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Category Archives: politricks

It is quite difficult to not write or post from others on Donald Trump and this article points out why. MA

Paul Waldman
August 7, 2017
As things get worse for President Trump, his need for praise only increases.
In an age where our children are supposedly being made soft by too many participation trophies and too much praise, no one is thirstier for tributes than the president of the United States. Give him the chance and he’ll tell you how amazing he is with all the self-awareness of a 3-year-old; as we recently learned, in explaining the political importance of his anti-immigration stance to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said, “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country.” And if you work for Trump or depend on him for your position, you know that you have to praise him, too. You need to convince him he has your love and your loyalty, and the best way to do that is to extol his fabulousness to all who will listen, especially on TV.
If you’re looking for a model, you might take Corey Lewandowski, who was Trump’s campaign manager and now runs a lobbying firm established to profit off that connection to the administration in the most shameless way possible. Lewandowski recently said on Fox News that Trump is “the greatest politician our country has ever seen.” Marvel at that for a moment. Lincoln? FDR? JFK, LBJ, Reagan, Clinton, Obama? Losers, all of them.
But for epic lickspittlery, few can match Vice President Mike Pence, who spent a good deal of the 2016 campaign talking about the awe-inspiring majesty of Trump’s shoulder-width. (“To be around Donald Trump is to be around a man with broad shoulders. … He’s a man with broad shoulders, he’s got a clear vision, he’s strong. … They are responding to Donald Trump’s broad-shouldered, plainspoken leadership. … I think it shows the kind of broad-shouldered leader he is.”) On Sunday, The New York Times published an article about Republican politicians taking some preparatory steps toward potential 2020 presidential bids, including Pence. “Multiple advisers to Mr. Pence have already intimated to party donors that he would plan to run if Mr. Trump did not,” they reported, noting that Pence has established his own PAC which will make donations to candidates, has hired a seasoned campaign operative as his chief of staff (as opposed to someone with government experience), and is aggressively courting donors and connected political figures in key states.
Given the fact that it’s always possible that President Trump will decide not to run for re-election, all that seems like little more than prudence from a politician who plainly wants to be president one day. But no doubt anticipating his boss’s displeasure at the story, Pence responded with an almost comical overreaction:
Today’s article in the New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this Administration. …
Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the President’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.
you’ll notice that while saying everything in the article was false, Pence couldn’t actually point to anything in the article that was false. But the true audience for his statement was one person, the desperately insecure man in the Oval Office, for whom it amounted to, “C’mon baby, you know you’re the only one for me.”
And the president needs that reassurance more than ever. He has shown that he has a deep desire for loyalty (you’ll recall that he demanded it of James Comey, whose answer wasn’t satisfying), but he’s not getting nearly enough. In fact, Trump’s own aides could be described as less loyal than any White House staff in history. All that leaking—much of which serves to portray the president as a buffoon—comes from a White House where everyone’s looking out for themselves rather than doing what Trump would hope, i.e. contributing to the greater aggrandizement of Donald Trump.
Once you get past his own family and a few aides he brought with him from the Trump Organization, the number of true believers who would do anything for this president is tiny. On a recent podcast, Slate’s Isaac Chotiner asked Olivia Nuzzi, a White House reporter for New York magazine, “Do you get a sense that there are people in the White House who genuinely think Trump is a great leader and have great respect for him, and see this as deep down as something other than a shit show?” She responded simply, “No.” After a brief pause, she went on, saying “Most people are here for very self-serving reasons. … I never get the impression that anyone thinks that he’s some kind of genius.” Not that there are self-serving staff in every White House, but nearly every president also has many people around him who genuinely respect and admire him.
It’s hard to know whether Trump understands what his own underlings think of him, but by being so abusive to people who work for him, sometimes even taking pains to humiliate them publicly, he creates an atmosphere in which resentment and fear must surely be rampant. That’s one reason there are so many leaks, and it also leaves those who want to retain their position knowing that they have to go the extra mile to assure the president they’re still behind him. It won’t be enough to tout the administration’s accomplishments—you have be effusive about Trump himself, telling him that he is a giant among Lilliputians, a man whose wisdom, skill, and accomplishments are so spectacular that we should all fall to our knees and thank our gods that we were privileged enough to inhabit the same historical period as such a person.
The worse things get for Trump—approval ratings in the 30s, the widening Russia investigation, legislative failures—the more he needs this validation. But curiously enough, the person who laid on the praise more thickly than almost anyone else—Anthony Scaramucci—found it wasn’t enough to save himself. After a tumultuous ten days as communication director, Scaramucci was shown the door by the new chief of staff, John Kelly, who was brought in to impose some order on the mess in the West Wing.
Perhaps Trump assented to the firing because he was getting jealous of all the attention Scaramucci was getting, or perhaps Kelly made it a non-negotiable condition of accepting the rescue mission. Either way, it shows that going on TV to tell everyone how much you love Donald Trump won’t guarantee that you’ll remain in his favor. But when the president is watching—and he always is—it’s the least he expects.

