Thursday Open Thread | Some in the GOP want to downsize the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Meadows: CBO should downsize, aggregate think tank reports
By Niv Elis – 07/24/17 02:20 PM EDT

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) is trying to eliminate 89 positions from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s staff and require the office to aggregate think tank data instead of using its own professional expertise.

“They ought to be aggregators; there are plenty of think tanks that are out there,” Meadows said at a National Press Club event.

In an amendment to be offered to the security-related spending bill scheduled for a House vote this week, Meadows would cut $15 million of funding to CBO staff members responsible for estimating the budgetary costs of bills in Congress, and have them “carry out such duties solely by facilitating and assimilating scoring data compiled by the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Urban Institute.”

The proposal follows after a series of CBO reports predicted that tens of millions of people would become uninsured under various Republican plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Meadows said he would use a rule called the Holman Rule, which allows Congress to cut salaries for individual federal workers, for the first time since 1983.


Others raised concern about the use of the Holman rule to defund individual federal employees.

“This is exactly what we worried about when Republicans reinstated this arcane rule in January,” seven Democratic House members from the DC metro area said in a joint statement. “The rule is being used to punish an important advisory body for doing its job by providing forecasts which some members now find inconvenient.”


In case you don’t understand the gravity of this…let me give you this on point post from Balloon Juice:

First, we kill all the facts…
by Betty Cracker
at3:40 pm on July 24, 2017.

The Congressional Budget Office has been an obstacle to Republicans bent on stripping access to healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. Every time Zombie Trumpcare rises from the grave and totters toward the finish line, the CBO score provides one of the stakes that brings the monster down, albeit temporarily. It would be so much easier to shovel money from working people to plutocrats if Republicans could substitute figures pulled out of a Koch Brother’s ass for CBO estimates.

This is EXACTLY what it’s all about. I told you that their sociopathic agenda is unpopular, and they have to lie to make it plausible. Agencies like the CBO get in the way of that.

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99 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Some in the GOP want to downsize the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

  1. Liza says:

    Senate Republicans prepare to pass Obamacare repeal few of them back

    They demanded assurances the legislation will only serve as a starting point for negotiations with the House — and not become law.

    Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson and John McCain are pictured. | AP

    Senate Republicans are closing in on passage of their so-called “skinny” Obamacare repeal — thanks to a pledge from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it won’t become law.

    The bizarre turn of events — GOP senators were gearing up to vote for a bill few if any of them actually support — came on a frenetic day of the Republican Party’s tortured bid to upend the Democratic health care law.

    On Thursday afternoon, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) threatened to tank the bare-bones repeal plan, which would scuttle Obamacare’s coverage mandates. Saying the bill would wreak further havoc on the health care system, the trio demanded that the bill, if they voted for it, would be just the starting point for negotiations with the House. They worried that if the Senate approved the bill, the House would quickly follow suit and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

    After Ryan offered a somewhat ambiguous commitment to go to conference committee, several GOP senators said they still weren’t satisfied. The House leader then personally reassured a handful of senators that the House will enter negotiations with the Senate if it passes its bill. That was enough for at least Graham to move forward.

    The House “will go to conference, and under no circumstances does he believe the skinny bill is good policy or good politics,” Graham said of the discussion with Ryan. “He doesn’t want us to be the party that repeals part of Obamacare and leaves most of it in place … The bottom line here is I think Paul sees the skinny bill as a vehicle to find a better solution.”

    McCain, however, said he still wasn’t convinced.

    “I wanted to talk to him some more,” McCain said, referring to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “It’s always important to talk to your governor.”

    Asked how he will vote, he said: “I am not discussing that.”

    The bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual coverage mandate permanently and its employer mandate for eight years. It would also give states flexibility to opt out of some Obamacare regulations, defund Planned Parenthood for a year, repeal the medical device tax for three years and allow more pre-tax money to pay for health savings accounts. It’s a far less dramatic rollback of the law than most Senate Republicans have previously supported.

    Senate GOP leaders view the measure as a bridge to continued negotiations, not a policy solution. They don’t want to be blamed for being the chamber that killed Obamacare repeal, and aim to pass the slimmed down repeal plan in the wee hours of the morning Friday, after an all-night series of amendment votes known as a “vote-a-rama.”

    Asked if there is any chance this bill becomes law, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) replied: “No, I don’t.”

    “Everybody wants to be able to vote for something out of the Senate that can move the process forward,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a GOP leader. “I think in the end we’ll have 50” votes.

    Still, the outcome remained murky late into the night. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said she’d decided how she would vote but would not announce her position until bill comes up. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the same. But most other Republicans had signed on by Thursday evening, boosting confidence after doubts crept in hours earlier.

    Graham, Johnson and McCain had demanded an ironclad commitment from Ryan that the House would not take up and pass the Senate’s bill. In a statement a few hours later, Ryan sought to reassure the Senate while declining to guarantee that the Senate’s bill, which would cause a spike in premiums and millions more to be uninsured, would not become law.

