Monday, June 26, 2017

Don't Buy Into The Idea That Trumpcare Is Too Horrible To Pass-- That's Not Criteria Republicans Use


George Stephanopoulos had two very different Senate Republican opponents of TrumpCare on his show Sunday, Susan Collins (R-ME), who finds the bill cruel and even draconian, and Rand Paul (R-KY), who doesn’t find it nearly draconian or cruel enough. He started with Rand Paul, pointing out to him that his position is at odds even with Señor Trumpanzee, who said the bill that bears his name should “have more heart.” Paul scoffed and ran off in directions unrelated to the debate outside of the one in his own head.
Well, you know, the fundamental flaw of Obamacare was that it added regulations to insurance, mandates, which made insurance more expensive, but then it also told individuals, you know what, if you don't want to buy now, you can wait and buy it after you're sick. That still remains, 10 of 12 regulations that add cost to insurance remain under the Republican bill. And we still say you can still by insurance after you're sick.

If you add those two together, you still get the death spiral. The Republican plan acknowledges that we're going to still have this death spiral, which is sicker and sicker people in the individual market and the healthy people don't buy insurance, they acknowledge this by putting over $100 billion of insurance bailout money to try to say, oh we're going to tamp down prices. We're going to fix the problem, we're going to acknowledge the will continue forever and we're just going to pile taxpayer money into it. That is just not a conservative notion to add a new federal program to bailout insurance programs… I'm not voting for something that looks just like Obamacare and still doesn't fix the fundamental flaw of Obamacare.
It was a weird discussion. Stephanopoulos kept babbling about the politics on the bill-- how many no votes are there? What will it take for McConnell to get your vote? That kind of stuff-- while Paul just wanted to make a tired libertarian case about abolishing all regulations. So George said au revoir and moved on to Susan Collins. He started by asking her if there is “any way this week for Senator McConnell and President Trump to come up with a bill that both you and Senator Paul can support?”
Collins: It's certainly going to be very difficult. For my part, I'm very concerned about the cost of insurance for older people with serious chronic illnesses, and the impact of the Medicaid cuts on our state governments, the most vulnerable people in our society, and health care providers such as our rural hospitals and nursing homes, most of whom are very dependent on the Medicaid program.

So threading that needle is going to be extremely difficult.

Stephanopoulos: You just heard Kellyanne Conway say though that those are not Medicaid cuts. What is your response to that?

Collins: Well, I respectfully disagree with her analysis. But this is why we need the Congressional Budget Office assessment of the impact of the Senate bill on costs and coverage, including its analysis of Medicaid. And that will be coming out tomorrow.

But based on what I've seen, given the inflation rate that would be applied in the outer years to the Medicaid program, the Senate bill is going to have more impact on the Medicaid program than even the House bill.

Stephanopoulos: So that means-- if that's true, and if that is confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office, you're a no?

Collins: I want to wait to see the CBO analysis. But I have very serious concerns about the bill.

Stephanopoulos: You also have concerns about Planned Parenthood. This bill would deny funding of Planned Parenthood for a year. I know you're planning on introducing an amendment with Senator Murkowski that would restore the funding for Planned Parenthood.

If that amendment fails, will you oppose final passage?

Collins: Well, first, let me say that it makes absolutely no sense to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood. There already are longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion. So that's not what this debate is about. And Planned Parenthood is an important provider of health care services, including family planning and cancer screenings for millions of Americans, particularly women.

And they should be allowed to choose the health provider that they want. That's one of the issues that I care deeply about. But there are many others as well.

Stephanopoulos: Even though you think you'll prevail on the amendment, but if you don't, I understand that you have other concerns with the bill as well. Is Planned Parenthood funding a bottom line for you? If this bill denies funding to Planned Parenthood, are you against it?

Collins: It is one of many factors and a very important one that I will consider in casting my vote. But I'm also very concerned about the Medicaid cuts, what it means to our most vulnerable citizens. And I'm very concerned about the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles, particularly for that very vulnerable group between the age of 50 and 64.

They are particularly at risk, based on my initial analysis. So I'm going to look at the whole bill before making a decision.

Stephanopoulos: Are there a critical mass? We know that Senator Paul and three other conservatives want more repeal from their perspective. How many more senators do you believe share your views on Medicaid?

Collins: Well, there are several of us who have been meeting under the leadership of Senator Rob Portman to look at the Medicaid provisions. And there are about seven to eight people in that group. I can't speak for them. But suffice it to say that they are certainly concerned. And that is why the CBO analysis quantifying the cuts and the impact is going to be so important.

You can't take over $800 billion out of the Medicaid program and not expect that it's going to have an impact on a rural nursing home that relies on Medicaid for 70 percent of the costs of its patients. So this is an access issue as well as one having to do with cost.

Stephanopoulos: Does the bill pass this week?

Collins: It's hard for me to see the bill passing this week. But that's up to the majority leader. We could well be in all night a couple of nights working through what will be an open amendment process. And I think that-- that at least is good. The process could have been a lot better. I would've liked to have seen the Democrats step up to the table and negotiate with us now, not wait till the bill is passed or defeated.

So now the CBO score she was waiting for is out-- higher premiums for less insurance-- not to mention 22 million kicked off healthcare-- include 15nnext year. How's that, Senator Collins? Ultimately, I don’t see any Republican tanking the bill. Cruz, for example, already said that if he’s the deciding vote, he’ll hold his nose and vote YES, as always, a real man of principle. I think McConnell will give Dean Heller (R-NV) a pass if his NO vote doesn’t kill the bill, because of the local politics. But I can’t see Rob Portman, Collins or the 2 Alaskans finding the courage to actually vote NO, no matter how much worse they make the bill to please the far right fringe. Odd that none of them fear their constituents enough-- other than Heller-- to back away from a bill that only about 20% of the country supports. Maybe they have some surprises during the long break that starts next week. And while her staff is going over the CBO analysis, she might want to look at this analysis too, since it pertains to her own constituents in rural northern Maine.

