Last-Ditch Effort By Republicans to Replace ACA: What You Need to Know

by Julie Rovner – Here are five things to know about the latest GOP bill. Republican efforts in Congress to “repeal and replace” the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again. While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes — and there are 52 Senate Republicans. An earlier attempt to replace the ACA this summer fell just one vote short when Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John McCain (R-AZ) voted against it. The latest push is setting off a massive guessing game on Capitol Hill about where the GOP can pick up the needed vote. After Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year,...

Read More...


Schulz Fails to Make Headway Against Chancellor Merkel (VIDEO)

by Laurence Lee – With just a few days to go before what is expected to be a comfortable victory for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sunday’s elections, her main contender on the left is facing mounting criticism for his campaign. Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate, is stuck in polls of about 20 percent support, seemingly unable to make any headway against the CDU’s Merkel. “He is an extremely accomplished politician,” Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee, reporting from Karlsruhe, said, referring to Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament. “And yet, at a time when many Germans are unsure about Angela Merkel, he has made precisely no progress against her.” Some supporters of the SPD have pointed out that there is little to distinguish their party leader from Merkel. “Sometimes I feel like they are a long married couple,” Jan Siebenbrock told Al Jazeera. The choice of German leader could affect...

Read More...


On This Day, Sept. 22, 1961 – JFK Signs Act Establishing the Peace Corps

1961 – President John F. Kennedy signed a congressional act that established the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps program was an outgrowth of the Cold War. President Kennedy pointed out that the Soviet Union “had hundreds of men and women, scientists, physicists, teachers, engineers, doctors, and nurses . . . prepared to spend their lives abroad in the service of world communism.” The United States had no such program, and Kennedy wanted to involve Americans more actively in the cause of global democracy, peace, development, and freedom. A few days after he took office, Kennedy asked his brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, to direct a Peace Corps Task Force. Shriver was known for his ability to identify and motivate creative, visionary leaders, and he led the group to quickly shape the organization. After a month of intense dialogue and debate among task force members, Shriver outlined seven steps to forming the Peace...

Read More...


Lyin’ Sean Spicer’s ‘lack of credibility’ Gets Him Rejected by All 5 Major News Networks

by News Corpse – In August Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice), was advised that his services would no longer be required. He was fired after only six months of loyal lying for the President. At first glance, Spicer seemed to be the perfect person for the job. On his first day at work he assembled the Washington press corps to berate them for telling the truth about the dismal attendance at Trump’s inauguration. And it was all downhill from there. The White House has jettisoned a record number of top staffers in its short tenure. They include his chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisor Michael Flynn, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Some of Trump’s castoffs have already found new employment with right-wing media outlets like Breitbart News and the Sinclair Broadcast Group. But Spicer is having a rough go of it in his post-Trump career. NBC News...

Read More...


Philly CEO: Companies Shouldn’t Stay in Business if They Can’t Afford to Pay Workers Living Wages

by wagatwe – The current federal minimum wage, which is a paltry $7.25, is way too low. It’s virtually impossible to live on such low wages. For most full-time minimum-wage workers, affording a two-bedroom apartment is out of reach; finding an affordable one-bedroom is only possible in 12 counties nationwide. That’s why Todd Carmichael, the CEO and co-founder of La Colombe coffee roasters and cafés, wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer in support of the Raise the Wage Act. The bill would immediately increase the federal hourly minimum wage to $9.25 and eventually to $15 by 2024. Common arguments against a higher minimum wage include claims that it would hurt businesses, but Carmichael uses his experience as a successful business owner to argue that companies that can’t afford to pay employees living wages shouldn’t be in business (emphasis mine). I am living, breathing, profitable proof that raising the minimum wage is good for business and workers. Our workforce, profitable companies, and...

Read More...


Global Survey Humiliates Trump After He Claims World Leaders Loved Everything He Said at United Nations

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Let’s just put it this way, if world leaders really agree with Donald Trump they have a lot of explaining to do in their home countries. Because a massive global survey found that only TWO nations think Trump is doing a good job. During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Trump voiced his disdain for the United Nations, accusing the organization of being a mismanaged bureaucracy and threatened to pull American financial and military support. Trump also threatened war with North Korea and criticized the Iran nuclear deal while one of his top advisers told climate ministers that Trump is still withdrawing America from the historic Paris climate agreement. Afterwards, Trump took to Twitter to boast about his speech, and claimed that those in attendance agreed with most or all of what he said. Donald J. Trump   ✔@realDonaldTrump A great and...

Read More...


Why Are Drug Prices So High? We’re Curious, Too

by Katie Thomas, The New York Times and Charles Ornstein, ProPublica – The New York Times and ProPublica have teamed up to investigate who is to blame for skyrocketing drug prices — and have turned up some surprising answers. This much is clear: The public is angry about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Surveys have shown that high drug prices rank near the top of consumers’ health care concerns. What’s not as clear is exactly why prices have been rising, and who is to blame. For the last four months, The New York Times and ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization, have teamed up to answer these questions, and to shed light on the games that are being played to keep prices high, often without consumers’ knowledge or consent. Katie reports from the health desk at The Times, and Charles is a senior reporter at ProPublica. Our reporting journey has turned up some counterintuitive stories,...

