What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 23, 2017

My FOURTHEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

This'll be quick.  I promise.

A few days ago the New York Times reported that Donald Trump, in his meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian Foreign Minister and the Russian Ambassador to the US, called the former head of the FBI James Comey (who he'd just fired) "crazy" and "a real nut job."

Here's my question: Are you OK with any of this?

Are you OK with the president of the United States in effect bragging to the Russian Ambassador that he'd just fired the guy in charge of the investigation into whatever connections there may have existed between his presidential campaign and Russian intelligence?

Are you OK with his characterization of Comey as "crazy" and "a real nutjob" during that brag?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

May 22, 2017

Good For Them - Notre Dame Students WALK OUT On Mike Pence

Sometimes very powerful protests can happen very very quietly.

Like this one:
Some graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame walked out of their own graduation ceremony to protest Vice President Pence when he began to deliver the commencement speech on Sunday morning.

Pence was chosen to give the commencement address at the nation’s most prominent Catholic university — even though the school ordinarily invites newly inaugurated presidents to give the address in their first year of office. Thousands of students and faculty members signed a petition asking Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, not to invite President Trump, and the university chose instead to invite Pence, a former Indiana governor.

A coalition of student activist groups at Notre Dame called We StaND For planned a walkout to protest policies Pence pursued as governor that they say targeted the most vulnerable.
The reasons for the protest, organized by a group called WeStandforND, can be found here.

Specifically:
During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities. All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.
And for that, they walked. Take a look:


Good for them.

May 19, 2017

Birthdays - May 19

More proof, as if it's necessary, that astrology is BS.

Born today in 1945, Pete Townshend:


And then, only 6 years later, Joey Ramone:


Also born today:
  • Pol Pot - 1925
  • Andre The Giant - 1946
  • Peter Mayhew - 1944
  • Grace Jones - 1948
  • Malcolm X - 1925
So yea, astrology is BS.

Happy Friday!

May 18, 2017

ANOTHER Response From Senator Pat Toomey!

Like this one, it's email.

NOW, unfortunately, I have to make sure I scan my spam folder more.  The reason being that's where I found this most recent response from Senator Pat Toomey.  Had I not checked, it would have been lost to the ages.

So let's dive straight in.  What's this one about?

Senator Toomey's first sentence:
Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Syria. I appreciate hearing from you.
Ah, Syria.  If it's Syria, it has to be the ninth letter.  In it, I am asking about the Tomahawk missile attack on the Shayrat Airbase in Syria.  Specifically, this:
The Pentagon announced that, "Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield." Reportedly, the Russians were then able to inform the Syrians of the attack. The runways themselves were not damaged and within a day or so, the base was operational again.We're talking limited damage here.

All this was done before the American people were informed. Let me simplify: Syria's ally Russia (and supposedly, Syria) knew of the attack before the American people knew.

Doesn't this bother you at all?
That's what I asked.

And this is how Senator Toomey answered:
As you know, Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war. The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, has massacred large numbers of Syrian people since the war began, including through the use of chemical weapons. During the fighting, over 400,000 Syrian citizens have died. The entire civilized world has denounced Assad's brutality. Since the civil war began, the U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal and nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

In early April, the Assad regime conducted another chemical weapons attack. This sarin gas attack in Idlib, Syria killed over 80 civilians, including children, and wounded over 500 more. In response to this atrocity, the Administration launched a cruise missile strike against the Assad regime on April 6, targeting the Shayrat air base. This action sends a message to the world that barbaric, nerve gas attacks on innocent Syrians will not go unpunished.

The current conflict in Syria is a complex challenge requiring American leadership and significant global engagement. I look forward to the President working with Congress on next steps, including development of a comprehensive plan that details for the American people our long-term strategic objectives, the possible risks for military personnel, and national security implications.

I understand your concerns regarding the situation in Syria and will keep them in mind as I continue to monitor the situation in Syria. Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
You'll notice that he didn't answer my question.  Not at all.  In fact, his first two paragraphs are simply throat-clearing filler.

It's apt that it all starts with "As you know..."

Yes, Senator I do know all that stuff.  That's why I asked you my question.  So I'll ask it again, doesn't it bother you that Trump told the Russians about the attack BEFORE he told us, The American People?

And considering the events of the last week or so, if it didn't bother you then, doesn't it bother you now?

May 17, 2017

More Trump Obstruction. Contact Your Member Of Congress.

A few hours ago, former NSA Analyst John Schindler tweeted:
The "this" is this from NBC:
Fired FBI Director James Comey wrote an internal memo saying President Donald Trump asked him to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of the memo told NBC News on Tuesday.

The memo was part of a paper trail Comey built documenting what he believed to be Trump's campaign to derail the FBI's investigation of alleged Russian ties to his presidential campaign, according to a source close to Comey and a former federal law enforcement official.

The source close to Comey said the memo included a line in which Comey quoted Trump as having said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."
The White House denies the story but as Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post "the administration’s credibility is nil right now" so I'm thinking Comey's probably gonna be closer to the truth than the gang that tried to influence Trump with a fake Time magazine cover.

But Schindler is right.  Every GOP member of Congress needs to be asked directly if s/he is ok with what happened.

Let's start in SW PA:
And of course:
So if you live in one of those congressional districts, call or drop your member of Congress a line (or better yet, some snail mail).  And by all means, contact Pat Toomey and ask him if he's OK with Trump asking the head of the FBI to "letting Flynn go" when Flynn was under investigation for dancing too closely with Russian Intelligence.

May 16, 2017

My THIRTEENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

Senator Toomey, the events of the last few days demand attention.

