The Big Lie That Republicans Call Healthcare Reform

❝ The Senate health-care bill is a blatantly cynical and political plan to reward the rich, squeeze the poor and give Republicans the chance to claim they protected the middle class — or at least those in the middle class who aren’t too sick.

❝ The Republican campaign to repeal Obamacare was always based on a false promise (okay, a lie): that it was possible for all Americans to have better, cheaper medical care without raising taxes or reducing the incomes of doctors and the profits of hospitals and drug companies.

The reality, as the Senate’s Republican caucus came to understand, is something quite different: You can’t lower health-care costs or extend coverage for some people without raising the taxes or premiums of everyone else. It’s a zero-sum game.

❝ Actually, that statement is not exactly true. In a country that spends roughly twice as much as other advanced countries for mediocre results, it would be possible to restructure the system to give most people more for less. But, alas, the Senate bill does almost nothing to restructure the way medical care is delivered, how much is consumed and how it is priced, because to do so would have meant taking on the business interests that the Republicans are counting on to finance their reelection.

Instead, what we get is a financial shell game.

RTFA. Lots of detail about the finances and financial requirements of managing a reasonable healthcare system for all. Even a suggestion on how Democrats might fight for this as a right – not a privilege as Republicans would have it.

Yes, there are beaucoup Dems who remember where they came from. They’re just not in charge. I have as little confidence in the Democrat Establishment nationally as I have contempt for the Republicans. I think they’ve been dining on the same gravy train for too many years.

Nope. It’s up the Progressive grassroots types who supported Bernie to figure out how to join with honest Liberals still stuck into the Democratic Party – to register voters, register the disaffected who’ve given up after decades of being ignored – and fightback against the Republican Party, the greediest bastards in our narrow political system and the fools who support them.

Making America scared and stupid won’t make us safer


Sally YatesJim Watson/AFP

❝ In today’s polarized world, there aren’t many issues on which Democrats and Republicans agree. So when they do, we should seize the rare opportunity to move our country forward. One such issue is criminal-justice reform, and specifically the need for sentencing reform for drug offenses.

All across the political spectrum, in red states and blue states, from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and the Koch brothers to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the American Civil Liberties Union, there is broad consensus that the “lock them all up and throw away the key” approach embodied in mandatory minimum drug sentences is counterproductive, negatively affecting our ability to assure the safety of our communities.

❝ But last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back the clock to the 1980s, reinstating the harsh, indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum drug sentences imposed at the height of the crack epidemic. Sessions attempted to justify his directive in a Post op-ed last weekend, stoking fear by claiming that as a result of then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Smart on Crime policy, the United States is gripped by a rising epidemic of violent crime that can only be cured by putting more drug offenders in jail for more time.

❝ That argument just isn’t supported by the facts. Not only are violent crime rates still at historic lows — nearly half of what they were when I became a federal prosecutor in 1989 — but there is also no evidence that the increase in violent crime some cities have experienced is the result of drug offenders not serving enough time in prison. In fact, a recent study by the bipartisan U.S. Sentencing Commission found that drug defendants with shorter sentences were actually slightly less likely to commit crimes when released than those sentenced under older, more severe penalties.

Contrary to Sessions’s assertions, Smart on Crime focused our limited federal resources on cases that had the greatest impact on our communities — the most dangerous defendants and most complex cases. As a result, prosecutors charged more defendants with murder, assault, gun crimes and robbery than ever before. And a greater percentage of drug prosecutions targeted kingpins and drug dealers with guns.

Not that the Confederacy, today’s Republican Party and power pimps like Trump care a whole boatload about evidence-based reason and decision-making.

RTFA for clarity, historic sense and analysis. You ain’t finding it in the White House.

The World’s Largest Coal Company Is Shutting Down 37 Mines


Channi Anand

❝ Coal India — a government-backed coal company – is reportedly closing 37 of its “unviable” mines in the next year to cut back on losses.

India is primed for an energy revolution. The country’s ongoing economic growth has been powered by fossil fuels in the past, making it one of the top five largest energy consumers in the world. But it has also invested heavily in renewables, and the cost of solar power is now cheaper than ever. In some instances, villages in India have avoided coal-powered electricity altogether, and “leapfrogged” straight to solar power…

❝ India’s energy situation is changing so fast that even expert predictions about its switch to renewables are wildly off: A study from last year claimed India would be building more than 300 coal plants in the next 10 years, but experts said the data was already outdated by the time the report was published, and that India would be moving toward renewables instead.

