“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Which of the Two Romney’s Is Full of Shit?

(CNN) Mitt Romney delivered a sweeping broadside against Donald Trump on Thursday, laying into the Republican presidential front-runner with a sharper attack than any of the partys 2016 contenders have made against the billionaire business mogul.
"Here's what I know: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud," Romney said. "His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing members of the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat."


    1. .

      You can't really deny the criticisms of Trump that Romney outlined.

      The problem, of course, is that the comments come from Romney one of the GOP's many past presidential wannabes and losers. There is no one who better represents the establishment that a good portion of the public appears to reject. His foreign policy views are shaped by his simplistic neocon philosophy. As for his charges of Trump bankruptcy hurting workers, he had no problem benefiting financially from the Delphi bankruptcy. And if it was up to Romney, there would have been no auto bailout. He argued for bankruptcy. And does anyone remember Bain Capital.

      As for his judgment, remember Seamus. Romney caged the family dog and strapped him to the roof of his car for a 12 hour trip from Massachusetts to Ontario. Along the way, he had to stop along the way to wash the dog shit off the cage, the dog, and the car as his dog had diarrhea. Pure genius.

      At any rate, IMO, ol' Mitt is a rather flawed vessel to be taking on Trump. To me, it appears to be an attempt to somehow gain some type of relevance within a party that seems to be falling apart. I doubt it will work. This is the same guy who in 2012, was unable to turn out the vote as 5 million less Republicans showed up to vote.

      Romney's speech may not make much difference in the primaries but it was sound-bite rich and those sound-bites are guaranteed to show up in Democratic ads in the general.


      1. It's Seamus that I feel for.....I'm always reminded of that poor dog Dinky tied to the car bumper, nothing but a head and some bones after 100 miles, and the dead Aunt Edna tied on the car roof wrapped in a tarpaulin, in American Vacation.

        They wife had it right. She wanted to fly to WallyWorld. Criz wanted to drive and 'bond'.

        One of my favorite movies: "My movies have no meaning whatsoever." Chevy Chase

        Did you know there is a poem called Chevy Chase by Chaucer ? They chased the deer in the Chevy Hills and the two groups of tribals ended up killing more of each other than deer.

        This doesn't have any meaning either.

      2. Romney?

        It's his ingrained sense of moral superiority rising its ugly face again.

        The entire stage is littered with squabbling egos, gooey and smelly.

        Up against a Commie and a Criminal.

        I'm getting a little sick of it all, to be honest.

        Without Ben let them all go to hell.

    2. In 2008, McCain got 59,948,323 votes.

      In 2012, Romney got 60,933,500 votes (approx. One Million more than McCain)

      I wonder where they came up with that "5 million stayed home" meme.

      1. .

        Not sure. Heard the number on either CNN or CNBC this morning. Although I do remember hearing he had received less than McCain (not specifically the 5 million number)back in 2012. Also, that Romney's infamous centralized ORCA get out the vote system was a disaster and may have cost him wins in certain key states.


    3. obviously 6 million stayed home in '08 ;)

      1. They registered, but declared they would not vote for Romney or any of his wives.

    4. Mohamed Atta 2.0 Arrested in LA

      An Egyptian student at a Southern California flight school is being held by immigration authorities and facing possible deportation after allegedly posting on Facebook that if he killed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump he would be doing the world a favor.

      Emad Elsayed, 23, was taken into custody Feb. 12 by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for allegedly violating the terms of his admission to the United States, said Virginia Kice, an agency spokeswoman. Elsayed was arrested at a flight training school and is being held in an Orange County jail pending a hearing on his deportation Friday.

    5. The Republicans must hope that Trump will bolt and run as an independent.

      1. Romney is a Neocon shit and has always been a Neocon shit. Trump really has the Neocons twisted.

    6. JUAN COLE | JUL. 29, 2012

      Top Ten Most Distasteful things about Romney Trip to Israel

      1. He is holding a fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. It is distasteful for an American political candidate to hold a high profile fundraiser abroad, implying a commitment to a foreign country as a means of reaching out to American interest groups (in Romney’s case, Christian Zionists among the evangelicals and the minority of American Jews who would be willing to vote Republican).

      2. It is distasteful that Romney has broken his pledge of transparency and declared the fundraiser off limits to the US press.

      3. It is distasteful that Romney won’t explain why he has abruptly gone back on his word, and closed the Jerusalem event to the press.

