5 Things to Watch as the Future of Obamacare Moves to the Senate

May 5, 2017

By Julie Rovner

After weeks of will-they-or-won’t-they tensions, the House managed to pass its GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday by a razor-thin margin. The vote was 217-213.

Democrats who lost the battle are still convinced they may win the political war. As the Republicans reached a majority for the bill, Democrats on the House floor began chanting, “Na, na, na, na … Hey, hey, hey … Goodbye.” They claim Republicans could lose their seats for supporting a bill that could cause so much disruption in voters’ health care.

Now the bill—and the multitude of questions surrounding it—moves across the Capitol to the Senate. And the job doesn’t get any easier. With only a two-vote Republican majority and no likely Democratic support, it would take only three GOP “no” votes to sink the bill.

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60 comments on “5 Things to Watch as the Future of Obamacare Moves to the Senate

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39809168

    The US House of Representatives has passed a healthcare bill, bringing President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare a stride closer.

    The American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed with a vote to spare, after weeks of cajoling within the Republican party to muster enough support.

    But it was a close-run thing – Republicans needed 216 votes in the House and it passed with 217. No Democrats voted in favour.

    Round one of the battle over Obamacare repeal is in the books. Round two is set to begin, with the opponents more powerful and the obstacles more imposing.

    It’s worth remembering that passage of the Republican healthcare plan in the House of Representatives was supposed to be the easy part. House Speaker Paul Ryan had a sizeable majority at his disposal and the political tools to reward support and punish transgressions.

    Instead the American Health Care Act’s long, laborious journey exposed divisions within the Republican Party and the limits in Donald Trump’s powers of persuasion.
    These challenges won’t disappear.
    The fault lines will be put under greater pressure and Mr Trump’s skills will be further tested when action heads to the Senate.

    Unlike the House, the Republican majority there is narrow, and already some in the party are showing misgivings about the current legislation.
    Democrats, who have more parliamentary tricks up their sleeves, will attempt to disrupt the process at every turn.

    But the speed at which it has been resuscitated since then, with several amendments aimed at winning over Republican rebels, has provoked criticism.

    It is not known how much the revised bill will cost, nor how many people will lose coverage, because the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not had time to assess it.

    Before the latest revisions, the CBO estimated 14 million more Americans would lose insurance in 2018 alone.

    About 20 million Americans gained healthcare coverage under President Barack Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare.

    There is a graph on the link which makes predictions and compares the two systems!



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  • It seems that some Repubicans in the house voted for it without reading it and without being perturbed that it had not been costed!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39821789

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the bill is one big tax break for the rich

    Republican senators are sounding sceptical of an Obamacare replacement passed by members of their own party in the House of Representatives.

    The measure brings President Donald Trump’s party a step closer to scrapping the law, but it will probably face major amendments in the Senate.

    One Republican senator said a final version will be “near impossible”.

    Democrats warn the bill will strip insurance from millions of Americans and send costs rocketing.

    The American Health Care Act passed the House of Representatives by 217-213 on Thursday without support from a single Democrat.

    It marked Mr Trump’s first legislative victory and goes some way to keeping a key campaign promise to roll back his predecessor’s signature healthcare reform.

    But several Republican congressman who voted for their measure admitted they did not even read it.

    “Oh, gosh,” said Virginia congressman Thomas Garrett when asked on MSNBC whether he had perused the text of the far-reaching legislation.

    “I don’t think any individual has read the whole bill,” he said. “That’s why we have staff.”

    In a celebration at the White House after the vote, President Trump declared that Obamacare was dead.

    But in a sign of the uphill battle ahead, nearly every major medical group, including the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, strongly opposes the measure.

    Critics expressed disbelief that the bill was passed without even allowing time for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to give a cost estimate.

    Influential South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said: “Like y’all, I’m still waiting to see if it’s a boy or a girl.

    “Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours… needs to be viewed with suspicion.”

    The CBO said an earlier Republican bill, which failed to get a vote in March, would cause 24 million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage.

    Other Republicans in the Senate have been outspoken in their doubts about the plan.

    Senator John Barrasso said they would have “lots of amendments”.



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  • I have recently had a run in with a family member over politics — I sincerely try to stay far far out of any political conversations with family as they tend to shade their politics with religion. Anyway, this person is 70 years old, has a pre-existing condition, and still cannot retire even though they are well past retirement age.

    Yet, this person is totally on board with the GOP version of his healthcare. mind you, i have very good insurance through my job and this impacts me ZERO.

    Anyway, he is for hurting himself so that he can stay a “loyal party member” and I am truly an unbiased bystander. When I voiced my opinion that he was not only being bamboozled, but complicit is his own misery, i got a fucking earful that you couldn’t believe.

    Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don’ want no help, chump don’t GET da help!



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  • crookedshoes #5
    May 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Anyway, this person is 70 years old, has a pre-existing condition,
    and still cannot retire even though they are well past retirement age.

    Yet, this person is totally on board with the GOP version of his healthcare.

    I have posted this link before, but it is still surprising how many Americans are totally unaware of the extent to which they were being ripped off prior to Obamacare – (and even then some after it) – in comparison to other OECD countries! !

    https://thesocietypages.org/graphicsociology/2011/04/26/cost-of-health-care-by-country-national-geographic/

    Twice the price for a poorer service and lower life expectancy!



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  • I don’t blame any of the Republican congressmen who voted for the bill for not reading it all. That is indeed why politicians have staff to analyse and summarise things for them and I’m sure very few of the Democrats who voted against it read it all either. It’s called delegating. What I do of course blame them for is supporting their fake president in his reprehensible mendacity after he promised that no one would lose their healthcare and for ignoring their constituents who entreated them at hundreds of town hall meetings not to kill Obamacare.

    This seems to be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory. The bill has no chance of passing in the Senate and every House member who voted for it has now revealed the true depths of their utter lack of compassion or care for the poor or the ill and has a target painted on their backs for 2018 and 2020. It’s hard to imagine what more the Republicans need to do to make it clear how their only concern is for the mega rich and giving them tax breaks, even if it means millions of the poor losing their healthcare and indeed their lives.

    It also can’t be any plainer that Trump is perfectly happy to toy with people’s lives and watch them die to give him something to crow about in his desperation for any sort of “win”. All he can play to though is his dwindling base of racists and homophobes. The other low information voters who thought he might represent some sort of viable change are deserting in droves as they finally begin to appreciate his true colours.

    Russia is about to take centre stage again soon though. When it is confirmed that they interfered in the French elections too it will become harder to deny what they did in the American one. Sally Yates is due to testify. Flynn is squirming on the hook. Trump is running out of things to deflect attention onto. I think the next 100 days will be more interesting than the first 100.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #7
    May 8, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I don’t blame any of the Republican congressmen who voted for the bill for not reading it all.

    I would disagree!
    Politicians in government, can rely on colleagues and staff for routine work which has been scrutinised by committees without substantial dissent, but when there is public uproar and “red-warning-lights” flashing all over the place, they should be much more diligent in checking what they are approving!

    That is indeed why politicians have staff to analyse and summarise things for them and I’m sure very few of the Democrats who voted against it read it all either.

    In these sorts of circumstances, they should be going through the texts with a fine tooth comb, and discussing the details with specialist staff and with representatives from expert medical bodies, as they go.

    It’s called delegating.

    Accepting rushed through legislation without detailed scrutiny, sounds more like ideological incompetent or reckless abdicating responsibility to me!

    They already messed up on the earlier attempt, so perhaps they should have learned!



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  • Trump last week had a meeting with our Prime Minister in which he stated that Australia has a better health system than America’s. The irony seems forever lost on this fool that he just destroyed the closest thing they had to what we have. I am so glad my health is not in the care of the American system.



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  • Alan4discussion #8
    May 8, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Arkrid Sandwich #7
    May 8, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I don’t blame any of the Republican congressmen who voted for the bill for not reading it all.

