Democracy

The Madness Will Last Beyond March

This is what happens when you’ve hitched your political wagon to a semi that has “Government Sucks” written on the side in patriotic colors. And when the driver of that semi has no political skill, cogent philosophy or sense enough to know that he’s being led by the nose by unrelenting, uncompromising, unapologetic  conservative ideologues while his wingman looks like the deer in the headlights, then you are heading for a monumental crash.

And the GOP did. Big time. The Seven Year Obamacare Itch could not be scratched with a made-in-China plastic backscratcher. Or any of the GOP’s well-manicured fingernails. It was stunning and messy and terrible for the country, except for the fact that millions will keep their health insurance. And it’s only the beginning.

This was supposed to be the easy first step towards a better, Republican-led future, but it exposed the House as a hotbed of contradictions and competing constituencies. You know…the way the framers envisioned government when they created it. They even built in the idea that democratic ideas need to take time, to marinate in the bowl of public consumption, to gain a consensus, to be debated by the populace over the course of months to make sure that the terrible parts are squeezed out. None of that happened with the health care bill. President Know-Nothing, especially about his knowledge of how the constitution works, thought this would be quick, and since he has no attention span to speak of, he approved of the leadership’s idea that the bill needed to be introduced one week and voted on in the next.

Oopsy.

But the worst was the spectacle of Trump and Ryan throwing the provisions the public approves of overboard with no thought about how a final bill with no protections for those with preexisting conditions, or guaranteed maternity care or no-cost preventive care would play in, well, Peoria and the areas where Trump won the election. There simply was no health and little care in any of it. No wonder only 17% of respondents in the latest poll approved of it.

The other issue with the health care bill, though, is more far-reaching. The money saved in this bill was supposed to fund the giant tax-cut-for-the-wealthy that the GOP was going to tackle next. Now there’s no cash in the till, which means that there will need to be more spending cuts because if the ultra-conservatives didn’t like government spending for health care, they sure as heck aren’t going to vote for a tax cut or a trillion dollar infrastructure bill that might explode the deficit. And fund Planned Parenthood. The ultras have the power now and they are immune to Trump’s lame threats and simpering appeals for American greatness.

And, of course, there’s the issue of the Republicans actually funding and running a United States that has an Affordable Care Act. If they were smart, they would regroup and find an alternative that would shore up the insurance markets or make sure that elderly people don’t have to pay more for less care or to make insurance portable so that no American would have to worry about losing their insurance simply because they lost their job or had to leave a job to move or to take care of a family member. You remember family. The Republicans are the family party. Doing any of this would require Democratic acquiescence, which is doable. The question is whether the GOP will actually ask.

Of course, this won’t happen because the president has already said that the law will fail and the insurance markets will tank because…he will make sure that this happens. Then he thinks he’s going to blame the Democrats. The GOP owns health care now, and if the law fails it will be because of their actions.

Do keep in mind that it’s still only March. But the madness will last far longer.

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Hillary Clinton Responds to TrumpCare Failure – “The Fight Isn’t Over Yet”

Hillary Clinton reminded the nation yesterday that although Republicans were forced to cancel their so-called “healthcare” bill, “the fight isn’t over yet!”

Clinton tweeted an official statement along with a handful of stories from people who have benefitted from ObamaCare.

“Today was a victory for the 24,000,000 people at risk of losing their health insurance, for seniors, for families battling the quiet epidemic of addiction, for new moms and women everywhere,” Clinton said in her statement.

“Most of all, it’s a victory for anyone who believes affordable health care is a human right. We cannot forget: This victory happened because people in every cover of our country committed their time and energy to calling their representatives, showing up at town hall meetings, and making their voices heard.”

“The fight isn’t over yet,” she added, saying that “we will have to push back on future bad ideas and embrace good ones to make health care more affordable.”

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CNN’s John King – “There’s a Credibility Problem” with Trump’s White House – Video

It has now become old news that Donald Trump and his White House are built on a foundation of lies. So when Trump’s White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, just about guaranteed a vote today on TrumpCare, a vote that didn’t happen by the way, CNN’s John King called out Spicer and Trump’s White House for the lies they tell.

“I hate to say it that early in a new administration, but there’s a credibility problem in the White House briefing room,” King said on CNN.

Video

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Trump ‘The Great Negotiator’ Stops Negotiating on TrumpCare

Donald Trump, the self praised “great negotiator” walked away from negotiations today demanding a vote on his TrumpDontCare healthcare bill.

Abandoning negotiations, President Donald Trump on Thursday demanded a make-or-break vote on health care legislation in the House, threatening to leave “Obamacare” in place and move on to other issues if Friday’s vote fails.

