September 21st, 2017

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ON THE RECORD.....


“The president today tweeted out that he want to see ESPN apologize for what he called untruths. By him saying that though, does that mean that he’s willing to apologize for birtherism claims that he called on for years?” -- Reporter at WH Press Briefing

Ann Coulter on Trump's "agreement" with Dems:

“At this point, who doesn’t want Trump impeached?” — Ann Coulter ✔@AnnCoulter  in response to Trump saying he wants to work with Democrats to protect DREAMers.

"Put a fork in Trump, he's dead." -- Ann Coulter ✔@AnnCoulter 

If we're not getting a wall, I'd prefer President Pence. -- Ann Coulter ✔@AnnCoulter

What’s the only difference between @realDonald Trump & Carrot Top? Carrot Top might actually build the wall. -- Ann Coulter ✔@AnnCoulter

“McConnell, in what I think of as a not only unpatriotic but despicable act of partisan politics, made it clear that if the Obama Administration spoke publicly about what they knew, he would accuse them of partisan politics, of trying to tip the balance toward me… McConnell basically threatened the White House.” -- Hillary Clinton on Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader muffling for weeks any sense of national alarm about the Russians’ meddling in the Presidential race, ignoring he Administration requests for a bipartisan statement of warning. ”

“He is who he has been and I didn’t go in there to change who he was, I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. I think we accomplished that. To assume that immediately thereafter he’s going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic.”— Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) when asked if it was frustrating talking to President Trump about his defense of white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville.

 “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” -- Donald Trump using the UN to threaten to “destroy North Korea” and quibble about how much the United States pays for the United Nations.

"If Trump was an honest businessman who surrounded himself with only people of integrity and character throughout his career, he wouldn't have much to worry about. But he has always attracted people whose morals were flexible and whose most profound question was "What's in it for me?", whether it was in real estate or as a candidate and now president. And with the special counsel digging around, there are probably a whole lot of Trump associates lying in bed at night worrying about whether they're going to get caught.” -- Paul Waldman

“He’s being played by these dictators in a way that undercuts our credibility and the capacity to come up with a diplomatic solution in that region… I’m deeply concerned, and I think in many ways the Trump presidency poses a clear and present danger to our country and to the world.” — Hillary Clinton, discussing President Trump in a PBS interview.

“I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project,” he said, immediately after thanking those in attendance at a meeting on UN reform. -- Donald Trump opened his first remarks at the United Nations Monday by complimenting the Trump-branded property across the street.

Trump didn’t win an Emmy “because unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote.” -- Stephen Colbert. 9/17/17

I just heard our Republican colleagues speak, there was a word missing: people, patients, care. All this stuff—Democrat, Republican, governors, Washington—how about how this affects people? Millions will lose coverage. No guarantee of pre-existing conditions. And an end to Medicaid as we know it. [...] Our Republican colleagues don't seem to care about how this affects the average American.” -- Sen. Chuck Schumer about the GOP's health care bill

“Success will be when we have some kind of bipartisan commission outside of our current political structure that can really look at this and make real recommendations as to what can be done to make our country and our democracy more secure.” --  Rob Reiner, who has joined a new group called the Committee to Investigate Russia.

“He continues to obsessively lash out at her — at his rallies, with his words and now through social media — in a manner that is utterly unbecoming of the president of the United States. Every one of us should be offended by the vindictive and candidly dangerous messages the president sends that demean not only Secretary Clinton, but all women. Grow up and do your job.” -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who said it was "appalling and disgusting" to see President Trump retweet a video edited to look like he hit former rival Hillary Clinton in the head with a golf ball.

“I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.” — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Gov. Chris Christie said on Wednesday that he opposes the latest Senate plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, deeming it “too injurious” to New Jersey.

The lack of public responsibility on the part of those attempting to rush the Republicans’ shoddy repeal bill into law is a first-order scandal. -- Jonathan Chait

