House Republicans say they’re succeeding in replacing Obamacare with something that won’t work by introducing their health insurance reform bill this week. “What we’ve done is taken what’s good about Obamacare and replaced it with provisions that won’t work,” says Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the speaker of the House and a key architect of the replacement bill. “At the same time, we’ve kept the provisions that are bad.”
Republicans who support the bill call it a win-win. “By making the coverage options worse and penalizing people for letting their bad coverage go, were doing two things at once,” says Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Were forcing people to retain coverage that’s worse than what they had before while penalizing people who drop their coverage because they can’t afford and it doesn’t do much for them anyway.”
In addition, the bill provides a $600 billion reduction in taxes on health insurers, enabling executives who are already wealthy to become wealthier without improving their company’s services. “Poor people who struggle to pay for health coverage now have to struggle to pay for even worse coverage while rich people who already have good health insurance become wealthier and can buy another boat or another house,” says Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House majority whip.
McCarthy said it’s this kind of thing that voters across the country sought when they elected Donald Trump president and kept Republicans the majority party in Congress. “Democrats simply don’t offer the kind of policies that hurt the working class that we offer,” he says. “Until they start sticking it to the working people of America, they’re going to continue to come out on the losing side of elections.”
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), minority leader in the House, agreed that tax breaks for the wealthy are the kind of policies that enable Republicans to get elected even though there are fewer Republicans in the United States than Democrats. “The wealthy vote,” she says. “But more than that, they buy elections. Until the poor can buy elections, we’re not going to regain power. Therefore, we might have to start offering the wealthy tax breaks so we can get back into power so we can help the working poor. Of course, that will make us lose power again, but we might be able to do some good for the short time we hold the gavel.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump touted his plan to cut $6 billion in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “That’s just a downpayment on my plan to improve the inner cities,” he says. “I told blacks that they should try me for a while since the Democrats aren’t helping them. I’m keeping my promise by cutting money from the federal budget that goes directly to inner cities by funding school improvements, economic revitalization, and better infrastructure. The Democrats failed to act; we’re showing blacks that we will act.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photo: pd. Creative Commons. Not necessarily an endorsed use of image.
Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress say they’re flabbergasted they couldn’t pull out a win yesterday by passing a bill that no one wanted and that would make the lives of Americans worse. “Who would have thought that a bill that strips health insurance away from 24 million people, raises the premiums for everyone else, and allows insurance companies to pay for less care couldn’t generate enough votes to pass?” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last night after pulling the plug on his signature health care reform bill. Ryan said he’s stunned that his fellow Republicans didn’t want to commit political suicide by making the lives of their constituents worse by publicly voting “yea” for his bill, called the American Health Care Act. More.
President Donald Trump said in a press briefing today that his administration has talked more about helping working class Americans than any administration in the United States. “No one’s talking about the interests of our workers like I am,” said Trump, whose tax reform plan, released in late April, cut taxes for corporations and pass-through entities, of which The Trump Organization is one. Most middle-class homeowners would see their taxes go up because the plan would eliminate the deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and state and local taxes. It would keep the mortgage interest deduction, but that’s not enough to offset the losses elsewhere, pushing them to take a new $24,000 standard deduction that’s less than what they got when they itemized. More.
Stephen Miller, the senior advisor to President Donald Trump who has helped shape the White House’s position on immigration and other conservative policies, said today he hates himself and wishes he weren’t such an asshole but that he has stopped trying to be something he’s not and will continue to attach himself to power to make himself feel better. “I’d like to have a friend, but I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be friends with a dick like me, so I’ll just continue to be the biggest asshole I can be,” said Miller, 31. Miller said he first discovered he was a butthole when he was a teenager. “I wanted a friend and found one in Wayne LaPierre [CEO of the National Rifle Association], and although I continue to be friendless, I’m working out my insecurities at the highest levels of power and that makes me feel better when I’m not eating dinner by myself at my lonely townhouse on Capitol Hill,” he said. More.
