Monday, June 26, 2017

California Blue Dog Ellen Tauscher Is Back-- Lock Away Your Wallet


She's back-- and up to no good again!

It’s 10 years later and right-wing Democrat Ellen Tauscher-- once the head of the New Dems, a vice chair of the DLC, and a proud Blue Dog-- is rearing her head in Democratic politics again. She’s the chair of the California 7 Project (AKA- Fight Back California), which purports to being trying to defeat 7 California Republicans in 2018: Jeff Denham and David Valadao in the Central Valley, Steve Knight in the L.A./Ventura 25the district and the 4 vulnerable GOPers in Orange County, Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, Darrell Issa and Mimi Walters. Typical of crooked political operations, Tauscher’s outfit-- a shady SuperPAC-- is raising money for itself, not for any Democratic candidates. Tauscher told Roll Call she plans to raise $10,000,000, money that could be used to defeat conservatives that will instead be used to bolster conservatives and, in all likelihood, Tauscher’s and her cronies’ own accounts. You just have to trust she’ll spend it right. But you shouldn’t… because history shows exactly how she’ll spend it.

Tauscher is working with her original campaign manager, strategist Katie Merrill, who loses all her races, and they hiding who has already funneled 6-figures into their SuperPAC. So just what you would expect of a slimy character like Tauscher-- dark money fueling her efforts to sucker the grassroots into contributing to… probably herself and a gaggle of dreadful right-of-center Republican-lite candidates just like herself. Their main goal will be to make sure no Berniecrats win any nominations, just Tauscher-like offal from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. One source told me she’s getting money from the lottery winner the DCCC wants to sell the CA-39 nomination to, Gil Cisneros, but it’s impossible to confirm who’s giving Tauscher’s operation the cash, since she’s taking advantage of the dark money Supreme Court rulings to hide her sources.

My history with Tauscher goes back a ways. In 2006, she recruited an “ex”-Republican to run against the grassroots candidate in California she and Rahm were eager too defeat, Jerry McNerney. They decided McNerney was too liberal to beat Republican Natural Resources Committee chair Richard Pombo and they dug up a Republican masquerading as a Democrat instead. McNerney slaughtered the interloper in the primary and Tauscher and Rahm put a hex on the district, calling donors and telling them not to contribute to McNerney in the general. That’s how Rahm taught the DCCC to play-- a practice continued by Steve Israel and whoever tells the hapless Ben Ray Lujan what he should do. In any case, McNerney pulverized Pombo, shocking the GOP (and Tauscher’s and Rahm’s Republican wing of the Democratic Party). It was one of the biggest races of the year and McNerney, propelled by grassroots enthusiasm, took 109,868 votes (53.3%) to Pombo’s 96,396 (46.7%). Pombo spent $4,629,983 that year, to McNerney’s $2,422,962. The NRCC came to Pombo’s defense with a then-massive $1,442,492, while Rahm grudgingly allowed the DCCC to spend a mere $295,366, less that the Sierra Club or even the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

The media has always white-washed Tauscher and given her favorable treatment. Ten years ago, I wrote about a Washington Post puff piece on her.
Eilperin and Grunwald have written an inherently dishonest piece-- pure Inside-the-Beltway ass-kissery for the powers-that-be. Reading their whitewash you would never know that Tauscher recruited and pushed a pro-corporate, anti-grassroots shill to run against Democratic grassroots hero Jerry McNerney, only that she's being victimized by some left wing bullies for being a hard-working "moderate." From Eilperin and Grunwald a reader would reasonably conclude that Tauscher had merely "supported McNerney's centrist opponent in his primary, to the disgust of the Net roots." Not a word about the Tauscher-inspired financing that nearly caused McNerney to have to spend all his non-corporate, grassroots money in the primary, endangering his bid to oust the hated Pombo.

And every time Eilperin and Grunwald vomit out "moderate," as though the 135 House Dems with more progressive voting records than her are not moderates, but extreme leftists and dangerous communists, my skin crawls. Only reactionary Democrats have voted more frequently with the Republican extremists on substantive issues than Tauscher has, yet in the Post they phrase it a little differently: "Since 2003 she has voted with her party more than 90 percent of the time. This year, she has marched in lock step with Pelosi. But to Net-roots sites such as Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Crooks and Liars, she's Lieberman in a pantsuit. 'I don't think it's a fair comparison,' Tauscher said. 'My colleagues look at this and say, "If they're going after Ellen Tauscher, holy moly!'" Yeah, holy moly! What's next? Will someone challenge Jim Marshall or John Barrow or David Scott, 3 Georgia Democrats who spend an awful lot of time voting with Republicans?

…This oversimplification to the point of willful distortion is a perfect example of how the Eilperin and Grunwald have delivered for Tauscher today. The Democratic grassroots' dismay with Tauscher is not about "a vote" in 2002 for Bush's Iraq War. Between October 10, 2002 and May 25, 2005, the House voted on 44 Iraq War bills. Tauscher's Iraq voting record is one of the worst of any Democrat's, and far from being in "lockstep" with Nancy Pelosi's, as Eilperin and Grunwald deceitfully attempt to convey. Starting on October 10, 2002 with Roll Call 454 on H.J. Res. 114, the final resolution authorizing Bush to use force against Iraq, Tauscher didn't vote with Nancy Pelosi and other progressive Democrats-- and the majority of Democrats in the House; she voted with Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt and the worst reactionary, warmongering scum in the Congress to give Bush the authority to do what he's done in Iraq. Bad enough to remove Tauscher? Absolutely. But that was just the beginning. Since then she voted with the right-wingers 13 more times to carry out Bush's war policies.
As one of McNerney’s top campaign staffers in 2006 told me yesterday, "Tauscher’s backing a former Republican against McNerney in 2006 almost saved Pombo's hide." Like me, he’s very wary of her current efforts. A former investment banker at Bear Stearns and Drexel Burnham Lambert, Tauscher is now on a number of corporate boards, like Southern California Edison, and, unfortunately, a few weeks ago Jerry Brown appointed the former Ready For Hillary corporate shill to the University of California Board of Regents. While she served in Congress, she was a virulent anti-progressive on every possible level, including, of course, policy. She worked with the Republicans to gut the estate tax and to screw consumers with a reactionary bankruptcy law written by credit card company lobbyists. She was also a bug proponent of NAFTA and every other unfair trade policy that helped wreck the Democratic Party brand and impoverish working families. A long-time war-monger, she voted against most Democrats to back Bush’s attack on Iraq. But she’s pro-Choice and pro-gay, so she can pass herself off as a "liberal," which is patently absurd... and dangerous to the serious efforts going on to win these seats and swap out conservatives for actual progressives.

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The Anti-Medicaid Bomb in the Republican "Health Care" Bill


Tom Toles/Washington Post (source)

by Gaius Publius

Just one more note on the Senate "health care" bill, to add to the information you're already reading. Via Robert Reich, the bill's real aim is the destruction of Medicaid (see explanation below), one of the three great social programs passed by FDR and his fervent New Deal acolyte, LBJ.

There's a trick with the Medicaid death trap though — most of the destruction is timed to occur after the CBO's 10-year analysis window, which means it's not going to show up when the CBO scores the bill.

Will Americans be fooled? Who knows? Will Republicans think Americans will be fooled? Likely.

Here's Reich on that (h/t Naked Capitalism; source; emphasis mine):
The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid

Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly.