This is about Trump trying to push his faulty agenda at any cost and at the same time save (take) money from cities that aids in policing (keeping people safe). MA

By Chris Kenning and Joseph Ax, Reuters 13 hours ago

By Chris Kenning and Joseph Ax
CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chicago will sue the Trump administration on Monday over threats to withhold public safety grant money from so-called sanctuary cities, escalating a pushback against a federal immigration crackdown, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Sunday.
The federal lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the U.S. Justice Department would bar cities from a certain grant program unless they allow immigration authorities unlimited access to local jails and provide 48 hours’ notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.
“Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” Emanuel, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”
Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants provide money to hundreds of cities, and the Trump administration has requested $380 million in funding next year. Chicago, a regular target of Republican President Donald Trump because of its murder rate, expected to receive $3.2 million this year for purchasing equipment.
Emanuel said the lawsuit would prevent the Trump administration from setting a precedent that could be used to target other funding.
Under Trump and Sessions, the federal government has sought to crack down on sanctuary cities, which generally offer illegal immigrants safe harbor by declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Dozens of local governments and cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have joined the growing sanctuary movement.
The Justice Department said more Chicagoans were murdered last year than residents of Los Angeles and New York combined, and cited comments by Sessions last week saying sanctuary cities “make all of us less safe.”
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a Sunday statement: “It’s especially tragic that the mayor is less concerned with that staggering figure than he is spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago’s law enforcement at greater risk.”
Police and city officials in sanctuary cities have said deporting illegal immigrants who are not accused of serious crimes harms public safety by discouraging immigrants from coming forward to report crimes.
Chicago’s lawsuit is the first to challenge the department over the Byrne program, though city officials said they are in contact with other cities. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is also considering a similar lawsuit, the Sacramento Bee has reported.
The Trump administration has already faced legal battles over its sanctuary city policies. Last month, a U.S. judge refused to revisit a court order that blocked Trump’s January executive order denying broader federal funds to such jurisdictions, in a case filed by San Francisco and the California county of Santa Clara.
(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago and Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Michelangelo Signorile,
Huff Post 18 hours ago

