The Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You Care Plan. UPDATED.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

The Message to Women Everywhere.

As most everyone now knows, the bill was withdrawn before a vote. Yes, be happy. That said, go ahead and read all the following, and remember. Remember just what they wanted to do, and still want to do. We cannot afford to forget.

 
This post brought to you with a leaden heart sinking in a simultaneous sea of fury and despair. It’s going to be a roundup, because I just can’t. I can’t.

Trump budget boss: If you want insurance to cover maternity care, lobby your state legislature. Trumpcare: Giving you the freedom to purchase health insurance that covers nothing.

On Thursday, President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus tentatively worked out a deal: Trump would agree to remove mandatory coverage of “essential services” from his health care bill in order to win the far-right caucus’ support for it.

Essential services include maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, emergency services, substance abuse treatment, and prescription drug coverage. Under the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan sold in the US must cover them.

White House says maternity care won’t be more expensive for women —if they’re on a family plan: A story of male priorities on women’s health care, in two acts.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that women wouldn’t have to worry about paying more for maternity care under Trumpcare, as long as they’re on a family plan.

The exchange came as a reporter pressed Spicer on reports that the GOP is considering repealing Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits mandate — a requirement that all insurance plans cover services such as hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventative care, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

Spicer called the furor over these benefits a “philosophical discussion,” and argued that repealing them was a way to bring premiums down.

The White House may have skirted federal law to try and save its failing health care bill: Several official Twitter accounts lobbied Congress in support of the AHCA bill.

On Thursday morning, as the Trump administration frantically tried to save its deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act replacement bill, White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted out a message to Trump’s dwindling pool of supporters urging them to call their congressperson in support of the American Health Care Act.

Hours later, similarly worded tweets were sent from the official @POTUS account and Donald Trump’s personal account.

But as some people were quick to note, directly lobbying Congress in support of (or opposition to) a bill using federal dollars—including White House staff who earn federal salaries—is strictly forbidden under 18 U.S.C. § 1913.

The Trump White House seems confused about how pregnancy works: Let me teach you about the birds and the bees.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a bill that, if a faction of the most conservative House Republicans gets its way, will eliminate the requirement that insurance plans cover certain essential health benefits. These benefits include maternity care, a fact that the Trump White House views as an opportunity to pit men against women.

It’s a common joke among the Affordable Care Act’s opponents. Why should a man pay for women’s health care? Hilarious!

At least with respect to maternity care, however, there’s a very simple answer to this question. Because of the unusual nature of pregnancy, either everyone must pay for pregnancy coverage, or no one will have pregnancy coverage.

The reason why is a problem known as “adverse selection.”

In last ditch effort for votes, Trump says goal of Trumpcare is to end Planned Parenthood: Trump quite literally plays politics with women’s health.

A photo of the House Freedom Caucus and Mike Pence went viral on Thursday, and for good reason — it showed that in a discussion over the future of women’s health insurance plans, the only people in the room were white men.

In a bid to get the far-right Freedom Caucus on board, President Trump and GOP leadership (again, all men) offered to repeal Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits provision, which mandates that health insurers offer coverage for basic care like hospitalizations, prescriptions, and notably for women, pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.

According to reports, however, the Freedom Caucus still doesn’t think the bill goes far enough. And on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to levy one more threat at its members, dangling women’s health coverage in front of them as bait:


The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!

There’s many ways in which Trumpcare would disproportionately affect women. It would price abortion care out of reach for many women, even some on employee-sponsored plans. It would roll back Medicaid and charge seniors more for health insurance, hurting two populations that are predominately female. With the new revisions, it will roll back maternity coverage.

And, as Trump alludes to, it would federally defund Planned Parenthood —which in practice, actually means preventing low-income and rural women and men who depend on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control consultations. In 105 counties, Planned Parenthood is the only birth control clinic. Annually, 2.5 million women and men seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Trump knows this.

Oh, the Stupid. Too Much.

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

Sean Spicer speaks about health care benefits (CNN/screen grab).

See that list in the photo? Those are all things we are about to lose here behind The Gold Curtain. America the Fucked Up. CNN tackled Spicer, who was going with full out bluster, in an attempt to defend this monstrousness. I’m just going to remark on a bit of the stupid, I’m close to overdosing on it already today.

