Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Restore Medicaid to Its Former Self Quickly

Me – Talk: Recent article on Health Affairs I tapped into and decided to present here at AB. The topic? As expressed in the title, return Medicaid to its former self and improved upon by the new Biden Administration. I also have been working on additional posts touching upon the history of the opioid epidemic by the numbers, single payer, and a comparison to the a European healthcare model.


“In Its First 100 Days, The Biden Administration Must Restore The Soul Of Medicaid, Health Affairs,” Nicole Hubereld, Paul Shafer

Some Purpose . . .

The new administration needs to turn things around quickly and fix the damage trump, his administration, and the Republicans sponsored. This is as vital as getting stimulus money to people.

With the pandemic and many out of work, one of the top priorities for President Biden in his first 100 days should be: repeal the changes to Medicaid over the last 4 years by Republicans driving the Trump administration – bus. Medicaid provides a safety-net covering nearly one-quarter of the population today and will also cover those who have recently lost income and insurance. Nothing could be more vital during a pandemic than people needing healthcare.

The PPACA is not perfect but with the implementation of it, the expansion of Medicaid in 38 states and Washington D.C. came to be. It was “only” Republican opposition which stymied it in the other 12 states.

Post-Putsch: Why There Should Be Consequences for Enablers of the Capitol Invasion

Post-Putsch: Why There Should Be Consequences for Enablers of the Capitol Invasion

 I usually find myself agreeing with Glenn Greenwald, but not today.  GG has posted a heartfelt warning against overreaction to the attempted fur-and-horn putsch at the Capitol Building Wednesday.  He says the mob trampled on symbols of state power but otherwise did little of consequence, and vilifying them and their supporters will lead to repressive overreach, just like we saw after 9/11.  Cool it, says Glen.

Actually, I agree with one piece of this, the use of the “t” word, terrorism.  No the mob was not a terrorist brigade; it was mostly unarmed and did not commit mass or random violence to induce passive cowering from the rest of us.  There was minimal effort to locate and assault politicians; the intent was mostly to physically prevent the certification of the electoral college votes that would legally end any opposition to the replacement of Trump by Biden.

Tort

When Fox News and Newsmax recently accused voting machine manufacturer Dominion Voting Systems of rigging the 2020 election results, Dominion quickly and vigorously struck back at the two with a threat of civil lawsuit; a suit claiming that they, Dominion, had been harmed by the actions of Fox News and Newsmax. Consequent Dominion’s filing, Fox and Newsmax began to quickly and forthwith profusely apologize for and correct their ‘misstatements’.

For years and years, and years, tobacco companies were, with political immunity and lots of good lawyers, allowed to sicken and kill Americans by the tens of thousands with their products every year. In the mid 1990s, more than 40 states commenced litigation against the tobacco industry, seeking monetary, equitable, and injunctive relief, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Unfit

For eight years Mitch McConnell did everything in his power to block any initiative by President Obama; no matter the cost to the nation. It simply wouldn’t do to have the Democrats governing, to have a Democrat in the White House; especially not a popular black President. He never was much on democracy. McConnell couldn’t thwart the will of the people in the 2008 presidential election, but, from the start, it was ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Things didn’t get any better; Throughout the eight years. whenever Obama reached out his hand, McConnell spat in it.

In Obama’s last year in office, the year before Trump took-over, McConnell, single-handedly, unconstitutionally, denied him an appointment to the Supreme Court after Justice Scalia died in February of 2016. But one of many appointments denied during those last four years, this was the most egregious. One he bragged about for years.

In 2016, when the Obama Administration briefed McConnell on Russian interference in the election, McConnell threatened to accuse Obama of trying to tilt the election in Hillary Clinton’s favor if the Administration went public with the confirmed information. This after he had approved the expenditure of thousands of hours of the Senate’s time and millions of taxpayer dollars on an investigation into the Benghazi Incident, one that McConnell knew was a sham, an investigation meant to harm Clinton’s chances if she ran in 2016. Mitch could never find a good reason to do the right thing.

Impeachment now?

What about impeachment?  There is no question that Congress can impeach Trump for his role in encouraging today’s assault on Congress.  What are the arguments for and against? 

For impeachment:

There is a real possibility that Trump will do something dangerous in the final days of his presidency.

If he is impeached and convicted, he could be barred from running for President again. 

Presumably impeaching him would have some precedential / deterrent value going forward.

Against impeachment:

A politically divisive impeachment would divert attention from Trump’s now oh-so-evident wrongdoing and breath new life into the grievance narrative that motivates him and his base.  It could bolster his political support.  It could also fail.

So what to do?  Removal under the 25th amendment would avoid charges of partisanship (since it would be done by Pence and Trump’s cabinet).  It would hasten Trump’s fall from power within the GOP.  If removal under the 25th amendment is not in the cards, I think Democrats should only impeach if Republican Senators commit to removing him from office and if McConnell agrees to bring the matter to a timely vote.  Arguably, Democrats should insist that some reasonable number of Republicans (say, 50%) agree in advance to removal, to kill the partisan grievance narrative and keep the focus on Trump’s wrongdoing.  If Democrats challenge Republicans to commit to remove Trump from office and they refuse then the failure to impeach and remove would make them complicit in yesterday’s thuggish attack on democracy.  But proceeding with a doomed, democratic impeachment without Senate removal would have no precedential or deterrence value and it would be a political gift to Trump and his base.

Why resign?

Several White House aides and policymakers have resigned in the past 24 hours.  Frankly, I don’t get it. 

First, it’s way too late to salvage your reputation.  Second, at this point you can (arguably) do more to protect your reputation by saying that you are staying to prevent Trump from doing something crazy in the final days of his presidency.

If Only Trump Had Not Tweeted!

Meet Brad Raffensperger. Take a moment and listen to all three clips. The first is at Crooks and Liars.

In an interview with 11Alive reporter Brendan Keefe, the reporter asked Raffensperger directly:

“If the president hadn’t tweeted, and tweeted something that was false, would we have ever heard that call recording?”

Brad: “No, it was a private conversation as far as I was concerned. He broke privacy when he put out a tweet, but then his tweet was false,”

Oh. So being threatened by Trump to throw the election — TO COMMIT A FEDERAL CRIME — would have been “just between us boys” if Trump hadn’t tweeted his usual lies? Was this about feeling dissed?

If President Trump hadn’t tweeted out anything and would’ve stayed silent, we would’ve stayed silent as well. And that would’ve just been a conversation between him and I, man to man, and that would’ve been just fine with us. But he’s the one that had to put it out on Twitter.”

I Wouldn’t Have Released The Call If Trump Hadn’t Lied, Crooks and Liars, Susie Madrak

Click on the link above to see a brief clip of Brad discussing the release of his 1 hour conversation with Trump. Here he says they released the clip.

The Ridiculous, the Ugly, and the Remedy

I am not sure what AB Commenters and readers see on TV, in the news, or on the blogosphere. The news I am reading is surreal. I keep hoping we wakeup from this nightmare and things are normal again. Then too, what is normal?

One more event date to experience past January 6th, the inauguration. Will trump even attend, will he leave quietly, or will we still experience more raucous behavior?

Trump going golfing on inauguration day would be nice. He was never presidential material.


Fox News panelist defends Trump’s leaked call to Georgia secretary of state:

“He is a ‘man who fights”

As Reported by Media Matters for America, Media Matters Staff, January 3, 2021

From the January 3, 2020, edition of Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters

GAYLE TROTTER: The voters who wanted President Trump to have a second term voted for him because he’s a fighter. He’s a man who fights. And this is yet another example —

A.B. STODDARD: [LAUGHS]

TROTTER: — of where they are not going to — A.B. said this would be politically damaging and Jessica is giving advice to her political opponent. Well, President Trump doesn’t take advice from political opponents, and here is yet another example where he shows that he’s going to the mat for the over 70 million voters who entrusted him to fight back and this is yet another opportunity where he understands the radical leftist agenda that Joe Biden and his administration want to push — 

STODDARD: [LAUGHS]

TROTTER: — particularly in the radical list of judges that they want to put on the bench who are politicians in robes and who don’t want to just fairly interpret the law but want to enact a liberal wish list into policy, through the courts.

And so, President Trump understands the stakes of this election and the Georgia election, while it’s a state election, has national implications and is the only way to stopgap the Biden administration from pushing through the radical agenda of D.C. Statehood, Puerto Rico statehood, court-packing, and abolishing the electoral college and I will tell you that President Trump’s supporters are glad that he is continuing the fight.

“Trump’s Authoritarian Moment is Here,”

Millions of India’s farmers fight for their economic lives

As a bit of a comparison, the 2018 Distribution of Federal Payroll and Income Taxes shows 761,000 household taxpayers making up 4 tenths of 1% of all taxpayers having the highest income in the US. I am not sure if we can get it as finite as what India shows in wealth. With a population of ~1.3 billion, the wealth of 831 individuals amounts to 25% of the nation’s GDP. The 831 are calling the shots for farmers in India and the nation.


Millions of India’s farmers are in a fight for their economic lives,” New Europe, Sonali Kolhatkar , December 21, 2020

Dale Coberly, Angry Bear Blog

India’s farmers are revolting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in a mass movement that has drawn international attention. The world’s largest democracy is witnessing a collective groundswell of protest as hundreds of thousands of farmers, largely from the states of Punjab and Haryana, have laid siege to the outskirts of the capital of New Delhi, determined to occupy the edges of the city until Modi reverses unpopular new laws that they say are anti-farmer.

About half of India’s workers depend on the agricultural industry, and the government has long had in place regulations to protect farmworkers, acting as a middleman between farmers and buyers of their produce. Now those protections have been upended. In September 2020, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pushed three deregulatory bills through Parliament amid chaos and even some opposition from within his own party.

Three laws now threaten the likelihood of farmers and subsequently the population’s food supply.

Politics and Spending Bills In Congress

MacRumors: Apple’s New Privacy-Focused Tracking Prompt Begins Appearing for iOS 14 Users

As a privacy measure for their customers, Apple will be requiring developers of iPhone and iPad “apps” to request permission from users to track their activity across other apps and websites for personalized advertising purposes starting early next year. iOS 14.4 should be publicly released in January or February.

Facebook pulled out the usual canard; “They (Apple) are hurting small businesses and publishers who are already struggling in a pandemic. These changes will directly affect their ability to use their advertising budgets efficiently and effectively.”

I think Zuckerman should be more worried about what happens to section 230 than Apple allowing iPhone owners blocking their collection of personnel information. He and Facebook have lived way too long under the protection of being a small business as detailed in Section 230.

WSJ: Senate Approves Trump’s Pick for FCC

During a lame-duck session, Republicans have added a new member to the FCC an action which typically has been left to an incoming administration.

Along party lines, the Republican-led Senate voted 49-46 to approve Nathan Simington for a five-year term on the FCC.

Mr. Simington told the Senate Commerce Committee last month he saw “no reason” to change the FCC’s approach to the regulation of internet-access services, a signal he could oppose Democrats’ expected efforts to restore net-neutrality rules that Republicans recently dismantled. The rules, if reinstated, would require internet-access providers to treat content equally. Cable and telephone companies have opposed them.

If cable and telephone service providers oppose net neutrality, then there must be more to this. I do not know about you; but, 90% of the calls to my regular phone are BS calls to sell me something, “spoofing” or the fake IRS.