    I would disagree!

    Well, it’s nice to know you’re actually fallible and can be wrong at times then isn’t it? 🙂

    Whether they read it in its entirety before voting for it, had staff read it and summarise it to them before voting for it or didn’t even bother doing either of those is pretty much irrelevant. What’s relevant is they voted for a disgusting sham of a bill that is really only a tax cut for the rich at the expense of the lives of the poor and sick and which was ramrodded through congress without time for discussion or independent analysis or even a CBO score. Basically everything that Paul Ryan whined about even after Obamacare had been discussed for a year before being voted on.

    I think the greatest success of Obamacare is that with all its failings it has started to accustom the American people to thinking that healthcare is a right for everyone not just a privilege for the rich and well employed. That is the first step to accepting the need for universal, free to the consumer, tax funded healthcare like every actual civilised democracy has.

    Americans are still desperately low information, even with the internet, and locked into this bubble where tax funded things = socialism = communism = very very bad n’kay, without even understanding a fraction of what all that entails. Oh they’re fine with the armed forces being socialism, and the police, and the fire service, and medicare and medicaid and healthcare for vets but they still seem to hit a brick wall at healthcare for everyone.

    What the Democrats need to do is get home the message about just how expensive American healthcare is and how much it hurts spending on other parts of the economy like infrastructure, science, education, R&D. That’s a complex message because the total cost is comprised of what is actually paid for out of taxes, what companies pay on behalf of their employees for insurance, what employees pay privately for insurance and finally what people without full or indeed any coverage get billed for in deductibles at extortionate rates like hundreds of dollars for a single pain pill or a bandage. However the combined total is twice what most other countries pay as a proportion of GDP. Nearly 18% or 1/6th of the whole economy compared to 9% or 10% for most tax funded universal systems. 3 trillion dollars a year.

    It’s hard to even imagine what the potential savings of 1.5 trillion dollars a year could be spent on. It’s actually a miracle that the USA even survives as a viable economy with what it wastes on healthcare and what it wastes on its bloated military. OK so both of those things provide employment and earnings which trickle through to other areas but how much better would it be if the money got directed straight to where it was really needed rather than pay insurance companies and insane hospital bills first and then have the taxes on that income trickle down to infrastructure and education.

    Any society which bankrupts people because they fall ill, or forces them to choose which fingers they can afford to get reattached as Michael Moore documented in Sicko, is a disgrace and an affront to human dignity and quality of life. We have to hope that the mindset which can enable a person to even think, let alone say out loud, what Republican congressman Raul Labrador said when trying to defend the ACHA bill last week will eventually be a thing of the past – “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

    That comment encapsulates the disgrace which is Republican politics these days. A lot of people in America are sick because of lack of healthcare but none of them are as sick as Republican politicians or their disgusting President.



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  • Here’s my favourite graphic on American Healthcare.

    Though at the low lifespan and high cost end of the first world pack, come Reaganomics and the professionalisation of the theft of the reward for Americans’ disproportionate hard work, the increasingly terrible value for money and woeful underachievement of American healthcare after this point lies stark.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Life_expectancy_vs_healthcare_spending.jpg/619px-Life_expectancy_vs_healthcare_spending.jpg



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #10
    May 9, 2017 at 8:15 am

    @#4 – Critics expressed disbelief that the bill was passed without even allowing time for the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to give a cost estimate.

    “Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours… needs to be viewed with suspicion.”

    Whether they read it in its entirety before voting for it, had staff read it and summarise it to them before voting for it or didn’t even bother doing either of those is pretty much irrelevant.
    What’s relevant is they voted for a disgusting sham of a bill that is really only a tax cut for the rich at the expense of the lives of the poor and sick and which was ramrodded through congress without time for discussion or independent analysis or even a CBO score.

    I think that is the key point, and is where I would certainly blame them for their reckless disregard of their responsibilities!

    It will come under scrutiny and criticism in the senate, and what the senate misses will subsequently be picked out by reality!



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  • phil rimmer #11
    May 9, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Though at the low lifespan and high cost end of the first world pack, come Reaganomics and the professionalisation of the theft of the reward for Americans’ disproportionate hard work, the increasingly terrible value for money and woeful underachievement of American healthcare after this point lies stark.

    I think this earlier comment summed up the concept of parasitism of a well resourced host species!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/04/trump-advisers-to-debate-paris-climate-agreement/#li-comment-220928

    A parasite which has a great unearned wealth of resources drawn from others, does not need to concern itself with efficiency or waste, as long as its host supplier is large enough to survive the drain on its energy!



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  • Look what they are trying to do: repeal the ACA!! “Turn it over to the states.” That means that it will no longer be illegal not to cover preexisting conditions…

    Health should be a public good, as Michael Moore said.

    Whenever someone says “the states” I smell a Republican…er, a rat. That’s one of their tricks.

    Hopefully the lying monsters will be ousted soon.

    Paul Ryan is certainly among the worst of them. Can you picture that little runt with a Hitler mustache? Try it next time you look at him with his characterless face, with those vacant eyes and that freakish hair-do.



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  • Meanwhile, – as Trump panders to religious nuts, and tries to deprive poor women of family planning services, scientific innovation moves on!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39849808

    The price of an innovative device which allows women to give themselves a contraceptive jab has been cut.

    Sayana Press has mostly been used by women in developing countries, as part of a global push to expand access to modern contraception.

    Working in collaboration with donor organisations has enabled the drug company Pfizer to drop the price from $1 a unit to $0.85 per dose.

    The move comes ahead of a big summit on family planning in London this summer.

    The summit, which will track progress from a similar event five years ago, will be watched closely because of recent cuts to global aid for family planning by the Trump administration.

    Sayana Press dispenses with the need for a conventional needle and syringe – so it has been seen as a significant development for women living in rural parts of Africa.

    The long-acting progesterone-based contraceptive, which provides contraceptive cover for three months at a time, is licensed for use by the NHS in the UK – but Pfizer admits that uptake here has been “modest”.

    The pre-packaged, single-use jab is now thought to have reached more than 1.5m women in countries such as Uganda and Burkina Faso.

    A long-term commitment to helping fund this programme – by organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation – has helped drive the price down.

    In Uganda, one of four pilot countries, 160,673 doses of Sayana Press were handed out during the past two years.

    Dr Dinah Nakiganda-Busiku, from the Uganda Ministry of Health, said: “Women told us that self-injecting gave them more privacy.

    “We hope to now make this part of our public procurement plan, so we don’t have to rely on donors.”



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  • I was going to add a second point to my post above that the other thing the Democrats need to get across to the low information electorate is how not only is American healthcare twice as expensive as other country’s it gives considerably worse outcomes as Phil Rimmer’s link alludes to. However this is also a complex issue to deal with. Americans are as genetically sound as anyone else and if they’re wealthy enough to have access to the best of American healthcare and live a sensible lifestyle they can live as long as anyone else. What drags the average life expectancy down is not that the best American healthcare is poor but that so many people have little access to it.

    In fact with a “for profit” system, if your coverage is complete enough, you can be damn sure that you’ll be subjected to every test and procedure your avaricious doctors can dream up every time you present with a health problem. If you’re poor you’ll get little or none of this.

    What you would expect such a system to create is a huge disparity in life expectancies depending on who you are and where you live. Rich or poor, black or white, red state or blue, employed or not employed, how your particular state governor chose to take advantage or not of the possibilities available in Obamacare. This article shows that quite dramatically.

    http://us.cnn.com/2017/05/08/health/life-expectancy-by-county-study/index.html

    There’s a staggering 20 year plus difference in life expectancy depending on where you live in the USA. You sure as hell don’t want to be born in the bible belt or on an Indian reservation in the Dakotas. You’ll be lucky to see the end of your 60s in either of those areas. However if one of daddy’s holiday homes is a chalet in Aspen and you don’t hit a tree when you’re out skiing you can expect to go well into your 80s.

