Category Archives: idée fixe

Clarence Thomas Condemns Civil Asset Forfeiture

Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case filed by a Texas woman who says that her due process rights were violated when the police seized over $200,000 in cash from her family despite the fact that no one has been convicted of any underlying crime associated with the money. Unfortunately, thanks to the state’s sweeping civil asset forfeiture laws, the authorities were permitted to take the money of this innocent woman.

The Supreme Court offered no explanation today for its refusal to hear the case of Lisa Olivia Leonard v. Texas. But one member of the Court did speak up. In a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in the case, Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear that he believes the current state of civil asset forfeiture law is fundamentally unconstitutional.

“This system—where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use—has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses,” Thomas declared.

Thomas is right, but one wonders if a.) there will ever be a “correct” case to come before SCOTUS, and b.) why in the hell a bill of sale and a public record of the sale of her house wasn’t enough evidence to prove the cash wasn’t really being used for drugs?
Clarence Thomas Condemns Civil Asset Forfeiture

Obamacare Lite

House Republicans on Monday released their long-awaited plan for unraveling former President Barack Obama’s health care law, a package that would scale back the government’s role in helping people afford coverage and likely leave more Americans uninsured.

House committees planned to begin voting on the 123-page legislation Wednesday, launching what could be the year’s defining battle in Congress and capping seven years of Republican vows to repeal the 2010 law. Though GOP leaders expect a boost from the backing of the Trump administration, divisions remain and GOP success is not ensured.

The plan would repeal the statute’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. 1 It would replace income-based subsidies the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums with age-based tax credits that may be skimpier for people with low incomes. Those payments would phase out for higher-earning people.

The bill would continue Obama’s expansion of Medicaid to additional low-earning Americans until 2020. Beginning then, states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds the statute has provided.

More significantly, Republicans would overhaul the entire federal-state Medicaid program, changing its open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and costs in each state, a move likely to cause funding cuts.

In perhaps their riskiest political gamble, the plan is expected to cover fewer than the 20 million people insured under Obama’s overhaul, including many residents of states carried by President Donald Trump in November’s election. Republicans said they were chiefly focused on reducing costs and increasing choice for consumers. 2

In other words, the ReThugs plan on burning down the ACA for the insurance money; fuck everyone else. 3

Obamacare Lite

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Instead, in its typical cock and ball slurping fashion, the ReThugs will introduce a thirty percent surcharge on all premiums, for a full year, on any individual who lacks coverage for two months or more. Which is NOT a fine at all, but instead just you know…The Insurance Industry’s Due. Totally different.
  2. Though they are not above tossing more money to their owners corporations.
  3. There is a FAQ site for the ReThug’s plan here. It starts out with an oft-repeated ReThug lie: “Obamacare is collapsing.” Then devolves into further lies. The long and short of the Obamacare-Lite plan offered by the ReThugs is as follows: Huge tax breaks for the richest Americans are coming. No worres, though – we’re sure you’ll do just fine.

Samuel L Jackson vs Ben Carson

In today’s moot court: Slavery or Immigration?

Presenting the Immigration argument, HUD Secretary Ben Carson:

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson referred to slaves as “immigrants” while speaking Monday to department employees.

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

Presenting the Slavery argument, Samuel L. Jackson:

Samuel L Jackson vs Ben Carson

The War on Drugs

Boss Hog, Head Lawman of These Here United States, appears to have a BBQ basket of reactionary leavings to scatter across the country 1 before he totters off this mortal coil…

One of the world’s largest marijuana festivals, which is expected to be held this week on tribal land outside of Las Vegas, has been facing a possible shutdown for the past two weeks, according to a letter sent by federal officials earlier this month.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, based in Las Vegas, sent a Feb. 16 letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe reminding the tribe that the transport, possession, use and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law. The marijuana trade show and festival, planned for March 4 and 5, would be in violation of that law, according to the letter obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

“I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it. Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”

Show 1 footnote

  1. Let’s see; the DoJ promises to i.) pull back from police abuse investigations; ii.) quit suing police departments over violating the civil rights of minorities; iii.) promises to crack down on “violent crime”; iv.) will allow men to own their wives; v.) promises to make African-Americans proud of their owners again.

Health Care is Complicated

Washington (CNN) – [OMP] noted with some exasperation Monday the complexity of the nation’s health laws, which he’s vowed to reform as part of a bid to scrap Obamacare.

