Saturday, July 15, 2017

Last Call For Sandoval's Desert Grit

One of the major key players in whether or not the Senate GOP Trumpcare bill can pass the upper chamber isn't actually a senator at all, but Nevada's GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.  Sandoval controls what GOP Sen. Dean Heller is going to do as far as voting for this bill, and Sandoval, like Ohio's GOP Gov. John Kasich, has no illusions as to how rotten Trumpcare is going to be for his state.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said a closed-door breakfast meeting on Saturday between Trump Administration officials and a large number of governors hasn’t changed his position on the Senate health bill — that it’s a cause for concern.
The Republican governor, whose opinions on health care policy have a major influence on swing voting Republican Sen. Dean Heller, said he plans to make a decision on his final stance next week and hopes to talk with Heller on Sunday or Monday. But he said he’s trying to reconcile conflicting analyses — including the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that the immediately preceding bill would have left 22 million more people uninsured, and the administration’s contention that nobody would lose access to care.

“What’s difficult is there’s a lot of dispute about the veracity of those numbers,” Sandoval told reporters in an interview at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island. “As a governor, it’s incumbent on me to sort that out.”

Sandoval said the Trump Administration hasn’t offered him benefits unrelated to health care — such as concessions on the Yucca Mountain relicensing process that Nevada is fighting and the administration is pushing — in exchange for support of the health bill. But he said he didn’t support such a trade.

“Those are two separate issues that I won’t conflate under any circumstances,” he said.

Democratic governors were more blunt about the discussion, which featured Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. Connecticut Gov. Dan Molloy, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, said the administrators kept touting “innovation” as the solution to health care problems.

But he said they were unable to explain how innovation would compensate for reduced funding. The mood grew tense, he said, mostly out of a “frustration with being lied to.”

“They’re going to shift a massive amount of responsibility to the states without the support necessary to do that,” he said, adding that it would be the states that have to do the dirty work of paring down their Medicaid rolls.

I've been saying this for months now: the GOP Congress's plan is to dump all the blame for having to throw millions off Medicaid on to state governors and say "Well, we reformed Medicaid like you asked.  State governors like you authorized and took credit for Medicaid expansion, you can take the blame for rolling that back. We told you seven years ago that we thought the expansion was unsustainable, and here we are."

Sandoval meanwhile clearly doesn't like getting hung out to dry like this, and I suspect he's far from the only GOP governor who secretly hates Mitch McConnell for screwing him over this badly. I feel like that the aforementioned John Kasich is similarly in the same position, and that GOP Sen. Rob Portman is going to bail on it as well.  Mike Pence is outright lying about red states that have accepted Medicaid expansion and the governors of those states like Kasich are pissed.

In his speech, Pence also said Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid put “far too many able-bodied adults” on the program.

“I know Governor Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years,” said Pence.

The waiting lists Pence referred to apply to Medicaid’s home and community-based services, and have not been affected by the program’s expansion under the ACA. States have long had waiting lists for these services, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s executive vice president, Diane Rowland, noted that waiting lists in non-expansion states are often longer than in expansion states, which currently receive a 95 percent federal match for their newly covered beneficiaries.

Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling said in an interview that Pence’s suggestion that 60,000 disabled Ohioans remain on waiting lists “is not accurate,” adding that to suggest Medicaid expansion hurt the state’s developmentally disabled “system is false, as it is just the opposite of what actually happened.”

“That waiting list is nothing new, and to attribute it to expansion is absurd,” said Families USA’s senior director of health policy, Eliot Fishman.

Pence has declared war on red state governors who took the expansion, and that fight is not going to be one that he wins.

[UPDATE] And with Sen. John McCain scheduling surgery next week and "missing the vote" along with Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson coming out against the bill, Mitch McConnell has now pulled the vote for Trumpcare again.

This is starting to look like ballgame, guys.  Keep the pressure up.

Russian To Judgment, Con't.

It's getting to the point that the revelations about Donald Trump Jr. meeting with the Russians (now there were at least eight people in this meeting, we find out) are so indefensible that Trump mouthpieces sent out to do it are getting buzzsawed on live national TV.