    It’s a staggering indictment of much of what is wrong with the USA. It’s a fine place if you’re wealthy or even moderately well off but a terrible one if you’re poor. What Republicans want to do is exacerbate this even further. Take away even more from the poor to give it to the rich. Look at how the map splits between red states and blue. Even just within California if you also look at a map of how they voted there, on the coast where it’s solid blue then so is your life expectancy but move just 50 miles inland where they voted 70% Republican and your life expectancy heads towards the red also.

    When Obamacare came out there was much hot air from the right about death panels which of course did not exist. However one does now. It’s called the US House of Representatives and it’s just voted to kill a lot more Americans. No one sane should ever want these disgusting people to get into power again.



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  • In England the maximum regional spread in life expectancy (between North East and South East) is 2.6 years. (Though the regions are larger than counties and the overall geographical spread rather less….even so the large scale features of the US map looks very damning.)



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  • In England the maximum regional spread in life expectancy (between North East and South East) is 2.6 years. (Though the regions are larger than counties and the overall geographical spread rather less….even so the large scale features of the US map looks very damning.)



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #17
    May 10, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Americans are as genetically sound as anyone else and if they’re wealthy enough to have access to the best of American healthcare
    and live a sensible lifestyle they can live as long as anyone else.
    What drags the average life expectancy down is not that the best American healthcare is poor but that so many people have little access to it.

    As well as this, is the obsessive deregulation, which allows quacks, advertisers, polluters, and junk-food salesmen, to promote unhealthy life styles or fake pseudo-healthy lifestyles and obesity problems!



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  • Alan4D (20), others

    …obsessive deregulation, which allows quacks, advertisers, polluters…

    As I said just now another, older thread, there is a company in the process of negotiating a deal now; it is a pro-Trump company, called the Sinclair company, which will make Fox News look like PBS, will be more far-reaching and far more powerful as a tool than Fox ever was, will own more than a third of the country’s local TV stations. “This is after a rollback of regulations capping the limits of the number number of stations one corporation can control.” We are turning into a corrupt nation, incrementally becoming, under Trump, like a “third world” dictatorship.

    But what may be done can always be undone and Trump is in deep shit now.

    Whether this company can do what it is seeking to do, and whether Trump’s new FCC Chair, who has declared war on internet neutrality after a ten year battle for free and open internet, succeeds, will be decided soon.

    A short video on this from Democracy Now with Amy Goodman was posted on that thread.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/02/robert-mercer-the-big-data-billionaire-waging-war-on-mainstream-media/#comment-221493



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  • Well I said Russia was about to take centre stage again soon but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite this quick or as dramatic. Sally Yates didn’t reveal any smoking gun although she made it very clear that Trump ignored her advice about Flynn as he had ignored Obama’s and only fired him when news started to break in the media. However firing Comey and the pathetic excuses for doing so the Trump administration is trying to cobble together could hardly be more amateurish. Supposedly it’s because he declined to recommend legal action against Hillary for her email server 10 months ago which is an awfully long time to suddenly get upset about that.

    In reality of course it’s because Comey refused to say in Congress that he wasn’t investigating Trump himself when asked that question and poor Donnywonny’s feelings are all hurty now. It’s also no doubt to try and find someone pliable enough to lead the FBI who’ll drop their Russia investigation altogether but that might be a tall order to fill. All Trump has really done is demonstrate yet again that nothing matters more than his ego and he’s still incapable of understanding how stupid his actions look to others.

    Leaks from WH aides tell of how furious Trump was last night that even on right wing cable news no one was defending his decision to fire Comey so Spicer, Conway and the Huckabee surrogate were despatched to lie on his behalf. His narcissism rules every part of his behaviour. He’s running out of things to deflect attention onto though and that’s worrying when the last remaining option might be to start a war. We simply can’t rule that out with someone so immature and mentally unbalanced. Even Repugnants are worried that such a man has his finger on the nuclear trigger and would like to see the authority to use it given to Congress alone. Personally that’s not my biggest concern as the conventional military can do more than enough damage to other people. I think the odds are now better than 50/50 that someone somewhere in the pentagon is being tasked to try and come up with a plausible reason to start lobbing cruise missiles in Korea or the middle east if the Russia investigation looks like finding paydirt.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #22
    May 10, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Well I said Russia was about to take centre stage again soon but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite this quick or as dramatic.
    Sally Yates didn’t reveal any smoking gun although she made it very clear that Trump ignored her advice about Flynn as he had ignored Obama’s and only fired him when news started to break in the media.
    However firing Comey and the pathetic excuses for doing so the Trump administration is trying to cobble together could hardly be more amateurish.

    Surely ad-hominem attacks are the standard procedure of posturing immature amateurs, who have no credible case to present!

    De-funding attacks on, and dismissals of, the experts of the environmental protection agency, NASA Earth/climate scientists, and regulatory bodies in general, look like other examples!

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominem

    “If the facts are against you, argue the law.
    If the law is against you, argue the facts.
    If both the facts and the law are against you, abuse the other side’s attorney.”




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  • One thing is for sure now. Comey is pissed off with Trump and no longer has a job to protect. He’s still going to get called to testify before Congress and no longer has any reason to keep any of his powder dry. So what we get to wonder about for a while is just how much he found out about Trump and Russia before 6pm eastern time last night when his privileged access to that information ended so abruptly.

    It seems that it was about a week ago that something got Trump really worried about Comey and he despatched Sessions and his deputy to try and find an excuse to fire him. They couldn’t come up with anything even vaguely plausible of course because Trump had left things too late. It might have looked more reasonable that it was to do with Hillary’s email server if he’d fired Comey on his first day in office but he made the same mistake as he did with Flynn. Leaving it long enough to make it obvious that it’s just a cover up.

    It’s difficult to imagine how much more Trump could do to make himself look guilty and draw attention to his Russian connections. He fired acting AG Sally Yates who was investigating the Russian ambassador to the US and Trump official’s connections to him like Flynn. He fired Preet Bharara who was investigating Tom Price and also various Russian businessmen and now Comey who was leading the FBI investigation. I know it’s hard to spot a pattern but if you look really closely…..

    I also notice that Trump’s insane deflection tweets are getting less and less attention. He’s cried wolf so many times that the villagers no longer take much notice. No longer can he rely on trying to claim it’s the leakers who are more important than what they are leaking about or that those who were engaged in surveillance are to blame for what they might have uncovered. It won’t stop him trying of course but it seems more and more that he’s a man running scared now and clutching at straws.



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  • It seems the Trump Administration, does not wish to answer questions about healthcare! – Probably because they don’t know answers about this ill-thought out, rushed nodded-through bill, but won’t admit it!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39866412

    Dan Heyman: US reporter arrested for shouting questions on healthcare

    A reporter was arrested on Tuesday night at the West Virginia Capitol for allegedly causing a disturbance by shouting questions to two Trump aides.

    Dan Heyman had asked Health Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway about coverage under the Republican healthcare plan.

    The veteran health reporter wanted to know if domestic violence would be covered as a pre-existing condition.

    He later said he “was trying doing my job”. He faces a fine and jail time.

    Mr Heyman, who works for the Public News Service, spoke to reporters after being released by police.

    He said that he had been following the Trump team’s entourage through the capitol building while wearing his press badge and a shirt identifying his media outlet.

    “He didn’t say anything,” Mr Heyman told reporters about Mr Price’s refusal to answer his question.

    “So I persisted,” he added.

    Mr Price and Ms Conway were in West Virginia for a conference on the opioid epidemic, and its effect on West Virginia, which has seen more overdoses than any other US state.

    “This is my job, this is what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “I think it’s a question that deserves to be answered. I think it’s my job to ask questions and I think it’s my job to try to get answers.”

