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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,168

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

700 Days: The 114th Republican Congress By The Numbers - from ofc of Democratic Leader


700: Days since the start of this Republican Congress as of December 8, 2016.

Only 276: Days the GOP House has been in session, 46 of which were pro-forma days in which the House gaveled in & out in a matter of minutes & no legislative business was completed.

53: Days the House was in recess this summer – the longest Congressional Summer Recess in modern history.

Only 254: Number of bills signed into law, with 227 of these bills (or 89 percent) being minor, noncontroversial bills passed under suspension. Only 21 of the bills signed have been significant, major bills – such as the SGR fix, Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Omnibus Anti-Human Trafficking Bill, Bipartisan Budget Act, Every Student Succeeds Act, reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Puerto Rico Debt Restructuring bill.

16: Times House Republicans voted for measures attacking women’s health care so far this Congress. (2016 Vote #595, 2016 Vote #443, 2016 Vote #390, 2016 Vote #342, 2016 Vote #53, 2016 Vote #6, 2015 Vote #568, 2015 Vote #538, 2015 Vote #527, 2015 Vote #524, 2015 Vote #506, 2015 Vote #505, 2015 Vote #223, 2015 Vote #194, 2015 Vote #93, 2015 Vote #45)

12: Times the House GOP voted so far this Congress to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. (2016 Vote #563, 2016 Vote #351, 2016 Vote #53, 2016 Vote #6, 2015 Vote #568, 2015 Vote #376, 2015 Vote #375, 2015 Vote #183, 2015 Vote #142, 2015 Vote #58, 2015 Vote #45, 2015 Vote #14)

65: Times House Republicans voted to repeal or undermine the ACA since 2011.

231: House Republicans voted against bringing a bill to the floor to ban registered lobbyists from serving on presidential transition teams including President-Elect Trump’s transition team.

235: House Republicans voted against allowing a vote on H.R. 5386 to require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns.


The web-site of the Democratic Party Leader, Pelosi, is an excellent site for info on what he Repugnants are up to and to obtain reality checks against Republican disinformation: The top level of the site: http://www.democraticleader.gov/

and her Blog: http://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/blog/

Republicans Just Voted To Hide Massive Cost Of Obamacare Repeal From Public


House Republicans have spent the last six years fruitlessly trying to repeal Obamacare. Now that the GOP is on the cusp of a successful repeal without any replacement plan, their plan to start a War to Make America Sick Again is so hideously damaging, that just in its first decade Trump and the Republicans will cost taxpayers over four times what the Iraq War cost over a similar time period. But don’t worry, a “successful” repeal of Obamacare by House Republicans will also kill millions of private sector jobs within just a few years.

That kind of flagrant debt-fueled spending to accomplish harm looks unseemly because it is, so Paul Ryan’s House GOP did the only fiscally responsible thing that he could do: House Republicans voted to hide the actual cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act from the American public and how we’d spend $9 Trillion dollars to gut our country’s health care systems and deny access to millions of people. First, a Bloomberg reporter discovered that the Republicans call their needless deficit spike an “appropriate” level of public debt:

GOP budget says $9 Trillion hike in the national debt is "appropriate" over the coming decade. https://t.co/9nPBKWOJNk pic.twitter.com/EPDJz8n7Vl

— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) January 4, 2017

Then it took a slick addition to the House rules in order to orchestrate the GOP’s back-room deals which would devastate ordinary Americans that just want to be able to see a doctor when they’re sick, buy healthcare outside the group system and help to pay for health insurance if they’re working and poor.

As Shareblue reports, it’s no small task to hide $9 trillion dollars, but that’s why House Republicans voted to doom the Office of Congressional Ethics, so they could slip the below language into this year’s House Rules and hope nobody would notice.

Go to article to see the actual text in the bill which states killing the ACA will NOT be subject to CBO cost analysis:

(4) LIMITATION.—This subsection shall not apply to any bill or joint resolution, or amendment thereto or conference report thereon—

(A) repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010;

(B) reforming the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010; or

(C) for which the chair of the Committee on the Budget has made an adjustment to the allocations, levels, or limits contained in the most recently adopted concurrent resolution on the budget.

Follow The Money, See Why Trump Is Putin's Useful Idiot



Back in April, 2016, Lilia Shevtsova wrote in The American Interest about the powerful effect of US-European sanctions against Russia and Syria. Frozen assets in the U.S. of the oligarch Yuri Kovalchuk, a close ally of Putin, have totaled $572 million. In Italy, the Rottenberg brothers have also sustained losses worth nearly $40 million.