It’s done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office.

Here’s how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation.

But there’s a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.

Which means that after 2025, Medicaid will cover less and less of the costs of health care for the poor and elderly.

Over time, that gap becomes huge. The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that just between 2025 and 2035, about $467 billion less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

So millions of Americans will lose the Medicaid coverage they would have received under the 1965 Medicaid act. Over the long term, Medicaid will unravel.
Note that date — after 2025. That means that the bulk of the damage will occur outside the 10-year window of the Congressional Budget Office's typical analysis.

Reich again:
Does anyone now know this time bomb is buried in this bill?

It doesn’t seem so. McConnell won’t even hold hearings on it.

Next week the Congressional Budget Office will publish its analysis of the bill. CBO reports on major bills like this are widely disseminated in the media. The CBO’s belated conclusion that the House’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health care prompted even Donald Trump to call it “mean, mean, mean.”

But because the CBO’s estimates of the consequences of bills are typically limited to 10 years (in this case, 2018 to 2028), the CBO’s analysis of the Senate Republican bill will dramatically underestimate how many people will be knocked off Medicaid over the long term.

Which is exactly what Mitch McConnell has planned. This way, the public won’t be tipped off to the Medicaid unraveling hidden inside the bill.
The long-term goal? To entirely delete the New Deal from U.S. social policy. This is step one:
For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine America’s three core social insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The three constitute the major legacies of the Democrats, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular.

Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues think they’ve found a way to unravel Medicaid without anyone noticing.

Don’t be fooled. Spread the word.
The wicked plan might just work.

The Neoliberal Republican End Game

Have you ever wondered what will happen in this country if right-wing neoliberalism ("free market economics" in its most aggressive form) ever succeeds absolutely?

Imagine repealing... a single two- to four-year span. Would the country not tip into chaos of the most unimaginable sort at that point?

And would Paul Ryan care? There's a word for behavior like this, and it applies perfectly.

I personally think Republicans like Paul Ryan would sacrifice any Republican chance of holding office for a generation if they could accomplish that transformation. Once destroyed, the New Deal government, as degraded as it has become, would never ever be rebuilt, even in the lifetime of the last person born tomorrow were she to live to the age of ninety, even if the Democrats achieved the kind of Congress and mandate Obama enjoyed in 2009.

The New Deal would fall to the floor of the historical past, never to rise in this country again.

And every Republican who helped pull off this coup, if they could do it, would be so richly rewarded by the Kochs of the world, they'd never need to work for a living again. They could float to their graves on Thank You money, enjoying government-paid health care right till their final breath.

Will they succeed? Who knows? But they're giving it their very best shot, and they have the votes in the Senate if they can get the Susan Collins of the world ("I vote Republican, but only when it matters" ) to cast them.

Will Democrats succeed in blocking them? They had better be giving it their very best effort. The next "designated Democratic villain" to step out of line — looking at you, Manchin and Heitkamp, McCaskill and Coons — might just be signing the death warrant for the entire rest of the Party as she does it.


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Screw Mitch And The Turtle He Rode In On


Sometimes people ask me to put them on the Blue America mailing list. I don’t know how-- literally; no idea. The only way I know to get on the list is to contribute-- even if just one dollar-- to any of the candidates on any of our endorsement lists-- like this one for the House or this one for the Senate or this one for worthy incumbents or this one for primarying Blue Dogs… or this one to send Paul Ryan back to the weinermobile. There are others too… always fun to come up with new pages. Anyway, pick a page, pick a candidate, give a buck-- or 20 bucks or 1,000 bucks and you’re automatically on the mailing list. And if you were yesterday, you would have gotten this e-mail from Blue America by Digby, albeit with a slightly more family-friendly subject line.

“We are living,” she began in way of introduction, “in a Dickens novel come to life: Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are planning to steal our tax money. Money that sick children, disabled adults and nursing home patients need in order to stay alive-- only to brazenly distribute it all among Eric, Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared Kusher and their investor class friends. They have no shame. They have no hearts. This has to stop. Can you pitch in something for our candidates, to help them get into Congress where legislative resistance can occur? And then she went after that fucking Turtle and his cronies.

Another week in Trump's America and it just gets worse and worse. Everyone said that when the atrocity known as Trumpcare was barely passed in the House that we shouldn't worry. "They'll fix it in the Senate" they said. Well, they didn't. They tweaked it a little bit in some ways, but overall they made it worse. This week they're planning to vote on it and then skip town before anyone has a chance to chase them down the halls of Congress holding pitchforks and torches.

If they get that done when they return from the 4th of July break they may skip the usual conference committee to reconcile the two bills, quickly pass the very similar Senate version through the House and then get ready to play their roles as props in the the greatest show on earth: the Oval Office in which President Trump will bask in the glow of his greatest success so far-- enacting the cruelest piece of legislation in modern memory.

By all accounts that's Mitch McConnell's plan anyway. At this moment there are still a number of possible choke points. The so-called “moderates” who will have to face voters are nervous, but they're known for their cowardice so it's highly likely they will accept some superficial changes and then rush before the cameras to defend the lie that it's been substantially "improved" from being monstrous and evil to simply malevolent and brutal. Counting on them to stop this heinous disgrace of a "health care" bill is a fools errand.

It's much better to look to the ruthless sadism of the far right and "libertarians" such as Rand Paul and Mike Lee. They are known for their refusal to take for an answer when offered the opportunity to rip holes in the safety net because they demand its total destruction all at once. Unfortunately, counting on them would require one more wingnut vote in the Senate, probably Ron Johnson from Wisconsin or Ted Cruz from Texas. Johnson is the most "intellectually limited" man in the chamber so it's a totally random shot with him. Cruz is well... Cruz. He will be the hero who votes for it unless it won't pass anyway at which point he will join the "rebels" and pretend he was their leader.

If it does pass the Senate they will have to go home next week and face their constituents before a final vote. It's not going to be pretty. If you saw the appalling footage of the disabled protesters in front of Mitch McConnell's office being pulled out of their wheelchairs and dragged down the hall by police you know what it's going to look like. This is what it's come to.

The stark fact of the matter is that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and virtually every member of the Republican Congress are trying to pass a bill that will literally result in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, bankruptcy for many more and suffering for millions. And why are they doing this? They want to get their hands on 800 billion dollars that funds Obamacare, so that for the first time since 1986 they can give permanent, retroactive tax cuts to the likes of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Because when you get down to it, that’s all they care about.

The Democrats are unified in opposition, thank God. (As you well know that's not always a given...) And activists around the country are gearing up for energetic protests over the next few weeks. We'll see what happens.

But if this week has shown us anything it's that it's vitally urgent that the Democrats take back the House in 2018.

If the Democratic Senators can hold their seats and pick off a couple of Republicans all the better. But it's imperative that we stop Ryan and McConnell. They are so drunk with power, they are now trying to enact bills that will literally kill people with no other purpose than to pass out money to rich people.

You know what to do. If you can, over the next couple of weeks contact your Indivisible, Our Revolution, Move On or whatever groups with whom you are involved to find out where they are planning to protest in your area. Call your Republican Senators and congressional reps and remind them that lives are on the line.

And please, contribute what you can to good candidates for congress like those Blue America has endorsed for 2018. We simply have got to stop these obsessed, bloodthirsty Republicans and their cretinous imbecile of a leader before it's too late.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Many Trump Supporters Would Rather See Their Families Die Than See The Policies Of A Black President That Help Them Succeed?