“We have come up with a solution that’s really, really I think very good,” [OMP] said at a meeting of the nation’s governors at the White House.

Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” he added. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

If by nobody OMP means himself, then, yes, that quote makes sense.

Can’t you just see the faces of his sycophants and lackeys as they struggle to reassure OMP that’s he’s not stupid: NO ONE could ever ever evah imagined how difficult a topic heath care is.

Certainly NOT the Obama administration.

And definitely not that Crooked Hillary!

OMP later didn’t say “We’re going to present our plan soon. And it’s going to be a fantastic failure, I promise you! Not everybody will be able to receive coverage, and by everybody I mean those people. It will be yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge..ly expensive!

The Deplorables are deep in denial, still. We wonder what, exactly, it will take to wake them?

Health Care is Complicated

The Surrounding Game

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy…

The ancient game of Go is the most complex and elegant game ever discovered. Though the rules are simple enough to teach a child, the complexity that emerges has inspired millennia of study. For three thousand years, master players in East Asia have handed down the game as an art form to foster patience, creativity, and self-reflection. Today in the elite world of the pros, international tournaments offer hundred-thousand dollar prize purses, and top matches are broadcast on 24-hour “Go TV” to millions of fans in China, Korea, and Japan. But in the West, most people have never even heard of the game…until now.

The Surrounding Game

Trump’s Poor Ratings

We suppose our Toddler-in-Chief has quietly been having a hissy fit all day over these ratings because, you know, 3 million more illegal aliens drove up the Arbitron/Nielsen numbers for Obama!

Here at last we have a true apples-to-apples comparison for a television event with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama — or at least as close to one as we’re going to get for a while — and it’s not very flattering for the current Commander-in-Chief.

President Obama’s first pre-Super Bowl interview, with NBC’s Matt Lauer in 2009, brought in an average audience of 21.9 million viewers in Nielsen’s final accounting. The half-hour of 2011’s Super Bowl pre-game coverage — which included O’Reilly’s highly anticipated interview with Obama — attracted an average audience of 17.3 million. In 2016, Obama’s interview drew 14.9 million; in 2015, 16.4 million; in 2014, 18 million.

The Trump-O’Reilly interview drew a 7.8 household rating in Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings. President Obama’s last three sit-downs before the Super Bowl drew overnight household ratings of 9.2, 10.2, and 11.5; his first, a 9.6.

Trump's Poor Ratings

Betsy DeVos: Religious Zealot

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski in back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor announced Wednesday that they would oppose Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be Education secretary.

They are the first two Republicans to break with Trump on any of his Cabinet picks, and the votes could make it difficult for DeVos to win confirmation.

If all of the Senate’s Democrats vote against DeVos, she would have 50 votes if the remaining Republicans backed her — with Vice President Mike Pence potentially breaking the tie. No Democrats have backed DeVos.

“I come to the floor to announce a very difficult decision that I have made, and that is to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be our nation’s next secretary of Education,” Collins said from the Senate floor.

Collins specifically pointed to DeVos’s “lack of familiarly” with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, saying she was “troubled and surprised.”
Murkowski, speaking after Collins, said she had too many concerns to back DeVos.

“I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of Education … who has been so immersed in the discussion of vouchers,” Murkowski said.

This should be another give me for both ReThugs and Dims: It’s clear DeVos’s only qualifications for this post are shit-piles of Amway cash and her desire to enforce, via U.S. taxpayer dollars, her idée fixe with funding religious schools.

However, ima guess that like with Neil “Fascist Forver” Gorsuch, we’ll get at least one Senator with a sudden cash infusion spine problem and DeVos will be free to impinge her idiocy upon our children and Constitution to her heart’s content.

Betsy DeVos: Religious Zealot

Rumors of War

huckabee_herzliya-huckabee

“I have seen biblical prophecy fulfilled in Israel, and no one can deny that.”

President-elect…has reportedly appointed an ambassador to Israel: Mike Huckabee 1, a supporter of settlement expansion and the Israeli annexation of the West Bank, who claimed in the past that Palestinians don’t exist.

Great, yet another death worshipper in a position of power…

Rumors of War

Show 1 footnote

  1. Fun Fact! Mike Huckabee is a Christian Zionist, a sect of Christian fundamentalism that believes the actual Apocalypse will take place exactly as the Bible “foretells”, in the land of Israel.