Conservative or liberal news and updates
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Article posted September 24, 2017 at 7:30 PM
3.5 million Americans are enduring “apocalyptic” conditions right now because of Hurricane Maria.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 7:01 PM
This week Republicans are going to try, once again, to repeal Obamacare. Thanks to John McCain’s Friday announcement, it looks like they’ll have a tough time of it, but we still need to keep the pressure on. Either way, as the latest analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates, the Graham-Cassidy bill will, by slashing funding, decimate Medicaid as well as the Obamacare system of guarantees and premium subsidies. Paul Krugman rightly summed up the Republican approach behind the bill as “Cruelty, Incompetence, and Lies.”
In a remarkable show of bipartisan opposition from people with real expertise, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, i.e., the 50 people who run Medicaid in each state, put out a statement urging senators to reject Graham-Cassidy and revisit the issue after it can be properly considered.
As Greg Sargent explained, what’s so unusual about the statement is that this wasn’t just a pronouncement from the smaller board of directors, but one that was backed by a significant number of Medicaid directors in red states, including ones where their Republican governor had come out in favor of Graham-Cassidy. This is a “politically sensitive” thing to do. Sargent spoke with the NAMD’s executive director, and learned that “many Medicaid directors from red states privately said they were comfortable with this statement getting out to the public and lawmakers, and in many cases, they eagerly wanted this to happen … To be clear, this is actually unusual.”
So the content of the bill—like that of every attempt thus far to repeal Obamacare—sucks. So let’s spend some time breaking down one of the core intellectual (and I use that word quite loosely here) arguments behind the GOP’s attacks on Obamacare and on just about any progressive proposal on health care.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 6:14 PM
In a further show of administration incompetence, Donald Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin weighed in on Trump’s demand that protesting NFL players be fired. He wants the NFL to pass a rule forbidding it.
“The owners should meet and decide on this rule the way they decide on any other rule,” Mnuchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The NFL has all different types of rules,” he said. “You can’t have stickers on your helmet. You have to have your uniforms tucked in. What the President is saying is, and I think, the owners should meet and they should vote on a rule.”
Why the treasury secretary feels obliged to argue that political protests should be verboten from athletes who are risking permanent brain injuries every week to battle for our amusement is unclear. He could have easily waved the question off. He chose not to.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 6:03 PM
During a Friday night rally in Atlanta, Donald Trump attacked NFL players who have protested police brutality and racism against black Americans by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out, you’re fired!”
The outburst was met with widespread fury, and has resulted in sweeping protests around the NFL today.
• At the first NFL game held since Trump’s remarks, members of the Ravens and the Jaguars both knelt during the anthem before their London game. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who had contributed $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, locked arms with members of the team.
• Numerous members of both the Bills and the Broncos knelt for the anthem before their Buffalo game.
• Nearly a dozen members of the New England Patriots knelt during the anthem. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, also a $1 million inaugural donor, said he was “deeply disappointed by the tone” of Trump’s statements.
• In New Jersey, five Dolphins players knelt for the anthem, while Dolphins owner Stephen Ross joined arms with the rest of the team’s players; Jets CEO Chris Johnson did the same on the other side of the field.
• The Pittsburg Steelers chose as a team to remain in their locker room during the national anthem, while the Chicago Bears linked arms on the sidelines.
• In Detroit, Rico LaVelle dropped to one knee as he sang the closing note of the anthem.
• The NFL itself will air a primetime advertisement promoting unity in response to Trump’s statement.
“We think this is the single best response to demonstrate what we are about,” an NFL spokesman told CNN. “It stands in stark contrast to some who practice the politics of division.”
As NFL players, staff, and commenters continue to condemn Trump’s remarks, it’s almost certain that the protests will continue before today’s other games.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 5:40 PM
The bill’s political fortunes — already dim — just got dimmer.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 5:33 PM
One player broke with the team and stood on the sidelines.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 5:01 PM
The leaked report from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about shrinking or altering 10 national monuments and opening them to mining, drilling, increased grazing, logging, and other development spells trouble for the country’s open land.
But many environmental groups are threatening legal challenges to these moves. According to a story in USA Today:
Ben Schreiber, a political strategist at the environmental group Friends of the Earth, called Zinke’s statement that he would shrink a “handful” of monuments “another in a long line of blatant handouts to the oil and gas industry.” Several monuments under review … overlap with possible coal, oil or natural gas reserves, according to an analysis of federal data by Greenpeace, an environmental group.
“If Secretary Zinke recommends shrinking Bears Ears National Monument it will be another slap in the face to Native American tribes who lobbied for years to get it designated as a National Monument,” Schreiber said in a statement. “Zinke’s action is illegal and he can rest assured that his latest giveaway to corporate polluters will be litigated in the courts.”
Zinke spent nearly four months on a “review” of 27 national monuments to see if past presidents had “overreached” in setting aside large swaths of land for protection. Donald Trump issued an executive order (at the request of oil and coal companies) seeking the review in April, and Zinke delivered his report to Trump in August. But it was kept under wraps until it was leaked to The Washington Post. The Grand Canyon Trust is referring to the draft report as “ZinkeLeaks.”
Utah state officials have been pressing for a change in boundaries—if not the complete reversal of designation—for two national monuments: Bears Ears (designated by President Barack Obama in 2016) and Grand Staircase-Escalante (designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996), and delivered their wishes to Zinke as part of his study. The Utah proposal on Bears Ears would reduce the land by 90 percent—from 1.3 million acres down to 120,000 acres.
Other national monuments on the shrinking and chopping block are Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou, as well as two Pacific Ocean marine monuments—the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. The “recommendation” for all of these and four other monuments is to allow outside commercial use, which Zinke referred to in the report as “traditional use” of such lands. Other monuments that would be affected by the “traditional use” Zinke wants to impose are the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine (logging), the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico (grazing and—get this—border security, because of the possibility of “drug smuggling”), the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument in New Mexico (grazing), and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument off the coast of New England (commercial fishing).
Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, presidents have the authorization to designate land, historic places, or culturally significant areas as national monuments. While other presidents have made small alterations in national monuments, “No president has ever stripped protections from monuments in the way Zinke is proposing,” says a story in the Los Angeles Times. “At stake are millions of acres of unique geological formations, rare archaeological artifacts, and pristine landscapes and seascapes.”
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 3:41 PM
The Maine senator says it would take a “surprise” from the CBO to get her support.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 3:21 PM
The treasury secretary says NFL owners should fine or suspend the protesting players.
Article posted September 24, 2017 at 3:12 PM
“I have the highest level of personal regard for her.”