Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senator Gillibrand on the Trump Budget

From Senator Gillibrand's FB page:

The President's budget proposal is heartless and immoral in countless ways, but I want to focus on one aspect of it in particular.

President Trump, who lived in a gold-plated luxury tower before the White House, proposes to cut the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, by $191 billion dollars.

He’s not the first politician to demagogue those who receive these vital benefits. He certainly won't be the last.

Let me help paint a picture of who needs nutritional assistance. It’s more people than you think. 

Whether you know it or not, it is likely you know someone who depends on SNAP.
→1 in 7 families in small towns and rural areas need SNAP to make ends meet.
→1 in 8 families in cities need SNAP to eat
→1 in 6 children in the U.S. live in a home dependent on SNAP
→1 in 10 seniors use SNAP to afford a healthy meal
→1 in 10 veterans need SNAP to get by

The SNAP program is one of the best run and most efficient programs in the federal government. In addition to helping to feed Americans who are hungry, SNAP puts money in the pockets of the farmers who grow and produce food and the small businesses who sell it.

I hope you’ll raise your voice: Share this post to spread the word and stand up for our neighbors, friends, and families who deserve better than to be left behind.

Some Great Congressional News

And can't we use great congressional news these days?

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday announced it has added U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to its list of targeted House races in 2018.

The 21st Congressional District, where Stefanik is the incumbent, is one of 20 Republican seats added Monday to the DCCC "offensive battlefield" races, according to the press release.

Be seeing you, Elise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Couple of Articles on Elise

A very nice piece by Sara Schaff.

Stefanik ceded the moral high ground months ago. Earlier this year on Facebook, she threatened to call law enforcement on civically engaged constituents. When I and fellow citizens organized a public town hall in Canton and invited her to it, her spokesperson told a local news outlet that we were merely trying to embarrass her and President Donald Trump. Based on her AHCA vote and her comments following it, it appears she's entirely capable of embarrassing herself.

And another fact check of Elise's recent (and probably last) town hall. This one from NCPR.

And yet another fact checking of Elise on healthcare. She seems more knowledgeable than Trump, but that's only because he knows absolutely nothing. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trump Never Got Returns Like This

Who knew a little hacking and spreading of bullshit among the websites catering to troglodytes would reap such a dividend?

Comey’s firing on Tuesday triggered a new wave of ­Russia-related turbulence.
His removal was perceived as a blow to the independence of the bureau’s ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Current and former U.S. officials said that even if that probe remains on track, Comey’s ouster serves broader Russian interests.

“They feel pretty good overall because that’s a further sign that our political system is in a real crisis,” said Eugene Rumer, a former State Department official who served as the top intelligence officer on Russia issues from 2010 to 2014. “The firing of Comey only aggravates this crisis. It’s now certain to be more protracted and more painful, and that’s okay with them.”

And leftist James Clapper:

“The Russians have to be celebrating the success of . . . what they set out do with rather minimal resource expenditure,” Clapper said. “The first objective was to sow discord and dissension, which they certainly did.”

Clapper went further in interviews on Sunday, saying that U.S. institutions are “under assault” from Trump and that Russia must see the firing of Comey as “another victory on the scoreboard for them.”

Synopsis of Trump's Incredible Week

In a plea for Rod Rosenstein to save himself, as if he hadn't abandoned all hope upon entrance to Trump's Chamber of Horrors.


●The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, hiding among the bushes on the White House north lawn and demanding that journalists turn off their camera lights before he would speak to them about the Comey affair.

●Comey learning that he had been fired when he saw it on TV on a West Coast swing; he thought it was a prank.

●The White House offering a profusion of conflicting accounts about Comey’s dismissal, culminating in Trump contradicting his own aides by saying he would have fired Comey even if Rosenstein hadn’t written that preposterous memo citing the Clinton email case.

●The White House blocking American reporters and photographers from covering Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov but admitting a photographer from the Russian state news agency Tass, which published photos of the meeting.

●The president going on Twitter to attack, again, a Democratic senator for mischaracterizing his military service years ago and to renew his long-standing feud with Rosie O’Donnell.

●The very same president registering the approval of just 36 percent of the country in a new Quinnipiac University poll. When Americans were asked to volunteer a word that comes to mind when they think of Trump, the top answer was “idiot.”

But the most surreal happening this week was none of the above. It was the Wall Street Journal’s report that Rosenstein “pressed White House counsel Don McGahn to correct what he felt was an inaccurate White House depiction of the events surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s firing.” The Journal reported that “Rosenstein left the impression that he couldn’t work in an environment where facts weren’t accurately reported.”

Yes, Rosenstein values truth above all else, even justice and the American way. Better update that old resume. 

Picture 1000 Words Etc.


Thank God for the Russian media

The pictures from the Oval Office on Wednesday — published by a Tass photographer, as no U.S. media were present — are jolly and good-humored. President Trump, who fired his FBI director a day earlier, is grinning for the cameras and shaking hands with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. They, too, smile and laugh, relishing the many ironies of the moment.

Have a close look at those happy faces; keep the images in your head. Then turn your attention just for a moment to the story of Ildar Dadin, an unusually brave young Russian. Dadin was arrested in Moscow in 2015, one of the first to fall victim to a harsh new Russian law against dissent. His crime was to have protested peacefully and repeatedly, mostly by standing silently in the street with a sign around his neck.

Sometimes it concerns me that a real billionaire owns the Washington Post. So far, I love what he's doing with it more than what the fake one in the White House is doing with his new acquisition. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ivanka Got All the Brains




Donald and Elise:Joined at the Hip

This is a great link showing how often Rep. Stefanik has voted with Trump. Since the suspense is likely killing you, it's 93.1%. C'mon Elise, you can do better.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fuck It! Let's Get Rid of Trump Then

It's so easy, if someone is not doing a good job they can be fired. Who knew.

“He was not doing a good job,” Trump said, referring to Comey. “Very simply, he was not doing a good job.”

But, relatively speaking ...

Trump is Like the Buddha

Possibly fatter. But Buddha-like nonetheless.

