Good Day Sky Dancers!
There are several story lines cooking their way to the news day. None of them are particularly uplifting which just about matches stuff I’ve been going through lately too. I wish I could give up adulting but Spring Break and Carnival have ended not that I could truly enjoy either with this ever lingering flu. I’m going to fill the pages today with imaginary creatures since I’ve pretty much had it with the real ones. They are from Danish Illustrator/Artist Kay Nielsen whose primary works are illustrations for Fairy Tales and are stylistically Art Deco but many have Asian influences. He is best known for doing the Bald Mountain Scene in Disney’s Fantasia.
Super Tuesday is tomorrow and we’re down two candidates today as Pete Buttigieg just bumped Tom Steyer out of the last man out of the race place. His race was historic no matter what you thought of his chances or his positions. From the AP:
He opened February by sharing victory with one of the Democratic Party’s best-known figures and ended it with a humbling defeat at the hands of another. Yet Pete Buttigieg’s unlikely path over the last 30 days exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations of his presidential ambitions, except perhaps his own.
The former mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, an openly gay 38-year-old whose name most voters still can’t pronounce, formally suspended his White House bid Sunday night. He did so acknowledging that he no longer had a viable path to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, even after finishing in the top four in each of the first four contests of the 2020 primary season.
“By every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all,” Buttigieg reminded his hometown crowd, which was disappointed and hopeful at the same time. The crowd interrupted his speech with chants of “2024.”
Buttigieg began the month effectively in a first-place tie with progressive powerhouse Bernie Sanders in Iowa’s presidential caucuses. The mayor made history as the first openly gay candidate to earn a presidential delegate, never mind becoming the first to finish on top in any presidential primary contest.
And now we hear Amy’s out and gone over to the Biden side via NYT.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who entered the Democratic presidential race with an appeal to moderate voters and offered herself as a candidate who could win in Midwestern swing states, has decided to quit the race and endorse a rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., according to a person close to Ms. Klobuchar.
Ms. Klobuchar will appear with Mr. Biden at his rally in Dallas Monday night. The decision comes one day after former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., departed the race, and after weeks of Democratic Party hand-wringing about a crowded field of moderate candidates splitting a finite field of centrist votes, allowing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to march forward unopposed among progressives and amass delegates.
What would year would it be without the Republicans trying to get rid of the old Republican cum American Enterprise Institute cum ChaffeyCare cum Dole cum Care/Romney care relabeled and passed as ObamaCare? The odd thing thing about this is that it will likely kill off their most ardent Trumperz which is why they’ve got it to the Supreme Court but the Court won’t actually here it until after the Election because, well, you know that’s what the Trumpist regime requested. I’m headed for Medicare about that time so my ObamaCare is safely in place until then but all I can say is that those of us with pre-existing conditions are evidently just supposed to die so they can get on with it. This is the headline from WAPO: “Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act”. written by Robert Barnes. It will also be a test of Republican Court Stacking efforts since they’ve managed to get another Religious Inquisitor on their Bench.
The Supreme Court will hear a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time at the request of Democratic-controlled states that are fighting a lower court decision that said the entire law must fall.
The court’s review will come in the term that begins in October, which would not leave time for a decision before the November presidential election. The law remains in effect during the legal challenges.
Democrats are eager to keep public attention on the fate of the act, sometimes called Obamacare, which has features voters value, such as required coverage for preexisting conditions. Health care is a leading concern, especially among Democratic voters, and many considered it a persuasive argument when the party won control of the House in 2018.
The House and Democratic-led states asked the court to review a decision last year by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
Hearing a challenge from Texas and other Republican-led states and backed by the Trump administration, the panel struck down the law’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance but sent back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the statute can stand without it. The lower court had said the entire law must fall.
The House told the Supreme Court that the 5th Circuit decision “poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of health-care markets throughout the country, casts considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation’s economy in unacceptable limbo.”
he House and Democratic states also have been eager to get the issue before the Supreme Court because the majority that has upheld the ACA in two previous challenges remains.
Texas is leading the efforts in voter suppression yet again. This is from the UK Guardian: “Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote. Guardian analysis finds that places where black and Latino population is growing by the largest numbers experienced the majority of closures and could benefit Republicans”
Long considered a Republican bastion, changing racial demographics in the state have caused leading Democrats to recast Texas as a potential swing state. Texas Democratic party official Manny Garcia has called it “the biggest battleground state in the country”.
The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Ongoing research by University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus indicates that people are less likely to vote if they have to travel farther to do so, and the effect is disproportionately greater for some groups of voters, such as Latinxs.
“The fact of the matter is that Texas is not a red state,” said Antonio Arellano of Jolt, a progressive Latino political organization. “Texas is a nonvoting state.”
On a local level, the changes can be stark. McLennan county, home to Waco, Texas, closed 44% of its polling places from 2012 to 2018, despite the fact that its population grew by more than 15,000 people during the same time period, with more than two-thirds of that growth coming from Black and Latinx residents.
In 2012, there was one polling place for every 4,000 residents. By 2018 that figure had dropped to one polling place per 7,700 residents. A 2019 paper by University of Houston political scientists found that after the county’s transition to vote centers, more voting locations were closed in Latinx neighborhoods than in non-Latinx neighborhoods, and that Latinx people had to travel farther to vote than non-Hispanic whites.
Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will hold nominating contests to pick who they think should square off this fall against likely GOP nominee President Trump.
There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates. So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated.
People will head to the polls all across the country, from Virginia to California, Tennessee to Texas. The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas.
And who’d have thunk it? The Taliban have already broken their “peace” agreement signed with the Trumpist Regime on Saturday via Agence France-Presse.
A deadly blast shattered a period of relative calm in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban ordered fighters to resume operations against Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal to usher in peace.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at a football ground in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, where three brothers were killed, officials told AFP.
The blast occurred around the same time the Taliban ordered fighters to recommence attacks against Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed and given Afghans a welcome taste of peace.
The partial truce between the US, the insurgents and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.
and the entire thing under the watchful eye of this guy which doesn’t seem to know about it even though French Journalists obviously do …
And, I want to go back to Fairy Tales again. I’m tired of this adulting stuff. This article in The Atlantic has just about done me in: “The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions. How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will.” by George Packer.
But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible
This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.
Read each of these stories please. Unfortunately, they are not fairy tales.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
After reading Boston Boomer’s post yesterday about all this…shit, it makes me even more disturbed.
I am not able to work my thoughts into words lately. Maybe it is the fact that nothing or no one will hold this nightmare accountable…and that we are this close to having a cancerous monstrosity of this administration appointed for a lifetime membership to the Supreme Court. Together with Gorsuch…Kavanaugh and the rest of the conservative members will change our lives as Americans. The impact will be fatal. In an all to literal sense. It will solidify tRump…he will get away with everything. (And this is not pushing it too far, would tRump even take it to announcing himself…president for life?) Would Kavanaugh just nod and say, sure…it is within his executive rights?
