Friday, June 30, 2017

The Hill -- Trump to meet Putin at G-20 summit

Trump will be meeting Vladimir Putin next week. That worries me.

I keep hearing from people asking me to stop talking about Trump and Russia. "The Cold War is over!" someone recently wrote on this page, for example. "You're distracting attention from the big issues of widening inequality and climate change.

The fact is, we can't do anything about any problem we face if our democracy doesn't work. And in his treatment of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election on his behalf, Trump continues to undermine American democracy, in 3 fundamental ways:

1. Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election was an extraordinary and unprecedented attack on our democracy, yet Trump repeatedly denies that it occurred -- despite irrefutable case from all U.S. intelligence agencies that it did.

2. He has taken no known steps to protect our democracy from future Russian interference in our elections.

3. He continually attacks stories about the Russian interference and the investigation into them as “Fake News,” and calls it a media “hoax.” This ongoing demagogic effort to discredit the press in the eyes of the American people directly undermines democracy. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press.”

What really concerns me is that Trump seems far more interested in cozying up to Putin than in preserving, protecting, and defending our constitutional system of government. -- Robert Reich

Trump to meet Putin at G-20 summit

Vox -- Voting rights are under assault nationwide. Here’s how to protect them.

“In a democracy, there is one right that stands atop all the rest: the right to vote. Unless the right of citizens of all races, ethnicities, and classes to cast a ballot is carefully protected, a democracy has limited legitimacy — or none.

“Our country’s history embodies this lesson, telling a story of expanding voting rights culminating with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act did not make up for decades of Jim Crow laws, but it sought to ensure we never returned to those dark days of our history by enshrining the right to vote for Americans of all races. And for 38 years, the VRA accomplished that. Voting rights were protected, and our democratic legitimacy benefited.

“That changed in 2013, when the US Supreme Court struck down a critical component of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder. The court held that it was no longer reasonable to require states that had discriminatory practices in the 1960s or early 1970s to obtain permission from Washington before changing their voting laws. “Problems remain in these States and others,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts, “but there is no denying that … our Nation has made great strides” toward racial equity.

“Shelby County’s lifting of restrictions on those states, however, has resulted in an unprecedented wave of voter suppression laws. Several states moved quickly to narrow the kinds of identification voters could supply at the polls and to eliminate same-day registration, among other measures. These laws are so clearly tailored to suppress minority voters that former Attorney General Eric Holder described them as having ‘echoes of Jim Crow.’

“The enactment of these laws has coincided with bogus complaints from some quarters about election fraud (especially fraud by minority-group members), which President Donald Trump has loudly endorsed, and which have now led to his creation of a presidential advisory commission tasked with ensuring ‘election integrity.’”

Robert Reich says, As Trump and his enablers cook up ways to make it harder to vote, several states are increasing voter participation by enacting Automatic Voter Registration.

It’s simple and effective: Voters are automatically registered when they sign up for a drivers license or fill out other government forms -- unless, of course, they opt out. In Oregon, where they enacted the system in 2015, 100,000 additional voters turned out for last year's election.

In total, 8 states have now adopted Automatic Voter Registration. It’s being considered in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Democrats have introduced similar legislation in Congress.

This movement is a critical. In May, Trump commissioned a panel to investigate his bogus claims of voter fraud. Previous investigations have found his claims to be completely baseless, but Trump will likely use the commission to pursue and justify restrictive new voting laws.

If your state doesn’t yet have Automatic Voter Registration, get involved and make it happen.

Voting rights are under assault nationwide. Here’s how to protect them.

By Russ Feingold 

Washington Post -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has never ‘promoted or encouraged violence.’ She is very wrong

Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for a nasty attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski’s physical appearance.

“I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” Ryan said at a press conference, less than three hours after Trump ridiculed “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” for “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

“Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was dispatched Thursday to defend President Trump's tweets about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski that have earned almost universal condemnation, even from Republicans. In doing so, she made a whopper of a claim.

“When a reporter at Thursday's news briefing noted that just two weeks ago, after the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice, the political world talked of cooling the rhetoric to avoid such violence, Sanders was quick to respond: ‘The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.’

