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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Article Confirms What Many Thought: Trump is PR Genius and Total Fraud

"I have you all right where I want you: In the palms of my hands like putty."
(/s/ The Donald)



The Real Donald J. Trump
(par excellence)


Absolutely outstanding article that confirms what millions (I suspect) have been thinking all along but couldn't put the pieces together, or so it would seem and that includes yours truly.

The original story here with this headlines and key part as a short introduction, and no, it's not an Onion article, either:

Donald Trump is a fraud: Report confirms the billionaire’s presidential bid is a long and calculated con job

Everything Trump has done during the campaign is designed to dupe the media into funding his marketing strategy 

And, guess what, it's working according to his slick, well-designed plan, too.

Specifics in more detail at the link above and in part here:

According to a Politico report, Trump was approached two years ago by GOP operatives who wanted him to run for governor of New York. To their surprise, he declined but added that they would be useful when he ran for president.

Trump said:I’m going to walk away with it and win outright. I’m going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I’m going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that that they will never take the lights off of me.”

Trump knew all along that his celebrity and media savvy were sufficient to support his campaign. Although they didn’t believe him, Trump told the Republicans in that room in 2013 that he would dominate the race without spending much on paid advertising.

He was 100% correct – just look at him today. Mr. Flim-Flam man himself:


Draw your own conclusions but at the end of the day, Trump will ‘fess up and confirm all this … right suckers!!!  

Thanks for stopping by … it is a good read, isn’t it? Or as half-term Gov. Palin, the PR queen to Trump’s king, would say, “You bet cha’…”


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good Guys With Guns Kill Good Guys With Guns in a Gun Store: WTF

Hey La Pierre: 'splain this story will ya' ...

A gun-store owner and his son were killed in a shootout with two customers after an argument over a $25 firearm repair fee, police told NBC station WDSU.

The patrons were also taken to hospital with serious injuries following Saturday's incident at the store near Picayune, Mississippi, which is 130 miles south of Jackson.

Oh, yeah, the customers, who are also a father and son, had visited the store to collect a firearm that had been dropped off for repair. They became irate after being told it was not ready and there would be a $25 service charge, the Pearl River County Sheriff's

The argument descended into a shootout, resulting in the owner and his son dying from multiple GSW’s and the customers being transferred to intensive care, Sun Herald newspaper reported.

The case is still being investigated and no charges have been filed, the newspaper reported. NBC News was not able to reach the Pearl River County Sheriff's Office for any update.

How ironic: two good guys with guns shoot and kill two other good guys with guns and in a gun store no less – how pathetic is that?  I can’t wait to hear any NRA retort – it outta be a hoot and holler.

I suspect old Wayne La Pierre will adopt the famous Forrest Gump line: Shit happens. Then he wins a Gump T-shirt. 


Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

VOTE HILLARY Why Not: Poor E-Mail Mgt; Fox Said No; GOP Scare Tactics

Latest Illness Outbreak With No Known Cure or Antidote


Readers will quickly note that I have tried to lay out this issue in an easy-to-read/easy-to-follow format so I can understand it in one package, if that’s possible. I present the major highlights in a simple format. I hope you can follow and figure it out and enjoy.

Introduction to the so-called Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal:

This has a lot of folks tied up on a knot but mostly on the rightwing side who are suffering from a very bad case of the hissy fits. The latest is simple: she will going to be indicted and go to trial and then jail about the discovery of potentially (but still disputed I might interject early) “top secret information” that prompted the FBI to take custody of her private email server back in August, and since has been the primary driver of criticism over her handling of sensitive information in her emails without proven finality.

All that is pending but has everyone’s panties are in a tight bind and hyped badly and all without any evidence of anything to follow. Pretty much like the GOP searching and yearning for a noose to tie around her over Benghazi. But, I digress, but you see my point.

None of this has stopped this kind of reporting for example from keeping the issue alive as they say.


Some initial background: 

Clinton has repeatedly defended her use of a private email server by claiming “nothing she sent or received was marked classified at the time.”  However, now well after the fact and those statements, hundreds of her emails have since been marked classified by the State Department, with hundreds more expected to receive that designation before the agency finishes screening them this month.

Related to that part about “after the fact” news:  

Intelligence officials had claimed that one email in Clinton’s account was classified because it “contained information from a top-secret intelligence community product or report.” After further review it was determined that the report was not issued until several days after the email in question had been written and they added: “The initial determination was based on a flawed process.”
“There was an intelligence product people thought that one of the emails was based on, but that actually postdated the email in question.”

Still more background and more details:

November 2015: Top intelligence officials may be walking back their claim that Hillary Clinton's private emails contained information classified up to “Top Secret,” the finding earlier this year that triggered an FBI investigation into Clinton's private server.

