Politics

Trump Takes His Rage Out On Obamacare, Again, With New Executive Orders

by Joan McCarter – Thwarted by the Republican Congress’s inability to take health insurance away from millions of people, Donald Trump is continuing his efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act from the inside. He’s expected to sign executive orders on Thursday intended to siphon off healthy Obamacare enrollees into skimpy cheaper plans. The order will loosen rules for what these plans have to cover and who they have to cover, like people with pre-existing conditions. The cumulative effect of the new rules he’s ordering will be to damage Obamacare’s regulated markets, leaving just the sickest, most expensive patients there. A press release issued by the White House in advance of his signing the orders is short on details, heavy on rhetoric attacking Obamacare, but generally follows what previous leaks and news reports have suggested he will do. He’s got a three-bladed hatchet that he’s taking to the law, one that will make it easier for...

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Mobile Clinics Assume Greater Role in Preventive Care

by Scott Rodd – One afternoon last month, the Family Van stopped at the corner of Washington and Roxbury streets in Boston. The regulars had already formed a line, waiting in the lingering summer heat for the red and green RV to arrive. The Family Van, which is funded in part by Harvard Medical School, provides free blood pressure tests, HIV counseling and basic medical care to underserved neighborhoods across Boston. The van has been operating since 1992, and mobile health clinics like it have been around for decades, but they are assuming a more prominent role as the U.S. health care system places a greater emphasis on preventive care. Encouraged by incentives in the Affordable Care Act, health care providers and insurers are trying to treat health care problems before they turn into costly health crises. Mobile clinics are an effective way to reach patients who may forgo...

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In Iran and North Korea, Trump Is Playing With Nuclear Fire

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | News Analysis – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which spearheaded a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The significance of this award cannot be underestimated. Donald Trump’s bombastic and frightening threats against North Korea and Iran may portend a catastrophic attack that could impact the entire world. The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing 210,000 people. During the week following the bombings, thousands of survivors experienced a unique combination of symptoms, Susan Southard wrote in the Los Angeles Times: Their hair fell out in large clumps, their wounds secreted extreme amounts of pus, and their gums swelled and bled. Purple spots appeared on their bodies, signs of hemorrhaging beneath the skin. Infections ravaged their internal organs. Within a few days of the onset of symptoms, many people lost consciousness, mumbled deliriously and died in extreme pain; others...

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Hackers Broke Into U.S. Voting Systems in Minutes. Now They’re Helping Prevent Attacks

by Kira Lerner – “Our voting systems are not secure.” This July, eight months after Russians targeted U.S. election systems, hackers gathered at a conference in Las Vegas to prove just how vulnerable our system is to interference. In a matter of minutes, hackers were able to break into and gain remote control of voting machines, changing votes and potentially shutting down the system. “These machines were pretty easy to hack,” Jeff Moss, founder the world’s largest hacker conference, DEFCON, said Tuesday. Hackers with very little prior knowledge and limited resources were able to expose personal voter information and undermine the integrity of every piece of equipment they attempted to breach. Now, using that information, those hackers are teaming up with U.S. governors to try to make U.S. election systems more immune to interference. DEFCON, the National Governors Association, the Atlantic Council, and other academics released a report Tuesday finding that “our voting systems are not secure”...

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Trump’s Health Department Declares That Life Begins at Conception

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – Trump and his health department said they’d promote a faith-based, anti-choice agenda. They’re delivering. The Trump administration has repeatedly delivered on a campaign promise to the religious right that he’d prioritize a faith-based, anti-choice agenda. The latest evidence comes in the form of the draft strategic plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which defines life as “beginning at conception.” The draft was released two weeks ago, before HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned, and it outlines the priorities of the agency and its governing offices. As Dr. Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist in the San Francisco Bay Area, pointed out, HHS went beyond the normative promise from conservatives to promote faith-based partnerships, and declared that the life of each human begins at conception. “It’s concerning because HHS isn’t just a theoretical group that writes think pieces no one reads,” Dr. Gunter told ThinkProgress. “We are replacing...

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Carbon Rule Repeal Kicks Off Epic Battle Over Regulating Emissions

by Natasha Geiling – The EPA has finally revealed its proposal for repealing a major climate regulation. After months of speculation and days of teasing the announcement — the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a 2015 rule that would have regulated carbon emissions from the electricity sector. “We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate.  Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule,”  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a press statement. At least two state attorneys general said Tuesday they would sue to protect the rule. Pruitt’s proposal is merely the first step in repealing the rule, which had previously been put on hold by the Supreme Court while opponents and supporters of the rule argued over its legality in the D.C. Circuit Court....