    According to a criminal complaint, Mr Heyman was “aggressively breaching the secret service agents to the point where the agents were forced to remove him a couple of times from the area walking up the hallway in the main building of the Capitol.

    “The defendant was causing a disturbance at Ms Conway and Secretary Price.”

    He was charged with wilful disruption of government processes.

    Mr Heyman retorted that he was in a public space, and had not been warned to step away.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has defended Mr Heyman’s actions, saying his “arrest is a blatant attempt to chill an independent, free press. The charges against him are outrageous, and they must be dropped immediately”.

    “They [the Trump administration] have shown us every day since Donald Trump took office that they don’t care about the First Amendment, or the free press. Today was just another example of that. It’s horrifying,” said ACLU-West Virginia legal director Jamie Lynn Crofts.



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  • The police acting on a tip off raid the house of a suspected drug dealer. The sole occupant keeps glancing nervously at the sofa in which his drugs are stashed and when asked if there are any drugs in the house replies “no of course not and definitely none hidden in the sofa.” The police go straight to the sofa, find his stash and the puzzled criminal, who is obviously not very bright, asks “so what gave me away?”

    The Trump letter firing Comey didn’t need to refer to any particular matter, would have been well advised not to refer to any particular matter and draw attention to it and could have simply said “you’re fired” although such brevity might be unusual. However it bizarrely states “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless…..” The puzzled author, who is obviously not very bright, asks “so what gave me away?”

    The ineptitude of this administration is beyond any possible comprehension. You have to imagine that there were at least some semi-intelligent staffers tearing their hair out and trying desperately to persuade anyone who would listen to delete any mention of the Russia investigation in the letter if the firing was supposedly about Clinton emails but this wording has the hallmark of Trump himself all over it. A man so stupid, so egotistical, so delusional, so bereft of subtlety or tact that he thinks if he states in the letter that this firing really isn’t anything to do with him being under investigation then people will actually believe that. Like he thinks if he just states that his inauguration crowds were the biggest in history, or his electoral college win was so so yuge, or his healthcare bill will be so so great, with everyone covered and at much lower cost….yada yada yada. Anyway you all get the point.

    What keeps popping into my head is the Fawlty Towers episode where the staff are all desperately trying to stop Basil mentioning the war to the German guests which of course makes it impossible for him to get the war out of his mind so that’s all he keeps talking about.

    Or maybe Blackadder and one of Baldric’s cunning plans, most of which involved turnips as I recall.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up. If any of this was a potential screenplay for say something like The West Wing it would get ripped up and chucked away as being beyond the bounds of any possible credibility. It’s hard to imagine any human being who isn’t actually confined to an institution being this stupid, this blatant, this obvious, this jaw droppingly bad at making decisions or understanding how other human beings really think.

    To paraphrase Fawlty Towers. “Please, please, please Mr President, for god’s sake don’t mention the Russia investigation in Comey’s letter.”
    “Well you started it!”
    “No we didn’t!”
    “Yes you did, you invaded Poland.”



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  • I think this is Trump’s worst week as regards his public perception since he won the election. The full measure of his petulance and immaturity is on display now. Firing Comey might not have been too damaging if it had been handled well but the absurd explanations they came up with and the lies and obfuscations of his surrogates Conway and Huckabee put paid to any chance of that.

    However as always it’s Trump himself who inflicts the most self harm. Only a six year old in a man’s body would tweet about “cryin’ Chuck Schumer” and a similar tweet a bit earlier about Senator Richard Blumenthal “he cried like a baby”. That seems to be his “go to” insult for men, accusing them of crying, which I’m guessing stems from his harsh domineering father who I suspect drilled into little Donald that big boys don’t cry and that showing any emotion is a crime for a man.

    At dinner time in the White House we are now told that Trump has to get two scoops of ice cream with his desert while everyone else just gets one. But of course he’s a “special” boy. Anyone else would feel deeply uncomfortable at claiming such preferential treatment but Trump doesn’t have those emotions.

    However these childish behaviours and him still having time to spat with Rosie O’Donnell on twitter pale into insignificance when we see just how dangerous having a child in the White House can be. He bragged that F35 stealth fighters flew undetected over Japan while Defense Secretary Mattis was on a visit there and that was “pretty cool, right?” Firstly he apparently got the aircraft name mixed up with the number of planes that were there and claimed that 35 of them flew over Japan when only 10 were in fact in that region. However talking openly about sensitive military capabilities and putting other potentially hostile nations on alert as to what they might need to improve their defences against is insane.

    People in the Pentagon must be crapping themselves about ever having to tell Trump about America’s military capabilities or what’s new and top secret or under development because chances are he’s going to go and brag about it on tv at some point if he thinks that will make him look like the big cheese. It was only a couple of weeks ago during the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier fiasco that was supposed to be heading for North Korea but was actually sailing in the opposite direction to Australia that Trump bragged about nuclear submarines also heading to Korea. “Very powerful, even more powerful than the ships” he boasted.

    He of course misses the whole fucking point about nuclear subs is that you don’t want anyone else to ever know where they are so they can’t be targetted. You don’t go bragging about where you’re sending them. In fact with the current Trident II missiles used in the 14 Ohio class “boomers” the USA deploys the operational flight range is over 7,000 miles with reduced load and over 4,000 miles with a full missile payload so they don’t have to be anywhere near Korea to bomb it. Anywhere in the northern half of the Pacific or Indian oceans would do just fine. A boomer lurking in deep water off the coast of Los Angeles or Seattle could drop nuclear missiles on North Korea perfectly happily without ever having to sail anywhere near there.

    As a brief aside, I was going to post something about nuclear subs a while back but never got round to it. I don’t think most people realise just how big a part of the nuclear option these things are. The USA as I said has 14 Ohio class subs. Each carries 24 Trident II’s and each of those carries up to 12 independently targettable warheads. That’s 288 nuclear weapons on each sub, over 4000 warheads in the fleet of 14 boomers. That’s more than half of all the 7,000 or so nuclear weapons the USA admits to having.

    Also the warheads are massively powerful compared to what was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. Those bombs were under 20 kilotons of TNT equivalent but each still destroyed an entire city. Each of the 12 warheads on a Trident can be up to 475 kilotons (the yield is adjustable). The missiles on a single boomer could destroy everything of consequence in the whole of North Korea. 288 warheads each over 20 times as powerful as the weapons dropped on Japan.

    Some months ago I said that when Trump took office everyone in intelligence, military and even the legislative branches would be cacking themselves at having to deal with him. Afraid he’d give away secrets, use confidential information for his own enrichment and that it would lead to a Dark State where actual governance went on behind the scenes keeping him as far out of the loop as possible. His behaviour to date only reinforces my views on this.



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  • Trump has just dropped another enormous clanger as he is wont to do every time he opens his mouth. He’s just admitted that he was was already thinking about firing Comey regardless of, and before, the deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s written opinion on the matter came to him and also that he was thinking about “this Russia thing” as he did so.

    http://us.cnn.com/2017/05/12/politics/trump-comey-russia-thing/index.html

    This opens a big can of worms. Sessions had recused himself from involvement in anything to do with Russia but Trump has just pulled him right into the mix because Sessions gave a written opinion that Comey needed to be fired and if Trump now says that Russian involvement was a factor in this then Sessions is in breach of his recusal. That means he could potentially be forced to resign or even be subject to criminal proceedings.

    This is what you get when the president is so stupid he can’t keep his mouth shut because he has no comprehension of the consequences of his words or actions.



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  • @#20 – As well as this, is the obsessive deregulation, which allows quacks, advertisers, polluters, and junk-food salesmen, to promote unhealthy life styles or fake pseudo-healthy lifestyles and obesity problems!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39906074

    Michelle Obama was addressing the Healthier America summit in Washington

    Michelle Obama has launched a fierce defence of the healthy eating initiatives she championed as first lady.