As you may already know, yesterday the Washington Post reported that:
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
And:
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.
You'll remember, this was the meeting that US reporters were not allow to attend, though a Russian photographer was allowed to take photographs. This was the meeting also attended by Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the individual that former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn met with and then lied about meeting, later triggering Flynn's firing.

This meeting took place a few days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the individual ultimately in charge of the investigation into the Trump Campaign's dealings with Russian Intelligence.

While this is not a question of legalities as Trump has the authority to declassify anything at will, were it anyone else in government, this is a question of fitness - fitness to be President, fitness to lead as commander in chief.

This is my question: Given the events of the last few days (the Comey firing and the disclosure of highly classified information to the Russians) do you a still have confidence in Donald J Trump's ability to be president and commander in chief? If not, what are your plans to deal with him? If you still do have confidence in his leadership abilities, considering the events of the past few days, what would it take for you to lose that confidence?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

May 15, 2017

Projection


Lock him up!






Donald Trump
is a
terrorist.







Because No One Is Above The Law, Right?

From The Hill:
President Trump thinks he is above the law, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe said Sunday.

"He has shown no respect for the rule of law, regards himself as above the law," Tribe said on ABC's "This Week."

"He thinks it's appropriate to essentially have a job interview with the FBI director as we now know."
Elsewhere, at The Washington Post, he wrote:
Consider, too, how Trump embroiled Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite Sessions’s recusal from involvement in the Russia investigation, in preparing admittedly phony justifications for the firing on which Trump had already decided. Consider how Trump used the vice president and White House staff to propagate a set of blatant untruths — before giving an interview to NBC’s Lester Holt that exposed his true motivation.

Trump accompanied that confession with self-serving — and manifestly false — assertions about having been assured by Comey that Trump himself was not under investigation. By Trump’s own account, he asked Comey about his investigative status even as he was conducting the equivalent of a job interview in which Comey sought to retain his position as director.

Further reporting suggests that the encounter was even more sinister, with Trump insisting that Comey pledge “loyalty” to him in order to retain his job. Publicly saying he saw nothing wrong with demanding such loyalty, the president turned to Twitter with a none-too-subtle threat that Comey would regret any decision to disseminate his version of his conversations with Trump — something that Comey has every right, and indeed a civic duty, to do.

To say that this does not in itself rise to the level of “obstruction of justice” is to empty that concept of all meaning.
Obstruction is against the law.  No one is above the law, not even the president of the United States.

Here's our current Attorney General saying that exact thing:

And our junior Senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, has said the same thing:
“The president unfortunately has a history or unilateral actions” that run afoul of the law, Mr. Toomey said. “No one is above the law, including this president. … We have a constitution, we are a democratic republic, and presidents are not kings or dictators.”
Of course, the last two gentlemen were discussing presidents who also happened to be Democrats.

I wonder when they'll feel the same way about an autocratic president from their own party.

We have a constitution.  We are a democratic republic.  Presidents are not kings or dictators.

It's time for the Republicans in the Congress to put country before party and investigate Donald J. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.

May 13, 2017

Senator Pat Toomey Has Responded!

But this time, it's via an email - not via the US Postal Service.

I am not sure what that means.  Are they trying to save on stationary, printer ink, and postage? Have they decided to upgrade their communications system to deal with the onslaught of concerned Pennsylvanians wishing and hoping and trying to get through to their junior Senator?

Inquiring minds want to know.  But not right now, maybe later.

One thing is for sure, they have my email address and they know how to use it.

Back to the business at hand as today we have a Toomey letter to deconstruct.  I'll post the PDF in its entirety at the bottom of this blog post.

Senator Toomey opens:
Thank you for contacting me about United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. I appreciate hearing from you.
That's good to hear that he appreciates hearing from me, seeing as I've written twelve letters to him (so far).  Now we now the topic of the day: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

When did I ask about Neil Gorsuch and what did I say?

In my seventh letter, there's this:
I listened to your interview yesterday with Mike Pintek on KDKA yesterday (interestingly a day before the by now usual "Tuesdays For Toomey "events) and I was struck by your defense of Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

It was particularly interesting to hear you complain about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer "thinks he has to oppose all things related to Trump" and the Senate Democrats' view that "we will go 4-8 years filling no vacancies on the Supreme Court because they can't get over the results of the election last year" when members of your party held exactly the same positions only a few months ago, on a 4 year vacancy at the Court and opposing all things related to Obama.

So here's my question: isn't that just a little hypocritical?
[Note to self: I really have to proof-read my emails better. The above was just unforgivably messy.]

And in my eighth letter, there's this:
We touched on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch last week so I won't belabor the point. However, I've read at Philly.com that you're in favor of doing away with the Senate filibuster in order to confirm Judge Gorsuch. Again, isn't that a tad hypocritical since only a few months ago you weren't even in favor of giving Merrick Garland the courtesy of a Senate vote?
But since the eighth letter references the seventh AND is actually about internet privacy, I think it's safe to assume that this Toomey email is a response to the latter letter and not the former letter.

So how does my Senator answer my question about his (and his party's) seeming hypocrisy?

Like this:
On January 31, 2017, President Trump nominated then-Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonin Scalia as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.

I have long held that when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics, and -
Sorry, but I have to stop the Senator right there.  If "when considering judicial nominees, objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics" is so important, then where was the hearing and vote on President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland?  Toomey's reason for opposing:
First, the balance of the Supreme Court is at stake, and we have an election right around the corner. With lifetime tenure, the next justice will determine the Court's balance for a generation.

In that light, I believe it is sensible to allow the American people to participate in the choice of Justice Scalia's successor less than seven months from now.
That first paragraph alone dissolves Toomey's argument about about how "objective qualifications are more important than partisan politics" in that with his excuse is profoundly political - this nominee from this Democratic President will tilt the "Court's balance" to the left and so that's why it has to be stopped. It has nothing to do with Garland's qualifications, does it?