      4. There is a convention in US politics that you don’t criticize the sitting president, even if you are an opposition politician, while on foreign soil. Romney clearly intends to slam President Obama while in Israel.

      5. It is distasteful that Romney is clearly holding the event in some large part to please casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who first bankrolled Newt Gingrich and now is talking about giving $100 million to elect Romney. Adelson is a huge supporter of far rightwing Likud Party Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and published a free newspaper in Israel to support all things Bibi all the time. Adelson is under investigation for allegedly bribing Chinese officials in Macau in reference to his casino empire there. Since Adelson is potentially an agent of Chinese influence and is a partisan of one of Israel’s most rightwing parties, Romney’s indebtedness to him is disturbing.


      1. {...}

        6. It is distasteful to have Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu interfering in an American domestic election by openly favoring Romney over Obama.

        7. It is distasteful that Romney is promising his donors in Jerusalem a war on Iran. When George W. Bush promised his pro-Israel supporters a war on Iraq, it cost the US at least $3 trillion, got hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, destabilized the Gulf for some time, cost over 4,000 American soldiers’ lives, and damaged American power, credibility and the economy. As Nancy Reagan said of drugs, so US politicians must say to constant Israeli entreaties that the United States of America continually fight new wars in the Middle East on their behalf: “Just say no.” Instead, Romney is playing war enabler, and that abroad!

        8. It is distasteful that Romney will not meet with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine Authority, who actually was elected by Palestinians, but only with an appointed and toothless ‘prime minister’ known for cooperation with Israel’s Likud.

        9. It is distasteful the Romney will not commit to a two-state solution within 1967 borders or demand Israel cease illegal squatting on and unilateral annexation of Palestinian land. If he is going to this Middle East hot spot, why doesn’t he visit a Palestinian refugee camp so as to understand the nub of the dispute, instead of hobnobbing with the uber-rich in Jerusalem


      2. 10. It is distasteful that he is holding the fundraiser in the King David Hotel, which was famously blown up by the Zionist terrorist organization Irgun in 1946, in a strike that killed 91 persons and wounded dozens, many of them innocent civilians. Irgun leader Menachem Begin (later a leader of the ruling Likud Party) hit the hotel because there were British security offices there, which were tracking violent organizations like his own, during the British Mandate period of Palestine. He maintained that he called ahead to warn of the bombing, but that is just propganda to take the edge off the deed– who in 1946 would have taken such a call seriously? When current Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and other Likud leaders attended a commemoration of the bombing, the British Foreign Office sent over a sharp note of protest. I guess Romney is not finished with insulting London.

      3. 11. He obviously forgot Ronald Reagan's 11th Amendment ...

        Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

    7. Bernie way back then (Hillary too) on the Iraq War vote - Bernie No, Hillary Yes.


    8. We are watching a repeat of 1964.

      But there is no one in the Ronald Reagan/Gaylord Parkinson role, today

      The goal was to prevent a repetition of the liberal Republican assault on Barry Goldwater, attacks which contributed to Goldwater's defeat in the 1964 presidential election.

      East Coast Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller labeled Goldwater an "extremist" for his conservative positions and declared him unfit to hold office.

      The GOP will not only fail to win the White House but will lose the Senate, come November.


      1. New York Times

        Mitt Romney and John McCain Denounce Donald Trump as a Danger to Democracy

    9. Strikes in Syria

      Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:

      -- Near Hasakah, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle bomb, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

      -- Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and three ISIL fighting positions.

      -- Near Palmyra, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed six ISIL vehicles and three ISIL fighting positions.

      -- Near Tal Abyad, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed ISIL communication equipment.

      Strikes in Iraq

      Attack, fighter, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

      -- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

      -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.

      -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.

      -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 27 ISIL rocket rails.

      -- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, 12 ISIL assembly areas, and 25 ISIL bed-down locations, and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

      -- Near Ramadi, three strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL front-end loader, an ISIL bed down location, and an ISIL petroleum, oil and lubricant truck.

      -- Near Samarra, two strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed 9 ISIL vehicles, three ISIL VBIEDs, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL supply cache, and three ISIL fuel trucks.

      -- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL mortar position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar fire position.

      -- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    10. ( Baghdad – Thousands of Iraqi security troops launched an offensive operation to retake areas north of Baghdad from the ISIS militants, senior officials in the Joint Operations Command said yesterday.

      Joint operations said in a statement obtained by, “Anti-Terrorism elements, army troops, police forces and allied paramilitaries are participating in the operation, which is backed by the army’s artillery and both Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition aircraft.”

