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Hometown: Green Mountains
Home country: US
Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM
Number of posts: 9,747

Journal Archives

KHN: Democrats Taking Key Leadership Jobs Have Pocketed Millions from Pharma

Top House Republican also received more than $1 million from drugmakers since 2007.

Three of the lawmakers who will lead the House next year as Congress focuses on skyrocketing drug costs are among the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, a new KHN analysis shows.

On Wednesday, House Democrats selected Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland to serve as the next majority leader and Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip, making them the No. 2 and No. 3 most powerful Democrats as their party regains control of the House in January.


High drug prices surfaced as a major campaign issue in 2018. With almost half of Americans saying they were worried about prescription drug costs last summer, many Democrats told voters they’d tackle the issue in the next Congress. But the large amount of money going to key Democrats, and Republicans, raises questions about whether Congress will take on the pharmaceutical industry.

In the past decade, members of Congress from both parties have received about $81 million from 68 pharma PACs run by employees of companies that make drugs and industry trade groups.

Propublica, WaPo: How Congress Stopped Working


Today’s legislative branch, far from the model envisioned by the founders, is dominated by party leaders and functions as a junior partner to the executive, according to an analysis by The Washington Post and ProPublica.

To document this transformation, the Post and ProPublica analyzed publicly available data from the House and Senate, committees, and members of Congress, dating back several decades. Some institutional decline began 25 years ago, but the study showed that the steepest institutional drop came in just the past 10 years.

This is exactly what I have experienced. The sourness of the politicians started around the time of Gingrich (gawd, he's still polluting), and reached its height with McConnell.

I don't know if a Democratic House can fix this as long as the repuglicons are doing everything they can to destroy democracy.

Can Yale withdraw Kavanaugh's law degree, and if so would he lose his judgeships?

I know this wouldn't happen, but it is fun daydreaming.

Anyone else want more in the Title line than click-bait? "Do This Now!"

Why do I think that it would be just as easy to make a title like "Please vote now!" when that is the body of the rest of the post?

Are there points gained by having clicks through the title? Is this google or facebook?

While I'm mildly venting, perhaps DU could implement a hover text that shows the first 100 characters of the actual post without actually clicking through. I did this for a tiny company a decade ago in one day.

Bloomberg: Brett Kavanaugh Is Cursed Either Way

This is an exceptionally strong piece. I hope it presages the future.

If he makes it to the Supreme Court without being cleared, his ordeal won't be over.

One way or another, Brett Kavanaugh will have to pay.


He will not necessarily pay explicitly for whatever it was he did or didn’t do on that contested night long ago. Although if Christine Blasey Ford appears to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and if she acquits herself credibly, then Kavanaugh is unlikely ever to sit on the Supreme Court – no matter what Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says.

Kavanaugh can wait to see if Ford’s allegations fall apart under questioning. It’s possible she’ll prove a jumble of contradictions. But from what we know so far, it’s hard to imagine she would. Ford doesn’t have to be sure of the color of paint on the wall 35 years ago. She only needs to be sure of the details of the attack as she has already described it.

Conservatives viewing her actions as a product of Democratic skulduggery fool themselves. Her allegations were problematic for Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who first received them in confidence. If Democrats had plotted to weaponize the allegations for best effect, this late-inning muddle would not have resulted.

If McConnell is correct and Republicans manage to push Kavanaugh through to the high court, no matter what, Kavanaugh won’t be out of the woods.

This is not 1991, when Anita Hill accused soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. And Kavanaugh, the beneficiary of virtually every privilege that status and education can afford, is not Thomas.

Democrats in 1991 were already the party of feminists. But many of the Democratic men in Congress – Barbara Mikulski was the lone Democratic woman in the Senate – were just as doltish toward a female accuser as Republican senators are today.

That’s no longer the case. Democrats have four women on the Judiciary Committee, and the men are so different from the cast of 1991 that Senator Chris Coons of Delaware has publicly mused that maybe he should cede his committee time to his two female colleagues who are former prosecutors and superior interviewers.

More important, the Republican Party of 1991 is not the party of 2018. The party leader then was George H.W. Bush, a war hero with pronounced social graces. The current leader is a habitual liar and crude demagogue who has been accused of sexual predation by more than a dozen women while continuing to behave as cad-in-chief.

The GOP of 2018 views the Supreme Court differently as well. Republicans were not facing electoral attrition in those days, desperately trying to sabotage the future. Republicans had held the presidency for three terms and were on the verge of a historic victory in the House over a corrupt and complacent Democratic majority.

