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Mar 7 Kevin_BGFH commented on House Republicans Unveil Their Obamacare Replacement Plan.
@22 - Ugh, no. Obama did NOT have a filibuster-proof majority for six months.

He had it for two months and it included Blue Dog Democrats who refused to go along with a sensible plan that might have deprived insurance companies of profits.

Al Franken wasn't sworn in as a Senator until June 30, 2009 because Norm Coleman dragged his heels and refused to concede and demanded recounts until the MN Supreme Court finally told him to STFU. So there were only 59 Senators during that period. And meanwhile, Ted Kennedy was very sick, wasn't at the Senate a lot, and ended up dying on August 24, less than two months after Franken was sworn in. A Democrat was temporarily appointed to replace Kennedy a month later (Sept 24) but then Scott Brown took the seat in a special election. There probably weren't many days with 60 Democrats present. In fact, to be specific because Wikipedia breaks it down BY DAY, including 2 independents that caucused with the Democrats and Arlen Specter who switched parties to be a Dem on April 28, and a protracted dispute over seating Obama's replacement from Illinois, there were in the Democratic Caucus:

Jan 3 - Jan 14: 57 in Dem Caucus
Jan 15 - Jan 19: 58
Jan 20 - Jan 25: 57
Jan 26 - Apr 29: 58
Apr 30 - Jul 6: 59
Jul 7 - Aug 24: 60! Woo hoo, filibuster proof
Aug 25 - Sep 24: 59
Sep 25 - Feb 3, 2010: 60!

And after Feb 4, 2010, whe. Scott Brown was sworn in, it was 59 or lower (58 for stretches).

And those included Ben Nelson who demanded, among other things, an increased Medicaid kickback that only applied to Nebraska, and Joe Lieberman (one of the indies) who vowed to block anything that included any sort of public option.

Blaming it on a lack of "leadership" is such a bullshit excuse. It's a nebulous, unprovable concept that is unchallengeable simply because it can't be demonstrated one way or the orbiter. Now, I won't disagree that Obama was rather hands-off with Congress. But there were never 60 votes for anything but the most cautious approach. And the Democratic Caucus only had 60 votes, including some REALLY conservative ones, for about four months.

I would love single payer, Medicaid for all, and MAYBE if the GOP totally makes a hash of their ACA "reform" there will finally be critical mass for it in 2018. But it was never going to happen in 2009.

And yes, @21, I imagine most Americans like myself agree with you. Our health care system is crazy. It was state of the art a century ago when American labor unions pioneered getting employers to pay for health care. But the very idea of tying health care to employment is backwards.
Feb 17 Kevin_BGFH commented on Rachel Maddow: Something's Up Between Jill Stein & Putin.
@68 - Yes, I understand it's not going away. I'm even skeptical that the National Popular Vote Compact is a viable strategy even if states totaling 270 Electoral Votes could be found to support it. (I'm skeptical that anything could prevent a state from withdrawing from it if a national vote didn't go their way.)

I just can't stand this romanticism of it. It's founded in racism and yes, we're stuck with it for the foreseeable future, but let's not pretend it is now or ever was a good thing.

But yes, we're stuck with working within its founded-in-racism bullshit framework.
Feb 17 Kevin_BGFH commented on Savage Love Letters of the Day: Reader Advice Round-up.
Oh my fucking God, fuck this "identity politics" bullshit.

"Identity politics" is a term used by straight white men to attack any issue that doesn't directly benefit straight white men.

And fuck these attacks on the Clinton Foundation. Their foundation wasn't about personal enrichment -- the Clintons themselves donated MILLIONS to it, and that money went to saving lives all over the world, including providing HIV medication to 11 million people. Who the fuck cares WHY people were donating to it if the Clintons weren't personally benefiting from it. And if you attack the Clinton Foundation while ignoring the Trump Foundation, you're either a Trump or GOP apologist, or one of their useful tools. The Trump Foundation hasn't gotten any money from Trump himself, but instead illegally solicited donations from others (which wasn't allowed under the nature of how they were set up) to bribe politicians, pay off Trump's legal liabilities, and buy gifts for Trump himself.

There are a lot of Green Party members I respect. But Jill Stein is no genuine Green, and a lot of Green Party members (in the US and especially in Russia where she's despised) no longer trust her. I doubt she could get the nomination again if she tried.
Feb 17 Kevin_BGFH commented on Rachel Maddow: Something's Up Between Jill Stein & Putin.
@57 - Revisionist bullshit. Bull fucking shit.

The Electoral College had absolutely NOTHING to do with protecting rural interests. When the Constitution was written in 1787, the "tyranny of the cities" wasn't on anyone's radar. In 1790, the urban population was only 5.1% of the population while 94.9% of the population lived in rural areas. They didn't need your fucking protection. Fifty years later, the urban population was barely ten percent of the country (10.8%). The urban population wouldn't even cover half of the population until 1920.

Protecting rural interests was never a part of the equation.

States small in population were protected through equal representation in the Senate, and the whole reason to have a bicameral legislature was to reconcile the interests of small v. large states. (This was before there was a cap on the number of members of the U.S. House, which now also skews the House towards smaller states disproportionate to their percentage of the population.) But this wasn't an urban v. rural thing because the states with the largest populations were mostly to entirely RURAL.

The Electoral College was NEVER about protecting the interests of rural states, and it wasn't even about protecting small states since without a cap on the U.S. House, smaller states' EC influence were only bumped up by an infinitesimally small amount (due to the Senate).

The Electoral College was created for one purpose and one purpose only: RACISM.