Reid was unrelenting in questioning Fred Fleitz, the former chief of staff for Ambassador John Bolton, who persisted in explaining that the Trump meeting on June 9th was much ado about nothing because it was organized by music promoter Rob Goldstone

“What we have here is a playboy celebrity publicist who likes to hang out with Tina Turner and Miss America contestants, who lied to get a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. that he ordinarily would not have held,” Fleitz explained.”I’ve got to tell you that someone who is really involved in this intricate Russian intelligence operation would never have sent the email we discussed earlier, mentioning this operation exists.

“This guy was exaggerating, this guy was lying to get his client in front of Donald Trump Jr. That’s what happened here, all this other stuff is fantasy,” he remarked while holding up a photo of Goldstone wearing a pirate hat.

“Let me ask you a question,” Reid shot back,. “It’s not fantasy because the meeting took place. In your view, if this person said to Donald Trump Jr., ‘I’ve got this information from the Russian government.’ What would be the motivation of Donald Trump Jr. to say ‘yes,’ and take the meeting?”

Because Donald Trump Jr. knows this guy is a flake,” Fleitz parried. ” Because he realizes he’s exaggerating to get the meeting but he’s a friend. he probably said, ‘well, look, there’s no Russian effort to help my father, but look, I’ll meet with this guy because he’s a friend.’ There’s simply nothing there to connect this as a Russian intelligence operation.”

During a frantic back and forth, with Fleitz attempting to dismiss and duck Reid’s questions, the conservative aide complained, “This is a rigged interview.”

No wonder then that the smart money is now on Trump firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller sooner rather than later.

Since then the “witch hunt” investigation into the Trump campaign and alleged collusion with the Kremlin has taken a decidedly more perilous and personal turn for the President. And that’s exactly why we think it won’t be longer than 100 days before Trump pulls the trigger and “Comey” Mueller (no he can’t technically fire him but he can certainly order it and make it happen). After all, as the campaign and his first few months in office prove, Trump puts his family above anything else. As information continues to seep out about the work that Mueller is doing and the subpoenas start coming, we believe the President will be increasingly frustrated and the administration will undoubtedly continue to seek to undermine Mueller’s credibility. And lets be clear, by any objective standard Mueller is an unassailable, apolitical public servant.

Now, many are saying there is no way the administration would risk the fallout from having Mueller fired. Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” regularly invoked. But really? It seems no matter what this President does — no matter how out of the ordinary or mainstream — that his most ardent supporters in the public and the media continue to defend him. Most important is that now that many are questioning whether his son Donald Trump Jr. committed, at the least, an election law crime when he took a meeting with someone who he thought was working for the Russian government. And, as investigators are now reportedly probing Jared Kushner‘s role in potentially helping to direct a Russian operation targeting voters with fake news about candidate Hillary Clinton, and as the specter of obstruction of justice in connection with firing Comey hangs over the President and his administration, we believe it now more likely than not that Trump will decide that Mueller must go.

As I said earlier, this isn't the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning.  From here on out things start moving faster and get a lot darker.  If the dam on Trump's support among his base and more importantly the support for the Republicans propping his regime up crumbles, it's going to move very quickly indeed.

Deportation Nation, Con't

The Trump regime is considering dramatically increasing the speed of deportation of undocumented immigrants rounded up by ICE goons as Trump's virulent nationalism turns more and more Americans into ICE informants.

The Trump administration is weighing a new policy to dramatically expand the Department of Homeland Security’s powers to expedite the deportations of some illegal immigrants.

Since 2004, the agency has been authorized to bypass immigration courts only for immigrants who had been living in the country illegally for less than two weeks and were apprehended within 100 miles of the border.

Under the proposal, the agency would be empowered to seek the expedited removal of illegal immigrants apprehended anywhere in the United States who cannot prove they have lived in the country continuously for more than 90 days, according to a 13-page internal agency memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The new guidelines, if enacted, would represent a major expansion of the agency’s authority to speed up deportations under President Trump, who has made border security a top priority.

Two administration officials confirmed that the proposed new policy, which would not require congressional approval, is under review. The memo was circulated at the White House in May, and DHS is reviewing comments on the document from the Office of Management and Budget, according to one administration official familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

So not only are we throwing out due process for anyone who came in less than 90 days ago, we're also dispensing with it for anyone who can't prove they've been here for three months.  Considering the lengths that undocumented immigrants might go to in order to avoid leaving a paper trail, only heightened in Trump's climate of fear, that's exactly what the regime wants.

So now there's a burden of proof on getting due process.

Out the door you go otherwise.

Welcome to America.
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