Where did all this come from, i.e., the chain of events:  
  • Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III made the claim that two of the emails contained top-secret information.
  • The State Department publicly stated its disagreement.
  • State asked DNI’s office to referee the dispute.
  • That disagreement has been resolved in State’s favor.
  • A spokesman (Brian Hale) for DNI Clapper’s office then said the review of the emails has not been completed, adding: “ODNI has made no such determination and the review is ongoing” (Clapper spokesman Brian Hale).
  • The source at State said officials had already received instructions from intelligence officials that they need not use the strictest standards for handling the two emails in dispute – meaning that they aren’t highly classified.

Politico is still standing by its anonymous source.

Finally this from the National Journal – take it for what it’s worth, in part this was as they blast the NY Times:

Another day, another double-take reading the New York Times. The latest shoe in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s scandalous mishandling of classified information dropped heavily this week. It had already been reported that, contrary to her denials, hundreds of secret intelligence communications were transmitted over the private, unsecured e-mail system on which the former secretary of state recklessly conducted government business.  It is now clear that some of these contained “Top Secret/SAP” information (SAP is “Special Access Programs”), and that indicates defense secrets of the highest order, the compromise of which can destroy vital intelligence programs, get covert agents killed, and imperil national security. Yet, in reporting the Times story, Mark Mazzetti took pains to stress: The government has said that Mrs. Clinton is not a subject of the investigation.”

So, why not get all the facts, or at least wait for the final report as it were before hanging Mrs. Clinton or anyone else out to dry? Oh, they can’t do that – they need hype and smear now, or as Jim Carrey would say: “Alrighty then.” 

Finally, what should we make of all this? I’d have to say not much as this stage, but it does appear to be one big goat screw…!!!

I am tempted to say it’s just more dirty tricks and ugly politics as usual – heck I will say that – it is all that and much, much more.

I predict at the end of the day, there will be “no there there,” but don’t count on the GOP letting go of that bone until November 7th (Hint: election eve). So, stay tuned – it’s gonna get a helluva lot uglier, and believe me a lot nastier, even if that is possible more than now.  

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned as usual. This isn’t over – not by a long shot.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Most-Dangerous Man in America, NRA's Wayne La Pierre, Hands Down Jerk

Yep  the Real Problem

Fear Sells for Sure

Until, Well Until This Happens 


NRA CEO Wayne La Pierre in this video is talking insurrection... listen carefully:

  

La Pierre says Mr. Obama has formed a “Federal Gun Force” that is ready to launch an attack on gun rights all across the country.

FEDERAL GUN FORCE ... give me a frickin' break.

La Pierre’s words come nowhere near free speech or even rational decent logical speech on any level. It smacks of anarchy stirred by fear and hype and his careful design. 

All Americans, gun owners or not should stand up against that prick and this kind of ugly and quite frankly dangerous talk and demand he retract his words.

The real danger, if any? Wayne La Pierre, striving to be the #1 asshole in America, and right on track heads above all others.

That video is laced with lies and as I said, laced with fear and hype … to date, no one, let alone Mr. Obama has come and taken anyone’s guns … this is the worst kind of fear-mongering possible.

Thanks for stopping by.




Friday, January 8, 2016

Rep. Paul Ryan: The Dumbest Speaker in American History Par Excellence

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and is Flock of Nitwits (Voted to Repeal ACA)
(And it only took 62 votes - Nice Photo Op Though)

Ryan's House - The Real Costume
(For GOP voters I might add) 


President Obama as expected vetoed the bill to repeal the ACA (Obama-care) that also aimed to defund Planned Parenthood as reported on here.

Following the President’s announcement, Speaker Paul Ryan said in part that: “[… it was no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare.”]

Memo for Mr. Ryan:
Guess who gave the Federal ACA bill the nickname "Obama-care?"  Yeah, you and your pack of brain-dead morons, Mr. Ryan. Once again you show America the brand of dumb cluck you are — at least in my view.

Ryan’s remarks plainly show that he and his bunch of hypocrites have zero substance to boot, but they do have but plenty of fancy PR stunts up their collective sleeve.

Ryan concluded by adding: “We will see this law either collapse under its own weight, or we will see this law in the next session of Congress as we’re proving here today, will be repealed and signed and replaced by a Republican president.”

I shudder to have seen him as elected as VP under Mitt Romney. That would have been bad, but he now as Speaker appears to be far worse.

It's hard to comprehend how anyone could ever vote Republican and more so after watching the performance, or should I say lack of positive performance by this 12% job approval rated GOP-run Congress … really.

