Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,564,274. Still not a “mandate”, but now China is pissed off.

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The margin continues to increase.

Compiled by David Wasserman, Cook Political Report:

bersin120216

Michael Bersin ‏@MBersin
National Popular Vote (to date) – Hillary Clinton (D) 65,250,336 – Donald Trump (r) 62,686,062 – margin for Hillary + 2,564,274
9:09 PM – 2 Dec 2016

Kellyanne thinks those are winning numbers.

Previously:

Still counting (November 21, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,017,563 ain’t a “mandate” (November 23, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,103,941 is still not a “mandate” (November 24, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,126,705 isn’t even close to a “mandate” (November 25, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,228,232. Nope, still not a “mandate”. (November 26, 2016)

62,409,389 (46.5%) of your fellow Americans (to date) voted for this moron (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,235,653. Still not a “mandate”. Trump is still delusional. (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,243,231. What color is the sky in their world? (November 28, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,358,925 (November 30, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,366,367. Still not a “mandate”. (November 30, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,526,184. Still not a “mandate” by any stretch of the imagination. (December 1, 2016)

Reading around

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I’m promiscuous – when it comes to what I read, that is. While I’m working my way through newspapers, blogs, etc. I come across occasional nuggets, often buried in larger articles, that, while they don’t deserve to be treated in depth, are still intriguing and bring up a point worth noting. A few examples from the week that has just passed:

  • The New York Times reports that Socialist French President François Hollande has decided to step down. His approval ratings are so low that his candidacy was likely to sink his entire party. Of interest to American Democrats who think that it’s smart to toe the center to center-right line, what brought Hollande down was the “ideological fuzziness” that led him to put financial and business interests before the interests of the folks who elected him. According to the Times, he “campaigned as an old-fashioned Socialist, with threats against finance. Once in office, he quickly veered to giving tax breaks to companies.” It didn’t help that he was squishy even after he changed his focus; he even backed off his business friendly labor “reforms.” Remember this the next time you hear a squish like Claire McCaskill cautioning us about principled socialists like Bernie Sanders who are “too liberal.”
  • A Reuters story reprinted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted automakers who want Donald Trump to repeal Obama administration vehicle efficiency rules. They whined that the rules not only impose costs, but are “out of step with consumer preferences.” Well golly gee. Let’s poison our children with pollution while we destroy the climate, but for God’s sake, don’t let us defy consumer preferences – much less make the jokers pay a little more if they insist on driving climate-destroying, energy hogs everywhere they go. Do these captains of industry know what the word “fatuous” means? And does any one think “fatuous” should drive energy policy?
  • And speaking of energy hogs, stop and think about what cheap gas has done for us. Business Insider reports that SUV’s and pickups are “crushing” the auto market, observing that there “will be a temptation with results like this for automakers to go back to the future and neglect small cars”because “Americans like big cars.”
  • And lest you believe that this re-emergent preference for automotive tanks is anything more than the marriage of misguided conspicuous consumption and cheap fuel, just consider that the largest share of the SUV market is for “luxury” SUVs that are mostly used in town and surburban driving. They aren’t working or rough-country vehicles. Even Jeep is planning to produce a luxury model.

And finally, there’s always the things that I don’t see while I’m reading around, but they’re still there in the background even if they are not always easily perceived – kind of like the Gestalt concept of the shifting figure where the black ground shows two candlesticks while the white ground shows two faces in profile. Today’s winner is a headline message that I haven’t seen, but which was there just the same:

  • Carrier sends 1,300 jobs to Mexico; disregards Donald Trump’s pre-election tantrums and gets a tax giveaway for doing it.

Campaign Finance: loading up under the wire

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The Attorney General-elect isn’t wasting any time.

Josh Hawley (r) [2016 file photo].

Josh Hawley (r) [2016 file photo].

Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission for Josh Hawley’s (r) 2020 (?) campaign for whatever:

C151132 12/01/2016 HAWLEY FOR MISSOURI Southern Glazer’s Missouri PAC 101 E High St Jefferson City MO 65101 11/30/2016 $10,000.00

[emphasis added]

There are some things which are so very important.

HB 44, HB 78, HB 79, and HB 104: they ain’t gonna prevail no more

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Today is the first day of bill filing for the 2017 session of the Missouri General Assembly. Organized labor has a big target painted on it for the new legislative session in the General Assembly. But, we already knew that.

….Prevailing wage laws protect communities and workers from unscrupulous contractors low-balling bids on taxpayer-funded construction projects by setting wage rates to the local or prevailing standard….

Four bills limiting or repealing prevailing wage, all sponsored by republicans, were filed today:

HB 44
Prohibits the Missouri Housing Development Commission from requiring a prevailing hourly wage to be paid to a contractor on a project for a housing tax credit if it is in a Governor-declared disaster area
Sponsor: White, Bill (161)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0155H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 44
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

Does that include Kansas? Just asking.

HB 78  
Allows public bodies to opt out of prevailing wage laws for the construction of public works projects that are $750,000 or less
Sponsor: McGaugh, Joe Don (039)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0385H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 78
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

Joe Don McGaugh (r) [2016 file photo].

Joe Don McGaugh (r) [2016 file photo].

HB 79
Establishes the School Construction Act, which exempts construction and maintenance work done for certain school districts from the prevailing wage requirement upon the school board’s approval
Sponsor: McGaugh, Joe Don (039)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0386H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 79
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

HB 104
Repeals provisions relating to prevailing wages on public works
Sponsor: Love, Warren (125)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0069H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 104
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

Rep. Warren D. Love, a Republican, represents Hickory, St. Clair and parts of Benton and Cedar counties (District 125). He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2012.

In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Love is a rancher, restaurant owner, and carpenter-contractor….

[emphasis added]

Well, that certainly explains it.

Previously:

HB 42 and HB 91: right to get paid less rears its ugly head – again (December 1, 2016)

HB 42 and HB 91: right to get paid less rears its ugly head – again

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They’ll get their way. There’s no one to stop them.

Today is the first day of bill filing for the 2017 session of the Missouri General Assembly. Two republican representatives have already filed “right to get paid less” bills:

HB 42  
Specifies that a person cannot be required to become or refrain from becoming a member of or paying dues to a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment
Sponsor:
White, Bill (161)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0154H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 42
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

And:

Holly Rehder (r) [2013 file photo].

Holly Rehder (r) [2013 file photo].

HB 91  
Specifies that a person cannot be required to become or refrain from becoming a member of or paying dues to a labor organization as a condition or continuation of employment
Sponsor: Rehder, Holly (148)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 0360H.01I
Last Action: 12/01/2016 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 91
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar

Working people and the unions that represent them will get screwed yet again.

Previously:

HB 1770: those who voted for your right to get paid less (April 11, 2014)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,526,184. Still not a “mandate” by any stretch of the imagination.

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The margin continues to increase.

Compiled by David Wasserman, Cook Political Report:

mbersin120116

Michael Bersin ‏@MBersin
National Popular Vote (to date) – Hillary Clinton (D) 65,152,112 – Donald Trump (r) 62,625,928 – margin for Hillary + 2,526,184
5:44 AM – 1 Dec 2016

Kellyanne who?

Previously:

Still counting (November 21, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,017,563 ain’t a “mandate” (November 23, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,103,941 is still not a “mandate” (November 24, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,126,705 isn’t even close to a “mandate” (November 25, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,228,232. Nope, still not a “mandate”. (November 26, 2016)

62,409,389 (46.5%) of your fellow Americans (to date) voted for this moron (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,235,653. Still not a “mandate”. Trump is still delusional. (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,243,231. What color is the sky in their world? (November 28, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,358,925 (November 30, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,366,367. Still not a “mandate”. (November 30, 2016)

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins – part 6

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Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission for Eric Greitens’ (r) 2016 or 2020 [?] gubernatorial or whatever campaign:

C151053 11/30/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI RightCHOICE Managed Care, Inc. PO Box 68086 Cincinnati OH 45206 11/30/2016 $10,000.00

C151053 11/30/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Southern Glazers Missouri PAC 101 E. High St. Jefferson City MO 65101 11/30/2016 $10,000.00

C151053 11/30/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Caesars Enterprise Services, LLC One Harrah’s Court Las Vegas NV 89119 11/30/2016 $10,000.00

C151053 11/30/2016 GREITENS FOR MISSOURI Central Bancompany PAC 238 Madison St. Jefferson City MO 65101 11/30/2016 $15,000.00

[emphasis added]

Location, location, location. Las Vegas! Cincinnati! Jefferson City. They could throw a party in January.

Previously:

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins (November 20, 2016)

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins – part 2 (November 21, 2016)

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins – part 3 (November 23, 2016)

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins – part 4 (November 28, 2016)

Campaign Finance: and so it ends or begins before it begins – part 5 (November 29, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,366,367. Still not a “mandate”.

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The margin continues to increase.

Compiled by David Wasserman, Cook Political Report:

bersin113016

Michael Bersin ‏@MBersin
The latest National Popular Vote (to date) – Hillary Clinton (D) 64,902,259 – Donald Trump (r) 62,535,892 – margin for Hillary + 2,366,367
7:30 AM – 30 Nov 2016

Well, Mitt?