    It was a tepid endorsement of the Senate leadership’s drive to pass something — anything — in order to keep moving forward, but hardly more than that.

    The bill’s cornerstone is a repeal of the individual and employer mandates. It would not touch Medicaid. It also would defund Planned Parenthood and give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations; the law’s Prevention and Public Fund is also expected to be sharply cut. But there are growing concerns among Republicans that budget requirements will prevent the Senate from repealing any of Obamacare’s taxes.

    And it’s unclear whether there will be a complete Congressional Budget Office score of the Republican plan in time for the vote. Republicans say if there isn’t, they would rely on prior CBO scores of provisions of the bill and Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi would make a ruling.

    Even as the chamber careens toward a final decision on whether to repeal, replace or revise Obamacare, with no certain outcome, Republican leaders are desperate to get rid of their political headache after several failed votes earlier this week.

    “We have to pass something,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the most senior GOP senator and chairman of the Finance Committee.

    • Liza says:

      Evil jackasses. They have to “pass something”.

      That’s all it is to them.

      The American people are invisible to them.

  2. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    From article at this link:
    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, despite President Donald Trump’s objections to the legislation.

    “As voting continued, the Senate backed the measure by a margin of 76-1, with strong support from Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. The bill will now be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.”

  3. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    The Limits of the Sandra Bland Act

    Two years ago this month, Sandra Bland was found hanged in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, three days after State Trooper Brian Encinia stopped her for failing to signal a lane change and threatened her with tasering, pushed her to the ground, and arrested her for refusing to put out her cigarette. She had been on her way to start a new job at Prairie View A&M, her alma mater.

    Ruled a suicide, Bland’s death drew national attention to the #SayHerName movement that has been working for years to shed light on the fact that, like their male counterparts, Black women and girls are disproportionately victims of police violence. Her death also drew attention to the plight of Black women who are disproportionately stuck in jail because they can’t afford to make bail — a problem that can be particularly perilous to people like Bland, who struggled with mental health problems and had considered suicide previously, something her jailers knew.

    Because Bland lived at the intersection of multiple identities — Black, woman, poor, health-challenged — advocates hoped that legislation to address the way she died would also be intersectional. But that’s not how it worked out.

    In its original form, the Sandra Bland Act, which was sponsored by Democratic Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston, did address these intersections to a degree. It required a higher burden of proof for stopping and searching vehicles, and training for officers to prevent racial profiling. It banned arrests for offenses that are punishable by fines. It also would have mandated counseling for officers who engaged in racial profiling.

    But that version of the bill drew criticism from law enforcement groups and Republican lawmakers and likely would have failed in the Republican-controlled Senate. So state Sen. John Whitmire, another Houston Democrat, introduced the bill that was passed unanimously and will take effect in September.

    Largely focused on mental health, the law will divert people with mental health issues and substance mental illnesses to secure bond, and require that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths.

    Bland’s family has been critical of the law’s limited vision.

    “What this bill does in its current state renders Sandy invisible,” said Bland’s sister, Sharon Cooper.

    Disconnecting Vulnerabilities
    It’s true that Bland — like a disproportionate number of women in jails — lived with mental illness and depression. But disconnecting this part of her identity from her race, class, and gender fails to address the underlying causes of why she was arrested in the first place.

    And because the law does not improve police accountability, it fails to address a critical larger issue: that people with disabilities, including mental illnesses like depression, are among those most affected by police violence…
    And disability is not unconnected to race: Because of environmental injustice and lack of access to health care in the U.S., people of color — and Black people in particular — are more likely to live with a disability.

    “Disability intersects with other factors, such as race, class, gender, and sexuality to magnify the degrees of marginalization and increase the risk of violence,” the Ruderman report notes.

    Meanwhile, activists and family members of Bland disappointed by how the law that bears her name fails to adequately address the factors that led to her death continue to organize in her honor.

  4. rikyrah says:

    honest question – couldn’t a coalition of 8-10 GOP Senators just agree to stop debating this and move to regular order? Less consequences?
    — Mike Urann (@FUPodcast) July 27, 2017

    Absolutely anytime they want, which is what @SenJohnMcCain said he wanted in his speech on Tuesday.
    — Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 27, 2017

  5. Liza says:

    New Website Exposes the Identities, Salaries and Alleged Histories of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies Accused of Serious Misconduct

    Miriam Zoila Pérez JUL 27, 2017 10:42AM EDT

    Dignity and Power Now, a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization that advocates for incarcerated people, their families and communities, just launched, a website aimed at promoting accountability and transparency for L.A. County sheriff’s deputies who are accused of committing serious misconduct.

    The site, which launched on July 24, draws on information from news sources, public records and accounts from alleged survivors with the goal of cataloging every deputy with an alleged history misconduct such as unwarranted violence and falsifying evidence.

    Dignity and Power Now started the project in response to a California District Court of Appeals decision in June that blocked L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell from providing prosecutors with the personnel files of 300 deputies with histories of misconduct.