That was my favorite tweet yesterday and I have to admit that I almost wish he gets his way. Almost. I don’t want to wish death on anyone, not even a vicious, racist Trump moron. Unless you define anyone who voted for Trump as a moron-- not an unreasonable conclusion to jump to-- you have to admit that not all Trump voters are morons. Racists, perhaps but not morons. Some are college graduates with good jobs in complicated fields. Although a friend of mine told me the other day that he was picked up by a black Uber driver with a MAGA cap who ranted and raved like a maniac for the whole trip about the greatness of his idol.

Nick Harwood, reporting for CNBC, wrote last week about a study that shows that racism was a bigger factor for the Trump electorate-- except that Uber driver-- than issues like faire trade. If that shocks you… have you met any of them?
A broad-based group of analysts conducted the study with support from the Democracy Fund. Emily Ekins of the libertarian Cato Institute identified five distinct groups of Trump voters.

Most of them are consistent Republicans. The least loyal Republican group, which formed the core of Trump's support for the nomination from the beginning, is what Ekins calls "American Preservationists." [a nicer word than racists]

She described this segment-- about 20 percent of Trump backers overall-- as having relatively low levels of income and formal education. They are the most likely Republican group to be on Medicaid and to be disabled.

These voters lean left on economic issues such as trade, income inequality, anger at Wall Street and support for federal entitlement programs. For those reasons, Trump's rhetoric about protecting entitlement programs and raising taxes on the rich offered a natural fit.
When people talk about Trump voters with 2-digit IQs, this is part of the bunch they’re talking about. I know one personally. These vile, contemptible, sub-human racist slobs “American Preservationists” were willing to let everything else slide-- like the imbecile in the tweet up top-- in return for a wall to, in their simple minds, would keep out the Mex’cans.
They "have a strong sense of their own racial identity… and believe that anti-white discrimination is as pervasive as other forms of discrimination," Ekins wrote. "They have cooler feelings toward minorities. They agree in overwhelming numbers that real Americans need to have been born in America, or have lived here most of their lives, and be Christian."

And the study found that those views of racial solidarity helped propel Trump's general election victory more than his "populism" on trade or entitlements. [In other words, they don’t care that he lied about not cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and long as he sticks it to the colored folks.]

"What stands out most," concluded George Washington University political scientist John Sides, "is the attitudes that became more strongly related to the vote in 2016: attitudes about immigration, feelings toward black people and feelings toward Muslims."

As president, Trump has reflected their attitudes through a series of actions. His administration has toughened immigration enforcement, pursued his travel ban targeted at six majority-Muslim nations, and targeted Obama administration initiatives designed to change law enforcement and sentencing practices.

Though five months of controversy have eroded the president's public standing, polls show Trump retains backing from roughly 8 in 10 Republicans. What's unclear now is whether a direct hit from health-care legislation could trigger accelerated fallout among his base of white working-class support.

In the swing states Trump carried, those voters gained health insurance coverage in large numbers from Obamacare. They included 376,000 whites without college degrees in Ohio, 355,000 in Michigan, and 242,000 in Pennsylvania, according to an Urban Institute analysis.

Trump states such as Kentucky (279,000), Arkansas (128,000) West Virginia (119,000), also reduced the proportion of noncollege whites without health insurance by 47 percent or more. All have Republican senators who have wavered on the legislation.

Yet few doubt that Trump will sign whatever health bill House and Senate Republicans agree on-- and count on his ability to hold his core supporters. The same is true of forthcoming tax-reform legislation, which from all available indications will confer disproportionate benefits on the wealthiest Americans.

"I'm not sure they will punish him," said Sides. The economy is currently healthy, insurance cutbacks will take years to phase in, and Trump's emotional bond with those voters has been strong.

Republican House members and some senators, however, must face voters in 2018, two years before Trump does. An economic downturn could upset their calculus.
Including an economic downturn in their own households if TrumpCare passes and gets signed into law. No one knows how toxic Trump and Ryan will be in the 2018 midterms, but everyone is eager to find out. If there was no DCCC botching up the Democrats' chances of winning seats, the disaffection and resulting swing away from the GOP we saw in the special elections indicate as many as 70-something Republican incumbents going down. With the DCCC doing there thing... we'll be lucky to see the bare 24 needed for a House power-switch. Very lucky.

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Was It The Lobotomizing Of Conservative Intellectualism That Guaranteed The Rise Of Trumpy-The-Clown?


The end of the GOP?

Friday, writing for The Atlantic, former Bush staffer David Frum noted the “mounting evidence” that Putin inflicted Trump on us by putting him into the White House and asked a poignant question for all Americans: What Happens When A Presidency Loses Its Legitimacy?. For many millions of Americans, perhaps most Americans, that’s already happened. Frum points to a n”thick cloud of discredit over the Trump presidency” that grows darker by the day and reminded his readers that, unaware he was being taped, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted his his members that Trump is on Putin’s payroll.
It’s not seriously disputed by anyone in a position of authority in the U.S. government-- apart from the president himself-- that Donald Trump holds his high office in considerable part because a foreign spy agency helped place him there. So now what?

…The U.S. government is already osmotically working around the presidency, a process enabled by the president’s visible distaste for the work of governance. The National Security Council staff is increasingly a double-headed institution, a zone of struggle between Kushner-Flynn-Bannon types on one side, and a growing staff of capable, experienced, and Russia-skeptical functionaries on the other. The Senate has voted 97-2 to restrict the president’s authority to relax Russia sanctions. It seems the president has been persuaded to take himself out of the chain of command in the escalating military operations in Afghanistan. National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently assured the nation that Trump could not have done much harm when he blabbed a vital secret to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office, precisely because the president was not briefed on crucial “sources and methods” information.

In their way, these workarounds are almost as dangerous to the American system of government as the Trump presidency itself. They tend to reduce the president to the status of an absentee emperor while promoting his subordinates into shoguns who exercise power in his name. Maybe that is the least-bad practicable solution to the unprecedented threat of a presidency-under-suspicion. But what a terrible price for the failure of so many American institutions-- not least the voters!-- to protect the country in 2016 from Russia’s attack on its election and its democracy.
I don’t think he was responding to Frum yesterday, but Bruce Bartlett, another former Republican staffer-- this one for Reagan and then Bush’s father-- wrote in Politico that he only endorsed Trump-- and voted for him in the primary-- last year because he “thought he would lose to Hillary Clinton, disastrously, and that his defeat would cleanse the Republican Party of the extremism and nuttiness that drove me out of it. I had hoped that post-2016, what remained of the moderate wing of the GOP would reassert itself as it did after the Goldwater debacle in 1964, and exorcise the crazies.” But that’s not what happened. Instead, the crazies are in running the GOP asylum.
Almost everything that has happened since November 8 has been the inverse of what I’d imagined. Trump didn’t lose; he won. The Republican Party isn’t undergoing some sort of reckoning over what it believes; his branch of the Republican Party has taken control. Most troubling, perhaps, is that rather than reassert themselves, the moderate Republicans have almost all rolled over entirely.