Specifically, SLAVERY.

Southern states wanted to be able to have their cake and eat it, too. They didn't want their slaves to vote, but they still wanted the value of their slaves' population for electoral purposes. That wouldn't work with a popular vote -- they'd have to allow slaves to vote in order to increase the electoral might of their state. So they had to create this convoluted thing called the Electoral College, something that doesn't exist in any other democracy in the world, so that they could count a portion of the value of their slaves (3/5ths) without actually having to allow those slaves to vote.

The Electoral College was created solely to entice slave owners to support ratifying the new Constitution. Full stop.

Protecting the rural population (then 95% of the country) or small states (only marginally affected by the E.C.) had nothing to do with it.
Feb 16 Kevin_BGFH commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Facebook Stalking Pharmacist Questions His Ethics.
There's no way he can friend request them without it seeming suspicious at best. Even if he claimed they appeared as "someone you may know," which assumes they have friends in common, it still will come off as suspicious. Best you can do is hang out at that same bar, or hang out with friends you have in common in hopes of an out-of-work introduction. But don't initiate ANYTHING. There's a better chance this way that you'll end up meeting someone else at that bar or through those friends and everything will be ok.

(P.S. I've never approached anyone I've Facebook stalked, but on more than one occasion they approached me because of mutual friends.)
Feb 16 Kevin_BGFH commented on Rachel Maddow: Something's Up Between Jill Stein & Putin.
By the way, I think everyone is being sarcastic about the seating, but just in case ... this wasn't just a restaurant. It was a dinner sponsored by RT, Putin's western-facing propaganda TV. Putin was the guest of honor. No one was seated as his table by accident. No one.
Feb 16 Kevin_BGFH commented on Rachel Maddow: Something's Up Between Jill Stein & Putin.
I don't know whether Stein is a patsy or in collusion, but I have been suspicious of her ever since this photo surfaced. All of her actions during the campaign were to attack Clinton and say she was worse than Trump, and only tepidly at best attack Trump. She campaigned to get the Greens up to 5%, which makes sense, but she did so by pushing not in California -- which has a ton of Greens and could have gotten her substantially there -- but in vulnerable swing states. She refuses to disclose how she was invited there, who paid for it, or what was said. In her personal platform (as opposed to the Green Party platform), every reference to Russia and Putin was in praise. And she advocated closing every single foreign military base. Yeah, that's not unexpected from the far left, but might as well just announce ending NATO and rolling out the red carpet for Russia move into Europe. In light of everything else, it's suspicious. It's not red baiting to question Stein's motives where there are so many red flags there. It's also not red baiting because Russia isn't a communist country anymore. I am not attacking the Green Party itself, but Jill Stein in particular is VERY suspicious. I'm not looking for a war with Russia but there are other alternatives other than complete capitulation -- like the sanctions that are working!
Feb 9 Kevin_BGFH commented on Jill Stein Is a Right-Wing Tool.
The Green Party of Russia has condemned Stein for her coziness with Putin and begged the US Greens not to nominate her. It is absolutely not a coincidence that she sides with Trump on every pro-Putin thing he does.

I studied her platform carefully during the campaign. A large number of the things I liked didn't seem achieveable. But a distressing amount of it was either batshit crazy or grossly irresponsible and dangerous. For example, she listed the number of foreign military bases she wanted to close, which I looked up and it happens to be ALL of them. (In re-reading her platform just now, she was more explicit than I remembered about indeed planning to close every single foreign base.) I am very much NOT a hawk, but even I can see what a terrible idea that would be. Might as well abolish the UN and turn over Europe to Putin. Oh, wait, maybe that wasn't just naïveté on her part.

Given Russia's history (particularly Putin's) with kompromat, it's hard not to speculate what Russia may have found out about her during her stay, or through other means before her visit, and what private discussions she had with them. While it's conceivable (barely) that it's innocent, all of her actions suggest she's as much pro-Putin as Trump is. Every mention of Russia in her platform is positive.

Oh, and what's NOT conceivable is that she was coincidentally seated at the same table as Putin. This was an event thrown by Putin's personal propaganda outlet. You better believe Putin himself had a hundred percent control over who sat at his table.
Jan 7 Kevin_BGFH commented on Savage Love Letters of the Day: Reader Advice Round-Up.
I was going to say that Prosopagnosia has got to be pretty rare and the odds of it being the case here has to be unlikely. But then I looked up the stats and it sounds like as many as 2% to 2.5% of people may have it, so there's a good chance I know someone who has it. That said, Occam's Razor and all, I have to agree with @3 that it's probably much more likely that the closeted trick was trying to pretend not to know the gay guy on the street. That really does happen all the time.
Dec 12, 2016 Kevin_BGFH commented on Congressional Leaders, aka Republicans, Call for Investigation Into Russian Hacking.
One of the questions is whether McConnell (and Ryan) are going to back the independent 9/11-style Congressional investigation or more like the Banghazi-type?

If it's the Benghazi-type, then it would go through existing House and Senate committees (probably Intelligence or Homeland Security, who already have security clearances and received preliminary briefings). In this scenario, Republicans control the shots and have the ability to make the hearings be a sham. They control the power of the subpoena. They can prevent Democrats from doing any subpoenas they don't want. They control who does and does not testify, and whether it's public or private. In short, they control whether this Congressional investigation is legitimate or a façade.

If it's a 9/11-style commission, then it's a joint commission including equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, Senators and House Representatives (usually 12 members -- three Dems and Reps from the House and three each from the Senate). This has a much greater chance of being conducted fairly and having the public's trust afterwards.