The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category

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Good Monday, all. As I was toodling around the interwebz trying to find something inspiring to write about, I came across this article about an organization called “Care2,” which has been around since 1998, has over 41 million members, and is considered a pioneer in the field of online activism.

A couple of things that stood out for me:

  • Online petitions actually do help. According to the article, they’re a great tool for showing that a cause has a large number of supporters, as well as leading people to take next steps, such as calling or writing their Congresscritters.
  • The normalization of outrage is dangerous to the Resistance. We are understandably and justifiably exhausted from the constant stream of crayzee coming from Drumpf, but, we can’t let it go by. We can never accept his behavior or his Residency. All we can do is say no, no, a thousand times no, and keep saying it!

That’s all the positivity I have for you today. If you want to leave on a happy note, stop reading, because what’s coming next will not make you smile.

While the Orange Jumpsuit has resolutely golfed his way through the crisis in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, tweeting madly about the mayor of San Juan and the NFL’s standing or kneeling during the National Anthem, the Thugs in Congress have quietly found a way to take health care away from 9 million children and pregnant women. Because you know, that’s what those heartless f*cking bastards live for.

Congress just allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided low-cost health insurance to 9 million children, to expire.

If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country, with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services.

The program, created under a 1997 law passed with bipartisan support during the administration of President Bill Clinton, provided coverage for children in families with low and moderate incomes as well as to pregnant women. It was instrumental in lowering the percentage of children who were uninsured from nearly 14 percent when it started to 4.5 percent in 2015. It was last reauthorized in 2015 and was due to be renewed by Sept. 30, 2017.

The program is a bargain. It only cost the federal government $13.6 million last year. Some of the moneys are paid from state budgets, which makes is structured a bit like Medicaid. Perhaps that’s why the deplorable Thugs hate it so much, although my personal theory is that since it was Hillary’s baby, they’re letting it expire from spite. I said the same thing to Paul Begala on Twitter.

I like Paul Begala, but I really, REALLY don’t want to hear anything more about how Republicans are “actually” good and decent people who “should speak up.” They don’t speak up because they are TOTALLY FINE WITH WHAT DRUMPF IS DOING. If you support the Republican Party, you support the Party of Death. They do not give a flying f*ck if the entire country turns into Mordor; a hot, stinking, war-addicted, slave factory where they rule with iron fists over a squabbling, bloody, ignorant populace afraid of the light. The people like the Kochs, Mercers and Adelsons feel they are immune from it all; that their money insulates them from whatever disasters they perpetrate on the environment and on the American people. They don’t need government health care, you see, so no one else deserves it. They don’t need clean air because they can afford to seal themselves up in a bunker and filter it all out. They probably think they can survive a nuclear holocaust, which, cockroaches that they are, just might be true.

Seriously, doesn’t Sheldon Adelson look like the Portrait of Dorian Grey? He is the very embodiment of corruption.

It makes me even more viscerally ill that a lot of these right-wing f*cktards are Jewish. They are sending millions and millions to people like Steve Bannon and Alex Jones, who preach the exact same anti-Semitism that got 6 million Jews killed from 1941-1945. How dare they empower this kind of racial division masquerading as “right-wing populism” – another phrase I never want to hear again? What a bunch of sociopaths. The holes inside them can never be filled with money, but much to the detriment of America and those who love her, they’ll never figure that out.

What can we do about all of this? Well, we can tweet, and sign petitions, and march, and make sure our Congresscritters know exactly how we feel about everything they’re doing. And we can also take comfort in the fact that the Democrats have flipped 7 seats in special elections this year…and the Republicans have flipped none.

According to the Cook Political Report (and our friend Janicen), the elections to watch are the ones in Virginia.

As those elections show, Democratic voters are hyper-motivated right now. But their chances fall as turnout rises. On June 20, Republican Karen Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th CD after a $50 million contest that generated 56 percent turnout. The very same day, Democrat Archie Parnell came within three points of a shocking upset in a South Carolina race that attracted a fraction of the money and generated 19 percent turnout.

Virginia’s House of Delegates races are a better proxy of what’s to come in 2018. Turnout won’t be too hot (as in Georgia) or too cold (as in New Hampshire). It will be driven by the governor’s race, which better approximates what a midterm turnout looks like.