According to Spicer, “older men, older women” who had “gotten passed [sic] maternity age” were being forced to pay for maternity care, driving up the overall cost of insurance.

When, exactly, do men get past maternity age? There are men in their 70s who have very young children, under the age of 5. Also, a lot of women don’t have children until they are in their 40s, so can we at least define this “passed the maternity age” business? Then, if you don’t mind, would you answer as to why you think any of this is your fucking business? Also, y’know, lot of people out there, older ones, who have children who are now having children, and they have a vested interest in them having good healthcare. That sort of thing is called family. You should look it up.

“People who were at the younger end of the age scale were buying end-of-life benefits,” he added.

What, I wonder, do you mean by that one? It’s not in the least uncommon for younger people to make plans for the end of their life, that would be why people make wills, have insurance, and so on, you stupid dipstick of an idiot. What in the fuckety fuck makes you think being younger automatically rules out catastrophic health problems? Accidents? Terminal illness? Not everyone dies at the age of 100something. Most of us won’t make it that far. At your age, Mr. Spicer, I’d think you’d know just how fast it flashes past, and before you know it, you aren’t 25 anymore. Trying to have some safety nets laid out in front of you is one way to prepare, so you can have a good life that isn’t completely wiped out by one unforeseen complication.

The people in charge of the Fuck You Care Plan, now with added Fuck. You.!

Via Raw Story.

ETA: In the comments, I included a link to yet another callous rethuglican, who made a very nasty remark about mammograms. The tweetstream following his notpology is very long, and a good many people brought up a very important point: men also have breasts, and yes, they can get breast cancer too. This is not brought up enough, and men, seriously, if you find you have a lump, get your self to a doctor, immediately! Ignoring such a thing leads to one place: death. Also, manhandle your breasts every month, have a check for anything suspicious. If you have a partner, it can be fun to check each other!

The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.

The Key to Republican Votes? More Cruelty.

Disney.

Disney.

It seems the key to all the Republican Cruellas is Cruelty. The Fuck You Care Plan was looking at crashing and burning, but the two prime Cruellas, Trump and Ryan, have found a way to pull in the reluctant rethugs, who felt the “replacement” was simply too kind.

In a sane world, the problem with the House’s Trumpcare bill would be that it kicks 14 million people off of their health insurance in year one and uses the savings to give rich people a big tax cut.

In our world, though, the problem for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was that scores of his own members didn’t think the bill was harsh enough. With only a couple dozen votes to spare in the House, and party leaders rushing toward a vote to minimize public scrutiny, the initial revolt was enough to force tweaks.

Those changes landed Monday night in the form of a “manager’s amendment” to the Trumpcare proposal. The amendment makes Medicaid cuts even deeper, frees up governors to raid the program to plug other budget holes, and ends Medicaid expansion under Obamacare much sooner than Ryan’s original bill.

This would be why there was the previous insistence of a vote first, without looking over the changes. No one is being allowed all that close of a look, however, so there are no estimates as to how many people this version will screw over. You can be certain it will be more.

The new version accelerates that process of shoving poor, disabled, and elderly people off a health care cliff. Medicaid expansion would freeze immediately rather than in two years. While the 11 million slightly-less-poor-than-the-poverty-line Americans who today receive health insurance thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid would technically be grandfathered in, there’s a false bottom to their recently-gained financial and medical security.

Anyone whose coverage lapses, or who takes a seasonal job that bumps their income up too high to be covered, would not be able to re-enroll in Medicaid after that blip. At the same time, the topline reductions in federal Medicaid spending would create fiscal attrition, effectively forcing states to throw Medicaid expansion patients back into the uninsured gutter a bit more quickly than the first version of Trumpcare.

The amendment also adds a cash incentive for states to impose work requirements for non-pregnant, non-disabled, non-elderly Medicaid recipients. Work requirements in anti-poverty programs are a longstanding and bipartisan white whale, despite their failure to achieve anything other than higher poverty rates.

Medicaid will be no exception, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities health care policy expert Judy Solomon told ThinkProgress. “While most adults on Medicaid already do work, the work requirement would likely prevent other eligible people from enrolling, including, for example, a young adult attending college, a married mother taking care of an infant, or an adult caring for an aging parent,” Solomon said.

