Nel's New Day

March 31, 2017

DDT: Week Ten

Other than the fallout from failing to pass Trumpcare and the increasing—and damning—news about Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) connection to Russia, the biggest news was his rollback to President Obama’s orders regarding the climate.

Climate: DDT ordered the EPA to repeal the Clean Power Plan by removing new limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants. He claimed that it was for the economy, energy security, and jobs, but the entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s. DDT is preening, but the provisions weren’t to take place until 2022. In addition, a 2007 Supreme Court ruling found that greenhouse gases count as a potential air pollutant, requiring the EPA to regulate them. DDT’s order won’t reverse the decline of the coal industry that has fewer employees than clean energy. Coal’s enemy is natural gas.

Conflicts of Interest: Remember DDT’s blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest? Middle son, Eric, has corrected the blindness: he will apprise his father of his business’s progress every week. DDT’s daughter Ivanka Trump is following the same pattern: she has an office in the West Wing as “assistant to the president” but will continue to supervise her business. She is also being sued by Modern Appealing Clothing in an action for unfair competition. Just one more lawsuit against the Trump family as one of them uses their recently elected positions to make money.

Muslim Ban: U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii extended his order blocking DDT’s travel ban until the lawsuits goes through the courts. State AG Douglas Chin had argued that the ban’s message is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban'” that the government didn’t bother to turn off.

Trump University: U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego finalized the $25 million settlement in the Trump University litigation, giving a 90-percent refund to about 3,700 students. DDT can still appeal.

More Tweets?: Andrew Napolitano, missing from Fox network for two weeks after FBI Director James Comey denied his accusations, is back. The “legal analyst” stands by his misinformation that President Obama asked British intelligence officials to spy on DDT, a lie that led DDT to angrily tweet this information as fact. Hoping for a Supreme Court appointment from DDT, Napolitano, 66, has not been on the bench for over 30 years when he was a New Jersey Superior Court judge. He still is a 9/11 truther, a movement of conspiracy theorists who think that the explosions were permitted by the U.S. to curtail civil liberties and perhaps even done from within by controlled demolition.

No Condemnation for Killing by White Supremacist: Journalist April Ryan asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer if he had any comment about 28-year-old James Harris Jackson traveling to New York City and killing Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man, with a sword. Spicer repeatedly refused to answer, saying that he was “not going to reference any particular case before the DOJ right now” and later said he didn’t “know all the details.” Spicer comments only on killings that can be classified as “terrorist” because they are not by white people. Jackson said he to New York “to kill as many black men as he could.”

To Russia with Love: The prevalence of DDT/Russia stories deserve an entire book, but a major story this week concerns Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who is supposed to head up an investigation into the connection. After just the open hearing with FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) called off all meetings for the “Intelligence” Committee to protect DDT. The Senate Intelligence Committee is moving forward while Nunes and the White House are getting lots of bad press about getting information from the White House and then taking it back to the White House without telling any of his committee members. The most remarkable statement about Nunes’ behavior came from Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) when he said that Nunes did the right thing because the member of Congress “works for the president.” Later he said that he misspoke, which probably means that he shouldn’t have openly told the truth.

Licking His Wounds: Last weekend DDT sulked about his loss of Trumpcare with two days of golf in Virginia. Is Mar-a-Lago losing its appeal? DDT’s expensive resort has been sold out, however, because Gov. Rick Scott is being honored as Statesman of the Year. Today, DDT is back to playing golf on one of his properties when his calendar indicated that he was in a meeting. He has visited his own-branded properties at least once every three days, at least 18 percent of his time while part-time president. He criticized President Obama for always playing golf, but the former president didn’t get in a game until 65 days into his first term.

“Quite a Story to Tell”: The lawyer for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn wants immunity to tell what he knows—sort of like Oliver North three decades ago. He doesn’t have any takers yet, but the question is whether he is trying to avoid prison. After all, he did say last summer than no one asks for immunity who isn’t guilty.

Changing Directions of Trumpcare: The direction of Trumpcare shifted in the high winds since House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called off the vote on the bill last Friday. A week ago, Trumpcare was dead, and DDT blamed Democrats. By Saturday he accused the GOP Freedom Caucus of sabotage and swore he would get those representatives defeated in 2018. They weren’t impressed. By Monday, the House was considering bringing health care back, and DDT was talking about getting Trumpcare passed with the support of Democrats. Tuesday Pence was sent to Capitol Hill to bring back health care reform, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it was over. Wednesday, Ryan clearly stated that he wouldn’t work with Democrats. “I don’t want that to happen,” he said. On Thursday, both Democrats and conservatives were at fault, according to DDT. By yesterday, Greg Walden, chair of the committee responsible for getting health care to the floor, said, “We’re approaching the Easter season. Some things rise from the dead.” I wonder what evangelicals think about comparing a House bill to Jesus.

