Stranger Stops to Offer Young Man a Ride to Work

Stranger stops to offer young man ride to work; days later, he…

When a man saw a 20-year-old fast food worker walking along the side of the road in 95-degree heat, he rolled down his window and offered him a ride — not knowing how much that small gesture would soon impact the man's life: http://cbsn.ws/2shTpbj

Posted by CBS News on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ABC Good Morning America

Strangers raise $5,500 in 30 hours to get car for man walking 3 miles to work daily

Enjoli Francis and Susan Schwartz, GMA      June 29, 2017

A Texas man who walked more than three miles to and from work every day now has a new ride thanks to a group of philanthropic strangers.

On June 21, Andy Mitchell came across Justin Korva, 20, walking and decided to give him a ride to his job at Taco Casa in Rockwall, Texas.

During the trip, Mitchell learned that Korva walked the route daily in the heat and in his uniform as he saved up for a car. Mitchell posted a picture of the two of them on social media, sharing Korva’s story.

“I usually don’t post stuff on [Facebook] like that. For whatever reason I just felt compelled to do it. The situation of this young man inspired me,” Mitchell told ABC News today. “To have the ability to get to and from work is a huge thing.”

He said a friend who saw the post then asked to share it, saying, “Let’s get this kid a car!”

The fundraising effort to get Korva a car took off from there. Mitchell and his friends began to secretly collect funds through a donation box they left in a local diner. Within 30 hours, the group had raised $5,500.

“We had a lot of people in the community of Rockwall that donated,” Mitchell said. “Too many names to count really.”

The money not only purchased Korva a 2004 Toyota Camry for Korva, but also a $500 gas card, two years of free oil changes and one year of car insurance.

Mitchell’s wife, Mandi Morton Mitchell, captured the moment Friday as the group surprised Korva at his job with the Camry as well as cheers and hugs.

Mitchell today encouraged others to follow the group’s lead.

“It doesn’t have to be a car. It can just be any small thing that you want to do to help somebody on the side. You never know how it’s going to change their life,” he said.

What Republicans in Dallas can teach us about saving the planet…Just don’t call it ‘climate change’

Business Insider-Undividing America

Just don’t call it ‘climate change’

What Republicans in Dallas can teach us about saving the planet

By Rebecca Harrington   June 29, 2017

DALLAS — It was the afternoon before Earth Day in April when an imposing Republican stood up and declared war.

John Walsh III had spent the past half-hour sitting in the front row listening to former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, who happens to be a retired four-star general, try to convince the crowd that climate change is a national-security issue.

Then Walsh took the microphone.

“This is a war, and we need to treat it like one,” he said. “I’m on the other side of the aisle from you politically, but I’m right in the trench with you on this issue.”

It was already a day of contrasts. A conservative had organized this Earth Day celebration. It attracted 100,000 people to Texas’ state fairgrounds, including climate researchers from elite universities as far away as New York City, oil-company executives, and families.

In this polarized political environment, and at a time when many of the people running the government won’t acknowledge the reality of climate change, this sounds like a remarkable moment of common ground. But 1,300 miles from Washington, DC, this kind of agreement is commonplace.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that our climate is changing, and most say they worry about it. But Texas shows it’s when we talk about it that things seem to fall apart.

Take away the charged language and start talking about clean water, clean air, and clean soil, and there’s a lot of agreement. And a lot of opportunity.

You can find consensus in the war against climate change — as long as you don’t call it “climate change.”

Tree huggers

Walsh never had one specific moment when he accepted that the climate was changing.

His father taught him to respect the land growing up. And as a Christian, he learned to be a good steward of God’s Earth.

He’s the CEO and founder of a real-estate firm headquartered in Frisco, Texas. And he’s been a tree hugger for decades.

In 1984, Walsh’s company, TIG, was starting to put up some high-end office buildings in Carrollton, Texas. The site had many old-growth trees, but instead of bulldozing them wholesale, as most developers would, he decided they were worth saving.

On signs in front of each tree, he wrote a message: “It took God 50 years to put this tree here. Don’t even think about moving it.”

Walsh personally signed each message so the workers would know who they’d have to answer to if they cut a tree down. By keeping all the trees, TIG actually ended up saving money on energy and new plantings. Walsh says it’s logical arguments like that people need to hear if everyone is going to get on-board to fight climate change. Wear your jeans three days instead of one, he recommended, and you’d be surprised how much energy, resources, and money you can save.

It’s a modern day echo of Teddy Roosevelt-style Republicanism.

To Walsh and others in the movement, environmentalism has always been a conservative idea. They say Democrats stole the mantle.

“To conserve is conservative,” Earth Day Texas founder and Republican Trammell S. Crow said in March, when he visited Business Insider’s offices to try to persuade New York journalists to come to Earth Day Texas.

Ryan Sitton, the Texas Railroad Commissioner, agrees. An engineer by training, he was elected to the post overseeing the state’s agency regulating the oil and gas industry (much to Sitton’s chagrin, the job has nothing to do with railroads).

What Sitton finds most challenging is that because everything is so polarized these days, there’s no dialogue.

“Yes, I’m a Republican. I’m also a huge environmentalist,” he says.

“Parties are black and white. ‘Oh, Republicans are the party of the economy and jobs, and Democrats are the party of the environment.’ Yet all of us in this nation want a good economy, we all want good jobs, and we all want to protect our environment for future generations,” he told a crowd of two-dozen constituents at a town-hall-style talk. “None of those are partisan issues.”

A new message

If you want to understand how so many conservatives these days can be pro-environment and still deny climate change, meet Paul Braswell. He’s a chemist turned computer consultant who raises Texas longhorns. And he’s on the executive committee for the Republican Party of Texas.

He says there’s a common misconception that farmers and Republican landowners are all for using resources at the expense of the environment. They’re “good stewards,” he said.

He wants to protect the land. But ask him about climate change and his tone changes.

“They’re fudging their data,” he said of climate scientists. “There are flaws in their global-warming theory. And instead of adjusting their hypothesis, they’re adjusting their data.”

Braswell says that he’s more conservative than most Republicans in Texas. But his line of thinking echoes that of EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and President Trump. And it sounds a lot like what the president used as his justification for pulling the US out of the global Paris climate agreement.

Braswell is a scientist himself, of course, and when you talk with him, he’s just as likely to start talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity, or how farmers can use better chemicals for the earth.

“To conserve is conservative.”

Trammell S. Crow

That’s partly why, for all he does personally to protect the environment on a small scale — buying a fuel-efficient truck and limiting the use of insecticides on his land — he doesn’t believe climate change is happening. He says humans couldn’t possibly cause that much warming, and if it is getting hotter, the earth will fix itself.

Scientists leading the fight against climate change see people like Braswell as a missed opportunity.

“Climate scientists failed to relate what we know to the public,” Peter de Menocal, a renowned climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Business Insider.

“There’s a big, angry mob out there. Those are very real feelings. I respect that. All I can do is tell people what I know about how the climate is changing.”

Food, water, shelter, energy

Until recently, when experts tried to convince Americans to care about climate change, they’d often show them a chart of the Keeling Curve, which visualizes carbon levels in the atmosphere, in parts per million, measured from ice cores before 1958, and from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii thereafter.

Over hundreds of thousands of years, the climate has gone up and down in a fairly consistent cycle, and then at the very end, it’s like a hockey stick: the amount of carbon in the atmosphere skyrockets.

It’s compelling to look at, but for many, it’s too abstract.

Former President Barack Obama can call climate change the greatest threat facing humanity, but if you can’t see it in your own life, it’s hard to really care.

That’s why at a Columbia University event at Earth Day Texas, de Menocal said when he’s trying to convince people to take climate action, he’s started referencing tangible things everyone can get behind. These are humanity’s basic needs: food, water, shelter, and energy.

In a sign of burgeoning common ground, at the town hall the next morning, Sitton was making the case that Texas could help developing nations climb out of poverty by showing them how to regulate their natural resources.

“When you look around the world and you say, what is the No. 1 thing when you talk about the basic elements of society — shelter, food, and water are the first three. When you look at society’s needs, energy is a huge component of that.”

This line is breaking through the partisanship in a way that talk of warming has not.

“The best way to communicate with those minds-made-up climate deniers is not to talk about climate change but air quality,” Crow said. Improving food, water, shelter and energy also help reduce the amount of carbon emitted, and global warming.

“Temperature can take care of itself if you deal with air quality. That’s a public-health issue; that’s not an argument. Everybody believes in that.”

A 2016 Pew survey found that 48% of Americans believed that the Earth was warming because of human activity, a belief that 69% of Democrats and 23% of Republicans share.

But concern is growing. A March 2017 Gallup poll found that 45% of Americans worried “a great deal” about global warming and 68% believed humans were causing it.

And three-quarters of Americans said in an Earth Day Pew survey that they were particularly concerned about protecting the environment, and 83% said they try to live in ways to help protect it all or some of the time in their daily lives.

So there is common ground. Now what can be done about it?

Smokestacks to carbon tax

Braswell remembers growing up on the Texas panhandle, when his dad worked at a factory that made carbon black, which went into black paint and tires. The smoke stacks spit out so much pollution that the white-faced cattle turned black.

As he got older the plant installed scrubbers and filters to clean up the air. The cows returned to their normal color.

We have made progress since Rachel Carson sparked the environmental movement with “Silent Spring ” in 1962, and we can keep capitalizing on that momentum.

If you listen closely, the next logical step in this climate war we’re waging is clear to liberal environmentalists — and to a growing number of Republicans.

Several conservatives, including former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and George P. Shultz, have put forth a plan for a carbon tax.

And as a local organizer for the nonpartisan Citizen’s Climate Lobby told Business Insider at the group’s booth at Earth Day Texas, it looks a lot like plans that it’s proposing along with Democrats. A carbon tax, or carbon fee as liberals prefer to call it, would put a price on carbon dioxide.

A similar cap-and-trade system limiting the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide the US could emit per year is what stopped the acid-rain crisis and closed up the holes in the ozone layer surrounding Earth. And that was passed with Democratic majorities in Congress in 1990 and signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush, who ran for office as the “environmental president.”

Made in America

While Braswell doesn’t think humans burning fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide is changing the global climate, he is willing to plan for the chance that scientists are right.

The answer, to conservative Republicans like Braswell, Pruitt, and Sitton, is never more government regulation like Obama enacted — it’s innovation. You want to shut down a dirty power plant? Fine, they say, do it in a way that doesn’t kill American businesses.

Trammell S. Crow, founder of Earth Day Texas, discusses how he thinks we can undivide America.

“If it’s not a good idea, let’s not build it again,” Braswell said. “If there’s something better, then we can do things smarter using technology.”