Donald Trump is angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russia collusion investigation. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from giving Sessions carte blanche to enforce his brutal hard-right agenda ― one reason why, in fact, conservatives have defended Sessions against Trump’s attacks ― and that includes what are clearly his plans to dismantle LGBTQ rights.
The reason Sessions had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, of course, is because it became known that he had several meetings with Russian officials during the election, while serving in the Trump campaign, though he claimed during his confirmation hearings that he hadn’t ever met with such officials.
But now we know that’s not the only thing Sessions lied about.
In his opening statements back in January, Sessions said, ”I understand the demands for justice and fairness made by our LGBT community. He vowed to “ensure … protecting their rights and their safety,” which he said would be “fully enforced.”
But last week Sessions’ Justice Department used precious time and federal expense to tell a federal appeals court, via a 36-page brief, that employers should legally have the right to fire gay, lesbian and bisexual people based on their sexual orientation. If employers deem homosexuality as immoral, Sessions believes they should be able to tell gay, lesbian or bisexual employees to pack their things and go if they are found out, destroying lives, affecting their families and livelihoods. It’s abhorrent ― and the complete opposite of what the civil rights office at the Department of Justice should be doing.
The DOJ isn’t party to this case. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t invite it to file a brief. Sessions clearly decided to take it upon himself to influence the court, in a case in a which a now diseased skydiver claimed he was fired from his job because he was gay (his survivors have continued with the case). According to the Center for American Progress, 10 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual people report having been fired because of their sexual orientation while a staggering 47 percent of transgender people have reported being fired based on their gender identity.
The ACLU’s Ria Tabacco Mar, in a New York Times op-ed, explained the significance of the case that Sessions is attempting to sabotage using the influence of the DOJ:
This latest blow to civil rights by the Trump administration comes at a moment of tremendous promise: The Second Circuit appears poised to expand protections for lesbian and gay workers under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the federal law that bars on-the-job discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.
Earlier this year, it agreed to reconsider a pair of its decisions from the 2000s that wrongly concluded that discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation isn’t covered by the statute’s ban on sex discrimination.
Coming on the heels of a landmark decision in April from the federal appeals court in Chicago that overruled similar precedent, the news that the Second Circuit would revisit its old conclusions was applauded by the L.G.B.T. community as heralding the end of another barrier to equality.
Trump has given all of his anti-LGBTQ lieutenants ― from Betsy DeVos and Tom Price to Ben Carson and Mike Pence ― free reign to assault LGBTQ rights and, just as profoundly, he has listened to their counsel on the issue. That’s why we’ve seen protections for transgender and gay students threatened, elimination of data collection on LGBTQ seniors and a devastating attack, via Twitter, on transgender people serving in the military.
For Sessions, if he remains at the Justice Department (there have been unconfirmed reports that Trump is thinking of moving him to head up Homeland Security), it means a sustained assault at a time when LGBTQ people are subject to hate crimes attacks more than any other minority group, with transgender women of color disproportionately affected in the worst way.
During his confirmation hearings, senators pointed out how Sessions had vehemently opposed adding gay and transgender people to existing hate crimes laws, which the justice department is charged with enforcing ever since the bill he opposed became law in 2009.
“Today, I’m not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination,” Sessions said at the time. “I just don’t see it.”
In his questioning, Sen. Leahy of Vermont brought Sessions back to his opposition to queer people being protected under hate crimes statues, and pointed to current statistics:
Last year the FBI said that LGBT individuals were more likely to be targeted for hate crimes than any other minority group in the country. We can study this forever but that’s a pretty strong fact. And in 2010 you stated that expanding hate crimes protections to LGBT individuals was unwarranted, possibly unconstitutional. You said the bill has been said to cheapen the civil rights movement. Especially considering what the FBI is found, do you still feel that way?′
Sessions responded: “Mr. Chairman the law has been passed, the Congress has spoken, you can be sure I will enforce it.”
And in June at a summit at the Justice Department, Sessions focused in on murders against transgender people.
“We have and will continue to enforce hate crime laws aggressively and appropriately where transgendered individuals are victims,” Sessions said. “Last month, Joshua Brandon Vallum was sentenced to 49 years in prison for assaulting and murdering Mercedes Williamson. This is the first case prosecuted under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act involving the murder of a transgender person.”
But the historic case under the Matthew Shepard And James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed by President Obama, was prosecuted entirely by the Obama Justice Department in 2016. Last December, Vallum finally pleaded guilty to the horrific stabbing murder of 17-year-old Williamson in Alabama in 2015. (It was the sentencing, by a federal judge, that occurred earlier this year.) In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted at the time that “the landmark guilty plea” reaffirms that “no one should have to live in fear because of who they are,” and “signals the Justice Department’s determination to combat hate crimes based on gender identity.”
None of this happened because of Jeff Sessions, though he apparently wants to take credit for it in what is another attempt at massaging the facts. After his lie about meeting with Russian officials, and the lie during his confirmation hearing exposed last week after his assault on gay workers, we can expect his vow to protect LGBTQ people against hate crimes will be revealed as yet another lie.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost .

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The recent press for repeal and replace of the ACA (Obamacare) has failed and is a big issue due to the staunch resistance and miscasting of what it does and has done. All of the failures of this law sits squarely on the shoulders of the Congress which is overwhelmingly Dupublican. For those who do not know Dupublican is my copyrighted, invented word for the Republicans. After 7 years of trying to repeal and replace unsuccessfully, the legislature has spent the past 6 months trying to do the same with the TOTUS pushing it along because he  and they promised. They have tried to place their failure on the Scamocrats (Democrats) because they resisted throwing millions off of their healthcare (there were many Dupublicans against it also). Their promise would at best throw millions off of a working healthcare system even with its problems. Instead of using the past 7 years plus to assist in tweaking the law, they condemned it because they did not like the President and promised at the outset that he would get no work done with their help. With all of the normal distrust many of us have for the Government, these neer do wells have shown how bad they really are. They campaigned on repealing a law that has helped many rather than campaigning on fixing its bad parts. It was determined that they exempted their healthcare from the repeal and replace  action but this was never told to the oft quoted “American People”. They (Congress) cite incomplete and incorrect facts about the ACA. It is well known that the ACA works well in some areas and not so good in others but in the same spirit neither does the VA medical system and they have not done as much as they could for that system either. We the people have been misled (partially our own fault) for years, we no longer have any real serving representatives but we do have many self serving members of Congress. If we want better government we need to get better educated as to what they do and are doing. We need to hold them to a higher standard and take them to task on what they tell us. It is always wise to remember that for the most part they are being less than forthright in what they say and to that end do some reading across multiple platforms to get the truth. Our only recourse is to get out of the rut of listening to what inflames our anger or entertains  as this is not news or many time not facts, this is merely the  nattering of paid spokespeople who make statements that appear true but are less honest than an infomercial offering a free item with the payment of “additional handling”.