There really is no limit to just how much rethuglicans want to stomp all over poor people. I expect what they’d truly like to do is “cull the herd”, but as that might meet some hard edged resistance, this slow way of killing people will have to do.

A few key low-ranking Republicans have already hinted the changes will secure their votes. A dozen members of the hard-right Republican Study Committee summoned to the White House on Friday agreed to embrace Trumpcare if the deeper Medicaid cuts were added, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) told the Washington Post.

Is everyone feeling loved by their representatives?

The amendments to Trumpcare effectively trade American lives for Republican votes. Like its predecessor, the 2.0 version is a swindle masquerading as technical, wonky reform. It will take medical care away from low-income families, which will mean more people in those families die sooner than they would have if they could still afford insurance coverage.

The bodies will be piling up against The Great Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

Oh yes, almost forgot – this is what the Tiny Tyrant is concerned about:

According to CNN, Trump began his meeting with Republicans by congratulating himself for the crowd size at a Monday night rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The president warned that the value of his earned media would be diminished if the health care bill fails.

“We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he reportedly complained.

A Congress of Tantrums: No, Vote First!

paul-ryan

There’s the face of Republican empathy, folks. Are you impressed? Didn’t think so. Ryan is emulating the Tiny Tyrant, and going with the Tantrum Method. This is one of those days I could just slam my head into a wall, yelling loudly “this is not how a fucking government is supposed to fucking work, noooo!” As that wouldn’t do much good, I’ll refrain and just cuss my head off here. The Fuck You Care Plan (FYCP) is meeting resistance from both sides of the aisle, and now Ryan is insisting that a vote is taken before the changes made to it can be scrutinized. Remind you of recalcitrant 3 year old? “No! Swallow it without looking first!” I don’t think so, Paulie. You’re a tad too toxic for that kind of nonsense.

Speaker Paul Ryan announced Sunday he would be willing to make major changes to the Republican health care bill this week, but not push back the scheduled vote Thursday. He’s considering those changes in response to division among party members over the bill in its current form: conservatives say they won’t vote for it because it’s “Obamacare-lite,” while moderates are spooked by the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment that 24 million Americans stand to lose coverage if it passes, among other warning signs.

He told Chris Wallace Sunday that unspecified changes would “help bring market freedom and regulatory relief to the insurance markets to dramatically lower the price of the plan for the 50- and 60-year-olds.” Other changes under discussion would impose work requirements for people receiving Medicaid benefits and increase tax credits for older Americans.

Oh, there’s a poison pill. Ryan has been trying to kill medicare for years. As for the regulatory blather, don’t be falling for that crap, either. Every single person in uStates is about to get royally screwed by all the deregulation, oh, pardon, not everyone. The billionaires will be okay. The rest of us, we’ll be screwed over, and we will be living on poisoned land, rivers which will once again burn, choking on pollution, dealing with food scarcity, no healthcare, all while trying to figure out how not to get screwed over financially by every single company we have to deal with in daily life. Oh, right, FYCP. Okay, here’s the little poster boy for sociopathy:

But Ryan wants members of Congress to vote on the updated bill before they know what its impact on constituents will be. The House will still vote on Thursday, before the CBO has a chance to make another assessment.

Emphasis mine. This is not how a government runs. It is how a regime runs, even if those in it are still trying to deny the switchover.

Still, Ryan says he is confident it will pass, despite his own admission that major components are still under construction. “The reason I feel so good about this is because the president has become a great closer. He’s the one who has helped negotiate changes to this bill with members from all over our caucus.”

This is not a godsdamned corporate raiding thing, you fucking dimwitted monstrous asshole. It’s supposed to be a fucking government. Wait, what am I saying? Yeah, it’s a corporate raider thing these days. Sorry, I’ve been accustomed to a government most of my life.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote Ryan last week and demanded he give the CBO an opportunity to analyze the changes health care bill before any floor vote.

“Republicans are terrified the American people will see the reality of their disastrous TrumpCare bill. If the GOP are afraid of the public having the facts about their bill, they shouldn’t be voting on it,” Pelosi said in a statement released Sunday after Republicans announced they will not wait for the CBO.

Yeah, that’s the truth, but what good is it going to do? FYCP it’s gonna be, praised to the skies by the filthy rich here behind the Gold Curtain.

