The Senate Healthcare Bill would hurt MORE people than the House one…Open Thread for June 15, 2017

Media reports on the Senate stealth healthcare bill write up points to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doing about the same thing as Speaker Ryan….

Crafting a bill that will hurt millions of Americans JUST to be able to say their party did SOMETHING….

Any change to the Affordable Healthcare Law, slang named Obamacare is viewed as INCREASING UN POPULAR to the American public ACROSS the board….


Congressional Republicans and President Trump seem hell-bent on pushing through a bill to replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. “Duh,” you say, “the Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare since literallythe day it was passed.”

But here’s where things get interesting. We tend to assume political parties want to get their policy goals adopted, but also to stay in power. Republicans won control of Congress in 2010 in part because Democrats pushed through a health care bill that the plurality of voters did not approve of, according to several major polls from that time. The Republicans are doing the same thing now, only their health care bill is significantly more unpopular than the ACA was in 2010.

So why are Republicans so determined to pass a bill that they already seem to know is not popular and could hurt them in next year’s elections? It’s almost impossible to determine exactly what drives a politician’s actions, particularly because sometimes the reasons they give publicly are not their only or primary motives. So while we can’t prove anything, we can still identify four likely reasons that Republicans are pushing so hard on health care….



Trump just mentioned that he thought the House Bill was ‘mean’……


The latest: Even though Republicans had raised expectations that they were finishing a draft bill, it turns out that GOP leaders actually submitted multiple policy options to the budget office — partly explaining why senators won’t say much about their bill, let alone release a draft of it.

Both the bill and its CBO score will be public eventually, and there’s nothing inherently scandalous about trying to run the traps on a piece of legislation before bringing it to the floor.

The problem: What happens next? How long will the bill be publicly available before a vote? Will policy experts have time to digest it, and will voters have time to process that analysis? Will there be a real, good-faith opportunity for senators to offer amendments? GOP leaders have already short-circuited an awful lot of the process by not holding hearings or committee markups.

Working with CBO now will likely help Senate Republicans avoid the kind of bad-news bombshells the House experienced — but it’s making that July 4 timetable look less and less realistic.

Who could lose from state health benefit limits

Data: CAP analysis, 2015 American Community Survey, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2017 Willis Towers Watson Survey; Table: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The Senate health care bill is expected to allow states to relax the Affordable Care Act rules only on benefits, not on pricing as the House bill does. But that change could impact people far beyond those states, according to a new analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress — because it could lead to a return of annual and lifetime benefit limits, and not just in the states with the waivers….


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Are the tax cuts for the rich in the Senate Healthcare Bill in jeopardy?

Some in the Media and on the Democratic side have called the Senate Healthcare Bill proposal a tax cut bill in disguise….

We now have whispers of some GOP Senator’s thinking about dropping the cuts…

Several Senate Republicans began to question Wednesday whether their health-care bill should repeal a tax on high-income Americans imposed by Obamacare when the legislation would scale back subsidies for the poor.

Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Rounds of South Dakota both criticized the draft bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for repealing a surtax on net investment income imposed under Obamacare.

Susan Collins

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I do not see a justification for doing away with the 3.8 percent tax on investment income, because that is not something that increases the cost of health care,” Collins said. “So I distinguish between those tax increases that were part of Obamacare that increase premiums and the cost of health care versus those that do not.”

A third Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed discomfort with the idea of cutting taxes on the rich while transferring burdens on the poor.

Scaling back the tax cuts could provide a path to winning over key moderate senators who have recoiled at the soaring premiums and deductibles for millions of low-income people as scored by the CBO, and the estimated 22 million fewer people who would have insurance in a decade. Meanwhile, conservatives have pushed to wipe out all of the taxes, though senators like Ted Cruz have not insisted every tax cut remain as part of an overall deal. Conservatives have been focused more on cutting regulations to lower premiums…..


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The US Supreme Court has made a Right Turn….

Elections have consequences….

We are seeing that in the decisions coming down from America’s highest  court…

Clinton’s lost was Conservatives gains from the court….

The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years.

Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week.

The court’s final decisions and orders were almost emphatic declarations, if there had been any doubt, that this is once again a conservative-leaning court that may only move more to the right in the years to come.

The justices gave President Donald Trump the go-ahead to start enforcing at least part of his travel ban, showed that the wall between church and state is perhaps not as high as it once was and invigorated a baker’s religion-based refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

“Liberals were certainly looking forward to a Clinton presidency that would alter the direction of the court. This was not an outcome we predicted,” said Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice.

The first casualty of Trump’s election was Garland, the appellate judge whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court. Instead of Garland on the far right of the bench where the newest justice sits, there was Justice Neil Gorsuch. The placement also meshed with his votes. The Trump nominee who joined the court in April, Gorsuch staked out the most conservative position in a number of closely watched cases, including the one on the travel ban….


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Canada’s Merit Based Immigration policy….

Could Trump actually have a good idea on immigration?

(Borrowed from the Canadian’s)

…..from Alayna Treene @ AXIOS……

Last week in Iowa, President Trump called for a “total rewrite of our immigration system into a merit-based system,” reminding everyone that his interest in looking to Canada as a model for how to rebuild the U.S. immigration system has not weakened…..

….Canada evaluates immigrants on an economically-focused nine-point rubric that ignores their race, religion and ethnicity, and instead focuses on their age, education, job skills, language ability and other merit-based qualities.

“About half of all Canadian immigrants arrive with a college degree, while the figure in the United States is just 27 percent,” explains Tepperman. “Immigrant children in Canadian schools read at the same level as the native born, while the gap is huge in the United States. Canadian immigrants are almost 20 percent more likely to own their own homes and 7 percent less likely to live in poverty than their American equivalents.”

The payoff: Canadian voters are extremely supportive of the country’s accepting culture. Recent polls reveal that 82% think immigration is good for the economy, and two-thirds said multiculturalism represents one of Canada’s best features — they even rank it higher than hockey, notes Tepperman….

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Phil Jackson leaves the NY Knicks….

Image result for phil jackson

The thrill is gone from Jackson’s Rep….

The New York Knicks and team president Phil Jackson announced Wednesday morning that they mutually agreed to part ways.

“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” Knicks owner James Dolan said via statement. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive.”

Conversations about what was best for the team’s future between Jackson and Dolan accelerated this week when the franchise decided it would not buy out embattled forward Carmelo Anthony, sources said.

Jackson, 71, had made it well known that he felt it was best for Anthony and the organization to part ways, both publicly and privately, but Anthony refused to waive his no-trade clause, and the Knicks were determined not to accommodate any request for a buyout. Anthony has two years worth more than $54 million remaining on his deal…..



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Obamacare Isn’t Collapsing….

What’s the Rush?

Congressional Budget Office: “Although premiums have been rising under current law, most subsidized enrollees purchasing health insurance coverage in the nongroup market are largely insulated from increases in premiums because their out-of-pocket payments for premiums are based on a percentage of their income; the government pays the difference between that percentage and the premiums for a reference plan… Nevertheless, a small number of people live in areas of the country that have limited participation by insurers in the nongroup market under current law.”


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Trump continues his campaign to neutralize the media….

As with any authoritarian leader….

The Media/Press is the enemy….

Trump’s criticism of the Post comes amid a multi-day tirade against what he believes to be unfair media coverage of his administration, spurred by a since-retracted CNN report that congressional investigators were looking into a meeting between Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci and the head of a Russian investment fund. Three CNN journalists involved in the story’s publication, including a Pulitzer Prize-winner, resigned in the wake of the retraction.

And the president’s Wednesday labeling of the Post as “fake news” comes one day after the newspaper reported that at least four of the president’s golf properties have on display a fake cover of Time magazine featuring Trump on the cover and fawning headlines about his former reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”


President Donald Trump reupped his attack Wednesday against what he believes to be unfair media coverage, labeling The New York Times a “fake news joke” and suggesting that the media has portrayed him as being disengaged from the legislative process of repealing and replacing Obamacare when the opposite is true.

“The failing @nytimes writes false story after false story about me. They don’t even call to verify the facts of a story. A Fake News Joke!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. Minutes later, he added a second post, writing that “some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S.”


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Democratic voters want to keep Pelosi…Poll

But 43% of ALL voters in the Politico/Morning Consult poll think she go….

She will have NO problem being re-elected next year….

Only about one-quarter of Democratic voters think House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should be replaced, according to a new poll.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll finds just 27 percent of Democratic voters think Pelosi should be replaced, compared to 41 percent who think the Democratic leader should stay in her post.

Another 31 percent don’t have an opinion.

Forty-three percent of all voters think Pelosi should be replaced, pollsters found, compared with just 26 percent who think she should remain.

Pelosi’s favorability ratings are higher among Democrats in the new poll. Forty-nine percent of Democratic voters have a favorable view of Pelosi, compared with 25 percent who have an unfavorable opinion.

In all, just 31 percent of U.S. voters view Pelosi favorably and 46 percent view her unfavorably…..


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Senate Republicans begin to worry about Trump’s Politic ‘s…

Donald Trump campaigned AGAINST the status quo in Washington DC….

Now his adopted party hasn’t been able to pass much of anything FOR their leader….

A leader who does much care for ANYBODY except himself…..

And is willing to attack ANYONE,… his party or NOT…..Who doesn’t do want he wants….

You KNEW this was gonna happen…..