      A senior officer said that more than 7,000 security personnel might take part in the operation, which the Operations Command said it aims to retake areas west of Samarra.

      1. Anti-Terrorism forces destruct 40 ISIS vehicles heading from Anbar to Salahuddin

        ( Anbar – On Thursday the commander of the Anti-Terrorism Bureau’s special operations Major General Moen al-Saadi, that the security forces destructed 40 vehicles belonging to the so-called ISIS that were moving from Anbar to Salahuddin.

        Saadi said in a press statement obtained by, “After coordinating with the intelligence of the Anti-Terrorism Bureau in Anbar and Salahuddin, a convoy of 40 vehicles belonging to the so-called ISIS had been detected on its way from al-Tharthar north of Anbar to Salahuddin.

        Saadi added, “The international coalition aviation in the coordination with the Anti-Terrorism Bureau managed to shell the whole convoy and killed all the occupying ISIS members, as well as destructing a number of booby-trapped vehicles within the convoy.


    11. MOME is EMOM spelled backwards.

    12. If Romney had attacked Obama like he's just attacked Trump he might have been elected President.

      Whole thing is becoming Theatre of the Absurd.

      1. Becoming? You are way behind the curve.

    13. How can Romney stop Trump when he praised him for his endorsement in 2012? Here’s the lavish approval that Romney heaped on Trump back then:

      “There are some things you just can’t imagine happening in your life. This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight.

      I am so honored and pleased to have Donald Trump's endorsement. Donald Trump has shown an extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works. To create jobs for the American people. He's done it here in Nevada. He's done it across the country.

      He understands that our economy is facing threats from abroad. He's one of the few people who stood up and said China has been cheating. They've taken jobs from Americans. They haven't played fair. We have to have a President who will stand up to cheaters. We believe in free trade and free enterprise but we don’t allow people to cheat day in and day out.”

      What a hypocrite Mitt Romney is, little wonder that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson was on his team


    14. LAS VEGAS — A federal indictment accuses renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and at least five other men from several states of conspiracy, obstruction, assault, threatening federal officers and other charges in a 2014 armed standoff over grazing cattle on U.S. land near Bundy’s ranch.

      Bundy and seven other people’s names appeared unredacted in an indictment obtained Thursday following the arrest of alleged co-conspirator Gerald “Jerry” DeLemus in New Hampshire.

      They are Cliven Bundy’s sons Ammon Bundy of Arizona and Ryan Bundy of Utah, and supporters Ryan Payne of Montana, Peter Santilli Jr. of California, and Brian Cavalier and Blaine Cooper, both of Arizona.

      Each was already in custody after being identified by federal authorities as having taken part in the Nevada standoff and the occupation this year of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

    15. .

      After Romney's speech, and all the others, Graham, McCain, as well as, what appears to be a coordinated attack by the other candidates, I am actually starting to get interested in this election hoping Trump gets the nomination so that I can watch the GOP tear itself apart.


      1. .

        At that point, it will be 1 down and 1 to go.


      2. Ah, those will be the days. Mere anarchy loosed upon the world, each cad will have his caddy, small time con men to finally rule the earth, advertising the only form of literature, and a man's reputation shall be his bond.

    16. Great journalism doesn’t always draw a big audience. That’s what happened here at Al Jazeera America (AJAM), where superb reporting, bolstered by a first-rate opinion section, found a following, just not one big enough to interest major advertisers.

      AJAM’s online operation shuts down today, and the TV channel will go dark in April — their journalistic achievements ended by commercial failure, while Al Jazeera’s Arabic and English channels will continue.

      Before this website is frozen, I want to point to some of the great work done here, examine the state of journalism in America and explain how this relates to the future of one of the world’s oldest democracies and its place as the world leader in promoting the human spirit.

      I will miss it.


    17. the Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staff member who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server is a likely indication that the investigation is nearing a conclusion, but should not be read as a sign that the leading Democratic presidential candidate is going to face criminal charges, legal experts said.

      That Bryan Pagliano — a 2008 presidential campaign worker who set up the server in Clinton’s home — will avoid charges as he cooperates with FBI agents is a significant, if incremental, development, according to former federal prosecutors and white-collar defense lawyers who have been following the case.

      It could mean that Pagliano, concerned about his legal exposure, might implicate others, including Clinton. But it also could be an indication that agents and prosecutors are winding down an inquiry that will not result in charges, said Justin Shur, a former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section who now works in private practice at the MoloLamken firm.

      “I don’t know that I would necessarily jump to the conclusion that this person has ‘flipped,’ and now they’re going to say a bunch of incriminating things about other people,”


      1. Obama's Justice Department Just Gave Bryan Pagliano Immunity and Bernie Sanders the Presidency

        Bernie Sanders's path to the presidency was never going to be easy. After surging in the polls and consistently proving America's political establishment wrong, Sanders won Colorado and other states on Super Tuesday. He still has a path to win the Democratic nomination via the primaries, but Bernie Sanders just won the presidency for another reason: Hillary Clinton's quest for "convenience."

        Bryan Pagliano, the person who set up Clinton's private server and email apparatus, was just given immunity by the Justice Department. According to The Washington Post, "The Clintons paid Pagliano $5,000 for 'computer services' prior to his joining the State Department, according to a financial disclosure form he filed in April 2009."

        First, this can't be a right-wing conspiracy because it's President Obama's Justice Department granting immunity to one of Hillary Clinton's closest associates. Second, immunity from what? The Justice Department won't grant immunity to anyone unless there's potential criminal activity involved with an FBI investigation. Third, and most importantly for Bernie Sanders, there's only one Democrat in 2016 not linked to the FBI, Justice Department, or 31,830 deleted emails.

        These 31,830 deleted emails, by the way, were deleted without government oversight.

        Only one person set up the server that circumvented U.S. government networks and this person is Bryan Pagliano. Not long ago, Pagliano pleaded the Fifth, so this new development speaks volumes. His immunity, at this point in Clinton's campaign, spells trouble and could lead to an announcement in early May from the FBI about whether or not Clinton or her associates committed a crime. As stated in The New York Times, "Then the Justice Department will decide whether to file criminal charges and, if so, against whom."

        The FBI's investigation will decide if there was criminal activity involved in owning the server and storing classified information on a non-government network. Already, I've written numerous articles on why Bernie Sanders is the true front-runner, and has been since last year, partly because of Clinton's FBI investigation. Bryan Pagliano being granted immunity, however, changes the ballgame.

        Hillary supporters everywhere most likely don't care, but this development, and the testimony (free from any legal consequences) of the man who set up Clinton's computer apparatus, secures Bernie Sanders's front-runner status as the Democratic nominee. The DNC would be engaging in political suicide by entering November 8, 2016 with a nominee linked to a person just granted immunity from President Obama's Justice Department, primarily because there's a reason this man was granted immunity in the first place.


      2. ... Spokesmen at the FBI and Justice Department would not discuss the investigation. Pagliano's attorney, Mark J. MacDougall, also declined to comment.

        "There was wrongdoing," said a former senior law enforcement official.
        "But was it criminal wrongdoing?"

    18. Bryan Pagliano didn't pay taxes on the $5,000.00 Hillary paid him. That's why he had to have "immunity."

      The DOJ admits that Clinton never sent or received an email that contained content that was, at that time, classified.

      They will wrap it up by May,

      and, no, Bernie Sanders has no path to the nomination.

      1. But ...

        Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson has made numerous posts claiming Mrs Clinton guilty ...

        He has offered comments made by Tom DeLay and Darrel Issa that indictments were imminent and if not forth coming then the FBI would resign, en-mass.

        Surly those three partisan Clinton haters can't be wrong ...



    19. Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov asserted that the United Nations has recorded a decline in refugee flow from the war-torn country and that peace talks have been initiated after Russia launched air campaign in Syria last September, according to He also said that the U.S.-led coalition formed to fight against the militant group, also known as ISIS, has failed to start the reconciliation talks.

      Countering Breedlove’s comments on Russia’s “indiscriminate” and “non-precision” bombing, Konashenkov said: “Sole reliance on ‘supersmart’ or ‘superprecision’ weapons leads American hawks to tragic mistakes with fatal consequences, as it was repeatedly observed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and since recently — in Syria.”

      In his address to the U.S. Congress, Breedlove had said that the huge flow of refugees from Syria created a destabilizing effect on European countries where they sought asylum. He also suggested that the situation worked as a distraction for Western powers as they fight with the crisis and are forced to overlook the main cause.
      “This criminality, the terrorists and this return of foreign fighters [to Europe] is clearly a daily part of the refugee flow now,” Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Together, Russ”
      ia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration ... to break European resolve.

    20. I'm sick of these debates. I have Cruz memorized. Sick of Rubio.

      Kasich tonight is the sane one.

      I was glad The Donald stood up for the size of his dick, which had been questioned by Rubio.

