The Simple Reasons Why the GOP is Choking on their Repeal/Replace Healthcare Agenda

The GOP’s attempts at making good on their 7 year campaign promise to repeal and replace the ACA was served a bitter pill of failure last Friday when 3 GOP Senators voted against the proposed bill.

The amazing thing though shouldn’t be that it failed due to 3 GOP dissenting votes, but that 48 Republican Senators were willing to vote for such a flawed and defective bill in the first place that had less that 14% public support.

The GOP seems to be suffering from a severe case of missing-the-point-itis when it comes to trying to make good on their campaign promise. They think that just getting a bill passed no matter how bad it is will make their base happy, when in fact, the Republican base is expecting them to provide a better alternative to the ACA.

The GOP House and Senate are caught in a bind because their campaign promises of a better alternative to the ACA was nothing but hot air and political games. Seven years of continuously passing bills to repeal the ACA and now when faced with the ability to do just that, realize that there are real world negative consequences that can’t be dismissed in some simple campaign slogan that will punish both red and blue states.

The GOP denounced Obama and the ACA for being “rammed” through government under secrecy and no Republican support. In reality, the ACA had several open hearings for ALL the discuss and debate and accepted GOP amendments to their bill, while the GOP monstrosity was crafted by just 13 men in a closed room in secrecy.

The reasons why the GOP is flailing and failing with their repeal attempts are pretty simple:

  1. They aren’t trying to IMPROVE healthcare but just strip the ACA of government financial support. Cutting back on Medicaid and taxes do NOTHING to improve the state of healthcare.
  2. The GOP refuses to acknowledge that the ACA is a CONSERVATIVE plan that has private companies in group exchanges selling health insurance as opposed to a progressive plan of single pay healthcare. This doesn’t give them much leeway in coming up with a decent alternative.
  3. The American public likes this part of the ACA: no preexisting conditions to get insurance, but this can only be done with a mandate that everyone be required to buy insurance. The GOP seeks to kill the mandate rather than address the real problem- cutting the cost of insurance. The majority wouldn’t have a problem with the mandate to buy insurance if it was affordable.
  4. The GOP is making NO attempt to directly reduce prescription or insurance costs, and live in a fantasy world of thinking the free market without government involvement will result in superior and more affordable care. If the “free market” were capable of producing superior solutions, there would have been no momentum for the ACA to be created in the first place as a solution. People who complain about the ACA’s rising costs  seem to forget that prices were spiraling into the sky pre-ACA as well, and at a faster rate to boot.
  5. A good portion of the GOP simply doesn’t believe the government should be involved in healthcare, and that affordable healthcare is a right citizens should be entitled to. If you can’t afford health insurance they think it’s okay to “choose” not to have it even though reality dictates we will all need medical attention at some point in our lives. Most bankruptcies are due to being overwhelmed by medical costs.

 

It would be far easier to fix the problems with the ACA than to just start over from scratch, as seen from the inability to get a unified GOP front on any real or decent plan.

The Coming Wave of Automation/AI Taking Over Jobs Will Be Unlike Anything We’ve Seen

The current political spotlight when it comes to jobs and employment, is focused on the threat of corporations outsourcing or illegal immigration reducing jobs for citizens. The anxiety about the struggle to find gainful employment was a big part of anti-establishment politics that led to Britain’s “Brexit”, and America’s election of Trump. Governments have been slow to come to the aid of those who have had their jobs displaced and have had to settle of jobs that paid much less than what they were previously making. Economic policy wonks will have the argument that outsourcing has been great in terms of reducing the cost of goods. Those who have been displaced, however, know the reality that it doesn’t matter if goods are cheaper if one doesn’t have a job to earn enough money to pay for these goods.

What isn’t getting much attention in the main media or political theater is the much bigger threat on the horizon of advances in automation and AI in replacing jobs on a scale never seen before at all skill levels.

Folks will argue that people have complained about the threat of job loss from automation since forever and there have always been new jobs created to replace the old ones lost.

 

So is this new alert about automation/AI just another false alarm like the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Some say so, but many are starting to see this time could be the real deal when it comes to the loss of jobs done by human labor.