...And The UPDATE:

Even Lindsey Graham is predicting that the CBO score will make it much harder for McConnell to get to 50 votes. And just a few hours ago, Susan Collins said that not only is she a NO, she'll vote against even allowing the vote to take place! She tweeted that the Republicans should work with the Democrats to improve Obamacare instead-- the first Republican senator to come to that very logical conclusion. Meanwhile House Freedom Caucus sociopath is railing that the Senate bill will be blocked by the Freedom Caucus because it isn't conservative enough. This guy is insane! (Help repeal him and replace him with Matt Coffay, the very vocal Medicare-For-All supporter running in western North Carolina for the seat Meadows holds.)

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Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon Tosses California TrumpCare Victims Overboard


Remember how the first version of TrumpCare in the House wasn’t quite good enough for the far right savages in the Republican caucus? So they called in Freedom Caucus lunatic Mark Meadows to work with spineless south Jersey multimillionaire Tom MacArthur and they came up with a far worse and more deadly version that the radical right could-- and did-- get behind. That same process is playing out in the Senate now. You have the off-the-cliff extremists like Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee threatening to tank the bill if it doesn’t kill more people than the bill already worse than the House version will kill. And your have jellyfish Republicans like Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Dean Heller whining that the bill is already too extreme but… ready to make a deal with Cruz, who’s father was implicated in the assassination of JFK, as you know-- just ask the obese orange baboon who took a moment out from obsessing about his role as Putin’s cockholster to tweet some nonsense over the weekend about Obamacare being dead. In any case, soon after Pence was summoned into the Koch presence Friday, Koch operative Tim Phillips, went publicly bonkers that TrumpCare 3.0 isn’t “conservative” enough, describing it as an “immoral… slight nip and tuck” in the far right’s war against healthcare for working families. “This Senate bill needs to get better,” drooled the well-paid fascist Koch mouthpiece. “It has to get better.” By “better,” they want to see higher projections for likely annual deaths, thousands apparently not sufficient to sate their bloodlust.

In line with Trump’s bogus claim-- terrorism, pure and simple-- that Obamacare is dead, The Hill reported yesterday that “One of the primary arguments from Republicans for repealing ObamaCare is that the healthcare law is ‘collapsing.’ But experts warn that the GOP’s legislation might destabilize insurance markets even more over time” and drive premiums through the roof.
The Senate’s ObamaCare repeal bill, released Thursday, would abolish ObamaCare’s mandate for people to have insurance, but it would still bar insurers from denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Experts warn that arrangement would allow people to wait until they get sick to buy insurance coverage, likely driving up premiums.

  On top of that, the GOP bill cuts back on ObamaCare’s tax credits, providing less financial assistance to help people afford a plan. So in addition to the lack of an enforcement “stick” to get healthy people to enroll, there would also be less of a “carrot,” in the form of financial assistance.

This combination could lead to more insurers pulling out of the market or spiking premiums, experts say, exactly the problems under ObamaCare that Republicans have talked about solving.

“A combination of repealing the individual mandate and diminishing premium subsidies would tend to destabilize the market,” said Larry Levitt, a healthcare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Rodney Whitlock, a former Republican congressional staffer now a healthcare consultant, wrote on Twitter that the lack of a mandate combined with lower financial assistance “is pretty much the definition of a death spiral.”
The GOP seems to have rigged the bill to trigger a real collapse of the healthcare system to kick it in 2022, so after Trump or Pence theoretically wins the White House. So we were all waiting for California to offer the alternative, right? The state Senate passed a single payer bill and the state Assembly has a massive super-majority so… no brainer, right? Wrong. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who often pretends to be a progressive-- I realized he wasn’t when he endorsed uber-corrupt conservative Isadore Hall over progressive reformer Nanette Barragan last year-- killed the bill for at least a year by locking it up in the Rules Committee, claiming SB 562 is “woefully incomplete.” The L.A. Times explained what Rendon had done, aside from committing career suicide:
Liar? Coward? Both?
Rendon announced late Friday afternoon that the bill, SB 562 by state Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), would not advance to a policy hearing in his house, dampening the measure’s prospect for swift passage this year.

“SB 562 was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete,” Rendon said in a statement. “Even senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation.”

Rendon took pains to note that his action does not kill the bill entirely-- because it is the first year of a two-year session, it could be revived next year.

But the move is nonetheless a major setback for legislation that has electrified the Democratic party’s progressive flank.

The California Nurses Assn., the bill's sponsors and the state's most vocal advocates for single-payer, blasted Rendon's decision as "cowardly."

"Acting in secret in the interests of the profiteering insurance companies late Friday afternoon abandons all those people already threatened by Congress and the Trump administration," Deborah Burger, the union's co-president, said in a statement.

Burger continued: "The people of California are counting on the Legislature to protect them now, not sometime next year, and as polls have shown Californians support this proposal by a wide majority. A solution to this health care emergency could be at hand; Speaker Rendon is standing in opposition."

In a joint statement, Lara and Atkins, the measure's authors, said they were "disappointed the robust debate about healthcare for all that started in the California Senate will not continue in the Assembly this year."

"This issue is not going away," they added.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who had signaled wariness about the proposal's costs, said in a statement that Rendon "made the case that there’s clearly more work to do before anyone is in a position to vote on revamping California’s healthcare system."

"I recognize the tremendous excitement behind the measure, but basic and fundamental questions remain unanswered," Brown said.

Many Democrats are embarrassed. Ro Khanna spoke up first, tweeting that Rendon should reconsider his decision. But he wasn’t the only one. Newly elected Democratic Party chairman, Eric Bauman, a former nurse, who is committed to single payer, has been politically close to Rendon. But that didn’t stop him from blasting him in a statement to the media:
"Today’s announcement that the Assembly will not be moving forward on single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare for California at this time is an unambiguous disappointment for all of us who believe that healthcare is a right for every Californian. We understand that SB 562 is a work in progress, but we believe it should keep moving forward, especially in light of the widespread suffering that will occur if Trump and Congressional Republicans succeed in passing their cold-blooded, morally bankrupt so-called healthcare legislation.

I call upon our Legislative Leaders to work together to find appropriate and acceptable solutions to enable SB 562 to advance as soon as possible.

Hundreds of thousands of people in California stand to lose their health insurance if Trumpcare 3.0 is signed into law. Countless Democrats passionately believe that Medicare-for-all healthcare is a bedrock principle of the Democratic Party, and I stand with them. Our message to our Legislative Leaders is clear: SB 562 must be given the chance to succeed.”

