Health & Home

Paul Ryan Caught in a Vise Squeeze Between Trump and the Freedom Caucus

by Kerry Eleveld – The White House can’t figure out what’s going wrong. From the health care debacle to keeping the government funded, Donald Trump has been a steady force on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue while Paul Ryan flails all over the place. Politico writes: The Wisconsin Republican’s failure last month to persuade his conference to pass his Obamacare replacement plan forced the White House to intervene. On top of that, the most critical piece of his tax reform plan has been dismissed by many Republicans. The setbacks threaten to relegate the speaker to playing a backup role to the White House in the looming debate over tax reform, the speaker’s longtime pet issue. Okay, please, please let the White House take the lead on tax reform. As GOP Rep. Dave Camp said in an article handicapping their chances for tax success following the Trumpcare fail: “Health care is 20 percent of...

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Opposition to Trumpcare 2.0 Swells

by Casey Quinlan – The American Medical Association said it opposes the Republican health care bill. The opposition to Trumpcare is growing. The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and Catholic Health Association were the latest groups to voice their opposition to the bill on Thursday. GOP senators, moderate House Republicans, and Democrats are also either critical of or totally oppose the latest version of Trumpcare. With the proposed addition of an amendment championed by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), and thus named the MacArthur amendment, Republican leaders won the support of far-right conservatives in the Freedom Caucus but may have lost the support of moderate Republicans. The amendment, which was announced on Tuesday, would essentially eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. MacArthur is a co-chair of the Tuesday Group, a 50-member moderate Republican group, but did not negotiate with the group’s blessing, Politico reported. Some moderate Republicans oppose the rollback of...

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Why We Can’t Ever Compromise Over Controlling Women’s Bodies

by SemDem – To state the obvious:  with the GOP in power, it has been a very rough time for women. A misogynistic, serial sexual predator won the White House. Hard-fought rights that all of us thought were settled decades ago are suddenly in peril.  Attacks on birth control, reproductive freedom, and women’s health care were just the beginning.  Trump even recently found time to revoke the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act, which means the return of those awful forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment. (Fox News rejoiced.) The attack is on all fronts, from the president, from Congress, and now, a new Supreme Court Justice who said women are manipulators and wants to away their rights.  It gets worse at the state level.  Unchecked rightwing zealots in state legislatures—who openly admit believing that rape is God’s will and that women should regard their bodies as nothing more than hosts–have flooded the docket with bills regulating uteri. Yet through the nonstop parade of the outrageous, there has been...

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Repealing Obamacare Could Violate International Law. UN Letter Never Made it to Congressional Leadership

by First Amendment – The United Nations delivered a 5-page letter to the Trump administration warning them that stripping healthcare from millions of people could violate international law. Interestingly enough no one in the House and Senate leadership knew about this letter until today, even though they should have been advised per the letter. www.washingtonpost.com/… The United Nations has contacted the Trump administration as part of an investigation into whether repealing the Affordable Care Act without an adequate substitute for the millions who would lose health coverage would be a violation of several international conventions that bind the United States. It turns out that the notion that “health care is a right” is more than just a Democratic talking point. A confidential, five-page “urgent appeal” from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, sent to the Trump administration, cautions that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could put the United States at odds with its international...

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Threat of Science Denial (VIDEOS)

by BILLMOYERS.COM STAFF – Neil deGrasse Tyson says that when you have people who don’t know much about science denying it and rising to power, it’s a recipe for the complete dismantling of our democracy. Just in time for Earth Day, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson releases a short film on Facebook that he says “may be the most important words I have ever spoken.” It’s already been viewed nearly 20 million times. DeGrasse Tyson highlights some of the points he made in his three-part series of conversations with Bill Moyers in 2014, which explored a variety of topics, including the beauty of the scientific method in the search for truth, the value of innovations in science and technology in the ascendency of America, and how political debates about established science are delaying critical conversations about the best ways to combat climate change. “You have not fully expressed your power as a...

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Republicans Starting to Sweat Fallout From Potential Obamacare Sabotage

by Joan McCarter –   Democrats are feeling a renewed vigor over Obamacare, whose public approval rating keeps climbing as popular vote loser Donald Trump’s approval rating slides ever downward. While their prospects seem to be looking up, Republicans face a complicated and ugly future on the law—and the threats Trump keeps making to sabotage it. President Trump is threatening to cut off federal subsidies that benefit middle class Americans who access health insurance through the Affordable Care Act—unless Senate Democrats agree to fund a security wall along the Southern border.Congressional Republicans have little desire to prop up Obamacare. But these subsidies, or “Cost Sharing Reductions,” flow to perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans who live in districts represented by Republicans considered soft targets for the Democrats in 2018. If Republicans and the Trump administration don’t finance the subsidies in a spending bill that must pass by April 28 to avoid...

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EPA Considers Gutting Regulations on Lead Contamination

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a notice on Wednesday announcing a series of upcoming public meetings in which it will consider gutting rules and regulations meant to protect the public from lead and hazardous chemicals, including training programs designed to prevent children from being exposed to lead paint. The notice went out at 2:30, just as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was meeting with residents of a neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana, that has been contaminated with lead for decades. Six weeks after beleaguered residents petitioned his agency to take emergency action to protect them from lead contamination in their drinking water, Scott Pruitt was visiting East Chicago as part of the kick-off tour for his term as administrator of the EPA. “That timing is discouraging, obviously,” said Debbie Chizewer, an attorney at an environmental law clinic at Northwestern University who...

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It’s Time to Legalize Marijuana and Abolish the Drug Czar

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | News Analysis – With its lengthy name and familiar acronym, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is one of the oldest pro-legalization lobbies on Capitol Hill, and the group is tired of waiting for a good drug czar to come around. So, NORML is asking the White House to abolish the position altogether, just as President Trump is reportedly preparing to appoint Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania to the office. Marijuana legalization proponents have plenty of problems with Marino becoming the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the position informally known as “drug czar,” but that’s not the only reason NORML wants the entire “anti-science” agency closed. The ONDCP has long been a center of command for the war on drugs, a bloody and chaotic conflict that is widely seen as a costly failure. Unfortunately for NORML and...

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Trump Abruptly asks Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General to Resign

by Bryce Covert – His views may have clashed with Trump’s extreme gun rhetoric on the campaign trail. The Trump administration asked U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, an Obama administration appointee, to resign his role on Friday and quickly moved his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, into the role. The resignation is somewhat unusual. A White House spokesperson told the New York Times that Murthy was asked to leave “after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump administration.” But employees at the Department of Health and Human Services told the Times they were surprised by the unusually abrupt departure. While it’s not unprecedented, Murthy’s four-year term would have normally ended at the end of this year. The full reasons for the Trump administration’s request that he step down aren’t clear. But one clue may lie in Murthy’s views on gun control. These views were immediately apparent after President Obama...

