, who are threatening to withhold the $400 million they have promised to inject into the 2018 electoral cycle. Members of the U.S. Congress have received their marching orders: Repeal the Affordable Care Act (in other words, replace “Obamacare” with “Trumpcare”) and lavish billionaires with More
          Trump urges Republicans to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later   

President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.

Trump's tweet revives an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself...

          Yuma, "Programmer" Usia 10 Tahun Asal Indonesia yang Dipuji Bos Apple - Kehadirannya sebagai pembuat aplikasi di usia yang masih belia, 10 tahun, menarik perhatian CEO Apple Tim Cook dalam Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) di San Jose (AS) dua minggu lalu dan ternyata Yuma Soerianto murid sekolah Middle Park Primary School di Melbourne tersebut berasal dari Indonesia.

Worldwide Developers Conference diselenggarakan setiap tahun oleh perusahaan teknologi raksasa Apple, menjadi ajang berkumpul mereka yang berkecimpung para pembuat aplikasi, dan bagi Yuma Soerianto ini adalah untuk pertama kalinya dia menghadiri konferensi tersebut.

Minggu lalu, sebelum acara resmi berlangsung, Yuma sempat bertemu dengan CEO, bos tertinggi Apple Tim Cook yang terkesan dengan aplikasi yang dibuat oleh Yuma dalam perjalanan di pesawat antara Melbourne ke Amerika Serikat.

Pertemuan Yuma dengan Cook diliput oleh media, dan dengan cepat berita tersebut menyebar ke seluruh dunia.

Tim Cook tertarik dengan aplikasi yang dibuat Yuma yaitu aplikasi untuk membantu orangtuanya menentukan harga sebuah barang.

Harga ini sudah termasuk harga sesuai penjual lokal dan pajak, serta disajikan dalam bentuk yang sudah dikonversi ke mata uang yang digunakan.

Ini menurutnya akan berguna ketika mereka pergi berbelanja suvenir untuk oleh-oleh dari perjalanan mereka.

"Keren sekali, hebat," komentar Cook setelah menyaksikan Yuma mendemokan aplikasinya.

"Dan kamu membuatnya di pesawat dalam perjalanan dari Australia ke AS? Wow. Kamu bisa membuat aplikasi dalam hitungan jam. Saya terkesan. Saya tak sabar melihat karyamu selanjutnya," puji Cook, demikian lapor media minggu lalu.

Melihat nama keluarga Yuma yaitu Soerianto yang berbau Indonesia, ABC Australia Plus Indonesia, yang dikutip KompasTekno, kemudian berhasil mendapatkan kontak ayahnya Hendri Soerianto yang menemani perjalanan Yuma ke Amerika Serikat.

Hendri mengukuhkan bahwa dia berasal dari Indonesia

"Saya dulu berasal dari Jakarta, dan kami sudah berada di Australia selama delapan tahun. Kami tinggal di Singapura selama ini dan Yuma lahir di sana. Kami pindah ke Australia ketika Yuma berusia tiga tahun," kata Hendri dalam percakapan e-mail dengan wartawan ABC Australia Plus Indonesia, Sastra Wijaya.

Yuma adalah anak tunggal keluarga tersebut dan diberi nama Yuma karena "kami ingin namanya mudah diingat, dan nama yang global jadi bukan nama berbau Barat ataupun berbau Timur. Kami percaya kami adalah warga dunia."

Bertemu dengan Michelle Obama

Yuma mulai suka belajar coding sejak usia enam tahun karena menurutnya PR di sekolah kurang menantang.

Dia menciptakan aplikasi pertamanya tahun lalu dan saat ini sudah punya lima aplikasi yang dipajang di App Store.

Lima aplikasi buatan Yuma yang ada di App Store saat ini adalah Let's Stack, Hunger Button, Kid Calculator, Weather Duck, dan Pocket Poke.

Apa pengalaman yang menarik dalam menghadiri Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) ini bagi Yuma?

"WWDC sangat mengesankan. Teknologi baru yang ada sangat menakjubkan."

"Ini untuk pertama kalinya saya mendapatkan bantuan profesional, dari orang-orang yang betul mengerti mengenai coding," kata Yuma.

Sebelumnya, Yuma hanya belajar coding dari YouTube, karena menurutnya tidak ada sekolah di Australia yang mengajar bagaimana melakukan coding untuk membuat aplikasi.

"Hal baru yang saya pelajari adalah ARKit (Augmented Reality) dan SceneKit (3D Graphics Engine) karena semuanya baru bagi saya."

"Orang-orang yang saya temui banyak di antaranya adalah para petinggi Apple dan tentu saja Tim Cook, CEO Apple. Saya juga sempat berbicara dengan Michelle Obama." kata Yuma lagi.
Yuma sekarang memiliki channel di YouTube dengan nama Anyone Can Code, dan Anda bisa mengakses linknya di sini.

Dalam wawancara dengan program Radio National ABC, Yuma mengatakan bahwa dia ingin membuat aplikasi yang bisa mengubah dunia, dan juga dia ingin membagi ilmunya mengenai coding kepada siapa saja yang ingin belajar.

"Siapa saja bisa melakukan coding, bila kita sabar melakukannya dan senang melakukannya." katanya.

Ayahnya Hendri yang juga bekerja di bidang IT mengatakan Yuma memang ingin menyebarkan ilmunya kepada yang lain.

"Akan bagus sekali bila dia bisa memberikan inspirasi kepada orang Indonesia lainnya untuk belajar coding," kata Hendri.

          You May Wear Pants   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Cardinal George Pell is the third-most powerful official in the Catholic Church as head of the Vatican’s finances. And he’s just been charged multiple sexual assaults in his native Australia. I think it’s time to play this song again.

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky signs into law a bill allowing Bible classes in public schools. I’m sure that not far behind are classes on the Qu’ran, the Bhagvat Gita, Dianetics, and the Books of Bokonon. Any day now.

ProPublica reveals “a trove” of Facebook’s internal documents showing its secret guidelines for determining what is and is not hate speech, and thus able to be censored. And some of it is frankly disturbing:

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men. ... White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected. 

Adi Robertson at The Verge notes that Facebook’s task is more or less impossible:

If the company decides to promote a positive social environment without taking clear political sides, it will trend toward a faux neutrality where “hate” is any negative opinion, punishing people who criticize the status quo. But if it admits to an ideological bent, it will have to start formulating political stances on which groups worldwide deserve the most protection from hate. The more social responsibility it accepts, the more liable it is for failing to police its users, and the more power it has to control speech — not just comments to other users, but personal timeline posts or photographs. 

Oh, hey hey hey, make sure you dig the latest Cause & Effect newsletter. It’s got international news, SCOTUS news, and not all of the news is bad!

CFI’s Benjamin Radford is on the panel for a discussion about psychics (along with a bunch of alleged psychics) on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show.

Another “psychic,” Michelle Marks of Dixon, Illinois, is arrested for “exploitation of an elderly person and multiple weapons charges.” Wow she was busy!

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain wanted to see if atheists in Western Europe were more or less closed-minded than the religious. And that’s what they found, more or less:

Atheists tended to show greater intolerance of contradiction, meaning when they were presented with two seemingly contradictory statements they rated one as very true and the other as very false. They also showed less propensity to be able to imagine arguments contrary to their own position and find them somewhat convincing.

A group of scientists and other figures sign on to an initiative called Mission 2020, intended to get greenhouse gas emissions to “curve downward” by 2020, because failing that, the goals of Paris become unattainable. While it’s noble, I am skeptical. Especially after my Point of Inquiry interview with Elizabeth Kolbert earlier this month.

Undaunted by my kind of despair, a “global covenant of mayors” pledging to meet the goals of the Paris accord has brought on board more than 7400 cities.

Cleve Wootson at WaPo introduces us to Michael Tate Reed, the guy who keeps ramming his car into Ten Commandments monuments, as he did in Arkansas yesterday:

[In 2014] He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and released under an agreement that required him to continue treatment. He sent a rambling letter to the newspaper apologizing and describing the voices in his head and his attempts to recover from mental health issues. 

Speaking of which, Joseph Frankel at The Atlantic looks at how the phenomenon of “hearing voices” in one’s head—which is sometimes what makes people think they’re psychic, and others say they’re psychotic—may be more common than once thought, and also may be more controllable:

These experiments suggest that auditory hallucinations are the result of the mind failing to brand its actions as its own. Watching what the brain does during these hallucinations may clarify how that works, and what differences in the brain create these experiences. ... Drawing a parallel with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the [researchers] are interested in the extent to which the psychics they saw “might occupy the extreme end of a continuum” of people who hear voices. 

The Mormon Church is taking bold strides into the latter half of the 20th century, offering paid maternity or parental leave to church employees and (hold on to your butts) allowing women to wear pants.

A California health department report says that 111 people have chosen to take their own lives in the first six months of the state’s right-to-die law. 

Uranus isn’t just odd because its name makes you chuckle (which is why I must pronounce it “YURen-uss,” not, you know, the other way). It’s on a crazy 98-degree axis, and its magnetic shield is all wobbly.

When there’s somethin’ strange…in the neighborhood…who you gonna call? The Royal Thai Police Force! They ain’t afraid o’no phi pob. 

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is a fun, scientific, educational museum experience for the whole family! Oh wait, the city wants them to pay a “safety assessment fee”? I meant to say, it’s a ministry. So, sorry. Exempt. Phew! I mean, “amen.”

My home state of Maine gets its first case of measles in 20 years. Oh god I hope it’s not me! 

Quote of the Day:

I’m just gonna give this one to Colbert:

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Image by Chris&Rhiannon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.


The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta


          Barack Obama Crosses Over and Dunks on Donald Trump in NBA 2K17 Simulation   
Who has time for this?
          "Honor The Office If Not The Man" - WTF? By JBB...   
In my over six decades there has been one martyred man (See John Kennedy) some good men (See Eisenhower, Carter, Clinton and Obama) some not so good men (See Johnson, Ford, Reagan, GHW and GW Bush) and one wretched soul (See Dick Nixon) who have held the highest office in our la …
          We need more money in health care. Here's one way to get it   
If there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family, this bill will do you harm.” – Former U.S. president Barack Obama Even President Donald Trump called the initial House of Representatives bill “mean.” Senate Republicans recently delayed discussion and voting on their own health care bill until at least after […]
          Confidence in Institutions Poll   
We look at this poll every year, more or less. This year's results are unexpected: American confidence in institutions is up, at a level not seen since Obama first took office.

More, this poll defies the trendline I've been worried about over previous years. The decline in faith in institutions has chiefly affected the non-coercive institutions: the consistently highly placed winners were the police, the military, and the criminal justice system. Congress, newspapers, churches -- all the non-coercive branches fared worse and worse. This year, that reversed to some degree.

There's a big partisan split in a couple of places, especially faith in the Presidency (swings near fifty points for both parties) and newspapers (way up among Democrats, down somewhat among Republicans). SCOTUS shows a zero shift among Democrats, but a big gain among Republicans -- no doubt the outcome of the Gorsuch fight.

But that doesn't hold everywhere. Many institutions show compatible shifts, including things like organized labor (Republicans up by two, Democrats by a little more), church (1/3), and public schools (9/5). At least some of the ways in which we deal with each other nonviolently are tracking up a bit, and that's kind of surprising given the political climate.
          Fox & Friends ignores WSJ report suggesting possible Russia collusion   

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

President Donald Trump’s favorite morning news show, Fox News’ Fox & Friends, completely ignored a Wall Street Journal report about a Republican Party operative who sought former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers and who may have been working with then-Trump senior adviser Michael Flynn.

On June 29, the Journal (which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News) reported that before the 2016 presidential election, GOP operative Peter Smith “mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.” Smith “implied that he was working” with Flynn during his “conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him,” according to the report. The FBI has previously said that it could not find definitive proof that Clinton’s server had been hacked.

Media Matters searched SnapStream for “wall,” “street,” and “Flynn” on morning shows of Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN that aired on June 30 and found that Fox & Friends did not mention the story even once. By contrast, CNN’s New Day covered the story in multiple segments, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosted the Journal reporter who broke the story to discuss it.

Fox & Friends has repeatedly dismissed the investigation into Russian interference in the election and whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and tried to delegitimize the FBI Russia probe, claiming there's "no evidence" of collusion. Their failure to report the story is yet another effort by the hosts to cover for Trump, who regularly watches and praises the show and has drawn upon it as a source for numerous policy and other ideas.

          Trump: Obamacare jetzt abschaffen – Ersatz hat Zeit   

Während der US-Senat sich nicht auf eine Reform des Gesundheitssystems einigen kann, schlägt Trump auf Twitter vor, Obamacare sofort abzuschaffen und erst später für Ersatz zu sorgen. Eine Sprecherin ruderte zurück.

          Mass. insurers must pay $110M to competitors under Obamacare program   
According to figures release by the state Friday, the so-called risk adjustment program has grown to more than $111 million. That's the largest of the three years since the payment program was created.

          "The Obama Administration's War Powers Legacy," With Professor Ashley Deeks   
Streaming Audio

Professor Ashley S. Deeks discusses President Obama's use of war powers, examines his approach to international law and compares his legacy with that of the Bush Administration. 

           Trump to Senate Republicans: kill Obamacare now, replace later    
By Doina Chiacu and Susan CornwellWASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump urged Republican senators in a tweet on Friday to repeal ...
          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   

President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed...

          Comment on Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Legislation Extension by service mesin fax   
informasinya sangat menarik dan bermanfaat untuk di simak sangat menambah wawasan
          Comment on Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Legislation Extension by service mesin fax   
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          Comment on Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Legislation Extension by service mesin fax   
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           Trump urges GOP to repeal Obama law now, replace later    
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump urged divided congressional Republicans on Friday to break their logjam over dismantling President Barack Obama's...
          Trump Urges GOP To Repeal Obama Law Now, Replace Later   

President Donald Trump urged divided congressional Republicans on Friday to break their logjam over dismantling President Barack Obama’s health care law by “immediately” repealing it and replacing it later, a formula that GOP leaders dismissed months ago as politically unwise. Trump’s early-morning tweet embraced a sequential approach favored by only a handful of conservatives eager to take quick action on one of the party’s foremost priorities — repealing Obamacare, something Republicans have long promised to do. But his suggestion threatened to sharpen divisions between conservatives and moderates, who are leery of stripping coverage from millions of constituents without something to substitute for it. “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” Trump tweeted. Supporters of that idea include Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rand Paul, R-Ky. House and Senate leaders long ago abandoned initial thoughts of first erasing Obama’s law, and then replacing it. Such a step-by-step approach would leave Republicans vulnerable to Democratic accusations that they were simply tossing people off coverage without helping them obtain medical care. It could also roil insurance markets by prompting insurers to flee or boost premiums because of worries over whether, when and how Congress would replace the statute. And the idea would leave unresolved the quandary stumping lawmakers today — how to replace Obama’s system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that will get enough Republican votes to pass Congress. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Trump’s tweet. Underscoring the fissures within the GOP, conservative group leaders welcomed Trump’s suggestion but said it didn’t go far enough because it could open the door to a subsequent bipartisan compromise to replace Obama’s law. They accused McConnell of not wanting to go far enough and protecting GOP moderates who want to keep parts of the statute, such as insurance coverage requirements. “It’s distressing to see so many Republicans who’ve lied about their commitment to repeal. Mitch McConnell wants to amend Obamacare,” Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said in a conference call. Mimicking a southern accent, the New Jersey-born Cuccinelli said, “Root and branch, root and branch,” repeating an expression McConnell once used about how thoroughly he wanted to repeal the Obama law. On Thursday, Senate Republicans were considering breaking a stalemate over what their replacement bill should do by preserving a tax boost Obama’s law imposed on high earners. Keeping that tax increase in place was a bid to woo party moderates and rescue their sputtering push to repeal his health care overhaul. The break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts — and most things achieved by Obama — underscores McConnell’s feverish effort to rescue the Senate legislation from the brink of possible defeat. The money from the tax boost would instead be used to bolster proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people. The change, proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give a more populist flavor to the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that as the legislation now is written, it would boost out-of-pocket costs for many poor consumers and produce 22 million uninsured people while cutting around $700 billion in taxes over a […]

The post Trump Urges GOP To Repeal Obama Law Now, Replace Later appeared first on Yeshiva World News.

          Kebun Raya Bogor tetap buka saat kunjungan Obama   
Kebun Raya Bogor tetap dibuka untuk umum pada Jumat (30/6/2017) saat kunjungan mantan presiden Amerika Serikat, Barack Obama. "Karena ...
          USA: Trump sème la confusion sur l'avenir de la réforme du système de santé   
Le président américain Donald Trump a ajouté vendredi à l'incertitude entourant les chances d'adoption d'une réforme du système de santé, alors que la majorité républicaine tente de sortir de l'impasse pour abroger et remplacer la loi "Obamacare" en juillet.
          Cuba tolera controvertido grafiti sobre Trump, pero encarcela a opositores por imágenes críticas   
Cuba tolera controvertido grafiti sobre Trump, pero encarcela a
opositores por imágenes críticas
junio 29, 2017

Un grafiti del presidente estadounidense decapitado permanece a la vista
de locales y turistas en una transitada calle de La Habana, la misma
ciudad en la que un disidente fue a la cárcel por un letrero
Un grafiti de un encapuchado que sostiene la cabeza decapitada del
presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, apareció esta semana en una
pared de una transitada calle de La Habana Vieja, días después de que el
mandatario anunciara un endurecimiento en la política de EEUU hacia Cuba.

Firmado con el seudónimo "2+2=5", el dibujo puede verse en la esquina de
las calles Muralla y Bernaza, a pocos metros del Capitolio cubano y en
una zona muy visitada por turistas y locales, que consideran "polémico"
el dibujo por el fuerte mensaje de violencia que transmite, dijo a Efe
Robert, un joven habanero.

Robert confesó que siente curiosidad sobre el significado de la pintada,
que muestra a un encapuchado de raza negra sosteniendo la cabeza de
Trump, reconocible por su característico peinado y su expresión.

Sobre el encapuchado aparece un pensamiento en forma de globo con lo que
parece ser un huevo frito en su interior, y un signo de interrogación.

Mientras, sobre la cabeza de Trump el autor ha plasmado esa misma
ilustración, pero el huevo frito está tachado por una línea en diagonal,
un icono universal empleado para transmitir la idea de prohibición.

El grafiti también recuerda a la polémica fotografía de la humorista
estadounidense Kathy Griffin, en la que aparecía sujetando una cabeza
falsa de Trump, simulando una decapitación, y que suscitó fuertes
críticas tras su publicación.

Robert, que regenta una tienda de artículos religiosos frente a la pared
en la que apareció el dibujo, aseguró a Efe que no vio al artista
responsable de la pintura, que ha "atraído la atención de todo el que pasa".

El pasado 16 de junio Trump firmó en Miami una orden ejecutiva para
limitar los viajes individuales de estadounidenses a Cuba y vetar los
negocios con empresas controladas por las Fuerzas Armadas, además de
condicionar el diálogo bilateral a "pasos concretos" como la celebración
de elecciones libres en la isla, entre otros.

A pesar de que este giro en el "deshielo" bilateral puede afectar a la
normalización entre los dos países -que restablecieron vínculos
diplomáticos en julio de 2015-, el mensaje del grafiti "está un poco
fuerte" por la violencia que trasmite, insiste Odania, de visita en la
Habana desde Santiago de Cuba.

"Nosotros hallamos la actitud de Trump un poco agresiva, pero debemos
llegar a una comprensión entre Estado y Estado, para ver si hay una
mejor comunicación", dijo.

Iván de la Flor, un conductor de bicitaxis en La Habana Vieja, opinó que
la pintada sirve para "reflexionar" porque "cada cual puede hacer su

"Ahí nunca había habido un grafiti y a la gente le llama mucho la
atención, porque estamos viviendo la época de la nueva Administración
del presidente de EEUU y su apoyo al 'bloqueo' (embargo) a Cuba", explica.

Coincide en que es "violento, porque nadie le debe arrancar la cabeza a
nadie", aunque reconoce que la decisión de Trump de limitar la llegada
de estadounidenses a la isla "afecta a la economía, al Gobierno, al
pueblo" porque "todo el que tiene que trabajar directamente con el
turismo se ve afectado".

"(El expresidente Barack) Obama flexibilizó los viajes, y el pueblo de
Cuba tenía una esperanza de que el 'bloqueo' se quitara. He hablado con
muchos turistas americanos (...) Incluso llegué a hablar con una
senadora que vino de visita y me aseguró que el 'bloqueo' lo iban a
quitar. Todavía lo estoy esperando", agregó.

"2+2=5" es una expresión usada en la novela distópica "1984" de George
Orwell, para criticar los dogmas falsos y el autoritarismo del "Gran

Varios grafiti con esa firma pueden verse en La Habana, en convivencia
con los profusos carteles con mensajes afines a la Revolución y donde
una pintada con un mensaje opositor al Gobierno puede llevar a la cárcel
a su autor, como fue el caso de Danilo Maldonado, conocido como "El Sexto".

"El Sexto" fue liberado en enero pasado de una prisión de máxima
seguridad en las afueras de La Habana, donde fue encerrado días después
de su detención la noche de la muerte del expresidente cubano Fidel
Castro, el 25 de noviembre de 2016, por pintar "Se fue" en las fachadas
de edificios del centro de la capital cubana.

En 2014, el grafitero intentó realizar una presentación en un parque de
La Habana con dos cerdos pintados de verde con los nombres Fidel y Raúl,
una obra inspirada en "Rebelión en la Granja" de George Orwell y fue
detenido antes de llegar al parque donde realizaría el performance.

En esa etapa estuvo 10 meses en prisión y tampoco fue llevado a juicio.
Lo liberaron sin cargos, gracias, en su opinión, a la presión ejercida a
través de las redes sociales.

Poner carteles contra el comunismo en Cuba y atreverse a contarlo

Source: Cuba tolera controvertido grafiti sobre Trump, pero encarcela a
opositores por imágenes críticas -
           Obama visits childhood home Jakarta    
Former US president Barack Obama arrived Friday in his former childhood home Jakarta, where he met Indonesia's president at the end of a ten-day family...
           Obama makes nostalgic trip to his Indonesia childhood home    
BOGOR, Indonesia (AP) - Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his family arrived Friday in his childhood home of Jakarta on the last leg of a 10-day...
          KCWIR: The UMKC Downtown Arts Campus Vetoed   
Health Bill: This was supposed to be the week the U.S. Senate was to finally vote on a new health law to replace Obamacare. But that vote has now been pushed off until after the Fourth of July holiday due to lack of support. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is making national news as he comes   ...Continue Reading
          What repealing Obamacare would mean for one rural Colorado hospital   
San Luis Valley Health Regional Medical Center in Alamosa is a small hospital, with only 49 beds. But it is the only hospital within 121 […]
          Trump floats repealing Obamacare now and replacing it later – The Boston Globe   
The Boston Globe Trump floats repealing Obamacare now and replacing it laterThe Boston Globe(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump on Friday said that if Republican senators can't strike a deal on their health bill, they should immediately repeal Obamacare and then … Continue reading
          Trump urges Republicans to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later   

President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.

Trump's tweet revives an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself...

          Obama returns to Indonesia for family vacation   
Indonesian President Joko Widodo chatting with former US president Barack Obama at the presidential palace in Bogor.
          Gotta Hand it to Ann Coulter, Skewering CastrObama   
I disagreed vehemently with Ms. Coulter’s participation in the propaganda campaign against independent-thinking conservative, turned wayward transnationalist, turned distinctively pro-sovereignty, Newt Gingrich and her support instead of the central bankster cartel’s man for the GOP’s presidential nomination, Mitt Romney. We see how nicely that turned out. But, we can all make mistakes. Her excellent efforts […]
          Obama Gloats over Acts of War   
NoisyRoom Al Arabiya News: Tuesday’s attack by armed men in the eastern city of Benghazi came amid a wave of protests in the Muslim world against a U.S.-made amateur Internet film deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. (Reuters) Last week, I warned of the gathering storm clouds of World War III. This week, the ponderous […]
          Must Read! ‘Obama’s 2nd-term Assault on U.S. Military’   
New Zeal Most American’s fail to realize that the number one goal of both the international and American left, is the destruction of the US military – to be followed by the destruction, physically or politically, of the United States itself. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the Center for American Progress and […]
          Obama Excuses Chavez While American Rots in Cuba   
Accuracy in Media Except for some innuendo in the mainstream press that the Republicans are “desperate” for an issue to use in the presidential campaign, Obama’s mind-boggling statement about Marxist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela not having “a serious national security impact” on the United States is getting little national media attention. But like the private […]
          Health Care Is Complicated. Trump’s Pitch? Not So Much.   
If your only source of information were President Trump, this is what you would know about the American Health Care Act, the Republican legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.
          Komentar Kocak Kaesang Soal Pertemuan Jokowi-Obama di Istana Bogor   
Belum sampai 24 jam, ternyata Kaesang sudah mengunggah video kedatangan Obama. Seperti apa tanggapan netizen?
          Trump vende armas por 1,42 millardos de dólares a Taiwán. La ira de Beijing   

Creciente tensión entre el presidente de los Estados Unidos y Xi Jinping, a una semana de la reunión del G-20 en Hamburgo. EEUU está presionando a China para lograr el aislamiento de Corea del Norte. A su vez Beijing trabaja por el aislamiento diplomático de Taiwán. Los Estados Unidos venden armas a Taipéi desde 1979. El último contrato fue firmado por Barack Obama en 2015. ...

          Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 6/29/17   

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 6/29/17
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          Iran To Scale Back Nuclear Program Starting Jan. 20   
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President Barack Obama on Monday rejected criticism from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who questioned whether the president ... tags: Barack_ObamaBarack_Obama_foreign_policyConfirmations_of_Barack_Obamas_CabinetGeorge_W_BushLuo_peopleOval_OfficePolitics_NewsObama Defends Himself From Gates Criticism In Book
          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Conservative groups unleash on Senate Republicans over repeal billPolitico
What exactly does Trump want from this health care bill?CNN
GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch networkLos Angeles Times
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          Â¿Cómo celebrará Michelle Obama su cumpleaños número 50?   
Michelle Obama festejar su cumpleaos con una fiesta fuera de lo comn en la Casa Blanca.Ingresa a para ms informacinEmitido en el programa ... tags: 24_Horas_-_Edición_Centralbarack_obamacumpleañoseeuuestados_unidosmichelle_obamaPanamericana_Televisión¿Cómo celebrará Michelle Obama su cumpleaños número 50?
Panamericana Televisión
          Comment on The Real Security Threats on Iran’s Periphery by rosemerry   
If only Trump, Clinton, all the "Trump administration", Obama and anyone involved, even "ordinary Americans" would read this clear, understandable and comprehensive report and take some notice, even perhaps use their brains (not the "intelligence" they claim to receive from Israel and elsewhere), we would all be better off. Thank you for this important contribution.
          Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Push Ignores Some Important Realities    
Market forces are calling the shots on fossil and renewable energies, analysts say, and the risks as other countries rein in carbon emissions can’t be ignored.

Mainstream experts in energy policy and finance reacted skeptically to the White House's carefully orchestrated energy policy hootenanny this week, as President Donald Trump and his Cabinet declared what he called "a golden age of American energy dominance."

Several analysts said the phrase betrayed an insubstantial and simplistic way of looking at the complex issues of energy markets, technology trends, climate risks and regulatory trade-offs that make up the nation's energy policy landscape.

read more

          Trump says Repeal, Replace Later and Self-employed/Small businesses might lose affordable coverage!!!   
Like Trump's comment that took the nations breath away...:

Yet House and Senate Republican plans are getting trashed, not surprisingly, in this most recent poll:

So if Republicans can't prevent 23 million people from losing their health care insurance with a new plan, at least just dump the Affordable Care Act outright?

Dumb doesn't begin to describe taking this kind of chance with 8 percent of the economy. But get a load of what his in-the-tank true believing followers think:
Among Republicans, Trump wouldn't bear the brunt of the blame if Congress is unable to repeal and replace Obamacare. Just 6 percent would blame him, and half said they would blame congressional Democrats. Another 20 percent said they would blame GOP lawmakers.
Of course Republicans are only doing what voters wanted them to do...see graph....

The Senate's Better Care Act adds mind-boggling costly complexity to the U.S. health care system. 

For me, an "all payer system" is simple; every doctor is your doctor, every hospital is your hospital. No bills, no worries ever. .

Waaayyyyyy too easy say Republicans, who want us to spend days, months and years maneuvering through their nightmarish and complicated idea of free market freedom. One idea is so ridiculously convoluted and costly that it numbs the mind, making people join a group formed to manage health policy...seriously?
KFFDotOrg: Association Health Plans for Small Groups and Self-Employed Individuals under the Better Care Reconciliation Act: The Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), includes a provision to create new association health plan options for small employers and self-employed individuals ... the ACA requirement that premiums cannot vary based on health status does not apply in the large group market. Neither does the requirement for policies to cover ten categories of essential health benefits. 

SBHPs would be able to set premiums for small firm and self-employed members based on health and risk status ... However, in the event a covered individual becomes seriously ill or injured, nothing under federal law would prevent the SBHP insurer from raising the premium for that small employer or self-employed individual, even to unaffordable levels. This could lead to premiums in the traditional small group market becoming much higher for employers who need to seek coverage there ... making health insurance less affordable for sick individuals and small groups who would have to rely on them, and potentially not available at all.

          Reeling from Horrifying GOP Health Care Bills? Just wait till you lose your Voting Rights, just around the corner.    
While everyone is still wondering how Republicans could ever seriously fix their health care bills that drop 22 to 23 million Americans with a few more insane amendments, voting rights is about to take a huge hit:
The Republican presidential tactic of crippling agencies you don't like by putting either the incompetent or the actively hostile in charge of them (continues) ... Kris Kobach, the godfather of the national movement to suppress the votes of people the GOP would prefer not to exercise the franchise (was) named as vice-chairman of his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a snipe hunt the only apparent purpose of which is maintaining the fiction that masses of people, many of them brown, are gaming our elections. 
Here's the most damning news that might just alert us to specific Republican governors who take the bait:
Kobach wrote a letter to his fellow secretaries of state that left many jaws on the floor. From The Kansas City Star: In a Wednesday letter, Kobach asked the Connecticut secretary of state's office to provide the commission with all publicly available voter roll data, including the full names of all registered voters along with their addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history and other personal information ... he sent similar letters to election officials in every state. 

Quite simply, any secretary of state who complies with this request is either too stupid to hold the job, or is in sympathy with Kobach's goal of whitewashing the electorate.  Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State for California, said, "California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach. The President's Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections."

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill was a bit more discreet: "The courts have repudiated his methods on multiple occasions but often after the damage has been done to voters. Given Secretary Kobach's history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this commission."
BREAKING: Scott Walker gives up voter information to Trump's big government demands. Hey, we just had a recount too. All is well?

Wisconsin elections officials said Friday that they'll sell some voter information to a presidential commission investigating election fraud. Administrator Mike Haas issued a statement Friday saying data is available for purchase and the commission must release it to buyers, adding that the commission routinely sells the information to political parties, candidates and researchers. The commission would charge the presidential panel $12,500 for the data.
Having done a lot of research on "the right to vote," I found that despite the guarantee in the 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments...with help from the Voting Rights Act (now destroyed by activist conservative Justices), voting seems to be the least defended squishy right ever. In fact, I could make the argument that women and African Americans were definitely given the right to vote, but anyone else including white guys...nope.

What if Obama did this? Always the best test against hypocritical Republican policy:
As Vanita Gupta points out in that same K.C. Star report, if someone in the Obama administration had made this request, at the very least, there would be a full week of howler monkeys screaming about federalism from every perch in every conservative think-tank in the jungle. At the most, there would be hearing after hearing about the Obama administration's plan to seed thousands of the president's fellow Kenyans in every crucial precinct in Ohio and Florida. What's more important, though, is that the national campaign to roll back voting rights now has reached the highest levels of government, with the blessing of the president* and the president*-in-waiting. This is the final step backwards across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

          Paul Ryan floats 22 Million "people will choose not to buy something they don't want," like health insurance?    
Paul Ryan's ingeniously comical spin on the GOP's serious problem of causing 22 or 23 million Americans to lose their health insurance coverage has exposed him as a phony overrated policy wonk. From PolitiFact: 

Spin Me Round Round: Of course it's not true, because Americans will "choose" to drop their insurance coverage because they can't afford the premiums and/or deductibles. And because they're... longer eligible for Medicaid. The CBO said two-thirds of the 22 million without insurance would lose out through cuts in the Medicaid program.
Twitter corrections followed as well, embarrassingly so for a guy known for his "fiscally conservative" tax cut pledge:

Pretty simple stuff. Remember, they're in charge now.

A Reduced Medicaid Plan Reduces Insured? Ah, yea, that's the Problem? Ryan really said this too, as if it was a benefit. Not getting the same kind of attention but just as pathetic, he took the leap...

Paul Ryan classic: "What they're basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is that, if you're not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you're not going to force people to buy something they don't want, then they won't buy it. It's not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It's that people will choose not to buy something that they don't like or want."

          US-Präsident Trump: Obamacare sollte „sofort“ abgeschafft werden   
US-Präsident Donald Trump fordert von seinen Republikanern im Streit um die Krankenversicherungsreform eine Überwindung ihrer Differenzen. Obamacare solle deswegen am besten sofort abgeschafft werden.
          NECC 2009: Session Notes   
A Ripple Effect: 21st Century Innovations that Matter
Cheryl Lemke

Adolescent learning: peers, school, home, distributed resources, work, networked publics (a networked space where the public meets). —B. Barron, 2006

We need to create environments where we can work and learn peer-to-peer with our students because that is where they go to learn what interests them. Students need to see the value-added that the teacher offers.

94% of adolescents are involved in online gaming. —Pew

Multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains have an executive function that allows us to only think about things serially. Students, though, are faster than adults because they are younger (our brain processing speed peaks at between 20 and 30. When you move from one task to another, there is a slight delay and loss of time. There is, however, background tasking (e.g., listening to music). When students are engaged in difficult to cognitively process content, we should decrease the need for background tasking and multi-tasking. Drill and practice builds automaticity that leads to a greater ability to do background tasking while engaged in processing new content. Our students are giving us their “continuous partial attention” (Linda Stark). : This is a game that allows users to try and keep a country alive. It considers elections, economics, etc.

If you grant students choice, on average, their grades will increase by a full grade.

On average there’s less than 10 seconds of sustained discussion in the average classroom. Instead, there is teach-talk followed by student-talk, followed by teacher-talk. This is a nice tool for working with video, stills, audio, and text/drawings. This is a tool that assists in visualizing data (e.g., Twitter posts about Obama during the Inaugeration, growth of Wal-Mart). is a similar program that allows you to track demographic features over time. This tool is good for teaching students about gaming and gaming environments from a design perspective.

Tammy Worcester
Tammy’s Favorite Technology Tips, Tricks, and Tools

  • Users type in text and the application reads it aloud.
  • Allows you to record your voice. It results in an embed code.
  • Allows users to very easily create music loops.
  • Allows you to shorten multiple URLs into one. This creates a website that would be great for creating webquests or smaller Delicious sites.
  • This is a free online basic version of KidPix. More than one individual can work on the whiteboard at a time and you can email the project to others. The email includes the real-time drawing, not just the finished product.
  • or Allows you to do screen captures and make edits (e.g., adding arrows and text). You can also record voice and screen changes (like with Snapz Pro X).
  • Allows you to download YouTube videos for later use. Just add “kick” in the YouTube URL and choose (from the bar on the top) the format in which you want to download. Then, click the green “Download” button. Next, right-click over the “Down” button to download the video to your hard drive.
  • (Random Name Picker): Picks a name from a list you provide. The application includes an embed code so you can have the program run whenever you wish to use it (e.g., from the class blog).
  • Looks in Flickr to find any images relating to the tag you select. You could create your own tag and hen look at the image (a globe) with just your pictures.
  • Firefox Shortcuts: Use Apple-L to move to the URL bar. To create a shortcut, go to the search box for the website (e.g., Amazon) and right click and create a shortcut (e.g., type az twilight and it will look for
  • “Twlight” in Amazon).

Dr. Christopher Moersch
Teaching 2.0: Challenging the Interactive Generation

  • H-E-A-T (high-order thinking, engaged learning, authenticity, technology use
  • There are three parts to every learning activity: content, process, and product
  • Allows schools to take the LoTi digital-age survey
  • “What gets measured gets improved.”
  • Allows analysis of textual passages.

Tom March
WebQuests 2.0: A Richer Web Improves a Good Idea

  • Allows you to copy/paste from multiple webpages therefore creating a pool of resources related to a personally-selected topic.
  • Allows you to highlight, ask questions, and comment on individual websites.
  • This is an alternative to iGoogle. It provides you with an assigned web address instead of having it just be available after logging in. The site allows you to subscribe to multiple RSS feeds in the form of tabs at the top of the page. This would be good to allow students to take turns reviewing individual webquests.
  • This is an online version of Inspiration.
  • CEQ•ALL ("Seek All")—Choice, Effort, Quality, Attitude, Labor of Love (A taxonomy for this century); Set-up educational opportunities that allow students to make choices, requires hard work/effort, the teacher makes him/herself available for ensuring quality of student work/learning, allows students to feel good about themselves by having a good attitude, and teachers and students must put a labor of love into their work.
Vendor Notes

Global Fever (a vendor that provides curriculum relating to the environment) created a collection of rich resources using ComicLife. Their sample pages all use ComicLife and can serve as excellent examples. Like Thinkfinity, this is a central location for accessing several website. Its function is to bring together government sites intended for use by children.

From Banned to Planned: Cell Phones in Schools
Hall Davidson

Poll Everywhere
: Allows you to have students take a quick poll using their phones.

Suggestions for ways teachers are using cell phones in the classroom are avilable at another resource is

: A tool for creating projects like HyperStudio, but it allows you to add audio recorded directly from your cell phone.

Davidson suggests we rename "cell phones." In some countries they call it a hand phone and keitai ("a snug, intimate technosocial tethering"). Cell phones are different from other technologies because they are both input and output devices.

"Classroom management is less of an issues when engaged learning is taking place."

Qik: This site allows you to broadcast live from a cell phone. It will also allows you to embed code into blogs or Google Earth.

: It allows you to hold-up your cell phone to a song and the phone can decode the name of the song.

Cell phones can read bar codes (bar code readers are freely available online) and they can create bar codes from text/pictures (QR code generators).

Amazon bought a company that does object recognition (e.g., you can take a picture of someone's shoes, send it to Amazon, and Amazon with offer it for purchase).

Davidson has placed Fatherlee's paperwork for using cell phones in the classroom on his website (see above). It includes a letter home to parents, instructions for designing cell-phone educational activities, and a tech-survey for parents to ensure students aren't being charged for their in-class work.
          Trump Tweets: Repeal Obama Health Law Now   
"If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"
          Trump says Congress should repeal Obamacare now, replace it later   
The president said after the election that Obamacare would be repealed and replaced "simultaneously" so millions wouldn't lose coverage
          Eric Schultz: Obama White House didn't "choke" in handling of Russian meddling   
On "The Takeout" podcast, former White House official Eric Schultz defends the Obama administration
          AEE 323: How to Introduce a Strong Opinion in English Like Obama   

Come back to our site for a summary

          A True Clown Doesn’t Need a Rubber Nose   
The other day, perennial political tool Rush Limbaugh was on CNBC defending his now infamous “I want Obama to fail” comment. His argument went something like this (paraphrasing): Yes, I want him to fail. His policies are liberal policies and I want liberal policies to fail. I want conservative policies to succeed. I find this…
          CNN Proven Very Fake News, Dollar Tanking, Yellowstone Could Blow   
By Greg Hunter’s (WNW 290 6.30.17) A CNN producer and a top on air talent were both caught on hidden camera admitting the so-called Trump collusion story was a “nothing burger,” “pretty much BS” and was being followed “because of ratings.” Project VERITAS produced the videos that aired just after CNN was forced to […]
          Eric Holder Sends Out Ominous Midnight Tweet to ‘Career FBI/DOJ Employees’. Note from Orly: time for a special prosecutor to investigate Eric Holder, Mueller, Comey, Lynch and Rosenstein for the cover up of Obama’s use of a stolen CT SSN and fabricated IDs   
Eric Holder Sends Out Ominous Midnight Tweet to ‘Career FBI/DOJ Employees’
South Carolina threatening to sue if Trump doesn’t end Obama-era program protecting undocumented immigrants
          Citigroup: The Original Gangsta   
Barack Obama's Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy. Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when...
          Up Close and Personal with George W. Bush's Horrifying Legacy   
The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush's enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush's quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies. This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with...
          Obama visits childhood home Jakarta   
Prior to Jakarta, the former first family toured a Hindu temple wearing traditional sarongs, walked through terraced rice paddy fields and white water rafted in Bali.
          Nasi goreng, sate imbau zaman kanak-kanak Obama di Indonesia   
Hidangan itu mengingatkan Obama pada zaman kanak-kanaknya di Jakarta.
          Analysis: For GOP Congress, an imperative on health care    
Congressional Republicans are stymied over health care. But after seven years of promising to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's law, they risk political disaster if they don't deliver.
          Md. insurance exchange would benefit from Senate bill   

Maryland's health insurance exchange faces an uncertain future ("State considers rate increases on the insurance exchange as another insurer drops out," June 21). Cigna recently pulled out of the market, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest insurer on the exchange, has asked to increase...

          Obamacare is just too costly   

I read with interest the commentary by Carmela Coyle and Hank Greenberg attacking the Senate bill designed to modify the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare (“Costs too great in Senate health care bill,” June 26). While I am not a fan of many aspects of the health care legislation being considered...

