Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): just checking

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Hold an open public town hall in the 4th Congressional District? Sure, why not? This is why:

With Town Hall Script Flipped On GOP, Will History Repeat Itself?
February 17, 20177:00 AM ET

Republicans know the scene well: angry constituents flood local town halls, upset over health care and other congressional issues.

It’s that energy that exploded eight years ago, birthing the Tea Party movement and helping the GOP take back Congress in the 2010 election. But now, they’re finding themselves on the receiving end instead of the giving end.
[….]

Facing constituents is a problem, eh?

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) 2016 file photo].

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) 2016 file photo].

From Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) congressional web site:

February 20, 2017.

February 20, 2017.

Nope, no open public meetings in the district. As far as we can tell.

Problem solved.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D): word

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“…but I’m also really pleased that he didn’t ask her to, to sweep and mop, um, in the, uh, in the room where the press conference was being held…”

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) [2017 file photo].

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) [2017 file photo].

Donald Trump (r) held a press conference on Thursday:

[….]
Q    Well, when you say — when you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda, as well as your —

THE PRESIDENT:  Am I going include who?

Q    Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as — 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I would.  I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?  Do you want to set up the meeting?

Q    No, no, no.
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Are they friends of yours?

Q    I’m just a reporter.
 
THE PRESIDENT:  No, go ahead, set up the meeting.

Q    I know some of them, but I’m sure they’re watching right now.
[….]

Yesterday, from MSNBC, via Twitter:

kylegriffin021717

The transcript:

MSNBC: Congressman Cleaver has, has there been any sort of dialog between either your office or the CBC’s office, any sort of informal dialog, perhaps, uh, with, with the new administration so far?

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D): No, I, I don’t think there’s been any, uh, contact or communication. Uh, I don’t even think, to be one hundred per cent honest, that, uh, the president even knew what the CBC was yesterday. Uh [crosstalk].

MSNBC: Really, Congressman Cleaver, you don’t think that President Trump knew that?

Representative Cleaver (D): Uh, I don’t think he had any idea. And I’ve looked at that tape, uh, over and over again and he was like, what in the world are you asking me? And had April not said, uh, Congressional Black Caucus, had she continued to say the CBC, I think he would have said, I, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Uh, but I’m also really pleased that he didn’t ask her to, to sweep and mop, um, in the, uh, in the room where the press conference was being held. I thought it was disrespectful.

The word is mightier than the small fingered vulgarian.

A stylized dance

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Yesterday evening the Warrensburg MSTA-CTA (teachers) held an informational meeting with Johnson County area legislators. The program listed Denny Hoskins (r-21st Senate District), Dean Dohrman (r-51st Legislative District), Glen Kolkmeyer (r-53rd Legislative District), and Dan Houx (r-54th Legislative District). Dean Dohrman did not attend.

Denny Hoskins (r-21st Senate District).

Denny Hoskins (r-21st Senate District).

To their credit three legislators did show up to take questions from their teacher constituents. MSTA-CTA provided refreshments and a box dinner for everyone who attended the event.

A MSTA representative served as moderator, explaining that he took solicited pre-submitted questions (from those who had sent in an RSVP to the event). After brief introductions the moderator read questions and asked each legislator in turn for their comments.

Understandably, from teachers, the first questions were on the state budget and K-12 funding from Jefferson City. The responses included the usual soothing sounds about the importance of education, shortfalls in state revenues, and the requirement that the state have a balanced budget. What was missing in those early comments was any explanation of how the past actions of two of those three legislators (Dan Houx is in his first term in Jefferson City) in the General Assembly contributed significantly to the structural shortfalls in state revenue.

I left the event after listening to the stylized dance around the subject for a half hour.

It’s possible they could have addressed increasing state revenue after I left the event. Nah, they’re republicans in the Missouri General Assembly.

(left to right) Denny Hoskins (r), Glen Kolkmeyer (r-53rd Legislative District), Dan Houx (r-54th Legislative District).

