Archive for March 7th, 2017
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said that after the GOP guts the Affordable Care Act, people struggling to get coverage will be fine if they just give up “that new iPhone that they just love.”
Republicans have been repeating a version of this lie since Reagan – that families are living the good life with government hand-outs and wasteful spending. I know that trick pretty well. It once fooled me, too.
Decades ago, when I was a young law professor, I had what I thought was a clever idea. I’d go take a look at thousands of court documents to find out why families were actually declaring bankruptcy. I was sure that my study would expose tons of people taking advantage of the system – going on shopping sprees at the mall, wasting money on giant TVs and fancy dinners, and then crying to the courts to save them from their own bad financial choices. It’s a story Jason Chaffetz would’ve loved.
Only it wasn’t true.
Two other professors and I collected piles of data on the actual families that were filing for bankruptcy. What we found was shocking. These folks weren’t lazy cheats. They were hard-working people who sacrificed for their kids and hung on to their spot in the middle class by the very tips of their fingernails – right up until they just couldn’t make it any longer. For most of them, some combination of medical problems, job losses and family break ups turned their lives upside down.
Today, every middle class family in America knows how hard it is to hang on – even with both parents working, it’s hard to make ends meet in a world where wages are flat and with housing, education, and yes, health care costs going through the roof.
We need to do more, so much more, to address the financial squeeze that’s crushing our families. But the Republican plan to gut the Affordable Care Act moves in exactly the wrong direction. If it passes, millions of these families will see their health costs skyrocket. Millions will lose coverage entirely for themselves or their kids.
And only in Republicans’ land of make-believe will everything be okay if people just buy fewer iPhones.
Lakoff writes on his blog:
The net has been drawing closer around Trump’s Russian connections. His unwavering support for America’s major enemy has raised a question: Is Treason the Reason?
The Tax Return issue has become a treason issue. The tax returns could show if Trump is deeply in debt to Russians or if he is involved in illegal financial activity. He might clear suspicions by releasing the returns.
The longer he refuses to do so, the greater the suspicion gets. Jeff Sessions’ recusal made Trump furious because it meant that Sessions could no longer protect him from an independent Justice Department investigation, if there were to be one. If Sessions is forced to resign, the net gets that much tighter. Of course, in addition to releasing the tax returns, Trump should support a full and independent investigation to clear up all questions about his Russia contacts.
In the midst of this, Trump created a distraction: accusing Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower, with no evidence. Faced with the biggest scandal in American history – presidential treason – Trump, with a tweet, accuses Obama of a scandal bigger than Watergate.
Trump’s tweets are strategic. I analyzed the tweets on NPR’s On the Media, and a diagram has been shared widely on social media and also appeared in the Washington Post.
Trump’s tweet is a doozy. It is an example of all four of Trump’s strategies.
Pre-emptive Framing: He frames first. He creates a new presidential scandal – Obama’s wiretapping — an accusation without evidence, and with all evidence against it.
Deflection: He puts the onus on his squeaky-clean predecessor.
Diversion: The press bit and the diversion worked. It generated headlines questioning whether Obama, rather than Trump, had committed wrongdoing.
The diversion worked, at least temporarily.
Trial Balloon: Will the public accept it, or listen to a discussion of it long enough to distract the press and the public from the treason issue?
The media is still focused on the false accusation, not on the investigation of Trump’s Russian connections and the treason issue. (Of course, the growing nature of the scandal is making it harder and harder for Trump to pivot away from his Russia problem)
Pretty effective tweet. But it gets more effective.
It put the press and those from the Obama administration in the position of denying the accusation — of repeating the accusation by questioning it and negating it — like saying Obama is not a crook. The more the press discusses it, the more Obama is associated with the idea of wiretapping Trump, thus strengthening Trump’s claim in the minds of the public by denying the claim, or asking for evidence of the claim. Meanwhile, Trump’s minions are associating Obama with Watergate by repeating “What did he know and when did he know it?” This question is what brought Nixon down. They can keep this up for a long time.
And worse: . . .
Missouri state senator on prescription abuse: “If they overdose and kill themselves, it just removes them from the gene pool”
Matthew Rozsa has a story in Salon of an excellent example of the GOP’s attitude (which is also captured in the GOP replacement for Obamacare):
Even as America reels from a wave of prescription drug abuse, largely involving opioids, that has reached epidemic levels, only one state continues to refuse to provide a prescription drug monitoring program (PMDP) — Missouri. And the reason could be traceable to the darkly Darwinian philosophy of a single Republican state senator.
“If they overdose and kill themselves, it just removes them from the gene pool,” said State Senator Rob Schaaf in 2012 after successfully filibustering an earlier version of a bill to establish a prescription drug database.
Schaaf’s threat to repeat his 2012 filibuster has thwarted attempts by other Missouri legislators to establish a monitoring program over the past six legislative sessions. Although Schaaf is a physician himself, he has opposed creating a PDMP by claiming that it would violate privacy rights. As recently as last year, Schaaf claimed that PDMPs “don’t work. And it’s an infringement upon people’s privacy. Most people don’t want the government to have that information and have it on a database in which many people can get it.”
Instead, Schaff has proposed an alternative bill that would require doctors to send the names of patients who request painkillers to the state health department, which would in turn notify medical professionals of a history indicating abuse. This is in contrast to the databases in other states that provide medical professionals with direct access to each patient’s narcotic history, which may explain why the Missouri State Medical Association opposes Schaaf’s proposal. . .
Gabriel Ware reports in Yes! magazine:
Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn’t afford it—even with student loans. Besides, he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of ending up in “debt up to the neck.” Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn’t need a college education to become successful.
But now he’s on his way to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That’s thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria. Students have 10 years from the day they graduate high school to use the scholarship.
“I might as well go now,” Murray says he told himself, when he heard about the Promise. “I’ll be stupid not to.”
Murray, the eldest of four children raised by a single mother, remembers his family relying on government assistance and bouncing from house to house in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Murray’s newfound hope was shared by many in this economically troubled city, which lost about 4 percent of its population between 1990 and 2000. The Promise was intended to reverse that trend by creating incentives for residents to remain in Kalamazoo and for new families to move in.
“The donors believe that a community’s vitality—politically, socially, and economically—is closely related to the educational level of the community,” says Bob Jorth, executive director of the Kalamazoo Promise. “In the knowledge-based economy that we’re in, almost all good jobs require some kind of training and education beyond high school.”
By many measures, the program has succeeded. The population began to rebound almost immediately, while dropout rates declined, particularly among African American women. Over its first 10 years, the Promise invested more than $75 million in 4,000 students, and at least 90 other communities across the U.S. have created Promise scholarships based in some way on Kalamazoo’s program. Barack Obama even considered it a model for a federally funded free community college program.
Realtors even began posting yard signs featuring the Kalamazoo Public Schools logo and the phrase “College Tuition Qualified” in front of homes. . .
And Yelp is tracking them. Totally solves the problem and gives everyone what s/he wants.