          Trump Labor Dept wants pay to decide overtime, but not at Obama level   
The U.S. Labor Department on Friday defended its authority to use salary levels to decide who was eligible for overtime pay but distanced itself from an Obama administration rule that greatly expanded the number of qualifying workers. Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the Labor Department has conti...
          Killing Obamacare without a replacement doesn't appeal to McConnell   
Mitch McConnell is unlikely to allow debate to extend past July 21, according to a strategist familiar with the lawmaker's thinking.
          Obamas hit the rapids on family trip to Bali   
Former President Barack Obama and his family are on a 10-day vacation to Indonesia, where he once lived as a child.
          Barack Obama Kagumi Candi Borobudur   
MAGELANG – Mantan Presiden Amerika Serikat Barack Obama mengagumi Candi Borobudur di Kabupaten Magelang, Jawa Tengah, sebagai simbol harmoni dan toleransi umat beragama. Dirut PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan, dan Ratu Boko, Edy Setijono usai mendampingi Obama di Magelang, mengatakan, Obama sangat kagum sebagai candi peninggalan agama Buddha, Borobudur saat ini ada di tengah
          Will Mitch McConnell have enough votes to pass Senate health care bill?   
Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd tells Sunday TODAY's Willie Geist that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will attempt to pass the GOP health care bill by "trying to make a political argument rather than make policy changes." Todd also weighs in on new reports that reveal the Obama administration's struggle to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.
          Philippines: Protest marks Duterte anniversary   
Hundreds of people staged a protest in Manila on Friday to mark the first anniversary of Rodrigo Duterte becoming President of the Philippines. They headed to his presidential palace, denouncing policies including his notorious war on drugs that has seen thousands of extra-judicial killings. Critics held placards with slogans such as "Stop killing the poor" and displayed a 'report card' giving a damning verdict on his presidency. Protest leader Renato Reyes of the Patriotic Alliance group said: "The human rights record is a very serious concern. It is a bloody mark on the report card of the president and the killings have to stop, martial law has to stop, the militarisation of communities in the countryside has to stop." A bloody drug war and an ISIS-linked city siege mark Duterte's first year in office TIME (@TIME) 30 juin 2017 Duterte was a provincial city mayor whose brash man-of-the-people style, pledges to crush crime and firebrand rhetoric struck a chord with the Filipino people. His popularity saw him beat establishment rivals in last year's election and swear the oath of office. Since then he has joked about rape, compared his war on drugs to the Holocaust and told Barack Obama to 'go to hell'. Now facing his biggest crisis, as government troops battle Islamist rebels, Duterte scored an "excellent" personal trust rating in an opinion poll in May. with Reuters
          Now In Effect: New Kentucky Law Expands Health Freedom   
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 29, 2017) – While Congressional Republicans have yet to put forth a bill to get rid of Obamacare, a new Kentucky law went into effect today that will help facilitate healthcare freedom in the state. It will also set the stage for people there to nullify federally run healthcare in practice. A…
          In Young Radicals Jeremy McCarter ponders the similarities between 1917 and 2017   

One of the strange and wonderful things about history is how the same basic facts can take on an entirely different meaning depending on when you happen to be examining them. As a case in point, Jeremy McCarter began writing his new book Young Radicals, the story of five activists who spent most of the 1910s advocating and often agitating for dramatic social change, back in 2011, in the middle of the hope-and-change Obama era.…
          Santé aux Etats-Unis: les cliniques gratuites font le plein (VIDÉO)   
Alors que les Républicains tentent de remplacer la loi de santé Obamacare, des millions d’Américains n’ont toujours pas de couverture santé. Ils comptent sur les cliniques gratuites pour se soigner, comme ici, en Virginie.
          Quotes of the Week   

"Globalisation can't be just about outsourcing and low wages"   [Jeff Immelt, Chief Executive Officer General Electric, quoted in Financial Review, 26 June 2017]

“In an appearance at the University of Chicago on Monday, former President Barack Obama unloaded a relentless barrage of complete sentences in what was widely seen as a brutal attack on his successor, Donald Trump.” [Andy Borowitz writing in The New Yorker, 24 April 2017]

“Coal India—a government-back coal company–is reportedly closing 37 of its "unviable" mines in the next year to cut back on losses.
India is primed for an energy revolution. The country's ongoing economic growth has been powered by fossil fuels in the past, making it one of the top five largest energy consumers in the world. But it has also invested heavily in renewables, and the cost of solar power is now cheaper than ever. In some instances, villages in India have avoided coal-powered electricity altogether, and "leapfrogged" straight to solar power.” [ Journalist Ankita Rao writing in Motherboard, 24 June 2017]

          States seek end of last parts of Obama immigration orders   
Ten of the states that had succeeded in a sweeping challenge to President Obama’s 2014 order that would have delayed deportation of more than 4 million undocumented immigrants acted on Thursday to force an end to a similar 2012 Obama order to protect about 1 million younger immigrants.  
          President Trump Agrees with Conservatives – Repeal Obamacare Now, Figure Out Replacement Later   

President Trump's most recent comments on the GOP attempts to fix our nation's failing healthcare system are music to conservative ears.

The post President Trump Agrees with Conservatives – Repeal Obamacare Now, Figure Out Replacement Later appeared first on The Constitution.

          The GOP Healthcare Plan Fails the “Jimmy Kimmel” Test   

This week the Senate Republican leadership unveiled its Obamacare replacement plan. Like its House counterpart, the misnamed Senate plan retains most of Obamacare’s core features.

The post The GOP Healthcare Plan Fails the “Jimmy Kimmel” Test appeared first on The Constitution.

          Veteran Journalist Explains how Big Money is Manipulating our News Media   

Sharyl Attkisson has always been a respected and well-regarded journalist, and her recent work is only building her reputation. After spending years holding Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama accountable to the American people, Attkisson left CBS to strike out on her own.

The post Veteran Journalist Explains how Big Money is Manipulating our News Media appeared first on The Constitution.

          President Trump urges GOP to repeal Affordable Care Act law now, replace later   
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump urged divided congressional Republicans on Friday to break their logjam over dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law by "immediately" repealing it and replacing it later, a formula that GOP leaders dismissed months ago as politically unwise.

Trump's early-morning tweet embraced a sequential approach favored by only a handful of conservatives eager to take quick action on one of the party's foremost priorities — repealing Obamacare, something Republicans have long promised to do. But his suggestion threatened to sharpen divisions between conservatives and moderates, who are leery of stripping coverage from millions of constituents without something to substitute for it.

"If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!" Trump tweeted.

Supporters of that idea include Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

House and Senate leaders long ago abandoned initial thoughts of first erasing Obama's law, and then replacing it.

Such a step-by-step approach would leave Republicans vulnerable to Democratic accusations that they were simply tossing people off coverage without helping them obtain medical care. And the idea would leave unresolved the quandary stumping lawmakers today — how to replace Obama's system of online insurance markets, tax subsidies and an expanded Medicaid with something that will get enough Republican votes to pass Congress.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans were considering breaking a stalemate over what their replacement bill should do by preserving a tax boost Obama's law imposed on high earners. Keeping that tax increase in place was a bid to woo party moderates and rescue their sputtering push to repeal his health care overhaul.

The break from dogma by a party that has long reviled tax boosts — and most things achieved by Obama — underscores McConnell's feverish effort to rescue the Senate legislation from the brink of possible defeat.

The money from the tax boost would instead be used to bolster proposed health care subsidies for lower-income people.

The change, proposed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give a more populist flavor to the bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that as the legislation now is written, it would boost out-of-pocket costs for many poor consumers and produce 22 million uninsured people while cutting around $700 billion in taxes over a decade — largely for richer people and the health care industry.

"You're increasing the burden on lower-income citizens and obviously alleviating the burden on the wealthy. That is not an equation that works," Corker said. He said he was "very confident" that leaders would address the issue in the updated bill.

Top Republicans also considered an amendment pushed by conservatives to let insurers offer plans with low premiums and scant benefits. To do so, a company would also have to sell a policy that abides by the consumer-friendly coverage requirements in Obama's 2010 statute, which the GOP is struggling to repeal.

Both proposals were encountering internal Republican opposition, and it was uncertain either would survive.

McConnell postponed a vote on an initial version Tuesday because of opposition from conservatives and moderates alike. By this week's end, he wants to nail down changes that would assure the bill's passage after Congress' weeklong July 4 recess. No more than two of the 52 GOP senators can oppose the measure for him to prevail, and there were no indications he'd achieved that margin as senators left town Thursday.

"We're kind of at a stalemate right now, I'd say," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who with Ohio GOP Sen. Robert Portman and others wants to forestall reductions the measure would make in Medicaid.

The Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people has grown dramatically in their states and others, but the Republican bill would cut it, with reductions growing over time.

Under Corker's proposal, the bill would retain Obama's 3.8 percent tax increase on investment income for married couples making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $125,000. Keeping that increase would save $172 billion over 10 years, and moderates want to use that money to make coverage more affordable for poorer consumers.

Conservatives said they opposed the idea, along with the chairmen of Congress' two tax-writing committees: Senate Finance chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Also in play was a proposal by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to let insurers offer skimpier policies, which conservatives say would lower premiums.

Moderates oppose that, especially if it lets insurers raise premiums on people with pre-existing medical problems.

Republicans also said party leaders agreed to add $45 billion for battling opioids abuse to their bill. They were also considering a proposal by conservatives to let people use tax-advantaged health savings accounts to pay health care premiums.

          Trump criticized for trash-talking MSNBC hosts   
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump launched a crude Twitter attack on the brains, looks and temperament of a female TV personality Thursday, drawing bipartisan howls of outrage and leaving fellow Republicans beseeching him: Stop, please just stop.

Trump's tweets aimed at MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski revived concerns about his views of women in a city where civility already is in short supply and he is struggling for any support he can get for his proposals on health care, immigration and other controversial issues.

"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore)," Trump tweeted to his nearly 33 million followers Thursday morning. "Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

The tweets served to unite Democrats and Republicans for once in a chorus of protest that amounted to perhaps the loudest outcry since Trump took office.

"Obviously I don't see that as an appropriate comment," said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Trump's tweets, "blatantly sexist." The president, she added, "happens to disrespect women ... it's sad."

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma even linked the president's harsh words to the June 14 shootings of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others.

"The president's tweets today don't help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue," Lankford said, noting that he had just chaired a hearing on the shootings.

On Trump's level of insult-trading, Brzezinski responded on Twitter by posting a photograph of a Cheerios box that included the phrase "made for little hands." People looking to get under the president's skin have long suggested that his hands appear small for his frame.

Trump's allies cast his outburst as positive, an example of his refusal to be bullied.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was "pushing back against people who have attacked him day after day after day. Where is the outrage on that?"

"The American people elected a fighter; they didn't elect somebody to sit back and do nothing," she added.

First lady Melania Trump, who has vowed to fight cyberbullying while her husband is president, gave his tweets a pass.

"As the first lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder," her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.

As Trump welcomed South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a White House dinner Thursday evening, he did not respond to shouted questions from reporters about whether he regretted the tweet.

Some of the administration's most high-profile women – daughter and presidential assistant Ivanka Trump, Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell – did not respond to requests for comment.

The White House has shown increasing irritation over harsh coverage of the president on Brzezinski and Scarborough's "Morning Joe," including commentary questioning Trump's mental state.

About two hours before his tweets, Brzezinski said on the show that "it's not normal behavior" for any leader to be tweeting about people's appearances or to be bullying, lying, undermining managers and throwing people under the bus. She said that if any business executive behaved the way Trump does, "there would be concern that perhaps the person who runs the company is out of his mind."

On Wednesday, she had mocked Trump after a story in The Washington Post said he had posted fake Time magazine covers of himself in some of his golf resorts.

"Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day and destroying the country," Brzezinski said.

Trump, who has a habit of throwing up distractions to deflect bad news, has been straining to advance his agenda lately, with the Senate this week coming up short in finding enough votes to begin debate on a bill to roll back President Barack Obama's health care law.

His demeaning broadside against a woman raised new complaints among critics who have long accused him of sexism and inflaming tensions in a deeply polarized nation. Trump also has consistently stoked a long-running feud with the press that has not hurt him with his base of roughly a third of the electorate.

But one expert rejected the idea that Trump's tweets about the MSNBC hosts amounted to a calculated push-back against the media.

"It's not a critique of the press. It's a diatribe. It's a rant," said Theodore L. Glasser, professor emeritus at Stanford University and an expert in mass media.

It wasn't the first time Trump has assailed a television personality who is a woman. In 2015, he went after then-Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly when she questioned him at a debate. Trump said later that during the exchange, Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever."

It's also far from the only time he's raised eyebrows with remarks about the physical attributes of women. Just this week in the Oval Office, Trump interrupted his phone conversation with the new prime minister of Ireland to remark on a "beautiful" Irish journalist in the room and take note of the "nice smile on her face."

The latest flare-up did nothing to improve Trump's chances of advancing the health care bill that formed a centerpiece of his campaign.

"This has to stop - we all have a job - 3 branches of gov't and media," tweeted Republican Susan Collins of Maine, a critic of the Senate GOP bill. "We don't have to get along, but we must show respect and civility."

Tweeted Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a frequent Trump critic: "Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office." Agreed South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham: "Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America."

Brzezinski and Scarborough, who are engaged, have known Trump for years and interviewed him numerous times during the campaign. But they have been highly critical of Trump since he took office.

They did meet with Trump at his Florida estate on New Year's Eve for what they described as a brief visit, and also spent time with the president and senior staff at the White House in February. But Brzezinski supporters disputed Trump's characterization of the Mar-a-Lago meeting, saying it was the president who repeatedly asked the couple to visit him. Brzezinski and Scarborough were staying in the area for the holidays.

NBC News spokeswoman Lorie Acio said in a statement, "It's a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job."

          Illinois Legislative Leaders Meet; No Word on Budget Deal   
SPRINGFIELD, IL - FEBRUARY 09: The historic Illinois State Capitol building is shown February 9, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois. Tomorrow February 10th Sen. Barrack Obama (D-IL) has scheduled a rally on at the Capitol building and will anounce that he will run for president in 2008.Illinois' legislative leaders met twice Thursday but surrendered few details about how close they are to a budget pact with one day remaining.
          New 9/11 Law Puts US Soldiers and Foreign Interests At Risk   

New 9/11 Law Puts US Soldiers and Foreign Interests At Risk US lawmakers expressed doubts Thursday about the 9/11 legislation they forced on President Barack Hussein Obama, saying the new law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia could be narrowed (fixed) to ease concerns about its effect on Americans abroad. A day after the rejection of […]

The post New 9/11 Law Puts US Soldiers and Foreign Interests At Risk appeared first on Live Trading News.

          Obama Continues Support for Terrorist Groups   

911 Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, the first veto override of his presidency, just four months before it ends. The House of Representatives voted 348-77 against the veto, hours after the Senate rejected it 97-1, […]

The post Obama Continues Support for Terrorist Groups appeared first on Live Trading News.

          The Republican Health Care Plan is an Attack on People Like Me   

This article first appeared on The Progressive. How many Americans will be impacted by the GOP’s Obamacare repeal legislation, drafted under veils of secrecy? How many will suffer the consequences? Probably everyone. But the harshest impacts will be felt by those Americans who are already the most vulnerable. Individuals and families who need maternity care, Read More >>

The post The Republican Health Care Plan is an Attack on People Like Me appeared first on Center for Community Change.

          Trump says Congress should repeal Obamacare now, replace it later   
The president said after the election that Obamacare would be repealed and replaced "simultaneously" so millions wouldn't lose coverage

          Trump's war with the media is reaching new heights as the Republican healthcare bill stalls   

donald trumpChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has escalated his war on the mainstream media in recent days with raging tweetstorms and public remarks that veer off message.

Over the past week, the White House has engaged in a series of provocations of media outlets that have shocked even reporters and observers who have become accustomed to Trump's often factually inaccurate jabs at the media at campaign rallies and on social media.

Trump's escalation came to a head Thursday when he unleashed a series of venomous tweets criticizing "Morning Joe" hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough and remarking (possibly falsely) on Brzezinski's appearance.

The backlash was almost immediate, as many decried the remark as sexist and others questioned its veracity outright.

The tweets came after several days during which the Trump White House had further provoked the media.

Politico reported that the White House hoped to seize on what staffers saw as a victory when CNN retracted a story over the weekend about a Trump transition official's interactions with a Russian oligarch. The bungled story led to the resignations of three high-level, respected staffers at the news network.

The president and several top staffers tweeted about the incident, and the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeatedly mocked CNN reporter Jim Acosta for protesting the communications shop's decision to cut back the number of televised press briefings.

And on Tuesday, the deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked Americans to watch a video showing John Bonifield, a CNN health editor who is not involved in Russia-related coverage, questioning the network's decision to focus on the investigations of the Trump administration's Russia connections.

"There's a video out there circulating right now, whether it's accurate or not, I don't know, but I would encourage everybody in this room, and frankly, everybody across the country to take a look at it," she said, after referring to CNN as "that outlet."

She continued: "If it is accurate, I think it's a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism. I think we have gone to a place where if the media can't be trusted to report the news, then that's a dangerous place for America, and if that's the place where certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that's coming from the top, that's even more scary, and that's even more disgraceful."

The president also appears to be seething over aggressive media coverage in private. At a closed-door fund-raiser with donors and lawmakers on Wednesday at his Washington, DC, hotel, Trump reportedly seemed fixated on the media, singling out CNN commentator Van Jones.

Trump spoke for about 30 minutes at the event, according to people present who spoke with Politico, and "continued to bash a favorite target — the media, and, in particular, CNN." Trump reportedly "presented himself as a victim of its reporting, which he described as deeply unfair."

Trump's frequent attacks on the media come as the Senate struggles to win support for its healthcare bill. One of Trump's key campaign promises was repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and that effort now seems to have stalled.

The White House also deemed this week "Energy Week," but Trump's attacks have distracted from that message as well.

Many Republicans have publicly criticized Trump for focusing on the media, saying his actions are stifling attempts to gin up support for the Republican healthcare bill.

"Obviously, the more we can focus and have a debate with the White House and the Senate and the American people and the House about how we're going to fix the failing Obamacare system, how we are going to go forward united, I think that is more helpful to the dialogue," Rep. Tom Reed told CNN on Thursday.

Trump has strayed off GOP talking points in other public appearances as well, including during a major rally last week. During his remarks in Iowa that were carried on national television, Trump asked Senate Republicans to "add some money" to the healthcare bill, leading some senators to suggest that the president lacks a grasp of the legislation that aims to cut costs.

And while some Republicans have expressed frustration with Trump's inability to stay on message, others have suggested Trump should largely stay on the sidelines in the healthcare fight if he contradicts or can't effectively propagate the party's message.

"You know, he's very personable and people like talking to him and he's very embracing of that, so there will be certain people he'd like to talk to," Sen. Bob Corker said, according to the Associated Press. "But I'd let Mitch" McConnell, the Senate majority leader, "handle it."

NOW WATCH: Here's the TV segment that prompted Trump's vicious Twitter attack on Mika Brzezinski

See Also:

SEE ALSO: CNN issues pithy one-word response to undercover video sting attempting to embarrass Van Jones

          Eric Schultz: Obama White House didn't "choke" in handling of Russian meddling   
On "The Takeout" podcast, former White House official Eric Schultz defends the Obama administration

          Donald the Drama Queen   

Many of our Presidents have had descriptive nicknames associated with them:  Washington was the “Father of His Country”, Madison was “Father of the Constitution”, Lincoln was “Honest Abe”, Teddy Roosevelt was “The Trust Buster”, Wilson was “The Schoolmaster”, and Reagan was “The Great Communicator”.  Other Presidents have simply been known by their initials:  Franklin Roosevelt was “FDR”, Kennedy was “JFK”.  Nothing more was needed.  Until now, however, we’ve never had a president identified by the term “drama queen”.  Granted, mention of the Trump “presidency” will more often than not be accompanied by an asterisk, but, let’s assume for one moment that he is the President.  The one thing that will never be footnoted are his all-too-frequent forays onto the catwalk of crazy.  He pirouettes and sashays in outrageous form, depending on the mood d’jour:  temper tantrums, megalomania run amok, misogynistic rants... the lunacy is limitless.

One moment he’ll prattle on about “fake news” (which he pretty much invented--see his false and shameful Obama birth certificate claims, among other fabrications), the next he’s being called on the carpet for doctoring a Time Magazine cover (from 2 March 2009) and posting this fraudulent piece of self-promotion (“Trump is hitting on all cylinders... even TV” uh huh, as if any legitimate source would have written that!) at four of his country clubs for all to admire.  Talk about “fake news”...
If he’s not telling outright lies, then he’s whining about any number of supposed grievances and manipulating the media.
“Obama had me bugged!” (demonstrably false).  “Obama was colluding with the Russians!” (didn’t he claim the Russians weren’t colluding with anyone, because they would never meddle in our elections?).  “My Inauguration crowd was the biggest ever!” (Sorry Diva Don, the empty space was epic--the proof is in the photos).  “Comey should be careful, there could be tapes...” (then watch him drag this out as long as possible--much like his claim that he might one day release his taxes).  “Let me turn the announcement of my Supreme Court nominee into a three ring circus, or a cheesy game show”--(playing coy, trying to hide his identity, scheduling the announcement as though it were some great unveiling.  It was embarrassing, as well as disgraceful.
Last, but certainly not least, Donald the Drama Queen surfaces most consistently on his Twitter feed.  Trump cannot tolerate criticism in any form, nor can he stand it when he's not the center of attention. He's unable to play well with others... but as a paranoid narcissist, how could he?  While portraying himself as a much maligned victim, he has verbally assaulted countless individuals, news sources, and organizations in the course of these late night Twitter rants.  One assumes these have been collected for posterity--a testament to the Trump years. 
In the meantime, let’s let the “leader” of the Free World speak for himself, as he did so eloquently on 6/29/17.  Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezezinski, co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, have incurred Trump’s wrath by failing to praise him in the sycophantic style of his cabinet.  He tweeted:

I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017 Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017

Rage on, drama queen, rage on... but please make America great again--by resigning.

          Losing the tie is just a start. Now MPs must hang up their suits | Simon Chilvers   
If our male MPs need a model to rock the dressing-down look – the menswear story of the decade – they need look no further than the effortless style of Obama

• Simon Chilvers is men’s style director of

It’s hardly breaking fashion news that ties are no longer mandatory in the House of Commons. Frankly, what took MPs so long? But at least yesterday’s announcement by the Speaker, John Bercow – that MPs should wear “business-like attire” in the house, but ties were no longer essential – suggests that even Westminster is not entirely immune to a progressive wardrobe.

Related: MPs don't need to wear ties in House of Commons, says Speaker

Continue reading...
          Illinois teen with rare condition meets with Vice President Pence over health care dilemma   

An Illinois teen and his mother met with Vice President Mike Pence and presidential advisor KellyAnn Conway this week to explain firsthand how the Affordable Care Act has made his health care more complicated and expensive. Jake Chalkey, 18, and his mother Christine - that live in the far southwest Chicago suburb of Streator - met Pence and Conway at the White House with several others from throughout the nation that have been detrimentally affected by Obamacare.

          Obamacare May Have Slashed Cardiac Arrest Rate in Oregon   
'Extraordinary reduction' seen among middle-aged adults after enactment of health care law
          GOP Senators Postpone Vote On Health Care Bill   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And let's bring another voice now into the conversation. NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley has been covering this debate for years and years and years... SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: (Laughter). INSKEEP: ...And is here with us and has been listening to Matt Schlapp. Scott, what did you hear there that was noteworthy? HORSLEY: Well, he is right that Republicans have spent more time demonizing Obamacare than they have really selling their own plan. And part of the challenge is philosophically, the Republicans, at least in Congress, envision a health care system where the government plays a smaller role, where there is more consumer skin in the game, that is, consumers bear more of the responsibility. They feel like that'll inject market forces and help to keep costs down. But you have a president, Donald Trump, who has been marketing great care at low costs for everyone. Everyone's going to be taken care of. So there is a
          EPA Updates Literature Review and FQPA Determination   

By Lisa M. Campbell, Timothy D. Backstrom, and James V. Aidala

A noteworthy development in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing and controversial consideration of the potential use of epidemiological data in its pesticide risk assessments occurred on May 25, 2017, when EPA placed in the public dockets for certain organophosphate (OP) pesticides an “update” of the September 15, 2015, Literature Review and Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) determination, along with a response to comments on the original document.  These documents were signed by EPA scientists on December 29, 2016, prior to the new Administration, but were placed in the docket only last month, under the new Administration.  The documents attempt to rebut the various criticisms of EPA’s assessment of the epidemiology studies for chlorpyrifos and the original FQPA safety factor determination for OP pesticides, and they reaffirm the policy embodied in the original Literature Review.  Because these new documents were signed in the last days of the Obama Administration, they may be viewed by some industry stakeholders as an effort by some at EPA to “lock in” the prior policy concerning OP pesticides.

The public release of the “updated” Literature Review and response to comments must be considered in the context of the ongoing chlorpyrifos battles that have received significant public attention.  During the five months between the date that these “update” documents were signed and the date that EPA placed them in the public docket, EPA Administrator Pruitt issued a decision on March 29, 2017, to deny the petition filed by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) requesting that EPA revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos products.  See EPA Denies Petition to Ban Chlorpyrifos.  In his denial decision, Administrator Pruitt concluded it would be appropriate for EPA to defer determining whether chlorpyrifos is likely to cause neurodevelopmental effects at exposure levels below the levels that cause acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition until the completion of the registration review process for chlorpyrifos.  Administrator Pruitt based his decision on the premise that “the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved” and that “significant uncertainty … exists regarding the potential for chlorpyrifos to cause adverse neurodevelopmental effects.”

Some industry stakeholders may argue that the decision by the EPA scientists who prepared the “updated” Literature Review which concluded that EPA should retain the 10X FQPA uncertainty factor for OP pesticides can be reconciled with Administrator Pruitt’s subsequent denial decision, because the “updated” FQPA safety factor determination does not preclude further scientific discussion concerning the potential for neurodevelopmental effects from OP pesticide exposures.  On the other hand, other industry stakeholders may be concerned about the immediate adverse impact of this “updated” FQPA determination on the risk assessments prepared by EPA for OP pesticides and the measures that will be demanded by EPA to mitigate purported risks.

On April 5, 2017, PANNA and NRDC responded to Administrator Pruitt’s March 29, 2017, decision to deny their petition to revoke the tolerances and cancel the registrations for chlorpyrifos by submitting to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a Motion for Further Mandamus Relief.  That motion was substantially based on the premise that EPA does not “suggest that it has reconsidered its finding that chlorpyrifos is unsafe.”  The briefing on the new mandamus motion was completed on May 5, 2017, several weeks before EPA disclosed the documents concerning the “updated” FQPA determination.  Nevertheless, petitioners could try to argue that these documents constitute further evidence supporting their key premise that EPA has not actually revisited its prior determination that chlorpyrifos exposures are unsafe.

The legal and policy issues posed by EPA’s evaluation of the epidemiological data for chlorpyrifos and by EPA’s determination that these data create sufficient uncertainty to warrant retention of the FQPA 10X safety factor for all OP pesticides will be a continued source of controversy, and will be watched with interest by all stakeholders.

More information and updates on chlorpyrifos, the epidemiological data, and their surrounding legal issues is available on our blog item under keyword chlorpyrifos.

          Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers c...
          GOP may keep Obama tax on wealthy in bid to save health bill   
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Senate Republicans may try preserving a tax boost on high earners enacted by President Barack Obama in a bid to woo party ...
          Comment on An Open Letter to Moderates by Priscilla   
Taking a break from the Deep State War against Trump and Trump's self-defeating tweets (I don't recall the press being this obsessed with Bill Clinton's self-defeating affairs, but least Russia is off the front pages for a day), Ted Cruz is pushing a compromise healthcare bill that I think could pass. It allows insurance companies to sell non-Obamacare compliant plans as long as they offer at least one Obamacare compliant one. The Obamacare compliant plans would still be eligible for state subsidies, as they have been under the ACA, Since the GOP is essentially working with only 2 votes to spare, and Cruz, Lee and Paul would likely get on board with this plan, this could push the reform over the finish line. It may ultimately lead us to a permanent two tiered healthcare insurance market, but it will remove the mandate, the bulk of the taxes and the fast-track to single payer that we currently have. Ted Cruz is starting to grow on me. He's certainly showing himself to be a great senator.
          La supresión del 'Obamacare' podría poner en riesgo cerca de 1 millón de empleos en EEUU, según un estudio   
Los proyectos de reforma que se están barajando en el Senado de Estados Unidos sobre la Ley de la Protección de Pacientes y Asistencia Asequible (ACA), también conocida como 'Obamacare', presentan un riesgo para el mercado de trabajo del país, ya que, según un estudio publicado por la Ley Americana de Salud (AHCA), podrían perderse hasta 1 millón de empleos.
          Trump Wants To Repeal Obamacare, Replace It Later. That Could Be Difficult   

Trump tweeted the proposal Friday morning, suggesting if Republicans couldn't reach a deal, they should immediately repeal Obamacare and replace it later. But the plan to repeal and then replace might create more problems for Republicans in the long-term.

          After Obamacare: Disability Services At Risk In Medicaid Changes   

The bill being considered in the Senate would fundamentally change how Medicaid is paid for and could allow states to cut “optional services.”

          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
Conservative groups unleash on Senate Republicans over repeal billPolitico
What exactly does Trump want from this health care bill?CNN
GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch networkLos Angeles Times
ABC News -Breitbart News -HuffPost -ThinkProgress
all 158 news articles »

          Down Memory Lane: Obama To Visit City Of His Childhood   
Bogor 30 (AP):  Former President Barack Obama and his family are set to visit his childhood home city of Jakarta at the end of their 10-day vacation to Indonesia, where they went whitewater rafting and visited an ancient Buddhist temple. Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will host Obama today at the Bogor Palace in West […]
          President Trump delivers tough trade talk during South Korea summit   

President Trump opened his meeting Friday with newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in with tough trade talk, announcing he is renegotiating a 5-year-old trade deal between their two countries that was a joint legacy of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

Yet it was unclear from his and...

          Man Jailed After Attacking Muslim Teen With Bacon And Shouting ‘ISIL Scum’   
A London man was jailed after he attacked two Muslim teens with an open packet of bacon. Alex Chivers, 36, has been sentenced to 26 weeks in jail after attacking 17-year-old Ikram Ali — who was with her mother and sister — while shouting “You deserve this” and “ISIL scum,” apparently referencing the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Former President Barack Obama called the terrorist group ISIL during his presidency. 
          Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.
          Last Weekend's NAACP Centennial Celebration Looked Back — and Forward   

As Memphis prepares for a 4th of July weekend, members and guests of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP are still savoring some moments last weekend from the organization’s centennial anniversary luncheon — particularly from keynoters Melissa Harris-Perry, former MSNBC host and Wake Forest professor, and Harold Ford Jr., the onetime Memphis congressman who now works on Wall Street and keeps his hand in politically, also on MSNBC.

There were notable things happening before keynoters Harris-Perry and Ford took their star turns, of course. Local NAACP president Deidre Malone and MC Mearl Purvis kept things moving from the dais, and a series of local dignitaries, including Ford’s successor, current 9th District congressman Steve Cohen and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, had some trenchant things to say — Cohen about the perils of the Trump presidency, Strickland about the need to boost African Americans’ share of local business opportunities.

Arguably, though, the best crowd reaction early on was to remarks by longtime civil rights activist Jocelyn Wurzburg, who (along with Shannon Brown and Roquita Coleman-Williams) was one of three official co-chairs for the event, held at the East Memphis Hilton last Saturday and devoted to the theme “Reflecting on the Past, Remaining Focused on the Future: 100 Years of Civil Rights and Human Rights Advocacy.”

Wurzburg, recipient of numerous citations and the person for whom Tennessee Human Rights Commission's annual Civil Rights Legacy award was named, conflated two tales. The first was about being embarrassed in her early youth when her mother, without asking, signed her up as a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy; the second detailed her response, during a visit to New Orleans, when a resident of that city lamented Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s recent removal of Confederate memorials, including a statue of Robert E. Lee.

The New Orleans native insisted that Lee had been done an injustice, in that the Civil War, in which he led a Southern army, had not been done on behalf of slavery. Wurzburg countered that, “as a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, I can assure you it was.”

Harris-Perry, utilizing her erstwhile media chops, would wow the NAACP audience with a deceptively stream-of-consciousness rendition, including flamboyant hand-and-arm gestures, of what was actually a tightly organized dramatic presentation, aptly illustrated by a series of slides.

And along with her mastery of the medium (two actually; that of television and that of the lecture hall) came several provocative messages. One was both powerful and original: Taking off from her declaration that America had elected a president who was both “a racist and a pussy-grabber,” she formulated a convincing argument that racial domination, in its various forms, had depended on a distinctly physical domination of black women.

Slavery, which had involved the calculated and merciless separation of children from their mothers, had continued “through us,” Harris-Perry declared. To maintain the current stratified social system, she suggested, “Black women have to give birth,” and thereby to yield up to others “not only the product of our labor but our labor….The people who run this joint are pussy-grabbers.” That, she said, was “the reality of our wombs.”

Noting the incidence of black domestic servants in her paternal ancestry visi-a-vis the fact that her mother’s side was white and relatively privileged, Harris-Perry identified strongly with the former and with the idea of building “from the bottom,” a moral that she said would apply both to the advancement of the NAACP and the redevelopment of a dilapidated Democratic Party. “You always have to start with the least of these, literally, Jesus said. If you start at the top, you will miss so much. If you start at the bottom, you will miss nothing.”

Harris-Perry was the proverbial Hard Act to Follow, but Ford, who came next and last, managed to do just fine.

Professing that he was “glad to be home,” the former 9th District Congressman (who came within an ace of winning a Senate seat as a Democrat in 2006) executed an artful segue from Harris-Perry. Elaborating on the theme of “the power of women,” he recalled the importance of women teachers in his early education, extolled the helpful role played by “women in this district” in the development of his political career, and did some verbal doting on his 4 ½-year-old daughter Georgia.

Ford then shifted to the subject of change and to what he saw as a geometrically increasing demand for it in the society of today, treating the abrupt shift by American voters to Obama in 2008 and, even more precipitously, to Trump in 2016 as a case in point. The silver lining was the fact, as he saw it, that yet another political shift in a wholly different direction could happen, and relatively quickly.

“People want change, and they want it now,” he said, noting the pell-mell transformations of public technology, like the ever-escalating rise in photography via cell phone. He recalled being told two years ago that, within five years from that point, “97 percent of all the pictures in the world” would have been taken.

Ford closed on a note of optimism: “We’ve got to be daring and not afraid of change.” He quoted Babe Ruth to the effect that “Yesterday’s home runs do not win tomorrow’s ball games.”

          Obamaphones Fraud as High as 65%   

A massive portion of Obamaphone recipients are receiving the benefit after lying on their applications, according to a new 90-page report from the Government Accountability Office. An undercover... Read More

The post Obamaphones Fraud as High as 65% appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          Energy Department Looks at Green Impact on Power Grid   

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the upcoming Department of Energy study on power grid’s reliability is needed to address the facts after the Obama administration... Read More

The post Energy Department Looks at Green Impact on Power Grid appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          Trump Signals Support for Repealing Obamacare Now, Then Replacing It Later   

President Donald Trump and conservative senators are embracing a new tactic in their quest to undo the damage of Obamacare: repeal it now, then replace... Read More

The post Trump Signals Support for Repealing Obamacare Now, Then Replacing It Later appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          Ohio Is Already Rolling Back Parts of Obamacare. How Other States Can Do the Same.   

For years, most Americans have looked to Washington for relief from Obamacare. To be sure, Congress must pass and the president must sign a full... Read More

The post Ohio Is Already Rolling Back Parts of Obamacare. How Other States Can Do the Same. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          Here Are 3 Reasons the Senate Health Care Bill Should Expand Individual Health Accounts   

As Congress works to undo the damage caused by Obamacare, members are looking for ways to maximize their opportunity to address Obamacare’s problems that drove... Read More

The post Here Are 3 Reasons the Senate Health Care Bill Should Expand Individual Health Accounts appeared first on The Daily Signal.

          Nikki Haley shines again at the UN   
With every month that goes by, Nikki Haley is proving herself to be a stellar US ambassador to the United Nations in the tradition of Jeane Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. On Thursday, for example, she called out other members of the Security Council for praising Iran over its compliance with the Obama nuclear deal....
          Media Coverage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Improves as Repeal Moves Toward Reality   
The Boston Globe's recent coverage of Obama's pledge to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is one of many news stories out this year that fairly tackles the issue. The Globe piece delves into Obama's announcement that more studies need to be done, and more Congressional support is needed, before the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Though the Globe piece's terminology was not quite perfect (use of "gays" rather than "gay men and women" or "gay people"), overall the reporter did a great job keeping the piece fair, accurate, and inclusive of LGBT voices and perspectives. It presented multiple sides to the issue. It quoted expert repeal advocates like the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund (SLDN) and the Palm Center at UC-Santa Barbara. The day after the story's publication, SLDN's executive director, Aubrey Sarvis, opined in the Huffington Post that there is no need for another study on the military ban:
We do not need another report to tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since concluded: the sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant. What is relevant is how well he or she does the job.
The importance of LGBT advocates not only participating in mainstream media news pieces, but also writing opinion pieces like Sarvis' HuffPo column, enriches the ongoing conversation around the military ban. The advent of the blogosphere and LGBT military activism has helped shape the past 15+ years of coverage. Back when the military ban first went into effect, the way the media reported on it was less than fair. In 1996, the New York Times was still referring to gay men and lesbians as "homosexuals" in their military ban coverage. SLDN was regularly quoted, but by today's standards the LGBT terminology missed the mark. By this year, the Air Force Times published a very well-done piece exploring the discrimination transgender veterans face, marking a heightened LGBT visibility in military press. But not all media coverage of LGBT service members has been transformed into fair and accurate in 2009. Last month, GLAAD launched an Action Alert against “Gunny” Bob Newman, host of The Gunny Bob Show on Colorado’s KOA-AM Radio:
Newman used his Clear Channel-owned media platform to make false and defamatory comments about gay service members. Newman suggested that lifting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on allowing qualified gay military personnel to serve openly in the armed forces, would lead to greater HIV risk.
Despite setbacks like KOA-AM, the media coverage of LGBT military personnel is on the whole improving. As President Obama's administration continues to make decisions around "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," media coverage will hopefully continue to portray the issues fairly and give voice to our community.
February 5, 2009

          Why Obama May Be The Ultimate Victor In Healthcare?   
Overturning the former President's signature law is proving tricky.
          Cardiac Arrests Dropped Under Obamacare Medicaid Expansion   
Repealing Obamacare could lead cardiac arrests, and their deaths, to increase again.
          Comment on About That “Stab in the Back” by Mayur Varshne   
"Germans in the United States really do not take white nationalists too seriously. I don’t think Trump does and his father are Germans." Then how come somebody as hilarious and as corrupt as TRUMP is there in the WHITE House? The WHITE States of America sure as hell deserved somebody far, far better as it's president. And why did TRUMP perpetuate the Birther Movement for years? Obama is definitely a nice person and did reasonably well as the president of the WHITE States of America. Hey, your obsession with the INDIANS seems to be over...that 'SHE' er 'SHI' seems to have disappeared out of deep shame...I smell something cooking between the two of you.
          Michigan is last when it comes to per-capita spending for veterans   
There is no shortage of attention showered upon our veterans. A true bipartisan show of support happened during the State of the Union speech, when President Obama singled out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for a standing ovation. We stand up to offer ovations, we wave flags, we cheer our vets, but what are we really offering them in terms of support? When it comes to per-capita spending for veterans, Michigan is last in the nation. What should we be doing for the 700,000 military veterans who call Michigan home? Kristin Hass joined us today. She’s the American Culture Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. And she’s the author of "Sacrificing Soldiers: New War Memorials on the National Mall." *Listen to our interview above.
          Will defense cuts kill Michigan's 'Warthogs'?   
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled his latest budget proposal. And it is clear that as the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, the Obama administration's priority is now reducing military size and spending. Secretary Hagel declared that budget reductions cut “so deep, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough.” For instance, the active-duty Army would shrink to its smallest level since just before the U.S. entered World War II. There would be base closings, troop cuts, trimmed salary increases, and the complete elimination of several Air Force aircraft fleets. That includes the A-10, an aircraft that dates back to the Cold War. The A-10, also known as "The Warthog," was designed to take out Soviet tanks. Twenty-four of America's 300 Warthogs are at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mt Clemens in Macomb County. Eliminating that fleet would be a gut punch to Selfridge. Here to explain is Detroit News Washington
          Yes, Petty Idiocy Still Rules Society    

Late night loud yowls, most precious Big Cat Beauties... sheesh, geez, what a long busy-overwhelming week for this Big Cat... okay, really who cares about ENEMY-MSM Mika? However, petty idiocy still rules our society...sadly! But come on, Mika looks like a programmed android, and she is STUPID ... all you have to do is look at her, listen to her for a few minutes, and it's obvious--her IQ is not impressive, let's say... and let's get a dose of reality, how obvious is it that President Trump is just fish-hooking these brainless-wonder presstitutes into reacting crazily... MEANWHILE he's doing the real business of being president of these united states. BEHIND THE SCENES.

Yeah, the Kougar couldn't resist this political cartoon. ~smiles~

Okay, according to Sorcha Faal of there is a plot to possibly assassinate President Trump during the G20, when The Donald and Putin are supposed to meet... thus, to blame it on the Russians and cause a world war.




Save Me The Feigned Outrage Over Trump’s Mika Brzezinski Tweet

Paul Joseph Watson | The media has spent the last 2 years viciously attacking Trump over his appearance.