“This is laughable.

‘Even if you don't believe Trump has technically incited violence (which he has been sued for), he clearly nodded toward violence at his campaign rallies. Sometimes it was veiled; other times it was unmistakable. Sometimes he was talking about self-defense, but it was clear he was advocating for a ‘form of violence.’”

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake points out instances of Trump doing just that.

Analysis | Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has never ‘promoted or encouraged violence.’ She is very wrong.  

By Aaron Blake

Dan Rather to Donald Trump: "You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

Yesterday, Trump tweeted: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came.…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

It’s embarrassing that this man, Donald Trump, is the President of our United States. There should be no question that The man has no business becoming President.

To Trump's tweet, Dan Rather replies:

"You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

These are the immortal words of army lawyer Joseph Welch in response to Senator Joseph McCarthy during the communist witch hunts of the 1950s. They are sadly just as apt today.

I do not like rising to the bait of the tweets of President Trump. But this morning's demeaning, sexist, and scurrilous attack on Mika Brzezinski cannot go unmentioned. I have known Mika for many years. We were colleagues at CBS News and she is a fearless and fair journalist. I also knew her late father, Zbigniew, who was President Carter's national security advisor. The fact that this attack comes while Mika is still mourning his death only adds to the outrages and disgust.

For years we heard sanctimonious and cynical attacks on President Obama by many in the GOP about how he was demeaning the office of the presidency. Really? Check your twitter feeds folks, for I fear we have a demeanor in chief in the White House now. This is not about policy or even politics. This is about a common decency.

Senator McCarthy once was powerful, and then the fever broke and much of the country saw a small, vile, hateful man. His name is now an epithet for an era of shame in our country's history.

In that 1954 testimony, the army lawyer Welch added: ""Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." Imagine if McCarthy had Twitter. There can be no more surprise about the level of cruelty or recklessness we are witnessing today.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Washington post -- How the push for a Senate health-care vote fell apart amid GOP tensions

“Sen. Dean Heller was sitting two seats away from President Trump and facing his grim-faced colleagues this week when he decided to crack a pointed joke.

“Heller — a square-jawed, ­sandy-haired moderate Republican — said the attack ads against him, paid for by a Trump-allied super PAC, should have used his own image instead of actor Matt Damon’s.

“There were scattered laughs, including a chuckle from Trump. But many of the Republican lawmakers lining tables in the East Room stayed mute.

“The senator from Nevada then reiterated that he had deep reservations about the party’s major rewrite of the nation’s health-care laws, despite the Trump network’s efforts to pressure him to back the legislation.

“Trump nodded and said he under­stood Heller’s view. A ­couple of hours later, the super PAC pulled the ads off the air.”

How the push for a Senate health-care vote fell apart amid GOP tensions

By Robert Costa, Sean Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin and Kelsey Snell

CNN -- Trump tweets shocking assault on Brzezinski, Scarborough

It’s embarrassing that this man, Donald Trump, is the President of our United States. The man has no business becoming President.

Trump tweeted: “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came.…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

In response, MSNBC said: “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.”

How can anyone argue with that statement!

Trump tweets shocking assault on Brzezinski, Scarborough

By Brian Stelter

CNN -- What's really behind Trump's 'poor person' comment

By Paul Waldman
At his campaign-style rally in Iowa last week, Trump said he doesn't ‘want a poor person’ advising him on the economy.

President Donald Trump’s reasoning for his choice of Wall Street insiders -- people like billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president -- to populate his Cabinet is that rich people know how to manage money better than poor people.

But we are not talking about actual poor people. “No one's suggesting that the President ought to pluck someone working for minimum wage at a fast-food restaurant to be the next chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. When Trump says ‘poor,’ what he really means is ‘not rich.’”

There's nothing unusual for Republican politicians to “approach domestic policy on the idea that there's a causal link between the amount of money you have and your moral worth as a human being. Wealth, to most Republicans, [is] a sign of virtue.