If the president didn’t see that his precipitous firing of the man in charge of investigating the Trump campaign’s connections with the Russian regime might instead alienate some of his allies and outrage much of the public, that’s no anomaly. Rather, it’s an illustration of several of the president’s core character traits — a belief that the past doesn’t matter, a penchant to act swiftly and unilaterally, and a conviction that even the most unpopular actions can help build his brand.

What is the sound of one tiny hand clapping? 

Joe the Plumber for FBI Director?

Actually I'm pretty sure the confirmation hearings are going to be must-see TV no matter who is the nominee.

Trump was angry that Comey would not support his baseless claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped. Trump was frustrated when Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And he fumed that Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to investigating leaks to journalists.

Are Republican congresspeople going to bend over backward to put a hack in the job? Stay tuned. 


We Are Reprehensible

It's not deplorable, but still pretty good.



Here's a good take-down of Elise's answers to healthcare questions from the PS. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Elise Gets a Rare Grilling

I believe it was a full moon last night, but not a blue moon. Nonetheless, Rep. Stefanik deigned to answer a few questions and duck some as well. I got miracled yesterday afternoon when Mountain Lake called and said they had an opening. A day late for my birthday, but I took it. Disappointingly, I had to remain an observer only as my number didn't come up. The folks that did ask questions did a much better job than I would have in any case.

She skirted the question of banning votes from legislators who accept money from drug companies.

The gentleman seated next to me asked if she would vote to approve a tax reform bill without knowing how it would affect Trump's wealth. He actually tried asking it a few times. Apparently there was no good answer to that one.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

"Nobody Dies Because They Don't Have Access to Healthcare"


Oh, and thanks to Rep. Labrador for the post title. Occasionally I like to outsource. I'm hoping Elise can come up with some good material Monday night.  

Putting Elise on the Record

Our congresswoman was one of those proud to put her stamp of approval on the heinous AHCA bill. And afterward she spread some bullshit in the pages of the Post Star.

Stefanik said that the CBO analyzed the previous version that was the basis of Thursday’s legislation, and that the text of the legislation was posted at readthebill.gop for public review.

Stefanik said the process was more transparent than the process of passing President Obama’s health care plan in 2009.

“’Obamacare,’ you remember the quote, ‘We have to pass the bill before we can see what’s in it,’” she said. “That is not what happened. This bill has been public.” 

Reportedly, we'll have CBO numbers out this coming week on the new version. We'll see how those match up with the previous one. Maybe the same maybe not.

What? You want more bullshit?

“This is the first part of a long legislative process,” she said. “There are going to be lots of opportunities for constituents to weigh in. There will be opportunities to improve the bill throughout the process.”

Many constituents attempted to contact Stefanik’s offices in the hours before the vote on Thursday to weigh in, one way or the other.

Elise is holding a town hall Monday if her feet don't get a chill. We'll see. This will be the first since, well who knows when. Should be a fun time. I'm planning to make a trip to P'burgh for it. No Golden Ticket, though. I'll be outside the Chocolate Factory looking longingly at the gob-stoppers.

Almost 270 constituents registered to attend the event and 100 of those have been randomly selected through a lottery by Mountain Lake PBS to attend live in studio. 

So, I had a better than 1 in 2.7 chance and didn't get in? Bullshit! It's rigged, I tells ya!

Updated: Have to apologize about the rigged allegation. Late birthday present and I'm going into the Chocolate Factory. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Few Links On Yesterday's Assholishness

Because I don't fell like thinking about it much.

David Weigel

First, they struggled to answer questions about the need to vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had estimated the costs of an amended AHCA.

“I would prefer to have it scored,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus who was elected in the 2010 backlash to President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

Next, they brushed off questions about whether they’d read the bill, which would impose a significant change on one-sixth of the U.S. economy and was polished off in a Rules Committee meeting after nightfall Wednesday.

Catherine Rampell 

For years, reports of a mythical figure have lingered in Washington and reverberated through congressional districts around the country. Its legend is spread by talking heads, donors, even many of us in the news media.

This is the Myth of the Moderate Republican.

To be sure, among the general population, moderate Republicans are real and plentiful. But not on Capitol Hill, where the Moderate Republican — a creature whose prudence and clearheadedness will rescue the country from the uncompromising dogmatism of the House Freedom Caucus — is an extraordinary popular delusion, a madness of crowds.  

The Tuesday Group was really just a subsidiary of the Freedom Caucus all along. 

Last and certainly not least, Betrayal, Carelessness, Hypocrisy (that covers some of it).

No need for a tease on this one. You know you're going to read all of it.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

She Likes It, She Really Likes It

Thanks Elise. It's not like I was going to have a hard time voting against her in 2018. It's nice that she's making it easy for so many others. It's good for her that she has amassed such a formidable war chest.

"Congresswoman Stefanik has always advocated for repealing and replacing Obamacare with health care that improves quality and accessibility and lowers costs while covering pre-existing conditions," her spokesman Tom Flanagin said in a statement Wednesday night.

"She appreciates the work done by her colleagues to amend the legislative package to support costs for those with pre-existing conditions."

Someone on Facebook came up with ABE2106 (Anyone But Elise). So far, I believe there are at least seven people interested in running. May the best Anyone win.

I'm, of course, holding out hope CAHCA doesn't pass for the usual reasons. My dream is that it doesn't have the votes this time either. We can safely say adios to Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy if that happens. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Alex Jones, Super Gigolo

I got this from a guy at Screw Loose Change. Hat tip to you, Uncle Sporkums.

When I was 16, I didn’t want to party any more. I didn’t want to play games any more.

I grew up. I’d already been in the fights, all the big rituals. I’d already had probably – I hate to brag, but I’m not bragging, it’s actually shameful – probably 150 women, or more, that’s conservative. I’d already had over 150 women. I’d already been in fights with full-grown men. I was already dating college girls by the time I was 15-years-old. I was already a man at 16.

The less said about that, the better.

Comments From Climate Change Article

Just want to make sure my comments don't get lost.

I was there, so I guess I'm one of "these types" that don't pick up their litter. I carried a sandwich with me (PB and home preserved elderberry J) in a tupperware container. I had water in a insulated container from FSO (which I highly recommend). I also use a refillable coffee mug from Cool Beans and canvas shopping bags from various sources. I try to live in such a way that I don't have a lot of litter to strew about the planet. Didn't see anyone else doing so either. Maybe those types are on the other end of the political spectrum. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Resist!