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100 Days of Deconstruction: Part Two

by STEVEN HARPER – Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. — STEVE BANNON TO HISTORIAN RON RADOSH ON NOV. 12, 2013 (ACCORDING TO RADOSH) Beware of the enemy within. With respect to the US government, the ultimate inside job is well underway. Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos In her confirmation hearing, billionaire Betsy DeVos made the world painfully aware that she isn’t an educator or expert in curriculum. She’s not familiar with the decades-old Individuals with Disabilities Act, or the fraudulent...

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Trump/RyanCare 3.0: GOP’s Zombie Healthcare Plan Keeps Getting Worse

by Deirdre Fulton – Under reported ‘compromise,’ States could gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions. It’s “red alert” time on healthcare, according to one observer, amid reports that some congressional Republicans think they have a deal—and it’s even worse than the last one (which was itself crueler than its predecessor). The Huffington Post reported Wednesday: The deal, brokered between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), would allow states to get waivers eliminating the so-called community rating provision—the rule that prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. In order to obtain the waiver, states would have to participate in a federal high-risk pool or establish their own, and satisfy some other conditions. In exchange for that conservative concession, the amendment would reinstate the Essential Health Benefits that were already taken out of the bill—though, again, states could waive those...

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Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Proposes Fewer Pot Arrests in Drug War

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – More than 260,000 immigrants were deported for drug offenses in a five-year period. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is not a “factor in the drug war” and that the solution is “not arresting a lot of users.” The “War on Drugs”— one that has largely focused on the cross-border import of controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine produced in Latin American countries and transported into the United States — has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of thousands of people for marijuana possession. In turn, these arrests have triggered severe immigration consequences because of the punitive legislation that grew out of this country’s “War on Drugs” policies. During an appearance on Meet The Press with Chuck Todd, Kelly de-emphasized the role marijuana plays in the “drug war,” instead placing the blame on Mexican-produced methamphetamine and heroin, and cocaine...

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This Court Ruling may have Been More Important than the Federal Halt to the Arkansas Executions

by Christian Dem in NC – By now, you know that a federal judge in Little Rock called a halt to Arkansas’ execution marathon. But that may not have been the most important ruling issued in this affair. A day earlier, a state court judge rapped the state Department of Correction hard for tricking a drug distributor into selling it one of the drugs it used in its lethal injection cocktail. Arkansas uses three drugs to carry out executions. Midazolam is intended to sedate the inmate, vecuronium bromide stops his breathing, and potassium chloride stops his heart. While most of the current furor over lethal injections centers around questions about whether midazolam will really knock someone out, Arkansas is under fire for how it obtained its supply of vecuronium bromide from McKesson. Vecuronium bromide is made by Pfizer. As I noted at Liberal America, that drug is one of several Pfizer now monitors all...

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Four Conservative Healthcare Analysts on Why Trump/Ryancare Stinks so Bad

by Joan McCarter – Let’s start your holiday weekend off with some fun. And what could be more fun than laughing at conservative health care experts trying to make excuses for why Republicans have totally failed at crafting a decent replacement for Obamacare? From the laughable to the delusional, here we go. Starting with my favoritest of all. Republicans just didn’t give themselves enough time A decade ago, the Democrats also had conflicting health-care ideas, squabbling over single-payer and a public option, but they worked it out in legislation, says Dan Holler, the vice president of communications for Heritage Action for America. “That’s not something that was capable of happening in 17 days” for Republicans, he said. The rush to pass the AHCA “was a misread of where the conference was.” All together now: SEVEN YEARS!!!! They had SEVEN YEARS!!!! But, says American Enterprise Institute guy James Capretta, they just “didn’t give themselves...

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The Republican Civil War is the Best Thing Happening

by Mark Sumner – Donald Trump may feel that his legislation-free first 100 days were beautiful, wonderful, and the best ever, but he’s the only one. What the rest of the Republican Party is seeing is falling support, ineffective leadership, and internal strife. Some Capitol Hill Republicans have envisioned the nightmare scenario for 2017, and it goes like this: No ­ObamaCare repeal. No tax reform. No trillion-dollar infrastructure package. No border wall. As it turns out, Republicans have their obstructionism refined to razor sharpness, but the time they dedicated to actually thinking through workable alternatives to existing laws is restricted to the length of time it takes to say “It’ll be easy.” While many Republicans hold out hope the ­ObamaCare repeal bill will be revived, skeptics say the GOP infighting during last month’s healthcare collapse may have poisoned the well for future big-ticket legislative deals. It’s not just drafting laws that Republicans...

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Single-Payer Health Care Is Seeing Record Support in Congress

by Michael Corcoran – The primary Medicare for All bill has more support in Congress now than it has ever before. John Conyers’ Medicare for All bill (HR 676), which he has introduced in each Congress since 2003, has seen a recent surge of new cosponsors — 32 since March 8 and nine on April 3 alone. As of this writing there are 93 co-signers (and counting), representing more than 48 percent of the Democratic Caucus. This is the highest number of cosponsors ever, both in terms of members and as a percentage of the House Democratic Caucus. The count is up from just 62 cosigners — 33 percent of Democrats — in the last Congress, and an average of 37 percent since the bill was first introduced in 2003 (see chart). This is an astonishing development for many reasons. Just a year ago the Democratic establishment was recklessly (and disingenuously) maligning the policy to help keep Sen....

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Report: To Expand Substance Abuse Treatment, Embrace Obamacare

by Casey Quinlan – A new report on substance abuse treatment recommends building on the successes of the ACA. A report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released on Tuesday makes the case for why states and the Trump administration should build on the Affordable Care Act’s’s success, rather than tear it down. The ACA expanded treatment by requiring that both Medicaid and individual marketplace plans cover basic mental health and addiction services. More than 1 million people receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, according to a recent estimate from professors at New York University and Harvard Medical School. The share of people with substance use or mental health disorders who were hospitalized but uninsured fell from 20 percent to 5 percent from 2013 to mid-2015, according to Health and Human Services data. Medicaid expansion helped many of the states most affected...

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Trump Threatens Cutting Off Payments for Low-income People to get Health Care

by Casey Quinlan – “I don’t want people to get hurt,” said Trump. President Donald Trump is still considering whether to continue payments for cost-sharing subsidies that help low-income people get health care, he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The payments reduce copayments and deductibles for low-income people, and their elimination would mean a lot of Americans would go uninsured. Insurers would still have to provide lower deductible plans, but they wouldn’t be paid for it as they are now, which ultimately means that some insurers would either exit the markets to avoid losses or raise premiums. Premiums would need to rise by 19 percent to compensate for the lack of funding for cost-sharing subsidies. Of the 12.1 million people who selected a 2017 Obamacare marketplace plan, 7.1 million are receiving cost-sharing reductions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The subsidies reduced annual out-of-pocket maximums by up...

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Trump Just Signed a Bill Allowing States to Cut Off Funding to Planned Parenthood

by Laurel Raymond – The repeal could affect millions of women’s access to preventative services like birth control. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Thursday that would allow states to withhold federal money for family planning services, such as birth control, from Planned Parenthood clinics and other women’s health centers. The bill is a repeal of an Obama-era regulation that said states couldn’t withhold Title X funding, which covers family planning and preventative care, from organizations just because those organizations also provide abortion care. This bill would roll back that protection, emboldening states to try to restrict such funding. The Senate passed the bill 51–50 in March, with Vice President Pence casting the tie breaking vote. Four million people with low incomes rely on Title X for preventative health care. Roughly 1.5 million receive their Title X care at Planned Parenthood. In practice, what this bill does is open...