The current administration has demonstrated the worst of America, we have a Congress for the most part That has no moral compass and they are set on removing healthcare from millions while attempting to convince the people that what they are doing is for their own good. We have a Commander in Tweet who is no more than a ego driven bully. Our prime drive should be to carefully vet anyone we vote for from the local level up to the Federal level. We as voters need to ignore campaign rhetoric as these “speeches” are just talk. Researching the record and background of current servers and aspiring candidates is the best option for choosing who you vote for. The toughest job we have is responsible voting , that is look at the representatives we currently have and deciding if they are standing up for you. Lies fall easier on the ears than the truth but we need a lot of truth now? The backers and spokespeople for the White house are now attempting to persuade us that vetting candidates , as stated below:

Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Thursday on “Fox & Friends” that having to complete financial disclosure forms demoralizes qualified people from serving in government. “There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this president, this administration and their country, who have been completely demoralized and completely, I think, disinclined to do so based on the paperwork that we have to put forward divesting assets, the different hoops you have to run through,” Conway said.

Meanwhile TOTUS is issuing tweets as policy and executive orders rather than do the work of governing, that is ask questions , research the legality of what he wants to do. Instead he gets his information from Faux news and his close aides who have a goal of creating a antebellum nation. The President is using these tweets as a way of Governing yet nothing of substance is coming out the Oval office. We are in the grips of a small man who through the lack of voter involvement got into office.

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The State of Illinois and the United States have similar leaders. Men who are wealthy and have been accustomed to having their way because they are wealthy. This thinking is why we are in a downward spiral in so many ways. It is unfortunate that many supporters of these men are not all mainstream voters but voters who want change and have grasped for any straws to save them from a perceived evil but have accepted assistance from a worse savior. These  men have used their wealth as a way to make things happen. This method of operating  may work(?) in private industry but not in Government and is destined to fail. That failure will usually result in the collapse of normalcy for us all. We as voters need to be sure that we elect people who really are in the race for the service and not what the office can do for them. We have allowed and in some cases fostered the election of demagogues who spew high sounding rhetoric that has no substance in real life. We would be well to remember, what sounds good may not work as it sounds. Square pegs still do not fit in round holes and politicians are still not as trustworthy as they want you to believe, especially when they campaign in Television ads and tweets  rather than legislate as they are elected to do. Reality is what’s left after the lies have been swept away. We need a big broom.

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“Colorado Springs is so right-wing, its nickname in Colorado is “Hate City,” so this is REALLY amazing. “this comment from a resident of Colorado.


Article from Jim Hightower:

You’ll be gobsmacked by the populist victories won in this conservative Colorado town
July 19, 2017


Believe it or not, that’s a good thing. More about those dogs later, but what has been happening politically and culturally this year in Colorado’s second largest city is astonishing, encouraging … even inspiring. Progressive/populist activists who’re organizing all across America to build grassroots movements strong enough to counter plutocratic rule and govern in the people’s interest now have a radiant model of success in one of the least likely places.

Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of hard, hard, HARD right-wing institutions and forces, including:
•The national and international headquarters of more than 70 evangelical Christian outfits, many preaching fire-and-brimstone intolerance
•A swarm of rabid anti-tax, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-Obama Republican front groups funded by corporate extremists
•The US Air Force Academy and four other military installations employing 65,000 soldiers and civilians
•The Gazette, the city’s one daily newspaper, owned by Philip Anschutz, a multibillionaire buddy of the Koch brothers. The Gazette‘s Fox News-style editorial pages relentlessly push “alternative facts” and reactionary policies
•A paternalistic downtown establishment of politically connected developers who, incredibly, tout themselves as the “moderates”

Yet, like nearly all such neon-red spots splattered throughout our land, the Springs also is home to a hardy band of progressives, including environmentalists, unionists, women’s champions, scrappy entrepreneurs, LGBTQ activists, students and teachers, a sizeable immigrant population, social justice church groups, some sensible libertarians–and, importantly, a vibrant alternative newsweekly. The Colorado Springs Independent regularly links all the above and lives up to its name with a steady output of investigative journalism.

In 1993, after city leaders and The Gazette led a statewide campaign to legalize open discrimination against gays and lesbians, the Independent was launched as a unifying political vessel for diverse locals trying to advance progressive principles. In this turbulent sea of arch-conservatism, they had to be satisfied with only very occasional victories.

A little over year ago, however, John Weiss, founder and recently retired publisher of the Independent, began to think that more could be done. Through a listening tour with engaged locals, he found that on numerous economic and environmental issues—from willingness to spend more tax money on municipal services to outrage over big money’s perversion of local democracy—many townspeople were downright progressive-minded. (Full disclosure: Weiss is a good friend and also serves on the Lowdown’s board of directors.)

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was bringing new, highly energized voters into play–he handily won the county’s 2016 Democratic caucus. Young people who had previously evinced zero interest in the old Democratic-Republican duopoly were rallying behind Bernie’s grassroots populism. And his revolutionary call to rein in America’s corporate oligarchs also sparked a fire in older, working-class people, including Repubs and none-of-the-above folks who’d given up on the idea that either party gave a damn about people like them. Weiss sensed a shift in Colorado Springs’ political zeitgeist– one that might open a path for new alignments and a progressive-populist movement.