Senate Banking Committee features Sen. Corker plan to hand mortgage market to Wall Street and big banks



Catholic church involved in child sex once again 



Fake news ringleader hides from press 



Trump admin could launch false flag blamed on Assad

Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov warns that the United States is preparing a false flag “provocation” as a pretext to launch a military assault on Syria.
Responding to a CNN report that the U.S. “has ships and aircraft in place to strike Syria,” if ordered to do so by the President, Pushkov cautioned that this could be the precursor to a staged incident.
“The United States put its Navy and Air Force on alert, and is just waiting for an excuse to strike Syria. Assad will not give them one.” This, Pushkov wrote, makes it “the perfect time for a provocation.”
США привели в готовность силы ВМФ и ВВС и ждут лишь предлога для удара по Сирии. Асад им предлога не даст. Идеальное время для провокации.
Earlier this week, the administration warned Bashar Al-Assad that the U.S. was aware of new preparations for a chemical attack and that he would pay a “heavy price” for any such action.
This was followed up by a tweet from Ambassador Nikki Haley in which she asserted, “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.
On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that the Trump administration’s warning to Assad had been “successful,” but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took the move as “a warning sign of an intervention.”
“The campaign, which was started by the US and is being backed by London and Paris, on the alleged chemical attack that is claimed to be prepared by Damascus, is not original, it’s a textbook script, which has already been used in several countries in the region,” Zakharova said.
“The situation seems to be a massive provocation, both military and information-wise, a provocation which targets not only the Syrian leadership, but also Russia,” she added.
Back in April, the Trump administration launched 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield claimed to be the base for government aircraft that carried out a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun.
The decision caused a split amongst Trump’s base because he specifically ran on the promise of not getting the United States entangled in more Middle Eastern conflicts that lead to the overthrow of secular leaders.
Follow on Twitter: 

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of and Prison




Legislation is "propping up" insurance companies

Senator Rand Paul continued to voice stern opposition to the Obamacare replacement legislation Friday, saying it isn’t even ‘Obamacare lite’ anymore, and instead is more like ‘Obamacare plus’.
Appearing on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” last night, Paul noted that the Republican legislation may actually provide more subsidies than Obamacare.
“[W]hen we look at the bill, we actually find that with the Obamacare subsidies, not only are we keeping them, we may actually be providing more subsidies than Obamacare has.” Paul exclaimed.
“Our early estimates on the bill are that the bill may spend more in the next year or two than Obamacare does.” Paul added.
“And so, it’s hard for us to get our mind around that this is a repeal bill if we’re spending more, keeping all the subsidies, and then we’re going to start a brand new federal entitlement program where we give insurance companies money.” the Senator explained.
“I keep reading it and…it sounds like Obamacare to me. It doesn’t even sound like Obamacare-lite. In some areas, it may be Obamacare-plus, on the subsidy side.” he urged.
Paul also warned that the bill “subsidizes the death spiral of Obamacare.”
“It dumps a bunch of federal money, taxpayer money, or borrowed money into the insurance industry and says, ‘Hey, please lower the prices if we give you money.’” Paul told viewers.
In a further appearance on Morning Joe Friday, the Senator said that the so called healthcare overhaul is actually centered around “propping up” insurance companies.

“The insurance companies make all the money; all of this is predicated upon still propping up the insurance companies.” Paul said, adding that “you should be able to get insurance for $1 a day. I mean, you really should.”
The Senator argued that the legislation will amount to more “bailing out” of insurance companies.
“I want the bill to look more like a repeal bill. I promised people I was going to repeal it; I didn’t promise people that I was going to replace it with a federal program of bailing out insurance companies,” Paul asserted.
“I mean, we could do this for cars,” he added. “New cars are expensive. We could have a car stabilization fund.” he further argued.
In an interview with Breitbart, Paul noted that “The bill keeps ten of twelve Obamacare regulations that causes the prices of premiums to spiral upward.”


  • Late night big ole yowls,dearest and summer-dancing KitKats ... so, most of the news-info below is from a week or so past ... time flies way too fast, and this Big Cat just can't keep up at all.






    June 27, 2017

    Stunning 1967 Dissertation Warns Infiltration of Rothschild Luciferians in US Government 2

    Between 1967 and 1968 Myron Fagan recorded three LP records: The Illuminati and the Council on Foreign Relations.  The dissertations document the activities of the house of Rothschild were  produced byAnthony J. Hilder – an American activist, author, film maker, talk show host, broadcaster and former actor.
    This stunning recording from 1967 speaks to the very problems we face today, including Fake News, government corruption, the Corrupt United Nations and infiltration of a Luciferian Rothschild cult who may have gained irreversible control of the US government.





    "Stop liberal violence!" Journalist screams

    A conservative journalist interrupted the Trump assassination play in Central Park, N.Y., on Friday, only two days after the politically-motivated shooting of Republican lawmakers.
    Laura Loomer of Rebel Media was arrested after rushing the stage, yelling that the production promoted violence against President Trump and his supporters.
    The play, which is sponsored by Time Warner and the New York Times, features a Trump-lookalike who is violently assassinated in the same manner as Julius Caesar.



    Breaking: Whistleblower Says Deep State in Control of State Department : Ongoing Child-Trafficking Cover-Up at St. Dept.

    Did you know that at the State Department they have an exorbitantly paid employee, of Middle East background, who is in charge of the sex-trafficking brochures for the State Department? Did you know that same person refuses to cover this issue as domestic issue? This plays right into the hands of the Deep State cover-up of their child-sex-trafficking practices at the highest levels of government? This is tantamount to overtly supporting and covering up child-sex-trafficking and the State Department is the willing accomplice. Did you also know that the State Department has 3 men, led by Deep State minion and close Obama ally, Larry Palmer, who controls all information coming in and out of the State Department and they control the FOIA’s for the State Department as well.
    State Department employee, Monika Wesolowski, has been unduly harassed and has had her life threatened for trying to expose traitors and overt practices of treason and sedition by State Department employees who are aligned with the Deep State motives and objectives. The following is an interview I conducted with Monika followed by objective, hard proof of the claims made by this whistleblower.
    Unlike a lot of sources,this interview names the names of the guilty.

    Monika “Begs” for Protection and Nobody From the State Department Will Help

    Monika has begged for protection from the death threats, violent attacks and constant harassment. As recently as last Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Monika took the issue to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s aides. As of the date of this publication, she has not heard back on this critical issue. I want to put the State Department on notice, you do not wait 5 days to investigate these kinds of allegations when someone’s life is in danger. This is an example of intentional/unintentional depraved indifference to the safety of of State Department employee, Monika Wesolowski (see the email communications at the bottom of the page).
    Previously, on The Common Sense Show,  I documented, with pictures, government vehicles that have stalked and harassed Monika. The Fairfax, VA. police have told Monika that it is not safer to go home and they cannot protect her.
    More recently, Monika has had animals poisoned to death. She, herself, has had to be treated for poisoning, some of which was uranium related. When I recently tried to interview Monika by Skype, ourcommunications were blocked for hours. Simultaneously, our cell phone communications were blocked as well. Here home has been invaded when she is not home. She was boxed in by two Muslim men, at the carwash, and stayed near until she called the police. This woman is the Deep State posterchild for political and personal harassment. In the following emails, please note the reference to CHILD-SEX-TRAFFICKING. I further want it to be known that Liz Crokin discovered a connection between the Virginia Shooter baseball practice shooter and child-sex-trafficking and that the primary shooting victim, Rep. Scalise had just sponsored a child-sex-trafficking bill eight days prior to being shot. This is no coincidence, the Deep State strikes again.
    Monika has backed out of previous interviews because she is in fear of her life. I have convinced her that if you are going to be on the list, you better be on top of the list. Because I know the fate of Breitbart and Hastings, I have shared this information with other journalistic outlets who are going to cover this case and we are going to turn up the heat significantly.
    I want to remind everyone, that in several earlier publications, I have tapped into two unnamed sources, one from the FBI and one from the State Department and was told that there is a Deep State purge underway. Monika confirms the assertion as her office is “like a morgue, people have either left or people have cleared out their desks and are awaiting their departure”.

    Crickets Chirping

    After numerous instances of being harassed and attacked, she reached out to Secretary Tillerson’s office, but to no avail. Here are the unanswered communications:
    From: Wesolowski, Monika
    Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 1:39 PM
    To: Peterlin, Margaret JA
    Cc: Kenna, Lisa D
    Subject: RE: Personal and Confidential
    Ms. Peterlin and Ms. Kenna,
    The issue goes back deeper into 2013 and child trafficking. I have not seen my eight year old son in a year . I worry for his safety and mine. It is imperative I speak to you in person, I will not speak to anyone outside of Mr. Tillerson’s close administration for fear for my life and that of my son’s. Thank you for speaking to me on the phone. I have been wanting to send this email for several months but afraid to.
    Monika A. Wesolowski
    Visual Information Specialist
    United States Department of State
    Global Publishing Solutions (A/GIS/GPS)
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx voicemail
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx direct

    From: Wesolowski, Monika
    Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:50 PM
    To: Peterlin, Margaret JA
    Cc: Kenna, Lisa D
    Subject: Personal and Confidential
    Importance: High
    Dear Ms. Peterlin,
    I proudly attended Secretary of State Tillerson’s swearing in ceremony and have faith that he will be successful at the State Department. I would like to arrange a meeting with your office with the Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson. It is imperative I speak to Mr. Tillerson. I do not feel safe at my office or at home, I have been under constant attack. I have had things happen to my family, myself, and in the office that I cannot talk about in email. I feel my life and health, as well as that of my family and those close to me, is in danger because of where I work and the people I work with, and their connections. I do not know who to trust and cannot trust Diplomatic Security here at DOS, my coworkers or upper management, especially not Ambassador Palmer, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Information Services. I was informed by my HR that Ambassador Palmer pushed for the Hatch Act for my having a photograph and items of President Trump in my cubicle after the election. The situation at work has been hostile and I have been harassed. Please let me know if you could speak with me or arrange a meeting with the Secretary. Please expect a call regarding this email just to verify.
    Thank you kindly,
    Monika A. Wesolowski
    Visual Information Specialist
    United States Department of State
    Global Publishing Solutions (A/GIS/GPS)
    Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx voicemail
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx direct


     I believe Monika’s best protection is the light of day. On that note, I would ask that all forward this article to your contact list. Secondly, if Tillerson’s office will not respond to this grave situation, then I would ask that everyone send this article to President Trump AND Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Finally, we need to keep the heat on this issue.




    Neil deGrasse Tyson now pushing Monsanto propaganda alongside wife abuser and convicted felon
    Mike Adams
    Why am I not surprised? Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has become a mouthpiece for the GMO and chemical agricultural industries that poison the global food supply, is narrating a new documentary called "Food Evolution."
    The film pushes the same pro-GMO propaganda as a violent wife abuser who used to write for Forbes. Another fake science front group -- the ACSH -- appears in the film and is run by a convincted medical fraud FELON who spent years in prison (and now runs biotech propaganda campaigns for a living).
    Neil deGrasse Tyson has become a shameful betrayor of humanity and nature and an insult to real science.





    • I'm convinced this is just McConnell's threat to Republican hard liners that unless they got on board and drop their opposition to his version of TrumpCare, McConnell will cut a deal with Democrats to shore up ObamaCare.

      I'm happy to be wrong. There are certainly a lot of ways the ACA could be improved. I just can't imagine this Congress doing any of those things.

          Knock Outs   
Knock Outs Visit or else. girl naked asian girl fights videos kimbo loses gannon drunk real sexy school ghetto ufc warcraft obama gas finger clinton philly cop beating police brutality; Stanley cup playoffs nhl mike tyson

          List of Obamacare Taxes Repealed in Senate Health Bill   
          Trump Tells Republicans To Destroy Obamacare Now, Replace It Some Other Time   

Donald Trump told Republicans in Congress that if they aren’t able to pass their healthcare bill then they should simply repeal the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – and then worry about replacing it later. This would result in millions of people immediately being kicked off their health insurance plans and cause a severe market

The post Trump Tells Republicans To Destroy Obamacare Now, Replace It Some Other Time appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.

          You Will Be Free…To Watch Dad Die… – Mike Malloy Show   

Conservatives were demanding that states be aloud to dump the ACA prohibition on insurance companies charging sick people more for coverage. Radio talk show host Mike Malloy gives his take. Read the full story here: Obamacare replacement lacks support from GOP

The post You Will Be Free…To Watch Dad Die… – Mike Malloy Show appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.

          Yeah, They Think It's On Its Way -- And Soon!   
Most voters continue to think President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans will make significant changes to Obamacare in the near future, but most also worry those changes will go too far.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s at least Somewhat Likely that President Trump and Republicans in Congress will make significant changes in Obamacare in the next six months. Thirty-one percent (31%) believe changes in President Barack Obama’s health care plan are unlikely. These figures include 35% who say it’s Very Likely changes are coming and 11% who feel they are Not at all Likely.

The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on June 26-27, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
          Republicans Have Done Nothing For The American People Since Lincoln – Mike Malloy Show   

Radio talk show host Mike Malloy talks about the Republicans trying to save face after delaying the vote in the Senate for a replacement of Obamacare. “Facing growing opposition from members of his own party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote on the Republicans’ healthcare bill until after Congress’s 4 July recess.”

The post Republicans Have Done Nothing For The American People Since Lincoln – Mike Malloy Show appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.

          Mass. insurers must pay $110M to competitors under Obamacare program   
According to figures release by the state Friday, the so-called risk adjustment program has grown to more than $111 million. That's the largest of the three years since the payment program was created.

          Comment on Barack Obama’s LinkedIn account to be restricted #linkedin by Sol   
Sin embargo, quizás no hayas reparado hasta el momento, en el hecho de que este simple truco puede, por sí mismo, quitarte unos cuántos kilos de más.
          6/30/2017: FRONT PAGE: Poll: 53% majority say leave Obamacare intact or fix it   

Just 12% of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan, a new USA TODAY/ Suffolk University Poll finds amid a roiling debate over whether the GOP will deliver on its signature promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In the...
          6/30/2017: NEWS: Health care bill has hurdles to clear   

Majority Leader WASHINGTON Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., delayed a vote on the Senate health care bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare after it became clear the legislation lacked enough votes for even an initial motion to bring the bill to the...
          A Middle-Class Truck Driver Explains The Negative Effects Of Obamacare On His Family, Further Proving That It’s Got To Go   

One thing the right can actually agree on these days is that something needs to be done about Obamacare. Yet a significant amount of us aren’t exactly sure why. Yes, we know that the cost of premiums have gone through the roof, deductibles are unreasonably high, and co-pays are not affordable. But what does that […]

The post A Middle-Class Truck Driver Explains The Negative Effects Of Obamacare On His Family, Further Proving That It’s Got To Go appeared first on The Hayride.

          6/30/2017: OPINION: Don’t repeal and replace — retain and repair Obamacare   
Scrambling for votes on their wildly unpopular health care bill, Senate Republicans find themselves with an unappealing choice. They can anger their base by ditching seven years of promises to repeal Obamacare. Or they can strip 22 million people —...
          In Case You Missed It…NRF in USA Today: Pass Obamacare Repeal and Continue Fixing Health Care Policy   
...of its most onerous provisions. Rather than lowering costs, the controversial law emphasizes mandates that have driven up health insurance expenses for both employers and employees. NRF is the world's largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home ...

          Trump Touts Fossil Fuel Exports, Nuke Aid In Energy Speech   
In a speech heavy on championing fossil fuel development and exports, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would lift an Obama-era restriction on financing overseas coal projects and direct the U.S. Department of Energy to examine ways to help...(read more)
          Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
WASHINGTON (AP) " President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.Trump's tweet revives an approach that GOP leaders and the president himself considered but dismissed months ago as impractical and politically unwise. And it's likely to further complicate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's task as he struggles to [...]
          Eric Holder Sends Ominous Late Night Tweet To “Career DOJ/FBI” Employees   
Eric Holder, Obama’s former Attorney General and a man who recently hinted at an interest in pursuing a 2020 bid for the White House, issued a rather ominous warning to the “career men & women”...
          Socialized Medicine's Killing Isn't Just About Money, But Power   

While Dems in America vie among themselves to state ever more exaggerated figures of how many Americans will die because of the repeal of ObamaCare, in the UK socialized medicine will once again kill, not because of a lack of care, but because that is how the system works.

The judges of the European Court of Human Rights have nullified the passage from the “right to die”, in which parents have the last word on the life of their sick child, to the ancient “duty to die”

It is the sad fate of Charlie Gard, an infant who has been sentenced to death by the European and British judges against the will of his father and mother, who wanted to bring him to the United States to try to cure him of a rare disease with which he was born. The court ruled that he must stay in England where doctors have decided to take him off life support and refuse to allow his parents to take him home to die.

This is what socialized medicine looks like.

Charlie Gard's bereft parents have blasted his 'heartless' doctors who have refused to let him come home to die, MailOnline can reveal today.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard have been told by Great Ormond Street their son's life support will be switched off later today but he cannot leave the ward.

The couple's 'final wish' for Charlie has been blocked and his mother Connie said yesterday in a video for MailOnline: 'We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home'.

Mr Gard added: 'We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot which he has never slept in but we are now being denied that. We know what day our son is going to die but don't get a say in how that will happen.'

They have also released a heartbreaking photograph of them lying with Charlie between them and said they were 'spending our last precious hours with our baby boy'.

His father Chris, 32, said: 'Our parental rights have been stripped away. We can't even take our own son home to die. We've been denied that. Our final wish if it all went against us can we take our little boy home to die and we are not allowed.

'They even said no to a hospice.'

The couple, who have previously lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, claim they also asked doctors to allow them a final weekend with Charlie but say this request has been denied.

'We begged them to give us the weekend,' Ms Yates said, 'Friends and family wanted to come and see Charlie for the last time. But now there isn't even time for that. Doctors said they would not rush to turn off his ventilator but we are being rushed.

'Not only are we not allowed to take our son to an expert hospital to save his life, we also can't choose how or when our son dies.'

Much has been written about the death panels and the inevitable way that socialized medicine demands rationing. And this is indeed what it looks when the rationing doesn't come from the market, but from the system. 

But it's not just about money. It's about power.

It would have cost the NHS less to allow his parents to take Charlie to America. This wasn't, as everyone in the chain of government bureaucracy insists, about compassion. 

Taking Charlie to America would have been a bad example. It would send the message that socialized medicine is flawed. That, like Soviets sneaking over to get Western goodies, Brits have to come to America to get the health care they can't get at home. There's truth to that, in the UK and Canada, just as Americans go to Mexico to dodge certain restrictions in America, but it can't be discussed.

And worse still, it deprives the system of power. It says that some ordinary couple who put things on the internet have the right to override the judgment of the professionals.

Nothing is more offensive to a technocracy than that. Such thinking must be stamped out. Firmly.

Charlie had to be killed. His parents had to be deprived of every right. Every plea had to be rejected. Partly as payback, but also to make a point about the power relationship.

In a free market system, the patient is a client. He has some power. Under socialized medicine, he is a ward. He has no power. He must submit.

Socialized medicine's culture of death isn't about money. It's about power. That's what all Socialism is in the end. 

And we must never think for a moment that it's any different here. 

As Orwell's O'Brien said, "The purpose of power is power." The purpose of Socialism is power. The purpose of Socialized medicine is power. 

And how better to know that power than through death. The system will kill Charlie to know its power. It will kill him to show its power. It will kill him as a warning to others. It will do so with the compassion that tyrannies that are not yet confident enough to show their teeth do. But it will do it nonetheless.

The purpose of power is not compassion. It is power.

          Republicans Force Pentagon to Push Global Warming   

Every time you think Congress has hit rock bottom, they manage to exceed your expectations.

The House Armed Services Committee’s annual defense policy bill will include a provision requiring a Defense Department report on the effects of climate change on military installations.

Why? You're wondering.

Why is the Pentagon going to be wasting time providing ammo and employment to leftists to continue Obama's corruption of the military into a social justice organization instead of focusing on the somewhat more pressing national security threats that we face, ranging from terrorism to nuclear war to China's escalation?

Why are we going to see these same reports and the leftists writing them being touted in a larger push to impose carbon taxes and other Warmunist plans to raise the prices of everything with the profits going to their special interests and agendas?

Because a Dem proposed it and enough Pubs backed it.

The amendment — brought up by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) in the readiness portion of Wednesday’s markup — instructs each military service to come up with a list of the top 10 military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years.

Such a provision aims to ensure that the Defense Department “is prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on threat assessments, resources and readiness,” according to the amendment language.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was the sole lawmaker to speak out against the amendment, claiming it instructs the Pentagon “to take their eye off the ball.”

“We have heard testimony in front of this committee consistently about the array of imminent threats we face … the Russians, Chinese, ISIS, al Qaeda, Iran, North Korea. … There is simply no way that you can argue that climate change is one of those threats. Not even close,” she said. “There is no evidence that climate change causes war.”

She continued: “North Korea is not developing nuclear tipped ICBMs because the climate’s changing. ISIS and al Qaeda are not attacking the West because of the weather.”

You would think that this would be the Republican position... you would think.

But several of her Republican colleagues, including Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), disagreed with her take.

“There is a line in the play ‘1776’ about the Declaration of Independence: ‘I’ve never seen, heard nor smelled an issue so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about.’ There’s nothing dangerous about talking about it. It’s a report,” Bishop said.

I'm glad that Bishop is taking his inspiration for national security policy from musicals. 

There's a big difference between "talking about it" and making it a priority to produce reports validating a leftist talking point. How about having the Pentagon produce reports discussing the threat of Islamic immigration to bases.

Suddenly, that will be an issue too dangerous to be talked about. Even though it, unlike the Great Flying Global Warming Monster whom the left worships, is actually a national security threat. 

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) backed up Bishop’s line of thinking. “It’s just a report and there are strategic implications that we need to be aware of,” he said.

That's politese for "I have no idea hat any of this is about, but let me stay on the safe side and not stick my neck out."

Rep. Susan Davis (R-Calif.) called the amendment “a start.”

Climate change “is one of those issues that is sort of in that bucket that we ignore at our own peril,” Davis said.

The leftist corruption of the GOP is another of those issues.

This is what happens when there's no organized agenda, no comprehensive messaging, and no understanding of the threats and problems we face.

          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   
President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed... Reported by L.A. Times 1 hour ago.
          Comment on The Righteous, Seduced by Secret Combinations by SWS   
Its really a shock to see LDS congressmen toss their integrity aside to support such a vile, amoral, dishonest, self-serving windbag as trump. Even more disturbing perhaps, is their aggressive partisan disrespect and obstruction of President Obama and his administration- he is a decent man who loves this country and worked every day for the people. And, that very secret meeting that several Republicans attended, vowing to obstruct anything and everything Pres. Obama tried to accomplish was a deal made in darkness- they vowed to obstruct even things that were for the good of the country because they wanted him to be a 1 term president- that is pretty evil. That meeting is a "secret combination". Republican hatred is still burning, even though the majority of Americans do not want the Affordable Care Act repealed, Mitch McConnell is trying to force it through anyway. The ACA can be fixed, but their hatred of Pres. Obama is the main reason they want it repealed. Trump is clearly trying to erase the existence of Pres.Obama from the pages of history, which is why McConnell & Ryan are supporting Trump, even supporting him on stupid things like withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord- putting the US in the same category with Nicaragua and Syria. The Trump, Ryan & McConnell team is a secret combination. McConnell's closed door creation of a terrible healthcare plan, with plans and schemes to push it through Congress is a secret combination. The GOP & Trump's plan to slash taxes for the very wealthy & corporations, while taking away, privatizing or gutting every aspect of government that helps people, will turn our government into a one primarily run by the wealthiest families and big corporations- rolling back regulations on pollution is one example of placing corporations over the welfare and health of people. Some in the religious right are also part of this secret combination- by diverting funds from public Education to private/religious schools, generations of Americans will be taught ideas as science that have nothing to do with science, they will teach their stereotypes and their irrational fears- they will turn this country into the pre-apocalyptic nation they are longing for. Talk of the Illuminati is an old story as well- mostly based on conspiracies without any real proof. But, these secret meetings, secret agendas that will redefine the U.S. and our freedoms is very real is happening in front of our faces. Other groups the right accuses of practically everything, just want their civil rights, equal rights, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Orrin Hatch, Lee, Chaffetz & Heller have all shown their cruelty in their votes and are or have been part of these secret combinations. Orrin Hatch doesn't even appear to have a soul anymore.
          Holder to Career DOJ, FBI Staff: ‘Be Prepared, Be Strong’   

Barack Obama's former attorney general, Eric Holder, on Friday told the "career men and women" at the FBI and Justice Department to "be prepared, be strong," warning that tough times are ahead for them.

The post Holder to Career DOJ, FBI Staff: ‘Be Prepared, Be Strong’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

          Missed It By That Much – The Obamacare Enrollee Lie   
Exactly how many people will "lose" their health care coverage?
          Hedge Fund Traders Return To Banking As Trump Promises To 'Make Prop Trading Great Again'   

The hedge fund industry is finding itself in increasingly dire straits as persistently weak returns and the advent of low-cost investing have forced more and more funds to shut down. So, it's unsurprising that, amid this steadily worsening backdrop, more traders are heading for the exits. But where are the heading? Increasingly, more traders are moving back from where they came - i.e. the big banks, which expect to see a boost in trading revenue as President Donald Trump has vowed to dial back postcrisis regulations that forced banks to wind down their prop desks.

In recent months, a number of high-profile hedge fund names have made the leap back to banking, according to Bloomberg.

“This month, Barclays Plc hired Chris Leonard, a founder of two hedge funds in the decade since he left JPMorgan Chase & Co., to turn around U.S. rates trading. At the end of last year, ex-bankers Roberto Hoornweg and Chris Rivelli, both of Brevan Howard Asset Management, left that London hedge fund for banks.


Recruiters say these moves and others aren’t just the usual attrition: banks in New York and London are interesting employers again a decade after the financial crisis, and may get involved in more proprietary trading if President Trump eases regulatory burdens. There’s also another factor: many macro funds just don’t make money anymore.


One recruiter says he expects defections to increase over the next nine months.


“In the last quarter of the year or first quarter of 2018, you will find more people leaving the hedge funds to join banks to run proprietary money,” said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of the Kennedy Group in London, which hires for banks and hedge funds. “The banks will become more attractive in terms of jobs and pay.”

The Trump administration has struggled to pass elements of its agenda - most notable its plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. And it only recently scored a partial victory on its immigration ban. Yet financial deregulation is one area where the Trump agenda is moving inexorably forward. On June 13, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin issued a report – the first in a series that will detail how the administration plans to proceed with paring back post-crisis regulations.  Some of the more notable proposals in the highly-anticipated report include: adjusting the annual stress tests, easing trading rules (i.e., gutting the Volcker Rule), and paring back the power of the watchdogs - like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Unlike the administration’s health-care plans, these measures enjoy broad support among Republicans.

Meanwhile, hedge funds are finding it increasingly difficult to compete for top talent.

"...the bar within the hedge-fund world has increased dramatically over the last year,” Kennedy said.


Hedge funds, stung by years of underperformance and revolts from investors, are increasingly under pressure to dump their traditional 2 percent management and 20 percent performance-fee model, curtailing their ability to hire and retain talent. Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management, Tudor Investment Corp., Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, Canyon Capital Advisors and Brevan Howard were among money managers who cut fees last year. More hedge funds shuttered last year than started, a trend that continued in the first quarter of 2017, according to data from Hedge Fund Research Inc.


“It is not surprising that traders are looking for a safe haven, and if banks have more room to operate these moves could make sense,” said John Purcell of Purcell & Co., a London-based executive recruitment firm."

The unprecedented easy money policies adopted by the world's largest central banks in the aftermath of the crisis have hurt macro funds' profits by suppressing two-way volatility.

“Tim Sharp made the move back to the sell side even earlier, and says banks now have attractive niche trading businesses and many are nearly done downsizing. He joined Credit Suisse Group AG in July 2015 after less than a year running money at BlueCrest Capital Management LLP, the firm led by Michael Platt. At the end of that year, Platt’s firm, once among Europe’s largest hedge funds, announced it would return about $7 billion of the $8 billion it managed.


“It’s very difficult for macro funds," Sharp said in an interview. “Central bank policies have crushed volatility and reduced opportunities, and also it’s survival of the fittest.”


Sharp, who is now a director at Credit Suisse, left BlueCrest a few months after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to remove its currency cap, which caused losses at several firms.


"Macro as an overall strategy has recently experienced a prolonged phase of lackluster returns, triggering a number of unwinds at big shops," said Nicolas Roth, co-head of alternative assets at Geneva-based Reyl & Cie.”

As Bloomberg explains, the flow of traders back into banking is a reversal of a trend that began in 2008, when banks, reelingfrom the crisis, saw an exodus of traders move to the buy side as many hoped to cash in on the postcrisis recovery. The advent of the Volcker rule forced banks to wind down their prop trading desks, spurring even more defections. Another factor: the rising cost of regulatory compliance is making it increasingly expensive to start a hedge fund.

"Hedge funds were booming. In 2009, hedge funds gained almost 20 percent, their best yearly performance since 1999, according to the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index; a year later, they returned 10.3 percent.


While macro strategies raised $13.8 billion in the first five months of this year, the most of any trading strategy tracked by eVestment, investors are disappointed by their returns. Traders wagering on currencies and rates continue to struggle, even as peers are showing signs of recovering from their multi-year funk.


Andrew Law’s Caxton Associates lost 8 percent this year through May and told clients that it’s slashing performance and management fees. Paul Brewer’s hedge fund Rubicon Global Fund plunged about 27 percent this year, hurt by wrong-way currency wagers, people said earlier this month.


It’s also more expensive to start a hedge fund than it was, because of the difficult capital raising environment and rising cost of regulatory compliance.


“Some macro traders are returning to the sell side, maybe in a hope that a Dodd-Frank rollback will re-open proprietary trading activity,” Roth said."

Here’s a breakdown of other personnel moves, courtesy of Bloomberg.

  • Anthony Kemp returned to Morgan Stanley at the beginning of May from Stone Milliner Asset Management, which he joined in summer 2015
  • Alex Silverman left Citadel to join Morgan Stanley in New York at the end of March 2017
  • Dipak Shah joined Citigroup Inc. as director in October 2016 from Capula Investment Services after previously working at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

          Weekend Reading: Want Some Volatility With That?   

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

Over the last couple of week’s, volatility has certainly picked up. As shown in the chart below, stocks have vacillated in a 1.5% trading range ever since the beginning of June. (Chart through Thursday)

Despite the pickup in volatility, support for the market has remained firm. Importantly, this confirms the conversation I had with Kevin Massengill of Meraglim just recently discussing the impact of Algorithmic Trading and how they are simultaneously currently all “buying the dip.” As he notes, this is all “fine and dandy” until the robots all decide to start “selling rallies” instead. (Start at 00:02:40 through 00:04:00)

But even with the recent pickup in volatility, volatility by its own measure remains extremely compressed and near its historical lows. While extremely low volatility is not itself an immediate issue, like margin debt, it is the “fuel” that when ignited “burns hot” during the reversion process.

Currently, as we head into the extended July 4th weekend, the bull market trend remains clearly intact. With the “accelerated advance” line holding firm on Thursday’s sell-off, but contained below the recent highs, there is little to suggest the advance that began in early 2016 has come to its final conclusion.

However, such a statement should NOT be construed as meaning it WON’T end as it more assuredly will. The only questions are simply when and how deep the subsequent reversion will be?

Volatility is creeping back. The trick will be keeping it contained.

In the meantime, this is what I am reading over the long holiday weekend.

Happy Independence Day.




Research / Interesting Reads


Life is [Stocks] are a fragile thing. One minute you’re chewin’ on a burger, the next minute you’re dead meat.” – Adopted From Lloyd, “Dumb and Dumber”

          Obama: Sony 'Made a Mistake' by Canceling The Interview   

President Obama has officially weighed in on Sony's decision to pull the new film The Interview, due to threats made by a hacker group which previously exposed company documents. "Sony's a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against ... Read More

The post Obama: Sony 'Made a Mistake' by Canceling The Interview appeared first on WebProNews.


Feel Good About the Markets? Maybe You Shouldn’t Read This


Traders outside the New York Stock Exchange. Investors have seemed oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of the F.B.I. director and other political turmoil. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times        

Throughout the turbulence of his first months in office, President Trump has been able to point to one bastion of support: the stock market. Earlier this month he tweeted the “great economic news” he thinks the mainstream media has been ignoring: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 16 percent and the Nasdaq up 19.5 percent since his election. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross maintained that the Trump administration had bestowed $4 trillion in gains on investors.
Investors have seemingly been oblivious to claims of Russian interference in the election, the firing of a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the appointment of a special prosecutor. As the second quarter ends this week, 2017 has so far been a banner year, with major indexes hitting records.
But as the bull market rolls on, some see storm clouds on the horizon. “Valuations are high and it’s one of the longest and largest bull markets in history,” said James Stack, president of InvesTech Research. “Bull markets don’t last forever. So the question is, when will the music stop?”
Investors “are on a knife’s edge,” said Michael J. Kelly, global head of asset allocation for PineBridge Investments. With many still scarred by the financial crisis, “they see a potential disaster around every corner.”

This month the so-called Faang stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, which have led the market’s rally — faced a sudden downdraft, which many market watchers called a warning of turbulent times to come.
On June 14, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the second time this year, a move that was widely expected and barely caused a market ripple. But more ominously for stock investors, the Fed also said it would reduce its $4.2 trillion balance sheet and taper its purchases of longer-term government bonds (though it didn’t say how fast), bringing to an end the quantitative easing it undertook after the financial crisis.
And then there’s Mr. Trump himself, whose unpredictability and erratic behavior still have the potential to rattle markets.
So I asked some prominent investors and market analysts whether they were pulling back from stocks, and how they viewed these latest developments.
A Crack in the Faang Stocks
After some of the Faang stocks plunged over 3 percent on June 9, Goldman Sachs compared them to the leading stocks of the tech bubble. But by the end of the month they’d recovered and were again approaching all-time highs.
There’s no question that these market darlings, which together have accounted for a disproportionate percentage of the market’s gains, are expensive, and getting more so. Price-to-earnings ratios range from 39 (Facebook) to 187 (Amazon). Their market caps are so huge they dominate the indexes.
They show up not only in so-called growth funds, but also in value and low-volatility funds. Should they embark on a sustained plunge, a bear market could quickly follow.
The tremor in June was “a warning shot across the bow,” said Bill Smead, the founder of Smead Capital Management in Seattle. The Faang stocks “are showing all the classic signs of being overcooked,” he added. “What magazine hasn’t had Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg on the cover?
There’s no question this can end very badly. But the market can stay irrational for a very long time.
My sense is that there’s one big blowout rally left in these stocks.”

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange this month as Janet Yellen announced the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates. Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images       
Mr. Stack noted that the Faang stocks had brief sell-offs last June and October, only to rebound. Still, he said, “the Faang stocks will be among the hardest hit in the next bear market due to the amount of money that flowed into them and the high expectations that have driven them higher.”
But like Mr. Smead, he doesn’t expect that to be imminent. “We’re not buying them, but we’re not necessarily saying sell,” Mr. Stack said. He urged investors to rebalance portfolios that have become too heavily weighted in these stocks.
A Tightening Federal Reserve
Everyone I interviewed agreed that the Fed is the most likely catalyst for the next bear market, but that may still be years away.

“Historically it’s difficult to find a bear market that wasn’t triggered to some extent by the Fed,” Mr. Smead said. “But I don’t think unwinding the long bond position as gradually as they’re going to will have a significant impact. What would have an impact is if the Fed is forced to raise rates faster than everyone anticipates. The Fed has prepared investors for one more rate hike this year. That’s where the potential surprise could come. If we see two or three by year’s end, we’re going to see definite headwinds and maybe a market top of some significance.”
Mr. Kelly said the Fed had plenty of room to maneuver before stocks start to be affected. “We just had a once-in-70-year crisis that left very long scars. Businesses basically didn’t invest for eight years. In tightening, the Fed is acknowledging that a monetary policy built on a very fragile economic backdrop is no longer appropriate. But we’re just getting to the point now where people are crawling out of their shells and we’re seeing more normal economic activity.”
Mr. Kelly said bull markets typically last another three to four years after such a point in the economic cycle, and can even go another eight or nine. “Bull markets die from excess, not old age,” he said.
Mr. Smead agreed. “There’s no question we’re getting closer to normal rates,” he said. “That will be difficult for the stock market when it happens. People will be less willing to be adventurous. But that’s still years away.”
Over at InvesTech Research, “we’re still quite bullish,” Mr. Stack said. “We’re not increasing cash reserves. We are rebalancing towards more defensive and out-of-favor sectors, like consumer staples and health care.”
‘I Wouldn’t Call It a Trump Rally’
“The risks don’t lie with potential charges of obstruction of justice or even impeachment,” Mr. Stack said. “For political mayhem to upset the economic apple cart, it has to irreparably damage confidence at the consumer and business level. So far we don’t see that happening. Consumer confidence and consumer sentiment measures are at 16-year highs, and C.E.O. confidence in April was the highest since 2004.”
Nor have investors given up hope that a Republican Congress will still deliver business-friendly corporate tax reform and a pro-growth overhaul of the tax code, despite the president’s troubles.
At the same time, “Trump shouldn’t be looking to the market for vindication,” Mr. Smead said. “I wouldn’t call it a Trump rally. He’s basically riding on the Obama years. “
His bottom line: “We don’t pay much attention to politics, and that’s been a good thing.”


What Are the Odds of a U.S.-China War?

Handicapping whether the rise of one power inevitably leads to armed conflicto

By Andrew Browne

Is President Donald Trump’s vision for ‘America First’ on a collision course with Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’? Here, Mr. Trump welcomes the Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 6. Photo: CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS

SHANGHAI—Two fiery nationalists— Xi Jinping and Donald Trump —now occupy the seats of power in Beijing and Washington.

In their mission to make their countries great again, one pursues the “China Dream,” one “America First.” Both see the other as the chief obstacle to their ambition; they’re locked into a zero-sum competition.

Halting efforts to cooperate on North Korea have papered over deep tensions on a range of issues including the South China Sea.

Are the U.S. and China headed for war? That has been the recent hot question in China circles, spurred by a deluge of books that handicap the chances.

Graham Allison, the Harvard professor who popularized the term “Thucydides Trap” to describe the risk of conflict when a rising power challenges the incumbent, isn’t optimistic.

Thucydides, the Athenian historian and general, summarized the causes of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) in a single line of a monumental history: It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this inspired in Sparta, he wrote, that made conflict inevitable.

War has resulted in 12 out of 16 similar setups over the past 500 years, Mr. Allison asserts, including Germany’s challenge to Britain that led to World War I.

In a new book that bears the ominous title “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?” he lays out how conflicts over trade, the South China Sea or cyberspace could all spin out of control.

It is “frighteningly easy to develop scenarios in which American and Chinese soldiers are killing each other,” he writes

Nonsense, responds the noted Sinologist Arthur Waldron, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania. War is by no means ordained.

In a caustic review of Mr. Allison’s book, he declares that the Thucydides Trap is a fallacy. Dig deeper into Thucydides’s text, he argues, and it becomes clear that Sparta, though warlike, tried to head off confrontation with Athens, at one point suggesting a simple compromise.

There’s much more here than an academic dispute over classical history.

Fundamentally, the two professors disagree in their estimates of China’s rise, and thus the severity of the challenge it represents to the U.S.-led order that has kept the peace since World War II.

Mr. Allison focuses on data showing China’s wealth and power soaring ever up.

Mr. Waldron dwells on figures that indicate China’s crippling vulnerabilities. He mentions chronic water shortages and energy wastage. Others point to an alarming surge in corporate debt and an aging population that could stall, or even reverse, growth.

Those who live in China, rather than observe it from afar, juggle both perspectives daily.

Inhale the toxic air in almost any city and it’s clear why wealthy Chinese are fleeing.

Yet, testifying to China’s creative energy are the fleets of emerald, blue and fluorescent orange bicycles that have overrun the same cities in a matter of months as multiple startups have jumped into a bike-sharing business powered by smartphone apps.

China is choking to death; China is vibrant. Both are true. Washington’s challenge is to make sense of these contradictions, and steer a policy course that avoids the extremes of capitulation and reckless belligerence.

The Obama administration was timid; Beijing seized the opportunity to start turning the South China Sea into a Chinese lake.

To the extent that the Trump administration has a China policy, it’s on hold due to North Korea.

Mr. Trump has suspended the verbal hostilities he unleashed on the campaign trail in hopes that his Chinese counterpart will use his influence to halt Pyongyang’s nuclear program. If, as seems likely, Mr. Xi can’t, or won’t, deliver a solution this truce could quickly crumble.

Influential voices are urging a hard line. Ely Ratner, a senior fellow at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, recommended last week the U.S. should consider basing troops on disputed South China Sea islands. Whether the White House takes that inflammatory suggestion, once its disillusion with Beijing’s North Korea efforts sets in, expect renewed bellicosity on issues from trade to Taiwan.

There’s little doubt about Chinese intentions. As the journalist Howard French points out in his erudite book “Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power,” China aspires to restore its position at the pinnacle of East Asia.

The coming decades, he writes, will involve “a certain amount of yielding to China.”

How much will depend on a fine understanding of Chinese capabilities. While China has made giant leaps in military technology—enough to strike U.S. aircraft carriers—it will become progressively harder and more expensive to advance further.

In a speech two years ago, Mr. Xi insisted that “there is no such thing as the so-called Thucydides trap.” But he went on to warn against strategic miscalculations by unnamed “major countries” that “might create such traps.”

The next few years will be perilous: The risks of conflict can’t simply be dismissed. Mr. Waldron, though, is confident that Chinese leaders would quickly smother any unintended conflict rather than escalate and risk their country’s ruin.

“They are, after all, not idiots,” he writes.
          @EPA proposed repeal of #WOTUS exacerbates environmental political polarization   
From (Peter Marcus): EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week that the administration will repeal the so-called Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS. The rule, enacted under the Obama administration, clarifies regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, successfully pushed a … Continue reading @EPA proposed repeal of #WOTUS exacerbates environmental political polarization
          Medicaid cuts in Senate bill could have dire effects at Ohio opioid clinic   
CBS News has learned that Senate Republicans, hoping to win support for the Obamacare replacement, have added another $45 billion for the treatment of opioid addiction. However, that is just a fraction of what Medicaid currently covers. So, what happens if Medicaid is cut drastically? Adriana Diaz reports.