His belief that American innovation can lead the way sounds just like what de Menocal of Columbia says convinces him there’s momentum to vanquish climate change.

“As long as we make enough progress in the right direction, it’s all good,” de Menocal said. “Let’s repower the planet. Let’s get miners back to work installing solar panels. If I can wave the American flag for a minute, this is the kind of challenge we respond best to. They can be the heroes of this story. From a purely conservative standpoint, fighting climate change allows us to create jobs, protect national security, and ensure American resilience. What good American doesn’t want those things?”

“They can be the heroes of this story.”

Peter de Menocal

One example is “carbon capture,” which sucks up carbon emissions from power plants and sticks them in the ground so they don’t enter the atmosphere.

At Earth Day Texas, Business Insider asked the new US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor of Texas, whether Americans could expect more carbon-capture projects under the Trump administration.

“The short answer is yes,” he said, and he’s particularly excited that American companies can sell such technologies to our allies so they can reduce their carbon footprints.

“We make it in America. You know, made in America, sold to our friends around the world. It makes a lot of sense. I think that’s the president’s, that’s his mindset, as well, so you’re going to see a lot of technologies. Not just on the carbon-capture side, but in a host of different ways,” Perry said. “If we’re going to really affect the world, it’s going to be innovation that does that.”

Coming to grips

Minutes before Trump announced his decision to exit the Paris accord on June 1, de Menocal called. His voice was soft. He sounded beat.

Rolling back Obama-era regulations that it deems stifling to the economy at a breakneck pace, the Trump administration is slowing the federal government’s climate progress at a time when scientists say it’s crucial to speed up more than ever.

But on the phone that day, de Menocal was feeling hopeful.

“I’m not that pessimistic. I’m devastated, of course, but I’m not that pessimistic,” he said. “If you think about it, if the nation’s largest cities maintain their commitments, then we can do it without the government.”

Market forces, an appealing motivator to conservatives, can also help lead the way.

The world added more energy from renewable sources than from fossil fuels in 2015 and 2016, and the plummeting price of clean energy has allowed the US to decrease its carbon emissions over the last three years while the country’s GDP has increased.

But eventually, agreeing on clean air, water, and land won’t be enough, says Lynn Scarlett, who served as the deputy secretary and acting secretary in President George W. Bush’s Department of the Interior. Now she’s the managing director for public policy at the Nature Conservancy.

“You can drive forward a lot of solutions under the banners of clean energy, energy reliability, energy efficiency, and not have to grapple with ‘climate change’ as a word. You can do a whole lot,” Scarlett told Business Insider.

“At some point, one has to really actually embrace the problem.”

Lynn Scarlett

“But at some point, to really come to grips, we really need to address greenhouse-gas emissions, carbon-dioxide emissions. That requires understanding that those emissions are a pollutant. That requires understanding that those emissions are in fact responsible for a changing climate. That requires understanding that there is that linkage between human action and greenhouse-gas emissions and all these bad things we’re seeing — melting permafrost, unpredictable storms, rising sea levels. At some point, one has to really actually embrace the problem.”

Until then, there are Americans across the political spectrum clamoring for climate action. There are states making their own emissions reductions pledges, and cities making their own plans for sea level rise, and companies making their own clean-energy investments, and farmers installing wind turbines on their own land, and homeowners installing solar panels on their own rooftops.

And somewhere in Texas, there’s a Republican real-estate developer doing his part to save one tree at a time. And he’s telling us to join the war — before it’s too late.

Credits
Reporting: Rebecca Harrington
Editing: Dan Bobkoff
Graphics: Skye Gould
Video: Devan Joseph and Corey Protin
Special Thanks: David Marshall, Mo Hadi, and Mike Nudelman

Chinese Province Larger Than Texas Just Ran For An Entire Week On Only Renewable Energy

HuffPost

Chinese Province Larger Than Texas Just Ran For An Entire Week On Only Renewable Energy

Dominique Mosbergen, HuffPost     June 29, 2017

While the U.S. flounders on environmental action and a growing number of cabinet officials out themselves as climate deniers, China continues to make waves as an emerging leader in this space.

Chinese state media announced this week that the sprawling province of Qinghai in the country’s northwest had run for seven consecutive days entirely on renewable energy. The province, which is larger than Texas, relied only on wind, solar and hydroelectric power from June 17-23, reported Xinhua. These renewable energy sources reportedly provided Qinghai and its population of 5.8 million with 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity — equal to about 535,000 tons of coal.

Qinghai’s fossil fuel-free week was part of a trial that the Chinese government initiated to see if an entire province could successfully achieve zero emissions for an extended period of time. Wang Liming, deputy governor of Qinghai, told China Daily this month that the experiment would set a new global clean energy record.

“It will break the current record of four days held by Portugal,” he said, referring to the four days in May last year when the European nation of 10 million ran on just renewable energy.

As Grist notes, Qinghai is a hub for clean energy in China. Located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, the province gets plenty of sun (more than 3,000 hours of daylight every year) and is home to the world’s largest solar farm. Also the location of the headwaters of Asia’s three largest rivers ― the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong ― Qinghai’s hydropower potential is immense.

“Qinghai is the country’s important warehouse of natural resources and it plays a vital role in the development of the nation’s green industry,” said Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, this month, according to China Daily.

China has been positioning itself as a global leader of green energy in recent years. In January, the Chinese government announced plans to spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020, an investment they could create 13 million jobs.

With its commitment to clean energy development and reduced its coal consumption, China is set to overachieve the pledges it made in the Paris climate agreement, according to a recent Climate Action Tracker report. Together with India, China’s climate commitments have been so significant that they could offset the negative impacts that President Donald Trump’s climate policies could have on the globe, the report’s authors said.

“Five years ago, the idea of either [China or India] stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these nations. Yet, recent observations show they are now on the way towards overcoming this challenge,” the report said. “This stands in contrast to the decisions of the U.S. administration under President Trump, who appears intent on going in the opposite direction.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost .

Business Insider

An entire region of China just ran on 100% renewable energy for 7 days

Leanna Garfield, Business Insider      June 27, 2017

From Pittsburgh to Frankfort, cities around the world are pledging to stop burning fossil fuels for electricity by 2050 or sooner.

But the Chinese province of Qinghai has already reached that goal, according to news outlet Xinhua. For seven days — from June 17 to 23 — the region ran on 100% renewable energy, including solar, wind, and hydropower.

The week was part of a trial conducted by the State Grid Corporation of China, which aims to test the viability of relying on renewables long-term. During that time, the Qinghai province generated 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of energy for over 5.6 million residents. That’s equal to burning 535,000 tons of coal.

Hydropower contributed to approximately 72% of the electricity generated during the seven days, Xinhua News said. As of May 2017, Qinghai’s power grid had a total installed capacity of 23.4 million kilowatts, with around 82% of that capacity made up of solar, wind, and hydro sources. By 2020, the province plans to expand its clean energy capacity to 35 million kilowatts, which could supply 110 billion kWh of renewable energy annually.

Nationwide, China hopes to produce 20% of its electricity from clean sources by 2030. Despite the recent rapid growth of clean energy, wind power accounted for just 4% and solar for about 1% of China’s electricity in 2016, according to The Guardian.

Qinghai is not the first place to run on 100% renewable power. Tokelau, a set of three tiny islands between Hawaii and New Zealand, replaced its diesel energy system with one that uses solar in 2012. And Costa Rica ran on 100% clean energy for 285 days in 2015, and on 98% renewables for 250 days in 2016. Austria’s largest state also currently gets all of its energy needs from solar, wind, and hydropower.

These efforts signal that a power grid that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels is possible for other cities, too.

Related: Tesla will begin selling its Solar Roof this year.

Business Insider, Science

ExxonMobil and BP want to tax themselves and give the money to Americans

Leanna Garfield      June 21, 2017

Oil companies, corporate giants, and several prominent individuals — from Stephen Hawking to Michael Bloomberg — announced Tuesday they are joining the Climate Leadership Council, a group proposing a plan to tax carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

A group of Republican elder statesmen introduced the plan in February 2017. They called it a “conservative climate solution” that would tackle global warming by taxing greenhouse-gas emissions and returning the money to American taxpayers.

The coalition argues that, by raising the price of energy that comes from fossil fuels, the free market will naturally gravitate toward renewable energy solutions.

Under the plan, the US government would tax oil companies $40 per ton of CO2 they produce, which would add about 36 cents to the cost of each gallon of gasoline at the pump. Some of that money, which the council calls “climate dividends,” would then go to Americans in monthly installments through the Social Security Administration.

The plan’s supporters include ExxonMobil, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble. Individual backers include physicist Stephen Hawking, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of Steve Jobs), and Stephen Chu, a secretary of energy under Obama.

While it may seem unexpected that oil companies would support such a plan, they would reap some financial benefits if it comes to fruition. In addition to instituting the carbon tax, the plan would roll back some Obama-era environmental regulations and protect oil companies from lawsuits over greenhouse-gas emissions.

For those reasons, some environmentalists are skeptical of the plan. Greenpeace called it a way for oil companies to skirt lawsuits over their contribution to climate change. ExxonMobil, for example, is under investigation to determine whether the company lied to the public or investors about climate change risks.

“ExxonMobil will try to dress this up as climate activism, but its key agenda is protecting executives from legal accountability for climate pollution and fraud. Buried in pages of supposedly ‘free market’ solutions is a new regulation exempting polluters from facing legal consequences for their role in fueling climate change,” Greenpeace’s Climate Liability Project Lead, Naomi Ages, said in a press release.

Insider

High school girls with no engineering experience won a $10,000 grant for inventing a solar-powered tent to combat homelessness

Talia Lakritz, Insider     June 21, 2017

The INSIDER Summary:

  • A team of 12 high school students invented a solar-powered tent that folds into a backpack for the homeless.
  • It has insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system, and a UV sanitization system.
  • They presented their invention at MIT after winning a $10,000 grant.

For some high school students, after-school activities might consist of rehearsals, study groups, or babysitting gigs. These 12 kids invented a high-tech tent to help combat homelessness in their spare time.

The inventors, juniors and seniors at San Fernando High School in California, are part of a nonprofit organization called DIY Girls that aims to inspire girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Last year, MIT awarded the group a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant to put towards solving a real-world problem with engineering. They chose to combat the homelessness they encounter in their low-income community by inventing a solar-powered tent that folds into a backpack.

Through a combination of sewing, coding, and 3D printing, they equipped the tent with insulated fabric, solar panels, a safety locking system, and a UV sanitization system.