 

Here’s a chart of predicted job loss due to automation in various fields:

The problem with the above chart is it’s just a “guess” based on current technology and assumptions, but there’s a good change these assumptions aren’t taking into effect the speed and advancement of technology and AI development. As it is now, automation is appearing in specialty fields like law, music, journalism, and medical surgery. This is one of the reasons why this new wave of technology is different- it won’t be about just simple labor, but complex skilled labor as well, that few thought would be under threat.

Will the governments be proactive in staying ahead of the problem , or will they be reactive, and wait until job losses are are crisis levels before taking any meaningful action? Based on past performance, something tells me they won’t be ready as we move into this new frontier.

Here are some interesting, but sobering videos of this topic as additional food for thought:

 

 

 

Absolute Proof that Fox News is Just a Partisan Hack Propaganda Wing of the GOP

Today’s big bombshell news was that report from the Washington Post that Trump shared classified intel with the Russians.

All the online main news agencies are leading with this….

That is…all except for FoxNews.

Let’s take a look:

Here’s ABC News:

 

CBS News:

 

NBC News:

CNN:

Bloomberg News:

 

MSNBC News:

 

BBC News:

ALJazeeraNews:

 

Everyone has their focus and lead on the main news of the day….

Then we get to FOX NEWS:

 

Hey, good to know that Fox has its priorities right in highlighting their version of  MAIN NEWS LEAD OF THE DAY….at least in their opinion. =)

Fair and Balanced—what nonsense!

Can you imagine how big their focus would be if this was done by a Dem Pres? They may as well be called American Pravda.

Fox News = Fake News

 

Trump and Ryan Get Served Humble Pie as Obamacare Repeal/Replace Juggernaut Crashes into Tea Party Ice Berg in Shocking Defeat

The Trump Administration has been on a legislative rampage since inauguration with numerous controversial executive orders and the first big planned legislative event was the repeal and replacement of the ACA otherwise known as Obamacare. They seemed intent on maintaining a high level of momentum and speed in executing their agenda.

All this came to a screeching halt on Friday as the much hyped Trumpcare/Ryancare Bill meant to replace Obamacare was pulled from the planned vote in an embarrassing defeat as there were not enough votes for the Bill to pass.

 

The implications and level of this failure are quite astounding. The GOP has voted to repeal or amend Obamacare 54 times while Obama was in office. There was never a problem getting those bills passed in the GOP controlled House during Obama’s term.

Now that the Republicans control the Presidency, House, and Senate, the failure of the House to pass a bill puts the GOP is a bright “Emperor has no clothes!” spotlight. The obvious conclusions are:

  1. The Republicans NEVER had a true working plan to amend/repeal Obamacare. All those consensus votes in the past were a FRAUD knowing the bill would fail in the Senate or be vetoed by Obama. Now that they know their Bills will really go into effect, everyone is no longer on the same page.
  2. The Republicans had seven years to develop a working replacement plan but have NOTHING to show for it. Think of all the taxpayer time and money wasted in their fake “repeal” bills put on just for show.
  3. The GOP is very good at opposing the Democrats, but come up short at the task of governing and building consensus. It’s far easier to be disruptive than creative.

The inside story is that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon thought he had power he didn’t have when he tried to force rebelling Republicans to get in line and vote “yes”, and their reply was basically:

 

 

As for Trump, his aura of invincibility along with his winning streak for successfully bucking the system has come to an end. All the “Business mastery” bravado and supposed “Art of the Deal” expertise have met their match at the hands of rebelling fellow Republicans.

It became all too clear that electing a person with no prior political experience or expertise to the highest office in the land comes at a cost.

 

 

Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated?? Actually, anyone with any experience or who paid ANY attention at all to the healthcare problems over the past few decades knew it was a complicated issue. You would have to be supremely arrogant or naive to think you could just walk into a problem you didn’t research or have any background knowledge in and think you would come up with an “easy” solution.

 

When met with this failure, does Trump own up to it and accept the loss like Paul Ryan did? Nope, he pointed the blame away from himself:

 

It’s beyond absurd to blame the Democrats when The Presidency, House, and Senate are controlled by Republicans and they are trying to pass a law that goes against the healthcare package the Dems created. Why would the Dems support a bill that replaces their own law with a much WORSE substitute? That’s like your boss asking you to vote to cut your pay in half, and then complaining that nobody agreed to it.