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The GOP's last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill may be the worst one yet
2. McCain Faces a New Test of His Principles
3. Medicaid cuts in the Senate healthcare bill could be brutal for people living in nursing homes
4. Andy Borowitz: Mueller Rents Giant Warehouse to Store Evidence Against Trump
5. Lessons From an Ineffective President
6. Any deal on DACA could be a problem for Republican leaders
7. No, Trump isn’t trying to do bipartisan tax reform
8. The DAILY GRILL
9. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
10. From the Late Shows
11. Late Night Jokes for Dems
12. Russia-linked Facebook group asked Texas secession movement to participate in anti-Clinton rallies
13. Trump wanted to hurt the Obamacare markets. The CBO says he's a success.
14. Did Jared Kushner’s Data Operation Help Select Facebook Targets for the Russians?
15. Citing conspiracy theory, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher blames Democrats for Charlottesville violence: 'It was a setup'
16. Another Prosecutor Joins Trump-Russia Probe
17. McConnell’s Mortal Enemy Might Soon Be in His Caucus
18. New GOP Plan Could Sow Health Care Chaos
19. Trump Using Facebook Ads to Reassure Base
20. Drudge Report Linked to Russian Propaganda Sites Nearly 400 Times Since 2012

OPINION

1. NY Times Editorial: The Republican Health Care Zombie Is Back
2. Rebecca Traister: Hillary Clinton Is Finally Expressing Some Righteous Anger. Why Does That Make Everyone Else So Mad?
3. Joel Mathis: Saving DACA can't save Trump
4. E.J. Dionne: The Priority Is Still to Save Obamacare
5. Max Boot: Independent? Populist? Trump’s Only True Ideology Is Ego-Driven Impetuosity
6. Charles M. Blow: Is Trump himself a white supremacist?

FYI

1.  The GOP's last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill may be the worst one yet

The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is back, a zombie again on the march weeks after it was declared dead. The newest incarnation is Cassidy-Graham, named after chief sponsors Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Compared with its predecessors, the bill would increase the ranks of America’s medically uninsured more — by millions of people — cost state governments billions more and pave the way for the elimination of all protection for those with preexisting medical conditions.

Among the biggest losers of federal funding would be the states that had the foresight to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and the resolve to reach out to lower-income residents to get them coverage; they’d be punished with draconian cuts in healthcare funding. Among the big winners would be states that have done nothing of the kind for their residents — refusing the Medicaid expansion and interfering with outreach efforts. They’d be rewarded for their stupidity and inhumanity with an increase in federal funds.

Over the last week or so, reviews of the measure have been pouring in from healthcare experts, and they’re almost unanimously negative. Major health provider and consumer organizations have turned thumbs down, as have analysts looking at its economic effects. -- Michael Hiltzik http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-graham-cassidy-20170918-story.html

2. McCain Faces a New Test of His Principles

When his colleagues ignored him, McCain cast the vote that defeated their health bill two days later, with a dramatic 1:30 a.m. thumbs-down. The vote was remarkable because McCain is a conservative, reluctant to tax people for social programs, as the Affordable Care Act does. But he believed in a higher principle: the Senate’s credibility.

The latest Trumpcare, known as Graham-Cassidy, risks the Senate’s credibility again. There has been none of the regular process that McCain demanded, not even a Congressional Budget Office analysis. No major medical group — not doctors, nurses, hospitals or advocates for the treatment of cancer, diabetes or birth defects — supports the bill.

“Passing it would violate every standard that McCain laid down. Yet Republican leaders are rushing toward a vote. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/opinion/mccain-healthcare-graham-cassidy.html

NOTE: In an interview with Politico, Sen. John McCain sounded like he could end up tanking the latest GOP health care bill even though it was written by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), his close friend. Said McCain: “Nothing has changed. If McConnell wants to put it on the floor, that’s up to McConnell. I am the same as I was before. I want the regular order.” 9/20/17http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/20/obamacare-repeal-senate-vote-graham-cassidy-242937

3. Medicaid cuts in the Senate healthcare bill could be brutal for people living in nursing homes

Medicaid covers health care expenses of 74 million low-income Americans, including nursing home care for those who can't afford it.

Medicare, a program that covers medical expenses for Americans over 65 does not cover nursing homes.

The New York Times reports that 42% of Medicaid spending goes to services like nursing home care. Cutting spending in the program would hit the elderly, or put pressure on nursing home operators to cut back. https://amp.businessinsider.com/what-is-medicaid-who-could-lose-coverage-under-senate-healthcare-bill-2017-6

4. Andy Borowitz: Mueller Rents Giant Warehouse to Store Evidence Against Trump

Robert Mueller is renting a massive warehouse facility in suburban Virginia to accommodate the approximately forty cubic tons of evidence against Donald Trump that the independent counsel’s investigation is generating on a daily basis.