I’m tired of being Chicken Little, or a Cassandra…but nothing gives me hope.
Here’s a few links you may have missed:
This article was recommended by Sarah Kendzior:
Some more issues with Women’s Tennis:
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos managed to rob not one but two players in the women’s U.S. Open final. Nobody has ever seen anything like it: An umpire so wrecked a big occasion that both players, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams alike, wound up distraught with tears streaming down their faces during the trophy presentation and an incensed crowd screamed boos at the court. Ramos took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him.
Williams abused her racket, but Ramos did something far uglier: He abused his authority. Champions get heated — it’s their nature to burn. All good umpires in every sport understand that the heart of their job is to help temper the moment, to turn the dial down, not up, and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role in determining the outcome. Instead, Ramos made himself the chief player in the women’s final. He marred Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and one of Williams’s last bids for all-time greatness. Over what? A tone of voice. Male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalized as Williams was in the second set of the U.S. Open final.
We can only hope something good can come out of November:
And what about that plaid shirt guy?
And by the way:
Latest update on Florence:
17 years, is a long ass time!
Check out this tweet from Pasco Sheriff’s office…
And what the fuck is with the brown sock monkey?
In relation to that….
I want to end with this news out of Dallas…
This is an open thread.
Good Morning Sky Dancers
I wish I could be your little ray of sunshine this morning but I don’t know how that’s possible given the utter daily chaos and destruction that the 2016 election brought us. The chickens are definitely coming home to roost and the banty rooster is a crazy and mean little bird.
I woke up today to the sad news of a second celebrity suicide. First, we had Kate Spade whose handbag designs were wonderful. Now, it’s Anthony Bourdain. Both have left behind young daughters.
Celebrity suicide always starts a conversation that never reaches the ears of the our policymakers who could provide necessary things to solve problems but instead choose to exacerbate them. But more about Trump and the Republicans in Congress and the yanking of funds from the Children’s Health Program last night in a stealth, decidedly one sided vote. Any one with young ones in their life should spend time with them now.
According to several studies, publicity surrounding a suicide has been repeatedly linked to a subsequent increase in the act, particularly among young people.
After Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962, the cause listed as probable suicide, the nation mourned — publicly. In the month that followed there was sweeping news coverage, public memorials and a 12% increase in suicides. That month saw an additional 303 suicides in comparison to the year prior, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
When Robin Williams died in 2014, the world reacted similarly. The comedian’s image was everywhere, details of his untimely passing spawned countless news articles and think pieces. His death is also similarly associated with a 10% increase in suicide across the United States in the five months after his passing, according to a study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, in February.
The phenomenon is often referred to as “suicide contagion,” defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as an increase in suicides due to “the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide.”
And the overwhelming influence of a celebrity or high-profile suicide is far from a new discovery. Following the 1774 publication of Wolfgang Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” — a book in which a young man ends his life after a failed love affair — Europe also saw a spike in suicides, particularly in men the same age as the protagonist.
The outbreak prompted the novel to be banned in several European locations.
Suicide, however, has been on the rise in the US since 1999. Like most mental illnesses, it receives less preventative attention than it should. It does, however, generate a lot of revenues for pharmaceutical companies. It’s less likely the pills are accompanied by human help and counselling.
I’ve struggled with depression for like 50 years. Some of my youngest memories are of my dad, my baby sister, and me in Kansas City waiting in the car outside a small hospital while my mother sat with her mother during her shock treatments. My mother lived with it too. They put her on antidepressants the last year of her life and I saw a happy, cheery woman I had never known before. I personally rely heavily on my Buddhist practice which grew from my adult-in-process practices of the relaxation response and positive affirmation. I hurl mantras like I live in a gompa some where up in the Himalayas with shaved head and nun vows. I only wish more people had access to learning meditation. It also helps me to stay away from mean, nasty people which is proving challenging in the Trump era.
But, actual science and properly funding and staffing the CDC is not a priority at all right now.
Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.
More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.
In 2016 alone, about 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.
“Our data show that the problem is getting worse,” Schuchat said.
Bourdain is just the latest in a string of prominent celebrities suffering from depression who have taken their own lives. Last week, Kate Spade committed suicide; she was reportedly fixated on Robin Williams’ suicide. And suicide rates across America have been spiking: as of 2014, American suicide rates had skyrocketed to their highest rate in three decades, all the way to 13 people per 100,000, even as death rates from other causes declined markedly. Suicide was particularly common among middle-aged white people. The overall suicide rate climbed 24 percent from 1999 to 2014; in 2014, over 14,000 middle-aged white Americans committed suicide. Between 2006 and 2016, the suicide rate for white children jumped 70 percent, and the suicide rate among black children (while lower than that of white children overall) jumped 77 percent. According to USA Today:
A study of pediatric hospitals released last May found admissions of patients ages 5 to 17 for suicidal thoughts and actions more than doubled from 2008 to 2015. The group at highest risk for suicide are white males between 14 and 21.
What’s causing this uptick? Traditional theories regarding poverty don’t seem to hold much water – the economic recovery was well underway by 2014, and more poverty-stricken demographic groups in the United States had lower suicide rates than whites did on a consistent basis. And theories regarding bullying don’t seem to solve the question either – bullying isn’t worse in 2017 than it was in 1999, and studies seem to show that once depression and delinquency are factored out, bullying does not rate as an independent variable changing suicide rates.
Suicide is a complex social phenomenon, and it’s difficult to pin down cause and effect. Surely rising rates of opioid abuse have contributed to the suicide increase, but that wouldn’t explain the jump among young people. There’s a case to be made that decline of religiosity in wealthier societies has led to an uptick in suicide(poorer societies tend to have far less of a suicide problem than wealthy societies, so religious differences matter less statistically). We are suffering a crisis of meaning in the West, and it’s having a significant impact on suicidality.
I don’t think religiosity necessarily connects to leading a meaningful life. But, I’d say constantly be sent off to war is one factor because suicide rates for Vets is off the wall. I’d also say feeling helpless to change things in your work life and community leads to some of that too. (From Foreign Policy, September, 2017)
Veterans are about 20 percent more likely than nonveterans to kill themselves, according to a Veterans Affairs press release issued on Friday afternoon at the close of business. (Traditionally, that’s when Washington public affairs types put out bad news they don’t wish to discuss. Mainly they hope to see it tucked into Saturday newspapers that no one reads.)
Also, the suicide rate for female veterans is 250 percent that for female non-vets.
Then, there’s death by abhorrently racist federal policy. There’s a surge in that. From the daily paper of my childhood days The Des Moines Register: “Des Moines DREAMer dies within weeks after being sent back to Mexico’s violence.”
Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco should have graduated from high school in Des Moines last month. The oldest of four siblings should have walked across a stage in a cap and gown to become a proud symbol to his sister and brothers of the rewards of hard work and education.
Instead, Manuel died a brutal death alone in a foreign land, a symbol of gang supremacy in a country plagued by violent drug cartels. It happened three weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement returned him to Mexico, a country he had left at age 3 when his parents brought him here without a visa.