But movements don’t just happen–until someone literally makes a move, inspiring others to join in, take action … and get moving. That’s what is happening in Colorado Springs.

In the midst of 2016’s national Trumpian tumult, Weiss and a core group of community allies started exploring strategies for a fresh political organizing effort in Colorado Springs. They pinpointed two decisive shortcomings in past efforts: One, progressive campaigns tended to be defensive, reacting to the extreme right’s framing of issues and then spending much of their time and money countering disinformation and dirty tricks. Two, while developers and the hard right maintained permanent staff and campaigns, progressives started every battle from scratch, scrambling to create new organizations, which were handicapped by lack of institutional memory.

So this audacious band of populist allies decided to make a big move. They called on progressive forces throughout the Pikes Peak region–including Democrats, Berniecrats, Greens, and non-partisan issue advocates–to come together and build a permanent social change organization. Moreover, they reached out to fair-minded, commonsense moderates and sensible libertarians who were embarrassed both by religious crazies (whose intolerance sparked the town’s moniker: “Hate City”) and by the political toadies of the area’s corporate kingdom. These business-friendly cronies used city government to further enrich the elites while ignoring pressing needs for funding parks, mass transit, street lights, public bathrooms, and for saving drought-stricken trees.

Through the spring and summer of 2016, the allies met with more than 100 local organizations and activists and formulated a straightforward goal: to mobilize a broad coalition around progressive values and common-interest proposals and then to assemble the full-time staff, tools, and resources needed to initiate and win candidate and issue campaigns.

Last October, seven local activists–including local entrepreneurs and digital gurus as well as long-time civil rights and environmental organizers–formed Together for Colorado Springs (T4CS) with a can-do slogan: “Together We Can Move Mountains.” Working committees were formed to handle the nitty-gritty chores of turning the ideas into effective action.

After Trump’s surprise victory last November, Colorado Springs moderates and progressives–like folks across the nation–were eager to mobilize in response. These newly activated citizens were able to plug into T4CS, which announced itself in exactly the right fashion: by throwing a wang-dang-doodle of a party. After all, sustaining a grassroots, democracy-building movement requires more than non-stop political action. It also needs social and cultural events to round out its appeal, unite its members, and express its democratic spirit. So T4CS’s public launch last February put the party back in politics, with a joyous crowd of more than 600 coalition supporters jammed into Stargazers Theater for a night of funky music, tub-thumping speeches, and a renewal of hope–plus, of course, plentiful libations to lubricate the new movement.

The very next day, though, it was down to business, for city council elections were coming up in April, less than two months away. The council had long been a rubber stamp for development interests, and its constant subservience to both moneyed and religious royals had irked regular folks of all political stripes. As the elections approached, this cronyism became a defining populist issue as T4CS hammered on one especially galling example of rank favoritism: The Strawberry Fields caper.

If a homeless person had been caught stealing strawberries in Colorado Springs, at least one of the council members would have bellowed, “Thou shalt not steal,” and demanded jail time for the wretched miscreant. But when Lord Philip Anschutz–the second richest man in Colorado (and the 35th richest person in America)–wanted to get his hands on a 180-plus-acre public park known as Strawberry Fields, he didn’t need to steal anything. The city council stole it for him.

Even though this unique, natural space has been owned by the citizens of the Springs since 1885 and serves as a very popular recreation and nature area, the mayor and council seemed to expect praise when they announced in January 2016 that they’d cut a deal to let the billionaire take title to the people’s property. The clueless politicos gushed that Anschutz was willing to develop the “useless” land for the betterment of the city.

But Anschutz is no altruist. He is an imperialist who inherited an oil fortune and used it and his political connections to expand his holdings into railroads, media, pro sports teams, music events, telecommunications, movie theaters, and more. Along the way, he amassed a $12-billion fortune for himself. Far from wanting to help the local citizenry, Anschutz wanted Strawberry Fields so he could bulldoze nature and build an exclusive horse stable and event center on it to serve the wealthy swells (including Charles and David Koch) who pay top dollar for getaways at the nearby Broadmoor hotel and resort. That swank, sprawling 5-star facility happens to be owned by –who else?–Anschutz.

Piling outrage atop outrage, the “deal” that city officials approved required no money from the billionaire! Instead, he was allowed to trade some 370 acres of relatively worthless land that The Broadmoor owned elsewhere for the prime space owned by the people. For months after the deal was announced, the Springs boiled in fury. Thousands of locals signed petitions against it, and a subsequent poll commissioned by the Independent found that two thirds of the populace was opposed to the deal. But Anschutz used his financial clout and the PR power of his Gazette newspaper to pull the business establishment behind his proposed theft. So, in May 2016, despite huge public opposition, the city council sold out the people by a 6-3 vote.