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Oregon Responds to Sessions’ Threat by Creating a Bill to Protect Marijuana Customers

by Walter Einenkel – With new Attorney General Jeff Sessions trying to strum up the old-timey, racist, and not true idea that violence surrounding marijuana use has risen over the past decades, the states that allow legal recreational marijuana use have begun to make sure their citizens’ privacy is being protected. Alaska and Colorado already have laws that do not allow for marijuana retail stores to maintain a digital “paper trail” of customers’ private and personal information. Oregon state lawmakers who fear heightened marijuana enforcement by federal agents overwhelmingly approved Monday a proposal to protect pot users from having their identities or cannabis-buying habits from being divulged by the shops that make buying pre-rolled joints and “magic” brownies as easy as grabbing a bottle of whiskey from the liquor store. The measure passed easily and now waits for Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s signature. This bill has bipartisan support which is a...

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White House Considering ‘Back-Door Way’ to Cut Social Security

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘If Trump proposes this Trojan horse, it would be the newest shot in the ongoing Republican war against Social Security.’ President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security, is reportedly considering a plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax that funds the critical safety net program. According to the Associated Press on Monday, the proposal is being floated as the Trump administration goes “back to the drawing board in a search for Republican consensus behind legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax system.” The AP reported that one option “circulating this past week would change the House Republican plan to eliminate much of the payroll tax and cut corporate tax rates. This would require a new dedicated funding source for Social Security.” And that, Zaid Jilani wrote at The Intercept, “would require counting on Trump’s economic team to shepherd a solution through...

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Maryland Will Protect Planned Parenthood from Congress’ Efforts to Defund it

by Tara Culp-Ressler – It’s the first state to pass a law that will reimburse Planned Parenthood if Congress cuts its federal funding. Maryland has become the first state in the country to enact a law that will protect Planned Parenthood from federal cuts by using state dollars to reimburse the organization’s clinics for its services. The new state law, which was enacted on Thursday, does not have the explicit support of Gov. Larry Hogan (R). It was one of 15 bills that the governor allowed to move forward this week without his signature; they became law because he also did not take action to veto them. The bill reallocates $2 million from the state’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 from its general fund to help cover the cost of providing family planning services at Planned Parenthood’s nine Maryland clinics. Those funds would kick in if the federal government, in an effort to...

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Trump Administration’s War on Science Reaches Justice Department

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘Hard to overstate how backward and misguided this is,’ says one observer. The Trump administration’s anti-science bent has reached the Department of Justice (DOJ), with Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying Monday that the department is ending the National Commission on Forensic Science. The 30-member panel was described by ThinkProgress as “a group of scientists, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other experts tasked by the Obama administration in 2013 with raising standards for the use of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings.” In its place, a senior forensic advisor will be appointed “to interface with forensic science stakeholders and advise department leadership,” Sessions’ statement said. Members of the commission—experts from major institutions and universities—wrote to Sessions (pdf) just last week, urging that the panel’s charter be renewed. The commission, they wrote, “has made a positive and indelible impact on the criminal justice system” and “has facilitated an important discussion...

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The Opioid Overdose Epidemic Hypocrisy of Donald Trump

by Denise Oliver Velez –  As both a former drug researcher, and former user, I am not in denial about the rising number of overdose deaths in the U.S. To sit and watch the Orange Killer in the oval office hold a “listening session” using the families of overdose victims and tearful recovering addicts as a front for his public relations scam made me want to puke. His announcement at the end of March that he is launching “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,” flies in the face of his attempts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in collusion with Republicans in the House and Senate—which would have dropped the addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans. Mother Jones has been on his case like white on rice. In “Remember When Trump Said He Cared About the Opioid Crisis? Fast Forward to Now” they point...

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Key Report: Hundreds of Native Bee Species Buzzing Toward Extinction

by JULIE FIDLER – One species is already presumed to be extinct. The Center for Biological Diversity has published a first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of more than 4,000 native bee species in North America. The report indicates that more than half the species with sufficient data are declining. Nearly 1 in 4 is racing towards extinction due to increased pesticide and other factors. Of the 1,437 species with sufficient data, the nonprofit found that 749 were declining. An additional 347 (24%) of the species are imperiled and at risk of extinction. The center presumes that the species lacking sufficient data are presumed to be at risk of extinction as well. The author of the report, Kelsey Kopec, said in a statement: “It’s a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming.” All of the bee...

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Like Father Like Daughter: Ivanka Trump’s Failed Planned Parenthood ‘Outreach’

by Joan McCarter – You can’t run a government like a business. You can’t expect someone with no policy experience to be able to translate “deal-making” to governing. The Trump regime is demonstrating, though, that you can expect inexperienced business people to completely fuck up when they try to venture into policy. Case in point, Ivanka Trump toddling off in secret to make nice with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, not understanding that PP would then be pissed off when her father betrayed them. Their under-the-radar meeting—a rarity between a well-known Democratic activist and a close adviser to a Republican president—has not been previously reported.“The purpose of the meeting, from Cecile’s point of view, was to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea for Planned Parenthood to be removed from being able to see Medicaid patients,” said...

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Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Law that Pence Signed Mandating Ultrasounds 18 Hours Before an Abortion

by Meteor Blades – A federal judge has blocked an Indiana law signed by Mike Pence in 2016 when he was still governor to force women to obtain an ultrasound at least 18 hours before getting an abortion. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the first African American ever appointed to the federal court in Indiana, ruled in the case that the state made no compelling argument that requiring an ultrasound “makes it any more likely that a woman will choose not to have an abortion.” As in many cases where new restrictions are placed on abortion, the defenders of this law claim it protects women’s health. Foes argue that this is bunk and that this law, like others, places an “undue burden” on women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. That’s language from the Supreme Court ruling in (Pennsylvania) Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and elaborated upon in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016). The case was filed by Planned Parenthood...

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Texas Rep’s Bill to Fine Men for Masturbatory Emissions has Made its Way up the Legislative Ladder

by Walter Einenkel – Texas’ House Bill 4260, which relates “to the regulation of men’s health and safety; creating civil penalty for unregulated masturbatory emissions,” has moved from being filed to being handled by the Texas State Affairs Committee. Written by Houston Democrat state Rep. Jessica Farrar in response to the slew of anti-women’s rights bills regarding medical choice, the bill is in the perfect place for discussion. The committee is typically the panel that hears abortion-related legislation and it will now address Farrar’s House Bill 4620, which is named the “Men’s Right to Know Act.” The bill was filed about three weeks ago and at the time state Rep. Farrar had this to say: “A lot of people find the bill funny,” Farrar said in a phone interview. “What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access...

