I know that I have complained about this a number of times. But it just seems to getting worse. I will not be scared into contributing to your campaign. And the nonsense that the Democratic Party and the Democratic candidates is just getting more arcane week after week after. I have stopped contributing to campaigns that use scare tactics.

And now they’ve started putting MY name in the from portion of the email solicitations. This is just plain stupid. Send me an email asking for money, tell me who the flock you are upfront. Guess what? The one’s I get from the Trump/Pence 2020 campaign tell me who they are.

Anywhere, exhibit A from today’s email:

Trump Just Collapsed? WTF? Here’s the text that went with it. What the hell does the headline mean in comparison to the solicitation text?

BREAKING CNN: “REPUBLICANS COULD KEEP THE HOUSE”

This can’t be happening to us now.

This morning, Republicans rushed a last-minute $1 MILLION to win the House.

Then, for the first time in MONTHS, analysts just predicted Republicans could actually win.

Now, we’re going on the ATTACK and launching our largest voter turnout rescue operation in Democratic HISTORY. We need 7,982 gifts before midnight to fund it. >>

Edward, this historic plan WILL work.

It WILL turn out more Democratic voters than ANYONE thought possible.

It WILL help us win and SAVE President Obama’s legacy.

But ONLY if we can fully fund it by midnight and launch it TOMORROW.

We’re running out of time to respond. Will you step up with $1?

Paid for by the DCCC | 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 | (202) 863-1500 | www.dccc.org | Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

They did not pry any George Washingtons from my hand with this one!

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nuff said!

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Earlier this week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reprinted an article in their Ideas Lab from Kaiser Health News reporter Julie Revnor. I have the hard copy but online I found it on the NPR site. The article wrangles with the notion of who is really protecting the Affordable Care Act’s clause to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions. It includes some discussion on the senatorial race in Wisconsin between incumbent US Senator Democrat Tammy Baldwin and her opponent State Senator Republican Leah Vukmir. It is worth the read.

But what caught my attention was the last paragraph where Ms. Revnor is debunking a statement made by the US Senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin.

Meanwhile, Democrats who are chastising their Republican opponents over the issue are sometimes going a bit over the top, too.

An example is Manchin’s claim about the threat to coverage for 800,000 people in West Virginia. West Virginia’s population is only 1.8 million and more than 1 million of those people are on Medicare or Medicaid. That would mean every other person in the state has a pre-existing condition. A recent study found West Virginia has a relatively high level of pre-existing conditions among adults, but it is still less than 40 percent.

I am not going to fact check Senator Manchin’s claim…the fact that any American might lose coverage because of a pre-existing condition is enough of an issue on its own (full disclosure: I have a pre-existing condition, I had a heart attack in 1999 and am being treated for heart issues to this day). But what I found more interesting was Ms. Revnor’s assertion (and I didn’t fact check that either…she does this for a living so I am taking her at her word here) that over 1 million out of 1.8 million West Virginians are on Medicare or Medicaid. Fifty five percent plus of West Virginia is on federally sponsored single payer health care already. So apparently it works and works fine. So it wouldn’t be much of a push to get those other 44+% of West Virginians on Medicare for All (yes I hate that name because it isn’t factual but I am going to use it because it’s become the vernacular for comprehensive universal single payer health care that I support).

Maybe we should just make West Virginia a test bed and set up a universal single payer plan in just that state. I would think the population would be amenable seeing how the majority are already on similar plans. (just another aside: those on Medicare and Medicaid don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions. Medicare can’t deny anyone who is old enough to be eligible and Medicaid can’t either and parts of it are essentially designed to cover pre-existing conditions). And it probably won’t be hard to convince the estimated 267,000 previously uninsured West Virginians using the Affordable Care Act to move either.

To me there should be a national move to a comprehensive universal single payer health care system in the United States…but since there is nothing but argument around it…let’s go with a test in West Virginia. It’s a small population…55% are already on a federally run single payer program…and they are close enough to Washington to be a decent social laboratory. Too bad their ‘good neighbor’ to the West (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) wants to cut back on Medicare and Medicaid. But that might make it easier for WV to volunteer to be the guinea pig here.