******************************************************

Myself, I believe the sun is more of an influence on climate change than man, and that the sun is entering a calm or quiet period, that usually brings a cooling on the earth. So I'm expecting it to get colder going forward, and IF man can cause it to get warmer thru his actions to offset this cooling, great, I wouldn't fight it. 

Do you have a reason for believing that?

******************************************************

In the early 20th century, we were perilously close to extinction because all life on earth dies at 150ppm. More carbon dioxide means more life, whether it's 2 degrees colder or 2 degrees warmer.

I couldn't find any source that said we were close to extinction because CO2 was so low in the early 20th century. There's a chart at this link. And no I don't believe the more the better

While it is true that plants photosynthesize, and therefore take up carbon dioxide as a way of forming energy with the help of the sun and water, this gas is both a direct pollutant (think acidification of oceans) and more importantly is linked to the greenhouse effect. When heat energy gets released from Earth's surface, some of that radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases like CO2; the effect is what makes our planet comfy temperature-wise, but too much and you get global warming.

Funding For Planned Parenthood, But Not the Wall

The Democrats made out pretty well for being in the minority. There are advantages to actually believing in government.

We knew last week there would be no money to start construction on a project that the president says is more important to his base than anything else. But the final agreement goes further, putting strict limitations on how Trump can use new money for border security (e.g. to invest in new technology and repair existing fencing). Administration officials have insisted they already have the statutory authority to start building the wall under a 2006 law. This prevents such an end run.

The $1.5 billion for border security is also half as much as the White House requested. Additionally, there are no cuts in funding to sanctuary cities, something a federal judge said last week would be required for the Justice Department to follow through on its threats. And there is also no money for a deportation force.

**************************************************

 He didn’t defund Planned Parenthood. Despite the best efforts of social conservatives, the group will continue to receive funding at current levels.

**************************************************

To keep negotiations moving, the White House already agreed last week to continue paying Obamacare subsidies. This money, which goes to insurance companies, reduces out-of-pocket expenses for low-income people who get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration justifies giving up on this because of the potential to resolve the bigger issue by repealing Obamacare.

I might get tired of this winning thing after all. Bonus win:

Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. The final deal trims its budget by just 1 percent, with no staff cuts. As part of a compromise, the EPA gets $80 million less than last year, but the budget is $8 billion. 

Four more at the link.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Everyone's Doing It, Here's Jake Tapper


Supporting the Wall in Upstate NY

Some wingnut group called Americans for Limited Government is pushing Elise to support the border wall. They do know it's on the southern border I hope. I'll just put my comments up here. Why mess with perfection.

Americans for Limited Government, a political advocacy group that focuses on property rights and free market policy, on Friday announced it is conducting an online marketing campaign to urge U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, to support including funding to build a southern border wall 

What about the people whose property is being snatched by eminent domain in order to build the wall. Good luck with your peeps there, Elise.

*********************************************************

A little info on just how grassroots astroturf this organization is. The funding for ALG comes from three donors.

Americans for Limited Government, the tax-exempt organization that bankrolled a series of controversial ballot initiatives this year, raised 99 percent of its $5.4 million in total contributions in 2005 from just three donors, the Center for Public Integrity has learned.


Trump's First 100 Days

In a few words from Josh Marshall.

When we consider the 100 day marker, it is not so much that Trump has accomplished virtually nothing of substance. It is that nothing of substance is really underway either. That’s the key thing.


On Monday, President Trump’s 102 day in office, he will begin from more or less a cold start, as though the first three months hadn’t happened. The difference is that he’ll face a calendar that is far less friendly to legislation and he’ll have squandered whatever degree of good will, momentum or confidence he had from congressional Republicans in his ability to be an effective President.

I can't help but think the tax reform attempt is going to make the repeal and replace debacle look like a walk in the park. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Next Battle

I know the health care fight is not over. TPM has had a couple of posts on how "moderate" Republicans are getting knifed by the actions of the White House and their nuttier brethren.

After being steamrolled in the negotiations surrounding Obamacare repeal, House Republican moderates appear poised to be run over once more—and perhaps, a final time—as momentum grows behind a revived version of the repeal bill.

Their rival faction, the House Freedom Caucus, has backed the newest form of the legislation having received another round of concessions. That means the pressure is on the conference’s centrist wing to fall in line, despite having gained little throughout the negotiation process.

The Washington Post commentators have a few columns up today on the tax reform "proposal" by Trump. It seems like if the health care debacle was bad for supposed moderates, it's not gonna get better when the debate shifts to tax reform. 

Catherine Rampell has the most complete take down. There's lots of good stuff, but I'll just note her explanation of pass-though income since this seems to be an egregious evil inherent in the plan.

(P)ass-through income refers to business income that gets paid at individual income tax rates rather than corporate ones. Income earned by partnerships, sole proprietorships and S-corporations — the vast majority of all companies — falls into this category.

Lots of people, including White House officials, associate pass-through entities with small businesses. But plenty of ginormous companies get taxed this way, including hedge funds, big law firms, publicly traded partnerships and even — coincidentally? — the Trump Organization. In fact, according to the Treasury Department, more than 80 cents of every dollar earned by pass-throughs come from big firms (defined as companies with more than $10 million in income).

Soon we will all be Kansas.

In 2012, the state undertook a huge suite of tax cuts, including eliminating taxes on pass-through income. That overhaul, too, was supposed to “pay for itself.” 

Instead, many more people took advantage of the loophole than expected, the state economy and tax receipts slowed to a crawl, and a gaping budget hole forced legislators to close schools early. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded multiple times

Eugene Robinson with my favorite lie about the plan.

“The plan will pay for itself with growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. His rosy projection is that increased growth would produce $2 trillion in new revenue over 10 years. But the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, estimates the tax cuts would cost $6.2 trillion in revenue during that same period, leaving a $4 trillion gap. Even the conservative Tax Foundation, which has rarely seen a tax cut it didn’t like, foresees a $2 trillion gap. 

Max Ehrenfreund with another great lie from Steve Mnuchin. 