The fact that America was the only home he has known made Manuel eligible to apply for and be granted DACA status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by former President Barack Obama. It exempted from deportation certain young people, referred to as DREAMERS, who were brought to the U.S. without papers as children.
But that status didn’t protect Manuel when he came to immigration authorities’ attention after being stopped for speeding last fall and charged with driving under the influence. An ICE spokesperson said in a statement that ICE officers arrested him in Polk County Jail and a federal immigration judge terminated his DACA status because of two misdemeanor convictions.
The statement from Shawn Neudauer, ICE public affairs officer, also said Manuel wasn’t technically deported, but was escorted to Mexico by ICE deportation officers at the Laredo, Texas border this past April 24. He called it a voluntary departure process that doesn’t carry the penalties of a formal deportation. But the impact was the same: Manuel had no choice but to go back, either as a deportee or in a “voluntary departure.” He chose the “voluntary” route.
You may read more about this young man’s short life at the newspaper’s link.
Other Republican policies will be cutting the lives of children short if this bill passes the US Senate. It moved through the House like a stealth fighter. Funny, how Republicans can get it done when it involves propping up their give-aways to the rich and powerful.
The House voted along party lines late Thursday to pass a White House proposal that would claw back nearly $15 billion in previously approved government funding.
The House approved the measure in a vote of 210-206, with conservatives calling it a step in the right direction after they ripped into the price tag of the $1.3 trillion spending bill President Trump signed earlier this year.
“President Trump and this Administration are fully committed to protecting taxpayers, and Senate passage of this legislation is critical to reducing wasteful, unnecessary spending and making our Federal Government more efficient, effective, and accountable,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement late Thursday.
Trump had pushed lawmakers earlier this week to vote in favor of the clawback plan, known as the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, which GOP leaders have been working on for two months.
“The HISTORIC Rescissions Package we’ve proposed would cut $15,000,000,000 in Wasteful Spending! We are getting our government back on track,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The push to slash spending stemmed from conversations between Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in April, weeks after Trump signed the omnibus into law.
“The President’s rescissions request is a straightforward approach to begin cleaning up a bloated federal budget and respecting hardworking taxpayer dollars,” McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday.
While the move was welcomed by fiscal hawks, Democrats and a handful of moderates argued it could hinder future budget negotiations and drain unused funds that may prove necessary for programs down the road.
Opponents blasted the administration’s decision to target unobligated funds within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) –– which make up nearly half of the $14.7 billion in rollbacks –– alleging the cuts could lead to a loss of coverage if enrollment is higher than expected.
“The nearly $15 billion in rescissions cut numerous efforts to create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our communities. It cuts funding for the economic development administration, and for community development financial institutions. Both of which create jobs in rural areas and distress communities,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, said on the floor.
Then, there’s a stab at Obamacare again. This time it’s by the Oldest Living Confederate widow as she attempts to get people with preexisting conditions thrown out and re-establish womanhood as a preexisting condition. From Forbes Magazine: “The Trump Administration Is Using a New Tactic to Dismantle Obamacare. What You Need to Know About It”
The Trump administration is trying out a new tactic to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): calling at least one provision of it unconstitutional.
In a brief filed Thursday, the Justice Department sided with Texas and a coalition of other Republican-led states that had filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. While it is uncommon for the Justice Department to go against federal law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he acted with the “approval of the President of the United States.”
Here’s their argument, and what they want.
The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate—which requires almost all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a “tax” if they don’t—and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated. These include a “ban on insurers denying coverage and charging higher rates to people with pre-existing health conditions.” The Justice Department reportedly also wants to repeal limits on insurance costs based on gender and age.
Nevertheless, the Justice Department’s position did not go quite as far as the Texas suit. In it, the states deem the entirety of Obamacare and its regulations invalid.
The DOJ will not defend the cases brought by GOP state. This why we have a spate of crazy obviously unconstitutional shit coming up from the states. The DOJ is deciding which cases to defend based on religious and ideological whims instead of actual legal grounds.
The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality — a dramatic break from the executive branch’s tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.
In a brief filed in a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House and Senate leaders of both parties, the Justice Department agrees in large part with the 20 Republican-led states that brought the suit. They contend that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional and that, as a result, consumer insurance protections under the law will not be valid, either.
The three-page letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position “with the approval of the President of the United States.” The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history
but contends that it is not unprecedented.
Stacking the benches with unqualified judges is a good way to get a decision based on total ignorance of law and precedent and even the Constitution.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report Friday accusing their Republican colleagues of conspiring with President Donald Trump to reshape the federal judiciary by appointing judges whose only qualifications are youth and conservative ideology.
“President Trump and Senate Republicans are stacking our courts at record-breaking speed,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee and one of several signatories on the report. “Nominees have been largely controversial and incredibly young, allowing them to shape our courts for generations.”
The 61-page report titled “Review of Republican Efforts to Stack the Federal Courts” details both the pace and volume of the nomination and confirmation process, as well as the obstruction and filibustering of President Barack Obama nominees that afforded Trump the opportunity to shift the balance of federal courts.
“President Trump entered office with 112 judicial vacancies, compared to just 53 vacancies when President Obama entered office,” the report states. “To fill these vacancies and change the nature of the federal judiciary for decades, President Trump and Senate Republicans have been rushing nominees through the Senate at a breakneck pace by changing the process for consideration and eliminating traditions that had been followed for over a century.”
The “blue slip” tradition referred to in the report is an unwritten rule in the Senate process, honored by both parties for decades, meant to simultaneously preserve a more bipartisan approach to the judicial nomination process and make sure both home-state senators approve of judicial nominees.
The tradition is named after a blue form that is given to the two home-state senators asking for their assessment of the nominee. If the senator has no objection, the blue slip is returned to the committee chairman with a positive response. If they don’t approve of the nominee, the blue form is withheld or returned with a negative response.
Friday’s report says Republicans used blue slips to block 18 Obama court nominees, including six nominees for federal appeals courts, which rank just below the U.S. Supreme Court and have a huge hand in determining some of the most important matters of law in the nation.
After Trump was elected, Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, eschewed the blue-slip tradition, according to the report.
Michael Brennan was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit on Thursday over the objection of Tammy Baldwin, the home-state senator from Wisconsin. Similarly, Ryan Bounds was nominated to fill a vacancy on the Ninth Circuit over the objections of Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Democratic senators from Oregon.
Republicans can only get things done by sneaking stuff through in thoroughly undemocratic and crooked ways.
And here’s why Germaine Greer is trending.
Speaking in a BBC documentary that will be aired on Saturday, called Germaine Bloody Greer, and reported in the Sun and the Mirror, she says: “Someone like Beyoncé – who I think is a fantastic musician, a beautiful voice as true as a bell – why has she always got to be fucking naked and have her tits hanging out? Why?
