Episode 19: Show Notes and Sources


    1. History’s Greatest Monster
      1. Travis – The Missouri state House Republicans.  For passing SB5 which would allow for employers and landlords to deny women jobs and homes if they use birth control or have had an abortion.
      2. Dave – Newt Gingrich for saying that the “President cannot obstruct justice” referring to President Trump, which is interesting when you remember that Gingrich voted to impeach President Clinton on several articles, one of them being obstruction of justice.
      3. Curtis –
      4. Bob – Barack Obama
    2. The Big List
      1. Disabled people protesting the AHCA carried away from McConnell’s office.
      2. Removes almost all of the taxes from the ACA.
      3. Rolls back the Medicaid expansion.
        1. Remember when then-candidate Trump said he wouldn’t touch Medicaid?
        2. Still funded by a ‘per capita block grant’ like the house, but funds it less starting in 2021 meaning a bigger spending cut from the Federal Government
      4. Still allows insurance companies to charge 5 times more for older customers than younger customers
      5. Removes the individual mandate.
      6. Like the House bill, the Senate bill allows states to change what is considered “essential health benefits” like hospital stays, ambulance transportation, addiction services, maternity care, mental health services
      7. DOES NOT allow states to opt out of preexisting condition protections.
        1. Unlike the House version, the Senate version does not allow insurances to increase premiums for those with preexisting conditions
        2. BUT allows states to not cover costs associated with some conditions
      8. Reduces the amount of money the House set in the high risk pool, money sent to insurance companies who take losses, by $18 Billion
      9. “Provides a softer landing to people at lower ends of the income spectrum that the House bill.”  according to Senatorial aides and lobbyists.  Note that they don’t anything about it not pulling the rug out from under the poor, just that it softens the landing when they fall.
      10. Medicaid cuts wouldn’t go into effect until after the next election.
      11. Appears to allow changes to federal money spent on abortions, which could mean the bill will no longer count as reconciliation and would be almost impossible to get passed.
        1. Planned parenthood would face a one-year ban on Medicaid funding
      1. The Senate Version of AHCA


  • OF NOTE: Senate can not vote on their bill until CBO analysis has been done. They also can only work on one “budget bill” at a time, meaning if they want to move onto tax reform or funding the government for FY18, they have to either pass the Senate version or stow it and move on. This is by law.