He’s also now saying he never said this bill was a top issue and that he never said he’d do it quickly- another LIE:

Does Trump have amnesia that EVERYTHING he says to the public is recorded?

Some folks will blame The Freedom Caucus – the group of Republicans that voted against the bill, but in truth, they were just keeping the GOP to their word of repealing Obamacare rather than amending it. They wanted it eliminated entirely as the GOP said they would do time and time again. The GOP was once again burned for making promises they knew they couldn’t keep.

There’s a clear obvious reason the GOP backed off fully repealing Obamacare – many of their constituents would be be impacted and lose their health insurance. That would have bad consequences for them come election time.

The GOP healthcare bill was built on arrogance and the desire to cut taxes for the wealthy rather than try to obtain low cost effective healthcare for all. They didn’t try to work with the Dems for their input or seek advice from the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, AARP, and a host of others who are opposing this fault ridden bill.

Some of the biggest problems of the bill:

  1. Does NOTHING to address rising costs of health care services
  2. Reduces subsidies for most and especially the elderly – the folks who will most likely need medical attention
  3. Allows insurers to hike up costs for those over 50 up to 500% of what is being charged to younger people. Obamacare capped top rate to 300%
  4. Eliminates all essential benefits like preventative care, prescription drugs, maternity care, addiction help, etc.. This basically allows insurers to sell you pieces of paper that say “insurance”, but cover very little so you come up snake eyes if you ever need to use it.
  5. Eliminates Federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Even though no federal funds are used by PP for abortions by law, the ACHA tries to mandate moral agenda by forbidding PP to conduct any services regarding abortions if they wish to continue to receive funding- funding that now goes to women’s health care like mammogram screenings.
  6. Removes “mandate” to buy insurance while keeping the rule that no preexisting conditions can be excluded. This is a recipe for disaster as people will only now sign up if they get sick, and insurers stand to lose billions. This alone GUARANTEES skyrocketing insurance rates to cover for these losses.
  7. Gives the wealthiest groups millions of dollars in tax cuts at the expense of everyone else in higher rates/less coverage
  8. CBO estimates 24 million folks will lose their insurance.

As bad as this bill was, the GOP Freedom Caucus still felt this package was “too generous” and wanted even more cuts- to the point where moderate Republicans were now refusing to vote for this.

Trump promised he would fix the health care problems, but this bill makes things far worse. Makes you wonder if he even took the time to read it.

Now he says he will just let Obamacare implode on it’s own- walking away from the problem like a quitter instead of a dedicated elected official trying to help those who elected him into office.

Why not work to repair Obamacare to solve the problems instead of trying to just slap together a toxic inferior replacement? The answer is they want tax cuts more than they want to create a true working and acceptable healthcare plan. Thanks to the numerous angry town halls of their own constituents yelling at them to come up with a REAL solution or leave Obamacare alone, they knew they’d be in big trouble if they went ahead with this “repeal/replace” charade.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s speech on Obamacare now fits the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) like a glove:

 

 

Republicans now OWN the healthcare issue and pressure needs to be kept on them to provide a solution that works for the majority, not just their wealthy elite donors.

 

Common Sense takes a Powder as Britain Votes to Leave the EU

brexit

“Brexit”, the media created cutesy lingo for the British referendum on whether to stay with or leave the European Union. I’ve heard it discussed backwards and forwards and sideways throughout the days, weeks, and months leading up to the vote that just took place.

Despite all the fear mongering and artificially induced drama by the media, I never actually considered the possibility of Britain actually leaving the EU. It seemed so absurd that there would be enough people that would want to turn the clock back with actions that will surely spawn negative unintended consequences.

Well, I was proven wrong tonight as polling states that the vote for Britain to leave is expected to be the winning consensus.

I’m not the only one caught by surprise, as the futures markets are roiling with a nice big fat after hours crash that will translate into crashed markets on the open Friday. The value of the Pound has plummeted. The majority of businesses were counting on a “stay” vote winning, and this just adds a boatload of uncertainty for both Britain and the EU going forward.

