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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,385

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Here's the secret payoff to health insurance CEOs buried in the GOP Obamacare repeal bill

“Consumers across America should know that when they pay their hard-earned dollars to cover the soaring cost of premiums, they are not just chipping in to pay for the CEOs’ next new yacht,” said then-Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-ceos-20170307-story.html


Concealed within the 123 pages of legislative verbiage and dense boilerplate of the House Republican bill repealing the Affordable Care Act are not a few hard-to-find nuggets. Here’s one crying out for exposure: The bill encourages health insurance companies to pay their top executives more.

It does so by removing the ACA’s limit on corporate tax deductions for executive pay. The cost to the American taxpayer of eliminating this provision: well in excess of $70 million a year. In the reckoning of the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank that analyzed the limitation in 2014, that would have been enough that year to buy dental insurance under the ACA for 262,000 Americans, or pay the silver plan deductibles for 28,000.

As part of an effort to rein in soaring executive pay, the ACA decreed that health insurance companies could deduct from their taxes only $500,000 of the pay of each top executive. That’s a tighter restriction than the limit imposed on other corporations, which is $1 million per executive. The ACA closed a loophole for insurance companies enjoyed by other corporations, which could deduct the cost of stock options and other “performance-based” pay; for insurance companies, the deduction cap is $500,000 per executive, period.

The idea was to signal that the ACA, which cemented health insurance companies into the center of American healthcare, wasn’t a pure giveaway to the industry.
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The GOP health bill doesnt know what problem its trying to solve - Ezra Klein

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/6/14838122/republican-health-bill-obamacare-replacement


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Little in politics shocks me. The process House Republicans want to use for their health care bill does. After literally years of complaining Obamacare was jammed down the American people’s throats with insufficient information or consideration, the GOP intends to hold committee votes on their bill two days after releasing it, and without a Congressional Budget Office report estimating either coverage or fiscal effects. It’s breathtaking.

If Republicans believed the American people — or even their own legislators — would like the results of a thorough estimate of their proposal’s effects, they would have waited for one. We’ll get a CBO report anyway, of course. My guess is it will say this: The GOP plan will lead to significant declines in coverage (Loren Adler estimates an eye-popping 15 to 20 million people will lose insurance) as well as accelerating the exhaustion of the Medicare trust fund due to the tax cuts. After years of Republicans complaining that co-pays and deductibles were too high in Obamacare, co-pays and deductibles will be significantly higher under their replacement. The plan will significantly reduce taxes on the rich.

I honestly have no idea what it will do to the deficit — it’s hard to see any short-term reduction, and if there’s a long-term reduction, it will only be due to deep, deep Medicaid cuts, which will mean a correspondingly large increase in the uninsured. It’s worth noting that the GOP’s main idea for reducing health care costs — ending or capping the tax break for employer-provided insurance — has been left out of this legislation. There is simply no theory of cost control in this bill at all.

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The plan is strikingly regressive compared to the Affordable Care Act. Cynthia Cox estimates that a 40-year-old making 160 percent of the poverty line would get $4,143 in subsidies under the ACA, but only $3,000 under the GOP plan. By contrast, a 40-year-old making $75,000 would get nothing under the ACA, but $3,000 under the GOP plan.

Hypocrisy is a minor sin in politics, but still, it is remarkable how much of it there is to be found in this legislation. A core Republican complaint when Obamacare was passed was that the law delayed many of its provisions in order to reduce public outcry and manipulate the CBO’s score. The GOP bill is similarly aggressive with such tricks, delaying changes to the Medicaid expansion until 2020 and pushing Obamacare’s tax on expensive insurance plans out until 2025.
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The Russian Developments that Matter Most --- Keith Olbermann - This is GREAT!