Moreover, there are plenty of vulnerable GOP Virginia delegates sitting in districts where Clinton outperformed Obama. Republicans like Dels. Jim LeMunyon (67th), Scott Lingamfelter (31st) and Tag Greason (32nd) all fit that bill – just as there are plenty of House Republicans sitting in districts where Trump is uniquely unpopular. Their races will test voters’ inclination to send a message to Trump regardless of whether they know and like the local GOP candidates.

Let’s keep an eye on these races in particular.  Election Day is 11/7/17. Things could get very, very interesting.

This is an open thread.

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Good Monday, all. It has been another busy, crazy weekend. First things first: we need to keep calling our Senators (and for those of us in blue states, calling Susan and Lisa, as I fondly call them) – to make very, very sure that they don’t pass Graham-Cassidy.

Senator Susan Collins: (202) 224-2523

Senator Lisa Murkowski: (202)-224-6665

You can also call McMaverick: (202) 224-2235

And Brillo Pad Paul: 202-224-4343

As for the rest, where do I even begin? While no one would ever defend the media’s horrific treatment of Our Girl, Hillary Clinton, I will say there is a YUGE challenge in trying to keep up with the non-stop sh*storm our Presnit unleashes every single day. I even heard a couple of women talking about it in the nail salon today, and they were not kind. I’m pretty sure they were Republicans, too, being white, of a certain age, and in Croton-Harmon, Noo Yawk (FYI, I live in the more down-market town slightly north). “Why doesn’t he stay out of private enterprise?” asked one. “Why doesn’t someone take that d*mn phone away from him?” asked the other. Neither one had an answer, but it was clear they were absolutely disgusted. “There’s something so wrong with him,” the first one concluded, shaking her head.

Yes, there is. And to attempt to chronicle the madness would take much more time than your intrepid MB has…so here are some thoughts I have about the latest scandals. It will be a lightning round. Here goes…

There are four defining characteristics of the GOP in the Drumpf era: Corruption, white male rage, narcissism and high crimes and misdemeanors. If I were the media, I would put each scandal into one of those frames to make it easier to digest and understand.

It would look something like this:

Corruption

  • Attempting to remove health care from 32 million Americans so the Kocks and Sheldon Adelson will open their checkbooks and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get them re-elected
  • Proposing a $1.3 million tax cut for themselves and their friends under the guise of “tax reform”
  • Private jets for Cabinet secretaries
  • Staying at Drumpf properties for 33% of his very short term so far, and continuing to make money from them
  • Refusing to disclose his tax returns
  • Buying fake news ads on social media

White male rage

  • #MAGA
  • Stephen Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, etc. etc. etc.
  • Breitbart and Fox News
  • Condemning black football and basketball players for peacefully protesting racism, while opining there are “very fine” Neo-Nazis and Klansmen after they killed a young woman and two law enforcement officials in Charlottesville
  • Build The Wall
  • Lock Her Up
  • DACA rollback
  • Muslim ban
  • Transgender ban in the military
  • Deportation force
  • Birtherism
  • Not sending aid to Puerto Rico immediately – because they are “brown” American citizens

Narcissism

  • Drumpf’s obsession with (ahem) size
    • Hands
    • Rallies
    • Victory in 2016
  • His need to destroy everything related to any person or institution he lost to at one point (which is, like, a lot of people, because he is a LOSER. Sad!!!!)
  • His need to always claim a win, even though…see above
  • His constant need to be praised, stroked, and told he is the best at everything

High crimes and misdemeanors

  • Russia, Russia, Russia
    • Firing of Sally Yates and James Comey
    • Trump Tower, Moscow
    • Wikileaks
    • DNC hacks
    • Voting database hacks with no acknowledgement and no action to prevent them from happening again
    • “Voting fraud” commission as an excuse to purge more voters from the rolls

I am exhausted! I don’t know how Rachel Maddow does it. I hope I’ve given you enough to talk about today, Widdershins.

This is, as always, an open thread.

You think we’re buying that crap?

 

A good morning to you Widdershins!

Just a little something since DYB’s Wednesday post was so wildly successful.

So Frankencassidy Bill of Louisiana and Lady Lindsey of South Carolina would have you believe that their plan to abolish the A.C.A. is about giving Americans a “better choice” for healthcare.  And they would accomplish this by creating “block grants” to send to the states and the states would take care of healthcare and health insurance for their residents.  I call bullshit on it.

Here’s what NPR had to say about this atrocity.

Here’s what it does:

Graham-Cassidy essentially deconstructs all of the major programs created by the Affordable Care Act, gathers up the money and hands it over to states to run their own health care programs.

It gets rid of both the subsidies that help people buy individual health insurance policies and the reimbursements to insurance companies for offering price breaks on copayments and deductibles to the lowest-income customers.

It rolls back the Obamacare Medicaid expansion that was adopted by 31 states and Washington, D.C., and it eliminates the Basic Health Program that was created under the ACA and implemented in New York and Minnesota.

All the money that currently goes to those initiatives would instead be distributed to the states as block grants that would particularly benefit those states that did not expand Medicaid earlier and those states with lower health care costs.

There’s a huge graphic there that breaks down how the A.C.A./the House plan/First Senate bill/and Graham-Cassidy affect various groups.  Check it out.

Another thing is the fact that yes this sends money to the states and their legislatures to create some type of health care program for individuals and to manage their medicaid programs.  Now…take a look at this graphic of who controls the state legislatures in the country:

Now do you really think those red state legislatures are going to be very concerned about individuals with pre-existing conditions or keeping the guaranteed essential benefits of the A.C.A. plans?  Puhleeze!

And here’s another little sneaky thing the dynamic duds will accomplish: (again from the NPR piece)

Graham and Cassidy say their plan restores fairness to a system where currently more than a third of the money spent on the Affordable Care Act goes to just four states: Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and California.

[snip]

Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law who wrote a widely used textbook on health law, says the proposed change also has political benefits for Republicans.

“In general, the legislation would over time move money away from states, predominantly Democratic, that have expanded Medicaid and aggressively pursued enrolling their lower income populations in Medicaid and exchange coverage,” he wrote in a Health Affairs blog post. “Money would move toward states, predominantly Republican, that have not expanded Medicaid.”

To quote someone famous:  “Aye, there’s the rub”.

And the biggie of all the biggies in the Repubs wanting so hard to push this deal simply comes down to money that their Lords and Masters say they want and they want it from the A.C.A.

The Kock Brothers (and yes I meant that) and the rest of their ilk have simply said their checkbooks are closed to the Repubs until they accomplish something.  And the something is a big, fat tax break for them courtesy of the money saved by getting rid of the A.C.A.

At a weekend donor retreat attended by at least 18 elected officials, the Koch brothers warned that time is running out to push their agenda, most notably healthcare and tax reform, through Congress.

One Texas-based donor warned Republican lawmakers that his “Dallas piggy bank” was now closed, until he saw legislative progress.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” said Doug Deason. “Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Dave Brat, a Repub from Virginia said:
“If we don’t get healthcare, none of us are coming back,” he said in a brief interview. “We said for seven years you’re gonna repeal Obamacare. It’s nowhere near repealed.”

It’s the same for tax reform, Brat said: “We don’t get taxes through, we’re all going home. Pack the bags.”

So there you go:  It’s all about the “dollahs” to the Repubs.

Speaking of dollahs to Repubs, I saw this on nola.com about Frankencassidy Bill and how much he has raked in through contributions:

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/issues/healthcare?type=P

If you look at the top of the heap there’s old Bill from La. raking in the most.

Lastly, here’s Jimmy Kimmel’s round 3 on Frankencassidy and his crappy piece of legislation:

Give ’em hell Jimmy!

And as far as Frankencassidy and Graham, well:

As usual, this is an open thread.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my goodness. They couldn’t. They wouldn’t.

Well, maybe they would. Those Republican f*ckers Graham and Cassidy are setting their sights on the ACA, and this time they’re really trying to remove it completely. Who actually wants this to happen – the 200 people who came to the “Less is M.O.A.R” rally?

“This bill is far more radical [than previous repeal bills] in that it envisions going back to the pre-ACA world, where the federal government wasn’t in the business of helping low-income adults or moderate-income people without employer coverage get health insurance at all,” Aviva Aron-Dine, senior fellow at the center, told HuffPost. “Compared to pre-ACA, there would be some extra state grant money floating around ― but it would have virtually no requirements attached to it at all and, since the funding wouldn’t adjust based on enrollment or costs, it would be hard for even well-intentioned states to use it to create an individual entitlement to coverage or help.”

Oh, and the bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and do so right away ― destabilizing insurance markets and causing premiums to rise right away, according to official projections [bolding mine].

Even though the actual defunding doesn’t start till 2020, the negative impacts will start immediately. Because, GOOPers are in charge and neener neener, they like screwing over poor people just for sh*ts and giggles.