Thanks for stopping by.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

The NRA and NRA-Controlled Congress Take Aim Where None is Needed

Gun Sales Up; Open Carry Up; Ammo Sales Up — 
Gun Deaths Up
(Connection - Bet Your Ass)


Mental Health Signs
(Don't forget anger, jealousy, revenge, road rage, greed, religious view, drugs/alcohol, money, domestic fighting)

Absolutely an outstanding article. I can't argue with anything in it.

This part I found most enlightening: To the leadership of the NRA — the people who move America ever closer to a society in which everyone is not just armed, but immunized and empowered by stand-your-ground laws, allowing them to open fire at any threat, real or imagined — Obama is a criminal president, attacking the Second Amendment of the basic law they claim to hold sacred. Some of them probably think "standing your ground" would be a legitimate defense for actually using the assault rifles some gun lovers ostentatiously carry to Obama's public rallies. The U.S. is probably the only country in the world that allows such openly menacing behavior toward its leader.”

I am a retired Marine with two combat tours in VN – all in the infantry that I can assure anyone was combat up close and damn personal most of the time, thus I can speak about guns and such.

I also support the 2nd Amendment fully. But, I also support rational, decent, common sense and right now the entire GOP, run and managed by the NRA and not the people, is patently sick. I also support the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (read that someplace, too), but with all the killings recently and especially kids and unarmed people, where is their chance at life? The NRA presupposes that if they or their teachers or people around them had been armed, they would still be alive … I guess like a gunfight at the OK Corral, right? Imagine a whole bunch of folks opening up in public or on a subway or at a Mall out of fear that they person next to them in line all pissed about slow service is about to draw their “gat” and open fire and they try to be first? I can’t even contemplate such a scenario – but in this day and age of rampant insanity about being armed to the teeth to “stop a bad buy with a gun” it’s all too real a possibility and sadly, 24/7.

Let’s face, the NRA thrives on gun sales and membership and they like most of the GOP and a few other gun nut are in my view deranged and patently sick. They are in serious need of immediate mental health care treatment that is as soon as the GOP Okays funding which they have not been able to do in the past.

The NRA statement in part in response to Mr. Obama’s speech on Executive Actions he intends to take: “The proposed executive actions are ripe for abuse by the Obama Administration, which has made no secret of its contempt for the Second Amendment.  The NRA will continue to fight to protect the fundamental, individual “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” as guaranteed under our Constitution.  We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be harassed or intimidated for engaging in lawful, constitutionally-protected activity – nor will we allow them to become scapegoats for President Obama's failed policies.”

(Note the NRA’s use of words like “We won’t allow…” That is very dangerous talk, folks, very. Just ask the Bundy’s and other gun nuts in Oregon and elsewhere).

Mental health concerns are real. However, people with documented mental health problems are not the root of the problem. We also face a spread of open carry gun laws and more and more concealed permits, and heavily armed people all across America. Why do we need guns in classrooms guarding 1st graders, on college campuses, even in churches, and elsewhere. We sure pay plenty of lip service safety, but feel a need for more guns to be safe – that is totally a contrast. There is no short supply of that in this Congress. 

Apparently “loving guns” is more than loving life itself (or so it seems with their words vs. deeds). The evidence is all around us to support precisely what I mean. GOP politicians should take note: Your words are not the same as your deeds or lack of positive deeds should I say regarding common sense gun policy – which right now we do not have. The problem we do have will as sure as hell get far worse.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

GOP Flips Out re: President Obama's Executive Action Proposal on Guns

Arm America to the Teeth and Elect Me to Protect You (oops)


This short introduction has been extracted from Vox com:
America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It's one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America's relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the U.S. is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms. (And I would add strong gun lobby to head off any changes re: open carry or right to have a gun anywhere, anytime, and basically for any reason).
Some stats:
  1. America has six times as many firearm homicides as Canada, and 15 times as many as Germany.
  2. America has 4.4 percent of the world's population, but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.
  3. There have been at least 1,042 mass shootings since Sandy Hook (in 2012).
  4. On average, there is more than one mass shooting for each day in America (i.e., 336 days and 355 mass shootings).
  5. States with more guns have more gun deaths (see these states and numbers):


