The headline above was taken from this article in the Daily Mail (UK).

The US Justice Department announced Tuesday that it is reviewing the legality of “bump stocks,” two months after a man shot down 58 concert-goers from a Las Vegas hotel window using the devices.

The Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — which regulates firearms but not gun accessories — will determine whether the devices, which make a semi-automatic weapon perform like an automatic weapon, are illegal.

“Possessing firearm parts that are used exclusively in converting a weapon into a machine gun is illegal, except for certain limited circumstances,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition.”

So they may already be illegal? But we don’t know for sure? We have to investigate it? We took two months to determine we need to look into whether something is illegal after stating that it might actually be illegal…after it helped someone kill 58 people and wound hundreds of others? It will certainly be interesting to see the result.

But it begs the question. Where is the promised flat out ban that Congress promised within days of the shooting? Couldn’t they have stuffed that in the tax bill too?

Obviously Blogging Blue doesn’t have the wherewithal to buy access to premium internet services if we lose net neutrality. So will you still be able to get your daily fix of skewed political commentary and sarcastic responses to commenters? Will the page load at a reasonable speed? Will it be found at all?

The loss of net neutrality is being sold as letting the market determine the winners and losers. But once again it seems like the haves will get to have some more…and the have nots may disappear into the ether. One of the pluses to net neutrality is Zach could start this site and I can keep it running without a lot of effort or financial risk. Essentially, though not literally, Blogging Blue’s voice is available as fully as the NY Times or Breitbart. Yes certainly we live or die on our content and marketing skills…and the amount of time and money we have to invest…but it feels that all things are being equal until now.

The FCC has a comments page going and it sounds like it’s being hacked and trolled in favor in eliminating net neutrality. So some are suggesting they put off their decision until they can sort out the chaff. Probably isn’t going to happen under the Trump regime. But once we lose it, there is very little chance we’ll ever get it back. Do we devolve our internet to being like China?

And the internet has allowed small entrepreneurs build new sites and new businesses that are worth billions and supply communication, products, and information around the world. Would Amazon, Google, Facebook exist if they were starting out in an internet without neutrality. Will the next round of inventors have the same opportunity?

And yes, big conglomerates have invested millions and billions of dollars to build the Internet’s infrastructure. But your tax dollars and government resources invented it and developed it. It really should still be ours!!!

From today’s Washington Post:

The Federal Communications Commission is expected later this month to repeal landmark regulations that aim to ensure that all websites, large and small, are treated equally by Internet service providers.

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Right along that yellow line!

From cabinet appointments to the repeal/replace bills around the Affordable Care Act to the Tax Reform Cut bill just passed in the Senate…President Donald Trump has decried Democratic obstruction as the reason nothing is getting done. Hogwash. The Republicans hold both houses.

Now admittedly the GOP has garnered damn few Democratic votes on their various incendiary bills…but you can’t expect bipartisan support when the Democrats aren’t even invited into the room. It isn’t any simpler than that.

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This was in an article in the Washington Post today…and yes were aren’t a newspaper and yes I am not a journalist…but still something we can aspire too!

Yes, I said opposition. The press, by definition, is oppositional. As Mr. Dooley, the turn-of-the-century fictional bartender created by columnist Finley Peter Dunne, is often paraphrased: “The newspaper’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

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Whether you support or have issue with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate…I would hope you at least support stripping it out of the tax reform cut legislation currently before Congress. Now the mandate says that every individual must have health insurance either through their employer, the ACA exchanges or through a private plan (plus Medicare or Medicaid). The thought behind it (and supported by the insurers) is the premiums paid by young people who are generally healthy will offset the costs to cover older people. If they don’t buy the insurance they pay a fine. I support the idea but unfortunately for many who fall beyond the income brackets that get premium support…the fines are cheaper than the cost of the insurance.

Now many in the GOP view the whole idea as vulgar…the government should never require anyone to buy a product (of course we could avoid that whole issue with single payer universal coverage…but that’s another story). So the mandate should be cancelled. And of course they couldn’t repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act in whole so now they stead a repeal of the individual mandate into the tax cut bill. And quite frankly it doesn’t belong there.

I don’t think it should be repealed but if you are going to repeal…put it up for a vote on its own. See where it goes…see if we get some lobbying action from the insurers.

But the convoluted thought process from the Republicans is that removing the individual mandate via the tax cut bill is the way to go…because it would lower taxes for those paying the fines rather than acquiring insurance. They are equating the fines as taxes…not quite.

Taxes are pretty much collected when you do something. You buy gasoline and pay the gasoline tax. Buy new shoes and pay the sales tax. You earn money and pay income tax, social security tax and medicare tax. You buy a house and pay property tax (although that is continual). You don’t buy health insurance you pay a fine. You don’t obey the law you pay a fine.

Congress might actually get a few more thing done…and get more bipartisan cooperation if bills contained just the items that belonged there. Then fewer people would have to hold their nose while voting for something…or vote against something that they generally agree with except for something odious and unrelated tagged onto the bill. If they try it they might actually like it.

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Whatever you think about the struggle to control the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, doesn’t President Trump have any other candidates to run it? He put his White House Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, in charge as the temporary director.

Aren’t we about to go into heavy budget negotiations in December with new continuing resolutions and budget adjustments and other shenanigans? And there’s still the ‘tax reform’ row going on. So who’s running the White House budget office? He can just shed his director?

I get that the president doesn’t like the CFPB and that Mulvaney is the most vocal critic that he has in the West Wing…but at a critical budget time…shouldn’t he be at the helm in the White House? OTOH, maybe it will make the White House even less effective in interfering in the negotiations on the Hill.

Twenty Million Dollars is a lot of money…you’d love to have it…I’d love to have it…but what does it represent? Well apparently the average CEO of an American corporation makes just under twenty million dollars a year. I’d say they aren’t worth that no matter the corporation (even if they started the corporation)…or ten million dollars or five million dollars…

But these are the men and women who will be getting the big tax breaks under the current versions of both the House and Senate tax bills. President Trump and the GOP promised big tax breaks for the working and middle classes. The benefits to you and me will be minimal and may even be illusory. WTF?

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full disclosure: Tony Zielinski is my alderman and the only thing I agree with him on from this video is the fact he isn’t going to run for his aldermanic seat while running for mayor. And he is also correct. He is one of the hardest working campaigners that I know.

But he’s certainly tilted further right in his talking points and I am not sure his views will sell across the city. But he’s certainly taken an early start on throwing his hat in the ring…hope his head doesn’t get cold this winter.

Take a look, we’ll see how it goes: