Politics

Big Pharma Gets $28 Billion Tax Break in GOP Health Plan

by Will Rice – One of the few winners if this bill passes would be the nation’s pharmaceutical industry. There will be a lot of losers if the House GOP’s disastrous plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act ever becomes law: people with preexisting medical conditions, working families, older folks, kids. One of the few winners would be the nation’s pharmaceutical industry: $28 billion richer thanks to a big tax cut. The Senate is likely to keep this tax break in its version of the legislation. Do America’s drug makers deserve a $28 billion tax cut over 10 years, when the profits of the top 10 companies topped $83 billion last year alone, with the top 5 pocketing nearly $58 billion? Hardly. In fact, they need to start paying their fair share. The Republican plan passed by the House and endorsed by President Trump this spring would cost 23 million Americans their...

Read More...


Barack Obama Calls on Republicans to Oppose Senate Healthcare Bill

by Adam Peck – “I hope that our Senators step back and measure what’s really at stake.” Shortly after Republican leadership finally pulled back the curtain on the health care legislation they have been working on in secret for weeks, reaction—much of it critical—began pouring in. None was more forceful or unequivocal than the reaction from former President Barack Obama. In a lengthy post published on Facebook, the 44th president beseeched Republicans in the Senate to consider the ramifications of the bill, which will strip health insurance from tens of millions of people, raise costs for millions more, and eliminate Medicaid protections that an estimated 75 million Americans rely on. “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” said Obama in the post. “It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug...

Read More...


Mueller v. Trump: The Ultimate Lawsuit

by STEVEN HARPER – Odds are that Trump will eventually fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Lawyer Steven Harper games out what would happen next. Eventually, Trump is likely to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s repeated statements about the Russia “hoax” — along with his apparent attempts to influence the FBI’s investigation — warrant a close look at the process by which he could do so. Equally important are the limited ways to stop him. Whether by design, inadvertence or a combination of both, Trump and his minions — including Newt Gingrich and Trump’s lawyers — have been laying the groundwork for what could become America’s defining moment.   The Rules and the Players To stop the investigation, Trump’s cleanest path requires that one of his loyalists occupy a Senate-confirmed position in the Justice Department’s chain of command. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, the power to end the inquiry has now landed in Deputy Attorney General...

Read More...


Trump’s Carrier Deal Falls Apart; Hundreds of Jobs Ship Off to Mexico, 600 to be Fired Next Month

by Jameson Parker – It was supposed to be Trump’s one, big win. Now it’s completely falling apart. The much-publicized deal to save American manufacturing jobs at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis is looking less like a feather in Trump’s cap and more like a black eye. The latest details out of the plant paint a grim picture for the employees who were told just months ago that they had been saved by Trump. According to a report by CNBC: More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved. The deal, announced with great fanfare before Trump took office, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape. Nearly seven months later the...

Read More...


EPA Dismisses the People in Charge of Scientific Integrity

by BEN ADLER – Pruitt has now gotten rid of most of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. In the latest blow to the integrity of the science used by government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed nearly all of the members of its Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) this week. The board, which reviews and advises EPA’s internal research departments on their scientific methodology, was already understaffed. On Tuesday, E&E News, an environmental news outlet, obtained an email from Robert Kavlock, acting head of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, saying that BOSC members whose three-year appointments expire in August will not get renewed. Environmental advocates had been concerned about the fate of the BOSC for some time. This week’s highly unusual action comes on the heels of EPA’s decision in May not to renew the appointments of nine of the BOSC executive committee’s 18 members. (Historically, BOSC members have been renewed for a...

Read More...


We Finally Know What’s Going to be in the Senate Version of Trumpcare — and it’s not Pretty

by Judd Legum – An ugly process begets an ugly bill. For weeks, Senate Republicans have negotiated their version of Trumpcare in near total secrecy. There have been no public hearings — just private meetings among a select group of Republicans about a bill that could reshape one-sixth of the American economy. For many Americans, the contours of the bill could be a matter of life and death. Text of the bill was released on Thursday, but key details began to leak Wednesday night (some from lobbyists who learned about the bill before the American people). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is insisting on a vote before the July 4th holiday, which means everyone has a week to learn about this bill — including many of the senators who will be voting on it. So let’s get started. Here are the most important things you need to know. The bill would strip health care coverage from millions of low...