MIT invited them to Boston to present their invention, but they couldn’t afford the trip on their own. Thanks to a GoFundMe campaign, they surpassed their $15,000 goal and raised enough money to fly all 12 members of the group to Boston.

“The ingenuity that is possible when students are given the time and resources to explore their passions is remarkable,” the group’s coordinator wrote on their GoFundMe page.

Read the original article on INSIDER.

A Real Christian

              A Real Christian

John Hanno, tarbabys.com       June 28, 2017

What if God was one of us,                                                       Just a slob like one of us,                                                         Just a stranger on a bus,                                                          Trying to make his way home,

by Eric Bazilian (of the Hooters)

Got a heads up listening to the Norman Goldman Show on Chicago Progressive Radio Station WCPT, 82 AM. Norman marked the passing of Sister Sam, founder of Meals on Wheels, by asking his listeners: Who is a Christian…#whoisachristian ? Many progressives have been asking themselves the same question ever since Evangelical Christians and self-professed conservatives decided to install very-unchristian like and un-conservative Donald J. Trump in the White House. These last few weeks have been especially troubling. I’ve blogged often about the Trump administration and the Republi-con controlled congress’ attempts to strip away life saving health care from 23 million poor and challenged Americans, so no need to rehash this calamity.

The Donald, clearly truth challenged, and evidenced by the recent New York Times full page list of all of Donald’s lies just since he’s been in office, likes to portray himself as something he is not. In Trumps own words:

“I’m a big Christian.”

“People were not sure I was a nice person,” he said, “and I am. I am. I am. I am. I’m a giving person. I believe in God, I believe in the Bible. I’m a Christian. I have a lot of reasons. I love people.”

“Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down. … I want to keep Social Security intact. … I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

“The Republicans who want to cut SS & Medicaid are wrong. A robust economy will Make America Great Again!”

“Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security. They want to do it on Medicare. They want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that,” Trump said in 2015. “And it’s not fair to the people who’ve been paying in for years.”

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump said. “Every other Republican is going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do.”

“I’m and environmentalist, I’m the biggest environmentalist.”

But Mr. Trump fully endorsed the AHCA passed by the Republi-cons in the House, a debacle of a replacement for Obamacare, favored by only 16% of America. He then later called it “mean,” after public outcry, because it cut $880 billion from Medicaid and cut 23 million American’s healthcare. Now he’s touting a meaner and even more punitive flim-flam version of the ACA replacement proposed by the Republi-con Senate, favored by only 12 to 17% of us, because it still cuts $780 billion from Medicaid and kills healthcare for 22 million American. Both of these plans are simply enormous $1 trillion tax cuts for the richest Americans and have nothing to do with improving Obamacare or America’s health care system. It’s a historic transfer of wealth from the poorest Americans to the richest 1%.

The only explanation I can fathom from listening to Trump, is that the definition of words mean nothing to him. Words are not true or false; they’re just words, tools used to get what you want. Tools used by salesmen to close the deal. Facts are likewise not true or false, they’re just more groups of words, used for the benefit of the speaker or fabulist.

Trump’s proposed budget, roundly dismissed by anyone with any sense, including many conservatives, proposes enormous cuts to environmental programs and to social safety net programs.

Vox reports Trumps budget “will violate his promises in a rather flagrant fashion. Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports that the 2018 budget proposal will include $1.7 trillion in cuts to mandatory spending programs over the next 10 years, “from programs including SNAP (food stamps), CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), and SSDI (Disability Insurance).” But Swan obfuscates the issue by saying the plan, “won’t reform Social Security or Medicare — in line with his campaign promise.”

“Let’s be extremely clear about something: SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. It is part of the Social Security program. While in the public mind, “Social Security” usually connotes payments you receive in retirement based on your prior earnings, Social Security also encompasses a program compensating past workers who develop disabilities that prevent them from participating in the workforce. That’s disability insurance, the program that Trump’s budget is set to cut.”

And yes, Trump proposes cutting Sister Sam’s “Meals on Wheels” program and other safety net programs for the same poor and disadvantage souls Sister Sam has ministered to for the last 40 years. Norman and I and most Americans don’t believe Mr. Trump or the Republi-cons in Congress are real Christians. And we don’t need a dictionary to prove it.   John Hanno

 Sister Sam

LA Times

Sister Sam, founder of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, dies at 82

Sister Alice Marie Quinn, known as Sister Sam, was once called “L.A.’s Mother Teresa” by former Mayor Richard Riordan. She died Friday at 82.

Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times     June 25, 2017

In 1977, Sister Alice Marie Quinn started what became St. Vincent Meals on Wheels with a single pot of stew served to 83 seniors in a church basement near MacArthur Park.

On Friday — days after celebrating her 82nd birthday — Sister Sam, as she was known by friends, died of natural causes.

As executive director  of St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Sister Sam would rise every morning before dawn for an hour of prayer, then get to work overseeing the preparation and delivery of nearly 3,500 meals to the city’s homeless, homebound, disabled and terminally ill.

Her cause arose from observation. A registered dietitian, Sister Sam noticed that many low-income, elderly people living in apartments near St. Vincent Medical Center, where she had served as assistant dietary director, weren’t eating right.

“Over the years it became so much more than plates of food,” she once said. “It became friendship, family and nourishment for the soul.”

Now headquartered in an industrial-sized kitchen in the same neighborhood, the nonprofit has a staff of 78 and more than 300 volunteers who prepare, deliver and serve hot and frozen meals, as well as weekly breakfasts, to more than 1,800 Angelenos.

Chef Wolfgang Puck organized an extravagant 75th birthday party for Sister Sam. The two had been friends since the 1980s, when Puck asked her if St. Vincent could benefit from some of the proceeds from his annual American Wine and Food Festival. He has been a major fundraiser ever since.

At the time, Puck said no one deserved the honor more than Sister Sam.

“She’s like a saint,” he told The Times in 2010. “If anybody should go to heaven, it should be her. She should sit in the first row up there. Or at the best table.”

Among the accolades she and St. Vincent garnered are the International Foodservice Manufacturers Assn. Silver Plate Award in 2006, for outstanding achievement in specialty food services, and she was named “Woman of the Year” in 1988 by the state of California. In 2013, the Los Angeles City Council declared the day before Thanksgiving as St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Day.

St. Vincent Meals on Wheels is a ministry of the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns dedicated to the poor. Sister Patricia Miguel, a fellow Daughter of Charity who was close to Sister Sam, said she never wavered in her commitment to serve homebound seniors.

“Her life of service has inspired everyone who knew her,” Miguel said.

The Daughters of Charity has named the organization’s longtime director of development, Daryl Twerdahl, as the interim executive director.

“Sister Alice Marie mentored us, loved us, chided us, but above all else, she taught us to serve with compassion and respect,” Twerdahl said. “We will continue her legacy with every meal served.”

The viewing is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and the rosary will be held at 7. A mass and burial will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Services will be at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 621 W Adams Blvd. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery, 966 Potrero Grande Drive in Rosemead.

GOP health-care debate turns to stark question: help vulnerable Americans, or help the rich?

Washington Post    PowerPost

GOP health-care debate turns to stark question: help vulnerable Americans, or help the rich?

By Sean Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin and Kelsey Snell        June 29, 2017

The Republican debate over how to overhaul the Affordable Care Act turned sharply Thursday to a divisive and ideological question: How much money should the Senate health-care bill spend on protecting vulnerable Americans, and how much on providing tax relief to the wealthy?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in an effort to strike a balance between centrists and conservatives, is now making concessions to both factions of his caucus, according to lawmakers and aides.

But this effort was complicated by a new Congressional Budget Office estimate Thursday finding that the Republican plan to change how Medicaid payments are calculated starting in 2025 would lead to significantly deeper reductions in its second decade than at the end of the first decade.

By 2036, the new analysis says, the government would spend 35 percent less on Medicaid than under the current law, compared with a 26 percent decrease in the first decade.

McConnell is rewriting his proposal to provide tens of billions more for opioid treatment and assistance to low- and moderate-income Americans, in part by potentially preserving a 3.8 percent tax on investment income provided under the Affordable Care Act that the current draft of the Senate bill would repeal. At the same time, the new draft aims to placate the right by further easing the existing law’s insurance mandates and providing higher tax deductions for the health-savings accounts that conservatives favor, Republicans said.

By Thursday afternoon, Senate leaders agreed to dedicate $45 billion to opioid funding, according to GOP aides, a concession that Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) had been seeking for weeks. The draft released last week includes only $2 billion.

It remains unclear whether these changes, if adopted, would garner enough support for the bill to pass. But they may represent the most viable path forward if Republicans want to rewrite the 2010 health law known as Obamacare without any help from Democrats.

“We will, it appears to me, address the issue of ensuring that lower-income citizens are in a position to be able to buy plans that actually provide them appropriate health-care,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). “And with that, my sense is that the 3.8 percent repeal [in the current draft] will go away.”

The 3.8 percent tax applies only to individuals making over $200,000 a year, and married couples earning more than $250,000. Repealing it as of Dec. 31, 2016, as the bill does now, would cost the federal government $172 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, according to a recent CBO analysis.

The updated Medicaid estimate from the CBO, which shows how spending would shrink over the next 20 years, underscored the extent to which McConnell’s plan would squeeze the longstanding public insurance program.

The current draft already cuts $772 billion over 10 years from Medicaid, which covers poor Americans as well as the elderly, children and pregnant women.

The updated analysis, requested by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and other Senate Democrats, calculated the impact of pegging the program’s inflation rate to the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, as opposed to the medical inflation rate.

According to analysts at the health consulting firm Avalere and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this would translate into a cut of at least $330 billion in 2036.

The report suggested that as the spigot of federal funding constricted over time, “states would continue to need to arrive at more efficient methods for delivering services (to the extent feasible) and to decide whether to commit more of their own resources, cut payments to health care providers and health plans, eliminate optional services, restrict eligibility for enrollment, or adopt some combination of those approaches.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) used the report as an opportunity to push GOP leaders to abandon plans to repeal the ACA and begin negotiations with Democrats over how to fix the health-care system.

“Rather than pushing a partisan bill that cuts taxes for the rich and slashes Medicaid, Senate Republicans should start over on health care and work with Democrats on a bipartisan plan to improve our health care system,” Schumer said in a statement.

With senators leaving town Thursday for a 10-day break over the July 4th holiday, Republicans are not likely to announce any new deal or unveil full legislation until after their return next month. That would give time for the CBO to analyze the new proposals and for senators to hear from constituents, setting up a few more days of haggling when they return July 10 and a vote possible the week after that.

Corker, who met with GOP leaders Wednesday, said he believes “the route being pursued” is to preserve the tax and use that money to provide subsidies for lower-income people.

