Reagan Redux

By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

Get a cup of coffee, sit back, go read the full article, and consider what happened last night and what its impact and import will be. If you’re anything like me, you are scared shitless about what’s getting ready to happen to the United States.

Wapo PowerPost: Senate approves budget in crucial step forward for Republican tax cut

By Elise Viebeck

The Senate approved the Republican-backed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts.

The budget’s passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators.

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The White House, in a statement issued Thursday night, said Trump “applauds the Senate” for passing the budget resolution and “taking an important step in advancing the Administration’s pro-growth and pro-jobs legislative agenda.”

The Senate approved an amendment Thursday night that paved the way for the House to adopt its version of the budget. This could eliminate the need for a conference committee, which might expedite consideration of tax reform by several weeks, according to a House GOP aide.

* * *

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) proposed an amendment to prevent tax increases on people making less than $250,000 a year. The measure would have also required the Senate to approve a tax-reform bill with 60 votes rather than a simple majority. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) called this language a “poison pill,” and the amendment was defeated 51-47.

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Leaving the Table

WaPo reports: President Trump was livid. Why, he asked his advisers in mid-July, should he go along with what he considered the failed Obama-era policy toward Iran and prop up an international nuclear deal he saw as disastrous?

He was incensed by the arguments of Secretary of State Rex ­Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and others that the landmark 2015 deal, while flawed, offered stability and other benefits. He did not want to certify to Congress that the agreement remained in the vital U.S. national security interest and that Iran was meeting its obligations. He did not think either was true.

By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

This, folks, is what we got.  What possible benefit could having the ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear program and discuss concerns with our colleagues in the deal have? Hmmmm. I really hope that brain of his is as good as he says, all appearances to the contrary.

(BTW, he’s bluffing)

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They just keep on going and going…

By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

Well, here we are, playing out this one act play that has been panned so often yet again as the Republican congress tries to kill Obamacare, throw 50 or so million people off the healthcare rolls and cut Medicaid spending way back – all at the expense of the poor and the medical providers who provide care for them.

As Wapo reports:

A final GOP effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act burst into view this week in the Senate, where leaders began pressuring rank-and-file Republicans with the hope of voting on the package by the end of the month.

The renewed push comes nearly two months after the last attempt to overhaul the law known as Obamacare failed in a dramatic, early-morning vote, dealing a substantial defeat to President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and prompting many to assume that the effort was dead.

The latest proposal would give states control over billions in federal health-care spending, repeal the law’s key mandates and enact deep cuts to Medicaid, the federally funded insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled. It would slash health-care spending more deeply and would probably cover fewer people than the July bill — which failed because of concerns over those details.

The appearance of a new measure reflected just how damaging Republicans consider their inability to make good on a key campaign promise of the past seven years: to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

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With Democrats united firmly against the bill, Senate GOP leaders can afford to lose only two of 52 Republican votes, enabling them to pass the measure with a tiebreaking vote from Pence. They lost three in the July vote: Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine).

None of those three committed to voting for the bill Monday, expressing reservations if not outright opposition.

***

The proposal would slash health-care spending more deeply and would probably cover fewer people than the July bill, which failed precisely because of such concerns. Under the new bill, starting in 2021, the federal government would lump together all the money it spends on subsidies distributed through the ACA marketplaces and expanded Medicaid programs covering poor, childless adults who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

This approach would generally result in less money for states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA and more money for states that didn’t. That’s because it would redistribute the money allotted to the 30 states that opted to expand Medicaid and spread it out among all 50 states.

OK, it’s time for the 3 Republican Senators who showed the LAST time that they actually have a head, a heart and a spine to vote no again and time for those senators who said they would vote no the last time but caved to find theirs.

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More On The Way

Julia Jacobo posted this over on ABC news Saturday.

PHOTO: This satellite image obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows (L-R) Category 1, Hurricane Katia; Category 5, Hurricane Irma and, Category 1, Hurricane Jose, Sept. 7, 2017.

The rest of the 2017 hurricane season will be ‘active’ with more storms to come, NOAA meteorologist says

Meteorologists predicted the 2017 hurricane season to be a busy one, and the activity may continue in the coming months, Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA, told ABC News.

“We certainly expect more storms to come,” Bell said.

The official hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, but the most active months are August, September and October, Bell said.

“We are right in the heart of an active season right now,” he said.

And the Atlantic is 1-2 degrees warmer than average (fake news? you be the judge). As the old salts say, batten down the hatches – it looks like it might be rough one.

What with Hurricane Jose doing pirouettes in the Atlantic (Did they predict that?  I don’t think so.) we could be in for another couple months of wait and see, hope and pray, and all that jazz.

I’d suggest stocking up on rum – it’s kinda traditional for the Caribbean and points south.

Beauregard goes all Suth’un on the Senate

By Pogo, a Trail Mix Contributor

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, Attorney General Beauregard Sessions went all suth’un on the Senators.

WaPo reports:

Sessions opened his testimony to the panel with a fiery assertion that he never had any conversations with Russians about “any type of interference” in the 2016 presidential election.

“The suggestion that I participated in any collusion … is an appalling and detestable lie,” Sessions said.

***

“If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it,” Sessions said. If he did have a conversation with the ambassador, it was “certainly nothing improper.”

Why, suh, th’ mere suggestion that I would do such a dishonorable thing is an insult to me and to mah family name.  Why, in a different time I would call you out and challenge you to a duel.

(So if he can’t remember having a conversation with Sergei, how can he say whether that conversation could or could not be improper?  But I digress).

He went on to say things like:

“I am not able to discuss with you or confirm or deny the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others,” Sessions said.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) pressed Sessions to explain how he could decline to answer questions about his talks with the president without the White House asserting executive privilege.

“I am protecting the right of the president to assert it if he chooses, and there may be other privileges that apply,’’ answered Sessions. “At this point I believe it’s premature for me to deny the president a full and intelligent choice about executive privilege.’’

And this, ladies and gentlemen is gobbledygook from the Attorney General of the United States.  So exactly WHY did he go before the Senate Intelligence Committee again?   Not to put too fine a pint on it, but I’d say your continued engagement as Mad Magazine’s image person is secure.

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