I truly believed Britons had more common sense than this. Color me wrong.

There will be lots of analysis on how this wound up happening, but it’s likely due to the same old things that breed surprise outcomes:

  1. Voter apathy – which favors those who have more motivation, typically the conservative vote. People love to complain about government and politics and then find other things to do when it comes down to taking the time to cast a vote.
  2. Low information votes- people voting on something without doing their due diligence to figure out the true pros/cons of their choices. What are the odds that the majority of people who voted YES on leaving did so out of xenophobia and border control without thinking through the economic consequences of their actions.
  3. Media stupidity of focusing mostly on ratings rather than trying to educate people on the actual facts rather than false arguments and hyperbole.

The irony is the first unintended consequence of this action besides crashing global markets will likely be layoffs as British companies retrench over fears that current trade agreements are now in flux.

 

brit_hype

Voting Day in Cali – Sample Ballot Blues

Kodos

 

I dreaded looking over the sample ballot book for California- there are so many pages! It’s like a mini book! The numerous pages led to me continuing to put off completing by ballot until time was about to run out.

I wonder how many folks got scared off from voting seeing that huge sample ballot book… =:-0

It boiled down to just facing the music and going over it this past weekend. Fortunately a big chunk of the propositions were just city charter updates with no changes to ponder.

Normally I mail my ballot off ahead of time, but this time around, I just took it to my polling center and dropped it off there.

Better late than never!

While driving there I heard an ad on the radio asking people how would they like to make easy money working just a couple hours a day. They were talking about trading!

I’m not going to call the company out who was advertising, but to portray trading as something easy to excel in and with just a couple of hours per day of effort is grossly misleading at best, fraud at worst.

They may as well advertise making a living being a pro sports star with just a couple hours a day of effort. It’s been my constant observation that outside of inheritance and lotteries, lots of effort is required to achieve most worthwhile things.

 

Trump All but Completes His Hostile Takeover of the GOP Pres Nomination: RIP Conventional Wisdom

Danger Shock Hazard

Trump’s win in Indiana coupled with Ted Cruz dropping out of the race all but ensures Trump’s eventual clinching of the GOP’s Republican Presidential nomination, leaving all the pundits who never fathomed such a scenario in their wildest dreams stunned, and scratching their heads.

This election cycle has been a perfect case study of why you shouldn’t trust the “experts” when it comes to making assessments/predictions. We’ve seen in the 2008/2009 market crash that the vast majority of political and economic “insiders” had no idea of that approaching crisis and certainly gave no warning to investors.

This time just about all the so called political guru’s completely missed the rise of Trump and his ability to stay afloat regardless of what he says no matter how inflammatory. They are flummoxed about his ability to withstand increased scrutiny and a biased assault of press related articles against him, attempting to write him off in hopes that the polling numbers would follow, which they didn’t.

Even worse, having missed the boat on predicting the ascendancy of Trump’s campaign, they have the audacity of now writing articles on explaining how this came to pass- like anyone should pay attention to the same folks that were completely oblivious  to his sustainability in the first place.

Simply psychology can explain the Trump phenomenon.  People are angry at Washington and the constant failure of their elected officials to live up to their promises. In their frustration they seek someone not yet “tainted” by the system that constantly overpromises and underdelivers. They are now ready to pick an outsider over the political insiders.

Trump remains on top due to his public persona of brashness/arrogance towards the establishment. The more he is attacked, the more he fits the role as the “rebel” of politics to all his supporters, which increases his appeal. It’s very similar to the daughter who is dating a “bad boy” and the more the parents admonish and scold her to let him go, the more attractive he becomes to her.

The “experts” ask, how can Trump supporters be so oblivious to all the negative things he has said as well as his past flip flops on opinions? Why doesn’t this exposure change their mind? The answer is they have made an emotional choice based on their resentment of their elected politicians as well as his positive message on better times ahead with bringing back outsourced jobs and good times in general, and are ignoring/rejecting anything else said, period. Back to the daughter/bad boy example- how many times will she be “persuaded” with a list of rational cogent reasons why the guy she is dating is a bad match? How many times have your parents persuaded you to change your mind after you became passionate/excited about something or someone?