Pitching the plan on Wednesday evening, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said again it will not cut taxes on the rich overall: “Effectively, the effective tax rate will not be a reduction for the rich,” Mnuchin told Tucker Carlson. “This is really about a middle-income tax cut.”

But experts on taxation who have reviewed Trump's ideas say the wealthy would enjoy the greatest benefits, with uneven and uncertain savings for ordinary households.

The broad outline was generally similar to a proposal that Trump had put forward as a candidate, which the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated would save a typical taxpayer in the richest 1 percent of households $317,000 a year. That amounts to 14.1 percent of the annual income of a typical household in that rarefied group. By contrast, typical households with middling income would save about $1,100 a year on average, which translates to only 1.5 percent of their yearly income.

Meanwhile, some could even pay more, especially single parents and large families. Trump's plan would eliminate certain provisions that currently work to these groups' advantage.

What's with the tax brackets being 10, 25 and 35%? Does that seem a little odd? Those just happened to be the best numbers?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

White House Extortion Exposed

I sound like the National Enquirer. Final draft of letter.

    Nice health insurance policy you got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. That sounds like the sort of protection racket the White House is running. "We'd offer them $1 of cost-sharing reductions for $1 of wall payments. Right now that's the offer we've given our Democratic colleagues." That's Mick Mulvaney from OMB. This is a tweet from President Trump. "Obamacare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going - otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought."
     Does that sound like low-income folks who depend on subsidies for their health insurance are represented by Democrats and not Republicans? "The Dems need big money to keep it going." The Republicans preference is to see it fail, that seems clear. Savings from the repeal of ACA are still needed to give tax reform any chance of succeeding. The wealthy still need their tax cuts. Both are more important than health insurance for the poor.
    This week Kaiser Family Foundation came out with an analysis of the effects of ending the CSR subsidies that are being held hostage. "The increased cost to the federal government of higher premium tax credits would actually be 23% more than the savings from eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments." It's worth losing money to eliminate every last vestige of President Obama and to build a big, beautiful wall. Maybe Mexico will pay for our health insurance, too.

The Money Was Laundered

So, no problem.

“I didn’t take any money from Russia, if that’s what you’re asking me,” Flynn said at first. Then, when asked who did him pay him, Flynn replied: “My speakers’ bureau — ask them.”

Blame-shifting seems to be a prominent feature of the Trump Administration. Along with money laundering, of course. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Never Know What You'll Find

I still want to know the back story on the red sports car, though.

A vast battlefield landscape of tunnels and trenches dug to train troops for the first world war has been discovered on army land being cleared for housing.

Archaeologists who worked on the site at Larkhill, in Wiltshire, said the century-old complex was a valuable discovery – although it posed hazards.

“This is the first time anywhere in the world that archaeologists have had the chance to examine, excavate and record such an enormous expanse of first world war training ground,” said Si Cleggett, of Wessex Archaeology. “These men were being trained for the real thing, using live grenades – we know that because we found over 200 grenades in the tunnel and 50% of them proved to be still live. We had to work side by side with experts in dealing with live ordnance, or it could have got very tricky.”

Rough Draft of a Letter

     Nice health insurance policy you got there. It’d be a shame if something happened to it. That sounds like the sort of protection racket the White House is running. “We’d offer them $1 of cost-sharing reductions for $1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues.” That’s Mick Mulvaney from OMB. This is a tweet from President Trump. “ObamaCare is in serious trouble. The Dems need big money to keep it going – otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought.”
     Does that make it sound like low-income folks who depend on subsidies for their health insurance are represented by Democrats and not Republicans? “The Dems need big money to keep it going.” And the Republicans preference is to see ACA fail. That seems pretty clear. There’s a smell of desperation as the 100 day mark draws near. I suppose pushing hard for a healthcare bill, even if worse than the original AHCA, is some sort of accomplishment. Savings from repeal of ACA are still needed to give tax reform any chance of working. The wealthy still need their tax cuts. That’s more important than health insurance for the poor.
     This week Kaiser Family foundation came out with an analysis of the effect of ending the cost of the CSRs being held hostage. “The increased cost to the federal government of higher premium tax credits would actually be 23% more than the savings from eliminating cost-sharing reduction payments.” It’s worth losing money to eliminate every last vestige of President Obama and to build a beautiful wall, though.

Let My Constituents Eat Cake

Or die from lack of health insurance.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a deficit hawk and Freedom Caucus member who opposed the AHCA, said he would review the amendment. 

“Essential benefits and all the other mandates may be affordable in a wealthy state, but unaffordable in a poorer state like Mississippi or Alabama that causes people to go from some insurance to no health insurance,” Brooks said.

The only reason I can think of for his opposition to the original is because it was not draconian enough. 

The carrot for conservatives is the opportunity for states to apply for waivers from some of the ACA’s mandates, including its requirement for insurers to cover essential health benefits and its ban on swelling premiums for people with preexisting health conditions. Many conservatives don’t like leaving the law’s insurance regulations in place, but the waiver provision allows them to argue that they’re giving states more control over the situation.

But the revisions would also restore the law’s federal essential health benefits requirements for states that don’t obtain a waiver from them. The original bill would have turned over those regulations completely to the states.

Gee, I wonder how hard it'll be to get that waiver. Like buying a gun in a red state, I'm thinking. 

Carter Library Busts on Trump

Is this the greatest?

Amid Trump’s struggles, even the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library felt emboldened this week. On Monday, the library posted a tweet noting the laws and executive orders President Carter had signed in his first 100 days, before ending with the most devastating statistic of all — Carter’s approval rating of 63 percent. 

Trump, the least-popular new president in modern times, has an average approval rating currently hovering in the low 40s. 

Can you say Trump malaise? Or for our Spanish friends just say Trump mal. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Greatest Weasel Word Tweet of All Time

Congratulations Donald.

"Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall."

I don't believe you can make it much clearer than that. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mexican Standoff Trump-Style

I can't help but think of the Blazing Saddles scene where Sheriff Bart does the standoff with the gun pointed at his own head.

President Trump is pushing Congress toward another dramatic showdown over the Affordable Care Act, despite big outstanding obstacles to a beleaguered revision plan and a high-stakes deadline next week to keep the government running.

