Episode 12: Show Notes and Sources

  1. History’s Greatest Monster
    1. Travis – Donald Trump – For blaming the Constitution for his problems during his first 100 days.
      1. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/29/trump-blames-constitution-for-first-100-days-chaos-presidency
      2. Described the checks and balances in the constitution as “a very rough system.  It’s an archaic system…It’s a really bad thing for the country.”
      3. Also for inviting Rodrigo Duterte to visit Washington.  The President of the Philippines who has been pursuing a campaign to murder drug dealers and users without trial.
      4. Also also, for not understanding a damn thing about the civil war.
    2. Bob – Sebastian Gorka – national security adviser to the president
      1. Speaks no Arabic
      2. Talks about his military service – except he served in British reservist unit with no connection to counter-terrorism
      3. Claims to have been “Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University,” but really worked for MCU Foundation
      4. His PhD from Corvinus University in Hungary doesn’t meet US standards
      5. Criminal charge for bringing a 9mm on a plane (dismissed)
      6. Wears a medal from the Order of Vitez – fraternity of Hungarian nationalists
        1. Honors his father Paul who fought against communism
        2. Considered a Nazi-affiliated organization by the State Dept.
      7. Mother worked for Holocaust Denier David Irving – UK “historian”
      8. Claims Islam is the primary driver of terrorism and the West needs to unite against it
        1. Used by bigots and racists to defend the Travel Ban
      9. Probably leaving the WH later this summer – has no security clearance so his duties are:
        1. “Speaking on television about counterterrorism and giving WH tours”
    3. Dave – Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama
      1. During an interview with CNN on Monday 5/1/17, Brooks claimed that “people who lead good lives” dont have to worry about dealing with pre-existing conditions, and thus should not have to pay as much as others
      2. Also for people who are unhealthy or have pre-existing conditions to pay more for health insurance
    4. Curtis –
  2. The Big List
    1. Healthcare

How each member of the House of Representatives voted on the House Health Care Bill

      1. Republicans pushing for a vote on revised House healthcare plan on Thursday.
        1. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/331863-gop-rushing-to-vote-on-healthcare-without-analysis-of-changes
        2. Attempting to beat the CBO report that sank the last bill. Required for Senate vote
        3. Lawmakers and their staffs are exempt from the new pre-existing condition changes
          1. https://www.vox.com/2017/4/25/15429982/gop-exemption-ahca-amendment
          2. Funny story, after VOX.com reported Rep Tom MacArthur R-NJ said he would close the loophole. However, it will be in separate legislation and is not part of the AHCA 3.0 version of the bill the House voted on
      2. Vote passes the House, 217-212
        1. No hearings, no debates, no studies, no CBO analysts, limited text circulated
        2. Still a big tax cut for the wealthy. Estimated $765 billion over 10 years.
        3. Bill very clearly was rushed through. Example is that Rep Collins from New York State admitted, on live TV, that he hadn’t read the bill and “wasn’t the only one who hadn’t’ and also didn’t realize that the AHCA would cut $3 billion from funding for his state.
          1. Which is interesting that no one read it because House Speaker Paul Ryan, in 2009 said about Obamacare: “I don’t think we should pass bills that we haven’t read that we don’t know what they cost.”
          2. http://www.dailywire.com/news/16056/flashback-paul-ryan-2009-says-its-ridiculous-pass-hank-berrien
          3. https://thinkprogress.org/chris-collins-mark-sanford-read-trumpcare-58c4aa5c01d4
        4. Headed to Senate where there is doubt it will pass. Likely there will be changes to the bill, a “Senate version” that will need to be negotiated between House and Senate. The senate version can be subjected to amendments, with no limit.
          1. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) posted a skeptical note on Twitter Thursday: “A bill — finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate — should be viewed with caution.”