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S.F. 49ers Safety Eric Reid on Pence’s Publicity Stunt: “This is What Systemic Oppression Looks Like.”

by durrati – San Francisco 49s Safety Eric Reid had something to say after his team lost to the Indy Colts in overtime — 26-23 — the game which Vice-President Mike Pence staged a planned publicity stunt walk out on to whine protest players exercising the first amendment rights to protest the extra judicial executions of young black men by bad police officers. Talking to reporters in the locker room Reid said: “My honest reaction: … Does anybody know the last time he’s (Pence) been to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo of him at a Colts game, so with the information I have, the last time he was at a Colts game was three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me. He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what...

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10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

by Medea Benjamin – On Trump’s wildly false argument that the agreement is not in the country’s national interest. President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact. Here are 10 good reasons why the US should uphold the deal. 1. President Trump’s claim that Iran is not complying with the conditions of the deal is false. Iran is complying,...

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God, Guns … and Russia?

by Susan Grigsby – In 2016, the National Rifle Association (NRA) spent $30.3 million to elect Donald Trump. In addition, according to a report from OpenSecrets Blog and The Trace, they spent $20 million on six Senate races. The total, more than $50 million, represented 96 percent of the lobbying group’s outside spending during the 2016 cycle. The close relationship between the NRA and Donald Trump began in May, when the organization endorsed the candidate earlier than it had ever endorsed a Republican presidential contender. Trump appeared before thousands of people at the NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, where he gleefully accepted the organization’s official support. Perhaps it never occurred to anyone to wonder why the NRA was so quick to endorse Donald Trump, who was not then known to be a fanatic ammosexual interested in interpreting the Second Amendment to allow the average man on the street to own an arsenal of weaponry. According to a report of the early...

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Bolstering Case for Impeachment, Study Concludes Trump ‘Likely Obstructed Justice’

by Jake Johnson – A detailed analysis finds “substantial” evidence to support claims that Trump attempted to undermine an ongoing investigation by firing former FBI director James Comey. In a new study aimed at collecting and analyzing all of the relevant facts surrounding President Donald Trump’s legally questionable conduct in office—particularly his firing of former FBI director James Comey—three lawyers conclude it is “likely” that Trump has obstructed justice, and that whether he is held accountable for his actions “will have significant consequences for the functioning of our democracy.” “We do not yet know all the relevant facts, and any final determination must await further investigation, including by Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” the analysis—authored by Norm Eisen and Noah Bookbinder of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) and Barry Berke of the law firm Kramer Levin—concludes. Nonetheless, the lawyers argue that the facts currently in the public record amount to “substantial...

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White House Demands Border Wall Funding in Exchange for DREAMer Protections

by E.A. Crunden – The Trump administration’s new hard-line list includes draconian demands that seemingly contradict early agreement with Democratic leadership. Funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and a crackdown on children fleeing Central America are among the demands laid out by President Donald Trump’s administration in exchange for protecting hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. According to a list released late Sunday night, the White House will ask Congress to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities in addition to funding Trump’s long-sought border wall and accelerating the deportations of children back to countries like Guatemala and Honduras — even if their safety is at risk from escalating violence. Family members of immigrants in the United States will also be barred from joining them. Other measures include hiring thousands of new immigration officials to oversee the proposed measures and appointing 370 additional...

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Iranian President: ‘Entire World Will Condemn America’ if Trump Kills Nuclear Deal

by Jake Johnson – “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps.” Amid reports that President Donald Trump is planning to decertify the Iran nuclear accord sometime this coming week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Saturday that any attempt to undermine the deal will earn the United States condemnation from “the entire world.” “We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps,” Rouhani said in an address to students at Tehran University. “If the United States violates , the entire world will condemn America, not Iran.” Right-wing hawks within and outside of the Trump administration have for months urged the president to scrap the accord, which he repeatedly slammed on the campaign trail. Critics have argued that withdrawing from the deal would represent an embrace of “war over peace.” “If one seeks war, Trump’s decision makes...

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Why We Need Sanctuary Cities

by Robert Reich – California lawmakers have just passed “sanctuary state” legislation – the first state since Oregon, which 30 years ago passed a law preventing state agencies from targeting undocumented immigrants solely because of their illegal status. Other states should follow California’s and Oregon’s lead. Since January, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigration authorities to target “public safety” threats, federal arrests of undocumented immigrants have increased by over 37 percent. California is home to an estimated 2.3 million unauthorized immigrants. California’s law limits the authority of state and local law enforcers to communicate with federal immigration authorities, and prevents officers from questioning or holding people depending on their immigration status or immigration violations. But it still allows federal immigration authorities to enter county jails to question immigrants, and allow police and sheriffs to share information on people who have been convicted of serious crimes. This is a fair balance. Sanctuary...

