Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Last Call For Rand, True To His Name

Meanwhile here in Kentucky, Sen. Rand Paul is pissed off that the Senate GOP bill to wreck Medicaid and health insurance doesn't go far enough to rid America of a few million undesirable sick poors and that his Senate GOP buds need to be ready to purge the sick from the country in the name of that Tree of Liberty and all.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says some of his "weak-kneed" Republican colleagues need to remember what they stand for regarding the repeal of ObamaCare. 
During a Wednesday interview on Fox News, Paul — an opponent of the Senate GOP's healthcare bill in its current form — said all Democrats hate the legislation, and so do half of Republicans. 
"The half of Republicans that hate it are conservatives like myself who went to rally after rally after rally saying 'We're going to repeal ObamaCare,' and now we're not repealing it, we're keeping it," Paul said.

"These weak-kneed Republicans up here who are saying, 'Oh, we got to spend more money and we got to keep Medicaid forever, the expansion,' they need to get over themselves." 
Paul said Republicans need to remember what they were for: "Repealing ObamaCare."
He added he'd like to support a healthcare bill, but will only vote for one that truly nixes the Affordable Care Act, not just modifies it or scales it back.

Got that, Kentucky voters?  If you got help from the Affordable Care Act over the last few years, well, you just need to "get over yourselves" and be sick and poor again.  Rand doesn't give a good goddamn if you live or die.

Keep in mind that if the Senate bill passes, the biggest loser in federal Medicaid spending cuts by percentage will guessed it, Kentucky.  The Bluegrass State will lose 58.5% of its federal funding for healthcare by 2022 if this bill becomes law, putting us in a worse position than before Obamacare even came along in the first place.

And Rand Paul believes those federal spending cuts to Kentucky aren't steep enough.

Do you finally get it now, fellow Kentuckians?

A Wealth Of Problems

We've seen plenty of charts on America's income being lopsided as Republicans are more than happy to give the richest Americans a trillion-dollar tax cut or three while ravaging social programs, but it turns out America's wealth distribution is even worse.

Research from Berkeley economists has found incomes at the top 0.001% of the income strata surged a whopping 636% between 1980 and 2014, while wages for the bottom half of the population were basically stuck in place.

Critics of that body of work say its use of pre-tax data masks some of the equalizing effects of the tax code, and thus overstates inequality. If that were indeed the case, a look at the distribution of wealth as opposed to just income, while harder to measure, could be a better barometer as to the true state of America’s social divide. 
This chart courtesy of Deutsch Bank economist Torsten Slok shows the picture with regards to wealth is even bleaker. The richest 10% of families are worth a combined $51 trillion, equal to 75% of total household wealth. To put that figure in perspective, US GDP totaled $18.5 trillion in 2016.

DB Wealth inequality

Please note America's total wealth doubled during Bill Clinton's two terms, from $30T to $60T, and wealth went up among America's bottom 50%, tripling to $3T or so.  It really was a boom time, and them Dubya came along and screwed us.
Still, the problem remains that just 10 percent of the country owns three-quarters of the wealth in America, and most of us have nothing or next to nothing.  Now we're ruled by a cabal that seems to think that the wealthiest ten percent need more trillions at our expense.
Don't count on voters to fix this either.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

As long suspected, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort officially admits now that he was taking money from a pro-Russian party in the Ukraine for two years, something he never officially disclosed when working for the Trump campaign.

Paul Manafort, who was forced out as President Trump’s campaign chairman last summer after five months of infighting and criticism about his business dealings with pro-Russian interests, disclosed Tuesday that his consulting firm had received more than $17 million over two years from a Ukrainian political party with links to the Kremlin.

The filing serves as a retroactive admission that Mr. Manafort performed work in the United States on behalf of a foreign power — Ukraine’s Party of Regions — without disclosing it at the time, as required by law
. The Party of Regions is the political base of former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who fled to Russia during a popular uprising in 2014.

The disclosure hints at the vast fortunes available to top American political consultants plying their trade in other countries.

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Manafort would be required to pay any fines for the late filing. He has maintained that a majority of his work for Mr. Yanukovych was political consulting in Ukraine, where his firm, Davis Manafort International, operated an office at the time.

The Party of Regions employed Mr. Manafort to help rebrand Mr. Yanukovych and his party, which was long known as tilting toward Russia, as modernizers favoring closer ties to the European Union. All the work disclosed by Mr. Manafort on Tuesday predated Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Manafort’s filing indicates that he was retained by the Party of Regions to help elect national and regional candidates in Ukraine and to liaise with American diplomats in Kiev, the capital, who were monitoring elections there.

“Paul’s primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work, and that is reflected in today’s filing,” said Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Mr. Manafort.

The problem of course is that Manafort's millions in blood money meant he was in the business of helping a government friendly to Russia get elected, something he refused to actually disclose as he should have done under law here.  Then again, he was performing the same job here, wasn't he?  That mean both Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort have both lied about representing foreign powers in campaign capacity, and then both went to work for Trump.

I'm betting Robert Mueller is having a less-than-fun time sifting through this maze of sand, but when he hits pay dirt it's going to be a hell of a thing.


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