(left to right) Denny Hoskins (r), Glen Kolkmeyer (r-53rd Legislative District), Dan Houx (r-54th Legislative District).

Billy Long hobnobs with the Trumpster

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Trump+and+11+white+guys.jpg

Take a look at the group of well-fed and jubilant white males clustered around Not-my-President Donald Trump in the photo above, posted at #POTUS today. Recognize the face near the right end of the group? Seems like Missouri’s Trump poster boy, Rep. Billy Long (R-7), is breathing the rarefied air of the Oval Office, having been invited to participate in a photo-op with POTUS. Water seeks its own level they say.

According to Politico, Trump wasn’t satisfied with spending nearly eighty minutes yesterday rampaging about the fact that the missteps of his leaking and wobbling administration had been exposed publicly. So he invited in a few of “his earliest supporters” in Congress to commiserate as he “fumed about intelligence community leaks.”

Poor Trump probably needs a few friendly faces after his presser yesterday was widely labeled “unhinged.” (Lot’s more examples out there – just google “Trump” and “unhinged.) Nothing like the love and admiration of friends when times are hard:

[Rep. Chris] Collins said the members were invited into the Oval Office for pictures around the president’s desk. And he said amid broad policy discussions, he also asked the lawmakers what they were hearing from constituents in their districts.

“He wants the real, unfiltered, what’s going on,” Collins said, “not necessarily watching CNN, MSNBC or even Fox. There were 11 of us from 11 different parts of the country able to share with him the responses we’re getting when we’re at the supermarket, when we’re at Home Depot.”

Just imagine. Can’t even trust FOX to get it right. What are things coming to when you gotta get it straight from the supermarket.

I don’t know about you, but it’s been some time since I’ve talked to my Representative in the supermarket or even at Home Depot. I just didn’t know that’s where “the real, unfiltered, what’s going on” was at. Silly me. I thought “what’s going on” might be found in letters and phone calls to one’s congressman, or town halls – to which GOPers seem to be growing averse – a surprising development since they so obviously want to know what we think.

Of course, from what I hear from folks in Long’s district, they can’t even catch him in his office much less the supermarket. Maybe they  should try Las Vegas.

All that trumped up coverage of Hillary’s emails didn’t help them after all

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Today, via Twitter:

trumpmedia021717

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
3:48 PM – 17 Feb 2017

Putz. They all deserve each other. Everyone else gets to suffer.

HB 949: It’s supposed to be an honor to have a bill named after you, right?

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We should probably ask Sarah Steelman (r) about that.

A bill, introduced yesterday:

HB 949  
Establishes the Sarah Steelman Transparency and Disclosure Act
Sponsor: Ellebracht, Mark (017)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2017
LR Number: 1957H.01I
Last Action: 02/15/2017 – Introduced and Read First Time (H)
Bill String: HB 949
Next Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: HOUSE BILLS FOR SECOND READING
[….]

The bill text:

FIRST REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 949 [pdf]
99TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVE ELLEBRACHT.
1957H.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk

AN ACT

To amend chapter 105, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to funding of inaugural activities, with penalty provisions.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 105, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 105.459, to read as follows:
105.459. 1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the “Sarah Steelman Transparency and Disclosure Act”.
2. A committee formed to receive contributions or make expenditures for inaugural activities on behalf of a person elected to serve in a statewide office shall file a statement of organization with the Missouri ethics commission within thirty days after the committee is formed. The statement shall include:
(1) Identification of the major nature of the committee;
(2) The name, mailing address, and telephone number of the chair or treasurer of the committee; and
(3) The anticipated duration of the committee’s existence.
3. The committee shall file disclosure reports with the ethics commission that itemize receipts, expenditures, and indebtedness incurred by the committee. The first disclosure report shall be filed not later than thirty days after the statement of organization is filed. Subsequent disclosure reports shall be filed every six months for the duration of the committee’s existence.
4. The disclosure reports shall also include a separate listing by name, address, and employer, or occupation if self-employed, of each person from whom the committee received one or more contributions, in moneys or other things of value, that in the aggregate total in excess of twenty-five dollars, together with the date and amount of each such contribution. No committee shall accept any contribution without such information.
5. Upon termination of the committee, a termination statement indicating dissolution shall be filed with the ethics commission not later than ten days after the date of dissolution. The termination statement shall include:
(1) The distribution made of any surplus funds and the disposition of any deficits; and
(2) The name, mailing address, and telephone number of the individual who shall preserve the committee’s records and accounts in accordance with subsection 6 of this section.
6. The chair or treasurer of any committee covered by this section shall maintain accurate records and accounts that shall be maintained in accordance with accepted normal bookkeeping procedures and shall contain the bills, receipts, deposit records, cancelled checks, and other detailed information necessary to prepare and substantiate disclosure reports. All records and accounts of receipts and expenditures shall be preserved for at least three years after a termination statement is filed.
7. Any complaint that the provisions of this section are not followed shall be filed with the ethics commission. Such complaints shall be in the form described in section 105.957 and shall be investigated by the ethics commission in accordance with section 38 105.961.
8. Any person guilty of knowingly violating any of the provisions of this section shall be punished in accordance with section 105.478.

[emphasis in original]

What, did someone throw a big inauguration party and no one can figure out who paid for it? Just asking.

Time to lock him up? Ask McCaskill

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We’re only a few weeks into the Trumpocalypse and along with all right-thinking people Senator Claire McCaskill (D) is getting busy:

Two Democratic Senators have questioned the security of Donald Trump’s smartphone, three weeks after it was reported that the president was using an unsecured, off-the-shelf Samsung Android device. Senators Claire McCaskill and Tom Carper — both of whom serve on the Homeland Security Committee — put a list of questions about Trump’s phone habits in a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis dated February 9th and released today.

McCaskill and Carper say that the recent reports suggesting that the president may still be using his old device were “troubling” — in part because it doesn’t leave a record of what he’s been saying. “While it is important for the President to have the ability to communicate electronically,” the letter reads, “it is equally important that he does so in a manner that is secure and that ensures the preservation of presidential records.”

But more of a problem may be Trump’s smartphone security. “Hackers often target smartphones in an attempt to obtain sensitive, personal information from the user,” the letter reads. “Security risks associated with the use of an unsecured phone include hackers’ ability to access the device to turn on audio recording and camera features, as well as engaging surveillance tools that allow location and other information tracking features,” the Senators say. “These vulnerabilities are among the reasons why national security agencies discourage the use of personal devices.”

Hmmm … didn’t the same Donald Trump spend most of last fall bloviating about how he was going to lock Hillary Clinton up because she used a private email server for State Department business? There wasn’t any evidence of significant security breaches or any criminal activity, but prior to the election GOPers in Congress investigated the daylights out of Clinton’s server. Over and over. And found nothing. Over and over. Which didn’t stop Trump from going to town on the promise that he’d get that prison ball rolling one way or another.

Now you can’t get the same actors to investigate compromising links between the Trump White House and the Russian government. Times change. Although there are some congressional types folks – like Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chair of the House Oversight Committee – who want to launch an investigation to find out how the information that something was going on got out and exposed the both the cupidity and the fecklessness of Team Trump.

Personally, I’m more than ready to lock Trump up or just kick him out of the White House. I glad McCaskill’s on the ball when it comes to this latest problem. It’s kinda like the Russian problem with Flynn – although Trump knew about Flynn weeks ago, he wasn’t going to do anything until the evidence of his cupidity and/or fecklessness got out independently. Same way, the phone issue came up three weeks ago and he apparently blew it off.

So go get him, Claire, and let’s lock him up

Well, you asked

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Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

Eric Greitens (r) [2016 file photo].

This afternoon Governor Eric Greitens (r) solicited constituent questions on Facebook. There were a lot.

Eric Greitens
We’re here in Jeff City to fight for you. That means listening to the people and answering your questions about what’s going on in your government.
This afternoon at 3:30, we’re going to take a few minutes and do a Facebook Live Q&A. If you have any questions about what we’re doing to take Missouri in a new direction, I’d love to answer them. Let us know in the comments section what you want to talk about, and join us at 3:30.

A few of the questions:

How will you fully fund education?

Who funded your inauguration parties?

Who donated the $1,900,000 to your campaign that you have not disclosed and why have you refused to say so far?

Missourians don’t want right to work. Why did you listen to your millionaire and billionaire backers and force it on us? Why don’t you listen to Missourians who don’t want it?

What is being done about the fact that our driver’s licenses will not be acceptable ID at airports & federal buildings in 2018? Missouri has had quite a while to fix this & has done nothing.

I would like to know why you’re trying to repeal prevailing wage which will put Missouri contractors and small businesses out of business? It allows out of town outfits to come in with illegal and unskilled labor which allows them to low ball work. Thus it then takes much needed revenue away from Missourians. Please explain real points besides it helps your billionaires who bought your way and use you as a puppet. Thanks

What is your idea of a decent working wage Eric Greitens? How do you figure people are forced to join unions? Who told you there is “union bosses”? I noticed you didn’t say anything about health care benefits or guaranteed pensions for retires, do you think or feel that companies will give those benefits to their employees?

I would like to know how you are going to protect and expand higher education in the state. Missouri used to be a leader in higher education and now lags badly behind. Not just short changing students, but we can no longer attract the best of the best in staff, faculty and research because of low pay scales and tiny to non-existent pay raises. Continuing to butcher funding to higher education hurts the entire state. Tuition hikes mean that fewer students can attend Missouri schools, locating elsewhere for their education then staying there. Critical infrastructure needs at MU have been ignored for decades due to poor funding.[….]

How about you discuss the large donations by David Humphreys to your “campaign” after you were elected…what is he buying?

I would like to know why you are talking about closing the Group Homes for the disabled kids? I have a son that has lived in one for 30 years, his dream when he graduated was to be able to live on his own just like everyone else. This would destroy him if he had to leave. I believe there are other area’s that can be cut besides taking the funds away from our disabled. They try to work and pay taxes in as well. There has to be a better solution.

If your goal is to protect k-12 classroom funding, then why did you cut transportation funding? This puts school districts in the position of having to cannabilize money from their budgets to cover that reduction. What good is a funded classroom if you can’t get the kids to the classroom?

Please discuss the intimidation tactics you used on members of the Senate regarding the salary vote and why after the vote you continued cyber-bullying the legislators via Twitter. You really don’t want to be like the Trumpster Fire in DC do you?

I’d like to hear why you won’t disclose the source of your inaugural donations? Don’t we have a right to know whom you’re really working for? Is it more Goguen money? Because we all know how much you like his dirty million(s)!

We know that thousands of low-income Missourians rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for vital preventive care like pelvic exams, & STI testing & treatment, along with contraceptive and safe abortion services. Will you work to ensure that low-income Missourians can continue to receive high-quality care at the provider of their choice, including Planned Parenthood?

What are you going to do to ensure that low-income Missourians can continue to access vital preventive health care like birth control, STI testing and treatment, and well woman exams at the provider of their choice, including Planned Parenthood?

How much money did Anheuser-Busch, Boeing, Centene, Enterprise, Express Scripts, Kansas City Power & Light, Kansas City Southern, Monsanto, Pfizer and Wal-Mart donate to your inauguration celebration? With that in mind, can you reassure us that you are representing and serving “our government,” for the people; as opposed to a corporate government, for the highest bidder?

“Our Government”? You mean “Your Government”, where you let the state corporations and big businesses run the state, collect their money, and you do as they say? A true puppet, this is what you get by voting in an “outsider” morons.

When was the last time you made under 50k a year and have to provide heath insurance for your family? Have you ever had to pay for your or your family’s health care? Have you ever worked a blue collar job? Have you ever worked for a minimum wage? Who paid for your collage education?

Gov. Greitens, this is Will Schmitt, state government and politics reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Can you say why your inaugural committee, which planned the installation of public officials, is acting like a private organization? Also, can you please say whether you plan to meet with Rod Chapel of the Missouri NAACP? Thank you!