Top GOP officials and senators say White House chaos and impulsiveness are crippling efforts to expand the Republican Senate majority in 2018, unraveling long-laid plans and needlessly jeopardizing incumbents.

There’s a widespread sense of exasperation with the president, interviews with nearly two dozen senior Republicans reveal, and deep frustration with an administration they believe doesn’t fully grasp what it will take to preserve the narrow majority or add to it.

The most recent flash point involves Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who was attacked by a White House-sanctioned outside group after announcing his opposition to the now stalled Obamacare repeal bill. Heller, the most endangered GOP incumbent up for reelection in 2018, was initially targeted with a surprise $1 million digital, TV and radio assault — an act of political retaliation that stunned senators and other top GOP officials.

The TV and radio commercials, produced by America First Policies — which is staffed by a number of Trump’s top campaign aides — accused Heller of refusing to keep his “promise” to dismantle Obamacare.

The offensive reflected Trump’s mounting frustration with Capitol Hill Republicans who refuse to advance his stymied legislative agenda and was designed to send a loud message that it’s time to get on board. Yet it infuriated Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself, who privately fumed that it would make it harder to get Heller’s support for the legislation. Some McConnell allies reached out to the organization directly to express their displeasure and to plead with it to cease the attacks, reasoning that it could badly hurt Heller’s already challenging reelection bid.

“I share the administration’s frustration on members wavering on repeal, but the answer is not to attack the most vulnerable member of the conference,”….


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Joe Biden the Democratic LifeGuard?

Could Ole’ Joe be asked to pull the Democrats out of DEEP Water?

Joe Biden via Twitter

55 years ago, before he stepped into politics, former Vice President Joe Biden worked another job that helped his community — he was a lifeguard. Back in 1962, the Scranton, Pennsylvania, native took a job in Wilmington, Delaware, to broaden his perspectives on race by working as a lifeguard in a predominantly African-American community. “I wanted to get more involved,” Biden said in a statement. “I’d turn on the television and I’d see and listen to Dr. [Martin Luther] King and others, but I didn’t know any black people. So, I wanted to work here.”

As the only white lifeguard at the Prices Run Pool at the time, Biden says his co-workers “treated me as an equal,” but he learned some valuable lessons that would later shape his views as a politician. On Monday, Biden was honored by the pool he once guarded. Its name was officially changed to the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Aquatic Center. At the ceremony, Biden hopped back onto his old lifeguard station, but this time, he was decked out in a suit and his signature sunglasses. …..


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EU drops a $2.7 Billion fine on Google for promoting it’s ads over others…

If you run a blog like I do?

This is NO surprise….

The EU is fining Google because ?

IF……..You use Google’s ads service?

THIER ads will always come before anyone else’s….

The European Commission found that the U.S. tech giant denied “consumers a genuine choice” by using its search engine to unfairly steer them to its own shopping platform.

 Regulators said that Google must change its behavior within 90 days or face additional penalties.

“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s top antitrust official. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

Google said in a statement that it tries to show ads in ways that are helpful for buyers and sellers.

“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” a Google spokesperson said. “We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”….

The EU has also accused the Silicon Valley titan of abusing its market position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.

It is also investigating the company’s ad placing service, AdSense.


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Republican Super Pac will make Pelosi a target for next years Midterms…..

Image result for nancy pelosi

While Democratic House members are loath to get rid of their Minority House Leader because of her fundraising prowess…..

Republicans are moving to place House Democratic Minority Leader in the same class as Hillary Clinton….

A ‘Bad’ …’Bad’….Democrat….(Woman)

Several Democrats have joined Republican efforts in getting rid of Pelosi as Minority Leader….

The leader of the most important House GOP super PAC said Tuesday that the group will double-down on tried-and-true tactics for electing Republicans in 2018: tying Democratic candidates to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, which has ties to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), plans to spend $100 million before next year’s midterm elections, and Executive Director Corry Bliss said in a memo released Tuesday that he sees no reason to abandon a strategy that has paid dividends for six years — most recently in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where CLF advertising featuring Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her San Francisco district helped define and defeat Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in this month’s special election there.

“During the 2018 cycle, CLF will spend millions of dollars highlighting Nancy Pelosi’s toxic agenda and reminding voters across the country that Democratic candidates are nothing more than rubber stamps for her out-of-touch, liberal policies,” Bliss said in the memo.


It is not unusual for a congressional leader to be widely unpopular. What is unusual is the relentlessness and effectiveness of the GOP’s targeting of Pelosi….



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Senate Healthcare Bill …No Vote for now….

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes….

No even to bring the bill up for a vote TO HAVE a vote….

Facing intransigent Republican opposition, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, on Tuesday delayed a vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dealing another setback to Republicans’ seven-year effort to dismantle the health law and setting up a long, heated summer of health care battles.