          Democratic Ideas On ACA Improvements; More From CBO On BCRA Medicaid Cuts   

On June 28, 2017, the New York Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, facing difficulty in corralling 50 Republican Senators to unite behind a version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, has suggested he might turn to the Democrats for help in shoring up the deteriorating situation under the ACA if he cannot get Republicans in line. If he does so, he may find that Democrats have both a proposed diagnosis and cure for the most immediately pressing problems facing the individual insurance market.

On June 28, 2017, the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions released a joint report entitled “A Manufactured Crisis: Trump Administration and Republican Sabotage of the Health Care System.” The report details how individual market stability is being undermined by the uncertainty created by President Trump’s repeated threats to withhold reimbursement from insurers that are legally required to reduce cost sharing for 7.1 million exchange enrollees, coupled with his ambivalence regarding the enforcement of the individual mandate. The report includes numerous quotes from insurance regulators and insurers from nearly 20 states and nationwide warning that uncertainty regarding cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and individual mandate enforcement is causing insurers to raise premiums and exit individual insurance markets.

Also on June 28, 2017, Senator Jean Shaheen, joined by 20 Democratic Senators, introduced the Market Certainty Act. (text) This bill would clarify that funds were permanently appropriated to fund the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reductions. It would also expand eligibility for the CSRs, making them available to individuals with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. It would increase the amount of cost-sharing reductions so that individuals with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of FPL would be responsible for only 5 percent of cost sharing on average; individuals with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of FPL for 10 percent, and individuals with incomes between 300 percent and 400 percent of FPL for 15 percent.

Under current law, individuals between 100 and 150 percent of FPL must pay 6 percent of costs on average; individuals between 150 and 200 percent of FPL, 13 percent; individuals between 200 and 250, 27 percent; and individuals above 250 percent of FPL, 30 percent.

Under the Republican Better Care Act, cost sharing reductions would be funded at current levels through 2019 and then repealed. After that, consumers would be responsible for 42 percent of health care costs on average under plans that could be purchased with premium tax credits available to individuals with incomes below 350 percent of FPL. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the deductible for an individual at 75 percent of FPL under the Better Care Act would be half of annual income, and that few low-income individuals would purchase coverage with such little value.

Senator Shaheen’s proposal, coupled with reinsurance legislation offered by Senator Shaheen and other Democrats earlier in June, could go far toward stabilizing individual insurance markets, luring insurers back into markets they have abandoned and lowering premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits for insured Americans.

As noted in the Democratic staff report (and by others), the uncertainty regarding the commitment of the Trump administration to continuing cost sharing reduction payments is a major factor contributing to destabilization of individual insurance markets. (Anthem has apparently announced it is leaving 14 counties in Nevada, leaving 61 bare counties in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Nevada for 2018.) Given this situation, a frequently asked question posted at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website on June 28, 2017, strikes a note of irony. The FAQ describes in detail procedures that insurers must follow to address discrepancies in their cost-sharing reduction payment reconciliation data for 2016. CMS will notify insurers regarding overpayment or underpayment of CSRs for 2016 on June 30, 2017. Insurers have until August 11 to notify CMS of data discrepancies. It is all very technical, but illustrates again that while at the policy level storms are raging in the individual insurance market, at the technical level the engines keep chugging along.

CBO Projects Medicaid Cuts In Senate GOP Bill Would Reach 35 Percent By 2036

On June 28, 2017, the CBO released a supplement to its June 26 Better Care Reconciliation Act cost estimate. The supplement was requested by the Democratic ranking members of the Budget Committee and Finance Committee. It addresses the effects of the BCRA on Medicaid spending beyond 2026. The CBO recognizes the limits to its ability to make very long-term spending projections but does predict how the BCRA would affect spending through 2036.

The BCRA imposes a per-capita cap on federal Medicaid funding growth for some groups of enrollees beginning in 2020, and reduces the cap as of 2025 so that federal funding growth rates for all groups would be pegged to the consumer price index for all urban consumers. CBO had earlier estimated that BCRA’s Medicaid provisions would reduce federal Medicaid spending by 26 percent as of 2026—a $160 billion cut in spending for that year—compared to spending under current growth rates.

The CBO projects that the gap between federal Medicaid spending under the BCRA and under current law would widen to 35 percent by 2036. The CBO projects that Medicaid costs to maintain current services will grow at an annual rate of 0.7 percent above GDP growth in 2027, which will rise to a 0.9 percent annual excess growth rate above GDP growth by 2036. General increases in cost in the health care system attributable in part to new technologies will drive the cost of services higher while Medicaid programs will have to replace federal spending by state spending, cut provider payment rates, reduce benefits, restrict eligibility, or find some way to provide services more efficiently.

CBO believes that dollar projections 20 years out are misleading and thus gives its spending projections in terms of percent of GDP. In the absence of the BCRA, Medicaid spending would account for 2 percent of GDP for 2017 and 2.4 percent by 2036. CBO projects that under BCRA, Medicaid spending will account for 1.6 percent of GDP in 2036, a 35 percent cut. Medicaid would be a very different program in 2036 than it is now.

          What Makes Covering Maternity Care Different?   

The United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than any other developed country, but federal policy makers are considering reducing access to insurance coverage for pregnancy care. Last week, the US Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, following the passage of the American Health Care Act in the US House of Representatives. Both pieces of legislation would allow states to waive out of the requirement that insurance plans in the individual market cover maternity and newborn care, as part of efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA requires that all individual market health insurance plans cover 10 essential health benefits, including maternity and newborn care. Ever since the passage of the ACA, some people have objected to the maternity requirement, claiming it is unfair to men and some women who do not expect to become pregnant. The maternity requirement seems to be targeted more publicly than other essential health benefits, such as pediatric services, mental health and substance use services, and prescription drug coverage. This raises the question: Is maternity care different than other medical services?

Maternity care is different.

When a woman receives maternity care, the health care services are provided to the woman, but lasting benefits of maternity care affect both the woman and the child. The importance of maternity coverage in improving child health has long been recognized in our public health programs. The oldest federal-state partnership, the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, has aimed to improve the health of mothers and children since 1935, in part by providing access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal care. Medicaid has had a special category covering pregnant women up to a higher-income level than other adults for 30 years, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides affordable coverage to pregnant women up to a minimum of 185 percent of the federal poverty level. CHIP coverage for pregnant women technically covers the “unborn child” and not the woman. This is an important distinction because it is a reminder that the intent of the coverage is to improve health outcomes for children. Reducing infant mortality and improving health outcomes for children is an important public health goal that is extended through the ACA by requiring insurance coverage of maternity and newborn care, but it should not be the only goal of maternity coverage.

We cannot ignore the importance of maternity care for the health of women, in addition to the health of children. Routine prenatal care improves health outcomes for women by identifying treatable complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and ectopic pregnancies. Postnatal care screens for postpartum depression and infection. If a woman does not have health coverage for her pregnancy, she may forgo prenatal and postnatal care that could identify risks and help her and her provider take steps to prevent life-threatening complications.

Yet, just as the policy discussion to eliminate access to insurance coverage for pregnancy services occurs, women are dying from preventable complications of childbirth in the United States. A recent study by the CDC Foundation found that 60 percent of maternal mortality deaths are preventable. There are numerous factors besides health coverage that result in the high maternal mortality rate in our country. However, taking away access to affordable coverage for pregnancy care will no doubt place women’s health at risk.

We do not need to imagine what the future of maternity coverage would be without a benefit requirement. Less than 10 years ago, because there was no federal maternity requirement in the individual insurance market, women in three-quarters of the states were often unable to find or afford maternity coverage. At the time, only 12 states imposed a requirement on individual market insurers to cover maternity benefits.

In many states, the only way to purchase maternity coverage on the individual market was by purchasing a rider in addition to a health insurance plan. A rider is supplementary insurance, available for an additional premium cost that provides coverage for benefits not otherwise covered in the base policy. Riders varied but generally cost thousands of dollars a year, sometimes more than the base premium. For example, under a rider offered in Topeka, Kansas, a woman would have paid $9,682 between the annual cost of premiums just for the maternity rider and the deductible for her maternity rider and care. In addition, riders often covered only a small proportion of pregnancy related costs, with annual maximums as low as $2,000.

In its analysis of the House bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that maternity riders will cost more than $1,000 a month if states waive out of the maternity coverage requirement. The CBO also estimated that the cost of pregnancy care and delivery will be $17,000 for women covered by private insurance. The actual health care charges, which a woman without insurance might be billed, may be almost double—in 2010, the average billed costs of prenatal care alone was about $6,200. Women could face similar bills for a stillbirth or later-term miscarriage. Without maternity coverage, children start their life in a family in economic hardship because they are born into families facing thousands of dollars of medical debt.

For three years now, women have had options to purchase comprehensive insurance with maternity care outside of employer-based coverage. Many women purchasing this coverage are also eligible for tax subsidies that reduce their premium and cost sharing, making both the coverage and care more affordable. We have moved forward toward ensuring that all women in the United States have access to affordable prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal services. Eliminating the requirement for health insurance plans to cover maternity would place the health of women and children at risk and place financial hardship on families welcoming a new child.

          Minneapolis Just Adopted a $15 Minimum Wage in a Landslide Vote   
City council members credit the hard work of grassroots labor organizations.

The Minneapolis City Council passed a law Friday making it the first Midwestern city to adopt a $15 minimum wage, increasing the salaries of 71,000 workers by 2024. 

With the historic vote, Minneapolis joins a growing wave of progressive U.S. cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., where the Fight for $15 movement and other grassroots organizations have scored major labor victories.

Before the vote, which passed 12-1, Minneapolis city council members credited activists and organizers from Fight for $15 and Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha for pushing the bill forward. 

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) tweeted a video of himself singing "Money (That's What I Want)" in celebration of the news. 

“Keep it up. We’re going to fight here in Washington, you guys are fighting there in Minneapolis, we’re fighting all over the country so the American people can get a raise,” Ellison said. 

In May, Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate introduced a $15 minimum wage bill that has little chance of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress. 

In the face of austerity and social safety net cuts in the federal government, grassroots organizers and activists are looking more and more to local and state arenas to implement policies that combat poverty and inequality. 


Related Stories

          Missed it by that much: CBO’s Obamacare enrollee lie   

By Rick Manning Congressional Budget Office estimates are funny things. They are usually taken as gospel when they are put out, and ignored later when they are way off. The latest CBO effort related to the Senate Obamacare replace bill is no exception. Like in all projections, the underlying assumptions bake the cake, and CBO makes a whopper of a […]

The post Missed it by that much: CBO’s Obamacare enrollee lie appeared first on NetRight Daily.

          Trump gets the U.S. a better deal on sugar with Mexico   

By Rick Manning President Donald Trump proved once again when he campaigned in favor of getting better trade deals for America that he was not just telling a story to get votes, but really meant it through the recent sugar deal his Commerce Department just completed in response to Mexico’s sugar dumping throughout the Obama Administration. “New Sugar deal negotiated […]

The post Trump gets the U.S. a better deal on sugar with Mexico appeared first on NetRight Daily.

          Ad tax would be bad business   

By Peter Hong President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress have pledged to do something that hasn’t been done in over thirty years: comprehensively reform our badly broken tax code.  Having stalled on legislation to overhaul Obamacare, failed to even begin construction on a wall protecting the southern border, and spent much too much time distracted by all things […]

The post Ad tax would be bad business appeared first on NetRight Daily.

          Op-Ed: Trump tweet gives the GOP an escape from Obamacare nightmare   
President Trump finally understands that the GOP must repeal Obamacare first and replace it later, says Jake Novak.
          If I Were President: Healthcare Edition   
Today, we’ll discuss healthcare, since the Senate is debating their bill. The Senate bill is similar to the House bill in many ways. Neither repeals Obamacare, but do repeal many of the mandates. Four Senators, Paul, Cruz, Lee and Johnson … Continue reading

          Israel, American Jewry and Trump's GOP   

Earlier this month Norway, Denmark and Switzerland did something surprising.

Norway announced that it was demanding the return of its money from the Palestinian Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Secretariat, for the latter's funding of a Palestinian women's group that built a youth center near Nablus named for PLO mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi.

Denmark followed, announcing it was cutting off all funding to the group.

And last week, the Swiss parliament passed a resolution directing the government to amend Swiss law to block funding of NGOs "involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions."

For years, the Israeli government has been urging these and other European governments to stop funding such groups, to no avail. What explains their abrupt change of heart?

In two words: Donald Trump.

For years, the Obama administration quietly encouraged the Europeans to fund these groups and to ratchet up their anti-Israel positions. Doing so, the former administration believed, would coerce Israel to make concessions to the PLO.

But now, Trump and his advisers are delivering the opposite message. And, as the actions by Denmark, Norway and Switzerland show, the new message is beginning to be received.

If the US administration keeps moving forward on this trajectory, it can do far more than suspend funding for one terrorism-supporting Palestinian NGO. It can shut down the entire BDS industry before Trump finishes his current term in office.

To understand what can and ought to be done, it is first important to understand the nature of the BDS movement. Under the catchphrase BDS, two separate campaigns against Israel and against Jews are being carried out.

The first BDS campaign is a campaign of economic warfare. The focal point of that campaign is Europe. The purpose of the campaign is to harm Israel's economy by enacting discriminatory, anti-Israel trade policies and encouraging unofficial consumer and business boycotts of Israeli firms and products.

The US Congress can end this economic war against Israel by passing laws penalizing European states for engaging in trade practices that breach the World Trade Organization treaties. The US Treasury Department can also push strongly and effectively for such an end in its trade negotiations with the EU. The Treasury Department can also investigate whether and how EU trade practices toward Israel constitute unlawful barriers to trade.

Unlike the situation in Europe, where the BDS economic war against Israel is fairly advanced, efforts in the US to mount economic boycotts of Israel hit an iceberg early on due to the swift preemptive actions taken by state legislatures.

In 2015, then-South Carolina governor Nikki Haley became the first governor to sign a law barring her state government from doing business or investing in companies that boycott Israel. Last week Kansas became the 21st US state to pass an anti-BDS law along the same lines. Last month, all 50 state governors declared opposition to BDS.

The second BDS campaign being carried out against Israel is a form of political and social warfare.

Its epicenter is US academia. Its purpose is to erode US support for Israel, by making it politically unacceptable and socially devastating to publicly voice support for Israel on college campuses and more generally in leftist circles.

As is the case with the economic BDS campaign, the best way to defeat political BDS is through state and federal government action. If state and federal governments withheld funding to universities and colleges that permit BDS groups to operate on their campuses, campus administrators, who to date have refused to lift a finger against these hate groups, would be forced into action.

If the US Education and Justice departments opened civil rights investigations against major BDS groups for antisemitic bigotry, campus administrators would finally begin banning them from their campuses.

For many Israelis, the notion that defeating BDS is a job for the US government rather than for grassroots, American Jewish activists, will come as a surprise.

When Israelis think about the BDS movement, they tend to think that the American Jewish community is the place to turn for assistance.

This is not merely incorrect.

As two studies published in the last few weeks show, the notion that Israel can look to the American Jewish community for help with anything is becoming increasingly dubious.

To be sure, there are several American Jewish groups that devote massive resources to combating BDS on campuses. But their actions are tactical.

They fight specific BDS resolutions coming to votes before student councils. They train pro-Israel students to defend Israel to their peers.

While helpful, none of these actions constitutes a serious challenge to the movement.

On a strategic level, the effective moves made to date against BDS have been initiated by Republicans.

Alan Clemmons, the South Carolina lawmaker who initiated the anti-BDS bill in his statehouse and has since gone on to spearhead the state government anti-BDS drive nationally, is a Christian Zionist.

Clemmons didn't act out of concern for South Carolinian Jews. The Jewish community of South Carolina numbers a mere 20,000 members. The state-by-state anti-economic BDS campaign is neither the brainchild of any major Jewish group nor the product of their efforts.

So, too, to the extent that the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress take action to defeat BDS on campuses and in Europe, they won't be answering the call of their Jewish constituents. American Jews vote overwhelmingly for the increasingly anti-Israel Democratic Party. And while making up a mere 2% of the US population, American Jews contributed 50% of the donations to the Democratic Party in the 2016 elections.

This then brings us to the two studies of the American Jewish community and its future trajectory.

The first study was published by the Jewish Agency's Jewish People Policy Institute. It analyzes the data from the 2013 Pew survey of American Jewish attitudes. The Pew survey demonstrated that the Jewish identity of American Jews is growing increasingly attenuated and superficial.

Famously, the study noted that while 19% of American Jews said that they view observance of Jewish law as an essential part of their Jewish identity, 42% said they viewed having a good sense of humor as an essential part of their Jewish identity.

The JPPI study analyzed the Pew data regarding rates of marriage and childbearing among American Jews aged 24-54. The study started with the data on intermarriage. Sixty percent of non-haredi American Jews are married to non-Jews. A mere 32% of married American Jews are raising their children as Jewish to some degree.

From there, the JPPI study considered marriage and childbirth rates in general. It works out that a mere 50% of American Jews between 24 and 54 are married. And a mere 40% of American Jews between those ages have children living with them. In other words, the majority of adult American Jews are childless.

The JPPI study tells us two important things.

First, in the coming years there will be far fewer American Jews. Second, among those who are Jewish, their Jewish identity will continue to weaken.

Clearly, it would be unwise for Israel to believe that it can depend on such a community to secure its interests in the US for the long haul.

The second study shows that not only can Israel not expect the American Jewish community to help it maintain its alliance with the US. The number of American Jews willing to spearhead anti-Israel campaigns is likely to grow in the coming years.

The second study was produced by Brand Israel, a group of public relations experts that for the past decade has been trying to change the way young Americans think about Israel. The idea was to discuss aspects of Israel that have nothing to do with the Palestinians, with an emphasis on Israel as a hi-tech power. The hope was that by branding Israel as the Start-Up Nation, leftists, who support the Palestinians, would still support Israel.

Fern Oppenheim, one of the leaders of Brand Israel, presented the conclusions of an analysis of the group's work at the Herzliya Conference this week and discussed them with the media. It works out that the PR campaign backfired.

Far from inspiring increased support for Israel, Oppenheim argued that the hi-tech-centric branding campaign made leftist American Jews even more anti-Israel. She related that over the past decade, there has been an 18-point drop in support for Israel among US Jewish students.

To remedy the situation, which she referred to as "devastating," Oppenheim recommended changing the conversation from hi-tech to "shared values."

The problem with Oppenheim's recommendation is that it ignores the problem.

Young American Jews aren't turning against Israel because their values are different from Israeli values. By and large, they have the same values as Israeli society. And if they know anything about Israel, they know that their values aren't in conflict with Israeli values.

Young American Jews are turning on Israel for two reasons. First, they don't care that they are Jewish and as a consequence, see no reason to stick their necks out on Israel's behalf.

And second, due in large part to the political BDS campaign on college campuses, supporting Israel requires them to endanger or relinquish their ideological home on the Left. Since their leftist identities are far stronger than their Jewish identities, young American Jews are joining the BDS mob in increasing numbers.

This then brings us back to BDS.

The only way to diminish the groundswell of American Jews who are becoming hostile toward Israel is to defeat the forces of political BDS on campuses. To do this, Israel should turn not to the Jewish community but to evangelical Christians, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

As for the American Jews, Israel needs to stop viewing the community as a resource and begin to view it as a community in crisis. To this end, the most significant contribution Israel can make to the American Jewish community - particularly to non-Orthodox American Jews - is to encourage them to make aliya. Assuming that current trends will continue, the only way non-Orthodox American Jews can have faith their grandchildren will be Jewish is for a significant number of them to make aliya.

No, this won't appeal to all American Jews. But nothing Israel does will. Israel's job isn't to reach the unreachable. It is to protect its alliance with the US and to help the Jews that remain in the room. 

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A version of this piece also appeared on The Jerusalem Post.



          Keeping a Promise to the Polish People   

President Trump has a chance to set things right with America's most faithful ally.


It's unsurprising that the White House recently scheduled a presidential visit to Poland in conjunction with the upcoming G-20 Summit. The U.S. State Department describes this Central European country of 38.6 million people as a stalwart ally and "one of the United States' strongest partners on the continent in fostering transatlantic security and prosperity regionally, throughout Europe, and the world."

What is surprising is that, despite historical ties dating back to the American Revolutionary War, the strong alliance, and a robust domestic Polish-American population of about 10 million, the U.S. government hasn't found a way to treat Polish citizens the same way as it does those living in most other European countries when it comes to visiting the United States. Since it shed communism in 1989 after 42 years of domination and became a free and democratic state, Poland has unsuccessfully tried to gain entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

The U.S. failure to grant VWP status to Poland is an embarrassment to many Americans as well as a major disappointment and irritant to Poles and a succession of its leaders. Poland's former president and Nobel Laureate Lech Walesa described VWP entry as a "matter of honor" for Poland.

In a speech before the Polish American Congress in September 2016, Candidate Trump promised to remedy this problem by making it possible for Poland to become part of the VWP. His promise echoes that of his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama, who promised to do the same several years earlier but didn't deliver. Several previous attempts by U.S. Congress members to legislate a fix to bring Poland into the program have also failed. Congress is now considering The Poland Waiver Act of 2017 (H.R. 2388).

What is the VWP? The U.S. established the VWP in 1986 primarily to facilitate commerce and tourism between friendly nations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security administers the program in consultation with the State Department. Since its inception, the program has evolved into a security partnership with special passport and security upgrades to detect and prevent terrorists, criminals, and other mala fide actors from entering each country. There are presently 38 countries in VWP, 29 of them European. The program features reciprocal agreements allowing citizens to travel on business or pleasure without visas and no application fees between member countries for up to 90 days.

What has Poland done to gain VWP entry? Three important ingredients for gaining VWP status are national wealth, a high Human Development Index, and a low-security risk. Poland scores well on each count. It has seen its economy dramatically grow to 25th in the world at $1.1 trillion. The 2017 United Nations Development Report classified Poland as a "very high" Human Development Index country with its 78 years average life expectancy, 99.8 percent literacy rate for males and females, and $27,700 plus average annual income. And with its strong American ties, NATO membership, participation in the Afghanistan and Iraq military coalitions, and the general absence of radical Islamic terror attacks on its soil Poland clearly isn't a security threat. Moreover, it has implemented and adopted VWP-related security measures and information-sharing protocols asked of them by the U.S. government.

What is preventing Poland's VWP entry? A provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act which requires a visa refusal rate of 3 percent or less to qualify for the program - and Poland's FY 2016 visa refusal rate according to the State Department is 5.7 percent, which although is a dramatic drop from previous years still doesn't pass the congressionally-mandated program muster. The State Department reported that 186,555 Polish citizens applied for nonimmigrant visas to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure. Each paid a non-fundable fee of $160. Of the applicants, U.S. consular officers refused to approve visas for 10,060 of them.

However, using the visa refusal rate alone to exclude a country from the program can be somewhat misleading. For example, the prime concern for U.S. immigration officials is not necessarily the percentage of visa refusals by U.S. consular officers, but the actual number of nonimmigrants from VWP and other countries who overstay their 90-day visit. DHS's FY 2016 Overstay Report reveals that VWP members United Kingdom had 20,670 suspected overstays; Germany had 18,780; Italy had 14,896; Spain had 11,716; and France had 10,358 compared to non-VWP Poland's 2,787 suspected overstays!

President Trump can take the following actions to facilitate Poland's VWP entry and/or make it easier for Polish citizens to visit the United States. One, he can urge Congress to pass the Poland Waiver Act of 2017; two, he can ask the DHS and State Department secretaries to determine the reasons why Poles are being refused visas at a greater percentage than INA requires and to determine if any legal and administrative remedies are available for Poland to achieve a lower rate; and three, ask the Secretary of State to determine if the $160 visa application fee for Polish citizens can be legally waived - as it has been for VWP member countries and like the Polish government has already done for U.S. citizens traveling to Poland.

One is hard-pressed to find a better friend and more loyal U.S. ally than Poland. For that reason, President Trump should keep his promise and use his leadership ability and/or executive power to ensure this matter doesn't languish in the Federal bureaucracy or Congress any longer. Making it easier for the Poland's citizens to visit the U.S. on business and pleasure would further cement the bilateral relationship and surely please millions of them and their American cousins.

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          The "Crime of the Century" is Bad Journalism   

The latest propaganda piece from The Washington Post, "Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault," is based, as usual, mostly on anonymous sources determined to make former President Barack Obama look good. The gist is that Obama tried his best to punish Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 election, but he fell short and left the matter in the hands of President Donald Trump, who has done nothing.

So Trump is blamed for Obama's failure. How convenient.

The essence of the piece is that "intelligence" was "captured" that somehow proved that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave "specific instructions" that he wanted  to "defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

Pardon me, but I don't believe this for a moment. This "intelligence" may be what the Post seeks to expose-Russian "active measures" or disinformation.

As we reported back in January, "Looking at the election objectively, it is possible to say that Russian leader Vladimir Putin may have had a personal vendetta against the former U.S. secretary of state for some reason, stemming from allegations of U.S. meddling in Russian internal affairs. On the other hand, Putin may have preferred that Clinton become the U.S. president because her failed Russian ‘reset' had facilitated Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and he believed he could continue to take advantage of her."

This makes far more sense than the Post story.

Remember that Obama won the 2012 election after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney's claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had also been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be "flexible" in changing his positions to benefit Russia.

"These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term," we noted.

The Post story by Greg Miller and others is an obvious response to the observation that, if Obama thought the Russian interference was such a big deal, what did Obama try to do about it?

One can read the entire article if you are interested in how pro-Obama propaganda is manufactured by the Post. Some parts of the article are more ludicrous than others, such as this paragraph:

"Throughout his presidency, Obama's approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious. He came into office seeking to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was loath to act without support from allies overseas and firm political footing at home. He was drawn only reluctantly into foreign crises, such as the civil war in Syria, that presented no clear exit for the United States."

The paragraph is designed to mask Obama's indifference to Russian aggression in places like Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. In regard to the latter, Obama failed to save Syria from Russian aggression and facilitated a conflict-through secret arms shipments to the region-that now stands at 500,000 dead.

Obama's alleged "cautious" approach in the Middle East was to support jihadist groups in Syria and Libya, and back regimes such as the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which was overthrown by the military backed by the people.

The hero in the Post account is Obama's CIA director John Brennan, who joined the agency after admitting to voting for Moscow's man in the 1976 presidential election, Gus Hall of the Communist Party USA. Suddenly, we are led to believe, as CIA director, he became anti-Russian after discovering a Moscow plot in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.

"In political terms," the paper said, "Russia's interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy."

This is complete nonsense. There is no evidence any votes were changed as a result of this so-called "interference."

The crime of the century is bad journalism based on anonymous sources who hide behind papers like the Post to spread their self-serving and partisan propaganda.

"This account of the Obama administration's response to Russia's interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services," the Post said. "Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue."

One paragraph in particular tells you everything you know about the anonymous sources behind this story. "Those closest to Obama defend the administration's response to Russia's meddling," the Post said. Yes, indeed, those "closest to Obama" would certainly do so.

Then we're told that that "They believe that a series of warnings-including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September-prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems."

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for this dramatic statement. It's completely made up.

Remember, this is the same Obama who once assured Putin that after he won his re-election campaign in 2012, he would have "more flexibility" with the Russian leader and be able to offer more concessions.

Now, all of a sudden, Obama is rough and tough and gets things done with the Russian leader. What a joke.

The paper reported that "Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,' according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of interfering in Russia's internal affairs."

Or else?

It sounds like the red line in Syria that Obama had warned the Syrian regime not to cross. But they crossed it anyway.

Obama's so-called "secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault" exists in the minds of Post reporters who are waging a not-so-secret struggle to rehabilitate the former president's disastrous foreign policy toward Russia and most of the rest of the world.

Let's not forget one more debacle-Obama's deal with Russian client state Iran to facilitate the regime's nuclear weapons program and world-wide terrorism.

That may end up being another crime of the century, on par with President Bill Clinton's deal with North Korea that was supposed to prevent the communist regime from getting its hands on nuclear weapons.

Speaking of North Korea, whose nuclear weapons program accelerated under Obama, hear the words of Otto Warmbier's father about his son being released after Trump took office: "I think the results speak for themselves."

Obama's "cautious and deliberate" approach was to let the young man languish in a North Korean prison while being tortured to near death.

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          With Iran's Profile Rising, Saudi Arabia Must Unite with U.S. on Terror   

In a Middle East country where terrorist attacks by suicide bombers are rare, Saudi Arabia suffered such an attack on June 23rd. Both target and timing were significant.

The target was Islam's holiest site - the Grand Mosque in Makkah; the timing was the last day of Ramadan, when attendance was unusually high as hundreds of thousands of worshipers gathered for afternoon prayers.

The good news was Saudi security, learning in advance of the planned attack, arrested five suspects. Closing in on the bomber forced him to detonate his explosives prematurely. The bad news was six foreign pilgrims were wounded.

As Riyadh launches an investigation into the attack, a betting man would take odds one country in particular-Iran-is involved, either directly or indirectly, to it. Investigators and legal authorities have linked Tehran to multiple attacks against the U.S., including the 1983 Beirut bombing of the Marine Barracks and the 9/11 attacks.

News of this attack undoubtedly causes some to think Saudi Arabia is finally getting its due for having exported Islamism for so long. Just like the U.S. made some bad decisions in the Middle East - President Jimmy Carter's support of Iran's Islamic revolution rather than the Shah, our long-time ally, and President Barack Obama's decision to provide Tehran with a path to nuclear weapons with his 2015 agreement are but two decisions quickly coming to mind - Riyadh too made a bad decision in exporting Islamism.

But while mutually bad past judgments have created a dangerous Middle East today, Saudi critics need understand now, more than ever, U.S. and Saudi interests must be aligned to confront the same threat. Failure to do so will only enhance Iranian efforts to establish a "Shia Crescent."

Ever since the mullahs came to power in 1979, they have been motivated by the goal to establish a Middle East caliphate that would enable them to expand globally.

For eight years, Obama gave Tehran a free pass to do just that, outrageously claiming it was important Saudi Arabia learn to "share the neighborhood."

For those doubting Iran's expansionist goals and evil intentions, two provisions of its own constitution make them clear.

The first mandates the Islamic revolution be exported outside Iran's borders. No other nation's constitution claims the right of such extra-territoriality.

We have borne witness of this mandate during the mullahs' 38-year reign, demonstrating that no country is safe from it. Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela - all these countries and others share an Iranian or Iranian proxy presence focused on expanding Tehran's ideological empire. Some seek to do it aggressively, others subtly.

But what should concern us even more than its extra-territorial application is the constitution's leadership succession provision. Why? Because it sheds light on the mullahs' real motivation for acquiring nuclear weapons.

Any well-conceived constitution provides a clear provision for a serving leader's succession should the unexpected occur, such as death or incapacity. In the case of Iran's highest office holder, the Supreme Leader, its constitution does that. But it also adds a third "otherworldly" contingency.

The Iranians believe that the "Twelfth Imam" or "Mahdi" disappeared in the tenth century at the age of five, entering into a state of occultation. They believe he will remain there until returning to Earth to lead Shia-Islam to global domination in an end-of-world prophecy.

The catch, however, is that the Mahdi's return must be triggered by world chaos. Unlike most believers in Mahdi's return, the mullahs believe mankind can be a catalyst in triggering that chaos. This should cause us serious concern about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons - concerns further reinforced by the constitutional requirement that upon his return, the Mahdi ("Wali al-Asr") will immediately replace the Supreme Leader.

A united and focused U.S.-Saudi alliance to check Iranian aggression has never been more timely. Both countries have been distracted from the Iran problem due to the Islamic State. But it appears the fall of ISIS is now "imminent" and the maneuvering of all parties involved in fighting ISIS in order to secure their goals in a post-ISIS world is already underway.

For the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, however, there is little ideological difference between confronting ISIS or confronting Iran. Both are Islamists seeking to create and control a caliphate. The only difference is, while ISIS did so as a terrorist Islamic movement, Iran seeks to do so under the protected status of a nation-state. Ironically, while Obama would never have considered negotiating a deal with ISIS for it to acquire nuclear weapons, he unwittingly willingly negotiated just such a deal with Tehran.

The post-ISIS battleground for the powers now involved there is Syria. Aligned on one side with Syrian President Bashar Assad are Iran, its Hezbollah proxy, and Russia. Confronting them is a less organized group consisting of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and its GCC coalition, pro-Western Kurdish and Arab anti-Assad rebels and, interestingly, Hamas, which lends its tunnel-digging expertise to the anti-Assad rebels they support. Also involved in a balancing act is Turkey which, while anti-ISIS, is also anti-Kurd.

Iran recognizes that how goes Syria, goes its Crescent, and is determined that nothing deter it from that goal. This undoubtedly is why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently acknowledged something Obama would not: Middle East stability can only be achieved by regime change in Iran.

And last month, Trump dared go where Obama would not. When an Iranian mechanized convoy entered a 34-mile deconfliction zone around the Syria-Iraq border nearing a U.S. garrison, U.S. aircraft attacked and destroyed it. It was a bold step but one that had become increasingly necessary in the face of repeated aggressive acts against U.S. forces at sea. Days later an Iranian drone was shot down.

There should be little doubt that defeating ISIS is merely the end of a phase, not the end of war in Syria. The only way that can happen on terms favorable to the U.S. is through a united U.S.-Saudi effort dedicated to countering each and every aggressive act by Iran with a firm response on the battlefield-wherever that battlefield is situated.

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          Turning the U.S.-India Alignment into an Alliance   

"Our robust strategic partnership is such that it touches upon almost all areas of human endeavor....We consider the USA as our primary partner for India's social and economic transformation in all our flagship programs and schemes," proclaimed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 26. The venue was the joint press conference with President Donald Trump following their lengthy meeting at the White House. This is a sentiment that America must strengthen and build upon to contain the expanding ambitions of China.

Of course, diplomatic niceties prevented any actual public mention of the Communist regime as a common threat to the world's two largest democracies. Nor was China's ally Pakistan mentioned, even as the two leaders talked about defeating terrorism in the region. President Trump noted "Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism." In the case of India, terrorism has been linked directly to Pakistan which has been supporting an insurgency in Kashmir ever since that Muslim province was incorporated into India when the British Raj was partitioned in 1947.

Pakistan was founded as an Islamic state with the mission to unite all Muslims in the region. India was founded on a more tolerant, multicultural democratic standard and counts 175 million Muslims among its 1.3 billion citizens. In must be remembered that it was Pakistan that blocked a UN plebiscite on Kashmir's fate because it feared too many Muslims would vote to live in the more attractive society of India than in a militant regime. Pakistan failed in its bid to seize control of Kashmir but has continued to stir up jihadist movements in the province. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to the U.S.-India Business Council on June 27, mentioned how "barbarians have struck on Indian soil too many times over the decades, including the horrific attacks in Mumbai nearly a decade ago, claiming the lives of more than 160 innocents, including six Americans." That attack was traced to Pakistan. Hours before Modi's arrival, the State Department imposed sanctions on Syed Salahuddin, the Pakistan-based leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, the main Kashmir terrorist group.

PM Modi stated, "Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation," clearly with Pakistan in mind; not only regarding Kashmir, but also Afghanistan. The U.S. and its coalition (which includes India, for whose contributions President Trump thanked Modi) cannot end the war in Afghanistan as long as the Taliban (and now ISIS) can lick their wounds and rebuild their forces in Pakistan; free to cross the border at times of their own choosing. 

The threat from China was alluded to when President Trump mentioned how Indian forces "will join together with the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian Ocean." What links Japan and India is concern over Beijing's expansion across the Pacific Rim and into the Indian Ocean. Beijing's ambitious "Belt and Road" development initiative which is designed to impose a "common destiny" on Eurasia is opposed by both India and Japan. The Chinese plan will build on programs hat have already been underway in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, posing direct threats to Indian security.

The U.S. and Japan can and must counter the Chinese initiative by increasing their role in developing the Indian economy, which can truly be a "win-win" relationship. China's rise has been fueled by short-sighted American business firms willfully ignorant of the true nature of the Beijing regime. They have transferred technology and production capacity to a strategic rival of their home country. The pursuit of private profit without adequate supervision by a Washington establishment blinded by naive liberal hopes and corrupted by corporate cash has helped to create a threat Americans will have to face for decades to come. It would be a much better world if all the Western capital sent to China had gone to India instead. Trade is properly conducted among friends, not adversaries where the "gains from trade" are used to create menacing capabilities.

With the world's largest population, India presents a massive market for American goods of all kinds. President Trump, however, concentrated his remarks on energy and security. We are "looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as your economy grows, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas." To the extent that imported gas replaces Indian coal, it will help New Delhi clean up the air pollution that makes its cities look as bad at those in China. VP Pence added nuclear power and clean coal to the list of energy sources the U.S. could help New Delhi develop. President Barack Obama had carried his "war on coal" overseas with a ban on any U.S. aid to the Indian coal industry. But India is not going to abandon its massive coal reserves; their use can, however, be improved.   

Modernizing India's military is central to the strategic alignment. VP Pence mentioned to the USIBC that "the United States will sell Sea Guardian UAVs, Apache attack helicopters, and C-17 transports to India." A larger program on the table is the sale of 126 fighter jets to India. The Lockheed F-16 "Viper" is the leading candidate, but the Saab JAS-39 "Gripen" is also in the running, though a strategic link to Sweden makes little sense in an Asian setting. India, however, is moving from being a consumer of military hardware to a producer, as any Great Power must do. Modi has a "make it in India" policy and Lockheed is willing to set up an F-16 production line there. The question is whether this will be considered "outsourcing" by the Trump administration. It should not be as long as the production is for Indian service and does not replace jobs in U.S. industry supplying the Pentagon. The F-16 is long out of production for the USAF. The new F-35 "Lightning II" is coming into service (also built by Lockheed).

Indian production should be seen as "market extension" which will create additional work for American factories and maintenance services, not only for this order of warplanes but for future orders of military equipment of many kinds as the strategic relationship deepens. It should be noted that the first European production line for the F-16 opened in 1978; so India is not asking for anything novel.

The need to offer "co-production" to win military contracts is a subject not often discussed in public debates over arms sales, but it is a part of many transactions. Offset arrangements can also involve local purchasing, subcontracting, investment, and technology-transfer requirements on U.S. exporters that benefit foreign firms in the purchasing country. The U.S. defense industry is the world's leader, but its comparative advantage does not yield the full returns economic textbooks promise because of real world practices like offsets. These are negotiated between foreign governments and corporations in virtually every deal. The state authorities have the greater leverage, as it is generally a buyer's market; but strategic considerations also play their part. Our officials must keep a close eye on such deals to keep a proper balance between risks and rewards to the U.S. defense industrial base.

India's offset requirements have been at the low end of the international scale. Caught between two allied nuclear powers, China and Pakistan, New Delhi needs to modernize its forces; but it also needs a domestic industrial infrastructure to support its armed services. This is why offsets, though generally banned in the commercial sector under the World Trade Organization, are allowed for national security reasons. What is truly important cannot be left to the "invisible hand"--- which means the hands of others.

President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are both nationalists in a dangerous world. As Modi put it, "I am sure that the convergence between my vision for a 'new India' and President Trump's vision for 'making America great again' will add new dimensions to our cooperation." Let us work to make it so in a positive way.

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          The California Report   
Dismantling Obamacare Could Lead To Serious Economic Impacts in Rural Areas. Federal Judge in Los Angeles Orders DHS To Monitor Poor Conditions For Children Detained in Detention Centers and Border Patrol Stations. Lawyers Head To Airport As Travel Ban Starts. California Supreme Court Denies Hearing On State's Cap And Trade System. Beach Sand Mining Operation Expects To Shut Down Soon. End Music. Plastic Water Bottles Have Been Around For Thousands Of Years.
          State Officials Make Legal Threat Against DACA   

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state Republican attorneys general sent a letter Thursday threatening to sue if the Trump administration does not “phase out” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, many of them now college students, have obtained two-year, renewable work permits and protection against deportation.

Trump has sent mixed messages about the DACA program, which was established by former President Obama in 2012. During the campaign Trump said that he would “immediately terminate” what he described as an “illegal executive amnesty” program. Since his election he has softened his tone and said he would deal with DACA “with heart,” but he has not pledged to continue it. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said earlier this month that the program “continues to be under review with the administration.”

The 10 attorneys general that sent the letter threatening to sue over DACA were all part of a 26-state coalition that sued over another Obama-era program known as DAPA, which would have extended DACA-like protections to parents of American citizens and permanent residents. The Trump administration earlier this month rescinded the DAPA program, which was blocked by court order from ever going into this effect, saying there was "no credible path forward to litigate the currently enjoined policy."

In rescinding DAPA, however, DHS clarified that current beneficiaries of DACA will continue to be eligible to seek a two-year extension of their status upon expiration and that “no work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates.”

In the letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the 10 state attorneys general said that if the administration refuses to phase out the program, which they describe as "unlawful" in that it "unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress," they will amend their lawsuit against DAPA to challenge the DACA program as well.

Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, condemned the attorneys general who sent the letter, saying in a statement that "their evident xenophobia is not remotely consistent with the trajectory of our nation's history and future progress."

"MALDEF urges the president not to cave in to the toothless threat in today's Texas letter," Saenz said. "Presidential authority does constitutionally extend to protecting DACA recipients, whom the president has repeatedly declared worthy of protection. We urge the president to fight to vindicate that authority."

