Sunday, October 8, 2017

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

Talk about blast from the past: Even former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr thinks indictments and plea deals are coming from Mueller's investigation.

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals during Bill Clinton’s presidency, predicted Saturday that there would likely be indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia's election meddling. 
“Given what we do know, especially given what happened this summer with respect to the FBI’s intrusion into Paul Manafort’s condominium, in light of the revelations that we’ve seen about General Flynn, I have a sense that there will in fact be indictments,” Starr said on CNN’s “Smerconish," referring to President Trump's former campaign chairman and his first national security adviser, respectively.

Starr said “there may be guilty pleas” in the investigation, and said the indictment of foreign nationals could take place. 
“What I find very interesting … is in light of the information that is now coming out with respect to Russian attempts to influence both the national election and 21 different states, what I expect to see is serious consideration of indicting one or more foreign nationals,” he said.

Which I believe too and have been telling you about for months now, but it's different coming from Starr, who isn't exactly a pal of Democrats these days, but hey, he has problems of his own of a sexual nature.

Listen All Y'All It's Sabotage

The Trump regime isn't even bothering to hide the fact that the goal now is what former Obama administration Medicare/Medicaid chief Andy Slavitt calls "synthetic repeal". 

Much of the enforcement of ACA regulations are at the will of the executive branch, and Trump is doing everything he can to use those regulations to collapse the individual plan markets and force repeal of the law.  Of course, doing so will wreck the country's insurance markets, plunge insurers into chaos, and jack up premiums on pretty much everyone.

But that's the point. Trump's biggest sabotage efforts so far will come next week with a new executive order that will almost certainly devastate health care coverage for millions.

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order next week to start lifting some insurance rules set by his predecessor’s Affordable Care Act in the aftermath of the failed Republican bid to repeal the law, a senior administration official said Saturday. 
The order is aimed at expanding insurance options for Americans who buy coverage on their own or work for a small employer, and would include broad instructions for agencies to explore ways to loosen regulations and potentially lower premiums, as well as looking at three specific areas of health insurance. It has been anticipated by industry officials and political observers in the days since the GOP repeal effort crashed.

Republicans have long contended that the insurance rules set by the 2010 health law, popularly dubbed Obamacare, have driven up premiums in the individual and small group markets, for healthier Americans especially. Democrats and supporters of the law typically counter that the rules have protected consumers from unwittingly buying shoddy products and helped subsidize the costs of sicker Americans. 
Mr. Trump will order three agencies, the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, to take steps to make it easier for people to band together and buy insurance through “association health plans,” the official said. 
Such plans would in some ways be like large employer’s health plans, subject to some restrictions set by the Affordable Care Act, including a ban on lifetime limits. But they would be free of other regulations, including the requirement that insurance plans cover a set package of benefits. These plans are popular with conservatives; some insurers fear that associations would peel off healthier and younger individuals and leave traditional insurance plans to cover sicker and older customers. 
The president also will order the agencies to start winding back an Obama-era rule curbing coverage known as “short-term medical insurance,” a low-cost but limited-protection option, and allow people to once again buy those plans for up to a year, the official said. 
The Obama administration banned the sale of those plans that offered coverage for more than 90 days, arguing they were inadequate for people’s needs. Some industry officials have pressed the administration to restore them, saying that when marketed honestly they can fit the needs of particular consumers currently priced out of buying the more generous coverage available as a result of the 2010 health-care overhaul. 
In addition, the executive order would order agencies to expand health reimbursement accounts, employer-funded arrangements that employees can use to pay out-of-pocket medical costs and premiums. Obama-era guidance from 2013 had prevented pretax employer dollars in the arrangements from being used to buy health insurance on the individual market. 
The three moves would represent the most substantive step the White House has taken to date in paring back Affordable Care Act rules using administrative powers. They don’t go as far as many critics of the law would like but are likely to be followed by other steps, administration officials said.