President Donald Trump introduced his latest picks for national security advisor, deputy secretary of state, and director of the secret service, but none of the appointees allowed themselves to be publicly identified. “I am ‘honored’ to be chosen to help keep our country safe as national security advisor,” said the person named to that post, whose face was kept hidden by a bag. “I have worked in national security for decades and have dedicated my life to our country’s safety. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.” The appointee, who stands about 6′ 1″ and looks to be between 195 and 210 pounds, said he accepted this “very important position” out of love of country. More.
President Donald Trump said his brain has performed as well as he had expected and often better over the first four weeks of his presidency. “It’s given me great advice on so many things, important national security maters,” said Trump, who spoke to Fox News in an interview Wednesday night. Trump said his brain gave him “particularly good advice” when he learned Michael Flynn, his national security advisor until he resigned earlier this week, had been talking to Russian officials while Barack Obama was still president about lifting sanctions. “My first instinct was to fire him, but my brain told me to wait until the press found out,” said Trump. More.
President Donald Trump, who took a national security briefing on North Korea last week while dining in a public restaurant at his Mar-a-Lago restaurant, tweeted on an unsecured phone today that Americans shouldn’t forget about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state. “I let her off the hook, but we shouldn’t forget how she risked national security with her emails,” Trump tweeted from his iPhone 7. In another tweet, Trump said he might have his Department of Justice take a look at what she did, even though he had said after the election he would let the matter drop, because “Russians, others could have hacked her like they did the DNC.” More.
President Donald Trump, on the defensive for staff contacts with the Russian government before he was sworn in as president, said the only scandal is the unsecured server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state when Barack Obama was president. “You have 30,000 emails that could have been compromised because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server,” said Trump, who continues to use an unsecured phone for conversations and tweeting and who has taken national security briefings in public locations, including the main dining room at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “We must get to the bottom of her use of a private server when she was communicating with foreign leaders.” To that end, he is directing the Department of Justice to open up an investigation into what Clinton did, and didn’t do, with her server. “Nothing less than our national security is at stake,” he said. More.
The United States was arrested today by its own Department of Justice for humiliating its new leader, Donald Trump. The country is accused of showing up in only small numbers to President Trump’s inauguration, laughing at the musical acts performing at his event, and turning out bigger crowds at protest marches around the country the next day. “We will only affirm that a country had been arrested and that it is awaiting a hearing at which bail will be set,” says Sean Schinner, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice. In the arrest report, in addition to the humiliation it served up on inauguration day, the country is accused of “watching shows poking fun at the president, listening to and attending shows of musical artists that refused to play at his inauguration, and not believing him when he says he would have won more votes than his opponent had not millions of illegals been allowed to vote.” More.
President Donald Trump says his first three days in office have been the “most presidential of any president at any time in the history of the United States” and the incredible presidential quality of his presidency will only get “more presidential” from here. Trump says his first action on his first day was to suspend, “very presidentially,” a rule that President Obama implemented right before he left office to lower the insurance premium for federally backed FHA home loans. The lower premiums were expected to make homeownership more affordable for millions of middle class households, which Trump called a very “unpresidential move” because it wasn’t done with the kind of presidential quality he would have done it with. More.
After 146 years, the iconic traveling show company, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, says it’s closing its doors because of low attendance. “Ticket sales have been declining for years, but they really took a nose dive starting about 18 months ago,” says Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling. Feld attributed the dramatic drop in attendance to the company’s decision to stop using elephants, the growing unease people feel around clowns, and the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. More.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week are tweaking 2017 budget legislation to allocate money for construction of the Mexican border wall, a priority of incoming president Donald Trump, but the budgetary maneuver faces a high hurdle to get past Democrats—and might not even be necessary. A consortium of Russian businessmen, including one who is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has come forward with a proposal to create a private fund that would pay for the wall, enabling Trump to meet his highest-profile campaign promise without taking money away from other U.S. priorities or adding to the federal deficit. More.
It’s been a busy six months for Arthur Mann, whose book, When Your President is a Psychopath (Knolle, 2016), unexpectedly rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. We caught up with Mann, a professor of psychology at MIT, while he was between flights at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. To recap our conversation, Mann said there’s an easy way to cope with Donald Trump’s presidency, but it’s probably not what you think. More.