Tuesday, June 27, 2017

You can't blame Scott Pruitt. No, no. This is the way they do things in Texas.

Let's say the Trump Administration has every right to harass and exit any scientist it wants without reason or cause. That is the way most southern states see employment, as if a beauty contest. "If I like you then the job is yours. If I don't then I get to throw you out the door."

In other words, if from some reason Scott Pruitt didn't like his secretary because she had hazel eyes, then he could fire her without any reasons or backlash. I think we all know where and why that standard exists. By the way, how is Scalise doing?

June 27, 2017
By Rhett Jones

...According to emails (click here) obtained by the New York Times, the top scientist on the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific review board was instructed to downplay the mass dismissal of advisors when she testified before Congress. “I felt bullied,” she says now.

The EPA is technically required to listen to official scientific advice when setting policy. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Whitman v. American Trucking Associations that the Administrator of the EPA is not even allowed to factor in the costs of implementation when setting new air quality standards. It, therefore, behooves the current climate change-denying administration to clean house and try to find some kooky (or greedy) scientists that agree with them.

In May, EPA head Scott Pruitt informed 18 members of the agency’s Board of Science Counselors that their terms would not be renewed. The scientific community was outraged and several scientists on the board resigned in protest. One member of the board told the Washington Post, “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms.” Two weeks later, Dr. Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist, and leader of the board was due to testify in front of the House Science Committee.
Her formal testimony had already been submitted to the committee when she received emails from the EPA’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson. The emails reportedly informed Dr. Swackhamer that when it came to the dismissals she should follow the agency’s “talking points.” He also pressed her to publicly note that “a decision had not yet been made” about the dismissals. But according to the Times, “several scientists on the board had already received notices that their terms would not be renewed.” In the weeks following her testimony, dozens of scientists at the EPA have been informed that their terms would not be renewed and according to Dr. Swackhamer, “The Board of Scientific Counselors had 68 members two months ago. It will have 11 come September 1.” That date is also when the EPA is expected to eliminate more than 1,200 employees....

But, the people are expecting fairness and high quality employees in their government. When manipulation of the truth, in the name of domestic tranquility of course, is at the center of an administration the idea quality employees get paid reasonably good salaries, becomes a real issue because THEY ARE SMARTER THAN THEIR BOSS!

Conway is lying.

The Republican Governors are already throwing large numbers of recipients off Medicaid. It is palpable some say.

June  ...“You yesterday on the Sunday (click here) shows were saying that is not true, no cuts,” Earhardt said. (On ABC’s “This Week,” Conway told host George Stephanopoulos that “these are not cuts to Medicaid.”) “Now, if we watch the mainstream media this morning, they’re saying you were caught in a lie.”...

The Governors are disqualifying people above 133% of the national poverty level. There simply wasn't enough money in the state budget to shovel to cronies. It had to happen some way, 2018 is coming.

January 24, 2017
by Shefali Luthra

...It’s called “block granting.” (click here) Right now, Medicaid, which was expanded under the 2010 health law to insure more people, covers almost 75 million adults and children. Because it is an entitlement, everyone who qualifies is guaranteed coverage and states and the federal government combine funds to cover the costs. Conservatives have long argued the program would be more efficient if states got a lump sum from the federal government and then managed the program as they saw fit. But others say that would mean less funding for the program —eventually translating into greater challenges in getting care for low-income people....

The only way to fight corruption and right wing politics is to educate the public. Why are Americans continuing to be ignorant of their own best interests? Republicans flourish in a sea of ignorance. Their politics count on it.

February 10, 2017
By Laura Joszt

...Recently, (click here) The American Journal of Managed Care® polled readers and found that while 49% of respondents do not agree with the GOP’s plan to fund Medicaid through block grants, 33% admitted that they don’t fully understand what block grants are....

...2. So how do they work? Block grants are a lump sum from the federal government that is provided to the states. The plan caps what the federal government spends on Medicaid each year. The fixed spending is based on the state and federal spending and would grow each year to account for inflation.  

3. The pros and cons Currently, states must cover certain services and people. However, under a block grant, states would be given more flexibility to design their own Medicaid program. States could decide who is eligible for the program and what services are covered. Avalere Health recently published an analysis that found block grants could save the federal government $150 billion by 2022.  
Unfortunately, these savings might mean gaps in services. In addition, while the block grant amount grows yearly with inflation adjustments, medical inflation is often higher and so the growth in block grants is unlikely to keep up. As of now, it is expected that North Dakota is the only state that would receive an increase in funding under the block grant model, while the rest of the states and the District of Columbia would see a decrease in funding....

