Trump Decides Not To Make Obamacare Implode, At Least Not This Month
The White House has not yet made an official announcement, but several major news organizations including the AP and Politico report cost sharing payments to insurance companies this month are a done deal. While there are no guarantees going forward, the August payments could be a game-changer because they buy some time for congress to come up with their own Obamacare stabilization measures. Those are likely to get some bipartisan support, and possibly render Trump’s sadistic “will-I-or-won’t-I” game irrelevant, with the health of poor people hanging in the balance.
Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said Congress should now “pass balanced, bipartisan, limited legislation in September that will fund cost-sharing payments for 2018.” Remember, what Alexander is talking about has nothing to do with “Repeal and Replace” which Republicans say they still intend to do, just not right away. This would be a stopgap measure to make sure people don’t get hurt through no fault of their own. Still, it’s pretty much the opposite of the “implosion” the President has been advocating.
Both the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office estimates an average 20% increase in premiums next year if the White House does not make the August payments.
Why the change–if indeed it ends up happening? A lot of it has to do with intense lobbying by State Insurance Commissioners and Governors. We also previously predicted this outcome on the basis that the President’s argument that the payouts amount to “BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies” wasn’t sticking. Instead, it looked like the President was taking insurance away from poor people out of spite.
However, we continue to warn that the President has other, “better” options for making Obamacare implode. Like formally ordering the IRS to stop enforcing the individual and corporate mandates. Those are the penalties imposed if people and companies don’t buy insurance. He could argue that’s an unfair burden on hard working Americans. And that could resonate. So that’s the next thing to watch out for.
Car Attack This Morning In A Coastal City In Spain, Follows A Much Larger Attack In Barcelona That Claimed 14 Lives, Including A 3 Year Old Girl, And Injured 100 More
Vehicles, not bombs, the weapons of choice in both terrorist attacks. The second, involving the upside-down Audi in the photo below, occurred in Cambrils, slightly south of Barcelona. 7 people were injured. That attack culminated in a shootout in which five armed suspects were killed. Both The Guardian and the BBC are live blogging, with info on the attacks.
Also early this morning a passenger was found stabbed to death in a car as it neared a roadblock. The driver, however, had escaped.
Earlier, in Barcelona, a van entered a famous entertainment and tourist area known as Las Ramblas, and drove unimpeded for nearly 700 yards, swerving back and forth and mowing down people along the way.
Finally, the driver jumped out, and at the time of publication of this newsletter, still has not been caught. Three accomplices have been arrested. The driver this morning was identified as 18-year old Moussa Oukabir, and his older brother, who is from Morocco, is already in custody.
ISIS took credit. Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called it a “jihadist attack.” Poland’s Far-right government (which Trump loves) lost no time in politicizing the attack, calling it “a clash of civilizations.”
Separately, in another smaller city, one person was killed in an explosion that destroyed a house.
Trump Responds By Suggesting Muslim Terrorists Should Be Shot With Bullets Soaked In Pig’s Blood–We Are Not Making This Up!
After one, level-headed, supportive Tweet, offering encouragement and assistance, Trump quickly followed with this:
Trump is referring to a widely debunked Tall Tale [Snopes] that seems to be a favorite of his. According to Trump, in the early 1900’s, General “Black Jack” Pershing caught 50 Muslim terrorists in the Philippines, who had done “tremendous damage”, and “dipped 50 bullets in pig’s blood.” He then shot 49 of the prisoners, and sent the 50th back to tell the others. (Devout Muslims are forbidden from eating pork.)
Aside from the fact that what Trump described would almost certainly be a serious war crime, this is the same President who is worried “the world is laughing at us” because his predecessor joined a climate agreement?!
Is Bannon Right? If Trump Makes It All About Statues, Does He “Win”?
Early this morning, work crews removed a statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney from the grounds of the Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis. It will be moved to a storage facility until someone decides what to do next. Taney authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery and ruled black Americans could not be citizens.
Political infighting over removal of the statue was intense. In the end, Maryland’s Republican Governor changed his stance only this week, directly prompted by revulsion over what he’d seen in Charlottesville. A Democratic State Senator was the most virulent opponent of the statue’s removal.
Anyway, now it’s gone.
But the controversy is hardly over. Says Trump’s still Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to the New York Times, “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.” Really? Is this what’s going to re-energize and rally Trump supporters?
• Maybe not if people hear the words of Stonewall Jackson’s great grandchildren: “We are not ashamed of our great-great-grandfather….We are ashamed of the monument.”
• Maybe not if people read the words of General Lee himself: “I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife.”
• Maybe not if people see the crowds in North Carolina who stood in line to turn themselves in for tearing down a Confederate statue, even though they did not tear it down. The move was to stand in solidarity with the 8 people who have been charged with the crime of “injury to a statue”, a misdemeanor, as well as “inciting a riot”, a felony.
And We Wish Donald Trump A Very Happy Un-Birthday
The White House took the very unusual step of announcing one of its senior staffers is not resigning. That would be Trump’s Economic Director Gary Cohn. According to the Washington Post, Cohn, who is Jewish, was “mortified” by the President’s comments on Charlottesville, defending White Nationalists. Cohn is seen as key to moving forward with Trump’s economic agenda, and is also considered the leading candidate to replace Janet Yellen as Chair of the Federal Reserve.
Why Would White Nationalists Choose Deep Blue Cities Like Boston, Berkeley, and San Francisco As The Sites For Their Next Series Of Rallies?
A much publicized round of protests at Google offices across the country set for this weekend has been cancelled. But other Far-right events are moving forward: Boston this weekend, Berkeley and San Francisco next.
The so-called “Boston Free Speech Rally” at the Boston Common Saturday, claims on its Facebook page to have no connection to Charlottesville, and in case we weren’t getting the message, states any suggestions to the contrary: “COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!” At the same time, Fox reports a contributor from the conspiracy theory peddling InfoWars will be among its speakers. A counter protest will start about two miles away and make its way to the Boston Common, where there is likely to be a confrontation.
The geography and logistics of these events seems intended to maximize the probably of a showdown. Any violence on the part of Left-wing groups in particular, plays completely into White Supremacists’ and Trump’s hand right now. We are saying: at this moment in history, even if someone is pushing you over the edge, think twice. Act only if absolutely necessary for self-preservation. We know some people are out there because they want to fight. Just be careful.