Monday Reads: There’s Evil Afoot!

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

The Senate is trying desperately to sneak through a repeal of the ACA and replace it with a plan that will leave the majority of pre-Medicare seniors with health insurances costs that are more than their incomes.  The Plan includes a raid on Medicare.

As many have noted, the GOP’s plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare will hit Trump voters hardest. It’s no mystery as to why. As the New York Times explained, “The Republican plan offers less assistance to older and lower income Americans, especially in rural areas.” Due to the lack of competition for insurers and health care providers, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) documented, 12 of the 15 states hardest hit by the AHCA’s shriveled tax credits are rural ones. Fourteen of the 15 voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016. And with the GOP’s plan to redirect $880 billion in Medicaid spending to tax cuts for the richest Americans, older Americans—especially those near the poverty line—will face catastrophic increases in premiums, rendering health insurance an impossible acquisition:

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Older, sicker people will be priced out of the market altogether.
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The millions losing Medicaid under the GOP plan would be unable to buy their own under the AHCA.

(It should be noted that these effects won’t be limited to those obtaining insurance through the individual or non-group market. As the Wall Street Journal (“GOP Health Bill Jeopardizes Out-of-Pocket Caps in Employer Plans”) and the Brookings Institution warned, “Allowing states to define ‘essential health benefits’ could weaken ACA protections against catastrophic costs for people with employer coverage nationwide.”)

Now, it should be said that the version of the AHCA Senate Republicans are contemplating may not be as disastrous as the draconian House bill. It is rumored that the phase-out of the Medicaid expansion may be extended to seven years. While maintaining the ability for states to waive Obamacare’s list of essential health benefits, a Senate bill may limit insurers ability to charge more to those with pre-existing conditions who let their coverage lapse. Regardless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is committed to getting a vote on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill before the August recess. As for Donald Trump, he’s “all in.”

Continue reading the analysis by Jon Perr at his DKOS Diary. He’s included a pretty decent round up of analysis from a variety of good sources.

Sarah Kliff–writing for Vox–believes that Obamacare is in ‘real danger’ from the Republican Senate led by Creepy Turtle Man. McConnell has been working on all the angles and rules that could create a health crisis for years ahead. As I mentioned on Friday, he’s severely limited discussion, not allowing modification, keeping the bill under wraps, and plans to force it through with the VEEP giving it 50 vote.  This on top of all the people that basically hate the idea of it all.  What will their constituents do next year?

Behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have worked out a path toward Obamacare repeal. The plans under discussion would end Medicaid expansion, causing millions of low-income Americans to lose health coverage. They may allow health insurance plans to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, too.

In other words: The emerging bill looks a whole lot like the unpopular bill the House passed last month. It creates the same group of winners (high-income, healthier people) and the same group of losers (low-income, sicker people).

The Republican plan is coming together because moderate senators are beginning to drop some of their initial repeal objections. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), for example, now back a plan to end the Medicaid expansion.

Both were ardent critics of the House bill’s deep Medicaid cuts, which would cause 14 million Americans who rely on the public program to lose coverage. Portman put out a harsh statement the day the House passed its health care bill.

“I’ve already made clear that I don’t support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio’s Medicaid expansion population,” Portman said plainly.

But now Portman has endorsed a plan to phase out the Medicaid expansion entirely, just to do so on a longer timeline than the House bill. Portman and Moore Capito want a seven-year phase out, rather than the House bill’s three-year off-ramp.

At the end of the day, though, phasing out Medicaid expansion over seven years has the same effect as three years: You end coverage for millions of low-income Americans.

There are still major issues that divide Senate Republicans on repeal. There is disagreement, for example, over how much to cut the Medicaid program and what kind of subsidies to give people in the private market. But the fact that Republicans are coalescing around ending Medicaid expansion — once thought to be a major sticking point — suggests the path to repeal may be easier to find than initial expectations.

 

The Senate GOP will not even release the draft of the bill despite seeking a vote on it shortly. Is stealth legislation the new normal?

Senate Republicans are on track to finish writing their draft health care bill this evening, but have no plans to publicly release the bill, according to two senior Senate GOP aides.

“We aren’t stupid,” said one of the aides. One issue is that Senate Republicans plan to keep talking about it after the draft is done: “We are still in discussions about what will be in the final product so it is premature to release any draft absent further member conversations and consensus.”

Why it matters: Democratic senators are already slamming Republicans for the secrecy of their bill writing process, and this isn’t going to help. Republicans are sure to release the bill at some point, but it’s unclear when — and they want to vote on it in the next three weeks, before the July 4 recess.

