Call Senate staffers about the secret health care bill

They want to pass a bill with no debate because they’re doing something indefensible.  Call our Senators’ staffers who are working on the bill, and let them know why the people of Iowa won’t support taking health insurance away from 23 million people, so the rich can get a tax cut.

Joni Ernst’s staffer is Danielle Janowski, 202-224-3254, danielle_janowski@ernst.senate.gov.

Chuck Grassley’s staffer is Karen Summar, 202-224-3744, karen_summar@grassley.senate.gov.

Republican calls for lynching

Removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans prompted an elected state legislator from Mississippi to write, and I am not making this up,

The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.

That’s right.  Openly called for lynching people he disagrees with.  Do you need to ask whether he’s a Republican?

Trump praises mass murder

You read that right.  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been praised on multiple occasions by U.S. President Donald Trump.  Trump specifically likes Duterte’s anti-drug program, which consists of summarily murdering drug suspects, 9,000 people so far.  He called Duterte on the phone to say so.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” said Trump. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”  …

White House officials initially characterized the April call as “a very friendly conversation,” during which Trump had invited Duterte to visit Washington. That development reportedly surprised White House staffers and drew widespread condemnation from human rights groups, which have accused Duterte of condoning a lawless drug war that has terrorized the nation with a campaign of extrajudicial killings carried out by vigilantes and police officers. Duterte has seemingly embraced this barbaric depiction, comparing himself with Adolf Hitler on a mission to kill millions of drug addicts.

Republicans like it when reporters are beaten up

Republican candidate Greg Gianforte beat up a reporter, lied about it, and got charged with assault anyway because there were witnesses.  Republican lawmakerss are cool with him beating up reporters, mostly.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), for example, was quoted by the Associated Press saying, “It’s not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it.” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) denounced violence, but said “the left” has “precipitated this tense, confrontational approach” nationwide. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) went further, but even his concerns came with a caveat.
“I do not think this is acceptable behavior, but the choice will be made by the people of Montana,” Ryan said during a press conference in Washington.
That’s right, the people of Montana will decide if a violent criminal is allowed in the Republican caucus, because as far as Congressional Republicans are concerned, being a violent criminal is not disqualifying.  As long as you’re violent toward a reporter, that is.
Rank and file Republicans openly praise the violence.

A guy who’ll slap a reporter around deserves office most of all.

This guy is a hero. He gave this reporter what he deserved. What they all deserve. They are the enemy of the American People. Evil incarnate. They must be destroyed root and branch.

Anyone who smacks a scum-sucking reporter can’t be all bad. Hope he wins the election.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Republican, even thinks this is a good time to joke about shooting reporters.  Apparently it’s not something that makes you lose Republican votes.  Gianforte won the election.

Moral depravity

Those are two words I’m going to need to keep ready to use.  No other major party in a western democracy would consider taking health care away from 24 million people to give a tax break to the wealthiest fraction of a percent, but that is what the Republican Party stands for.

The American Health Care Act is projected to take health care coverage from tens of millions of Americans, gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions, slash Medicaid and insurance subsidies, all while handing the rich a massive tax cut.

The process through which the legislation passed is equally obscene. Republicans didn’t bother to wait for a score from the Congressional Budget Office, so in an ostentatious display of willful ignorance, GOP lawmakers voted without having any idea how much their bill cost or its expected impact. Republicans didn’t even have a chance to read the bill they voted to advance.

Never mind all that talk of being the party of fiscal responsibility, they never meant any of it.  And never mind all that talk about keeping their promises to the American people.

1. Donald Trump vowed, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody…. Everybody’s going to be taken care of.” The Congressional Budget Office, scrutinizing an earlier version of the GOP legislation, projected that the ranks of the uninsured would grow by 14 million by next year, and that number would expand to 24 million by 2026. There’s no new CBO score, but by most estimates, the new total is expected to be even higher.

2. Trump promised, “I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” The Republican slashes Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars.

3. Trump insisted the Republican plan would cover consumers with “much lower deductibles.” While the CBO report points to a range of cost changes, based largely on age, it also found millions of Americans would pay higher deductibles.

4. Trump vowed the GOP policy would offer “lower premiums” for consumers. The Republican plan would actually raise premiums considerably.

5. The House Republican leadership assured the public, in writing, “Americans should never be denied coverage or charged more because of a pre-existing condition.” The version of the GOP bill that passed today would gut protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

6. Trump “guaranteed” that pre-existing-conditions protections “are in the bill,” because he personally “mandated” it. The protections aren’t in the bill.

7. Paul Ryan vowed the Republican approach will make sure that “no one is left out in the cold” and “no one is worse off.” Tens of millions of Americans will be worse off if the GOP plan becomes law.

8. HHS Secretary Tom Price vowed that “nobody will be worse off financially” as a result of the Republican plan. That might be funnier now if it weren’t so sad.

9. Price said the GOP plan “will, in fact, cover more individuals than are currently covered.” This is, of course, the opposite of the truth, and even most Republicans have backed away from this kind of rhetoric.

10. Trump said his approach to health care would “end [the] opioid epidemic in America” and “dramatically expand access to treatment slots.”The opposite appears to be true.