    1. Democrats to halt Senate business in protest of health care bill.
      1. Protest has been triggered by the Republican’s closed-door process to gut Obamacare and pass the AHCA.
      2. Democrats are planning to object to routine requests that let the chamber operate, for example, when scheduling votes or extending hearings.
      3. Republicans reportedly are trying to bring the AHCA to a direct floor vote as early as next week.
    2. GOP Data Firm Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million American Voters.
      1. Basically everyone who has voted in the US for the last 10 years.
      2. Data includes home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers.  Also includes suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity.
      3. Firm in question is Deep Root Analytics.  Data was used to create databases for where voters fall on hot button issues.
      4. Data was stored on cloud server without any password protection and was accessibly simply by knowing the URL.
    3. White House Press Briefing Restrictions
      1. For four days last week, representatives for President Trump skipped the usual on-camera briefing to take questions off-camera.
      2. CNN decided to broadcast audio of the briefing, the White House barred attendees from doing that, too. Monday’s briefing — the White House termed it a “gaggle,” a more informal set-up, though it took place in a format much like a briefing — was likewise off-camera, with audio broadcasting forbidden.
      3. Even when they have done on-camera briefings, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and his occasional fill-in, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, have done their part to further marginalize the briefing, routinely responding to reporters’ questions by professing ignorance.
      4. “I don’t know,” Spicer said last Monday, during the only on-camera briefing of the week, when asked if Trump would make good on his word and testify under oath on the Russia investigation. “I have not had a further discussion with that.”
      5. Spicer took questions for less than 15 minutes that day, which is not atypical lately. Brevity has become perhaps the defining feature of the briefing these days.
      6. The Atlantic reached out to Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders but received no response.  They then reached out to Steve Bannon, who responded in a text that “Sean got fatter”.  When asked for clarification, Bannon stopped responding.
    4. Russia
      1. CIA obtained information from inside the Russian Government that Putin ordered hacking of the 2016 election.
        1. Putin specifically called for his agents to hamper Hillary Clinton’s campaign and support Trump’s campaign.
        2. There are reports of a secret meeting on Capitol Hill in September to brief congressional lawmakers on the Russian hacking.
        3. Senator McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made it clear to the Obama Administration that he would consider any challenge to the Russians and act of partisan politics.
      2. Hackers changed voter rolls in at least one state.
        1. Tin Foil Hat: sure would be a shame if a bunch of Democrats were removed from the rolls in key districts just before the election.  It would have been way easier for them to do that if, say, a GOP think tank had allowed 198 million voter records to be stolen.  Oh wait.
        2. No confirmation that the hackers were Russian.
      3. House Republicans Block Russia Sanctions Bill
        1. Bill flagged as a “blue slip” violation, referring to the constitutional requirement that revenue bills originate in the House.  Your guess is as good as ours as to how foreign policy sanctions count as a revenue bill.
        2. Paul Ryan’s spokesperson, “The Senate bill cannot be considered in the House in it’s current form.”  also stated that Ryan strongly supports sanctions.
        3. Eliot Engel (D-NY) noted that the House Republicans could easily work around the supposed violation by introducing an indention House bill.
      4. Russia says it will treat US-led planes in Syria as targets after US downed Syrian Jet.
        1. US shot down a Syrian government jet that was attacking Syrian Democratic forces as they battled ISIS on Sunday.  First time a US jet has shot down another jet since 1999.
        2. Russia says it will track all coalition jets and drones west of the Euphrates starting on Monday.
        3. US military says the air to air strike complied with the rules of engagement.
  1. Lightning Round
    1. Senate Announces Probe into Loretta Lynch’s behavior during the 2016 election
      1. Judiciary Committee probe is looking into former AG Loretta Lynch’s efforts to impact the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
      2. Investigation appears to be bipartisan, as the letter to AG Lynch was signed by the ranking democrat on the committee, Dianne Feinstein and also Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse.
    2. Supreme Court to hear potentially landmark case on partisan gerrymandering.
      1. Case comes from Wisconsin where a panel of three federal judges rules last year that state Republicans had pushed a districting plan so partisan that it violated the first amendment.
      2. SCOTUS voted 5-4 to stay the lower court’s decision requiring new districts to be drawn this fall.  Vote was the 5 conservative justices vs. the 4 liberal justices.
      3. In election after adopting the gerrymandered maps, Republicans earned 48.6% of the total statewide vote but gained a 60-39 seat advantage in the state assembly.
      4. More on this story when there’s a ruling.
    3. Rick Perry goes in front of a congress committee to defend major cuts to EPA budget
    4. Trump will allow DREAMERS to stay in the US
      1. President Trump will not immediately eliminate protections for the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children, according to new memorandums issued by the administration on Thursday night.
      2. But White House officials said on Friday morning that Mr. Trump had not made a decision about the long-term fate of the program and might yet follow through on a campaign pledge to take away work permits from the immigrants or deport them.
      3. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would continue the Obama-era program intended to protect those immigrants from deportation and provide them with work permits so they can find legal employment.
    5. President Trump is sued for potential violation of Presidential Records Act
      1. Two government watchdog groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump and the Executive Office of the President.
      2. The complaint alleges that White House staffers’ widely reported use of encrypted messaging apps, such as Signal and Confide, for internal communication violates the Presidential Records Act.
      3. In the lawsuit, the groups claim the Trump administration has “failed to adopt adequate policies and guidelines to maintain and preserve presidential records.”
    6. Georgia 6th district won by Republican
      1. Karen Handle won by 5%
  2. Kentucky
    1. Law denying lawmakers gifts from lobbyists struck down
      1. A federal judge has struck down key parts of the ethics code governing the Kentucky General Assembly, including its provision that bans lawmakers from accepting “anything of value” from a lobbyist.
      2. Also struck down in the order is a provision that bans lobbyists from making campaign contributions to candidates for the General Assembly.
      3. In a 35-page opinion, U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman stated that such ethics laws must be narrowly tailored to combat “quid pro quo” corruption, but that Kentucky’s law is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
      4. Remember that Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer introduced a bill, Senate Bill 8, that allowed more money in political campaigns
  3. General Quarters
    1. Call your representatives and senators
  4. Super Happy Fun Time
    1. Dave – Grizzly Bears have made a great comeback and are no longer on the endangered species’ list. Protections have been in place for more than 40 years because in 1975 there were only 136 grizzlies around Yellowstone. Now there are approximately 700. They will remain off the endangered species’ list as long as there remain more than 600. I mention this because once they are officially removed from the list, it is now legal to hunt them again.
    2. Bob – gorilla dancing to Maniac while taking a bath
    3. Curtis –
    4. Travis – Finnish Citizens living under universal basic income report lower stress, higher motivation to work.
      1. 2,000 Finnish citizens have been given unconditional income for the last five months.  560 euros a month.
      2. The do not have to report that they’re trying to find work and can spend the money any way they like.
      3. Recipients report lower stress levels, which likely leads to lower levels of depression, which can improve desire to work.  Hey, turns out, people like being productive!
      4. “It’s easy to think of money as a reward, but it’s also a necessity. It’s also easy to think of work as a necessity, but it’s also rewarding.” – u/manateetanam
      5. Current standard Finnish welfare system removes the income once a person finds a job, which reduces the incentive to look for work.