Sunday, June 17, 2018

GOP "Wars:" Women, Seniors, Immigrants, Minorities, Healthcare, the Poor and Needy

Not just Trump but a large majority of the GOP and their base 
(The question is why)

From this storyA nasty move by Trump and a long term goal in the GOP's war on the poor and needy (e.g., proposed cuts to Social Security and turning Medicare/Medicaid into a voucher program ref: Paul Ryan).

Latest is #17 on this list. Pretty pitiful isn’t it, but right in character with GOP thinking and I ask: Don’t RED states folks use these programs – hell, I guess not, right? (Cue the laughing now).

The rationale behind new Trump proposals/cuts is based on the usual misconception about exactly which Americans are on food stamps. 

Well, here are the facts about food stamp recipients from a USDA website, using the most recent data available from fiscal year 2016 and published in January 2018. In that year, the program served some 44.2 million people, a slight decrease from previous years. 

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16 programs that the GOP hates and wants to “reform” read:
“Cut funding or abolish”…

1. Veterans Health AdministrationThe largest single-payer health care system in the United States and graded as “effective in providing access to inexpensive health care for low-income veterans.”
2. The Child Tax Credit Provides assistance to families with children and it has protected about 2.9 million people from falling into poverty, including about 1.5 million children.
3. The Earned Income Tax Credit:  Provides cash assistance to low-income working families and accord to Ryan himself: “studies on the EITC shows it is an effective tool for encouraging and rewarding work among lower-income individuals, particularly single mothers.”
4. Rural Housing Assistance Grants:  Funds the repair and improvement of rural housing units and it “allows very low-income elderly homeowners on a fixed budget to remain at home and independent.”
5. Title X Family Planning provides grants to states for family planning and related preventive health services, excluding abortion services. The report found that the program is “moderately effective. According to a 2005 OMB assessment, “women who utilize Title X (Family Planning program) services as their primary source of health care have significantly greater odds of receiving contraceptive services and/or care for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than women who utilize private physicians or HMOs.”
6. Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides funding to states in support of health care costs associated with HIV/AIDS treatments for individuals and families. The initiative “has been shown to fill gaps in Medicaid’s HIV/AIDS services and delivery programs,” the report found.
7. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS provides housing assistance and supportive services for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. The program was found to be “effective” in “assisting a vulnerable population to achieve beneficial outcome.”
8. Federal Health Centers provide grants to outpatient primary-care facilities. The report found “fewer racial and ethnic disparities at community health centers” and concluded that they “perform better than private-practice primary case in some cases.”  What’s more, medical expenses for health center patients were found to be lower compared to patients who receive care elsewhere.
9. Homeless Assistance Grants provide rehab-housing and supportive housing to the homeless. The program has been shown to “decrease homeless and reduce costs related to health care and institutionalization.”
10. Low income subsidy for Medicare Part D helps low-income seniors access medications they otherwise would not use. A 2012 study compared two groups of seniors with similar commodities and found that seniors taking advantage of the LIS subsidy were significantly more likely to take medically necessary medications than the group not enrolled in the LIS program.
11. The Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant has helped reduce infant mortality and was rated highly effective by OMB report.
12. Elderly Nutrition Program funds group meals and home-delivered meals for senior citizens. “By and large, studies have found that the program is well targeted towards the low-income elderly and to those with increased risk for nutrition and health problems.
13. Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides adequate nutrition to pregnant women, infants, and children. “Most of the academic literature supports that the WIC program increases birth weights for low-income women,” the report concludes.
14. School Breakfast Program increases both nutrition and academic achievement among low-income children it doesn’t seem to increase the likelihood that a child will eat breakfast.
15. Education for Homeless Children and Youth provides funding for states to create programs to ensure homeless children and youth have access to public education. The initiative improves student performance.
16. Child Care and Development Fund helps low-income families afford child care. The report agrees that the subsidies increase the likelihood of participation in the labor force and encourages single mothers to pursue education.

Just added by Trump and addressed in the linked story above:

17. SNAP (Food Stamps): White House OMB will release a new report outlining a plan to move all safety-net programs into HHS, and to give that new department also a new name, emphasizing the word “welfare” (which will play to the “free stuff” angry GOP based. The move also will lump the $70 billion for SNAP (Food Stamps) in with Medicare and Medicaid. Under one roof and making it easier to cut SNAP – a long time GOP goal. 


Thanks for stopping by.














Saturday, June 16, 2018

"The Art of Con" Again in Clear View: Now Affecting Immigrant Children Mental Health

ICE: Does that mean a cold drink? I'll ask mommy
(Hey, where’s my mommy)
(A picture worth 10,000 words or arrests)

HOT TOPIC: 

My Introduction to this fine analysis from the Washington Post (below) with my emphasis on critical points – the ones Trump and many GOPers always seem to conveniently skip over re: Trump’s routine strong and standard harsh terms and based on many Trump lies and flat out false claims:
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So, hey Mr. and Mrs. America and especially “Trump loyalists” – listen up:

What we are witnessing right now and once again smack in our face is the Trump “Art of the Con” – not deal making or skill from “I’m the smartest man in world at negotiating” or with any finesse whatsoever. Nope, we have a Flim-Flam Con Artist right here in our own “River City” and in our collective face.

The subject is immigration, and I will say right up front something we all know and supposedly cherish – our heritage. We all (except truly native Americans) have our roots in families that immigrated to America – most legally, but some illegally in many cases over the decades past. All of them no matter how, came here for a better life, some to escape poverty or in many cases war, famine, crime, other turmoil inhumane terms.

But with Trump we have a horror show as I said, once again right in our face, now ripping children away from their parents who brought them here – no fault of their own to seek a better life – and, yet Trump wants to sustain his “nasty blame game” when in reality it is his bigoted fault.

Related – click the video link below – it also explains the topic (about 3 minutes):


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From the Washington Post analysis:

Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — separating immigrant parents from their young children at the southern border, according to White House officials.
  
Trump suggested he would not change the policy unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands, which include (1) funding a border wall, (2) tightening the rules for border enforcement, and (3) curbing legal entry. He also is intent on pushing members of his party to vote for a compromise measure that would achieve those long-standing priorities.

(I note: Trump shames DEMS to support his crap knowing full and well he does not have GOP votes on the harsh policy to pass any standalone bill. He needs the DEMS and he thinks shame will turn them his way. He is flat out wrong on this approach. Many GOPers also know it. Now we shall see who stands for right or wrong and common sense).

Trump’s public acknowledgment that he was willing continue as he pursued his political goals came as the president once again blamed Democrats for a policy enacted and touted by his own administration.

Trump tweeted this after listing his demands in any immigration bill:  “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda,” he tweeted “Go for it! WIN!”

The attempt to gain advantage from a practice the American Academy of Pediatrics describes as causing children “irreparable harm” sets up a high-stakes gambit for Trump, whose political career has long benefited from harsh rhetoric on immigration.

Democrats have latched onto the issue and vowed to fight in the court of public opinion, with leaders planning trips to the border to highlight the stories of separated families, already the focus of news media attention. 

Democratic candidates running for vulnerable Republican seats also have begun to make the harsh treatment of children a centerpiece of their campaigns.

The policy has cracked Trump’s usually united conservative base, with a wide array of religious leaders and groups denouncing it. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention issued statements critical of the practice. 

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who delivered a prayer at Trump’s inauguration, signed a letter calling the practice “horrible.” 

Pastor Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse, a vocal supporter of the presidents who has brushed aside past Trump controversies, called it “terrible” and “disgraceful.”

Besides increasing the odds of a broader immigration bill, senior Trump strategists believe that the child separation policy will deter the flow of migrant families across the border. Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents during six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The figure is the only one released by the government.