Disappearing Privacy: Last week, Congress made billions of dollars for Internet Service Providers by allowing them to sell personal information about all their subscribers. DDT’s constituents—white men, Ku Klux Klan, etc.—are not happy with  their vanishing anonymity. They’re screaming the usual “attack on freedom” and asking if they can still support DDT if (when?) he signs the bill. Progressive activist Adam McElhaney has found a way to resist: he established a GoFundMe page, “Purchase Private Internet Histories,” to collect donations to buy the internet histories of everyone—legislators, executives, and their families—who supported the bill to repeal the FCC’s privacy protections–and provide easily searchable information. McElhaney said it will include “everything from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity.”

Indifference to Human Rights: The State Department dropped “human rights improvement” as a condition for the sale of fighter jets to Bahrain, abruptly reversing an Obama-era decision that required the tiny island monarchy curb its human rights abuses and its crackdown on dissidents.

Melania Trump’s Residence: New Yorkers are tired of paying for DDT’s third wife and son to live in Trump Tower’s gold-plated penthouse. Almost 500,000 people have signed a petition, “Make Melania Trump Stay in the White House or Pay for the Expenses Herself,” asking for her to be forced to leave because of their $50 million a year cost. Taxpayer expenses would go up at least $10 million if DDT were to spend weekends at his New York City home.

DDT’s Murders: After the terrible fiasco of DDT’s first sortie into Yemen, he turned the process of killing people in the Middle East over to the Pentagon, and they have taken off with vengeance. Earlier this month, a “precision” unstaffed drone bomb strike in Mosul killed 200 civilians, but the Pentagon wouldn’t admit this for weeks. The horrific disaster has now been covered up with the news about Russia and health care. Many of them died slowly because they were buried under the rubble. They stayed in their homes because they were told not to leave. It came from the fact that DDT “relaxed” the rules of engagement in the war against ISIS. The U.S. has dropped over 2,000 bombs on Mosul just in March and killed 1,500 civilians in Iraq and Syria. DDT said, “The results are very, very good.”

One area in which the gender gap is disappearing is between men and women disapproving of DDT. Approval among men dropped seven points in March, now down to 44 percent. Women are down to 34 percent approval with overall approval at 39 percent. The GOP dropped four points, and independents six. DDT’s support is below 50 percent among men, people over 50, married people, and all non-Hispanic whites. The Gallup poll of 37 percent has now dropped to 35 percent.

August 14, 2013

Obamacare: Whither the Government Shutdown

Obamacare was a heated topic at Congressional town hall meetings during the hot month of August four years ago. Since then, the Affordable Care Act has gone into law, been approved by a conservative Supreme Court, and then suffered at least 40 votes from the GOP conservatives in the House who are determined to destroy it. Several of the Obamacare provisions have already gone into effect, much to the appreciation of those who have benefitted from them, and others will start in January.

The attitude in many town hall meetings has changed. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) described the large number of votes against Obamacare “theatrics.” He said, “You keep doing this over and over and over again and it doesn’t get anywhere.”

A woman in a meeting with Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) a fierce opponent to the law, lost her son to colon cancer. She believes her son, who couldn’t get health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition, might be alive in Obamacare had gone into effect sooner.

Skip Edwards talked about how he and his wife lost their health insurance after the recession took his job. Denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, they could get insurance only from a state plan called Inclusive Health that cost them $1,300 a month.

Many of the GOP congressional lawmakers are still lying to convince people that Obamacare should be repealed. Referring to himself as a light-skinned person, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told his constituents that the health care reform law is “racist” beccause of the tax on tanning salons.  Somebody needs to tell him that tanning causes skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the nation with roughly 170,000 annual cases.

Conservative activists are telling uninsured people that they should stay uninsured to spite the president. The Citizens Council for Healthcare Freedom (CCHF) has launched a “Refuse to Enroll’ campaign, falsely telling people that the IRS can access information on people and employers who use the health care exchanges.

Asked what advice she would give to a 22-year-old who can’t afford health insurance outside exchanges, Twila Brase argued that getting health insurance doesn’t guarantee health care. If the 22-year-old needs medical care, Brase said, the person could pay doctors directly or seek charity care, ignoring the difficulty of finding several hundred thousand dollars after an unexpected automobile accident or diagnosis of cancer. Another option, according to Brase, is to sign up for coverage when it’s needed. Aside from being short on ethical behavior, Brase doesn’t know that the open enrollment period is from October 1 to March 31, making it impossible to ask for an insurance agent in the ambulance on  April 1. In following years, the enrollment is only between October 7 and December 31.

FreedomWorks is asking people to burn their “Obamacare card.” These cards don’t exist so FreedomWorks is printing up fake cards.

Jon Perr explained why eliminating Obamacare has become the GOP “holy grail,” to quote President Obama. During the president’s press conference last week, he asked why the GOP’s “number one priority, the one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment, is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care.”