He added that he voiced directly to President Trump his unease with the idea of slashing taxes for the wealthy while “increasing the burden” on lower-income Americans.

Minutes later, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) acknowledged that keeping the tax was being discussed, but he underscored that no final decision had been made.

In a sign of the sharp disagreements that continue to plague Senate Republicans, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) disputed Corker’s notion that the tax cut would be jettisoned, calling the proposal a “very bad idea.”

“I’m not at all convinced that that’s where it’s going,” Toomey said.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said that while he thought it was a bad idea to use the investment tax to help fund the ACA’s existing programs, lawmakers may need to keep the tax. Scott said there is clear pressure from at least three senators to preserve it, and their votes are critical to passing the bill.

“Keeping it now is a whole new conversation,” Scott said. “particularly when you have three senators already heading in that direction.”

The dispute underscores the challenge Senate leaders face as they reexamine the tax portion of their Better Care Reconciliation Act. One bit of wiggle room in their negotiations is the CBO’s analysis of the bill’s impact on the federal deficit, which allows them to spend as much as $198 billion without violating Senate budget rules.

The draft bill that stalled this week would phase out the program’s expansion under the ACA over three years and rein in spending on the overall program, especially starting in 2025. It would also repeal or delay $541 billion in taxes, primarily on wealthy Americans and insurers.

The measure eliminates every tax imposed under the ACA except the “Cadillac” tax on employers offering generous health plans. That tax is suspended until 2026 to comply with congressional budget rules.

The move to cut Medicaid, which covers nearly 70 million Americans, helps offset the bill’s generous tax cuts. But it has generated significant opposition among more than a half-dozen centrists who fear the reductions will impede the nation’s effort to address the opioid crisis and could leave many vulnerable Americans without any health coverage at all.

With Vice President Pence prepared to cast the tiebreaking vote, Republicans need the support of all but two of their 52 senators.

Pence was in the Capitol Thursday as the health-care talks continued in small and large group settings. Asked if he was changing any minds, the vice president replied: “We’re working hard.”

McConnell hopes to send a revised version of the bill to the CBO as soon as Friday to get a vote on the bill before Congress’s August recess.

Meanwhile, according to lobbyists briefed on the matter, negotiators are looking at how to provide states with more ways to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandates — a key demand of conservatives. These rules include an essential benefits package that any ACA-compliant plan must offer, such as maternity and newborn care as well as preventive care and mental-health and substance-use treatment.

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have indicated they could potentially support the bill if leadership tacked on an amendment offered by Cruz, allowing insurers to opt out of all the Obamacare insurance regulations as long as they provided one fully compliant plan.

House conservatives also asserted themselves in the upper chamber’s debate Thursday, as House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) came over to the Senate side of the Capitol. Meadows said Cruz’s amendment, or something similar, would be essential to win his support.

A growing number of senators have said they back the Cruz proposal but leaders worry that it may run afoul of Senate rules. McConnell is using the budget process to pass the health bill with a slim majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes needed for most other legislation. But that also restricts the legislation to policies that have an impact on taxes, spending and the deficit.

Cornyn told reporters that leaders held a special meeting on Thursday to figure out if the Cruz amendment fits within those rules.

“We’re trying to figure it out,” Cornyn said. “Because there is a lot of support for the idea.”

Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said he also wants a provision to ensure the executive branch can’t single-handedly block states from revamping their ACA marketplaces. The current measure makes it much easier for states to use an existing federal waiver system, under Section 1332 of the law, to make changes as long as they are approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

While the Senate bill gives states wide latitude to alter the marketplaces through this system, it would preserve a requirement that CMS has to determine that these changes would not increase the federal deficit. Lee wants an independent agency, such as the Government Accountability Office, to make that determination rather than a division of the Health and Human Services Department.

But if leadership added on the Cruz amendment, that might be enough to win over Lee’s vote. “I think that would be enough for us,” Carroll said in an interview.

The main tax change conservatives are now seeking — allowing people to put more money into health-savings accounts — would also benefit wealthier Americans. Families earning over $60,000 made up nearly 65 percent of the total that contributed to HSAs in 2014, according to recent data from the Treasury Department. Nearly two-thirds of those people earned between $75,000 and $200,000.

Paige Winfield Cunningham, Mike DeBonis and Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.

Whatever happens, the GOP is bringing us a whole lot closer to single payer

Washington Post  Plum Line

Whatever happens, the GOP is bringing us a whole lot closer to single payer

By Paul Waldman     June 27, 2017

The Republican health-care bill is not dead yet, but it’s in rough shape. Whether it passes or not, it has been an utter debacle for the GOP, making the Affordable Care Act they’re trying to undo more popular than ever, energizing the Democratic base, complicating the relationship between President Trump and Congress and sowing justified distrust of Republican motives among the broader public.

It has also done something else: moved the debate on health care in America to the left and made single payer much more likely.

Even if the Senate bill fails, Republicans give up and move on to tax reform, and the status quo remains in place, this debate will have had profound effects on our politics. While the Democratic Party may have been moving to the left on health care anyway, its momentum in that direction may now be unstoppable. And the entire country will be more receptive than ever to the arguments Democrats will make. This, by the way, will also be the case if the GOP repeal effort succeeds, because it will make so much that people hate about our health-care system a lot worse.

Let me point to one politician as an illustration. For years, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s position on single payer has essentially been “Maybe someday” — not opposed to it, but focused in the short term on the more urgent priority of defending and enhancing the ACA. But in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, we learn that she is now ready to take that plunge:

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” she said during an interview in her Senate office last week. “Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”

Warren is not going to be the last Democrat to take this step. In fact, any Democrat who runs for president in 2020 — and there will be a lot of them — will have a hard time explaining to the primary electorate why they don’t want single payer, and most or all of them will probably say they do.

We can make an analogy with what happened in the GOP after the failure of comprehensive immigration reform. In 2013, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill with the support of many Republicans. But after it died in the House, Republican politicians went in exactly the opposite direction, telling their base that the only question was how much they hated “amnesty” and how tough they would be on undocumented immigrants. Then their party nominated someone who said he would build a wall on our southern border, create a “deportation force” and ban Muslims from entering the country.

The situations aren’t exactly the same, but the point is that a dramatic political failure — whether it’s yours or the other party’s — can have profound effects on the choices politicians make about how to approach the electorate. And it’s important to understand that while there are some Democratic politicians who emphatically favor single payer and would be unsatisfied with anything less, most of them would be willing to advocate for a range of policy options, depending on what looks politically achievable and what their base demands at a particular moment.

All the ups and downs of the past eight years, from the beginning of the debate on the ACA to the end of the debate on Republican repeal plans, hold many lessons for Democrats who are still eager to address the problems in the American health-care system. Among other things, we know that voters are risk-averse, that they’re extremely sensitive to out-of-pocket costs, that they want security and that arguments about the glories of the free market aren’t going to be persuasive to them. After seeing how desperately unpopular this Republican plan is, Democrats are going to be much less afraid to defend government health care and advocate its expansion.

And they know that whatever they propose next has to be simple and understandable. We can debate whether the ACA had to be as complex as it was, but next time around, no Democrat is going to believe that you can take on President Trump with a technocratic approach to health care. Saying “Here are the 10 tweaks I’d make to the ACA” isn’t going to cut it.

That isn’t to say that whatever plans they propose won’t be fully fleshed out under the hood, but they’ll have to be presented in a way that is easy for voters to understand. And, yes, Republicans will cry about “Washington bureaucrats making decisions for you,” but Democrats are less likely to be intimidated. Ask your parents or grandparents on Medicare how they feel about their coverage — Medicare is the most popular health insurance program we have, and it’s run by Washington bureaucrats.

It’s important to keep in mind that “single payer” isn’t one thing — if you look around the world at highly developed countries, there is a spectrum of health systems with various levels of public and private involvement. But what they have in common is that they achieve universal coverage while working better and costing less than ours. We could well have 15 Democratic presidential candidates proposing 15 different kinds of single payer. Some may be highly socialized systems — what Bernie Sanders would likely advocate if he runs again — but the ones that are most appealing could be hybrid systems of the kind that have been successful in countries such as France. The way it works is that there’s a government plan that covers everyone’s basic needs, but you can also buy supplemental private insurance to get as many more benefits as you want.

Among the advantages of a hybrid system is that one can actually see a path from where we are now to there. That path runs through Medicaid, which now covers nearly 75 million Americans. What if we auto-enrolled everyone under 65 in Medicaid — it’s there if you need it, but if you have different insurance you’d prefer, go ahead and use that instead. No one would be without coverage. Private insurance would evolve into something you buy to fill in the gaps and get perks that Medicaid wouldn’t provide. Instead of covering all your health care, employers could provide the supplemental private insurance.

As a political matter, you could sell this as something that we could transition to over an extended period, and as a system that satisfies the goals of both liberals and conservatives. Liberals get the universal coverage and security they want, and conservatives get the freedom they want — if you’re rich enough to buy a supplemental plan that includes deliveries of Dom Perignon during any hospitalization, go right ahead.

That isn’t to say that Republicans wouldn’t resist and there won’t be more intense arguments about health care, because they would and there will be. But by handling this debate so terribly and proposing something so monstrous, Republicans have opened up the space for Democrats to go much further than they’ve been willing to before. It’s not impossible to foresee Democrats winning the House in 2018, then taking the presidency and the Senate in 2020 — and then taking the first steps toward making single-payer health care in America a reality.

The Great Obamacare Conundrum

The Great Obamacare Conundrum

John Hanno    June 26, 2017

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was a game (life) changer for many 10’s of millions of workers locked into a dead-end crap job, because they needed (often because they or a family member had a pre-existing condition) the mediocre health insurance plans offered by their employers.

Soon after the ACA was passed and folks were allowed to participate in the exchanges, and after concerned, responsible or self-serving employers advised many of their low wage employees that it would then be financially beneficial for these workers (and also the employer, who would no longer have to subsidize their premiums) to switch to the ACA, the shackles were finally thrown off these indentured servants. 10’s of thousands of workers changed jobs or were finally able to leave the workforce altogether.

Even after the U.S. Congress stripped some common sense parts of the original ACA, including the public option, the ACA was head and shoulders above many of the pre-Obamacare plans. That’s the reason every individual ACA benefit, with the exception of the mandate, is overwhelmingly popular with Americans (even conservatives) and why the Republi-cons are having such a hard time trying to now Indian-give these life saving benefits.