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US Ends Funding for United Nations Population Fund

UN Population Fund rejects state department’s claim that agency backs “coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation”. The state department has announced it is ending US funding for the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), the international body’s agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries. The state department said it was withholding $32.5 in funding for the fiscal year of 2017 because the UNFPA “supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation”. The cut marks US President Donald Trump’s first move to curtail funding for the United Nations and is likely to raise further questions about how deep those cuts will eventually go throughout the organisation, where the United States is the top donor. It comes after Trump in January reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy that withholds US funding for international organisations that perform...

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The Dallas Cowboys’ Owner Is Right: NFL Should Change its Nonsensical Marijuana Prohibition

by Eric Boehm – Jerry Jones is as unlikeable as an NFL owner could be, but he’s right about this. Football’s prohibition on weed makes no sense for players or teams. If a recent lawsuit filed by former National Football League players is to be believed, professional football teams hand out powerful painkillers by the handful on the sidelines before games, after practices, during halftimes, and just about any time a player complains of any injury or nagging pain. But while America’s most popular sports league is awash in opioids, the NFL maintains a strict rule against players’ use of marijuana—either for recreational purposes or as an alternative way to treat aches and pains. Sports are a mirror for the culture that watches them, and the NFL’s contradictory positions on those two types of pain treatments certainly reflects both the rising opioid crisis in America and the ongoing effort to come...

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Federal Appeals Court Holds Workers can’t be Fired for Being Gay

by Ian Millhiser – Onward to the Supreme Court! With a lopsided majority joined by a bipartisan coalition of judges, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held on Tuesday that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law, at least in the context of the workplace. The court telegraphed in an order last October that Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College was likely to be a victory for victims of discrimination in the workplace. The final vote in the case, however, is a bit more surprising. Eight of the Seventh Circuit’s judges joined Tuesday’s opinion, including Republican appointees Richard Posner, Joel Flaum, Frank Easterbrook, Ilana Rovner, and Kenneth Ripple. Only three judges dissented. The case involves Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of an employee’s “sex.” Though Title VII contains no explicit statement that discrimination...

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Trumpcare is Back From the Dead and it is even Worse

by Casey Quinlan – Republican leaders are determined to schedule another vote on health care. House Republicans aren’t giving up on their failed health care bill. Vice President Mike Pence, Budget Director Mike Mulvaney, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus met with House Freedom Caucus Republicans on Monday night to find out what changes would be acceptable to the caucus, Politico reported. The caucus chairman, Rep. Mike Meadows (R-NC) said GOP lawmakers would see the text of a new health care bill within 24 hours. The White House also met with a few House Republicans from the more moderate Tuesday Group on Monday to see what changes they would be comfortable with. Republican leaders failed to gather the necessary votes on their original health care bill last month because it didn’t go far enough for far-right conservatives — removing things like the provision requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions — and went too far...

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Republicans Must be Punished for Lying about Health Care for Eight Years

by Egberto Willies – Most progressives know that Republicans lied during the development of health care reform and after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). But when the GOP came up with their replacement plan, it turned out all the lies they told about Obamacare became the reality of what they were proposing. The cruelty of their ideology was finally on display for all to see, so much so that Trumpcare sank to a 17 percent approval rating. As Joy-Ann Reid said: Republicans have spent the last 30 or 40 years trying to replace this image of callousness toward the poor, callousness toward the elderly, with this idea of compassionate conservatism. That was whisked away over this process. There was a cruelty to this bill that was even apparent to conservative voters, to Republican voters who were shocked at the cruelty. Obamacare brought Americans one step closer to having health care as a right. It meant “we...

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Trump’s Foreign Aid Proposal Leaves the U.S. on a Sinking Island

by Hannah Ranalli – When beginning the discussion regarding foreign aid policies in the United States, one must first establish a few basic facts. While most Americans estimate that foreign aid takes roughly 15-20% of our nation’s GNI (gross national income) in reality it actually constitutes far less than 1% of it (approximately 0.17%)1.. While the United States currently contributes the highest amount of money to foreign aid, just over 30 billion, in terms of percent of GNI it ranks nearly 20th. Donald Trump’s recent proposal aims to slash foreign aid by 28% and cut some programs entirely while increasing the budget for the military by 54 billion dollars. Despite those facts and figures, foreign aid is much more than that; it is a narrative of people. Over 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, and according to UNICEF 22,000 children die each day due to poverty and...

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Trump Wants to Slash Medical Research Funding to Help Pay for Border Wall

by Deirdre Fulton – Deep and immediate cuts to National Institutes of Health and other agencies would amount to “throwing progress out the window”. Lawmakers, scientists, and advocacy groups are decrying President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), saying they represent another broken campaign promise and a “heartless” attack on critical medical research. In keeping with his war on science, Trump’s “skinny budget” released earlier this month outlined a 20 percent cut to the NIH; a specific proposal put forth this week would cut an additional $1.23 billion from the agency’s 2017 fiscal year budget. The reduction is part of $18 billion in cuts Trump is requesting “from medical research, education, and other programs for the remainder of the current fiscal year to finance construction of a border wall and build up the military,” as Bloomberg reported. According to STAT: he NIH cuts would wipe $50 million...

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New Data Deliver Good News for Health Care and Bad News for Speaker Ryan’s Tax Reform Plan

by Harry Stein and Alex Rowell – Shortly after Congress’ failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, new budget data confirm the sustainability of the federal government’s major health care programs. These budget data also illustrate a major hurdle for the tax reform plan advocated by House Republican leaders. This new information comes from the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, and it includes updated projections for the cost of federal programs; tax revenue levels; budget deficits; and economic variables such as gross domestic product, or GDP. The projected costs of federal health care programs have fallen dramatically since the passage of the ACA. Despite false claims to the contrary, federal health programs are not facing a “death spiral” of exploding costs. The United States has more than enough economic capacity to continue to sustain these programs in the future; repealing the ACA would have instead used American...

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Inside the Rotten Repeal of HB2

by Lindsay Gibbs – HB2 is dead, but its anti-LGBT legacy lives on in North Carolina. On Thursday, the North Carolina Senate voted 35–12 to repeal House Bill 2, the anti-LGBT legislation that most notably banned transgender individuals from using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. Hours later, after a rousing debate, the House of Representatives also confirmed the repeal by 70–48; hours later, it landed on Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) desk, and the simple stroke of a pen, the controversial legislation that had cost North Carolina millions of dollars, made it one of the most anti-LGBT states in the country, and directly led to the demise of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, was dead at long last. But notably, none of the legislators or advocacy groups that had been fighting for the bill’s repeal for over a year were celebrating. “It’s a disappointing day,” Rep. Price Harrison (D) told ThinkProgress....

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Checkpoints Now Include Mouth Swabs To Check If You’ve Smoked Weed Days Ago

by: Justin Gardner / The Free Thought Project – The mouth swab test can give positive results even if the person did not use cannabis that day, but this “evidence” is still admissible in court. San Diego, CA – On St. Patrick’s Day, California’s southernmost metropolis decided to debut a roadside test for those suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis. Several “sobriety checkpoints” were set up throughout the city with the standard invasions of privacy, but this time they added a mouth swab test known as the Drager 5000. If a cop suspects a driver of being high, they request that he or she take the mouth swab test, and perhaps a field sobriety test as well. They’re trying to gather evidence to incriminate you, although the mouth swab test is not mandatory. The Drager 5000, already in use in other countries and cities such as Los Angeles and...

