Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Finding Religion

See: Losing My Religion

Took a stab in the back to do it:

"Don’t hold us responsible for solving N. Korea, China says" by the Associated Press   July 12, 2017

BEIJING — A Chinese official said Tuesday that his nation shouldn’t be held responsible alone for solving the North Korean nuclear standoff, and it accused other countries of shirking their responsibilities in the effort to reduce tensions.

The complaints, made in unusually strident language, follow a phone conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Trump earlier this month in which the Chinese leader warned of ‘‘some negative factors’’ that were harming China-US relations, indicating relations between the two countries had hit a rough patch after some initial optimism.

Never a good sign with the placid Chinese.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Tuesday that China was upholding its obligations under UN resolutions on North Korea, while other countries were fanning the crisis while damaging China’s interests by their actions.

Gee, who could they mean?

‘‘If China is striving to put out the fire, while the others are fueling the flame . . . how can China’s efforts achieve expected outcomes? How can the tension be eased? How can the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue be resolved?’’ Geng said.

Those are very, very good questions.

Saying some unidentified parties were circulating the ‘‘China responsibility theory,’’ Geng said they were operating with ‘‘ulterior motivations’’ and sought to shrug off their own responsibilities.

Do you know who he is talking about?

‘‘Absolving oneself of responsibility is not OK. Tearing down bridges after crossing the river is not OK. Stabbing in the back is even less OK,’’ Geng said.

The language doesn't get any stronger from the Chinese than that.

China is North Korea’s only major diplomatic ally and economic partner, and the US and others have called on Beijing to use whatever leverage it has to pressure North Korea into curbing nuclear tests and missile launches that violate UN sanctions.

However, China says perceptions of its influence with North Korea are exaggerated. It also refuses to take measures that might destabilize North Korea’s hard-line communist regime and lead to violence, massive flows of refugees into China, and the possibility of a united Korea allied with the United States.

Beijing complained after one of its banks was recently cut off from the US financial system for allegedly helping North Korea launder money, saying other countries’ laws shouldn’t extend to Chinese entities.

It also bitterly opposes South Korea’s deployment of a sophisticated US missile defense system that Beijing says jeopardizes Chinese security because of an ability to monitor missile launches and other military activities within northeastern China.....


"Endangered rhinos flee Indian floods into poachers’ hands" by Russell Goldman New York Times  July 11, 2017

NEW YORK — A herd of endangered rhinos fleeing the deadly floods sweeping northern India now faces another threat, wildlife officials said Monday: Poachers are stalking the animals in the few areas of high ground to which they have managed to escape.

Severe flooding since June in Assam state has forced half a million people from their homes and left scores of animals in Kaziranga National Park in grave danger, said Pramila Rani Brahma, the state’s forest and environment minister.

The park is home to elephants, Indian hog deer, wild buffalo, and the one-horned rhino, a species facing a “high risk of extinction in the wild,” according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Some animals, including most of the park’s elephants, have managed to flee the flooding to areas near where park officials say they can provide them protection from poachers, but the rhinos have escaped to areas difficult for the rangers to patrol, said Satyendra Singh, the park’s director.

India’s annual monsoon season lasts from June to September. Flooding this year has already killed 28 people and an untold number of animals.....


That's it from Asia today..... almost:

[President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, reflecting the Trump administration’s struggle to define its strategy for dealing with a war now 16 years old.

Erik D. Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Bannon sought out Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon to try to get a hearing for their ideas, an American official said. Mr. Mattis listened politely but declined to include the outside strategies in a review of Afghanistan policy that he is leading along with the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster.

The highly unusual meeting dramatizes the divide between Mr. Trump’s generals and his political staff over Afghanistan, the lengths to which his aides will go to give their boss more options for dealing with it and the readiness of this White House to turn to business people for help with diplomatic and military problems.....] -- therearenosunglasses

Feinberg is also head of Cerberus.


"Clashes shake west Mosul after victory over Islamic State declared" by Bram Janssen Associated Press  July 11, 2017

MOSUL, Iraq — Airstrikes, shelling, and other heavy clashes shook a sliver of western Mosul on Tuesday in renewed fighting, a day after the government declared victory over Islamic State militants in Iraq’s second-largest city.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, called the battle for Mosul a ‘‘civilian catastrophe,’’ with more than 5,800 noncombatants killed in the western part of the city. The top US commander in Iraq rejected the group’s allegations, however, that the US-led coalition violated international law.