    In L.A. County 12 different actions are defined as serious misconduct, including lethal force and tampering with evidence. also solicits tips from alleged victims and offers solutions for improved accountability.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Gee, why’s Ryan asking members to stay in DC? It’s almost as if there won’t be a conference & the House will immediately pass skinny repeal.
    — Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) July 27, 2017

  7. rikyrah says:

    CBO Score is up: ‘Skinny repeal’ of Obamacare would leave 16 million more people uninsured in a decade

    In a hasty analysis sought by the Senate’s Democrats, congressional budget analysts are estimating that the changes would leave an additional 1 million Americans uninsured this year, because consumers would immediately become free to drop coverage. The loss of insurance would quickly swell to 15 million in 2018, mainly among people who buy health plans on their own — the kind of coverage sold through the ACA’s marketplaces — or through their jobs.

    At the end of the coming decade, 16 million extra people would be uninsured, according to the nonpartisan budget scorekeepers. That is almost three-fourths of the 22 million extra people the analysts predict would be uninsured under the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the much broader Senate Republican bill that would unwind much of the ACA and substitute with new policies. The Senate, including nine Republicans, rejected that bill in a vote on Tuesday night.

    Under the skinny version, the largest additional segment of people without coverage in 2026 would be 7 million who otherwise would be on Medicaid, the public insurance program for low-income Americans. That’s even though the skinny plan would not touch Medicaid’s rules or funding. The broader GOP health-care legislation would reduce Medicaid recipients that year by 15 million. That broader bill would abolish the ACA’s expansion and, for the first time in Medicaid’s half-century history, start in a few years to restrict funding for the program as a whole.

  8. Liza says:

    John Harbaugh says Ravens are interesed in signing Colin Kaepernick, per @jeffzrebiecsun— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 27, 2017


  9. rikyrah says:

    Sounds like McConnell is playing hide the ball with his members so let’s review this one more time. 1/
    — Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) July 27, 2017

  10. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “ACLU of Colorado wins $110K for Darsean Kelly, who was based in the back after saying ‘I know my rights.’ ”

  11. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “A formal recess would permit Trump to both fire Sessons and install a new attorney general without Senate consent.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Senate Republicans plan to write health care bill over lunch
    07/27/17 12:43 PM
    By Steve Benen

    As things stand, Senate Republicans are eager to pass a health care plan that doesn’t exist, but Reuters reports that GOP lawmakers intend to finalize a proposal this afternoon.

    Republicans leaders hope a so-called skinny bill, which repeals a few key provisions of Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law without being a far-reaching overhaul, can draw enough votes to pass despite unified Democratic opposition. […]

    Republican senators were expected to hammer out provisions of the measure during a policy lunch on Thursday, giving lawmakers scant hours to digest its provisions before voting. Republican leaders have been sending pieces of the legislation to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to assess its impact and determine whether it complies with Senate rules.

    There’s no word as to whether senators will literally use the backs of envelopes and handy cocktail napkins while writing their legislation.

    It’s tempting at this point to start delving into the details of what we think we know about the “skinny repeal” bill, but I’m afraid it’s folly. Every few minutes, new scuttlebutt points in new directions. We should have a better sense of the legislative specifics fairly soon.

    But it’s worth pausing to appreciate how truly ridiculous the circumstances are. Congressional Republicans have been working on their alternative to the Affordable Care Act for seven years. And yet, in true post-policy fashion, GOP senators intend to scribble some ideas down over lunch on a Thursday afternoon, and then pass it on a Thursday night or Friday.

    This is not how policymaking is supposed to work in the United States. Contemporary Republicans simply don’t care.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Huh. Just yesterday @SenDeanHeller offered an amendment not to slash Medicaid.
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

  14. rikyrah says:

    Democrats will investigate the Interior Secretary’s threat against Murkowski.
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

  15. rikyrah says:

    ICYMI: VERY important overview on Russia, Magnitsky Act & the Trumps from Bill Browder in this Congressional hearing
    — meta (@metaquest) July 27, 2017

    This is a MUST SEE for background and perspective for what is happening with Putin’s incursion into our democracy. He even outs Rohrbacher!
    — meta (@metaquest) July 27, 2017

  16. rikyrah says:

    This is critical to conservative votes because it’s the main mechanism for lowering premiums. If they can’t find workaround, deal is tough.
    — Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 27, 2017

    BIG: Parliamentarian rules that state waivers for essential health benefits don’t pass Byrd Rule, per Senate Budget D’s.
    — Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 27, 2017

    UPDATE on this: Parliamentarian says 1332 waivers do not pass Byrd. HUGE.
    — Chad Bolt (@chadderr) July 27, 2017

  17. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “Every face tells a story and every story begins somewhere” :

  18. rikyrah says:

    found this at BJ:

    If you text


    to 50409 you will be connected to a free fax service. They will take you through all the steps and fax your rep and senators.