The three steps combined would be a nightmare: they would recreate high-risk pools with little coverage and no guaranteed benefits other than catastrophic coverage and allow employers to move employee plans to that model,meaning millions of people would be dodging both the individual mandate and the penalty fee for not having insurance.

It would cause insurance rates for everyone else to skyrocket as a result, collapsing the markets for both individual plans and for employer-based plans too, meaning instead of real insurance, employers could offer health savings accounts for junk plans with no real coverage, and have to pay up front for the privilege (and lose the money at the end of the year if they didn't use it for health care).

In other words, it's a direct recipe for blowing up Obamacare and everyone knows it.

Democrats have characterized the effort as potentially sabotaging the consumer protections they set in the ACA, and they have won support from some insurance industry officials. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has said it has concerns. 
Some industry officials say that siphoning off healthier individuals from the existing insurance markets with the promise of skimpier benefits but lower premiums could further undermine those markets, increasing premiums ever more for the sicker, costlier enrollees that remain. 
“Its aim is clearly to do with the pen what Congress wouldn’t—eliminate pre-existing condition protections, essential benefit protections and lifetime caps and turn the ACA into a sparsely available high-risk pool,” said Andy Slavitt, who was the Obama administration’s top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Only garbage coverage plans would be available through the ACA, and everyone would suffer.

But again, that's the point.

They Came Back Of Course

Actual Nazi Richard Spencer decided to come back to Charlottesville and reopen some old wounds by staging a (much smaller) surprise white supremacist rally in the city's Emancipation Park.  About 30 people showed up, but that was enough for Spencer to start gloating and to give the game away

The group carried tiki torches and chanted "You will not replace us," by a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the park. They also reportedly said, "we will be back." 
"Hello Charlottesville, we're back and we're going to keep coming back. You will not replace us, you will not erase us," a protester on a megaphone said.

"The left wing establishment is built around anti-white policies," Spencer told the group.

The group also chanted "The South will rise again" and "Russia is our friend."

The rally comes less than two months after violence erupted in the town between "Unite the Right" protesters and counter protesters.

The alt-right rally, which was meant to protest the removal of the statue of Lee, reignited the debate over the future of Confederate statues and monuments across the country.

These guys want a bloody civil war, and nobody would benefit more from that than Moscow.  The whole group of these jackasses are backed by Putin and the manipulation is so obvious it's painful, but our government is compromised so badly by the Russians now that there's not much we can do other than weather the storm.

In case there was any doubt as to whom Spencer is taking his orders from.

Sunday Long Read: Perfecting The Dog Whistle

If you want to know what banished White House racist rabble-rouser Steve Bannon and his Boy Wonder Milo Yiannopoulos are up to after two-shirt Steve got booted over his little confab in Charlottesville this summer, it turns out that the pair of slimeballs have plenty of help spreading their message of hate from Silicon Valley techbros.

In August, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in murder, Steve Bannon insisted that "there's no room in American society" for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.

But an explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that there was plenty of room for those voices on his website.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart courted the alt-right — the insurgent, racist right-wing movement that helped sweep Donald Trump to power. The former White House chief strategist famously remarked that he wanted Breitbart to be “the platform for the alt-right.”

The Breitbart employee closest to the alt-right was Milo Yiannopoulos, the site’s former tech editor known best for his outrageous public provocations, such as last year’s Dangerous Faggot speaking tour and September’s canceled Free Speech Week in Berkeley. For more than a year, Yiannopoulos led the site in a coy dance around the movement’s nastier edges, writing stories that minimized the role of neo-Nazis and white nationalists while giving its politer voices “a fair hearing.” In March, Breitbart editor Alex Marlow insisted “we’re not a hate site.” Breitbart’s media relations staff repeatedly threatened to sue outlets that described Yiannopoulos as racist. And after the violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Breitbart published an article explaining that when Bannon said the site welcomed the alt-right, he was merely referring to “computer gamers and blue-collar voters who hated the GOP brand.”

These new emails and documents, however, clearly show that Breitbart does more than tolerate the most hate-filled, racist voices of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fueling and being fueled by some of the most toxic beliefs on the political spectrum — and clearing the way for them to enter the American mainstream.