And if there's a government shutdown it comes on his 100th day in office. Well, can't say he didn't accomplish anything. 

“The plan gets better and better and better, and it’s gotten really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday. “We have a good chance of getting it soon. I’d like to say next week, but we will get it.”

I'm not sure this gibberish is even funny anymore especially after reading Charles Pierce today. Not that what he's saying hasn't been at least in the back of our minds. And 96% of his voters are still happy with that choice. 

The confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — after Republican senators used a rule change to muscle the nomination through — remains Trump’s sole major accomplishment on Capitol Hill as the 100-day mark nears.

The only "accomplishment" Trump can point to was only achieved by ratfucking President Obama and Merritt Garland. Impressive! Big league!

We'll Do It Fuckin' Live! Please

Yeah, that's a lot better.

The cover alone — an image of a little girl with an expression of exuberant begging, her hands clasped almost in prayer — seems ready-made for Stephen Colbert’s show.


Other images in this picture book include one of a little girl, partially dressed, asking for help putting on the rest of her outfit. ... A hungry boy hovers over a plate of chocolate-chip cookies, his tongue hanging out in greedy expectation: “I really, really need a cookie!” says the caption. “Can we take them all?” asks a little girl of a litter of kittens. “Please?” Some of the children have already committed a no-no — a girl who has dipped her finger in a bowl of frosting, a little boy who has broken a dish — and are asking for forgiveness by saying “Please!” after the fact.

I believe the test for parental fitness may be whether you'd buy this book for your child. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Same As Trump's Contractors Get Paid

The check's in the mail.

On Sunday, however, Trump tweeted that Mexico would pay “eventually,” “at a later date” and “in some form” for his proposed wall. He did not specify a specific date or schedule for that payment, and did not say what kind of remuneration it would entail.

Ruining My Sunday

I use the socialist internet at my local library and have to drive 6 miles for it. I was going to skip out today and mow the lawn and whatnot. But no! Because of this story I was forced to come here and put up a post. Truth told, my arm never needs much twisting and I'm not staying on long.

A Kingsbury man had a unique proposal for Washington County Supervisors Friday — get rid of elections and political parties, and let God decide our leaders.

A teary-eyed Tony Cerro took the mic at Friday’s meeting to make his pitch to the county supervisors.
“We are in trouble,” Cerro told the board. “Our system is wrong.”

Cerro told the board he wanted to “get rid of political parties and elections, and turn back to God for guidance.”

Here's a surprise. He voted for Trump. Here's my comment.

I can't believe none of those supervisors asked any questions. I can think of quite a few.

He criticized the board for opening every meeting with a prayer, and then doing business “against God’s will right after.” He did not offer specific examples of what the county does that he feels goes against “God’s will.”

Yes, that would be one. I heard Cerro swapping 9/11 theories with Matt Funiciello on "Uncommon Sense." I do hope that show comes back on so maybe I can hear more about this. Maybe God will choose Matt for Congress in 2018. If he chose Trump he's got a sick sense of humor.

 “I want to go to Washington and explain to him the system I propose, but I’m afraid I would get arrested."

Where would we be if Jesus and Paul had been afraid of being arrested? Other than all being Jewish, I mean.

I can understand if they were all too dumbfounded to ask any questions. Good Lord, I gotta start going to these meetings. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It Could Have Been Worse

Yes, we could have had President Graham.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that he supported striking North Korea to stop it from developing the capability to reach the United States with a missile — even if that came at a huge cost for the region.


“It would be terrible, but the war would be over [in South Korea], it wouldn’t be here,” Graham said in an interview with NBC.

I guess the 28,000 US troops in Seoul don't count as "being here." Psychopath. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

New Healthcare Words

To me anyway.

There is a list of actions the administration must decide whether to take to keep the marketplaces humming, most of them through regulatory actions at the Health and Human Services Department or through the Internal Revenue Service.

The actions center on three programs: cost-sharing reductions, reinsurance and risk corridors. Cost-sharing refers to government subsidies to low-income Americans to help them pay for insurance. Trump threatened recently to let such subsidies lapse, but Democrats say they will shut down the government as part of the spending negotiations next week if the president follows through.

Incredibly I hadn't come across reinsurance and risk corridors before. 

Reinsurance and risk corridors are two programs set up under the ACA to redistribute funds from insurers with healthier enrollees to insurers with sicker, more expensive customers.

New day, learn something new. I wonder if Trump knows anything about them. What am I saying?

Lawrence Kudlow Back on the Hooch and Blow

That's all I can figure anyway.

Once the House passes the Republican health-care bill, it could become law very quickly, Larry Kudlow said on Thursday.

According to sources, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows has "been in discussion and successfully negotiating" with Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, and they have been agreeing on a number of issues, Kudlow reported.

"So for the first time, as this person reported to me, if the House can get a vote next week or soon after, the Senate may jam it right through fast. It won't take weeks and weeks and weeks," the senior CNBC contributor said on "Closing Bell."

And then you've got Trump thinking Congress is going to get the healthcare bill passed along with the budget next week and he's going to get his tax reform package introduced. That will be a slightly faster pace than the first 91 days have been moving at.

Yes, I do feel bad making fun of an addict except ones that are smarmy dicks.

Strange Bedfellows at the Washington Post

It's a weird day when Eugene Robinson and Jen Rubin seem to have worked together to produce columns.

Ladies first:

The GOP 2.0 version of the American Health Care Act has about as much appeal as the original AHCA, or maybe less. It’s still a big tax cut for the rich, a hit to pocketbooks of older and more rural voters, and less generous than what recipients had received under Obamacare. Would a moderate in a district Hillary Clinton carried overwhelmingly go for this? It’d be a high-risk proposition. Would a conservative who sees more regulation (the essential benefits) going back into the deal be thrilled? Probably not. Moreover, it’s clear the Senate would reject the bill, because moderates previously said they’d refuse to go along with a Medicaid rollback.

The list of people who would not like it is long: right-wing activists; Republicans in swing districts; every Democrat; Karen Handel (the GOP candidate in the Georgia 6th Congressional District runoff election), who’d have to take a position on a cruddy bill; doctors; hospitals; and the AARP.

That's the short list, I guess. Add to it the 20 million that are insured as a result of ACA. 

Robinson covers the new and unimproved health care bill so well:

Having failed miserably to win passage of an abomination of a bill -- the American Health Care Act -- Ryan and his minions are back with something even worse. A draft framework being circulated this week would pretend to keep the parts of Obamacare that people like, but allow the states to take these benefits away.

Republicans don’t talk much about the practical reason for moving urgently on health care, which is to set the stage for so-called tax reform: They want to take money now used to subsidize health care for low-income Americans and give it to the wealthy in the form of big tax cuts. 

Nominally, the “MacArthur Amendment” would retain the Essential Health Benefits standard imposed by the ACA, which requires insurance policies to cover eventualities such as hospitalization, maternity and emergency care -- basically, all the things you’d ever need health insurance for.

The amendment would also appear to maintain the ACA’s guarantees that everyone can buy health insurance, including those who have pre-existing conditions, and that parents can keep adult children on their policies until age 26. That all looks fine -- but it’s an illusion.

After specifying that these popular provisions will stay, the amendment then gives states the right to snatch them away. States would be able to obtain waivers exempting them from the Essential Health Benefits standards. They would also be able to obtain waivers from the pre-existing conditions requirement by creating a “high-risk pool” to provide coverage for those who are unwell.

There would no longer be a prohibition, however, against charging “high-risk” individuals more -- so much more, in fact, that they would potentially be priced out of the market. We would go back to the pre-ACA situation in which serious illness could mean losing a home or filing for bankruptcy.

Paul Ryan and Tom MacArthur are bigger scam artists than Trump himself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GOP Can't Quit Obamacare

I know which one Elise is.

Now, when it comes to Obamacare, there are generally two types of Republicans: ones who despise everything about it, and ones who understand nothing about it. The first group are libertarians who want to get rid of the law root-and-branch. They don't think the federal government should play any part in helping people get coverage, or telling insurers what that has to be. Instead, they'd like to go back to a world where the sick are mostly on their own, and insurance companies are mostly free to discriminate against them.

The second group are so-called moderates who oppose Obamacare entirely because of politics, not policy. Which is to say that they attack the unpopular parts of the law, like penalizing people for not getting insurance, at the same time that they support the popular parts, like banning insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions. What they don't get, though, is that you can't have the latter without the former.

Actually, I lied. I have no idea which group she's in because she won't give an opinion or hold a town hall. The choices are between venal and stupid. I'll be charitable and assume that she's in the stupid group. 

That brings us to the GOP's real problem. It's that a lot of Republicans secretly kind of like Obamacare, or at least they like what it does. They don't want to get rid of the way it's covered sick people or expanded coverage or let kids stay on their parent's insurance until they're 26 years old. The only thing they do want to change — well, other than the name and the individual mandate — is the way that premiums and deductibles have continued to march ever higher. But that, whether they realize it or not, is actually an argument that Obamacare hasn't gone far enough. That we need bigger subsidies so people can buy better coverage that doesn't make them pay as much out-of-pocket.

Somehow I don't think Paul Ryan of the Freedom Caucus is going to go for that idea. 

Elise Cheers MOAB

I'm kidding, of course. She actually didn't express much of an opinion at all. She's gotten so good at that.

“Gen. John Nicholson made the decision tactically that was the best ammunition to utilize,” Stefanik said in a telephone interview on Monday about a congressional delegation she led to the Middle East last week.

I am proud of her that she's become the chair of the what is it committee.

Stefanik led the delegation in her new role as chairwoman of the House Defense Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.

That's certainly a mouthful. Hope she enjoyed the election results in Georgia last night.

Monday, April 17, 2017

President Non-Negotiable

I love to hear right wing types boast on how much President Blameless has accomplished.

We haven't seen too much in the way of deals. As a matter of fact, we haven't seen any deals, at least not any of consequence. Is it possible that Donald Trump was never such a great dealmaker in the first place?

That's one way to look at it. Trump has made some lucrative deals; in fact, in recent years his company has been increasingly dependent on licensing deals, in which he sells the rights to use his name to a developer putting up an apartment building or a resort in some far-flung locale.

His particular style of dealmaking often involved seeing how he could get over on people dumb enough to trust him. As he has made amply clear, he has a zero-sum worldview about nearly everything: Either you're getting screwed, or you're the one doing the screwing. In some contexts, it works. Trump could shaft a piano supplier, safe in the knowledge that the guy was just a small business owner who wouldn't have the means to fight him. That left him with a bunch of free pianos, and if he ever needed any more, he could get them from somebody else who wasn't aware that Trump was likely to stiff him on the deal.

When you bring that approach to politics, you find that things don't work quite the same way. You can launch Trump University, scam the customers, and then move on to the next group of suckers (until the courts catch up with you, that is). But in politics, you have to keep making deals with the same people.

*******************************************************************

Speaking of trade, you might also have noticed that Trump has not yet renegotiated NAFTA to bring back all the manufacturing jobs the country has lost in the last few decades. And he can't seem to decide whether he's going to take another shot at negotiating a health-care deal, or move on to an equally difficult negotiation over tax reform.

It'd Be a Shame If Something Happened to Your Healthcare

Winning is all that matters, not insuring people.

“OBAMACARE IS dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” President Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday in a barely veiled threat to defund a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act. The president delivered this threat even though he has no viable replacement plan. 

Winning and tax breaks for the rich. 

The president’s comments came after he reanimated the drive to repeal and replace Obamacareon Fox Business earlier Wednesday: “We have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform,” he said. “So we’re going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first.”

I believe he hates the average American more than he does Assad or Kim.

The indecency of Mr. Trump taking millions of Americans’ health care hostage is compounded by his suggestion that repeal-and-replace is about freeing budgetary space for Republicans to tinker with the tax code rather than about fixing health care. Even posing his threat, meanwhile, is astonishingly reckless.

What Trump should do, number infinity.

Continuing these payments is only the first and most obvious step Mr. Trump must take to shore up the health-care system. The president should continue fighting a lawsuit charging that spending on these cost-sharing subsidies is illegal absent further congressional appropriations, and he should press lawmakers to make those appropriations. He should also direct his administration to enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires Americans to obtain health-care coverage, so long as the system depends on the mandate to keep markets viable.