“When they're in charge -- however differently they may frame it for the base -- the wealthy will be hired, catered to, indulged and pampered, while the poor will be the target of vicious budget cuts and stern lectures about pulling on those bootstraps. It doesn't come from any notion about what makes for effective policies -- it's about values.

“Trump is just a little more willing to say it.”

Here is Robert Reich’s perspective:

"I just don't want a poor person," he said. "Does that make sense?" He even gloated about filling his cabinet with Wall Street insiders and Goldman Sachs executives. Does he think we've forgotten what happened the last time the big banks gambled with our economy?

Trump's team of banksters are already hard at work dismantling financial reforms designed to protect Americans from another Great Recession. They oppose increasing the minimum wage, basic workers' rights, and affordable health care for all. Meanwhile, they're pursuing tax cuts for the top 1% that would explode the budget and devastate programs for the poor and working class.

So to answer his question, "does that make sense?" to only have rich people advising you? Yes. If your only goal is to serve them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

NY Times -- T r u m p ’ s L i e s

The New York Times catalogued nearly every outright lie the president has told publicly since taking the oath of office. As the authors of this list put it: "Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them."

T r u m p ’ s   L i e s

By David Leonhardt And Stuart A. Thompson

NBC News -- 74 Percent. Your Health Care Premium Could Go Up That Much (VIDEO)

By Benjy Sarlin
Insurance premiums would shoot up 74 percent for the average customer under the Republican Senate health care bill, according to a new report, with older customers having to pay more than twice as much for comparable plans.

The study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation looked at the average cost for an individual market plan that covers about 70 percent of medical costs, which is the benchmark plan under Obamacare, and factored in both the price of insurance and the amount of subsidies people would receive.

The Senate bill, backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., encourages customers to buy insurance with higher deductibles, reduces subsidies that lower deductibles for low-income customers, allows insurers to charge older customers more, and provides more generous subsidies for young people than older people.

Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?

Should All Americans
Have the Right (Be Entitled)
 to Health Care?
An authentic single-payer and universal health care system where every American would be required to have health insurance -- government or private -- is the only solution to the nation’s health care problem.

Adopting a single-payer health insurance system, a system in which government rather than private insurers pay for all health care costs would significantly reduce health care costs by eliminating a whole lot of expenses that aren’t related to providing medical care. That’s because such a system would not have to advertise its services, make a profit for investors, or reward its executives with multi-million-dollar compensation packages, as private insurers do.

A single-payer system is also a system where consumers could buy insurance on the open market. The insurance companies could still profit, but it would not force Americans to purchase health insurance they could not afford or force them into a situation of no health care at all.

Health care is a right that should be guaranteed for every American regardless of their financial circumstances.

“As the latest Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act stalls in the Senate, we need to keep up the pressure,” says Robert Reich. “Our latest video explains why moving towards a Medicare for all system [a form of single-payer health care insurance, but not as good as a genuine single-payer system] would deliver better health care at a lower cost.

“Please watch and share:”

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

NY Times -- When Cutting Access to Health Care, There’s a Price to Pay

 By Eduardo Porter

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders:

The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. While the Republican "health care" plan will only make matters much worse, we should understand that we are currently way behind other major countries in terms of the health and we'll-being of our people. Sadly, we trail almost every other major country in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, maternal mortality or early deaths. With 28 million uninsured, we are way behind most other countries in terms of primary care and easy access to the medical and dental care we need. Further, with one out of five Americans under 64 unable to afford the medications their doctors prescribe, we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

This week, our job is to defeat the horrendous Republican Senate proposal which would throw 22 million Americans off of the health insurance they currently have. Into the future, we must rally the American people in the fight to guarantee health care for all through a Medicare for All, single payer program.

Update: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will delay the vote on the Republican leadership's health care bill until after the July 4 recess.

“McConnell told GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score and have a vote after the holiday, two sources told CNN.”

LA Times -- How many people will die from the Republicans' Obamacare repeal bills? Tens of thousands per year

How many people will die from the Republicans'
 Obamacare repeal bills? Tens of thousands per year

“Bottom line: How many people will die if the Republicans succeed in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act?

