Steve King meets with French fascist candidate

Long a vocal proponent of extremist anti-immigrant policies, Iowa Rep. Steve King hasn’t wasted any time jumping on the anti-immigrant, white nationalist Trump bandwagon. Now he apparently wants to make sure America is crystal clear about his support for white nationalism throughout the rest of the world, as well.

He met with Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen is, for newcomers, the white nationalist leader of the extremist-right French political party National Front. Her father was himself a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier; she herself is a Trumpesque figure who demands immigrants be stripped of jobs, welfare, school rights, and all other government services in favor of native citizens.

Republican health care plan cannot work

From Paul Krugman, who knows a bit about economics:

The structure of the Affordable Care Act comes out of a straightforward analysis of the logic of coverage. If you want to make health insurance available and affordable for almost everyone, regardless of income or health status, and you want to do this through private insurers rather than simply have single-payer, you have to do three things.

1.Regulate insurers so they can’t refuse or charge high premiums to people with preexisting conditions
2.Impose some penalty on people who don’t buy insurance, to induce healthy people to sign up and provide a workable risk pool
3.Subsidize premiums so that lower-income households can afford insurance

So that’s Obamacare (and Romneycare before that): regulation, mandates, and subsidies. And the result has been a sharp decline in the number of uninsured, with costs coming in well below expectations. Roughly speaking, 20 million Americans gained coverage at a cost of around 0.6 percent of GDP.

Republicans have nonetheless denounced the law as a monstrosity, and promised to replace it with something totally different and far better. Which makes what they’ve actually come up … interesting.

For the GOP proposal basically accepts the logic of Obamacare. It retains insurer regulation to prevent exclusion of people with preexisting conditions. It imposes a penalty on those who don’t buy insurance while healthy. And it offers tax credits to help people buy insurance. Conservatives calling the plan Obamacare 2.0 definitely have a point.

But a better designation would be Obamacare 0.5, because it’s really about replacing relatively solid pillars with half-measures, severely and probably fatally weakening the whole structure.

Anti-Semitic Valentine’s Day card at Republican event

So, this happened.

Central Michigan University’s College Republicans threw a Valentines event where attendees got gift bags prepared by the university’s young, upstanding Republicans, including this one, bearing a likeness of Adolf Hitler and the message, “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.”

The College Republicans have since apologized.

Republican Party spits on the Constitution and America in one tweet

The Republican Party could have stood up for the Constitution and the rule of law when Trump issued his first Muslim ban order.  Let’s see how they did.

Not so good.

The Republican Party appears to be joining Donald Trump in trying to undermine the legitimacy of the American court system—a coequal branch of government to the executive, with a thinly veiled call to stand against the courts after the 9th Circuit’s decision to uphold a restraining order on Trump’s Muslim ban

When it starts to turn against Trump, remember:  the Republican Party stood with him.

Trump’s budget chief: Health insurance is ‘not really the end goal’

It doesn’t matter how much their health care bill costs.  It doesn’t matter how many people get coverage.  No, seriously.  Republicans don’t care about that.

The architects of the new GOP health care plan have an amazing new perspective. “Republicans,” Politico reported this morning, “say the plan’s price tag and estimates of how many people it will cover aren’t really important.”

Under normal circumstances, it’s tempting to think these would be the first two questions Republicans would ask about any reform plan. Wondering how many Americans will have health insurance and how much the plan will cost aren’t exactly obscure matters of policy minutiae, but as of this morning, GOP officials prefer to think of these metrics as trivia.

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s budget chief, added this morning that “insurance is not really the end goal here.”

No wonder Republicans are proceeding without a score from the Congressional Budget Office. They don’t know what their bill will cost or how many millions of Americans will lose their health insurance – and they plainly don’t care.

Send Trump a postcard on March 15

From DailyKos.com and many other sources:

On March 15th, each of us will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure. We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means. And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired.
Each of us — every protester from every march, each congress calling citizen, every boycotter, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — if each of us writes even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math.
No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury. ASK HIM ABOUT HIS TAX RETURNS. Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’re setting a new record: over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.
So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

On March 15th, mail your messages to:
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Republicans unveil their plan to destroy your health care

From the Maddow Blog, some details on what the Republicans have been talking about for seven years when they say “repeal and replace.”  Mostly, repeal.  And tax cuts for the rich.

House Republican leaders on Monday formally unveiled legislation to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a very different health policy scheme ― one in which government would do a lot less to help people get comprehensive health insurance and, most likely, many more people would struggle to find affordable medical care. […]

The plan endorsed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) … offers less financial assistance to low-income people, likely resulting in millions of Americans losing the health coverage they have today, and provides tax credits to people with higher incomes. The bill scraps key consumer protections.

And, crucially, the legislation is a vehicle for massive tax cuts for rich people and corporations, paid for by slashing assistance to poor and middle-class people.

Tax cuts for the rich, death by lack of health care for the poor middle class.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican Party.

Wave of anti-Semitic violence

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:  a sudden rise in anti-Semitic violence is occurring.

Another Jewish cemetery in the United States has been vandalized, the third such attack in a dozen days in what many see as a noticeable and frightening rise in anti-Semitism and intolerance.

The vandalism at Jewish cemeteries comes at the same time as a huge spike in the number of bomb threats called in to Jewish Community Centers and schools.

Since the first of the year, there have been more than 100 threats to 73 Jewish institutions in 30 states.

Beware of men who try to scare you

They are usually selling something you wouldn’t want to buy, unless you were scared out of your wits.  Here’s another example from Donald Trump:

And we must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests. Joining us are four very brave Americans whose government failed them. Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis. Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison.

And so on, and so on.  As the late great Molly Ivins might have said, it sounded a lot better in the original German.  (Thanks to Jamelle Bouie.)