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Laguna comments

Posted in: California prepares for showdown with Trump over environment See in context

And when highway funding is withheld? Or military bases are up for closure? Or military contracts are sent to different states?

Two different points there, Fu. Cali receives less in benefits than it sends, so if Washington cuts back, Cali might look to send a bit less.

Military bases and contracts are how Cali squares the circle with our outstanding tax contributions. Think: Do you want to move Camp Pendleton to Kansas or Navy Base San Diego to New Orleans? The Cali economy would recover much more quickly than would the military.

Anyway, these have nothing to do with the environment except to show that Uncle Sam needs the Golden Bear much more than vice-versa.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips See in context

It is only speculation as to why the meetings were cancelled for this week, we dont know why and havent been told, so we have to wait.

Probably not for long. The walls are closing in. Nunes didn't only cancel the scheduled testimonies - he also canceled at least two regular committee meetings that were supposed to take place this week. This is not business as usual - in fact, it's not business at all. Blacklabel might chalk this up to scheduling; those paying attention (or without an agenda) will not. Pressure behind the dam is yuuuge,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: California prepares for showdown with Trump over environment See in context

Or one of the most job-killing, depending on which way you look at it.

Exactly. That's why California's population is growing at such anemic rate, its average income lags behind the national average, it is losing its young, educated population, and its housing prices are imploding. The Kansas of the west coast. Terrible.

http://kedc.com/california-remains-no-1-for-business-and-job-growth/

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips See in context

It is now on the public record that she can testify fully, just a matter of the meeting being rescheduled.

Blacklabel, the meeting was not "rescheduled" - it was indefinitely postponed unilaterally by Nunes. Why? Did he decide this himself, or was he instructed to do so?

His crazy White House stunt is probably unrelated to the testimony Yates has but matches the pattern of inexplicability. How did he know of this info? Who invited him - and why to the WH? Why after a week has he provided no details to members of his committee of either party? What exactly did he inform the president?

It is clearly not "just a matter." The next ten days or so will be very instructive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: California prepares for showdown with Trump over environment See in context

Trump: Bring. It. On. If you thought the Freedom Caucus was intransigent over taxes, you've not seen anything yet. California will defend its environment to its last breath - it's in our genes. (Well, except for the inland minority such as those from Bakersfield and Fresno.)

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Posted in: Watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips See in context

This has already been proven as false....

Uh, Blackelabel - no. As I mentioned above, the White House via the Justice Department had issued a warning to Yates that her testimony would require prior WH clearance. Turns out her lawyer had requested clarification on this, and when none was forthcoming, she was fully prepared to testify at the scheduled time and location - and then Nunes yanked it indefinitely.

C'mon, it doesn't take a genius to figure this out. Nunes is not working for congress - the former Trumptransition official is now a WH operative within congress. The WH knows they can't block Yates from testifying about issues not directly related to her communication with Trump, so they've instructed Nunes to put a hold on things until they can come up with some other plan, whether to silence her or prepare for blowback.

Also, please: Enough with the Clintons. They are private citizens without even a scion in sight. Harping back on that, as Trump did in his morning tweetburst today, is petulant and completely off-topic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips See in context

Anyway, Trump has far more serious things to worry about than his golf outings and Mar-a-Lago fleecing. NYMag has a short but comprehensive explanation of the state of the Russiagate investigation, including a blockbuster regarding possible administration attempts to prevent former AG Yates from testifying before the House panel regarding the Flynn episode. Some tidbits:

(A Justice Department official wrote) conversations with the White House “are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege. The president owns those privileges. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to [the intelligence panel], she needs to consult with the White House.

(An analyst wrote) "Yates’ conversation should not be covered by Executive Privilege unless Trump is claiming he was involved in hiding this information from Mike Pence."

(Schiff tweeted) "Chairman just cancelled open Intelligence Committee hearing with Clapper, Brennan and Yates in attempt to choke off public info."

It appears that Nunes has completely shut down the panel for the week. Meanwhile, pressure behind that dam is building yuuugely. Seems to me Trump's time as prez is limited; he should focus rather than golf - he'll have plenty of time for the latter later.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/trump-asked-to-vet-sally-yatess-testimony-at-russia-hearing.html

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips See in context

At least the Secret Service is stocked up with ski gear after Ivanka and Jared's jaunt to Aspen. Seriously: must have been hilarious to see those typically stocky guards doing the piste.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump's son-in-law met with U.S. sanctioned Russian bank; will testify See in context

Which one has proof that it happened and which one doesnt?