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          Comentário sobre O autodidata nos faz sentir vergonha alheia por Paulo Ghiraldelli   
Erik, todo país tem seu louco da aldeia. A gente tem essa besta que não passou sequer da terceira série do primário e, claro, como fracassado, ele atrai outros fracassados com o mesmo perfil. Mas não pense que os Estados Unidos ou a Austrália ou a Inglaterra não possuem um tonto assim. Aliás, no caso dos Estados Unidos, há um Trump na presidência agora, após ter tido um dos melhores presidentes do mundo, Obama. Descartes não acertou quando disse que o bom senso é a coisa mais bem distribuída entre os homens.
          New FAST Act Pilot Could Let PA Collect I-80 Toll Revenue   
The new FAST Act transportation funding bill signed by President Obama contains a pilot allowing up to three states to toll their interstates, so it’s time for the Wolf administration to resubmit our request to toll I-80. From Governing Magazine: Federal … More after the jump
          Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children   
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have asked Donald Trump to end the Obama program that allowed people who came to the U.S. as children to remain and work without fear of deportation. From the Texas Tribune:

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. It awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings.

As of August 2016, more than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas had applied for a permit or a renewal of one under the program, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics. It’s the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals during the same time frame.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote. He was joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter.
Some 12,000 people in Arkansas are protected by the program, about half of them working, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Trump has rescinded some earlier immigration policies but kept some of the DACA protections in place. The state officials want this phased out. They claim this change wouldn't "require the federal government to remove any alien."

The ACLU of Arkansas criticized Rutledge for joining in a threat to sue if Trump doesn't end DACA:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for joining a group of state officials urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, to apply for a work permit and temporary protection against deportation.

“It’s shocking that just a few days before we’ll celebrate the birth of our democracy as a nation of immigrants, Attorney General Rutledge is demonstrating such a callous disregard for the very people she’s supposed to protect and serve,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “These law-abiding young people came to the U.S. as children and are valued members of our communities. Telling the Trump administration to eliminate their protected status - ‘or else’ - is truly beyond the pale. We condemn this attempt to threaten the federal government into targeting DREAMers and will continue to defend the rights of all Arkansans.”

          'Morning Joe' hosts fire back at Trump   

Mika Brzezinski
and Joe Scarborough fired back at Donald Trump on their "Morning Joe" show on MSNBC this morning following his Twitter blast at them yesterday.

They say he lied about a December encounter and also said his "unhealthy obsession" with them doesn't serve him or the country well. "We're OK," they said. "The country is not."

Really. The leader of the world's mightiest country is hurling schoolyard name-calling at cable TV talkers, with a supporting chorus froma petulant Arkansas-born deputy secretary and his own wife. You don't expect him to sit silently when someone criticizes him, do you? That was Sarah Huckabee Sanders' huffy defense.

Well, yes. Why shouldn't we be able to expect a little dignity from the person in the White House? Did Barack Obama Tweet about the abuse heaped on him by Fox News commentators and others? Did he call Hannity "Psycho Sean"? Talk about "Low IQ Laura Ingraham?"

Again, and unfortunately, Trump knows what works with his people.  "They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump," said Sanders. Sigh. Yes, they did.

UPDATE: The story heats up with allegations that the National Enquirer sicced reporters on Brezezinsky and people in the Trump White House signaled to Scarborough that the dogs would be called off if he apologized to Trump. Enquirer and Trump deny.

          Trump nominates Cody Hiland to be U.S. attorney for eastern district   
As expected, Donald Trump has nominated Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland of Conway to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

Hiland's name was among nine U.S. attorney nominees put forward by Trump today, a second wave of appointments. He was known to be under consideration after FBI background checks began and meetings with U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, both Republicans. Most of the 93 U.S. attorneys were fired or resigned after Trump took office. Career prosecutors are serving as interim leaders in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, where former Democratic Rep. Chris Thyer and Conner Eldridge had served respectively in the Obama administration.

Prosecutors run now as non-partisans, but Hiland, who lost a judicial race last year, is a Republican regular. His prosecutor position covers Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties.

He's been a lawyer in private practice, a staff attorney at the Public Service Commission and former program director for the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board. He was a staff aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee and is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas the UALR Law School.

          Gov. Hutchinson says major change needed in Senate health legislation   
Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined four major changes he'd like to see in Republican-backed health legislation pending in the Senate.

In short, he said — if in more diplomatic words — the bill as written would be devastating to Arkansas. Hutchinson chose to put it more kindly. He said the Senate was moving in "the right direction" and said "the status quo is not acceptable."

But he added: "There have to be significant changes in the current draft in order to give states like Arkansas options for the future and to continue coverage and not have a $500 million per year gap in our economy."

He said he'd spoken to Arkansas's senators about this, but referred questions about their reaction to them. To date, Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman have resisted saying much of anything about the legislation, though Cotton was one of 13 white male Republicans who participated in the secret drafting.

The shortcomings have been self-evident for some time in states like Arkansas that took advantage of the Medicaid expansion provided through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. House-passed and Senate-proposed legislation would obliterate the Medicaid expansion and also severely restrict traditional Medicaid coverage for the elderly and disabled by going to per capita distributions to states. Both changes would devastate Arkansas, with a large traditional Medicaid population and more than 300,000 people now covered by the Medicaid expansion. Hutchinson said the state was already making changes to reduce costs and state cooperation should be a goal of congressional action. Some 60,000 would lose coverage by reducing coverage for those making 138 percent of the poverty level to 100 percent and by instituting work rules.

Hutchinson suggested these changes in what's under consideration:

* Exempt those elderly, blind and disabled covered by traditional Medicaid from the per capita cap on spending. Otherwise, the cost would be shifted to the state, he said. (He said later it was OK to put children's coverage, Arkids, under a per capital program because they were generally lower cost.)

* If the federal government moves to block grant funding for Medicaid, Hutchinson said the funding should include in the figuring the Medicaid expansion population. Some states didn't take the money. If the pot is redivided to cover all states equally, those who expanded will lose and those who didn't will gain. "This puts us in a difficult position to manage and maintain coverage," Hutchinson said. If the population is considered, he said, "the state can assume the risk and create savings and ensure coverage of the working poor."

* Senate legislation must "redesign" the tax credits, or subsidies, for those covered in the health insurance marketplace. Hutchinson echoed critics of the Senate legislation who say the subsidies are so small as to be worthless.  "If the subsidy is not sufficient, an individual will decide they can't afford it." He said "there have to be sufficient subsidies to make it work."

* The states must be given "flexibility" on how they spend money received under per capita reimbursements. He didn't specify some examples of what he had in mind. In some states, though, flexibility has meant not providing certain services (birth coverage for example) and measures co-pays, work, drug testing and other sometimes controversial ideas.

Hutchinson acknowledged that the Medicaid expansion, now known as Arkansas Works, by law must end if federal support is reduced. That's not an immediate concern because actual reductions won't occur for several years into the plan now outlined in Senate legislation. "They've given us a long glide path," he said.

Timing noted: Hutchinson finally weighed in with criticisms that have been voiced for weeks by many others following a week in which the Senate leadership's plan for a quick vote on the GOP fill apart because of he couldn't keep all Republican senators on board.

Noted too: Hutchinson refused to talk taxes — either those to pay for his expanded vision of health coverage and the windfall for the wealthy envisioned in the pending bill.

Just yesterday, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families gave some idea of the blow the Senate bill would deliver to rural health care.

          Obama, Clinton Selling Out U.S. Sovereignty in Secret   
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          Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan - Washington Post   

Washington Post

Republicans grow increasingly anxious about heading home without a health plan
Washington Post
The dispute within the Republican Party over health care widened further Friday as President Trump joined with two conservative senators in calling for an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act if the party fails to agree on an alternative plan by ...
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          Obama May Censor ’Net In Effort to Shut Down ‘Conspiracy Theorists’   
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          Can This Popular Icon Save Trumpcare? Capitol Hill Damaged During Speaker’s Entrance   
Washington, DC—Vice President Mike Pence is doing his best today to sell a less than popular healthcare bill. Republicans took all the usual steps, including lying and relabeling, but to no avail. They are saying that the increased number of uninsured Americans, Pioneer Health Recipients and Obama death panels, which didn’t actually exist under the ACA, will be created and…
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          Check Out Photos Of Obama And Family Vacationing In Indonesia   
Check Out Photos Of Obama And Family Vacationing In Indonesia
Check Out Photos Of Obama And Family Vacationing In Indonesia
Photos of the Obamas Indonesia Vacation has quickly gone viral. The ex-POTUS and his family kicked off a 10-day visit to the Asian nation on Sunday the 25th of June. Obama and his family including wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha kicked off the vacation ...
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          Trump asegura que la paciencia con Corea del Norte "se ha acabado"   
El presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, ha dado oficialmente por terminada este viernes la era de la "paciencia estratégica" con Corea del Norte que abanderó su predecesor, Barack Obama, durante su mandato y ha prometido que responderá "con determinación" a los ensayos armamentísticos de Pyongyang.
          With The Senate's Health Care Vote Delayed, What's Next For Democrats?   
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: To health care now - both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are complaining that they aren't working together. Here's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking on the Senate floor yesterday. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MITCH MCCONNELL: It's unfortunate that our Democratic colleagues refuse to work with us in a serious way to comprehensively address Obamacare's failures in the seven years since they passed it. MARTIN: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had this response. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) CHUCK SCHUMER: We Democrats are genuinely interested in finding a place where our two parties can come together on health care. MARTIN: So what is the next move for the Democrats? Tom Perez is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's with us in the studio. Thanks for coming in this morning. TOM PEREZ: Always a pleasure. MARTIN: Do congressional Democrats really want to work with Republicans to try to
          President Trump delivers tough trade talk during South Korea summit   
President Trump opened his meeting Friday with newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in with tough trade talk, announcing he is renegotiating a 5-year-old trade deal between their two countries that was a joint legacy of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

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          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   
President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed... Reported by L.A. Times 1 hour ago.
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Ghadaffi is dead ! Who Cares ? Solyndra scandal, Obama admin loans Elec car Co 1/2 billion to make cars in Finland !, The Occupy Wall Street Protester Morons, Obama announces end to Iraq War because his poll numbers suck !
          Talk Show America 9/8/2011   
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Jimmy SOB Hoffa and Bidens Remarks Against The Tea Party, The MSNBC/Reagan Library Republican Debate, What To Expect From Obama's Job Speech.
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          The health of a hospital   
The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.

When Arkansas expanded Medicaid in 2014, Mike Haynes signed up for health insurance for the first time in his adult life. "Before that, I really couldn't afford it," he said. "One income in the state of Arkansas is very tough when you're raising two children. I did it, but I couldn't afford fringe benefits, so to speak. I had to feed my kids and put clothes on them."

Haynes, 63, is a real estate agent in Mountain Home. His children are grown now, but things remain tight. "We're eating bologna, not steak," he said. His wife has multiple sclerosis and can no longer work (she qualifies for the traditional Medicaid program through her disability benefits), and Haynes' income fluctuates dramatically with the housing market. In 2014, "paychecks were few and far between," he said, and he signed up for coverage under the state's Medicaid expansion, which offers coverage to Arkansans who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (that's $16,400 for an individual or $33,600 for a family of four).

A year later, his wife encouraged him to go in for a routine physical, and he ended up being diagnosed with prostate cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma. "It was an eye-opener, extremely scary," Haynes said. "All of a sudden your whole world changes."

The doctor told him that if he hadn't come in, he had two years left to live. Now, he's in remission after a dozen sessions of chemotherapy. "I can't stress enough how much it meant to me to have coverage," Haynes said. "I knew I wasn't going to lose my house and everything else." Before getting coverage, Haynes had always avoided going to the doctor because he assumed he wouldn't be able to pay the medical bills, and he said he would never have gone in the first place without health insurance.

"Two things saved my life: Obamacare and my wife," Haynes said. "That's the truth."

Haynes has been able to get his treatment at Mountain Home's Baxter Regional Medical Center, recently named one of the top 100 rural and community hospitals in the nation by the National Rural Health Association.

The Medicaid expansion has been just as vital to Arkansas's rural hospitals as it has been to patients like Haynes, said Ron Peterson, Baxter Regional's CEO. The reduction in uncompensated care has led to a $4.2 million annual positive impact for the hospital, Peterson said. "The expansion meant the difference between us running in the red vs. running in the black," he said.

Arkansas is one of 31 states — few in the South — that expanded Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults like Haynes as part of the Affordable Care Act. The state used a unique approach known as the private option — later rebranded "Arkansas Works" — which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for the newly eligible population. The federal government pays for most of the costs through funds made available by the ACA.

The ACA's crafters essentially made a deal with hospitals: The ACA cut Medicare reimbursements, but the reduction in uncompensated care through the Medicaid expansion helped offset some of those cuts. Without that offsetting boost, some of the state's smaller rural hospitals might not be able to survive. A hospital like Baxter — the fifth most Medicare-reliant hospital in the nation, according to Moody's, thanks to the community's significant proportion of retirees — would be forced to make dramatic cuts in services without the Medicaid offset. "The expansion of Medicaid through Arkansas Works is one of the key components that's been able to help us through the change in the ACA," Peterson said. "Not just Baxter, but it helps all of rural Arkansas."

The political future of the Medicaid expansion, however, remains dicey. State Sen. Scott Flippo, a Republican who represents the area, campaigned on ending the program and has voted multiple times for unsuccessful attempts to defund it in the Arkansas legislature. Meanwhile, the American Health Care Act, the bill backed by President Trump and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, would end the ACA's enhanced funding for new and returning enrollees beginning in 2020, effectively ending the Medicaid expansion program. Trump won Baxter County with 74 percent of the vote.

Peterson said that he was hopeful that the AHCA proposal would be amended further, but as it stands, the phase-out of the Medicaid expansion "would be devastating to our hospital, and I think it would be extremely bad news for all rural hospitals."

It can be a challenge to explain the value of Medicaid expansion amid the always thorny politics of the national health care debate, Peterson said. "I think that people in Mountain Home really appreciate the hospital and appreciate the services that are provided here," he said, pointing to significant giving from the community to the Baxter Regional Hospital Foundation and the more than 500 volunteers who give more than 80,000 hours of their time every year. "They want to see this hospital succeed. I just don't think they see the tie and the connection with the Medicaid expansion."

Baxter Regional is by far the largest employer in the community, employing 1,600 individuals; its payroll is more than $70 million. Outside of the hospital, opportunities for professionals are few and far between, Dan Greer, a network analyst at Baxter Regional, said. Greer has worked at Baxter Regional for nine years; before that, he worked at the Baxter Bulletin, but lost that job after the newspaper was downsized. "If it wasn't for the hospital being here, I would have been gone," he said.

If the Medicaid expansion ended, Peterson said, "You're looking at easily 200-300 jobs eliminated out of the community. That may not sound dramatic, but it's dramatic in a community of our size."

Baxter Regional's mission is to remain independent and as comprehensive as possible, Peterson said, both of which would also be threatened if the hospital took a financial hit from the elimination of Medicaid expansion. "We believe that having that local input and that local control helps us be more community-driven and make sure we're meeting the needs of the community," he said. "And we try to provide urban medicine in a rural setting. Just because you live in a rural area should not mean you should not have access to quality care."

Baxter Regional offers cardiac surgery, comprehensive oncology services and 30 different specialties; this summer, the hospital will start offering neurosurgery. As a Level III trauma center, the hospital has the resources to provide care for most traumatic injuries.

"You can't measure the value on that," said Dr. Brad Shultz, a physician in the emergency room, where the hospital sees 30,000 patients a year. "The sick, aged population we have, if we didn't have the specialists, we couldn't buy enough ambulances to keep them all transferred."

That transport itself can be a dangerous part of medical care. "Every time they're exposed to a new health care setting, it's adding risk to their situation," Gerald Cantrell, the hospital's paramedic director, said. In nonemergency situations, meanwhile, a multiple-hour drive may discourage patients from seeking the care they need.

"We're fairly isolated," Peterson said. "The next hospital that has all the types of services that we have is at least two hours away."

The hospital has invested in technology to deliver high-quality care to its isolated community. In its intensive care unit, the hospital has an "electronic ICU" that provides 24-7 access to intensive care specialists in St. Louis. Its radiology department was one of the first in the state to use 3D tomosynthesis for mammography, which is more accurate and leads to fewer call backs, and the first in the nation to develop a mobile 3D tomosynthesis unit in a custom-made RV that offers screenings in the community. "It allows us to take the mammography out to where the patient is, and helps us get to even more remote areas than Mountain Home," Peterson said. "We're going to the rural community and bringing that technology to them."

The STEMI program (STEMI is the medical shorthand for a severe heart attack) has a coordinated system in place to communicate between paramedics and the hospital to deliver care as quickly as possible — and crucially, Baxter Regional has the cath labs (diagnostic imaging equipment necessary for the optimal treatment of a heart attack) and specialists to provide an immediate intervention.

"A lot of your smaller rural hospitals won't have cath labs," Peterson said; they can offer only less effective clot-busting drugs. "If we weren't the size hospital that we are and started cutting back, you could see people having a heart attack, getting a drug, and being shipped off and not getting that intervention for three to five hours when they need to be getting it right away."

"Arkansas has the highest mortality rates nationwide for death from heart attack," Dr. Kim Foxworthy, the STEMI coordinator, said. "Our statewide mortality rates would definitely be higher if we did not have the technology and facility here. People are just not going to make it."

Just as important, Peterson said, was the hospital's commitment to outreach. He cited the community paramedic program, which offers direct services to high-needs patients in their homes, and four on-site Community Health Education and Support Houses, which offer services for patients and their families for diabetes, cancer, aging and women's health.

Without the Medicaid expansion, Peterson said, the hospital would be forced to make difficult — and potentially life-threatening — choices about what services to cut. That would impact everyone who relies on Baxter Regional, not just those covered by the Medicaid expansion. Servicing a remote community in the Ozarks with a population that isn't growing, it's unclear how the hospital would make up the funding gap if expansion goes away.

"The numbers do not add up," Peterson said. "Unless you want to abandon people who live in rural America."

Haynes, the cancer survivor who got coverage thanks to the Medicaid expansion, said he remembers years ago having to drive more than two hours to Springfield, Mo., to get to a hospital with an incubator when his daughter was born. "That's a thing of the past," he said. "I received outstanding care here. It's a tremendous service to the community."

Haynes voted in the presidential race for the first time last November and, like most of his neighbors, he voted for Trump. "I felt like we were going to be in the same position no matter what Hillary did, we needed some improvements, and I really just wanted a guy that wasn't involved in politics," Haynes said. He said he has been watching the progress of the AHCA with concern, particularly when the Congressional Budget Office found in March that an earlier version of the bill would lead to 24 million fewer people being covered (the CBO is set to issue a new score for the amended version of the AHCA this week).

"I guess I was naive because when he spoke 'change,' in my mind, I thought 'even better,' " he said. "And then as it moved along and 24 million people weren't going to get coverage, I thought, 'What's going on? Am I one of the 24 million?' "

After he wasn't able to work for a year and half because of the cancer, Haynes has just started back at his job. "It'll get better — the economy is getting better, I'm getting better, so I'm very positive about the future," he said.

Haynes said he's still grateful for President Obama. "I'd vote for the man tomorrow," Haynes said. "I don't play politics. But the man did a lot for me, period. Without Obamacare, I wouldn't be sitting here. How would you feel?"

This story was supported by the nonprofit Economic Hardship Reporting Project, part of an initiative to foster journalism about inequality in the South and the Heartland, and is also courtesy of the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, an independent, nonpartisan news project dedicated to producing journalism that matters to Arkansans.

          Health care policy FAQ   
What proposed state and federal changes mean for the future of health care policy in Arkansas.

Health care policy impacts millions of Americans, including the more than 300,000 Arkansans currently covered by the state's Medicaid expansion program. The details, however, can get confusing quickly. It's hard enough to keep track of all the names — private option, Arkansas Works, Medicaid expansion, Obamacare, ACA, AHCA. On top of that, it seems like every month lawmakers propose to shift the policy ground beneath our feet. The Arkansas legislature met in a special session earlier this month to approve Governor Hutchinson's plan to alter the state's Medicaid expansion, adding work requirements and cutting eligibility. That plan now awaits approval from the federal government. The same day the governor signed that bill into law, the U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act, which would completely undercut the governor's proposal and threaten the very existence of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. It's now in the Senate, awaiting a vote.

The Medicaid expansion helped cut the state's uninsured rate in half. What would the proposed changes coming from the governor and Republicans in Congress mean for those who rely on that coverage? Let's take a look.

What is the Medicaid expansion? What is Arkansas Works?

The Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) provided funding to cover low-income adults under the Medicaid program. This expansion of Medicaid covers people who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — that's $16,400 for an individual or $33,600 for a family of four. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states could choose whether or not they wanted to accept the Medicaid expansion. Arkansas decided to move forward, but with a twist: The state obtained a special waiver from the federal government to use Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for the Medicaid expansion population, a policy that became known as the private option. Later, when Hutchinson became governor and continued the policy, he re-branded it as Arkansas Works. Whatever name it goes by — Medicaid expansion, private option, Arkansas Works — the program covers more than 300,000 Arkansans, with most of the costs covered by the federal government through the ACA.

How will Hutchinson's proposed alterations to the Medicaid expansion change who is eligible?

Hutchinson, with the legislature's backing, is seeking permission from the federal government to limit eligibility for Arkansas Works to households at or below the federal poverty line (that's $11,880 for an individual or $24,300 for a family of four). That would mean that current beneficiaries who make between 100-138 percent of the FPL — more than 60,000 of the state's working poor — would be removed from the program.

Assuming the ACA remains in place, what options will those cut from coverage under the governor's plan have for health insurance?

Most of the 60,000 people who would lose Arkansas Works coverage would be eligible for the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace, often called the exchange, where they can buy subsidized health insurance. The ACA provides income-based premium tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies that keep premiums, co-pays and deductibles relatively low.

Others will not be able to get subsidized coverage on the exchange, because their employer offers them health insurance (the state Department of Human Services estimates this applies to 20 percent of the beneficiaries in the 100-138 FPL group). If that employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) meets two tests — it's considered "affordable" under the law and meets a "minimum value" standard in terms of coverage — then they are barred from getting the premium credits and cost-sharing reductions that would make coverage on the exchange affordable for them. Those who fall into this category would typically face higher costs and receive less generous coverage if they switch to ESI.

Will the working poor have to pay more under the governor's plan?

The governor has claimed that the 60,000 people being removed from the Medicaid rolls "will not lose access to coverage" and would get "the same level of financial support that they have now." In fact, those beneficiaries will pay more than they do today — sometimes much more — and coverage will be skimpier for many.

Under the terms of its Arkansas Works agreement with the federal government, the state is allowed to charge beneficiaries who make between 100-138 percent of the FPL premiums up to 2 percent of their household income. However, currently, the state charges a flat rate of $13 per month.

On the exchange, premiums for plans equivalent to Arkansas Works are designed to be equal to 2 percent of household income (because of the federal subsidies, that's what this group will have to pay for premiums regardless of whether the unsubsidized premium that insurance companies charge for the plan goes up or down). That's significantly more than $13 per month. An individual right at the poverty line would have to pay up to $20 a month in premiums. An individual who makes 138 percent of the FPL would have to pay up to $27 per month. Meanwhile, larger family sizes will have larger incomes in order to fall in the 100-138 FPL range. So a single mother of three, for example, who is right at the poverty line, would be on the hook for $40 per month premiums on the exchange; if she was at 138 percent of the FPL, she would be on the hook for $56 per month premiums.

For those who have to move to ESI plans, the premium increase will be even more dramatic. For an ESI plan to be deemed affordable, premiums cannot exceed 9.69 percent of household income. That means that a plan could have premiums nearly five times what someone was paying under the 2 percent max allowable under Arkansas Works (and even more than that compared to the flat $13 premiums that the program is imposing this year). Under the Medicaid rules in the Arkansas Works waiver, an individual living at the poverty line could be charged no more than $20 monthly; the most that a single mother of three could be charged is $40. But if those same beneficiaries get insurance through a plan at work, they could face employee-contribution premiums of up to $95 or $195, respectively, and would then not be allowed to shop on the exchange. They would have to find a way to pay those premiums or go without health insurance.

What happens if people don't pay premiums?

If people are unable to pay their premiums under Arkansas Works, they don't lose their coverage; they incur a debt to the state, which likely isn't collectible unless the individual has a state tax refund from which to withhold. On the other hand, if people are unable to pay their premiums on the exchange, they'll be booted off of coverage and become uninsured for the remainder of the year. These premiums are relatively small, but this is a population with almost no disposable income. Forty dollars a month may not sound like a lot, but for a family of four at the poverty line, that could be the difference in getting enough groceries to go around. Currently, only 25 percent of these beneficiaries are paying the $13 premiums each month. If they struggle to keep up with premiums on the exchange, they'll end up without coverage.

Will the working poor get the same level of coverage under the governor's plan?

Those who are sent to the exchange will get plans that have a similar amount of coverage to the plans on Arkansas Works, though that coverage may take different forms (for example, they might have deductibles, whereas Arkansas Works only has co-pays). However, there is one key difference, which will lead to many having to pay more out of pocket on the exchange plans. Under Arkansas Works, Medicaid rules impose a strict limit on the total amount that beneficiaries can be charged between premiums and cost-sharing (it cannot exceed 5 percent of monthly or quarterly income). There is no such rule on the exchange, and while there are out-of-pocket limits, the total amount that beneficiaries have to pay could exceed 5 percent of income.

For example, consider an individual who makes $12,500 a year: If she was being charged premiums at 2 percent of her income, the most that she could be charged in cost-sharing under Arkansas Works on a monthly basis is $35. Over the course of the year, that would work out to $360. If that same individual was on the exchange, the available plans average nearly twice that, $660.94, as an out-of-pocket maximum — and that's only over the course of the year, with no protections for monthly/quarterly charges.

Things look much worse for those who are routed to ESI plans instead of the exchange. For a work-sponsored plan to meet the "minimum value" test, it only has to cover 60 percent of average expected costs, as opposed to 94 percent under Arkansas Works. That could mean $5,000 deductibles or $7,000 out-of-pocket maximums, expenses that many people in this population could not realistically afford to pay.

Will the governor's plan increase the uninsured rate in the state?

Almost certainly, yes. Many will not be able to afford the premiums or the cost-sharing and will have no choice but to go without coverage. Others may struggle to successfully navigate the system and find their way to coverage alternatives in the first place. Moving this population from Medicaid to other coverage is not as easy as flipping a switch. Sixty thousand people will receive a sudden letter that their coverage has been canceled; many of them have no experience purchasing private health insurance. The transition would require a massive outreach and education effort and excellent communication. The Hutchinson administration has often faced criticism for its failures at such outreach, including a botched eligibility renewal process in 2015 that led to tens of thousands of eligible beneficiaries losing coverage. In similar transitions in other states, even with much more extensive outreach efforts than Arkansas has ever done, attrition was significant as people inevitably got lost in the shuffle and ended up with gaps in coverage.

"Our greatest concern is that tens of thousands of Arkansans will become uninsured because they are no longer eligible for Arkansas Works, unable to afford other coverage, or simply fall through the cracks because of the constant policy changes," Marquita Little, of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said. (Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families have provided donations to the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network.)

What happens if Donald Trump and the Republican Congress repeal the ACA and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA)?

The AHCA would completely unravel Arkansas Works, as well as Hutchinson's plan for Arkansas Works 2.0.

The Medicaid expansion would be completely phased out, eliminating the enhanced federal funding for new and returning enrollees starting in 2020. Without that funding, Arkansas could not realistically continue to offer Medicaid coverage for the population of low-income Arkansans reliant on Arkansas Works under current law, now numbering more than 300,000 beneficiaries. Forget about Arkansas Works 2.0; Arkansas Works itself would be dead.

Hutchinson said that he hopes the enhanced match rate for Medicaid expansion will be saved now that the AHCA is in the Senate. But even if it is, the AHCA would still completely undermine Hutchinson's plan for the 100-138 FPL population because of the way it changes the subsidies on the exchanges. Hutchinson's plan presupposes that the 100-138 FPL population can rely on those subsidies. The ACA offers tax credits that ensure that the amount people are charged for premiums on the exchange will not exceed 2 percent of income; the AHCA has no such limit and its tax credits aren't based on income. The Arkansas Works beneficiaries that Hutchinson aims to send to the exchange would find themselves faced with premiums that most of them could not possibly afford if the AHCA passed in its current form. Premiums would be even higher for older people in this population because the AHCA would also allow insurance companies to charge higher amounts based on age than the ACA does. Under the AHCA, regardless of how poor the consumer was, the Congressional Budget Office found that the average monthly premium faced by an individual who is 21 years old would be $120; at 40 years old, $200; at 64 years old, $1,216.

Hutchinson acknowledged this problem. "The governor would like to see the AHCA's tax credits increase for the lower income populations to account for this issue and ensure there are affordable coverage options available outside of Medicaid," his spokesman J.R. Davis said.

In addition to drastically lowering the premium tax credits available to poorer and older Arkansans, the AHCA would also altogether eliminate the ACA's cost-sharing reductions, which offer cost protections from co-pays and deductibles to low-income consumers. Under current law, people in the 100-138 FPL range can sign up for plans that cover 94 percent of the average cost of medical expenses; under the AHCA, those same plans would only cover 70 percent. Under the ACA, someone who was sent to the exchange as part of Hutchinson's plan would face an average deductible across eligible plans of $246 and an average out-of-pocket maximum of $661. Under the AHCA, cost-sharing would skyrocket, with deductibles for those same plans ranging from around $1,500 to $3,500 and the out-of-pocket maximum ranging from around $3,600 to $7,150.

What other impacts would the AHCA have on Arkansas health care?

In addition to eliminating the Medicaid expansion and increasing costs on the exchange for poorer, sicker and older Arkansans, the AHCA would also enact hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to the state's traditional Medicaid program (the program that existed before the ACA's expansion), covering the elderly in nursing homes, low-income children, very poor parents, the blind, the disabled and other vulnerable populations. Such cuts would put additional burdens on the state budget or force the state to cut services or eligibility for traditional Medicaid.

Work requirements

In addition to cutting eligibility, the governor's proposal would institute work requirements for Arkansas Works beneficiaries. The Obama administration did not allow work requirements for Medicaid because it said such requirements were not consistent with the purpose of the program, which is to increase access to health care. The Trump administration has signaled that it is receptive to the idea of work requirements, so Hutchinson is trying again with the request.

The details of the work-requirement program still need to be worked out between the state's Department of Human Services and the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but here is the outline of the governor's plan, according to DHS:

In order to continue receiving coverage, beneficiaries must work 20 hours per week or 80 hours per month. If they are not working, they have to participate in job training programs (or potentially certain approved volunteer activities).

Beneficiaries must be in compliance for nine months out of the year. Otherwise, they will be kicked off of coverage and locked out of the program for the remainder of the year.

People aged 18-49 will be subject to the work requirement, and those older than 50 will be exempt. The following groups will also be eligible for exemptions:

Those deemed "medically frail" — the 10 percent of Arkansas Works beneficiaries who have the most intensive medical needs.

Those caring for an incapacitated person.

Those caring for dependent children in the home.

People receiving unemployment benefits.

Those participating in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program.

Full-time students.

Pregnant women.

DHS projects that around half of Arkansas Works beneficiaries would be eligible for an exemption.

This analysis is courtesy of the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, an independent, nonpartisan news project dedicated to producing journalism that matters to Arkansans.

          How the 2017 Arkansas legislature made life worse for you   
But it wasn't as bad as it could've been at the Capitol.

Arkansas's legislators were locked and loaded when they arrived for the 91st General Assembly this year, determined to get more guns into public places and take away voting and abortion rights, their evergreen attacks.

Thanks to the legislature, concealed weapons soon may be carried just about everywhere except Razorback games and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Unemployment benefits were cut, whistleblowers were silenced and charter schools were given advantages over regular public schools. Other legislation was symbolic but ugly, such as an act authored by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that aims to stop Sharia, or Islamic ecclesiastical law, from taking over Arkansas's court system.

Some of the silliest bills went nowhere, such as efforts by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) to wipe Bill and Hillary Clinton's names off the Little Rock airport, to indefinitely delay implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program and to call a convention of the states to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Anti-immigrant legislation that would have penalized colleges and cities with so-called "sanctuary" policies withered in committee. Rep. Smith, the sponsor of the bill targeting universities, warned that rogue professors might hide undocumented immigrants in their offices and then dump their human waste on campus in the dark of night; surprisingly, this argument did not persuade his colleagues. Rep. Kim Hendren (R-Gravette) proposed banning cell phones from public schools; later, he filed a bill prohibiting teachers from using books authored by leftist historian Howard Zinn. Neither gained traction.

What was good? A little. Conservatives tried to circumscribe the medical marijuana amendment with bans on smoking and edible products, among other roadblocks, but the worst of the anti-pot legislation stalled. Evidently reassured by Governor Hutchinson's promises to make the private option more conservative (read: stingier) down the line, the annual appropriation for Medicaid passed without a major fight — a relief for the 300,000-plus Arkansans receiving health insurance through Obamacare. Pushed by Hutchinson, the ledge directed some of Arkansas's tobacco settlement proceeds to expand a waiver program for the developmentally disabled, opening the door to services for some 500 to 900 desperate families stranded for years on a waitlist. At long last, the state will stop its reprehensible practice of celebrating Robert E. Lee's birthday simultaneously with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a symbolic but important step forward that was championed by the governor.

Here's our survey of the damage:

In Glock we trust

The biggest gun-related news this session was the passage and signing of House Bill 1249, now Act 562, which creates a new "enhanced carry" permit that will allow gun owners who have undergone eight hours of additional training — including active shooter training, with a curriculum still to be worked out by the Arkansas State Police — to carry a concealed handgun in many places previously forbidden under the state's concealed carry law, including the state Capitol, public colleges and universities, bars, churches and courthouses. Concealed carry in prisons, courtrooms and K-12 schools is still forbidden, and private property owners, including bars, churches and private colleges, can still prohibit firearms if they choose.

Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), the bill was a far piece from where it started by the time it was signed. Originally, Collins' bill would have solely mandated that public universities and colleges allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns. It was an attempt to push back against the state's public colleges and universities, which have steadfastly rejected Collins' and his colleagues' attempts to institute "campus carry" in the past. Amendments to HB 1249 soon pushed it several clicks further toward the broad "guns everywhere" approach favored by the National Rifle Association, and far beyond a potential shooting iron in a well-trained professor's briefcase. Now, anyone with the enhanced permit will be able to carry on a college campus, including into sometimes-contentious student and faculty disciplinary hearings and raucous college dorms.

The passage of the bill spawned some last minute scrambling when the Southeastern Conference expressed concerns about fans coming to college football games carrying heat, resulting in Act 859, a cleanup effort that prohibits concealed carry in college athletic venues. Also exempted by Act 859 were daycares, UAMS and the Arkansas State Hospital, an inpatient facility for the mentally ill. The bill also allows private businesses and organizations to ban concealed carry without posting a sign to that effect. If a private business decides to ban concealed carry without posting a sign, anyone caught carrying a concealed weapon on the premises can be ejected or told to remove their gun if they want to come back. If the concealed carrier repeats the infraction, they can be charged with a crime. Even after the purported cleanup, that still leaves a lot of places open to concealed carry unless those places set a policy forbidding the practice, including most hospitals, mental health facilities and off-campus high school and middle school sporting events. At the signing ceremony for HB 1249, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said, "We believe that if you have a legal right to be somewhere, and you're a law-abiding person, you ought to have a legal right to defend yourself." For the NRA, that means the right to be armed everywhere, any time, as long as you don't have a criminal record. Notice Cox didn't say anything about pesky permits or training.

Speaking of law-abiding persons, also of concern when it comes to concealed carry is Act 486. Under the law, the Arkansas State Police is now prohibited from establishing or amending any administrative rule that would revoke or suspend a concealed carry permit unless the holder of the permit was found to be in violation of a criminal offense. While not penalizing a person if they haven't committed a crime sounds like a good idea, the problem is that people can and do go off the rails for a multitude of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with a violation of the criminal code. Before the passage of Act 486, the State Police had broad latitude to revoke or suspend concealed carry permits for a number of reasons, including serious alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous mental illness, or a mental health professional's determination that a permit holder might be a threat to himself, his family or the public. With the passage of Act 486, though, a concealed carry holder who suffers a complete mental breakdown to the point of visual hallucinations can keep on packing right until the moment he or she is admitted at the State Hospital (thanks Act 859!), even if the person's family or a doctor asks the State Police to pull their permit. Ditto with people suffering from substance abuse issues, elderly dementia patients and those who hint they might be capable of suicide or homicide. Under the law, a permit can still be revoked or suspended if the person is caught carrying into a prohibited place like a courtroom or jail, but as seen above, the list of places where handguns are prohibited is dwindling by the year. Otherwise, thanks to Act 486, we just have to wait until that person commits a crime. By then, it's too late.

In the What Could Have Been column, we have HB 1630, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), which would have created the misdemeanor offense of "negligently allowing access to a firearm by a child" if an owner failed to secure a loaded gun or left it in a place a child could easily access. Though the bill had exemptions for hunting, sport shooting and use of firearms on a farm and had a sliding scale of penalties, with incidents involving the death or serious injury of a child at the top of the list, it went nowhere.


Traditional schools took licks, but the worst was kept at bay.

The single worst education bill passed in 2017 was probably Act 542, sponsored by Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), which requires school districts to sell or lease "unused or underutilized" facilities to competitor charter schools. Charters already had right of first refusal in the event a district decides to sell a building — but after Act 542 goes into effect this summer, a charter can force a district to sell or lease a building, even if the district doesn't want to do so. If a different entity — a nonprofit, say, or a clinic or a business — wants to buy an unoccupied school building instead, that's too bad. Act 542 requires a district to hold on to unused buildings for two years, just in case a charter comes along and wants the facility for itself.

Clark pointed to a situation a few years ago in which the Helena-West Helena School District refused to sell a vacant elementary to KIPP Delta, a charter. But there are good reasons why a district wouldn't want to hand over an asset to a direct competitor: Charter networks tend to weaken districts by bleeding away higher-performing students and public money, and they often enjoy advantages their traditional public school counterparts do not. As some opponents of the bill pointed out, the new law is tantamount to forcing Walmart to sell a store to Target. That's why school superintendents across the state fought the bill and convinced no small number of Republicans to join Democrats in opposing it. In the end, though, it passed the House on a 53-32 vote. Republican legislators also rejected proposals by Democrats Sen. Joyce Elliott and Rep. Clarke Tucker — both from Little Rock, which is seeing unchecked charter growth at the expense of traditional public schools — to impose fairer rules on charters.

Thankfully, the legislature turned down an even worse proposal. HB 1222 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) proposed a convoluted scheme to divert millions of dollars away from the public coffers (by means of a tax credit to wealthy donors) and toward private schools in the guise of "education savings accounts" to be used for student tuition. A school voucher plan in all but name, the bill would have been devastating to public education. Dotson eventually scaled back the legislation to a pilot program with a four-year sunset, allowing a Senate version of the bill to win passage in that chamber — but many Republicans remain fond of their local school districts, and it narrowly failed in the House.

Meanwhile, legislators expanded an existing voucher program, the Succeed Scholarship. Created in the 2015 session, it uses public tax dollars to pay private school tuition for a limited number of K-12 students with special needs. Parents are required to waive their child's civil rights protections under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In the past, the scholarship was open only to kids with an Individualized Education Program, or IEP; now, foster children living in group homes will also be eligible, thanks to Act 894 by Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton). Act 327 by Rep. Carlton Wing (R-North Little Rock) will allow a nonaccredited private school to participate, as long as the school has applied for accreditation. And, the appropriation for the Succeed Scholarship rose from $800,000 to $1.3 million — an increase of 63 percent — potentially allowing as many as 200 students statewide to participate.

That bump is especially notable alongside the meager 1 percent increase in the state's overall K-12 education budget for the next two years — far less than the 2.5 percent boost recommended by legislative staff tasked with determining what constitutes "adequate" school funding. A bit more money will be directed to teacher pay and special education, and pre-kindergarten will see an overdue $3 million increase, so the money situation could be worse. Still, with state revenue squeezed hard by tax cuts, and private and charter schools knocking at the door, traditional public schools are clearly not the General Assembly's top priority.

On other fronts, school legislation was a mixed bag. Elliott's Act 1059, will limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in grades K-5 — a much-needed reform — but her bid to end corporal punishment failed in committee. (Rural Arkansas still loves the paddle.) One of the better education bills to pass this session was Elliott's Act 1039 which gives teeth to a 2013 law (also by Elliott) requiring dyslexia screening and intervention. Its reporting requirements and enforcement mechanism hopefully will force districts to deliver better reading interventions to dyslexic students. A major accountability bill developed by the state Education Department, Act 930, will overhaul how schools are monitored by the state, though it's too soon to say how the changes will play out. Act 478 by Rep. Bruce Cozart (R-Hot Springs), will require high school students to pass a civics test before graduating; an attempt by Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) to impose the same requirement on legislators and state agency heads received a cold reception. A bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle), now Act 910, will end September school elections and require them to be held concurrent with the November general or spring primary election date. That could spell trouble for future millage votes.

Finally, there's higher education: "Campus carry" dominated the news, but a major change in funding may be just as consequential. Act 148, which originated with the governor's office, creates a funding formula for colleges and universities that ties state money to metrics like graduation rate. HB 1518, now Act 563, a worthy bill by Rep. James Sturch (R-Batesville) requires the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create an action plan for addressing sexual assault on college campuses.

Benjamin Hardy


Some help for the working poor and lots of punting.

Give modest credit to Governor Hutchinson. In the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions, Republican legislators pushed a massive cut on taxes on capital gains and reduced the income tax burden on all but the working poor. This session, Hutchinson provided some relief at the lower end of the tax bracket. Hutchinson pushed through a $50 million tax cut, directed at households with a taxable income of less than $21,000. The cut is misleading, though, as it targets taxable income, which is often far less than salary or adjusted gross income. In fact, Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families pointed out that 48 percent of the overall $50 million cut will go to taxpayers in the top 40 percent of earners, while only 5 percent will go to those making less than $18,000 per year.