For the past 20 years, Perr hypothesized, the GOP has been terrified that health care reform would succeed. If this were to happen, it would join Social Security and Medicare, both loved by older people, to become the third leg of the U.S. social safety net. All three programs would come from Democrats, giving that party the power. In 1993, William Kristol  wrote, “The Clinton proposal [for universal health care] is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party. Its passage in the short run will do nothing to hurt (and everything to help) Democratic electoral prospects in 1996….

To avoid Clinton’s plan, GOP Senators Hatch and Chuck Grassley joined 19 other Republican Senators in proposing their own bill that “would have required everyone to buy coverage, capped awards for medical malpractice lawsuits, established minimum benefit packages and invested in comparative effectiveness research.” Sixteen years later, they called their own plan “unconstitutional.”

With the same plan as Obamacare, Massachusetts demonstrates the reaction to the health care reform law. Eighty-four percent of the people in Massachusetts are satisfied, far higher than the 67 percent of people in the U.S. who are happy with their own health care, many of whom who already have government Medicare. Respondents praised high quality of care and good access to medical services, adding that it isn’t hard to find the medical care that they need.  In that one state, 98 percent of the residents are insured, compared to 16.3 percent of the people in the nation when Obamacare was passed into law.

In states where legislators strive to undermine Obamacare, millions of constituents will suffer. By contrast, states like California, Maryland, New York, and Oregon are running their own insurance exchanges, and the federal expansion of Medicaid will provide their residents greater coverage and lower premiums.

Far-right congressional lawmakers have come up with what they think is a clever way to get rid of Obamacare. Those lawmakers brave enough to go to their town hall meetings are spreading the word. They plan to shut down the government if Obamacare isn’t defunded. Yoho (the one who believes that Obamacare is racist) thinks that forcing the shutdown will improve our credit rating. He thinks that the rise in debt ceiling and the interest rates is a cause/effect situation.

The last GOP threat to not pass an increase in the debt ceiling shook the world’s economy and brought down the U.S. credit rating. Standard & Poor wrote the downgrade came from “the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also tried to put a happy face on his own threat of a government shutdown when he said that the “shutdown” is just a temporary suspension of nonessential services which happens every weekend. (Tell that to the people who don’t get their money when the shutdown lasts longer than two days!)

Equally absurd is his statement that the five-day and the 21-day shutdowns almost 20 years ago worked really well when it idled 800,000 federal workers. Charles Krauthammer, one of the farthest right pundits, begs to differ:

“Never make a threat on which you are not prepared to deliver. Every fiscal showdown has redounded against the Republicans. The first, in 1995, effectively marked the end of the Gingrich revolution. The latest, last December, led to a last-minute Republican cave that humiliated the GOP and did nothing to stop the tax hike it so strongly opposed.”

Washington Post’s Factchecker wrote:

“The government shutdown is what revived [Clinton’s] political fortunes, in part because Republicans appeared too eager for a confrontation, while Clinton constantly emphasized his willingness to compromise within reason…. After that, Clinton never lagged in the polls again.”

Two other presidential wannabes, Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have joined Cruz in his insanity. Conservative columnist Mike Gerson refers to them as “a few bold, determined public officials who may rescue Obamacare.” Obviously this is the opposite of their intent, but their fight against the health reform law “discredits responsible opposition and makes a Democratic takeover of the House more likely.” The only reason that Cruz’s strategy could work is if voters blamed President Obama against “a distrusted faction of a disdained institution, which is pursuing a budgetary maneuver that even many Republican lawmakers regard as aggressive, desperate and doomed. “

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told his constituents last week and the shutdown’s victims would be “ordinary Americans”—paychecks for troops, health care for veterans, Medicare and Social Security for the elderly and disabled.

Other statements include:

  • “Shutting down the government will not stop ObamaCare.” – Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • “A denial of reality mixed with a whole bunch of hype…intellectually dishonest…a good way for Republicans to lose the House…destroying the Republican Party.” – Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • “The political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum.” “A suicidal political tactic.” -Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
  • “Shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do. Plus, it is going to do great harm to the American people if we pursue that course.” – Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)  [I like his putting the good of people in the nation second to politics.]
  • “Terror politics.” – Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  • “The dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” – Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • “Feckless.“ – Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

The Heritage Foundation, almost a conservative think tank until former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) turned it into a GOP shill, has decided to poll whether a shutdown would be bad for Republicans. The survey lacks any credibility: the questions are seriously biased, and only Republican-led districts were chosen. Watch for the headlines about how a government shutdown is a popular idea.

As Krauthammer wrote:

“How many times must we learn the lesson? You can’t govern from one house of Congress. You need to win back the Senate and then the presidency. Shutting down the government is the worst possible way to get there. Indeed, it’s Obama’s fondest hope for a Democratic recovery.”

Cruz doesn’t seem to be giving up, but his followers are fading away. The 17 Senate supports have dissipated to fewer than a dozen. GOP Congress members are likely to return in September more dysfunctional than when they left.

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