Via Think Progress.

People Will Die, What’s New?

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

A man delivers heating oil to a house in Maine in 2015. CREDIT: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

That’s a familiar scene. Living rural, I’m on propane for heating and cooking. Propane is expensive, very expensive. Most people who live rural have large tanks, which when full, might be able to see them through a winter. Depending on how harsh the winter might be, sometimes a tank will last, sometimes it won’t. We have two tanks, totally 1,500 gallons. We rarely have the full amount. Naturally, it’s cheaper to fill your tanks in the dead of Summer, but that won’t keep you all the way through to winter, especially in places like Maine, or nDakota. We’re still in Winter here. There have been times when there’s been no power; there have been times when there’s been a heating failure, and it’s not easy to cope when you don’t have heat. When you don’t have heat, you’re prone to doing unsafe things, like opening the oven, and cranking it up, stringing electric heaters everywhere, lighting candles, firing up kerosene heaters and so on. And in such cases, people often die. People also die of hypothermia, because yes, it gets that damn cold. Out here in rural land, USA, we’re a tad short on mansions. Houses tend to be old, and not terribly energy efficient, and subject to drafts. A lot of older people simply close off most of their house and live in one or two rooms come winter, as do a lot of people without a ton of money. Most of us rural types don’t have handy get aways in Florida, either.

The Tiny Tyrant is so unhinged from reality, it never crosses that atrophied pea brain of his that most people in this country are not wealthy, they don’t have mansions, they don’t have the wherewithal to con people in order to stuff their pockets, and get very concerned when faced with the choice of either starving to death or freezing to death. The same people who, while faced with such dire choices, are having their pockets picked clean by the fucking Tiny Tyrant, so he can hide out in his Florida Fucking Mansion near to every weekend. Over $3 Million every effing trip. This weekend marks the 5th weekend, and the 7th weekend spent flaking off to huge sums of money. The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump is happily planning to kill off the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which uses very little money in comparsion to say, the military budget, but is crucial in keeping people alive in not only brutal winters, but brutal summers as well. As Global Warming gets worse, also hastened by the The Monstrous Narcissist Evil Trump, both of these extremes will worsen, and without aid, even more people will die. Not that the thought of people dying ruffles Trump’s tiny, smooth brain.

“You’ve got a population that’s got very little money, not able to work because of their age or their health, and this is the way we keep them in their apartments and keep them safe,” said Wolfe.

“If you withdraw that, some of them will die. But that doesn’t seem too important to them at the moment,” he said.

“He doesn’t know anybody like that. They don’t belong to Trump’s club.”

And that last line sums it up. In the Tiny Tyrant’s world, people without money aren’t even on the radar. As far as Trump is concerned, they barely exist, and they certainly don’t matter. Not that it would make much difference if he was more aware, it still wouldn’t register. There isn’t any empathy in The Monstrous Narcissist Evil which is Trump. There is plenty of hypocrisy, though! There’s a mine full of it. If only hypocrisy were food, then everyone would have enough. The Tiny Tyrant is intent on killing off any and all programs which so much as hint of helping people, and won’t shut up about “slashing” the budget (while massively increasing the military money), while the money being spent out of taxpapyer’s pockets by the fucking evil asshole is overwhelming:

President Trump doesn’t want to spend federal dollars on after-school programs, meals for poor people, or heating assistance that helps keep folks alive.

But he has no problem wasting more than $3 million a pop to spend weekends at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Trump has already made four trips there since becoming president on January 20, and on Friday he confirmed he’s headed there this weekend for the fifth time.

[…]

Despite vowing during his campaign that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off,” Trump has visited Trump-branded properties each of the past six weekends. That streak will hit seven when Trump lands at Mar-a-Lago later Friday.

In fact, Trump has spent time at Trump-branded property every weekend of his presidency other than the very first, when he created chaos throughout the country by signing a Muslim ban executive order that was later stayed by a federal court.

[…]

As Quartz reported on Friday, after this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago. For that amount, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year.

Remember though, that starving seniors and children don’t matter! Nope.

On Thursday, Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the draconian cuts included in the Trump administration’s proposed budget by arguing that the federal government can’t ask “a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for” programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But one wonders whether those struggling Americans would rather have public radio or dole out their share of the $3.3 million a self-proclaimed billionaire is spending each weekend to mingle with his ludicrously wealthy club members down in Florida.

Oh yes, of course, why a coal miner or a single mom are just your general dumbfucks who have absolutely no interest whatsoever in quality educational TV, or good quality radio broadcasts, oh no. Why, they are just stupid peons, they don’t think, or feel, or care about anything at all, no. Certainly, they’d have no interest in their children having access to good education and information, no sir. They are, however, supremely happy to have the food taken out of their mouths in order to support the Tiny Tyrant when he wanders off to play golf and collect those $200,000 dues from his “friends” at the club.

Via Think Progress: Ending home heating subsidies is a choice to let people die. Trump to spend 7th consecutive weekend at Trump-branded property, at enormous cost to taxpayers.

Paul Ryan’s Fantasy Life.

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

Unfortunately, this is not as amusing as the rest of today’s posts. It’s not amusing at all. There’s no more hedging or obfuscation over The Fuck You Plan, Trump has been interviewed, and admitted it will aid rich people and fuck over the poor (and everyone else), and now Ryan is blathering away about just how long he has yearned to rip healthcare away from people. From where I sit, this isn’t fantasy, it’s an obsession, an evil one.

…And, if you were House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), it was a time to dream about how, someday, you would take health care away from millions of poor people.

In a conversation with the National Review’s Rich Lowry on Friday, Ryan bragged about how conservatives now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take health coverage away from the most vulnerable Americans.

“So Medicaid,” Ryan told Lowry, “sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg. . . . I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’re on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.”

Ryan is 47 years old, which means that, if he started “drinking at a keg” early in his college career, he’s fantasized about all the poor people who could be stripped of health care for nearly three decades.

And he’s downright gleeful about finally being able to culminate his long standing obsession. Why? Why are these people voted in to government in the first place? I do not want to belong to a country in which its so-called leaders have long standing fantasies about fucking people over in the worst possible way, and spend their whole lives in pursuit of that fantasy. People like Ryan should be ashamed, and wondering just what in the fuck is wrong with them, but that never seems to happen.

Full story at Think Progress.

Let’s Talk Budget.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

CREDIT: Adam Peck/ThinkProgress.

A person could easily conclude that budget is a nebulous abstract to the likes of Trump, which wouldn’t be terribly problematic if he was lost deep in his conman empire, but understanding a budget and how one works is crucial knowledge in the working of a government. To say that no one has been impressed with the Tiny Tyrant’s notion of budget is one hell of an understatement. It seriously underscores just how very unqualified he is, and it’s a terrible highlight on his base incompetency.

In his initial budget document released on Thursday, President Donald Trump called for huge reductions in government spending. Beyond simply handing some agencies and programs less money to work with, he wants to completely eliminate 78 programs — including the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Services Block Grant, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Corporation, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Minority Business Development Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, United States Institute of Peace, and United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

All told, the money saved from the functions that Trump wants to eliminate comes to just under $23.6 billion, according to a ThinkProgress analysis.

That may sound like a lot of money, but it’s not even half of the increase in funding he wants to give to the military: $54 billion. The United States already spends more on defense than the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined.

The sum is also dwarfed by the size of the tax cut that Trump has proposed enacting, which would cost the government $341 billion in the first year and $6.1 trillion over a decade. Under that plan, the poorest families would get just $110 in annual tax relief, while the richest 0.1 percent of Americans would get more than $1 million in one year.

The amount of money saved by eliminating these government programs wouldn’t even be enough to pay for the construction of Trump’s border wall, the price for which has been put at $25 billion. [Also see this about the idiotic fucking wall. – Caine.]

Even rethuglicans are flinching over the idea of dropping yet more money into military – even they know it’s bloated beyond excess. This is nothing more than an ego exercise on the part of Tiny Trump, who feels the need to have the bigliest toys, oh yes. Then there’s that tax cut. Wow, a whole $110 bucks a year. Well, most of us know just how far you can stretch a hundred bucks, right? Everyone will be fine on that big ol’ bonus for a year. (If you’re hard of sarcasm, insert a YUGE near-fatal eyeroll here.) Whereas, the filthy rich will get … more than one million a year! Wow, no disparity there, no sir. Y’know, I can’t even be sarcastic enough for this godsawful shit anymore. I need a sarcasm upgrade, more than weapons grade, so can I get in on that military money? It’s not enough to completely strip people of their healthcare, to kill off services for mentally ill people, to kill off pretty much every slim little safety net there was, to destroy any possibility of an education, let alone a good one, oh no, not enough. Let us toss those stupid little peons one hundred and ten dollars a year, while we shuffle the big bucks, and laugh all the way to our mansions.