 Conversely: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.
From the NY Daily News – a great piece for sure – in part re: 
While stoking fearful hysteria that the federal government is stealthily moving to confiscate firearms, gun-rights zealots have responded with rhetoric that hints of violent resistance.
Most irresponsibly, Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott dared President Obama to [quote] “COME AND TAKE IT,” [unquote] as he tweeted opposition to Mr. Obama’s plans to tighten gun regulations by executive order.
Along the exact same threatening lines, a NRA publication issued a call to action against proposed NY legislation that would limit ammunition purchases to twice the capacity of a gun owner’s firearm during a 90-day period. That NRA report was accompanied by a frighteningly suggestive image showing four bullets alongside photos of the bill sponsors, Dem State Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Dem Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (both from Brooklyn).
My observation on those two point: These two reactions: (1) Gov. Abbott and (2) the NRA) appear threatening and thus possibly subject to criminal prosecution. Both need to be followed up (which I’m pretty sure someone is), since threatening an elected official and namely the president is a serious crime.
Also, Republican presidential candidates quickly denounced President Obama's gun announcement, saying his plans undercut the Second Amendment and stretch the limits of executive power. Part of what Mr. Obama said in his remarks:
1.  He totally supports the constitutional right to bear arms, (2) that Republicans and candidates in concert with the NRA and members of the gun lobby have and continue to distort his view, and that (3) his proposals do not represent a slippery slope toward mass confiscation of firearms [that hype based on fear to gain support] and (4) This is not a plot to take away everybody's guns.
GOP candidate expressions:
  • Trump [one day before this announcement]: “I will ‘un-sign’ Obama’s mandates.”
  • Rubio: “It's part of a broader narrative. And that is that this president is obsessed with undermining the Constitution in general, but the Second Amendment in particular.”
  • JE Bush:  “Obama's call for enhanced background checks and other new restrictions shows an utter disregard for the Second Amendment as well as the proper constitutional process for making laws in our nation.”
  • Cruz [campaigning in Iowa]: “When you live by the pen, you die by the pen.” (Implying that he would rescind the orders).
  • Huckabee: “This is a blatant, belligerent abuse of power and I will never bow down and surrender to Obama’s unconstitutional, radical, anti-gun agenda.”
  • Carson [tweeted]: “Obama's actions have everything to do with advancing his political agenda & little to do with actually protecting American citizens.”

Electing a president on a single issue is highly unlikely and especially regarding guns and that whole arena. Makes for good news, huge gun producer profits and salary increases for Wayne LaPierre, et al at the NRA, but they do little to stop, slow down or curtail the massive gun violence in our country … that is the issue.
Finally, how any person; gun lover or not, cannot see a pressing need for common sense gun rules or even want to discuss what Mr. Obama proposes, is far beyond rational common sense and comprehension on any level in my view.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Allow Me to Introduce the Sickest, Most-dangerous Lying Scumbag Ever

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne La Pierre 


The basis for this posting is from this story here ... and it's a keeper. It clearly shows a comparison between NRA VP CEO La Pierre, his strong gun lobby, members of Congress in his pocket (or in his wallet – take your pick), and those who worship guns at any cost (some refer to them as gun nuts – probably a darn good label considering their recent actions like in this article).

This is an introduction to that piece: A new video from the National Rifle Association's (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre claims that President Obama “… has all the laws he needs to stop the bloodshed” of gun violence in big cities but chooses not to because he supposedly refuses to enforce federal gun laws.

In fact, the NRA has engaged in a decades-long campaign to hinder the efforts of the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing federal gun laws, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) (I interject that the NRA probably considers the ATF a bigger threat than ISIS – just my hunch).

For example, back on October 27, he released this video and claimed, “Under the existing federal gun laws, [Obama] could take every felon with a gun, drug dealer with a gun and criminal gangbanger with a gun off the streets tomorrow and lock them up for five years or more. But he won't do it, his Justice Department won't do it, and the media never asks why.”

The video also featured LaPierre's continued apparent use of racially coded language by contrasting “thugs like De'Eris Brown, criminal gangbangers with illegal guns in Chicago, and violent thugs with the good, honest Americans living out in farm towns in Nebraska or Oklahoma or working two jobs in inner-city Chicago or Baltimore.”

The video was introduced by LaPierre claiming “nothing illustrates America's breakdown like the way the president's hometown celebrates its holidays,” before describing Chicago shootings as a “kind of third-world carnage.”

As for me, I conclude: LaPierre’s pack of lies has had more influence than Herr Doktor Joseph Goebbels ever had with The Big Lie like “more guns means less killing.” Not like this, but it should be like this recent showdown in Oregon >>>


Thanks for stopping by. 


Monday, December 28, 2015

Duck: A Good Guy With a Gun Kills Three Other Good Guys With Guns

Three "Good Guys" (actually two women included) and one man

Gun Nuts Need to Pay Attention
(With rational logical reasoning)


Three Puerto Rico police officers killed in shooting at Ponce police station by fellow officer

No matter the reason or motivation such as anger, jealousy, lust, love, greed, revenge, or whatever, a gun makes it quick and sure and the reasons gun nuts and others use to mitigate or try and justify it are just crazy as the shooter, e.g., a half dozen lame and weak-ass excuses:

“That is not who I am...”
“That would never be me...”
“I have my NRA training...”
“I only use my gun to hunt or for self-defense...”
“I am a NRA-rated responsible gun owner...”
“My guns are always locked up and safe....”


Related: (1) the Uncle who shot his niece in the face or (2) the 3-year old who shot and killed his infant brother, or (3) the 2-year old who grabbed his Mom's gun at Walmart and shot and killed her ... etc etc etc. and lot’s of other examples - do the searches.

Let's face it, a gun death is swift and sure and permanent – at the same time, the reasons given to “justify” no gun rules are as weak as horse piss.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Texas 2016 New Gun Law: Patently Absurd, Crazy, Illogical, Mad, Paranoid

New Open Carry Gun Law Effective in New Year
(How Texans Are Seen)

How Most Americans React to Mass Shootings
(Gun Nut Reaction)

Scene in a Texas Chipotle
(Enjoy your meal while they protect you - need more hot sauce)


New Year insanity ... and of course, in Texas. Before I address this insane subject, I would like to say right up front: If Texas wants to secede I say let them, In fact, give them back to Mexico, guns at all – then see how that new government handles the gun, law and order, and oh, yeah, immigrant issues.

This story from here: As of January 1, 2016, licensed Texans will no longer be forced to conceal their revolvers or semi-automatic handguns while out in public.

According to a new open carry law, which Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed at a gun range last June, licensed Texans can now openly carry their firearm (as long as it’s secured in a belt or shoulder holster) in all the same places where they could already carry a concealed weapon — which is pretty much anywhere except federal buildings, courthouses, polling places, amusement parks, worship centers, sporting events, jails, and businesses like bars where more than 51 percent of their earnings come from alcohol sales.

This whole issue by any standard is utterly insane. In fact, I’m not sure we can even define the word standard any longer. In short, it is utter and complete insanity.

Related links:  


It’s not as if Chipotle's strain of E.coli weren't enough, they may now face “lead poisoning.”

Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy New Year despite this troubling news – as if we don't have enough problems already. This issue surely adds to that list in a very bad and insane way I think.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

GOP Latest WMD Scare — Their Homemade Fear and Hype Formula

Keys to Win in 2016 - Just Watch and Listen the GOP 

Lots of examples and a few here:
Less than a month after taking office, Kentucky’s newly elected Republican Gov. Matt Bevin reversed a move by his Democratic predecessor that had restored the voting rights of about 140,000 former felons.  

Those impacted, who are overwhelmingly African American and lower income, had already completed their felony sentences but remained permanently disenfranchised. The order excluded those convicted of violent crimes, sex crimes, bribery or treason.

Bevin’s move Tuesday night goes against promises he made during the campaign to keep the restoration of voting rights in place. 

Related from the Hill >>> Another GOP congressional assault on voting rights – voter suppression by any other name.  

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Candidate for President of the United States or Bully of the United States

One View of T-rump
(like lots of his followers: "Angry White Man")

T-rump to Most of America
(pucker up and kiss my ass)

Cartoonist Dave Horsey (as usual) Nails It
(T-rump followers)

The latest on Mr. Trump below, and folks, it's bad, maybe (hard to believe isn't it), but maybe his worst and lowest to date. So, how much lower can he go — we have plenty of time to find out from this one-man road show.   

AP HeadlineTrump uses crude language to mock Clinton

“She's a liar!" he repeated at [at a recent] rally, labeling [Hillary] Clinton “not a president.”

Some of Trump's critics have leveled similar criticism at him. Many Republican leaders fear Trump's incendiary rhetoric would make him unelectable in a general election against Clinton, who is widely favored over two rivals for the Democratic nomination.

Trump continues to the lead the Republican field going into the New Year — a development that has stunned the political world and deeply divided the Republican Party. What is that latest? From the article:

Trump labeled Democrat Hillary Clinton "disgusting" for using the restroom during a commercial break at the last Democratic debate and used crude language to describe her primary loss to now-President Barack Obama in 2008.

“She was favored to win and she got ‘schlonged,’ she lost,” he said using a slang word for male genitalia (here take your pick of definition).

Trump, who has ramped up his criticism of Clinton in recent weeks, also mocked Clinton for returning late to Saturday's debate following a commercial break because she'd been using the bathroom.

“What happened to her? I'm watching the debate, and she disappeared. Where did she go?!” Trump said at the rally at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I know where she went. It's disgusting, I don't want to talk about it,” he added. “No, it's too disgusting. Don't say it, it's disgusting.”