And we still understand that the American people did participate in the choice of any Supreme Court nominee - by electing Barack Obama.  Obama, as we all remember won both the electoral college and the popular vote. Twice. As Trump failed to win the popular vote in 2016...well you know how that sentence ends, don't you?

But that was Toomey's first reason against Garland.  In his second, he goes to Guantanamo Bay:
I also raised with Judge Garland his approach to terrorist detainee cases. He authored an opinion that resulted in the release of 17 Guantanamo Bay prisoners who were part of a group of violent Islamist extremists the State Department had designated as terrorists.
Politifact, by the way, ruled this argument as mostly false.

But let's get back to Toomey's email defense of Neil Gorsuch:
Crucially, Justice Gorsuch understands that the proper role of a judge is to apply the law and U.S. Constitution as written, not to pick winners and losers based on personal or partisan policy preferences.
But take a look at another of Toomey's arguments against Garland:
Garland was the deciding vote to uphold the 2012 regulations of coal- and oil-fired power plants. Although the EPA predicted that the regulations would impose up to $2,400 in costs for every $1 of benefit, the agency stated that costs were irrelevant--a conclusion Garland upheld.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Scalia, halted this rule.

Had Judge Garland been on the Court instead of Justice Scalia, the rule would be in effect today, killing more jobs and doing more harm to Pennsylvania's economy.
But isn't this "picking winners and losers" Senator?  Whether an economic outcome of a particular judicial decision is in sync with any particular partisan economic idea should be, by your own argument, completely outside the scope whether that argument is, in fact, the correct legal one, right?

Or do you only think that applies to non-conservative decisions by non-conservative judges?

I suspect we both know how I answer to that question.

Later in his letter, Toomey writes:
Despite the fact that Justice Gorsuch was clearly qualified for the court, on April 5, 2017, a partisan minority of my Senate colleagues chose to violate over 200 years of Senate precedent and launched the first-ever partisan filibuster against a Supreme Court nominee.

The Senate was left with an unfortunate choice: either allow a partisan minority to continue violating more than 200 years of Senate tradition and block a vote on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, or act to restore Senate tradition and allow a bipartisan majority to take an up-or-down vote.
Again Senator, two words: Merrick Garland.  Where was this adherence to Senatorial tradition when the Supreme Court nominee was from a Democratic administration?  Aren't you guilty of blocking just such a vote?

Sorry to say, Senator, but you answered my questions about your and your party's hypocrisy with just more hypocrisy.

But this is still fun.  Let's do it again next weekend.

David

The Letter:



May 12, 2017

May 12 - Birthday!

Comedian George Carlin was born today in 1937.  He passed away in 2008.

In his honor, some obscenity (or rather some "obscenity"):
The seven dirty words you can't say on television put into a contemporary context:
Shit for brains Donald J. Trump has been pissing on the Constitution for a little over a hundred days. He's going to fucking kill us all, the fascist cunt.  If the news of the last few weeks has any validity (and there's no reason to think it doesn't) the cock-sucker's a Russian stooge at best and a traitor at worst.  Honestly (and for the sake of the Republic's future), the mother-fucker needs to be impeached.  Now.

Donald J Trump is obsessed with tits.
Happy Friday!

May 11, 2017

Senators, Every State Has Two (Bob Casey, Pat Toomey, And The Comey/Trump Cover-up)

In case you missed it, Donald Trump is in the middle of a cover-up:


Some highlights:
  • 0:19 - Donald Trump has declared war on the legal system, moved to overrule the spirit of The Constitution and enacted a coup against the ideals of the United States of America. And at this
    hour one of two things is already and irretrievably underway; either the end of
    Trump or the end of American democracy because both cannot continue - because simply you cannot fire the man who is investigating you.
  • 1:21 - You cannot fire the man who is investigating you. It is by itself a cover-up - not just part of an already extant cover-up.
  • 7:21 - You cannot fire the man who is investigating you because the next man will now also have to investigate you for that. 
So let's see how our Pennsylvania Senators reacted.

First, Pat Toomey:
I have doubted the ability of Director Comey to lead the FBI effectively for some time now but the timing of his dismissal is unfortunate. It is now up to the president to appoint, and the Senate to confirm, a successor who has unimpeachable credentials and integrity and who enjoys the confidence of the American people. The next FBI director should continue pursuing ongoing investigations, including the 2016 presidential campaign.
Oh, he's soo close!  At least Toomey wasn't praising the firing.  At least he wasn't neutral about it.  At least he wasn't saying "Suck it up and move on."

On the other hand, Pat is perfectly OK with having Donald Trump (the guy who fired Comey as part of a cover-up) appoint Comey's successor and let it go with that.  That's simply not enough, Pat. Given that this successor would be, first and foremost, approved by Donald Trump, that should be enough to dissuade anyone from thinking they're gonna be "unimpeachable."

From now on, Pat, everything that Trump touches is tainted by this corruption.

Everything.

Now let's see look at Bob Casey's statement:
This is Nixonian. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special counsel to continue the Trump/Russia investigation. On March 20th Director Comey said, “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.” This investigation must be independent and thorough in order to uphold our nation’s system of justice.
Good for Bob. While it's true that Nixon never fired his any of his FBI directors (one of whom was J. Edgar Hoover - like that was going to happen.  I'm sure Hoover had dirt on Nixon going back at least as far as the Eisenhower administration), he did fire the man who was investigating him - Archibald Cox - and that cover-up didn't work either as Nixon was gone 10 months later.