I am reminded of the Marquis St. Evrémonde, played deliciously by Basil Rathbone, in the 1935 movie, A Tale of Two Cities:

Unfortunately, this is not a movie we are dealing with. This is a horror of reality, which is going to be just that for many millions of people, a horror. People who are already struggling will be locked into that struggle, with no hope of surcease.

Several of the programs Trump wants to cancel have very small price tags and very large impacts. Trump’s decision not to spare even these high-efficiency connections between the government and its people is impossible to justify in budget terms, given their low costs. Instead, these cuts seem to represent a philosophical choice to derail things the president doesn’t believe in doing — even if they help people.

There are murmurs of how unfeasible this budget is, but so far, no one has had the strength of character or the moral conviction to do the right thing. That’s what happens when you end up with republicans in charge. There might be a few weak protests, some workarounds, but in the end, no one will stand. This can be seen in the ramming through of the Health fuck you Care Plan, in spite of a minor muttering of objections. There’s a definite temptation to think that they all just want to rush the shit through, get it over with. In the end, that’s a rosier thought than the realization that most of them don’t have a problem with any of it. What will actually happen with the budget remains to be seen, but if there’s one thing I think we can all count on, it won’t be good news for all us common folk.

Think Progress has the full story.

How Not To Advocate.

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

Dan Seum Jr. (Facebook).

A medical marijuana advocate in Kentucky has been permanently banned from the third floor of the Capitol Annex. That strikes me as oddly specific, but what do I know? Anyroad, it seems that Seum Jr. was in the lobby of the Capitol Annex, talking to a group of people, when he quoted the former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, then said he was ‘showing’ people this quote. Hmm, should be one or the other, right?

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

“I was showing them how appalling this quotation was and how I’m fighting the unfair marijuana arrests for the African-American community,” Seum said. He said he and Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana frequently cite the quotation, but that the offended legislative staffers must not have understood the context.

[…]

A letter sent to Seum recently by David Byerman, director of the Legislative Research Commission, said that while in the lobby, Seum “proceeded to engage in a racially-charged monologue.”

Byerman said in the letter, “Some of the offensive statements attributed to you include commenting that whites were afraid that ‘coloreds’ would have sex with white women, referring to African Americans and Latinos as ‘coloreds,’ and stating that white people were ‘scared of negroes.’ ”

An African-American employee of the legislature “within a few feet of you” was so offended that “she left her work station in distress,” Byerman wrote, and a second legislative staffer also reported being offended.

I’ll admit, I haven’t scoured the ‘net for every thing Harry Anslinger ever said, but there is a wiki page on him, which includes these two quotes:

In the 1930s Anslinger’s articles often contained racial themes in his anti-marijuana campaign:

Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy.

Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.

I can’t say that’s an unusual sentiment at all, and it’s very true that current and past drug laws have been used to provide fodder for the industrial-prison complex. I just wrote about that! That said, I find it odd that Seum would need to expound on this using the language of the past; it’s more than sufficient to discuss Anslinger with preferred, non-racist terms. Yes, people of colour have often been used to illustrate the evils of drug use, and in the context of deep racism, that still happens today. If anything, I’d say it actually happens more now than it did, given how much people have accepted the overwhelming amount of people of colour who are locked up every single day, buying into very old roots of racism, that “those” people are prone to such behaviour. It’s the same old othering, different terms.

When it comes to discussing the former FBoN, and Anslinger in particular, I would have gone a completely different direction, as far as discussion. In the early 1930s, Anslinger dismissed the use weed entirely, he said it never did anyone any harm whatsoever, and was not, in any way, connected to crime. At the time, Anslinger was rather devastated over the repeal of prohibition, and was rather intent on bringing about another prohibition. When that didn’t work, he finally turned his eyes to weed, and became a fervent anti-weed campaigner:

By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…

That’s quite the turnaround. Remarkable, really. It starkly highlights the utter hypocrisy of drug laws and drug ‘wars’ in this country. Okay, back to Seum Jr., who says the whole thing is a dreadful misunderstanding:

But Seum says the matter is a “terrible misunderstanding” that occurred when legislative staffers overheard him quoting a racist comment that he said he strongly disagrees with, but that he often cites to illustrate a history of discrimination against African Americans.