Hint: Which really matters and which doesn't? Now that servergate and Benghazi!!! are obsolete, squirrel-pointers struggle to find a new target.

Now as the head of the investigation, Nunes can decide what to do with that evidence next and who to share it with and when.

Maybe in Russia, but America has procedures, rules, and laws which become progressively more constraining. Nunes clearly broke the first two with his undercover escapade; he may have also broken the latter if the documents were truly confidential and he willingly leaked that info. In any case, he stepped in some deep doo doo and will now, eventually, have to excuse himself from the investigation.

Think, Blaclabel: Do you off the top of your head remember the identity of that whistleblower "Deepthroat"? Didn't think so. But you do remember Nixon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: It's home for some See in context

Sad indictment of the 3 rd richest country in the world.

Kinda disagree. Japanese homeless are generally the tidiest, and the government entities which monitor them are generally understanding. Sadly, as Spanki said, under the rug they will be swept away as the Olympics come. I think that they should be allowed to stay as a very photogenic, realistic example of Japanese culture.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump's son-in-law met with U.S. sanctioned Russian bank; will testify See in context

Once again same as Hillary emails...

Sorry, but how does potential conniving with Russia equate with keeping a private server?

...if only place he can view this evidence is the Executive offices near the White House....it isnt available on any other network or from any other source...

That is a good question. There are many locations to view classified documents, but bringing such documents onto congressional grounds might require that they be released to relevant congressional staff. Nunes has yet to release the documents to the committee he purportedly heads though he's been requested to; this is probably because he no longer has access to them.

...doesnt that pretty much prove Obama had it or at least knew about it?

Not at all. Obama left office in January, three months ago. Even if the documents had existed before he left office, he may well not have seen them. One might imagine how many documents the intelligence agencies produce.

The next step it to see what 'it' actually is.

Yes. Here we are in agreement. Who provided Nunes with the documents and for what purpose - and what are they? You can bet that investigators are on that now.

Blacklabel, this is not a "speculation game." Either documents were provided or Nunes lied. If they were provided, that was done in a way that greatly hinders the investigation. Nunes went behind the back of his committee to provide information to the target that he still has yet to reveal to the committee itself - and he had been very vague about precisely what it was (perhaps because he's not clear about it himself). This is not small potatoes, as you say in Russia. Speculation is appropriate here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump's son-in-law met with U.S. sanctioned Russian bank; will testify See in context

Can you be charged with perjury for lying while testifying to a Senate committee?

Depends on if you're sworn - and as a volunteer, Kushner will likely not be. Volunteering is likely his way of avoiding being sworn in and thus avoiding perjury.

Then there's Nunes. I like Crazy Joe's theory that it was Kushner who provided that intelligence to Nunes - it had to be someone at the White House, after all - but who, and for what purpose? You know the GOP side of the House investigation panel is in trouble when a further investigation is called for to investigate their leader.

There is much pressure on Ryan now to replace Nunes. McCain's strong suggestion (now echoed by Schiff) to create an independent commission is picking up speed - but it might be best to maintain the existing structure: while it is subject to politics, it is also far more transparent, as recent events have shown.

At any rate, it might be more time-efficient simply to ask for a show of hands of Trump administration officials who do NOT have ties with Russia.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Democrats See in context

But he didnt hire those people, cant fire them and cant force them to vote for anything that he has promised to the people. .. So I guess all he can do for now is hold them accountable and call them out in public....

I'm curious, Blacklabel, in what you think the job of a president is. Do you think he should simply sit and hope that a legislator will show up with a bill that is to his liking and commands majority support?Or do you think he should roll up his sleeves and immerse himself in the details so that he can guide the crafting of the bill towards whats optimal given practical constraints? Obama did the latter with the ACA; Trump did the former.

Perhaps this Trump's passiveness will be limited to healthcare, something he clearly does not care about - but even so, his was a pathetic effort. So who should ultimately be held accountable? Where does the buck stop?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Democrats See in context

He campaigned on repeal and replace....

Blacklabel, Trumps campaign comments regarding his beautiful healthcare plan resembled in no way what his and Ryan's final package became. Most all politicians stretch the truth or over-promise now and again, but Trump's bill would have proven his promises to be outright lies. The job of a president on such acts of major legislation is to provide an overarching goal and a roadmap to get there. Trump was derelict in both of these.

Dems will work with him if Trump if his legislation matches his goals of improving the healthcare system. Most Dems, of course, feel the best way to do this is to build on the ACA (or go single payer, but that's pie in the sky at this point). Anything else and Trump's outreaching is simply hot air, as much as his campaign promises have thus far turned out to be.