Trump has turned out to be far, far worse than I imagined. He has instituted policies so right wing they make Ronald Reagan, for whom I worked, look like a liberal Democrat. He has appointed staff people far to the right of the Republican mainstream in many positions, and they are instituting policies that are frighteningly extreme. Environmental Protection Administration Administrator Scott Pruitt proudly denies the existence of climate change, and is doing his best to implement every item Big Oil has had on its wish list since the agency was established by Richard Nixon. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is actively hostile to the very concept of public education and is doing her best to abolish it. Every day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions institutes some new policy to take incarceration and law enforcement back to the Dark Ages. Trump’s proposed budget would eviscerate the social safety net for the sole purpose of giving huge tax cuts to the ultrawealthy.

And if those policies weren’t enough, conservatives-- who, after all, believe in liberty and a system of checks and balances to restrain the government to its proper role-- have plenty of reason to be upset by those actions Trump has taken that transcend our traditional right-left ideological divide. He’s voiced not only skepticism of NATO, but outright hostility to it. He’s pulled America back from its role as an international advocate for human rights. He’s attacked the notion of an independent judiciary. He personally intervened to request the FBI to ease up on its investigation of a former adviser of his, then fired FBI Director James Comey and freely admitted he did so to alleviate the pressure he felt from Comey’s investigation. For those conservatives who were tempted to embrace a “wait-and-see” approach to Trump, what they’ve seen, time and again, is almost unimaginable.

And yet as surprising as this all has been, it’s also the natural outgrowth of 30 years of Republican pandering to the lowest common denominator in American politics. Trump is what happens when a political party abandons ideas, demonizes intellectuals, degrades politics and simply pursues power for the sake of power.

…Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 after nationalizing the election into broad themes and catchphrases. Newt Gingrich, the marshal of these efforts, even released a list of words Republican candidates should use to glorify themselves (common sense, prosperity, empower) and hammer their opponents (liberal, pathetic, traitors); soon, every Republican in Congress spoke the same language, using words carefully run through focus groups by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Budgets for House committees were cut, bleeding away policy experts, and GOP committee chairs were selected based on loyalty to the party and how much money they could raise. Gone were the days when members were incentivized to speak with nuance, or hone a policy expertise (especially as committee chairs could now serve for only six years). In power, Republicans decided they didn’t need any more research or analysis; they had their agenda, and just needed to get it enacted. Only a Democratic president stood in their way, and so 100 percent of Republicans’ efforts went into attempting to oust or weaken Bill Clinton and, when that failed, elect a Republican president who would do nothing but sign into law bills passed by the GOP Congress.

…Republican policy analysis and research have virtually disappeared altogether, replaced with sound bites and talking points. The Heritage Foundation morphed into Heritage Action for America, ceasing to do any real research and losing all its best policy experts as it transformed from an august center whose focus was the study and development of public policy into one devoted mainly to amplifying political campaign slogans. Talk radio and Fox News, where no idea too complicated for a mind with a sixth-grade education is ever heard, became the tail wagging the conservative dog. Conservative magazines like National Review, which once boasted world-class intellectuals such as James Burnham and Russell Kirk among its columnists, jumped on the bandwagon, dumbing itself down to appeal to the common man, who is deemed to be the font of all wisdom. (For example, the magazine abandoned the ecumenical approach to immigration of Reagan, who granted amnesty to undocumented immigrants in 1986, to a rigid anti-immigrant policy largely indistinguishable from the one Trump ran on.)

One real-world result of the lobotomizing of conservative intellectualism is that when forced to produce a replacement for Obamacare-- something Republican leaders had sworn they had in their pocket for eight years-- there was nothing. Not just no legislation-- no workable concept that adhered to the many promises Republicans had made, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and the assurance that nobody would lose their coverage. You’d think that House Speaker Ryan could have found a staff slot for one person to be working on an actual Obamacare replacement all these years, just in case.

With hindsight, it’s no surprise that the glorification of anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism that has been rampant on the right at least since the election of Barack Obama would give rise to someone like Trump. Anyone who ever read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, which imagined a fascist dictator taking power in 1930s America, recognizes that Trump is the real-life embodiment of Senator Buzz Windrip-- a know-nothing populist who becomes president by promising something for everyone, with no clue or concern for how to actually accomplish it. Windrip was “vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic,” Lewis wrote. “Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only the wings of a windmill.”

…Having so badly miscalled the 2016 election, I’m not going out on a limb here and predicting a 1974-style defeat for GOP members of Congress next year, and I am fully aware that Democrats are always capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. But the preconditions are falling into place for a political transformation between 2018 and 2020 that could result in the type of defeat that I think is necessary for my old party and the conservative movement to rebuild themselves from the ground up.

Ideally, I’d like to see an intellectual revival on the right such as we saw after the Goldwater defeat and the Watergate debacle. Freed from the stultifying strictures and kowtowing to know-nothing Trumpian populists-- perhaps building on new outlets and institutions that celebrate intellectual rigor and reject shallow sound bites-- a few conservative thinkers can plow a path toward sane, responsible conservative governance, just as people like Irving Kristol and Jack Kemp did during the Carter years. (Some conservative thinkers, such as the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, speculate that Mitt Romney may emerge as the leader of a sane, modern, technocratic wing of an intellectually revitalized GOP.) If a leader doesn’t emerge, moderate Republicans-- many of whom did not and will not support Trump-- could be lost to the Democratic Party for good.
God forbid! Although the Rahm Emanuels, Steny Hoyers, Chuck Schumers, Joe Crowleys, Cheri Bustoses and Wasserman Schultzes-- that whole Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- would gladly welcome them into the hierarchy of the party, they Democratic Party brand is tarnished enough without taking in the conservative dregs of an increasingly fascist GOP.

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I Hear Frederick Douglas Is Doing Great Things With Healthcare


-by Noah

Well, it’s out. The mangy, one-eyed, 3-legged cat is out of the bag. We have now seen Trumpcare, AKA the Republican Party’s “healthcare” plan. It may go down as Trump’s biggest bait and switch ever. It’s pay more for worse insurance and while we’re at it, we’re cutting Medicaid and redistributing the wealth of American citizens upward, bigly. You didn’t really think Trump was going to give us something that didn’t increase the flow of cash to his own pockets, did you? This thing kinda sounds like Russia’s post-revolution Communist Party back when party members took all the power and money and created a poverty class for everyone else. Trumpcare is, as Bernie Sanders said, “what oligarchy is all about.”

Republicans are calling it the AHCA, short for American Health Care Act. That name follows the proud tradition of Republicans calling their legislation the exact opposite of what it really is. Who can forget some of the Republican Party’s biggest (or biggliest) legislative hits on America from the past. Remember Dubya’s “Healthy Forests Act” that was designed to let timber companies clear-cut our nation’s forests?

May I suggest a better name for the lovechild of a 3-way between Messrs Ryan, McConnell, and Trump? How about the AHTA, the American Healthcare Terrorism Act? It has a ring to it. It’s much more accurate in what it does for or should I say, to, the average American citizen. The Republican Party plan is for Americans to live in absolute terror and fear of contracting a serious, even life-threatening illness and not being able to do a damn thing about it. Got a child who depends on you? Too bad. Got a child who has cancer? Too bad. Ain’t no skin off of Trump’s fat ass. This plan has the stench of Mitch McConnell’s corruption all over it. Paul Ryan? His psychotic smirk is permanent now, like the Batman Joker’s smile.