[…]

Seum said in a phone interview Wednesday, “I’m an advocate for the African American. I’ve been advocating because of the disparaging numbers of African-American arrests in marijuana.”

He said that while he was talking with others while in the lobby to visit representatives, he quoted “an appalling comment” made by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930s to illustrate a history of discrimination and stereotyping against African Americans regarding enforcement of marijuana laws.

This is not how you advocate for people, Mr. Seum. “I’m an advocate for the African American” Oh my. Not even “I’m an advocate for African American People.” Black people are not monolith. I imagine there are some unexamined biases there, we all have them. It’s perfectly fine to use past history as an example, and as a way to explain things to people, but simply picking deeply racist quotations, and quoting them out loud, using highly offensive language is probably not the best way to do that. I don’t think a permanent ban was called for, but I expect that was a handy expedient for certain politicians.

Full story here.

Aaaaand, We Are Back to Reefer Madness.

The famous ending

The famous ending

Oh, the regressive idiocy never ends. The manufactured war on drugs has caused an untold amount of misery, primarily in the form of people being tossed into a prison without a glance, or worse, shot to death by those oh so valiant drug hunting cops. (Deep sarcasm, in case you’re hard of sarcasm.) Jeff Sessions, bigot extraordinaire, and asshole ignoramus has decided we need to go straight back to the days of Tell Your Children. Yes, lies, oh lies are wonderful! And just when we, as a society, were finally making some progress on the whole weed front. A nice smoke now and then goes a long way with my pain issues, but as I’m a pain patient, I’m under the federal thumb, and am routinely drug tested as a requirement to receiving scrips for mild pain meds. There may have been a shot at medical weed, but not any more. Fuck Sessions, and fuck the so-called war on drugs. Mano Singham has an excellent post up which tangentially addresses that manufactured mess. In that post, he quotes a bit from John Ehrlichman:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

And that’s the truth, right there. This shit has been going on all my life, and all it has done is fuel the prison complex, enable murderous cops, and cost taxpayers an obscene amount of money. There is no “war on drugs”. You’ll note that it’s never one, or even two specific drugs that remain a constant in this war, because that doesn’t keep the money pouring in to militarize cops even more. No, there’s always a new, terrifying “epidemic”, oh my yes! When I was a sophomore in high school, it moved from weed to speed. I still remember the stupid anti-drug comics which were handed out. They had as much value as a Chick tract. It’s just fucking propaganda, the same old propaganda. This is what they looked like:

14-15

Freedom Road. Full comic here.

Actually, it’s this specific image I remember, the rest not so much:

02

Anyroad, as most people will have noticed, it’s always a “new” drug “crisis”, weed, heroin, speed, coke, crack, meth, and on and on. Right now, we’re doing the prescription opiates “crisis”. You’ll also have noted, I’m sure, that none of these so-called crises are ever actually dealt with before moving on to the next exciting drug to titillate the masses and incite fear. And here we go the fuck again, back to weed.

Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

“Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,” Sessions said.

For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

“He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”

Oh well, that one’s easy, Sessions doesn’t have any medical training. He doesn’t have as much training as your average dog. Sessions is dragging out one of the oldest, most incorrect of all drug propagandism: “it’s just as bad as heroin!!111!!!” There is no reason for this bullshit to be waved about again, especially not by a suspect attorney general. As pointed out in Mano Singham’s post, this is to largely fuel the prison industrial complex. How else can you legally enslave people and get your labor done for free? This is absolutely intolerable, and people should not put up with it for one second. Unfortunately, I’ve had many years in which to watch people fall for this utter bullshit time and time again. It’s time to wake up.

Think Progress has the full story.

The What Healthcare? Roundup.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a health care news conference to oppose Republicans’ effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a health care news conference to oppose Republicans’ effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

Okay, ready for all the bad? Here’s the current reading list:

Trumpcare could cost 24 million people their insurance, government analysis finds.

