Monday, June 26, 2017

Catching up on the weekend's outrages

We don't even get a rest on the weekends anymore.    Donald Trump makes news every day during the week;  and then his aides and surrogates go on the Sunday morning talk shows and make more outrageous statements.   Here is a sampling.

1.  A large percentage of Trump voters get their news only from Fox News.  So, as reported on, 'There's a real chance Trump voters won't understand anything about [the health care bill] until it's too late."    It seems that on Fox News, the rule about the Senate bill is not to talk about it.  Reporter Jeff Guo then ran through a list of their news shows to prove the point.   Both Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson barely mentioned it.

Carlson did have as a guest HHS Secretary Tom Price, who described the bill as offering "greater choices" for patients -- and then they both turned to citing what they saw as wrong about Obamacare.   There was no discussion about what the Senate bill actually does.

The roundtable discussion show, "The Five," did spend 10 minutes on the Senate bill -- or, rather, not on the substance of the bill itself, but the politics of whether it will pass.  And to blame the Democrats for "refusing to cooperate in drafting the bill."   Yes, you got it.   They're talking about the secret bill that Mitch McConnell didn't even let his fellow Republicans know about;  even some of the 13 white men who were supposedly writing the bill in secret, didn't seem to know what was in it.

2.  White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway (better known as the blond woman who spins the news by talking so fast, and telling so many lies, that it's hard to keep up with what she's saying) -- was on the Sunday morning talk shows.   Spinning like a top.   She said that taking Medicaid away from able-bodied adults is no big deal, because they can just go out and get jobs that provide health insurance.

Now the facts are a  little different.  The "able-bodied adults" that she's talking about -- i.e. non-elderly adults who don't qualify for disability -- 59% of them already have jobs.   The problem is that most are low-paying, temporary, or part-time and don't include health insurance.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine followed Conway on "This Week With George Stephanopolis."   Sen. Collins, always polite, said:  "I respectfully disagree with her analysis."    Sen. Collins is one of the more moderate senators who might vote against the bill, although she has not yet said more than that she "has concerns" about it.

3.  USA Today printed an opinion piece from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the mastermind behind the "behind closed doors" plan to force a vote on a bill that neither the public nor the senators have time to understand.   He begins with the outrageous statement that "Democrats imposed Obamacare on our country." 

Compare the year-long, open process of crafting the bill, the scores of hearings, the  more than 100 amendments from Republican senators adopted into the bill, and the many many hours of debate before it was passed.    The fact that no Republican voted for it does not mean the process was done covertly, as McConnell claims and as he is now trying to do with his bill.

His essay tries to portray Republicans and their process as trying to find consensus on what they and the Democrats agree on, including this:  "We also agree on the need to strengthen Medicaid."   He concludes by saying:  "It's time to act because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class, and American families deserve better than its failing status quo.  They deserve better care.   That's just what we're going to continue to work to bring them."

To anyone who has followed this process even minimally (excluding Fox News viewers who have not heard the truth), this is outrageous in its deviousness and untruths.   In his plan, reductions in Medicaid are estimated to be about $800 billion over 10 years;   almost exactly the amount of tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, that are projected in the Republican plan.

And that's just a sample of the weekend's outrages -- on one subject.  I didn't even mention the Russia investigation and Trump's bald-faced inconsistencies.  On the one hand, he denies that Russia had anything to do with the hacking;  on the other, he blames Obama for not having retaliated against Russia last year when he found out about the hacking.   And, if you have three hands, there's another "other hand."   Trump is resisting Congress's attempt to pass a bill imposing more sanctions on Russia and -- most importantly -- making it harder for the president to reduce the sanctions without congressional approval.


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