Previously:

Still counting (November 21, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,017,563 ain’t a “mandate” (November 23, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,103,941 is still not a “mandate” (November 24, 2016)

Still counting – losing the popular vote by 2,126,705 isn’t even close to a “mandate” (November 25, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,228,232. Nope, still not a “mandate”. (November 26, 2016)

62,409,389 (46.5%) of your fellow Americans (to date) voted for this moron (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,235,653. Still not a “mandate”. Trump is still delusional. (November 27, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,243,231. What color is the sky in their world? (November 28, 2016)

Still counting – Trump losing the popular vote by 2,358,925 (November 30, 2016)

Medical research or Big Pharma: Guess which Billy Long loves the most

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Rep. Billy Long (R-7) is excited about the possibility that Congress will pass the 21st Century Cures Act by the end of this session, and he wants his constituents to know that he cosponsored the bill. Unfortunately, even though Billy seems to think that his support for this bill is a big deal that will will help wipe disease off the map, I’m afraid that, along with some funding for medical research, it contains poison pills in the way of corporate giveaways that may be too big to swallow.

The bill does spend some money on limited types of medical research, and, no matter how inadequate, these days the situation is so dire that more is always good. But not when it comes at the cost of loosening important safety regulations, essentially giving the regulatory store away to pharmaceutical firms and medical device makers in order to solve problems that – guess what? – don’t really exist. Contributors to Health Affairs Blog, a Project Hope affiliated publication which “features posts from noted health policy experts and commentators from a wide variety of perspectives,” summarizes the problems with the bill:

Proponents of the proposed legislation—drug and device companies, and members of both parties in the House and Senate—argue that the FDA stifles innovation and advances in treatment by approving drugs and devices too slowly compared to other countries.

That premise is faulty. Nearly two-thirds of the novel drugs approved in 2015, for example—29 of 45, 64 percent — were approved in the United States before being approved in any other country. The proportion was even higher in 2012 and 2013. The majority of these drugs (60 percent) took advantage of existing FDA expedited review programs—fast track, breakthrough, priority review, and accelerated approval—and nearly half (47 percent) were approved to treat rare or orphan diseases.

As for devices, research shows that “it takes the same amount of time or less for patients to gain access to innovative, high-risk medical devices” in the U.S. as compared to Germany, France, Italy, and Britain.

The House and Senate bills ignore the above facts. They essentially seek to speed-up the approval process by relaxing FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards. And to make that more palatable, sponsors have attached the changes to increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health and the FDA.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) leveled a powerful attack on the paltry and likely ephemeral increase in research funding that is on offer:

For more than two years, Congress has been working on legislation to help advance medical innovation in the United States. Medical innovation is powerfully important, and I have spent as much time working it as any other issue during my time in the Senate.

From the beginning, I have emphasized one obvious fact. Medical breakthroughs come from increasing investments in basic research. Right now, Congress is choking off investments in the NIH. Adjusted for inflation, federal spending on medical research over the past dozen years has been cut by 20%. Those cuts take the legs out from under future medical innovation in America. We can name a piece of legislation the “cures” bill, but if it doesn’t include meaningful funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, it won’t cure anything.

That’s why months ago Senate Democrats said any so-called “cures” legislation must have a significant investment in medical research. And that’s why Senate Republicans publicly committed to doing exactly that. But now they have reneged on that promise and let Big Pharma hijack the Cures bill. This final deal has only a tiny fig leaf of funding, for NIH and for the opioid crisis.

And most of that fig leaf isn’t even real. Most of the money won’t really be there unless future Congresses passes future bills in future years to spend those dollars. …

Just in case, she hadn’t made her position clear, Warren added:

I support most of these proposals. I’ve worked on many of them for years. I even wrote several of them myself. If this bill becomes law, there is no question it will contain some real legislative accomplishments.

But I cannot vote for this bill. I will fight it because I know the difference between compromise and extortion.

Compromise is putting together common-sense health proposals supported by Democrats, by Republicans, and by most of the American people, and passing them into law. Extortion is holding those exact same proposals hostage unless everyone agrees to special favors for campaign donors and giveaways to the richest drug companies in the world.

Somehow, Billy Long neglected to tell us about the real focus of the bill; he wants us to believe that a poorly funded bill based on Big Pharma’s and medical device makers’ wish-list “could save millions of lives.”

When it comes down to it, if the choice is between Ozark Billy and Elizabeth Warren, I know who I believe.