Mr. McConnell faced resistance from across his conference, not only from the most moderate and conservative senators but from others as well. Had he pressed forward this week, he almost surely would have lacked the votes even to begin debate on the bill.

“We will not be on the bill this week, but we’re still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place,” said Mr. McConnell, who is known as a canny strategist but was forced to acknowledge on Tuesday that he had more work to do.

The delay pushes Senate consideration of the bill until after a planned recess for the Fourth of July, but it does not guarantee that Republican senators will come together. Opponents of the bill, including patient advocacy groups and medical organizations, plan to lobby senators in their home states next week. Senators are likely to be dogged by demonstrators. Democrats vowed to keep up the pressure, and some Republican senators have suggested that their votes will be difficult to win.

“The status quo is simply unsustainable,” Mr. McConnell said. “It’ll be dealt with in one of two ways: Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo, or the markets will continue to collapse, and we’ll have to sit down with Senator Schumer. And my suspicion is that any negotiation with the Democrats would include none of the reforms that we would like to make.”

Republicans have promised for seven years to repeal the health law, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. But Mr. McConnell’s announcement on Tuesday was yet another major stumble in the unsteady quest by Republican congressional leaders to deliver a repeal bill to the desk of Mr. Trump, who has yet to sign his first piece of marquee legislation….


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US warns Syria against using chemical weapons…Again…

The Trump Admin has warned of military action again it there is a chemical/gas attack by the Syrian military against opposition troops and civilians….

The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night as it claimed ‘‘potential’’ evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack.

In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the US ‘‘has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.’’

He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if ‘‘Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.’’….


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Sailing 35th America’s Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand wins two more Races; Moves to Match Point

Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton
Morning all!
The Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand moved within one victory of claiming the 35th America’s Cup after winning Races 7 and 8 on Sunday afternoon in Bermuda.
They won both Starts and Defender Oracle Team USA was never allowed to get back into the Races.
Roundup here:
My Thoughts
Oracle Team USA Helmsman & Skipper Jimmy Spithill sounded like a beaten man in his Interview after Race 8.
Daniel G.
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Schumer avoids the spotlight on Senate Russian sanctions Bill….

The NY Times does a piece on how Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer helped the Republican’s draft a bill to tie Trump’s hands  from going ahead and lifting sanctions on the Russians….

Trump IS STILL keen to cozy up with the Russians….

But with Schumer’s assistance the Senate has drafted a bill to take away Trump’s ability to lift sanctions Obama put in place after the 2016 Election and Ukraine actions by the Russians…

This isn’t the first time Schumer has managed to out maneuver Trump & Co. by working quietly with Republicans to fix Congresses muscle separate from Trump’s wishes…

The thinking was that any approach so closely associated with the top Democrat would have trouble attracting Republican votes even though most liked the idea.

“He was very, very helpful,” Mr. Graham said about Mr. Schumer.

The tactic paid off as the sanctions bill passed the Senate with just two dissenters, another example of how lawmakers are occasionally finding bipartisan ways to challenge the Trump administration in those rare times when the interests and goals of the two parties align.

“You have to be strategic, but there are issues when the Republicans are closer to us than to him,” Mr. Schumer said in a recent interview.

The sanctions plan, which has hit a snag in the House, was similar to the approach lawmakers took earlier this year on a major spending bill. They negotiated mainly among themselves and then advanced a bill that the White House didn’t particularly like but found difficult to oppose.

In that case, Mr. Schumer assiduously avoided dealing directly with the White House and worked with congressional Republicans. Lawmakers eventually agreed on a governmentwide spending measure that did not fund top Trump priorities such as a new border wall. But the administration had little choice but to accept the outcome or be responsible for shutting down the government on the occasion of its first 100 days in office…..


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Where can Democrats win House seats?

Nate_Cohn over at the NY Times gives eight types of Republican House districts to watch….

Democrats have debated extensively over whether their path to power goes through the white-working-class Rust Belt states or the diverse, well-educated Sun Belt. In 2018, this debate is moot. The Democrats don’t have the luxury of choosing where to compete in House races. They’ll have to target all of these areas.

The problem for Democrats is simple: There just aren’t many great opportunities for them to pick up seats in Democratic-leaning areas. Instead, they’ll have to compete in a lot of districts where they’re competitive but not favored.

There are probably 70 or so districts where Democrats have a better than 10 percent chance to win if the national political environment is especially favorable to them. To retake the House, Democrats will try to put as many of these seats into play as possible, and hope to end up with the 24 they need.

To illustrate, we’ve divvied up Republican House districts into eight groups to keep an eye on. The groups aren’t strictly based on competitiveness: Within groups, some members are far more vulnerable than others. There are a few districts that don’t fit neatly into any of the groups, and there are a few that fit into several. But the kinds of opportunities and challenges facing Democrats or Republicans in each group are pretty similar…..


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