The Congressional Budget Office released its long awaited analysis of Trumpcare on Monday afternoon, and its findings were grim.

The CBO found that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2018 under the House GOP’s health care plan. By 2026, a full 24 million people would have gone uninsured relative to the number of people expected to be insured under the Affordable Care Act. The increase stems mostly from Trumpcare’s repeal of the individual mandate and changes to Medicaid.

White House analysis finds Trumpcare is even worse than the CBO estimated.

An internal White House analysis concluded that House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement bill, called the American Health Care Act, will cause up to 26 million people to lose their insurance coverage over the next decade, according to a copy of the analysis obtained by Politico.

Here’s how many people could die if Trumpcare becomes law.

Approximately 17,000 people could die in 2018 who otherwise would have lived if a House Republican health proposal endorsed by the Trump administration becomes law. By 2026, the number of people killed by Trumpcare could grow to approximately 29,000 in that year alone.

Determining the exact number of deaths that could occur each year due to a lack of access to insurance is not an exact science. But ThinkProgress calculated these estimates by examining two sources.

Premiums under Trumpcare would be lower for all the wrong reasons.

Despite the fact that a CBO report projected that 24 million more people would be uninsured under Trumpcare, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) is bragging about its lower premiums. But premiums would be lower because people would buy less generous plans and fewer older people would be able to buy coverage. […] But the premiums are lower because insurance would be so expensive for older people that they would exit the market and become uninsured. Under the House GOP plan, insurance companies would be allowed to charge five times more for older enrollees. Under the ACA, they could only charge three times more for older enrollees than younger people. This means there would be a larger share of younger people in the nongroup market and a smaller share of older people.

Trump signals his willingness to put even deeper cuts into Trumpcare.

Trumpcare is bleeding out.

Democrats oppose the bill en masse. Members of the Tea Party Caucus are deriding it as “Obamacare Lite.” And the more centrist wing of the Republican Party feels queasy at the prospect of voting for a bill that, according to Congressional Budget Office projections, would cause 24 million people to go without insurance over the next decade.

Virtually no one likes the proposed Obamacare replacement, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President Donald Trump aside. And so Trump, the dealmaker in chief, is reportedly looking to modify the legislation in order to win over a handful of new allies.

Specifically, he’s looking to his right.

Just hours after the CBO released its projections, Politico reported that the White House wants Trumpcare amended so that it will appeal to the House Republicans’ Tea Party wing. Among other things, that would mean phasing in the bill’s Medicaid cuts next year, rather than putting them off until 2020 as the legislation currently does.

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.

[…]

Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

This Is My Body.

1 MA7XcJEmVWHKbOPof9j8yA

This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.

Call It What It Is, Class Warfare.

Pyramid_of_Capitalist_System

Wikimedia. Click for full size.

Steve Rosenfeld has a good article up at Raw Story, about the insidiousness of the new, so-called healthcare plan. Definitely recommended, just a bit here:

It’s important to note what Republicans are not talking about. While their messaging is emphasizing premium increases under Obamacare and how the program’s insurance exchanges are suffering from lack of competition, the GOP is not discussing who is making undue profits in American health care. Nor are they discussing the simplest reform that would address the maladies they cite, allowing Obamacare states to create interstate pools where risk and costs could be shared among greater numbers of people and insurers.

While the politics of the Obamacare repeal effort are only beginning, what’s clear is its GOP sponsors are tinkering with the rules governing one-sixth of the economy in a manner that appears to be a giant transfer of wealth upward. These Republicans can talk about “free markets” and “individual choice” all they like, but there’s a better phrase for it: class warfare.

Republicans are poised to unleash a wave of health insecurity and economic hardship on poor, working- and middle-class Americans, as well as on the nation’s system of medical providers, public health institutions and social safety nets. On social insurance listservs and discussion forums Wednesday, there was a debate about what to call the GOP bill: The Deplorable Care Act? The Unaffordable Care Act? Trumpcare? The I Don’t Care Act? No matter what one chooses, this is class warfare and it will be painful.

If you aren’t rich, you’re going to find yourself getting poorer, and constantly caught between a rock and a hard place, none of which concerns the Regime in the least. All that matters to them is that the rich get richer, and the most basic of rights be reassigned to privileges available only to those who can pay for them. Go have a read!