Does this craptastic mess really have a chance to pass? No one is sure. After all, I don’t see why Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins would budge from their previous positions, and Rand Paul, who won’t be satisfied until the only entities collecting government aid are corporations, has also said he feels it’s Obamacare Lite. Um, sure, Rand. Maybe there’s a brain somewhere underneath that Brillo pad you call a hairstyle, although so far I’ve seen no evidence thereof. But you just go on with your crayzee self and help us prevent a massive humanitarian disaster for all the wrong reasons, mmmmkay?

I think we still need to call, write, tweet, and go to town halls. We must make absolutely sure the GOP knows we will NOT accept the removal of health care from tens of millions of people.  If you need to find a town hall near you, here’s a nifty site that will help.

Oh – and if you haven’t seen this, it’s reason #1,875,643 to institute the 25th Amendment. Is this hideous creature really our President? Good f*cking Christ.

This is an open thread.

85

We are going to be stuck with Donald Dump for the foreseeable future. Republicans will not impeach him. Nothing he can do will force them to abandon him. Even as the country tries to absorb Dump Jr’s e-mails confirming he met with a Russian lawyer with government connections to get dirt on Hillary Clinton – GOP collectively yawns. Mitch McConnell says he has no comment. Paul Ryan is MIA. John McCain is concerned and Lady Graham is disturbed. That’s as bad as the recriminations got. (Bernie Sanders, by the way, says we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The strongest response came from Moe Scarborough who announced he’s leaving GOP to become an independent. Which is nice, but who cares?) The right-wing media has closed ranks around Dump and his abominations. Collusion with the Russians isn’t so bad, Breitbart and Fox have declared. Besides, shouldn’t Hillary Clinton be prosecuted, Sean Hannity asks?

The best response so far came from a surprising source: Trey Gowdy-Doody.

Someone needs to get everyone in a room and say, from the time you saw ‘Dr. Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single contact with Russia,” Gowdy said, referring to the 1965 movie.

But Gowdy-Doody says he will investigate nothing via his House committee; he’s leaving it all to Bob Mueller.

Vice President Pence’s courageous response via his spokesperson was:

The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda, which is what the American people sent us here to do. […] The Vice President was not aware of the meeting. He is not focused on stories about the campaign, particularly stories about the time before he joined the ticket.

“Before he joined the ticket.” That’s Pence trying to have it both ways. Standing by Trump’s agenda and “Hey, don’t look at me, I just work here!” in case the story has legs. But considering each new story feels like the one that breaks the camel’s back and then it doesn’t… we shouldn’t expect this new story to be any different. Dump is here to stay. If he is to go, it can only be accomplished if Democrats take both House and Senate in 2018 (unlikely), and then the 2020 elections. Until then… we must fasten our seat-belts and get comfortable. The ride will continue to be bumpy.

Which brings me back to Mike Pence’s statement. “The Vice President is working every day to advance the president’s agenda.” What is this agenda? What is the future that Republicans want? It’s all bad. All bad. Mitch McConnell has postponed Senate’s August recess by two weeks, hoping to cobble a coalition that passes their healthcare abomination. Hopefully The Resistance continues the push-back and enough Rethugs are afraid enough of their constituents to vote Nay.

There is another story that came out last week from El Salvador that should chill all our spines because this is essentially the future Republicans want in the US too.

This week a court in El Salvador sentenced 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz following her conviction for aggravated homicide.

Hernandez says she became pregnant after being raped in the small community where she lived, according to her trial statements. She says she did not report the attack out of fear and did not realize she was pregnant.

In April 2016, Hernandez said, she felt strong abdominal pains and lost consciousness in the bathroom. She was taken to a hospital and treated for vaginal bleeding from an out-of-hospital delivery, but there was no newborn.

Authorities opened an investigation and later found the fetus. She was initially charged with having caused in abortion, which is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. The charge was later changed to aggravated homicide.

Hernandez said she did not know she had miscarried. She has been in prison since the incident.

GOP’s assault on women’s right to control their own bodies is decades old. They started fighting abortion rights the minute SCOTUS ruled on Roe v. Wade. They have never la-fg-c1-el-salvador-women-20150415wavered, they turned the issue into perhaps the single biggest cultural wedge issue in the country. And over decades they have chipped away at abortion rights bit by bit by bit. They have been great at branding (GOP always is), controlling the debate, redefining terms (“partial birth abortion,” for example) and seeing abortion rights erode. With Trump and Pence in the White House, and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, abortion rights are as much at risk as anything else right now. We should look at El Salvador, where abortions under all circumstances – no exceptions – is illegal, as the future we might have in the US. In El Salvador judges rule abortions and miscarriages as homicide and sentence women to decades in prison. World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe/illegal abortions. This is an issue we must remain vigilant about because we know Pence has it in his sight.