The “experts” asked, why did Marco Rubio fail to beat Trump at his own game of childish attacks/insults? The answer is you can’t imitate someone’s “brand” and expect to beat them with it. It’s the equivalent to the school valedictorian/nerd taking off his suit/tie, and putting on a leather jacket to try to woo the daughter away from the bad boy. All that does is make you look like a “wannabe” as well as corrupts the “brand” you stood for.  Notice how Cruz and Kasich didn’t take the bait to go into the mud, and how they continued to poll higher than Rubio before he dropped out.

Now these “experts” are saying in 20-20 hindsight Rubio made a mistake in fighting Trump in the mud when they were the ones who suggested he should do it! The lesson here is to be true to yourself, or at least “appear” that way. =)

Tonight we know that not even the behind the scenes 3D Chess Level strategy of Ted Cruz or his team up with Kasich was enough to stop Trump’s growing momentum.

This election season is one for the history books – that a non political outsider could take out a field of seasoned elected professionals that were way more funded and entrenched in the system than he ever was, and ride a populist wave to the Republican nomination turns all conventional wisdom and expert analysis on its ear. We live in interesting times!

 

 

NY Times Caught Red Handed Editing Released Article on Bernie Sanders to Convert it from Laudatory to “Hit Piece”

This election cycle has never been clearer in showing just how much the mainstream media works in projecting their own bias against threats to the status quo. Trump from the beginning was continually put in a negative light and written off as non serious no matter what the polls showed about his sustained popularity, and they finally had to change course once he started winning elections.

For, Bernie Sanders, the treatment has been one of largely being ignored compared to the attention given to the other major candidates running such as Clinton, Bush, Cruz, Trump, Rubio, etc..

Like Trump, many of the articles that did feature Sanders were cast in a negative light favoring Clinton over him. The Washington Post was caught running a marathon string of negative articles against Sanders – 16 of them in 16 hours.

The most recent egregious example of another so-called established and principled source, the NY Times, got caught making changes to an article they had already released that was so significant to change the tone of the article from a positive to negative/dismissive. What’s worse, they left no “editorial updates” or revisions to let people know a change had been made- just significantly changing an article that had already been released on the fly, as if they were “motivated” to make these “corrections” after the fact.

Did they not think they wouldn’t be called out on this, which certainly appears to be driven by partisan politics? The NY Times is claiming no wrongdoing, but even their public editor, Margaret Sullivan, disagrees.

 

And yet another stake is driven through the heart of the belief of an unbiased “Fourth Estate” that is supposed to serve the public interest.

 

Links to all the info:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/new-york-times-bernie-sanders-coverage-public-editor/?ref=topics&_r=1

http://www.mediaite.com/print/ny-times-public-editor-chastises-paper-for-stealth-editing-bernie-sanders-piece/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-new-york-times-sandbagged-bernie-sanders-20160315

 

 

 

 

Senator Warren Calls Out The GOP SCOTUS Nomination Blockade

The GOP is taking their opposition to Obama to new heights with the decision to not hold any hearings for a Supreme Court nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley are united in their stance to not hold any hearings until a new President is elected.

Some Republicans have attempted to argue that this type of blocking has been done in the past, but in reality this has never been done to a sitting president with close to a year left in office.

What this action does is basically nullify a President’s FULL last year in office, which is a subversion of the will of the people as well as the Constitution in the name of political gaming.

If this action is allowed to stand, it will set a new dark precedent in obstruction when it comes to mixed government. Every two years a “stunt” like this could be pulled  by either side with claims that major appointments and bills should be ignored until the election cycle is over. Our already hobbled government would function even worse than ever before.

It’s understandable why the GOP wants to avoid the nomination process- it poses high risk for GOP Senators in purple States if they vote against qualified candidates for no good reason. Meanwhile, their fellow Senators in hard-right leaning States fear getting the boot if they approve any pick from Obama. Those are indeed tough prospects to face, but it’s no excuse to just stop doing their job. All elections have consequences and one can’t just go on a work strike because the election results were not favorable.

 

Senator Elizabeth Warren provides her own scathing commentary on the damages of continued GOP obstruction: