Monday, October 16, 2017

Representative Cheerleader

So here's Rep Stefanik giving an attaboy to burning more coal.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose northern New York district includes the Adirondack Park, has a nuanced response to the Trump administration canceling the Clean Power Plan, which would have reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The Republican from Willsboro never supported the Clean Power Plan because it was started on President Barack Obama’s executive authority rather than by Congress.

“When Congress is circumvented in the process, the policy can easily be undone from one administration to the other,” Stefanik’s spokesman, Tom Flanagin, wrote in an email Thursday. “Congress, not federal bureaucrats, should set our national energy policy.”

Now Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency plans to scrap the Clean Power Plan to protect coal production, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said earlier this week. The plan was never enacted; a court blocked it shortly after Obama announced it.

A nuanced response is a lot more than we normally get from her. Apparently, laws passed and signed by the president are also easily undone from one administration to another

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, issued the following statement on Thursday supporting President Trump’s executive order to expand choice in health care for families and businesses:

“Families and businesses in my district, deserve more choice in healthcare, and I applaud these efforts to lower costs,” Stefanik said. “Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage. I will continue to work in Congress on bipartisan healthcare solutions to help lower costs, increase access and improve quality.”

So, the last letter ended up in the "letters I've written never meaning to send category." This one is sent. 

    It's not surprising to see Rep. Stefanik praising President Trump for ridding us of President Obama's evil executive order attempting to regulate coal burning. While Obama wasn't able to get that passed in Congress, he was able to get ACA passed. It seems a little hypocritical for our congresswoman to then extol Trump for an executive order undermining this established law. Having failed to "repeal and replace," the GOP is embracing the Samson option. Steve Bannon, a few days ago, "Not gonna make the CSR payments. Gonna blow that thing up, gonna blow those exchanges up, right?"
     "Allowing employers to pool together and purchase insurance across state lines is commonsense and will allow more people to access affordable coverage," from Stefanik statement. That means loosening laws on association health plans that will allow the skirting of the essential health benefits required under ACA. Commonsense is enabling insurers to choose the states with the most lenient regulations, I suppose. The insurance market won't work when the healthy and the sick self-select into their own respective niches and policies are not subject to regulation. That's the beginning of the race to the bottom.
     In 1992, there were plans such as these, referred to as multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs).  They "left at least 398,000 participants and their beneficiaries with more than $123 million in unpaid claims between January 1988 and June 1991" (Washington Post). "MEWAs have proven to be a source of regulatory confusion, enforcement problems and, in some instances, fraud." (GAO). It's not much of a shock to see them promulgated 25 years later by the man who was successfully sued for Trump University. It is disheartening to see our representative giving him thumbs up for doing so, though.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dissenting View on My Representative

Haven't been writing on the blog or to the Post Star much. Let's kill two birds. Mark Westcott wrote to the local paper today lavishing praise on Rep. Stefanik. God knows I can't let that pass. So here's a first draft anyway.

     I’m responding to Mark Westcott’s letter commending Rep. Stefanik’s performance. He touts her bi-partisanship by listing different pieces of legislation she has supported. I think it’s great that she’s not aligned with the extreme positions of the Freedom Caucus. Of course, I’d also be curious how often she votes in line with them. I’m fairly sure everything he mentioned would have been supported by a hypothetical Democratic representative. That Democrat likely wouldn’t have voted to send the flawed AHCA to the Senate in the vain hope that it would be mended there. They would, God willing, be working to make real fixes to the existing policy, the ACA. I suspect that the “repeal and replace” she ran on twice is more important than making changes to improve the existing policy.

     There’s a bill making silencers easier to acquire that has been postponed twice. The first time it was put off by the shooting of Rep. Scalise and the second time by the Las Vegas tragedy. Having fully made her bones with the NRA, I have no doubt how she’ll vote on that and the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act if it comes up. I’m hopeful that if we get a Democratic rep who’s not hypothetical it will lead to gun policy not dictated by the gun industry. They’re maybe going to allow bump stocks to be outlawed. Wonderful. What does that do for the 20,000 suicides in a given year? They’re not going to allow the repeal of the Dickey Amendment that would send some money toward researching how to cut gun deaths. And neither is Rep. Stefanik. 

And here's an actual writer, David Frum at The Atlantic, writing on my favorite hobby horse

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It's Good to Keep a Few Wingers Around

I've managed to collect a right-winger or two on my Facebook friend list. The one I scored this from I defriended awhile back, but it's worth checking in now and then. Have you seen this photo.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Of course not, because you won't see that in the liberal media. You probably didn't see the one of Trump saving the two cats either. Thank God the Russians are on FB to spread this hidden news around.

Mark Zuckerberg is full of shit. I've reported false nonsense that people have up that is anti-Muslim among other nastiness and it never goes down.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I Suppose It's in Poor Taste

Because of the recent shooting in Texas, but since it barely made the news I guess it's all good.

The days are growing colder, and soon millions of American hunters will pursue a time-honored tradition. They will load their automatic weapons with armor-piercing bullets, strap on silencers, head off to the picnic grounds on nearby public lakes — and start shooting.

If you do not immediately recognize this pastime as part of America’s heritage, then you are sadly out of step with the current Republican majority in Congress. On Tuesday, a House panel takes up the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017,” which promises “to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.”

It's probably a waste of time to ask my congresswoman to vote against it, but what the hell. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Defending Venomous Attacks

This will be in response to this letter which I'll just post the beginning of. that's really the apropos part.

Nearly every morning, as predicted, there is a venomous attack against our president or our congresswoman. It’s getting old. This paper has made a clear choice between being a journalistic-based or politically-based organization. Unfortunately, they have chosen to be political, much like most media outlets today.

So, this is my venomous attack on him.

    I'm responding to Harrison Francett's letter attacking the Post Star because "Nearly every morning there is a venomous attack against our president or our congresswoman. It's getting old." Since it's so frequent, it seems examples would've been easy to come by, but alas, not a one. What are really getting old are the venomous attacks on our daily paper, here and there, as "liberal media" without providing any basis for that. If there's an article or op-ed you find unfair write a letter about it.
     In that same day's paper, Rep. Stefanik "did not state her views on DACA specifically." There was some boilerplate from her spokesman about fixing immigration. No real opinion. Lots of us have a problem with the no comment thing. Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo have given opinions on DACA, even if you don't agree with them. Most Congress people, even Republicans, have held more than one town hall since January. If enough upstate folks share Mr. Francett's view that she's approachable and independent then she'll be re-elected next November. As a reminder, the Post Star did endorse her re-election last year.
     Also in that day's paper was an article reporting that "staunch 'resist' Democrat" Schumer, along with Nancy Pelosi, had teamed up with President Trump to raise the debt limit. Maybe the president can work with Democrats to get an immigration bill since Congressional Republicans seem incapable of governing. Is it a venomous attack to report that Trump is making agreements with Chuck and Nancy? Probably in some circles.

If there's an edition of the Post Star that makes venomous attacks on Trump and Stefanik nearly every morning then I'm receiving the wrong one. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Senator Danforth Letter

Great letter in Washington Post in reply to Danforth editorial.

Mr. Trump forms a “voter fraud” commission after claiming 5 million undocumented people voted in the most recent election. Republican legislatures around the nation pass “voter identification” laws. Both Mr. Trump’s fraud commission and these ID laws have the same purpose: figure out new ways to suppress minority votes.

Mr. Trump continues to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in Congress spent seven years calling for the same thing, and tried multiple times in the past several months to do so.

And more.

As a Nightmare Begins, Another May Be Winding Down

The one in Texas is just beginning. They still have days to go before the end of Harvey leaves their state a hellscape. Fortunately, Robert Mueller is still on the job and end of Trump's presidency is coming. I'm optimistic anyway. Good article by Digby. There's just too much good stuff to single any out. I love this quote from Steve Schmidt:

We worked on two presidential campaigns at high levels and there weren’t any Russians around. I don’t think there were Russians around the Obama campaign or the Kerry campaign either.

This campaign had Russians all over the place!

This was a link from the Digby piece to a Politico article showing Trump continuing to work at winning friends and influencing Senators. 

President Donald Trump privately vented his frustration over Russia-related matters with at least two other Republican senators this month, according to people familiar with the conversations — in addition to the president's public admonishments of Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

And this was in today's paper

President Trump's campaign-season flattery of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a head scratcher at the time, makes a bit more sense after The Washington Post reported Sunday night that Trump's company was working on a deal to build a skyscraper in Moscow.

The Post's Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman reported that “as part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say 'great things' about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.”

Oh yes, and Trump had a lot of very nice things to say about Putin, too.