“Estimates range from about 28,000 to nearly 100,000 a year. Most are poor or near poor, or disabled.

“In return, the richest Americans will get a tax cut of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Rarely has America been faced with such a stark moral choice. -- Robert Reich

How many people will die from the Republicans' Obamacare repeal bills? Tens of thousands per year

Trump’s Chaos is Covering for Stealth Escalation Overseas

“While Washington is fixated on President Trump’s tweets, antics, lies and Russiagate, the administration is ramping up a stealth escalation of our military involvement across the Middle East. As Naomi Klein warns, Trump’s “rolling shock of the chaos and spectacle” distracts from radical actions both at home and abroad. Across the Middle East, the administration drives the United States ever further into wars without end, increasing the dangers of direct military confrontation with Russia and Iran, with little awareness and no mandate from the American people. This is a recipe for calamity.”

Robert Reich’s reaction:

While he deflects our attention with endless lies and chaos, Trump is quietly taking America deeper into war:

1. The U.S. fired 23 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for alleged Syrian use of chemical weapons against civilians.

2. U.S. forces are bombing Iranian-supported militia forces moving forward in southern Syria, and shot down a Syrian jet flying over Syrian airspace.

3. The administration will dispatch 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, plus 400 to Syria.

4. Russia has ended coordination with the U.S. to avoid air collisions, and announced that U.S. planes flying west of the Euphrates would be targeted.

5. Meanwhile, Trump is escalating support for the Saudi air assault on Yemen. Already 17 million Yemenis suffer lack of food, while a cholera epidemic there infects another child every 35 seconds.

6. And Trump has declared that China has failed to influence North Korea. His next move is anyone's guess.

Congress has given over foreign policy to Trump, and Trump has given it over to the generals -- a deadly and dangerous gamble.

Trump’s Chaos is Covering for Stealth Escalation Overseas
Published on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 by The Washington Post

By Katrina Vanden Heuvel

Monday, June 26, 2017

Washington Post -- Trump seeks sharp cuts to housing aid, except for program that brings him millions

It is clear that President Trump’s policy initiatives are meant to do two things: gut as many of former President Barack Obama’s policy initiatives as he can and to enhance his business empire’s bottom line.

One example of Trump’s policy initiatives that exploits his position as President to financially benefit himself and represents his continuing conflicts of interest problem is investigated by the Washington Post’s Shawn Boburg.

Here are a few paragraphs from his report:

“President Trump’s budget calls for sharply reducing funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness — with a notable exception: It leaves intact a type of federal housing subsidy that is paid directly to private landlords.

“One of those landlords is Trump himself, who earns millions of dollars each year as a part-owner of Starrett City, the nation’s largest subsidized housing complex. Trump’s 4 percent stake in the Brooklyn complex earned him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15, according to his recent financial disclosure.

“Trump’s business empire intersects with government in countless ways, from taxation to permitting to the issuing of patents, but the housing subsidy is one of the clearest examples of the conflicts experts have predicted. While there is no indication that Trump himself was involved in the decision, it is nonetheless a stark illustration of how his financial interests can directly rise or fall on the policies of his administration.

"The federal government has paid the partnership that owns Starrett City more than $490 million in rent subsidies since May 2013, according to figures provided by a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nearly $38 million of that has come since Trump took office in January.

“That subsidy generates steady income for Trump and his siblings, each of whom inherited an interest in the property when their father died. Although it represents a small portion of his overall wealth, it is one of the few examples of money the president derives directly from the federal government he oversees.”

Trump seeks sharp cuts to housing aid, except for program that brings him millions

By Shawn Boburg

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dean Heller Becomes the Fifth GOP Senator to Oppose Health Care Bill

From Robert Reich:

We need to keep up the pressure. Several key Republican Senators have balked at McConnell's bill to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada -- who will likely face a tough reelection next year -- said he couldn't support the bill. Deep cuts to Medicaid could jeopardize health care for 600,000 Nevadans

Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski are also on the fence. They're rightfully concerned about a provision to defund Planned Parenthood.