Establishing a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit, tied to the federal EITC, would have been considerably more beneficial to the lower 40 percent of Arkansas earners, who often have no income tax liability, but pay a large share of their income in sales tax. An EITC would have provided a more substantial boost to the working poor at less cost than Hutchinson's cut. Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) were behind the EITC proposal, which historically has bipartisan appeal, but they couldn't get support from Hutchinson or enough other legislators.

Hutchinson also supported legislation that exempted all military retirement pay and survivor benefits from state income taxes. The first $6,000 of military retirement pay had been exempt previously. Since most veterans aren't career soldiers and eligible for a pension, the exemption will leave out many veterans (again, an EITC would have been a better avenue). But few politicians on either side of the aisle were going to stand in the way of helping veterans — even though Hutchinson unconscionably larded the measure with unrelated tax hikes. The legislation offset the eventual $13.4 million cost of the exemption by raising the sales tax on candy and soda. Completely unrelated to veterans' retirement income, the bill provided a $6 million tax cut on soft drink syrup, which it paid for by taxing unemployment benefits and digital downloads. So, veterans with pensions got a bump and corporate interests got significant help, while folks downloading books and movies, as well as people in between jobs, got screwed.

In the "could have been worse" column, more credit for Hutchinson: He held at bay lawmakers from his party such as Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) who wanted to cut $100 million or more in taxes — threatening essential state services in the process — by creating a commission to consider the future of tax policies in the state.

The commission will have to consider two issues the General Assembly punted on. A bill that would have required out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by Arkansans stalled in the House, with several Republicans decrying the proposal as a tax increase even though Arkansans already are required to pay the tax by law (few do because it requires self-reporting.) Still, Amazon said it would voluntarily begin collecting sales tax on Arkansas customers beginning in March. Another bill that merely would have referred to voters a proposal to increase the tax on gas to pay for bonds for highway construction failed on similar anti-tax grounds.

Lindsey Millar


Atual reform

Act 423, "The Criminal Justice Efficiency and Safety Act," might be the most consequential piece of good legislation the General Assembly passed. It's a sprawling, omnibus law, with three primary components.

Most consequentially, it introduces swift and certain sanctioning, which means parolees and probationers who commit minor violations of the terms of their supervision will be sent for 45 to 90 days to Arkansas Community Correction facilities, where they will receive rehabilitative programming, instead of being sent to prison for significantly longer stints. Arkansas in recent years has had the fastest growing prison population in the country, fueled largely by parole violators returning to prison. Swift and certain sanctioning is expected to free up as many as 1,600 prison beds and save the state as much as $30-$40 million.

The law also seeks to divert people who commit nuisance offenses because they are high on drugs or having a mental health crisis in public from jail or prison. It establishes Crisis Stabilization Units, regional facilities where people in crisis could go to receive treatment for several days. The law mandates the creation of three such units, but $5 million earmarked in the state budget for the operation of the facilities, paired with significant additional federal money the state expects to draw from Medicaid, could allow for several more CSUs to open. The locations of the CSUs have not yet been selected, but Craighead, Pulaski and Sebastian counties are thought to be leading candidates. Finally, Act 423 also requires law enforcement officers to receive crisis intervention training to help them de-escalate interactions with people amid behavioral health episodes.

The law is the product of 18 months of study and presentations by the nonprofit Council of State Governments, which reported to a Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force that bill sponsor Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) co-chaired. Hutchinson, co-sponsor Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) and CSG say the new law will save the state money, which can be reinvested in effective criminal justice policies. CSG's justice reinvestment program has successfully been implemented in states across the country.

Of course, whether it's successful here will depend on policymakers seeing the reforms through. One potential stumbling block: CSG recommended that the state hire 100 new parole and probation officers to better supervise the nearly 56,000 people on parole and probation. Current supervision officers handle on average 125 cases. Governor Hutchinson's budget didn't provide for funding to hire 100 new officers, though it did make temporary funding to Arkansas Community Correction permanent, which will at least allow the department to retain the 60 officers it had hired since 2015. That's not enough, Sen. Hutchinson (who is the governor's nephew) said. He hopes a future General Assembly will approve additional funding for more officers using some of the savings generated by Act 423.

A perennial stumbling block for any criminal justice reform is the inevitable violator who commits a serious crime. A significant portion of Arkansas's recent prison growth spike came because of punitive parole policies enacted in the wake of the 2013 murder of a teenager in Little Rock by a serial parole violator. It's natural to think that locking up people who commit crimes for long stretches reduces crime, but research shows it's just the opposite, Sen. Hutchinson said.

"I've had the luxury of studying this for years now. It's hard to wrap your brain around sometimes," Hutchinson said. "Longer sentences do not, in fact, result in lower crime rates. The longer [people are] incarcerated, the greater chance of recidivism they have."

Hutchinson chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and many of its members, chief among them Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest), were hostile to the idea of moving away from incarceration in certain situations. King introduced the tough-on-crime Senate Bill 177, which would have required anyone with three stints in prison to serve at least 80 percent of any subsequent sentence. Arkansas already has a two-strikes law: After someone commits a second serious violent or sexual crime, he's required to serve 100 percent of his sentence. So King's measure would have mostly targeted low-level property and drug crimes and at huge cost. According to an impact statement, it would have added 5,499 inmates at a cost of $121 million in 2026. The total 10-year cost to the state would have been $692 million, and that's not including the significant cost of building new prison housing. King let the bill die in the House Judiciary Committee after Governor Hutchinson forcefully spoke out against it.

Three other positive new laws: Act 566, sponsored by the odd couple Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) and Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), has Arkansas opt out of a section in President Clinton's sweeping 1996 welfare reform law that prevents anyone who has been convicted of a felony drug offense from receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Act 1012, from legislation sponsored by Tucker and Hutchinson, allows someone on probation or parole for an offense that did not involve the operation of a motor vehicle who has a suspended drivers license because of unpaid fines or fees to continue to drive to work or school. Act 539, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (R-Springdale), prevents minors from being sentenced to life without parole. Before they become eligible for parole, the new law requires minors sentenced to life terms to serve 20 years for nonhomicide offenses, 25 years for first-degree murder and 30 years for capital murder. Of course, the Parole Board could repeatedly deny parole requests and force someone sentenced to a life term as a minor to spend his life in prison.

The heartbreaker of the session in criminal justice was the failure of Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's proposal to require racial impact statements for new criminal justice legislation. The impact statements would have provided research on whether proposed legislation would have a disparate impact on minority groups. Similar bills failed in 2013 and 2015, and this one was substantially amended to merely provide the impact statements as an option, but it died on the House floor. It was another reminder that for many white people, there is no greater insult than suggesting that they or something they do might be racist, even if the bias was unintended. One opponent, Rep. Ballinger, said he did not believe in systemic racism.

Lindsey Millar


Risking women's health

Women and their bodies were subjected to serious new insults this year by Arkansas legislators practicing medicine without a license.

Among the most egregious laws was the so-called "dismemberment abortion" bill, now Act 45, whose chief sponsors were Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) and Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock). The bill prohibits doctors from performing what doctors believe is the safest method of second trimester abortion: dilation and evacuation. The alternatives would be something akin to a Caesarean section, in which the belly is cut open to remove the fetus, or an induced abortion, which requires the woman to go into labor to expel a fetus killed by an injection of salt water, urea or potassium chloride into the amniotic sac. Those procedures are what doctors call "high morbidity" — meaning they have a high risk of making patients sick.

Dilation and evacuation is recommended by the World Health Organization, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association. The difference between those organizations and the Arkansas legislature is that one group does not believe women should receive the best health care possible.

But Mayberry and Sanders and their co-sponsors think D&E, which uses a vacuum, is tantamount to butchery. But hysterectomy and induction abortions accomplish the same end as a D&E and are far less safe.

There is no exception for incest or rape in the law. And, like previous laws passed by legislators who think their particular religious beliefs give them the right to control women, the law particularly harms women who can't afford to travel to a more broad-minded jurisdiction to exercise a legal right.

Another evil of the law is that it allows a spouse, parent or guardian to bring a civil suit against the abortion provider if the woman has "received or attempted to receive" dilation and evacuation. That means, according to abortion rights activists and Mayberry himself, a husband can stop an abortion. He may have committed rape. A parent may have committed incest. Doesn't matter.

Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) brought us the bill that became Act 733, the so-called "sex-selection abortion ban." Despite the fact that there is zero evidence that Arkansas women are dashing into abortion clinics because they've determined the sex of their fetus and don't like it, the bill has the potential to create an huge burden on the doctor provider.

Say a woman has had prenatal tests to see if her fetus has a genetic disorder. She learns there is a disorder and, by the way, the sex of the fetus. Her doctor must ask if she knows the gender of the fetus. If she answers that she does, the abortion must be delayed, because this new state law requires the doctor to "request the medical records of the pregnant woman relating directly to the entire pregnancy history of the woman." No abortion may be performed until every chart for every pregnancy generated by the woman's ob-gyn (or ob-gyns) and staffs and hospitals, every record generated during every trip to the ER she may have had to make, is supplied and reviewed by the abortion provider. Not only could that take a lot of time and generate a mountain of paperwork — what if the woman already had five children? — but it would also notify, perhaps against the woman's will, her doctors and their staffs that she is seeking to obtain an abortion.

The bill does not state what information in those records would suggest that the woman was hell-bent on not having another boy or girl.

"Why are physicians and the clinic made to be an investigative party into a woman's motives to have an abortion?" asked a spokesman for Little Rock Family Planning, the state's only clinic that offers abortion up to 21 weeks.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals), like Mayberry and Sanders, introduced what's called a model TRAP law (targeted regulation of abortion providers) meant to end abortion by imposing stricter inspection regulations on clinics. The bill allows the state Department of Health to make yearly trips to inspect clinic records and "a representative sample of procedures"; to regulate all aspects of the clinic "without limitation," and to collect an annual fee of $500.

While purporting to be a bill to protect women's health, the new law, Act 383, is designed to let the state shut down a clinic for facilities violations not spelled out in the legislation. It's not clear what violation would close the clinic. Towel on the floor? Out of paper towels? Scoop left in the break room freezer's icemaker?

As it happens, Little Rock Family Planning is inspected frequently, more than the once every year that the law already called for. The health department inspected the clinic four times in 2016, citing such things as discolored ceiling tiles and a chair with rips. The clinic's spokesman said some inspections are instigated by complaints from the anti-abortion protesters that picket outside.

The vague language of Act 383 "has potential for abuse. We don't know if we would be singled out and treated differently, if our license could be suspended for even minor paperwork violations," the spokesman said.

— Leslie Newell Peacock


The public's right to know took one step forward, two steps back.

Arkansas's robust Freedom of Information Act came under assault in 2017 as never before, with legislators proposing at least a dozen new exemptions to the open records law. Thanks to SB 131, now Act 474, by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), security plans of the State Capitol Police are no longer disclosable to the public; Stubblefield's reasoning was that someone seeking to do violence at the Capitol might request such plans, but the law is written so broadly that virtually any record of the Capitol police could fall under the new exemption. Stubblefield's SB 12 (Act 541) created a similar exemption for schools, including colleges and universities. HB 1236, now Act 531, by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), prevents the disclosure of a body-cam or dash-cam recording of the death of a law enforcement officer.

Thankfully, though, many anti-FOIA bills failed. The most significant was SB 373, by Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), which proposed exempting attorney-client communications and work product from the FOIA if the client is a public entity. The force behind the bill was the University of Arkansas. The problem with this idea — aside from the fact that attorney-client communications can already be shielded on a case-by-case basis, by order of a judge — is that a public entity could declare almost any record exempt simply by emailing that record to its attorney. Had it passed, this loophole could have swallowed the entire FOIA.

On the bright side, Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) managed to pass HB 1427, now Act 318, to require candidates to file their monthly finance reports electronically, rather than on paper. HB 1010, now Act 616, by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) extends the same requirement to political action committees and other groups. This matters because a searchable electronic database will make it much easier for the public to track contributions made to candidates and PACs, as well as their expenditures.

However, the legislature quashed an effort to shine a light on the darkest regions of campaign finance when it rejected HB 1005, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock). The bill would have required disclosure of "electioneering" spending, meaning advertisements by independent organizations, nominally unaffiliated with any candidate, that dodge ethics laws by scrupulously avoiding the use of phrasings like "vote for" or "vote against." A growing number of states recognize that such ads — which have proliferated tremendously in recent years and comprise hundreds of millions of dollars in spending nationwide — are de facto campaign commercials and require them to be reported as such. Not Arkansas.

Benjamin Hardy


Threats stalled.

The legislature still shows animus toward people who don't fit its definition of normal, but Arkansans lucked out when three anti-LGBT bills failed. Two so-called "bathroom bills" that targeted transgender children and adults and another that would have let doctors refuse to perform a procedure if it offended their "deeply held beliefs" did not make it into law.

But the legislature also blocked a bill that would have corrected an injustice. SB 580, by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), would have provided for the automatic listing of both parents' names on the birth certificates of children of married same-sex couples, an important factor in establishing inheritance and other matters. In a marriage between a man and a woman, the names of both parents are listed on a child's birth certificate, even in cases of surrogacy or artificial insemination. Arkansas is the only state that treats children of same-sex parents differently in this regard, seemingly in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that struck down bans on gay marriage nationwide. Elliott's bill would have fixed the problem, but when SB 580 came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, vice-chair Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) said same-sex parents could make a will if they wanted to ensure their kids get an inheritance.

Besides the children of same-sex couples, Collins-Smith doesn't much like transgender people, either. She introduced SB 774 to require that people had to use public bathroom or changing facilities that corresponded with the sex as listed on their birth certificates, and that the governing body of the public entity had to make sure the law was enforced. Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau director Gretchen Hall and Verizon Arena General Manager Michael Marion told Collins-Smith in a hearing on the bill said they could not see how it would be possible to know what was on the birth certificate on the thousands of people who might answer the call of nature at an event. "It's your job to find a way," Collins-Smith snarled. Collins-Smith pulled down the bill when she realized it was not going to pass.

The House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), who also had his mind on bathroom use, to expand the state's indecent exposure law. State law already says it is a crime to expose one's genitalia with intent to gratify sexual desire; Ballinger's bill would have made it a crime simply to expose genitalia in front of a person of the opposite sex. (Maybe it's common practice to inspect genitalia in bathrooms up in Berryville.) Though the House vote for the bill was 65 to 3, the bill went down the Senate Judiciary Committee drain, as Collins-Smith's did.

Governor Hutchinson, who did not want Arkansas to suffer economically as North Carolina did when it passed its "bathroom bill" (since partially repealed), was relieved.

Another ugly bill was introduced by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro): the Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act, which would have allowed doctors to refuse to administer health care services that offended their "deeply held beliefs." Smith had in mind both reproductive rights and transgender reassignment surgery. There was no support for the bill from medical professionals, and state Surgeon General Dr. Gregory Bledsoe spoke against it, saying, "If you're a member of any sort of minority group ... these sorts of bills send a message that threatens you."

Leslie Newell Peacock


Workers, consumers and other enemies of the state got a raw deal.

Governor Hutchinson deserves some recognition for passing a modest income tax cut for working people this session, even if it wasn't quite the boost for the poor that he claimed (see Taxes, page 15). But in almost every other way, the average Arkansan got screwed by the 2017 session.

Start with Act 986, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs), which will outlaw private class-action lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act — a cornerstone of consumer protection law. Such suits are a powerful deterrent against businesses that intentionally scam customers in various small ways, such as false advertising or misleading promotional offers. Preventing consumers from bringing claims as a class gives the unscrupulous a freer hand to prey on the unsuspecting.

Act 606, by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio), provides a boon to corporations by allowing an employer to sue a worker who records a video or takes photos in the workplace "and uses the recording in a manner that damages the employer." In other words, it will stop whistleblowers from documenting unethical or illegal practices, such as animal abuse at factory farms. Animal rights organizations refer to it as an "ag-gag" bill.

Maybe the biggest prize for big business, though, was the "tort reform" measure that was referred to the 2018 ballot, Senate Joint Resolution 8. Sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home), it proposes a new amendment to the state constitution that would place ceilings on the noneconomic and punitive damages that may be awarded to a claimant in a civil suit. Attorney contingency fees would also be capped, at one-third of the net recovery. In short, this would sharply limit the ability of someone who was grievously harmed by an act of medical malpractice to seek compensation in court. SJR 8 sparked a bruising fight in the legislature, with a few Republicans breaking ranks to speak forcefully against abridging the right to a trial by jury. But business interests — especially nursing homes — have been pushing tort reform for years, and the measure proved unstoppable. Unless Arkansas voters reject it in 2018, that is.

Speaking of abridged rights, the legislature also referred a proposed amendment that would enshrine a voter ID requirement in the Arkansas Constitution. The hard truth is that House Joint Resolution 1016, by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs), will likely pass in 2018 given the state's electoral trends. Never mind that proponents of voter ID can't cite any documented instances of voter impersonation in Arkansas, and never mind the evidence that such measures elsewhere have resulted in voters being disenfranchised — voter ID has become gospel to Republicans, aided by President Trump's falsehoods about rampant fraud in the 2016 election. Redundantly enough, the legislature also passed a voter ID bill in addition to the referred amendment, Act 633 by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle).

Arkansas's status as the worst state in the nation for renters went unchallenged. A bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), now Act 159, softened but preserved the state's unconscionable, one-of-a-kind criminal eviction statute, which courts in several counties have deemed unconstitutional. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Arkansas Realtors Association, Arkansas also remains the only state in which there is no minimum habitability standard for rental property. HB 1166, by Hot Springs Republican Rushing, purported to address that deficiency, but the bill's proposed standards were pitifully weak — limited to electricity, water, sewer and a roof — and it may have limited renters' meager rights in other ways, so it's best it failed.

Legislators' sympathy for landlords didn't translate to protecting small property owners railroaded by the oil industry. House Bill 2086, an effort by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) to more carefully examine the use of eminent domain by pipeline companies, was drafted in response to the construction of the Diamond Pipeline, which will carry crude oil across the length of Arkansas from Oklahoma to Memphis. It failed to get out of committee.

Currently, unemployment benefits in Arkansas cover workers for a maximum of 20 weeks, which is a shorter span than any surrounding state except Missouri (also 20 weeks). Act 734 from Rep. Lundstrum will soon reduce that coverage time to 16 weeks ... and reduce weekly benefits checks paid to laid-off workers. This is despite the state's unemployment trust fund having amply recovered from the recession (it now contains around $500 million) and unemployment levels at record lows. So why trim benefits now? Simple: Employers want more money for themselves.

There was at least one good piece of consumer legislation, though, sponsored by none other than Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway). Act 944 aims to close a loophole exploited by payday lenders, which were driven out of Arkansas some years ago by a ban on high-interest loans but recently have been creeping back into the state by charging astronomical "fees" in place of interest.

And some bad measures failed, the most obnoxious probably being HB 1035 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville). The bill would have prohibited SNAP recipients from using food stamps to purchase items the state Health Department deems unhealthy, such as soda; it stalled in the face of opposition from grocery stores and others. House Bill 1825 by Rep. John Payton (R-Wilburn), which went nowhere, would have seized lottery winnings from citizens who have received public assistance from the Arkansas Department of Human Services. And, efforts to chip away at workers compensation failed this time around. Got to leave something for 2019.

Benjamin Hardy

          Author Bart Stupak’s New Book “For All Americans” is a Timely Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse of the Inner Workings of Congress during the Passage of the Affordable Care Act   

Recent release “For All Americans: The Dramatic Story behind the Stupak Amendment and the Historic Passage of Obamacare” from Covenant Books author Bart Stupak, Esq. is a riveting insider’s view of the US House of Representatives from a nine-term congressman who dedicated his legislative career to achieving national health care and protecting the sanctity of life. The urgency and relevance of this specific issue in today’s heated political climate makes this a must-read for anyone interested in the inner workings of Congress and one of the most polarizing topics for Americans throughout the nation to this day.

(PRWeb June 30, 2017)

Read the full story at

          Comment on Trump’s Folly: Oil is a Worthless Commodity and Saudi’s Crown Prince Knows It by getoffmedz   
The Trump EPA budget "zeros" the EnergyStar Program because POTUS Petty Vindictive hates the program, 11 of 14 of Trump's hotels fail to comply with the standard. On a scale of 1 to 100, a Park Avenue complex owned by Trump that was formerly the Mayflower Hotel rated 1 point. Someone needs to tell Trump that the EnergyStar Program was not an Obama initiative but a Poppy Bush program.
          We're Not In Kansas Anymore   
Political satire and commentary by author Irving Wesley Hall. Available now with free shipping. Imagine an Obama presidency without the mess left by George W. Bush. Can the Einstein Sisters save the world from Bush's eight-year nightmare? The political satire, "The Einstein Sisters Bag the Flying Monkeys," is available online or from most bookstores as a 628-page paperback, published by Not In Kansas Press. For more information, to listen to interviews with the author, to read free excerpts, or to order the book, go to
          Grassley Blasts Obama’s DOJ for Handling of Sexual Misconduct   
The Department of Justice's Civil Division was not consistently referring cases of sexual misconduct to the OIG, potentially violating federal law.
          Entrevue de Gérard Hervouet sur le discours de politique étrangère de B. Obama, le 28 mai   
Notre collègue Gérard Hervouet, spécialiste (entre autres) des questions de sécurité, commente le récent discours du président américain à l'école militaire de West Point, au micro du réseau français de la BBC.
          Trump Picks DAPL Lobbyist to Oversee EPA Water Safety in Same Week He Rolls Back Water Safeguards   
Part 2: Lee Fang on Koch Brothers’ Demand For Obamacare Repeal & Lobbyists Flourishing Under Trump  
          President Trump delivers tough trade talk during South Korea summit   

President Trump opened his meeting Friday with newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in with tough trade talk, announcing he is renegotiating a 5-year-old trade deal between their two countries that was a joint legacy of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

Yet it was unclear from his and...

          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   

President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed...

          Élections américaines : nous vous invitons à une table ronde et au visionnement des résultats mardi 6 novembre en soirée   
ACTIVITÉ COMPLÈTE. Nous regrettons de ne plus pouvoir accepter d'inscriptions. Cette soirée organisée par les HEI en partenariat avec : La Chaire sur la démocratie et les institutions parlementaires Le Centre d’études interaméricaines La Société des relations internationales de Québec(SORIQ) En collaboration avec trois associations étudiantes: l'Association de Communication de deuxième cycle, l'Association des étudiants chercheurs en communication de l'Université Laval et l'Association des politologues étudiants de l'Université Laval. DÉROULEMENT 17 h 30 – 18 h : Arrivée du public; buffet disponible 18 h – 20 h : TABLE RONDE Animation de Louis Bélanger, professeur, Département de science politique, Université Laval Thème 1: La politique extérieure des États-Unis et leurs relations avec le Québec La politique étrangère présentée par les deux candidats à la présidenceJonathan Paquin, professeur, Département de science politique, Université Laval  Les aspirations du Québec dans ses relations avec les États-UnisJean-Stéphane Bernard, sous-ministre adjoint, Affaires bilatérales, ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur  Le bilan d’Obama et le programme de Romney en matière de politique commerciale Carl Grenier, professeur associé, Département de science politique, Université Laval; membre de l'Observatoire sur les États-Unis de la Chaire Raoul-Dandurand Thème 2 : Les campagnes électorales à la Présidence et au Congrès Les « swing States » qui font durer l’incertitudeAnessa Kimball, professeure, Département de science politique, Université Laval Les grandes lignes de la campagne présidentielle, notamment en politique extérieureLouis Balthazar, professeur émérite, Département de science politique, Université Laval; membre de l'Observatoire sur les États-Unis de la Chaire Raoul-Dandurand Les électeurs américains de l’étranger et les électeurs absentsSusan Keogh, diplomate, gouvernement des États-Unis 20 h - 22 h : RÉSULTATS EN DIRECT à la télévision (CNN ou MSNBC) Des panélistes commenteront les résultats pendant les pauses publicitaires 22 h : Fin de la soirée ENTRÉE LIBREMAIS INSCRIPTION OBLIGATOIRE : (avant le 5 novembre à 9 h) INSCRIPTIONS FERMÉES Buffet (contribution volontaire) et Service de bar sur place Les contributions seront versées au journal étudiant Regard critique Lieu : salle Hydro-Québec, pavillon Alphonse-Desjardins, 2e étage Information : Pauline Curienpauline.curien@hei.ulaval.caTél. 418 656-7530
          Commentaires sur Ordonnances Macron : le grand bond contre la liberté d’entreprendre par Liberte5   
Attendons pour voir! Il y aura ceux qui vont trouver qu'enfin il y des réformes libérales mises en œuvre, il y en aura d'autres qui vont penser que ce n'est pas suffisant et il y en d'autres , probablement les plus nombreux, pour penser que le Président est un grand communicant (comme Obama) mais qu'à la sortie la montagne va accoucher d'une souris.
          Video - Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office and Inaugural Address   

I was watching this LIVE on TV. It was about 1.10am on 21 Jan 09 (Singapore time) when Obama took the oath of office and delivered his inaugural speech (see here for the text of his speech). I was also micro-blogging over at my twitter before, during and after the inauguration ceremony. What else can i say other than it was historic! ;-)

          Traité de Lisbonne, consensus de Fort-Lamy, le 'pré-sel' du Brésil, le droit des femmes arabes... dans le nouveau numéro d'Études internationales   
Ce numéro de juin réunit des textes sur des sujets variés. Pour les lire, vous pouvez nous commander le numéro ou bien vous abonner. Sommaire détaillé :VOLUME XLIII, N° 2, JUIN 2012 Irnerio SeminatoreLe traité de Lisbonne, le Service européen pour l’action extérieure et la politique globale de l’Union européenne. Le monde de demain et les vrais choix Paul Elvic J. BatchomLa rupture du consensus de Fort-Lamy et le changement du rapport de force dans l’espace CEMAC Bruno MuxagatoLa découverte des gisements d’hydrocarbures du « pré-sel ». Un défi pour l’avenir de la puissance brésilienne Jabeur FathallyLes droits des femmes à l’aube du printemps arabe : de « ne pas oublier les femmes » au « femmes : n’oubliez pas ! » Anna DimitrovaLe débat sur la politique étrangère d’Obama : Quelle nouvelle « grande stratégie » pour les États-Unis ? Alain de NeveL’antimissile de territoire comme mode de gouvernance technopolitique de la sécurité euro-atlantique (Essai) Numéro précédent sur les murs en relations internationales En savoir plus sur la revue
          Barack Obama is TIME's Person of the Year 2008   
Read all about it here

          The Senate's Obamacare repeal bill could be bad business for hospitals   
Hospitals have benefited from treating more patients with insurance. The Senate proposal could shrink slim margins.
          Tucker Carlson Destroys Media over Their Reaction to Trump’s Mika Tweet   


President Trump created a firestorm Thursday when he insulted MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski on Twitter.

But no one seemed more upset about it than the mainstream media. That’s why Fox News host Tucker Carlson Thursday night called them out for being the ones to throw the first stone.

“So what is this really about?” Carlson asked on his show. “Well, first, Trump is fighting back. The media suggests he’s a mentally ill criminal. He calls them on their facelifts. He’s a brawler. They’re shocked by that, but they shouldn’t be.”

“Trump doesn’t play by the rules,” he continued. “He’s a threat to the people who make and enforce the rules — in this case, the media establishment here in Washington. They hate him for that, and for good reason.”

Carlson pointed out that mainstream media journalists are also claiming that people are going to start physically attacking them now because of what Trump says about them.

“In other words, disagreement equals violence. If you criticize me, you’re a physical threat,” Carlson explained. “It’s how liberals silence dissent, by conflating contrary opinions with violence. Passive aggression is the universal currency of the left. Nothing is more empowering than victimhood.”

Carlson continued, highlighting liberal hypocrisy by saying, “The left’s response to this is predictable and silly. The left doesn’t hate Trump because he’s vulgar, though he is. They applauded when Barack Obama vacationed with rappers. They think Lena Dunham is an artist. They hired Kathy Griffin. “

But he did have a clear rebuke and warning for Trump, saying his tweets were “stupid” and “counterproductive.”

“They achieved no policy objective, they elevated a television sideshow to a cultural icon status, they brought joy to the left while embarrassing the president’s supporters. They allowed liberals to crow about the degradation of the public square even as they finance their campaigns with donations from Hollywood sleaze merchants,” Carlson insisted.

“Rarely has a president been elected with a clearer message [on policies],” Carlson concluded. “A clearer mission. If he sticks to that, he will win. If he doesn’t, he won’t.”

Watch that snippet from Carlson’s show below:

Do you agree with Carlson? Comment, react to, or share this on Facebook.

          CNN Hit With More Bad News After Newest Undercover Video   


Just days after he released bombshell undercover footage of CNN that confirmed everything President Trump and conservatives have been saying about the “very fake news” network, James O’Keefe of Project Veritas released more evidence that puts CNN in a very bad light.

O’Keefe’s first video, released Monday, showed a supervising producer unknowingly revealing to an undercover Veritas reporter that CNN has little regard for journalistic ethics, will do just about anything to get better ratings, has very little faith in the whole Trump-Russia collusion theory but pushes it anyway, caters to its liberal viewers, and scrutinizes Trump far more than they ever did President Obama.

Although the mainstream media tried to ignore the video on Tuesday, it quickly rose to the #1 trending spot on YouTube. Soon after, the Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders urged all Americans during her live press briefing to watch the video.

O’Keefe’s second video showed CNN contributor Van Jones confirming that there’s really nothing to the Russia story. We have not published the videos here because of the crude language used by people caught on camera at CNN, but you can watch them on Veritas’ YouTube channel.

Now in his third video, released Friday, O’Keefe’s undercover reporter spoke with Jimmy Carr, CNN’s associate producer for Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota’s morning show “New Day.” While downing a drink, Carr first admitted that CNN is only impartial “in theory.”

Next he revealed that he thinks 90% of his coworkers at CNN believes what he does: That Trump is completely insane and cares nothing about America. To top that off, when asked about the intellect of the average American voter, he said — to put it kindly — that they’re all complete idiots.


If that truly is the tone of 90% of people at CNN, then it’s easy to see why they have such a liberal, anti-Trump bias.

O’Keefe also obtained unused audio from an interview Camerota did with six Trump supporters 60 days after he took office. In the portion aired for TV, one of the Trump supporters is seemingly stumped when Camerota asks him for evidence of rampant voter fraud in America by Democrats. What was cut, though, is what Trump supporter William Baer said next.

“I mean, has anybody looked into, like what James O’Keefe has done? When he went undercover to those various polling places?” he asked.

He then went on to describe how O’Keefe was able to illegally register to vote in a state without anyone questioning him. It’s an experiment O’Keefe and his undercover reporters have filmed themselves successfully conducting numerous times.


But CNN left all that out.

What do you think about this? Comment, react to, or share this on Facebook.

          Joe Scarborough Drops Bombshell: Donald Trump Tried to Blackmail Me   

Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, dropped a bombshell during his response to Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks, saying he tried to blackmail he and Mika Brzezinski using the National Enquirer. Um, Trump accidentally confirmed it. Scarborough said that “three people at the very top of the administration” threatened him with […]

Joe Scarborough Drops Bombshell: Donald Trump Tried to Blackmail Me


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          Mika Brzezinski: Donald Trump is Not Well, His Response is to Continue Attacks on Twitter   

One day after being attacked in the most vulgar and sexist manner by the so-called president, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski said “Donald Trump is not well.” What was his first impulse? Continue attacking Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe co-host on Twitter. He is trying to silence dissent by being a wannabe […]

Mika Brzezinski: Donald Trump is Not Well, His Response is to Continue Attacks on Twitter


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          Maxine Waters Slams Donald Trump: “Impeachment is not Enough, Should We Explore Exile?”   

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) blasted Donald Trump for his sexist and vulgar attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, tweeting, “The swamp creature strikes again.” She continued, “impeachment is not enough. Should we explore exile?” Waters ripped Trump in a series of tweets after he attacked Brzezinski as “low IQ, crazy Mika,” […]

Maxine Waters Slams Donald Trump: “Impeachment is not Enough, Should We Explore Exile?”


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          Obama White House Photographer Trolls Donald Trump Over Lack of Respect for Women   

Obama White House photographer trolls Donald Trump over his lack of respect for women by posting a photo of the former president with several women on his staff, with the caption “Respect for women.” Respect for women. — Pete Souza (@PeteSouza) June 29, 2017 Donald Trump is under fire […]

Obama White House Photographer Trolls Donald Trump Over Lack of Respect for Women


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          The Fed Just Announced The Final Confirmation That The Economy Is About To Crash – Episode 1318   
In this episode of the X22 Report: Retailers are now starting to fight among each other as the retail industry breaks down. The Fed just made it harder for students going to college, the rates are going up. Pending home sales decline as mortgage application decline even further. Trump is now cutting the budget and putting a hiring freeze in government. The Fed just confirmed that there is a major disaster coming, Yellen has stated that the banks are strong and we will most likely not see a financial crisis in our lifetime. Obamacare lost another co-op. Project Veritas releases part 2 and Van Jones says the Russian thing is a nothing burger.
          Trump suggests just repeal Obamacare, then try to replace it   
President Donald Trump barged into Senate Republicans' delicate health care negotiations Friday, declaring that if lawmakers can't reach a deal they should simply repeal "Obamacare" right away and then replace it later on.
          "Rudderless" - GCR/RV Op-Ed - Friday - June 30, 2017   
Received via email from Yosef ......


Our current, perceived, acting, actor President, in whatever form male or female, human or clone... is completely rudderless and being floated down the D.C. swamp to wherever the political and intelligence mechanisms desire the orange blob to go.

On Monday, they stripped President Trump of all his security briefing clearances.

Meaning, Trump gets more no internal or external information whatsoever--because in truth he never had any power whatsoever--because in truth he was 100% compromised before he ever walked through the front door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Therefore, whomever voted for Trump voted against the Republic and on a deeper level, voted against humanity.

Too harsh?  Fuck you, little child with little dreams and little courage.

And whomever voted for Clinton, fuck you as well.  You too voted against the Republic and humanity.

Actually, whomever voted historically post 1871, classified as sleeping sheepeople who unknowingly supported an alien cabal race of murders and thieves over humanity that includes our Republic.

This includes elections involving Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Carter, Reagan and Obama.  They were all cabal bred candidates that we all fell for... hook, line and sinker.

And now we're drowning and praying for an unthinkable economic event in our lifetime.  Sure we suffered a little bit, but not really.

So spoiled and self-entitled us Angols, what a deceived and deceiving race of beings.  Harmonically unaligned with God---oh how shameful we are.

We stand for nothing righteous and pure, yet kill for killers.

People won't like to hear that fact, but it's the brutal truth of our decayed race and nation.  This is where America is right now, deemed morally rudderless by the rest of the world.

China and Russia, as well as every other country America ever sabotaged or invaded, defrauded and coerced, is taking great pleasure in our humiliation internationally.

They're lapping us daily.

Well fucking that.

I woke up just in the nick of time and I begged others to surrender.  To wake up from conceded, nose deaf American values and evolve.

Just know that this once proud and great country is being torched in every sovereign and diplomatic circle imaginable, and we are not pitch forking our White House and Congress demanding change!

So passive.  So detached.  So emotionally dead at the core of what makes us human.

I know this elongated sovereign embarrassment was all part of the NPTB's master transition plan from dark to light control.

Abject and total humiliation of America as a bad acting country is commensurate for the horrors we have done to other innocent and weaker sovereign nations, while the rest of the world  ignores our politics and catapults forward economically, diplomatically, and militarily.

Is anyone with half a brain and pulse watching all the deals China is cutting with the rest of the world while America searches for oxygen away from the Trump smoke screen?

Or are you too focused on your damn get rich date and rate, coupled with gorging yourself on digital zeros that are not, and will never be your personal property.

Why do I scream to these deaf ears, Lord?  Help me understand!

We're not a nation in crisis because of Trump, no we're a nation in juvenile time out with Trump as our punishment by higher evolved overseas handlers that benevolently have chosen to give back our backruptes nation and economy.

And White-is-Right folk don't have the first damn clue what the hell is happening in even small numbers let alone mass consciousness.   "Americans are asleep at the wheel ," the Elders say privately, "So we choose not to wake them but bless those of color and allow them to learn from and experience the contrast."

Trump is the Elders way of marking this epic change in our history, as well as simultaneously giving obtuse and obese Americans a cataclysmic awakening to jolt them alive and commemorate their intellectual suicide with unconditional generosity.

Translated, they blessed us despite our sins.  So who really knows the teachings Christ better, the Buddhists or Christians?

Anyone not screaming for immediate leadership change before the RV this weekend is not on the second arc IMHO.

And no one can walk away from this flood.  No one.  Best to walk away from the rudderless crowd as they will eventually drag your ship down by stealing your bliss.

Mark these words Zimlandia:

God or not God is a real choice that all must make post universal quarantine.

And your decision to serve His Will over your own will ultimately determine the quality, duration and grace the Lord brings into your life.

Do surround yourself with people of the highest moral character and learned spiritual elegance.  Because yes, God is with us, but only if we are with Him.

Aloha Ke Akua.
          How Rex Tillerson is wrecking the State Department   
Max Bergmann writes: The deconstruction of the State Department is well underway. I recently returned to Foggy Bottom for the first time since January 20 to attend the departure of a former colleague and career midlevel official—something that had sadly become routine. In my six years at State as a political appointee, under the Obama […]
          'A waste of taxpayer money': Trump's voter fraud commission is facing pushback from a dozen states   
  • TrumpAt least a dozen states pushed back against a broad request from the White House commission on voter fraud.
  • The states included Indiana, whose secretary of state sits on the commission.
  • The requested information has raised questions about the ways it can be used.

At least a dozen states are already pushing back against a request by President Donald Trump's voter-fraud commission to hand over registered voters' personal information to make public. 

The bipartisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 states on Wednesday seeking registered voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, and party registration.

It also asked for a decade's worth of voter history, information on felony convictions, and whether they have registered in more than one state. The commission said all voter data submitted by the states would be made public, and the Justice Department sent a separate letter asking states to reveal how they maintain their voter rolls.

At least 12 secretaries of state — from Indiana, California, Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma, New York, Tennessee and New Mexico — have so far declined to hand over information that is not already publicly available. 

Indiana's secretary of state, Connie Lawson, sits on the commission. But she said in a statement that "Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach." Only certain voter information, she said, is available to the public under Indiana law: name, address, and congressional district assignment.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that handing over the requested information would "legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach."

“I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally," Padilla said Thursday.

Kris Kobach

Trump vowed to investigate voter fraud just days after taking office, repeating false claims that millions of illegal ballots were cast in the presidential election. There is no evidence to support Trump's repeated assertion that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in November's election because people voted illegally, independent experts and analysts have said.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a statement that "Kentucky will not aid a commission that is at best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst an attempt to legitimize voter suppression efforts across the country."

"The president created his election commission based on the false notion that 'voter fraud' is a widespread issue — it is not," Grimes said. "Indeed, despite bipartisan objections and a lack of authority, the president has repeatedly spread the lie that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast in the last election."

States are already wary of accepting federal help when it comes to voting and election systems. States pushed back when the Department of Homeland Security wanted to designate their voter systems as "critical infrastructure" before the election last year, and are still reluctant to allow the government to conduct a complete digital forensics analysis of the voting machines to see if they were tampered with. 

'Serious privacy concerns' and 'laying the groundwork for voter suppression'

Election law and voter-fraud experts broadly agree that the commission's request is not only baseless, but an infringement on privacy and states' rights.

"Having all of this information raises serious privacy concerns," wrote Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. "Will the information be kept securely, or is it at risk of being hacked for identity theft purposes? Will it be used by the Trump campaign and other political officials for political purposes? How secure will this be?"

Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation who is writing a book on the history of voting rights, wrote Friday that "never before has a White House asked for such broad data on voters, and it could be easily manipulated by Trump’s commission."

Berman said the request could be a pretext to make it harder to register to vote, leading to widespread voter suppression efforts.

"Kobach has a very well-documented record of making wildly misleading claims about voter fraud and enacting policies that sharply limit access to the ballot in his home state of Kansas," he wrote. "He’s been sued four times by the ACLU for voter suppression and was sanctioned by a federal court last week for 'deceptive conduct and lack of candor.'"

Vanita Gupta, who ran the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration and now heads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, agreed that Pence and Kobach appeared to be "laying the groundwork for voter suppression."

"The integrity of our elections is indeed under assault — just not in the way Trump claims," she tweeted Thursday. 

A 'gold mine' of voter information

There is also the question of whether making this personal information, including Social Security numbers and military status, publicly available in one place risks making it more vulnerable to manipulation and misuse by adversaries.

Russian hackers targeted election systems in at least 21 states last year, top DHS official Jeanette Manfra told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month. The hackers probed election infrastructure and successfully infiltrated a "small number of networks," said Sam Liles, the DHS's top cyber official.

The hackers stole voter-data information, which they could then use "in a variety of ways," said top FBI counterintelligence official Bill Priestap, including to affect future elections, target individual voters, and determine whether the data is something they can manipulate going forward. 

When a data-analytics firm hired by the Republican National Committee last year to gather political information about US voters accidentally leaked the sensitive personal details of roughly 198 million citizens earlier this month, cybersecurity experts called it "the motherlode of all leaks" and a "goldmine" for anyone looking to target and manipulate voters. 

That information did not even include highly sensitive information like Social Security numbers that the administration now wants to gather and, apparently, make publicly available. 

"It’s just shocking," Myrna Pérez, an expert on voting rights and election administration at Brennan Center for Justice, told Mother Jones on Friday, "that in a period where we know that there’s a risk that we have foreign interference and foreign attacks on our registration systems, that somebody thinks it’s a good idea to take the voter registration rolls in all 50 states and put them all together in one place."