“I’m not saying you have to keep your clothes on, but why is sexual display part of the job? I might as well ask that question to a barmaid who says she doesn’t get any tips if she doesn’t show cleavage.”
Greer also criticises female athletes, saying: “Why do women athletes have to be naked? I watched bloody figure skating and the woman is virtually naked. She has got a few wisps of cloth and the man is in evening dress. You think nakedness is usually a sign of submission, it’s a sign of inequality.”
She describes her own nude photos, taken for Suck magazine in 1971, as “revolutionary” and a “disruptive gesture”.
Accused of transphobia having repeatedly declared that people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are not women, Greer caused further outrage recently when she said that “most rapes don’t involve any injury whatsoever”.
Oh, yeah there’s more. She’s written a book “Rape” due out in September. I actually think she and Bernie Sanders should take up knitting. Oh, and Susanne Sarandon can join them too!
I think I’ve had enough sunshine for one day! Did the paintings help?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
tRump continues to carry on his “good deeds” today… Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military via The New York Times although more than a distraction from the monstrosity of yesterday’s best, great, good
dead deed. (Wow, mighty slip of the fingers there, eh?)
The Senate’s marathon debate to dismantle Obamacare enters Day Two on Wednesday, as Republican senators continue painstaking deliberations to reach an ultimate agreement on health care reform.The first order of business Wednesday afternoon: senators will consider as an amendment an Obamacare repeal bill — without an immediate replacement — that Congress passed in 2015 and was vetoed by former President Barack Obama.
As we look at cartoons today, we can appreciate the drawings of medieval beasties:
Now for the cartoons. This one from Pat Bagley is gold…its gold!
From a right “leaning” cartoonist:
Nate Beeler was always ragging on Obama…and he was fucking hateful to Hillary. I wonder how he feels now.
Seems a lot of cartoonist had the same idea…
Hopefully you can see the Facebook embeds:
This is an open thread…
This cartoon by Marian Kamensky says it all!
See all those people in the riot behind tRump? That is what I see everyday here in Banjoville.
At least one reporter spoke up yesterday during the White House Press Conference, in what has become the tRump regime’s latest attempt to grab democracy by the pussy.
And would you believe in the same conference that thing behind the podium went on to suggest….
….a video by James O’Keefe.
It really begs this question:
And all I can say is, take a look at one of the responses to that tweet:
What does that mean? Are other news outlets forcing their colleagues to “follow” these outrageous rules being set against the press and by extension the people? Authoritarian rule. I suggest a new set going forward for the WH press room:
I think the beams of light give it a nice historical feel…Bannon will like that, and so will the crowd of hateful moronic shitheads that don’t have a problem with the fall of our democracy and freedom.
I realize that I keep harping on this GOP healthcare bill being the tRump Administration’s “final solution” ….but think about it.
Do you see it?
Tell me if I am not drawing conclusions that are not too far fetched?
Next up… a few quick hits:
Alright enough. More cartoons, because:
End this on a funny or die note:
This is an open thread.
(I hope the format isn’t too bad, I had to do this post on my phone. )
Well, the thing from the Orange Swamp has been sucking all oxygen and energy available to Mother Earth and then some. Women Senators and Representatives have been leading the battle to ensure the entire justice thing is done. Last week the hearings in the Senate were exciting but the focus there let Mitchie and Paulie find ways to circumvent democracy with very little notice or coverage.
I got hit yesterday with weird ass flu and I’m exhausted after spending the day in bed fighting dizziness and stomach ickiness. I wanted to talk about some of the absolutely sneaky shit going on in the House and Senate as the Republicans rush to cram absolutely bad, unpopular, self-serving laws through both houses using arcane rules and your basic slight of hand. They’re trying to rush through the absolutely cringe-inducing, people killing, death panel empowering Unafforadble Health care replacement to the ACA.
They’re also rushing to rid the country of financial regulations again by repealing Dodd Frank. What an economist’s nightmare! These hearings are shocking and important but look what’s going on behind the show tent.
The Hill is calling all this overnight regulation. The Dodd Frank repeal passed the House in what almost seemed like a clandestine action.
The House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation Thursday that would strip and replace much of the financial regulations passed under President Obama after the 2008 financial crisis.
Don’t expect the measure to become law, though. It’s not expected to pass in the Senate.
The House passed the Financial CHOICE Act on a party line vote, 233 to 186.
Sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the CHOICE Act is the most ambitious Republican effort to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010.
It has a completely Orwellian name too. It’s called the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act, 233-186. The bill passed strictly along party lines and is not expected to pass the Senate.
Democrats have fiercely defended Dodd-Frank. They say the bill has held Wall Street accountable for the risky investment practices that caused the crisis and protected Americans from predatory lending and abusive financial firms.
“It’s shameful that Republicans have voted to do the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street and our economy,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. “They are setting the stage for Wall Street to run amok and cause another financial crisis. I urge my colleagues in the Senate not to move on this deeply harmful bill.”
The CHOICE Act would roll back much of the Dodd-Frank regulations long targeted by Republicans. It would allow banks that reach certain cash thresholds an off-ramp from Dodd-Frank, reduce the frequency of federal stress tests and restrain oversight powers of several federal agencies that the 2010 law expanded.
Hensarling’s bill would also eliminate orderly liquidation authority — the process through which the federal government takes over and dismantles a major bank before it collapses — and place strict limits on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The CHOICE Act would turn the CFPB, which Republicans consider abusive and unaccountable, into the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency. It would no longer control its own budget, its director would be appointed by the president, and it would lose its authority to crack down on “unfair, abusive and deceptive practices.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and GOP leaders touted the bill in the weeks before Thursday’s vote. Ryan, a longtime Hensarling ally who served with him on the House Budget Committee, on Wednesday called the CHOICE Act “the crown jewel” of the GOP deregulation agenda.
“This legislation comes to the rescue of Main Street America,” Ryan said Wednesday. “The Financial CHOICE Act makes it possible for small businesses across this country to stop struggling and to start hiring.”
Paul Ryan never seems to get the basic economics lessons that small businesses across the country will not struggle and will hire and expand their business if they have customers that have the basic incomes to afford their products and services. The smallest contribution to National Income is stuff coming from investments. The largest source of funds in this country for business is consumption by households. Turning the national financial services industry back into a gambling establishment with special tax treatment for gamblers who don’t build businesses but speculate on the face value of paper assets isn’t going to help Main Street America.
By the way, their tax program should be a no starter too. Read up on how red state Kansas is finally getting rid of Koch Brothers/ Grover Norquist economic policies. It’s killing their state’s education systems and economy. Voodoo Economics needs the final pin pushed into it whatever vital organ will kill it. This is from the keyboard of Charles Pierce.