Read More...


Climate Scientists Predicted the Rise in Super-hurricanes Like Maria, Irma, and Harvey

by Joe Romm – But deniers are still trying to shout down any talk of a climate-hurricane link, calling it “idle chatter.” Hurricane Maria, currently on a collision course with Puerto Rico, intensified explosively in one day from a Category 1 storm to Category 5 superstorm. The Prime Minister of Dominica said Tuesday that Maria caused “mind boggling” devastation when it tore through his island nation. “As see storms like Irma and now Maria intensify from tropical disturbances to Category 5 hurricanes in record time, we see hints of yet another potential threat,” climatologist Michael Mann told ThinkProgress via email. “We may have less time to prepare and react to monster storms, hindering our adaptive capacity to deal with their devastating impacts.” Climate science deniers have sought to dismiss scientists’ discussion of the link between human-caused climate change and more intense hurricanes as “idle chatter.” It is anything but. Maria is the...

Read More...


Palestinians Submit Israel ‘war crime’ Evidence to ICC

by Zena Tahhan – Four Palestinian groups allege high-level Israeli officials are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Four Palestinian human rights groups have submitted a 700-page communication to the International Criminal Court (ICC), alleging that high-level Israeli officials have been complicit in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. In a statement on Wednesday, the groups urged the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to “urgently open a full investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory” as a “necessary step to ending the culture of impunity that has long prevailed in regard to Israeli crimes and to hold high-level political and military officials accountable”. The groups that submitted the dossier are al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Aldameer Association for Human Rights – all based in the occupied territories. “This communication, which is based on factual information...

Read More...


Details Behind the Raid on Manafort’s House Show That Mueller is ‘following the money’

by Mark Sumner – A former federal prosecutor explains the complex nature of the statements made to former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. “If he’s been told that he’s a target—that he’s likely to be indicted—I think the way you interpret that is he’s likely to be indicted,” said Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor who served as special counsel to Mueller when he was assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Criminal Division. The trick here is that there’s no trick at all. Those interpreting the pre-dawn raid on one of several homes owned by Manafort to be a tactic to get the man known as “the torturer’s lobbyist” to roll over on the rest of the Trump campaign are ignoring the more important point: The intention was to find information related to Manafort’s crimes and charge him. In details provided by TPM, the warrant for searching Manafort’s residence included activities going back to 2006. That...

Read More...


Report: Every State Will Lose Funding Under GOP’s New Repeal-and-Replace Bill

by Addy Baird – The latest effort to repeal and replace the ACA could mean states lose $4 trillion over the next 20 years. The latest attempt by Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, spearheaded by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would reduce federal funding to states by $215 billion over ten years, ultimately decreasing funding for all states, according to an analysis released Wednesday. The bill has the support of President Donald Trump, who has consistently pushed for Republicans to repeal and replace the ACA after repeated failures to do so in recent months. “I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to States!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump I hope Republican Senators will vote for Graham-Cassidy and fulfill their promise to Repeal & Replace ObamaCare. Money direct to...

Read More...


On This Day, Sept 21, 1989 – Powell Becomes Joint Chiefs’ Chairman

The Senate Armed Forces Committee unanimously confirms President George H. Bush’s nomination of Army General Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell was the first African-American to achieve the United States’ highest military post. Powell was born in 1937 in Harlem, New York, to Jamaican immigrant parents. Joining the U.S. Army after college, he served two tours in Vietnam before holding several high-level military posts during the 1970s and 1980s. From 1987 to 1989, he was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan and in 1989 reached the pinnacle of his profession when he was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George Bush. As chairman, General Powell’s greatest achievement was planning the swift U.S. victory over Iraq in 1991’s Persian Gulf War. In 1993, he retired as chairman. Two years later, he embarked on a national tour to promote his autobiography,...

Read More...


Trump Health Secretary Thinks Medicaid is Wasteful, but not Lavish Private Flights

by Jake Johnson – “HHS won’t pay for Obamacare enrollment but they have plenty of cash for Secretary Tom Price’s private jet lifestyle.” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price once remarked that “tough choices” must be made to reduce “waste” in government spending. Apparently, in Price’s mind, frequent and lavish private flights don’t qualify as wasteful spending, but programs that provide life-saving healthcare to millions of Americans do. According to a Politico report Tuesday, Price “last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.” Based on sample flight rates, the cost for Price to fly commercial would have been somewhere between $400 and $725—as opposed to $25,000 to charter a jet for a short trip from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia and back. Price’s aversion to commercial flights constitutes a “sharp departure” from the travel habits of the...

Read More...


