Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
It’s difficult living under an administration’s whose goal and dreams for America manifest as tearing everything down. We don’t have leadership. We have an ethos of chaos and destruction. I’m afraid if we don’t see the Cabinet and grown ups in the West Wing exercise the 25th Amendment there will not be much left of our democracy. I’m not sure the Mueller investigation can move fast enough to save us from this human wrecking ball.
Jonathan Chait–writing for New York Magazine–discusses yesterday’s latest attack on the American populace. Trump Unveils Full-bore Obamacare Sabotage. We have a POTUS who is okay with killing Americans. I’m don’t even think he gives human life an afterthought.
Donald Trump and his party have never been able to figure out a viable alternative to Obamacare. Having failed to repeal and replace the law, they have set out to wreck it. The Trump administration is taking two steps to accomplish this goal. First, it is opening two loopholes to allow healthy people to purchase unregulated insurance, splitting the market and loading more costs onto people with expensive medical needs. Second, it announced tonight it is ending cost-sharing payments to insurers who take on low-income customers.
Both these changes are designed to put pressure on insurers, increasing premiums by an average of 19 percent, and even splitting up the individual insurance markets. Whether they will succeed is yet to be seen. States committed to making Obamacare work will find solutions that keep their markets intact. (Indeed, there has been a marked difference in the premium levels of states that are trying to help cover their citizens and those that aren’t.)
What’s more, by withholding payments promised in the law, the administration is exposing itself to a lawsuit it could very well lose. (New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and others have already announced their intention to sue.) Premiums are going to rise in the meantime, because insurers are subjected to greater uncertainty and the now-demonstrated knowledge that the administration is deliberately sabotaging the law they are operating under.
The exchanges in 2017 had stabilized financially, as insurers found a profitable price point. The Republican Party has, as a matter of theological principle, refused to accept the possibility that Obamacare might succeed at its stated ends. If Obamacare were truly collapsing, sabotage would not be necessary. It is the law’s success, not its failure, that has made Trump so determined to wreck it. The White House has released a statement confirming its intention to end the payments, written in the pidgin English indicating the president’s own authorial hand …
Trump wants to erase all traces of his predecessor in a childish and racist manner than ignores the fact that what he’s really doing is killing the people of this country. This is the act of an insane man with no grounding in morality. This is nothing but the act of a mad king.
Donald Trump has long predicted the implosion of Obamacare. He just took a huge step to fulfilling his own prophecy.
The White House announced late Thursday morning it would cut off a key Obamacare subsidy that makes copayments and deductibles more affordable for low-income Americans. Trump pulled the trigger on the plan late Thursday night.
Trump has spent months toying with the idea of ending these payments, which are drawn from a $7 billion fund set up specifically to cover these costs. House Republicans havechallenged these payments in court, arguing that they were never appropriated in Obamacare and thus being illegally distributed.
There is no question that this new policy is lose-lose-lose for key stakeholders with no upside:
- It will raise Obamacare premiums by an estimated 20 percent in 2018, as health plans have to charge more to make up the lost funds. By 2020, premiums would increase 25 percent due to this change.
- Pulling the plug actually increases the national deficit. As those insurance plans make double-digit rate increases, the government will have to spend billions more on the other subsidies that 10 million Americans receive to purchase that coverage.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this move will ultimately cost the government $194 billion over the next decade.
- The number of uninsured Americans would rise by one million people in 2018, in the CBO’s estimate.
- Insurance companies lose out, too, particularly those that assumed Trump would pay these subsidies and set their premiums accordingly. They now stand to face significant financial loses on the Obamacare marketplaces.
To recap: Trump is enacting a policy where the government spends billions more to insure fewer people.
If we didn’t already have enough intellectually and emotionally challenged people in Washington already, Trump’s wrecking krewe just continues to astound us.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry appeared to think that Puerto Rico is a separate country during a House hearing Thursday.
Rep. Kathy Castor asked Perry about efforts to restore Puerto Rico’s hurricane-ravaged power grid during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.
“What is your plan to build a more distributed grid there with the modern technology that’s at our fingertips?” Castor asked.
“Congresswoman Castor, you have just pointed out the real challenge that this country faces in dealing with the territory and the citizens of Puerto Rico,” Perry replied. “That is a country that already had its challenges before this storm…”
“Well, they’re — it’s America,” Castor interjected. “They’re American citizens, so it’s not a country. But could you just detail, since the time is limited.”
“Yeah, that’s the reason I called it a territory, ma’am,” Perry replied. “I apologize for misstating here and calling it a country.”
The Banana Republic of Drumpfistan continues to kill citizens in Puerto Rico. Trump threatened to abandon them because of budget concerns and whatever demons dance in his head as they die of preventable diseases, starve, and live in unimaginable squalor and destruction.
On the island, residents and elected officials responded to Trump’s Thursday tweets with outrage and disbelief. Radio disc jockeys gasped as they read aloud the presidential statements, while political leaders charged that he lacked empathy and pleaded for help from fellow U.S. citizens on the mainland.
