Trump’s Big Payback: After The Mueller Report


It’s not fair to portray the 4-page letter released by Attorney General William Barr as The Mueller Report. Until we see the actual report and the underlying facts. We don’t know what Robert Mueller has found? The Justice Department just announced it will “be weeks, not months” before “some version” of the Mueller Report is released to the public. Until then, we are left with Barr’s assertion that neither Trump of his campaign conspired with “the Russian Government.” Leaving open the possibilities that they conspired with Russian Oligarchs, the Russian Mob, or while drinking White Russians. Barr, a Trump political appointee, determined that Trump was not guilty of Obstruction of Justice, although Mueller specifically refused to exonerate him.

While the Democrat-led House passed a unanimous resolution requesting the full release of the Mueller Report to the public. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his refusal to bring up a vote asking for the same thing. Some Republicans who had previously indicated the need for the full report to be publicly released, are now satisfied to know no more than what Attorney General Barr has told us, not wanting any of those pesky underlying facts to get out.

President Trump, never known for his composure and class, has begun his payback tour, coming after any and everyone he feels opposed him. Without regard to The Constitution, the law, or concern for the American people.

In the two days since the 4-page summary that Trump calls “total exoneration,” despite Mueller’s statement of the exact opposite, he’s announced his enemies list and started coming for them. By name, he’s called out Democrat leaders Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Eric Swalwell, the mainstream media, the FBI, and the Special Counsel he felt never had the right to investigate him. He and his lucky-not-to-be-indicted-yet son Donald, Jr have called for the investigators to be investigated. They have called for anyone who has claimed to have seen evidence of Trump malfeasance to be banned from the airwaves. Trump said his enemies that did “evil” and “treasonous things” will be “under scrutiny,” bringing Big Brother fully to life.

Senator Lindsay Graham, once known as the late Senator John McCain’s best friend. Emerged at Trump’s side, a couple of days after Trump spent a week lambasting a dead man, Graham’s one-time friend. Graham went on to infer he’ll be opening up his own investigations as the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to help Trump in his assertion, “It was a false narrative, it was a terrible thing, we can never let this happen to another president again, I can tell you that. I say it very strongly.”

Almost lost in all the turmoil over the Barr Report (certainly not Mueller’s) was the Trump Justice Department instituting a new effort to kill Obamacare completely, throwing another 20–30 Million people off their healthcare plans. Doing away at the same time with coverage for pre-existing conditions without drastically raising rates.

There were some that hoped that Trump would take this opportunity to pivot and attempt to govern on behalf of all the people, taking on Infrastructure and maybe protecting our elections from future attacks. It’s clear that any hopes for bipartisan Trump, a figure that hasn’t been seen since taking office, will be dashed again, acknowledgment dawning that he never will exist. Perhaps James Brown said it best in his 1973 song, The Big Payback. To paraphrase:

“Trump don’t know karate, but he know ka-razy”

Another Bad Donald Trump Day In Review: 3/24/2017

Donald Trump had yet another bad day. It’s not only a trend it’s pretty much the forecast for the foreseeable future.

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Photo: twitter.com
  1. After promising so much, his Trumpcare died a pitiful death in the House of Representatives. Not only was the vote never held because they didn’t have the votes to pass their bill. Republicans were exposed in their lack of concern for the American people by demonstrating their willingness to negotiate away coverage for maternal care and for mental illness. I can’t help but point out they voted a few days ago to make certain the mentally ill can buy guns. What can possibly go wrong.
  2. The claim by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes that Trump was monitored fell apart. He now says he doesn’t have in hand any documentation, doesn’t know what’s in it. He came forward because “He’s (Trump) been taking a lot of heat in the media!”Nunes actions make it far more likely there’ll be an independent investigation because he’s proven he can’t be impartial.
  3. Sean Spicer… I almost don’t need to say anything else. Sean Spicer derided reporters for inquiring about the impending collapse of the Republican Health Care bill, asking them to be, “more positive.”
  4. Trump held a press conference during which he blamed the Democrats for the inability of Republicans to agree on a Health Care Plan. This came after leaks showing he also blames Paul Ryan, the Freedom Caucus and Ben Carson. Okay Ben Carson was a joke, nobody believes he’s responsible for anything including the Department he’s the Cabinet Secretary for.
  5. Trump “approved” the Keystone XL Pipeline on paper which brings the project no closer to gaining local approvals for permits and from the State of Nebraska. Trump claims the project will add 28,000 permanent jobs. This is contradicted by the State Department which calculates the actual number of permanent jobs created will be 35.
  6. Eric Trump promised to inform his father regularly about the business he’s running so that daddy won’t have a conflict of interest. Eric said those reports would come, “probably quarterly.” He made that statement just minutes after he said, “I don’t talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about the business with us.”
  7. Russia, never forget about Russia. Paul Manafort has agreed voluntarily before the House Oversight Committee. Of course the earlier mentioned Devin Nunes who chairs the committee, arbitrarily canceled a public hearing so there’s no guarantee we’ll ever know what he says.
  8. Did I tell you Trump blamed Democrats for his Health Care failure. Such a kidder that Donald.

