Healthcare

This drama over healthcare is driving me nuts.  Over and Over – threats to repeal.  Meanwhile the people who are hurt with all this gossip are people who have become dependent on this healthcare.  One time, not very long ago, there were no protections.  And then there were some – weak imperfect.  But it saves lives, it saved my life so I can’t just look at its faults.  People try to garner support with suggested new versions that don’t work.  Meanwhile no one tries to make the original bill any better. It’s a game between two skirmishing sides and it’s like we are all game chips.

Healthcare

“The Republican dream of repealing Obamacare isn’t ready to head to the morgue just yet. After previous efforts died in the Senate earlier this summer, Obamacare repeal receded, only to storm back this week. Republicans are scrambling to pass a last-ditch effort before a September 30 deadline. And they might be close to reaching the 50 votes they need to pass a bill.

But they’re still not quite there. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were steadfast opponents of the earlier proposals, and there’s nothing in the new bill that would solve the problems they cited in the past. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) hasn’t minced words in discussing his hatred for the bill. And John McCain (R-Ariz.) has still been talking up his desire to stick to standard Senate procedure rather than rush a bill through—although his commitment to regular order might not trump his commitment to his friend Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who co-authored the bill.

In other words, Republican leaders need to change just one or two minds before they lose their ability to pass a bill without facing a Democratic filibuster in 10 days.

The newest version of Trumpcare is, in many ways, even more extreme than the previous Republican proposals. The bill, called Graham-Cassidy after the pair of Republicans who introduced it, would allow insurance companies to charge higher rates for people with preexisting conditions. It would bring back junk plans that don’t offer the coverage people expect when they go to the doctor. It would end Medicaid’s open-ended promise to cover low-income and disabled Americans, imposing massive future cuts that would force states either to raise taxes sharply or to kick millions of people off Medicaid. And it would cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year, decimating the country’s largest women’s health provider.

But we still don’t know the bill’s full ramifications, and we won’t know them before the Senate would need to vote on it. The Congressional Budget Office announced Monday that it will look at how Graham-Cassidy affects the deficit and release a report next week, but it won’t have enough time to analyze how many people would lose insurance and how premiums would change under the plan. If Republicans proceed to a vote next week, they’ll break Senate norms to vote for a bill that no one has had time to properly analyze.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-gops-latest-push-to-repeal-obamacare/

 

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Neurotic Man Tries To Join Bob Mueller’s Team

This Neurotic Man and Bob Mueller go way back – I read about him a long time ago though I forget what any of the articles said.  My interest in joining his team is focused on one thing – I figure it would be a great way to attract chicks.  Think about it – is there anything hotter in the news than his team’s investigation?  The other things hot in the news are tragedies and that’s no way to go after the ladies with so many sad, sad, stories.  No, I’ll make my contributions to all those causes but I’ll keep my contributions quiet.

If I get on the team I’ll be all set.  All those liberal elite ladies will be salivating and I’m sure most if not all the team will be hound dogs.  That’s what makes a lawyer great anyway, all that anger in not getting or keeping the ladies.  As for women members of the team, I guess I’m not sure what to do about them.

Things will be great until the ladies figure out I’m not a lawyer or investigator or knowledgeable about anything.  Being honest with myself the only way I have a chance of joining the team is through my charm, and that’ll be hard to pull off after the team figures out how I feel about people.

Thank goodness, I’ll just have to try something else that doesn’t require interacting with people.

Neurotic Man

“The details of that trip—and the subsequent capture of one of America’s most wanted terrorists by Zebley and Gaudin—help illuminate the makeup of the special counsel team that former FBI director Robert Mueller is assembling. It’s a team that contains some of the nation’s top investigators and leading experts on seemingly every aspect of the potential investigation—from specific crimes like money laundering and campaign finance violations to understanding how to navigate both sprawling globe-spanning cases and the complex local dynamics of Washington power politics.