Unfazed by public opinion, Anschutz, The Gazette, the Springs’ corporate political network, and their hard-right Christian allies headed into this spring’s council elections with a business dream team and mountains of money, fully expecting to increase their control by winning all six of the seats up for a vote. Sure, the T4CS group had popped into view, but it was seen as just another collection of liberal losers. Here’s how the city’s district races matched up:

DISTRICT 1 Incumbent libertarian Don Knight, a retired Air Force officer and conservative Christian, had stepped on corporate toes by asking too many pesky questions, so Anschutz and local power brokers recruited the CEO of Champion Windows to try to knock him off. T4CS recommended Knight as the better of the candidates.

DISTRICT 2 An open seat in this district that went heavily for Trump pitted a right-winger against Dave Geislinger, a lawyer turned Catholic chaplain. Geislinger is himself conservative on many issues, but he idealizes Pope Francis and ran to help ensure that the city’s poor get a fair shake. At the last minute, Dave’s opponent dropped out, leaving the field open to add this relatively progressive Christian voice to the council. T4CS did not endorse Geislinger outright, but recommended him as well.

DISTRICT 3 This district includes The Broadmoor itself, and the establishment put up a developer who looked to be a shoo-in. Just before the filing deadline, however, Richard Skorman, a popular small business owner who lives near Strawberry Fields, entered the race with T4CS’s full-throated endorsement. Critically important: When Skorman filed, three other progressively inclined candidates voluntarily dropped out so that the progressive vote would not be split.

DISTRICT 4 Either the incumbent (a fervid Trump supporter) or the corporate candidate (a public schools privatizer) was expected to win. T4CS endorsed a long shot–transit activist Yolanda Avila, a Bernie backer who had grown up in this district’s low-income community. Another activist, a bronze star veteran, voluntarily stepped aside to consolidate the progressive vote.

DISTRICT 5 Here T4CS endorsed moderate Republican incumbent Jill Gaebler, an independent-minded, retired military officer who has championed pragmatic solutions and neighborhood issues–including opposing The Broadmoor’s Strawberry Fields scam. The right-wing establishment viciously opposed her re-election and bankrolled her opponent, a corporate executive.

DISTRICT 6 This district, dominated by tea party disciples and people even farther out on the fringe, was not contested by T4CS.

On April 4, with T4CS, the energy of volunteers mobilized by Unite Colorado Springs, strategic use of polling and social media, and a little luck, the upstarts pulled off a stunning upset. Even though T4CS was outspent by at least 10-to-1 (their opponents’ war chest included some $385,000 in secretive “dark money” that many suspect came largely from Anschutz and/or the Koch Brothers), the people’s efforts prevailed. All three T4CS endorsees were elected by substantial margins, as were the two candidates it recommended. These five joined Bill Murray, a progressive holdover whose at-large seat was not up this year and, thus, a pragmatic-progressive coalition now holds a solid majority at City Hall. In its first move, the new council, over the objections of the pro-development establishment, selected Skorman as council president and Gaebler the mayor pro tem. By working together, the citizen uprising in the Springs has, indeed, moved mountains, shifting power from The
Broadmoor’s backrooms out to the grassroots.

Big political change is sometimes symbolized by small alterations in routine. When Yolanda Avila became not only the first Latina on the council, but also its first legally blind member, lobbyists backed off on trying to dazzle members with slick power-point visuals. In addition, when Councilwoman Avila took her place on the dais, she was accompanied by her guide dog, Puma, the council’s first canine. Well, thought a few members, why not bring my fido? Thus, Colorado Springs’s council meetings are now graced by the presence of up to four dogs, reducing the pomposity of the proceedings and giving them a bit more common-people’s feel.

Symbolism aside, change is as changees do, and this council is not hesitating to put its new clout to work for such needed policy changes as:

• No more giveaways of the people’s resources to corporate interests. (A lawsuit challenging the city council’s vote to swap away Strawberry Fields to The Broadmoor is wending its way through the courts, with a decision expected in 2018.)
• Welcoming the LGBTQ community into city government
• Working to close the city’s antiquated coal-burning power plant and transitioning to renewable energy sources
• Public funding of the arts
• Better disclosure of campaign donations
• Promoting in-fill and restraining gluttonous sprawl
• Investing in more open space for all residents to use
• Expanding people’s access to high-speed internet service

Resisting Donald Trump’s freak show in Washington is essential, but no more so than building democratic politics where we live. If the everyday people of Colorado Springs–a supposedly rock-solid bastion of plutocracy and theocracy–can come together and take charge, so can the rest of us. As Skorman, the Springs’ new council president put it: People “are frustrated with national politics, but they can get involved locally. …[They] aren’t going to let these local elections slide like they have in the past.”