Two others -- Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia -- could go either way.

Meanwhile, four conservative senators led by Rand Paul oppose the bill because it's still not extreme enough for them.

McConnell can only afford to lose only 2 Republican senators.

We can still stop this travesty. Call your senators, organize, resist. Lives are literally on the line.

The Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121.

Dean Heller Becomes the Fifth GOP Senator to Oppose Health Care Bill

By Leigh Ann Caldwell

CNN Money -- Boeing factory where Trump delivered jobs speech to lay off 200 workers (VIDEO)

This week Boeing announced plans to cut 200 jobs at the factory in South Carolina where Trump rolled out his economic agenda. Robert Reich’s Inequality Media video explains why Trumponomics is pure fantasy.

The real way to make the American workforce more competitive is to invest more in the education and skills of Americans.

Boeing factory where Trump delivered jobs speech to lay off 200 workers

By Jackie Wattles, Chris Isidore and Jon Ostrower

CNN -- Trump: Obama 'did nothing' about Russia election meddling

President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of not taking action against Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election, suggesting that they were trying to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said. “But nobody wants to talk about that.” Questioning Obama’s inaction, Trump said, “Obama didn’t do enough to address the situation.”

Robert Reich reacts:

Accusations are mounting that instead of protecting America from Putin's future cyber-attacks on our elections -- such as occurred last fall when Putin helped Trump get elected -- Trump is doing everything he can to obstruct such defenses.

But to deflect such criticism, Trump is now attacking Obama for failing to defend America against Putin’s 2016 cyber-attack that helped Trump get elected.

"Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it," Trump said in an interview yesterday. “If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don't read that. It's quite sad."

Last night, Trump tweeted: “Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?”

This is hypocritical nonsense.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that after the CIA concluded Putin had been directly involved, the Obama administration debated options for deterring or punishing Russia -- and issued several warnings to Moscow about its activities, including one delivered by Obama to Putin in September. But Obama didn't want to push Putin too hard or go public for fear of appearing to side with Hillary Clinton in the election.

Trump can't hide the fact he got elected with the direct help of Vladimir Putin -- the man he has continuously courted and complimented. And he refuses to take action to prevent Putin from helping Trump again. That's the real scandal.

Trump: Obama 'did nothing' about Russia election meddling

By Eugene Scott

Washington Post -- Which Republican senators will walk the plank for this terrible health-care bill?

Robert Reich’s comment:

Make no mistake: The Senate’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not a healthcare bill. It’s a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, paid for by a dramatic reduction in healthcare funding for approximately 23 million poor, disabled, and working middle class Americans. America’s wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346 billion over 10 years.

If enacted, it would be one of the largest single transfers of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history, at a time when the rich already have a higher percentage of the nation’s wealth and income than in over a century.

Mitch McConnell – the Senate leader who refused to hold hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court pick and then pushed Neil Gorsuch through by changing the Senate rules on Supreme Court confirmations -- has scheduled no hearings on this bill. He has shut out not only his own Republican colleagues but also major hospitals, physician groups, consumer advocates and organizations representing millions of patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.

The core of the bill is a huge reduction in Medicaid – America’s healthcare program for the poor -- even beyond the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Reducing the federal government’s share of Medicaid is not reform, by any sane person’s definition. It is an enormous cost shift to the states – many of whom will not make up the difference. Among the programs sure to be cut are state responses to the opioid addiction crisis, of which more than 40 percent of the cost has been covered by Medicaid.

If this shameful bill is enacted, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump -- as well as every Republican senator who signs on --will bear the burden of tens of thousands of deaths that could have been avoided were they not so determined to make rich Americans even richer.

“Groups representing pediatricians, cancer specialists, heart doctors and family physicians all agree: Both the House and the Senate offerings for fixing health care in the U.S. would make things worse, not better.

“Within hours of its release, groups representing medical professionals were denouncing the Senate version, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act or BCRA.

