Episode 23: Show Notes and Sources

  1. History’s Greatest Monster
    1. Dave – Ajit Pai for being unable to come up with a single reason why Net Neutrality should be dismantled other than “no one built infrastructure” since the ruling, Unable/unwilling to provide information on the “website attack”, Willfully not listening to the American public who want Net Neutrality, Not providing communications between FCC officials and ISPs as requested by a FOIA request
      1. “The FCC has made it clear that they’re ignoring feedback from the general public, so we’re going to court to find out who they’re actually listening to about net neutrality,” American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers
      2. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/07/lawsuit-seeks-ajit-pais-net-neutrality-talks-with-internet-providers/#p3
    2. Travis – Donald Trump, for ordering service members to support the Republican agenda.
      1. “I don’t mind getting a little hand, so call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it,” – In regards to an Obamacare repeal and Trumps budget, which drastically increases military spending.
      2. Bonus point for his “Trump Youth” speech at the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree.
        1. The Boy Scouts of America have apologized about the political tone of the speech
        2. White House declines to apologize to the BSA
        3. Trump:
          1. Reheashed his electoral college victory
          2. Joked that HHS secretary could be fired if Congress fails to repeal/replace
          3. Asked if Obama ever came to the Jamboree (He didn’t because the BSA was discriminating against gay scouts), then the scouts booed the former president, chanting “we love trump”
          4. The weird yacht story
      3. (His Anti-transgender military policy? …once again, announced through Twitter???)
      4. Negative points for John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski.
    3. Curtis –
    4. Bob – Rex Tillerson – for gutting the State Department to focus more on economics/military and less on human rights
      1. Office of the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan – designs long-term AfPak strategy
      2. Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues – handles international coordination for cyber security and reports directly to POTUS
      3. Office of Global Criminal Justice – investigate war crimes and prevent genocides
      4. All being “reorganized” into other departments – downgraded in importance
      5. And now considering bailing before the end of the year
  2. The Big List
    1. Late Breaking Friday Shit-A-Palooza:
      1. Priebus is out, replaced by General Kelly of DHS
      2. North Korea launches ICBM late Friday
        1. Flew straight up for 45 minutes and reached a height of 2,300 miles before crashing into sea of Japan.
        2. If it had a normal trajectory, could have reached Chicago and possibly NYC, flying approximately 6,500 miles
      3. The Mooch’s wife files for divorce!
    2. Healthcare Update
      1. Tuesday 7/25/17 – Senate votes on Motion to Proceed (51-50, Murkowski/Collins no)
        1. Vice President Pence has to cast tie breaking vote
        2. McCain votes yes to proceed, then gives speech about how he can’t vote for the bill, and that we shouldn’t create such bills in a partisan fashion
      2. First Vote is repeal and replace that was written a few weeks ago
        1. Includes Cruz amendment
        2. Not scored by CBO with Cruz Amendment
        3. May have required 60 votes since it hadn’t been scored by the CBO
        4. Fails 57 to 43
          1. No republicans are: Collins, Corker, Cotton, Graham, Heller, Lee, Moran, Murkowski, Paul. Note McCain votes YES
      3. Second Vote is repeal and delay with Paul Amendment
        1. Removes Medicaid expansion, individual/employer mandates, subsidies, exchanges, ACA taxes etc two years from now
        2. Leaves pre-existing conditions
        3. Includes Rand Paul amendment which prohibits people from using subsidies to buy plans that cover abortion
        4. Fails 55 to 45
          1. No R’s: Alexander, Capito, Collins, Heller, McCain, Murkowski, Portman
      4. Return to committee Process
        1. Sends bill back to committee
        2. Democratic sponsored amendment
        3. Fails on party lines, 52 to 48, all republican senators vote no
      5. Backlash against women GOP senators
        1. Susan Collins challenged to a duel by Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
          1. When asked after the Billy Bush tape if Farenthold would continue to endorse Trump if a tape emerged saying he liked to rape women, F said “I would have to consider it.”