But, first things first: This Trumpcare bill is not even a healthcare bill. If you understand one thing at all about it, it’s that calling it a healthcare bill is just a marketing ploy. The truth is that it is not designed to alleviate the healthcare situations in our country. No matter what our politicians and our media call it, this Republican Party bill is really a bill designed to handout welfare to multi-millionaires, billionaires, Big Pharma, insurance companies, and other corporations, and, by doing so, create a campaign slush fund for Republican Party politicians.

It could not be more obvious that the biggest, most cynical, and most devious purpose of Trumpcare is this: Just as Republicans put the fix in on congressional districts with their devious and precedent-breaking extreme gerrymandering, they are presenting a bill which will provide them with an additional source of untold amounts of money that they intend to use to guarantee their re-election. Portions of the money handed out in the form of tax cuts will, with out a doubt, slide back to campaign coffers and be handed out as checks before votes in the House and Senate. This is nothing new, but we will see more of it. They call such things “campaign contributions.”

If and when Donald Trump signs this bill into law, you will not be wrong in thinking that each Republican lawn sign or TV commercial that you see represents what would have been a life-saving check-up, medical treatment, or nursing home stay for someone in your family. Ladies and gents: This is today’s Republican Party.

Here are some of the details of what this evil insults and assaults us with:
Like the House version of Trumpcare, the Senate version will force approximately 23 Million Americans out of insurance.
The Senate version of Trumpcare cuts $800 Billion in Medicaid funding. That’s more than twice the amount in the House version that Trump, Ryan, and Republican Party members famously celebrated in the Rose Garden back in May.
The Senate version reduces Obamacare subsidies, making it harder for citizens to afford an insurance plan.
The Senate version allows states to refuse essential health benefit requirements. That includes maternity care, disability help, prescription help, and, mental health treatment, and more. Obamacare stated that this coverage could not be denied. So, where’s the healthcare?
The bill replaces Obamacare mandates to buy insurance with tax credits. The bill’s tax credit math is based on lower quality insurance. Talk about the devil being in the details!
The Senate version defunds Planned Parenthood for 1 year, essentially ending it. Hey, that’s where most American women get their screening for uterine and breast cancer, often because it’s the only place in their area that provides the services, but who cares? The plan was drawn up by a distinguished panel of male Senators. Potentially millions of American women will die in the ensuing years. So, how does that make Ryan, McConnell and Trump any different than, say, Ted Bundy or Richard Speck? That’s really the perspective we should view this with.

Hell, as an aside, if you’ve got a young male relative with cancer? Think of the same three and their troops as a battalion of Jeffrey Dahmers. the result of the actions is the same, except Republicans are dreaming of doing it on a much, much, much larger scale. Some mass-murderers never get arrested. You can kill more people with a knife or a gun.Those who vote for such people are, at the very least, their accomplices.
Contrary to Trump’s campaign promises of lower premiums, lower deductibles, saving Medicaid, and providing insurance coverage for all, Trumpcare sticks us with higher premiums, higher deductibles, and, higher co-pays, and fewer people insured. That’s why the pathological lying president is called Don The Con. Thursday, he tweeted “I am very supportive of the Senate #HealthCare bill.”

In short, the new McConnell $enate campaign slush fund bill is the same, in most ways, as the one that Paul “Crazy Eyes” Ryan jammed through the House of so-called Representatives in May, and, worse in others. If the depraved Ryan, a true American terrorist, was losing sleep over the possibility of a jackass like Mitch McConnell diluting his sociopathic dream, he need not have worried. The bottom line is still there. Millions of Americans will get sicker and have more miserable lives. Millions of Americans will die because they can’t afford to get their cancer treated, their diabetes treated, their staff infections treated, their opioid addictions treated, etc.

The Republican Party, which markets themselves as “pro-life,” will be, once again, celebrating and high-fiving in the Rose Garden (or perhaps some gala ball) as they pull the plug on babies born too soon or born in need of special, costly medical attention. At the other end of the age spectrum, the Republican Party’s Medicaid cuts will result in the dual dagger of denying the elderly the services they need to stay either in their homes, or, go to a nursing home or assisted living facility. In between, you get the fear and misery of untreated illness. Pro-life? Not at all. This bill is Republican porn. It’s barbaric. It’s a true death panel. It’s the product of the Republican culture of death. It’s a snuff film that will give many Republicans the first orgasm they’ve ever had.

There are two huge moving parts in the Republican Party’s so-called healthcare bill that require more discussion because the republican plan pays for one with the other: the two parts are the $600 Billion tax cut for the wealthy and the $800 Billion in Medicaid cuts. The whole thing is not only the construction of a mega campaign slush fund, but, an absurd, barely hidden transfer of wealth upward at the expense of the health of American citizens.

The $600 Billion in tax cuts are for those that make over $1 million a year. I guess they really need the money. Republicans constantly argue that, because of the national deficit, we can’t afford to have healthcare even along the lines of the flawed Obamacare let alone a single payer system or a similar system like the rest of the major industrial countries of the world. So, what is their solution? It’s taking away healthcare rather than not give out the tax cuts. Therein lies the lie right there. The motives behind this bill have nothing to do with healthcare. Logic says that if the deficit is the problem, we shouldn’t even be talking about cutting tax revenues that come in from taxing the wealthy and well-to-do. We should be increasing their taxes.

The $800 billion cuts out of Medicaid, the largest insurance provider, will affect 75 million Americans. That’s also more than twice as much as the already cruel House version. Got an elderly relative in a nursing home? Disabled? Too bad, say the sickos Ryan, McConnell and Trump.

On Thursday 43 disabled Americans were arrested outside of McConnell’s office. If he was there, you can bet McConnell was laughing. Remember, in the days before ramps for the disabled became law, it was the righties that went out of their way to oppose them, often on the grounds of their issues with “government regulation.” Can we be surprised then that the Republican Party nominated and supports a president who mocks the disabled while those who voted for him laughed? Republicans still deny it ever happened.

Speaking of things on film, here is Paul Ryan openly and proudly admitting dreaming of inflicting this misery since his college days as a drunken frat boy. He talks about cutting Medicaid, block granting it to the states, and capping it, as if the states can possibly be equipped or expected to deal with it. That will force states to cut services. More than likely, the chaos that will ensue will result in the end of Medicaid altogether. There’s a long-range planner for you. That’s what this sociopath, make that psychopath, sees in his dreams. He even says he’s unconcerned about the pain. It’s totally Ayn Rand-ian. He also fails to mention that history shows that putting burdensome things on the individual states eventually causes burdens that result in higher property taxes. Hmmm, who can least afford that?

What isn’t being talked about much in all the furor over the Medicaid cuts are that the vast majority of them don’t start for three years. Howie mentioned this in his post on Thursday. Pretty sneaky. You see, the Republican Party is hoping to slip by the 2020 elections and stay in power in order to wreck more havoc while enriching themselves and their benefactors. They know cutting Medicaid is unpopular and they know it hurts tens of millions of Americans. Still, they don’t give a damn. They are thinking longer term than just a couple of years from today. Their plan for Medicaid gets even worse as the years go on. So do our lives. But, not too worry, they’ll get their “perks.” The slush fund they are creating for themselves out of money that should go for our health and well-being trumps the needs of the working and middle classes. We’ve always had class warfare of one sort or another in this country but this is a full-blown 21st century Civil War.