Employing over two thousand workers in a warehouse the size of seven football fields, the Mueller investigation has become the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working twelve-hour shifts, the members of Mueller’s evidence-storage team rarely leave the warehouse, where the punishing task of filing mountains of evidence against Trump proceeds around the clock.

“It’s like a city all its own,” one warehouse worker said. “There are people working in the Michael Flynn section who’ve never met the people working in the Paul Manafort section.”

While the warehouse workers are well paid, there have been issues with burnout. “The team in charge of filing all of Donald Trump, Jr.,’s different explanations of his meeting with the Russians had to take time off,” one worker said.

As gargantuan as the storage space appears to be, an aide to Mueller said that the investigation would soon be seeking a second, even larger warehouse. “We need a place to put all the Jared stuff,” the aide said. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

5. Lessons From an Ineffective President

If you wanted to offer a graduate-school class in how not to be an effective president of the United States, Donald Trump could write the textbook and teach the course.

The first lesson would be to cater myopically to your base, alienating those in your party who are not in your core constituency—particularly the congressional leadership and power players who would be the ones instrumental to actually getting anything done. The second lesson would be to offend independent voters, those not married to either party who are at least theoretically open to the arguments from both sides. Finally, the third lesson would be to do everything possible to eliminate any chance of getting defections from the ranks of the other party while riling up the other party’s base, giving them an intensity that they may have lacked when they lost last year’s election. That’s pretty much how you would do it—and it’s what Trump has done. http://cookpolitical.com/analysis/national/national-politics/lessons-ineffective-president

6. Any deal on DACA could be a problem for Republican leaders

John Boehner and Eric Cantor were thrown to the wolves a few years ago for even toying with some sort of immigration reform package. Paul Ryan promised conservatives when he won the speakership in 2015 that he would not pursue and immigration package unless it had the support of the majority of Republicans. That means whatever deal Trump cut — or will cut — with Schumer and Pelosi needs to have the support of 121 House Republicans.”

Paul Ryan is always under the threat of an immediate referendum vote of his speakership. Immigration isn’t like touching the third rail. It’s like hugging an electrified pole while wearing soaking wet clothing. http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/playbook/2017/09/14/trump-no-deal-with-pelosi-and-schumer-behind-the-scenes-the-wh-flips-out-calls-the-hill-and-tries-to-walk-the-deal-back-meanwhile-pence-dines-with-gop-congressmen-jared-and-ivanka-break-bread-with-ted-cruz-222271

7. No, Trump isn’t trying to do bipartisan tax reform

Trump got a lot of attention for his Tuesday night dinner with three red-state Democratic senators, where he tried to win their support for tax reform. But here’s the thing: This was not the start of a bipartisan tax reform effort. This was the White House’s attempt to give Republicans a cushion in case they lose a few votes.”

The White House did learn one lesson from the health care failure: It’s a mistake to rely on Republican votes alone. But the administration’s solution for tax reform is to give itself a little breathing room — not open the door to a broader bipartisan effort that would compromise what it wants to do. https://www.axios.com/no-trump-isnt-trying-to-do-bipartisan-tax-reform-2484861142.html

8. The DAILY GRILL

Emails show Democrats, Hillary Clinton and George Soros instigated and orchestrated racial protests in Charlottesville by trying to "control" and keep people "desperate." -- Alex Jones, a conspiracy-minded conservative commentator.

VERSUS

We can find no evidence that Jones’ broad attack, or his specific claim about comments made by Soros, Clinton or Democrats in emails, checks out. -- Politifact

 

"It actually hit the Keys with a -- it was a Category 5. I never even knew a Category 5 existed. And they suffered greatly."-- Donald Trump

VERSUS

He owned Mar-a-Lago but didn't know about Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale? Hard to believe. FWIW, Irma was not a Category 5 when it hit the Keys, it was a Category 4. Two weeks ago, POTUS tweeted about a "Class 3" hurricane, Harvey, when he meant "Category 3..."Diana Stancy Correll in the Wash Examiner

9. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Hannity pleads for Trump to cut taxes on the rich so they can buy boats and stimulate the economy https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/09/14/hannity-pleads-trump-cut-taxes-rich-so-they-can-buy-boats-and-stimulate-economy/217943

Fox & Friends spread false information about London attack, hosted anti-Muslim hate group leader. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/09/15/fox-friends-spread-false-information-about-london-attack-hosted-anti-muslim-hate-group-leader/217953