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NOW WATCH: A restaurant in NYC serves pizza topped with avocado

          Obama did nothing to prevent Russian Hacking. Really?   
  Lately, one of the easiest to find memes is that Obama did too little to prevent Russian hacking. The second easiest line to hear is that he'd did nothing. Somehow, he didn't do enough to prevent the hacking when it wasn't even clear how the hacking would be used against t …
          IT’S ON!! Supreme Court Upholds Trump… Immigrants Are Already being Deported   

Isn’t it great seeing a president that holds to promises and works for the American people? That is what Donald Trump is doing as our man in the White House.  It’s been extremely frustrating to watch the Obama judges betray their Constitutional duty for the sake of left wing politics.  But now we have a […]

The post IT’S ON!! Supreme Court Upholds Trump… Immigrants Are Already being Deported appeared first on .

          TFR, Gematria Effect, June 28, 2017 (Listen to entire show)   
Listen to TFR, Gematria Effect, Episode 43, June 28, 2017 here:

Below are images left in the chat during the show.

          Blog Post: Labor And Employment Agencies: Midyear Report   
In the first half of 2017, the Trump administration made key nominations to the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board and laid the groundwork for undoing much of former President Barack Obama's labor and employment legacy. But delays in installing leadership and a focus on other policy areas mean truly substantive changes are still on the horizon, attorneys say.
          FreedomWorks Supports President Trump’s Call for Clean Repeal, Then Replace   

FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon fully supports President Donald Trump’s call for clean repeal of ObamaCare, with solutions to improve the healthcare system coming after repeal. He released this statement:

“We completely agree with President Trump. Virtually every Republican has campaigned on repealing ObamaCare for the better part of a decade. In fact, almost every House and Senate Republican voted to repeal most of ObamaCare in 2015. This is the one aspect of this on which conservative grassroots activists and Republicans agree. We can come back later and work on patient-centered, free market-based replacement provisions.

“We urge Republican leadership in both chambers to heed President Trump’s call and fulfill their promise to repeal ObamaCare when they come back from recess. Let’s get this done and begin the process of putting the American healthcare system on sustainable course.”

          Trump: "Aboliamo Obamacare subito e dopo sostituiamola"     
          Trump to Republicans: Just kill Obamacare now and worry about people’s health coverage later   
          Tucker Carlson: Trump can say whatever he wants because ‘Obama vacationed with rappers’   
          By: Xennady   
MikeK, I take your points, and I know I'm an outlier here when it comes to my low opinion about Bush. But I am extremely tired of so-called leaders who deliver us various forms of defeat, then congratulate themselves because they haven't brought us complete disaster. I put Bush and Nixon in this category, both. It seems an interesting parallel that Nixon and Bush had foreign policies requiring significant and important military commitments- Vietnam and Iraq- yet they both failed because they were unable to manage the domestic political scene. Nixon was undone by Watergate, after relentless harassment by his enemies, then forced to resign. If I recall Ford later went down to the leftist-run Congress begging them to meet our treaty commitment to South Vietnam, but they refused. I've long regarded the abandonment of South Vietnam as a terrible stain on the honor of the US, but now I read that Nixon did it deliberately, convinced it didn't matter if we let our Vietnamese allies get murdered by our enemies. Huh? And all after we had spent vast amounts of blood and treasure on the struggle, too. I'm sorry, I just can't accept that. But I suspect that if Nixon hadn't been so distracted and weakened by Watergate South Vietnam may have been able to survive anyway, especially if the left hadn't been able to cut off US support. Bush wasn't any better. It seems by now Republicans should have figured out that leftists aren't their friends, and developed some sort of countermeasures. Instead, Bush simply wouldn't respond, tamely accepting blame for disasters not his fault, accepting idiotic policies in the name false comity, and refusing to make obvious political attacks on his political enemies, which were a key part of his job. I know it's pointless to offer advice now, and of course everyone's hindsight is famously excellent, but for Pete's sake you don't need to be an architect to notice that a building is burning down, either. Again, the buck stopped with Bush. Period. When the democrat senate refused to act upon his nominees, he should done a little more about it than nothing at all. He should have been pointing out that they were refusing to act, perhaps he should have even gotten mad about it, using the power of his office to make his objections known. And it actually mattered, because if Bush had been able to get his people in place perhaps Moussoui's infamous laptop would have been opened, preventing 9/11. Failing that happy eventuality, he could have made a political case against the democrats, appropriately blaming them for their actions, resulting in weaker opposition that maybe wouldn't have been so bold as to derail the nation's entire political discourse over something so idiotic as the Plame affair. That never happened, obviously. Worse, much worse, Bush seemingly delighted in pushing policy loathed by the rank-and-file supporters of the GOP. The Bush Amnesty bill and the intense opposition it engendered is well known, but I also recall a proposal to rewrite labor law that would have had the effect of eliminating overtime pay. Being that the GOP is essentially a middle-class party, and many middle-class voters get overtime pay, this was essentially a direct attack by the Bush administration upon a huge segment of its support. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, successful presidents who also had intransigent opposition, a hostile press, general bad times and grim brutal warfare to contend with during the times in office would never have made such a stupid mistake, enraging their supporters for trivial gain. For sake of brevity I'll refrain from discussing the 2008 economic collapse. Anyway, because Bush was regarded by the public as a failure, radical narcissist Barry Obama became president, throwing away all we had gained in Iraq either because of sheer moronic idiocy or vile treason. Ugh. Again, I know I'm an outlier. But I humbly suggest we stop accepting the excuses we're given and just face facts: Both Nixon and Bush were failed Presidents. They failed at home, and they failed abroad. We just don't have enough lipstick to make them stop being pigs. Alas.
          By: MikeK   
One thing that I almost never see is a discussion of what George Bush's options were after 9/11. Bill Clinton left him with a situation in the Middle East that resembles what Obama will leave the next president. Clinton ignored the 1993 WTC attack, the <a href="" rel="nofollow"> Philippine airline bomber </a>, the embassy bombings and the Cole. Bush got the blame because he was president when it happened. The next attack might even come on the next president's watch. The decision process goes back to the first Gulf attack on Kuwait. Fight that war ? Was it ended too soon ? I think some of this is the fault of Schwartzkopf who did not wait for State Department input before signing an armistice that Saddam manipulated and evaded. I agree that nation building was a mistake as it was in Vietnam. Afghanistan was being handled fairly well until Democrats decided to use it to accuse Bush of fighting "the wrong war." That will end in disaster and I worry a lot about how we get out of there. The <a href="" rel="nofollow"> Oil for Food Scandal </a> has been long forgotten by our ahistorical population who don't know who was our opponent in the Revolutionary War.
          Trump called 'threat to every coastline' as he pushes ocean drilling plan   

Administration moves to ‘unleash’ US fossil fuels by rewriting Obama-era plan that banned drilling along Atlantic seaboard and large parts of the Arctic Ocean

Environmentalists have condemned Donald Trump as a “threat to every ocean and coastline in the country”, after the president pushed forward plans to expand oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as part of what he called a new era of “American energy dominance”.

The Trump administration has taken the first steps to rewrite a five-year plan, put in place under Barack Obama, that banned drilling along the Atlantic seaboard and in large swaths of the Arctic. The interior department is opening a 45-day public comment period for a new plan that it says will help grow the economy.

Continue reading...
          Comment on The Trump Era by munubantu   
Man, you have a <i>real</i> President in the USA! A <i>tweeting</i> President! It's unbelievable! ( ( After 8 years where a Black President - Barack Obama - was harshly criticized both by racist conservatives (not believing yet that <i>their</i> Nation had a Black President => kind a bad dream turned reality!), and a certain Left which demanded or expected much, much more from him, well, after all these years, a <i>true White</i> becomes President (as it should be, after all; are Whites not the majority?) and do you know what: It seems that God is playing <i>the cynic</i> with His creatures and their beliefs! This new President is misbehaving... misbehaving... repeatedly! For dismay of many White citizens! He behaves even worse than the <i>despicable</i> Blacks usually (?) do. Eventually worse than the <i>African savages</i>, who knows?! The rest of the World is watching in amusement! Maybe Abagond could consider a dissertation about this...
          Obama White House photographer trolls US President Donald Trump with 'respect for women' posts   
Barack Obama's former White House photographer has trolled Donald Trump once again with a string of online posts seemingly taking a shot at his behaviour towards women.
          Populär poesi?   


I filmkomedin Gräsänklingar från 1982 går Gösta Ekmans rollkaraktär omkring på Arlanda med senaste numret av Bonniers Litterära Magasin. Kan du tänka dig Peter Magnusson låta huvudpersonen i sin senaste komedi gå in i en tidskriftsaffär för att köpa senaste numret av någon litterär tidskrift (Bonniers Litterära Magasin lades ned 2004)? Nä, för i det avståndet – i den avgrunden – finns en förklaring till varför poesin har tappat sin funktion som samtidskommentator.    

När Tomas Tranströmer erhöll Nobelpriset i litteratur 2011 var det många i min bekantskapskrets som började läsa hans dikter. Med storögd förvåning berättade de om sin upptäckt att poesi kunde vara så begriplig, så bra, och att den kunde betyda något.

Deras uppfattning var nog inriktad på poesin som det obegripligas litteratur. Jag vet inte hur många gånger jag har fått höra om denna föreställning om poesin, att den enbart är till för ”särskilt djupa människor”. Det är ju idioti att neka sig upplevelsen av det unika som bara poesin kan förmedla för att man tror att man måste vara smart, att man måste förstå. Att läsa poesi är något annat än att lösa korsord. Nä, jag menar inte att det är lätt, att det är något alla kan lära sig heller, för det är att underskatta den om man tror att den enbart sysslar med det som är ”vackert”.

Det är kanske denna medvetenhet om det latent farliga med poesin som gör att de två svenska tidskrifterna i ämnet har så inställsamma namn. Lyrikvännen har funnits sedan 50-talet, och förblir den omedelbara källan för den som vill orientera sig i vad som sker med dikten här och nu. Uppstickaren heter Populär Poesi, har sitt säte i Tranås, och har funnits som tidskrift sedan 2013.

Namnvalet avväpnar poesin, och varje gång jag ser ett nytt nummer tänker jag trotsigt att ”Impopulär Poesi” hade varit fyndigare, och mer i genrens anda. Till det yttre är likheten med den äldre Lyrikvännen slående: det är nyskrivna dikter, essäer och recensioner som dominerar. En skillnad är att Populär Poesi i varje nummer har en sektion om musiklyrik, något som förstås är i samklang med namnet på tidskriften.

För populär, det är förstås sånglyriken, även om det är något de flesta inte ens tänker på som poesi. När Bob Dylan fick Nobelpriset i höstas var det många som gjorde kopplingen tillbaka till Homeros, även om det inte är helt etablerat att hans epik från 800-talet före Kristus framfördes med musik.       

Men det är onödigt att upphöja sångtexter till litteratur, eftersom den är så beroende av både musik och sångrösten, att den lever av framförandet. Bland annat därför är jag skeptisk till hela projektet med att dela in poesi i kategorier utifrån popularitet. I den indelningen finns det en implicit uppfattning om en slags äkta poesi, sprungen ur spoken word-scenen, med företrädare som Bob Hansson, Daniel Boyacioglu, Emil Jensen. Underförstått står den i motsatsställning till den mer akademiska, torra, tråkiga och – ja, obegripliga poesin. Men det här är bara en dum och falsk indelning, som inte gagnar någon.  

Ofta framförs att poesin spelat ut sin roll som betydelsefull litterär genre. Det bor 2 miljoner fler svenskar i vårt land nu jämfört med för sextio år sedan. Då hade Lyrikvännen 15 000 prenumeranter. Hur många som prenumererar nu? Cirka 1 000.  Det här förklarar varför det är så otänkbart att en svensk filmsnubbe 2017 skulle skylta med Lyrikvännen eller Populär Poesi.

Tidigare politiker vände sig ofta till poesin för att ge klangbotten åt sin ideologi. Vi minns hur Olof Palme gärna citerade raderna ”en öppen stad, ej en befästad / bygger vi gemensamt” ur  Ragnar Thoursies dikt ”Sundbybergsprologen”, men sedan Bengt Westerberg tog upp Stig Dagermans ”Dagsedlar” i valrörelsen 1994 har det varit tunnsått med politiker som gjort anspråk på något slags förhållande till poesi.

Att det inte behöver vara så är Barack Obama ett exempel på. Under sin tid som president talade han ofta om sin läsning av Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Ralph Waldo Emerson. I lördags citerade Labor-ledaren Jeremy Corbyn några rader ur Shelleys dikt ”The Mask of Anarchy” på Glastonburyfestivalen: ”Rise like Lions after slumber / In unvanquishable number – / Shake your chainse to earth like dew / Which in sleep had fallen on you – / Ye are many – they are few.” Att inte svenska miljöpartister upptäckt det fruktbara i 2000-talets ekopoesi är för mig mer obegripligt än den mest obegripliga poesin, till exempel.   

Min önskan om en ”Impopulär Poesi” skulle bejaka det svåra med poesin, vara en tidskrift som erkänner att poesin inte är något man gullar med. En tidskrift som uppmuntrar friktion och motsättningar. Så inser jag att den redan finns. De goda nyheterna är att OEI sedan 1999 utkommit med 76 nummer som mer liknar tjocka antologier (ibland över 600 sidor). De dåliga nyheterna är att den ofta är helt oläslig. Alltså förblir jag lyrikvännen som då och då motvilligt konstaterar att poesin inte är lika populär som den borde vara.       

(Också publicerad i Jönköpings-Posten 29/8 2017)

          Senate Democrat blasts 'Obamaphone' over fraudulent findings, complete lack of oversight'   
A new government audit finds more than a third of enrollees of the "Obamaphone" program may not be qualified -- among other fraudulent findings -- prompting a Senate Democrat to roundly criticize the program's "complete lack of oversight." A report ...
          Repealing Obamacare with no replacement could be a 'recipe for disaster'   
President Trump this morning flipped on his previous strategy for accomplishing health care reform. “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” he said in a ...
          The Obama Moment and the WeTube Election   
As I flew back from Vegas over New Year’s, I read Why Obama Matters, Andrew Sullivan’s cover story in The Atlantic (yes, that periodical and Vegas make no sense, but it was working for me). Maybe it was the altitude, but I was swept up in the writer’s case for this Obama Moment, a moment [...]
          The Socialist Behind Romneycare   
Accuracy in Media A new report from researcher Trevor Loudon names one of the main architects of Romneycare in Massachusetts as a member of an international socialist movement. John E. McDonough, a former Ted Kennedy staffer who also played a significant role in passing Obamacare, is identified by Loudon as a former chair of the […]
          Documentary Evidence! Obama’s Former “Car Czar” was a Socialist   
New Zeal US President Barack Obama has a more than thirty year pattern of association with the US’ largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America. This association has been reflected in many of the President’s policies – and appointments. Today we present documentary evidence, that Ron Bloom, Obama’s “Car Czar” from July 2009 through February […]
          Why Republicans are thinking of keeping an Obamacare tax on the rich   
To fund changes that could make its health-care bill more palatable to critics, Senate Republicans are considering leaving in place one of the Affordable Care Act's taxes on the wealthiest Americans — a tax that has long been unpopular with conservatives. The details of which taxes would be scaled back and by how much haven't been […]
          Arkansas's Rutledge joins effort to end protection for immigrants who came as children   
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have asked Donald Trump to end the Obama program that allowed people who came to the U.S. as children to remain and work without fear of deportation. From the Texas Tribune:

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Paxton urged the White House to rescind the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. DACA applies to undocumented immigrants that came to the country before they were 16 years old and were 30 or younger as of June 2012. It awards recipients a renewable, two-year work permit and a reprieve from deportation proceedings.

As of August 2016, more than 220,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas had applied for a permit or a renewal of one under the program, and nearly 200,000 of those have been approved, according to government statistics. It’s the second-highest total behind California’s estimated 387,000 applications and 359,000 approvals during the same time frame.

“We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program,” Paxton wrote. He was joined by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter.
Some 12,000 people in Arkansas are protected by the program, about half of them working, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Trump has rescinded some earlier immigration policies but kept some of the DACA protections in place. The state officials want this phased out. They claim this change wouldn't "require the federal government to remove any alien."

The ACLU of Arkansas criticized Rutledge for joining in a threat to sue if Trump doesn't end DACA:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas today condemned Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge for joining a group of state officials urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, to apply for a work permit and temporary protection against deportation.

“It’s shocking that just a few days before we’ll celebrate the birth of our democracy as a nation of immigrants, Attorney General Rutledge is demonstrating such a callous disregard for the very people she’s supposed to protect and serve,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “These law-abiding young people came to the U.S. as children and are valued members of our communities. Telling the Trump administration to eliminate their protected status - ‘or else’ - is truly beyond the pale. We condemn this attempt to threaten the federal government into targeting DREAMers and will continue to defend the rights of all Arkansans.”

          'Morning Joe' hosts fire back at Trump   

Mika Brzezinski
and Joe Scarborough fired back at Donald Trump on their "Morning Joe" show on MSNBC this morning following his Twitter blast at them yesterday.

They say he lied about a December encounter and also said his "unhealthy obsession" with them doesn't serve him or the country well. "We're OK," they said. "The country is not."

Really. The leader of the world's mightiest country is hurling schoolyard name-calling at cable TV talkers, with a supporting chorus froma petulant Arkansas-born deputy secretary and his own wife. You don't expect him to sit silently when someone criticizes him, do you? That was Sarah Huckabee Sanders' huffy defense.

Well, yes. Why shouldn't we be able to expect a little dignity from the person in the White House? Did Barack Obama Tweet about the abuse heaped on him by Fox News commentators and others? Did he call Hannity "Psycho Sean"? Talk about "Low IQ Laura Ingraham?"

Again, and unfortunately, Trump knows what works with his people.  "They knew what they were getting when they voted for Donald Trump," said Sanders. Sigh. Yes, they did.

UPDATE: The story heats up with allegations that the National Enquirer sicced reporters on Brezezinsky and people in the Trump White House signaled to Scarborough that the dogs would be called off if he apologized to Trump. Enquirer and Trump deny.

          Trump nominates Cody Hiland to be U.S. attorney for eastern district   
As expected, Donald Trump has nominated Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland of Conway to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

Hiland's name was among nine U.S. attorney nominees put forward by Trump today, a second wave of appointments. He was known to be under consideration after FBI background checks began and meetings with U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, both Republicans. Most of the 93 U.S. attorneys were fired or resigned after Trump took office. Career prosecutors are serving as interim leaders in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, where former Democratic Rep. Chris Thyer and Conner Eldridge had served respectively in the Obama administration.

Prosecutors run now as non-partisans, but Hiland, who lost a judicial race last year, is a Republican regular. His prosecutor position covers Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy counties.

He's been a lawyer in private practice, a staff attorney at the Public Service Commission and former program director for the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board. He was a staff aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee and is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas the UALR Law School.

          Gov. Hutchinson says major change needed in Senate health legislation   
Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined four major changes he'd like to see in Republican-backed health legislation pending in the Senate.

In short, he said — if in more diplomatic words — the bill as written would be devastating to Arkansas. Hutchinson chose to put it more kindly. He said the Senate was moving in "the right direction" and said "the status quo is not acceptable."

But he added: "There have to be significant changes in the current draft in order to give states like Arkansas options for the future and to continue coverage and not have a $500 million per year gap in our economy."

He said he'd spoken to Arkansas's senators about this, but referred questions about their reaction to them. To date, Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman have resisted saying much of anything about the legislation, though Cotton was one of 13 white male Republicans who participated in the secret drafting.

The shortcomings have been self-evident for some time in states like Arkansas that took advantage of the Medicaid expansion provided through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. House-passed and Senate-proposed legislation would obliterate the Medicaid expansion and also severely restrict traditional Medicaid coverage for the elderly and disabled by going to per capita distributions to states. Both changes would devastate Arkansas, with a large traditional Medicaid population and more than 300,000 people now covered by the Medicaid expansion. Hutchinson said the state was already making changes to reduce costs and state cooperation should be a goal of congressional action. Some 60,000 would lose coverage by reducing coverage for those making 138 percent of the poverty level to 100 percent and by instituting work rules.

Hutchinson suggested these changes in what's under consideration:

* Exempt those elderly, blind and disabled covered by traditional Medicaid from the per capita cap on spending. Otherwise, the cost would be shifted to the state, he said. (He said later it was OK to put children's coverage, Arkids, under a per capital program because they were generally lower cost.)

* If the federal government moves to block grant funding for Medicaid, Hutchinson said the funding should include in the figuring the Medicaid expansion population. Some states didn't take the money. If the pot is redivided to cover all states equally, those who expanded will lose and those who didn't will gain. "This puts us in a difficult position to manage and maintain coverage," Hutchinson said. If the population is considered, he said, "the state can assume the risk and create savings and ensure coverage of the working poor."

* Senate legislation must "redesign" the tax credits, or subsidies, for those covered in the health insurance marketplace. Hutchinson echoed critics of the Senate legislation who say the subsidies are so small as to be worthless.  "If the subsidy is not sufficient, an individual will decide they can't afford it." He said "there have to be sufficient subsidies to make it work."

* The states must be given "flexibility" on how they spend money received under per capita reimbursements. He didn't specify some examples of what he had in mind. In some states, though, flexibility has meant not providing certain services (birth coverage for example) and measures co-pays, work, drug testing and other sometimes controversial ideas.

Hutchinson acknowledged that the Medicaid expansion, now known as Arkansas Works, by law must end if federal support is reduced. That's not an immediate concern because actual reductions won't occur for several years into the plan now outlined in Senate legislation. "They've given us a long glide path," he said.

Timing noted: Hutchinson finally weighed in with criticisms that have been voiced for weeks by many others following a week in which the Senate leadership's plan for a quick vote on the GOP fill apart because of he couldn't keep all Republican senators on board.

Noted too: Hutchinson refused to talk taxes — either those to pay for his expanded vision of health coverage and the windfall for the wealthy envisioned in the pending bill.

Just yesterday, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families gave some idea of the blow the Senate bill would deliver to rural health care.

          The War on CNN: We’ve Seen This Movie Before   

The White House is preparing for war. Despite a decisive electoral victory and with majorities in both chambers of Congress, the president is encountering unforeseen ...

The post The War on CNN: We’ve Seen This Movie Before appeared first on Commentary Magazine.

          Comment on Information Laundering, Economists and Ajit Pai’s Race to Roll-Back the Obama-era FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules by Dwayne Winseck's Media Blog   
Well, thank you very much, kind sir! Incredibly happy that we are able to learn from one another on such matters, and especially your in relation to NZ.
          NY Times:  The False Premise Behind GOP Tax Cuts   
New York Times editorial, The False Premise Behind G.O.P. Tax Cuts: With the Senate effort to upend Obamacare suspended for the Fourth of July holiday, there’s a chance to step back and examine the assumptions behind Republicans’ longstanding objections to the social safety net — as well as the flaws...
          Comment on Information Laundering, Economists and Ajit Pai’s Race to Roll-Back the Obama-era FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules by Peter Thompson   
Congratulations, Dwayne. A round of applause for the world-class academic rigour, integrity and praxis exhibited here.
          Trump sticks to Obama line on India   
“Narendra Modi has realized that India will not get a free pass from the dealmaker in the White House. India must make its markets and commercial laws US-friendly to upgrade bilateral ties. Till then, the existing approach suits both sides fine”, says the author. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three top-level interactions in Washington would have […]
          Activists rally against Obamacare replacements   

Activists called on Gov. Phil Scott at a rally Wednesday to do more to defeat Republican health care bills in Congress that they say would have a devastating impact on Vermonters. Roughly 60 people gathered on Main Street holding printed yellow signs that read "Medicaid not Millionaires," while others held handmade signs bearing messages such as "No coverage, no peace" and "GOP to disabled Americans: Drop dead."

          President Trump delivers tough trade talk during South Korea summit   

President Trump opened his meeting Friday with newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in with tough trade talk, announcing he is renegotiating a 5-year-old trade deal between their two countries that was a joint legacy of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

Yet it was unclear from his and...

          Troll's use of special forces   

Dubya sent US special forces to 60 countries. Obama to 120 countries. Now the troll has extended that to 137 countries — about 2/3 of the countries in the world. They win battles, but they never win a war.

It seems the troll is looking for an excuse for war against Assad in Syria, and then against Iran.

I wouldn't put it past Assad to launch a chemical attack. But I have no reason to believe he will do so. The troll's assertion means nothing.

          GOP's Plan B for Obamacare repeal began with quiet push from Koch network   

President Trump’s surprise suggestion Friday that deadlocked Senate Republicans shift their focus to simply repealing Obamacare — and worry about replacing it later — has its roots in a Koch network proposal that has been shopped around Congress for months.

The influential Koch network, backed...

          Dreaming of Marshmallows   
I love Facebook. Whatever you're into, there you are. A few weeks ago I saw that my neice became a fan of s'mores. I couldn't believe that the s'mores fan base was smaller than the fan base for, say, Barrack Obama, Hugh Jackman, or the Old Facebook. I mean, seriously, how controversial is that? Who doesn't like s'mores?

Which got me thinking we needed to have them this past holiday weekend. With dark chocolate and thick graham crackers from Trader Joe's, and homemade marshmallows. I was feeling that passionate about s'mores.

Max got sick and July 4 was so rainy here that Indianapolis downtown fireworks were postponed until July 5, so no marshmallows were made. But I'm thinking next week will be a do-over, complete with marshmallows.

I've only made them once -- last Christmas. Both Phil's and my families had decided to go easy this Christmas and just be together and not buy gifts. But I love gift-giving, so made each family a bag with hot cocoa mix, homemade marshmallows, and the stuffed bird ornament on the cover of one of my favorite quilting books:

The marshmallows are a little sticky to make and take several hours to set up, but if you're willing to put in the quality Kitchen-Aid time, I think they're worth it.

Bags of sticky goodness.

Max included a few on the assortment of treats he plated up for Santa. He's generally a scoffer, but suddenly got Santa religion on Christmas Eve, hedging his bets so he wouldn't get shafted. He wanted to give Santa something, so I suggested, with as straight a face as I could muster, that maybe Santa would really appreciate a picture of Max. The picture.

We were out of carrots, so told Max reindeer actually like celery better.

The recipe I followed is here; I have seen a million recipes online and in books for homemade marshmallows, but this was the most thorough for explaining in great detail all the steps in a kitchen process I found a little initimidating.
So happy birthday, America. We'll be pulling out the sparklers, Uncle Sam hats, and homemade s'mores on July 11. I can almost taste them now.

          PatriotHole Uncovers Scary Footage Of Seagull Following Obama Everywhere   
Undeniable proof of the insidious "deep state."
          Một người Mỹ tại Paris   

Tổng thống Mỹ Donald Trump tại sân bay Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino, Roma, Ý, 23/05/2017.REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo
Donald Trump sẽ đến Paris vào ngày 14/07/2017 theo lời mời của Emmanuel Macron nhân Quốc Khánh Pháp. Nhiều đơn vị Mỹ sẽ diễn hành cùng với quân nhân Pháp trên đại lộ Champs Elysées ghi dấu 100 năm ngày Hoa Kỳ tham dự Thế Chiến Thứ Nhất. Tổng thống Pháp tính toán gì khi mời chủ nhân Nhà Trắng,người không được cảm tình của công luận châu Âu. Đề tài tốn nhiều giấy mực.
Libération đưa độc giả tới Mossoul trong hoang tàn đổ nát do Daech để lại trong khi Le Figaro khẳng định hoàng hôn phủ bóng tổ chức Nhà Nước Hồi Giáo tại Mossul. Nhật báo kinh tế Les Echos đưa hai tin báo động : thâm thủng trong ngân sách quốc gia do chính phủ trước để lại 8 tỷ đôla. Và cơn gió lạnh thổi qua thị trường chứng khoán châu Âu mà bất trắc đang chờ trong sáu tháng cuối năm 2017. Nhật báo công giáo La Croix đưa lên trang nhất thông tin gây chấn động tòa thánh Vatican : hồng y người Úc George Pell, bộ trưởng Tài Chính của Vatican bị tư pháp Úc truy tố về tội lạm dụng tình dục trẻ em trong thập niên 1970. Trong số các chủ đề đa dạng của các nhật báo ghi ngày thứ Sáu 30/06/2017, Le Monde dành bài xã luận với tựa đề : Một Người Mỹ tại Paris, mượn tựa của một tác phẩm nổi tiếng của Ernest Hemingway. Le Monde mô tả "người Mỹ Donald Trump" phải từ chối lời mời của nữ hoàng Anh và thủ tướng Theresa May vì thần dân Anh và đô trưởng Luân Đôn chống đối. Tại Đức, chính quyền chuẩn bị đối phó với những cuộc biểu tình lớn chống chủ nhân Nhà Trắng sang dự Thượng đỉnh G20 vào ngày 7 và 8/07/2017 ở Hambourg.
Một kết quả thăm dò ý kiến của Pew Research Center tuần qua cho thấy uy tín của tổng thống Donald Trump tuột dốc thê thảm trong công luận châu Âu, kể cả ngưòi Pháp. Tổng thống Barack Obama được hâm mộ bao nhiêu thì tổng thống Donald Trump bị ghét bấy nhiêu. Chỉ có Ba Lan là mong chờ đón tổng thống Trump vào ngày 06/07. Macron thực tiễn Thế nhưng, tổng thống Pháp Emmanuel Macron không phải là người dễ bị thuyết phục. Chủ nhân điện Elysée đã từng chứng minh ông không ngại tiếp xúc với những lãnh đạo bị ghét bỏ. Đòn ngoại giao ngoạn mục là mời tổng thống Nga Vladimir Putin sang điện Versailles, chứng tỏ thái độ thực tiễn trên hồ sơ Bachar al Assad, không buộc nhà độc tài phải ra đi làm điều kiện tiên quyết để giải quyết cuộc chiến. Với Donald Trump, một người xem thường Liên Hiệp Châu Âu, rút nước Mỹ ra khỏi hiệp định khí hậu Paris COP21, Emmanuel Macron, áp dụng bí kíp của Machiaveli (quân sư của nhiều lãnh chúa ở nước Ý thời Phục Hưng thế kỷ 14 - 15) đã đoạt ngôi vô địch "tâm cơ khó lường"của lãnh đạo siêu cường số một. Nếu chủ nhân điện Kremlin được khoản đãi trong cung son điện ngọc thì chủ nhân Nhà Trắng sẽ được chào đón với lễ nghi quân cách trên đại lộ Champs-Elysées. Cũng như khi dùng xe quân sự mui trần cho ngày nhậm chức, Emmanuel Macron muốn nói là ông gắn bó với những hình ảnh biểu trưng sức mạnh của nước Pháp và nước Pháp là cường quốc hạt nhân, là thành viên thường trực của Hội Đồng Bảo An, ngang hàng với Hoa Kỳ. Donald Trump muốn phục hồi "uy thế vĩ đại cho nước Mỹ " thì Emmanuel Macron muốn "trả lại uy thế vĩ đại cho địa cầu". Để đạt được mục tiêu này, theo tổng thống Pháp, cần phải vượt lên trên tâm lý tranh hơn tranh thua của trẻ con như cú bắt tay thử nội lực (tại Thựơng đỉnh G7) mà phải hợp tác chống khủng bố, giải quyết khủng hoảng Syria và chống biến đổi khí hậu. Làm những chuyện lớn này không thể thiếu nước Mỹ. Bên cạnh đó, tổng thống Pháp còn muốn đặt mình trong vai trò lãnh đạo Liên Hiệp Châu Âu trên chính trường quốc tế. Liệu nhà lãnh đạo 39 tuổi này có thể làm được không. Kết luận, và cũng là câu trả lời của Le Monde : Được, nhưng phải đi tới chứ không chỉ dừng lại ở hình ảnh và biểu tượng. Sự kiện tổng thống Pháp Emmanuel Macron mời tổng thống Mỹ Donald Trump đã gây ngạc nhiên mà tổng thống Mỹ nhận lời lại càng bất ngờ hơn. Đây là một thành công mới của Emmanuel Macron, theo nhận định của một nhà ngoại giao. Trong bài «cử chỉ tính toán của Macron » thông tín viên Stéphane Le Bars từ Washington, cho biết lãnh đạo Mỹ-Pháp sẽ « tăng cường mối hợp tác đã chặt chẽ » từ chống khủng bố cho đến kinh tế. Trong bối cảnh hai nước đã đe dọa trả đũa Damas nếu một lần nữa, vũ khí hóa học được sử dụng tại chiến trường Syria, hồ sơ này sẽ được thảo luận trong dạ tiệc chiều 13/07. Theo Le Monde, sự kiện vị tổng thống Mỹ từng đưa những thông điệp thiếu lịch sự với Pháp như là « Paris không còn là Paris, thành phố ánh sáng » nay sắp đến Paris đã gây ngạc nhiên tại nước Mỹ nhưng ít được bình luận. Tại Pháp, nhật báo Công Giáo La Croix đặt câu hỏi có nên mời Donald Trump dự lễ diễn binh 14/07 hay không ? Phe ủng hộ cho rằng đây là biểu tượng của hai nước đồng minh lâu dài, nếu chỉ mời quân đội Mỹ mà không mời tổng tư lệnh tối cao thì chỉ gây bất đồng vô ích. Còn theo phe chống, đa số là cánh tả, thì tổng thống Pháp phải nhân cơ hội này để thảo luận sâu xa về thế cờ chiến lược chung và đặt thẳng vấn đề với Donald Trump về mối quan hệ với tổng thống Nga Putin. Một người Trung Quốc tại Hồng Kông Hồng Kông là chủ đề được quan tâm đặc biệt : 20 năm sau ngày Luân Đôn trao trả nhượng địa Hồng Kông cho Bắc Kinh (01/07/1997), vì sao chỉ có 20% người dân bán đảo mang tên Hương Cảng xem mình là người Trung Quốc ? Bên cạnh bản tin « Nước Pháp kêu gọi Trung Quốc trả tự do cho Lưu Hiểu Ba » là phóng sự của Le Figaro « Tập Cận Bình triệt hạ Hồng Kông ». Theo tường thuật của đặc phái viên Sébastien Falletti thì Hồng Kông đã biến thành một đồn lũy đón tiếp chủ tịch Trung Quốc Tập Cận Bình nhân 20 năm Bắc Kinh lấy lại chủ quyền. Các biện pháp an ninh đặc biệt, với 11.000 cảnh sát chìm nổi, được bố trí chặt chẽ đề phòng biểu tình và bảo vệ « tư lệnh khủng bố » như lời ta thán của một người đàn ông trung niên thuộc thế hệ thứ ba gốc Quảng Đông : 20 năm qua là 20 năm xấu. Người Hoa lục tràn sang xâm lấn làm vật giá leo thang. Chính nỗi bất bình này đã làm cho xu hướng đòi độc lập lên cao lấn át phong trào đấu tranh dân chủ, theo nhận định của nhật báo cánh hữu. Nhật báo kinh tế Les Echos điểm qua những khó khăn của « Hồng Kông đang bị Trung Quốc nuốt chửng. Người nghèo khó ngày càng đông và càng nghèo hơn, phải lên nóc cao ốc mà ở. Tuổi trẻ không bao giờ bỏ cuộc ». Tuổi trẻ không bỏ cuộc là lời xác quyết của Hoàng Chí Phong (Joshua Wong), cậu học sinh trung học trong phong trào Dù Vàng năm 2014, nay là một sinh viên thủ lĩnh đảng dân chủ Demosito, tiếp tục thách thức người khổng lồ Trung Quốc : chúng tôi sẽ chứng minh cho Tập Cận Bình thấy thời điểm này không phải là lúc ăn mừng mà là biểu tình phản kháng. Một khi Hồng Kông trở về Trung Quốc, Hoàng Chí Phong chỉ ra những mưu toan của Trung Quốc như dùng tư pháp để trói tay các nhà tranh đấu, dùng « tư bản đỏ » để xâm chiếm Hồng Kông, đầu cơ địa ốc hay qua bàn tay tỷ phú Jack Mã Vân, chủ nhân Alibaba, kiểm soát nhật báo có uy tín South China Morning Post. Gọng kềm Chiến thuật ba mặt giáp công : kinh tế, chính trị, văn hóa của Trung Quốc được nhật báo Công Giáo La Croix lược kể nhận xét của một vài thanh niên tuổi 20 trong bài « Định mệnh đắng cay của Hồng Kông ». Phần dẫn nhập nhắc lại khung cảnh trời mưa u ám trong buổi lễ bàn giao ngày 01/07/1997. Hai mươi năm sau, một thanh niên 27 tuổi nhớ lại : ba mẹ tôi không vui nhưng chấp nhận sự kiện một cách bình thường cho dù họ là những người tị nạn chế độ Mao Trạch Đông. Một giáo viên Anh văn 28 tuổi tuyệt vọng vì giá nhà đất lên cao quá. Một sinh viên tên Anthus Leung than phiền ra đường nghe tiếng quan thoại ngày càng đông. Mỗi năm có 50.000 dân Hoa lục sang Hồng Kông định cư (theo thỏa thuận với Anh Quốc), nhân lên 20 năm, tổng cộng là 1 triệu trên tổng số 7 triệu dân Hồng Kông : một cuộc xâm lăng văn hóa của Bắc Kinh. Liberation cũng dành hai trang để tường thuật « nỗi niềm thất vọng » của dân Hồng Kông với bài cùng tựa. Nhưng trong gọng kềm của Bắc Kinh, tuổi trẻ Hồng Kông vẫn tìm cách kháng cự. Cũng như mỗi thứ sáu, Trung Quốc mua 8 trang của Le Figaro để tuyên truyền. Trong số này có bài « phóng sự » : Tập Cận Bình tuyên chiến với ba thế lực ma quỉ là khủng bố, ly khai và cực đoan hầu chứng tỏ Trung Quốc là một cường quốc có tinh thần trách nhiệm đối với láng giềng và hòa bình thế giới. Lập luận của Trung Quốc có đáng tin hay không ? Trên trang kinh tế, Le Figaro đưa tin : Hàng giả vẫn phồn vinh tại Trung Quốc. Báo cáo của hải quan Liên Hiệp Châu Âu, phản ánh thực tế này, làm Bắc Kinh bất bình. Bạo lực gia đình tại Pháp : ai vô tâm ? Khác với các đồng nghiệp tập trung vào tình hình chính trị, kinh tế, nhật báo cánh tả độc lập chọn tệ nạn bạo lực trong gia đình làm chủ đề chính : 220 phụ nữ thiệt mạng trong ba năm qua trong sự vô tâm của tình nhân, của chồng hay chồng cũ. Án mạng gần nhất xảy ra hôm 11/06/2017 khi một ông chồng trói vợ trên đường rầy xe lửa cao tốc TGV. Điều tra « vụ án giết người hàng loạt », Libération xem lại những trang báo cũ ở địa phương để báo động trung bình mỗi ba ngày có một vụ giết vợ. Trong số 220 nạn nhân chỉ có 20 người nước ngoài và chỉ có 15 thủ phạm nghiện rượu. Các biện pháp đề phòng có sẵn nhưng theo Libération, hồ sơ này không phải là mối quan tâm hàng đầu của tân chính phủ Pháp. RFI

          Tổng thống Philippines : Một năm sóng gió nhưng vẫn trên đỉnh cao   

Tổng thống Philipppines Rodrigo Duterte phát biểu trước các lãnh đạo Hồi giáo, nhân lễ Eid al-Fitr kết thúc mùa chay. Ảnh tại Manila ngày 27/06/2017.REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Vào ngày này cách nay đúng một năm, ông Rodrigo Duterte chính thức nhập chức tổng thống Philippines. Trong một năm qua, ông đưa người dân Philippines vào hành trình « sóng gió » với các vụ giết người trong cuộc chiến chống ma túy, chống khủng bố và chuyển hướng ngoại giao. Thế nhưng, một năm sau, tuyệt đại đa số người dân Philippines vẫn tin tưởng vào vị tổng thống 72 tuổi này.
Trong lễ tuyên thệ nhậm chức cách đây một năm, ông đã cảnh báo : « Hành trình sẽ đầy sóng gió. Nhưng hãy sánh bước cùng tôi ! ». Sóng gió bắt đầu với lời tuyên chiến chống tệ nạn buôn bán ma túy. Theo thống kê chính thức, 3.171 tội phạm và người nghiện ma túy đã bị cảnh sát triệt hạ. Ngoài ra, còn có 2.098 người bị sát thủ nặc danh giết hại vì liên quan đến ma túy và khoảng 8.200 người bị giết mà không rõ động cơ. Giới bảo vệ nhân quyền cảnh báo tổng thống Duterte đang phạm phải tội ác chống nhân loại, đồng thời cáo buộc ông xúi giục cảnh sát tham nhũng và các biệt đội tử thần ra tay giết người hàng loạt. Cho đến nay, cuộc chiến bài trừ ma túy vẫn là ưu tiên hàng đầu của tổng thống Philippines. Thế nhưng, từ cuối tháng Năm vừa qua, ông Duterte phải đối phó với một thách thức khác : Đó là khủng bố, với việc các nhóm Hồi Giáo cực đoan vũ trang tuyên thệ trung thành với tổ chức Nhà Nước Hồi Giáo - Daech, đánh chiếm nhiều khu vực ở thành phố Marawi, phía nam đảo Mindanao. Với cáo buộc quân thánh chiến muốn lập đế chế Hồi Giáo « califat », tổng thống Duterte ban hành ngay thiết quân luật trên khắp vùng Mindanao, nơi có đến 20 triệu người sinh sống. Dù tăng cường oanh kích với sự hỗ trợ của chiến đấu cơ Mỹ và Úc, quân đội Philippines vẫn chưa diệt trừ tận gốc ổ thánh chiến này, trong khi có đến 400 người thiệt mạng. Về mặt đối ngoại, chính sách ngoại giao nguyên trạng trong vài thập kỷ qua bị thay đổi hoàn toàn. Ông Duterte không ngại tung những lời thóa mạ nhắm vào đồng minh Hoa Kỳ truyền thống, gọi tổng thống Mỹ Barack Obama là « đồ chó đẻ ». Tạm gác tranh chấp chủ quyền với Trung Quốc tại Biển Đông, từng làm quan hệ song phương trở nên căng thẳng trong nhiệm kỳ trước, tổng thống Philippines cố hâm nóng quan hệ với Bắc Kinh. Sau chuyến công du Trung Quốc năm 2016 của ông Duterte, Trung Quốc hứa đầu tư khoảng 24 tỉ đô la Mỹ vào Philippines, trong đó có 15 tỉ đô la dành cho đầu tư và 9 tỉ đô la cho vay với lãi suất ưu ái. Phe đối lập cảnh báo Manila vẫn chưa nhìn thấy những đồng tiền đó và chưa chắc đã được hưởng trọn vì tình trạng tham nhũng, thiếu minh bạch và các thỏa thuận song phương có nhiều điều khoản bí mật có lợi cho Trung Quốc. 75% dân Philippines hài lòng về tổng thống Thế nhưng, người dân Philippines vẫn không ngừng ủng hộ tổng thống Duterte. Theo kết quả cuộc thăm dò vào tháng 03/2017, 75% người dân hài lòng về tổng thống, trong khi chỉ có 9% không ủng hộ. Bỏ qua những tuyên bố bốc đồng và cục cằn của ông Duterte, người dân Philippines cho ông là gương mặt phản hệ thống, một người có đầu óc thực tế, đồng cảm và sẵn sàng hành động, với quy mô lớn, để làm thay đổi mọi việc. Trả lời AFP, giáo sư Ricardo Abad, thuộc đại học Ateneo tại Manila, nhận xét : « Dân chúng yêu mến người đàn ông này ». Họ « có thể không đồng tình hoặc có thể vẫn lưỡng lự với chính sách của ông, nhưng vì họ quý trọng ông, nên họ vẫn tin vào tổng thống ». Một lý do khác giải thích sự ủng hộ của người dân là « ông Duterte mở đầu một phong cách quản lý hoàn toàn mới và người dân có thể nghĩ rằng họ cần mô hình này », theo giáo sư khoa học chính trị Edmund Tayao, thuộc đại học Santo Tomas. Dấu hiệu cuối cùng cho thấy sự nổi tiếng của tổng thống Philippines là ông có đa số gần tuyệt đối ở Hạ Viện với 296 ghế, trong khi phe đối lập chỉ có 7 ghế. Một trong số lãnh đạo thuộc phe đối lập, Edcel Lagman, cũng phải khen ngợi « tổng thống Duterte duy trì được đoàn kết quốc gia theo cách riêng khó hiểu của ông ». Thế nhưng, vẫn theo ông Lagman, những lời hứa « thay đổi » này không được thể hiện qua việc làm. Và nếu còn tiếp tục tình trạng này thì « đa số gần như tuyệt đối » của tổng thống có thể vỡ tan. Thường thì trong thời gian đầu nhiệm kỳ, đại diện các phe phái chính trị thường tập trung quanh vị tổng thống nổi tiếng. Nhưng khi gió đổi chiều, họ sàng rời thuyền ra đi. RFI

          President Obama To Visit Indiana Steel Mill Friday   
President Obama is scheduled to visit the Evansville area on Friday.
          10 Times ‘Morning Joe’ Hosts Got the Giggles (Videos)   

The target of President Trump’s Twitter rage, MSNBC hosts may not be laughing now. But here are 10 times when they did:

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          Rep. Allen West Says ‘Marxist,’ Now Who Else Will Tell the Truth?   
Big Government Lost in the blow-up between Representatives West and Wasserman Schultz is that only two days earlier, Allen West said something much more significant and more massively belligerent — about Barack Obama — something the left would prefer drowned out. Must we “know the enemy” or is it enough for those elites in the […]
          Ballet Hispanico to Perform at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival This July   

Ballet Hispánico will perform at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival at the Ted Shawn Theater, 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA 01223, from July 26-30, 2017.