“The U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are requesting the support that any of our fellow citizens would receive across our Nation,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who has publicly praised Trump’s handling of the crisis, tweeted in apparent response to the president.
Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, who has been feuding publicly with Trump, strongly condemned the president’s tweets. In a tweet of her own, she derided him as a “Hater in Chief.” And she said in a statement that he “is simply incapable of understanding the contributions, the sacrifices and the commitment to democratic values that Puerto Ricans have shown over decades.”
Yulín Cruz tweeted back that the comments would be more appropriate coming from a “Hater in Chief” and said, “Shame on you!” for the president’s lead-footed, tone deaf responses to the crisis.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson said that Trump doesn’t care about Puerto Rico because he thinks of its people as “Sea Mexicans” and not actual Americans.
NBC News published the one-page statement, in which Yulín called on the United Nations and UNICEF to “stop the genocide” and bring “drinkable water, food and medicine” to the U.S. territory, which has suffered mightily in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The president’s cavalier attitude and threats of withdrawing aid Puerto Rico, said Yulín Cruz, “seem to be taken out of a book about how to add insult to injury.” She accused Trump of being “incapable of empathy” and said he is “frankly simply cannot the job done.”
“I ask every American that has love, and not hate in their hearts, to stand with Puerto Rico and let this president know WE WILL NOT BE LEFT TO DIE. I ask the United Nations and UNICEF and the world to stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a president that just does not get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls.”
Trump tweeted on Thursday morning that the country “cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
Donald Trump is to address the annual conference of an anti-LGBT group which has been classified as a hate group.
The US president will become the first sitting president to address social conservative activists and elected officials at the Value Voters Summit in Washington DC on Friday.
President Trump has addressed the event which is hosted by the Family Research Council three times in total and did so last year as the Republican presidential candidate.
The Family Research Council opposes and actively lobbies against equal rights for LGBT persons. The conservative Christian group campaigns against same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions, LGBT adoption, abortion, embryonic stell-cell research, pornography and divorce.
The Trump Baby Sitters are trying to Protect the Iran Deal by hiding it. I just want to walk off a bridge each time I read stories about generals in the White House protecting us all from nuclear war that we might start, This is not what we should be worrying about this day and age. We’ve a history of banging things with bigger sticks than necessary but I thought this kind of thing was beyond us.
In a meeting with Senate Democrats last week, President Donald Trump’s top national security aide had a message for those worried that the administration may scuttle the Iran nuclear deal: If Trump doesn’t have to see it, he won’t be able to kill it.
The point National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster conveyed, according to a congressional Democratic aide, was that “[Trump] wants this out of sight and out of mind.”
McMaster was more subtle and careful in his words when he hosted a group of roughly 12 lawmakers at the White House, conspicuously timed with the president out of town. But that was the impression he left, three sources familiar with the briefing tell The Daily Beast.
Under the terms of legislation passed around the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal, the president is required every 90 days to determine whether Tehran is in compliance. The measure was designed to put President Barack Obama (and anticipated successor Hillary Clinton) in a bind—forcing politically-uncomfortable declarations in support of an unpopular nuclear accord on the regular. But in the age of Trump, the 90-day-deadline has presented an unanticipated problem.
President Donald Trump will say on Friday the Iran nuclear deal is no longer in America’s national security interests, but he won’t withdraw from the landmark 2015 accord or immediately re-impose sanctions, U.S. officials said.
The announcement is essentially a compromise that allows Trump to condemn an accord that he has repeatedly denounced as the worst deal in American history. But he stops well short of torpedoing the pact, which was negotiated over 18 months by the Obama administration, European allies and others.
Instead, Trump will kick the issue over to Congress, asking lawmakers to come up with new legislation that would automatically re-impose sanctions should Iran cross any one of numerous nuclear and non-nuclear “trigger points,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in remarks released ahead of Trump’s announcement.
Those “trigger points” would include violations of the deal involving illicit atomic work or ballistic missile testing, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other groups that destabilize the region, human rights abuses and cyber warfare, they said.
I’m going to end with something that’s a good question and may get you drinking way too early in the day. Sean Illing puts up this bit at VOX: 20 of America’s top political scientists gathered to discuss our democracy. They’re scared. “If current trends continue for another 20 or 30 years, democracy will be toast.”
Nancy Bermeo, a politics professor at Princeton and Harvard, began her talk with a jarring reminder: Democracies don’t merely collapse, as that “implies a process devoid of will.” Democracies die because of deliberate decisions made by human beings.
Usually, it’s because the people in power take democratic institutions for granted. They become disconnected from the citizenry. They develop interests separate and apart from the voters. They push policies that benefit themselves and harm the broader population. Do that long enough, Bermeo says, and you’ll cultivate an angry, divided society that pulls apart at the seams.
Is President Donald Trump aware residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands are, in fact, Americans? It’s unclear.
In a speech Friday, Trump said he’d recently “met with the president of the Virgin Islands” to discuss the recent hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the island.
But Trump could not have spoken to the “president of the Virgin Islands” because, of course, he is the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands, whose residents are U.S. citizens.
Okay, now I’m done. I’m really really done.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?