Friday Morning Open Thread: At Least It Is Friday…

… and hopefully most of the GOP liars will take the weekend off, even if the President-Asterisk down in his Mar-A-Largo dacha gets his tiny little hands on the Twitter-enabled phone again…

What’s on the agenda as we (try to) wrap up the week?



Mr. President, have pity on the working man

Trump has not come out in favor of the Ryancare bill yet. If he comes out against it, then it’s probably dead.

I have no love for Trump, obviously, but it’s not clear to me that he will end up supporting this crappy bill. I just emailed the White House, asking him not to support the bill, saying that he promised something better than Obamacare and this is something much worse. I tried calling too but the line was busy. I’ll try again later.

It will be bad for Republicans politically if they pass this bill, but it will also be bad for millions of Americans. This is one case where I wish a motherfucker wouldn’t.

Update. I guess I’m too late.

(h/t reader amk)



Trump Hiding Behind A SEAL’s Death: Possibly The Nadir in A Speech Full of Lows

From the Guardian:

In attendance tonight is Carryn Owens, the widow of a US Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen in January, shortly after Trump’s inauguration…

Carryn Owens is in tears as the Chamber gives her and her late husband a standing ovation.

Trump notes that the clapping just “broke a record” because it went so long.

“Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom –- we will never forget Ryan,” says Trump…

Earlier today:



218 in the House

This is interesting. The Republican strategy right now seems to be a game of chicken run against their own members.

The idea is that there are not 24 House members who fear a general election more than their primary or 3 Senators who have either principles or a legitimate fear of a general election to vote against the leadership. They would try to rush through a reconciliation bill that takes out most of the funding of the ACA, the individual mandate, the employer mandate and perhaps add some type of age adjusted subsidies to replace income related subsidies. The idea is that this bill can pass with 50 Republican Senators and the Vice President voting for it in the Senate.

There is a problem:

Now via CNN:

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told CNN on Monday that he will vote against a draft of the GOP Obamacare repeal bill that was leaked last week….
Meadows said what is unacceptable to him are the refundable tax credits included in the draft of the bill. Those tax credits, the North Carolina congressman said, are nothing short of an “entitlement program.”

The House Freedom Caucus thinks that the 2009 individual market and Medicaid levels are too generous and too nice. A bill without any age adjusted subsidies of any sort is guaranteed to death spiral the individual market instead of only possibly death spiral the market. The House Freedom Caucus is also sufficiently large to deny a majority to the bill. The challenge is that anything that makes the bill more tenable to the House Freedom Caucus makes it much harder for the twenty three Republicans who are in districts that Hillary Clinton won last year and the dozen or so that are in competitive districts to hide the fact that they are killing the individual market.

Getting to 218 could be much harder than I thought as I always placed my hope on assembling a 51 vote blocking coalition in the Senate.

The following map is where rates for a 40 year old non-smoker would be for the cheapest Bronze plan on the market if there is age adjusted subsidies only. These are plans with $7,000 out of pocket limits. The red zones are very expensive plans for very high deductibles and are the points of local constituent pain that can be used to hammer representatives to look out for their own districts.

Let’s tell local stories with good data of the pain that the House Freedom Caucus wants to inflict on us.



“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated”

Hillary Rodham Clinton raises a glass to the memory of Harry and Louise.

NYMag, “GOP Leaders Bet Wavering Republicans Don’t Have the Guts to Stop Obamacare Repeal“:

For seven years, Republicans campaigned and won on the message that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced as soon as possible. One month after unexpectedly finding themselves with a Republican in the White House and a majority in both chambers of Congress, it’s become apparent that Republicans aren’t going to quickly coalesce around a plan to overhaul the U.S. health-care system. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has vowed to oppose any repeal measure that’s less extreme than the one passed in 2015, while other Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about forging ahead with a repeal plan that could leave millions with no coverage — especially after enduring raucous town hall events during last week’s recess…

But according to The Wall Street Journal, GOP leaders now have a plan to get around that: set repeal legislation in motion and bet that rank-and-file Republicans won’t have the guts to vote against killing the Affordable Care Act.

GOP leaders hope to embark on this road as early as this week. The first step is passing legislation currently being crafted in the House that does away with key elements of Obamacare. As the Journal explains, the initial bill would contain some elements of a GOP replacement plan, but much of the new system would be worked out after the Affordable Care Act is no more…

Republican leaders hope to pass the initial legislation via the reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority — but it’s still a risky move. If the measure loses more than two votes in the Senate and 22 in the House, it will fail. The House Freedom Caucus has roughly 40 members and at least half a dozen Republican senators have expressed reservations about repealing Obamacare without a coherent replacement plan…

These guys, on the other hand…



Nightmare Open Thread: Overgrown Toddlers with Weapons of Mass Destruction

A-B-C! One spoilt princeling with Chemical weapons, trumped by another with Atomic fantasies…

Thanks for breaking the world, Repubs!



This Is Where We Are 2-7-17

So I just got off the phone with my mom and she shared some disturbing news. Especially so for me as the son of an immigrant, a Green Card holder until his death.

My former sister-in-law returned in the last couple of days from a family funeral in Peru. She’s an American, with passport, but originally from Peru. When her plane arrived at SFO, there were armed immigration/customs agents on the boarding ramp, right outside the plane’s door.

Every person exiting the plane was asked for their papers and scrutinized. This was a normal international flight, not from the countries of current trumpian concern. The next day, her friends told her that all international flights are being greeted thusly.

I’ve been traveling since I was two weeks old. I’m a dual national, but my US issued birth certificate shows I was born in Africa to an American woman and a Swiss man. This country has ALWAYS been the land of the free and customs and immigration folks are in their booths, lanes, aisles, etc. Not intimidating folks getting off the plane.

It’s beginning my friends. A moat is being created around us, between us and the rest of the world.