An update on an earlier development: The Kansas state legislature told Governor Sam Brownback to pound sand, overriding his veto and upholding its decision to roll back the radical supply-side tax cuts that were central to Brownback’s demolition of the state’s economy. From those Socialist Agitators at Forbes:
Brownback vetoed the legislature’s first attempt to reverse his tax cuts, but two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate overrode his veto. The measure would boost state taxes by $1.2 billion over two years, in part by raising the top income tax rate from 4.6 percent to 5.7 percent and by once again taxing sole proprietorships, partnerships, and other pass-through businesses. Pressured by Brownback, the legislature had made pass-throughs tax free… Since Kansas enacted tax and spending cuts in 2012 and 2013, Brownback and his allies have argued that this fiscal potion would generate an explosion of economic growth. It didn’t. Overall growth and job creation in Kansas underperformed both the national economy and neighboring states. From January, 2014 (after both tax cuts passed) to April, 2017, Kansas gained only 28,000 net new non-farm jobs. By contrast, Nebraska, an economically similar state with a much smaller labor force, saw a net increase of 35,000 jobs.
Tax cuts balloon deficits and do not lead to growth. Period. This economic theory—to which, it should be noted, the administration and the Republican majorities in the Congress strictly adhere—doesn’t work. It is alchemy. It has no basis in empirical reality. Every argument in its favor has been proven by practical experience to be utter moonshine. It failed under Ronald Reagan and it failed under George W. Bush and, in its purest form, it failed disastrously in Kansas. Its proponents should be drummed out of the respectable national dialogue as thoroughly as Alex Jones has been. Supply-side is the chemtrails of political economies.
Wonkblog thinks that Kansas is going to euthanize its Tea Party. Are there still any moderate Republicans out there?
Kansas’s moderate ascendance may portend problems for Republicans in Washington, where many in the party, including President Trump, are pushing to adopt federal tax policies similar to the ones Brownback has installed in Kansas. But while Brownback had hoped what he called Kansas’s “real-live experiment” in conservative economic policy would become a national model, it has instead become a cautionary example.
It not only killed Kansas. Jindal let it kill Louisiana: ‘Louisiana has second-worst economy in U.S.: report’. Our current lege session was a total clusterfuck as ignorant Republicans continue to swallow the snakeoil that tax cuts pay for themselves. They do have never and will never do that unless your top marginal tax rate is like way north of like 90 percent. Even then, it’s not the dampening impact is just not that big of a deal.Just imagine if this shit goes nationwide on that kind of a scale.
Louisiana’s economy ranks second-worst among U.S. states and the District of Columbia when examining a wide range of indicators, including employment, building permits, government spending and growth in science and tech industries, according to an analysis WalletHub released Monday (June 5).
Louisiana ranked only better than West Virginia in the study; the bottom five also included Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Washington, California, Utah, Massachusetts and the District of Colombia ranked the top five.
WalletHub used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the bureaus of Labor Statistics and Economic Analysis, United Health Foundation, American Legislative Exchange Council, CoreLogic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Science Foundation, among others.
Louisiana did shine in one category: the state tied with Texas and Washington for most exports per capita.
Yeah, that’s because that damned President Obama turned us into a net oil exporter. Damn you Obama!!! Thankfully, we have a few Democrats in the District who are fighting like hell.
We ended the session with a complete meltdown and no budget.
“Nobody can pretend this was a good day for the state of Louisiana,” the governor said. “We now know that the majority of legislators came here determined to fix these problems and to work in a bipartisan way. We now know that it was a minority in the House that prevented that from happening.”
At least some rank-and-file Republicans in the House appeared to agree with the governor.
Republican Rep. Kenny Havard and Democratic Rep. Major Thibaut, both of whom voted to consider the Senate budget proposal, in unison described the special session as “embarrassing” to the Legislature. Republican Rep. Julie Stokes said she was “disgusted.”
“Petty partisan politics have failed the people of the state today, and it’s time that we grow up and work on solving the people’s problems,” said Stokes, who voted to bring up the Senate budget proposal.
House Republican leaders want to spend less than the full state income forecast, as a cushion to avoid midyear cuts in case the predictions were wrong. The Senate, backed by Edwards and House Democrats, want to spend all available dollars, saying otherwise they’d have to make unnecessary, harmful cuts.
The state’s income forecast has been too optimistic every year for nearly a decade.
Senate President John Alario, a Republican, said he was disappointed at the meltdown.
“My hope is that we complete our work in this special session. It’s too darn important for the people of this state. Education, health care, public safety: there are too many things that would get hurt if we didn’t come to a consensus and make it work,” Alario said.
Senator Claire McCaskill joined the ranks of women in leadership given the misogynist treatment for acting like a leader. McCaskill called Shenanigans on the way the Republicans plan to cram TrumpCare into law.
Thursday in a Senate hearing, Americans were finally presented definitive evidence of a plot so nefarious and cunning, it threatens to upend any remaining trust in our democratic institutions. I am referring, of course, to an exchange between Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Orrin Hatch in the Senate Finance Committee on the progress of the Republican health care bill. McCaskill asked Hatch, the chairman, whether the committee would hold hearings on the as-yet-unreleased legislation.
Hatch: Will we?
Hatch: I … I think we’ve already had one. But…
McCaskill: No. I mean on the proposal that you’re planning to bring to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Will there be a hearing?
Hatch, searching for a less damning answer than “No,” was silent as a much younger aide—perhaps young enough to be barred constitutionally from holding the seat Hatch is evidently simply keeping warm—sidled up to him and whispered, audibly enough for his microphone, words that Hatch began to repeat almost verbatim.
Aide: …they’re invited to participate in this process and we’re open to their ideas and suggestions.
Hatch: Well, I don’t know that there’s going to be another hearing, but we’ve invited you to participate and give your ideas and…
McCaskill: No! No, that’s not true, Mr. Chairman. Let me just say I watched carefully all of the hearings that went on on the [Affordable Care Act]. I was not a member of this committee at the time, although I would have liked to be. Sen. Grassley was the ranking member. Dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted in that hearing process. And when you say that you’re inviting us—and we heard you, Mr. Secretary, just say, “We’d love your support”—for what? We don’t even know. We have no idea what’s being proposed.
McCaskill might not have any idea, but some details have trickled out in recent days on what the bill is shaping up to be. On Tuesday, Jim Newell described the contents of a presentation on the bill-in-progress that had been shown to Senate Republicans:
Like the House bill, the Senate proposal would allow states to waive the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefit coverage requirements, as well as loosen the ratio of what older people can be charged relative to younger customers. The Senate bill would not, however, allow states to waive community rating by health status, which bars insurers from charging sick people more than healthy ones. The Washington Examiner reported, too, that the Senate was considering allowing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion to linger past the 2020 deadline set forth in the House bill—and that a program to auto-enroll people into coverage against catastrophic losses was still on the table.
The Senate Republicans’ bill thus far, then, includes only modest changes to a set of proposals the Congressional Budget Office has said would lead to 23 million Americans losing their health insurance. That’s the only understanding of the bill we can surmise, since Republicans have taken the process of transforming one-sixth of the American economy—once again—behind closed doors. This secrecy, McCaskill said—in a classic performance of Democratic indignation—was “hard to take.” “You couldn’t have a more partisan exercise than what you’re engaged in right now,” she said, as though Hatch had simply failed to consider this. “Give me an opportunity to work with you.
