Elizabeth Warren tears apart Lyin’ Paul Ryan’s so-called Anti-Poverty Plan

On Tuesday, Paul Ryan unveiled a new anti-poverty plan in Washington, DC. News coverage of the event largely ignored the contents of Ryan’s proposal, instead focusing on his statement that Donald Trump’s attacks on a Hispanic judge constitute the “textbook definition of a racist comment” — but that he’d still be voting for Trump anyway.

…Elizabeth Warren wanted to make sure Ryan’s policy ideas didn’t go completely unnoticed. The Massachusetts senator took to Facebook later in the day to tear apart Ryan’s plan as a retread of old Republican proposals. “It looks more like an agenda for creating poverty than reducing it,” Warren wrote. “In fact, if you look closely, Paul Ryan’s new plan is just a shiny repackaging of Paul Ryan’s old plan: Keep huge tax breaks and special loopholes open for billionaires and giant corporations, gut the rules on Wall Street, then say there’s no money for Social Security, for Medicare, for education, or anything else that will help struggling working families.”

Warren is hardly alone in that assessment. Ryan’s anti-poverty plan rests on some of his favorite pet causes: furthering the ’90s-era welfare reform emphasis on pushing people toward work and block-granting funding for programs while giving states more leeway on how they run the programs.

The left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted that it’s nice to hear Republicans focused on poverty but blasted Ryan’s proposal. “In several areas,” CBPP’s Robert Greenstein wrote, “the plan repeats standard congressional Republican positions in bashing a series of federal laws and regulations designed to protect low- and middle-income families.”

Slate’s Jordan Weissmann highlighted the absurdity of the fact that Ryan’s plan to help poor people includes repealing the Obama administration’s fiduciary rule, a regulation that forces financial advisers to offer retirement advice in the best interests of their clients. “The basic consumer protections offered by the fiduciary rule aren’t going to deprive anybody of essential financial advice,” Weissmann wrote, “and fighting it is an obvious sop to a powerful industry. Trying to cloak it in the language of an anti-poverty effort is as sad as it is hilarious.”

Republicans can be counted on to lie or offer more of their delusional policies that wander back through decades of failure – from Herbert Hoover to Ronald Reagan.

Bernie Sanders made Hillary Clinton a greener candidate

Hillary Clinton is her party’s presumptive nominee. Whether Sanders drops out tomorrow or the day he loses the roll-call vote at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, his campaign is over.

But if ever there were a losing campaign that achieved some major wins, it’s Sanders’. Not only did he force Clinton to talk more about economic inequality, he pushed her to promise stronger action to fight climate change and rein in fossil fuel companies. If Hillary Clinton becomes president and keeps some of her more recent promises to restrict oil drilling and fracking, Sanders will deserve a share of the credit.

When Sanders first got into the race, it didn’t look like he would adopt climate change as a major issue…Then, gradually, Sanders started to focus on the issue and develop a strong climate agenda….By January, the Sanders campaign was using the climate issue to attack Clinton, going after her for the vague and incomplete nature of her climate plan. The two campaigns battled on Twitter over whose climate and clean energy platform was stronger. Clinton clearly felt the need to start competing with Sanders for the votes of climate hawks.

The one-two punch of pressure from the green grassroots and pressure from Sanders pushed Clinton leftward on a number of energy issues.

First, last fall, Clinton finally came out against the Keystone XL pipeline, shortly before Obama rejected it. She also declared that she was opposed to offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean. And she shifted her position on fossil fuel extraction on public land, from saying it was necessary to saying she wanted to move toward an eventual ban.

As Sanders picked up steam, she gave still more ground to climate activists. In February, she voiced her opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. She also moved to assuage concerns that she is pro-fracking, saying in a March debate that she wants more regulation of fracking, and that she opposes the practice in instances when the local community is against it, it causes air or water contamination, or it involves the use of secret chemicals…

Last month, in recognition of Sanders’ strong showing in the primaries, the Democratic National Committee allowed him to appoint five members to the party’s Platform Drafting Committee, while Clinton got to appoint six. Among Sanders’ choices was Bill McKibben, the climate activist who founded 350.org, led the charge to block Keystone XL, and calls for dramatically reduced fossil fuel extraction…

As Sanders said at a Monday night rally in San Francisco, “When we began our campaign, our ideas were considered a fringe campaign and fringe ideas. That is not the case today.” Sanders lost the primary race, but he has changed the Democratic Party and the politics of climate change.

The next part is the hardest. The part ofter the election.

Yes, I’m worried about American voters and how gullible they may be. After all, our country elected and re-elected both Reagan and George W. Bush. Still, my cynicism is countered by a reasonable quantity of optimism. There really is enough of an army of both smart citizens and smartass politicos to hope that reason prevails.

The hard part is going to be resisting the impulse to press the Democrat Establishment into honoring progressive promises made before and during the campaign. Uh-uh. Their reaction will be immediate and regressive. The Left will be shut out like someone with OCCUPY WALL STREET tattooed on their forehead – at an ExxonMobil shareholders’ meeting.

Not that I’m confident about staying within the Democrat Party long-range, anyway. Just saying, give ’em that first hundred days that impresses the mainstream media before pressing the integrity button to see what happens. There are smart folks in Bernie’s campaign right now who are calculating the when and how to initiate a grassroots 3rd Party campaign. They have beaucoup programmatic tasks and they can be revised to include an independent party if needed. There are lots of variables in those calculations and no need to hurry the process.

The United States is falling behind in infant mortality


Kristencook.com.au

Many more babies die in the United States than you might think. In 2014, more than 23,000 infants died in their first year of life, or about six for every 1,000 born. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 other industrialized nations do better than the United States at keeping babies alive.

This fact is hard for some to comprehend. Some try to argue that the disparity isn’t real. They assert that the United States counts very premature births as infants because we have better technology and work harder to save young lives. Therefore, our increased rate of infant death isn’t due to deficiencies, but differences in classification. These differences are not as common, nor as great, as many people think. Even when you exclude very premature births from analyses, the United States ranks pretty poorly.

Even among those people who accept the statistic, most assume that high infant mortality is because of poor prenatal care. But new evidence is coming to light that contradicts that conclusion. The problem appears to be focused on what happens after birth, not before. This new evidence could change our thinking about how to fix the problem…

The new evidence IMHO doesn’t provide much clarity, only more questions. Which is OK. In real scientific study that happens. Then, you address the new questions with new studies. RTFA and keep your eyes and mind open for further study.

Many nations resolved one portion of discussions like this decades ago when they decided decent prenatal care was a right not a privilege. They ended means testing noting the simple logic that the money and time spent on means testing was – wasted. Letting a few women into the system who actually could afford care wasn’t going to diminish the care for all – or perceptibly increase costs especially versus the expense of snooping.

Not that Congressional beancounters and other fiscal conservatives care a rat’s ass about infant mortality versus saving a penny here and there.