Oh, and yes - Obama ended up with zero GOP votes for the ACA, but he did reach out to dozens of moderate Repubs, if only to provide a facade of bipartisanship for the more conservative Dems.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Democrats See in context

Trump's behavior reminds me of what Steve Martin said about his quarterbacking experience: "I used to like to punt on first down."

That of the House Freedom Caucus reminds me of what Otter said to Flounder in "Animal House": "You f@cked up. You trusted us!"

There is no easy way out for this motley bunch. Fortunately, in this case, inaction was preferable to their disastrous plan for action. For other issues coming up real, real soon - funding the government, raising the debt ceiling - inaction is not an option. The GOP only has a few more months to learn how to govern before this items must be addressed. For everyone's sake, let's hope they acquire at least a modicum of competence by then.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, after stinging defeat, promises a 'great' health plan See in context

And this is why neither party will support a repeal, or a much cheaper and easier to run single-payer system,

sangetsu, perhaps you do not remember the 13 months starting eight years ago during which the ACA was negotiated. Many Dems fervently wanted a single-payer system, but Repubs vehemently resisted. Obama, displaying a trait that would haunt him repeatedly, tried to find a middle road - and got zero GOP votes as a result of his compromise (remember that when you hear Trump whinging about lack of Dem support after the 20 days spent on his healthcare plan with Dems frozen out of negotiations - the final version of the bill wasn't even available until midnight before the vote).

The ACA will evolve into a single-payer system the next time Dems control a sufficient amount of government leverage. It will likely start by making Medicare a buy-in option for everyone; that way, those who prefer private insurance will not be affected. The groundwork could begin after the Dems retake congress late next year. Really, though: How many Repubs would support this? Please do not dump both parties in the same basket.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, after stinging defeat, promises a 'great' health plan See in context

Less happy are families in the middle class with doubled monthly premiums and $6,000-$12,000 deductibles.

That is very true, Himajin. Probably the greatest weakness of the ACA is that it doesn't take care of those in the $50,000 - $80,0000 income ranges sufficiently. That could be very easily fixed, and Dems are eager to do so.

There are several other areas that could also be tweaked to make the system work much better. Two points, though: Middle class families would have been catastrophically worse off under the GOP's plan; and the GOP refuses to work in good faith - that is, they do not want to make the ACA better, they simply want to be rid of it, whatever the consequences.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, after stinging defeat, promises a 'great' health plan See in context

Just "unspecified meetings" - no word about whether he'll hit the links. Kinda like an alcoholic choosing to hold "unspecified meetings" at a bar - "Hey, meetings, man! I'm working here; the venue is entirely coincidental!"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, after stinging defeat, promises a 'great' health plan See in context

He said that “bad things are going to happen to Obamacare. It’s imploding and soon will explode and it’s not going to be pretty.”

It certainly will if vindictive Donald has his way. The ACA is reportedly doing alright, though it could certainly use some tweaking. Trump instead will now do everything in his power to make his prediction come true.

He will do so because he loves himself far more than his fellow man and because he is shallow, spiteful, and malicious with a long memory for wrongs. His gambit is that the ACA's collapse will be blamed on its architects in the Democratic party. Not only is playing with tens of millions of lives in such a cruel fashion truly sadistic, it also probably won't work - at least, not for the 80% of Americans who haven't drunk the Trump Kool Aid.

I used to think Trump was borderline psychotic, but me feelings are changing - perhaps it is time to lose the qualifier.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, GOP leaders pull bill to repeal 'Obamacare' See in context

katsu, tea leaves read that he'll try to blame the Dems for this. I don't think he yet understands the significance of his defeat, but you know him: his desire for revenge is unquenchable. Of course, he cannot punish the Dems directly. All he can do is to ensure that healthcare in America from now runs as dysfunctionally as possible. That is frightening, but fortunately, for all his claims that "Democrats own healthcare now," that is not the case. He is the steward. The press will hold him accountable.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, GOP leaders pull bill to repeal 'Obamacare' See in context

Of concern no is whether Trump will try to sabotage the ACA. There's a lot of damage he could cause by executive order or simple neglect - but he wouldn't be so cruel, would he? WOULD HE?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

The legislative branch has failed the president

Thanks for the Hannity perspective, Serrano! Someone has certainly failed someone, and there will be a whole lot of infighting and bloodletting over the next few weeks - but why don't we just simplify it? The GOP as a whole has failed itself, its supporters, and the nation as a whole.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Ivanka Trump: A White House force, just not an 'employee' See in context

I for one am thankful she's there. A 35-year old fashion "executive" (read: name, seed money) with zero experience in governing hired to be a stabilizing influence on the president of the United States is comforting somehow. That is how bad things have become. (Imagine: "Daddy. Take your hand off the button.")