Fox News promotes Trump's use of London attack to push Muslim ban. Mike Huckabee: "You have to start taking this to them. You have to start screening people getting in."https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/09/15/Fox-News-promotes-Trumps-use-of-London-attack-to-push-Muslim-ban/217952

Alex Jones: "Do we put an ad out" so "Islamist men" can show up at J.K. Rowling's house and "genitally mutilate her"? https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/09/15/alex-jones-do-we-put-ad-out-so-islamist-men-can-show-jk-rowlings-house-and-genitally-mutilate-her/217958

Right-wing and fringe media falsely claim legal Manafort wiretap vindicates Trump's illegal-wiretap lie. https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2017/09/19/right-wing-and-fringe-media-falsely-claim-legal-manafort-wiretap-vindicates-trumps-illegal-wiretap/217978


10. From the Late Shows

Full Frontal: A Dreamer Is A Wish Your Trump Takes Act 2 https://youtu.be/6GR_M6lF7mM

Playback: Prayers for Donald Trump
http://www.politico.com/video/2017/09/18/playback-prayers-for-donald-trump-063928

11. Late Night Jokes for Dems

President Trump gave his big speech at the U.N. General Assembly today. And at one point, he threatened to "totally destroy North Korea." He said he has a good plan to do it, too – he's gonna run for president of North Korea. -- Jimmy Fallon

Trump also told the group he was prepared to "totally destroy North Korea." He again called Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man." I think he does this nickname thing because he can't remember anyone's real name. Like when you see the guy at the 7-Eleven. "Hey, buddy, what's going on?"-- Jimmy Kimmel

He said Kim Jong Un was "Rocket Man on a suicide mission." If you want to insult Kim Jong Un, maybe don't make it sound like he's an action-packed movie franchise. Just call him Kim. -- Jimmy Kimmel

While at the U.N., President Trump also called the Iran nuclear deal an "embarrassment." Then Trump said, "Gotta go — I have to post a tweet of me hitting a woman with a golf ball." -- Conan O’Brien

Over the weekend, President Trump retweeted a GIF of himself knocking Hillary Clinton down with a golf ball. In response, Hillary retweeted a GIF where she beat Trump by 3 million votes. -- Conan O’Brien

Today in New York, President Trump spoke before the United Nations General Assembly. There was an awkward moment when Trump looked into the audience and said, “Wait, how did you people get into this country?” -- Conan O’Brien

The big winner at last night’s Emmys was “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a show about a repressive society where women have no rights. It won Best Writing, Best Drama, and Best Mike Pence Fantasy. -- Conan O’Brien

The wife of Donald Trump’s ethics adviser was caught having sex in a car with a prison inmate. Can you believe that? Donald Trump has an ethics adviser. -- Conan O’Brien

Donald Trump, Jr., has decided to give up his Secret Service protection in order to have more privacy. He said it got annoying having Secret Service guys always standing around, listening in, and making it almost impossible for him to call Russia to receive further instructions. -- James Corden

Meanwhile, Eric Trump will keep his protection, so they can help him tie his shoes and stop him from choking on hard candies. -- James Corden

Last night here in Los Angeles was the prime-time Emmy Awards. The big winners last night were Donald Glover, Hulu, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer won best actor in a comedy for his role in Donald Trump’s administration. -- James Corden

12. Russia-linked Facebook group asked Texas secession movement to participate in anti-Clinton rallies

A Russia-linked Facebook group asked a Texas secessionist movement if it would participate in a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary Clinton rallies it was planning to hold across the state last November, the group's president told Business Insider on Thursday.

The Facebook group, called Heart of Texas, had over 225,000 followers as of last summer. It was shut down last week as part of Facebook's takedown of accounts and pages "affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia," a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday. http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-facebook-group-ads-texas-secession-secede-trump-clinton-2017-9

13. Trump wanted to hurt the Obamacare markets. The CBO says he's a success.

Having failed to repeal Obamacare, President Donald Trump has said his strategy would be to let the health law "implode."

The Congressional Budget Office released a report Thursday that predicts Trump administration policies on Obamacare could help it on its way by leading to rising premiums and decreased enrollment in individual insurance markets over the next year.

Without calling the administration by name, the report names several policies the White House is pushing when explaining why average Obamacare premiums will increase substantially in 2018.