Repeat after me: It's a cover-up.  Donald Trump is guilty of a cover-up of Nixonian proportions.

May 10, 2017

Cover-up. COVER-UP. COVER-UP!

On the off-chance you missed last night's news, here's a recap from the Washington Post:
President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, at the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials who said he had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly and in doing so damaged the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.

The startling development comes as Comey was leading a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether associates of Trump may have coordinated with Russia to interfere with the U.S. presidential election last year. It wasn’t immediately clear how Comey’s ouster will affect the Russia probe, but Democrats said they were concerned that his ouster could derail the investigation.
It's a cover-up.  There's no other explanation.  I mean, there's only one problem with the story the White House is presenting.  It's found in this headline at CNN:
Trump once cheered Comey for the same reason he just fired him
And elsewhere on CNN:
"When there is a investigation that reaches near the President of the United States or the leader of a non-democracy, they fire the people who are in charge of the investigation," continued [CNN Senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeff] Toobin. "I have not seen anything like this since October 20th, 1973, when President Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor."

"This is something that is not within the American political tradition," Toobin said. "That firing led indirectly, but certainly, to the resignation of President Nixon, and this is very much in this tradition."

"This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is something that is completely outside how American law is supposed to work."
The interesting thing about the investigation Toobin references - y'know, the "investigation to determine whether associates of Trump may have coordinated with Russia to interfere with the U.S. presidential election" - is that AG Jeff Sessions recused himself from that investigation because he was part of Trump's campaign.

And yet here he is recommending Trump firing the guy who is, in fact, investigating him.

Say it with me: COVER-UP.

Trevor Noah was on it last night:


At :41 he says:
Trump fired the FBI director. Like, you, you can't just fire the FBI director. Like, I mean, if he's gone, who's gonna investigate Russia's ties to-- Oh...
Say it with me: COVER-UP!

May 9, 2017

My TWELFTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

I was going to ask you about the AHCA and ask you how (or whether) you'd be working to protect the "pre-existing conditions" portion of the ACA but then former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before Congress yesterday.

Former Acting Attorney General Yates said that in repeatedly lying about his contacts with the Russians, former director of DIA Mike Flynn, "...created a compromise situation, a situation where the national security adviser essentially could be blackmailed by the Russians." And she also said outright that "We believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians."

CNN reported that this took place on January 26 and 27. It took the Trump administration 18 days before removing Mike Flynn from his position as National Security Advisor.

But that was only after he fired Sally Yates as acting head of the Justice Department.

Does it at all concern you that the Trump Administration retained, for 2 and a half weeks, a person in a position of extreme importance to the security of the nation, a person who the Department of Justice had concluded could be blackmailed by the Russians - our harshest adversary?

And if it doesn't concern you, then why not?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

May 8, 2017

May 7, 2017

AHCA And Pre-Existing Conditions

In February of this year, three members of the Pennsylvania delegation of the US House of Representatives, Keith Rothfus, Mike Kelly, and Bud Schuster published this in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Our alternative will expand the options for individuals and families to access affordable insurance coverage. It will provide for a transition period where those currently on Obamacare will have ample time to choose a new plan that works best for them and their families. We will make sure that no one struggling with complex medical needs or pre-existing conditions is denied access to affordable health care options.
They were writing about their criticisms of Obamacare and their plans for an alternative - the AHCA.  The three clearly state that they'll make sure that "no one struggling with ... pre-existing conditions is denied access to affordable health care options."

No one denied access to affordable options - keep that phrase in mind.

This issue of "pre-existing conditions" has been around for a while.  In late April, Donald Trump said that "pre-existing conditions are in the bill."

Politifact rated that as "mostly false."  They explain:
In March, the Republican’s American Health Care Act died without a vote when Republicans couldn’t agree on the bill designed to replace the Affordable Care Act. Under the new bill, called ACHA, insurers had to cover pre-existing conditions, but they could have charged more for people who are recently uninsured.

The MacArthur amendment would allow states to obtain waivers to some requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including the "essential health benefits" provision that requires maternity care or mental health services.

The amendment has language that appears to protect those with pre-existing conditions stating that "nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting insurers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions."

But experts say other parts of the amendment suggest that those with pre-existing conditions could struggle to maintain affordable health insurance.

The amendment permits insurers to set premiums based on the "health status" of an individual by looking at their current and past health status and make predictions about how much an individual will use medical care in the future, said Linda Blumberg, senior fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

That’s where pre-existing conditions could come into play, because it would mean that the costs rise for consumers who are sicker, said Timothy Jost, Washington and Lee University School of Law emeritus professor.

"Health status underwriting is literally charging a higher (possibly much, unaffordably, higher) premium to people with pre-existing conditions," Jost said. "Under the MacArthur amendment, they could not be refused coverage, but insurers could impose high enough premiums that coverage would be unaffordable." [Emphasis added.]
Politifact, in another analysis of the MacArthur amendment states:
Matt Fiedler, a health care analyst for the Brookings Institute, said the AHCA would force people with a pre-existing condition to choose between two different pools of insurance coverage, both with "a very high premium."

"In either case, people with serious health conditions would lack access to affordable insurance options," he said.

The AARP opposes the AHCA for that reason.

So does the nation’s largest group of doctors, the American Medical Association, which said the AHCA will do "serious harm to patients and the health care delivery system."
Hmm the AARP and the AMA both oppose the AHCA - and by implication the defense of it by our good friends Rothfus, Kelly and Schuster.