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Kansas Lawmakers Just Dared Sam Brownback to Veto Medicaid Expansion

by Alan Pyke – Bill heads to right-wing governor’s desk with wide bipartisan majorities — but not veto-proof ones. A bill to expand Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare passed the Kansas Senate on Tuesday morning, setting up a showdown with arch-conservative Gov. Sam Brownback (R). Brownback is philosophically opposed to the expansion, which in-state analysts estimate would cover 150,000 currently uninsured people. But with the state’s budget in disastrous shape because of his “real, live experiment” with right-wing tax policy over the past several years, Republican allies have already begun to break stride with the governor. Brownback has 10 days to decide what to do. His administration this week reiterated opposition to expanding the state’s Medicaid program, known as KanCare. But the governor himself has stayed mu, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas head David Jordan told ThinkProgress. “His staff put out oppositional statements yesterday, but he wouldn’t answer the question himself as to what...

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DOJ to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities by Denying and Clawing Back Federal Grants

by Zack Ford – At Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer turned the podium over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a plan to cut Office of Justice Programs grants to sanctuary cities — those that choose not to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation. “Today I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S. Code § 1373,” Sessions explained. That law states that no government entity can restrict sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. “Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.” Not complying with 1373, Sessions warned, could “result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.” He added that the Department of Justice...

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The Real Reason Why Obamacare Now Has a 54% Approval Rating

by smirking – CNN had an eye opening story yesterday that’s been flying under the radar and really deserves to be given a lot more attention. In his article The cruel double standard that may have saved Obamacare, John Blake explores a very simple rationale for why Obamacare is suddenly gaining in popularity. The face of Obamacare is now white.  More Americans now realize Obamacare helps millions of working class whites and that it’s not — as once portrayed by conservatives — a form of welfare pushed by the first black president to help people of color, historians and scholars say. The media landscape is filled with images of the furrowed brows of anxious white residents at congressional town halls who fear they will suffer if they lose Obamacare, says Judy Lubin, a sociologist and adjunct professor at Howard University in Washington. This makes sense to me. This makes more sense to me than...

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Trump Appears to Make Bizarre, Backhanded Call for Paul Ryan to Step Down

by Ian Millhiser – The president seems to want Fox News to do his dirty work. The President of the United States briefly took on a non-traditional role as publicist for a Fox News show Saturday night. Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M. 10:41 AM – 25 Mar 2017 Host Jeanine Pirro had barely begun her show before Trump’s tweet took on new significance. “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house,” she proclaimed at the very beginning of her “opening statement” segment at the top of the show. “The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.” Jeanine Pirro  ✔@JudgeJeanine “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house.The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.” #openingstatement 9:21 PM – 25 Mar 2017 What followed was a 6 minute rant against the embattled...

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‘We’re Just Getting Started’: Trumpcare Slain, Resistance Eyes Next Battles

by Jon Queally – Spectacular failure of Republicans to pass Trumpcare is time to ‘double-down’ on resistance, not gloat. While President Donald Trump on Saturday used a single tweet to tell the American people both “Do not worry!” and “Obamacare will explode,” the Trump resistance movement was being urged not to gloat over Friday’s “epic failure” of the Republicans’ attempt to pass their ‘slash and burn’ healthcare law but instead focus on organizing for the crucial battles ahead. Acknowledging their defeat on healthcare (while fecklessly trying to blame Democrats), Trump and his team on Friday said they would now place their focus on passing a controversial budget package and moving ahead with a major tax reform plan. And with the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch still unattained, the president’s opponents—both in Congress and in the streets—were balancing their elation over Friday’s healthcare outcome with acknowledgement that much hard work...

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Steve Bannon is Cleaning House. He Posted a “Shit List” in WH War Room and Paul Ryan is Toast

by ursulafaw – The GOP has a united Republican government — and they still can’t govern. That is the takeaway from yesterday’s stunning loss, where Republicans decided to withdraw their repeal bill rather than face the humiliation of public defeat on live television.  Whose political career is going to the guillotine for this debacle? Who has Steve Bannon declared would be gone by Spring? If you said Paul Ryan, you’re right. The implosion of Paul Ryan’s career has been building for quite some time. The Speaker of the House is a con artist and his attempt to foist “ObamaCare 0.5” i.e. a half baked version of the original, off on the public as a new and improved product, failed spectacularly and a price will be paid. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been following Paul Ryan for a number of years and Krugman just put another nail in Paul Ryan’s...

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Dear Mom: About Your 50 Year Nursing Career & Medicaid… This Woman’s Letter Pummels the GOP

by Leslie Salzillo – I didn’t write this. I wish I did. The way this woman levels Republicans is stunning. The author is Betsy Anderson and it’s a letter addressed to her mother with a blind copy to the GOP and all Americans. Ms. Anderson cuts straight to core and heartlessness of the GOP and it should be required reading in Congress and in all forms of the media. It’s also a perfect example of how well social media can work — when it works. Betsy Anderson took to Facebook and spoke out on March 16, 2017. Susan, a friend of mine posted Besty’s post in a group where another friend of mine, John, from VoteVets.org saw it. He posted it into another Facebook group where I first saw it. (And if you followed all that…) now I get to post it on Daily Kos where it stands a good chance of being read by the multitudes. For Betsy’s sake, the...

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Trump Reacts to Failure: We Were so Close, it’s all the Democrats’ Fault, and Obamacare is Exploding

by Joan McCarter – You might have expected popular vote loser Donald Trump to have a temper tantrum after the failure of Trumpcare, but he seemed pretty calm—albeit seriously deluded—during a brief press conference from the Oval Office. He led off with the most ludicrous of lies: “We were very close.” They weren’t very close. They were at least 30 (and as much as 50) votes away. “Very close.” Who’s fault was this? “We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, it’s a difficult thing to do.” So it’s the Democrats’ fault that the bill failed. What’s going to happen now? “I’ve been saying for the last year-and-a-half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode, it is exploding right now.” I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. They own...

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Leading Opponent of LGBT Civil Rights to Lead Civil Rights Office

by Ian Millhiser – Earlier this week, according to a statement by several progressive groups*, President Donald Trump appointed Roger Severino, a leading anti-LGBT activist, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. In doing so, Trump potentially gives Severino an opportunity to dismantle civil rights protections he criticized as a staffer at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Although Severino apparently was appointed without a formal announcement, his bio page at Heritage now states that he “is no longer a staff member at The Heritage Foundation.” In 2016, for example, Severino co-authored a Heritage report criticizing proposed Obama administration rules preventing discrimination against transgender patients within the health care system. Protecting trans people against such discrimination, Severino warned, would “penalize medical professionals and health care organizations that, as a matter of faith, moral conviction, or professional medical judgment, believe that maleness and femaleness are biological realities to...

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Why Jeff Sessions is Threatening to Crack Down on Marijuana

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a gathering of law enforcement officials in Richmond, Virginia last week that legalizing marijuana would not make the United States “a better place,” and he is “astonished” by the suggestion that cannabis could be used to combat the nation’s “heroin crisis.” Two days later, New Mexico — which has suffered from by high rates of opiate-related deaths for years — moved to do just that. On Friday, New Mexico’s legislature approved a bill that would make patients diagnosed with opiate disorders eligible for the state’s medical marijuana program. The idea already has the blessing of the state’s Medical Advisory Board, and if approved by the governor, New Mexico would become the first state to specifically to put opiate disorders on its list of conditions that can be treated with cannabis products. A growing field of research suggests...

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Eccentric Millionaire Returns Manhattan Building to American Indians

by Amelia Kinney – Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois plans to return his small part of Manhattan to the Lenape Indians by transforming the building into prayer house. Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, plans to transfer the deed of his $4m West Village House to the Lenape American Indian tribe, also known as the first Manhattanites. The house was purchased under the Goldwater Bourgeois family name in 2006 for $2.2m. An architectural historian and activist, Goldwater Bourgeois told the NY Post “I have a romance with the history of the city, and I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites.” He went further to say, “This building is the trophy from major theft. It disgusts me.” Goldwater Bourgeois is referring to the Lenape’s original inhabitation of Mannahatta, meaning “land of many hills”. Original correspondences show Dutch traders purchased the land from the Indians...

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An Orgy of Unnecessary Cruelty

by Robert Reich – The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty. 1. His new budget comes down especially hard on the poor – imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants, funds to keep poor families warm, even “meals on wheels.” These cuts come at a time when more American families are in poverty than ever before, including 1 in 5 children. Why is Trump doing this? To pay for the biggest hike in military spending since the 1980s. Yet the U.S. already spends more on its military than the next 7 biggest military budgets put together. 2. His plan to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act will cause 14 million Americans to lose their health insurance next year, and 24 million by 2026. Why is Trump doing...

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Meet Julia, the First Muppet on ‘Sesame Street’ with Autism (VIDEOS)

by Jessica Goldstein – “Sesame Street’ stands for inclusion and acceptance.” The first thing children watching Sesame Street might notice about Julia, the new Muppet on the block, is that she doesn’t want to make eye contact with Big Bird. Sesame devotees — which is to say, toddlers, kids, and their parents — might recognize Julia from her previous appearances on digital Sesame platforms, including ebooks. They’ll already know that Julia is a four-year-old with autism. But for viewers who will meet Julia for the first time when she makes her broadcast debut on April 10, Julia might seem unusual. Then again, maybe not: One in 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Maybe Julia will not seem unusual at all. Maybe she’ll seem totally, completely familiar. “When something is this prevalent, it’s something we have to step up to,” Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President for Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said by phone....

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East Chicago’s Pleas for Clean Drinking Water Go Unanswered as Trump Moves to Weaken EPA

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – Environmental justice is on the chopping block at the Environmental Protection Agency, and that doesn’t bode well for communities like East Chicago, Indiana, where the agency recently discovered that drinking water is contaminated with lead. Nearly three weeks ago, a number of East Chicago churches and community groups petitioned the EPA to take emergency action and protect the majority-Black community from lead poisoning, which can cause a long list of health problems, especially in children. As of Tuesday, the local leaders and their environmentalist allies had yet to hear back from the agency. The EPA’s inaction in East Chicago comes as Trump’s administration considers massive budget cuts that could crush the agency’s environmental justice program, which is supposed to ensure the fair treatment of low-income communities, Native communities and people of color under environmental law. The agency’s environmental justice office is slated...

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The Failures of the American Health Care Act

by Jeffrey A. Singer – Here are the problems with the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. From the time it was enacted, most Americans disliked the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Republicans, promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, rode the wave of public dissatisfaction to repeated election victories. The GOP took the House of Representatives in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and the White House in 2016, largely capitalizing on the skyrocketing premiums, rising deductibles, and disappearing choices that characterize Obamacare. Now, as Republicans control both Congress and the White House, they finally have the chance to deliver on their promise. And not a minute too soon. Because the mandates that Obamacare places on health insurance have sent our health insurance system into a death spiral. Premiums continue to soar as insurance companies are pulling out of the market, leaving consumers with fewer and...

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Budget Will Drive Up Republican Voters’ Energy Bills

by Joe Romm – Two key programs that help the elderly and rural poor reduce their energy bills will be cut. President Trump’s new federal budget continues a remarkable pattern of being gratuitously cruel to his own voters. The just-released budget zeroes out the two major programs designed to help low-income and elderly Americans deal with energy costs: the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). “Families receiving weatherization services see their annual energy bills reduced by an average of about $437, depending on fuel prices,” according to DOE data. In 2010, the program saved low-income families a whopping $2.1 billion. Cutting it will save $121 million. The program, though, is targeted toward low-income Americans, “especially low-income persons who are particularly vulnerable such as the elderly, the disabled, and children.” There is a huge...

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Trump, Ryan Budgets will Kill More Americans Per Year than all Muslim Extremist Attacks Combined

by Hunter – Meals on Wheels. How far do you have to get down the scale of ideological depravity before your pen lands on Meals on Wheels as the thing you need to get rid of to buy those last two more Tomahawk cruise missiles that will finally make America a super-duper-dominant world power again. That’s only one part of the Trump budget that directly targets the poorest Americans, of course. It also cuts home heating assistance, so those same seniors will have a chance to freeze to death before starving. It takes an axe to EPA efforts to clean up pollution, which will have a disproportionate effect on the air and water of those neighborhoods surrounding those worst polluters. While that will likely result in an uptick in everything from childhood asthma to cancer, the Trump budget also slashes medical research funding in an apparent effort to ensure nobody does...

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Death Spiral, Debunked: Facts Undercut Major Argument for GOP Healthcare Plan

by Deirdre Fulton – Republicans’ major argument to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appears to be, well, bunk. Republicans have spun a lot of stories in their desperate attempt to sell the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare—and among their favorites is the narrative that the law is “imploding,” in a “death spiral,” or otherwise doomed to fail. There are two problems with that argument. First of all, Obamacare is not, in fact, “collapsing.” And secondly, to the extent the ACA is experiencing problems, much of the blame can be placed directly at the feet of Republicans and the insurance companies to whom they are beholden. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released this week on the GOP’s replacement plan, the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), further exposes the “death spiral” talking point as a myth: “According to the budget office,” the New York Times wrote Wednesday, “the...

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Paul Ryan is an Epic Failure

by Ian Millhiser – Trumpcare was a big test for Ryan, and he failed. Let’s briefly take stock of Speaker Paul Ryan’s career. Elected to Congress in 1998, Ryan spent most of his first decade as a backbencher. His most ambitious proposal in those early years was a plan to privatize Social Security that even the Bush White House labeled as “irresponsible.” Then he became the highest-ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and, later, a committee chair. In these roles, Ryan revealed his two great talents — convincing his fellow Republicans to vote for laissez-faireproposals that had no chance of becoming law, and convincing Beltway pundits and reporters that he was some kind of policy wonk. By the time Ryan’s reputation as the conservative movement’s Great Wonk convinced presidential candidate Mitt Romney to choose Ryan as his running mate, Ryan was the primary sponsor of just two bills that actually became law. One...