Trumpcare. There’s so much irony and lies in calling it that. This bill could be signed into law by the most severely mentally ill president this country has ever had by July 4th. If so, republicans will be celebrating something other than Independence Day.

By the way, this Trumpcare bill exempts the Senate and the House. They get to keep the plan they already have; the one we pay for. Senator Elizabeth Warren (which Howie embedded this morning but which is worth looking at again; just below) calls the bill blood money. It is. It exchanges American lives for tax cuts. It’s written by blood sucking leeches; the worst parasites our nation has to offer.

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Is A Deranged, Vengeful Trumpanzee Ready To Destroy GOP Hopes Of Holding Onto The Nevada Senate Seat?


Friday evening, we warned that by handing the Nevada Senate nomination over to worthless conservaDem Jackie Rosen-- who has already managed to stake out a claim as one of the worst freshman Dems in Congress (with a ProgressivePunch “F” score and a crucial vote rating of 33.33 for the current session, worse than conservative North Carolina Republican Walter Jones and tied with Michigan Republican Justin Amash, and the 4th worst of any Democratic first termer-- Schumer would be snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in the best shot the Democrats have for picking up a Republican-held Senate seat. However, Schumer’s malfeasance may actually be matched by the Trump Regime’s. America First Policies is a shady big money SuperPAC intimately connected to the Regime. Pence personally raises big money for them from secret right-wing donors and they are an attack machine for he and Trump. Except now they’re attacking-- absolutely with Pence’s and Trump’s encouragement-- a Republican: embattled Nevada Senator Dean Heller.

On Friday, encouraged by Nevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, Heller explained to Nevadans why he won’t vote for the Senate’s “healthcare” bill, TrumpCare 3.0. “This bill,” he said, “is simply not the answer… I will not support it. It doesn’t protect Nevadans on Medicaid and the most vulnerable Nevadans: the elderly, Nevadans struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, and people with disabilities.”

America First Policies, judging Heller to be the most vulnerable senator-- and seeking to send a clear, ugly message to other mainstream Republicans who are wavering (primarily Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman), pounced immediately. They vowed to spend a million dollars in TV ads against Heller, undermining his viability with Trump-supporting Republicans.

The NRSC, speaking off the record in fear of offending Señor Trumapnzee and his henchman Pence, allowed a spokesperson to tell the media "If true, it's totally insane. It will put them on opposite sides of the party, donors and common sense."

In the past the group has run attack ads in GA-06 against Jon Ossoff and has run ads thanking vulnerable Republicans like David Joyce (OH) and Martha McSally (AZ) for voting against their own constituents to back Trump on eviscerating the healthcare system. Most of the money for the dark money groups Trump and pence control comes from just two pro-fascist American families, the Mercers and the Ricketts and run by right-wing extremists Brian Walsh, Brad Parscale and two Pence operatives, Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.

One of the characters running America First Policies told the media that they plan to keep Republican members of Congress in line by cracking the whip in a big way. "You do not want to mess with Donald Trump’s base in a primary, particularly in a place like Nevada,” he seethed menacingly. “This kind of money in Nevada is real... This is a beginning." Sounds like Bannon is helping them design the anti-Heller campaign, which will paint the senator as "a typical politician" in cahoots with Schumer and Pelosi. McConnell is reported to be upset.

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TrumpCare 3.0 vs Medicare-For-All


Last night Bernie spoke about TrumpCare at the Pittsburgh Convention Center and this morning he’ll be doing the same at Express Live in Columbus, Ohio and again this evening at the West Virginia Civic Center in Charleston. You can get to the essence of his message by watching the short clip he released (above). Do you doubt anything that he says in his response to the Republican “healthcare” bill? All those assertions about what Americans want, for example? On Friday, the Pew Research Center released a new poll, senators might want to look at before they vote on TrumpCare 3.0. Top line: "a majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a 'single payer' approach to health insurance."
Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats-- especially liberal Democrats-- are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.

Even among those who say the federal government is not responsible for ensuring Americans have health care coverage, there is little public appetite for government withdrawing entirely from involvement in health care coverage. Among the public, 33% say that health care coverage is not the government’s responsibility, but that programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be continued; just 5% of Americans say the government should not be involved at all in providing health insurance.

The issue of the government’s responsibility in ensuring health coverage remains deeply divisive politically, according to the new survey, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say that this responsibility falls to the federal government, while about two-thirds of Republicans and Republican leaners (68%) say it does not.

Still, most Republicans (57%) say the government “should continue programs like Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the very poor.” Just 9% of Republicans say the government should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.

Among Democrats, 52% now say health insurance should be provided through a single national insurance system run by the government, while fewer (31%) say it should be provided through a mix of private companies and government programs. The share of Democrats supporting a single national program to provide health insurance has increased 9 percentage points since January and 19 points since 2014.

Nearly two-thirds of liberal Democrats (64%) now support a single-payer health insurance system, up 13 percentage points since January. Conservative and moderate Democrats remain about evenly divided: 38% prefer that health insurance continue to be provided by a mix of private insurance companies and government programs, while 42% favor a single-payer approach.

Overall, support for a single-payer health insurance system is much greater among younger adults than older people. Two-thirds of adults younger than 30 (67%) say the government has a responsibility to provide health coverage for all, with 45% saying coverage should be provided through a single national program.

Among those 65 and older, 54% say the government has a responsibility to provide coverage for all, with 30% favoring a single payer approach.

Both parties are divided by age in views of the government’s role in health care. Fully 66% of Democrats and Democratic leaners ages 18 to 29 say government health coverage should be provided through a single national system, compared with 48% of Democrats and Democratic leaners ages 30 and older.

Among Republicans, a greater share of those younger than 30 (39%) than those 30 and older (28%) say the government is responsible for providing health coverage for all; more young Republicans than older Republicans favor single payer (22% vs. 10%).
And the Senate bill certainly doesn’t do anything that Trump or the Republicans promised it would do-- like making medical coverage much more affordable or protecting people with bankruptcy-inducing “preexisting conditions.” More affordable, easier and cheaper for consumers? Not this bill!

Reed Abelson in yesterday’s NY Times stripped the bride bare:
[M]illions of Americans will pay more for an insurance policy that comes with a much steeper deductible under the new Senate plan, according to some health economists and insurance experts. It could also make it much harder to find a comprehensive plan covering various conditions ranging from heart disease to depression that would not be prohibitively expensive.

“This is going to be a very unstable market” where only the very sickest people resort to buying coverage on the federal exchanges at much higher prices, said Paul B. Ginsburg, a health economist and the director of the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Those likely to suffer the most under the Senate plan are people who would not be eligible for any remaining subsidies, he said, because they could be priced out of the market. Most worrisome to those opposing the Senate bill is that states could give insurers leeway to offer skimpy plans that cover a lot less and exclude people with certain illnesses.

…If the Senate version becomes law, insurers could increase premiums for individual coverage by at least 20 percent more than the double-digit increases already under consideration. By 2020, other changes are likely to result in plans with much higher deductibles. People now getting tax credits that allow them to purchase a policy with a deductible of $3,500 would get subsidies for a plan where the deductible would nearly double, without any funding to pay their out-of-pocket costs.

Many people will face a Hobson’s choice, said Craig Garthwaite, a health economist at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. They will have to choose between a plan with a premium they cannot afford or a plan with a deductible they cannot afford.