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Corker: Virtually All Senate Republicans Know Trump is a Liability. Impeachment Coming?

by Karen Wehrstein – This morning the New York Times quotes Republican Senator Bob Corker saying that Trump’s insane shooting-off-at-the-mouth on foreign policy could start WWIII, that Trump needs constant babysitting by staff to contain him, and that almost every Republican senator knows damn well how volatile and dangerous he is.  (Emphases mine): In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.” “He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” … Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview. There’s a run-down...

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Mike Pence Spent a Million Dollars to Watch One Minute of a Football Game—and You Paid for it

by Mark Sumner – Just last week, four actual American soldiers died in Niger, in an attack likely organized by the regional branch of al Qaeda. If you were unaware of these deaths, or even that there were Americans on the ground in Niger — where the United States is helping to train government forces to fight terrorist incursions — that’s understandable. Because among the things at the top of Donald Trump’s list of important events, actual soldiers actually dying … doesn’t count. Instead, Trump has focused on athletes leading a peaceful protest against the ongoing killing of African-Americans by police, and the failure of the justice system to hold these police responsible for their actions. By portraying a pose usually reserved for honoring an injured player as a sign of disrespect toward the flag, the nation, and the military, Trump has created a fresh racial injustice to heap on top of the original. In service of this...

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Who was Che Guevara?

A look back at the life and legacy of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara. The life and legacy of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna is in focus this week 50 years after his death on October 9, 1967. We answer some of the key questions about the man behind the moniker “Che”. The man Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, known worldwide as Che, was born on June 14, 1928, into a middle-class family in Rosario, northeast Argentina. He had a left-leaning, and literary, family life before beginning his studies in medicine at Buenos Aires University in 1948. Two years later, Guevara started the first of two motorcycle journeys through Latin America which in successive years would help shape his political views and sense of purpose. Guevara became convinced during his journeys – 4,500km and 8,000km respectively – that the solutions to the widespread poverty and oppression he had witnessed were armed revolution and communism....

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Trump’s Calling Democrats About Healthcare Now

by Addy Baird – Chuck and Nancy may strike again. President Trump looks to be turning to new allies to pass a health care bill after Senate Republicans failed yet again to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare last week. “I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!” Donald J. Trump  ✔@realDonaldTrump I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows! 8:17 AM – Oct 7, 2017 Trump has been friendlier with Schumer, the Senate minority leader — as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — in recent weeks. Last month, the trio struck a deal on a short-term debt limit increase. Pelosi and Schumer also said they struck a deal with Trump to...

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Trump’s Threat to Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal is Scarier Than You Think

by D. Parvaz – It not only escalates tensions with Iran, but further subverts U.S. diplomatic efforts for decades to come. In a White House briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that he will not recertify the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, according to The Washington Post. The story is couched in caveats, but if Trump does, indeed announce on October 12 that he will not recertify the deal because he doesn’t view it as being in U.S. national security interests, then there are two clear takeaways from that decision. First, Trump is upping the ante in his rhetoric against Iran, and second, he is committed to publicly undermining his top advisers, undoing U.S. diplomatic protocols and progress. It was only on Monday that Defense Secretary James Mattis told a Senate hearing that it was “in our best interest” to stick with the Iran deal. He added that if there’s no proof that Iran...

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Sotomayor Made the Pro-Gerrymander Lawyers Gibber

by ksmoore777 – Slate’s Mark Stern provided enjoyable commentary about Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s contribution to last Tuesday’s oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, the case examining the constitutional limits to political redistricting.  While her fellow Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, went after preening idiot Gorsuch, Sotomayor honed in on Wisconsin’s lawyers. Stern describes as the “highlight of the hour” Sotomayor’s simple, practical and direct question:  “Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering?  How does that help our system of government?” Helluva good question.  How does gerrymandering help? Stern reports that Erin E. Murphy, the attorney representing Wisconsin’s (very gerrymandered) State Senate, could only offer “word salad” in response. I don’t think that … districting for partisan advantage has no positive values.  I would point you to, for instance, Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion in which has an extensive discussion of how it can actually do good things for our system to have districts drawn...

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Gaping Holes in Gun Background Check System

by macguru – Gun store manager Christopher M. Sullivan of Guns and Guitars, who sold some of the weapons to the gunman who killed 58 and wounded over 500 people in Las Vegas last week made a statement. The gist of it was that he was sorry about the casualties, but his store performed all of the procedures required by law. And he is most likely correct. The laws governing background checks have holes in them a Mac truck could zip through without rifling the willows on the side of the road. The system has no trip points where any Federal agency is notified if, for instance, anyone buys an excessive number of firearms, anyone buys a particularly deadly form of weapon of mass destruction, (AK-47, AR-15, sniper rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammo, large ammo clips, etc.). No trip points for buying guns over a long period, no alerts if one...

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