UPDATE: All Fingers Point To The Governor

Today’s bullshitter was yesteryear’s visionary, as you can see in the 1992 video clip below. But, alas, Jerry Brown seems to have changed his mind-- and Anthony Rendon’s mind. Will he now take the whole California Democratic Party down with him? Imagine him shrieking menacingly at Kevin De Leon: "Don't you dare let that bill hit my desk," with KDL stomping out of his office, unphased, not blinking, muttering, "Let the 562 veto be his legacy." He passed it through the Senate… and then Rendon blinked-- just as the details of the TrumpCare tax giveaway were hitting.

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California Blue Dog Ellen Tauscher Is Back-- Lock Away Your Wallet


She's back-- and up to no good again!

It’s 10 years later and right-wing Democrat Ellen Tauscher-- once the head of the New Dems, a vice chair of the DLC, and a proud Blue Dog-- is rearing her head in Democratic politics again. She’s the chair of the California 7 Project (AKA- Fight Back California), which purports to being trying to defeat 7 California Republicans in 2018: Jeff Denham and David Valadao in the Central Valley, Steve Knight in the L.A./Ventura 25the district and the 4 vulnerable GOPers in Orange County, Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, Darrell Issa and Mimi Walters. Typical of crooked political operations, Tauscher’s outfit-- a shady SuperPAC-- is raising money for itself, not for any Democratic candidates. Tauscher told Roll Call she plans to raise $10,000,000, money that could be used to defeat conservatives that will instead be used to bolster conservatives and, in all likelihood, Tauscher’s and her cronies’ own accounts. You just have to trust she’ll spend it right. But you shouldn’t… because history shows exactly how she’ll spend it.

Tauscher is working with her original campaign manager, strategist Katie Merrill, who loses all her races, and they hiding who has already funneled 6-figures into their SuperPAC. So just what you would expect of a slimy character like Tauscher-- dark money fueling her efforts to sucker the grassroots into contributing to… probably herself and a gaggle of dreadful right-of-center Republican-lite candidates just like herself. Their main goal will be to make sure no Berniecrats win any nominations, just Tauscher-like offal from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. One source told me she’s getting money from the lottery winner the DCCC wants to sell the CA-39 nomination to, Gil Cisneros, but it’s impossible to confirm who’s giving Tauscher’s operation the cash, since she’s taking advantage of the dark money Supreme Court rulings to hide her sources.

My history with Tauscher goes back a ways. In 2006, she recruited an “ex”-Republican to run against the grassroots candidate in California she and Rahm were eager too defeat, Jerry McNerney. They decided McNerney was too liberal to beat Republican Natural Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo and they dug up a Republican masquerading as a Democrat instead. McNerney slaughtered the interloper in the primary and Tauscher and Rahm put a hex on the district, calling donors and telling them not to contribute to McNerney in the general. That’s how Rahm taught the DCCC to play-- a practice continued by Steve Israel and whoever tells the hapless Ben Ray Lujan what he should do. In any case, McNerney pulverized Pombo, shocking the GOP (and Tauscher’s and Rahm’s Republican wing of the Democratic Party). It was one of the biggest races of the year and McNerney, propelled by grassroots enthusiasm, took 109,868 votes (53.3%) to Pombo’s 96,396 (46.7%). Pombo spent $4,629,983 that year, to McNerney’s $2,422,962. The NRCC came to Pombo’s defense with a then-massive $1,442,492, while Rahm grudgingly allowed the DCCC to spend a mere $295,366, less that the Sierra Club or even the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

The media has always white-washed Tauscher and given her favorable treatment. Ten years ago, I wrote about a Washington Post puff piece on her.
Eilperin and Grunwald have written an inherently dishonest piece-- pure Inside-the-Beltway ass-kissery for the powers-that-be. Reading their whitewash you would never know that Tauscher recruited and pushed a pro-corporate, anti-grassroots shill to run against Democratic grassroots hero Jerry McNerney, only that she's being victimized by some left wing bullies for being a hard-working "moderate." From Eilperin and Grunwald a reader would reasonably conclude that Tauscher had merely "supported McNerney's centrist opponent in his primary, to the disgust of the Net roots." Not a word about the Tauscher-inspired financing that nearly caused McNerney to have to spend all his non-corporate, grassroots money in the primary, endangering his bid to oust the hated Pombo.

And every time Eilperin and Grunwald vomit out "moderate," as though the 135 House Dems with more progressive voting records than her are not moderates, but extreme leftists and dangerous communists, my skin crawls. Only reactionary Democrats have voted more frequently with the Republican extremists on substantive issues than Tauscher has, yet in the Post they phrase it a little differently: "Since 2003 she has voted with her party more than 90 percent of the time. This year, she has marched in lock step with Pelosi. But to Net-roots sites such as Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Crooks and Liars, she's Lieberman in a pantsuit. 'I don't think it's a fair comparison,' Tauscher said. 'My colleagues look at this and say, "If they're going after Ellen Tauscher, holy moly!'" Yeah, holy moly! What's next? Will someone challenge Jim Marshall or John Barrow or David Scott, 3 Georgia Democrats who spend an awful lot of time voting with Republicans?

…This oversimplification to the point of willful distortion is a perfect example of how the Eilperin and Grunwald have delivered for Tauscher today. The Democratic grassroots' dismay with Tauscher is not about "a vote" in 2002 for Bush's Iraq War. Between October 10, 2002 and May 25, 2005, the House voted on 44 Iraq War bills. Tauscher's Iraq voting record is one of the worst of any Democrat's, and far from being in "lockstep" with Nancy Pelosi's, as Eilperin and Grunwald deceitfully attempt to convey. Starting on October 10, 2002 with Roll Call 454 on H.J. Res. 114, the final resolution authorizing Bush to use force against Iraq, Tauscher didn't vote with Nancy Pelosi and other progressive Democrats-- and the majority of Democrats in the House; she voted with Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt and the worst reactionary, warmongering scum in the Congress to give Bush the authority to do what he's done in Iraq. Bad enough to remove Tauscher? Absolutely. But that was just the beginning. Since then she voted with the right-wingers 13 more times to carry out Bush's war policies.
As one of McNerney’s top campaign staffers in 2006 told me yesterday, "Tauscher’s backing a former Republican against McNerney in 2006 almost saved Pombo's hide." Like me, he’s very wary of her current efforts. A former investment banker at Bear Stearns and Drexel Burnham Lambert, Tauscher is now on a number of corporate boards, like Southern California Edison, and, unfortunately, a few weeks ago Jerry Brown appointed the former Ready For Hillary corporate shill to the University of California Board of Regents. While she served in Congress, she was a virulent anti-progressive on every possible level, including, of course, policy. She worked with the Republicans to gut the estate tax and to screw consumers with a reactionary bankruptcy law written by credit card company lobbyists. She was also a bug proponent of NAFTA and every other unfair trade policy that helped wreck the Democratic Party brand and impoverish working families. A long-time war-monger, she voted against most Democrats to back Bush’s attack on Iraq. But she’s pro-Choice and pro-gay, so she can pass herself off as a "liberal," which is patently absurd... and dangerous to the serious efforts going on to win these seats and swap out conservatives for actual progressives.