On those waivers, the Brookings Institute states:
States would technically be required to satisfy certain criteria to receive a waiver, but as noted by Tim Jost, those criteria would be trivial to meet. The state would have to agree to operate a high risk pool, reinsurance program, or related program under other provisions of the AHCA. But that would often happen automatically, and the waiver process would not require the state to ensure that the program is adequately funded (or otherwise effective). Waiver applications would also be required to explain how the waiver would improve the state’s health insurance market along at least one of five dimensions. Those criteria would also be easy to meet. Indeed, one is “reducing average premiums” in the state, which almost any waiver of this type would achieve by driving many sick individuals from the market. [Emphasis added.]
Guess what happens if the high-risk pool isn't adequately funded?  As Avalere, a Health Care consulting firm put it:
Funding earmarked for high risk pools in the American Health Care Act will cover five percent of the total number of enrollees with pre-existing chronic conditions in the individual market today.
Avalere estimates that there are 89,000 Pennsylvanians with a pre-existing condition in the individual market (those most likely to be affected by the MacArthur amendment).

So given all this, Congressmen Rothfus, Kelly and Schuster, how does your alternative plan "make sure that no one struggling with complex medical needs or pre-existing conditions is denied access to affordable health care options" as you promised?  And how many of the 89,000 are in your districts? 

More importantly, how many people with pre-existing conditions in your districts did you promise to help but instead you just as easily screwed them out of whatever health coverage they could afford? 

May 5, 2017

Congressman Mike Doyle On Yesterday's Vote

From his website:
“Today we all get a chance to go on record about where we stand on this shameful, cruel bill,” Congressman Doyle said on the House Floor. “This creates a survival of the fittest health care for America. If you are young, if you are healthy, if you are wealthy, this bill’s for you; you’re going to do okay. But woe, if you are old, if you are sick, if you are poor, there’s no coverage in this bill for you. If you’ve got a young child with cancer, guess what? Those benefits aren’t going to be paid. The American people will remember how you voted on this bill today.”

“24 million Americans are going to lose their insurance if this bill becomes law.” Congressman Doyle observed. “$839 billion dollars gets cut out of the Medicaid program. The Essential Health Benefit Package in states is wiped out – in my state, it’s taken care of people with mental illness and opioid addiction. Gone. This takes 117 billion dollars out of the Medicare Trust Fund. This is really a tax bill masquerading as a healthcare bill. The plan here is to take this money out of the healthcare system and use it for tax cuts.”
With the MacArthur amendment, states can apply for waivers to redefine "essential health benefits" and that in turn would weaken ACA protections nationwide.

This is what Keith Rothfus and Tim Murphy voted for.


May 2, 2017

Senator Pat Toomey Has Responded!

Yesterday, I received my second letter from Senator Pat Toomey.

April 9 of this year, I posted his first response.  My best guess is that it was written as an answer to the questions I posed in my first letter to him - though it was kinda vague.

Unfortunately with yesterday's letter, I can't really tell exactly which of my eleven letters I've sent he's answering.

It's dated April 17, so that rules out my tenth and eleventh letters (dated April 18 and 25, respectively).  I can't imagine he's responding again to the first, so that leaves letters two through nine.

His first sentence reads:
Thank you for contacting me about President Donald Trump. I appreciate hearing from you.
The ninth, eighth, fifth, and fourth letters have no specific references to Trump, so they're out. The seventh has just a passing reference to Trump ("...I was struck by your defense of Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.") but was more about the Republican obstructionism of the Obama presidency, so that's probably out as well. The sixth is about Trump's stubborn adherence to the false story President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower and whether that stubbornness has eroded Senator Toomey's confidence in him - so that's a possibility. The third letter is about another one of Trump's tweets. I asked whether the senator agreed with Donald J Trump that the press is the "enemy of the people." - so that's another possibility. The second letter is, again, about Donald Trump pushing things that are demonstrably untrue:
  • The terror attack in Sweden
  • Trump's electoral college win that was the largest since Reagan
  • The murder rate is the highest in 47 years
  • Between 3 and 5 million illegal votes were cast in 2016
And I ask Senator Toomey if he's concerned about any of that, and if not, why not.

And this is what he sent me:



I'm guessing that since his first response was to my first letter, this second response is to my second letter but it's wa-a-a-ay iffy. 

You'll note that the letter addresses none of my Trump-related concerns.  He begins acknowledging the "wide array of opinions regarding the President" (even though at this point Trump's disapproval rating is about 14 points below is approval). He then quotes Hillary Clinton's concession speech and her saying that "we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead" and that she hopes "he will be a successful president for all Americans."

We need only to look at those approval ratings to see that, so far, that last part's a complete failure.

Trump has had a chance to act "presidential" (a hundred days, in fact) and yet he's still clinging to the "Obama wiretapped me" story. And only yesterday:
The U.S. president had a historical question: Why did America's Civil War happen? "Why could that one not have been worked out?"

Remarks by Donald Trump, aired Monday, showed presidential uncertainty about the origin and necessity of the Civil War, a defining event in U.S. history with slavery at its core. Trump also declared that President Andrew Jackson was angry about "what was happening" with regard to the war, which started 16 years after his death, and could have stopped it if still in office.
And:
Trump's comments about the war came after he lauded Jackson, the populist president whom he and his staff have cited as a role model. He suggested that if Jackson had been president "a little later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War."

"He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, 'There's no reason for this,'" Trump continued.
And so to Donald J. Trump, the slave-owning Andrew Jackson would have done a better job than Republican Abraham Lincoln in dealing with slavery and secession and Civil war. If only Jackson had been alive at the time.

And should we be approaching this with an "open mind" Senator?

May 1, 2017

Some Views On Trump's 100 Days, After His Speech In Harrisburg

First from a Republican who served in Ronald Reagan's White House:
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen late Saturday said President Trump delivered “the most divisive speech I’ve ever heard from a sitting American president” at a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania.