As Mueller begins investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s election and its possible links to Donald Trump’s campaign, he is quietly recruiting lawyers and staff to the team. And in recent days, Trump associates have stepped up criticism of Mueller and his team—including a report, quickly rejected by the White House, that Trump is considering firing Mueller before he even gets started.

Tuesday morning on Good Morning America, Newt Gingrich blasted Mueller and his still-forming team. “These are bad people,” Newt Gingrich told George Stephanopoulos. “I’m very dubious of the team.”

But that criticism flies in the face of widespread, bipartisan acclaim for the team. In fact, just a day earlier, on the same program, former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr praised Mueller at length. “I don’t think there’s a legitimate concern about Bob Mueller,” Starr said, explaining that the former FBI director was “honest as the day is long.”

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Why Juggalos

I received some heat from readers about my Juggalos writing.  Let’s get something (actually two things) straight – I am not a Juggalo and am not a fan.  What I am is a defender of anyone who is used and abused in any way (with the exception of hate groups – that’s a whole other story).  I don’t like their music and there is something chilling about someone putting on grease paint to look like a clown.  I have to admit to having a phobia about clownface, especially evil looking clownface.  All this aside, group identity is certainly important especially for those that think of themselves as outcasts.  FBI gang designation has a chilling effect on employment and loans and social services.  I’ll stop this yammering if in some way the Juggalos are identified as a criminal group.  But what’s in the press, so far, about the juggalos, is not criminal.  Bits of the Wikipedia article on Juggalos is below.

“Many characteristics of the Juggalo culture originated from in the 1980s, when Joseph Bruce (Violent J) and his family were living in poverty. He and his brother Robert received all their clothes from rummage sales, and their food from canned food drives held at their own school.[13] Due to their poverty, the Bruce Brothers were the brunt of many jokes in school. However, the brothers were not ashamed of their living standards, and instead embraced it.[13] Joe even made a name for themselves, Floobs.[13] According to Joe, a Floob was essentially a scrub, but not just an ordinary scrub. A Floob “wore the same old shoes and shitty clothes from rummage sales […] but […] didn’t even have to be cool. [Floobs] turned [their] scrubbiness into something [they] could be proud of.”[13] Though Joe only specifically names himself and his brother as Floobs, he alludes to other Floobs whom he had not met or known of, but were living in the same conditions as he and his brother; the respect that Floobs had for each other and their family-like embrace of likewise people influenced the philosophy held among Juggalos.[13]

Public and artist reactions

The Insane Clown Posse filed a lawsuit against the FBI about the gang-listing.[26] In December 2012, ICP agreed to withdraw their involvement as plaintiffs.[27]

Psychopathic Records launched the website juggalosfightback.com for fans to submit stories about unfair treatment by law enforcement. ICP hopes to use these stories in their legal battle to declassify Juggalos as a gang.[28]

The classification of Juggalos as a criminal gang was ridiculed by the technology magazine Wired in a November 2011 article, with journalist Spencer Ackerman referring to previous scandals involving FBI harassment of Muslim-Americans.[29]

On January 8, 2014, Insane Clown Posse along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed suit again against the FBI. The suit aims to have Juggalos no longer considered to be a gang and to have any “criminal intelligence information” about Juggalos destroyed.[30] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggalo

Why Juggalos

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Being Juggalo

I don’t know about Being Juggalo – I don’t know anything about Juggalos at all except for their penchant for wearing weird clown faces and that the FBI have designated them as gang members.  What gang-like activity have they carried out?  They gather as a group and profess a universal theme of caring for each other.  If this is the activity of a gang more than one church is also guilty.  I know, I know – I would have picked another symbol than ‘hatchet man’.  What they do have is music and good vibes. It is rare to find a group based on empathy, not on violence, and having concern for their fellow man albeit how different they may be.  Whoop!   Whoop!

“Todd Okan, 35, was among those on the mall. He said he was pulled over by police in Sacramento, California, because he had stickers of Insane Clown Posse’s “hatchet man” mascot on his car.

“They said these symbols are considered a gang symbol,” Okan said. “They were asking me, like: ‘Are you a leader of this gang?’” Okan, who is an accounting auditor, said he was not in a gang.

“I was like: ‘This is the music I listen to.’”

Others had similar stories. Jessica Bonometti, from Manassas, Virginia, said she was fired as a probation officer in March 2016 as a result of her support for Insane Clown Posse. She had liked several photographs of the band on Facebook, she said, and was told by her boss that her affiliation was the reason she was fired.

She said she had been unable to find a job since then, hampered by the firing and a lack of references.

“My job was everything to me,” she said. “I’m 34, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a husband, so my job was like my life. I didn’t leave my house for a year after. I just couldn’t deal with people. I felt like a misfit. Like I don’t belong. So to say that the effects of it have been devastating would be a serious understatement.”  https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/17/juggalo-march-washington-gang-fbi-pro-trump-rally

Being Juggalo

 

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Pulpdiddys Permutations on Sunday

For quite some time at Pulpdiddys Permutations I have had a Sunday column in which I explain why I no longer write a regular column on Sunday and instead use this explanation column and take the day off.  I’ve tweaked this Pulpdiddys Permutations column that appears on Sunday from time to time but the story remains the same – I take the day off.  I have taken to use this Sunday space so that it is a little bit about me and a lot about what I am trying to do with the blog.  It has become apparent to me that the roots for the blog come from three things.  First of all, I love to write.  I enjoy the process and especially how attempting to communicate with others forces my thought process to focus in a way that not having the writing would not cause.  Secondly, I have been fascinated with how we interact with each other from an early age.  My political and social precociousness led me to turn away from the almost brutal focus on scholasticism and athleticism that dominated my early years.  In my case, this break was a good thing as it expanded my interest in understanding my empathy.  And last of all I realized I had developed a way of looking at the world that focused on want. When I explained this to others I found they often shared my thoughts but that for the most part they did not desire to consciously understand or express the theme of want, or if they did, found they had shuttled it off to the recesses of their mind – a way of living that contained the shuttling as an inconvenient truth*.

The inconvenient truth is that we drown in want.  The want may be the search of fame or sex or health or power or toys but these wants ultimately have the same catalyst and that catalyst is money.  Some theorists and analysts think we only see that want in our dreams and that dreams are healthy.  The problem is that this want invades our day to days and we make decisions based on that want that often has far reaching and sometimes tragic consequences.  The want may be quite basic such as the quest to survive or quite advanced like controlling politicians or having a lobbyist team to market your ideas of law.  The thing about want is we largely are embarrassed about it, especially if the want becomes public and obvious and though at times we may expose our want it is often done in a non serious game show sort of way.  The other thing about want, especially in the most unconscious of us, is that we trample our fellow human beings in an attempt to achieve whatever it is that is our want.

I have found that magazines, blogs, and newspapers don’t understand want but instead focus on an agenda even if that agenda is to work hard in not appearing to have one.  Somehow the media has failed to see that in reality their own agendas are full of fiction and as such, are as much want as that of anyone else.  As for these agendas, most are political in nature.  The problem with an agenda is that it blinds you to certain realities – at least for a while.  So a journalist at the Washington Post 50 years down the road realizes the paper missed the mark by ignoring Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech when it was delivered, instead focusing on crowd control that day.  Or journalists at the New York Times realizing that they were too enthusiastic in support of the Vietnam War.  Or ditto for the enthusiasm of both papers when the misdirected terrorist war known as the Iraq War took place.  Of course this is an over-simplification and I mention it only as an illustration.

As I do my research for what to write at Pulpdiddys Permutations I think about the want that each of us has – the want we may not know exists.  Hopefully I can glean enough of the want to make an intelligent observation.  While personally I remain far more liberal then not regarding economic, political, and social issues I bring up the question of want in my analysis of issues and how the issue will affect all, most, or some of us.  So when President Obama does something that I find wrong I am not loathe to mention that wrongness at this site.  When Senator John McCain takes a position that I found courageous I find no problem in expressing praise for that position.  When Paul Krugman takes on an economic or social position that I find a bit silly I will also comment so.

Love of writing, looking at the world with empathy, and focus on want are the triumvirate that has brought about Pulpdiddys Permutations.  Though I believe I am eventually found out to be correct more often then not and certainly more so than any pundit I know that’s out there, I certainly am not infallible.  But I give you my pledge that I’ll continue to do the research, continue to consider the matter using the frame of reference of want in the material posted by me at this site, and correct myself when my opinion eventually is shown to just be wrong.  And if you’d like some lighter reading there’s always my e-book: http://www.amazon.com/Neurotic-Man-Richard-Georges-ebook/dp/B00A6TOK24

*I apologize to Al Gore, for using your title as a phrase.  It just fits.  And in this context, Mr. Gore, you are also a good example of an inconvenient truth.

 

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Running For President

The amazing thing about running for President is how easy it is to do so.  If you have the money and were born here, away you go!  Some people in California (and possibly a few more states) want to create a few more rules, especially in disclosure, to have your name on the State ballot.  Much of the impetus for this movement came from the Donald’s refusal to release his tax returns to the general populace.  In the past, there was enough concern to comply with precedent that it was like having pseudo rules.  This is the grand accomplishment of Donald Trump, tradition has been voided.  While the Donald argues it is invasive the reality is that knowing the history of each candidate makes lying in this arena less likely, which is always helpful.

While we’re at it medical records should be released, and some form of psychiatric record should be in the public domain.  Privacy should end when the Presidency is involved.  While this may seem controversial it is better than fretting four years over someone questionable having their hand on the nuclear button.

Running For President

“The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has about 20 operatives split between its war room and opposition research shop who are monitoring speaking engagements and filing public records requests for various prospective Democratic candidates.

“With no clear leader on Democratic side, and a progressive base demanding strict adherence to ultra-liberal positions, the RNC’s research and rapid response teams will have plenty of material to show how extreme and out-of-step these folks are,” said RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens.

For many Democrats, the driving question about running seems not to be “why?” but “why not?”

After all, their party has a history of electing outsiders. Jimmy Carter was almost entirely unknown beyond his native Georgia until he essentially invented super-early, retail-style campaigning in Iowa — the way everyone now does it, noted University of Iowa Prof. Tim Hagel.”   https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/everyone-s-running-president-2020-n796116

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Universal Basic Income

There are things I like that Elon Musk proposes and others that I do not but Universal Basic Income is one of the good things.  This wonderful and bountiful planet has the capacity to take care of all her children.  It is silly that a little bit of sperm causes someone to inherit so much leading to such an inequity of the planet’s resources.

As slave like labor disappears – machinery can do jobs more efficiently (and cheaper) the appeal to revolution will continue to grow.  If you have nothing the desire to keep the status quo becomes hat much less.  Guaranteeing a universal basic income is in our best interest.  And really is much closer to Christian or Jewish theology than anything that has been put into action over the ages.

There just aren’t enough jobs.  There are kinks, of course, but I’d rather work out the kinks of sharing than arguing over Trump or his Cabinet.

Universal Basic Income

“In an interview with CNBC in November, Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined a growing list of tech executives who support universal basic income as a possible solution to the widespread unemployment that automation will likely cause.

Universal basic income is a system in which all citizens receive a standard amount of money each month to cover basic expenses like food, rent, and clothes.

On Monday, Musk doubled down on his initial support for the concept.

“I think we’ll end up doing universal basic income,” Musk told the crowd at the World Government Summit in Dubai, according to Fast Company. “It’s going to be necessary.”

The economic forecasts for the next several decades don’t bode well for the American worker. In March, President Barack Obama warned Congress about the looming threat of job loss, based on several reports that found that as much as 50% of jobs could be replaced by robots by 2030.

The downside of that projection is that millions of people would wind up out of a job — a possibility Musk discussed at the summit.