    At a public health summit in Washington, she hit back after the Trump administration loosened nutritional standards aimed at making US school lunches healthier.

    One in five American children is obese, government figures show.

    In thinly-veiled criticism of the policies of the new administration, Mrs Obama told the audience:
    “This is where you really have to look at motives, you know.

    “You have to stop and think, why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school?
    What is wrong with you?
    And why is that a partisan issue?
    Why would that be political? What is going on?”

    She added: “Take me out of the equation – like me or don’t like me.
    But think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap.

    “Why would you celebrate that? Why would you sit idly and be okay with that?
    Because here’s the secret: If someone is doing that, they don’t care about your kid.”

    A policy of: “To Hell with everyone and their kids”, if Trump can get support and sponsorship from fat-cat profiteers – living in luxury and spreading depravation and misery!



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39778238

    The Trump administration has loosened nutritional standards aimed at making US school lunches healthier that were championed by former first lady Michelle Obama.

    New Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue postponed reductions in sodium, relaxed requirements for whole grains and allowed sweetened flavoured milk back.

    One in five US children is obese, the US government says.

    More than 30m mostly poor children eat federally-funded school lunches.

    The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made federal grants for meals conditional on reductions in calories, sodium and trans fat content and increases in fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

    But speaking at a primary school in the state of Virginia, Mr Perdue said some aspects of the standards had “gone too far.”

    Yep!
    Those healthy kids who have been taught to eat a healthy diet, are a serious threat to the turnover and profits of the medical, dentistry, and insurance industries!
    Trumpies urgently need to fix that!!



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #28
    May 12, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Trump has just dropped another enormous clanger as he is wont to do every time he opens his mouth.

    And if we all thought that even Trump cannot possibly make this any worse for himself well yes it continues. Trump has tweeted a threat to Comey that he better hope there are no “tapes” of their conversations before he goes leaking to the press. This is a catastrophe on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start. It looks very like witness intimidation which is a federal crime. If Trump has been taping all his conversations it only reinforces the Nixon comparisons which have been swirling round the news since Comey was fired. It also means that no one is going to say a damn thing to him in future which might have even the tiniest chance of coming back to haunt them so no more frank phonecalls with foreign leaders and no one is going to trust that the Oval Office or in fact anywhere else in the White House or at Mar-a-Lago isn’t bugged from now on.

    If such tapes do exist there’s also another aspect which Trump will no doubt have no idea about. As part of the presidential record they must legally be permanently retained and can be requested in subpoena as evidence at trial or hearings. It was Nixon’s own tapes that eventually did him in and Trump has clearly not learned any lessons from history if he’s heading down the same road.

    Diplomatically it’s a disaster, legally it’s just as bad and Trump’s standard operating procedure of threatening everyone he falls out with is so pathetic and empty when it comes to Comey that this is definitely going to bite him on the arse in due course. If Comey wasn’t pissed off enough at being fired and the way it was done, finding out on tv and thinking it was a prank because Trump is too cowardly to tell him man to man, then he sure as hell isn’t going to be any happier at Trump trying to stop him telling his story to the press or the congressional hearings.

    This caps a week that has been so bizarre, even on the scale of the madness that follows Trump all the time, it’s been hard to get one’s head round it all. The firing itself and the way it was done, pretending it was about Hillary’s emails but actually being stupid enough to point out the real reason, the Russia investigation, in the firing letter. Then if you couldn’t think of any way to make that worse, hosting the very Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak who’s at the centre of the investigation about contacts with Trump staff, at the White House the next day AND for fucks sake with American press excluded from the room and only Russian press allowed in. It’s hard to imagine any way of making this look more like Trump reporting back to his Russian masters “Ok I fired the FBI guy who was getting too close to the truth, what do you want me to do now?” But yes even that could be made worse because if Nixon comparisons weren’t flying about thick and fast enough already Trump only goes and meets with Henry Kissinger immediately after he hosts the Russians.

    It’s like something out of Alice through the looking glass. It’s past all comprehension that a man can so much to hurt himself so very badly in such a short space of time with no one apparently able to leash him even the smallest amount, to persuade him to shut his stupid mouth, stop tweeting, don’t meet anyone or do anything until a grown up has approved it.

    I think Jared and Ivanka who were supposed to be able to put the brakes on Trump a bit have thrown their hands up in despair and gone to ground. Not a peep out of either of them for a week now. Daddy dear is apparently beyond any possible intervention standing a chance of saving him so the best thing to do is fuck off as far away as possible and try not to get caught in the blast when the bomb goes up.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #32
    May 13, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    If Comey wasn’t pissed off enough at being fired and the way it was done, finding out on tv and thinking it was a prank because Trump is too cowardly to tell him man to man,
    then he sure as hell isn’t going to be any happier at Trump trying to stop him telling his story to the press or the congressional hearings.

    Trump is going to have a problem, because Comey will be obliged to answer questions (including ones from democrats) at congressional hearings, and the press will be entitled to report these!



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #27
    May 12, 2017 at 5:35 am

    People in the Pentagon must be crapping themselves about ever having to tell Trump about America’s military capabilities or what’s new and top secret or under development because chances are he’s going to go and brag about it on tv at some point if he thinks that will make him look like the big cheese.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpintel-0504pm-desktop%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.b273190151b3

    During a May 10 meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, Trump began describing details about an Islamic State terror threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.

    In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,”

    “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

    It was a no-brainer predicting this would happen soon. State secrets are going to be about as safe with Trump as with any other 6 year old. This would be treason if anyone else did it but because this egotistical buffoon is the president then he’s entitled to deem that classified information is no longer classified so by blabbing to the Russians about it he’s effectively just declassified what was too sensitive to even tell America’s allies or many people in the government.



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  • And that fat, bald-headed McMaster, who everyone is supposed to respect – and even Democrats speak highly of him – denied that any malfeasance took place. He’s just another liar like the rest of them. So he wrote about Vietnam and was critical of Washington D.C. — Vietnam is no longer controversial and Johnson is not his boss.

    And Hillary! She put us all at risk, should go to jail. “Lock her up”, cried the baboons.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #35
    May 16, 2017 at 4:03 am

    It was a no-brainer predicting this would happen soon. State secrets are going to be about as safe with Trump as with any other 6 year old.

    An infantile blabbering idiot, is still an infantile blabbering idiot, regardless of any appointment or badge of office!

    . . . Just as the emperor has no clothes, regardless of the pronouncements of his sycophants or chorus of brainless cheerleaders!

    BTW: – I wonder how much of their tax money he is “saving” them, by running his “Winter White-House” – “just on expenses” without taking a president’s salary? 🙂

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-salary-us-president-refuses-prove-campaign-promise-a7626486.html

    Donald Trump refuses to prove he is not taking a salary, despite promise to do so

    White House and Treasury fail to provide evidence for claim President is giving his $400,000-a-year income to charity



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #35
    May 16, 2017 at 4:03 am

    In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,”

    We must remember that what Trump considers “Great Intel” and what informed professionals regard as “Great Intel”, are not necessarily the same!

    Trump gets “great intel” on global warming from his chosen advisors, and got “great intel” on his immigrant ban.
    It was so “great” that he sacked the attorney who told him it wasn’t likely to be legal, and criticised the “so-called-judge” who confirmed this!
    He seems to have also sacked the FBI director who told him the Russian connections in his cabinet needed investigation!

    “Great Intel” in Trump-Speak, probably means something he read in DimBart, or something someone told him, which he liked to hear!



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  • If you want sensitive confidential information blabbered all over – give it confidentially to the village gossip!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39937258

    US President Donald Trump has defended his “absolute right” to discuss sensitive material on terrorism and airline safety at a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister.

    US media reports said he had shared material that was passed on by a partner that had not given permission.