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The Anti-Medicaid Bomb in the Republican "Health Care" Bill


Tom Toles/Washington Post (source)

by Gaius Publius

Just one more note on the Senate "health care" bill, to add to the information you're already reading. Via Robert Reich, the bill's real aim is the destruction of Medicaid (see explanation below), one of the three great social programs passed by FDR and his fervent New Deal acolyte, LBJ.

There's a trick with the Medicaid death trap though — most of the destruction is timed to occur after the CBO's 10-year analysis window, which means it's not going to show up when the CBO scores the bill.

Will Americans be fooled? Who knows? Will Republicans think Americans will be fooled? Likely.

Here's Reich on that (h/t Naked Capitalism; source; emphasis mine):
The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid

Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly.

It’s done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office.

Here’s how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation.

But there’s a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.

Which means that after 2025, Medicaid will cover less and less of the costs of health care for the poor and elderly.

Over time, that gap becomes huge. The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that just between 2025 and 2035, about $467 billion less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

So millions of Americans will lose the Medicaid coverage they would have received under the 1965 Medicaid act. Over the long term, Medicaid will unravel.
Note that date — after 2025. That means that the bulk of the damage will occur outside the 10-year window of the Congressional Budget Office's typical analysis.

Reich again:
Does anyone now know this time bomb is buried in this bill?

It doesn’t seem so. McConnell won’t even hold hearings on it.

Next week the Congressional Budget Office will publish its analysis of the bill. CBO reports on major bills like this are widely disseminated in the media. The CBO’s belated conclusion that the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health care prompted even Donald Trump to call it “mean, mean, mean.”

But because the CBO’s estimates of the consequences of bills are typically limited to 10 years (in this case, 2018 to 2028), the CBO’s analysis of the Senate Republican bill will dramatically underestimate how many people will be knocked off Medicaid over the long term.

Which is exactly what Mitch McConnell has planned. This way, the public won’t be tipped off to the Medicaid unraveling hidden inside the bill.
The long-term goal? To entirely delete the New Deal from U.S. social policy. This is step one:
For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine America’s three core social insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The three constitute the major legacies of the Democrats, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular.

Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues think they’ve found a way to unravel Medicaid without anyone noticing.

Don’t be fooled. Spread the word.
The wicked plan might just work.

The Neoliberal Republican End Game

Have you ever wondered what will happen in this country if right-wing neoliberalism ("free market economics" in its most aggressive form) ever succeeds absolutely?

Imagine repealing... a single two- to four-year span. Would the country not tip into chaos of the most unimaginable sort at that point?

And would Paul Ryan care? There's a word for behavior like this, and it applies perfectly.

I personally think Republicans like Paul Ryan would sacrifice any Republican chance of holding office for a generation if they could accomplish that transformation. Once destroyed, the New Deal government, as degraded as it has become, would never ever be rebuilt, even in the lifetime of the last person born tomorrow were she to live to the age of ninety, even if the Democrats achieved the kind of Congress and mandate Obama enjoyed in 2009.

The New Deal would fall to the floor of the historical past, never to rise in this country again.

And every Republican who helped pull off this coup, if they could do it, would be so richly rewarded by the Kochs of the world, they'd never need to work for a living again. They could float to their graves on Thank You money, enjoying government-paid health care right till their final breath.

Will they succeed? Who knows? But they're giving it their very best shot, and they have the votes in the Senate if they can get the Susan Collins of the world ("I vote Republican, but only when it matters" ) to cast them.

Will Democrats succeed in blocking them? They had better be giving it their very best effort. The next "designated Democratic villain" to step out of line — looking at you, Manchin and Heitkamp, McCaskill and Coons — might just be signing the death warrant for the entire rest of the Party as she does it.


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Screw Mitch And The Turtle He Rode In On


Sometimes people ask me to put them on the Blue America mailing list. I don’t know how-- literally; no idea. The only way I know to get on the list is to contribute-- even if just one dollar-- to any of the candidates on any of our endorsement lists-- like this one for the House or this one for the Senate or this one for worthy incumbents or this one for primarying Blue Dogs… or this one to send Paul Ryan back to the weinermobile. There are others too… always fun to come up with new pages. Anyway, pick a page, pick a candidate, give a buck-- or 20 bucks or 1,000 bucks and you’re automatically on the mailing list. And if you were yesterday, you would have gotten this e-mail from Blue America by Digby, albeit with a slightly more family-friendly subject line.

“We are living,” she began in way of introduction, “in a Dickens novel come to life: Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are planning to steal our tax money. Money that sick children, disabled adults and nursing home patients need in order to stay alive-- only to brazenly distribute it all among Eric, Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared Kusher and their investor class friends. They have no shame. They have no hearts. This has to stop. Can you pitch in something for our candidates, to help them get into Congress where legislative resistance can occur? And then she went after that fucking Turtle and his cronies.

Another week in Trump's America and it just gets worse and worse. Everyone said that when the atrocity known as Trumpcare was barely passed in the House that we shouldn't worry. "They'll fix it in the Senate" they said. Well, they didn't. They tweaked it a little bit in some ways, but overall they made it worse. This week they're planning to vote on it and then skip town before anyone has a chance to chase them down the halls of Congress holding pitchforks and torches.

If they get that done when they return from the 4th of July break they may skip the usual conference committee to reconcile the two bills, quickly pass the very similar Senate version through the House and then get ready to play their roles as props in the the greatest show on earth: the Oval Office in which President Trump will bask in the glow of his greatest success so far-- enacting the cruelest piece of legislation in modern memory.