Local offices have formidable power, and winning them creates real opportunities to make bold progressive advances. The Together group threw another party in May–this one to celebrate their remarkable April victories. But while everyone felt great about the election, the real joy at the event was knowing that they are on the brink of making significant positive differences in their city. As T4CS co-chair Dawn Haliburton-Rudy put it to the crowd: “Now our real work begins.”

The neer do wells have decided to repeal the ACA (Obamacare) since their replacement did not happen. The past 7 to 8 years afforded more than enough time to tweak the ACA but in their own incredibly stupid fashion the Dupublican Congress has used race baiting and fear to turn people against the closest we have come to universal heath care. The people who are covered under the ACA are happy and have voiced their opinion to their representatives and everywhere else they could. The worst part of this whole deal is that  many do not realize the ACA and Obamacare are the same, this lack of knowledge is steeped in the massive advertising against it by the most prominent members of the GOP. Now the GOP has been unable to replace and now want to repeal it to the detriment of millions. With this information why would the voters listen to anything the GOP or any other politician has to say about what they are doing for us? We have “leaders” in politics who have one (1) goal and that is to take care of themselves and what ever legacy they perceive as more important than doing the job they were elected to do. As an aside the Congress and staff would have been exempted from the proposed (and failed)  “new” health care bill. I would like to see more of us reading and viewing the real truth about our Congress and  vote for people who really want to serve. Party loyalty is a liability not an asset, vote for the truth , not a sound bite.

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It is unfortunate that too many Americans who voted for TOTUS do not understand the larger impact this so called “repeal and replace” will have on them. The hateful rhetoric of this administration and the ongoing subterfuge will in a short time throw the country in turmoil. The Child bully will do nothing but harm as long as he is in office. Our Congress is no longer representing us, they are doing no more than drawing a paycheck and enjoying the healthcare we ALL should enjoy.  MA

Tribune Washington Bureau
Noam N. Levey

14 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, despite repeated pledges to preserve sick Americans’ access to health coverage, are poised to scrap this core insurance protection in their campaign to roll back the Affordable Care Act.
The House GOP bill that passed in May and the revised Senate GOP bill announced last week would effectively eliminate the coverage guarantee by allowing health insurers to once again sell skimpier plans and charge more to people with preexisting health conditions who need more-comprehensive coverage
At the same time, the House and Senate bills would significantly scale back financial aid to low- and moderate-income consumers, and slash funding for Medicaid, the government safety-net plan that has helped millions of sick and poor Americans gain coverage.
That combination — looser insurance requirements and less financial assistance for patients — would once again put health plans out of reach for millions of sick Americans, according to numerous analyses.
“The fundamental guarantee at the heart of the Affordable Care Act was that people who are sick can get insurance at the same price as everyone else,” said Larry Levitt, an insurance market expert at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “The House and Senate replacement bills move the system back to a place where healthy and sick people are treated very differently.”
The Senate is slated to begin voting on its health care bill this week.
The Affordable Care Act’s coverage guarantee remains among the most popular parts of the 2010 law, with nearly 7 in 10 Americans rating it favorably.
Trump administration officials and GOP congressional leaders insist the Republican bills won’t leave anyone behind.
“The legislation ensures that every American with pre-existing conditions has access to the coverage and care they need, no exceptions,” Vice President Mike Pence told a meeting of the National Governors Association in Rhode Island Friday.
But that assurance has been contradicted by nearly every independent evaluation of the Republican health care bills, including two lengthy reports by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Pence’s claims are also at odds of with the assessment of health insurers themselves.
On Friday, the heads of the industry’s two leading advocacy groups — America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association — called the Senate bill “simply unworkable,” warning it “would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions.”
Similarly, in a letter to Senate leaders this month, the American Academy of Actuaries warned that provisions of the Senate GOP bill “could erode pre-existing condition protections” and “make it more difficult for high-cost individuals and groups to obtain coverage.”
Nearly every major patient advocacy organization has reached the same conclusion.
“Older and sicker individuals … would face the full cost of these higher premiums, leaving millions of people with chronic conditions and disabilities unable to afford the kind of coverage they need,” a coalition of 13 patient groups wrote in a letter to senators last week, condemning the latest version of the Senate bill.
The coalition includes the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the March of Dimes, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the AARP and the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society.
The kind of deregulated insurance markets envisioned by the House and Senate bills would mark a return to what health insurance looked like before the current health care law was enacted in 2010.
Before the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies worked aggressively to exclude sick customers, either denying coverage altogether or charging unaffordable prices to people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, even acne.
That left tens of millions of Americans with next to no options for coverage.
Although some states offered special health plans for sick patients who’d been rejected by insurers, most of these so-called high-risk pools limited benefits or capped enrollment because the coverage was so costly.
“It was a medical gulag,” said Richard Figueroa, former enrollment director of California’s plan, which had a long waiting list because demand always outstripped money available for coverage.
The Affordable Care Act fundamentally equalized how health insurance treats patients. Insurers were not only forbidden to deny coverage to sick consumers, they also had to provide a basic set of benefits.
That standardization ensured that sick Americans were not forced to pay more for health insurance than healthy Americans, who might be tempted to buy skimpier plans that did not offer some benefits, such as prescription drugs or mental health and substance-abuse therapy.
This meant higher costs for some consumers, particularly those who enjoyed lower premiums before the law, when insurers were allowed to exclude the sick.But uniform standards are necessary to ensure equal access to coverage, said Manatt Health managing director Joel Ario, a former insurance commissioner in Oregon and Pennsylvania. “It doesn’t work unless everyone participates on the same terms.”
To date, more than 20 million Americans have gained coverage through the law and many more depend on its protections.
Republicans have been careful to emphasize that their legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act would not eliminate the coverage guarantee that prohibits insurers from denying coverage.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., famously pledged that he wouldn’t vote for a bill that didn’t pass what he called the “Jimmy Kimmel test,” in a reference to the late-night host’s emotional explanation of how important it had been that his baby son was not shut out of insurance coverage after being born with congenital heart disease.
Last week, Senate GOP leaders said they were simply trying to give consumers the opportunity to find more-affordable coverage.
“We think it’s great to give people more options and more choices and the freedom to actually buy the insurance products they want,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Republican.
Conservative Republicans led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who insists on the insurance deregulation, have said they will not support the Affordable Care Act repeal bill without Cruz’s amendment.
But offering this kind of “choice” — even with additional money to help sick consumers — would effectively end the coverage guarantee, the two health insurance groups said.
“Given our experience and long-standing commitment to providing health care coverage, we understand what it takes to make health insurance markets work for consumers,” the presidents of the groups wrote.
“We believe strongly that the rules must apply equally to all insurance.”