I don’t feel betrayed, of course, because I never supported the Republicans on the basis of those promises.  If you voted Republican, though, you should be realizing right about now that you’ve been had.

Republicans are wrong, and Portugal is proof

Republicans are all about austerity.  Their answer to economic recession is to cut spending—at least, as long as a Democrat is President.  For Republicans, the recession of the last decade was an opportunity to do what they wanted to do anyway, which is to destroy the social safety net.  Conservatives in Europe are the same.  But facts are stubborn things.

Portugal’s economy has rebounded dramatically since its $83 billion European Union bailout in 2011. What’s surprising is that this has happened without austerity measures — the spending cuts and tax hikes that Portugal’s creditors, the EU and International Monetary Fund, said were the only way to survive Europe’s debt crisis.

Such measures were initially imposed by Portugal’s then center-right government, on orders from the EU and IMF. But when a left-wing, Socialist-led coalition took power in November 2015 and began canceling austerity — raising wages and lowering taxes — many economists warned Portugal would need a second bailout.

But that has not happened. Instead, the economy has posted 13 consecutive quarters of growth — beginning under the previous government, and surging during the current one. Its budget deficit has hit a 40-year record low of 2.1 percent of GDP, the first time Portugal’s deficit has dropped below EU limits.

Republicans spent a lot of time pretending that Obama was a socialist.  This is what real socialists do.  And it seems to work.

Graham is “all in with Trump”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham enthusiastically praised President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his foreign policy, a continued departure from his sharp criticism of Trump during the 2016 race and even after the election.

“I am like the happiest dude in America right now,” a beaming Graham said on “Fox & Friends.” “We have got a president and a national security team that I’ve been dreaming of for eight years.”

Give it to Lindsey Graham, when the man abandons his principles they are abandoned for good.  Remember when Graham thought Trump was simply un-American?

The South Carolina senator and former presidential candidate blasted Trump following the nominee’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, saying fellow Republicans should withdraw their endorsements. “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” he said. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Apparently that time will never come for the Republican Party.

In Georgia, Jon Ossoff will be in runoff election with notorious Planned Parenthood opponent

Georgia’s 6th district is an open House seat.  Democrat Jon Ossoff won 48% in an 18-way race, but because he didn’t get more than 50% there will be a runoff between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.  You’ve heard Handel’s name before.

Handel is probably best known—and notorious—for her time at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which ended after her failed, politically motivated effort to get the organization to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood to perform cancer screenings.
With Handel as its vice president, Komen announced that it would no longer fund organizations that were under investigation—and of course, congressional Republicans were “investigating” Planned Parenthood as part of their ongoing political attacks on it. According to a source at the time, Handel was at the center of that decision, and in her resignation letter days later, she said that “I openly acknowledge my role in the matter.” She went on to turn whining into a profession, calling Planned Parenthood a “gigantic bully” for daring to talk to the press about having cancer screening funding cut off for political reasons, and even wrote a book called Planned Bullyhood (because Planned Parenthood is such a bully, don’t you know).

Handel is the reason I won’t give to the Komen Foundation ever again, won’t participate in one of their events, won’t buy any of their pink swag.  The Komen Foundation is on the wrong side of women’s rights, and Handel was a big part of it.  Reason enough for me to contribute a few dollars to the Ossoff campaign.  And while you’re in a giving mood, your own county Democratic Party could use a boost as well!
Click to contribute.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats, in one chart

Laura Clawson notices that Republicans have completely changed their minds on Syria.

Bashar Assad has been using chemical weapons against the Syrian people since 2013. Syrian children have been dying along with adults all along. But in the U.S., something appears to have changed. What ever could it be?

Because the Republican Party doesn’t stand for anything but putting Republicans in power.

Now corporations are simply beating their customers

Perhaps this is what it would look like to live under a government run by corporations.  You’ve probably heard that a United Airlines passenger was beaten and dragged off a plane at the behest of the airline.  You may not have heard they had exactly no legal right to do so.

As the scandal over a United passenger who was beaten unconscious and dragged off a plane when he refused to give up his seat for a deadheading crewmember unspools, there’s a predictable torrent of bullshit about how United was in the right because something something private property, and let us not forget the great American sport of victim-blaming.

Media outlets large and small have consistently misreported key details of the story, following spin from United corporate communications. Yves Smith does us all the service of summing up some of the major areas of bullshit. Here’s a few highlights:

* This was not an oversold plane. The plane was full, but it only became overfull when United decided that some of its crew needed to board, despite there being another flight an hour later they could have traveled on.

* Dao’s bloody nose is the least alarming thing about his injuries. The guy was beaten unconscious. That carries a high risk of concussion and worse.

* Dao wasn’t beaten up by Chicago Police, but by airport cops, who are not part of CPD; what’s more, the airport cops’ rolls include Richard Zuley, a dirty Chicago homicide detective who quit after a series of wrongful convictions, then worked as an “interrogator” at Guantanamo Bay, before boarding a plane in Chicago and beating a passenger unconscious.

 Dao’s story overshadows another outrage, again by United Airlines, in which a full fare first class passenger, already seated on the plane, was ordered to give up his seat to a “higher priority” passenger, or else be handcuffed.

“That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”

“I understand you might bump people because a flight is full,” Fearns said. “But they didn’t say anything at the gate. I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.”