While lower premiums touted by Republicans could attract healthier people to buy coverage on the exchanges, other changes could still drive up prices, said Mr. Garthwaite, who is a registered Republican. “It could turn out to be higher premiums and higher deductibles,” he said.

One stark difference between the Senate bill and the Affordable Care Act is the decision to drop the mandate requiring insurance. That could inadvertently discourage the youngest and healthiest people from buying insurance, leaving a higher percentage of sicker people with expensive treatments on the exchanges, driving up insurers’ costs.

Thursday, conservative New Dem (former Blue Dog) Adam Schiff became the latest (and 113th) House Democrat to sign on as a co-sponsor of John Conyers’ Medicare-For-All bill (H.R. 676). The Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- have tended to stay away from the bill but as election season approaches and the popularity of the approach, particularly among Democrats and independents-- becomes manifest, even conservative politicians like Schiff are jumping on the train. Schiff is interested in running for the California Senate seat Dianne Feinstein told him she would be giving up next year. No one’s going to win statewide office in California without being committed to single-payer.

Over the past several months, you’ve read how all the Blue America-backed candidates are proponents of single payer health insurance. Some, like Illinois emergency room physician, David Gill, have been working towards it for many years. Our newest endorsee, Randy Bryce, the progressive Democrat running for the swing district Wisconsin seat Paul Ryan has been in, did an interview with the New Republic and explained why he favors single payer health insurance. This morning he built on his statement by telling us that “our very health is literally under attack. I am outraged by what I see going on in our government. When our campaign made our first video, I felt it was important to address the issue of health. It’s an intergenerational issue that affects us from birth until the day we die. Health care is a right. I can’t believe that they’re working behind closed doors to find that best way to strip away our ability to be well just so that their richest donors can become richer. When I begin to work in Washington D.C. one of the first things I look forward to doing is adding my name to the Conyers bill that will make sure every American has access to health care. We need to stop looking for excuses as to why it can’t be done and start figuring out how to do it. I plan on being part of the solution.”

Goal Thermometer The two North Carolina Berniecrats Blue America has endorsed for 2018, are excellent examples of how grassroots activism-- even in “red” districts-- manifests itself in dangerous times. Matt Coffay is campaigning for the wester-most district in the state, flat up against Tennessee, currently held by TrumpCare godfather and Freedom Caucus chairman, extremist Mark Meadows. You’re not going to ever hear Coffay degenerate into a Republican-lite establishment shill. That’s not who he is and not why he’s running for office in such difficult circumstances. "One of my first acts in Congress,” he told us, “will be to co-sponsor HR 676, the Conyers ‘Medicare for All’ bill. This bill has been on the floor of the House since 2003 with little in the way of support; now, though, there is a real opportunity to pass this bill and create a universal health care system in this country. I intend to use my voice as a Congressman to elevate public awareness of the benefits of universal health care, and work alongside folks like Bernie Sanders to create a health care system that takes care of every single person in this country." Jenny Marshall is running for the central/western North Carolina congressional district anti-healthcare fanatic Virginia Foxx operates out of. Foxx, who started off as a fiery extremist, sold out to the establishment long ago and is now a Ryan rubber stamp. Jenny told us that the bill the Senate Republicans unveiled “puts millions of lives at risk” and threatens households vulnerable to economic hardships. “In the 5th district 1 out of every 7 people will lose their healthcare. It is simply unconscionable. The GOP stands on free market principles claiming everyone has access to healthcare under their plan. I disagree. There is no access when people cannot afford to buy healthcare insurance and cover the out-of-pocket expenses. There is no access when people wait for far too long to seek care because of the rising cost of doctors' visits, prescription costs and medical procedures. People have been priced out of the care they need, but the GOP has turned a blind eye. I on the other hand support moving to a single payer program that covers not only medical, but vision and dental care as well. That is why I would add my name as a co-sponsor of Rep. Conyers' Medicare For All bill (HR 676) when elected to Congress. We must step up and do what is right for the people of this country, standing strong that healthcare is a human right. Millions of lives depend on it.”

At any given moment at this time in the cycle, Blue America is vetting at least a dozen candidates. I’m happy to say that right now every single one of them has expressed an eagerness to co-sponsor Conyers’ Medicare-for-All bill. Marie Newman is a good example. She’s primarying of if the most conservative Democrats in Congress, Chicagoland Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, a committed member of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Lipinski, who tends to vote with the Republicans far more than any moderate Democrats, has adamantly refused-- even as other Blue Dogs and New Dems have signed on-- to co-sponsor Conyers’ bill. Last night Marie told us that “as a candidate so focused on fighting to expand health care for all, I would co-sponsor the Conyers bill in order to establish Medicare For All and put action behind the truth that ‘health care is a right'." You can support her tough primary battle against Lipinski here. We need more Democrats in Congress like Marie-- and far, far fewer like Lipinski.

Kia Hamadanchy worked as a Sherrod Brown staffer in DC before moving back to the Orange County district he was born and raised in. His opponent, Trump rubber stamp Mimi Waters, has repeatedly refused to move into the district and almost never goes there except to meet with wealthy GOP donors and for photo-ops. She was a prominent backer of Ryan’s TrumpCare bill, a bill Kia opposes. “At the end of the day,” he told us, “health care is a human right. No one should ever go bankrupt because a lack of health insurance, and every single person in this country deserves to have access to affordable health care coverage that's there when they need it. And while I don't want to see the Affordable Care Act go away and strongly oppose efforts to repeal the law, I also believe that enacting  single payer health insurance is the best way to ensure that we meet the healthcare needs of every single American. That's why when elected I will absolutely cosponsor John Conyers’ Medicare-For-All bill."

Sam Jammal is considering running in another Orange County district, Ed Royce’s CA-39, the Republican-held district in the area that went most heavily against Trump last year. The DCCC has its own crackpot idea about selling the nomination to a rich lottery winner, but Sam is the progressive alternative to Royce and offers a coherent alternative to Royce’s reactionary and bigoted agenda."Ask any senior," he told us last night, "Medicare is great program. It makes sense to expand this for everyone. Imagine if a small business no longer had to budget in health care costs for their employees and could use those savings to hire more workers or a family knew that they wouldn't be at risk of losing their home just for getting sick. Our economy is changing and we need to take health care off the table as a political issue and focus on the economic benefits of getting everyone covered. If I were in Congress, I would be a co-sponsor of the Conyers bill."

 Although the DCCC is on the road to lose CA-10 again and give Jeff Denham an incredible run for a Republican in a blue district, grassroots Berniecrat Dotty Nygard, has different ideas. She’s not waiting around for another DCCC loser to run; she’s taking on Denham herself. She told us that when she makes it to Washington as an elected representative, she’ll "wholeheartedly co-sponsor H.R. 676, the Medicare for all Bill. As an elected I will have a duty and moral obligation to represent in the best interests of the people I serve, not in the interests of corporations or  Big Pharma. The American people deserve quality healthcare; they don't need insurance."