... You might want to take notes. Olbermann covers the Trump - Russian connections better than anybody I've heard (hell, on M$M they aren't even trying to)

https://thescene.com/watch/gq/the-closer-with-keith-olbermann-the-russian-developments-that-matter-most

Commentary: Donald Trump's wiretap tweets raise his risk of impeachment - Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-trump-impeachment-wiretapping-20170306-story.html


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The basic premise of the First Amendment is that truth should defeat her opposite number. "Let her and Falsehood grapple," wrote the poet and politician John Milton, "who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

But this rather optimistic adage accounts only for speech and debate between citizens. It doesn't apply to accusations made by the government. Those are something altogether different.

In a rule-of-law society, government allegations of criminal activity must be followed by proof and prosecution. If not, the government is ruling by innuendo.

Shadowy dictatorships can do that because there is no need for proof. Democracies can't.

Thus, an accusation by a president isn't like an accusation leveled by one private citizen against another. It's about more than factual truth or carelessness.
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A Trump hotel project seems to have involved a front for Iran's Revolutionary Guard

It wouldn’t be the first time Trump got into money-laundering trouble
http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/6/14827604/trump-tower-baku


A lengthy new investigative story published by Adam Davidson in the New Yorker reveals that Donald Trump’s business dealings in Azerbaijan likely violated the Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act, and may have served as a conduit for money-laundering and other underhanded activities undertaken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

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The kind of exacting scrutiny that his finances would necessarily undergo in the event of a thorough investigation of Trump’s possible links to the Russian government would bring an enormous amount to light about a huge range of deals. That, in turn, might uncover illegal or scandalous activity that, like this story about Trump in Azerbaijan, has no apparent relationship at all with Vladimir Putin or Russian intelligence.

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The story raises two related legal issues.

One is whether Trump’s business ties to an extraordinarily corrupt Azerbaijani family involved violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that Trump has been sharply critical of in public but which remains on the books and which Attorney General Jeff Sessions swore during his confirmation hearings he was committed to upholding.

The other is whether the Mammadov-Azarpassillo nexus violates US sanctions against Iran. The legal rules barring US firms from receiving funds that originated with a sanctioned Iranian entity, which certainly includes the Revolutionary Guard, are quite strict. You can’t simply say you didn’t know that the developer who was paying you for your licensing services was actually getting his money from a Revolutionary Guard front group. You need to do strict due diligence.

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Trump's baseless wire-tap claim,, Uh, you want us to investigate whether Obama's an alien too?

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/04/politics/trump-obama-wiretap-tweet/


President Donald Trump made a stunning claim Saturday, alleging without offering evidence that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 election.

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Trump tweeted early Saturday morning in one part of a six-tweet tirade that began just after 6:30 a.m.

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Yeah, he just found out from Steve Bannon.

Senator suggests FBI has transcripts that might point to collusion between Trump and Russia

https://thinkprogress.org/senator-suggests-fbi-has-transcripts-that-might-point-to-collusion-between-trump-and-russia-38bf9918f77e#.r95dtpkv9


During an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) expressed frustration that the intelligence community has so far resisted congressional requests to be forthcoming with their investigations into the Trump administration’s communication with Russian officials. He also suggested there were transcripts detailing what the FBI and other agencies know.

For months now, the intelligence community has been looking into whether senior officials within the Trump campaign (and now Trump White House) communicated or colluded inappropriately with Russian officials. The administration has already lost one cabinet official for his failure to disclose inappropriate communication with Russian diplomats, and on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his recusal from all ongoing and future investigations involving Russia after he too failed to disclose communications with Russian officials.

Democrats—and more than a few Republicans—on the Senate and House intelligence committees are insisting that the intelligence community cooperate with their own investigations into possible collussion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to sway the outcome of the November election. So far, the FBI has resisted full disclosure of their findings.

‘‘I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) the top-ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, after a closed-door hearing with FBI Director James Comey. Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was less critical of Comey’s testimony, but did agree that the committee expected more information from Comey. He called the hearing “a good first step.”

“It think it’s important that the outcome of that counterintelligence investigation be fully shared with the intelligence committees, both in the house and the senate,” said Coons on Friday. “There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence and senior Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, were cooperating, were colluding with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election.”
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Schiff: FBI Walled Off Details of Russia Probe From Congress (Comey working overtime 4 GOP again?)