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IOM: 525 Refugees Die at Sea in First Few Weeks of 2017

by Anealla Safdar – Number of drowned in Mediterranean from January to early March higher than last year, raising alarm among rights groups. More refugees have died in the Mediterranean over the first nine weeks of this year compared with the same period in 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). From January 1 to March 9, at least 521 people drowned while attempting to cross the treacherous sea compared with 471 in the same period a year ago. At least another four refugees died on Friday, bringing the 2017 death toll to 525 people, according to IOM. The figures raised alarm on Tuesday among human rights organisations, which have repeatedly called for safer passages. The rising deaths came as the number of people making the dangerous crossing from Libya more than doubled, with 13,439 arriving in Italy compared with 5,273 a year earlier. IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo...

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White House in Deep Denial Over Dumpster Fire Healthcare Plan

by April Hamlin – The Congressional Budget Office released their analysis of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan today, and their findings were bad. Really bad. According to the CBO’s report, 14 million people are going to lose their healthcare by the end of the year and 24 million will be without coverage by 2026. But somehow, the White House is in complete denial about what a disastrous bill they are pushing. Health Secretary Tom Price said on Monday afternoon that the administration “strenuously” disagrees with the CBO’s report. Despite the numbers presented to him, he still insists that more people will be covered and costs will be lowered under the Republican plan. The Associated Press  ✔@AP White House says it disagrees “strenuously” with finding that 14M would lose health coverage under GOP plan. http://apne.ws/2mFu3Ql  5:27 PM – 13 Mar 2017 The job of the CBO is to analyze proposed legislation and provide Congress...

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White House Analysis of TrumpCare is Worse than CBO

by databob – As bad as the CBO analysis is — I’m calling TrumpCare ‘Dead Plan Walking’ — it turns out that HHS Secretary Price lied through his teeth. Here’s what Politico is reporting: The executive branch analysis forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimate — a finding that undermines White House efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO. Seriously? Here’s what Price had to say after the CBO report came out: “So we disagree strenuously with the report that was put out. We believe that our plan will cover more individuals at a lower cost and give them the choices they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and their families, not that the government forces them to buy,” he told reporters outside the White House. Now, we have to keep in mind that Dr. Tom is...

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CBO: Trumpcare Would Wipe Out Coverage for 24 Million People

by Nadia Prupis – Highly-anticipated report on GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan finds 14 million people would lose coverage in the first two years alone. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday released its score of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, projecting that 14 million people would lose coverage by 2018 if the Republican bill is implemented. That number would rise to 24 million by 2026. Additionally, the plan would lead to higher deductibles and other cost-sharing payments. In short, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter, “The Republican healthcare plan: less healthcare for you, bigger salaries for healthcare CEOs. Republican priorities!” Bernie Sanders  ✔@SenSanders The Republican health care plan: less health care for you, bigger salaries for health care CEOs. Republican priorities! 4:01 PM – 13 Mar 2017 Opponents of the Republican plan, known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), were eagerly awaiting...

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This Weekend saw Massive Town Hall Protests Against Trumpcare and Trump (VIDEO)

by Josh Israel – California Republicans Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter Jr. faced angry constituents, while Virginia’s Barbara Comstock bravely ran away. On Saturday, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA) became the latest Republican legislators to be read the riot act by constituents who are furious about Donald Trump’s administration and his Trumpcare plan. At two gatherings on Saturday, Issa faced about 1,000 people at an Oceanside, California, community center. According to media reports, “hecklers often interrupted what they said were long-winded non-answers” and audience members jeered when Issa dismissed the Affordable Care act as “Obamacare” and claimed it is “not affordable.” Recognizing that the crowd was not happy with his answers or his support of Trump’s agenda, Issa told the audience, “I don’t mind that things are contentious. I just don’t want things to end like the play Hamilton.” (Spoiler: The show ends with a fatal duel.) One...

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From Barry Goldwater to Donald Trump

by César Chelala, Orlando Garcia – Increasingly, members of the psychiatric profession are expressing their concern about President Donald Trump mental health status. In a recent letter to the New York Times, two prestigious psychiatrists, Judith L. Herman and Robert Jay Lifton seriously question his grasp of reality and say, “Soon after the election, one of us raised concerns about Donald Trump’s fitness for office, based on the alarming symptoms of mental instability he had shown during his campaign. Since then, this concern has grown. Even within the space of a few weeks, the demands of the presidency have magnified his erratic patterns of behavior.” They are clear that they are not making a diagnosis but just expressing their concern, saying, “We are in no way offering a psychiatric diagnosis, which would be unwise to attempt from a distance. Nevertheless, as psychiatrists we feel obliged to express our alarm. We fear...

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Fact-Checking Elected Officials on the Affordable Care Act Repeal

by Charles Ornstein – ProPublica is working with other news organizations to collect and analyze letters and emails from elected officials to constituents on the ACA, beginning with a misleading missive by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt. Dismayed by the results of the 2016 election, Meg Godfrey decided she needed to do more than vote, share social media posts and sign online petitions. So she went to the website of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and typed a note in support of the Affordable Care Act. “I asked him to use my tax dollars to provide health care to his constituents just like my tax dollars provide health care for him and his family,” she said she wrote. A short while later, Godfrey received an email reply from Blunt, essentially a form letter explaining why he supported the law’s repeal. “When President Obama signed this bill into law, he assured Americans that they...

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House Republicans Have no Clue How Many of Their Constituents are on Obamacare

by Aaron Rupar – “I don’t know that number.” On Thursday evening, two House Republicans — Steve King (IA) and Leonard Lance (NJ) — went on Christopher Hayes’ MSNBC show and were asked how many of their constituents have healthcare coverage obtained through an Affordable Care Act exchange. Neither had a clue. Hayes asked King, “How many people in your district are on the exchanges, congressman?” “I don’t know that number. You may have that in front of you, Chris, but I don’t know that number,” King replied. As Hayes pointed out, roughly 11,400 people in King’s district have obtained health care through an ACA exchange in King’s district, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Hayes then pressed King as to whether he knows “what’s gonna happen to them under this bill. Have you talked to constituents, particularly in rural areas, who are going to be paying more out of pocket under this plan?”...

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Meet the Republicans Who Oppose Trumpcare

by Zack Ford – For some it goes too far; for others, it doesn’t go far enough. House Republicans have finally unveiled their plan to undo Obamacare, but not all congressional Republicans are on board with the controversial new plan. For some, the plan is still too liberal. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of 170 House conservatives, prepared an analysis critiquing the plan with “major concerns” that it’s too similar to Obamacare. For example, the RSC memo objects to the fact that the plan extends Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for three years. This, it argues, “will contribute to the worsening of the federal and state budgets” and will leave “the federal government picking up the majority of the bill.” These members simply do not want the federal government spending money to help the lowest-income Americans afford health coverage. In fact, they chide supporters of the plan for allowing the Medicaid...