"To bring your campaign speech into the presidency is something presidents rarely do," Gergen said on CNN.

"He played to his base and he treated his other listeners, the rest of the people who have been disturbed about him or oppose him, he treated them basically as 'I don't care, I don't give a damn what you think, because you're frankly like the enemy.'"
And then a reporter who knows a little bit about White House corruption:
CNN commentator and veteran reporter Carl Bernstein on Sunday accused President Trump of lying "day in and day out."

“He deserves respect as the duly elected president of the United States," Bernstein said on CNN's "Reliable Sources." "That doesn’t mean he deserves not to be called on lies. He has lied as no president of the United States in my lifetime has, day in and day out."
For example this lie:
President Trump claimed his 100-day rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night broke attendance records, though journalists pointed out rows of empty seats at the expo center where the event was held.
Take a look:


Trump must've been able to see that.  And yet he lied to everyone listening to him.

Just another Monday In Trump's America.

April 30, 2017

Another Sin Of Omission By The Tribune-Review Editorial Board.

It's funny what the Tribune-Review editorial board leaves out when it publishes something.  It's almost as if the braintrust doesn't want you to know something it knows.

Finding it, however, rewrites their entire blurb.

Take a look at this from today:
Among accomplishments made by the Trump administration in its first “100 days” that likely won't make the evening news are regulatory reforms, which to date have saved taxpayers more than $86 billion.

That's the conclusion of a new report by the American Action Forum, a policy institute, which lists various Obama administration regulations that President Trump and Congress have either repealed or delayed, The Hill newspaper reports.
Now, I could have taken a look at Trump's "accomplishments" in his first 100 days, but that's been done:
No, I want to dig into what the Editorial Board describes (on purpose) as simply "a policy institute".

What is the "American Action Forum" and what does it do?  From it's own web page:
Since its 2009 founding, AAF has proudly led the center-right policy debate on fiscal policy, health care, tax reform, immigration, technology & innovation, regulatory policy and many more pressing issue areas. Its work is routinely referenced by center-right leaders who understand that government has an important but limited role in protecting freedoms, promoting a vibrant private sector, and serving US citizens more effectively.

The American Action Forum is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, and it is not affiliated with or controlled by any political group. Its focus is to educate the public about the complex policy choices now facing the country, and explain as cogently and forcefully as possible why solutions grounded in the center-right values that have guided the country thus far still represent the best way forward for America’s future. It will stay neutral in elections, and by and large will leave its sister organization, the American Action Network, to engage in any appropriate direct legislative advocacy in support of the policy proposals it discusses. Like the Network, the Forum welcomes policy ideas consistent with its center-right values from any source, regardless of party affiliation, and aims to make its educational materials available to members of the public of all political stripes.
And that "sister organization" the American Action Network? Well, my friends, it has a website as well:
The American Action Network is a 501(c)(4) ‘action tank’ that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security. The American Action Network’s primary goal is to put our center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into active participation in our democracy.
Huh.  It's interesting that there's not even a hint of any of this in the three words ("a policy institute") the editorial board chose to describe the American Action Forum.

After reading the above descriptions, ask yourself what's the chance that this new report by the AAF would be anything other than a set of "center right ideas"?  Then you should ask yourself why the Tribune-Review editorial board didn't feel you should know that.  Why they didn't want you to know that it was a conservative report from a conservative think tank linked to a conservative "action tank."

Happy Sunday!

April 28, 2017

Just In Time For The People's Climate March!

Motherboard is reporting:
On April 19, 2017, somebody replaced most of the information on the Interior Department's main climate change page. The agency made no announcement of this, but a look at the page's source code reveals the date on which it was last modified.
And:
What was once a robust overview of the Interior's climate change priorities is now a pedestrian paragraph about the types of land the agency protects. Gone are the mentions of rising sea levels, worsening wildfires, and threatened wildlife. In fact, the entire page, which is just 101-words-long, only uses the term "climate change" once.

The revised page now links to the climate change pages of other environmental agencies. One of the links, which should have directed to the Bureau of Land Management, is dead.
This is the text the Department of the Interior's Climate Change webpage in the Age of Trump:
The U.S. Department of the Interior manages one-fifth of the land in the United States, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. The Department also upholds the federal government's trust responsibilities to 567 Indian tribes; conserves fish, wildlife, and their habitats; manages water supplies for more than 30 million people; and protects America’s natural treasures.

The impacts of climate change have led the Department to focus on how we manage our nation’s public lands and resources. The Department of the Interior contributes sound scientific research to address this and other environmental challenges.
And this is the first paragraph from that same webpage from a time long long ago (well, last year) when the administration in the White House respected reality and science:
Climate change affects every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe.
How long until this report is sent down the memory hole?
A comprehensive review of key climate indicators confirms the world is warming and the past decade was the warmest on record. More than 300 scientists from 48 countries analyzed data on 37 climate indicators, including sea ice, glaciers and air temperatures. A more detailed review of 10 of these indicators, selected because they are clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: global warming is undeniable.
And none of Trump's alternative facts will change that.

April 27, 2017

Happy Birthday Sergei Prokofiev!

In honor of our new Russian overlords (thanks, Don!  MAGA!), I'd like to note that great Russian/Soviet composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was born today in what's now eastern Ukraine.

He also had the misfortune to die on the same day that Joseph Stalin died.  And as such there were no flowers for his funeral (they were all gathered up for Stalin's) and very few mourners (see the previous parenthetical statement).

