Monday, June 12, 2017

Last Call For The Trump-go Cult

At this point, the Cult of Dear Leader Trump has reached Jim Jones/David Koresh/Charles Manson levels of insanity, as CNBC's John Harwood reports.

Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump has displayed various reactions to the pressures of his job, from angry tweets to effusive exaggerations to self-defeating candor. 
On Monday, Trump tried something new: bathing in praise from his Cabinet in front of TV cameras. 
After a weekend dominated by discussion of whether he had committed obstruction of justice, the president called in reporters for what he billed as his first full Cabinet meeting. He began with an opening statement laced with the sort of wild self-congratulatory boasts that are his trademark.

"Never has there been a president with few exceptions … who has passed more legislation, done more things," Trump declared, even though Congress, which is controlled by his party, hasn't passed any major legislation. 
He hailed his plan for the "single biggest tax cut in American history," even though he hasn't proposed a plan and Congress hasn't acted on one. He said "no one would have believed" his election could have created so many new jobs over the past seven months (1.1 million), even though more jobs (1.3 million) were created in the previous seven months
Typically, a president's initial comments mark the end of on-camera coverage of White House Cabinet meetings, with administration aides then escorting members of the small press "pool" out of the room. But Trump invited reporters to remain as he called on his senior-most advisers to "go around, name your position" and say a few words about the administration's work. 
"Start with Mike," Trump said, referring to his vice president. Mike Pence, whom Trump kept in the dark for two weeks after learning that then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had given the vice president false information earlier this year, responded by saying that serving as Trump's number two is "the greatest privilege of my life." 
"An honor to be here," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recently offered his resignation amid strains over the Russia investigation. 
"My hat is off to you," said Energy Secretary Rick Perry, referring to the president's explanation of his decision to abandon a global climate change agreement. 
"We thank you for the opportunity and blessing you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people," said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the subject of recent reports that Trump may fire him.

The kayfabe continues.  The true believers will believe.  Most of all, they will vote.

But please, tell me another one about Obama's "cult of personality".

The Worst-Kept Secret In Washington

Meanwhile, Trumpcare is most likely going to become law of the land and tens of millions of Americans will lose their health insurance outright, tens of millions more will be kicked off Medicaid as it will go to a block grant program, while the rest of us will find our employer plans will now cover far less and be far more expensive.  In other words, as Trumpcare sneaks through the Senate, going back to 2009 isn't an option, it's going back to a far worse and far more broken health-care system.

The Affordable Care Act is in deep trouble — in Washington and large swaths of the country. 
Senate Republicans began to coalesce around the framework of a plan to repeal and replace the law last week. Their plan would, like the bill the House passed in May, almost certainly cause millions of low-income Americans to lose coverage by ending the Medicaid expansion. It would help the young and healthy at the expense of the older and the sick. 
Meanwhile, across the nation, health insurance plans are beginning to flee the Obamacare marketplace. They’ve cited the uncertainty around the health care law’s future, sown by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration. The number of counties with zero health plans signed up to sell 2018 coverage keeps growing. 
The possibility that Republicans will repeal Obamacare or drive it into collapse is an increasingly real one. That’s a reality where millions fewer have health insurance coverage and lower-income Americans struggle to afford coverage. 
“Slowly but surely, I think we’re gonna get there,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the No. 2 Republican, told reporters on Thursday, regarding Obamacare repeal. “We’re coming together.”

And it's the same "moderate Senate Republicans" who are now planning to throw tens of millions of Americans in the gutters.

Behind closed doors, Senate Republicans have worked out a path toward Obamacare repeal. The plans under discussion would end Medicaid expansion, causing millions of low-income Americans to lose health coverage. They may allow health insurance plans to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions, too. 
In other words: The emerging bill looks a whole lot like the unpopular bill the House passed last month. It creates the same group of winners (high-income, healthier people) and the same group of losers (low-income, sicker people). 
The Republican plan is coming together because moderate senators are beginning to drop some of their initial repeal objections. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), for example, now back a plan to end the Medicaid expansion. 
Both were ardent critics of the House bill’s deep Medicaid cuts, which would cause 14 million Americans who rely on the public program to lose coverage. Portman put out a harsh statement the day the House passed its health care bill. 
“I’ve already made clear that I don’t support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population,” Portman said plainly. 
But now Portman has endorsed a plan to phase out the Medicaid expansion entirely, just to do so on a longer timeline than the House bill. Portman and Moore Capito want a seven-year phase out, rather than the House bill’s three-year off-ramp. 
At the end of the day, though, phasing out Medicaid expansion over seven years has the same effect as three years: You end coverage for millions of low-income Americans.

Right now the uninsured is under ten percent.  Under the GOP plan, that could double, if not triple. The bad old days of "rescission" where insurance companies found ways to deny you and your family coverage and treatment whenever possible will now be the government's job as well as Medicaid will have a fixed limit of who it can cover.

It's going to be a disaster unless we can convince the Senate GOP that it will cost them everything, and one of the states hardest hit will be here in Ohio if Rob Portman has his way.

Maybe, you know, we should get rid of the guy.

Reince's Impossible Job

Tang the Conqueror has given his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus three weeks to "fix the White House" or he's fired, which begs the question "Can Priebus start by having Trump resign?"

President Donald Trump has set a deadline of July 4 for a shakeup of the White House that could include removing Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, according to two administration officials and three outside advisers familiar with the matter.

While Trump has set deadlines for staff changes before, only to let them pass without pulling the trigger, the president is under more scrutiny than ever regarding the sprawling Russia investigation, which is intensifying the pressure on his White House team.

Days after his return from his first foreign trip late last month, Trump berated Priebus in the Oval Office in front of his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie for the dysfunction in the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the conversation.

Trump had been mulling bringing on Bossie as his deputy White House chief of staff and Lewandowski as a White House senior adviser with a portfolio that includes Russia, but told the two at that meeting that they would not be joining the White House until Priebus had a fair chance to clean up shop, according to the sources.

"I'm giving you until July 4," Trump said, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

"I don't want them to come into this mess. If I'm going to clean house, they will come in as fresh blood."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in a statement on Sunday, refuted the idea that Priebus is facing a July 4 deadline. "Whoever is saying that is either a liar or out of the loop," Spicer said. 

The thing is nobody believes Trump is actually going to do this, because nobody believes Priebus can "clean up" anything in the White House without duct taping Trump's hands together for the next year so that he can't use Twitter for starters.  The biggest non-secret in DC is that Priebus is about as responsible for the problems in the Trump regime as Lex Luthor's accountant is for his failing to beat Superman.

Once Trump realizes the story makes him look bad for makling the threat and even worse if he carries through with it, this will evaporate like so many other of his tantrums.  Three weeks after all is a long time for talking Trump out of something (just ask the Saudis, or Spicer, still gainfully employed.)

Count on it.


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