Well, we knew that.

In a sign that militants were still holding out in the shattered Old City, plumes of smoke rose as mortar shells landed near Iraqi troop positions and heavy gunfire rang out. Airstrikes pounded the edge of the neighborhood west of the Tigris River throughout the day.

On Monday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared ‘‘total victory’’ in Mosul, flanked by his senior military leadership at a small base in the city’s west.

Related: "The leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death has been rumored numerous times in the past, and it was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim. The US Central Command said in a statement, ‘‘We hope it is true.’’ 

Russia got him.

A statement late Monday from the Islamic State said its fighters were still attacking Iraqi troops in the al-Maydan area of Mosul’s Old City, purportedly killing and wounding many and seizing weapons and ammunition. 

Just another "news" organization, huh?

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said in a recorded video after Abadi’s declaration that the victory in Mosul did not eliminate the Islamic State from Iraq and ‘‘there’s still a tough fight ahead.’’

And I thought we finally won.

Townsend, the top US commander in Iraq, said the coalition will continue to support its Iraqi partners, and he urged Iraqis to unite and prevent a return of the conditions that allowed the rise of the extremists.

In Baghdad, Shi’ite politician Karim al-Nouri echoed those remarks, urging the government to review its policies in Sunni areas of Iraq to ‘‘avoid previous mistakes that led to the emergence’’ of the Islamic State.

The government needs to work on ‘‘removing fears of marginalization and terrorism affiliation in Sunni areas,’’ said Nouri, a senior member of the Badr Organization. He said he believes Iraqi forces should stay in Mosul until it is fully secure before handing control to local forces.

Lawmaker Intisar al-Jabouri from Nineveh province, where Mosul is the capital, said uprooting the Islamic State’s ‘‘extremism ideology’’ was the key to peace in Mosul, which reeled under the group’s harsh rule for three years.

She urged Baghdad to invest in ‘‘good relations’’ between the residents and the security forces and take all ‘‘necessary measures to prevent terrorism groups from returning to Mosul.’’

Don't Kurds live there?

In its report, Amnesty International alleged that all sides in the conflict violated international law in the battle. Militants carried out forced displacement and summary killings and used civilians as human shields.

War is a messy business, and only losers (or phantom straw men set up to take falls) are charged with war crimes.

Iraqi forces and the coalition failed to protect civilians, the report said.

In all, 5,805 civilians may have been killed in the fight for western Mosul by coalition attacks, Amnesty said, citing data from Airwars, an organization monitoring civilian deaths due to US-backed coalitions in Iraq and Syria. 

Just wondering why the lying, war-promoting pre$$ is all of a sudden so concerned about civilian casualties. 

‘‘The scale and gravity of the loss of civilian lives during the military operation to retake Mosul must immediately be publicly acknowledged at the highest levels of government in Iraq and states that are part of the US-led coalition,’’ said Lynn Maalouf, the research director for the Mideast at Amnesty.

I stopped paying attention to the juman rights groups, sorry, although there presence does signal an agenda at work.

The report, which covered the first five months of 2017, noted how the militants moved civilians with them around Mosul, prevented them from escaping, and created battle spaces with dense civilian populations, while Iraqi forces and the coalition ‘‘failed to adapt their tactics.’’

The Iraqi forces and the coalition ‘‘continued to use imprecise, explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated urban environments,’’ Amnesty said, adding that some violations might constitute war crimes.

At a briefing Tuesday in Washington, Townsend rejected the allegation that international law was violated by the coalition.

‘‘I reject any notion that coalition fires were in any way imprecise, unlawful, or excessively targeted civilians,’’ he said.

‘‘I would challenge the people from Amnesty International or anyone else out there who makes these charges to first research their facts and make sure they’re speaking from a position of authority,’’ Townsend added.


You are not credible unless you speak from a position of discredited authority.

He said the coalition went to ‘‘extraordinary measures to safeguard civilian lives, measuring every single time how many civilians may or may not be in the target area and what munition to employ and how can we strike that building and take out only that room and not the entire floor or the entire building.’’