  19. rikyrah says:

    If every proposal to “fix” the ACA leaves millions uninsured, at some point you have to be honest: this isn’t about fixing anything.
    — Rev. Dr. Barber (@RevDrBarber) July 27, 2017

  20. rikyrah says:

    Very on point observation at Balloon Juice as to why the GOP Senators are stepping up to the plate for Attorney General White Citizens Council:

    Chris says:
    July 27, 2017 at 11:26 am

    I think it’s a lot more sinister than simply solidarity between senators. I think the reason they’re making noises about Sessions is because he’s the nation’s leading expert on how to suppress votes, specifically the votes of liberal demographics in general and nonwhites in particular. And that vote suppression is what most Republicans in Congress are counting on to save them from changing demographics and allow them to maintain power in a country that’s increasingly not on their wavelength. That’s why they’re making all this noise. They’re happy to let Trump indulge himself on any number of topics up to and including treason, as long as he keeps bringing in the votes, but Sessions is not simply one of Trump’s pet projects, it’s something that matters deeply to their survival as a party, and they’re letting Trump know that they’re not going to let him fuck that up in a fit of dumb pride.

  21. yahtzeebutterfly says:


    I just found this twitter timeline with lots of Kenyan history:
    Also these two:

  22. yahtzeebutterfly says:
  23. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “These robotics students were told ‘to go back to Mexico.’ The taunt only fueled their success.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    UPDATE FOR CALLS: skinny now includes “1332 waivers.” DC speak for letting states waive essential health benefits. Aka insurance gets worse.— Chad Bolt (@chadderr) July 27, 2017

  25. rikyrah says:

    First They Came For …’
    Charles M. Blow
    JULY 27, 2017

    It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.

    The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.

    In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.

    This threat Trump poses — to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety — may be without equal from a domestic source.


    This has come as a great shock and demoralizer to many Americans, not necessarily because they didn’t think Trump was capable of such depravity, but because they simply were unprepared for the daily reality of living a nightmare.

    There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.

    In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.


    Unlike the examples listed above, Trump’s assault is intersectional and nearly universal. Multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.

    So, in this moment of regression, all the targets of Trump’s ire must push back with a united front, before it is too late.

    As Martin Niemöller so famously put it:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      THIS must be our hope:

      “In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    This is it. The vote is imminent. You will NOT have another chance to weigh in. Phone calls matter, RIGHT. NOW. Do it do it do it do it 16/
    — Chad Bolt (@chadderr) July 27, 2017

  27. rikyrah says:

    First they came for the transgender students and soldiers. Next they came for the gays & lesbians in the workplace.
    — Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 27, 2017

    Read my column, ‘First They Came For …,’ and let me know what you think.
    — Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) July 27, 2017

  28. rikyrah says:

    Update: lots unfolding. McConnell is getting VERY close to 50. Getting around the rules and buying off Sens every way he can. Here goes. 1/
    — Chad Bolt (@chadderr) July 27, 2017

  29. rikyrah says:

    Just remember if someone you love is denied health care next year, your fate was decided by a bunch of yahoos chit chatting over lunch
    — Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 27, 2017

  30. rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump’s ‘fine-tuned machine’ descends into chaos
    07/27/17 11:25 AM—UPDATED 07/27/17 11:30 AM
    By Steve Benen

    I generally don’t care about warring factions and personalities in the West Wing. I do care, however, when a White House slips into chaos, due entirely to officials’ own incompetence and ignorance.

    Take this morning, for example.

    An escalating White House war between two top advisers to President Donald Trump entered a new stage Thursday after Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci lobbed a grenade of leak accusations that were seen as an attack against chief of staff Reince Priebus.

    The fracas began Wednesday night after Politico published Scaramucci’s financial disclosure forms from his employment at the Export-Import Bank, where the former financier had a post before being tapped last week as Trump’s new communications director last week.

    Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, insisted that “the leak” of his financial disclosure forms was “a felony,” and he intended to pursue the matter with the FBI and Justice Department.

    He also called into a live CNN broadcast this morning to suggest Reince Priebus was responsible. “So if Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” Scaramucci said.

    There was, however, no leak. The financial-disclosure materials, first noted by Politico, are public documents, obtained through a simple records request.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Rod Stewart covered travel costs for kids with disabilities going to DC to protest GOP healthcare bill
    — The Hill (@thehill) July 27, 2017

  32. rikyrah says:

    Cornyn says process ‘is about as open and transparent as it gets’
    07/27/17 10:46 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Much of what Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) has said during the health care fight is better left ignored, but he made one observation yesterday that stood out for me.

    “People keep talking about a secret process. Well, this is about as open and transparent as it gets, and everybody will have an opportunity to offer an amendment, to discuss what’s in the amendment, and to vote on it.”

    I suppose it’s possible that Cornyn literally doesn’t know the meaning of the words “open” and “transparent,” but it’s far more likely that the Senate Majority Whip is trying to gaslight the public.