Uncertainty about cost-sharing subsidies the government pays to insurance companies -- which Trump has repeatedly said he may withhold -- are mentioned by the CBO's report as a significant driver of higher costs for the insured. The failure to promise these payments, along with reductions in advertising to inform people about the markets and employees who sign-up enrollees, can only "push enrollment down," the report says. https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/09/15/politics/20170915-cbo-insured-rate-uncertainty-premiums/index.html

14. Did Jared Kushner’s Data Operation Help Select Facebook Targets for the Russians?

Mapping the full Russian propaganda effort is important. Yet investigators in the House, Senate, and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office are equally focused on a more explosive question: did any Americans help target the memes and fake news to crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics? “By Americans, you mean, like, the Trump campaign?” a source close to one of the investigations said with a dark laugh. Indeed: probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president’s son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign’s online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election. “I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Steven Bertoni of Forbes. “We brought in Cambridge Analytica. I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff . . . We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states, in five months to then be taken apart. We started really from scratch.”

Kushner’s chat with Forbes has provided a veritable bakery’s worth of investigatory bread crumbs to follow. Brad Parscale, who Kushner hired to run the campaign’s San Antonio-based Internet operation, has agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/jared-kushner-data-operation-russia-facebook/amp

15. Citing conspiracy theory, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher blames Democrats for Charlottesville violence: 'It was a setup'

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says Democrats, not white supremacists, are to blame for the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month.

Rohrabacher, a Republican from Costa Mesa, told the Chronicle he believes a supporter of former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders prompted the violence by arranging for Civil War reenactors to protect a Robert E. Lee statue at the center of the dispute between white supremacist protesters and counter-protesters.

“It was a setup for these dumb Civil War reenactors,” Rohrabacher said. “It was left-wingers who were manipulating them in order to have this confrontation” and to “put our president on the spot.”

The conspiracy theory that a Democrat organized the white supremacist rally that led to the death of one person was stoked by right-wing provocateur Alex Jones of InfoWars and has been debunked by nonpartisan fact-checking site Politifact. http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-rep-dana-rohrabacher-blames-democrats-1505426333-htmlstory.html

16. Another Prosecutor Joins Trump-Russia Probe

An attorney working on the Justice Department’s highest-profile money laundering case recently transferred off that assignment in order to join the ties to Russia.

Kyle Freeny, whose assignment to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff has not been previously reported, is the 17th lawyer known to be working with the former FBI chief on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. -- Politico http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/15/another-prosecutor-joins-trump-russia-investigation-242794

17. McConnell’s Mortal Enemy Might Soon Be in His Caucus

Three words are striking fear in Senate Republicans these days: ‘Senator Roy Moore.’ The bomb-throwing former Alabama Supreme Court justice has vaulted to a hefty lead in Alabama’s Senate special election, lambasting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell every step of the way. A Moore victory promises to make McConnell’s tenuous 52-seat majority even more precarious, allies of the majority leader warn, potentially imperiling tax reform, raising the risk of default on the nation’s debt or even derailing routine Senate business. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/18/mcconnell-enemy-gop-caucus-roy-moore-242773

18. New GOP Plan Could Sow Health Care Chaos

A new analysis finds the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare “would set the stage for a decade of new health care fights as states struggle to cover residents with less money and an unstable source of funding.

Experts say the long and difficult process to implement Graham-Cassidy could create years of chaos in the insurance market, potentially hiking premiums and unsettling markets in 2018 and beyond.

Said health care analyst Billy Wynne: “I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how disruptive this would be.” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/new-gop-plan-could-sow-health-care-chaos-n803081

19. Trump Using Facebook Ads to Reassure Base

Trump is using targeted Facebook ads to reassure supporters that he still plans to build the border wall after his recent public comments caused many to question whether he would keep his promise.

The ads are not visible on the timelines of the Trump or Pence Facebook pages. They are therefore so-called ‘dark post ads’ because they can only be seen by people the campaign chose to target with the message. This is the same type of ad Facebook recently acknowledged was purchased by a Russian troll factory in order to target Americans during the election. https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/trump-is-using-targeted-facebook-ads-to-reassure-supporters?utm_term=.pyG3bv6RD#.dayLedDv2

20. Drudge Report Linked to Russian Propaganda Sites Nearly 400 Times Since 2012

The Drudge Report, the right-wing news-aggregator, has linked to Russian propaganda websites nearly 400 times since 2012, according to a new study by Media Matters. While the study found that Drudge promoted dozens of Russian propaganda articles each year, the number of linked articles increased to 79 at the start of the U.S. presidential race in 2015. The figure jumped in 2016 to 122 articles, which covered a wide range of U.S. and international topics that fit Kremlin interests. So far this year, Drudge has promoted only 45 Russian propaganda-outlet articles. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/09/20/how-matt-drudge-became-pipeline-russian-propaganda/217989