Good Monday, all. After the unveiling of the horrible Republican “Wealth Transfer Disguised as Health Care” bill, the Democrats had a prime opportunity to boldly, proudly declare what they stood for instead. In California, the state that went so overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the State Senate and House were on the verge of passing a single-payer health care bill. What a strong statement this would have been…except that one key Democrat is not on board.

Advocates of the single-payer healthcare proposal which has been steadily advancing through the California legislature were voicing outrage and disappointment on Saturday after Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat, announced he was pulling the bill from further consideration this year.

Known as the Healthy California Act, or SB 562, the measure had already passed the state Senate and was making its way through the lower chamber when Rendon said Friday it was being shelved by the Assembly Rules Committee, which he chairs, “until further notice.”

This is a huge disappointment, not just to perpetual loser Bernie Sanders (he has yet to back a candidate or a cause that succeeds), but to me personally. I was extremely upset by Barack Obama’s failure to embrace single payer at a time when his approval rating was 80%, and he had a Democratic Congress ready to say “how high?” when he said “jump.” But then, I never had much hope that he was actually the progressive others expected he was. That’s why I never wanted him in the first place.

Now, after 8 years of Obama’s weak and feckless attempts at post-partisanship, including his fatally indecisive handling of the Russian attacks on our democratic institutions, Democrats have watered themselves down so much that they have no more message or credibility with the middle class. As we know, income inequality continued to increase on Obama’s watch. The only prominent national Democrat left who has a good record on these matters is Hillary, which is why, despite all of the monumental obstacles put in her way, she won 3 million more votes than Drumpf.

The Democrats have a dilemma now. They embraced Obama as their Messiah, and he has led them down a winding and ultimately ruinous political pathway, where his desire to be loved by everyone eclipsed his duties to represent the Democratic platform and principles. Strong and wrong is always better than weak and, somewhat partially, right. The Republicans know this truth, and they’ve made hay out of it for decades. Why, why, WHY won’t the Democrats counter the Republicans with a strong message and branding?

Is it because they know that in order to get their ideas implemented, they will have to start regulating businesses again, and step back to the days of the New Deal? Is it because they will have to turn away from Obama’s love of Reagan, and back towards their true mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and this would make some of their corporate donors rather uncomfortable?

The choice is not easy. If Democrats step away from Obama’s blurry vision of himself as President and “transformative” leader of the Party, they step away from the last Democratic two-term President since Bill Clinton. If they try to stay on his path, which Jon Ossoff did in Georgia, over-performing in a Republican district but not winning, I fear that Democrats will not ever get past the rather effective blockers the Republican Party have put in place: gerrymandering, voter suppression, and the aid of a hostile foreign power. And then, of course, there’s the endless, exhausting distraction of Bernie Sanders and his non-ideological brogressives, the flip side of the Drumpf cultists, who want the Party to be remade in the Image Of Bernie. No thanks, folks – worshiping mediocre men is so 2008. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

So I hope people call and write Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and tell him to get with the program. I hope people start seeing that strong and right is much, much more effective than strong and wrong. And I hope that the Democrats will be infused with new blood in 2018, candidates who are effective communicators and understand what they are supposed to stand for. Like Randy Brice, perhaps.

Let’s all make our representatives hear our voices, loudly and often. Because every day the Republican vision is allowed to permeate and obsess the media without an alternate vision from Democrats, that’s another day the Republicans win. And we can’t afford to let them do it any more.

This is an open thread.

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

Medicaire

Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.


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Blog Archive

November 2017
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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

***Disaster Donations***

Quick links for donations.

Donations for our furry, and other critter friends:

Texas SPCA Donate Page

Houston TX SPCA Donation Page

Red Rover Group

For the Virgin Islands (Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands)
CFVI.net

All Hands Disaster Relief:
https://www.hands.org/

Puerto Rico’s First Lady’s organization:
http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

Americares (provides medical/health support)
http://www.americares.org/en/

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
3.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance

B-I-N-G-O!

PHONE CONTACT INFO FOR THE DNC:

202-863-8000

TELL PEREZ AND ELLISON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BRAZILE NUT!

Storify version of E. Rogers HVF explanation

Reason(s) to vote for Doug Jones