In Geneva, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the Iraqi government to ensure that human rights will be respected in Mosul.

So now the tool of the JU.N. is getting involved!

Zeid described Mosul’s fall as the ‘‘turning point’’ in the conflict against the Islamic State but warned that the group continues to subject people to ‘‘daily horrors’’ in its remaining strongholds of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, and in Hawijah, north of Baghdad.

(Blog editor pauses)

Do you know how many "turning points" we've reached in the 10+ years I've been doing this?

Only problem is they were all in the same direction.


What this is really about is the road from the Mediterranean through Syria and Iraq to Iran, and then up to Russia or on to China (works in reverse, too). That thwarts the EUSraeli empire builders and subjugators of nations.

RelatedUS judge halts Iraqis’ deportation until court review

Just f***ing with ya.

"Qatar agrees to curb terrorism financing under deal with US" by Carol Morello The Washington Post  July 11, 2017

KUWAIT CITY — The United States and Qatar signed a memo of understanding Tuesday on steps the tiny Persian Gulf nation will take to stop the funding of terrorism, US officials said Tuesday. The agreement aims to encourage Qatar’s neighbors to abandon their embargo on the country.

They were only doing what everyone else is doing and what the U.S. asked them to do, and I suspect this is about cutting off aid to Palestinians.

The memo was announced in the Qatar capital of Doha, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent the day working to resolve a regional feud that the United States fears could derail efforts to fight groups like the Islamic State and could embolden Iran. 

Even the Globe has taken up their cause (hated them using the reactor for medical isotopes though).

Tillerson flies to the Saudi city of Jiddah on Wednesday to discuss the crisis with foreign ministers from the four Arab states leading the boycott — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

The Arab countries placed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar a month ago, accusing it of providing financial support to terrorist groups. Qatar has rejected 13 broad demands from those nations, including closing the television network Al Jazeera, which criticizes many governments in the region. Qatar has denied the charges, and considers the embargo an infringement on its sovereignty and independence.

Though President Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia in the row, Tillerson told reporters in Doha that Qatar’s views were ‘‘reasonable’’ and that he is optimistic the differences can be reconciled.


‘‘I am hopeful we can make some progress to begin to bring this to a point of resolution,’’ Tillerson said, standing beside the Qatari foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Tuesday. ‘‘I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions, and I think those have been very reasonable.’’

The Trump administration worries that the embargo against a country where the United States has a large air base could affect military operations and push Qatar further into the arms of Iran, which has allowed Qatar to use its air and sea lanes after the Gulf states suspended all flights to and from Doha and severed diplomatic ties.

Yeah, Turkey helping them out to, and take a look at a map sometime to see why these relationships in the region are important in terms of access.

Though full details of the agreement between the United States and Qatar were not immediately available, Tillerson adviser R.C. Hammond said it outlines ‘‘future efforts Qatar can take to fortify its fight against terrorism and actively address terrorism funding issues.’’

‘‘This is a hopeful step forward,’’ he said.

An Ooopsie?

Or Trump looks diplomatic bring back together those he separated?

Think the pre$$ would crow about him like they did when he struck Syria?


Not so fast, Rex:

"American Airlines stepped up a verbal battle with Qatar Airways Ltd., assailing what the US company said were “sexist and ageist” comments by the Mideast carrier’s chief executive. The rebuke was triggered after Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said at a Dublin event that the average age of his cabin crews is 26 and that “you are always being served by grandmothers” on US carriers. The remarks were “incredibly offensive,” Jill Surdek, vice president of flight service for American Airlines Group, said in a message to employees Tuesday. “It was both sexist and ageist at the same time.” The exchange fueled a spat between the two carriers, which have been trading barbs since American disclosed last month that Qatar Airways had expressed interest in buying about 10 percent of the US carrier."

Qatar is now under assault while Saudi girls only want to have fun:

"Saudis to allow girls to play sports in public schools" by the Associated Press   July 11, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia said Tuesday it will grant girls in public schools access to physical education, a decision that comes after years of calls by women across the kingdom demanding greater rights and access to sports.

One Saudi activist took to Twitter questioning whether this implied that girls will be required to seek the permission of their male guardians, such as a father, before they can play sports. Still, the decision is significant in Saudi Arabia because women taking part in exercise is still seen as a taboo. Some of the kingdom’s ultraconservatives shun the concept of women’s exercise as ‘‘immodest’’ and say it blurs gender lines.

It was only four years ago that the kingdom formally approved sports for girls in private schools. Women first participated in Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team during the 2012 London games.

The move to grant girls access to sports comes after years of campaigning by women’s rights activists, who have led calls to end male guardianship rules and lift the ban on women driving.

Outside of a few upscale gated compounds where foreigners live and select neighborhoods, women do not jog or exercise in public spaces, and they are banned from attending sporting matches in the country’s male-only stadiums.....

I didn't want to go to the match anyway.



"US faces calls to keep Sudan sanctions in place" Associated Press  July 11, 2017

CAIRO — The United States on Tuesday was prodded to maintain pressure on Sudan’s government, the day before Washington is expected to announce the permanent lifting of sanctions dating back to the 1990s.

Rights advocates and opposition groups say the move will strengthen President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide charges linked to the Darfur conflict, and do much to bring his government back into the international fold after decades of isolation, war, and abuses.

Sudan has been under US financial sanctions since the 1990s, when it was briefly home to Osama Bin Laden and accused of sponsoring terrorism. The Obama administration temporarily lifted the sanctions in January, citing improved counterterrorism efforts and progress toward ending the country’s many internal conflicts. The move becomes permanent on Wednesday unless the State Department revokes it.

And here Rex is in Qatar and Saudi Arabia!

I noticed there was NO MENTION of YEMEN at all, either!

The United States has worked to isolate Sudan since a military coup brought Bashir to power in 1989, and other sanctions targeting him and some of his inner circle will remain in place regardless of the upcoming decision.

Musn't have been CIA-assisted then.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Tuesday he expected the easing of the sanctions to be made permanent. ‘‘The lifting of the sanctions is a right of Sudan, which has fulfilled all its commitments,’’ he said in comments carried by newspapers.

Human Rights Watch has said that the six-month timeframe was not enough to measure any purported progress.

‘‘The human rights situation has not improved,’’ the New York-based group said in May. ‘‘Sudanese Armed Forces and aligned forces, notably the newly created Rapid Support Forces, have continued to attack civilians in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile with utter impunity.’’

Khaled Omer, vice chairman of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, said permanently lifting the sanctions would do nothing to help the Sudanese people.

‘‘The few people who control the country will line their pockets and use it to finance their priorities: oppression, accumulating more power, and funding the security services who do their bidding.’’

I didn't realize how like AmeriKa was Sudan, and vice-versa (we have starvation and hunger here, too, although it is covered by the tablecloth of the elite cla$$). 

UN experts say the government has largely succeeded in putting down the revolt in Darfur, with fighting in the 13-year conflict now limited to the mountains, a claim disputed by activists and human rights advocates.

The rebel Justice and Equality Movement now operates mostly in neighboring South Sudan, the experts said in a report to the UN Security Council, while one faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army operates largely across the border in Libya and another holds pockets of territory in the Jebel Marra area.

The Sudanese government heavily restricts access to all these areas.


Nothing about the famine and cholera as the U.S. pre$$ is more concerned with regime change (which is likely the cause of the famine and cholera!!). 

Btw, Sudan vociferous supporter of Palestinians (scroll to see reports) at U.N. It's a factor in the coverage.


"The rededication fell on a particularly poignant day in the Jewish calendar, said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council. Tuesday is the 17th day of Tammuz, a day of fasting to commemorate the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem....."

That's when I stopped eating it.


"UK’s May orders probe into contaminated blood scandal" Associated Press  July 11, 2017

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday ordered a public inquiry into how contaminated blood was given to thousands of patients in the 1970s and ‘80s, killing at least 2,400, according to officials.

What is with the government over there? 

All these commissions investigating long ago cover-ups. 

But they ain't doing it today!

The patients — many of them hemophiliacs — were infected with the HIV virus or hepatitis C through tainted blood. Authorities looked into the infections, but campaigners and lawmakers say they did not go far enough to find out what happened.

Because, like the coverage of Saville and the BBC pedophilia, they didn't want to make public the awful truth that would not only cause you to see public figures you "like" as monstrous scum, but might lead to their deaths at the hands of others. The whole $y$tem would collapse if the public truly knew how corrupt and evil are the ruling cla$$ of this world.

Downing Street said Tuesday the new probe would aim to ‘‘establish the cause of this appalling injustice.’’

The announcement came after leaders of six political parties signed a letter calling for a fresh investigation to encompass allegations of a cover-up.

No, no, western governments never do that.

Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne said the new inquiry would have the ability to bring criminal charges.

The contaminated blood was imported from the United States. Some of the plasma used to make the blood products were traced to high-risk donors, including US prison inmates who were paid to give blood.

And I thought cash for blood in U.S. prisons went out with Brubaker.

Most of those affected were infected with hepatitis C. Of the 1,200 people infected with the HIV virus, fewer than 250 still are alive, according to the Hemophilia Society. 

Yeah, they wait until a whole pile die before they start confe$$ing, for the obviou$ rea$on$. Pentagon is the $ame way.

In April, former health secretary Andy Burnham told Parliament the scandal ‘‘amounts to a criminal cover-up on an industrial scale.’’ He cited altered medical records and gave examples of tests being conducted on patients without their knowledge or consent. 

Too big to jail. Better get 'em to the infirmary!

Results from those tests were withheld for years, even decades, he said.

Then-Prime Minister David Cameron apologized to the victims’ families in 2015 after a report on the infected blood was issued. Victims and families of those who died complained that the report was a ‘‘whitewash.’’

I hope you don't mind if I've lost faith.


Also see:

Measles has killed 35 children in Europe

No West Nile yet?

Google faces $1.3 billion French ruling amid ‘tax populism’

Pope Francis adds new pathway to sainthood

I've cancelled communion.


And today's top story, according to the Bo$ton Globe:

‘I love it’: In e-mails, Trump Jr. seemed eager for dirt on Clinton

See if you can figure out the three NYT whoreces (hint: initials are SR, JB and JC. Have fun) that just got peed on. The story totally covers the upper-half of the fold, and the flip produces two more pieces of sh**

I'm also told we are one big step closer to dispelling the fog that has long hung over the 2016 presidential campaign, thanks to The New York Times. The Globe editorial staff is celebratingand I'm not going to grapple with it anymore. Enjoy the 11 years (he can run for president twice with the power of incumbency behind him; this ain't LBJ) of the Christian fundamentalist President Pence, Globe. That should stymie the gay agenda.

Trump Jr.’s Meeting with Russian Lawyer: Smoking Gun … Or Tempest In a Teapot?

Could DJT Jr. have been set-up

What did he do wrong anyway?

I don't know what really happened, but it's a non-issue and this is all about the ma$$ media's lack of credibility.

New analysis suggests Guccifer 2.0 files copied locally, not hacked by Russia 

Yeah, it was -- like all the other hacks, etc -- an inside job from within government itself, a Snowden-type leaker that was likely disgusted with the Obummer-Clinton regime, and the new analysis irrevocably destroys the Russian hacking narrative and calls the actions of the DNC into question.

Related: How Trump Can Avoid Impeachment: Order NSA to Declassify All Intel On Democratic Email Leaks

[" . . . any data that is passed from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) – or any other server in the U.S. – is collected by the NSA.  These data transfers carry destination addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be traced and followed through the network.

Packets: Emails being passed across the World Wide Web are broken down into smaller segments called packets. These packets are passed into the network to be delivered to a recipient. This means the packets need to be reassembled at the receiving end.

To accomplish this, all the packets that form a message are assigned an identifying number that enables the receiving end to collect them for reassembly. Moreover, each packet carries the originator and ultimate receiver Internet protocol number (either IPV4 or IPV6) that enables the network to route data.

When email packets leave the U.S., the other “Five Eyes” countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the seven or eight additional countries participating with the U.S. in bulk-collection of everything on the planet would also have a record of where those email packets went after leaving the U.S.

These collection resources are extensive . . . they include hundreds of trace route programs that trace the path of packets going across the network and tens of thousands of hardware and software implants in switches and servers that manage the network. Any emails being extracted from one server going to another would be, at least in part, recognizable and traceable by all these resources.

The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.

The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.

The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.

As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. Thus, it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.] --


"A group of Twitter users blocked by President Trump filed a lawsuit against him and two top White House aides on Tuesday, arguing that his account amounts to a public forum that he, as a government official, cannot bar people from. The plaintiffs raise key issues about how the Constitution applies to the social-media era. They say Trump can’t bar them from engaging with his account because they had opinions he did not like. By blocking people from reading his tweets, or from viewing and replying to message chains based on them, Trump is violating their First Amendment rights because they expressed views he did not like, the lawsuit argued....."

It is the vitriol of the 2016 presidential election has brought the issue to the forefront for many people.

At crash site of a Marine Corps plane, bodies ‘were everywhere’

President Trump, in a tweet Tuesday, called the Mississippi crash “heartbreaking.”

Appointees on Trump deregulation teams have deep ties to industry 

It's nothing new, but now it is a big deal to the NYT.

"Mitch McConnell to unveil revised health care bill Thursday" by Kelsey Snell, Sean Sullivan and Juliet Eilperin Washington Post  July 11, 2017

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Tuesday he would cut the chamber’s August recess in half, saying the GOP needed more time to achieve its legislative goals given the protracted negotiations over health-care legislation and continued opposition from Democrats on several fronts.

In addition to health care and appointments, the Senate will devote time to passing a defense authorization bill ‘‘and other important issues,’’ McConnell said. The Senate will now remain at work through the week of Aug. 7.

Work on the Senate’s health-care bill remained uncertain Tuesday, though McConnell told reporters he will release a revised bill by Thursday morning and hopes to receive a Congressional Budget Office analysis of that measure by the beginning of next week so the chamber can vote quickly.

McConnell’s announcement appeared designed to give Republicans time to move to other matters, such as raising the federal debt ceiling, after dispatching with a health-care vote.

‘‘The debt ceiling must be raised,’’ McConnell told reporters.

Gotta keep those bankers happy.

GOP leaders are still tweaking their health-care plan to attract more votes, especially from centrists. McConnell is prepared to preserve two of the Affordable Care Act’s existing taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 annually and couples earning more than $250,000 for several years, according to multiple Republican lawmakers and aides briefed on the plan.

One is a 3.8 percent tax on investment income, and another is a 0.9 percent tax on wages and self-employment income.

By keeping these two taxes in place for anywhere between five and seven years, according to several Republicans, the federal government could steer more money to a stabilization fund that could to help offset consumers’ health care costs while the new GOP plan goes into effect.

In other words, they are going to repeal Obamacare by keeping Obamacare and the taxes on the wealthy. 

Are you fooled?

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, said the debate over how to address taxes in the bill is being ‘‘fairly hotly discussed and litigated’’ among GOP senators. While he stressed that nothing has been finalized, Thune said ‘‘the direction I think a lot of our members want to move’’ is to keep some of the Obamacare taxes in place and use the revenue in other parts of the bill. 

Oh, they've $een the light! 

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas made the case to fellow Republicans during their weekly luncheon that they should embrace a radical change to the ACA that would allow companies to offer minimalist plans on the private insurance market that don’t meet current coverage requirements.

The presentation highlights the party’s ongoing struggle to devise a health care plan that can satisfy a broad enough swath of lawmakers.

Cruz and other conservatives are trying to steer the bill to the right even as GOP leaders are eyeing changes — such as preserving a tax on wealthy Americans’ investment income for several years — aimed at enlisting the support of centrists.....


Makes you sick, doesn't it?

At least the stock market is healthy:

"Another day of listless trading on Wall Street ended Tuesday with the major stock indexes shifting marginally from the day before. Gains by energy and technology companies were canceled out by losses at banks and phone companies. A rebound in crude oil prices helped lift energy stocks, which led the gainers. Banks posted the largest losses. Major indexes got off to an uneven start early on, then veered sharply lower before midday as news broke that Donald Trump Jr. had released an e-mail chain from last year that shows the Trump scion discussing plans to hear damaging information on Hillary Clinton from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign. The news stoked investor worries over whether the headlines could lead to more political uncertainty in Washington and potentially hold up tax cuts, regulatory reform, and other business-friendly policy initiatives the market has been expecting. But the market mostly bounced back from the stumble by the end of the day....."

(Blog editor smugly sits back in his chair and asks "Are you enjoying the show?")

I'm done for the day, Hallelujah!