    It’s a dynamic that requires no exaggeration or hyperbole. Senate Republicans this week began a floor fight on a health care proposal they had not yet written. While amendments are usually offered as a way to improve legislation, GOP leaders invited senators to introduce amendments on a bill they haven’t read – not because they’re lazy, but because it’s impossible to read a bill that does not exist.

    At this point, the Senate Republican leadership continues to craft a secret measure, behind closed doors, making changes along the way following secret deals.

    A vote on the GOP plan is imminent, despite the fact that no one, including senators themselves, knows anything about the bill’s contents. Indeed, even now, no one can say with confidence if the bill has even been written.

    John Cornyn believes this is “about as open and transparent as it gets.” If that’s true, the American policymaking process is irretrievably broken. If it’s false, the Senate Majority Whip is lying in ways the political world should not tolerate.

  33. rikyrah says:

    WATCH: How McConnell is trying to con senators into supporting massive Medicaid cuts w/ “Skinny Repeal”
    — igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) July 27, 2017

  34. rikyrah says:

    White House struggles to defend Trump’s ban on transgender troops
    07/27/17 09:20 AM
    By Steve Benen

    By some accounts, White House officials actually thought Donald Trump’s new ban on transgender troops would be a political winner for them.

    That, of course, was before the policy was denounced by members of Congress from both parties. And before the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs said they hadn’t been notified of the change. And before veterans’ organizations denounced the pointless discrimination against active-duty soldiers.

    But perhaps the most amazing moment in the rollout of Trump’s ridiculous new rules came during Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ press briefing yesterday, when the president’s principal spokesperson struggled to explain what the policy was and how it would work – because she simply did not know.

    A reporter asked whether transgender Americans already in uniform would be kicked out of the military. Sanders didn’t know. Another asked, “How does it maintain or improve unit cohesion to leave thousands of servicemembers, some who may be overseas, serving in units overseas, in the dark about their status within the military?” Sanders couldn’t answer that, either.

    As the questions continued, the White House press secretary threatened to simply walk away from the podium unless reporters changed the subject.

  35. rikyrah says:

    House GOP rep uses colorful language to blast Senate’s Murkowski
    07/27/17 10:11 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Earlier this week, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) expressed his frustration with “some female senators from the Northeast” who’ve refused to vote to take health care benefits from millions of Americans. “If it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style,” Farenthold added.

    The Texas Republican later apologized, but we nevertheless saw Rep, Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) on MSNBC yesterday, expressing a related sentiment. The Georgia congressman reflected on Donald Trump’s criticism of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), over her skepticism of the party’s regressive health care plan. It led Carter to say this on the air:

    “I think it’s perfectly fair. Let me tell you, somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass.”

    First, there’s a problem when House Republican men use violent rhetoric in reference to Senate Republican women.

    Second, before yesterday afternoon, I’d literally never heard the phrase “snatch a knot in their ass,” and I have absolutely no idea what it means.

    I looked up “snatch a knot” in the Urban Dictionary, which has an entry that says, “To hit someone, usually used in a threat of punishment or retribution. A knot is generally snatched in one’s ass, though variants include the neck and the head.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Source has told colleague @yabutaleb7 that Rs will *write* skinny bill @ today’s policy lunch. Unclear if wish list meets reconciliation.
    — Amanda Becker (@AmandaBecker) July 27, 2017
    Like starting your term paper an hour before it’s due but for remaking 1/6th of the US economy.
    — Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 27, 2017

  37. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Ciara’s son modeling for The Gap:

  38. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Black physics graduates in this tweet:

  39. rikyrah says:


    InternetDragons says:
    July 27, 2017 at 9:56 am
    Today is an important day for saving healthcare. We are down to the wire here, so I hope it’s OK if I again share a link from Indivisible for those of us lucky enough to live in blue states. If you’re in a red state, you already know what to do today!

    This simple tool gets you set up to call allies in Red states and encourage/love/support/remind them that they need to keep calling their senators:

    For those of us who have already been calling, I know this has been a long slog. I’m feeling a little crispy around the edges myself, but this isn’t the time to stop. The pressure needs to increase so that McConnell and company aren’t able to pass their invisible zombie bill.

  40. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    In 1857 the Black Manhattan community was destroyed to make room for Central Park!

    From Wikipedia:

    Seneca Village was a small village in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, founded by free black people.[1] Seneca Village existed from 1825 through 1857, when it was destroyed for the construction of Central Park.

    Here are two videos about Seneca Village: &rel=0
    Published Mar 6, 2017
    “Central Park was one of Manhattan’s earliest African-American settlements.
    – In the 1820’s it was unusual for black people to own land in New York.
    – In 1825, 21 parcels of land in uptown Manhattan were sold to African-Americans.
    – When slavery was abolished in 1827 the area began to flourish.
    – Known as Seneca Village it was mostly African-American, but also Irish and German.
    – During the 1840’s lower Manhattan was overcrowded and unsanitary.
    – Wealthy New Yorkers proposed a park uptown.
    – In 1853 the state expropriated 843 acres of land for a new public park.
    – The 264 residents of Seneca Village were forced to move to make way for central park.
    – Property owners were payed a small sum for their expropriated houses.
    – Their community disappeared and did not resurface in another location.
    – Central Park now welcomes 38 million visitors per year.”