The ACA finally eliminated all restrictions to pre-existing conditions and allowed young people to stay on their parents policies through age 26, a huge benefit to families with students in college. All ACA plans cover the same set of essential health benefits. Every health plan must cover the following services: Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital.) Emergency services. Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays). Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth.) Mental health and substance use disorder, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy.) Prescription drugs. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills.) Laboratory services. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management. Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits). Additional benefits: Plans must also include the following benefits: Birth Control coverage. Breastfeeding coverage

Essential health benefits are minimum requirements for all plans. Specific services covered can vary based on each state’s requirements. Plans may offer additional benefits, including: Dental coverage. Vision coverage. Medical management programs (for specific needs like weight management, back pain, and diabetes.)

I think if any of us were tasked with formulating a quality, comprehensive healthcare plan that we wouldn’t mind paying for, if we had premium subsidies based on our income, Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) would be exactly what we would come up with.

The Republic-con House and Senate plans would eliminate or diminish most of these essential requirements of Obamacare, probable 8 of 10. This is ‘Back to the Unhealthy Future.’

The ACA, admittedly, didn’t do enough to control healthcare costs. The ability to negotiate with drug companies, hospitals and other providers was booted from the original ACA proposals in order to get 60 votes in the senate. Both Republicans and some Democrats in health insurance and Pharma states objected to holding insurance and drug companies greedy feet to the American health care system run-away wild-fires. And the public option (another erstwhile Republican idea that was removed) would have added more competition to the insurance companies mix. But the Republi-cons rejected their own common sense prescription.

Unfortunately, too many healthcare providers complain about the reimbursement rates typical for Medicare, Medicaid and even treatments for Veterans and consequently refuse to participate in these plans or treat these patients.

But the poop hit the reality fan long ago. American’s on average spend $9,541 per person on healthcare, almost 3 times what other developed countries spend and with lower health outcomes to boot. Trump and the Republi-cons really need to stand up for the American consumer, not the Koch brothers and the super rich. We are at a tipping point. Healthcare is 1/6th of our economy and climbing.

Big Pharma, for profit health insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and other health care providers should prepare themselves for more scrutiny and lower incomes and profits, and take advantage of the reprise and grace period granted by the Obama administration and the Democrats to fundamentally restructure their business model. America can no longer afford the 30% or more they skim off the top of America’s unsustainable health care gravy-train.

Reluctant doctors and other healthcare providers should prepare themselves for a healthcare system that will rely on more inclusive government plan participation and on reduced reimbursement rates for their services, just like the rest of the developed world. Doctors in Germany and the rest of Europe and Scandinavia (who’s other workers earn substantially more on average than those in the U.S.) earn approximately half of what doctors earn in the U.S. and doctors in the rest of the developed world earn even less, between 25 and 30%.

Unscrupulous and greedy employers, who are supporting the Republi-con Obamarcare replacement boondoggle, should in reality, prepare themselves for paying much better wages and compensation if they want to attract and retain valuable employees. Baby Boomers are retiring by ten’s of thousands a month and employers who abet or stand silent while Republi-cons in Congress punish the remaining workers between 50 and 65 years of age, (pre-Medicare) with sky-rocketing health insurance premiums and deductibles, and with renewed obstacles to pre-existing conditions and over-all crappier insurance plans, will only exacerbate their self-inflicted worker shortage dilemma.

And transferring the Medicaid program to States who can’t run deficits, minus the substantial backing of Federal dollars (now more than 95%), will not end well. Medicaid covers more than 76 million Americans. Medicaid covers 12 percent of all adults, 20% of all Americans, 30% of all adults with disabilities, 39% of all children, 40% of all poor adults, 49% of all American births, 60% of all children with disabilities,  64% of all nursing home residents and 76% of all poor children.

Trump and the Republi-cons scream daily that Obamacare is dead and dying but that’s only in Red States where Republicans are in control of the levers of governance, the apparatus that can and has opposed or crippled implementation and support of their own citizens access to Medicaid and the Obamacare exchanges.

Obamacare attempted to not only “protect patients” but to also “control costs.” They succeeded for the most part on both counts; with the exception of many Red States controlled by Republi-con governors and legislatures, in particular those that not only refused to support their own citizens, by disallowing their expansion of Medicaid, but by doing everything they could to oppose and cripple the ACA exchanges. They either refused to set up their own state exchanges and or refused to support the federal ones.

Obamacare reduced the typical cut for the insurance industry from 30% to 15% of premiums. And for the first time, the ACA substantially emphasized preventative care, in order to head off expensive emergency room visits and ultimately to avoid the astronomical costs for untreated end stage health care consequences like cancer and diabetes. Many of the issues in the ACA were originally “conservative Republican” proposals. But no matter how Trump and the Republi-cons try to obfuscate the truth, increases in premiums under Obamacare were at the lowest rates in 20 years.

But it’s obvious the Republic-con lapdogs in congress and the right’s media (not true conservatives at all) take their marching orders from the rich and powerful like the Koch brothers empire. Their modus operandi is and will continue to be: (1) To keep employees poor and desperate enough to stay at crappy jobs offering substandard wages and benefits, (2) To return control of our healthcare back to the insurance industry, (3) To refuse to allow the American health care consumer (just like the rest of the world) negotiate equitable prices for drugs and health supplies and services, (4) Propose policies like killing Obamacare, to somehow attempt to reverse the tanking American labor participation rate (5) Propose a plan, as the Trump administration just did, to have the government and public schools pay for training or retraining workers for the growing number of job openings, left unfilled because industry refuses to pay living wages for these touted mythical openings. (6) Attack the Veterans Administration Health System, as Trump just did. The V.A., just like Medicare and Medicaid, has long ago negotiated lower drug prices and costs for services. In spite of some past problems at the historically underfunded V.A., veterans overwhelming hold their V.A. system in high regard and want control of their healthcare to remain with the V.A., not the private sector, as Trump and the Republi-cons propose. (7) And of course above all else, A-to cut taxes, B-to cut taxes and C-to cut taxes for the richest 1% or 1/10th of 1%, while passing the bill off onto the rest of American taxpayers and health care consumers, including small businesses.

Only 16% of American’s approved of the House passed AHCA and the new Senate proposed plan doesn’t fare much better (12 to 17% approval).

And all this “repeal and replace pain” will be foisted on the unsuspecting American middle class, poor, elderly and disabled, just so the Republi-con panders can reward their rich benefactors, with what they gleefully hail as the largest tax cut in our history. Their goal was never to improve Obamacare, never to actually “improve” our healthcare system; that was obvious to anyone with half a brain. This is a tax cut plan, pure and simple. All the lipstick on this pig can’t cover that up. Repeated attacks on the exchanges and the Medicaid expansion for the most vulnerable Americans was a primary goal; and of course trying to overturn or diminish anything accomplished by President Obama and the Democrats to reverse the right’s decades long campaign to reverse New Deal remedies, was gravy on the Republi-cons anti-labor and anti-middle-class agenda.

Trump and the Republi-cons should take note that California and other states are already on their own “yellow brick road” to single-payer, universal health insurance plans. It could be 3 years or 5 years or a bit longer, but most or all of America will soon have a single payer, universal healthcare system, just like the rest of the developed world.

But unless voters in the Red States held back by Republi-con ideologues, demand the same, they will remain crippled by the evildoers loyal to campaign contributors and not the American public. We may ultimately have 2 separate health systems. One for blue states and one for red.

Women, including those that depend on Planned Parenthood for their primary healthcare, nurture and build better families. Families unburdened by overwhelming healthcare debt and the threat and consequences of bankruptcy contribute to better communities. Better communities build better states. A healthy America, with healthy states is a more prosperous and stronger country.

John Hanno,   www.tarbabys.com

Associated Press

Donors to GOP: No cash until action on health care, taxes

Steve Peoples, Associated Press     June 26, 2017 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — At least one influential donor has informed congressional Republicans that the “Dallas piggy bank” is closed until he sees major action on health care and taxes.

Texas-based donor Doug Deason has already refused to host a fundraiser for two members of Congress and informed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., his checkbook is closed as well.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said in a pointed message to GOP leaders. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Indeed, there was a sense of frustration and urgency inside the private receptions and closed-door briefings at the Koch brothers’ donor retreat this weekend in Colorado Springs, where the billionaire conservatives and their chief lieutenants warned of a rapidly shrinking window to push their agenda through Congress and get legislation to President Donald Trump to sign into law.

No agenda items mattered more to the conservative Koch network than the GOP’s promise to overhaul the nation’s tax code and repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law. At the moment, however, both are bogged down by GOP infighting that jeopardizes their fate.

At least one Koch official warned that the Republican Party’s House majority could be in jeopardy if the GOP-led Congress doesn’t follow through.

“If they don’t make good on these promises … there are going to be consequences, and quite frankly there should be,” said Sean Lansing, chief operating officer for the Koch network’s political arm, Americans For Prosperity.

Deason, who is keeping the “Dallas piggy bank” closed for now, said he was recently approached by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, about hosting a fundraiser.

“I said, ‘No I’m not going to because we’re closing the checkbook until you get some things done,'” Deason said, noting he’s encouraged nearly two dozen major Texas donors to follow his lead.

“There is urgency,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. “We believe we have a window of about 12 months to get as much of it accomplished as possible before the 2018 elections grind policy to a halt.”

The window for action may be even smaller, some Koch allies warned at the three-day donor retreat that drew roughly 400 participants to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The price for admission for most was a pledge to give at least $100,000 this year to the Kochs’ broad policy and political network. There were also at least 18 elected officials on hand.

Some hosted private policy discussions with donors while others simply mingled.

In between meetings, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., predicted dire consequences in next year’s midterm elections should his party fail to deliver on its repeated promises.

“If we don’t get health care, none of us are coming back,” he said in a brief interview. “We said for seven years you’re gonna repeal Obamacare. It’s nowhere near repealed.”

It’s the same for an overhaul of the tax code, Brat said: “We don’t get taxes through, we’re all going home. Pack the bags.”

While some donors threatened to withhold campaign cash, Koch’s team outlined a broader strategy to help shape the debate.

Already, Americans For Prosperity claims a paid staff of more than 400 full-time activists in 36 states. Koch officials said that the network’s midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300 million and $400 million.

The group is actively lobbying Senate Republicans to change their current health care proposal, which it views as insufficiently conservative.

“We are not committed to the Senate bill in its current form, but there is still time to make changes and we’re actively working to improve it,” Phillips said.

At the same time, Koch’s allies are aggressively pushing forward on taxes.

The network is running what it describes as “a first wave” of digital ads calling on more than 50 House and Senate Republicans in both parties to overhaul the tax code. Later in the summer, Philips said, his organization will begin hosting rallies and other events to generate momentum for a tax overhaul in all 36 states where they have full-time operations.

Another Koch donor, Chris Wright, of Colorado, predicted Republicans have a 10-month window before any chance of major policy action is suffocated by next year’s midterms.