          2. Sued in 2015 by his former Comm Dir for sexual harrassment
        2. Buddy Carter (R-GA) said about Collins/Murkowski that someone needs to go over to the Senate and “snatch a knot in their ass”
        3. Secretary of the Interior threatens Sen. Murkowski over her refusal to vote for MTP
          1. Ryan Zinke told her POTUS “wasn’t pleased with” the vote she had taken
          2. “I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,” – Dan Sullivan, other senator from AK
          3. Probably a dumb fight for Zinke to pick
            1. Murkowski is the chair of the Subcommittee for the Dept of the Interior on the Senate Appropriations Committee
            2. She gets to set Zinke’s budget
            3. Also Zinke called Senator Dan Sullivan
          4. Democrats are wanting an investigation over ‘political blackmail’
      6. Skinny repeal
        1. Repeals individual mandate and pauses employer mandate for six years
        2. Leave the Medicaid expansion, subsidies, taxes and marketplace regulations such as preexisting conditions protections in place
        3. Prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for one year. If this remains in the bill, it will require 60 votes to pass.
        4. Allows states to opt out of many ACA regulations such as “essential health benefits,” which provide minimum standards for what marketplace insurance plans must cover. If this remains in the bill, it will require 60 votes to pass.
        5. Cuts public health funding
      7. Thursday night:
        1. Four key GOP senators demanded guarantees House will enter negotiations or they’ll scuttle the bill.
        2. House Speaker Paul Ryan has now offered assurances the House bill would proceed to a conference committee
        3. Ryan also indicated it will be up to Senate leaders to put together the eventual bill that can reach the President’s desk.
        4. Basically the Senators are out of ideas and will only vote on skinny repeal if the House will bring it to committee so they can craft yet another version of the bill. The fear is, Senate will pass skinny repeal, and republicans will pass it in the House, and then it will go to Trump’s desk.
        5. Also the House Freedom caucus leader says the skinny bill is a non-starter
        6. Vote to proceed and then they vote to send back to committee
          1. This is voted down along party lines, 52-48
        7. Then nothing… Pence shows up, talks to a a few senators. Lots of side conversations and after about an hour of nothing they vote on the skinny repeal
        8. 49-51 – McCain, Collins, and Murkowski all voted against
          1. McCain seems to have given Trump the middle finger. Not sure how far in advance it was planned, but awesome to watch. A big thanks goes out to all 3 senators, especially Collins and Murkowski who have been steadfast in their NO vote for some time
          2. Of note: Heller votes yes. TFH, he was able to vote yes because McCain voted no
        9. McConnell gives a speech where he talks about how the Democrats never engaged, never wanted to help, etc. Basically blaming the failure on democrats.
          1. For the record, democrats were never invited, and NEITHER WERE WOMEN
        10. This seems to screw the republican plan for the next several months. Per Senate rules, only one reconciliation bill per topic per year. And because this came to a vote and it failed, they can no longer take up healthcare under reconciliation until the end of the fiscal, which is September. Senate will need 60 votes to pass healthcare for the rest of the FY. And by then, it’ll be mid-terms.
      8. Chuck Schumer D-NY revealed Sunday that Democrats are going to consider supporting single payer healthcare system on ABC’s This Week
    3. Trump vs. Sessions
      1. Trump harassing Sessions on Twitter; Sessions refuses to resign
      2. President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are not currently on speaking terms, Politico reported late Tuesday.
      3. Many Republicans have rallied around Sessions, who has support from many senators
      4. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned Thursday there would be “holy hell” to pay if Trump fired Sessions.
        1. Graham is working on legislation that would block the firing of special counsels without judicial review. Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, among several senators involved in the effort, said the bill would protect Mueller and other special counsels. He said firing Mueller “would precipitate a firestorm that would be unprecedented in proportions.”
        2. In Washington, lawmakers from both parties moved on efforts to prevent the dismissal of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a development that might be made easier if Sessions were moved aside.