Ms. Shevtsova emphasizes that these “sanctions have exacerbated the economic recession in Russia: by accelerating capital flight and shrinking internal financial resources; by restricting Russia’s access to international financial markets and triggering a financial crunch; and by creating crisis of confidence in international business circles regarding Russia.” As a result, Russia could find no buyers or investors for its government-owned oil companies.

In March 2016, President Obama extended the sanctions on Russia for another year. (Apparently, this shocked the Kremlin, which expected that the U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria would mean softening of the sanctions regime.) Existing measures will stay in place as “Russia’s actions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the U.S. President’s decree says.

Curious, right? Putin's intent to seriously damage Hillary Clinton versus the unexpectedly propitious outcome of actually installing a flawed lunatic like Donald Trump paid dividends. Only eight months later, just one month after Election Day, this happened: Fortune Magazine reported:

Russia said on Wednesday it sold a stake in oil giant Rosneft for 10.5 billion €uros ($11.3 billion) to Qatar and commodities trader Glencore.

That $11.3 billion profit certainly makes a Trump victory seem much more financially appealing to the Kremlin indeed. ALWAYS follow the money. This election windfall really helps Putin mitigate losses from those sanctions that Trump will end, that have been costly and inconvenient.

It was personal too. Hillary Clinton not only supported the sanctions, but made it crystal clear that as President she would continue a hard line against Syria and Russia’s brutality. Not only would the current economic sanctions remain in place, but she promised more actions. Hillary was Putin’s number one threat to his power and to his country’s economic stability.

Re the hack of DU: did you inform those whose email address was obsconded with by the hackers?

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Defense - (Hello Hal 9000)


Cybersecurity experts are facing the daunting reality that they may have reached the limit of what humans can achieve in cyber defense. Thankfully, the answer to this issue may already have arrived, following in the form a platform known as AI-Squared.
Rise of the robots.

Unveiled to the world in April, AI-Squared is a collaborative project between MIT’s Computer Science and AI Laboratory (CSAIL) and a machine-learning startup known as PatternEx. Its function - to identify cyber-attacks.

The platform combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analyst Intuition (AI) - hence the name AI-Squared. It works by parsing huge amounts of data - generated by users -- searching for odd activity using a recurrent neural network in combination with machine learning techniques. This is a process known as unsupervised learning, and it's used to find anomalies - the proverbial needles in the haystack.

Once identified, the platform notifies a human analyst, presenting its findings. The human analyst then confirms whether the user activity is an attack or a genuine visitor, which is relayed back to the AI. The AI turns these decisions into a model for use the next day. This is a process known as supervised learning.



music for America's Shame, Jan 20

I also like to call this, ode to Bela (Lugosi)...

Belief in conspiracies largely depends on political identity(i.e. conspiracy theories GOPers believe

... An Economist/YouGov lists a number of screw-ball theories that Trump voters believe. The most incredible is that 46% of Trumpeteers think that Hillary Clinton is involved in a pedophilia ring, managed out of a pizza parlor in D.C!!


One of the most notorious internet rumors of the 2016 presidential campaign, that there was a pedophile ring in the Clinton campaign, with code words embedded in the hacked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, is seen as “probably” or “definitely” true by more than a third of American adults. The poll was conducted after an armed North Carolina man tried to “self-investigate” the claim by going to the District of Columbia pizza restaurant that was alleged to be the center of the ring earlier this month and found nothing. But even afterwards only 29% are sure the allegation is “definitely” not true.

... However, this poll also indicates that 50% of Clinton voters think that "Russia tampered with vote tallies to help Trump". This is obvious bullshit. Yes, Russia hacked the DNC emails, and released selected emails to WikiLeaks, all to hurt Clinton but 'tampered with vote tallies'? I'm a Clinton voter and I think I have a pretty good idea of how other Clinton voters think. And I don't think very many Democrats think this. I wouldn't even guess how many would think this... maybe 5%, maximum: 10%?

Wielding Claims of Fake News, Conservatives Take Aim at M$M (their former partners in crime)

... with the recent emergence of patently nonsensical, fake news reports, Conservatives are taking the opportunity to call any news in M$M that is less than adulatory of Conservative policies or politicians, 'fake news'. Conservative propagantists have been purveying counterfactual bullshit for decades now. So it is particularly hypocritical of Conservatives to point an accusing finger at ANYBODY promulgating fake news. But for them to call legitimate news reports as 'fake' news is just one more step in the Conservative assault on a rational, fact based understanding of reality. Of course, the monstrous irony of the situation is that Corporate owned M$M has performed a service of incalculable value to the Conservative cause against Hillary Clinton, by helping to sell the biggest fake news story of the decade, the Hillary Clinton email "scandal". M$M played a major part, perhaps THE major part, in aing and abetting the King of Clowns with his Electoral College scam of Democracy in November. You'd think the Conservative Republicans would show some appreciation. I guess there is no honor among thieves or mountebanks.