What to watch: When the bill is finished, it’ll be sent to the Congressional Budget Office. It’ll take CBO about two weeks to evaluate and score a draft bill. Senate Republicans then want to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess. “Conversations with CBO continue” but there are no new announcements about timing, said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked about these plans.

You know it’s pure evil since Lucifer is trying on a new hat.  Ted Cruz as Dealmaker? Seriously?

Cruz has been working to pass a health-care bill for several months. He set up a working group of conservatives and moderates, starting with Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, which later expanded to include party leaders. They met once a week for two months in Cruz’s conference room without the press catching wind of it — a point of pride for Cruz.

“The week after the election I brought my staff together,” he said, and told them they had a new mission. For the past four years, he told them, they had been fighting “a president with a radical agenda” and had focused on stopping bad things from happening as the loyal opposition.

The only good news in all of this is that the GOP seems seriously worried about losing the House of Representatives in 2018.  I’m pretty sure forcing through this abomination of policy in such a totally undemocratic manner will not help their cause.

Republicans are growing increasingly worried that they will lose the House of Representatives. The pervasive pessimism comes as there continues to be a dearth of legislative victories, and a toxic political environment that appears to be worsening. Of course, the midterm elections are nearly a year and a half away. But more than a dozen Republicans we’ve spoken to in the last few weeks say the prospect for political and legislative wins big and small is dimming. And as much as President Donald Trump has worked to woo over fellow Republicans with dinners at the White House and regular meetings with GOP leadership, it hasn’t had much of an impact on the overall state of play.

THE RANK AND FILE has been frustrated with the House committees, which have not produced a drumbeat of legislation to tout as victories. And the party is deeply split on health-care reform, a tax overhaul and infrastructure spending. Passing a budget to set the groundwork for tax reform is still seen as far off. And the congressional schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time to kick things into high gear. The House is in session for 13 more days and the Senate is in session for 14 more days before the July 4 recess. Not to mention, there’s serious concern in the GOP that there could be more revelations about President Donald Trump, and Robert Mueller’s investigation still remains the wild card. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifying Tuesday before the Senate Intel Committee is expected to just add more drama to distract from the GOP agenda into the mix.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? Republicans will be less willing to take risks as they shift into political survival mode.

Meanwhile, the Trump Circus of Grift continues to play the big tent.  Sessions will testify in an open committee hearing. Check the reporting of CNN’s Manu Raju here.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ letter on Saturday offering to testify before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday caught members of the panel by surprise, and senators are concerned he’s trying to avoid testifying publicly, a source familiar with the situation says.

The committee has not confirmed the Tuesday date for Sessions’ testimony and are still discussing whether to allow him to testify in open or closed session, or both, as former FBI Director James Comey did last week.

A number of members are concerned Sessions may be attempting to avoid testifying in public by scrapping his previously scheduled Senate and House Appropriations appearances this week, where he was expected to be grilled on issues related to the federal investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the US election, several sources say. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the panel, is among those concerned, a source says.

Ed Wexler / politicalcartoons.com

One final note on Trump which always leads me to a good hot shower to get off the scummy feeling that Orange Swamp Thing eminates.  Check out this WAPO headline:   ‘D.C. and Maryland sue President Trump, alleging breach of constitutional oath’.

Attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland sued President Trump on Monday, alleging that he has violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since moving into the White House.

The lawsuit, the first of its kind brought by government entities, centers on the fact that Trump chose to retain ownership of his company when he became president. Trump said in January that he was shifting his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

But D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) say Trump has broken many promises to keep separate his public duties and private business interests. For one, his son Eric Trump has said the president would continue to receive regular updates about his company’s financial health.

The lawsuit, a signed copy of which Racine and Frosh provided to The Washington Post on Sunday night, alleges “unprecedented constitutional violations” by Trump. The suit says Trump’s continued ownership of a global business empire has rendered the president “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors” and has undermined the integrity of the U.S. political system.

It’s like Trump’s the clown that runs around in circles trying to keep you from noticing the circus beats the elephants, starves the big cats, and lets the women fall out of sequin costumes as they spin to their deaths from badly serviced equipment.

So, that’s the bad news for this morning. I’m sure more is on its way. After all, we have Republicans and that means greed and bad ideas abound!

 

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

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50 Comments on “Monday Reads: There’s Evil Afoot!”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    The question for me is “why?”. What do they actually gain by cutting healthcare benefits to a vast swatch of citizens who depend on this assistance to be able to live?