          2. Remember that without the CBO analysis, that says this bill will NOT increase the federal deficit in 10 years can not pass as a reconciliation bill
        5. New pre-existing condition criteria
          1. Applies to sexual assault (rape), postpartum depression, c-sections and victims of domestic violence
        6. States still have new powers over insurance regulations
          1. Allows states to eliminate parts of the ACA that require insurers to include specific “essential health benefits”. And to set their own coverage requirements, or even say ‘no coverage requirements’
          2. Let states get federal permission to let insurers return to the old practice of charging more to customers with pre-existing medical problems. ACA outlaws this provision
        7. Medicaid Changes
          1. For the 31 states that, under the ACA, have expanded the safety-net program to include people with slightly higher incomes, the government would immediately stop paying for any one new to enroll under the expansion and would eventually stop the extra money the ACA has provided for that purpose.
          2. And starting in a few years, Medicaid would end its half-century tradition as an entitlement program in which the government pays a certain share for each person who enrolls, switching to a “cap” with a fixed amount per person — a change that would lessen federal funding.
        8. Other major changes
          1. Initial estimates from liberal think tank Center for American Progress
            1. US citizens with the most serious forms of cancer could have to pay up to 35 times more for health insurance under a proposed amendment to Donald Trump’s new healthcare bill
            2. a completed pregnancy, with no or minor complications, would result in a premium hike of $17,060 (£13,200) – a 425% increase.
            3. Asthma: $4k
            4. Diabetes: $5.5k
            5. Pregnancy: $17k
            6. Arthritis: $26k
            7. Cancer: $140k
          2. Employer based healthcare insurance, which is about half of the country, could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, due to a little-noticed provision of the House Republican health-care bill, health-policy experts say.
          3. Bill will allow insurers to charge older Americans five times what they charge younger people, which is 3 times as much under ACA
          4. High risk pool estimated to be underfunded by billions
    1. Puerto Rico Files for Biggest US Municipal Bankruptcy in History.
      1. http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/03/news/economy/puerto-rico-wants-to-file-for-bankruptcy/index.html?iid=hp-toplead-dom
      2. Owes its creditors $70 billion.
      3. A Judge still needs to approve the bankruptcy.
      4. Trump has said “No Bailout”
      5. Economic woe started years ago when Congress changed tax benefits that pharmaceutical companies could enjoy by being based in Puerto Rico.  When those tax benefits went away, they left the island and crippled the Puerto Rican economy.
    2. Republicans are pushing ahead on a 593-page bill to deregulate Wall Street.
      1. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/1/15440408/republicans-wall-street-frank
      2. Called the “Financial Choice Act”, likely written by Wall Street Lobbyists.
      3. Act removes protections implemented in Dodd-Frank act from 2010 as well as rolling back several other regulations designed to prevent another financial crisis like 2008.
      4. Bill will also eliminate the “Volcker Rule” which prevents commercial banks from making certain kinds of speculative and risky trades.
      5. Bill will also also gut the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau which has won millions from big corporations by suing those who use deceptive practices for their customers.
    3. Happy Loyalty Day, Everyone! – Trump declares May 1st Loyalty Day
      1. First declared in 1921 to combat the First Red Scare
      2. Gin up support for extralegal Palmer Raids and encourage anti-union/immigrant feeling
      3. Counter May Day – international day of worker solidarity
        1. The reason that American Labor Day is in September
      4. Signed by every POTUS since 1955
    4. Budget (CR?) passes House and Senate. Funds government to September
      1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/30/526326186/congress-reaches-deal-to-fund-government-through-september
      2. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-npr-pbs-public-arts-cuts-democrats-save-funding-budget-a7712421.html
      3. No money for the wall
      4. Renews medical marijuana provision, standard for budgets since 2014
      5. Democrats were needed to pass the spending bill because it requires 60 Senate votes, avoiding a shut down which would have been an embarrassment to Republicans
      6. Provides:
        1. Additional $1.5 billion in funding for border security – NOT for the wall
          1. For technological expenditures and maintenance of existing infrastructure
        2. Increases spending for the military by ~$15 Billion (trump wanted lots more)
        3. $70 million reimbursement to law enforcement for costs incurred protecting President Trump and first family away from the White House, NYC Mar-A-Lago
        4. Funding for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program, which is strapped for cash
        5. $2 billion increase for National Institutes of Health
        6. Additional funding to combat opioid abuse
        7. Additional funding for Pell Grants for summer school
        8. Continues funding for Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with increases for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities
      7. Of note (Trump losses)
        1. No money for border wall
        2. Funds NIH instead of stripping funding
        3. Continues to fund ACA, because Republicans agreed to NOT stop paying for federal subsidies to health insurers to cover low-income Americans. To note, this is NOT in the official bill, just a verbal agreement with the White House
        4. Does not cut $100 million from client change programs as Trump pledged
        5. Cuts 1% from the EPA, not the 28% Trump wants
        6. USGS provided with slight increase, Trump wants to cut by 10%
        7. Renewable energies and clean energy research receive additional $17 million
    5. Confusing foreign policy moves by Trump
      1. https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/02/north-korea-launches-salvo-of-rhetoric-threatening-nuclear-test-at-any-time
      2. https://news.vice.com/story/president-trump-praises-duterte-and-kim-jong-un-before-spending-sunday-at-golf-club
      3. Calls Kim Jong Un a “pretty smart cookie” for being able to assume power at a very young age. Added that he dealt with ‘very tough people’ who ‘tried to take that power away’
        1. Kim Jong Un has vowed to accelerate nuclear weapons program at ‘maximum pace’ and test a nuclear device ‘at any time’ in response to Trump’s aggressive stance towards North “Best” Korea
        2. The warning came as US military officials said a controversial missile defence system was now “operational” after being installed at a site in South Korea last week.
      4. Trump had a “very friendly” talk with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
        1. Trump invited Duterte to the White House, announced 4/29
        2. Remember that Duterte has admitted to personally killing suspected drugs dealers
      5. South Korean media on Monday warned of a “Trump risk” threatening the alliance between Washington and Seoul amid high tensions over the North’s weapons ambitions.
        1. Both countries are bound by a defense pact
        2. 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the country (South Korea)
        3. Trump has said South Korea should pay for the “billion dollar” THAAD system after we installed it. HR McMaster told SK counterpart U.S. will pay for THAAD
        4. Trump also pushed for renegotiation of what he called a “horrible” bilateral free trade pact that went into effect 5 years ago
  1. Lightning Round
    1. Trump Signs Order Allowing Churches to Engage in More Political Activity.
      1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-signs-order-aimed-at-allowing-churches-to-engage-in-more-political-activity/2017/05/04/024ed7c2-30d3-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html
      2. 1st Amendment violation?
      3. Was unveiled in the Rose Garden while Trump was accompanied by Christian leaders.
      4. Part of an effort to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which allows churches to perform political activity, but at the cost of losing their tax-exempt status. (Rarely [ever?] enforced.)
      5. Trump’s order is significantly weaker that what he proposed on the campaign trail, doing little to change the current rules.
    2. Woman Convicted of Disorderly Conduct for Laughing during Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearing.  Could Face 1 Year in Prison.
      1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/jeff-sessions-woman-guilty-laughing-year-jail-sentence-code-pink-protester-a7716456.html
      2. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/code-pink-sessions-laughter-trial.html?_r=0
      3. No mention of Jeff Sessions’ perjury during his testimony.
      4. Two other activists also found guilty.
    3. Democrats Save Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
      1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-npr-pbs-public-arts-cuts-democrats-save-funding-budget-a7712421.html
      2. Democrats added funding to arts programs in the spending bill designed to prevent a government shutdown.
      3. Programs are protected for the current financial year, in September.
      4. It’s expected that Trump’s full budget will once again remove funding from the CPB, the NEA, and the NEH.
    4. Russian Troop ship sunk in collision with sheep barge.  Sheep and sailors reportedly unharmed.
      1. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/04/russian-spy-ship-sunk-by-sheep-barge-sheep-and-sailors-unhurt/?comments=1
      2. Collisions are frequent, but it’s highly unusual for a military ship to be sunk in such an encounter.
    5. Ex-Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros files Federal suit against Fox News group for participating in a hacking and surveillance campaign against her.