      I've never heard such a discussion in a Presidential Debate before.

      One should always stand up for the size of one's dick.

    21. March 3, 2016

      FBI grants immunity to Clinton staffer who set up email server

      By Thomas Lifson

      This could be the beginning of the end for Hillary’s political career, with the now immunized Bryan Pagliano, no mere IT tech, but rather a member of Hillary’s 2008 campaign, free to sing like a bird and implicate others in a criminal conspiracy.

      Or not.

      Adam Goldman of the Washington Post broke the story:

      The Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.

      The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.

      The next shoe to drop would be FBI questioning of other staff and Hillary herself.

      As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents are likely to want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said.

      This could set off a cascade of witnesses flipping, to avoid prison, by implicating their superiors. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection outlines the process:

      Several months ago, Kemberlee predicted that getting a State Department employee to flip on Hillary would be the key, Some dare say conspiracy: Who will be first Hillary aide to flip on her?:

      Was there a concerted conspiracy to violate the law, particularly given the fact that Clinton opted for a private email on her person server? Who else knew classified information was being transmitted outside of government purview?

      If any of these suspicions are confirmed throughout the course of the FBI’s investigation, will aides then be offered legal concessions if they cooperate?

      What were once Clinton’s closest lackeys may end up being her downfall.

      And that appears to be the FBI’s plan, flip a key witness, then roll up others all around Hillary.

      Needless to say, the Hillary campaign is putting a brave face on this development:

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign welcomed news that the Democratic front-runner’s former top IT staffer is now cooperating with the FBI's probe of her private email server — following reports that the Justice Department granted the staffer immunity from prosecution.

      1. Bryan Pagliano — who worked for Clinton’s 2008 campaign, then followed her to the State Department — set up her controversial email system that is currently the center of the FBI's investigation into whether the homebrewed server put classified material at risk. (snip)

        Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign was “pleased” that Pagliano was speaking with investigators. The spokesman also noted that Clinton has made herself available for questions from the FBI, but said they have not yet taken her up on the offer. “As we have said since last summer, Secretary Clinton has been cooperating with the Department of Justice’s security inquiry, including offering in August to meet with them to assist their efforts if needed,” Fallon added in a statement.

        Last Summer, when Pagliano took the Fifth Amendment rather than submit to an interview by the House Benghazi Committee, Clinton’s campaign issued a statement calling that decision “disappointing.”

        “We disagreed w/ his decision not to answer questions from Benghazi Committee so are pleased he is cooperating now,” Fallon said on Twitter on Wednesday night.


        This blows to hell the Hillary camp contention that this is just a security review. It is now unmistakably a criminal inquiry, and immunity is not casually granted. Usually it means that there is something specific of a criminal nature that is being sought, and that the recipient of the immunity is a smaller fish.

        And who would the big fish be?

        Do I really need to ask? It ain‘t Huma (who will almost certainly stonewall; she is so obviously dedicated to her cause that she has devoted her life since college to ingratiating herself with Hillary).

        The big issue for Hillary now is whether she talks to the FBI or not, assuming they ask. The New York Times reports:

        It is commonplace for the F.B.I. to try to interview key figures before closing an investigation, and doing so is not an indication the bureau thinks a person broke the law. Although defense lawyers often discourage their clients from giving such interviews, Democrats fear the refusal of Mrs. Clinton or her top aides to cooperate would be ready ammunition for Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner.

        A federal law enforcement official said that barring any unforeseen changes, the F.B.I. investigation could conclude by early May. Then the Justice Department will decide whether to file criminal charges and, if so, against whom.

        If Mrs. Clinton speaks with the FBI, she could open herself up to a perjury trap. She would not know what other information they have.

        It is still vaguely possible this could end without a criminal referral, but chances are getting slimmer and slimmer.

        May can’t come soon enough for me.

      2. And, an item doesn't have to be stamped Top Secret or Classified to be such.

        Hillary was well versed in all this, having been trained in it by the State Department, and having signed the form stipulating she knew the rules and procedures.

    22. By this point I'm so sick of Rubio, Cruz and the moderators I'll vote for Trump just to be contrary.

    23. Presidential Matchup: RCP

    24. I think both of the parties have had a wakeup call.

    25. I would like to see a four way race.

    26. 20 Million Gained Health Insurance From Obamacare, President Says

      There's no doubt about it: The Affordable Care Act is fulfilling this promise.

      WASHINGTON -- Twenty million previously uninsured people have gained health coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, President Barack Obama said during a speech in Milwaukee Thursday.