      5. Trump wants Sessions to investigate Clinton, even though Trump said he wouldn’t investigate Clinton after winning election
      6. Tin Foil Hatty
        1. Trump fires Sessions or Sessions resigns due to harassment
        2. Trump appointments new AG
          1. Either through Recess appointment, which Republicans (and Democrats) have threatened to ensure the Senate is not in official recess
            1. Have to bang the gavel every 3 days, apparently
          2. Or through standard confirmation process
            1. Republican Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, has said he has no room in his schedule to confirm another Attorney General should Sessions be fired/resign
        3. New AG fires Mueller
    4. LGBTQ Rights
      1. Trump announces transgender ban via Twitter
        1. Generals and top Pentagon staff were caught completely off guard
          1. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs wrote in a message to top military officers on Thursday that there will be “no modifications” to the military’s transgender policy, until the White House drafts a formal request for a policy change.
          2. Defense Secretary Mattis was on vacation when Trump tweeted about the ban
            1. Was ‘appalled’ by it
        2. Tweet from Trump “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
        3. A 2016 study commissioned by the Pentagon that found that transgender inclusion would have “have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs” for the 1.4 million strong US military.
          1. Up to 15,000 troops are transgender
          2. Costs $2.4 to $8.4 million per year, less than 0.14% of medical budget
          3. $84 million spent on viagra annually from medical budget
          4. Could cover transgender military healthcare by taking 1 to 3 less trips to Mar-A-Lago
        4. The announcement came amid the debate on Capitol Hill over the Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment related to gender transition. Representative Vicky Hartzler, Republican of Missouri, has proposed an amendment to the spending bill that would bar the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgery or related hormone therapy, and other Republicans have pressed for similar provisions.
        5. Pentagon says they will take no action on Trump’s transgender ban.
          1. Will await formal guidance on how to proceed before they take any action.
      2. Sessions announces that Title VII does not cover rights for gay Americans
        1. The Justice Department filed a brief Wednesday 7/26/2017 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing that federal civil rights laws do not protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
        2. In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is based in Chicago, considered the same question. They ultimately ruled that discrimination against a person based on their sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII. In writing for the court, Chief Judge Diane P. Wood noted that, “It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the ‘sex’ from ‘sexual orientation.’”
    5. Scaramucci off to a great start
      1. Deletes a bunch of “old” tweets
        1. Praises Hillary Clinton
        2. Wants gun controls strengthened
        3. Pro Choice
      2. Claims that Reince Priebus is the leaker
      3. Changes White House press briefing transcript to say that Trump sinks “30 foot putts” instead of “3 foot putts”
      4. Financial disclosure forms made public
        1. Scaramucci thinks it is a leak, by Reince
        2. Asks the FBI to investigate the leak
        3. Is public record via Export-Import Bank
        4. And here it is
      5. Quotes of the week
        1. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock”
        2. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac”
        3. “Reince Priebus … he’ll be asked to resign very shortly”
        4. Referring to the White House communications staff “They’ll all be fired by me. I fired one guy the other day, I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.”
        5. Referring to his “leak” of financial documents: Scaramucci was, in fact, pinning the blame on Reince Preibus. “The fish stinks from the head,” Scaramucci said, “If Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that.”
        6. On eliminating leakers from the White House: “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers …”
      6. Been on the job 7 days now
    6. Russia
      1. Manafort get a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
        1. Senate committee tried to negotiate with Manafort to get him to testify and could not reach an agreement.  They then issues the subpoena to compel his testimony.
        2. Manafort wanted to provide a single transcribed testimony to congress and not allow it to be accessible to the judiciary committee or its members.  The Senate did not agree.
      2. Trump Jr and Manafort do NOT testify under oath in front of Senate
        1. “Both Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, through their attorneys, have agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed by committee members and staff prior to a public hearing,” the lawmakers said.
      3. “President Trump’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian A. Benczkowski, has disclosed to Congress that he previously represented Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions, whose owners have ties to President Vladimir V. Putin,”
      4. Congress sends bill increasing sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea to Trump
        1. Veto-Proof majorities have been established
          1. 419 to 3 in House
          2. 98 to 2 in Senate
        2. Unsure if Trump will veto
        3. Russia responds Friday by ordering a cut in US embassy staff and seizing several US “diplomatic” properties in Moscow
      5. NYT reported Monday that Russian President Putin told President Trump that Russian hackers wouldn’t have gotten caught if they did hack Democratic groups because they’re too skilled at spying
        1. Trump has since repeated the claim, according to White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
        2. Scaramucci told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that someone told him that if Moscow hacked the Democratic National Committee, “you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they’re super-confident in their deception skills and hacking.”