    • An old lady I knew went to her grave GRIEVING how black families were chased out so Blinn College could be built. She had just built a new home beside her Mom’s house and the College wanted that land. Some folks sold voluntarily but she fought it all she could. It crushed her for life.

    • Ms Ruby was 80 something years old and still cried about it after all those years. So sad.

      • yahtzeebutterfly says:

        Thanks for sharing that, SG2. You bring alive the tragic, sad impact this had on the residents’ lives. *tears*

  41. rikyrah says:

    VOTER RECORDS FOR SALE: “More than 40 million voter records from at least nine states are being offered for sale on a dark web forum, and the seller claims to have records for an additional 20 to 25 states, according to Dark Reading, a news organization focused on information security…The voter data for sale includes first, last, and middle names, voter ID numbers, birthdates, voter status, party affiliation, and addresses for some voters in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington state.”

  42. rikyrah says:

    Seems like someone concerned about regular order and the sanctity of the institution might wanna speak up on that one.
    — Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 27, 2017

    according to Senate rules, a CBO score must be posted 28 hours before a vote, or there’s a point of order with 60 vote threshold
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

    They may try to circumvent the rule by stripping down AHCA one amendment at a time. This would be…nuts.
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

    Wait, you can pass a non-budget compliant law just by stripping out amendments and avoiding CBO?
    — Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) July 27, 2017

    We’re careening toward a Banana Republic in the Senate today. They may violate rules on 1) posting a CBO score and 2) hitting savings target
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

    What it would mean: no idea of the end product, no CBO score – and deliberately circumventing the rules. Banana republic.
    — Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) July 27, 2017

    My understanding is, this would be unprecedented and nobody knows if it’d stand, but maybe
    — Ben Wikler (@benwikler) July 27, 2017

  43. rikyrah says:

    Democrats wait for struggling GOP to produce a health bill
    Senator Amy Klobuchar talks with Rachel Maddow about the resistance to flailing Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and Donald Trump’s public spat with Jeff Sessions for doing the right thing in recusing himself from campaign-related matters.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Trump looking at recess replacement of Sessions: reports
    Rachel Maddow shares reports that Donald Trump is considering the option of a recess appointment of a replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions as Senator Chuck Grassley makes clear a confirmation vote on a new AG won’t happen soon.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Trump spurns serving transgender US military with careless ban
    Shane Ortega, U.S. Army and U.S. Marines veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, talks with Rachel Maddow about Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement banning transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, even as they are already openly doing so.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Trump sloppy tweet attack on transgender US troops sparks outrage
    Sue Fulton, U.S. Army veteran and founding member of OutServe, and Allison Jaslow, executive director of IAVA, talk with Rachel Maddow about Donald Trump’s surprise attack on transgender U.S. service members and how his new policy might be implemented.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Trump DoJ pick recently represented Putin-aligned Russian bank
    Rachel Maddow reports on the Department of Justice accusing a former Paul Manafort associate of being a Russian mobster while Donald Trump’s pick for Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian Benczkowski, discloses that he previously represented Russia’s Alfa bank.

  48. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Addiction to Their Own Agony
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 26th, 2017 at 01:31:27 PM EST

    Yesterday, I wrote that I was surprised that the Senate Republicans agreed to bring up the health care bill because “losing this vote would have been the most painless way to end their agony.” A reader of mine reacted with some confusion, asking me, “Agony? Show me the agony.” And he followed that up with an astute observation: “It is beginning to become somewhat evident to me that there is not really a significant amount of agony among Republicans at all. I think that deep down, they really want this win more than they fear the results of actually doing this.” In this assessment, he is joined by many others. I think James Hohmann put it best because he backed up my reader’s point while also doing a decent job of explaining my own:

    “It’s hard to overstate the degree to which White House officials and Senate GOP leaders just want to pass something — really, anything — to show the base that they are keeping their promise to roll back Obamacare. They would happily portray even most modest tweaks to the Affordable Care Act as major successes to save face. As far as they’re concerned, whatever gets passed will be the basis for negotiations with the House. So this is not even a final product.”

    “Opening floor debate may be a Pyrrhic victory for the GOP: Democrats are going to force Republicans to cast some uncomfortable votes in the coming days as part of the freewheeling amendment process. Regardless of whether a bill ultimately passes, and how they try to spin it, every senator who voted for the motion to proceed just gave years of fodder to Democratic admakers.”

  49. rikyrah says:

    The people trying to blame Reince as a leaker, leaked their strategy to do so. This is Inception but for incompetent fools
    — Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 27, 2017

  50. rikyrah says:

    If Rs say,
    “stop attacking one of our own,”
    that’s not the same as saying,
    “don’t try to undermine the independent investigation”
    — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 27, 2017

    Many Rs defend Sessions by saying he’s principled & Trump must be “loyal” in return.
    That’s not the point, folks:
    — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 27, 2017

  51. rikyrah says:

    Key: GOP Sen Thune says getting to conference is all about pressuring holdouts to swallow shit at end of process:
    — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 27, 2017

  52. rikyrah says:

    If you missed this interview this morning, as I did, you have to read this thread. My god… what the actual hell is happening…
    — Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) July 27, 2017

    The Thread in question:

    2. Now Scaramucci is reading a statement from POTUS…he says POTUS told him if @ChrisCuomo is nice to him, he’ll let him come back on.
    — Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 27, 2017

    4. @Scaramucci just now: “150 years ago people would have been hung for these leaks…they’re treasonous”

    6. Scaramucci: “The fish stinks from the head”

    8. Scaramucci just now: “I don’t know if the relationship with Reince is reparable…that’s up to the President.”

    10. The White House Communications Director is calling in to a morning show to have a therapy session.

    12. Scaramucci just said to Cuomo, sarcastically, “oh, so you’re a proofreader now?”

    14. I’ve seen a lot in my life…but this is madness!

    16. Scaramucci attacking CIA…sowing doubt…just like his boss.

    18. I can’t get over this Mooch call-in….there’s so much happening I can’t keep up.

    20. Scaramucci keeps saying his controversial statements were just an attempt to tease…..Cuomo saying that’s not funny….insulting.

    22. Scaramucci just now: There could be mistakes on my financial disclosure forms…I’m sure 400 journalists are looking through the forms

    24. Scaramucci just now: “When the iceberg hits the boat…the rats come up from steerage.”

    26. Mooch gets off the phone…and @RyanLizza just compared the interview to the Marshall McLuhan moment in Annie Hall

    28. Scaramucci called Ryan Lizza and tried to figure out who leaked that he was having dinner with Trump/@seanhannity /@kimguilfoyle

    30. Here’s the part where @Scaramucci says Trump may veto sanctions bill + be tougher on the Russians than Congress
    — Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 27, 2017

  53. rikyrah says:

    Kansas’ Brownback abandons his mess, prepares to join Trump admin
    07/27/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), having made a dreadful mess of his home state, isn’t sticking around to clean it up. The Kansas City Star reported:

    Gov. Sam Brownback will give up the governor’s mansion in Topeka to take a relatively obscure ambassadorship after seeing his power and popularity severely diminished in the last year.

    The Kansas Legislature overrode Brownback’s veto to repeal his signature tax cuts a little more than a month before President Donald Trump selected him to serve as the next ambassador at-large for international religious freedom, a position based in Washington, D.C., where Brownback spent 16 years as a member of the U.S. House and Senate.

    The far-right governor’s departure marks the end of an error. After taking office, Brownback launched a radical economic “experiment” after taking office seven years ago, and it failed spectacularly. As regular readers know, the far-right Kansan, working with a GOP-led legislature, cut taxes far beyond what the state could afford, slashed public investments, and waited for prosperity to flourish across every corner of the state.

    None of that has happened. Not only have Kansas’ job growth and economic growth rates lagged behind neighboring states, but the state’s budget is in shambles, and Kansas’ debt rating has been downgraded multiple times.

    The Kansas City Star spoke to Joy Koesten, a Republican state representative, who said it will likely take a very long time to undo the effects of Brownback’s tenure.

  54. rikyrah says:

    “Splinter confirmed Kushner used an encrypted messaging app that permits users to send disappearing msgs.”
    — StrictlyCovfefe 📻 (@christoq) July 27, 2017

    Jared Kushner may have just been caught violating the Presidential Records Act — here’s why
    — Raw Story (@RawStory) July 26, 2017

  55. rikyrah says:

    Pentagon Thought Trump Was Announcing a War on Twitter
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 26th, 2017 at 05:22:21 PM EST

    This is a just a casual observation, but I think we really should solemnly consider the implications of the following:

    At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.


    If anyone thinks this is tolerable, they’re just not people we should be listening to. This isn’t how a president should announce a policy change. It’s not how he should treat service members. It’s not a level of trust between the president and the Pentagon that is acceptable. It’s not a tolerable national security risk, since the North Koreans must have been wondering the same thing.

    It can’t be accepted. It must come to a prompt end.

  56. rikyrah says:

    Is the Trump admin threatening Alaska over health care politics?
    07/27/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has been one of the more consistent skeptics of her party’s health care crusade, and Donald Trump has made no secret of his frustrations with her principles. The question, however, is just how far the president is prepared to go in expressing his dissatisfaction.

    The Alaska Dispatch News, the state’s largest newspaper, published a striking report overnight on the Trump administration’s Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, reportedly calling both of Alaska’s Republican senators yesterday, alerting them to the fact that Murkowski’s position on health care “had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.”

    Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a “troubling message.”

    “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,” Sullivan said.

    “I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans…. We’re facing some difficult times and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the president have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear,” Sullivan said. The Interior secretary also contacted Murkowski, he said.