The risky move, part gamble and part threat, was presented to GOP lawmakers behind closed doors Thursday night after a long and intense day that saw a planned vote on the health care bill scrapped as the legislation remained short of votes amid cascading negotiations among conservative lawmakers, moderates and others.

At the end of it the president had had enough and was ready to vote and move on, whatever the result, Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers.

“‘Negotiations are over, we’d like to vote tomorrow and let’s get this done for the American people.’ That was it,” Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said as he left the meeting, summarizing Mulvaney’s message to lawmakers.

And if the vote fails, Obamacare “stays for now,” Hunter said.

“Let’s vote,” White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said as he left the meeting.

The outcome of Friday’s vote was uncertain. Both conservative and moderate lawmakers claimed the bill lacked votes after a long day of talks.

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Colin Kaepernick Donates $50,000.00 to Meals on Wheels

Former San Francisco quarterback, Colin Kaepernick became hated by many Americans because he decided to protest police brutality by exercising his first amendment right and kneeling during the rendition of the national anthem.

But apparently, Kaepernick does more than just annoying people who fail to understand what freedom of speech is all about. According to a recent article, Kaepernick is also free with his money. And Trump’s recent budget to take money away from Meals on Wheels caused Kaepernick to jump into gear.

Kaepernick, who sparked controversy by kneeling during the national anthem before 49ers games in the fall of 2016, also donated $50,000 to the social media campaign #LoveArmyForSomalia , which aims to raise $2 million to aid starving people in Somalia, NFL.com reported .

Kaepernick’s donation to Meals on Wheels comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget plan for 2018, which would cut federal funding for the program . Kaepernick and Trump have sparred often since the quarterback began kneeling before football games to protest police brutality and racial oppression

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FBI Director – No Evidence of Wiretapping, But Investigating Trump/Russia Ties

The Trump White House took another hit today when FBI Director, James Comey, shot down Trump’s false claims of being wiretap by former President, Barack Obama. Comey also confirmed that the FBI is actively investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The FBI is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.

In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.

The revelation of the investigation of possible collusion with Russians, and the first public confirmation of the wider probe that began last summer, came in a remarkable hearing by one branch of government examining serious allegations against another branch and the new president’s election campaign.

Tight-lipped for the most part, Comey refused to offer details on the scope, targets or timeline for the FBI investigation, which could shadow the White House for months, if not years. The director would not say whether the probe has turned up evidence that Trump associates may have schemed with Russians during a campaign marked by email hacking that investigators believe was aimed at helping the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I can promise you,” the FBI director vowed, “we will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

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Reality Sinks In

Really now: What did you expect?

The great know-nothing Donald Trump is president, having run on an incoherent mixture of lies, half-truths, innuendo, sexism, nationalism, xeno- and Islamophobia and promises about jobs that he couldn’t possible keep. Add in an ultra right wing Congress that’s committed itself to acting first and thinking about consequences later. And what do get get?

Our present reality.

Yes, I know that the Trump budget will never pass as it is currently constructed, but it still does provide a framework from which the Republicans can build their cuts and aggressively apply their ideology, which assumes that the best budget Congress ever passed was in 1790 when the federal government was appropriately small and anyone who wanted a gun could have one (and abortion, by the way, was still legal up to about 15-20 weeks of pregnancy). Many of the programs on the chopping block are ones used by Trump voters who are struggling economically and need some government support to stay alive or to keep their jobs.

And the proposed cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will devastate many state and educational arts programs for people who live outside areas that have museums or universities that promote the arts. Many teachers also use the endowments for educational purposes in K-12 classrooms and for their own academic enrichment throughout the school year and in the summer. To say there is no place anywhere in the federal budget for these programs is a capitulation to ignorance. The arts and humanities, and public television and radio, provide services that are vital and should be insulated from the ravages of competition because they promote ideas that sometimes aren’t prized by the market until they are introduced, viewed or broadcast.

Are there programs that could and should be cut? Yes. Many federal programs overlap or have outlived their usefulness, but many have not and even if they serve a small population, if that population depends on that program, it’s up to the government to provide an alternative or a path forward for those people. Otherwise, citizens will lose their jobs, their education, their heat, their health insurance, or their lives. All in the name of increased military spending.

But the true moral bankruptcy of the GOP is their proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Their argument seems to be that it’s OK for 24 million fewer people to have health insurance as long as the wealthy get their tax break and we can save over $300 billion over ten years to fund it. And the extra bonus is that by 2026 (!) health insurance premiums will be approximately 10% cheaper.

Where do I sign up?

I can certainly understand an appreciate that there are conservative voters who voted for this, want these cuts, and believe that the federal government has grown too large. Those who voted for Trump based on his promises, though, should be extremely wary at this point. Many of them are going to get much less than they bargained for domestically and in lost international trade because of this budget and his actions.

A shrinking America is not, and never will be, a great America.

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