Anyway, he wrote the score in the early 30s to a film called Lieutenant Kije.  The film itself is remembered for being the vehicle for the music.  For what it's worth, here's the plot of the movie:
Through a wildly unlikely mistake, the non-existent name Lieutenant Kijé has been entered into the rolls of a military company, and in order to prevent official embarrassment, a Kijé is invented. The film then chronicles in narrative the Lieutenant's arrival, marriage, and burial.
Here's the music:


Make America Great Again (by colluding with Russian Intelligence to sway an American Election)!

April 26, 2017

Please Note


Hey, Remember When Conservatives COMPLAINED About Executive "Overreach"?

From the USAToday, yesterday:
A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday partially blocked President Trump's attempts to punish "sanctuary cities" that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts by withholding federal grant money.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick ruled that Trump exceeded his presidential authority when he signed an executive order Jan. 25 directing his administration to withhold all federal funding from local jurisdictions deemed to be "sanctuary" jurisdictions. That general term describes more than 300 local governments that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration officials.
Hey, Remember When Conservatives COMPLAINED About Executive "Overreach"?

To be fair, there's at least one conservative Ilya Somin  (if the name sounds familiar, we've tussled before - Hey, Ilya, how ya doin'?  Next time you're in Pittsburgh, let's go to Primanti's) that complains about this executive order.

In yesterday's Washington Post:
Judge Orrick’s ruling concludes that the order violates the Constitution because it undermines both federalism and separation of powers. It follows nearly the same reasoning I laid out in my post criticizing the order when Trump first issued it.
Somin's reasoning: the president cannot impose conditions on federal funds:
Where Congress has failed to give the President discretion in allocating funds, the President has no constitutional authority to withhold such funds and violates his obligation to faithfully execute the laws duly enacted by Congress if he does so.
And it's unconstitutional because it's coercive:
The opinion also concludes that the executive order likely constitutes unconstitutional “commandeering” because it coerces state and local governments to enforce federal law, in violation of several Supreme Court precedents under the Tenth Amendment. Ironically, those precedents were strongly supported by conservatives (one of the most important was authored by Justice Antonin Scalia) and – at the time – much-criticized by liberals. Some defenders of the Trump order have argued that there is no commandeering problem here because the anti-commandeering principle does not apply to federal efforts to compel disclosure of information. I criticized this argument here.
Ok, so how many OTHER conservatives are going to be agreeing with Somin's argument?

Can we keep count?

April 25, 2017

My ELEVENTH Open Letter To Senator Pat Toomey

I'll be dropping this letter to Senator Pat Toomey in the mail today:
Dear Senator Toomey:

It's me, again. Your constituent who also writes for the local Pittsburgh-based political blog, "2 Political Junkies."

As you may know, this past weekend a great many of your constituents here in Pennsylvania (including thousands in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) marched in support of science.

It's weird that all those people felt it necessary to do that, right? I supposed that in the age of Trump's "alternative facts" (for example this weekend he tweeted that he would "still" beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, even though in reality he lost the popular vote) science, the scientific method and rational thinking all need a strong defense.

Which leads me to this week's question: Do you support science? Specifically, when 97% of the world's climate scientists all believe that the earth is warming up and that human activity significantly contributes to that warming, why would you disagree with that? I ask because that's how you voted in 2015.  You voted against a Senate resolution that stated that human activity significantly contributes to climate change.

Can you explain to me and to all those thousands of your constituents who marched this weekend, how and why all those scientists are wrong?  What do you know that they don't?

I await your response.
And I will be posting whatever response I get from him or his office.

Follow-up: 

April 24, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT: Podcamp Discussion

I just wanted to let you know that I'll be participating in this podcamp discussion on Wednesday.

From the Facebook page:
Politics and social media have run hand in hand over the past decade or so. We saw an uptick in the acceptance of political figureheads communicating with their constituents via Twitter and Facebook during President Obama's terms in office. With the social media surrounding the most recent presidential campaign, President Trump's inauguration, and the various social justice campaigns arising as a result of the political landscape we wanted to sit down with a team of community specialists to talk about usage and impact of social media in politics.
More details to come.

April 23, 2017

Donald Trump's Earth Day Statement - It Doesn't Say What You Think It Says.

First, the statement. At present (Sunday 8:40 am EDT) the statement has yet to be posted at Whitehouse.gov but here it is complete:
Our Nation is blessed with abundant natural resources and awe-inspiring beauty. Americans are rightly grateful for these God-given gifts and have an obligation to safeguard them for future generations. My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.

Economic growth enhances environmental protection. We can and must protect our environment without harming America's working families. That is why my administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment.

Rigorous science is critical to my administration's efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection. My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.

This April 22nd, as we observe Earth Day, I hope that our nation can come together to give thanks for the land we all love and call home.
I'm wondering if you caught the dog whistle.  HuffingtonPost didn't:
“Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” Trump said. “My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”

But under Trump, the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology has removed “science” from its mission statement. Trump and Pruitt have questioned well established science that shows global warming is real. His administration has proposed gigantic cuts to biomedical and scientific research and, the EPA and environmental programs.
I'm not saying any of that is wrong, by the way, but by juxtaposing Trump's words with his actions like that, it looks to us like he's lying (yet again). True as that is, it's also completely beside the point. Take a look at the dog whistle again.  Specifically, the part that says that:
...rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.
What he's doing is that he's talking to the climate science deniers and no one else.  It's the use of the word "ideology" is the clue.

Don't think so?  Take a look at this quote from a Trib editorial from 2014:
What climate alarmists have left to fall back on is anything but science. [S. Fred] Singer says they “embrace faith and ideology — and are no longer interested in facts.”
Or this one from 2010:
Rejoice, Church of Climatology! Your savior has revealed himself and is proclaiming his intentions to humanity -- in the form of Great Britain's Prince Charles.
...