So, is he running to be Commander-in-Chief (CINC), or Bully-in-Charge? 

Time will tell – stay tuned.

Friday, December 18, 2015

$1.1 Trillion Budget Now Law: Hold Your Breath — Clean Air Loses Again

Surrounded by all that Green: Bi-partisanship Does Work, Right
(Yeah, Right) 

Quite long post, but needs to be seen as the heart and soul (as it were) of the massive spending bill now the law of the land – the highlights:

The $1.8 trillion budget bill was signed into law (Note: Senate Added Money to House version) (NPR link) contains some tax breaks for low-income workers and protection of the ACA (Obama-care), and money to sustain Planned Parenthood, but in reality, it’s a bonanza for Big Business (surprise, surprise, surprise – Gomer Pyle expression).

Congressional leadership actually split the bill in two with one devoted to spending and the other devoted to cuts. That way (writes Paul Singer in USA Today) Republican conservatives can vote against the spending bill, Democratic liberals can vote against the tax bill, and both bills still pass and a government shutdown is averted. And, they have the audacity to call that a win/win or “bi-partisanship.” Hooah, except that BS might be the better word. Pleasing one side to protect their big money and donors is not bi-partisanship, but is simply politics as usual, and that is not in the best interest of the public across any and basically all lines. (Now, insert a second surprise, surprise, surprise). Now, let’s start with the fossil fuel industry that the recent Congressional vote to stop new EPA rules against carbon emission in the air.

• For 40 years, most Republicans and yes, some Democrats, have been demanding an end to the ban on crude oil exports. This omnibus bill lifts that ban just as the world community meeting in Paris agreed that emissions released from fossil fuels must be lowered if the planet is to escape incineration. Selling off cheap oil abroad is — if you choose to use this expression —is like throwing gasoline on the fire to put it out.

• Why the disconnect? Simple: the energy giants have money to burn, and that cash speaks louder than threats to the earth or its inhabitants (commonly known as mankind – since every living thing needs clean safe air).

• In the 113th Congress during 2013 and 2014, the fossil fuel industry spent $326 million and change on lobbying and political campaigns. In return, they received government favors totaling $33.7 billion. So, do the math: According to the advocacy group Oil Change International, for every dollar the oil, gas and coal industry spends on influencing Washington, it gets back $103 in subsidies. With this new spending bill, expect another gusher of donations to be coming in any day now.

Then also thanks to the Republican-controlled House, and to the applause of the NRA and the firearms industry, even in the wake of San Bernardino and every other mass killing this year, the bill also bans federal funding for public-health scientists to study the causes of gun violence (and continues to allow people on the no-fly list to buy guns). Concern for public safety right – yeah, right.

This might be a good place in insert this quote from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan watchdog who told The New York Times: “Anyone who wants to get anything done, who has already been frustrated by a virtually non- functioning Washington, is trying to cram whatever they can into this bill.” So what’s also in the bill besides the two items I addressed above?

The Washington Post sifted through the legislation, consulted supporting documents from Democratic and Republican aides, and called out some of the more notable and controversial elements below. For example, if you want to review detailed reports on all 12 parts of the spending bill contained in the over 2,000 pages), click here for the Republican summary, and here for the Democratic summary.