They will not. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Andy Slavitt tweeted Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to have the text of the bill available to the public for no more than two days.
Oddly enough, McConnel’s procedural jujitsu may be blocked by the Parliamentarian. Guess what issues it’s about?
The Senate parliamentarian has warned Republicans that a provision in their healthcare reform bill related to abortion is unlikely to be allowed, raising a serious threat to the legislation.
The parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, has flagged language that would bar people from using new refundable tax credits for private insurance plans that cover abortion, according to Senate sources.
If Republicans are forced to strip the so-called Hyde Amendment language from the legislation, which essentially bars federal funds from being used to pay for abortions except to save the life of a mother or in cases of rape and incest, it may doom the bill.
MacDonough declined to comment for this article.
Unless a workaround can be found, conservative senators and groups that advocate against abortion rights are likely to oppose the legislation.
Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate; they can afford only two defections and still pass the bill, assuming Democrats are united against it. Vice President Pence would break a 50-50 tie.
Normally, controversial legislation requires 60 votes to pass the Senate, but Republicans hope to pass the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill with a simple majority vote under a special budgetary process known as reconciliation.
The catch is that the legislation must pass a six-part test known as the Byrd Rule, and it’s up to the parliamentarian to advise whether legislative provisions meet its requirements.
The toughest requirement states that a provision cannot produce changes in government outlays or revenues that are merely incidental to the nonbudgetary components of the provision.
In other words, a provision passed under reconciliation cannot be primarily oriented toward making policy change instead of affecting the budget. Arguably, attaching Hyde language to the refundable tax credits is designed more to shape abortion policy than affect how much money is spent to subsidize healthcare coverage.
The abortion language that conservatives want in the healthcare bill may run afoul of a precedent set in 1995, when then-Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove ruled that an abortion provision affecting a state block grant program failed to meet reconciliation requirements, according to a source briefed on internal Senate discussions.
Any American should be shocked and awed by Mitchie’s attempts to use Senate bureacray and rules to circumvent the usual process of making law.
Not a word of what Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, says here is hyperbolic or inaccurate. The reason Senator Orrin Hatch is acting like he’s been caught here is because he has. What Republicans are attempting to do to the health care system is the legislative equivalent of a mugging.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump “needs sleep” and questioned his “fitness for office” at a briefing Friday morning. The former Speaker’s statements were made in reference to Trump’s Twitter habits, after he posted one at 6 a.m. The president broke his unusual silence about former FBI Director James Comey’s Thursday testimony, tweeting: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication… and WOW, Comey is a leaker.” Pelosi also said of Trump, “Know your blood type. He will throw you under the bus.” Pelosi added, “I think his statements need some discipline. He needs work.” Comey said Thursday he believes Trump fired him because of the bureau’s investigation into Russia ties to his presidential campaign. On Comey’s testimony, Pelosi said Trump “knew what he was doing and he didn’t want any witnesses” when he asked to speak with Comey alone.
I’ve been absolutely shocked by the attempts at many people in journalism and around the political arena to suggest that either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden are the likely folks to lead the Democratic Party and run for President when so many young women and men are standing up to the current situation.
There are many standouts.
California Congressman Ted Lieu is an outstanding public servant with a keen mind and a prosecutor’s verbal combat skills.
Senator Al Franken is frankly awesome. He’s got an eye for detail, asks damn good questions, and does it with the most wonderful manner that you don’t know you’ve just had your throat cut. His sense of humor serves him well as he dishes out tough questions that show really insight into the problem at hand.
And one more shout out to Senator Kamala Harris from California. She’s also got that prosecutor thing going. She’s perfectly aware of what needs to go on the record and that’s a skill we need right now in these committee meetings. She’s also a damn hard fighter and says what needs to be said.
I’m glad these folks are looking to bring home the bacon because I’m tired of the sausage making and frankly, I loathe the ham.
And no more fucking 70 year old plus white men ruining the world for us. PLEASE!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Be prepared to call your Senators! Mitch McConnell is a sneaky twisted bastard and we need to kill the abomination that just got passed in the House yesterday. The best thing I can say about this atm is that it has gone from so fast track that the CBO hasn’t even scored the law to the Senate Slow Lane. It also puts a very large sign on the back of some Congress Critters that says ‘Kick my ass out of Congress voters!’
Can you imagine having a nasty can of Bud with anything let alone in celebration of the likelihood that over 24 million people will die much more quickly–and likely painfully–so you can bestow unnecessary tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires? I am a basket of pre-existing conditions. This bill will be the death of me and millions of others on medicaid and it’s likely to crash the Medicare system too. It’s a bill that kills sick people, old people, and poor people so the rich can line their pockets more with the spoils of gambling. Plus, it shows us that very shortly they will be coming for our Social Security.
Passage of the House’s health-care bill gives the Obamacare repeal effort new life after months of wrangling, but key Republican senators are already pushing it aside to write their own bill with no clear timetable to act.
The narrowly passed House measure can’t get anywhere near the 51 votes needed as is, even though Republican senators insist they’re united on delivering on their seven-year vow to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Instead, they want to write their own bill.
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who chairs the Senate health committee, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership, described the plan even as the House was celebrating passing its repeal after weeks of back-and-forth.
“We’ll write our own bill,” Alexander said in an interview, although he said senators would consider pieces of the House bill. “Where they’ve solved problems we agree with, that makes it a lot easier for us.”
The decision will delay the prospect of any repeal bill reaching President Donald Trump’s desk. Before the failure of the House bill in March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had talked of taking it up and passing it in a week.
A senior White House official said the administration is ready for a slower, more deliberative debate in the Senate, where the main sticking point is expected to be how to address Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.
The House bill, which squeaked through the House on a 217-213 vote Thursday, became an even tougher proposition for the Senate with changes made in recent weeks to win over conservatives. Those revisions raised potential procedural hurdles, and also sparked new Republican concerns over how the measure would affect coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.
President Swiss Cheese for Brains stood in front of the press in the Rose Garden and lied his ass off–or was totally ignorant of the bill–saying it would make premiums cheaper, insure every one, and preserve the right of those of us with pre-existing conditions to get health care. It does none of these things. Among the things it just might do is actually ruin employer-based healthcare too because with its ability to exempt coverage of all kinds of things it’s likely to gut every one’s plan. So, no one is safe except those that can afford to outlay millions of dollars for what might happen to them during their lifetime. This is utterly barbaric!
You knew that the American Health Care Act would turn the individual insurance market back into a bombed-out hellscape for the sick and old. But did you realize it could also ruin employer-based health insurance, at least for people whose companies worry more about cutting costs than attracting top-notch talent?