    Note, we’re not talking about an anonymous source raising serious allegations. This is a sitting Republican senator, describing a conversation he had yesterday with a Republican cabinet secretary in a Republican administration. And according to Dan Sullivan’s account, Trump’s Interior secretary was “pretty clear” that the White House is prepared to play a dangerous game of hardball with Alaska’s future.

    It’s a nice state you have there; it’d be a shame if something bad happened to it.

    In effect, the Alaska Dispatch News has described a scenario in which Trump wants Murkowski to punish Alaskans (by voting for a radical health care plan) or he’ll punish Alaskans (by using the Department of the Interior).

    Let’s note for context that Alaska, which has backed the Republican ticket in every election for more than four decades, easily elected Trump last year. The president, in other words, is threatening to penalize some of his own supporters.

  57. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    Newspaper photo from the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott:
    “During the 1953 bus boycott in Baton Rouge, the African American community organized free carpools, enabling protestors to go about their daily business while simultaneously showing they would no longer accept second-class citizenship.”

    Excerpt from this article link:

    n 1953 African Americans in Baton Rouge organized the first large-scale boycott of a southern city’s segregated bus system. When the leader of the boycott, Rev. T. J. Jemison, struck a deal with the city’s leadership after five days without gaining substantial improvements for black riders, many participants felt Jemison capitulated too quickly. However, the boycott made national headlines and inspired civil rights leaders across the South. Two and a half years later, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. conferred with Jemison about tactics used in Baton Rouge, and King applied those lessons when planning the bus boycott that ultimately defeated segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, and drew major media attention to the injustices of Jim Crow laws.

    Long Simmering Resentment
    Baton Rouge’s black community had a particular grievance against the municipal bus service. In 1950 the financially stressed city bus company won an exclusive contract for service in Baton Rouge after successfully lobbying the city council to revoke the licenses of nearly forty competing African American-owned bus services that transported black residents from their neighborhoods to jobs and businesses. Three years later, the council approved a fare increase from ten to fifteen cents for the still-struggling bus company.

    In 1953 African American residents of Baton Rouge faced daily reminders of the hold white supremacy had over their lives. One-third were unemployed, and most of those with jobs earned low wages as domestic workers or unskilled laborers. But several important factors made race relations in Baton Rouge different from other southern cities.

  58. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    The article linked in this tweet has a great summary of the discussion that followed the screening of the PBS documentary “Signpost to Freedom” :

    Here is the trailer to the PBS documentary:

  59. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    “Decades Later Memphis to Compensate Sanitation Strikers of 1968”

    In the following video “Published on Mar 10, 2009
    Elmore Nickelberry and Taylor Rogers, veterans of 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike, speak.”

    Excerpt from

    The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday to begin rectifying what was described as a 50-year-old mistake that left the city’s sanitation workers with little savings in retirement.

    The council voted unanimously to award $50,000 grants to surviving, retired workers who were employed at the time of the historic 1968 sanitation workers strike, which was still going on when civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

    “We can never make up the sacrifices these men made financially,” council chairman Berlin Boyd said as the council pondered the significance of the vote.

    The city initially thought 14 strikers were still alive, but discovered one had died and three more came forward and are being verified now, Public Works Director Robert Knecht said. The final number of surviving strikers is thought to be in the 14-20 range.

  60. Lonnie Starr says:

    “Slouching towards dictatorship”. Remember, Hitler didn’t take over Germany, he merely obstructed their democratic processes until the people gave him enough power to take their rights away. The Executive here is getting stronger and stronger, while the checks and balances are being slowly eviscerated.

    This move will help clear the decks, so the nation can be more easily run on a carpet of propaganda. America is losing it’s way, it seems that there’s a large population who would rather the U.S. become a dictatorship, and enforce their ideology, rather than remain a nation of laws, which protect and preserve individual rights.

    • yahtzeebutterfly says:

      We can’t let the clock be turned back. We can’t allow our democracy and its ideals to be threatened. We must continue to push for our country to live up to its democratic ideals.

      We must learn our history and learn from its cruel mistakes and oppression of minorities so that we do not allow the racist ideology from the past to ever take hold again. I went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture last week. The White visitors to the museum were only 5% of the attendees that day. This concerns me because it is the White community that needs to learn this history as well as the Black community.
      “Shards of glass collected by mourners from the bombed-out Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham (AL) provide a dramatic backdrop at the NMAAHC.”

      We must keep advocating and we must keep activism alive:

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        We as a people need to convince our opposition to put their partisan differences aside and speak with a united “thunderclap” voice for our Constitutional Laws preserving checks and balances first. Until we do that we’re all being played. They pander to gun rights and against this or that, offer us protections against terrorism etc., get our votes to gain office, then do as they damned well please, Increasing gov’t powers and eviscerating our human rights. They’re using bait and switch tactics to dis-empower us all. The only way we can stop it is to come together and tell them we’re aware of what they are doing and we’re not going to stand for it anymore.

  61. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning,Everyone 😐😐😐

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