Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Jokes and Re-hash

There are so many good jokes making the rounds of Twitter and other internet watering holes after this past week of each-day-crazier than the last in the nation's capital.

Here's an amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse of Thursday afternoon from Politico:

...members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off.
"Forget about the little shit," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."

To "the little people," whom dt claimed to champion, "the little shit" matters.

Like how much insurers can charge, whether maternity leave stays in place, and whether people addicted to opiods can get treatment.

Another great scene is dt's bullying of Rep, Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus.  It backfired, not changing his vote.

Then Politico gives us an almost-in-the-tunnel scene between the author, Tim Alberta, and Mark Walker, chair of the Republican Study Committee, an hour before news broke of cancelling the vote.  

A former minister, Walker is by nature relaxed and genteel, but his face was burning red and his voice trembled as we discussed the bill's defeat.
“I’m very bothered. I'm disappointed,” he said, measuring his words.
It must have been quite a day in Washington because I felt the tension three thousand miles away on the West coast.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Vote Cancelled on GOP Bill

Congratulations, Americans!  You can keep your health care insurance.

Time to start betting on how many days the presidency of 45 will last.

Move on to 46.

The Republicans can't pass a bill--even with control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives.

"Repeal and replace..." All those chants during the GOP rallies last year.

Yeah, right.

"Why would you schedule a vote on a bill that is at 17% approval?" asked Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, earlier today.

Many are crediting the town hall meetings with congressmen and women and other grass roots efforts with stopping the proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

See this list of 50 major organizations opposing the GOP plan, along with statements from each group--presented by Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

Babble--before a vote?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

1:30 pm in Washington, D.C.  

10:30 am in California.  

I'm listening to Sean Spicer babble in response to questions from the media.

2 pm in Washington.  I'm listening to news commentators fill space while waiting for the vote that dt insists has to be today or never.  They're saying it will happen at 3:30 pm.

MSNBC says that Paul Ryan's rushed trip to the White House at 1:45 pm is a sign that "repeal and replace" is not happening.  Word is that Ryan was "frank" with dt.

3:30 pm in Washington.  No vote.  Closed door meeting of all Republicans.  MSNBC said today is "the most consequential day in Trump's presidency."  Count is 34 House Republicans saying they will vote NO on ACHA.  

3:35 Bill is pulled.  Vote will not be today.  Even dt does not want to embarrass all those GOP folks in the House.

I loved Nancy Pelosi's comment yesterday that dt is "a rookie" who doesn't know that first you line up the support, then you schedule the vote.  Not vice versa.

Here's a full quote from Vox:

Plan A was to hold a vote on the AHCA for March 23, a date that was picked well before Republicans had rounded up the necessary votes or even finalized the bill’s text. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today characterized this as a “rookie mistake” on Trump’s part, though as she also said, the calendar appears to have been driven by symbolism. The original Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was passed on March 23, 2010, after more than a year of agonizing debate, and Republicans liked the idea of passing repeal on its seventh anniversary.

The Democrats worked on the details of the Affordable Care Act for more than a year.  President Obama participated in the writing of it.  Back in the '90s Hilary and Bill Clinton began serious work on trying to get a health care bill.

But now the Republicans throw something together in a few weeks, Trump okays it, and both houses of Congress are supposed to vote on it--today. 

"Or else" says dt.  

What a joke.

Trucker vs. Frozen-Hearted Gorsuch

Alphonse Maddin - AP Photo by Mike Householder

What a nice guy Neil Gorsuch seems to be as he grins and says "Gosh golly" in answer to questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But the lawyer for Alphonse Maddin aka "the frozen trucker" is speaking out on how heartless Gorsuch is.

When Maddin was fired for abandoning his trailer for 30 minutes to avoid freezing to death, and sued his employer for wrongful termination, Gorsuch sided with the employer.

Maddin was never employed again as a driver.

I first heard about this case on Tuesday while listening to Democratic senators question Gorsuch.

It turns out that the shortened version of the story pales in comparison to the actual details of the life-and-death situation as described by Maddin's lawyer.  Listen to it in this link from Robert Fetter's interview yesterday with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.

Maddin had curled up to sleep in his cab in 20-degrees-below weather.  He was wakened by a phone call from his cousin.  He was incoherent in the phone call.  

His feet were so frozen he could not feel them.  He realized he had to drive to the nearest gas station to save his life.

On Tuesday I listened to Gorsuch explain his ruling against the trucker.  It was all about the technicalities of the order by the dispatcher: "Don't drive away."  He did drive away with only the cab of his truck because the brakes on his trailer (of frozen meat) were frozen.  He went for help.  He returned 30 minutes later after hearing that the repair vehicle--delayed over three hours--had finally arrived at the truck.  

I don't want a Supreme Court justice who hews so closely to the letter of the law that he agrees with this man being fired.  I don't want a justice who in this case, Hobby Lobby, and many others has sided with the business owner, not the employee.

Here's Maddin commenting this week on what it's like to be part of public hearings on the Supreme Court nominee:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Peaceful Day...

I woke up this morning with a sense of peace, for the first time in months.

I knew nothing terrible was going to happen.

dt has passed the high point on his ride around the wheel of fortune, and he's on the way down.

Monday: The FBI is investigating his campaign for possible collusion with Russians.  Good!  

Tuesday:  His nomination of Gorsuch to a seat on the Supreme Court is in jeopardy because 45 himself is in jeopardy.  Even if the nomination got out of the Judiciary Committee, even if he were approved in the House, still Senate Democrats will filibuster for a month or two--and in that amount of time, dt's presidency may become so discredited that everyone will recognize he doesn't deserve to have his nominee approved.

Wednesday:  An independent investigation of dt campaign collusion with Russian spies is all but guaranteed after the televised spectacle of Rep. Devin Nunes putting the House Intelligence Committee on hold to run off and brief 45 on upcoming bad news.

Thursday--today:  Word is that Republicans don't have enough votes to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.  In fact, by late afternoon the vote had been postponed "until Friday."  Whether Republicans can agree on some kind of replacement plan by tomorrow evening is doubtful.  

As a result, today was a peaceful day.  Don't worry, be happy.

Vanity Fair summed up the general mood of the nation with this article, "The Trump-Russia Scandal Is Beginning to Snowball" in its March 23 issue.  Thank you, Abigail Tracy.

I worked on my memoir for the first time since January 31.  (When the government is in chaos, I can't write.)

Japanese relocation: 75 years old today.

This sunny day--March 23, 2017--in southern California is probably much like March 23, 1942.

On that day Japanese Americans from Los Angeles, Seattle, Sacramento, and elsewhere in the US were first rounded up for removal to America's own concentration camps.

Thank you to The Writer's Almanac and Andy Liberman for making me aware of this sad fact.

Unfortunately, Muslim Americans are now under pressure from our government.

Today marks the first day in 1942 when the U.S. government began moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to internment camps. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people were forcibly relocated.
Some Japanese-American men were drafted into the War even as their families remained incarcerated. The camps remained open until 1945.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't Bother Me!

Congressmen want your input--until they don't.

The staff of Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho got tired of the group of liberal seniors who routinely came by their congressman's office--probably to fight for their health care.

So staff member Scott  Carleton reported the group to the US Capitol Police.

The group, Lewis-Clarkston Valley Indivisible, is affiliated with national, which encourages town hall meetings with members of Congress.

The message? "Just vote for us--don't ask us to listen to you once we're in office."

Thank you to my friend Brenda for this tip from the