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

This debacle will certainly put a stake through that myth of Trump's negotiation skills.

One complaint from a bill supporter regarding the Freedom Caucus basically went, "You can't sell a car to someone who doesn't want to buy a car." This is true. However, it is difficult to sell anything if you have no idea what you're selling, and Trump apparently does not. I'm not sure if he's simply uninterested or whether it's all above his head, but the cavalier way in which he caved on minimum benefits indicates the latter.

Second is that he seems to completely lack cognition of the difference between business and government. In the former, one might take a bad deal to grease the axles for better negotiation down the road, or one might simply walk away - the only affected are the negotiating parties. Here, tens of milions of Americans are affected. Always narcissistic, all he's able to think about is himself; this might work in the board room but has no place in the Oval Office.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

The group was asked to do something, yet somehow they do not have the ability to do so. So as a leader do you let it stretch out for weeks and months? As it gets further and further away from what you directed in the first place? Or do you have the people who couldnt do it admit they they couldnt do it by failing their own internal voting on it?

Remember that phrase "The buck stops here," first used by Truman to indicate the ultimate responsibility in an adminstration for whatever happens, good or bad, lies with the president? No? Apparently, neither does Trump.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

Stranger, this is a tactic used by people on the manic idiot-savant borderline: They pretend to be such friggin' geniuses that a line between what is brilliant and what is pulled out of their @ss is not easily discernible, particularly as the leap from topic to topic like a squirrel on meth. With Trump, I suspect he knows he's lying; he just doesn't understand the consequences.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

Looks like Trump has thrown down the gauntlet by demanding a vote on Friday. Regardless of whether the president can dictate the House's schedule (answer: he can't), this seems like a bad idea.

See, it's one thing to promise pudding tomorrow and then repeat that incessantly - that has been the GOP gambit in a nutshell, actually - but quite another to say "No pudding!" which is the message a defeat of Ryan's bill would send. It is quite embarrassing when a long-term promise embodied in a bill your party wrote cannot pass a legislative chamber your party controls.

So now we have two things to watch: Whether Ryan rolls over and - likely against his better judgement - accedes to Trump's ultimatum by allwing a vote; and whether the bill actually passes. (There's a third: who takes the blame. Trump and his coterie have never much liked Ryan. Not a good day to be him.)

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

...or create a simple, single-payer system. Neither political party wants either option...

Disagree. I'd bet you the tamales I'm having for breakfast now (jeeze, I love my wife) that if political constellations aligned with full Dem control, a single payer system would be realized in an instant. The only reason it was lacking under the ACA was to avoid a GOP fillibuster.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Obamacare repeal vote put off in stinging setback for Trump See in context

Will never happen. Dead end. Cul de sac. Dogs barking up wrong tree. Ryan's idea was to push this POS through Congress before people noticed (i.e., before the two-week Easter break, when congressmen will all go home to meet their constituents - during a holiday whose importance is sacrifice, of all times), and that will not happen. There will be no Friday vote. This bill is dead.

There is zero to like about the bill and no way to fix it, but really, it was a fools errand. No way to thread the needle between extremist demands and pragmatic reality ever existed. A sane approach would be to work with Democrats to improve the ACA, but the operative word here is "sane."

Trump bungled this. His promises of "a great plan, a terrific plan" were completely hot air as many had suspected and most should now know. There was never a plan, and all Trump could do to corral his caucus was to threaten - that the voters would retaliate (he's new to the game; congressmen have a far more sense of their district's pulse) or that he would personally (puhleeeze - two months into Trump's presidency and he's already emasculated).

Interesting times.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump fights for support ahead of healthcare vote See in context

Fu, the original draft of the AHCA allowed individuals to roll over tax credits not used for insurance into an HSA, but this was dropped because of political issues: (get this!) some conservatives were worried that this would be a backdoor way for individuals to spend government funds on aborton! This is because the law prohibits insurers benefitting from government subsidies from offering abortion options, but HSAs don't.

The entire bill is political. The sole reason Trump could find to urge his party to support it was that, if they didn't, he'd be angry and they would lose in 2018. The former is true; the latter not so clear. Either way, zero legislatures are voting for this bill on its merits. It is the most craven cave in to political expediency I've seen in my 51 years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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