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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 05:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,436

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

Congressman Swalwell Launches Webpage Outlining Trumps Ties To Russia


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — East Bay Congressman Rep. Eric Swalwell launched a new webpage Wednesday for the sole purpose of highlighting the ties between the Russian government and the Trump administration.

The new webpage, Protect Our Democracy, lays out what Rep. Swalwell (D-CA) says are the many ties between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

ALSO READ: George W. Bush: ‘We All Need Answers’ On Trump & Russia

In January, Swalwell a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced the Protecting Our Democracy Act to set up an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

“Our intelligence agencies have concluded with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated these cyber attacks in order to influence the 2016 election to favor then-candidate Donald Trump,” Swalwell said.

from Protect our Democracy site:

Russia: Trump & His Team’s Ties
President Trump has also surrounded himself with people who do business with and are sympathetic to Russia. The New York Times reported that members of Trump’s 2016 campaign and other Trump associates had frequent contact with senior Russian intelligence officials throughout the campaign. In addition to these questionable communications, here are a few other associates with ties to Moscow:


Watch Trumps Health Secretary dodge millions who will lose insurance under Trumpcare

[font size="3"]Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was Sean Spicer's opening act at the first televised White House briefing in over a week, and he gave a stunning non-answer when asked if the Republicans' replacement plan would result in millions of people losing health insurance.[/font]


REPORTER: Keeping in mind that the CBO score isn’t in yet, [font size="+1"]can you guarantee that this plan will not have a markedly negative impact on the deficit, or result in millions of Americans losing health insurance?[/font]

PRICE: [font size="+1"]What I can say is that the goal and the desire, I know, of the individuals on the Hill, is to make certain that this does not increase the cost to the federal government.[/font]

Of course, the CBO has already stated that a repeal of Obamacare would result in 36 million more uninsured Americans by 2026, and Price’s response indicates not only a refusal to guarantee that will not happen, but that preventing such an outcome is not even a goal. According to Standard & Poors, the GOP plan could result in 10 million fewer insured.

As to the cost, the CBO has also previously stated that repeal would blow a hole in the deficit, and the Republican plan does not address that at all.

The Republican plan may indeed be much shorter than the Affordable Care Act in actual pages, but that means it is shorter on substance, as well. And as Price’s non-response makes clear, the GOP’s “plan” will likely lead to millions of Americans losing their affordable health insurance.

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

[font size="3"]“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).[/font]


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.

The GOP health bill doesnt know what problem its trying to solve - Ezra Klein



[font size="3"] 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 [font color="red"]two days after releasing it, and without a Congressional Budget Office report estimating either coverage or fiscal effects[/font]. 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,[font color="red"] co-pays and deductibles will be significantly higher under their replacement. The plan will significantly reduce taxes on the rich[/font].

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.


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.

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)


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



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.

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

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Yeah, he just found out from Steve Bannon.

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


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.”

Schiff: FBI Walled Off Details of Russia Probe From Congress (Comey working overtime 4 GOP again?)


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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