Yet it's his fellow climate alarmists who've perverted genuine science. [Italics in original.]
Or how about this interview from 2015 with the former neverTrumper, Senator Ted Cruz:
Well, I believe that public policy should follow the science and follow the data. I am the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists. In the debate over global warming, far too often politicians in Washington - and for that matter, a number of scientists receiving large government grants - disregard the science and data and instead push political ideology. [Emphasis added.]
You see, what's going on with the science deniers is that they don't think they're actually denying science, in fact they think they're defending it (they're wrong, of course, but that's a separate argument).  They've settled on a few untruths that fit their ideology and simply declared them facts.  Here's a few of the untruths:
  • The Earth stopped warming X years ago.
  • Climategate proved that the scientists are doctoring the data.
  • Satellite data shows no warming in the upper atmosphere.
  • There's no consensus among scientists.
And whenever any of the 97% of climate scientists (or any of the rest of us who agree with them) who support the science attempt to disagree with any of those falsehoods, they're immediately branded as close-minded ideologues who are trying to shut down the the otherwise rigorous scientific debate over the still undecided validity of climate science. If you think the debate is settled, you're part of the conspiracy to silence the truth.

It doesn't matter that the actual facts are on the side of the 97% of the actual climate scientists because remember that number and the fact's they've constructed are false, too!

Now take another look at Trump's defense:
[R]igorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.
Now do you see what's going on? The "honest inquiry and robust debate" isn't found among the majority of the world's climate scientists but among those who oppose them.  That's what Trump said on Earth Day, though most of us couldn't hear it. 

It's a dog whistle through and through.

April 22, 2017

Because "There is no Planet B"

Some photos from today's March for Science in Pittsburgh from my friend Joy Sabl. She's a geneticist who's married to a nuclear physicist (because that's how my friends roll).

Brain hat replaces pussy hat today

The #unless refers to "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Truth!

More truth!

Bonus Points if you get these.

The crowd 

On the move!

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Note: The quote in the title of this post comes from this article.

Today, In Oakland

From Templeton of the P-G:
Science has been attacked from multiple directions throughout the ages, with current challenges to established research on climate change, evolution and environmental stewardship and continuing cuts in research funding through the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.

So scientists and the pro-science community are striking back peaceably with a March For Science noon Saturday in Washington, D.C., with sister marches in more than 400 cities worldwide, including one in Pittsburgh’s neighborhood of Oakland that’s expected to attract 2,000 to 5,000 people.
I'm so glad Templeton got to use the phrase "established research on climate change" in the first paragraph - it's almost as if 97% of the planet's experts in that field agree that the science is valid or something.

Compare that to the Trib's coverage of the "March for Science" recently held at Cal U.

The closest it gets to mentioning climate science is this paragraph:
President Donald Trump's proposed budget, released in March, includes a $2.6 billion spending slash to the Environmental Protection Agency. The cut represents a third of the agency's budget and has been widely criticized because it would eliminate billions of dollars for scientific research programs.
But we all know what that means, right? If you're not sure, luckily the Washington Post reported:
The proposed budget, if enacted, would discontinue funding for the Clean Power Plan — the signature Obama administration effort to combat climate change by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. It would sharply reduce money for the Superfund program and cut the budget for the EPA’s prominent Office of Research and Development roughly in half, to $250 million.
But coming from a paper with such an outspoken science-denying editorial board, it's hardly surprising that someone (perhaps) decided to adios the phrase "climate science" from the Trib's news coverage of the coverage of the March for Science.

Don't get me wrong, on Friday night the Trib did go with some coverage of the upcoming march - but only with the first three paragraphs of this Washington Post article from earlier Friday talking about the the march taking place 240 miles away in Washington DC.

Why no coverage of the local march taking place today?  Isn't the defense of science important enough?

April 21, 2017

Meanwhile, Outside...

From the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
The combined global average temperature over the land and ocean surfaces for March 2017 was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This was the second highest for March since global temperature records began in 1880, behind the record year 2016 by 0.18°C (0.32°F) and ahead of 2015 by +0.15°C (+0.27°F). March 2017 marks the first time since April 2016 that the global land and ocean temperature departure from average was greater than 1.0°C (1.8°F) and the first time the monthly temperature departure from average surpasses 1.0°C (1.8°F) in the absence of an El Niño episode in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Overall, March 2017 tied with January 2016 as the fifth highest monthly global land and ocean temperature departure from average on record (1,647 monthly records). The record monthly temperature departure of 1.23°C (2.21°F) was set in March 2016.
The second highest for March since global temperature records began in 1880.

Meanwhile in Trump's administration, this is going on:
Scott Pruitt, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has said that the US should back out of its commitment to the Paris climate agreement, the landmark plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to limit global warming to below 2˚C.

This follows President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to cancel the agreement, with a decision on whether he will do so expected within the next month.

“It’s a bad deal for America,” Pruitt told cable news show Fox & Friends last week. “China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030.”
Of course, this being the Trump administration, facts are kept far out of the discussion.  On the other hand, Pruitt got fact-checked by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post:
Pruitt clearly needs to brush up on the Paris Accord, as it’s false to claim that China and India have “no obligations” until 2030.

China and India, just like the United States, have made commitments that are supposed to be fulfilled by 2030, meaning they have to take action now in order to meet those goals. The United States made more substantial commitments — which the Trump administration is abandoning — because the United States, on a per capita basis, is a much bigger polluter than either country.

Pruitt earns Four Pinocchios.
And Fact-check.org where they found his assertion to be false.

Facts are stubborn things and it's still getting warmer out there and we're still causing it.

Meanwhile, this weekend, science is defended in Pittsburgh.