It’s a relationship illustrated most starkly by a previously unreleased April 2016 video in which Yiannopoulos sings “America the Beautiful” in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.

These documents chart the Breitbart alt-right universe. They reveal how the website — and, in particular, Yiannopoulos — links the Mercer family, the billionaires who fund Breitbart, to underpaid trolls who fill it with provocative content, and to extremists striving to create a white ethnostate.

They capture what Bannon calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resentments of people around the world, sifts through these grievances for ideas and content, and propels them from the unsavory parts of the internet up to TrumpWorld, collecting advertisers’ checks all along the way.

And the cache of emails — some of the most newsworthy of which BuzzFeed News is now making public — expose the extent to which this machine depended on Yiannopoulos, who channeled voices both inside and outside the establishment into a clear narrative about the threat liberal discourse posed to America. The emails tell the story of Steve Bannon’s grand plan for Yiannopoulos, whom the Breitbart executive chairman transformed from a charismatic young editor into a conservative media star capable of magnetizing a new generation of reactionary anger. Often, the documents reveal, this anger came from a legion of secret sympathizers in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, academia, suburbia, and everywhere in between.

"I have said in the past that I find humor in breaking taboos and laughing at things that people tell me are forbidden to joke about," Yiannopoulos wrote in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "But everyone who knows me also knows I'm not a racist. As someone of Jewish ancestry, I of course condemn racism in the strongest possible terms. I have stopped making jokes on these matters because I do not want any confusion on this subject. I disavow Richard Spencer and his entire sorry band of idiots. I have been and am a steadfast supporter of Jews and Israel. I disavow white nationalism and I disavow racism and I always have.”

He added that during his karaoke performance, his "severe myopia" made it impossible for him to see the Hitler salutes a few feet away.

Steve Bannon, the other Breitbart employees named in the story, and the Mercer family did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Like all the new media success stories, Breitbart’s alt-right platform depends on the participation of its audience. It combusts the often secret fury of those who reject liberal norms into news, and it doesn’t burn clean.

Now Bannon is back at the controls of the machine, which he has said he is “revving up.” The Mercers have funded Yiannopoulos's post-Breitbart venture. And these documents present the clearest look at what these people may have in store for America.

And folks, these are some ugly sins being put on display.  Milo was the charismatic point man selling neo-Nazi snake oil, Klan "economic anxiety" and Bell Curve social engineering to like-minded folks in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and he is very, very good at it.  He packaged it as the "alt-right" and Bannon sold it for the Breitbart masses to help Trump.  And his help covers the whole cast of characters, including our good friend Teddy Beale and Evil Chuck Johnson, as well as Richard Spencer and Andrew "weev" Aurenheimer and their crew of actual goddamn Nazis.

But let's not forget the real goal of this packaging and marketing of rancid white supremacy to the masses. 

All this helped to put Trump in the White House.

"Make America Great Again" was and still is a racist dog whistle that is all about making white supremacy acceptable again, and Steve Bannon was chief strategist for the Trump campaign and the regime.  His protege, Stephen Miller, is still Trump's chief speechwriter, still packaging and selling white supremacy today.

Pay close attention to hedge fund billionaire tech bro Robert Mercer and his family in this article too.  It's clear they are the bankroll for Bannon and his merry band, and if there's a source of endless dark money and darker social manipulation on the net to market Trump's racism as "populism" it's Mercer. There's a brutal junction between tech and racism, and it was exploited to full effect in 2016. It will be exploited again in 2018 and 2020.

These are who America's leaders are because this is who we have always been: a country built on the exploitation of race and proud of doing so, punctuated by the long, slow fight for justice against it.

Never forget however that these assholes could not have come to power without the people that elected them, and were perfectly okay with white supremacy being the defining characteristic of the Republican party in 2017.  Call them what they are.

These guys turned racist dog whistles into Trump campaign bullhorns, and they won because of it. This is why I will resist them, every day, in this blog and in other ways, until we are rid of them.
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