Featured Photo: huffingtonpost.com

The Health Care Hunger Games (The Rich Will Laugh And The Poor, Elderly, And Sick Will Struggle)

The Republican Party brought their Health Care Program out of hiding today. Giving even most of their members a first chance to review the bill. Labeled the American Health Care Act, House leaders plan to rush the bill to committee tomorrow with no public hearings and input and without an estimated cost of score by the Congressional Budget Office. We’re being subjugated to a number of statements with Republicans making unverifiable claims. The President is in full support despite the House plan being drastically different from his campaign promises. The Republicans announced you can go online and read the plan at Readthebill.gop.  I’ve read and interpreted it so you don’t have to.

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Photo: homespunvine.com

  1. They start out with some misleading statistics about how bad Obamacare is. They say premiums have increased on average of 25% this past year. What they don’t say is that excludes the 15 million who got expanded Medicaid coverage and for the rest, their subsidies rose as well making the impact nowhere near so dire.
  2. They say 1/3rd of US counties have only one provider. A better measure might have been what percentage of the population has limited choice. They might have also cited insurance companies like Aetna that were making money but withdrew after failing to blackmail the Obama administration for more money.
  3. They say 34% accept “Obamacare insurance” as opposed to private insurance. I can’t interpret this as in most cases Obamacare is provided by private insurers.

They claim it to be “fiscally responsible legislation to deliver relief from Obamacare’s taxes and mandates.” How fiscally responsible it is remains unclear as there are no cost estimates and it hasn’t been scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

One thing that is clear is that they will reduce taxes, particularly on the wealthy which includes all the Republican legislators. The taxes on the those making over $250,000 annually (net) will be gone. Especially benefitting will be major firms paying their CEO’s big bucks that will now be able to write off potentially millions. The absolute winners in the House GOP plan are the rich.

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Photo: heavy.com

They eliminate the individual mandate penalties on individuals and companies. The young and healthy people whose participation was vital to helping pay for things like staying on one’s parents plan until age 26 or not being denied for preexisting conditions can’t be forced to pay. Their plan keeps those expensive options with no way to pay for them. Doesn’t sound so fiscally responsible after all.

They plan to give each state some money to allocate as they see fit. They ultimately will pay out less than Medicaid would have paid individuals so basically each State will have to do more with less. There will be age-based tax credits ranging from $2,000 to 14,000 for individuals to figure out how to manage their healthcare expenditures. How could that go wrong? Please note that isn’t enough money to cover many conditions and if you contract them. You’re pretty much out of luck. We then get a set of “Frequently Asked Questions” in which the answers basically rely on the hope that the end product will be a panacea. Write that section of as wishful thinking.

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Photo: twitter.com

Now we’ve gotten past all the verbiage and get into the 123 pages of the bill.

The first thing they describe is “Prohibited Entities” or basically what they won’t cover. Topping the list although not described by name is Planned Parenthood. They also put an overall cap on Medicaid saying this much and no more.

Then they get to the states that previously expanded Medicaid coverage which generated most of the additional millions receiving healthcare. They plan to take away what was granted, not until 2020 though, long after the next mid-term elections. One interesting note, if you win the lottery. The state can “intercept” winnings and deduct any healthcare payments you may have received.

There are several pages about what States have to do to comply with the program. I also see States cannot be compelled to pay for individuals not eligible for the program. Hmmm. Btw, if you’re dirt poor with little income but you do have home equity. Gotta sell the family home to qualify.

Not totally heartless, they establish a pool for the indigent and those otherwise ineligible. The emergency fund does have a cap so when that runs out, so sad too bad.

