Hello to you. It’s Thursday morning yet as I finish compiling all of these articles. I did it because I had to find some healthy way to channel the energy in the generally shitty attitude I have about this world right now! My neighbor asked me how I was doing yesterday after she brought us half of a delicious cake she had made and I was honest with her. I said tearfully, “Not very good, I am just pissed at the world right now!” I know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling. I got a letter from one of my pen pals yesterday and she even said that she and her family have tossed around the idea of moving to Canada, anywhere but here, until this bullshit is over. It doesn’t matter where you go now though really. Look at what happened in Germany’s recent elections!
Germany Elects Nazi Sympathizers, While the KRG Wants a Better Deal
On Sunday, German voters gave Chancellor Angela Merkel a resounding vote of no-confidence. Nearly 66 percent of Germans voted against Merkel and her Christian Democrats Union, their worst showing in nearly 70 years. Despite losing a quarter of her supporters, Germany’s arcane electoral system will allow Merkel to become chancellor for a fourth term. The remaining votes were split between several smaller parties, including the “Alternative for Germany” party, or AfD. The far-right AfD is known for being a party that has morphed into one of Nazi sympathizers and radical xenophobes from its humble anti- “common currency” beginnings.
The powers that be have been massaging this game for quite some time and with few bumps to impede their progress, are putting all the pieces in place we swore would never happen again after WWII. They have got plenty of desperate and ignorant fools to help them do it too!
I was curious to see what was going on with regards to things besides the rising gun debate, which I’m happy to see this morning that there is sensible stuff going on – the Democrats and Republicans at least agreeing we don’t need bump stocks being added to guns to make them more deadly to shoot.
“A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’'”
Matthew Rozsa10.05.2017•8:33 AM
Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida announced that he would support a ban on “bump stocks,” devices that allow semiautomatic guns to fire more rapidly. The Las Vegas mass shooter reportedly had two bump stocks in his Mandalay Bay hotel room.
“I definitely think we need to revisit the issue of gun safety. A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’” Curbelo told WLRN, Miami’s NPR affiliate. After noting that bump stocks are “a blatant circumvention of the law” banning automatic weapons, Curbelo argued that “I believe this presents an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to finally come together to build consensus around common-sense gun policies.”
He added, “Right now the best candidate for a common denominator is to focus on these bump stock devices, which are so deadly and so potent.”
Curbelo has advocated gun control policies in the past, such as a bill he filed in 2016 that would have banned people from owning guns, who were also prohibited from flying. The difference here, though, is that there are other Republican congressmen who feel the way he does about bump stocks.
“I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic,” said Rep. Bill Flores of Texas to The Hill.
With just a skim over the internet looking at key issues going on in this country, I can see where President Trump and the GOP is focused and where they are not.
I have not put the entirety of the articles here, please use the provided links to read the articles if you wish to read them in their entirety.
Overall, what I see is President Trump, his cabinet and the GOP seem to think it’s more important to fund building walls and the war machine than it is on the people and the programs the people of this country desperately need. It would appear as long as you are in line with the Fuhrer’s in Chief’s *cough Trump’s agenda, have corporate/lobby funding, are championing corporate interests and don’t get caught hitching rides with oil barons you are gtg…..these people have sold their souls and our country and seem to have absolutely no remorse for doing so.
As Jimmy Kimmel said the other night after the Vegas shootings , “It’s like somebody has opened a window to hell!” Yeah Jimmy, they have.
These are just a fraction of the headlines I could have listed here…..there are just so many:
Zinke took $12,000 charter flight home in oil executive’s plane, documents show
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show.
The flight, along with private flights during a trip to the Virgin Islands, could propel Zinke into the growing debate over the costs of travel by Cabinet secretaries, some of whom have chosen expensive charter jets and military planes at high expense to taxpayers over the cheaper option of flying commercial.
Pence chief of staff: Hey, who’s up for a purge in the GOP?
Old and busted: Ambassador Mike Pence. New hotness: Inquisitor Mike Pence? Politico got its hands on an audio recording of the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, meeting with big-ticket GOP donors to plan for the midterms. Rather than follow Pence’s public signals for intra-party unity between Trump loyalists and everyone else, Ayers told donors that they needed to conduct a purge that will eject any Republicans with insufficient loyalty to the president:
But Ayers reserved his harshest criticism for congressional leaders and members who have not offered full-throated support for the president.
“Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers said, according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by POLITICO.
Did that sound crass? Not as crass as what followed:
One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”
“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”
2017 United States Budget Estimate
Total Receipts: $3.21T
Total Outlays: $3.65T
Total Surplus or Deficit as Percentage of GDP: -2.6%
* Note: Budget estimates are based on projections from the Obama Administration. To the extent feasible, the data have been adjusted using chained 2009 GDP to provide consistency with the 2015 Budget and to provide comparability over time.