I have chosen these key elements from the bill – you may or may not like them, but I do like to track these kinds of things:
  1. OBAMACARE:  Bipartisan win. The agreement delays three taxes that were included in the Affordable Care Act that have been the target of bipartisan disdain. The legislation would delay a tax for two years on medical device manufacturers and expensive employer-sponsored health plans known as the Cadillac Tax. The deal was sweetened even further by making the Cadillac Tax fully refundable once it is reintroduced. The bill also includes a one-year delay of a tax on health insurance plans that increases the overall cost of buying coverage pushed by Democrats. It also maintains a previous rider blocking funding for a program, known as “risk corridors,” meant to shield insurers from heavy losses during the transition to Obamacare. That provision has come to prominence recently as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has started touting his role in its adoption on the presidential campaign trail.
  2. REFUGEES: Democratic win. Earlier this month, 47 Democrats joined nearly every House Republican in voting for new restrictions on refugees from Iraq and Syria. That led many Republicans to demand that language be included in the spending bill. But most of those Democrats said they did not want the provision included after the Obama administration called the provision unworkable, and Democratic leaders kept it off the bill. GOP leaders, meanwhile, said they were more focused on tightening the visa waiver program.
  3. VISA WAIVER PROGRAM: Bipartisan win. Lawmakers of both parties scrambled to mount a response to the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and found common ground in reforms to the visa waiver program that currently allows 20 million visitors a year into the United States with minimal screening. The spending bill includes House-passed language that would increase information sharing with the 38 countries whose passport holders are allowed to visit the country without getting a visa, while also attempting to weed out travelers who have visited certain countries where they may have been radicalized. But the bill does not include changes proposed by immigrant advocacy groups that would exempt aid workers and some dual citizens.
  4. 9/11 RESPONDERS: Democratic win. Congress voted in 2010 to create a new federal health program for police officers, firefighters, construction workers and others who worked at Ground Zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11; hundreds are suffering from cancer, respiratory illnesses and other maladies. But Congress put a five-year sunset on the program, and the re-authorization, primarily backed by Democrats and moderate Republicans from New York, turned into a bargaining chip for GOP leadership in recent weeks. The spending bill extends the health program until 2090 and adds another five years to a separate victim’s compensation fund, costing a total of $8 billion.
  5. ABORTION: Democratic win. Previous riders banning federal funding to perform most abortions and blocking the use of local and federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia, as well as one blocking abortions for federal prisoners, will remain in force. Republicans did win a modest reduction in funding for the United Nations Population Fund, an organization that has been accused of supporting abortions abroad — a charge the organization denies. But the bill does not de-fund the Title X family planning or teen pregnancy prevention programs or include policy riders that would prevent Planned Parenthood from accessing federal health care funds, allow states to exclude Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers from their Medicaid programs, or allow employers to block their employees from receiving insurance coverage for abortion.
  6. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TAX CREDIT:  Bipartisan win. The legislation would permanently extend and expand the popular tax credit for business research and development costs. Supporters say the credit is an effective way for the federal government to encourage businesses to grow and innovate. The agreement includes House-passed legislation that expands the credit to start-up businesses and allows businesses to claim credits of up to 15 percent of qualified costs. The provision has bipartisan support in the House and the Senate.
  7. CHILD TAX CREDIT:  Democratic win. The agreement permanently extends the Child Tax Credit of $1,000 per qualifying child. The provision includes an additional refundable portion of the credit for low income workers that allows families that have a tax liability that is less than their credit to receive a cash refund equal to 15 percent of their earnings over $3,000. The legislation also prevents the threshold for the refundable credit from returning to the indexed amount of $10,000 in 2017. For example, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains: “a single mother with two children who earns $14,000 in 2015 could receive 15 percent of $11,000, or $1,650, as a refund.” Democrats lost the battle to have the $3,000 threshold indexed to inflation. The program was indexed until 2009. Republicans have said they are open to reopening those talks as part of future tax reform discussions.
  8. EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT: Bipartisan win. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the rare tax breaks that has support from both Democrats and Republicans. The program was introduced by President Gerald Ford and has been expanded over the years with the support of both Republicans and Democrats. The year-end deal permanently extends the program, including a once-temporary expansion for families with three or more children. The deal also reduces the marriage penalty in the program by increasing the phase-out level to $5,000 for married couples.
  9. TAX CREDITS FOR COLLEGE: Democratic win. Democrats, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore), pushed to make sure the legislation would permanently extend and expand tax credits for college expenses. The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a $2,000 credit for tuition and qualified expenses for four years of post-secondary education. The first $1,000 of the credit is refundable and begins phasing out for individuals making $80,000 and couples earning $160,000.
  10. TAX CREDITS FOR TEACHERS:  Bipartisan win. The legislation would permanently allow elementary and secondary school teachers to deduct up to $250 in qualified expenses on their personal tax returns. The cap would also be indexed to ensure the size of the credit grows with inflation.
  11. CHARITABLE DONATIONS:  Bipartisan win. Democrats and Republicans both support measures that encourage charitable contributions from businesses and individuals. The tax agreement would permanently expand five credits. The first allows individuals, corporations and farmers to donate land to conservation. Individuals over age 70 1/2 would also be allowed to directly transfer up to $100,000 from an Individual Retirement Account to a qualified charity without penalty. The package also includes an expanded tax break for businesses donating food inventory, breaks for charitable donations related to owners of S-corporation small businesses and some modifications for tax-exempt organizations.