Read More...


Ossoff Moved the Bar 19.6% Toward the Blue, Here are the Republican Seats Within That Range

by pollwatcher – Price won GA06 by 23.4%, Handel won by 3.8%.  Ossoff moved the bar 19.6% toward the blue. Sure it hurts, but keep in mind the following Republican house seats that were won last Nov. and are within that 19.6% range. Florida District 16 Republican Party Vern Buchanan 19.5 Washington District 5 Republican Party Cathy McMorris Rodgers 19.3 Texas District 6 Republican Party Joe Barton 19.3 Illinois District 13 Republican Party Rodney Davis 19.3 New Jersey District 11 Republican Party Rodney Frelinghuysen 19.1 Texas District 22 Republican Party Pete Olson 19 Texas District 10 Republican Party Michael McCaul 18.9 Pennsylvania District 7 Republican Party Patrick Meehan 18.9 Illinois District 14 Republican Party Randy Hultgren 18.6 North Carolina District 6 Republican Party Mark Walker 18.5 Illinois District 6 Republican Party Peter Roskam 18.4 Ohio District 1 Republican Party Steve Chabot 18.4 California District 1 Republican Party Doug LaMalfa 18.1...

Read More...


Trump’s Trade Rhetoric Was Key to His Campaign. Now it’s Totally Incoherent

by Casey Quinlan – Trump has walked back most of his comments on trade. Trump appears to be ready to take major steps toward safeguarding the American steel industry, which has been threatened by foreign-made steel. But before your praise him for his trade policies, it’s important to look at the bigger picture. During his campaign, President Donald Trump focused on renegotiating NAFTA, labeling China a currency manipulator, and bringing back lost manufacturing jobs. Instead, Trump has backed away from some of his promises on China and NAFTA, and is taking on smaller efforts. If Trump moves ahead with protecting the domestic steel industry, it will be one of the few trade moves that would correspond with his campaign promises. But on the whole, Trump’s trade policy is completely incoherent. The Commerce Department has been considering whether steel imports are an economic security and national security threat. On Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur...

Read More...


GOP Cuts Critical Services to Pay for Wealthy Tax Cuts

by Frank Clemente – At a recent press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Marta Conner told reporters, “My daughter Caroline is alive because of Medicaid.” Caroline suffers from Rett Syndrome, a rare, debilitating neurodevelopmental disease that prevents her from using her hands, talking, and walking. Marta says that Caroline has roughly 90 seizures a year and relies on 10 medications. Without her medication, Caroline would have seizures every day. Caroline’s care requires hospital-grade equipment including a cough assist machine, a nebulizer, oxygen supplies, and help from nurses. Marta relies on Medicaid to pay for the substantial costs that her insurance doesn’t cover. So why would President Trump so cruelly threaten Caroline’s care and the care of millions of other Americans by drastically cutting Medicaid in his recently released budget? Sadly, there’s a simple explanation: he wants to give huge tax cuts to big corporations and billionaires like himself. It’s been widely reported...

Read More...


The Swift, Shocking Collapse of Theresa May and the Tories

by m2c4  – It is hard to believe but it was just two months ago that Theresa May called a snap election in the UK. With polls showing around a 20 point lead for Conservatives, the expectation was that May would solidify her “strong” leadership position for the difficult Brexit negotiations ahead, the Tories would get a 75 to 100 seat majority in the House of Common, and the resulting Labour party losses would put them into minority status for a generation to come. It didn’t quite work out that way. The election resulted in a hung Parliament. May and the Conservatives actually lost their 17 seat working majority and were forced to join with the anti-abortion, climate change denying Northern Irish DUP party in order to try and actually form a government. May, who had run as a “strong leader” that the UK needed to move forward for the next...

Read More...


Study Explores Democratic Party Divisions

by brooklynbadboy – Interesting new study comes to a few conclusions about the 2016 Democratic Party and its divisions. Essentially, the concludes that on values and policy, there is much overlap and cohesion. Democrats largely agree with an activist role for the federal government to intervene in both economic and social life in America. The one, glaring, massive division between the two wings of the party is on the issue of America itself. Clinton voters have much more confidence in the nation’s institutions, believe in its system of self-government, think opportunities exist for people like them. Sanders voters have little confidence in the economic and political system, believe it is fundamentally corrupt and rigged against people like them, and believe it beyond reform, requiring a sweeping political revolution: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had very different records over the years on economic policy, and their best-informed surrogates reflect that division. But a massive...

Read More...


Trump’s Ongoing Legal Troubles are Scaring Off Potential Candidates for Top Posts

by Yvette Cabrera – And those vacancies are becoming a serious safety and security concern. President Donald Trump’s volatile temperament, an intensifying investigation into his aides’ possible collusion with Russia, and his firing of FBI Director James Comey, have made it a challenge to recruit and fill top leadership posts across the government, according to the Washington Post. The cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Trump administration has complicated what the Post described as an “already slow pace” in filling the government’s top ranks. “Republicans say they are turning down job offers to work for a chief executive whose volatile temperament makes them nervous,” according to the Post, which interviewed 27 people — including federal officials, Republican party activists, lobbyists, as well as candidates who Trump officials have tried to recruit — as part of its investigation. The White House told the Post it doesn’t have a hiring problem, and blamed the slow pace on the vetting...

Read More...


Reporters Face 70 Years in Prison over Anti-Trump March

by Patrick Strickland – Two journalists are among more than 200 people facing felony charges after mass arrests at Inauguration Day rally. Even when heavily armed riot police closed off a square block and surrounded protesters, media workers and legal observers alike, independent journalist Alexei Wood did not realise he was about to be arrested. “It didn’t even cross my mind that was what was happening,” the 37-year-old photographer and videographer told Al Jazeera. “I was waiting for an order of dispersal and the mass of people showed no sign of resistance when the police completely surrounded them.” FAULT LINES: The Rise of Trump (24:59) Yet on that day, January 20, protesters and observers say the order to disperse never came, and more than 230 people were arrested during protests against the inauguration of right-wing US President Donald Trump. Like other media workers who travelled to the capital from across the country for Trump’s inauguration,...

Read More...


Jon Ossoff Fails to Flip Georgia’s Sixth District

by Kira Lerner – But his supporters say the energy in his campaign isn’t going anywhere. As it became clear that Jon Ossoff would not flip the sixth, pave it blue, make Trump angry, or do any of what Democrats here have worked for in recent months, supporters at his election night party were still not ready to call it a loss. “This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted together. “In democracies, sometimes you lose,” one supporter said. Despite the outpouring of money (making this the most expensive House race in U.S. history), the national attention, and the tens of thousands of doors knocked, Ossoff was unable to flip the seat in the historically conservative district. When CNN projected Republican Karen Handel’s face onto the TV screen, the room fell silent. Some booed. Others headed for their cars. But mostly, supporters said they felt like they’d found a new, likeminded...

Read More...


Trump “Simply Doesn’t Care”: Six Members of HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel Resign

by Andrea Germanos – Final straw, they say, was president’s pushing of healthcare legislation that would deal devastating blow to HIV community.   Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have resigned in protest saying that Donald Trump “simply does not care,” and that he is not only unaware of the continuing impact the epidemic has on communities but is supporting legislation that threatens to reverse recent gains. In a blistering op-ed published at Newsweek, Scott A. Schoettes, counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, outlines the motivations that led him and five of his colleagues—Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses W. Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados—to resign on June 13. The resignations come as Senate Republicans secretly hammer out their Affordable Care Act repeal legislation—a measure healthcare advocates fear will gut Medicaid, bringing drastic harm to people living with HIV. The council was established under the Clinton administration and is tasked with...