Ballet Hispanico brings captivating style, crisp technique, and charismatic bravado to the Ted Shawn Theatre.

Ballet Hispanico offers the thrilling diversity of Latino culture-a fusion of classical, Latin, and contemporary dance. The program features the Pillow-commissioned and flamenco-inspired Línea Recta by Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, set to Spanish guitar by Eric Vaarzon Morel. Other works include Eduardo Vilaro's Danzón, which features a contemporary take on the national dance of Cuba, and El Beso by award-winning Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano.

Performances play Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm; Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $45-78 and are available at


Línea Recta (2016)
Choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

From one of today's most sought-after choreographers comes a powerful and resonant work that explores an intriguing aspect of flamenco dance: the conspicuous absence of physical partnering. While maintaining the integrity and hallmark passion of the genre, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa imagines an original and explosive movement language premised upon the theme of partnership and performed to live flamenco guitar by Eric Vaarzon Morel. Línea Recta came to fruition through Ballet Hispánico's Instituto Coreográfico, an innovative choreography lab program for Latino dance makers. Línea Rectais Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's third original work for Ballet Hispánico under Eduardo Vilaro; the Company previously commissioned and performed audience favorites Mad'moiselle (2010) and Sombrerísimo (2013). BalletHispánico also acquired and performed Lopez Ochoa's Before After (2002), Nube Blanco (2008) and Locked Up Laura (2009).

Danzón (2012)
Choreography by Eduardo Vilaro

Danzón has been called the official dance of Cuba. Having evolved from the Haitian contradance, its history is steeped in the fusion of cultures. But danzón is also used throughout Latin America as a term of celebration, a coming together of community and a way of maintaining identity. Fusing Afro-Cuban social dance movements with contemporary and classical dance forms, Eduardo Vilaro has taken this traditional and quintessentially Cuban dance form and reinvented it as a joyous celebration of music and movement. Mr. Vilaro is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispánico.

El Beso (2014)
Choreography by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano

Award-winning Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano (a Dance Magazine "25 to Watch" pick) premiered his first commission for BalletHispanico in 2014. , a tongue-in-cheek look at the iconic nature of a kiss with original costumes by Venezuelan fashion designer Angel Sanchez.


ANNABELLE LOPEZ OCHOA (Choreographer) is a sought-after Belgo-Colombian choreographer that since 2003 has created works for more than 40 companies around the world such as Scapino Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Djazzex, GenEva Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Gothenburg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, BJM-Danse Montreal, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet National de Marseille, Saarbrucken Ballet, Jacoby & Pronk, Chemnitzer Ballet, Ballet Hispánico, Morphoses Wheeldon Company, Whim W'Him, IncolBallet de Colombia, Finnish National Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza Madrid, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Scottish Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Ballet Saarbrucken, Augsburg Ballet, Ballet Austin, Atlanta Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet Moscow, BalletNacional de Cuba, West Australian Ballet, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Ballet Nacional Chileno, Ballet Staatstheater am Gartnerplatz Munchen, BalletManila, Daniil Simkin Intensio Project, Cincinnati Ballet, Silicon Valley Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, English National Ballet and New York City Ballet. In the fall of 2007 she was selected to participate with the prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Dance Magazine named her work Cylindrical Shadows, performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet, as one of the highlights of 2012. Her full-length narrative ballet A Streetcar Named Desire has been awarded with 'Best Classical Choreography' by the Circle of Critics of the National Dance Award UK, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for "Best New Production" and has been nominated for an Olivier Award 2012.

GUSTAVO RAMIREZ SANSANO (Choreographer) was Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater from 2009-2013, after directing proyectoTITOYAYA in Valencia, Spain for four years. Sansano has been the recipient of numerous awards for his choreography, including first prizes at the Ricard Moragas competition in Barcelona, the Dom Perignon choreographic competition in Hamburg, and at Las Artes Escénicas de la Comunidad Valenciana. He has been commissioned to create works for Compania Nacional de Danza, the Hamburg Ballet, TanzTheaterMünchen, Budapest Dance Theater, National Dance Company Wales, Norrdans, Gyori Ballet, Balletto dell'Esperia, BalletMet, IT dansa, Ballet Junior de Genève, and Nederlands Dans Theater, among others. As a dancer, Sansano performed works by Jacopo Godani, Hans Van Manen, Ji?í Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Paul Lightfoot, Victor Ullate and many more, working for the BalletJoven de Alicante, Ballet Contemporaneo de Barcelona, Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid, Nederlands Dans Theater II and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Gustavo was chosen by the magazine POR LA DANZA for its 15th anniversary as one of the 'Fifteen Choreographers to Watch.' Dance Magazine featured Luna Negra's artistic director, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, in its annual '25 to Watch' list 2012, and was named 'Chicagoan of the Year in Arts & Entertainment' by the Chicago Tribune.

Eduardo Vilaro (Choreographer) joined Ballet Hispánico as Artistic Director in August 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispánico. He has been part of the Ballet Hispánico family since 1985 as a principal dancer and educator, after which he began a ten-year record of achievement as Founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico's legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America's changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education.

Mr. Vilaro's own choreography is devoted to capturing the spiritual, sensual and historical essence of the Latino cultures. He created over 20 ballets for Luna Negra and has received commissions from the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony. In 2001, he was a recipient of a Ruth Page Award for choreography, and in 2003, he was honored for his choreographic work at Panama's II International Festival of Ballet. In 2016, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame.

Jacob's Pillow, celebrating its 85th Festival in 2017, is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to America's longest-running international dance festival. Each Festival includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and 350 free and ticketed performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events. The School at Jacob's Pillow, one of the most prestigious professional dance training centers in the U.S., encompasses the diverse disciplines of Ballet, Cultural Traditions, Contemporary, and Musical Theatre Dance, as well as an Intern Program in various disciplines of arts administration, design, video, and production. The Pillow's extensive Archives, open year-round to the public, chronicle more than a century of dance in photographs, programs, books, costumes, audiotapes, and videos. Notable artists who have created or premiered dances at the Pillow include choreographers Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille, Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Kevin Mckenzie, Twyla Tharp, Ralph Lemon, Susan Marshall, Trisha Brown, Ronald K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Andrea Miller, and Trey McIntyre; performed by artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Carmen De Lavallade, Mark Morris, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, Rasta Thomas, and hundreds of others. On March 2, 2011, President Barack Obama honored Jacob's Pillow with a National Medal of Arts, the highest arts award given by the United States Government, making the Pillow the first dance presenting organization to receive this prestigious award. For more information, visit

          Ben Sasse: Let’s repeal ObamaCare next month and replace it in August   


The post Ben Sasse: Let’s repeal ObamaCare next month and replace it in August appeared first on Hot Air.

          Scenes from the collapse: Another Ohio insurer bails out of ObamaCare   

Repeal and replace getting split?

The post Scenes from the collapse: Another Ohio insurer bails out of ObamaCare appeared first on Hot Air.

          Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act   
A new MP3 sermon from VCY America is now available on with the following details:

Title: Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act
Subtitle: Crosstalk America
Speaker: Jim Schneider
Broadcaster: VCY America
Event: Radio Broadcast
Date: 6/29/2017
Length: 54 min. (64kbps)

Overview: For several years, we've heard over and over again that a GOP led Congress and Senate would repeal the Affordable Care Act -Obamacare-. Vote after vote was taken for just such a repeal but it never went anywhere. Do Republicans really want to repeal-
          Pyongtaek-City Tour   
Saturday I went on a tour of Pyongteak-City.  That's the city that surrounds the base.  We have an Honorary Commander who is a business owner in town.  They organize things for us to do and we invite them onto base for certain functions.  It keeps the relations up between the US and RoK.  He organized this free tour for is and it was pretty fun. 

We are about 30 miles south of Seoul here and Pyongteak-City is the end of the solid urbanization.  We are at the northern edge of the farm land for rice and other crops.  Pyonteak-City according to our guide is the Rice and Korean Pear center for Korea.  He explained how Pyoongteak-City Rice is known throughout the country.

We started out at the based and here is a video of our Tour Guide explaining how he's family with President Obama!

Next we went Samulnori (A Korean Traditional Percussion Quarter).  The group will do their music and dance for a better harvest.  You can see the strings on their heads, they kept their heads spinning the entire time to keep the strings flying.
Here I am in front of one of two versions of Totem Polls.  They are both the same height but the female one (The one you can't see on the right) is buried in the ground a little bit.  She protects from evil spirits from below.  The Male one stands taller and protects from above.
This is a series of buildings built for "Sambong" which is the Pen Name for Jung, Do Jun who was a founding thinker for the Joseon Dynasty.  If you think of the Ming Dynasty in China, Same Same.  This guy invented Democracy in the East and wrote a lot of works and they are saved in this building and others on this site.  He was from the 1300s.
This is some of the writings from Sambong.  You can see the date of 1396. Didn't really understand when the guy wrote this stuff but it's at least that old. I tried reloading this picture a bunch of times and it keeps turning it on it's end.  Sorry.
This is the entrance at the Sambong gate to the shrine to him.  The Korean's do this three door entrance.  You enter on your right and exit on your right. The middle door is always locked and is for spirits to enter and exit.
After the Sambong History Tour we went to this Confucian Temple.  It was called Jinwi Hyanggyo.  It was a place for Confucian teachings.  You can see the three doors again. T he building above the door is for teaching.  There is dorm on each side one for younger kids and one for older kids.  Beyond that was the masters house and class room.  This was also from the Joseon Dynasty.  It was built on the edge of this mountain.  On our backs was a river.  It was pretty cold but while we were in the temple the mountains blocked the wind and it was really nice.
This is inside the Master's Classroom.  This painting on the wood was on all of the Joseon buildings here and at Sambong's shrine.
For lunch we had a traditional meal.  The rice and spicy pork is called Bulgogi (bo-go-ge).  The roles on the bottom right are eggs rolled out and stuffed.  Very similar to a plain omelet.  Then standard noodles with Chicken.  The two things on the bottom left are Kim-chi or pickled Cabbage.  The right one was HOT and the other was okay.  Then a bowl of cabbage soup.  It was pretty good. 
After lunch we went to the Culture Center and on the left you can see the petting zoo (Pigs, Goats, Rabbits, Turkey's).  In the center were families camping out.  They explained they will go there if they don't want to drive to a campground and since almost everyone lives in highrises, this is the only way for them to BBQ.  This thing in the front is a plant that in the spring/summer should actually look nice but here it was just creepy.
This is me getting ready to make Rice Cakes.  You beat the crap out of the rice and then it's rolled in some flavor and you eat it.  It's actually really warm from being beaten to crap by the wood mallets.
Here's (L-R) Chris, Dan and Danny Boy.  After we made the rice cakes we had to make our own totem poles.  It was cool playing in kindergarten again.  We had snacks (the rice cakes) and then craft time.  We got a little glue stuck to our fingers but we didn't eat it since it was crazy glue and not Elmers School Glue!
Here is my finished Totem in my window warding off evil spirits from the football field!
We also went to a goat farm and enjoyed goat milk, made goat butter and milked a goat.  However, I hadn't cleared the memory from the camera at the beginning of the day so I don't have any pictures.  Some others do and I will try and get those loaded up here!

          Survival Research Labs Changes Bush Street to Obama Street   
TweetElements of the Survival Research Laboratories, a “performance art group” active in San Francisco, just got their prank on last night by changing a substantial portion of the street signs on Bush Street to “OBAMA,” in honor of the inauguration of our 44th President.   Will the SFPD “prosecute?” (Really, is that what the cops do – “prosecute”? Oh well.) But if that […]
          Dengan Suguhan Teh dan Bakso, Presiden Jokowi Terima Obama di Kebun Raya Bogor   

BONEPOS.COM, BOGOR - Awan mendung yang mengitari Kota Bogor, Jawa Barat, tidak mengurangi kehangatan pertemuan Presiden Joko Widodo dan Presiden Amerika Serikat ke-44 Barack Obama di Istana Kepresidenan Bogor pada Jumat sore, 30 Juni 2017.

Obama yang mengenakan kemeja lengan panjang berwarna biru muda dipadukan dengan celana panjang berwarna gelap, tiba di Istana Kepresidenan Bogor pada pukul 15.30 WIB. Kedatangan Obama disambut langsung oleh Presiden dan Ibu Negara Iriana Joko Widodo serta putra Presiden, Kaesang Pangarep.

Saat memasuki Istana Kepresidenan Bogor, Obama terlebih dahulu mengisi buku tamu dan kemudian memasuki ruang Garuda Istana Kepresidenan Bogor untuk kemudian berbincang santai di beranda belakang.

Setelahnya, Presiden Jokowi yang mengenakan kemeja lengan panjang berwarna putih kemudian mengajak Obama menuju Cafe Grand Garden, yang berjarak sekitar 1 kilometer dari kawasan Istana Bogor dengan menggunakan golf cart.

Tiba di Cafe Grand Garden yang berada di kawasan Kebun Raya Bogor, Presiden Jokowi dan Obama kemudian menikmati hidangan teh dan beragam jajanan pasar, seperti onde-onde, talam ubi, kue mangkok, panada cakalang, dan lemper ayam.

Saat tengah berbincang selama 10 menit, hujan pun turun, sehingga keduanya berpindah ke ruangan balkon cafe. Kali ini, bakso kuah menjadi jamuan yang menemani perbincangan keduanya di tengah hujan yang mengguyur kawasan Bogor.

Setelah berbincang cukup lama, Presiden Jokowi dan Obama pun mengakhiri pertemuan tersebut dengan berfoto bersama dan pada pukul 16.30 WIB, Obama meninggalkan cafe tersebut untuk kembali ke Jakarta dengan berkendaraan mobil.

Sementara itu, Menteri Luar Negeri Retno Marsudi mengatakan di tengah-tengah liburannya ke Indonesia, Obama telah meluangkan waktu untuk minum teh bersama Presiden Jokowi di Kebun Raya Bogor.

Retno menjelaskan bahwa undangan Presiden Jokowi kepada Obama sudah mulai disampaikan sejak awal 2015. "Undangan berlibur ke Indonesia diulang kembali pada saat Presiden Jokowi berkunjung ke Washington DC Oktober 2015," ucap Retno.

Setelah Obama tidak menjabat lagi sebagai presiden, Presiden Jokowi kembali mengundang Obama untuk berlibur ke Indonesia.

"Presiden mengirim undangan tertulis kepada Obama untuk berlibur ke Indonesia," ujar Retno.

Sebelum tiba di Jakarta siang tadi, Obama terlebih dahulu menghabiskan waktunya di Indonesia dengan mengunjungi Pulau Bali pada tanggal 23-28 Juni 2017, dan Yogyakarta pada 28-30 Juni 2017.

Esok hari, Sabtu 1 Juli 2017, rencananya Obama akan menjadi pembicara dalam Kongres Diaspora Indonesia ke-4.

Kepala Biro Pers, Media, dan Informasi Sekretariat Presiden
Bey Machmudin


          Health Care On Hold as Senate Republican Leaders Find Consensus on New Provisions   
President Trump suggested in a tweet if Senate Republicans can't agree on a health care bill, they should immediately repeal ObamaCare then to try to replace it later. FOX's Jared Halpern has more from Capitol Hill: Senate Republican leaders ... [visit site to read more]
          America’s Religious Foundation Is Under Attack   
Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes points finger at Obama ... [visit site to read more]
          Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ):Can’t Stomach Paying Unions When Veterans Are Dying   
Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) joined Brian Kilmeade today to discuss a significant VA bill he is personally drafting and to talk about the current state of healthcare. "I'm glad we have extra time to work on this," he said. " We've got to do two things in my view one; we've got to make sure that we don't pull the rug out from anybody that has coverage, that's what Obamacare did. Second, we've got to have something sustainable over time." In regards to the VA, ... [visit site to read more]
          BWW Review: Roy Horowitz in MY FIRST SONY and THE TIMEKEEPERS at Cleveland Israel Arts Connection In Collaboration With Dobama   

It is the purpose of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, to share the beauty of Israel, deepen Jewish identity, and explore the human condition. This is done by presenting programs of dance, film, music, literature, the visual arts and theater.

Cleveland Israel Arts Connection's next offering, in collaboration with Dobama, will be two-one act plays starring Roy Horovitz, performed on the stage at Dobama Theatre from July 13 through 16.

Horovitz, and excellence in Israeli theatre, have been become synonymous based on his work with Habima, the National Theatre of Israel, and his many appearances in the United States. He was named "Best Actor" at the International Children and Youth Festival twice and "Best Director" at Cameri Theatre of Tel-Aviv.

The program will consist of "My First Sony," a comedy based on an Israeli book of the same name, which centers on eleven-year old Yotam (Horovitz) who is obsessed with documentation, and records his family and their many conflicts on his tape recorder. The boy finds himself trying to make sense of his world as it crumbled around him, which gives a glimpse of Israeli life not found in the headlines.

"The Timekeepers," the other one-act on the program, is a script by American writer, Dan Clancy, that caught on in Israel and has since toured the world in Hebrew and English versions.

The play gives a different view of the Holocaust. It tells the story of a conservative elderly Jewish watchmaker and Hans, an outrageous gay German man imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp during World War II. The duo is assigned to repair watches for their Nazi overlords. As they work together, suspicion, prejudice and indifference slowly give way to a touching friendship.

Israel, in spite of its orthodox underpinnings, is the most gay-friendly nation in the Middle East. Gays and lesbians are integrated in all levels of society from politics to business to the military. Tel Aviv Gay Pride, attended by 200,000 participants in 2016, is a week-long series of events and is considered by many to be a national holiday.

Horovitz, an out gay man, has benefited from that liberal attitude. He has performed "The Timekeepers" at Out-In-Israel, as well as at Gay Pride celebrations in the United States.

Horovitz thinks "the play conveys the full spectrum of human emotions, despite its grim setting." He's "pleased how the play shows that the pink triangle was worn side by side with the yellow star during the Holocaust."

Horovitz says," I simply love playing Hans." His favorite moment in the play is the ending scene, "when we come to learn that there is so much more to him than meets the eye. I hope it will be a reminder to keep our humanity and sense of humor, even in the darkest times and against all odds."

"I never knew a play that mentions the gay holocaust," Horovitz said. "I thought it was important to remind people there were other minorities in the Holocaust." (Side note: Martin Sherman's "Bent," which will be performed by Beck Center next June, is another play about homosexuality from that era. It follows a group of gay men finding ways to survive Nazi persecution of homosexuals.)

Both "My First Sony" and "The Timkeepers" will be performed in English.

Cleveland Israel Arts Connection is co-chaired by philanthropist Roe Green and Erica Hartman-Horvitz. Green stated, "We are thrilled to bring a world-class Israeli artist to town to perform."

The appearance of Roy Horovitz is the first collaboration between Dobama and the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, which will be followed up in the summer of 2018 with a production of "On The Grill" by Dror Keren. That script finds the author revisiting the landscape of his childhood, in the Jezreel Valley, evoking, like the last flickering embers of a fire, a way of life that has all but disappeared from Israeli culture: the kibbutz.

What: "An Evening with Roy Horovitz" @ Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights on July 13 (7:30 pm, 14 (8 pm), 15 (8 pm), 16 (2:30 pm). Tickets: $30 for general admission, $25 for Dobama members. To purchase tickets, visit or call 216-932-3396. For information on the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, visit

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           Con đường đưa Venezuela tới thảm họa được rắc đầy tiền của Trung Quốc   

Christopher Balding

Phạm Nguyên Trường dịch

Các khoản tiền vay bị chính trị hóa đã làm cho đất nước xã hội chủ nghĩa Nam Mỹ này mắc kẹt dưới những khoản nợ cao như núi của Trung Quốc - nhưng bây giờ một số người lại muốn đăng ký xin được Bắc Kinh “ra tay tế độ”.

Người dân đất nước XHCN Venezuela do lãnh tụ Hugo Chaves sáng lập và lãnh đạo

Nền kinh tế Venezuela và Trung Quốc dường như chẳng có gì chung. Chính phủ Nicolás Maduro đã cướp bóc công ty dầu khí Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) để chi trả cho cuộc “cách mạng Bolivari”, phong trào xã hội chủ nghĩa được khởi động dưới thời Hugo Chávez. Khi giá dầu giảm, nước này thậm chí không thể tiến hành sửa chữa các giàn khoan hay trả lương cho người lao động để tiếp tục có thu nhập, và chính phủ hiện đang đối mặt với cuộc nổi dậy của quần chúng. Trong khi đó, cách nửa vòng trái đất, các trung tâm mua sắm của Trung Quốc sáng rực ánh đèn, trái ngược hẳn với những quầy hàng trống rỗng của Venezuela.

Nhưng, tình trạng đổ nát của Venezuela liên quan nhiều tới Trung Quốc hơn là người ta có thể nghĩ – đặc biệt là với kế hoạch khuếch trương ảnh hưởng trên toàn cầu của Trung Quốc thông qua nền ngoại giao tài chính của Chủ tịch Trung Quốc, Tập Cận Bình. Sự sụp đổ của Venezuela là bài học thực tế về giá quá đắt của hoạch đó mà các đối tác của Trung Quốc – cũng như chính Trung Quốc cần phải học.

Trong vài năm, sau khi Chavez nắm được quyền lực vào năm 1999, Trung Quốc - coi nhà lãnh đạo mới là này đồng minh về ý thức hệ - bắt đầu cho Venezuela vay nhiều hơn. Đến năm 2006, các khoản nợ của chế độ Chavez đã làm người ta lo ngại – Chủ tịch Ngân hàng Thế giới, Paul Wolfowitz, khi nói đến Venezuela, đã nhận xét rằng “có nguy cơ thực sự khi chứng kiến các quốc gia được hưởng lợi từ việc cắt giảm nợ lại bị nợ thêm một lần nữa”.

Về mặt chính thức, những món tiền vay từ Bắc Kinh không kèm theo những điều kiện phi tài chính. Thực tế tế nhị hơn. Không ai nghi ngờ việc Bắc Kinh ít quan tâm tới những thứ như nhân quyền, bảo vệ môi trường và chống tham nhũng khi họ làm việc ở nước ngoài. Cho đến thời gian gần đây, thậm chí việc đưa cờ tới vị trí có giá trị địa chính trị cũng không phải là vấn đề quan trọng đối với các nhà kỹ trị Trung Quốc.

Nhưng người ta tập trung chú ý vào lợi ích của Trung Quốc. Từ năm 2.000, động cơ thúc đẩy các khoản đầu tư và cho vay của Trung Quốc đã là mở ra những thị trường xuất khẩu mới và đảm bảo việc tiếp cận với các nguồn tài nguyên thiên nhiên. Lợi ích của Trung Quốc trong việc lôi kéo bạn bè ở Tây bán cầu trong khi vẫn đảm bảo được việc tiếp cận với nguồn dầu khí trùng hợp với sự quan tâm của Venezuela đối với việc đa dạng hóa khách hàng, chứ không chỉ tập trung vào Mỹ như trước. Nhưng quyền lợi trùng hợp không có nghĩa là Trung Quốc giảm một phần lãi suất cho vay. Trung Quốc cho Venezuela với giá cắt cổ. Hiện nay, Trung Quốc không chịu đàm phán lại những khoản nợ đó, ngay cả khi nền kinh tế và ngành dầu khí của quốc gia Nam Mỹ này đã sụp đổ.

Nguyễn Minh Triết và Hugo Chavez

Từ năm 2007 đến năm 2014, Trung Quốc cho Venezuela vay 63 tỷ USD - 53% tất cả các khoản vay mà Bắc Kinh dành cho khu vực Mỹ Latin trong giai đọan này. Sự hào phóng đi kèm theo một cái bẫy; để đảm bảo việc trả nợ, Bắc Kinh khăng khăng đòi trả bằng dầu hỏa. Hầu hết các khoản vay được thỏa thuận khi giá dầu ở mức hơn 100 USD/thùng, như đã từng xảy ra trong giai đọan 2007 - 2014, và dường như cả hai bên đều được lợi. Tuy nhiên, tháng 1 năm 2016, giá dầu giảm xuống còn 30 USD/thùng, làm cho khoản nợ của Venezuela trở thành quá lớn. Để trả nợ cho Bắc Kinh, nếu theo thỏa thuận truớc đây, Venezuela phải chuyển một thùng thì nay phải chuyển hai thùng.

Nếu Venezuela sụp đổ và Maduro ra đi không kèn không trống thì Trung Quốc sẽ gặp rủi ro lớn về ngoại giao và tài chính. Các nhà chính trị đối lập nhận thức rõ rằng Trung Quốc đang chống lưng cho chế độ Maduro. Chính phủ Venezuela mới có thể từ chối thẳng thừng việc thực hiện nghĩa vụ do chế độ Maduro để lại và quay sang Washington để tìm sự giúp đỡ. Điều đó có thể làm cho Trung Quốc lúng túng, cả về kinh tế lẫn chính trị. Trong quá khứ, Trung Quốc từng ủng hộ mạnh mẽ quyền không trả nợ - nếu đấy là nợ các nước phương Tây.

Nhưng việc Venezuela vỡ nợ có thể gây ra những hậu quả không chỉ đối với Caracas và Bắc Kinh. Là một phần của sáng kiến Một Vành Đai, Một Con Đường (BRI), Trung Quốc đang có kế hoạch mở rộng cách làm với Venezuela sang nhiều nước trên thế giới. Lợi dụng sức mạnh tài chính và chuyên môn trong việc xây dựng cơ sở hạ tầng, Trung Quốc đã nhìn thấy cơ hội để đẩy mạnh ảnh hưởng, lôi kéo bạn bè và đồng thời vẫn bảo vệ được tài sản.

Việc Mỹ, dưới thời Donald Trump, rút khỏi vai trò lãnh đạo lịch sử đã tạo điều kiện cho Trung Quốc trong việc thúc đẩy tầm nhìn địa chiến lược vĩ đại này, đặc biệt là sau khi chính quyền Barack Obama không theo đuổi đến cùng việc “xoay trục sang châu Á”. Nhiều nước châu Á đang nói thầm, và một số nói công khai, về việc muốn Mỹ can dự nhiều hơn vào khu vực này chứ không lặng lẽ đầu hàng trước ưu thế của Bắc Kinh. Nhưng nếu phải lựa chọn là thỏa thuận đầy rủi ro với Bắc Kinh hay không có thỏa thuận nào với phương Tây, nhiều người đã cho thấy rằng họ sẽ chọn Bắc Kinh.

Venezuela sụp đổ là do chế độ độc tài xấu xa thi hành những chính sách kinh tế đầy tai họa, lại được mạnh thường trợ giúp bằng những khỏan tín dụng gần như vô giới hạn. Hỗn hợp độc hại này cũng hiện diện tại nhiều quốc gia đang nhận những khoản vay lớn của qua dự án Một Vành Đai, Một Con Đường (BRI) của Trung Quốc. Lo lắng về sự trì trệ của nền kinh tế, các nhà độc tài trên khắp thế giới tìm cách thúc đẩy tăng trưởng bằng những khoản vay của Trung Quốc nhằm tài trợ cho các dự án tốn kém nhưng không có hiệu quả, bất chấp những hậu quả trong dài hạn.

Trong khi Trung Quốc có thể khẳng định rằng các quyết định đầu tư của họ là hòan tòan mang tính thương mại, thì lịch sử của nước này với Venezuela lại khẳng định ngược lại. Điều đó đã được xác nhận bởi những vấn đề xuất hiện trong các dự án liên quan đến BRI. Trong khoảng thời gian ngắn, từ năm 2016, chúng ta đã chứng kiến những vấn đề nợ nần lớn từ các dự án xây dựng cơ sở hạ tầng của Trung Quốc ở Sri Lanka và Pakistan. Trung Quốc đã đàm phán để đổi khoản nợ của mình lấy hợp đồng thuê 99 năm trong dự án xây dựng cảng ở Sri Lanka cùng với khu vực kinh doanh xung quanh hải cảng này. Trung Quốc đã cấp những khoản tài trợ khẩn cấp cho Pakistan trong năm vừa qua, nhằm ngăn chặn một cuộc khủng hoảng tiền tệ có khả năng xảy ra, nhưng vẫn có kế hoạch đầu tư 52 tỷ USD trong vài năm tới vào các dự án cơ sở hạ tầng của nước này.

Võ Nguyên Giáp và Hugo Chavez

Bắc Kinh thích trích dẫn Kế hoạch Marshall khi nói về BRI, nhưng việc làm của họ thì gian xảo và vị kỉ hơn. Chương trình BRI không cung cấp những khoản vay ưu đãi hay viện trợ quốc tế, mà dựa trên lãi suất trên thương trường, các khoản cho vay có lãi suất cao. Sau đó, các nước vay vốn phải sử dụng các công ty, đầu vào và công nhân Trung Quốc để xây dựng đường sắt và cảng ở nước mình. Trung Quốc cho vay không phải vì có tầm nhìn dài hạn về trật tự thế giới hoàn hảo hơn, như những người ủng hộ họ thích tuyên bố, mà do những tính toán về tài chính: Họ cần giữ cho các công ty đã bị nợ lút đầu lút cổ tiếp tục sống và người lao động của họ có việc làm.

Trung Quốc sẽ phải trả giá đắt. Hiện đã có các báo cáo nói rằng các quan chức Trung Quốc tin là sẽ bị thua lỗ đáng kể từ các khoản đã cho các nước Nam Á và Trung Á vay – những nước này có thể không trả được. Xin xem xét trường hợp Sri Lanka, nước này không trả nổi khoản vay trị giá 2 tỷ USD của Trung Quốc, nhưng sau đó lại được Bắc Kinh cho vay thêm khoản tiền 32 tỷ USD để tài trợ cho các dự án cơ sở hạ tầng. Cũng có những lý do chính đáng để tin rằng Pakistan sẽ không thể hấp thụ được các khỏan đầu tư lớn của Trung Quốc mà không gây ra lạm phát, và do đó, làm xói mòn khả năng trả nợ.

Theo các tuyên bố chính thức, Trong 10 đến 15 năm tới, Trung Quốc có kế hoạch đầu tư 5 ngàn tỷ USD vào dự án BRI. Nếu số tiền này được vật chất hóa trên thực tế, thì đây là khoản tiền rất lớn, ngay cả đối với Trung Quốc, dù là tính theo giá trị tuyệt đối hay trong tương quan với GDP thì cũng thế. Điều đó có nghĩa là, ngay cả việc mất khả năng thanh tóan những khoản nợ tương đối nhỏ cũng có thể gây ra những thiệt hại to lớn, cả về kinh tế lẫn chính trị.

Cho vay những khoản tiền lớn có tính phá hoại, làm cho các nước đang phát triển lâm vào tình trạng đổ nát là cách tốt nhất để Trung Quốc đánh mất sự tín nhiệm trên toàn thế giới. Ở Sri Lanka đã xảy ra nhiều cuộc biểu tình và bạo loạn về những khoản nợ của Trung Quốc. Trong khi đó, Bắc Kinh dựa vào phe đối lập Venezuela để không bị nước này xù nợ. Tất cả những việc này là giá đắt đối với uy tín của Trung Quốc. Chứng kiến những hậu quả của những khoản vay của Bắc Kinh đối với Venezuela, Sri Lanka và Pakistan, những con nợ tiềm tàng khác dường như đã không còn nhiệt tình vay Bắc Kinh nữa – hay chí ít cũng nhận thức rõ hơn về những rủi ro có thể gặp.

Các dự án vay quy mô lớn mà không tập trung vào khả năng sống sót về mặt kinh tế của dự án và khả năng trả nợ của bên vay, hầu như không phải là cơ sở vững chắc nhất cho nền ngoại giao tài chính mà Trung Quốc đang tìm cách thực hiện. Trong trường hợp tốt nhất, nó sẽ dẫn đến nghi ngờ và căng thẳng giữa chủ nợ và con nợ. Trong trường hợp xấu nhất, nó sẽ cho thấy sự tàn phá về mặt tài chính đối với những nước đang oằn lưng duới gánh nặng nợ nần mà họ không thể trả được bằng ngoại tệ mà chính họ cũng không có. Nếu việc cho vay của Trung Quốc không trở nên thông minh hơn, nước này có thể phát hiện ra rằng chẳng còn ai quan tâm tới số tiền mà họ có thể cung cấp.


Christopher Balding hiện là phó giáo sư về kinh doanh và kinh tế học tại trường HSBC Business School ở Thâm Quyến và là tác giả cuốn Sovereign Wealth Funds: The New Intersection of Money and Power.
Đã đăng trên Viêt Nam Thời Báo


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Ray_LaHood_official_portrait.jpgBy Annie Riley

“Arab Americans have made America a great country. You should never run away from that. You should never be ashamed of it. We should be proud of it,” exclaimed Raymond H. “Ray” LaHood, a proud second generation Arab American and life-long public servant. LaHood represented Illinois’ 18th congressional district in the US House of Representatives for 14 years before serving as the 16th Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. 

Back in 1895, LaHood’s grandparents left their small village of Aitou, Lebanon in search of a better future. The couple settled in Peoria, Illinois, a little over 150 miles southwest of Chicago. Commenting on his grandparents’ decision to settle in Peoria, LaHood acknowledges the seemingly random choice, stating “The only thing that we can figure out is that, when they came through Ellis Island, they didn’t particularly like New York. And the train stopped in Peoria. I mean, we can’t think of any other reason. Can you?” Thanks to immigrants like LaHood’s grandparents and the grandparents of Randy Couri, Peoria established a large Arab American community and helped to enrich the culture of the small, Midwest city.

LaHood was born in 1945 in Peoria, to his Lebanese American father Edward and his mother Mary of German descent. Edward and Mary LaHood operated a restaurant and bar. Although LaHood’s father never graduated high school, he valued education and pushed for his sons, Mike, Ray, and Steve to get an education. LaHood graduated from what is now Peoria Notre Dame High School and went on to pursue a degree in education and sociology at Canton Junior College and then Bradley University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science. 

Following university, LaHood worked as a junior high social studies teacher for six years. Through teaching the younger generation about United States’ history and government, he developed a desire to enter public service. LaHood left his job as a teacher and worked for the Youth Services Bureau, Congressman Tom Railsback (R-IL), the Illinois House of Representatives, and US House Minority Leader Robert Michel (R-IL). Following Michel’s retirement in 1994, LaHood announced his candidacy for the 18th congressional district and won the seat in the US House of Representatives.

LaHood dedicated his 14 years in Congress to representing the people of Illinois and promoting bipartisanism. The Republican congressman maintained his moral and political ground and gained respect across party lines. Known for his fair and even-keeled style, LaHood presided over more debates than any other member of congress during his time in office, most notably the 1998 debate concerning the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Barack_Obama_joking_with_Ray_LaHood_2010.jpgUpon the 2004 election of President Barack Obama to represent Illinois in the Senate, LaHood and Obama vowed to work together for their home state. This bipartisan relationship continued through Obama’s election as President in 2008 when Obama named LaHood Secretary of Transportation. LaHood was not the only Republican in Obama’s first cabinet, but he was the only Arab American. 

As Secretary, LaHood set out to fix the state infrastructure system; he told Diane Rehm, “America is one big pothole … At one time … we were the leader in infrastructure. We built the interstate system. It’s the best road system in the world, and we’re proud of it. But we’re falling behind other countries, because we have not made the investments.” During his tenure, LaHood oversaw more than 15,000 public works projects, including launching a campaign against distracted driving, building high-speed railways, increasing bike and walk paths, safeguarding the rights of aircraft passengers, and raising fuel efficiency standards for cars. Despite his successes, LaHood chose to step down in 2013 perhaps due to a lack of bipartisanism and funding. Although LaHood has retired from public service, his son Rep. Darin LaHood, continues the tradition of service. Americans are grateful for the LaHoods' dedication to public service, and AAI has honored Ray and his son Darin at AAI’s Khalil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards Gala

LaHood’s parents and grandparents sacrificed their education so that their children and their children’s children could succeed. LaHood recognizes the impact that his family and community made on him, stating, “we have stood on the shoulders of those who came before … I’m very proud to be a Republican in President Obama’s administration.  But I’m even prouder to be the only Lebanese – the only Arab American – in the president’s cabinet.” LaHood attributes his success to the hard work and values his family and community instilled in him: “the importance of family, of family values, the importance of education, and the importance of playing by the rules.” Ray LaHood has left a legacy of bipartisanship that continues to inspire many public servants and Arab Americans.

Read more stories about Arab immigrants and their descendants on the "Together We Came" main page.

Annie Riley is a 2017 summer intern at the Arab American Institute. 

          Ex-Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter — Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’ and more   

Scott Ritter debunks the Syrian sarin claims and exposes the propaganda structure behind it as well.

Interesting how debunking articles like this are finding a venue at US politically conservative venues rather than US politically liberal venues now that liberals are on the offensive, promoting propaganda, disinformation, and fake news.

The American Conservative
Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’
Scott Ritter
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

See also
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues.…
How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter

          Going Together to the Twenty-First Century: U.S.-Korea Cooperation on Science and Technology   

34352885680_135d8ef96e_k.jpgWith this week’s summit between American President Donald Trump and Korean President Moon Jae-In, it’s worth looking back at one of the major positive outcomes from the previous U.S.-ROK summit - a joint statement on “New Frontiers of Cooperation,” highlighting areas of science and technology for future U.S.-Korea cooperation. From cybersecurity to clean energy, then-Presidents Obama and Park agreed to push forward together on a variety of science and tech projects.


Now, a year on and two new presidents later, how have the two countries been doing on these projects? And what will science and technology cooperation look like under these new administrations? Sean Connell,  [...]

          Robert Parry: NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard   
The New York Times has finally admitted that one of the favorite Russia-gate canards – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concurred on the assessment of Russian hacking of Democratic emails – is false.

The reality of a more narrowly based Russia-gate assessment was admitted in May by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan in sworn congressional testimony.

Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8 that the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.

Clapper further acknowledged that the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 assessment on alleged Russian hacking were “hand-picked” from the CIA, FBI and NSA.

Yet, as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you “hand-pick” the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion. For instance, if the analysts were known to be hard-liners on Russia or supporters of Hillary Clinton, they could be expected to deliver the one-sided report that they did.

But Hilary repeats the bold faced lie:

For instance, on May 31 at a technology conference in California, Clinton referred to the Jan. 6 report, asserting that “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election.”

Consortium News

NYT Finally Retracts Russia-gate Canard