    Does “feeding” the wealthy by having more money at the expense of others matter that much?
    How can they sit there day after day gloating over drastic measures that deny women, children, the disabled and the aged the dignity of existence by dancing on their graves? How can they look at themselves in the mirror and be convinced of the righteousness of their actions?

    It is beyond me to understand this mindset. Are they blind to the misery these measures will bring? How much more do these privileged people need to feel good about themselves? How much more can you possess before you feel satisfied?

    These cuts are draconian. How can you live life without feeling for others less fortunate? How can one stand by and deny healthcare to someone in need? Have we come this far to support a culture where not caring is the norm?

    Make America great again? How about making her care again for their fellow human beings instead of the bullshit they are tossing around and calling it “reform”?

    My heart is breaking at what we have become. Empty.

    • dakinikat says:

      They’re doing this so they can get a huge tax cut through. If they don’t have huge offsets, they won’t be able to legally pass their taxcuts. It’s the same damn thing done to Kansas by Brownback and Louisiana by Jindal which know has tanked their economies and ruined all forms of public services. It’s the Koch/Norquist agenda.

    • Mary Luke says:

      Yes they are blind to the misery they create. They are privileged people. Nobody gets to Congress or the Senate without a great deal of financial help. They owe their backers and they lack empathy.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Agree – it’s hard to believe people are that uncaring but there are plenty apparently, who think a ruling class and an underclass are the natural order of things. For them, the underclass represents those genetically inferior and degenerate, therefor responsible for
        their poverty and illnesses. These folks would be perfectly happy with a feudal system. Racism is a huge core tenet of this type of person. There’s a certain amount of glee now that people don’t have to be PC and hide this.

  2. dakinikat says:

    Everyone Needs To Read This List Of How Kindergarteners Reacted To ‘Wonder Woman’
    This is why movies like “Wonder Woman” are so important.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/everyone-needs-to-read-this-list-of-how-kindergarteners-reacted-to-wonder-woman_us_593ea132e4b02402687b2933?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    According to Jenkins’ tweet, her producer received the bulleted list from someone who works in a kindergarten class.

    “I work at a kindergarten and this is a collection of cute Wonder Woman related things that happened within a week of the movie being released,” the top of the list reads.

    “Cute” doesn’t even begin to describe the list ― insanely, aw-inducing adorable is more like it.

    The list includes 11 bullet points, all describing different interactions between kindergarteners about Wonder Woman and her awesome Amazonian powers.

    “There is one girl that refuses to listen to you unless you address her as Wonder Woman,” one of the points reads. Another (truly amazing) interaction included in the list reads: “A boy threw his candy wrapping in the floor and a 5-year-old girl screamed ‘DON’T POLLUTE YOU IDIOT, THAT IS WHY THERE ARE NO MEN IN TEMYSCIRA [sic].’”

    In the caption of her tweet, Jenkins wrote: “This makes every hard day worth it. Thank you to whomever wrote it!!”

    • dakinikat says:

      • NW Luna says:

        Tells us a lot about male/female roles in our current culture! The incessant day in, day out pressure of TV, radio, social media, ads, stereotypical clothes and products for females different than for males — how freeing it would be to not have those constraints on girls and women. To see powerful, brave, strong, confident girls and women as examples — it would be truly a new and better world.

  3. NW Luna says:

    Take a look at this graphic: part of the monstrous Trump hydra.

    • dakinikat says:

      He’s sort’ve representative of every thing wrong with American Capitalism. He really produces no value. He flips stuff and creates havoc.

  4. MsMass says:

    I started off my day by reading this about the Trump followers:
    https://www.thenation.com/article/trumpism-its-coming-from-the-suburbs/
    saying it’s not the rural poor as much as the petit-bourgeois.It reminds me of a person on Facebook who backed Trump- to undo Obamacare so they wouldn’t have to buy health insurance for the 11 employees of their landscape company. Hmm, they must have been successful to have 11 employees but probably paid 10 bucks/hour and didn’t want to provide any benefits.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah. That’s what they’re finding out. It’s the chick fillet owners, etc.

    • Fannie says:

      I had the pleasure of going up to a landscaping business, with the biggest smile ever. Walked in and they were all wearing their bright green shirts, etc. I looked at them all, and passed all the white bosses, and went to the Hispanic Man, and shook his hand, and told him that he did a great job, and I appreciate all that he has done to improve my lawns.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I have a neighbor exactly like this – a woman who once owned a business with her husband. She’s a retired widow now who bitches to this day about having had to contribute to SS, etc. for employees. She also bitches about how the bowling alley she went to closed down because they had to pay employees too much.

      Maybe people would bowl more if they had more discretionary income.

