What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 19, 2017

My Twenty-Eighth Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

News hit over the last few days that Senate Republicans are trying again to repeal and replace Obamacare. The latest attempt, the Graham-Cassidy bill, would reportedly waive key provisions of Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions. In other words insurers can raise premiums based on someone's medical history, probably pricing more than a few out of coverage. The bill also replaces several ACA provisions with block grants to the states - which then are phased out by 2026. Millions of people (including many of your constituents) will loose their healthcare coverage. Some of those people will die because they can't afford to see a doctor.

The Congressional Budget Office said yesterday that they won't have time to fully analyze the bill before the end of the month, coincidentally exactly when Senate Republicans will no longer be able to pass this with only 50 votes. So you don't have any idea as to what this bill will do to the deficit or how it will impact the American People.

Here's my question: Is any of this OK with you? And if it is, you'll have to explain to me how you can be comfortable with hurting so many of your fellow Pennsylvanians, your constituents.

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

September 18, 2017

September 15, 2017

What Do People Think Of Donald Trump?

From Axios:
A Trump adviser says that after a tumultuous seven months in office, it had finally dawned on the president: "People really f@&@ing hate me." For someone who has spent his life lapping up adulation, however fake, it was a harsh realization. This is a man with an especially acute need for affirmation.
Yes, that's true.  People fucking hate you, Donald Trump.  Lots of them.

We're just hoping to get out this alive.

September 14, 2017

All Politics Is Local (Some Senatorial Hypocrisy)

From The Washington Post:
The top Republican in the Senate is ready to formally dispense with a long-running practice that gives senators an early chance to block federal judicial nominees who would have jurisdiction over their states — at least at the appeals court level.

In an interview with the New York Times this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wants to get rid of individual senators’ power to block nominees to the appeals courts — the dozen powerful circuits just one notch below the Supreme Court — from being considered.

“My personal view is that the blue slip, with regard to circuit court appointments, ought to simply be a notification of how you’re going to vote, not the opportunity to blackball,” Mr. McConnell said on the Times’ “The New Washington” podcast, referring to the custom senators from affected states need to sign off on a physical blue slip before a nominee can formally start the congressional vetting process.
And from that NYTimes piece:
Now, with some Democrats refusing to consent as the Trump administration moves to fill scores of judicial vacancies, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, is for the first time publicly advocating that the blue slip be made strictly advisory when it comes to appeals court nominees — the most powerful judges after those on the Supreme Court.
Guess what?

From the Post-Gazette a few years ago:
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday grilled four nominees for federal judgeships, but one Pennsylvania jurist isn’t on the confirmation agenda even though he appears to have wide support.

Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, was nominated six months ago to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, but his confirmation hearing is being held up, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. is at the center of the delay.

Mr. Toomey said he strongly supports Judge Restrepo, but he hasn’t formally endorsed by officially signing off on the nomination. On judicial confirmations, the Senate traditionally defers to home-state senators whose signatures on blue slips of paper allow confirmation hearings to move forward.
He finally did turn in the blue slip - 6 months after Restrepo's nomination.

The point here is that if McConnell's proposed rule was in place then, there would not have been any delay at all. Toomey's support would have presumably been reflected in his "notification of how...to vote" and it would have been over much sooner.

On the other hand, Toomey wouldn't have been able to make a passive aggressive protest against Obama's immigration policy. Now that the legislative shoe is on the other foot...

Yea I know. Surprising, huh?

September 12, 2017

My TWENTY-SEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Now that a few days have passed since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have made landfall, I'd like to ask you about climate change. You're on record, by the way, denying that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change."

Time magazine recently reported that climate scientists have been citing global warming as having an impact on the severity of hurricanes - by making them worse.

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump's climate denying head of the E.P.A., recently said, on the other hand, that now is not the time to discuss climate change.

Let me ask you a question: When is a good time to discuss climate change?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

September 11, 2017

Today - 9/11 - Trump.

From ABC News:
To mark the 16th anniversary Monday of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend a commemoration ceremony in the morning at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.
Yes, this is the guy who said this:
Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.
And then after being challenged on his assertion, he stuck with it:
There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.
None of that was, in fact, true.

Then there's this:
Columbus, Ohio (CNN)Donald Trump said Monday that he witnessed people jumping out of the Twin Towers on 9/11 from the view in his apartment.

"Many people jumped and I witnessed it, I watched that. I have a view -- a view in my apartment that was specifically aimed at the World Trade Center," Trump said Monday during a rally in Columbus, Ohio.

"And I watched those people jump and I watched the second plane hit ... I saw the second plane hit the building and I said, 'Wow that's unbelievable,'" Trump continued.
CNN points out a few paragraphs later:
The Republican presidential contender lives in Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, more than four miles away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood.
His eyes must be really good to be able to see that level of detail from that far away.

Either that or he's lying.

A few things to think about as you're watching the little-handed pussy-grabber talk about 9/11 today.


September 8, 2017

THIRTEEN YEARS!

2 Political Junkies is THIRTEEN YEARS OLD this week.

We're now the age of pimply adolescents whose hormones are just starting to drive them (and their parents) crazy.

Here is Maria's first blog post at 2PJ.

It was a Bushism:
Too many OB-GYN's are having to get out of the business. Too many OB-GYN's are unable to practice their love with women all across the country.
Here's my first blog post here. It was about how Bush skipped out on his military service. I quoted Salon:
In retrospect, it's doubtful that even White House aides understood all the information embedded in the records, specifically the payroll documents. It's also unlikely they realized how damaging the information could be when read in the proper context. Seven months later, the document dump is coming back to haunt the White House, thanks to researcher Paul Lukasiak, who has spent that time closely examining the paperwork, and more important, analyzing U.S. Statutory Law, Department of Defense regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures of the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, Lukasiak arrived at the overwhelming conclusion that not only did Bush walk away from his final two years of military obligation, coming dangerously close to desertion, but that he attempted to cover up his absenteeism through swindle and fraud.
Yea, you remember when BUSH was the worst president ever? When BUSH was the existential threat to our democracy and the world?

How I miss those carefree naive days of yesteryear.

Happy blog-Birthday, Maria!!

September 7, 2017

Hmmm...Congressman Murphy? There's A Disconnect Here, Isn't There?

Representative Tim Murphy was endorsed by/given a 100% rating by:
Yesterday, In the Post-Gazette:
Congressman Tim Murphy publicly admitted Wednesday to having an extramarital affair with a personal friend, issuing a statement about the relationship hours after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette prevailed in a court motion to unseal a divorce action.
If you think this blog post unfair, just switch the party affiliations and imagine how our conservative friends and colleagues would be reacting right now to a pro-family Democrat caught having an affair with "a personal friend".

September 6, 2017

Reactions To Trump's DACA Decision

President Obama:
Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation.
Vice-President Biden:
These people are all Americans. So let's be clear: throwing them out is cruel. It is inhumane. And it is not America. Congress and the American people now have an obligation to step up and show our neighbors that they're welcome here, in the only place they've ever called home.
The US Conference Of Catholic Bishops:
The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.
Indecent, cruel, inhumane, and reprehensible - Donald J. Trump.

September 5, 2017

In Today's News




My TWENTY-SIXTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I'd like to revisit this (unanswered) letter, if I may.

As you probably know the Department of Justice in papers filed in Federal Court last week reiterated that, "Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets."

Those would be the tweets where Donald J Trump claimed the Obama Administration had Trump's "wires tapped" before the November 2016 election. He then questioned the legality of that act. I'm no lawyer but I am guessing it's very illegal - probably a felony - to wire tap someone without a court order of some sort.

So basically a sitting president is accusing a former president of committing a very serious crime. However as the DOJ has confirmed in court On September 1, there is no evidence that this occurred.

Here is my question: Either Trump was lying in that he knew that what he was tweeting wasn't true but tweeted it anyway or he was negligent in that he fail to pick up the phone to confirm the story with the DOJ before tweeting. He's the leader of your party. You voted for him for in November. You're legislating his agenda in the Senate. How can you continue to support Donald J Trump?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up:

September 1, 2017

Senator Pat Toomey Lies Right After His Recent "Town Hall" (His Superstorm Sandy Funding Vote)

First off, let me say that this was a "Town Hall" in name only (a THINO?).

Look at the set-up:
Of the 54 seats in the audience, 24 will be split between Democratic and Republican committees in the Lehigh Valley. The remaining 30 became available to the public at 9 a.m. this past Saturday – and according to DaWayne Cleckley, vice president of marketing at PBS39, they ran out at 9:06 a.m.
So he was guaranteed at least 12 republicans from Lehigh Valley Republican Committee.

You'll remember that before he was Senator, Pat Toomey was a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 15th Congressional District - which includes the Lehigh Valley.

So this was very friendly territory for good old Pat.

I am guessing this is by design - keep your friends close and your enemies...on the other side of the studio door so you won't have to answer their questions on live TV.

But we all knew this was going to happen, didn't we?

But let's get to Pat's lie. The AP is reporting this bit of nonsense:
Speaking to reporters afterward, Toomey warned lawmakers against larding any relief bill with spending unrelated to the devastating storm, which dumped about 52 inches (132 centimeters) of rain on part of Texas and caused dozens of deaths. Toomey said that’s why he voted against a Superstorm Sandy aid package in 2013.

“If it becomes a Christmas tree where every member of Congress adds whatever his or her favorite pork barrel spending program, well, then, I’m going to fight that,” he said. “That’s what Sandy became.”
Currently the Texas Republicans, like Senator Ted Cruz, who voted against Sandy funding are now scrambling to explain why they want guv'ment funding now have the same problem as Pat.

This story (that Sandy funding was filled with political pork) simply isn't true:

From the Washington Post fact-checker:
Cruz is repeating a number of myths about the funding for Sandy disaster relief. The vast majority of the spending was for Hurricane Sandy, including elements (such as Smithsonian repairs) that some lawmakers incorrectly believed were unrelated to the storm. The slow rate of projected spending that Cruz had criticized at the time was actually based on how quickly the government had spent funds after previous major storms.

Cruz clearly misspoke about the “two-thirds” being pork. Still, it is wildly incorrect to claim that the bill was “filled with unrelated pork.” The bill was largely aimed at dealing with Sandy, along with relatively minor items to address other or future disasters. He earns Three Pinocchios.
In the piece there's also this:
The Congressional Research Service issued a comprehensive report on the provisions, and it’s clear that virtually all of it was related to the damage caused by Sandy. There may have been some pork in an earlier Senate version, but many of those items were removed before final passage. There were also some items that appear to have been misunderstood. [Emphasis added.]
As you can see here. Pat Toomey voted with Ted Cruz against that funding and he's using the same dishonest justification for it.

You lied, Pat. You lied about your Superstorm Sandy funding vote right after your so-called "Town Hall."