The decline of Coal India, which produces 80 percent of the country’s domestic coal output, is more evidence that we are collectively moving away from fossil fuels as cleaner, renewable technologies become more widely available. This reality is important to grasp in every country where coal used to be king. Even as Donald Trump promises coal jobs, let’s remember that those jobs aren’t likely to come back.

❝ And for countries like India, where companies like Coal India employ more than 300,000 people, training people to work in more viable energy markets will be increasingly important to provide sustainable livelihoods. Luckily, it looks like the solar industry will have some job openings.

The same is true in the United States on a smaller scale. US mines are highly automated compared to India. Still, the possibilities for new jobs are at least as strong – if we only had state and federal governments in place that cared more about retraining workers for new jobs than guaranteeing profits for out-of-date lobbyists and corporate CEOs.

Republican database on nearly 200 million US citizens exposed online

❝ Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee.

❝ The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.

The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server…Anyone could access the data as long as they had a link to it.

❝ The huge cache of data was discovered last week by Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with security firm UpGuard. The information seems to have been collected from a wide range of sources – from posts on controversial banned threads on the social network Reddit, to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party.

The information was stored in spreadsheets uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics. It had last been updated in January when President Donald Trump was inaugurated and had been online for an unknown period of time.

❝ Apart from personal details, the data also contained citizens’ suspected religious affiliations, ethnicities and political biases, such as where they stood on controversial topics like gun control, the right to abortion and stem cell research.

The file names and directories indicated that the data was meant to be used by influential Republican political organisations. The idea was to try to create a profile on as many voters as possible using all available data, so some of the fields in the spreadsheets were left left empty if an answer could not be found…

❝ There are fears that leaked data can easily be used for nefarious purposes, from identity fraud to harassment of people under protection orders, or to intimidate people who hold an opposing political view.


None of these fears are new. None were unknown. The political party which burned through acres of dollar$ advertising their hypocritical concern over one candidate’s use of email – set up a database including a range of personal information on virtually every registered voter in the United States.

TV Talking Heads will no doubt give us the whole schoolboy lecture on the dangers of them furriners accessing this database to some evil end. I’d like to hear from someone who stands up for Americans’ privacy in the face of the ruling political party buying up every scrap of information our corrupt informatics gurus, from Facebook to Google, already collect and sell for profit.

Six members of Trump’s advisory council on HIV/AIDS have resigned

❝ The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS is a body responsible for providing recommendations and information to the president, as well as overseeing the nation’s strategy for combatting the illness. On Friday, six members of the council resigned, writing in an op-ed published in Newsweek that they can no longer be effective under a “president who simply does not care.”

❝ The letter was written by Scott Schoettes, who was joined by five other members: Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados. In the letter, he explains President Donald Trump’s administration hasn’t taken steps to formulate a strategy for combatting the illness, “and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease…”

❝ Schoettes noted that while the commission met with Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders during the primaries, it didn’t have the opportunity to meet with then-candidate Trump. He also indicated that the website for the Office of National AIDS policy was one of many taken down when Trump took office (it has yet to be replaced), while the president also has yet to name a head to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, which was formed in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s While House Domestic Policy Council.

❝ The letter particularly singled out the administration’s efforts to scale back the Affordable Care Act, saying that the law has resulted in “gains in the percentage of people with HIV who know their status, the percentage engaged in care, [and] the percentage receiving successful treatment.” The proposals to replace the ACA with the American Health Care Act “would be particularly devastating for people living with HIV.”

Why waste time attempting to work with a know-nothing politician who only dedicates his time and effort to doing nothing or, worse, reversing what good has been accomplished by others?

Attorney General – Ravaged by Amnesia – Somehow Able to Hold onto Demanding Job


Sessions continues his mutation into Alfred E Neuman

❝ An Alabama man whose brain was ravaged by severe amnesia is somehow able to function in an extremely demanding legal job, leading neurologists reported on Tuesday.

The man, whom neurologists are calling a “medical mystery,” has performed highly exacting tasks in one of the country’s top legal positions despite having virtually no short – or long-term memory.

❝ Dr. Davis Logsdon, the chairman of the neurology department at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said that the Alabaman’s brain “defies explanation.”

❝ “In all the medical literature, we have never seen an example of someone capable of holding down such a high-powered job while having no memory whatsoever of people he met, things he said, places he has been, or thoughts he has had,” Logsdon said. “It’s the stuff of science fiction.”

❝ Logsdon said that his team of neurologists was studying video of the man in the hopes of understanding the paradoxical functioning of his brain, but Logsdon acknowledged that such a task was challenging. “After listening to him talk for hours, your own brain starts to hurt,” he said.

I’ll second that emotion.

As does, I imagine, Andy Borowitz who writes this stuff for the NewYorker.