OPINION

1. NY Times Editorial: The Republican Health Care Zombie Is Back

Republican lawmakers have wasted much of the year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that would deprive millions of people of health insurance. They’re back at it. Like a bad sequel to a terrible movie, a proposal whose main architects are Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would in many ways be worse than bills that came before. It would punish states like California and New York that have done the most to increase access to health care and set in motion cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to nearly 70 million people, many of whom are disabled and elderly.

It is hard to overstate the cruelty of the Graham-Cassidy bill. It would eliminate the mandate that even healthy people buy health insurance, end the subsidies that help people purchase coverage and stop the expansion of Medicaid. It would offer states block grants they could use to help people get insurance but would leave people at the mercy of individual state legislatures and, over all, would provide $239 billion less than what the federal government would spend under current law between 2020 and 2026, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Worse, the formula for determining state grants would penalize the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the A.C.A. so as to provide more money to the 19 states that did not. This is a cynical attempt to win votes by taking money from generous states that are more likely to be governed by Democrats and giving some of it to representatives of stingier states that are more likely to elect Republicans. The block grants would disappear entirely in 2027, and it is by no means certain, given the pitched partisan battles over health care in recent years, that Congress would be inclined to reauthorize them.

Graham-Cassidy would further cripple Medicaid by putting a per-person cap on what the federal government spends on the program. Under current law, federal spending increases automatically to keep up with the rise in medical costs; a per-capita cap would leave governors, who are ultimately in charge of administering Medicaid, in the unenviable position of denying care to poor and older Americans.

The rush job proposed by Mr. Cassidy and Mr. Graham and endorsed by the president is deeply unfair and leaves other lawmakers with little time to understand what’s in the bill or its true costs. The Congressional Budget Office says it will not be able to determine the full impact of the legislation, including its effect on premiums and the number of people who have insurance, for several weeks.

The Senate should show a little patience; a better, more humane option awaits it. Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, are working on a bill that would strengthen the A.C.A. by appropriating money for health subsidies that help low-income families; Mr. Trump has threatened to end those payments administratively. Mr. Alexander and Ms. Murray expect to produce their legislation this week. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/opinion/editorials/republican-healthcare-graham-cassidy.html


2. Rebecca Traister: Hillary Clinton Is Finally Expressing Some Righteous Anger. Why Does That Make Everyone Else So Mad?

If Hillary’s failure to win the Electoal College hinged on Clinton’s inability to traffic in rhetorical fury, then the question she raises goes beyond her own wiring. Because she never could have turned around and screamed at Trump, never could have slashed her finger through the air and called for revolution in the style of Bernie Sanders, at least not if she had any hope of winning the presidency. Hillary Clinton is a woman, and there is almost nothing that Americans view as more repellent in women than anger.

Recall that every time Clinton spoke too loudly into a microphone while debating her screamy opponents, Americans seemed to rear back; consider that the one deprecatory remark she threw out — calling those who responded enthusiastically to Trump’s open racism “deplorables” — is still regarded by many pundits as her fatal error. Never mind that she said it while running against a candidate who called Mexicans rapists. Censorious anger from women is a liability; from men, it is often, simply, speech.

When California senator Kamala Harris and Jeff Sessions tussled during his Senate Intelligence hearings in the spring, Trump adviser Jason Miller described Sessions as full of “vinegar and fire in his belly,” while he deemed Harris “hysterical.” (Black women, with perhaps more to be mad about in America than anyone else, are often regarded as militant monsters when they so much as raise a disapproving eyebrow, or just as often, when someone imagines that they have. Recall the treatment of Michelle Obama in 2008.) After Senator Kirsten Gillibrand dressed down a commandant for failing to address sexual harassment in the military earlier this year, Tucker Carlson called her “positively unglued.” And in response to a righteous postelection rant from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mika Brzezinski declared, “There’s an anger there that’s shrill … unmeasured and almost unhinged.”  https://www.thecut.com/2017/09/hillary-clinton-what-happened.html

3. Joel Mathis: Saving DACA can't save Trump

It's too late for President Trump.

All the bipartisan deal-making in the world is still not enough to undo Trump's essential, ugly legacy: He unleashed overt racism as a newly resurgent force in American politics. And the country is much, much worse for it.