      6. Trump tweeted “it’s very sad that Republicans do very little to protect their president
        1. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Monday that it isn’t congressional Republicans’ role to defend President Trump from the investigations into Russian election interference and pushed back against the notion that special counsel Robert Mueller is biased against the president.
      7. Jill Stein is now part of ever widening Russia Investigation
        1. Third party candidate Jill Stein was a surprising addition this week to investigators casting an increasingly wide net in the congressional probe into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
        2. Stein’s name was included in a Senate Judiciary Committee letter requesting all communication between President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and a number of others, including Russian officials and other members of Trump’s presidential campaign.
  3. Lightning Round
    1. Democrats create “A Better Deal”
      1. Want to tackle things like broadband monopolies
      2. Be tougher on mergers
      3. Read about it here
      4. Have my doubts
    2. Republicans looking to repeal state and local tax deductions that mostly benefit Democratic states.
      1. According to Martin Sullivan, chief economist for Tax Analysts, “Although Republicans usually recoil at any type of tax increase, cutting this tax break would almost be fun for them. It provides massively disproportionate deductions to high-tax states controlled by Democrats.”
      2. The plan would keep deductions for charitable donations and mortgage interest.
    3. DPRK will have nuclear-armed ICBM by next year
      1. Original estimates had said 2-3 years
      2. North Korea making a (rational) play to get nuclear deterrence to avoid regime change
    4. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a rider protecting Medical Marijuana
      1. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the rider, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, by a voice vote, indicating that it was not controversial among the panel’s members, who include 16 Republicans. The committee thereby rejected a personal plea by Sessions to let the amendment lapse.
      2. Ride will prohibit DOJ from using its funds to interfere with state MM laws
    5. Spending bills that could cut CBO funding fail in the House
      1. Two votes
      2. Budget cuts defeated 314 to 107
      3. Staff cuts defeated 309 to 106
      4. Massie voted for the cuts
    6. Senate rejects privatization of air-traffic control
      1. The senators joined their House counterparts in rejecting a proposal to move controllers from FAA to a non-profit corporation. But the decision isn’t final because the Senate and House must still debate and resolve their differences before spending decisions become final, months from now.
    7. House votes to reverse the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent arbitration ruling
      1. CFPB recently voted that legal disputes between consumers and banks not go through forced arbitration (this is good)
      2. In a largely party-line 231-190 vote this afternoon, the House passed a Congressional Review Act resolution that, if also adopted by the Senate and signed by the President, would overturn recently finalized rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
    8. Votes of no confidence start rolling in for Britain’s Prime Minister
      1. At least 15 Conservative MPs have reportedly agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.
      2. It comes after the Prime Minister told plotting Tory MPs “it’s me or Jeremy Corbyn”  as she insisted a leadership challenge would trigger another general election.
      3. Although the letter of no confidence falls short of the 48 names required to trigger a leadership contest, Parliament’s summer break could prove critical for Ms May’s future.
    9. Tennessee jail will reduce sentence if you get a vasectomy
      1. Under a standing order issued by General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield, inmates in White County, Tenn., can receive 30 days’ credit toward their jail time if they volunteer for vasectomies or contraceptive implants, as NewsChannel 5 reported Thursday.
      2. The order came down quietly in May, and already dozens of inmates have sought to take advantage of it. Thirty-two women have received implants of the hormone device Nexplanon, and 38 men have signed up to receive vasectomies, according to NewsChannel 5.
      3. ACLU is considering suing: “Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional”
    10. Adam Schiff (REP D-CA) introduces constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united
      1. Rep Schiff introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and increase regulation of campaign contributions and spending.