“If we don’t get anything done by then, the elections probably don’t go very well,” Wright said. “They may not go well anyway.”

 

Chicago Tribune

CBO: 22 million more would be uninsured by 2026 under Senate health bill

Amy Goldstein, Washington Post

Senate Republicans’ bill to erase major parts of the Affordable Care Act would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured in the coming decade — about 1 million fewer than similar legislation recently passed by the House, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The forecast issued Monday by Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers also estimates that the Senate measure, drafted in secret mainly by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and aides, would reduce federal spending by $321 billion by 2026 — compared with $119 billion for the House’s version.

The CBO’s analysis has been awaited as a crucial piece of evidence as McConnell and other Republican leaders try to hurry a vote on the bill this week. But they are navigating an expanding minefield of resistance from their own party’s moderate and conservative wings, while Democrats are united against it.

Several moderates have said they will decide whether they can support the Better Care Reconciliation Act based on how it will affect Americans who have gained coverage under the ACA during the past few years, while their conservative colleagues are focused on its impact on the federal deficit.

Of the 22 million who stand to lose coverage, 15 million of them would have no insurance next year, the nonpartisan budget office said. That could be a particular concern to Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces perhaps the toughest 2018 re-election race of any Senate Republican and who’s said he can’t support a health care package that cuts Medicaid like the GOP plan and takes coverage from “tens of millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Nevadans.”

The fresh figures come as President Donald Trump, in a sharp pivot from the praise he initially lavished on the House bill, is urging the Senate to provide Americans more generous help with health insurance. On Sunday, the president repeated during a “Fox and Friends” TV appearance a word he had used in a private White House lunch earlier this month with a group of GOP senators: that the House’s version is “mean.”

The CBO has been regarded over its four-decade history as a source of neutral analyses devoid of political agenda. Its current director, Keith Hall, is a conservative economist who served in the administration of President George W. Bush and was appointed to his current role two years ago by a Republican Congress.

Nevertheless, senior Trump aides have repeatedly sought to cast doubt on the budget office’s credibility. “If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on the March day that the budget office issued its cost estimate of a preliminary version of the House GOP’s health-care legislation.

While they differ in important details, both the Senate GOP’s plan and the American Health Care Act narrowly passed by House Republicans in May share the goal of undoing central aspects of the sprawling health-care law enacted by a Democratic Congress seven years ago.

Both bills would eliminate enforcement of the ACA’s mandate that most Americans carry health insurance, relying on subtler deterrents to keep people from dropping coverage. The House version would let insurers temporarily charge higher rates, while the Senate added a provision Monday that would let health plans freeze out customers for six months if they let their coverage lapse.

In different ways, both would replace federal subsidies that help the vast majority of consumers buying coverage through ACA marketplaces, instead creating smaller tax credits that would provide greater assistance to younger adults while making insurance more expensive for people from middle age into their 60s.

After two years, both also would end subsidies that now help about 7 million lower-income people with ACA health plans afford deductibles and co-pays. And both would repeal an array of taxes that have helped to pay for the ACA’s benefits, including levies on health insurers and on wealthy Americans’ investment income.

For the Senate bill, the CBO’s estimates of insurance coverage and federal spending are influenced by the fact that its forecast covers a 10-year window and the legislation’s most profound changes for the nation’s health-care system are tilted toward the latter part of that period.

The bill would, for instance, leave in place the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid through 2020. After that, it would begin a three-year phaseout of the federal money that under the ACA has paid almost the entire cost of adding 11 million Americans to the program’s rolls in 31 states.

That means the extra funding wouldn’t disappear until the mid-2020s — roughly when sharp new restrictions on federal payments for the entire Medicaid program would take effect.

Over the weekend, the senior Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that oversees the CBO said in a tweet that he had asked the budget office to estimate the Senate bill’s effect on insurance coverage over a longer time horizon. “GOP is hiding the worst Medicaid cuts in years 11, 12, 13 and hoping CBO stays quiet,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Business Insider

Medicaid cuts in the Senate healthcare bill could be brutal for people living in nursing homes

Lydia Ramsey,  Business Insider    June 26, 2017

  • Medicaid covers health care expenses of 74 million low-income Americans, including nursing home care for those who can’t afford it.
  • Medicare, a program that covers medical expenses for Americans over 65 does not cover nursing homes.
  • The New York Times reports that 42% of Medicaid spending goes to services like nursing home care. Cutting spending in the program would hit the elderly, or put pressure on nursing home operators to cut back.

Republicans in Congress are eager to make cuts to government spending on health insurance plans for low-income people. On June 22, Senate Republicans released their version of a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan, like one passed by the  House of Representatives, rolls back many of the provisions of Obamacare, including taking deep cuts from Medicaid — the federal program that covers medical expenses for low-income Americans.

That rollback in Medicaid funding could particularly hit one unexpected group of people: elderly people living in nursing homes. Even though elderly Americans get medical coverage from Medicare — that program doesn’t cover long-term stays in nursing homes. For the most part, people pay out of pocket for nursing homes. Once that gets depleted, residents start to qualify for Medicaid to cover their stay.

Medicaid covers more than 74 million Americans, including low-income people, families, and kids, as well as pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. The New York Times detailed the impact of Medicaid cuts on nursing home care in a story this weekend, and reports that — even though they only make up 6% of all Medicaid enrollees — those who use long-term services like nursing homes account for about 42% of total Medicaid spending.

Cuts to Medicaid spending could put those services on the chopping block.

“Moms and kids aren’t where the money is,” Damon Terzaghi, senior director at the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities told the Times. “If you’re going to cut that much money out, it’s going to be coming from older people and people with disabilities.”

Under the Senate’s bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Medicaid expansion that took place under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) would be phased out. In other words, those who gained coverage through the expansion would be without once again, though they could access coverage through the individual insurance market.

The bill also scales back federal funding for Medicaid — which is more than half the spending for the program at the state level. That would leave states — which also fund the program — with fewer resources.

By law, state Medicaid programs have to cover nursing homes. If those states receive less funding from the federal government, it could increase the pressure on the operations of nursing homes, in turn possibly limiting who can qualify for care.

Here’s a breakdown of the percentage of federal funding each state receives, with those in dark blue receiving the most support. Ultimately it’s these dark blue states that are most likely to feel the cuts being proposed by Republicans.

Daily Kos

Trump Threatens Blackmail if Murderous Republican “Health Care” Scam Is Not Passed.

By Dartagnan     June 26, 2017 

It’s no surprise that threatening the lives of Americans comes remarkably easy to an Administration knee deep in an FBI investigation of its own criminality. With its willing Republican allies in the U.S. Congress, apparently it comes even easier:

During an off-camera briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled that the Trump administration is willing to use low-income Americans’ health insurance as a bargaining chip to persuade Congress to pass Trumpcare, which will result in tens of milliuons of Americans losing their health insurance.

The “bargaining chip” is the lives and health of seven million Americans who receive Federal subsidies (known as cost-saving reductions or “CSR’s”) in order to afford co-payments and deductibles for their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The issuance of this thinly veiled blackmail threat was delivered today by the White House Occupant’s mouthpiece, Sean Spicer:

Spicer made clear that the administration will do what it can to continue to destabilize Obamacare exchanges by only committing to the CSR payments one month at a time.

“We committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time,” Spicer said. “We’re not committing to them this month.”

But Spicer then signaled that the “dynamic” will change if the Senate passes a health care bill.

So with the lives of seven million “expendables,” i.e., Americans without the political clout to buy off a Republican Senator, in the balance, and with the insurance exchanges and insurers that support the only lifeline those people have threatened with ruin due to deliberate underfunding by a malevolent President, this Administration today coldly revealed its inner Ratfucking Self to anyone who hadn’t already taken note of the complete lack of concern anyone in the Trump regime has ever expressed towards the welfare of the American people it was elected to serve.

Let’s go over that again, just to clarify what Trump told Americans today:

“If we can pass health care overall, then that changes the dynamic,” Spicer said. “It will ultimately be up to the president to decide.”

We are told it would “change the dynamic” if Americans are willing to trade their health and lives and those of their families so that some sociopathic billionaires like Robert Mercer and Sheldon Adelson are allowed to shove their snouts deeper into the public trough via some massive tax cuts. Because that’s what this charade of Republicans actually “caring” about ordinary Americans’ health care has always been about. It’s certainly not about keeping people healthy or alive.

The Blackmailer-in-Chief let his support flow from his mentally disturbed fingers earlier today: Yes, let it “crash and burn” along with the lives of all of those expendable people in need of basic health care. Just another threat, like the non-existent tapes of his conversations with the former FBI Director.

What a heartless thing to say, even for this…person in the Oval Office. But no one should be surprised:

In an interview with The Economist in May, Trump signaled he will eventually stop paying CSRs — the only question is when.

“[T]here is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” Trump said. “Anytime I want.”

It’s difficult to imagine a real American President saying something so blithe, callous and juvenile.  He makes Nixon look positively angelic by comparison.

CNN

Koch brothers’ political network critical of Senate healthcare bill

By Maeve Reston, CNN        June 25, 2017

Story highlights:
  • Donor group plans up to $400 million in spending in run-up to 2018 midterm elections
  • “Senate bill needs to get better,” says top lieutenant

Colorado Springs (CNN) As growing opposition imperiled passage of the Senate version of the healthcare bill, leaders of the conservative Koch network voiced sharp criticism of the legislation at their donor retreat here — stating that the bill needed dramatic changes before they would support it.

The Koch network announced Saturday that they plan between $300 and $400 million on their political and policy objectives during the 2018 political cycle as Democrats wage an intense battle to win control of the House. The network has made the repeal of Obamacare a central focus of their political and policy work. They believe that neither the House, nor the Senate version achieve that goal.

“This Senate bill needs to get better. It has to get better,” said Tim Phillips, a top lieutenant in the network who recently met with White House officials to outline their proposed changes to the health care system.

The proposed changes to Medicaid, Phillips said, were unacceptable, because they just amount to tinkering around the edges rather than reforming the program. The Senate bill would dramatically scale back federal support of Medicaid and phase out the money that the government has provided to expand eligibility for Medicaid in the states.

Several GOP senators have announced their opposition to the Senate bill in its current form. Among them are conservative senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who believe the bill does not go far enough and are attending the Koch network donor retreat this weekend. For several other senators, like Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the cuts to Medicaid go too far. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two members in order to win passage for the bill.

        ‘The bill is not going to fix healthcare’

The Koch network has strongly opposed the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare — arguing that by adding people to the rolls, the quality of care for the most vulnerable Medicaid recipients has plummeted.