BTW: West Virginia’s electoral votes in 2016 went to President Donald Trump who pulled in 68.5% of the vote with only 57.45% turn out.

And this late breaking tidbit. While researching a few of the items above, it looks like Sen. Manchin might not be so far off. This Kaiser Family Foundation chart (from 2015) shows West Virginia having about 35% or so residents with pre-existing conditions that could have been denied coverage pre-ACA. Interesting.

Good riddance…

Kleefisch announced last April he would not seek re-election in November. The Waukesha North High School graduate who represents Oconomowoc and the surrounding area said he will now have more time to spend with his daughters, Ella Rose, 15, and Violet, 12.

“There was nothing left on the table,” Kleefisch said. “My children, while growing up, have never really had a parent that was not in elected office. The vast majority of their lives, their parents have both been in elected office. It will be nice to have at least one parent in the private sector.”

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Last spring I was notified that the owner of our hosting service is retiring and shutting down his business. Through a series of adept professional procrastination steps and some personal health issues this past summer, I haven’t completed my research in finding a new host. That will be one of my main focuses for this fall. If the move requires an outage of the site, I will give everyone as much of a heads up as possible!!

And a number of readers have pointed out that the contribute button doesn’t work. That has probably been an issue since shortly after I assumed the publishing role here. Zach and I are aware of it and he’s given me some suggestions to getting it fixed. So that is on the fall agenda as well.

Thanks to all of you who continue to support Blogging Blue by reading our rants, commenting on our posts, and just hanging out and being cool with us!

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Will all of the hub bub in Washington around Kanye West in the West Wing and Melania Trump’s visit to Africa and Jared Kushner’s lack of tax paying…this little story about an American diplomat meeting with the Taliban was buried in the main news section of the Sunday New York Times.

The diplomat is Zalmay Khalilzad who was born in Afghanistan. Mr. Khalilzad met with representatives of the Taliban in Doha Qatar and then flew to Kabul Afghanistan to consult with that nation’s president, Ashraf Ghani. So on the face of it, it could be some shuttle diplomacy here. And it sounds like the United States would like to see talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government…but the Taliban wants no part of that. In fact they want no part of actual peace talks until the United States ends their ‘occupation’ of the nation. And according to the NYT’s article they want no part of the upcoming elections either…elections that have already been delayed for years.

No, I’d like to see the US out of Afghanistan ASAP but it doesn’t sound like we can leave and expect any type of non-Taliban government to survive our exit. That’s not good. And I really don’t think the current hardline Taliban stance is a negotiating ploy. They can smell a victory in the current civil war if US involvement ends.

But I am really nervous about the current American diplomat entrusted with this decidedly delicate negotiation. Mr. Khalilzad was just appointed as special representative for Afghan reconciliation a month ago. And this was his first visit to the region and with the Taliban in this role. But he has a rather checkered past with the Taliban, the State Department, and Afghanistan.

During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Khalilzad was one of the leading Afghan specialists at State. And after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban he was quoted as saying : “The Taliban does not practice the anti-US style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran. It is closer to the Saudi model.”

That thinking prevailed in Washington for years and prevented the US from snatching Osama bin Laden from Taliban held areas of Afghanistan for fear of angering the Taliban rulers. That trend allowed bin Laden the safe haven to build al Qaeda and launch the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Shortly after making those pronouncements, Mr. Khalilzad moved on to Unocal as an advisor. While at Unocal, Mr. Khalilzad met with Taliban representatives in 1997 at the Watergate Hotel to help negotiate a pipeline deal through Afghanistan. At that time he was referred to as a leading Republican expert on Afghanistan.

Somewhere along the line, Mr. Khalilzad joined the RAND Corporation and reversed his position on the Taliban. He served on the George W Bush transition team and was appointed to run Condoleezza Rice’s Middle East directorate. And now he was concerned that the Taliban would corrupt Pakistan. I think that prediction came true to a certain degree.

It makes sense that the Trump regime would reach out to someone like Zalmay Khalilzad. They have no one in their inner circle with any kind of experience in the Middle East much less Afghanistan or Pakistan. And apparently he has great Republican cred. But with his history around the Taliban, I don’t know how far to trust him. He’s a retread. The State Department must have other more reliable Afghan experts by now! It’s been 17 plus years since 9/11 and nearly as long that we’ve been engaged in a war there.

Like the war, this has gone on too long. Do we trust Khalilzad? Do we trust Donald Trump on Afghanistan? The president has complained about lack of progress there…but is he just willing to cut and run and leave the current Afghan government to hang? Will we end up seeing another helicopter flotilla from the roof of the US embassy in Kabul in 2019? The selection of Mr. Khalilzad stinks to high heaven. The quiet maneuvering stinks as well.

When I finished posting my reply to a recent comment by Nemo, the page refreshed with two ads from the Walker gubernatorial campaign. Thank you Governor Walker!!

Ka-ching!

A number of outside groups affiliated with Democrats are spending $1 million in Wisconsin in support of long shot Democratic candidates.

But what’s most interesting from this article is the Republican Party response:

Alec Zimmerman, a spokesman for the state Republican Party, said the effort shows Democrats are committed to spending as much as they can to try to get control of state government.

“This just confirms what Republicans have been saying all along — outside money from liberal special interests is pouring into Wisconsin to undo Republican reforms and take Wisconsin backward,” he said by email.

Uhmmm….and there is absolutely no outside money in Wisconsin supporting GOP candidates? I bet there is [sarcasm]!

Anyway, if this is such a concern about outside money pouring into the state, I will be waiting for Republican legislation in the next session to put a lid on it. I suppose I shouldn’t hold my breath.

In Iowa, the president supported having 15% Ethanol fuels (E15) available year round. It is currently off the menu in the summer.

The Trump Administration is planning to allow E15 sales year-round. During the White House agriculture roundtable Thursday, President Trump announced his support for E15 sales year-round without a cap on RIN prices, according to attendee, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Ethanol groups have argued that allowing year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol blended fuels would be a “win-win” for agriculture and refiners, who have alleged that RIN prices are overburdensome.

But whoa, US Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05-GOP) thinks that’s a bad idea.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard violates free market principles, puts consumers at risk, and is harmful to the environment. Expanding the sale of E15 will increase the danger of misfueling, causing damage to engines and voiding consumer warranties. I urge the EPA not to move forward with this plan.”

Click through on the link above. Rep. Sensenbrenner mixes a stew of free market, environmental, small government, consumer protection, etc to protest the move to year round E15. A kinda interesting read.

But it is interesting that he has gone public with his opposition to the president’s announced policy. And personally I am surprised by his resistance to ethanol. Now Wisconsin isn’t Iowa but it still produces its share of ethanol…but I guess maybe not much going on in his 5th Congressional District anymore…strip mall central, urban sprawl poster child land that it is.

Since the original plea was entered last February, the actual conviction and sentencing that occurred this week has been largely overlooked. Now this third tier scumbag isn’t actually related to the Trump campaign, but he helped enable Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election: Richard Pinedo becomes third person sentenced in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced Richard Pinedo on Wednesday to six months in prison followed by six months in home detention for his role in Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Pinedo, whose website sold Americans’ bank information online, pleaded guilty in February to one count of identity fraud. Although he is not as well known as other individuals charged by special counsel Robert Mueller, Pinedo is the third person to be sentenced in connection to the investigation.

After his initial sentence, he will serve two years of supervised release. Judge Dabney Friedrich decided not to impose a fine because he determined Pinedo would not be able to pay it. He will undergo location monitoring for six months and computer monitoring, which will be determined by the probation office. Pinedo will voluntarily surrender to the Bureau of Prisons back home in the central district of California.

Witch Hunt my eye!

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