So reports the Wall Street Journal. The House GOP’s legislation—which seems likely to pass Wednesday (Update, 2:25 p.m.:The bill passed on a 217–213 vote)—would allow states to opt out from many of Obamacare’s insurance market regulations, such as those requiring carriers to cover a set of essential services or banning lifetime and annual caps on coverage. But even if states like New York and California don’t waive those rules, businesses operating in them effectively could for their own workers. That’s because the Obama administration released guidance in 2011 saying that employers could choose which state’s law they wanted to operate under when it came to required benefits packages. At the time, it didn’t matter much, since the Affordable Care Act created a single set of national standards. But now, per the WSJ:
Under the House bill, large employers could choose the benefit requirements from any state—including those that are allowed to lower their benchmarks under a waiver, health analysts said. By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation.
The Journal cautions that some companies may be hesitant to slash their employees’ benefits, since they use them to recruit talent, and notes that most big employers didn’t impose coverage caps prior to Obamacare. “Even if self-insured health plans are no longer banned from imposing annual or lifetime limits, they’re unlikely to attempt to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube,” one industry expert told the paper. “The benefits of reimposing limits are questionable.”
But back to Kremlin Caligula’s lies. This bill does everything he everything that he promised his voters that he would never do to our health care. It’s all in preparation to ram gigantic tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires through Congress to by pass laws that stop those kinds of actions because they explode the deficit.
Having run a campaign during which he promised to cover everyone, protect Medicaid from cuts, and replace Affordable Care Act plans with “terrific” coverage, Donald Trump is now behind a bill that cuts Medicaid, covers fewer people, and allows states to replace ACA plans with stingier coverage. Having promised repeatedly to protect patients with preexisting health conditions from insurance market price discrimination, Paul Ryan is pushing a plan that removes existing protections and replaces them with hand-wavy and inadequately funded high-risk pools. Having leveraged public discontent with high deductibles and rising premiums, Republicans are pushing a bill that will leave most patients with higher out-of-pocket costs for equivalent plans and bring back skimpy plans with even higher deductibles.
That’s all happening because the GOP is committed to rolling back the taxes that pay for the Affordable Care Act, delivering a financial windfall to high-income families even though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin swore at his confirmation hearings that the Trump administration would not pursue tax cuts for the rich.
The bill is currently being rushed through the House at breathtaking speed with no time for a Congressional Budget Office score or for members to hear from constituents back home. Republicans are acting like their plan cannot survive even cursory scrutiny by experts or the public for the good reason that their own rhetoric strongly suggests that they do not believe the public would find this legislation acceptable if they knew what it did.
And for the pleasure of knowing they were likely killing millions of people with their policy, THEY THREW A PARTY. I can imagine they iced their beer with what is running through their veins.
When the House Republican Conference gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, it was greeted by a couple of motivational songs: “Eye of the Tiger” and “Taking Care of Business.” On Twitter, the A.P.’s Erica Werner also relayed the message that the Party’s leadership sent to the rank and file, which was equally lacking in subtlety: “It’s time to live or die by this day.”
A number of House Republicans, especially those from competitive districts, weren’t overly enthusiastic about fulfilling the health-care suicide pact that Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, was forcing on them. Ultimately, though, a number of countervailing factors won out: loyalty to the Party, eagerness to score a legislative win, hostility toward Barack Obama, free-market ideology, and a reluctance to antagonize wealthy G.O.P. donors. On Thursday afternoon, when it came time to vote on the American Health Care Act of 2017, only twenty Republicans broke ranks, allowing the bill to pass by the slightest of margins.
In the most immediate of terms—congressional whip counts—that was a victory for Ryan and his ally in the White House, Donald Trump. On their third attempt at passing an Obamacare-repeal measure, and after much drama and humiliation, the House Republicans had assembled a majority. But at what cost? The vote represented a moral travesty, a betrayal of millions of vulnerable Americans, and a political gift to the Democrats. And if it ultimately costs the House G.O.P. its majority in next year’s midterms, that would be a richly deserved outcome.
Ryan and his sidekick, the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pushed through a bill that, if it ever goes into effect, could upend one-sixth of the American economy and result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health coverage. Since the Republicans failed to give the Congressional Budget Office time to “score” the bill before voting on it, we don’t have any official estimates of its likely effects. But the bill that was passed on Thursday was an amended version of a bill that the C.B.O. had previously determined would raise the number of uninsured people by twenty-four million over ten years, and increase premiums for many others, particularly the old and the sick, as well.
I thought the gridlock in Washington DC was a sign that the system was broken. Well, the system is more broken than ever before. We have a new SCOTUS judge that couldn’t get acceptance from the usual majority of the Senate that was the result of a virtual shut down of the approval process by the slim majority of Republicans in the Senate. Now, we have bills shoved through that are worse than the one that just sent hundreds of thousands of Americans into the streets, on to the phones, and into town hall meetings. It is time for more of that. It is also time to prepare for the Mid Term elections. These stinkers need to go!
Donald Trump had had it.
The Obamacare repeal bill that the president had just boasted was on the cusp of passage was suddenly in trouble again, and the president demanded to talk to the influential congressman who dropped a bombshell hours earlier with an announcement he’d be voting “no”: Michigan Rep. Fred Upton.
Sitting in the Oval Office Tuesday evening, Trump dialed Upton in his congressional office. The president raised his voice and swore at Upton several times during a 10-minute conversation, sources familiar with the call said. But Upton stood his ground. He explained that he, like Trump, wanted to ensure people with pre-existing conditions were protected, even quoting the president verbatim talking about the need to do so.
“I am not supporting this bill without a legislative fix,” Upton said, according to a source familiar with the conversation.
Trump did not want to talk about the merits of the legislation — he didn’t care much about those specifics, senior officials said. What mattered to him was how a failed vote would hobble his presidency and the ability to get other legislation through Congress.
He wanted a win.
There you go folks. “He wanted a win.” Kremlin Caligula had to have a win and no one around him would be spared his wrath if he didn’t get it. So, 24 million plus people will lose their access to health care, rural hospitals will likely go under, and Medicaid and Medicare as we know it will die a painful slow death. But the sociopath in the white house gets a win.
Oh, and the very rich would get a BIG WIN. This bill is likely to cost $800 billion dollars over 10 years and do nothing remotely about health care other than to fuck it up worse that it’s ever been fucked up before. But the rich and President Swiss Cheese for Brains get richer and get a win. At what point does the Republican party either remove the skin suits and just be the demons that they are or do we get buckets of tar, lots of feathers, thousands of pitchforks and a few sharpened guillotines and drive them back to the realms of hell?
The health care bill passed by the House on Thursday is a win for the wealthy, in terms of taxes.
While the Affordable Care Act raised taxes on the rich to subsidize health insurance for the poor, the repeal-and-replace bill passed by House Republicans would redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars in the opposite direction. It would deliver a sizable tax cut to the rich, while reducing government subsidies for Medicaid recipients and those buying coverage on the individual market.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is funded in part through higher taxes on the rich, including a 3.8 percent tax on investment income and a 0.9 percent payroll tax. Both of these taxes apply only to people earning more than $200,000 (or couples making more than $250,000). The GOP replacement bill would eliminate these taxes, although the latest version leaves the payroll tax in place through 2023.
