US

Welcome to the ‘Second Tier’: US Failing Big League on Social Progress

by Jon Queally – Given its immense wealth, the United States is seriously underperforming. And its citizens are paying the price. Contrary to the mythological story known as “American Exceptionalism,” the United States does a poor job, according to a fresh analysis, of meeting even “the basic human needs of its citizens” and should now be considered a “second tier” country in terms of promoting social progress.   Released by the Social Progressive Imperative (SPI), the 2017 Global Social Progress Index reveals that the U.S. ranks 17th in the world when it comes to promoting the general welfare, coming in behind its Canadian neighbor to the north and far behind Scandinavian countries and the other social democracies of Europe. Of all countries, Denmark comes in first when it comes to providing for its citizens and fostering progress on various fronts. The Index, designed to offer “holistic” measurements of a country’s social...

Read More...


Senate’s Opioid Fund Cannot Substitute for Health Coverage

by Emily Gee and Richard G. Frank – The concerns of some Senate Republicans about making the opioid epidemic worse have spilled out of their secretive negotiations for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in the form of a fund to combat opioid addiction. A $45 billion fund in the Senate bill would reportedly be aimed at helping people with dependence on prescription opioids and illicit forms of the drug, but it would provide scant resources to address the epidemic. The fund also would not be able to undo the true costs of the repeal bill, would result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage, and could cause those still insured to lose access to substance use disorder treatment. There were 2.66 million people in the United States with an opioid use disorder (OUD) as of 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 33,091 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015....

Read More...


“Trump’s Lies”: The Collected Works

by Common Dreams staff – New York Times compiles presidential falsehoods from Donald Trump’s first day in office to present. In an effort to make sure that people do not become “numb” to the constant lies told by President of the United States Donald Trump, the New York Times has now published, in one convenient place, “nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.” Compiled by the newspaper’s David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson, the catalog was published online Friday and will appear in print over the weekend. “There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths,” the Times reports. “Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president — of either party — has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.” In chronological order, starting on the day of...

Read More...


Why Heller Matters

by acadia – I wasn’t expecting Nevada Senator Dean Heller to be the first senator to express real opposition to the Wealthcare bill.  While some think this is a ploy, Jon Ralston disagrees and says it is real. Ralston knows Nevada politics like no one else, and pretty much always gets it right. What adds weight to Ralston’s view is the way Heller presented his position — in Nevada at a press conference, with the governor at his side. This wasn’t some mealy-mouthed “I have concerns” mumble while sprinting down a hallway. Could he be flipped? Sure, but he’s given his opposition in 2018 a great big pile of video clips to use against him if he does back out. Honestly, what Heller did was genius. He really doesn’t want to be the deciding vote against the bill, and by being the first real vote in opposition, he won’t be. It’s the third real no...

Read More...


The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid

by Robert Reich – Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly. It’s done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office. Here’s how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation. But there’s a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising. Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new...

Read More...


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...


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...