By all accounts that's Mitch McConnell's plan anyway. At this moment there are still a number of possible choke points. The so-called “moderates” who will have to face voters are nervous, but they're known for their cowardice so it's highly likely they will accept some superficial changes and then rush before the cameras to defend the lie that it's been substantially "improved" from being monstrous and evil to simply malevolent and brutal. Counting on them to stop this heinous disgrace of a "health care" bill is a fools errand.

It's much better to look to the ruthless sadism of the far right and "libertarians" such as Rand Paul and Mike Lee. They are known for their refusal to take for an answer when offered the opportunity to rip holes in the safety net because they demand its total destruction all at once. Unfortunately, counting on them would require one more wingnut vote in the Senate, probably Ron Johnson from Wisconsin or Ted Cruz from Texas. Johnson is the most "intellectually limited" man in the chamber so it's a totally random shot with him. Cruz is well... Cruz. He will be the hero who votes for it unless it won't pass anyway at which point he will join the "rebels" and pretend he was their leader.

If it does pass the Senate they will have to go home next week and face their constituents before a final vote. It's not going to be pretty. If you saw the appalling footage of the disabled protesters in front of Mitch McConnell's office being pulled out of their wheelchairs and dragged down the hall by police you know what it's going to look like. This is what it's come to.

The stark fact of the matter is that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and virtually every member of the Republican Congress are trying to pass a bill that will literally result in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, bankruptcy for many more and suffering for millions. And why are they doing this? They want to get their hands on 800 billion dollars that funds Obamacare, so that for the first time since 1986 they can give permanent, retroactive tax cuts to the likes of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Because when you get down to it, that’s all they care about.

The Democrats are unified in opposition, thank God. (As you well know that's not always a given...) And activists around the country are gearing up for energetic protests over the next few weeks. We'll see what happens.

But if this week has shown us anything it's that it's vitally urgent that the Democrats take back the House in 2018.

If the Democratic Senators can hold their seats and pick off a couple of Republicans all the better. But it's imperative that we stop Ryan and McConnell. They are so drunk with power, they are now trying to enact bills that will literally kill people with no other purpose than to pass out money to rich people.

You know what to do. If you can, over the next couple of weeks contact your Indivisible, Our Revolution, Move On or whatever groups with whom you are involved to find out where they are planning to protest in your area. Call your Republican Senators and congressional reps and remind them that lives are on the line.

And please, contribute what you can to good candidates for congress like those Blue America has endorsed for 2018. We simply have got to stop these obsessed, bloodthirsty Republicans and their cretinous imbecile of a leader before it's too late.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Many Trump Supporters Would Rather See Their Families Die Than See The Policies Of A Black President That Help Them Succeed?


That was my favorite tweet yesterday and I have to admit that I almost wish he gets his way. Almost. I don’t want to wish death on anyone, not even a vicious, racist Trump moron. Unless you define anyone who voted for Trump as a moron-- not an unreasonable conclusion to jump to-- you have to admit that not all Trump voters are morons. Racists, perhaps but not morons. Some are college graduates with good jobs in complicated fields. Although a friend of mine told me the other day that he was picked up by a black Uber driver with a MAGA cap who ranted and raved like a maniac for the whole trip about the greatness of his idol.

Nick Harwood, reporting for CNBC, wrote last week about a study that shows that racism was a bigger factor for the Trump electorate-- except that Uber driver-- than issues like faire trade. If that shocks you… have you met any of them?
A broad-based group of analysts conducted the study with support from the Democracy Fund. Emily Ekins of the libertarian Cato Institute identified five distinct groups of Trump voters.

Most of them are consistent Republicans. The least loyal Republican group, which formed the core of Trump's support for the nomination from the beginning, is what Ekins calls "American Preservationists." [a nicer word than racists]

She described this segment-- about 20 percent of Trump backers overall-- as having relatively low levels of income and formal education. They are the most likely Republican group to be on Medicaid and to be disabled.

These voters lean left on economic issues such as trade, income inequality, anger at Wall Street and support for federal entitlement programs. For those reasons, Trump's rhetoric about protecting entitlement programs and raising taxes on the rich offered a natural fit.
When people talk about Trump voters with 2-digit IQs, this is part of the bunch they’re talking about. I know one personally. These vile, contemptible, sub-human racist slobs “American Preservationists” were willing to let everything else slide-- like the imbecile in the tweet up top-- in return for a wall to, in their simple minds, would keep out the Mex’cans.
They "have a strong sense of their own racial identity… and believe that anti-white discrimination is as pervasive as other forms of discrimination," Ekins wrote. "They have cooler feelings toward minorities. They agree in overwhelming numbers that real Americans need to have been born in America, or have lived here most of their lives, and be Christian."

And the study found that those views of racial solidarity helped propel Trump's general election victory more than his "populism" on trade or entitlements. [In other words, they don’t care that he lied about not cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and long as he sticks it to the colored folks.]

"What stands out most," concluded George Washington University political scientist John Sides, "is the attitudes that became more strongly related to the vote in 2016: attitudes about immigration, feelings toward black people and feelings toward Muslims."

As president, Trump has reflected their attitudes through a series of actions. His administration has toughened immigration enforcement, pursued his travel ban targeted at six majority-Muslim nations, and targeted Obama administration initiatives designed to change law enforcement and sentencing practices.

Though five months of controversy have eroded the president's public standing, polls show Trump retains backing from roughly 8 in 10 Republicans. What's unclear now is whether a direct hit from health-care legislation could trigger accelerated fallout among his base of white working-class support.

In the swing states Trump carried, those voters gained health insurance coverage in large numbers from Obamacare. They included 376,000 whites without college degrees in Ohio, 355,000 in Michigan, and 242,000 in Pennsylvania, according to an Urban Institute analysis.

Trump states such as Kentucky (279,000), Arkansas (128,000) West Virginia (119,000), also reduced the proportion of noncollege whites without health insurance by 47 percent or more. All have Republican senators who have wavered on the legislation.

Yet few doubt that Trump will sign whatever health bill House and Senate Republicans agree on-- and count on his ability to hold his core supporters. The same is true of forthcoming tax-reform legislation, which from all available indications will confer disproportionate benefits on the wealthiest Americans.