CSI : ACA. Trump's fingerprints are gonna be all over it

“The evidence is strong that the ACA is not dying of natural causes, but with the president’s recent comments it’s clear that it could die of suspicious causes,” says Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan outfit that studies health care. In the current environment, insurers “are just not going to stick around and take big risks,” Levitt tells me. “They’ll just take their marbles and invest elsewhere. It would be a very rational decision.”

The health-care system Trump is now destroying was healthy. A report this month by Standard & Poor’s, the credit-rating agency, found “marked improvement” in the individual market for most Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers, the largest players in the market. They were forecast to be “close to break-even margins” in 2017. The “ACA individual market is not in a ‘death spiral,’ ” S&P reported.

From the Standard and Poor's link.

Looking forward, we expect insurers, on average, to get close to break-even margins in this segment in 2017.

  • The U.S. ACA individual market shows signs of improvement, as most insurers' 2016 results were better than 2015 results.
  • But the market is still developing and will need a couple more years to reach target profitability.
  • 2016 results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the ACA individual market is not in a "death spiral."
  • However, every time something new (and potentially disruptive) is thrown into the works, it impedes the individual market's path to stability.















Saturday, April 15, 2017

On Trump Blowing Things Up

To celebrate my new Kindle subscription to the Guardian:

No plausible explanation has been forthcoming for why General John Nicholson, the US Afghanistan commander, suddenly decided to deploy this previously unused weapon of mass destructive power at this particular moment, or whether additional MOAB attacks are planned.

So, we dropped $16 million worth of MOAB on an obscure part of Afghanistan and $60 million on an obscure airbase in Syria to probably little effect in either case. No one, least of all Trump, can say whether this is part of any strategy. And there's an armada headed toward North Korea. At least Kim Jong Un is no Francis Drake. 

(Trump) has in effect let the US military off the leash. In Iraq and Syria, civilian casualties are rising as a direct result.

If things go wrong, Trump can distance himself, which is what he did in January after his debut military operation – a foolhardy special forces operation in Yemen – ended badly.

Given free rein, the US air force seems to be behaving particularly recklessly. It has yet to accept full responsibility for its disastrous bombing of an apartment building in Mosul last month, which killed as many as 150 people. This week, US-directed coalition airstrikes blew up 18 allied Syrian fighters by mistake.

I can't believe his military commanders don't realize they are going to be the fall guys if when things go wrong. If they don't, they shouldn't be military commanders. Francis Drake would have known. 

As with the Syria missile strikes, the MOAB attack is unlikely to have any significant impact on the course of the Afghan conflict. These kinds of “shock and awe” tactics rarely do. Isis has been making important territorial gains. The Taliban is also resurgent. One bomb, however big, will not change that dynamic.

Not that I know anymore than Trump, but it seems like if we just left things to the Taliban the ISIS problem would sort itself out. We've been there for 15 years and the Taliban are now re-taking power. I can see why GWOT was going to be a long war.

Along this line is Robert Bateman at Esquire:

The SM-3 missile (technically the RIM-161, Standard Missile -3) can shoot down other missiles, even ballistic ones. Even satellites in outer space for that matter. And although we do not know if those type of missiles are loaded aboard the Lake Champlain at this instant (information like that would be classified), if I was a betting man, I would probably lay some money that they are.

Why does this matter? Because in addition to being pretty loud lately, you might have noticed that North Korea has been testing a lot of missiles. On top of that, the North Koreans just hosted another one of their big self-congratulatory military parades. Sometimes they like to fire off hardware around the time of these events, international treaties and sanctions be damned. Usually those missiles are fired to the east, into the Sea of Japan, and sometimes into Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone. According to preliminary reports, this hasn't happened yet. But if it did?

Let's get back to our battlegroup, equipped with the SM-3s aboard an Aegis cruiser, operating in international waters well away from North Korea itself. What would international opinion be if we shot an illegally fired missile out of the sky when it was headed towards Japan? It would mean demonstrating at one stroke both North Korea's inability to actually use those missiles they are trying so hard to develop, and enforcing the sanctions against those same launches that are already in place from the international community.

If we shoot down Korean missiles I'll be more impressed than I was by the Syrian or Afghanistan strikes.













Some Good News on ACA

But where's our AG Schneiderman? I'm sure he'll eventually sign on.

Trump said he would let the Affordable Care Act "explode" after Republicans failed last month to pass their own repeal bill in Congress, and told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he may withhold billions of dollars of payments to insurers to force Democrats to negotiate on healthcare.


Public statements like that led to judges blocking Trump's proposed travel bans earlier this year, and could prove to be one line of attack in legal attempts to protect the healthcare bill, according to a handful of liberal US lawyers and state attorneys general. They said they are waiting to see what action the administration ultimately takes on the healthcare law before they will officially respond.

Massachusetts Attorney General Healey said Trump is legally bound to enforce the ACA. But his words make it clear he is willing to sabotage it, in her view. 

"He is intent on setting the dynamite and blowing this up," Healey told Reuters.

She said it is too early to speculate about specific legal action but said Trump's remarks about the law "suggest he is out there not just hoping that it fails but working to see it fail."

I hadn't heard of the "take care clause," but I like the idea. And I like the idea that Trump's mouth is being held against him.

One such legal challenge being discussed is suing the Trump administration for failing to abide by the "take care clause," which requires that the president faithfully execute laws enacted by Congress, according to Deepak Gupta, a Washington lawyer who often works on public interest cases.

"That the president is operating in good faith … is pretty critical to how the law works. That good faith is legitimately in question," he said.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Devastation of Republican Healthcare

From a link at ACA Signups to American Progress. This is on the House bill AHCA which is, who knows for sure, being resurrected and not in a good way like Jesus. It's a joke OK, God.

The House bill’s effects are staggering, even at a local level. Within a decade, on average, an additional 55,000 more individuals in each congressional district, or nearly 8 percent of each district’s entire population today, would lack coverage. In the table below, we provide estimates of coverage losses for all 435 congressional districts of the 115th Congress as well as the District of Columbia.