Wielding Claims of ‘Fake News,’ Conservatives Take Aim at Mainstream Media

WASHINGTON — The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the White House may all agree that Russia was behind the hacking that interfered with the election. But that was of no import to the website Breitbart News, which dismissed reports on the intelligence assessment as “left-wing fake news.”


Until now, that term had been widely understood to refer to fabricated news accounts that are meant to spread virally online. But conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. Trump himself, incredulous about suggestions that fake stories may have helped swing the election, have appropriated the term and turned it against any news they see as hostile to their agenda.

In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, they are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country’s increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper.

“Over the years, we’ve effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it’s gone too far,” said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. “Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don’t see how you reverse it.”

Trump Kicks Off the Return of the Czars


Cast your mind back to 2009, when conservatives suddenly became quite concerned about executive power. They channeled their rage into Obama’s czars. These were special advisers to the president, who helped set policy from inside the White House, rather than at the cabinet level. The White House health-care czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle, appeared to have greater input on Obamacare than Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The energy-and-climate czar, Carol Browner, advised the president more regularly than then–EPA chief Lisa Jackson.

The Republican complaint seemed to mostly involve using the word “czar” a lot in a bid to make Obama sound vaguely Soviet, which looks rather quaint in retrospect. But other objections made sense. Unlike cabinet officials, czars did not have to seek Senate confirmation. They weren’t required to testify before or issue reports to congressional committees. Their communications could be protected through assertion of executive privilege, unlike more accessible cabinet-agency deliberations. In general, it was a method of centralizing power inside the White House bubble. “The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances,” wrote Democratic Senate lion Robert Byrd in February 2009. “At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

Flash forward to 2016, and Donald Trump is busy announcing czars. He added two yesterday: activist investor Carl Icahn as an adviser on deregulation, and economist Peter Navarro as a trade-policy czar. Neither will go through Senate confirmation. Icahn will reportedly not be a federal employee, which will keep all of his communications privileged. Financial vetting has been extremely slow for the cabinet choices; Icahn won’t need to jump those hoops. Every concern expressed about Obama’s czars hold for these appointees as well.

I eagerly await congressional hearings on the matter.


Sham populism, shameless plutocracy - Kristina vanden Heuvel

..Whenever I hear GOP Toadies of M$M refer to ANY GOP candidate, who is particularly successful at conning working people to vote for him, as a "populist" it makes me want to throw up. So Kristina 'had' me with her title, but the entire article is great.


But as his administration takes shape, Trump is sending signals to the right that he is prepared to fulfill their wildest fantasies. With his sham populism giving way to shameless plutocracy, it appears increasingly likely that Trump will attempt to reverse more than the progress achieved over the past eight years under President Obama. The tremendous advances and reforms of the 20th century — from the New Deal to the Great Society — may be on the chopping block.

So far, Trump’s Cabinet picks offer perhaps the clearest evidence of how he intends to govern and how much is really at stake. In addition to surrounding himself with billionaires, bankers and crony capitalists, Trump has nominated several candidates to run federal agencies whose functions they fundamentally oppose on ideological grounds. As Jamelle Bouie writes of Trump’s Cabinet in Slate, “It’s less a team for governing the country than a mechanism for dismantling its key institutions.”


Trump has also telegraphed his intention to smash organized labor and attack workers’ rights. His pick for labor secretary, fast-food executive Andy Puzder, is an outspoken enemy of minimum-wage increases with an appalling record of mistreating employees. The Labor Department has uncovered violations of labor laws in 60 percent of its investigations of Puzder’s restaurant chain locations. Indeed, as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently said, Puzder’s career has been “defined by fighting against working people.”

Almost every legitimate function of the federal government could be subverted by Trump’s wrecking crew. Under billionaire Republican megadonor advocate Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education could be reoriented to gutting the nation’s public education system and redistributing its resources to for-profit charter schools. Led by attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — who once condemned the Voting Rights Act as “a piece of intrusive legislation” — the Justice Department can be expected to systematically undermine civil and voting rights, denying justice to millions of Americans in the process. And if longtime ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson is confirmed, even the State Department could fall prey to private-sector fetishization.

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