‘Billionaire’ Donald Trump is Using RNC and 2020 Re-election Campaign Donations to Pay Legal Bills

by Jen Hayden – The king of grifting is at it again. Donald Trump, self-proclaimed billionaire, is using campaign and Republican National Committee donations to pay his mounting legal bills. You can’t make this up. From CNBC: President Donald Trump is using money donated to his reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, according to two people familiar with the matter. RNC donors have to be happy about that! Did they know their money was going to pay the extensive legal fees of billionaire Donald Trump? The move isn’t illegal, but it certainly is not normal. While previous presidential campaigns have used these funds to pay for routine legal matters such as ballot access disputes and compliance requirements, Trump would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to...

Read More...


Lindsey Graham Brags About His Shockingly Cynical Strategy to Repeal Obamacare

by Judd Legum – It’s all about pitting Americans against each other. Speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) discussed his bill to repeal Obamacare, which is quickly gaining momentum. In his remarks, Graham admitted that his strategy was largely based on redistributing large sums of money from large Democratic-led states like California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland to states that are more Republican. In other words, Graham is attempting to purchase GOP votes by pitting Americans against each other — and explicitly working against the interests of more than 60 million people, the combined population of California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland. “If you’re a Republican and you vote against , you got to explain to people back home why Washington knows better and almost every state except the four I have described do very well under this new approach to taking the money out of Washington,” Graham said. “I really believe we’re gonna get 50...

Read More...


Trump’s Tax Plan Is Indefensible

by Ken Morris, Truthout | Op-Ed – When President Trump agreed with Democrats on a debt limit increase, there began talk about a new era of cooperation. For those foolish enough to fall for such claptrap, just wait until the tax reform train comes barreling in later this year. And make no mistake, Trump and the GOP have made it clear (for decades) that “reform” really means cuts for the wealthy. When it comes to making the super-rich super-richer, there is no negotiation. And who exactly is advocating massive reduction in top-end marginal tax rates (MTR), a policy with dubious and arguably non-existent benefits? As for Trump, after years of attacking China over currency manipulation, early in his presidency he reportedly asked National Security Adviser Mike Flynn about the economic impact of a strong US dollar. Soon-to-be-fired Ex-General Flynn had no answer since, like Trump, he has no understanding of...

Read More...


Now is the Time to Transition From Obamacare to Single-payer Medicare For All

by Egberto Willies – Right-wing Republicans continue to talk about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act while establishment Democrats remain invested in Obamacare, seemingly at all costs. Neither of these parties seems to understand the failed state of health care for millions of Americans, including some with employer-provided coverage. Americans are starting to realize that there is, in fact, a better way. This week Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his single-payer Medicare for all plan. Kamala Harris of California was the first U.S. senator to sign on. The flood gates then seemed to open as Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren signed on, quickly followed by 14 other Democrats. It seems these lawmakers are starting to read the desires of the grassroots instead of their wealthy benefactors. After all, 53 percent of Americans now support single-payer Medicare for all—and the trajectory is more support, not less. Americans are starting to realize that the insurance companies, pharmaceutical titans, and the rest of the medical-industrial complex are...

Read More...


Trump Aide Reportedly Suppressed Study Proving Refugees Contributed $63 Billion More Than They Cost

by Jen Hayden – Stephen Miller, Trump’s top white nationalist advisor in the White House, reportedly rejected a study proving refugees contribute significantly more to U.S. revenue than they cost. From the New York Times: Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost. The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to...

Read More...


UN’s Antonio Guterres Warns Against North Korea War

World leaders should take threat of ‘nuclear peril’ seriously, says UN chief, discouraging ‘fiery talk’ on North Korea. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned world leaders against war with North Korea, calling on them to take the threat of “nuclear peril” seriously. “We must not sleepwalk our way into war,” said Guterres on Tuesday at the annual summit of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. “When tensions rise, so does the chance of miscalculation. Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings,” he said in his first state-of-the-world report since taking the top job at the UN on January 1. “The solution must be political. This is a time for statesmanship.” Who is Antonio Guterres? His message on “fiery” rhetoric was implicitly directed at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but also at the United States and President Donald Trump, who later warned of “totally destroying North Korea” if it does not back down. “The United States...

Read More...


Wave Goodbye to Your Pre-existing Condition Protections Under New Trumpcare Bill

by Joan McCarter – Remember when Republicans were going to keep all of the protections in the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing health conditions, even while they were going to repeal it? Slowly, surely, that promise faded away through every iteration of Trumpcare and Zombie Trumpcare that emerged. With the latest one Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are trying to jam through, they’re not even pretending anymore. This bill would “give states broad waiver authority to eliminate the ACA’s core protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.” These waivers would come on top of the proposal’s elimination of the ACA’s marketplace subsidies and Medicaid expansion, its radical restructuring of the rest of the Medicaid program, and its large cuts to total federal funding for health insurance coverage. Specifically, a little-noticed provision of the block grant funding states would receive under the plan would let them obtain waivers of ACA pre-existing conditions protections and...

Read More...