“There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better,” he said. “I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen.”

Executives who have endorsed UBI — a group that includes Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes — also say automation would dramatically increase a society’s wealth.

“With automation, there will come abundance,” Musk said. “Almost everything will get very cheap.”  https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/elon-musk-doubles-down-universal-175300665.html

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Neurotic Man Plans To Write A Book

It hasn’t worked out great for this Neurotic Man in getting a job and I’ve found lots to blame for that (except me, of course.)  This realization has led to another – that I was lots like Hillary. But the problem with that is that is I was a faux elitist – it was just an excuse for not working hard with others who would not only like to try to get things done but actually do.

Anyway, back to Hillary.   So, I checked out her new book for some advice on the subject and I read.  And I read and read.  Besides being tremendously horrified I also came it came to the realization that the Hillary way blaming others.  Actually, she is lots like the Donald who is so fond of saying ‘it is not my fault’.

“That Clinton might have done well to temper her technocratic style with some populist outrage of her own only dawns on her towards the end of the book, by which point it is too late.

Not to mention impossible. Hillary Clinton simply cannot escape her satisfied white-collar worldview – compulsively listing people’s academic credentials, hobnobbing with officers from Facebook and Google, and telling readers how she went to Davos in 1998 to announce her philosophy.

And then, in her concluding chapter, returning to her beloved alma mater Wellesley College and informing graduates of that prestigious institution that, with their “capacity for critical thinking” (among other things) they were “precisely what we needed in America in 2017.”

I wish it were so. I wish that another crop of elite college grads were what we needed. I wish Hillary’s experts and her enlightened capitalist friends could step in and fix this shabby America we inhabit today, where racists march in the streets and the Midwest falls apart and cops shoot motorists for no reason and a blustering groper inhabits the White House.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/12/hillary-clintons-book-what-happened-clear-message

Neurotic Man

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Is Our Democracy a Democracy?

One of the nice stories we tell ourselves is that we live in a democracy.  We even get smug about our democracy as we seek to import it to all those countries we are involved in ‘stabilizing’ such as Iraq. The Merriam Webster defines a democracy as follows:

1: a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority, b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections  2: a political unit that has a democratic government http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy

The part about majority rule throws me.  I think you’d have to incredibly naïve to think that a Senator or Representative that receives huge contributions from an industry is not influenced by those donations.  It is also naïve to think that the industry heads selected the politician without analyzing what committees in Congress that politician is a member of and how susceptible to suggestion a politician might be.  In many ways, the democracy planned and hoped for by the Founding Fathers does not exist and it is our job to try to retrieve the good that has been lost because of the transition.  These are some of the issues I have with applying what we believe our democracy is and what actually happens.  These issues include:

  1. The filibuster. The filibuster’s been around for a very long time but its increased use in the Senate has killed many bills.  As you are undoubtedly aware, the filibuster rule and aggressively invoking it changes the support of a bill from over 50 to over 60.  As you can see from the chart, half the time cloture (the filibuster) was not invoked – it was just the threat of a filibuster that led to the withdrawal of a bill.
  2. Gerrymandering. The New Yorker makes the case that gerrymandering, making more safe zones for politicians, makes seats safer for a point of view, most likely a conservative point of view.  This ends debate, even discussion especially in those zoes, as politicians can safely get re-elected as long as they cow-tow to the parry lie of the substantive majority of their district.  Please note when you read the article below that one of the effects is that gerrymandering can lead to an imbalance in election of one party’s candidates over another and that is what we are seeing today.  Gerrymandering has protected the Republican majority in the House even if 4 million more people voted for Democrats over Republicans for House seats.    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/01/ending-gerrymandering-and-building-a-better-democracy.html
  1. The Electoral College. Bush v Gore – need I say more?  How about Trump v Clinton?  As we saw in the 2000 or 2016 election, it is possible to win the popular vote and still not be elected President, due to the Electoral College.   California, according to the site listed below, more than four years ago, has an approximate population of 37,253,956 while Wyoming’s population is 563,626.  Given minimum apportionment, the least populous states such as Wyoming are over represented in the Electoral College.  (Or the House of Representatives.)  In addition, the Electoral College makes sure a definite loser state for a Party not be visited by the candidates.  In a population driven election, politicians would have to compete everywherehttp://www.ipl.org/div/stateknow/popchart.html#statesbypop