Now, Republicans are investing in a partisan court to deliver partisan outcomes to advance partisan goals that are insulated from democratic accountability, such as elections and popular opinion, which Republicans increasingly fear.


I figgered it out! Trump and the repuglicon leaders are really trying to kill the party!

Everything they are doing is obviously to set the train down the track to self-destruction.

They were planted as saboteurs after being instructed at ivy-league and other schools.

I hope it works!

Trump is deliberately trying to incite a civil war in the US.

I know this is a topic in several threads but I'd like to posit how I see it.

The timing is likely before the mid-terms. The purpose is to tear at the fabric of society and weaken the rule of law. A state of emergency would need to called. Alliances such as NATO will feel the pressure and Putin is already building it up on them.

The benefactors are dump-like criminals including oligarchs from this country and abroad.

The military (including National Guard) is an unknown but I think they can be nullified for the most part.

Putin and others will feel much more comfortable loosing their dogs of war on a country that is in internal turmoil.

There won't be enough hospitals, morgues, cemeteries to hold the results of the carnage.

Thanks, repuglicons!

Top Trump administration immigration official to appear at hate group event


The head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is scheduled to appear next week at an event hosted by an anti-immigrant hate group that’s part of a network of organizations founded by white nationalist John Tanton.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) announced today that Lee Francis Cissna would participate in its “Immigration Newsmaker conversation” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15.

“It’s disgraceful that Francis Cissna would agree to put the weight of his office – and the U.S. government – behind a hate group that exists solely to vilify immigrants,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.

“But none of us should be surprised. It’s just one more example of the strong bond between this administration and far-right extremists who will stop at nothing to fuel rage and resentment against immigrants of color.”

They have become blatant in their intent to turn the US back to its all-white background. Oh, wait - it wasn't white to start with and has never been lily-white.

Trump golf resort wrecked special nature site, reports reveal

Source: Guardian

US president’s broken promises have ruined a fragile dune system in Aberdeenshire

The spectacular dunes system picked by Donald Trump for his golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been “partially destroyed” as a result of the course’s construction, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed.

Scottish Natural Heritage, which has been under pressure for years to speak out on the issue, now acknowledges that serious damage has been done to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Foveran Links on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen, since the course opened in 2012, the documents show.

As a result, Foveran’s SSSI status – given because of its unusual shifting sands and diverse plant life – now hangs in the balance.

“Construction of the new golf course involved earthworks, planting of trees, greens and fairways, drainage, irrigation and grass planting,” states one of the reports released by Scottish Natural Heritage inspectors. “This has affected the natural morphology of the dunes and interfered with natural processes. Most of its important geomorphological features have been lost or reduced to fragments. Nearby marine terraces have also been reduced to fragments.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/29/donald-trump-golf-environment-sssi-damaged-broken-promises

This on the heels of the post today (https://www.democraticunderground.com/1017503747) about the movie "You've Been Trumped" (full version in the post.

A historian surveys the wreckage of the Trump-Putin summit


I found this a good exposure of how some experts can be wrong. I do agree with the closing.
Here’s a headline that hasn’t aged so well: “The Surprising Promise of the Trump-Putin Summit.”

In Foreign Affairs, a mere week ago, the historian and former diplomat Michael Kimmage made the case that the real action at the Helsinki meeting would quite likely occur behind the scenes, in unglamorous conversations among midlevel diplomats, who would begin much-needed exchanges about thorny issues including Ukraine and Syria.

Then President Trump stepped up to the mike. In a now-infamous press conference, he cast doubt on the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia hacked Democratic politicians and generally interfered in the 2016 election. (He subsequently backpedaled, unconvincingly.)

Trump “has destroyed his credibility on Russia even with people who might be Trump voters on other issues,” said Kimmage, who teaches at the Catholic University and who served, from 2014 to 2016, on the policy planning staff at the State Department, focusing on Russia and Ukraine.


What Trump just did in Helsinki is pull the rug out from under his feet in terms of dealing with Russia. I think he destroyed his credibility as a president on this issue. He merged the cheapest of campaign rhetoric with issues that relate to America’s standing in the world, that relate to America’s security, in ways that are grossly irresponsible.

I think in retrospect, what one can say about this meeting is that it was way too soon given the level of preparation, and probably it was just a bad idea to begin with.

If the president genuinely cared about improving the US Russian relationship, it is he who just killed the chance of that, by appearing so untrustworthy and so ill-prepared. You can’t blame Putin in this case; you can’t blame the media. It the president that has put himself in the place he is in.

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