  12. CAMPAIGN FINANCE:  Mixed bag. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed for language loosening federal restrictions on fundraising by political parties — a move meant to give parties more equal standing with independent “super PACs” that have the ability to raise unlimited amounts of money from private donors following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. But Democrats and conservative Republicans joined together to oppose any loosening of party fundraising, one of the key provisions of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, and the provision was not included in the spending deal. What was included was a Republican rider preventing the IRS from cracking down on the political activities of 501 (c) (4) nonprofit groups, who are allowed to spend on the “promotion of social welfare” with much less disclosure than a campaign or political action committee, as well as one blocking the Securities and Exchange Commission from taking action on a long-discussed rule requiring publicly owned companies to disclose their political giving.
  13. CLEAN WATER: Democratic win. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent update of clean water regulations, known as the “Waters of the United States” rule, extended federal protection to new U.S. waterways — and provoked a stern response from Republicans, who said it would have a grave impact on farmers, ranchers and businesses. Democrats filibustered GOP attempts to block the rule this fall, and a push to include a rider in the spending bill also fell short. But the new regulations are on hold in any case: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit put the so-called “WOTUS” rule on hold in October.
  14. CLIMATE CHANGE: Democratic win. Republicans hoped to attack President Obama’s climate change agenda from at least two fronts. For one, they have tried to strike down or at least delay the Clean Power Plan rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the first federal effort to limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants. They also floated including language blocking Obama from sending federal funds to the global Green Climate Fund, a centerpiece of the international climate-change agreement reached this past weekend in Paris. Obama has pledged up to $3 billion in U.S. spending on the fund, which is meant to help poor countries cope with climate change. But Democrats were able to fend off both riders. The bill does include a new National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund that its sponsor, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), has said will “support work that helps Americans understand and adapt to forces like sea level rise, severe storms, and ocean acidification” related to climate change.
  15. LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND:  Bipartisan win. The spending bill includes a three-year re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program dating to 1965 that helps public entities purchase property for environmental protection. The fund has landed in the crosshairs of some conservatives, notably House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), and the three-year renewal is considerably shorter than the 25-year renewal it last received.
  16. FINANCIAL REGULATIONS:  Democratic win. Democrats rejected all riders that would repeal or scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. Republicans wanted to block a proposed Department of Labor regulation that requires retirement investment advisers not to consider how much commission or what fees could be collected when advising clients. That rider was not included in the deal, nor was a widely discussed proposal to reduce the number of banks subject to stricter financial regulations as “systemically important” institutions.
  17. GUNS: Republican win. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a push to end a ban on federal funding of gun violence research. Former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) first sponsored the policy rider in 1995 to ban public health researchers from gun violence studies has repeatedly said that he regrets the amendment and did not anticipate its consequences. Democrats also pushed for a measure that would prevent individuals included on federal terrorist watch lists from purchasing weapons. There was some hope that the recent spate of mass shootings would spur action, but Republicans rejected both requests. They did not, however, succeed in adding several new policy riders that were not as well publicized, including one blocking the Justice Department from tracking the buyers of multiple long guns.
  18. IMMIGRATION: Democratic win. Republicans did not succeed in adding riders that would affect President Obama’s executive orders regarding enforcement of immigration laws, which they had sought last year, or local jurisdictions’ “sanctuary city” policies. The latter became a major conservative priority over the summer after a California woman was murdered in San Francisco by a Mexican immigrant who had been repeatedly deported.
  19. CYBERSECURITY: Bipartisan win. The omnibus also includes compromise language on information-sharing legislation that the House and Senate passed in various forms earlier this year, to encourage businesses to pass information about hackers and potential cyber threats and risks on to the government, in exchange for liability protections. The effort to pass cybersecurity legislation pitted businesses against privacy advocates, and dragged on for years as lawmakers argued about what limits would be placed on collecting the personal information of individuals who may have been shown to constitute a threat, which agencies would collect that information, and how widely it would be shared across the government. The legislation gained special urgency in the wake of several data breaches at major companies like Target and in the U.S. government, such as the theft of 22 million people’s information from the Office of Personnel Management’s systems. The House passed cybersecurity legislation earlier this year in two parts, while the Senate passed one cyber bill in October.
  20. FOOD LABELING: Republican win. The spending bill repeals federal laws mandating that meat packers identify where animals are raised and slaughtered. The problem was a World Trade Organization ruling finalized earlier this year holding that the labels were unfair discrimination against Canada and Mexico, nations that were thus entitled to levy retaliatory tariffs worth upwards of $3 billion. The farm industry blanched at the tariffs, and House Republicans voted overwhelmingly in June to end the labeling mandate, though many Democrats resisted changes, saying they would be bad for consumers.
  21. TRANSIT BENEFITS: Bipartisan win. The tax package includes a big win for public transit users who buy benefits pre-tax. The bill permanently matches the level of pre-tax transit benefits to pre-tax benefits for parking. Commuters of all stripes will be able to set aside $255 a month for either car or public transportation expenses. The provision was championed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and had a lot of support from Democrats and Republicans in the House.
Thanks for stopping by – I’m sure we all will monitor this closely as time goes by. As for me, I am about 75% content with the “deal.” Now watch the nastiness continue. It is after all, a vicious election cycle.