This is Summer Ballentine, a reporter from The Associated Press. Gov. Greitens, you proposed a number of cuts in next year’s budget. Why did you propose cutting $52 million from a Missouri Medicaid program providing in-home care to elderly and disabled people too poor to pay for it themselves? Also, do you support legislative proposals to restrict discrimination lawsuits? Thank you.

Mo has the highest rate of toddler shootings in the country. Why do you not support requiring all gun owners to take a gun safety course? Plus, a three day waiting period and background check? There could be exemptions for active duty military and police. Common sense gun laws are helpful not harmful.

If these budget cuts are put in place…..how will we deal with the rising costs of ER visits and hospital stays for the disabled and elderly that lose their in-home services and how will that be effective at balancing our budget if one expense is replaced by another which costs Missouri twice as much?

Many Missouri women rely on Planned Parenthood for basic health services. Access to contraceptives and sex ed reduce abortion rates and poverty. What will you do to help ensure women have access to these services?

Why aren’t you allowing questions from the press? Why are you limiting access to portions of the capital building by the press and Missouri voters? I thought you were the transparent choice?

Hi Gov. Greitens, this is Celeste Bott, I’m a statehouse reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Curious, as others have asked, about your decision to make deep cuts for disabled and senior citizens in the Missouri Medicaid program? Also, do you think your cuts to higher education institutions will make tuition increases inevitable? Have you begun any efforts to tackle violence in cities like St. Louis, a priority you mentioned in your state of the state speech? How about for reducing recidivism? Thanks!

Why don’t you you come to St. Louis and answer questions, town hall style, to all the hard working union families. Explain to them how taking food off their tables and lowering the tax base effectively helps Missouri?

Mexico is the state’s 2nd largest trading partner. What impact do you think President Trump’s call for a 20 percent tariff on imports from Mexico will have on Missouri’s economy?

Why do you need a COO? What is your reason? Will you avoid daily governing and be a figure head? Who makes governor decisions, where is the divisions of responsibility defined?

How do I introduce a bill that forces Missouri to let Missouri residents have the option of paying their taxes? Missouri is part of the Union that is the United States therefore if we’re going to bust the Union I would like to be able to turn the same playing cards back on you and opt out of paying my taxes and still receive all the benefits of those who choose to pay their taxes.

When will you be in Kansas City to meet with voters, not just closed meetings with your supporters? I want you to have a town hall style meeting so we can ask you questions directly, please.

You say you’re prolife, but you have no plans to expand Medicaid in Missouri, saving 300,000 lives. Last year the state also redirected over $4million in federal TANF to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” instead of feeding hungry kids. Missouri is the 2nd hungriest state in the country. What are you going to do to help our most vulnerable, with a $456million budget hole?

What are we going to do to fully fund education? How can we expect Missouri’s economy to grow long term without allowing adequate access to education for our people?

Governor Greitens, I would like to know what more you plan to do about millionaires and billionaires buying our politicians and elections? [….]

Last night during the HJR18 debate, Rep. Mike Moon compared sperm to tadpoles. Do you believe sperm and tadpoles are the same thing? Would you outlaw abortion, most forms of birth control, IVF, and stem cell research?

In regards to education also, discussing why you chose to send a letter of support for Betsy DeVos along with 19 other governors, and since you so strongly support her initiative for providing vouchers and school choice, how do you see that affecting rural districts in Missouri that have no school choice?

And so on.

It was sad, maybe a little pathetic, and illustrative of their limited access reading the occasional questions from media/reporters interspersed with those from constituents. Welcome to Eric Greitens’ (r) Missouri.

Сделать Америку великой Снова…

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“…It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer…'”

That will be the ironic quote of the century.

"Make America Great Again" - in Russian.

“Make America Great Again” – in Russian.

Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT, MARK MAZZETTI and MATT APUZZO FEB. 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election…

If you are still supporting Donald Trump (r), defend this. Any of it.