For each district, we provide an estimated number of people who would be uninsured under the House bill instead of having health insurance through the workplace, Medicaid, and the exchanges and other private coverage. Our numbers reflect that states that have expanded Medicaid to low-income adults under the ACA would face drastic cuts to federal matching funds for the program starting in 2020 and that expansion would no longer be a viable option by 2026 for states that have not already done so. 

In my district, NY 21st, that's 64,400. I don't remember what the previous number with a full repeal was, but I believe it was 58,000 and something. That is 8.97% of the population of the district for sticklers about accuracy. I'd just go with 9% or 1 in 11.


Elise, Are You Down With Privatizing Medicare?

Rep. Bueller what say you?

Referencing the proposal oft-floated by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to privatize Medicare by transforming it into what’s known as “premium support,” Mulvaney told CNBC’s John Harwood that his “guess is the House will do either that or something similar to that.”

Strategy Number 89 to See Trump's Returns

And it's on us.

Easier way for state lawmakers to force the disclosure of Trump’s tax information: publishing the state tax returns already in their possession, which would reveal much of the same information appearing in his federal documents.

New York, New York

Trump’s New York state resident income tax returns show his salary, dividends, capital gains, rental real estate income and other income from all sources — including sources outside New York. If Trump fills out a “Resident Itemized Deduction Schedule” — as most high-income individuals in New York do — he also reports his gifts to charity. And if he is using phantom losses from previous years to offset tax on his current-year income, then the New York state return shows that too.

New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance keeps copies of Trump’s state returns from as far back as 1990. Current New York law prohibits state tax officials from disclosing an individual’s returns, but the New York legislature could amend that law to require the state tax authority to post the president’s returns from the past quarter-century on its website. For the sake of evenhandedness, the legislature might apply the same rule to its other elected officials. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is unlikely to object: He releases his returns every year, as do the state’s two senators, fellow Democrats Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Might be worth a LTTE.

Fund the CSRs!

Have I said that before? Anyway here's an article in today's Wash Po saying Fund the CSRs!

The payments were challenged in court by House Republicans, who won their case, under the previous administration. The Obama administration appealed the case, and Trump inherited the case, which has been put on pause as Republicans tried to craft a replacement plan. The payments are continuing to be made, and will be until the lawsuit is resolved, an administration official said.


The ongoing uncertainty has the potential to undermine a key part of the Affordable Care Act's efforts to expand coverage, even if Republicans fail to deliver on their pledge to repeal the law.


And look at the states where 65% or more receive cost-sharing reductions. Go look at the chart on who's getting the largest premium increases, too. Trumpgrets anyone?

Wright called the lawsuit a “wrecking ball” that, if it goes through, would raise premiums not just for lower-income people, but for everyone.

I'm sure the average voter in the Southeast US can be convinced it's Obama's fault.

He said that consumers may not be aware of how much they benefit from the federal payments unless they are revoked.

“My sense is that it might be one of those things they may not fully understand the mechanism now; once it’s taken away, they’ll understand it fairly quickly,” Wrobel said.

You don't know what you got til it's gone.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lale Davidson on Healthcare

Local professor at ACC, Lale Davidson, writes one of the best histories I've seen of the healthcare mess. I read a lot of them and look right here in my back yard.

They were supposed to be looking for solutions, working on compromises, and being proactive. That’s what governing means. When we pointed out that they were being obstructionist, they said, “No, you are,” like irritating little brothers. But Friday, Ryan wasn’t even embarrassed to admit they had been simply opposing Dems for the last eight years. He was only embarrassed that they didn’t yet know how to govern, as if it was a new requirement that only comes with being a majority.

The sooner they go back to being a minority party the better. Hopefully that starts today. C'mon Kansas and Georgia. Send a big, fat message. 

So, for the last eight years, the GOP–the opposition party–been focused on opposing everything Obama and the Dems did, and they just admitted it. What they didn’t admit was that they have been busy sabotaging the ACA so they could justifiably say how broken it is.

I hope she likes my latest letter as much as my buddy Al will. 

As far as I can glean from Talking Points Memand the New York Times, the creators of the ACA knew that there would be start-up costs and shortfalls in insurance profits as the program was implemented. The sickest people would sign up first, and this would be hard on insurance companies. The tax penalty on people not signing up was meant to offset that and speed up the growth process. In order not to freak people out and give them time to adjust, the penalties started low, and were intended to increase over time, so that we’d get buy-in from everyone, eventually. To combat these growing  pains, the  ACA had a provision to use government funds to cover some of the insurance cost shortfalls until everyone got signed up. Then, the idea was, costs could be mitigated by the funds from healthy people.

Yeah I know, it's funny, a government program that's not perfect right out of the blocks. 

Now we know who’s responsible for the hike: not the ACA; Republican obstructionism with the intent to destroy the ACA.

And that’s another thing that burns me up. The Republicans have been saying that this bill is “wealth redistribution,” and that it’s so unfair, because healthy people’s premiums are being used to pay for the sick.

Um…that’s how insurance works (never mind the fact that health insurance CEOs are paid ridiculous amounts of money not because they are worth it, but because they can get away with it). But I digress.

When was the last time you used your house insurance or your car insurance? And what happened when you used it? Probably you were given the run around, and then, you basically had to pay it back in the form of higher premiums. But when disaster strikes, you get back far more than you paid in. 

The only way that’s possible is because of all the people who don’t use their insurance. The GOP likes to pretend they never heard of this concept before the ACA.

And on single-payer.

I’m just not sure how. Michael Moore, on MSNBC on Friday, said we need to dog the insurance companies like we’ve been dogging our representatives. But he also said we should call our reps and insist on a single payer system.

I’m not so sure that’s a productive route, unless Republicans are willing to caucus Democrats. So far, they’ve shown themselves to be completely unwilling to work on even moderate change. So I just don’t know.

One way or another, a lot of work still needs to be done, and as Ryan said Friday, “Are we willing to say yes to the good even if it’s not perfect?”
That’s what we’ve been saying all along.

I agree that the insurance companies are going to have to be allowed to enrich themselves for awhile longer. This was the thing that drove me insane with Funiciello's nonsense about the Dems being as bad as the Reps because Obama didn't get us single-payer. He must have believed he was as magical as Rush Limbaugh did. The Right was only calling ACA socialism, I wonder what they would have called that.