The Founding Fathers did not have to plan for such disparate populations.  For example, several years after Independence the first U.S. Census occurred.  The Census showed the population range in the colonies from about 60,000 to about 747,000, a ratio of about 12.5 to 1.  In the current extremes the ratio is about 66 to 1.  The Senate vastly under-represents those who live in California and over-represents the citizens of less populous states like Wyoming and Montana.

The Founding Fathers, aware that some inequality might occur with 2 Senators per state no matter the population of the state, decided that the House of Representatives would be apportioned by population but with one caveat – a state has to have at least one Representative.  Wyoming is once again over represented as California has 1 representative per every 700,000 + in population (more the norm) while Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota have a population that is less than the 700,000 + for California.  http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/1790.html

  1. Voting suppression. We heard more than one official of the Republican Party gleefully state before the last election that they would make sure their State was taken by the Republican candidate, Romney, by making it more difficult for segments of our society to vote.  Is there anything more un-American and anti-democratic than this?  http://www.aclu.org/voter-suppression-america
  2. Voting holiday. Hillary Clinton supports it.  So does John Kerry.  Yet every year it languishes without being seriously discussed in Congress.  We should celebrate Voting Day – it’s our Democracy Day.  We celebrate our democracy by voting and having the opportunity to vote.  So why make it hard for those who work long hours or two jobs or travel hours by public transportation?  For a country that can have a national holiday for someone who didn’t discover anything, just managed to land his ship here, it’s pathetic that we don’t have a holiday for when we reaffirm our democracy.    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-02-17-clinton-vote_x.htm

For a democracy to stay alive and for it to remain vital we need to strive to make it better.  In some cases, such as the Senator or Representative apportionment, the issue is difficult, but the Voting Holiday, and the closing of the Electoral College should be no-brainers.

Democracy

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Moral Obligations

As the Nation State developed it became imperative that any representative of the State not only work for a coherence in the people but also conduct their representation as moral obligations.  We are duty bound to follow our moral obligations as duty to the state.  Th child crying in despair at the catastrophe that has been introduced in their world, the weeping solitude and prayer of the adult trying to reason with the tragedy that has befallen them and all those they hold dear, for the adept able to sense the suffering of others, an elected official who has moral obligations to the citizenry they swore they’d  protect.  How could any representative not vote for aid to the citizenry dealing with catastrophe?

Where is the humanity?

Moral Obligations

“Texas Republican blasted his colleagues who voted against disaster relief aid to help the Houston area rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

Four Texas Republicans voted Friday against legislation authorizing $15.3 billion in aid for hurricane victims tied to a debt limit extension — and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said they had violated their moral obligation to constituents.

“I can only judge myself, and my conscience,” McCaul told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “When I had people dying and hurting in my home state, it was my duty and moral obligation to help them. I felt that vote was a vote of conscience to help people in my state and also now in Florida. I think that’s what Americans do. I think it’s unconscionable to vote against something like that.”

The lawmaker said his GOP colleagues told them they could not support the bill, which passed 316-90, because of their principled objection to raising the debt ceiling.

“I think having to raise the debt ceiling was probably their big issue, and the fact is Mick Mulvaney, a Freedom Caucus guy when he served with us, and he told us point blank you could not appropriate disaster relief if you didn’t raise the debt ceiling,” McCaul said. “So we were stuck with that choice. What do you do in that choice? Do you just stand on principle — and I question that principle — or do you vote to help people back in your home state who are hurting really badly?” https://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/unconscionable-texas-republican-says-gop-colleagues-violated-moral-obligation-to-help-hurricane-victims/

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