(My insert: I wonder who the “senior Trump strategists and, and do any of them even have small children themselves: Hint: My first guess to ID the leader of that bunch would be the staunch anti-immigrant ass, Stephen Miller followed by Jeff Sessions a close second – then anyone’s guess).

A White House official said: “The president has told folks that in lieu of the laws being fixed, he wants to use the enforcement mechanisms that we have.

The thinking in the building is to force people to the table.” Trump reinforced that notion at the White House when he suggested Democrats (falsely again) alone had the power to alter the policy.

(I note: the law as such was passed under Obama and the GOP, but they never separated children this way — ever — so the policy as such then was nowhere the present harsh implementation by Trump and Sessions now ... that is a historical fact — look it up and BTW: The GOP runs the whole government shebang so they could in heartbeat change the policy, but Trump wants blame to benefit his so-called skills in deal-making).

Then Trump had the audacity to say: “I hate the children being taken away.”

(I have to say: Bull Mr. Trump, utter BS).

The president used a similar strategy last year as he sought to gain approval for his immigration demands by using the lure of protection for young immigrants brought to the United States as children. That effort, which ran counter to Trump’s earlier promise to sign a bipartisan bill protecting the young immigrants, foundered in Congress.

Democratic and Republican strategists believe the odds of passing a broad new immigration law — this one ending the family separation policy — remain slim.

My 2 cents: All my views are basically highlighted above – so not much more to add that to state the obvious: Trump is a bigot and racist and anti-immigrant hateful man, period. Measure that against all his words and actions and deeds and attempts at harsh policy. The evidence is compelling: Trump is a bigot and hates immigrants - sadly his own family came from Germany and two of his three wives were immigrants — how's that for his sick irony? Pretty hard to square that circle, Mr. Trump. 

All I finally say is stay tuned and for goodness sake if you disagree with Trump on this policy or his other harsh policies (anti-health care and especially harsh toward women and seniors on social security and Medicare cuts, etc.) then get onboard the movement to turn things around this November. Help get get out the vote and take friends, too and do whatever you think is right. 

Our national honor, dignity, core values, compassion, and yes, the future are at stake.

Thanks for stopping by.



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

EPA Chief Pruitt Must Go ASAP: Or is Trump Waiting for More Corruption to Pile Up

The arrogant Scott Pruitt vs. America

Plenty of fire and corruption from Smokey the Pruitt


This update of the story goes more downhill ever since Pruitt took over the EPA – this update and whole story from the Washington Post re: Pruitt’s abuse of his office and corruption and law breaking:

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year had a top aide help contact Republican donors who might offer his wife a job, eventually securing her a position at a conservative political group that has backed him for years, according to multiple individuals familiar with the matter.

The job hunt included Pruitt’s approaching wealthy party supporters and conservative figures with ties to the Trump administration. The individuals said Pruitt enlisted Samantha Dravis, then serving as associate administrator for the EPA’s Office of Policy, to line up work for his wife, Marlyn.

When one donor, Doug Deason, said he could not hire Pruitt because of a conflict of interest, Pruitt continued to solicit his help in trying to find other possibilities.

A spokesman for the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) confirmed that it employed Pruitt’s wife, a onetime school nurse, “temporarily as an independent contractor,” but it did not disclose via email how long she worked there or what she was paid. The spokesman said the position came about after the group received her résumé from Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society. The two organizations have financial ties.

Note: Leo is a prominent Pruitt backer and longtime friend who was involved in arrangements for the administrator’s visit to Italy last year. Taxpayers spent more than $100,000 on the trip, which included private tours of the Vatican and meals at some of Rome’s finest restaurants.

Marlyn Pruitt left the JCN earlier this year, the spokesman said, adding that the group was pleased with her work. But the search and hiring raises more ethics questions about Scott Pruitt’s use of EPA staff as well as his contacts with GOP contributors and outside allies for his personal benefit. Federal ethics rules prohibit public officials from using their posts for private gain or receiving free services or other gifts from their subordinates.