    11. They’re not coming back, are they?
      1. A Texan power plant revealed it was making around 70 workers redundant because the fossil fuel not making money.
      2. But the price of coal remains so high that the Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) said it will have to lay off around 70 workers from a coal-fired electrical plant at Gibbons Creek, Anderson, during the winter months.
      3. The agency claimed it was not economical to keep the facility running all year round and said it would only keep it fully operational between June and September
      4. The TMPA has been trying to sell the power plant for more than a year and will have to decide whether to shut it down completely if a buyer is not found by September 2018.
    12. South Carolina statehouse corruption probe
      1. The FBI has joined the ongoing Statehouse corruption probe, raising the specter of potential federal charges in an investigation that already has ensnared four South Carolina lawmakers and exposed allegations of money laundering, influence peddling and other misconduct.
    13. More than 380,000 Georgia voters receive ‘purge notice’
      1. More than 380,000 Georgia voters received a “purge notice” from their local board of elections under the direction of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, Rewire has learned through an open records request.
      2. The ACLU sent a letter earlier this month to Secretary of State Brian Kemp and to the chairperson of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections alleging that these notices, when sent to voters who moved within the same county, violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The letter requested more information about the notices that were sent out and officially informed the named officials of their intent to sue if corrective actions are not taken.
      3. Fulton County resident Stacey Hopkins received an official piece of mail on July 3 informing her that, “If you do not return the attached card within 30 days, you will be moved to an inactive [voter] status.”
  4. Kentucky
    1. Ark is sold back to for-profit entity
      1. After state tourism officials took back an $18 million tax incentive from the Ark Encounter, the group has sold their parcel back to the original owner and for-profit entity.
      2. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader who broke the story, the sale took place Monday and cost $10, which is what the owners sold the parcel for initially.
      3. The issue started in late June after Ark Encounter LLC sold the parcel to its non-profit affiliate, Crosswater Canyon for $10. The deed continues to describe the property as worth $18 million even though the Grant County PVA has assessed the land for $48 million.
      4. (Are they trying to pay taxes on $10 (or even $18m) instead of on $48m?! This intentional undervaluing seems like a tax evasion tactic. Definitely not small enough to be an exempt gift. I’m no lawyer:…fraudulent conveyance?)
    2. Kentucky Democratic PAC director charged with Theft, Forgery
      1. The director of a Kentucky Democratic political action committee has been arrested on charges including theft and forgery.
      2. Grace Wise, 25, was arrested Monday and faces charges including one count of theft by deception of more than $10,000; four counts of theft by deception of less than $10,000; and second-degree forgery, according to local news reports.
      3. Wise has resigned as director of Back the Bluegrass
    3. Kentucky GOP county chairman was arrested for exposing himself
      1. David Narramore, 54, was the Republican Party county chairman of Letcher County, Kentucky, until earlier this week when he resigned following his arrest for exposing himself to a department store employee.
      2. Last Saturday, Narramore was in the bathroom of the Belk department store in Kingsport, Tennessee. A Belk employee who works in loss prevention in the next stall said that Narramore started rubbing his foot against the employee’s foot. The Republican then exposed himself to the employee.
  5. General Quarters
    1. Take the weekend off, the country seems unlikely to unravel over the next few days
    2. But maybe take a few minutes to email Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and John McCain for voting against the ACA “skinny” repeal.  You can email them at the links on the document.
      1. Lisa Murkowski: https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact/email
      2. Susan Collins: https://www.collins.senate.gov/contact
      3. John McCain: https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
  6. Super Happy Fun Time
    1. Dave – Potential new use for nano carbon structures which can remove 99% of heavy metals from contaminated water
      1. Will probably never leave the lab though 🙁
    2. Travis – Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.  
      1. The new bill is the ECPA modernization act of 2017.
      2. It would improve privacy regulations, require that law enforcement obtain a warranty to access emails, location data, and other sensitive information, and require the individuals be notified when access to their information is requested.
      3. The ACLU supports it and it’s a bipartisan bill.
    3. Curtis – Causing flowers to be “true blue” with science!
    4. Bob – Literally Anything live on iTunes now