Then we get a number of pages describing how they do their calculations which are basically limits on State spending. I’d tip my hat if I were wearing one to the people that write these bills. They tell everyone to “Read the bill!” Then go out of their way to make it illegible.

We get into reporting requirements for States and a description of the quite flexible Federal matching ranging from 10-100%. I was unable to determine what happens if a State budgets for 100% matching and only gets 10%. As ever, the devil is in the details.

After a ton of more definitions. We get to a section called, “Encouraging Continuous Health Care Coverage.” What’s important to know is that if you have health care and can’t afford it for a stretch and let it lapse. It will take a ton of money described as a “penalty” to get it back.

Then we get to the details which clearly repeal any of the taxes individually, associated with Obamacare. Throughout the bill they almost never refer to the existing act as The Affordable Care Act but instead as Obamacare so the public can hate it because… Obama.

This is pretty much what’s in the bill. Some of it seemed like it was cut and pasted from some of their 50+ previous attempts to repeal Obamacare. What you need to know is it hurts the elderly, poor, and sick. The rich start getting their tax cuts right away while they are trying not to kick too many people off the plan until after the next election. This combination must blow a hole in the budget which you can’t criticize because they never provide one. Let the Healthcare Hunger Games begin.

Featured Photo: twitter.com

Suicide By Trump!

By all accounts Obamacare is on life support… with a short time left to live. The Republican Party has vowed to destroy it since its implementation. Donald Trump vowed to get rid of it on Day One. Twenty Million people that weren’t previously insured; got Health Insurance thru The Affordable Care Act. It’s estimated of the Twenty Million that will now lose coverage. 75% either voted for Trump or did not vote.

Trump alone isn’t responsible for the death of Obamacare. On the day Barack Obama took office in his first term. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and others conspired to do nothing to support the first Black President. While they flip-flopped on dozens of other things; in this they were firm. Democrats altered Obamacare in several ways prior to passing the bill. In hopes of getting bipartisan support. For all their concessions they got not one Republican vote.

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Photo: Thefiscaltimes.com

Like every other large Government program. There were bugs that needed to be fixed. Adjustments that needed to be made. The obstructionist Republicans were unwilling, preferring to vote over 60 times to defund Obamacare in the House. Democrats were afraid to open the bill up for changes because it would provide Republicans an opportunity to try to kill it.

The media played its role as well. In the last weeks of the campaign it was announced that premiums would rise for people in the Exchanges ranging from small amounts to large. The media didn’t make clear that these increases affected less than 5% of the population and that subsidies would absorb many of those increases. Beyond what the media did not say. They allowed Trump and his surrogates to tell unchecked lies on their shows. A campaign of misinformation went unchecked as ratings was their only concern. There was never a comparison to how much healthcare costs rose each year prior to Obamacare. In most cases, increases were less than premiums would have gone up on their own.

Obamacare is hated by a significant portion of the population. The majority of whom including Trump, couldn’t explain what it is or how it works. Hating the plan is a proxy for hating the man behind it. It isn’t about “government overreach” or “socialist medicine.” It’s about not wanting to see Barack Obama credited with anything; anything at all. Part of “Making America Great Again” is destroying the legacy of a Black President. Taking away healthcare from Twenty Million is mere collateral damage in the War against the first Black President. When I say, “Suicide by Trump.” I speak of the millions who voted to rid the country of Obamacare when they themselves were the primary beneficiaries.

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Photo: Politico.com

Republican members of Congress destroy Obamacare while they enjoy the best Government Healthcare program in the world. Trump spoke of the negative impact Obamacare had on his employees until it was pointed out his people were covered by a company plan and not on Obamacare. There are people that will literally die from treatable and preventable diseases because they prefer to “hurt” Obama while killing themselves. Suicide by Trump!

Today, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he’d “consider” requiring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. He’d “consider” allowing parents to keep children on their plans until the age of 26. Both primary tenets of Obamacare. Maybe he’ll just rent out his name like he does for his hotels? Call it Trumpcare and claim it a raging success.

There will be people that live in excruciating pain for lack of proper medication and treatment. Some that will die when it could have been prevented. Those who cannot go see the doctor because their plan was taken away. Thank the Republicans. Thank Trump. Thank yourselves.

 

Featured Image: Thefloridahealthinsuranceexchange.com