    The White House refused to comment on reports that Israel was the source.

    Though not illegal, Mr Trump’s alleged gaffe is seen as a breach of trust by many in the intelligence community.

    Mr Trump met Sergei Lavrov last week in the Oval Office, out of view of the US media.

    Leading Republicans and Democrats have voiced concerns over what was said, with top Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer calling for the transcripts to be released by the White House.

    The US Senate Intelligence Committee has also asked for copies of any notes taken in the meeting. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is due to brief the committee later.

    Mr Trump’s alleged disclosures are not illegal, as the US president has the authority to declassify information.

    A report in the Washington Post on Monday said Mr Trump had confided top secret information relating to an IS plot thought to centre on the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

    In a conversation with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the Oval Office on 10 May, the president revealed details that could lead to the exposure of a source of information, officials told the paper.

    The intelligence disclosed came from a US ally and was considered too sensitive to share with other US allies, it added.

    Others at the meeting realised the mistake and scrambled to “contain the damage” by informing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA), says the Post.

    The meeting came a day after Mr Trump fired his FBI chief, James Comey, sparking criticism that he had done so because the FBI was investigating his election campaign’s alleged Russian ties.

    On Tuesday, US media reported the divulged material had been provided to the US by Israel, where Mr Trump is due to visit next week.



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  • @ #31- The Trump administration has loosened nutritional standards aimed at making US school lunches healthier that were championed by former first lady Michelle Obama.

    New Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue postponed reductions in sodium, relaxed requirements for whole grains and allowed sweetened flavoured milk back.

    One in five US children is obese, the US government says.

    More than 30m mostly poor children eat federally-funded school lunches.

    The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act made federal grants for meals conditional on reductions in calories, sodium and trans fat content and increases in fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

    But speaking at a primary school in the state of Virginia, Mr Perdue said some aspects of the standards had “gone too far.”

    Yep!
    Those healthy kids who have been taught to eat a healthy diet,
    are a serious threat to the turnover and profits
    of the medical, dentistry, and insurance industries!
    Trumpies urgently need to fix that!!

    Healthy diets, are also a threat to the junk-food and junk-drinks industry, – but what’s the loss of health, teeth, life expectancy, and a few kids, when corporate profits are to be made!!

    Remember the Republican chant with the silent word muted out to make it palatable to gullibles who think it includes them!

    “(Corporate) America first”!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39932366

    A healthy teenager in the US state of South Carolina died from drinking several highly-caffeinated drinks too quickly, a coroner has ruled.

    Davis Allen Cripe collapsed at a high school in April after drinking a McDonald’s latte, a large Mountain Dew soft drink and an energy drink in just under two hours, Gary Watts said.

    The 16-year-old died from a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia”.

    He had no pre-existing heart condition.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #24
    May 10, 2017 at 6:57 am

    One thing is for sure now. Comey is pissed off with Trump and no longer has a job to protect.

    The hole that Trump has been steadily digging for himself just got a lot deeper.

    It was reported last week that Comey had a habit of writing up notes after important or unusual meetings and sending them to colleagues as an email memo to create a computer system dated report for evidential purposes much as authors do to establish copyright. The first of these since Trump fired him has just surfaced. Its contents tell the following story.

    On Feb 14th Comey met with Trump, Pence and Sessions in the Oval Office to brief them. Trump then asked Pence and Sessions to leave and then he tried to persuade Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn and Russian connections. Comey was so appalled at this attempt to obstruct justice he wrote it up and shared it with several others at the FBI. This was two weeks after Sally Yates briefed Trump that Flynn was compromised on 26th Jan and the day after Flynn was finally asked to resign on 13th Feb.

    The White House is once again deep in denial mode that Trump ever asked for this but this has the resonant ring of truth and it’s beyond credulity that Comey would write such a thing 3 months ago if it didn’t happen just to get back at Trump in the future for firing him because Comey’s crystal ball told him this was going to happen one day. We all know that such a request is typical of what Trump would actually do because he has no basic morality or ethics to moderate his behaviour.

    It will be interesting to see what Trump’s approval ratings stand at in the next round of polls once the public have had time to digest this insane week of Trump gaffes and blatant illegalities. I’m sure a core of his base don’t care what he does but outside of that this constant stream of extraordinary news must be having some effect.



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  • National Security Adviser McMaster who replaced Flynn in February has done himself no favours by trying to defend Trump’s leaking of sensitive security information to the Russian Ambassador and Russian Foreign Minister last week. His reputation for being a straight shooter has taken a big hit as he tried to obfuscate, deflect and deny his way through press briefings with carefully chosen weasel words which didn’t answer the real questions being put to him.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/05/16/translating-mcmasters-rhetoric-on-the-russia-leak-story/?utm_term=.6caca03e9d20

    There are some very troubling points that came up here. At one point McMaster tried to defend Trump by saying Trump had never been briefed fully on the info he revealed so it wasn’t his fault for not realising how sensitive it was. McMaster was clearly ad libbing at this point and not realising how utterly stupid he sounded if people are telling Trump secret intelligence but not revealing it’s top secret or asking him to keep it to himself.

    McMaster also claimed that everything Trump told the Russians was already in the public domain and yet the WH made panicked calls to the CIA and NSA immediately after Trump shot his mouth off and CNN and the Washington Post were asked not to reveal the source of the intel about ISIS or the city it came out of as this might put lives of assets at risk.

    As Spicer, Conway, Sarah Huckabee and others have found, when you get sucked into Trump’s vortex you can kiss your own integrity goodbye because there’s no way of defending him or being a surrogate for this insane man without lying for him very deliberately and on a regular basis. Even then the chances are he’ll change his own version of a story at the drop of a hat and throw everyone else under the bus without a second thought.

    McMaster has come across as a fool both for parroting weasel words that had clearly been scripted for him to say but also for trying to wing it himself at times and making things even worse because he doesn’t think very fast or well on his feet before speaking.

    In other WH gossip it’s being reported that Trump’s friends are now deserting him leaving him increasingly isolated as they finally realise he listens to no one, blames everyone else but himself and is beyond help. Trump is reported to be furious at everyone in the WH at the moment for the troubles he’s all caused himself. He’s blaming his communications team, his legal team, staffers – but not of course himself.

    I think we’re getting close to one of my now famous tipping points. The weasel Repugnants in congress who’ve been busy putting party before country and supporting Trump as they try to fathom which way the wind is blowing are going to make themselves unelectable soon if they don’t unhitch from his bandwagon. As soon as enough of them do so it’s going to become a flood. It may be too late for them anyway. They’ve already revealed that there is no integrity in the Republican party, they have no concern for their constituents welfare after voting for a tax cut that would destroy healthcare. They have no problem lying to their constituents after promising not to vote for the AHCA but then doing so. Ryan and McConnell are utterly corrupt and without integrity and the rest are spineless shitbags basically.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #43
    May 17, 2017 at 3:07 am

    National Security Adviser McMaster who replaced Flynn in February has done himself no favours by trying to defend Trump’s leaking of sensitive security information to the Russian Ambassador and Russian Foreign Minister last week.

    It could be that contemporary records of meetings trump retrospectively generated White House “alternative facts”!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39941124

    The White House has denied a report that President Donald Trump tried to persuade the FBI to end its investigation into former aide Michael Flynn.

    It’s not the only Trump crisis of the last 24 hours, coming hard on the heels of the news that the president shared sensitive material with Russian diplomats.
    The bombshell memo and the ‘I’ word

    Donald Trump is discovering just how dangerous an adversary James Comey can be.

    A person doesn’t rise as high as Mr Comey did in the federal government without learning how to cover his, er, posterior.

    With this latest bombshell from the New York Times it’s clear that the former FBI director, who was unceremoniously sacked by the president, is poised to enjoy the last laugh.
    Thanks to his propensity for memo-writing, he may have constructed an arsenal capable of mortally wounding the Trump presidency.

    At the moment the White House is denying Mr Comey’s reported characterisation of the conversation the two men had shortly after the president fired Michael Flynn.
    In a “he-said, he-said” situation, however, the man who wrote contemporaneous documents – memos plural – will have the upper hand.

    Add that Mr Comey has a reputation for independence, and the face-off looks even more ominous for the president.
    As deputy attorney general, Mr Comey stood up to the Bush administration during a showdown over the legality of a government surveillance programme.
    He also withstood withering criticism from Democrats over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation last year.

    If he swears to a congressional committee that the president put undue pressure on him to end an ongoing Flynn investigation, his word will pack a punch.

    The “I” word – impeachment – has already been broached by politicians as moderate as independent Senator Angus King of Maine.
    If this were a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, articles of impeachment would likely be in the drafting process.

    Republicans still call the shots in Congress, however, and it’s a significant leap to get them to abandon the Trump presidency and any hope of advancing their agenda for the foreseeable future.
    But some, like Senator John McCain – who said this has become a scandal of “Watergate size and scale” – are clearly wavering.

    Trump is eventually going to be an unbearable embarrassment and liability to the Republicans. – An embarrassment they may recognise before or after the mid-term elections!



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  • @#37 – BTW: – I wonder how much of their tax money he is “saving” them, by running his “Winter White-House” – “just on expenses” without taking a president’s salary?

    A different approach from another head of state?

    It would seem that while Trump has been costing American taxpayers a fortune with his weekend flights from Washington to Florida, the Dutch head of state King Willem-Alexander, has been flying incognito as a working pilot, contributing to the business passenger transport system on commercial jets!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39946532

    For 21 years, the king of the Netherlands has flown twice a month as co-pilot while his passengers were in the dark, he has told a Dutch newspaper.

    Willem-Alexander acceded to the throne in 2013 but his other role, in the cockpit, has continued.

    “I find flying simply fantastic,” he told De Telegraaf newspaper.

    He intends to carry on as co-pilot but will spend the coming months learning how to fly Boeing 737s.

    Until now Willem-Alexander has worked behind the joystick of a Fokker and it was already known that he had appeared as a “guest pilot” before being crowned king, in order to maintain his pilot’s licence.

    What was not clear was that he was co-piloting passenger flights incognito, twice a month as king, often with KLM Captain Maarten Putman.

    The Dutch government said last month that he had flown Fokker 70 aircraft for both the government and KLM Cityhopper service, and that the plane was being replaced this year with a 737. Cityhopper flights are aimed mainly at business travellers in dozens of European destinations, particularly in the UK, Germany and Norway.

    Willem-Alexander once said that if he had not been born in a palace, his dream would have been to fly a big passenger plane such as a Boeing 747, so it is no surprise that he intends to retrain for the updated plane.

    Of course, unlike Trump, he is seeking expert help retraining to update his skills and maintain professional competence at this part of his work!



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  • https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/05/10/poll-majority-republican-bill-repeal-replace-obamacare-unfavorable/22078503/

    Poll:
    Majority view Republican bill to repeal, replace Obamacare unfavorably

    The Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare may have passed through the U.S. House of Representatives, but many are still unhappy with the controversial legislation.

    A new poll conducted by AOL News found that a majority of people surveyed view the Obamacare repeal unfavorably.

    Of those polled, 60 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican health care bill, while 31 percent of respondents said they had a favorable opinion. Nine percent said they were unsure.

    Republicans and Democrats alike voiced concerns over certain changes in the replacement legislation — including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

    Following the House victory, GOP senators warned it may not be that simple in the Senate. Republicans can’t afford to lose more than two votes with a 52-48 majority in that chamber, and GOP senators have set the stage for a significant rewrite of the legislation.

    Senator Dean Heller of Nevada said he thinks “the current bill falls short” and raised concerned about the future of Medicaid in his state.

    “We cannot pull the rug out from under states like Nevada that expanded Medicaid and we need assurances that people with pre-existing conditions will be protected,” Heller said in a statement.



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  • https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/05/16/pol-americans-overwhelmingly-like-obamacare-trumpcare/22093981/

    Poll:
    Americans overwhelmingly like Obamacare more than Trumpcare

    A new poll shows Americans aren’t big fans of the new GOP healthcare bill and even like the old system better.

    According to a poll from Public Policy Polling released Tuesday, 53 percent of those surveyed said they prefer the current Affordable Care Act over the Republicans’ American Health Care Act.
    Just 27percent said they prefer the AHCA over the ACA.

    In terms of simple approval, only 25 percent of those in the poll supported the AHCA while 52 percent opposed it.

    This comes as numerous other polls have shown the new GOP bill, also called Trumpcare, is incredibly unpopular. Polls taken over the past two weeks showed approval ranging from a high of 38 percent to a low of just 21 percent. Disapproval has been anywhere from 44 percent to a solid majority of 56 percent.

    Trump may have mindless chanting cheerleaders at his rallies, but it seems most Americans are wising up to what is being proposed!



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  • More revelations today. Even before Trump won the Repugnant nomination as candidate top Republicans including Paul Ryan were speculating he was in the pay of Putin and trying to keep it quiet.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/house-majority-leader-to-colleagues-in-2016-i-think-putin-pays-trump/2017/05/17/515f6f8a-3aff-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_transcript-6pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.600efcbcb2b8

    KIEV, Ukraine — A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

    Ryan then swore everyone present to secrecy and said “No leaks, all right? This is how we know we’re a real family here. What’s said in the family stays in the family.”

    A Ryan spokesman denied such a conversation had ever taken place until the WP told him they had a copy of the actual recording of the meeting! He then tried to pass what had been said off as a joke instead.

    This begs the question just how much do the Republicans who have supported Trump, denied calls for investigations into Trump/Russia, tried to block or deflect such investigations as Nunes did, really know about the situation and in fact is it possible they have evidence or even proof of Trump collusion with the Russians but have kept it quiet and therefore been complicit all this time?



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  • A whole day went by and Trump kept his big mouth shut. Well fairly quiet; there was some whinging about never has a politician been treated so badly when he addressed the coastguards because no Trump speech can exclude a shit load of it being about himself but it was at least comparatively quiet. Today his twitter account takes off again. It’s a witch hunt against him. Does he really think he’s a witch? I think he’s something that begins with C and rhymes with bunt but I’m probably biased.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #50
    May 18, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Today his twitter account takes off again. It’s a witch hunt against him. Does he really think he’s a witch?

    Well those darned critics:- scientists, lawyers, investigators, judges, economists, and diplomats, keep producing that evidence based mainstream media “false news”, which says that “GREAT Trump decisions” are deeply flawed!

    After all, his cabinet appointments show he is clueless about most subjects, so why should his “understanding” or personal perceptions of the national interest, national security, conflicts of interest, or ethical codes and conventions, be any different?

    Cheering for Trump = “good respected capable people”!

    Criticising, contradicting, or investigating Trump = “bad people who need to be got rid of, for not doing their jobs” or for failing to use White House supplied “alternative facts”!



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  • It looks like “Trump-Care”, is still struggling to get political support!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40032893

    Some 23 million people would lose health insurance over the next decade under the revised Republican healthcare plan, says a non-partisan agency.

    Fourteen million people would be uninsured in 2018 alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    The analysis also said federal deficits would fall by $119bn (£91bn) from 2017-2026 under the proposal, which is championed by President Donald Trump.

    House Republicans were excoriated for passing the bill before the assessment.

    Wednesday’s rating lays down the gauntlet to Republican senators who are now producing their own version of the bill, which Democrats have labelled “Trumpcare”.

    House Republicans amended their American Health Care Act (AHCA) after it failed back in March to attract enough support to even win a vote in a chamber their party controls.

    The bill would accomplish a long-running conservative goal of repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

    The CBO score predicts the revised AHCA would leave 1 million fewer Americans uninsured overall than the last version, which said 24 million would lose coverage.

    The $119bn projected to be shaved off the federal deficit is less than the $150bn in savings forecast in the previous version of the bill.

    The findings place a big question mark over whether Republicans will be able to muster enough support to send the bill to the president’s desk.

    “I don’t know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment,” Senate leader Mitch McConnell told Reuters news agency on Wednesday. “But that’s the goal.”



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  • Some of the features from “the party of greed”, are predictable!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40372123

    Senate Republicans have unveiled a plan to overhaul the US healthcare system, including drastic cuts to a government health programme for the poor.
    The 142-page “discussion draft” repeals most of President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

    The Senate plan drops a requirement for individuals to have health insurance and eliminates taxes on the wealthy.

    Republicans, who released the bill after weeks of behind-closed-door talks, need 50 votes to pass it.

    That means they can only afford to have two Republican rebels voting against it when it comes to the floor next week. No Democrats are expected to back it.

    Repealing Mr Obama’s law, called the Affordable Care Act but also known as Obamacare, was a central promise of Republicans throughout his presidency.

    Senators wrote their own version after their colleagues in the House of Representatives passed Obamacare repeal legislation six weeks ago.

    The legislation affects tens of millions of Americans and a fifth of the US economy.

    Details of the draft also include:

    Repealing taxes on the wealthy and insurance companies

    Continuing payments to health insurance companies to reimburse them for subsidies used to help pay for out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans for at least two years

    Stripping funding for US women’s health group Planned Parenthood for a year



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  • It seems that the slim Republican majority makes this bill vulnerable!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40372132

    Four Republican senators have said they will not vote for a new healthcare plan to repeal Obamacare, throwing the bill’s fate into uncertainty.

    Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee and Rand Paul said they were “not ready to vote for this bill”, but were “open to negotiation”.

    Republican senators unveiled a draft of their plan to overhaul the US healthcare system after weeks of talks.

    They can only afford to have two defections to pass the plan.

    Republicans, who released the bill after drafting it in behind-closed-doors negotiations, need to secure 50 votes when the bill comes to the floor next week. No Democrats are expected to support it.

    “Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” the statement from the four senators said.



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  • Even with Republican majorities in both houses and a Republican president, this contradictory mess still struggles to get support!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40662772

    Thirty-two million Americans would lose health coverage under a Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has forecast.
    The non-partisan office’s analysis found the cost of a medical insurance policy would increase 25% next year and double by 2026.

    The repeal bill would also cut the federal deficit by $473bn (£363bn), predicted the CBO.

    The Republican-controlled Senate has twice failed to pass a healthcare bill.

    Its members plan to vote next week on a plan to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2010 health law with a two-year delay.

    But the CBO estimates the number of uninsured would rise by 17 million next year alone if the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, were to be overturned.



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  • In the eyes of the Trumpies, Obamacare is just TOO GOOD for ordinary Americans – so urgently needs to be down-graded!

    However – back in the world of reality! – Even Obamacare does not rate when compared with other developed countries!
    America FIRST????? Top 10 perhaps??? –
    He has to be joking – and sick-joking at that!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40608253

    The NHS has been ranked the number one health system in a comparison of 11 countries.

    The UK health service was praised for its safety, affordability and efficiency, but fared less well on outcomes such as preventing early death and cancer survival.

    The research by the Commonwealth Fund, a US think tank, looked at countries across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia, France and Germany.

    The US came bottom.

    The ranking

    1 UK

    2 Australia

    3 Netherlands

    4 = New Zealand

    4 = Norway

    6 = Sweden

    6 = Switzerland

    8 Germany

    9 Canada

    10 France

    11 US



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  • Of course right-wing politicians the world over, are looking to cut funding of medical services to ordinary citizens!
    I see the present UK government is using cuts to NHS homeopathy treatments (introduced by Tory quack MPs – Treddinnik and Co.), as a headline smoke screen, to make cuts in prescriptions for other medicines – where the NHS service is considered “too good” for the UK public!
    No doubt Tredinnick will generate enough bluster in the junk media for the purpose of hiding the real cuts to real medicines!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40683915

    NHS England has announced plans to stop doctors prescribing homeopathy, herbal and other “low value” treatments.

    NHS England said 18 treatments – such as homeopathy and some types of pain relief – cost the taxpayer £141m a year and generally should not be prescribed.

    Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said he was determined to “root out” waste and inefficiency.

    He said: “The public rightly expects that the NHS will use every pound wisely, and today we’re taking practical action to free up funding to better spend on modern drugs and treatments.”

    He described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

    However! Of the £141,000,000 a year of proposed cuts, the proportion spent on homeopathy and herbal medicines, does seem a rather small proportion, and is out of all proportion to the weighting of the media headlines and political claims!

    £100,009 on herbal medicines

    £92,412 on homeopathy items

    £10.9m on Fentanyl immediate release, used to treat breakthrough pain in palliative care
    £9m on the painkiller Co-proxamol
    £7.8m on Doxazosin Modified Release (MR), a drug for hypertension
    £6.3m on omega-3 fatty acid compounds
    £5m on Oxycodone and Naloxone, used to treat severe pain
    £4.5m on travel vaccines
    £4.3m on muscle pain relieving rubs and ointments
    £2.7m on the anti-depressant Dosulepin (formerly dothiepin)
    £2m on Paracetamol and Tramadol Combination product
    £1.5m on Lutein and antioxidants (e.g. vitamin A, C, E and zinc) supplements
    £0.5m on Perindopril Arginine an ACE inhibitor used in heart failure, hypertension, diabetic nephropathy and prophylaxis of cardiovascular events
    £0.4m on Glucosamine and Chondroiton, nutrients taken to improve pain associated with osteoarthritis




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  • The Republicans still don’t know what they are debating, but they are pressing ahead undoing the Democrat legislation anyway – with even the sick staggering in from hospital to vote! !

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40723060

    The US Senate has voted to start debating a new Republican healthcare bill in a major step forward for President Donald Trump’s attempts to repeal his predecessor’s signature law.

    In a tight vote, several Republicans previously opposed to aspects of the plan changed their minds.

    Prior attempts to replace Obamacare have collapsed in recent weeks due to divisions in the Republican party.

    President Trump had made scrapping the policy a key campaign pledge.

    Before the vote took place, Mr Trump had warned his party’s senators of the repercussions of not pushing through the measures to repeal and replace Obamacare, known formally as the Affordable Care Act.

    The Republican party, which needed a majority for the motion to go ahead, secured 51 votes after Vice-President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaker in support of the legislation.

    Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, received a standing ovation as he returned to Congress to cast his “Yes” vote.

    President Trump tweeted his thanks to the Arizona senator for playing “such a vital role” in the vote.

    “Congrats to all Rep. We can now deliver grt [great] healthcare to all Americans,” he wrote.

    Somehow I think the US 20 – 30 million likely to be losing their healthcare will think it less than “GREAT”!

    It remains unclear what measure senators will now debate and vote on.

    There appear to be two choices – either a repeal-and-replace bill that has already struggled to win support across the party, or a bill that enacts repeal with a two-year delay, in the hope of finding agreement before that time elapses.

    But senators have also considered a “skinny bill”, a far narrower measure that would scale back some of the more controversial elements in an effort to get a wider consensus.



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  • Republicans however are not making much progress, due to their lack of any credible alternative to the Obamacare laws they are dedicated to wrecking!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40750071

    The latest attempt to repeal the Obama-era healthcare act has failed after a dramatic night in the US Senate.

    The bill was eventually voted down by 51 votes to 49 in the Republican-dominated Senate.

    It would have resulted in 16 million people losing their health insurance by 2026, with insurance premiums increasing by 20%, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).



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