Birtherism. The Muslim ban. Charlottesville. Not since the days of George Wallace has American society seen a national political figure so routinely and overtly appeal to white racial sentiments. It's gotten so bad that Congress was forced to act this week, passing a bipartisan resolution condemning the "white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups" that Trump pointedly refused to condemn in the immediate aftermath of last month's racial violence.

If Trump's actions allow young DREAMers to remain in the United States, that's fantastic. It nonetheless remains true that during his campaign, he found it difficult to rebuke David Duke, the notorious former Klansman who had announced his support for Trump. And it is also true that when racists marched in Charlottesville last month, they did so proclaiming Trump as their inspiration.

This is Trump's real legacy.
http://theweek.com/articles/724625/saving-daca-cant-save-trump

4. E.J. Dionne: The Priority Is Still to Save Obamacare

The authority the Senate has to pass Obamacare repeal with just 51 votes expires on Sept. 30. So if the bill comes up, it would likely hit the floor in the last week of this month. All who care about the expansion of health care coverage need to focus their energies on defeating this latest attack on Obamacare. However we eventually arrive at universal coverage, which we must, it will be far easier to get there by building on the ACA.

And assuming the latest repeal effort fails, last week's push for a single-payer system could come to be seen as a useful initiative provided that "Medicare for All," as its supporters like to call it, is treated as a goal, not a litmus test. Defining the left pole of the health care debate is helpful, in part because it shows how fundamentally moderate Obamacare is. It is not, as many conservatives have claimed, anything close to a socialist scheme.

And for those whose objective is single-payer, there are many options available that could gradually open the way for it. As Medicare for All's leading advocate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., noted in an underappreciated tweet in July: "In the short-term, to improve the Affordable Care Act, we should have a public option in 50 states and lower the Medicare age to 55." Many progressives and moderates who favor universal coverage but are not yet sold on single-payer would embrace options of this sort. Such measures would help a lot of people immediately and make any move to single-payer less disruptive.

What the country cannot afford is to go backward, which is where Sens. Graham and Cassidy would move us. Politics is about priorities, and the priority now must be to stop Congress from ripping health coverage away from millions of our fellow citizens. September 18, 2017 https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/09/18/the_priority_is_still_to_save_obamacare_135016.html

5. Max Boot: Independent? Populist? Trump’s Only True Ideology Is Ego-Driven Impetuosity

Ambiguity, indeed downright incoherence, makes Trump the most maddening politician anyone has ever tried to analyze. He contradicts himself constantly and unashamedly. (Trump in 1987: “The simplest approach is often the most effective.” Trump in 1997: “It’s always good to do things nice and complicated so that nobody can figure it out.”) The only constant is Trump’s egomania and impetuosity. He will say or do anything that, at that very moment, is likely to stoke his ego. The next moment he may do something entirely different. Like a small child, he seldom seems to think about the consequences of his actions or plan ahead. He just acts and hopes for the best.

You can make the case that Trump’s incoherence is his greatest strength because it allows him to appeal to all sides—and his greatest weakness because it means that no one trusts him. Because just about anything you say about him is both true and false. http://www.thedailybeast.com/independent-populist-trumps-only-true-ideology-is-ego-driven-impetuosity

6. Charles M. Blow: Is Trump himself a white supremacist?

This question is almost unanswerable in the absolute, but there is mounting circumstantial evidence pointing in a most disquieting direction.

It is clear that Trump is hero among white supremacists: He panders to them, he is slow to condemn them and when that condemnation manifests, it is often forced and tepid. Trump never seems to be worried about offending anyone except Vladimir Putin and white supremacists.

What does that say about him? How can you take comfort among and make common cause with white supremacists and not assimilate to their sensibilities?

I say that it can’t be done. If you are not completely opposed to white supremacy, you are quietly supporting it. If you continue to draw equivalencies between white supremacists and the people who oppose them — as Trump did once again last week — you have crossed the racial Rubicon and moved beyond quiet support to vocal support. You have made an allegiance and dug a trench in the war of racial hostilities.

Hill may have pushed into the realm of hyperbole with a few of her statements — it was Twitter after all — but I judge the spirit of her assessment to be true.

Either Trump is himself a white supremacist or he is a fan and defender of white supremacists, and I quite honestly am unable to separate the two designations. September 18, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/opinion/trump-white-supremacist.html

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