Elizabeth Warren took to the floor of the Senate to eviscerate the Senate bill. Brutal-- absolutely brutal:

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Crumbling Regime... Built On A Thin Tissue Of Compulsive Lies


“Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies,” wrote David Leonhardt in today’s NY Times. Does that statement seem odd, coming on the pages of one of the country’s most prestigious, and even staid, newspapers? But that was just the beginning. Leonhardt continued by warning that “as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.” I’ve never seen coverage like that of a president by the media. But, of course, there’s never been a president like Trump, an inveterate liar incapable of being truthful. It would be safe to assume that everything he ever says is a lie meant to manipulate his audience. That’s who close to a majority plurality of Americans put into the White House. And even today something like 35% of American voters still fail to see his utter unfitness for the presidency… which says an awful lot, uncomfortably, about just over a third of our fellow citizens. What followed was the longest paragraph in the history of the New York Times: a chronological catalogue of Señor Trumpanzee’s presidential lies:
JAN. 21 “I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine-- and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.) JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.) JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama's 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.) JAN. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.) JAN. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren't insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.) JAN. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can't have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.) JAN. 26 “We've taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn't vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don't know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can't.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.) JAN. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn't like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane's going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.) JAN. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.) JAN. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.) JAN. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.) FEB. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.) FEB. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.) FEB. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.) FEB. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.) FEB. 6 “It's gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.) FEB. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn't apologize.) FEB. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn't have been in Iraq, but we shouldn't have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (ISIS has existed since 2004.) FEB. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and '90s.) FEB. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.) FEB. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo's first question.) FEB. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.) FEB. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn's actions for weeks.) FEB. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.) FEB. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.) FEB. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta's problems happened two days later.) FEB. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.” (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in October 2016.) FEB. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.) FEB. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.) FEB. 16 “They’re giving stuff-- what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.) FEB. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.) FEB. 18 “You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.) FEB. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here-- this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.) FEB. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.) FEB. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people-- and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them-- it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.) FEB. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.) FEB. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.) FEB. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.) FEB. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There's no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.) FEB. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can't lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.) MARCH 3 “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.) MARCH 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.) MARCH 4 “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” (There's no evidence of a wiretap.) MARCH 7 “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.) MARCH 13 “I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn't I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 13 “First of all, it covers very few people.” (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.) MARCH 15 “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 17 “I was in Tennessee-- I was just telling the folks-- and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” (There's at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.) MARCH 20 “With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 21 “To save taxpayer dollars, I’ve already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government-- saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MARCH 22 “I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.) MARCH 22 “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.) MARCH 22 “Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong-- in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.” (There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud.) MARCH 29 “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” (It didn't apologize.) MARCH 31 “We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I-- if I didn’t win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.” (These investments were already planned.) APRIL 2 “And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn’t but you’ve seen that it is now improving.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) APRIL 2 “Now, my last tweet-- you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps-- was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.) APRIL 5 “You have many states coming up where they’re going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It’s already happened in Tennessee. It’s happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left.” (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.) APRIL 6 “If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment-- saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars-- I think we’ve had a tremendous success.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.) APRIL 11 “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.) APRIL 12 “You can't do it faster, because they're obstructing. They're obstructionists. So I have people-- hundreds of people that we're trying to get through. I mean you have-- you see the backlog. We can't get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.) APRIL 12 “The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.” (There were two headlines, but neither were altered.) APRIL 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counterterrorism efforts since the 1980s.) APRIL 12 “Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The campaign was expected to take months.) APRIL 16 “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There's no evidence of paid protesters.) APRIL 18 “The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.) APRIL 21 “On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It's actually a little bit more than that, but it's $725 million.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.) APRIL 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.) APRIL 27 “I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.) APRIL 28 “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.) APRIL 28 “She's running against someone who's going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he's for open borders-- lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff's positions.) APRIL 28 “The F-35 fighter jet program-- it was way over budget. I’ve saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “They're incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad.” (The Times did not apologize.) APRIL 29 “As you know, I've been a big critic of China, and I've been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.) APRIL 29 “I've already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “We're also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They've begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in 2014.) APRIL 29 “When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they-- as soon as I got elected, they stopped.” (China stopped in 2014.) APRIL 29 “I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.) APRIL 29 “I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it.” (There's still no evidence Trump's phones were tapped.) MAY 1 “Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it'll be every good-- bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.” (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.) MAY 1 “The F-35 fighter jet-- I saved-- I got involved in the negotiation. It's 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.) MAY 1 “First of all, since I started running, they haven't increased their--you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign.” (China stopped years ago.) MAY 2 “I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really-- I have cut billions-- I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.) MAY 4 “Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.) MAY 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We're not.) MAY 4 “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.) MAY 8 “You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we’re getting. All because of me.” (The deal was struck in 2014.) MAY 8 “But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high-- highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.” (Colbert's “Late Show” debut had nearly two million more viewers.) MAY 8 “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn't aware of an investigation.) MAY 12 “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.) MAY 12 “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Clapper said he wouldn't have been told of an investigation into collusion.) MAY 13 “I'm cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.) MAY 26 “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” (He's referencing an arms deal that's not enacted and other apparent deals that weren't announced on the trip.) JUNE 1 “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.) JUNE 1 “I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.” (Trump’s figures are inflated and premature.) JUNE 4 “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.) JUNE 5 “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.) JUNE 21 “They all say it's 'nonbinding.' Like hell it's nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding-- and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.) JUNE 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We're not.)

Every poll that has asked the question in the last 3 months has found that most Americans consider Trump a liar. And Leonhardt continued by pointing out that Trumpanzee’s “political rise was built on a lie (about Barack Obama's birthplace). His lack of truthfulness has also become central to the Russia investigation, with James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., testifying under oath about Trump's ‘lies, plain and simple.’”
There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths. Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president-- of either party-- has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.

We have set a conservative standard, leaving out many dubious statements (like the claim that his travel ban is “similar” to Obama administration policy). Some people may still take issue with this standard, arguing that the president wasn't speaking literally. But we believe his long pattern of using untruths to serve his purposes, as a businessman and politician, means that his statements are not simply careless errors.

We are using the word “lie” deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump's part. But it would be the height of naïveté to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.

Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days

The list above uses the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements. By that standard, Trump told a public lie on at least 20 of his first 40 days as president. But based on a broader standard-- one that includes his many misleading statements (like exaggerating military spending in the Middle East)-- Trump achieved something remarkable: He said something untrue, in public, every day for the first 40 days of his presidency. The streak didn’t end until March 1.

Since then, he has said something untrue on at least 74 of 113 days. On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing.

The end of May was another period of relative public veracity-- or at least public quiet-- for the president. He seems to have been otherwise occupied, dealing with internal discussions about the Russia investigation and then embarking on a trip through the Middle East and Europe.

Trump’s Public Lies Sometimes Changed With Repetition

Sometimes, Trump can’t even keep his untruths straight. After he reversed a campaign pledge and declined to label China a currency manipulator, he kept changing his description of when China had stopped the bad behavior. Initially, he said it stopped once he took office. He then changed the turning point to the election, then to since he started talking about it, and then to some uncertain point in the distant past.

The Public’s Mistrust of Trump Grows

Trump has retained the support of most of his voters as well as the Republican leadership in Congress. But he has still paid some price for his lies. Nearly 60 percent of Americans say the president is not honest, polls show, up from about 53 percent when he took office.

I’m curious… in your heart of hearts do you think people who voted for Trump should forfeit their right to vote? I know its terribly politically incorrect to think this way but… how about if they get to earn back the right to vote by taking a basic junior high school level civics class? Oh, neither junior nor señor high schools teach civics any longer? How about listening to a Linkin Park song every day for a month instead?

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