"I'm not sure they will punish him," said Sides. The economy is currently healthy, insurance cutbacks will take years to phase in, and Trump's emotional bond with those voters has been strong.

Republican House members and some senators, however, must face voters in 2018, two years before Trump does. An economic downturn could upset their calculus.
Including an economic downturn in their own households if TrumpCare passes and gets signed into law. No one knows how toxic Trump and Ryan will be in the 2018 midterms, but everyone is eager to find out. If there was no DCCC botching up the Democrats' chances of winning seats, the disaffection and resulting swing away from the GOP we saw in the special elections indicate as many as 70-something Republican incumbents going down. With the DCCC doing there thing... we'll be lucky to see the bare 24 needed for a House power-switch. Very lucky.

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Was It The Lobotomizing Of Conservative Intellectualism That Guaranteed The Rise Of Trumpy-The-Clown?


The end of the GOP?

Friday, writing for The Atlantic, former Bush staffer David Frum noted the “mounting evidence” that Putin inflicted Trump on us by putting him into the White House and asked a poignant question for all Americans: What Happens When A Presidency Loses Its Legitimacy?. For many millions of Americans, perhaps most Americans, that’s already happened. Frum points to a n”thick cloud of discredit over the Trump presidency” that grows darker by the day and reminded his readers that, unaware he was being taped, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted his his members that Trump is on Putin’s payroll.
It’s not seriously disputed by anyone in a position of authority in the U.S. government-- apart from the president himself-- that Donald Trump holds his high office in considerable part because a foreign spy agency helped place him there. So now what?

…The U.S. government is already osmotically working around the presidency, a process enabled by the president’s visible distaste for the work of governance. The National Security Council staff is increasingly a double-headed institution, a zone of struggle between Kushner-Flynn-Bannon types on one side, and a growing staff of capable, experienced, and Russia-skeptical functionaries on the other. The Senate has voted 97-2 to restrict the president’s authority to relax Russia sanctions. It seems the president has been persuaded to take himself out of the chain of command in the escalating military operations in Afghanistan. National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently assured the nation that Trump could not have done much harm when he blabbed a vital secret to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office, precisely because the president was not briefed on crucial “sources and methods” information.

In their way, these workarounds are almost as dangerous to the American system of government as the Trump presidency itself. They tend to reduce the president to the status of an absentee emperor while promoting his subordinates into shoguns who exercise power in his name. Maybe that is the least-bad practicable solution to the unprecedented threat of a presidency-under-suspicion. But what a terrible price for the failure of so many American institutions-- not least the voters!-- to protect the country in 2016 from Russia’s attack on its election and its democracy.
I don’t think he was responding to Frum yesterday, but Bruce Bartlett, another former Republican staffer-- this one for Reagan and then Bush’s father-- wrote in Politico that he only endorsed Trump-- and voted for him in the primary-- last year because he “thought he would lose to Hillary Clinton, disastrously, and that his defeat would cleanse the Republican Party of the extremism and nuttiness that drove me out of it. I had hoped that post-2016, what remained of the moderate wing of the GOP would reassert itself as it did after the Goldwater debacle in 1964, and exorcise the crazies.” But that’s not what happened. Instead, the crazies are in running the GOP asylum.
Almost everything that has happened since November 8 has been the inverse of what I’d imagined. Trump didn’t lose; he won. The Republican Party isn’t undergoing some sort of reckoning over what it believes; his branch of the Republican Party has taken control. Most troubling, perhaps, is that rather than reassert themselves, the moderate Republicans have almost all rolled over entirely.

Trump has turned out to be far, far worse than I imagined. He has instituted policies so right wing they make Ronald Reagan, for whom I worked, look like a liberal Democrat. He has appointed staff people far to the right of the Republican mainstream in many positions, and they are instituting policies that are frighteningly extreme. Environmental Protection Administration Administrator Scott Pruitt proudly denies the existence of climate change, and is doing his best to implement every item Big Oil has had on its wish list since the agency was established by Richard Nixon. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is actively hostile to the very concept of public education and is doing her best to abolish it. Every day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions institutes some new policy to take incarceration and law enforcement back to the Dark Ages. Trump’s proposed budget would eviscerate the social safety net for the sole purpose of giving huge tax cuts to the ultrawealthy.

And if those policies weren’t enough, conservatives-- who, after all, believe in liberty and a system of checks and balances to restrain the government to its proper role-- have plenty of reason to be upset by those actions Trump has taken that transcend our traditional right-left ideological divide. He’s voiced not only skepticism of NATO, but outright hostility to it. He’s pulled America back from its role as an international advocate for human rights. He’s attacked the notion of an independent judiciary. He personally intervened to request the FBI to ease up on its investigation of a former adviser of his, then fired FBI Director James Comey and freely admitted he did so to alleviate the pressure he felt from Comey’s investigation. For those conservatives who were tempted to embrace a “wait-and-see” approach to Trump, what they’ve seen, time and again, is almost unimaginable.

And yet as surprising as this all has been, it’s also the natural outgrowth of 30 years of Republican pandering to the lowest common denominator in American politics. Trump is what happens when a political party abandons ideas, demonizes intellectuals, degrades politics and simply pursues power for the sake of power.

…Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 after nationalizing the election into broad themes and catchphrases. Newt Gingrich, the marshal of these efforts, even released a list of words Republican candidates should use to glorify themselves (common sense, prosperity, empower) and hammer their opponents (liberal, pathetic, traitors); soon, every Republican in Congress spoke the same language, using words carefully run through focus groups by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Budgets for House committees were cut, bleeding away policy experts, and GOP committee chairs were selected based on loyalty to the party and how much money they could raise. Gone were the days when members were incentivized to speak with nuance, or hone a policy expertise (especially as committee chairs could now serve for only six years). In power, Republicans decided they didn’t need any more research or analysis; they had their agenda, and just needed to get it enacted. Only a Democratic president stood in their way, and so 100 percent of Republicans’ efforts went into attempting to oust or weaken Bill Clinton and, when that failed, elect a Republican president who would do nothing but sign into law bills passed by the GOP Congress.

…Republican policy analysis and research have virtually disappeared altogether, replaced with sound bites and talking points. The Heritage Foundation morphed into Heritage Action for America, ceasing to do any real research and losing all its best policy experts as it transformed from an august center whose focus was the study and development of public policy into one devoted mainly to amplifying political campaign slogans. Talk radio and Fox News, where no idea too complicated for a mind with a sixth-grade education is ever heard, became the tail wagging the conservative dog. Conservative magazines like National Review, which once boasted world-class intellectuals such as James Burnham and Russell Kirk among its columnists, jumped on the bandwagon, dumbing itself down to appeal to the common man, who is deemed to be the font of all wisdom. (For example, the magazine abandoned the ecumenical approach to immigration of Reagan, who granted amnesty to undocumented immigrants in 1986, to a rigid anti-immigrant policy largely indistinguishable from the one Trump ran on.)

One real-world result of the lobotomizing of conservative intellectualism is that when forced to produce a replacement for Obamacare-- something Republican leaders had sworn they had in their pocket for eight years-- there was nothing. Not just no legislation-- no workable concept that adhered to the many promises Republicans had made, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and the assurance that nobody would lose their coverage. You’d think that House Speaker Ryan could have found a staff slot for one person to be working on an actual Obamacare replacement all these years, just in case.

With hindsight, it’s no surprise that the glorification of anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism that has been rampant on the right at least since the election of Barack Obama would give rise to someone like Trump. Anyone who ever read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, which imagined a fascist dictator taking power in 1930s America, recognizes that Trump is the real-life embodiment of Senator Buzz Windrip-- a know-nothing populist who becomes president by promising something for everyone, with no clue or concern for how to actually accomplish it. Windrip was “vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic,” Lewis wrote. “Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only the wings of a windmill.”

…Having so badly miscalled the 2016 election, I’m not going out on a limb here and predicting a 1974-style defeat for GOP members of Congress next year, and I am fully aware that Democrats are always capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. But the preconditions are falling into place for a political transformation between 2018 and 2020 that could result in the type of defeat that I think is necessary for my old party and the conservative movement to rebuild themselves from the ground up.

Ideally, I’d like to see an intellectual revival on the right such as we saw after the Goldwater defeat and the Watergate debacle. Freed from the stultifying strictures and kowtowing to know-nothing Trumpian populists-- perhaps building on new outlets and institutions that celebrate intellectual rigor and reject shallow sound bites-- a few conservative thinkers can plow a path toward sane, responsible conservative governance, just as people like Irving Kristol and Jack Kemp did during the Carter years. (Some conservative thinkers, such as the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, speculate that Mitt Romney may emerge as the leader of a sane, modern, technocratic wing of an intellectually revitalized GOP.) If a leader doesn’t emerge, moderate Republicans-- many of whom did not and will not support Trump-- could be lost to the Democratic Party for good.
God forbid! Although the Rahm Emanuels, Steny Hoyers, Chuck Schumers, Joe Crowleys, Cheri Bustoses and Wasserman Schultzes-- that whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- would gladly welcome them into the hierarchy of the party, they Democratic Party brand is tarnished enough without taking in the conservative dregs of an increasingly fascist GOP.

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I Hear Frederick Douglas Is Doing Great Things With Healthcare


-by Noah

Well, it’s out. The mangy, one-eyed, 3-legged cat is out of the bag. We have now seen Trumpcare, AKA the Republican Party’s “healthcare” plan. It may go down as Trump’s biggest bait and switch ever. It’s pay more for worse insurance and while we’re at it, we’re cutting Medicaid and redistributing the wealth of American citizens upward, bigly. You didn’t really think Trump was going to give us something that didn’t increase the flow of cash to his own pockets, did you? This thing kinda sounds like Russia’s post-revolution Communist Party back when party members took all the power and money and created a poverty class for everyone else. Trumpcare is, as Bernie Sanders said, “what oligarchy is all about.”

Republicans are calling it the AHCA, short for American Health Care Act. That name follows the proud tradition of Republicans calling their legislation the exact opposite of what it really is. Who can forget some of the Republican Party’s biggest (or biggliest) legislative hits on America from the past. Remember Dubya’s “Healthy Forests Act” that was designed to let timber companies clear-cut our nation’s forests?

May I suggest a better name for the lovechild of a 3-way between Messrs Ryan, McConnell, and Trump? How about the AHTA, the American Healthcare Terrorism Act? It has a ring to it. It’s much more accurate in what it does for or should I say, to, the average American citizen. The Republican Party plan is for Americans to live in absolute terror and fear of contracting a serious, even life-threatening illness and not being able to do a damn thing about it. Got a child who depends on you? Too bad. Got a child who has cancer? Too bad. Ain’t no skin off of Trump’s fat ass. This plan has the stench of Mitch McConnell’s corruption all over it. Paul Ryan? His psychotic smirk is permanent now, like the Batman Joker’s smile.

But, first things first: This Trumpcare bill is not even a healthcare bill. If you understand one thing at all about it, it’s that calling it a healthcare bill is just a marketing ploy. The truth is that it is not designed to alleviate the healthcare situations in our country. No matter what our politicians and our media call it, this Republican Party bill is really a bill designed to handout welfare to multi-millionaires, billionaires, Big Pharma, insurance companies, and other corporations, and, by doing so, create a campaign slush fund for Republican Party politicians.

It could not be more obvious that the biggest, most cynical, and most devious purpose of Trumpcare is this: Just as Republicans put the fix in on congressional districts with their devious and precedent-breaking extreme gerrymandering, they are presenting a bill which will provide them with an additional source of untold amounts of money that they intend to use to guarantee their re-election. Portions of the money handed out in the form of tax cuts will, with out a doubt, slide back to campaign coffers and be handed out as checks before votes in the House and Senate. This is nothing new, but we will see more of it. They call such things “campaign contributions.”

If and when Donald Trump signs this bill into law, you will not be wrong in thinking that each Republican lawn sign or TV commercial that you see represents what would have been a life-saving check-up, medical treatment, or nursing home stay for someone in your family. Ladies and gents: This is today’s Republican Party.

Here are some of the details of what this evil insults and assaults us with:
Like the House version of Trumpcare, the Senate version will force approximately 23 Million Americans out of insurance.
The Senate version of Trumpcare cuts $800 Billion in Medicaid funding. That’s more than twice the amount in the House version that Trump, Ryan, and Republican Party members famously celebrated in the Rose Garden back in May.
The Senate version reduces Obamacare subsidies, making it harder for citizens to afford an insurance plan.
The Senate version allows states to refuse essential health benefit requirements. That includes maternity care, disability help, prescription help, and, mental health treatment, and more. Obamacare stated that this coverage could not be denied. So, where’s the healthcare?
The bill replaces Obamacare mandates to buy insurance with tax credits. The bill’s tax credit math is based on lower quality insurance. Talk about the devil being in the details!
The Senate version defunds Planned Parenthood for 1 year, essentially ending it. Hey, that’s where most American women get their screening for uterine and breast cancer, often because it’s the only place in their area that provides the services, but who cares? The plan was drawn up by a distinguished panel of male Senators. Potentially millions of American women will die in the ensuing years. So, how does that make Ryan, McConnell and Trump any different than, say, Ted Bundy or Richard Speck? That’s really the perspective we should view this with.

Hell, as an aside, if you’ve got a young male relative with cancer? Think of the same three and their troops as a battalion of Jeffrey Dahmers. the result of the actions is the same, except Republicans are dreaming of doing it on a much, much, much larger scale. Some mass-murderers never get arrested. You can kill more people with a knife or a gun.Those who vote for such people are, at the very least, their accomplices.
Contrary to Trump’s campaign promises of lower premiums, lower deductibles, saving Medicaid, and providing insurance coverage for all, Trumpcare sticks us with higher premiums, higher deductibles, and, higher co-pays, and fewer people insured. That’s why the pathological lying president is called Don The Con. Thursday, he tweeted “I am very supportive of the Senate #HealthCare bill.”

In short, the new McConnell $enate campaign slush fund bill is the same, in most ways, as the one that Paul “Crazy Eyes” Ryan jammed through the House of so-called Representatives in May, and, worse in others. If the depraved Ryan, a true American terrorist, was losing sleep over the possibility of a jackass like Mitch McConnell diluting his sociopathic dream, he need not have worried. The bottom line is still there. Millions of Americans will get sicker and have more miserable lives. Millions of Americans will die because they can’t afford to get their cancer treated, their diabetes treated, their staff infections treated, their opioid addictions treated, etc.

The Republican Party, which markets themselves as “pro-life,” will be, once again, celebrating and high-fiving in the Rose Garden (or perhaps some gala ball) as they pull the plug on babies born too soon or born in need of special, costly medical attention. At the other end of the age spectrum, the Republican Party’s Medicaid cuts will result in the dual dagger of denying the elderly the services they need to stay either in their homes, or, go to a nursing home or assisted living facility. In between, you get the fear and misery of untreated illness. Pro-life? Not at all. This bill is Republican porn. It’s barbaric. It’s a true death panel. It’s the product of the Republican culture of death. It’s a snuff film that will give many Republicans the first orgasm they’ve ever had.

There are two huge moving parts in the Republican Party’s so-called healthcare bill that require more discussion because the republican plan pays for one with the other: the two parts are the $600 Billion tax cut for the wealthy and the $800 Billion in Medicaid cuts. The whole thing is not only the construction of a mega campaign slush fund, but, an absurd, barely hidden transfer of wealth upward at the expense of the health of American citizens.

The $600 Billion in tax cuts are for those that make over $1 million a year. I guess they really need the money. Republicans constantly argue that, because of the national deficit, we can’t afford to have healthcare even along the lines of the flawed Obamacare let alone a single payer system or a similar system like the rest of the major industrial countries of the world. So, what is their solution? It’s taking away healthcare rather than not give out the tax cuts. Therein lies the lie right there. The motives behind this bill have nothing to do with healthcare. Logic says that if the deficit is the problem, we shouldn’t even be talking about cutting tax revenues that come in from taxing the wealthy and well-to-do. We should be increasing their taxes.

The $800 billion cuts out of Medicaid, the largest insurance provider, will affect 75 million Americans. That’s also more than twice as much as the already cruel House version. Got an elderly relative in a nursing home? Disabled? Too bad, say the sickos Ryan, McConnell and Trump.

On Thursday 43 disabled Americans were arrested outside of McConnell’s office. If he was there, you can bet McConnell was laughing. Remember, in the days before ramps for the disabled became law, it was the righties that went out of their way to oppose them, often on the grounds of their issues with “government regulation.” Can we be surprised then that the Republican Party nominated and supports a president who mocks the disabled while those who voted for him laughed? Republicans still deny it ever happened.

Speaking of things on film, here is Paul Ryan openly and proudly admitting dreaming of inflicting this misery since his college days as a drunken frat boy. He talks about cutting Medicaid, block granting it to the states, and capping it, as if the states can possibly be equipped or expected to deal with it. That will force states to cut services. More than likely, the chaos that will ensue will result in the end of Medicaid altogether. There’s a long-range planner for you. That’s what this sociopath, make that psychopath, sees in his dreams. He even says he’s unconcerned about the pain. It’s totally Ayn Rand-ian. He also fails to mention that history shows that putting burdensome things on the individual states eventually causes burdens that result in higher property taxes. Hmmm, who can least afford that?

What isn’t being talked about much in all the furor over the Medicaid cuts are that the vast majority of them don’t start for three years. Howie mentioned this in his post on Thursday. Pretty sneaky. You see, the Republican Party is hoping to slip by the 2020 elections and stay in power in order to wreck more havoc while enriching themselves and their benefactors. They know cutting Medicaid is unpopular and they know it hurts tens of millions of Americans. Still, they don’t give a damn. They are thinking longer term than just a couple of years from today. Their plan for Medicaid gets even worse as the years go on. So do our lives. But, not too worry, they’ll get their “perks.” The slush fund they are creating for themselves out of money that should go for our health and well-being trumps the needs of the working and middle classes. We’ve always had class warfare of one sort or another in this country but this is a full-blown 21st century Civil War.

Trumpcare. There’s so much irony and lies in calling it that. This bill could be signed into law by the most severely mentally ill president this country has ever had by July 4th. If so, republicans will be celebrating something other than Independence Day.

By the way, this Trumpcare bill exempts the Senate and the House. They get to keep the plan they already have; the one we pay for. Senator Elizabeth Warren (which Howie embedded this morning but which is worth looking at again; just below) calls the bill blood money. It is. It exchanges American lives for tax cuts. It’s written by blood sucking leeches; the worst parasites our nation has to offer.

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