Democrats should always know the facts and state the truth; where it is working and where it is not and why radical changes to the health care law imperils the lives of Americans, including block grants.

Democrats should be open minded to their constituents and the road ahead. This is about American lives and how to improve their quality of life. The additional financial burden because of block grants is enormous. Services to many people; 133% coverage compared to 400% is enormous no matter how you look at it. Additionally, paying physicians and hospitals are one thing, but, what about medications. When Florida refused the Medicaid expansion Americans died. They may have had the emergency room to go to and in some instances that doesn't even exist, but, the medications are impossible to pay for and that is why they die. Regardless the quality of care provided, it all unravels and Americans die because they can't afford the medications.

January 25, 2017
by Shefali Luthra

...Many Republicans say that, (click here) because states will have greater flexibility, they can innovate with their Medicaid programs.

But opponents note that experimentation alone won’t make up for smaller budgets. The fixed grants could mean states cut benefits or force beneficiaries to take on more cost-sharing, for instance.

Some federal requirements are necessary, said Tom Miller, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Block granting could “be great or a disaster,” he said, depending on how it’s implemented. “The ideal model from the view of states is, ‘Give us the money, and I’ll let you know what I did.’ That’s not going to work,” he said.

The potential impact is significant. More than 10 million who got insurance through Obamacare are on Medicaid and could be affected. That’s also why some Republican governors — particularly in states that embraced the health law’s Medicaid expansion — have joined their Democrat peers in expressing qualms....

Republicans always say a common health clinic will solve the problems of the poor. That is not the case. Where does the Working Poor and the abject poor find the monies for vaccines, medications and surgeries? It doesn't exist. So, while medical clinics can provide expert and competent diagnosis, the treatment plan can never be met.

And forget about physical therapy. The idea the Working Poor or abject poor would ever consider physical therapy the way back to health and wellness is out of the question. Who can possibly pay for physical therapy?

Why not "Internet Explorer?" It dictates commercial sites even when not searching for them. It is a horrible platform.

Google should appeal and point to the fact a large company, namely Microsoft, uses a platform worse than anything Google has done.

June 27, 2017
By Mark Scott

Google suffered a major blow (click here) on Tuesday after European antitrust officials fined the search giant a record $2.7 billion for unfairly favoring some of its own search services over those of rivals.

The penalty, of 2.4 billion euros, highlights the aggressive stance that European officials have taken in regulating many of the world’s largest technology companies, going significantly further than their American counterparts.

By levying the fine against Google — more than double the previous largest penalty in this type of antitrust case — Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, also laid claim to being the Western world’s most active regulator of digital services, an industry still dominated by Silicon Valley.

“In Europe, companies must compete on the merits regardless if they are European or not,” she said on Tuesday. “What Google has done is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”...             

CNN has made Vladimir Putin very happy. HIs latest student, Trump, is coming along nicely and CNN wants to help.

Trump's Saudi Arabia is his first real exercise in ruling over a country that he has no sovereign right to engage. I suppose Trump is going to make the USA the most powerful and influential country in the world. 

Wait. The USA is already the most powerful and influential country in the world. Oh, Trump is simply a Putin wannabee. Dictator and Chief.

If Trump is taking lessons from Putin the USA is no longer the most powerful and influential country in the world. As a matter of fact, with Trump emulating Putin there are probably more missiles pointed at it than ever before.

CNN seriously lost credibility and probably because the 

27 June 2017

Three journalists, (click here) including the executive editor of a new investigative branch, have left CNN following the recent retraction of a story on an alleged Congress investigation into a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”

Report author Thomas Frank and two senior CNN Investigations Unit figures resigned over the story. Investigations Unit editor Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris, CNN Investigations executive editor, who was building a team that includes notorious Russia-hawk Michael Weiss, both resigned.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” CNN stated....

Well, Trump and Twitter. Don't need anything else. Trump should pay for the license to run the White House from any location in the world. Who knew 160 characters could manage an entire country and it's military?

30 May 2017

The White House communications director (click here) has resigned only three months after being hired by President Donald Trump.

Mike Dubke, an experienced Republican strategist, was hired in March to revamp the White House media strategy.

As part of the shake-up, White House press secretary Sean Spicer will reportedly hold on to his position, but there will be fewer media briefings.

The reshuffle follows reports of disarray in the White House communications team....