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-03-02/house-committee-accuses-fbi-of-withholding-information-about-russia-probe

The top Democrat on the House committee probing Russia's efforts to interfere with the U.S. election on Thursday accused FBI Director James Comey of withholding crucial information from lawmakers.

"I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday after a briefing with Comey at the Capitol.

"I appreciate we had a long briefing and testimony from the director today, but in order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we're going to need the FBI to fully cooperate, to be willing to tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting," Schiff said. "At this point, the director was not willing to do that."

Schiff said during the briefing, which lasted more than three hours, there were areas of the investigation Comey "walled off" from discussions with lawmakers.

"Those walls are going to have to come down if we are going to do our job," he said. "And we're better off getting that through the voluntary cooperation of the FBI than having to contemplate whether we need to subpoena the FBI."
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The 3 investigations into Trump and Russia are all hopelessly compromised

The case for an independent investigation just got stronger.



https://thinkprogress.org/the-three-investigations-into-trump-and-russia-are-all-hopelessly-compromised-3f277465f601#.3a6sv65rg


The lawmakers in charge of investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives are also helping the Trump campaign counter negative news stories, according to reporting by The Washington Post and Axios.

The news — confirmed by the White House and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), one of the lawmakers — is a strong blow to the credibility of the congressional investigation and any appearance that the investigation is being conducted free from political influence.

According to the reports, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer asked Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Nunes to speak to reporters and dispute stories alleging frequent contact between Trump campaign members and Russian intelligence operatives. Burr picked up the phone at Spicer’s request and told reporters the story was false, Axios reports, but didn’t provide any evidence to back it up, and wasn’t quoted on the record.

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Nunes, on Saturday, likened the news reports and ongoing investigation to McCarthyism.

“This is almost like McCarthyism revisited,” he told reporters, calling the investigation and calls for a special prosecutor a “witch hunt.”

“At this point, there’s nothing there,” Nunes said. “We can’t go on a witch hunt against the American people, any American people who have not had any contact, just because they appeared in a news story.” (yeah, that's because the committee hasn't heard testimony from anybody yet!)
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Nunes perhaps achieves the most outrageous level of hypocrisy, speaking as he is for the Party which is the master of McCarthyist campaigns - in particular the 3 yr long, 8 committee investigations Sec of State, Hillary Clinton, which GOP operatives admitted were intended not to find out any 'truths' about Benghazi, but were intended to hurt Clinton politically. Nunes expressing 'concerns' about uses of McCarthyist inquiries is like Jack the Ripper speaking out for more police protection for streetwalkers killed on the streets of London.

THe ASS-hole, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of Nixon/Watergate plot to wiretap Trump Tower

Our illustrious Ass-Hole, pussy grabber, tweets perhaps his most laugable lie of all....(will Obama finally tell this pathological liar to "go fuck himself"?) ... the World stands aghast at America's Shame..(i.e. that ~46% of the people voted for this pathologically lying fraudster.)


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/04/trump-accuses-obama-of-nixonwatergate-plot-to-wire-tap-trump-tower/?utm_term=.5b14424940bc
President Trump on Saturday angrily accused former president Barack Obama of orchestrating a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap the phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election.

While citing no evidence to support his explosive allegation, Trump said in a series of four tweets sent Saturday morning that Obama was “wire tapping” his New York offices before the election in a move he compared to McCarthyism. “Bad (or sick) guy!” he said of his predecessor, adding that the surveillance resulted in “nothing found.”

Trump offered no citations nor did he point to any credible news report to back up his accusation, but he may have been referring to commentary on Breitbart and conservative talk radio suggesting that Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team. The Breitbart story, published Friday, has been circulating among Trump's senior staff, according to a White House official who described it as a useful catalogue of the Obama administration's activities.

Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Obama, said in a statement early Saturday afternoon: “A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
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