Read More...


What They Want to Hide Tells You Who They Are

by Liz Ryan Murray – The Treasury Department has released their report on financial regulations they want to scrap. Spoiler alert: the Wall Street sharpies who Trump put in charge of our economy, who made fortunes on both ends of the housing collapse, think pretty much all regulations on banks, including home lenders, should go. This report was driven by Craig Phillips, who packaged and sold billions in bundled home loans for Morgan Stanley before he moved over to hedge fund giant BlackRock. His boss is former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, who made his bones by aggressively foreclosing on homeowners at IndyMac after the 2008 financial meltdown. These guys think we should go a lot easier on the poor, poor megabanks, who’ve suffered enough, and toughen up on the real culprits – middle-class families. First, they want to make the financial system less safe for consumers by repealing the Volcker rule, so banks...

Read More...


Civil Rights Commission Launches New Investigation Into Trump Admin Practices

by Frank Vyan Walton – Following the news that under AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III administration of the Department of Justice quietly rolling back civil rights protections for Americans… Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight. The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement. Other departments have scaled back the power of their internal divisions that monitor such abuses. In a previously unreported development, the Education Department last week reversed an Obama-era reform that broadened the agency’s approach to protecting rights of students. The Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have also announced sweeping cuts to their enforcement. “At best, this administration believes that civil rights enforcement is superfluous and can be easily cut. At worst, it really is...

Read More...


The Truth About Trump’s Golden Boy

by Ryan de Laureal – Perhaps no figure embodies the bizarre state of US politics better than Jared Kushner. With Trump’s victory in November, the bland and unremarkable 36-year-old real estate tycoon went from being a virtual nobody — the husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and, like Trump himself, the pampered heir to his father’s business empire — to a key powerbroker in the new administration. In his new role as senior adviser, Kushner has influence over some of the most significant areas of world politics — tasks normally reserved for people who spent their careers on them — from US policy in the Middle East to solving the US opioid epidemic to restructuring the American executive state. But more important than the “experience” question, Kushner is a shining example of the web of hypocrisy, contradiction and intrigue surrounding Trump himself and his promises to rejuvenate American capitalism. Despite Kushner’s frequent portrayal in the media...

Read More...


Trump’s Poll Numbers Crater Even Further as GOP Support Slips

by m2c4 – Lost amid all the dramatics of Jeff Sessions’ testimony, Trump’s ranting and ravings, and his reported desire to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, (which we all know he will eventually do), was an AP poll that confirmed Nate Silver’s earlier analysis that Trump’s support among Republicans is beginning to not only slip, but to slip badly. Silver has pointed out that the level of strong support for Trump has slipped by almost one-third since his inauguration. And now the most recent AP-NORC poll shows that Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 35% and over half of the country strongly disapproves of the job he is doing. But here is the real kicker from the AP poll: “Nearly a third of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican party think Trump has little to no respect for the country’s democratic institutions, and a quarter disapprove of the job he’s doing as...

Read More...


GOP Senate Plan Would ‘Gouge Poor People’ With Even Deeper Medicaid Cuts

by Jake Johnson – “This change would thoroughly demolish Medicaid funding over time, much more so than even the House bill,” wrote Slate‘s Jordan Weissmann. Further indicating their willingness to “gouge poor people,” Senate Republicans are reportedly considering even deeper cuts to Medicaid than those proposed by the House version of Trumpcare, which amounted to around $800 billion over ten years. The Hill’s Peter Sullivan first reported on this latest development Monday in a healthcare fight that continues to intensify as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring Trumpcare to the floor for a vote before the July 4 recess without any semblance of public debate. Citing several aides and lobbyists, Sullivan reports that the proposal to make even larger cuts to Medicaid—a program that provides insurance for one in five Americans—has become a “consensus option.” “The proposal would start out the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending at the same levels as the House bill,”...

Read More...