The House bill would also repeal the tax penalty for those who fail to buy insurance as well as various taxes on insurance companies, drug companies and medical device makers. The GOP bill also delays the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-end insurance policies from 2020 to 2025.
All told, the bill would cut taxes by about $765 billion over the next decade.
The lion’s share of the tax savings would go to the wealthy and very wealthy. According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 20 percent of earners would receive 64 percent of the savings and the top 1 percent of earners (those making more than $772,000 in 2022) would receive 40 percent of the savings.
Fuck you you ungawdly poor people! And women! And children once you get past the viability point in the womb we don’t care about you either! And any one unfortunate to ever have been sick before or born sickly!!!
Being a woman means you’re basically a pre-existing condition from the get go! The Republican Party just called us all survivors of a deadly disease!
Obamacare contains many provisions to help poor and lower-income Americans.
Primarily, it expanded Medicaid to cover adults who earn up to $16,400 a year. The American Health Care Act would end the enhanced federal Medicaid funding for new enrollees starting in 2020. And it would curtail federal support for the entire program by sending a fixed amount of money per enrollee or by providing a block grant. States would likely have to either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
All this could hurt not only poor adults, but also low-income children, women, senior citizens and the disabled.
Also, Obamacare provides those with incomes just under $30,000 with generous subsidies to lower their deductibles and out-of-pocket costs in individual market policies. The legislation would eliminate the subsidies.
Finally, the premium tax credits the legislation would provide would not go as far Obamacare’s subsidies for lower-income consumers
Folks making $20,000 a year would take the biggest hit at any age under the GOP plan, a Kaiser study found. A 27-year-old earning this amount would only get $2,000, instead of $3,225 under Obamacare, on average. Meanwhile, a 40-year-old would get $3,000 versus nearly $4,150. However, the biggest loser would be a 60-year-old, who would receive only $4,000, instead of nearly $9,900 under Obamacare.
In its review of an early version of the bill, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million fewer people would have coverage by 2026 as compared to current law. The majority of those would have qualified for Medicaid under Obamacare.
Major health insurance lobbying groups are concerned about the bill’s impact on all these folks, many of whom are their customers.
“The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage,” Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said after the bill passed the House Thursday.
Not any organization having to do with Health Care supports any of this. This what they had to say about the last abomination of a plan. Just wait until they finally get to read what just passed in all of its unread, unscored, and completely unready-for-prime time format.
The House GOP’s newly-released (and already widely maligned) Obamacare replacement plan has now made a trio of powerful medical interest group enemies: the AARP, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Hospital Association (AHA).
The AMA, the nation’s largest physicians’ group representing more than 220,000 doctors, residents, and medical students, was the latest to pile on against the so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Wednesday morning.
“While we agree that there are problems with [Obamacare] that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations,” wrote AMA CEO Dr. James Madara in a letter to Congressional leaders. Madara also cited the bill’s cuts to major public health and preventative health funds as unacceptable to doctors.
The AMA opposition follows action from both the 38 million-member strong AARP, which lobbies on issues affecting older Americans, and the AHA on Tuesday. “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long term services and supports and other benefits,” wrote AARP senior vice president Joyce Rogers in a stark, and surprisingly detailed, letter to Congress.
Oh, they did already:‘In Rare Unity, Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Criticize Health Bill’.
It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation that passed the House on Thursday.
The bill’s impact is wide-ranging, potentially affecting not only the millions who could lose coverage through deep cuts in Medicaid or no longer be able to afford to buy coverage in the state marketplaces. With states allowed to seek waivers from providing certain benefits, employers big and small could scale back what they pay for each year or reimpose lifetime limits on coverage. In particular, small businesses, some of which were strongly opposed to the Affordable Care Act, could be free to drop coverage with no penalty.
The prospect of millions of people unable to afford coverage led to an outcry from the health care industry as well as consumer groups. They found an uncommon ally in some insurers, who rely heavily on Medicaidand Medicare as mainstays of their business and hope the Senate will be more receptive to their concerns.
“The American Health Care Act needs important improvements to better protect low- and moderate-income families who rely on Medicaid or buy their own coverage,” Marilyn B. Tavenner, the chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, said in a strongly worded statement.
Now is the time to be overly friendly with your two US Senators. I have the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman as my Rep so I am not worried about him, but I will be bothering Steve Scalise and writing checks to any on that takes the Sleazeball on in this upcoming election. I will be making phone calls like a banshee screaming also. Adopt a RepubiKlan Congress Critter to remove for the 2018 elections.
So, I think over 3200 words is enough for you to sense that I am outraged and appalled and take all of this beyond personally. I am the face of a pre-existing conditions. I did not ask to get Cancer while I was carrying my extremely high risk second pregnancy to term. I did not ask to get Hep C from the resultant 30+ blood transfusions that I got when the Red Cross did not check its donors for the issue. I did not ask to be born a woman. I did not ask or do anything to deserve any of this. I have anxiety and I have depression. That runs in my family. I’ve done nothing to bring any of this on. I am the face of a walking basket of pre-existing conditions. I am 61. I am not sure that Purdue will provide me with insurance when they buy my current university which threw me on to the ACA the minute it was passed. I’m on the Medicaid expansion now thankfully because I do not need anymore tax deductions and was not able to meet the premiums for private coverate. It’s allowed me to get complete health care for the first time in over 5 years including medications without killer co-pays. I take an antidepressant to stop any recurrence of what happened during my divorce over 20 years ago.
The Republicans in Congress want me to die or kill myself. I’ve worked since I was 15. I am well educated and I paid more than my share of taxes. I am now an old, tired woman who chose to teach which isn’t a prestigious high paying job at all. I like urban universities and helping first generation college students get degrees. That’s been my calling for decades. That career choice shouldn’t be an immediate death sentence in such a wealthy country.
I should mention that I’m doing something I’m doing because of my faith. You know that my city is having trouble with housing because we’ve been inundated with short term rentals (e.g. illegal hotels). I have three people living with me. One is a 50 year old woman who has severe right brain damage from being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian. One is a 36 year old black woman in 5th stage renal failure that needs a kidney and dialysis every other day. The other is a young vet who is also a schizophrenic and is extremely sweet-natured. He gets rolled for his monthly check when he’s on the street. I don’t know if you know how much medicare disability pays or what’s paid to disabled vets but it’s not enough to provide a home here in this city to people any more. I am trying to move to Washington state but I feel as a Buddhist that I need to live my faith while I can.
There are basically 4 people right now in my house–including me–that will likely die or have a life that ends badly in quick order without the little they get right now from our system. The Republican party wants us all dead and they raised a cold beer in salute to that yesterday. We are all the face of pre-existing conditions. I’m sharing this with you because I’d like you to put faces to what they just did to a huge number of Americans. They need to know there are faces like mine in the numbers.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?