      Obama's announcement was based on a report the Department of Health and Human Services published the same day, which found 17.7 million working-age adults became insured between the beginning of Obamacare's first enrollment period in 2013 and the close of this year's sign-up campaign last month. The department estimates 2.3 million adults under the age of 26 got covered through the law's provision allowing young adults to remain on their parents' policies.

      These findings, based on several surveys, are merely the latest proof that, whatever its shortcomings, the Affordable Care Act has succeeded in its primary goal of reducing the number of Americans who lack health insurance. The share of adults aged 18-64 without health insurance was 11.5 percent as of February, down from 20.3 percent in October 2013, according to the report. Other polls that include children and people over 65 show an even lower uninsured rate.

      "This is the lowest rate that we have seen since we started keeping these records," Obama said. "We're not going backwards. We're not going to go back to a time where people could be denied because of pre-existing conditions. That's not who we are. That's who we were."

      Obama traveled to Milwaukee because the city bested other locations in a challenge to sign up the most people in the enrollment period that recently ended. Close to 13 million enrolled in private coverage via the Obamacare health insurance exchanges this year.

      1. As part of the promotional campaign for Obama's visit to Milwaukee, the White House shared a letter a former opponent sent the president about his experience with the Affordable Care Act.

        "I did not vote for you. Either time. I have voted Republican for the entirety of my life. I proudly wore pins and planted banners displaying my Republican loyalty. I was very vocal in my opposition to you -- particularly the ACA," wrote Brent Nathan Brown of Mosinee, Wisconsin. "I would not be alive without access to care I received due to your law. So thank you from a dumb young man who thought he knew it all and who said things about you that he now regrets. Thank you for serving me even when I didn’t vote for you." Brown also introduced Obama at the event.

        "When I read his letter, it made a powerful impact on me," Obama said. "Brent is why we fought so hard to fix a broken health care system in the first place."

        The new figures HHS published Thursday show the uninsured rate improved across racial and ethnic groups.

        An estimated 4 million Hispanics aged 18-64 gained coverage, and the share without insurance fell from 41.8 percent to 30.5 percent. Among working-age African-American adults, the uninsured rate declined from 22.4 percent to 10.6 percent as 3 million got covered. And the proportion of non-Hispanic whites without coverage went down from 14.3 percent to 7 percent as a result of 8.9 million adults between 18 and 64 becoming insured.

        This trend gives Obama something to boast about when it comes to his signature domestic achievement, but the Affordable Care Act still faces considerable challenges in the next few years that could jeopardize these gains in coverage. Obama has floated policies to fix some, but not all, of the problems with the law.

        Health insurance companies are struggling to make money on the exchanges, leading major players like UnitedHealth Group to openly contemplate abandoning them. Aetna and other firms, in contrast, say they're committed to making the marketplaces work even if they're not immediately profitable. And insurers losing money in the exchange market are eyeing premium increases for next year that could make coverage unaffordable for some portion of those already in the system.

      2. Moreover, the progress in growing the exchanges and in covering the uninsured may be stalling. Total enrollment on the exchanges barely grew compared to last year, and those who remain uninsured are considered the most difficult to locate and persuade. That's especially true for households that earn too much to qualify for health insurance subsidies.

        "We know that there are millions more who are eligible for coverage but haven't gotten it yet," Obama said.

        And a political threat continues to loom over Obamacare, The Republican Congress is again vowing to develop a plan to "replace" the law, although they've made little noticeable progress since Obama signed the ACA six years ago this month.

        And GOP presidential candidates like Donald Trump continue to call for Obamacare's repeal and replacement with other policies that wouldn't provide coverage to those who gained insurance because of the ACA, and could even result in larger numbers of uninsured than before Obama's reforms took effect.

    27. .

      I was watching a new show Craig Ferguson has on cable called 'Join or Die'. It takes a humorous look at history. And tonight they were looking at doomed presidential races.

      It reminded of the Gary Hart where in response to suggestions that he was messing around he told them

      Hey, if you don't believe me just follow me around.

      And they did.

      And he was.

      On a boat called 'Monkey Business'.


    28. The growing split also included dozens of conservative national security experts who signed a letter opposing Trump.

      The missive, signed by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff among others, blasted Trump as “fundamentally dishonest” and attacked his “hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

      Earlier this week, Romney’s 2012 running mate Rep. Paul Ryan criticized Trump — without mentioning his name — over the candidate’s failure to immediately reject support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.