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Paul Ryan’s Health Insurance Seminar Proves One Thing: He has no Idea How Insurance Works

by News Corpse – Thursday morning Republicans rolled out a presentation of their long-awaited alternative to the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). It came in the form of a lecture by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He stood before the class and gave a PowerPoint aided speech that supposedly spelled out everything you might need to know about the GOP plan. There was just one problem. Well actually, way more than one. But in the broadest terms the single most problematic part of Ryan’s lecture was that it made no sense whatsoever. It failed to address how it would cover everyone who is presently covered. There were no financing specifics to explain how it would be funded. But the most prominent flaw in his presentation was that it revealed that he has no idea what insurance is. Nor does he have any notion of how it works. Ryan summed up...

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Drug Industry CEOs are Profiting off Our Opioid Epidemic

by SARAH ANDERSON – A labor leader whose son was a victim of the opioid epidemic has inspired a campaign to crack down on these pain profiteers. Travis Bornstein never told his friends about his son Tyler’s drug problem. He was too embarrassed. Then, on September 28, 2014, Tyler’s body was found in a vacant lot in Akron, Ohio. The 23-year-old had become addicted to opioid pain killers after several sports-related injuries and surgeries. Unable to afford long-term treatment, he ultimately turned to a cheaper drug — the heroin that killed him. “Now I have no choice but to speak out,” the elder Bornstein, president of Teamsters Local 24 in Akron, told a crowd of thousands at the union’s convention in July 2016. As he proceeded to share the unvarnished tale of how a middle class, star athlete had wound up in that vacant lot, Bornstein lit a fire under the 1.4-million-member...

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Dan Rather Just Took Republicans To The Woodshed For Horrible Healthcare Bill

by Stephen D Foster Jr – This is what legendary newsman Dan Rather thinks about Trumpcare, and it’s an EPIC ass-kicking. On Monday, House Republicans officially passed a bill they dubiously refer to as the “American Healthcare Act, except that is neither American nor is it healthcare. Instead, this bill repeals the Affordable Care Act, which strips tens of millions of Americans of their health insurance coverage while raising the cost of care significantly. The bill does nothing to cover more people and does not improve healthcare one iota. Yet Trump has praised this piece of shit bill as “wonderful.” Dan Rather disagrees and wrote a scathing post on Facebook calling out Republicans and Trump for screwing over the American people. “For seven years we’ve been hearing from Republicans about how horrible Obamacare was, and this was the best they could come up with?” Rather wrote. “A rush job that doesn’t...

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LGBT Community Centers See Wave of Vandalism Across the Country

by Zack Ford – It’s part of the broader wave of hate that has spread across the country since the election. Over the past two months, various LGBT centers have been targeted with vandalism. Fortunately, the attacks on these important resource spaces and gathering places have not resulted in anyone being hurt, but the damage is real. The latest pair of incidents took place this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Shortly after midnight Monday morning, a white four-door truck drove past the center and fired multiple shots across the front door and windows of the center. Tulsa police recovered 13 pellets, but fortunately they did not penetrate the reinforced glass. It was the first time in the center’s 12-year history that it was targeted for a serious act of vandalism. Monday afternoon, a man then entered the Equality Center and began yelling at the staff,...

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How the Media Normalized Trump’s Mental Illness and Put Democracy at Risk

by Socdoc216 – Over the course of his life Donald Trump has exhibited innumerable behaviors demonstrating that he is malevolently aggressive, unbounded by conscience, incapable of recognizing truth or reality, highly erratic and selfish, and in possession of an excessively inflated ego.  For decades the public has been informed of Trump’s behavior, often portrayed as an entertaining but harmless “bad boy” by a news media that had, in large part (but with notable exceptions) morphed into an “infotainment” industry primarily motivated not by its democratic mission to inform the public, but by the profit motive.  This morphing has stymied the ability of the general US population to easily obtain basic factual news, but it has in no way nullified the ability of the infotainment industry to influence the public’s perception of reality.  A noteworthy example of this was the constant, unwarranted mainstream media coverage of Trump previous to and early in...

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These are the People Who Will Suffer Under Trumpcare

by Casey Quinlan – Women, low-income people, and the elderly will all feel the effects of the American Healthcare Act. House Republicans introduced a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act on Monday that will hurt the country’s most vulnerable populations. The American Healthcare Act would phase out Medicaid expansion under the ACA, gets rid of the individual mandate, charges a 30 percent premium surcharge to people without continuous coverage in the individual market, and defunds Planned Parenthood. Americans most affected by this plan are women, low-income people, the elderly, and people with mental illnesses — but it’s likely that all Americans will lose out under this plan. Women Under the American Healthcare Act, Planned Parenthood is barred from using federal funding for family planning and Americans would not be able to use their tax credits to help them pay for plans that include abortion services. This would leave low-income women to pay...

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Rejecting GOP Ploy, Planned Parenthood Says Women’s Right to Choose is “Non-Negotiable”

by Lauren McCauley – House GOP’s plan cuts off federal funding for abortion providers, effectively destroying access to affordable women’s healthcare services. Women’s healthcare providers are readying for a fight. Refusing to back down from its commitment to women’s choice, Planned Parenthood is now at risk of losing nearly 40 percent of its funding—and is calling for a massive mobilization to resist the attack on women’s health. Ahead of the official release of House Republicans’ the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Monday evening—which guts funding for any healthcare organization that “provides for abortions”—Planned Parenthood reportedly rejected an offer from the White House to stop terminating pregnancies in exchange for the group to continue receiving federal funds for other essential services. “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned...

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90 Homeless Shelters to be Built in New York Within Next 5 Years

by Amanda Froelich – By 2021, the city aims to reduce the number of people living in shelters by 2,500. The figures might be difficult to comprehend, but consider this: in a city of 8.5 million people, more than 58,000 men, women, and children sleep in homeless shelters. An additional 3,100 sleep on the streets and this equates to 1 in every 147 New York citizens being homeless. Because this is a travesty, the mayor of New York recently unveiled a new plan which intends to reduce the number of people in shelters by 2,500 within the next five years. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Tuesday that the city will replace the use of hotels and “cluster” shelters which are scattered around the city with 20 new shelters in 2017 and 20 more in 2018. These structures will be located closer to peoples’ own neighborhoods, that way they will be near...

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The GOP ‘Make America Sick Again’ Plan was Released, and it’s Worse than You Thought

    by April Hamlin – Republicans finally rolled out their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday and it is even worse than expected. While the full ramifications of the “Make America Sick Again” plan, (or as Republicans are calling it, the American Health Care Act) are still being discovered as everybody sifts through the 123-page bill, here is a quick overview of what is understood so far. First. the good news. The new plan will keep two important provisions of Obamacare. Protections for pre-existing conditions will remain in place and parents will continue to be able to keep their children on their policies until age 26. Now, the bad. And boy is there a lot of that. Say goodbye to the Medicaid expansion, the one that covers 10 million people in 31 states. As of January 2020, it’s gone. Planned Parenthood, along with any other organization that offers...

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