“ ‘The Senate draft health care bill is literally heartless,’ American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said.” -- NBC News

Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell in his memoir, “The Long Game,” writes how he overcame polio as a child with the help of polio treatment center set up by President Roosevelt. Now McConnell wants to take away government assistance from children who may be suffering from similar conditions. -- NPR

Which Republican senators will walk the plank for this terrible health-care bill?

By Jennifer Rubin

Thursday, June 22, 2017

BBC -- Phoenix flights cancelled because it's too hot for planes

“The weather forecast for the US city suggests temperatures could reach 120F (49C) on Tuesday.

“That is higher than the operating temperature of some planes.

“American Airlines announced it was cancelling dozens of flights scheduled to take off from Sky Harbor airport during the hottest part of the day.”

Senator Bernie Sanders writes:

In Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday, more than 40 flights have been cancelled — because it is too hot for the planes to fly. That is insane. But that is the reality of what we are seeing with our climate now. Of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have occurred in the 21st century. Climate change is real and is caused by human activity. This planet and its people are in trouble. Unless we get our act together, we will see in years to come more record temperatures, more droughts, more floods and more extreme weather disturbances. If we do nothing to address climate change, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. This isn’t just a problem for the future – the impacts of climate change are apparent here and now.

Phoenix flights cancelled because it's too hot for planes

Robert Reich: The Real Reason Republicans want to Pull the Plug on Obamacare (VIDEO)

“A draft copy of the secret Republican Senate bill that would overhaul Obamacare is expected to be released online at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, less than two hours after many GOP senators get to see if for the first time.

“Even some of the senators who were reportedly part of a group tasked with writing it, including Mike Lee of Utah, had not seen its details.”

GOP health bill due for Thursday morning release; here's a sneak peek By Dan Mangan

Robert Reich in this video presents the real reason why they keep pushing for repeal.

NPR -- U.S. Elections Systems Vulnerable, Lawmakers Told In Dueling Hearings

“If two nearly simultaneous hearings Wednesday by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election revealed anything, it's that U.S. officials saw what was going on but were all but powerless to stop it.”

Robert Reich points out some highlights:

1. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee: "In 2016 the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple. Now, the key question for the President and Congress is: What are we going to do to protect the American people and their democracy from this kind of thing in the future?"

2. Witnesses before the Senate Intelligence Committee, from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, told lawmakers they expect the Russian cyber-threat against the U.S. to evolve into a larger threat in future elections. "I believe the Russians absolutely will continue to try to conduct influence operations in the U.S., which will include cyber operations," said Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.

3. Alex Halderman, a computer science professor at the University of Michigan who has inspected state elections systems, said “our highly computerized election infrastructure is vulnerable to sabotage, and even to cyberattacks that could change votes," and warned "these realities risk making our election results more difficult for the American people to trust. I know America's voting machines are vulnerable because my colleagues and I have hacked them."

4. Halderman and other experts urged states to replace "obsolete" paperless machines with optical-scan machines that count paper ballots; audit election results by examining paper ballots to "provide high assurance" that the election results are correct; and apply tougher cybersecurity safeguards to voting equipment and elections management.

But what are Trump and the White House doing about all this? Either ignoring Russia’s cyber-attack, denying it, or seeming to cover it up.

The president has a sworn duty to protect the United States and the Constitution. We have been attacked, folks. Trump is failing in his most fundamental responsibility.

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary 
Jeh Johnson arrives to testify before the House Intelligence
Committee on Wednesday.

U.S. Elections Systems Vulnerable, Lawmakers Told In Dueling Hearings

By Brian Naylor

Bernie Sanders: Mr. President, I have some bad news for you (VIDEO)

Details of the Senate’s “draft” health care bill, which Republicans were set to unveil Thursday after weeks of secretive negotiations, have finally leaked—and from the sound of things, Mitch McConnell and his cohorts have written a morally appalling piece of legislation that many conservatives will nonetheless find deeply underwhelming. -- Slate

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Mr. President, I have some bad news for you. This pathetic health care bill is not getting through the Senate. We will throw this in the garbage and start from zero.

Top comments:

Kathleen Decker I hope so but I have lost all faith in our country. This is not my country, not where I grew up. I don't recognize it. And public servants....politicians....are not serving us any more. This administration is abhorent.
8 hrs

Michael Rabbe Stop wasting time and just have “Medicare for All.” Everything else is just a colossal waste of time and taxpayers' money. But, of course, the Idiot-in-Chief would veto it, so we're still screwed.
LikeShow more reactions
8 hrs

Robyn Annala Why aren't we just asking Canada, for example, how THEY are making a universal healthcare system work? Why do we think we have to reinvent the wheel, when so many countries are already making this work?
8 hrs

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Hill -- GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal

Mitch McConnell has promised Senate Republicans they’ll receive draft legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday, with a floor vote next week.

McConnell will first bring to the floor the House-passed American Health Care Act (which the Congressional Budget Office has found would eliminate health care for 23 million Americans), and then offer the Senate version as an amendment. The CBO will by then have estimated how many millions of people will lose coverage under the Senate version.

McConnell wants to move fast – getting a majority vote before the public has had a chance to learn what’s in the Senate version. It’s his only hope for passage.

Shame on him. Shame on anyone who wants to take health care away from the poor and sick, in order to give a tax cut to the rich.


John OReilly Republicans are doing exactly what they are paid to do, by their donors. Give them huge tax breaks at the expense of the middle class and poor. McConnell was calling them the "job creators" for years when in fact they don't create anything but more wealth for themselves by owning the Republican Congress. The Republican actions takes huge balls because their health care bill is nothing more than a tax cut for the top 1%. Actual health care means nothing to Republicans, they have great government health care which we pay for. Once again Trump has lied and failed to deliver on his promise of "great health care" for all. Total disgrace.

Mitch Saifert I'm a Canadian so maybe I don't understand completely..... everything the GOP and Trump has done this far is to a) reverse as anything Obama did.... because it was Obama.....and b) ensure the rich and Trump business are well taken care of.....yet every special election a Republicans win... This healthcare business cannot be legal? I'll stay on my side of the border thank you

By Alexander Bolton

Senator Bernie Sanders message to Republican Senators regarding their healthcare plan (VIDEO)

Before they think about cutting Medicaid by $800 billion behind closed doors, I want my Republican colleagues to listen to the stories of people like Ms. Weintraub, who relies on Medicaid to live an independent life. How do Republicans morally justify cutting her services while giving massive tax breaks to their wealthy donor friends?

Sen. Sanders On GOP Efforts To Replace Obamacare

A favored comment to Bernie's Facebook post:

David Mook Vincent from Canada: ”Healthcare is about caring for your community. It's about having a neighbor who can't pay their little daughter's cancer treatment bills and everyone in the community saying "hey man, guess what? We all came together and pitched in a few dollars each for your daughter. The rich paid more, the poor paid little (if any) and you just have to pitch in your part and the rest is all paid. Your daughter is safe now." it's about being a community and know that it would do the same for you. Anyone opposing health insurance, in my opinion, is either brainwashed by corrupt media or selfish. And actually it costs less when there is only one governmental healthcare instead of all the private ones, so these people can't even be considered selfish........ Just mislead."
According to my nephew, an Aetna Healthcare executive, the only thing blocking Universal Healthcare (like the all the rest of the developed world has) are the huge insurance company profits. Example: The CEO of my prescription insurance company raked in $66 million last year. $66 million - one man - one year. Healthcare is a right, multi-million dollar bonuses are not. 

Universal Healthcare is the only real solution to our healthcare crisis. A 2.2% payroll tax plus a small transaction fee on speculative Wall Street transactions could cover everyone, lower drug costs, lower total medical costs, and save most families thousands! All of your premiums, deductibles, co-pays go away!! Universal healthcare may not be free, but it is freeing: you are free to change jobs without the worry of losing healthcare, a parent is free to stay home a few years and raise children, free to go back to college, free to make life choices without sacrificing healthcare. Time to put real people and their needs before corporations and their profits. The rest of the developed world does it and the richest country in the world can too.