Virginia Canter, executive branch ethics counsel for the public watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said in an interview that Pruitt’s having a full-time EPA employee “become the headhunter for his spouse” was “highly inappropriate” and “would affect his financial interests.”

Pruitt already faces more than a dozen federal inquiries into his spending and management decisions at the agency, including: (1)  his first-class travels, (2) a $50-a-night condo rental from a lobbyist, and (3) the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office.

In several instances over the past 15 months, according to the individuals familiar with those overtures, Pruitt made overtures to corporate executives and prominent Republicans whom he had met either while he was serving as OK AG or after joining President Trump’s Cabinet.

Deason told officials — including Dravis and Mitchell — that he could not hire Pruitt because his company has financial dealings in areas regulated by the agency. He agreed to brainstorm other possibilities for her, he said Tuesday, consulting with both women about potential jobs. Deason said Dravis eventually deferred his questions to Mitchell. Marlyn Pruitt worked as a school nurse in the early 1990s before focusing on raising the couple’s two children, according to Oklahoma state records and interviews with several current and former Trump administration officials.

She and her husband have a residence in Tulsa and one in Washington, and he told EPA aides last spring that he needed more money to maintain both. Current and former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said the administrator embarked on a concerted campaign to line up employment opportunities for her.

My 2 Cents:Drain the Swamp” – ha, Trump is filling it with the likes Scott Pruitt and whole country knows it, too … so why hasn’t Trump fired him? 

Simple: Pruitt does “stuff” that Trump likes as part of being a science-denier and that sort of “stuff” – special favs for his wife – no biggie – Trump did it for Kushner and daughter Ivanka, too. 

It all fits the Trump pattern like a B&E crime: Get into government as quickly as possible; then get all you can just as quickly as possible; and get out as quickly as possible before the residents come home or wake up and find the house is empty. 

Then plead the 5th if caught and hire an expensive DC law team. 

Pruitt is a total disgrace and why GOPers are not speaking out defies logic and gravity – why is that? Hell, maybe they are cut from that same Trump cloth. Time will tell. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

And, thank goodness for the very alert and honest media for tracking and reporting on these Trump appointees and their shenanigans – kudos to the media.



Monday, June 11, 2018

USSC Upholds Ohio Voter Roll Purge: Short-Term Win for GOP Voter Suppressors

United States Supreme Court: 2018 Class Picture
(Not circled: Bader-Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor)

Add: Ohio to a few other states Use it (vote) or Lose it” 
(Lousy policy to say the least)

Seems to me the only way the GOP can win is by devious means, even with lousy candidates and sneaky shenanigans. Cite: This latest from the USSC reported on here from Reuters, VOX here, NBC News here, and Axios here as well as other major outlets.

THIS MAJOR 5-4 HIGH COURT DECISION – THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Ohio said the policy was needed to keep voting rolls current, clearing out people who have moved away or died. Being challenged and under current Ohio policy, if registered voters miss voting for two years, they are sent registration confirmation notices. If they do not respond and do not vote over the following four years, they are purged. 

Note: Trump's administration backed Ohio, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy (surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle would say).

GOP SOS Jon Husted said: “This decision is validation of Ohio's efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing (of the) nation's highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use.”

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito said: “The court was not deciding whether Ohio's policy is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date. The only question before us is whether it violates federal law. It does not.”

All four court dissenters said: Democrats have accused Republicans of taking steps at the state level, including laws requiring certain types of government-issued identification, intended to suppress the vote of minorities, poor people and others who generally favor Democratic candidates. 

The challengers also criticized what they called Ohio's “use it or lose it” (right to vote) policy that they said violated registered voters' right to choose when to vote, noting that some voters do not cast a ballot when they do not support any of the candidates running. 

