How the GOP Health Care Proposal Hurts Mental Health

Let’s get a little more specific, shall we? From the Pacific Standard

One of Congress’ rare bipartisan victories under the Obama administration was the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill hastily passed last December that, among other provisions, intended to allocate $6.8 million to mental-health services and expand access to services on both a federal and state level. Despite the bill’s financial pittance, as well as mounting complaints that other provisions within the bill adversely affect Medicare while aiding pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines, the 21st Century Cures Act was hailed as a symbolic, yet necessary, victory for a divided Congress. The message was clear: mental health matters.

But now, as the Trump administration’s contentious health-care bill comes to a vote on the House floor later today, Congress finds itself more divided than ever — even within the Republican Party itself. With less care at higher costs, constituents of all political leanings are worried about what a change could mean for their coverage: a group that includes the millions of people who rely on Obamacare for their mental-health treatment. Roughly 42.5 million Americans deal with mental illness each year; about one out of five adults. What would this change mean for them?

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Stephen Hawking Has Words for Agent Orange

From LiveScience

Stephen Hawking does not feel welcome in Donald Trump’s America. The renowned physicist made this unhappy claim in a recent interview, and he expressed particular concern about how the Trump administration is treating the issue of climate change.

Hawking discussed U.S. politics during an interview with ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” on Monday (March 20). Hawking, who once called Trump a “demagogue,” said the new U.S. president was elected by “people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization.” The Trump administration’s policies pertaining to climate change, and science in general, are an attempt to satisfy that electorate, Hawking told interviewer Piers Morgan.

Well… okay then, Professor Hawking…

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Gorsuch Confirmation Should be Delayed for Russia Investigation

Here’s something I agree with, from Politico

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a delay of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation Tuesday given the ongoing FBI investigation into potential collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

“You can bet, if the shoe were on the other foot and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI, the Republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances,” Schumer said on the floor.

His call was later echoed by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted that FBI Director James Comey “testified @realDonaldTrump’s campaign is under investigation for collusion with Russia. Lifetime court appointments can wait.”

The emerging Democratic demand is highly unlikely to gain traction with Senate GOP leaders, who are planning a vote on Gorsuch early next month. But the move illustrates Schumer’s interest in using the stain of an FBI probe to undercut the rest of Trump’s agenda and echoes entreaties by liberal groups that have pressured Democrats to filibuster Gorsuch.

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Well Now I’m Torn

I’ve always been one of those who’s hated that we didn’t take what happened with the moon landings further than we did. I’ve never understood why we didn’t build a base on the moon. I’ve never understood why people aren’t there today. I’ve never understood why we didn’t set a goal for putting humans on Mars back then, as well.

I mean… okay… I do understand. We went to the moon in the first place because of the Cold War. It could be argued that we wouldn’t even have a NASA today if not for the Cold War, so…

But that doesn’t make the fact that we didn’t continue that momentum after the Cold War any less annoying. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s really sad that the Cold War was our only motivation.

But now…

Now, NASA’s new budget has been slightly increased, and they’ve been given a goal of putting people on Mars.

should be excited by this. It’s something I support.

The problem?

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A Double Whammy from James Comey

I’m still mad at James Comey for his actions during the election.

I know that blame for Agent Orange’s win is spread very thin, as, at least for me, Bernie Bros, white people, conservatives, hacking, the Electoral College, the Democratic Party, and many, many more things and people can be blamed for Clinton’s ultimate loss (despite her massive popular vote win). But I do think Comey shares at least a little of the blame.

However… he also seems to be trying to make up, at least a tiny bit, for his actions. He has not been cooperative with Agent Orange at all, and these are yet more proof of that…

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Neil Gorsuch’s First Hearing…

From Reuters

Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, on Monday emphasized the need for judicial independence even as Trump castigates jurists who have ruled against him, while Democrats questioned whether he would rule against abortion rights and gun control while favoring corporations.

With the ideological balance of the Supreme Court at stake, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened its confirmation hearing for Gorsuch, a conservative federal appeals court judge from Colorado. Republicans praised Gorsuch, 49, as highly qualified for a lifetime appointment as a justice.

“I think we’re off to a good start,” Republican Chuck Grassley, the committee’s chairman, said afterward, with senators getting their first shot at questioning Gorsuch on Tuesday.

Committee Democrats noted Gorsuch has the chance to join the court only because Senate Republicans last year refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appellate judge Merrick Garland. Despite slim chances of blocking his nomination in the Republican-led Senate, Democrats raised questions about Gorsuch’s suitability for the job.

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Agent Orange Published List of Agencies That Refuse to Cooperate With Deportations

From the Washington Post:

Homeland Security officials on Monday unveiled the administration’s first list of law enforcement agencies that refused to detain jailed immigrants beyond their release dates so that the federal government could take them into custody and try to deport them.

Federal officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in a conference call with reporters, said local agencies, including some in Maryland and Virginia, failed to honor 206 detention requests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

On the plus side, at least most of will know who the “good guys” are in this…

But this bullying tactic cannot go unpunished.

So… Ivanka Trump Has an Office in the West Wing

Remember how Ivanka Trump said she wouldn’t be formally participating in the current administration?

Of coursethat was a lie (from Politico):

Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House.

The powerful first daughter has secured her own office on the West Wing’s second floor — a space next to senior adviser Dina Powell, who was recently promoted to a position on the National Security Council. She is also in the process of obtaining a security clearance and is set to receive government-issued communications devices this week.

In everything but name, Trump is settling in as what appears to be a full-time staffer in her father’s administration, with a broad and growing portfolio — except she is not being sworn in, will hold no official position and is not pocketing a salary, her attorney said.

Trump’s role, according to her attorney Jamie Gorelick, will be to serve as the president’s “eyes and ears” while providing broad-ranging advice, not just limited to women’s empowerment issues. Last week, for instance, Trump raised eyebrows when she was seated next to Angela Merkel for the German chancellor’s first official visit to Trump’s White House.

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And Here’s 19 Agencies Agent Orange Wants to Completely Cut

From the Washington Post

President Trump released his much-anticipated budget on Thursday, and the funding cuts are being dissected left and right.

There are 19 federal agencies that have the distinction of facing a 100 percent cut — i.e. extinction. The cuts to these agencies total about $3 billion. They offset about 6 percent of the $54 billion Trump wants to add in military spending.

Below the fold I’ll just list the 19 agencies and link to their homepages. Go to WaPo for more info…

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