“It was a struggling — frankly failing — program before this dramatic expansion,” said Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch network’s political organizing arm.

“To simply say we’re going to do a slight nip and tuck to a program that — because of Obamacare — has added millions and millions of people is frankly immoral. It’s not right to do that.”

“At the end of the day, this bill is not going to fix healthcare,” said James Davis, a spokesman for the network during an afternoon session with reporters. “We are going to be focusing our efforts out into the future on how we can fix it.”

Phillips, a top lieutenant with the network, noted that the organization was louder in their opposition to House version earlier this year, because they wanted to remind White House and Congressional officials that repealing Obamacare “was a promise that had been made to repeal Obamacare during four consecutive national elections beginning in 2010, and that the vast majority of members had pledged that.”

Republicans now living some of Democrats’ Obamacare nightmares.

Activists with the network have been more engaged in negotiations on the Senate bill, which is one reason they are in a wait-and-see mode.

                  ‘We are more optimistic’

Charles Koch, who was a vociferous critic of Donald Trump during the 2012 presidential campaign, did not mention the bill or the President as he welcomed hundreds of donors to the historic Broadmoor Hotel at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain Saturday evening. (Koch met with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday). Instead he praised the depth and breadth of his organization, which will hold a series of seminars this weekend focused on their legislative priorities, including criminal justice reform, education, tax reform and poverty.

“We are more optimistic now about what we can accomplish than we have ever been,” he said in remarks to donors, noting the group’s work propelling the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Earlier Saturday, the network announced a new partnership with football star Deion Sanders. The Koch network pledged to spend $21 million on the joint initiative with Sanders to reduce persistent poverty in Dallas.

Six senators are taking part in the seminars this weekend: Senators John Cornyn, Cory Gardner, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee; along with four Governors: Greg Abbott of Texas, Matt Bevin of Kentucky, Eric Greitens of Missouri, and Doug Ducey of Arizona.

ThinkProgress

White House threatens to sabotage insurance of low-income people if Trumpcare isn’t passed

The Trump administration is putting poor people in a lose-lose situation.

Aaron Rupar, Journalist ThinkProgress     June 26, 2017

During an off-camera briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer signaled that the Trump administration is willing to use low-income Americans’ health insurance as a bargaining chip to persuade Congress to pass Trumpcare, which will result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance.

Spicer detailed the administration’s position in response to a question about whether the Trump administration will cover next month’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments for low-income people who purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. As Thinkprogress has previously detailed, the payments “partially subsidize deductibles and co-payments for more then 7 million low-income Americans, making it possible for many of them to afford their insurance. Cutting off the payments could potentially kick millions of people off the state exchanges, pushing some private insurers to withdraw as well. Premiums could shoot up across the board.”

Spicer made clear that the administration will do what it can to continue to destabilize Obamacare exchanges by only committing to the CSR payments one month at a time.

“We committed to making them last month, and that’s as far as we will go at this time,” Spicer said. “We’re not committing to them this month.”

But Spicer then signaled that the “dynamic” will change if the Senate passes a health care bill. The bill on the table — which was written in secret by Republican senators and hasn’t been subject to a hearing — is in some ways harsher than the House version that would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance. But unlike the House bill, the Senate version continues to temporarily provide tax subsidies for consumers to buy health insurance on exchanges, albeit ones that are much less generous than Obamacare.

“If we can pass health care overall, then that changes the dynamic,” Spicer said. “It will ultimately be up to the president to decide.”

Spicer then made an explicitly political case for why Trump won’t commit to making the CSR payments — an assurance that would undermine the administration’s ongoing effort to blow up Obamacare by encouraging insurance companies to continue to offer plans on the exchanges.

“If the president were to hypothetically say he’s going to make the payments in perpetuity or for a year, I think that continues to prop up a failed system and continues to do wrong by the American taxpayer and it also doesn’t lend itself to the expediency that I think we want to help get a new health care system in place,” he said.

Trump himself alluded to the chaos ending the CSR payments would sow in insurance markets in a tweet earlier Monday in which he threatened to let Obamacare “crash & burn!”

In an interview with The Economist in May, Trump signaled he will eventually stop paying CSRs  — the only question is when.

“[T]here is no Obamacare, it’s dead. Plus we’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will,” Trump said. “Anytime I want.”

As The Weekly Standard detailed, the administration’s posture on CSRs “has already accelerated the collapse of health care exchanges as insurers move to limit their risk by raising prices or withdrawing from markets altogether.”

My Best Friend

               ‘My Best Friend’

Father of one of the seven Navy sailors killed in a ship collision speaks out on the bond with his son: “There was no place that I could go that he couldn’t go with me… he was my best friend.”

http://cnn.it/2rXn7gG

Father of killed Navy sailor speaks

Father of one of the seven Navy sailors killed in a collision speaks out on the bond with his son: "There was no place that I could go that he couldn’t go with me… he was my best friend." http://cnn.it/2rXn7gG

Posted by CNN on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The New York Times used a full page to print all of Trump’s lies since taking office

Business Insider

The New York Times used a full page to print all of Trump’s lies since taking office

Sonam Sheth   June 25, 2017

The New York Times used a full page in this week’s paper to print out every lie President Trump has publicly told since taking office just over five months ago.

The list contains Trump’s contradictions on a slew of topics, like the Iraq War, NATO, the administration’s controversial travel ban, the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration, the ongoing controversy over Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible role in it, and more.

Trump has contradicted himself on a regular basis since taking office and during the presidential campaign.

His rise to political stardom was built on the false “birther” theory that former president Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not a US citizen. Beginning in 2011, Trump led the charge calling for Obama to release his long-form birth certificate, which he eventually did. Trump did not publicly disavow his comments until last September during the election, five years after he initially pushed the conspiracy theory.

He blamed then-candidate Hillary Clinton for starting the controversy, saying, “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it, you know what I mean.” That claim has never been substantiated.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”

Trump’s tendency to spout falsehoods also led former FBI director James Comey to testify under oath that he did not trust the president to be honest about the nature of their meetings.

When asked by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr why he documented his interactions with Trump more meticulously than he did with Obama, Comey replied: “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

Here’s what The Times’ list looks like in print:

New York Times

T r u m p ’ s   L i e s

Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.

By David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson       June 23, 2017