      1. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/04/former-fox-news-host-claims-company-hacked-her-stalked-her-with-sock-puppets/
      2. Alleged group of “Black Room” Fox employees hacked Tantaros’s PC and used “sock puppet” social media accounts to electronically stalk her.
      3. Activities allegedly started soon after Tantaros accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
      4. Information from Tantaros’ PC (including that covered under client-attorney privilege) was used to intimidate, terrorize, and to damage her career.
    6. Fox News Co-President Bill Shine Resigns
      1. Part of the aftershocks of the sexual harassment scandal
      2. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/01/526429448/fox-news-president-bill-shine-resigns
      3. Shine has never been accused of harassment himself, a growing number of women at Fox News have alleged, some of them in court documents, that he was aware of deeply inappropriate behavior against them and deflected, ignored or sought to suppress their concerns rather than take actions to address them constructively.
    7. Trump reverses Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy School Lunch program
      1. http://www.npr.org/2017/05/01/526451207/trump-administration-rolls-back-2-of-michelle-obamas-signature-initiatives
      2. https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/trump-admin-rolls-back-obama-era-nutrition-standards-for-school-lunches/
      3. On Monday newly minted Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a rollback of school lunch standards championed by the former first lady, declaring at a Virginia school that the administration would “Make School Meals Great Again.”
      4. “This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said in a statement. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition — thus undermining the intent of the program.”
      5. The school nutrition standards have long been a source of controversy, making them a more likely target of the current administration.
      6. Was initially reported by CNN that the ‘Let Girls Learn’ program was being canceled. Administration officials later said it is not being cut. Program provides educational opportunities for young women in developing countries
      7. NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports that the School Nutrition Association, which represents school food administrators, has been pushing for the changes.
      8. Requirements that are changing, USDA now granting exemptions to states
        1. Whole grain standards for the 2017-2018 school year, if school is having difficulties meeting the standards
        2. Sodium reductions postponed for at least 3 years
        3. Milk requirements also loosened, allowing schools to serve 1% flavored milk
    8. Jared “The Kush?” Kushner did not disclose business ties on financial disclosure – WSJ
      1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-adviser-jared-kushner-didnt-disclose-startup-stake-1493717405
      2. Also $1 billion in loans from more than 20 lenders, $300 million is personal guarantees
      3. Didn’t close that he is part-owner of real estate finance firm Cadre
        1. Cadre matches investors with real estate projects
        2. Cadre’s investors include Goldman Sachs, George Soros, Peter Thiel
      4. A source told The Journal that Kushner planned to recuse himself from anything that concerned Deutsche Bank or RBS, two lenders that have given him money for his properties or companies and to which he has provided personal guarantees on loans.
      5. He still owes money to Bank of America, Blackstone Group, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank, and RBS, all of which were not disclosed, according to The Journal.
    9. Army Secretary Nominee withdraws
      1. Is citing ‘false and misleading attack’ about comments he made about Islam, evolution and gender issues
      2. He is a republican state lawmaker in Tennessee, veteran of Iraq War
      3. Green, a retired Army flight surgeon and West Point grad, was tapped in early April as Trump’s pick after billionaire Vincent Viola withdrew over issues related to divesting from his financial holdings.
      4. In 2016, Green told a tea party group, “if you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.” In 2013, Green blasted President Barack Obama for supporting what he said were “‘transvestites in uniform.”
      5. Green, who is a former Army doctor, is also a self-identified “creationist” who has delivered a lecture arguing against the theory of evolution.
      6. http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/05/politics/mark-green-army-secretary-withdrawal/
      7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/05/05/mark-green-withdraws-as-trumps-army-secretary-nominee-citing-false-and-misleading-attacks/
    10. State department tweet gets them in trouble AGAIN
      1. For the second time in less than two weeks, the State Department has hit the “delete” button after complaints that it was promoting Trump family business endeavors.