The 1993 federal law, known by its acronym NVRA, was enacted to make it easier to register. Many states over the decades had erected to voting, sometimes targeting black voters.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor said: “The ruling ignores the history of voter suppression against which the NVRA was enacted and upholds a program that appears to further the very disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters that Congress set out to eradicate. 

Communities that are disproportionately affected by unnecessarily harsh registration laws should not tolerate efforts to marginalize their influence in the political process, nor should allies who recognize blatant unfairness stand idly by.”

Note: A 2016 Reuters analysis found roughly twice the rate of voter purging in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods in Ohio's three largest counties as in Republican-leaning neighborhoods.

Earlier links – same topic:

1.  Here from the Washington Post: 

2.  Here from TruthOut.org:

Overall Background, Introduction, and Some Facts: People are 3,615 times more likely to report a UFO sighting than they are to commit in-person voter impersonation, according to national data. If anyone wants a good cause to stand and fight for, then voter rights should ring your bell.  A few facts re: GOP argument these new laws prevent fraud:

Some GOPers argue: “We must show an ID to fly, to drive, or to buy beer why not to vote?”

I say: That kind of talk is a red herring. Those are not constitutional rights – voting is. This is their solution that seeks a problem. Like invading Iraq then looking for a reason.

FYI: National UFO Reporting Center records show there were 47,000 reports of UFO sightings between 2000 and 2010. 

During the same period, just 13 people were convicted of impersonating someone else in order to vote in their name, according to research by Justin Levitt, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. [UFO Quiz: What's Really Out There]

Mother Jones assembled the numbers in order to fact-check claims by many Republican lawmakers that their states are facing rampant voter fraud. Since 2011, 24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states. Other studies indicate low-income and minority voters are most often disenfranchised by laws requiring voters to have government-issued photo IDs. For example, 25 percent of voting-age African-Americans don't have valid IDs.

Put the 13 confirmed cases of voter impersonation into perspective this way:

1.     Each year, 15 Americans are crushed to death by their furniture or televisions.
2.     Some 14 are injured by exploding toilets
3.     About 100 are accidentally set on fire by their doctors during surgery.
4.     Interestingly enough: There are some 3 million Americans more likely to have a favorable view of North Korea than to commit blatant and actual voter fraud.

Great Example of Voter Suppression in PA: The fake and phony voter ID / voter fraud law hampered 93-year old Ms. Viviette Applewhite, who BTW had voted for over 50 years but cannot now since she can't meet the new state voter ID requirement. 

She like millions of other Americans of her generation, and others who changed names, or forget to change an address, do not have a birth certificate for any number of reasons, and for which those harsh laws effect are the same pattern – stop people from voting for no good reason. Ms. Applewhie, BTW is a native born black lady. Her story is here from MSNBC News.

Voter Suppression – case reflection 2012:

1.     Hispanics make up 16% of America: The GOP got 27% percent of the Hispanic vote. The Democrats got 71%.
2.     Asians make up 5% of America: The GOP got 26% of their vote. Democrats picked up 73%.
3.     Blacks make up 13% of America: The GOP got 6% of the Black vote. Democrats got the rest.
4.     Mr. Obama got 60% of the vote among voters younger than 30.
5.     Mr. Obama won the female vote by 12% (56% to Romney’s 44%).
6.     Whites went for Romney 59%, and some 40% for Obama (NOTE: there are 63.7% Whites in America when Hispanics who describe themselves as "white" are taken out of the calculation, otherwise it is about 72% white).

Previous links and blog posts I have made related to this subject follow since 2012:

(Please NOTE: Some links may not be valid, up to date, or have been deleted. If so, sorry in advance):


The bottom line for GOP voter fraud issue - pure hype

Thanks for stopping by -- a big issue for sure - do what you can to stop this wild, unfounded GOP-run hype, or in Trump style: This is “Fake Issue.”