2017 Key Facts
The U.S. government is estimated to collect $3.21T in tax revenues and spend a total of $3.65T in its 2017 budget, resulting in a deficit of $443B. The deficit is expected to be 2.6% of its total estimated GDP of $17T that year.
All numbers are adjusted for inflation.
total surplus/deficit as % of GDP
House panel approves $10B for border wall
The House Homeland Security Committee approved Wednesday a border security bill that includes $10 billion for a border wall.
The Border Security for America Act, proposed by committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was passed along party lines, 18-12.
The bill now heads to the House floor amid debate over whether border security provisions should be attached to potential legislation to protect recipients of the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
WASHINGTON — In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for.
Congress finally seems ready to take action on the Children’s Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed Sept. 30.
Before the deadline, lawmakers were busy grappling with the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families.
CHIP, which has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, helps lower- and middle-income families that otherwise earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid. Besides children, it covers 370,000 pregnant women a year. Like Medicaid, CHIP is traditionally paid for by state and federal funding, but the federal government covers most of the cost.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee posted its bill just before midnight Monday. It mirrors the Senate Finance plan by extending funding for CHIP for five years and gradually phasing down the 23 percentage point funding increase provided under Affordable Care Act over the next two years.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness thrust into peril by Trump-DeVos budget
Greg Cechak is a 31-year-old sixth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania, who owes about $80,000 for his state university education. He and his wife, another public school teacher, also are the parents of two small children, who he worries he’ll never be able to send to college because he’ll still be paying off his own student loans.
The light on the horizon for the Cechak family—and more than 600,000 additional teachers, firefighters, and public-service employees—is the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which hopefully will erase the majority of his federal student loan debt after Cechak has paid 120 on-time monthly loan payments.
This week marks the 10-year anniversary of PSLF, but the program recently has been thrust into peril by the Trump-DeVos proposed budget, which would eliminate PSLF. In response, a congressional caucus dedicated to protecting PSLF was formed this fall by two Pennsylvania Republicans—U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, and thousands of NEA members have called on Congress to protect PSLF.
President Donald Trump released his administration’s first full budget Tuesday, and the reactions from Capitol Hill make it look like it’s dead on arrival. That might be true, but it shouldn’t make those of us who work to improve outcomes for students any less concerned. As former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said whenever he talked about President Barack Obama’s budget proposals, budgets reflect our values. And when it comes to education, the values of Trump and his education secretary Betsy DeVos couldn’t be clearer – private schools deserve money, and public schools and vulnerable students don’t.
At a high level, the outlines of Trump and DeVos’ education priorities became clear in March with the release of the administration’s so-called “skinny budget.” As a result, much of what is in today’s full budget isn’t surprising. The proposal would cut the Education Department’s funding by more than 13 percent and slash overall funding by almost $11 billion, including eliminating $2.1 billion in funding for teacher professional development and support, which could pay the salaries of more than 35,000 teachers, and $1.2 billion for after-school programs, which support working families and serve 1.6 million students.
At the same time, Trump and DeVos would push over $1 billion of new money for private school voucher schemes and other school choice programs. In essence, states and districts will have to enact DeVos’ preferred school choice policies in order to recover some of the cuts to longstanding programs.
Dems release own infrastructure principles in absence of Trump plan
A group of House Democrats released their own set of infrastructure principles Wednesday, as the White House has yet to unveil more details about Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package.
The New Democrat Coalition laid out three major steps Congress should take to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure: fund it, fix it and foster it.
The group prefers to use the revenue from repatriation, or taxing corporate earnings stashed overseas when it returns to the U.S., to upgrade U.S. infrastructure. They also want to see robust, long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund.
From walruses to turtles and woodpeckers to toads, the Trump administration Wednesday declined to list 25 species as endangered, noting that extra protection “is not warranted at this time.”
Of particular concern to environmental groups is the Pacific walrus, which had been considered a candidate for the list due to the dramatic loss of its Arctic sea ice habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which determines which species can be classified as endangered, reported that it can’t say with certainty that the Pacific walrus is likely to become endangered, despite an extensive loss of Arctic Sea ice due to global warming.
“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperiled wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species.”
Ahhhh some sense?!! Whew!
GOP leader shelves NRA-backed silencer bill
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders called for unity and prayer Tuesday after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, but offered no new legislation to tighten gun laws and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved indefinitely.
“We are all reeling from this horror in Las Vegas,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference. “This is just awful.”
Ryan said there’s no plan for the House to act soon on a National Rifle Association-backed bill to ease regulations on gun silencers. A House panel had backed the bill last month and lawmakers were expected to move ahead on the measure.
The bill is “not scheduled right now. I don’t know when it will be scheduled,” Ryan said.