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We see again the Neer do wells taking care of themselves rather than the “American People” they are so find of citing. MA

Senate Republicans exempt own health coverage from part of latest proposal
Updated by Sarah Jul 13, 2017, 3:00pm
Senate Republicans included a provision that exempts members of Congress and their staff from part of their latest health care plan.

Vox’s daily email explaining the biggest news in health care, edited by Sarah Kliff

This exemption could have the effect of ensuring that members of Congress have coverage for a wider array of benefits than other Americans who purchase their own coverage.
A Senate Republican aide confirmed that the exemption existed but was unable to comment as to the specific effect it would have. The aide said it was included to ensure that the bill hewed to the chamber’s strict reconciliation rules that limit the policies this health bill can include.
The exemption is similar to the one that existed in the House health bill. After Vox reported on its existence, the House voted to close the loophole — and the Senate aide expected their chamber to follow the same path.
An exemption mandates that members of Congress have access to the essential health benefits
The revised Senate health bill draft released Thursday lets health insurers offer plans that do not cover the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, which requires insurers to include a wide array of benefits such as maternity care and mental health services.
Insurers can offer plans without these benefits — unless they’re selling coverage to members of Congress and their staff, who are required to buy coverage on the health law marketplaces. The exemption says this part of the law still applies to any plans sold to Congress.
The language of this exemption is very similar to the exemption in the House repeal bill. It appears on page 167 of the bill, in this paragraph (bolding my own):
(d) NON-APPLICABLE PROVISIONS DESCRIBED. — The provisions described in this subsection are the following:
(1) Subsection (d) of section 1302 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 6 18022); except for the purposes of applying section 1302(b) to sections 1252, 1301(a)(2), 1312(d)(3)(D), 1331, 1333, and 1334 of such Act, subsection (b) of such section 1302; and subsection (c)(1)(B) of such section 1302.
To decode that language a little bit: The bolded text says that section 1302(b) will still apply to certain plans. Section 1302(b) is the part of the Affordable Care Act that spells out what is included in the essential health benefits.
The section then goes on to spell out which plans get to keep essential health benefits. It includes the plans specified in 1312(d)(3)(D) of the Affordable Care Act — the section that covers the health plans of members of Congress and their benefits.
Congress does not get an exemption in this bill from plans that ban preexisting conditions or charge sick people higher premiums. The exemption is relatively narrow, and the expert who pointed it out to me (Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University) is somewhat puzzled about how this would work in practice.
The Senate draft, for example, would still allow insurers to charge higher prices to those with preexisting conditions — when selling to Congress as well as to the rest of the public. This could create an odd scenario where the plans that Congress is eligible for have to cover a wide array of benefits but can also deny coverage or charge more to those expected to have higher costs.
Reconciliation rules mandate that the Senate bill only include policies under the jurisdiction of two committees: Budget and HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions). The Senate aide I spoke with explained that the regulation of congressional health plans falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee, and therefore changes to their benefits could not be included in this bill. A fuller explanation is available here from, outlining the jurisdictional issues raised by reconciliation.

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