      2. This time, the State Department deleted a retweet of a post by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
      3. The Office of Global Women’s Issues, a small sub-agency at the State Department, used its official Twitter account to retweet an Ivanka Trump tweet touting her new book, Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success. The office has a mandate to “promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy.”
      4. http://www.npr.org/2017/05/05/527068167/state-department-again-hits-delete-after-allegations-of-trump-promotion
  2. Kentucky
    1. Kentucky budget shortfall predicted
      1. Kentucky job growth only grew at 1.2% this year – people have less money
      2. Because they have less money, income/sales tax revenue are down, and corporate income is also down
      3. General Fund is projected to be $113.2M short by the end of FY in June
      4. Governor Bevin has two options
        1. Tap the Rainy Day Fund – $209M in it currently
        2. Make more cuts to state agencies to reduce services
          1. Almost every state agency already got a 9% cut
      5. Bevin was already planning a special tax reform session
        1. Basic plan is to shift from income taxes to consumption taxes – hurt poor Kentuckians more
        2. Legislation proposed in 2015 would have brought in $66M by closing corporate tax loopholes – never passed
    2. Judge recuses himself from adoption cases involving homosexual couples
      1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/28/judge-wont-hear-gay-adoptions-because-its-not-childs-best-interest/307679001/#
      2. Judge W. Mitchell Nance said in an order this week that he would recuse himself from all adoptions involving gay people
      3. Nance cited a judicial ethics rule that says a judge must disqualify himself when he has a personal bias or prejudice
      4. He said in the order issued Thursday that “as a matter of conscience” he believes that “under no circumstance” would “the best interest of the child be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual.” Kentucky state law allows gay couples to adopt, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that all states must permit same-sex marriage.
      5. Lawyers say Nance is highly religious and opposed to divorce.
      6. Even in uncontested divorces involving no children, he makes the parties appear in court, offers them condolences on the demise of their marriage and makes them explain why it didn’t work out.
      7. Attorneys say he also asked divorce litigants where they go to church and whether they are a true believer.
  3. General Quarters
    1. Call your representatives and senators
      1. Call your rep’s this week – they are in recess all week
        1. Raise hell for their Yes vote on ACHA – make them pay a price
        2. Senate will be watching to see if there is pushback on the House vote
          1. If there is, they will be more hesitant to vote Yes themselves
          2. If not, they’ll see there is no price to pay for stripping 24M Americans of healthcare
      2. Ask for an independent investigation into Trump’s links with Russia.  Also, ask them to hold town halls.
      3. Call them to PROTECT net neutrality
      4. AND also call them to oppose AHCA 3.0
    2. News sources – stolen from Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca
      1. If you want to cancel your NY Times subscription (and I don’t think you should) think about donating to Pro Publica instead
    3. France – VOTE
  4. Super Happy Fun Time
    1. Travis – CRISPR eliminates HIV-1 Infection in Live Animals.
      1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525001617301107
      2. Potential cure (not vaccine, cure) for HIV/AIDS.
      3. Tests completed on laboratory mice.  Likely 10-15 years away from approved therapy for humans.  Considered a massive breakthrough.
      4. CRISPR – Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats – segments of prokaryotic DNA that is used in genome editing technology.
      5. CRISPR genome edits are not inherited, so each generation would have to be treated, but it limits the chance of unforeseen genetic consequences long-term.
    2. Dave – Jimmy Kimmel’s new baby boy had open heart surgery and it was successful. Watch his 13 minute monologue because it is very touching and moving, and also has a very passionate story about healthcare in this country
    3. Bob – Zuniga family of Mission TX makes their own Blockbuster store for their 20-year old non-verbal autistic son
    4. Curtis – “Anything is possible when you sound caucasian on the phone.”
      1. FL high school senior yearbook quote/viral tweet (savanna tomlinson)
      2. Funny/RT spin on “Anything is possible…” and acknowledging that plenty of judgment happens based on *how* someone talks/sounds, regardless of the content of what they are saying.


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