Jan. 21 “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)Jan. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)Jan. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There’s no evidence of illegal voting.)Jan. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama’s 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)Jan. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)Jan. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)Jan. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)Jan. 26 “We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can’t.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.)Jan. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn’t like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane’s going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)Jan. 28 “The coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost has been so false and angry that the Times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.)Jan. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.)Jan. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)Feb. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)Feb. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)Feb. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.)Feb. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)Feb. 6 “It’s gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.)Feb. 6 “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!” (It didn’t apologize.)Feb. 6 “And the previous administration allowed it to happen because we shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but we shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. It created a vacuum, ISIS was formed.” (The group’s origins date to 2004.)Feb. 7 “And yet the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? Forty-seven years.” (It was higher in the 1980s and ’90s.)Feb. 7 “I saved more than $600 million. I got involved in negotiation on a fighter jet, the F-35.” (The Defense Department projected this price drop before Trump took office.)Feb. 9 “Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!” (It was part of Cuomo’s first question.)Feb. 9 Sen. Richard Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” (The Gorsuch comments were later corroborated.)Feb. 10 “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” (Trump knew about Flynn’s actions for weeks.)Feb. 12 “Just leaving Florida. Big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road that the FAKE NEWS media refuses to mention. Very dishonest!” (The media did cover it.)Feb. 16 “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.” (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all won bigger margins in the Electoral College.)Feb. 16 “That’s the other thing that was wrong with the travel ban. You had Delta with a massive problem with their computer system at the airports.” (Delta’s problems happened two days later.)Feb. 16 “Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.” (The jobs are a result of its investment plans announced in October 2016.)Feb. 16 “When WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information.” (Not always. They have released classified information in the past.)Feb. 16 “We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision.” (The rollout was chaotic.)Feb. 16 “They’re giving stuff — what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates.” (It was widely covered.)Feb. 18 “And there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” (Refugees receive multiple background checks, taking up to two years.)Feb. 18 “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” (Trump implied there was a terror attack in Sweden, but there was no such attack.)Feb. 24 “By the way, you folks are in here — this place is packed, there are lines that go back six blocks.” (There was no evidence of long lines.)Feb. 24 “ICE came and endorsed me.” (Only its union did.)Feb. 24 “Obamacare covers very few people — and remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved that was taken away from them — it was taken away from them.” (Obamacare increased coverage by a net of about 20 million.)Feb. 27 “Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges.” (Many fewer pulled out.)Feb. 27 “On one plane, on a small order of one plane, I saved $725 million. And I would say I devoted about, if I added it up, all those calls, probably about an hour. So I think that might be my highest and best use.” (Much of the price cut was already projected.)Feb. 28 “And now, based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning to do just that.” (NATO countries agreed to meet defense spending requirements in 2014.)Feb. 28 “The E.P.A.’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (There’s no evidence that the Waters of the United States rule caused severe job losses.)Feb. 28 “We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption by imposing a five-year ban on lobbying by executive branch officials.” (They can’t lobby their former agency but can still become lobbyists.)March 3 “It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.” (Paperwork for the last two candidates was still not submitted to the Senate.)March 4 “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” (There’s no evidence of a wiretap.)March 4 “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” (There’s no evidence of a wiretap.)March 7 “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” (113 of them were released by President George W. Bush.)March 13 “I saved a lot of money on those jets, didn’t I? Did I do a good job? More than $725 million on them.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)March 13 “First of all, it covers very few people.” (About 20 million people gained insurance under Obamacare.)March 15 “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)March 17 “I was in Tennessee — I was just telling the folks — and half of the state has no insurance company, and the other half is going to lose the insurance company.” (There’s at least one insurer in every Tennessee county.)March 20 “With just one negotiation on one set of airplanes, I saved the taxpayers of our country over $700 million.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)March 21 “To save taxpayer dollars, I’ve already begun negotiating better contracts for the federal government — saving over $700 million on just one set of airplanes of which there are many sets.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)March 22 “I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems.” (Riots in Sweden broke out two days later and there were no deaths.)March 22 “NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that.” (It has fought terrorism since the 1980s.)March 22 “Well, now, if you take a look at the votes, when I say that, I mean mostly they register wrong — in other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally. And they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people.” (There’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.)March 29 “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” (It didn’t apologize.)March 31 “We have a lot of plants going up now in Michigan that were never going to be there if I — if I didn’t win this election, those plants would never even think about going back. They were gone.” (These investments were already planned.)April 2 “And I was totally opposed to the war in the Middle East which I think finally has been proven, people tried very hard to say I wasn’t but you’ve seen that it is now improving.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)April 2 “Now, my last tweet — you know, the one that you are talking about, perhaps — was the one about being, in quotes, wiretapped, meaning surveilled. Guess what, it is turning out to be true.” (There is still no evidence.)April 5 “You have many states coming up where they’re going to have no insurance company. O.K.? It’s already happened in Tennessee. It’s happening in Kentucky. Tennessee only has half coverage. Half the state is gone. They left.” (Every marketplace region in Tennessee had at least one insurer.)April 6 “If you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment — saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars — I think we’ve had a tremendous success.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)April 11 “I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.” (He knew Steve Bannon since 2011.)April 12 “You can’t do it faster, because they’re obstructing. They’re obstructionists. So I have people — hundreds of people that we’re trying to get through. I mean you have — you see the backlog. We can’t get them through.” (At this point, he had not nominated anyone for hundreds of positions.)April 12 “The New York Times said the word wiretapped in the headline of the first edition. Then they took it out of there fast when they realized.” (There were separate headlines for print and web, but neither were altered.)April 12 “The secretary general and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism.” (NATO has been engaged in counter-terrorism efforts since the 1980s.)April 12 “Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they’ve been fighting it for many months and so many more people died.” (The campaign was expected to take months.)April 16 “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” (There’s no evidence of paid protesters.)April 18 “The fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance.” (He did.)April 21 “On 90 planes I saved $725 million. It’s actually a little bit more than that, but it’s $725 million.” (Much of the price cuts were already projected.)April 21 “When WikiLeaks came out … never heard of WikiLeaks, never heard of it.” (He criticized it as early as 2010.)April 27 “I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare.” (The bill to extend health benefits for certain coal miners was introduced by a Democrat and was co-sponsored by mostly Democrats.)April 28 “The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with Canada it’s $17 billion trade deficit with Canada.” (The U.S. had an $8.1 billion trade surplus, not deficit, with Canada in 2016.)April 28 “She’s running against someone who’s going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your health care, and he’s for open borders — lots of crime.” (Those are not Jon Ossoff’s positions.)April 28 “The F-35 fighter jet program — it was way over budget. I’ve saved $725 million plus, just by getting involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)April 29 “They’re incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad.” (The Times did not apologize.)April 29 “As you know, I’ve been a big critic of China, and I’ve been talking about currency manipulation for a long time. But I have to tell you that during the election, number one, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)April 29 “I’ve already saved more than $725 million on a simple order of F-35 planes. I got involved in the negotiation.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)April 29 “We’re also getting NATO countries to finally step up and contribute their fair share. They’ve begun to increase their contributions by billions of dollars, but we are not going to be satisfied until everyone pays what they owe.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)April 29 “When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped.” (China stopped in 2014.)April 29 “I was negotiating to reduce the price of the big fighter jet contract, the F-35, which was totally out of control. I will save billions and billions and billions of dollars.” (Most of the cuts were planned before Trump.)April 29 “I think our side’s been proven very strongly. And everybody’s talking about it.” (There’s still no evidence Trump’s phones were tapped.)May 1 “Well, we are protecting pre-existing conditions. And it’ll be every good — bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.” (The bill weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.)May 1 “The F-35 fighter jet — I saved — I got involved in the negotiation. It’s 2,500 jets. I negotiated for 90 planes, lot 10. I got $725 million off the price.” (Much of the price cuts were planned before Trump.)May 1 “First of all, since I started running, they haven’t increased their — you know, they have not manipulated their currency. I think that was out of respect to me and the campaign.” (China stopped years ago.)May 2 “I love buying those planes at a reduced price. I have been really — I have cut billions — I have to tell you this, and they can check, right, Martha? I have cut billions and billions of dollars off plane contracts sitting here.” (Much of the cost cuts were planned before Trump.)May 4 “Number two, they’re actually not a currency [manipulator]. You know, since I’ve been talking about currency manipulation with respect to them and other countries, they stopped.” (China stopped years ago.)May 4 “We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.” (We’re not.)May 4 “Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters.” (Polls show most Americans do care.)May 8 “You know we’ve gotten billions of dollars more in NATO than we’re getting. All because of me.” (The deal was struck in 2014.)May 8 “But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high — highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.” (Colbert’s “Late Show” debut had nearly two million more viewers.)May 8 “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows — there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” (Clapper only said he wasn’t aware of an investigation.)May 12 “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” (The F.B.I. was investigating before the election.)May 12 “When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” (Clapper said he wouldn’t have been told of an investigation into collusion.)May 13 “I’m cutting the price of airplanes with Lockheed.” (The cost cuts were planned before he became president.)May 26 “Just arrived in Italy for the G7. Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.” (He’s referencing an arms deal that’s not enacted and other apparent deals that weren’t announced on the trip.)June 1 “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.” (The agreement doesn’t allow or disallow building coal plants.)June 1 “I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.” (Trump’s figures are inflated and premature.)June 4 “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” (The mayor was specifically talking about the enlarged police presence on the streets.)June 5 “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” (Trump signed this version of the travel ban, not the Justice Department.)June 21 “They all say it’s ‘nonbinding.’ Like hell it’s nonbinding.” (The Paris climate agreement is nonbinding — and Trump said so in his speech announcing the withdrawal.)June 21 “Right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world.” (We’re not.)

All the President’s Lies

President Trump’s political rise was built on a lie (about Barack Obama’s birthplace). His lack of truthfulness has also become central to the Russia investigation, with James Comey, the former director of the F.B.I., testifying under oath about Trump’s “lies, plain and simple.”

There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths. 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.

We have set a conservative standard here, leaving out many dubious statements (like the claim that his travel ban is “similar” to Obama administration policy). Some people may still take issue with this standard, arguing that the president wasn’t speaking literally. But we believe his long pattern of using untruths to serve his purposes, as a businessman and politician, means that his statements are not simply careless errors.

We are using the word “lie” deliberately. Not every falsehood is deliberate on Trump’s part. But it would be the height of naïveté to imagine he is merely making honest mistakes. He is lying.

Trump Told Public Lies or Falsehoods Every Day for His First 40 Days

The list above uses the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements. By that standard, Trump told a public lie on at least 20 of his first 40 days as president. But based on a broader standard — one that includes his many misleading statements (like exaggerating military spending in the Middle East) — Trump achieved something remarkable: He said something untrue, in public, every day for the first 40 days of his presidency. The streak didn’t end until March 1.

Since then, he has said something untrue on at least 74 of 113 days. On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing.

The end of May was another period of relative public veracity — or at least public quiet — for the president. He seems to have been otherwise occupied, dealing with internal discussions about the Russia investigation and then embarking on a trip through the Middle East and Europe.

Trump’s Public Lies Sometimes Changed With Repetition

Sometimes, Trump can’t even keep his untruths straight. After he reversed a campaign pledge and declined to label China a currency manipulator, he kept changing his description of when China had stopped the bad behavior. Initially, he said it stopped once he took office. He then changed the turning point to the election, then to since he started talking about it, and then to some uncertain point in the distant past.

The Public’s Mistrust of Trump Grows

Trump has retained the support of most of his voters as well as the Republican leadership in Congress. But he has still paid some price for his lies. Nearly 60 percent of Americans say the president is not honest, polls show, up from about 53 percent when he took office.

Source: Quinnipiac

David Leonhardt is a New York Times columnist. Stuart A. Thompson is the graphics director for the Opinion section.

Sources: Politifact; Factcheck.org; The Washington Post Fact Checker; The Toronto Star

Correction: June 23, 2017: An earlier version of this graphic included an incorrect total for the number of days Donald Trump told a lie during his first two months as president. It was 20, not 25.

Another day, another poll showing how deeply unpopular the GOP health-care bill is

Washington Post Analysis

Another day, another poll showing how deeply unpopular the GOP health-care bill is

By Philip Bump     June 22, 2017

The day that Republican members of the House were first supposed to vote on the American Health Care Act, the legislation that would overhaul the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) by cutting taxes on wealthy Americans and reducing spending on Medicaid, Quinnipiac University dropped a big, juicy fly in the ointment.

Only 17 percent of the country approved of the bill, a poll from the university showed — including less than half of Republicans.

Over time, those numbers haven’t really improved. Earlier this month, the most recent Quinnipiac poll showed the same figure: 17 percent approval. Support from Republicans, which had come oh so close to 50 percent in late May, was back down to about 4 in 10.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans introduced their own bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. It was crafted behind closed doors, and there’s no polling available on Americans’ views of it. But at noon on the day it dropped, so, too, did a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Only 16 percent of Americans said the House bill was a good idea — including only a third of Republicans. That’s down 7 percent from last month.

It’s hard to overstate what a disaster those numbers are for the Senate Republicans. The best possible defense — and the defense that appears to have motivated the manner in which the bill was drafted — is that this is a poll number on a different piece of legislation. This is probably what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) et al. are hoping will happen: They say, “Hey, this is the BCRA, not the AHCA, not sure how you made that mistake,” and then rush the bill to a vote before people realize how similar the two pieces of legislation are.

And they are similar, in the places that will affect the most people. A Washington Post analysis shows that the big-picture effect is to cut certain taxes (that mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans) and to cut Medicaid benefits (that heavily benefit the poor and disabled) with the likely net effect of substantially increasing the number of Americans who don’t have insurance. It won’t take much time for the similarities between the two bills to be made obvious, and therefore, for this bill to similarly fare poorly in the polls.

The Kaiser Family Foundation polled on the elements of the AHCA (that’s the House bill; these acronyms are confusing) a month ago. Even among Republican voters, most of the components were pretty unpopular.

The work requirement is in the Senate bill, in a form, and that’s popular with most Republicans, as are the high-risk pools. But so are the Medicaid cuts, the tax reductions — and the least popular provision, charging more for older customers.

Again: This is among Republicans. Is this a recipe for a more popular piece of legislation?

Republican senators are being asked to stand with party leadership on this bill to meet the Republican commitment to repeal Obamacare. That commitment powered a lot of grass-roots energy within the Republican base — but while that’s enough to ensure victory for some members of the party’s caucus, others need an awful lot of votes from independents (and even some Democrats) for whom that commitment was never appealing.

Shortly after Obamacare passed in 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that it was more popular than not, although still had less than 50 percent approval. By that November, polling was about even — but the Democrats were demolished in House elections in part (but by no means solely) because of the party’s efforts to reform health care. Some Democrats took a tough vote for Obamacare — and lost their jobs.

On a bill that was about as popular as it was unpopular.

What’s the case McConnell makes to Republicans from moderate states who are up for reelection next year on voting for his unpopular bill?