      • NW Luna says:

        “whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required”

        Not to mention: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Pity that so many Xians are not as compassionate as their god.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        But I’d bet the farm that she’s on Social Security and Medicare.

        • Enheduanna says:

          Oh sure. We are not wealthy in this neighborhood – I’d say it’s lower middle class at best.

          She also once flat told me she’s racist – that she can’t help it.

          Oddly I don’t hate her – she and I are the “cat ladies” of the neighborhood. She loves animals. But we aren’t good friends needless to say.

  5. MsMass says:

    Then when I’m feeling more positive that the Dems will trounce the R’s in 2018 because Trump is dragging them all down- what do I see but:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/11/bernie-sanders-lambasts-absolute-failure-of-democratic-partys-strategy. Holy shit, he must have got his orders from Putin to drag the D’s down , probably by promoting losing candidates in the McCarthy tradition ( although Bernie has some of his own more recent failures).
    When are the far left gonna realize Bernie is not their friend? He sure isn’t mine. Actually I want to say- fuck you Bernie!

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    This makes me so ill. I want it to stop.

  9. dakinikat says:

    BB wins the door prize!

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/secret-service-has-no-audio-recordings-or-transcripts-made-in-trump-white-house-1497291979

    The U.S. Secret Service has no audio copies or transcripts of any tapes recorded within President Donald Trump’s White House, the agency said on Monday.

    The agency’s response to a freedom of information request submitted by The Wall Street Journal doesn’t exclude the possibility that recordings could have been created by another entity.

    The Secret Service handled recording systems within the White House for past presidents, including Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

    The question of a White House recording system has lingered for more than a month since Mr. Trump first raised the possibility in a provocative tweet about former FBI Director James Comey.

    In recent days, the two men have offered differing accounts of whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey in private conversations within the White House complex to ease off the FBI’s probe of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

    On Friday, Mr. Trump kept the tapes mystery alive, telling reporters in the White House Rose Garden, “I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” He added, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.”

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. NW Luna says:

    Trump’s just about to nail himself if he fires Mueller. Unfortunately that will only prolong his ability to keep damaging the US before he gets hauled in.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Why the fuck weren’t we told about this before? Let me guess: Republicans.

    Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known

    In many states, the extent of the Russian infiltration remains unclear. [emphasis added] The federal government had no direct authority over state election systems, and some states offered limited cooperation. When then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last August that the department wanted to declare the systems as national critical infrastructure — a designation that gives the federal government broader powers to intervene — Republicans balked. Only after the election did the two sides eventually reach a deal to make the designation.

    According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election.

    While some inside the Obama administration pressed at the time to make the full scope of the Russian activity public, the White House was ultimately unwilling to risk public confidence in the election’s integrity, people familiar with those discussions said.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/russian-breach-of-39-states-threatens-future-u-s-elections

    • Enheduanna says:

      Unwilling to risk public confidence? That would have been nothing compared to how shaken our confidence is now – not only in the integrity of the elections, but in our system of checks and balances and our democracy itself.

      I do understand it must have been very difficult for Obama – we all thought Hillary was going to win. I’d like to see him advocate for election reform in his post-presidency. Take up a cause like Jimmy Carter did with Habitat for Humanity. He could address the need for paper ballot trails and issues of vote suppression in particular. Would go a long way to making up for the mistake.

    • roofingbird says:

      Ok, difficult, but this pissed me off.The state systems were being compromised and not the local precincts where Junie Christiana Whiteness was presiding? He has to protect the feelings of the USAns that their little voting systems might be in trouble and not call out the National Gaurd ? If repugnants are doing the gerrymandering, OF COURSE, nothing needs to be done locally! This was a defensible act of war, not time to some little call up Putin and whine on the phone..

      • NW Luna says:

        It was difficult, since the Rethugs would have howled murder, and didn’t want to do anything — but then, that makes me wonder how complicit they were. I’ve never liked Obama’s wanting to get along and reach across the aisle to negotiate by offering to give stuff away first. And why didn’t Dem senators speak up?

        Obama never wanted to get his knuckles bruised or raise his voice. I bet Putin just chuckled and downed another glass or two of vodka after talking with Obama. Putin is no gentleman.

        I do think Obama should take up the cause of voting system integrity and do some action after the fact at the damned least.

  13. NW Luna says:

    They are averaging out the costs, so there are likely some exceptions–with extremely bad odds for the average renter.

    Downsizing to a one-bedroom will only get you so far on minimum wage. Such housing is affordable in only 12 counties located in Arizona, Oregon and Washington states, according to the report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Creepy Turtle Man is now attacking the first amendment.

  15. dakinikat says: