Obamacare trumps Trumpcare

Donald Trump has warned GOP lawmakers that they could lose the majority in the mid-term elections if they vote against TrumpCare. But as above, most Americans do not like TrumpCare and could vote GOP lawmakers out in about 20 months. So the lawmakers either choose going against TrumpCare and probably keep their job and possibly the majority or vote for TrumpCare but get booted out in 20 months but no tweet wrath from Trump. Hmmm. Tough choices.

In the end, the vote on TrumpCare and to repeal ObamaCare was postponed on Thursday because there wasn’t enough votes even after some wheeling and dealing with various factions.

Then [after consulting with Trump] Speaker Paul ran canceled the vote on Friday. Trump quickly blamed the Democrats and the media even though it was the various factions in the Republican party that doomed it. Trump said he “learned a lot about loyalty” [in his own party].

He also said he’d let Obamacare “explode” – but no idea of what he meant by that comment.

They were unable to narrow the schism between Freedom Caucus conservatives, who believe the bill keeps too much of Obamacare intact and moderates who worry they will pay an electoral price if millions of Americans lose health insurance. The loser should blame them.

Ryan told reporters. “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.”

There were at least 26 Republicans in the house that are also against the American Health Care Act [a.k.a. Trumpcare] for a number of reasons including the Congressional Budget Office study suggesting it could deprive 24 million people of insurance. Another 4 were leaning that way. If more than 21 Republicans are against AHCA, the bill will fail.

In addition, changes Republicans made earlier this week to the bill will actually only decrease federal deficits by $150 billion over 10 years, while the original measure would have lowered deficits by $337 billion.

A Fox News poll found that only 34% of Americans backed Trumpcare. Interesting as the GOP claim the majority of Republican voters like Trumpcare. It will probably affect the majority of Americans with many in mid and low income citizens being forced to pay more. Coupled with the chopping or reduced budget for many areas of the government and those who voted for Trump [tend to be the same people he’s hurting with the budget and Trumpcare] will not be to happy.

A report said that Mitch McConnell and speaker Paul Ryan at one time proposing repealing Obamacare first and then add Trumpcare. But wouldn’t that mean no healthcare coverage at all?

Trump was also upset that his advisor Jared Kushner wasn’t in Washington. He along with Ivanka and family and other Trump family members were in Aspen [see later]. I’m sure Trump new about it – they took the family plane there.

If he lost on killing Obamacare, Trump wants to tackle tax reform next and they say it could be an even bigger battle.

Just before FBI Director James Comey was to testify in front of congress regarding any association between Russia and the Trump administration, Trump went on his usual Twitter tirade accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election, to go after Hillary Clinton and find the leaks. Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation.

In another blow to Trump, the top two lawmakers on the House intelligence committee said that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower.

White House spokesman Sean “Garlic” Spicer tried to clarify Trump’s comments saying he wasn’t using the word wiretapping literally, noting that Trump had put the term in quotation marks. Trump “used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities,” Spicer said. He also suggested Trump wasn’t accusing former President Barack Obama specifically, but instead referring to the actions of the Obama administration. OK. So why wait so long to say so? Not all the tweets contained quotes related to wiretapping.

Trump may have disclosed classified information that the CIA was “hacked” during an interview. Trump said the leak occurred while Obama was in office – shifting the cowardly blame to him.

Trump said he shouldn’t be blamed for quoting a Fox News analyst who had accused British intelligence of helping Obama spy on him. But shouldn’t he be verifying fake news first?

Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News analyst who was praised by Trump, has apparently been benched by the network. He repeatedly relayed information from anonymous sources about former President Obama using the British to spy on Trump. His claims were strongly denied by American and British authorities and Fox’s own news anchors disavowed Napolitano’s claims.

Trump approved the Keystone XL pipeline and claiming that work can start right away. As usual, he is wrong. The state of Nebraska has to approve the pipeline path and that could take up to 8 months. Other portions of the pipeline were built before the Trump administration.

Spicer read off a script in announcing the pipeline complete with saying the previous administration did nothing in eight years while Trump did it in 2 months – except the US government didn’t get involved until mid-2010.

“I guess I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not,” Trump said in a Time magazine interview.

“I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano,” Trump told Time, referring to the Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano, who reported the information on Fox News about British spying on behalf of President Obama using anonymous sources, on which Trump’s White House based the claim. So it is OK for Trump to use information based on anonymous sources but not everyone else.

Remember Trump claiming Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination? Trump referred to a newspaper story which had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.” And where is that story and picture? He didn’t accuse Ted Cruz on being part of the assassination?

Presented with a litany of other falsehoods and mischaracterizations, Trump offered this nonchalant rebuttal to his critics: “I tend to be right. I’m an instinctual person, I happen to be a person that knows how life works.” Seriously?

“Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, ‘No, Brexit is going to happen,’ and everybody laughed.” You don’t have to be a genius to know that Brexit could be coming very soon – just need to look at what’s going on at the time.

Despite previously stating that she would not take on an official role in her father’s administration, Ivanka Trump is now moving into an advisory position in the White House. Like father, like daughter. Liars. Ivanka Trump has started a job as an unpaid worker in the West Wing, complete with an office and staff. She also has a higher security clearance. As well as  divesting some of her assets [for ethics reason] and selling $36.7 million in assets to comply with ethics rules, she still owns her clothing and jewelry brand [will get a fixed amount but no shares as company staffers will manage the company for her].

While they were on spring break in Aspen, Colorado, the Secret Service “signed a contract last week for more than $12,000 with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club for rental ski equipment and clothing.” So another bill on the taxpayer’s dime, aside from the secret service, accommodations, food, airplane, vehicles, extra police, etc. Vanity Fair reported “annoyed” New York moms and limited availability at local dining hot spots. And “dozens” of protesters took to the town’s Main Street on Sunday morning, per the Denver Post.

At least Ivanka didn’t lose her $585 US Dior sunglasses in Aspen.

[Aspen was the site of a very public feud between the future President, Ivana, and Marla Maples, who later became Trump’s second wife. When the family was vacationing there in December 1989, Ivana, approached Maples at a popular mid-mountain restaurant and told her to stay away from her husband.]

Trump said that Germany owes “vast sums of money” to NATO and the U.S. “must be paid more” for providing defense, reiterating his stance that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance. But Trump said at the press conference that many countries owe “vast sums of money” — but he declined to identify Germany, at the time, as one of those nations. NATO uses 2% of the nation’s guideline for what they need to give to the alliance. While few give 2% or more, none have taken out loans.

Trump pushed back against the notion in Europe that his “America First” agenda means he’s an isolationist, calling such a suggestion “another example of, as you say, fake news.”

Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed that communications of Trump and associates may have been picked up after the election by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets.

Trump said in December that “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” Yet he has spent 25% of his presidency at Mar-A-Lago.

Both New York City and West Palm Beach police have complained that the extra costs in protecting Trump and his family in either locations coming from their security budget reducing police presence elsewhere. For New York, it is $146,000 a day just for police. This would exclude state police, the FBI and Secret Service plus the inconvenience for those living, working or owning a business in Trump Tower and surrounding area.

Trump, once a critic of his predecessor’s golfing, has visited two of his golf courses in Florida – seemingly to play the sport – 11 times in the first two months of his presidency plus once in Virginia [unsure if he played though]. “I’m going to be working for you; I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said during a 2016 event in Virginia, jabbing at Obama. “I love golf, I think it’s one of the greats, but I don’t have time,” he said in December.

The Trump family’s south Florida golf club, Mar-A-Lago, doubled its entrance fee to $200,000 after Trump’s inauguration.

Meanwhile a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit, Trump went after Germany because they don’t spend enough on NATO and defense spending. Coward he is. What Trump fails to understand, part of the US’s spending in NATO is for NATO to secure all of the alliance’s countries. The European countries are a “first line” of defense for the US. The same reason why the US is in the Middle East – to stop terrorists there before they come to the US.

Seems Trump didn’t want to shake hands with Merkel. Lip readers said she asked him at the photo opp.

With the announcement of the first Trump budget, many departments will end up with major slashing in what they could spend. Almost every department will experience cuts with very few exceptions. Hardest hit includes the EPA, Corporation for Public Broadcasting [PBS, NPR, etc.], etc. Add the programs such as Amtrak, Meals on Wheels, Air traffic control [shift from FAA to a private non-profit company], program offering jobs to senior citizens, etc. [Many Americans will be asking why did they vote for Trump after this.]

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s credibility is being questioned after publicly defending President Trump’s conspiracy theories and falsehoods. He tried to defend Trump saying Paul Manafort had an insignificant “limited role” in the campaign when he was campaign chairman for 5 months. Spicer said he came on in June when Manafort was hired at the end of March 2016 according to a press release. Add his other issue such as arguing with reports, saying he has no idea when it’s already known, false statements about crowd size at the inauguration, and Obama using the British to wiretap Trump.

Trump announced that Charter Communications will spend $25 million US and create 20,000 jobs in the US as it brings back overseas call centers. Problem is that Charter announced this already in 2015. And he’s taking credit… Again. Charter didn’t seem to mind – the CEO was present at the re-announcement.

Trump cited a Bleacher Report that NFL owners were avoiding hiring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because they did not want to face Trump’s Twitter wrath. Kaepernick caused a problem for kneeling during the national anthem before kickoff at his games to protest racism and police brutality.

A bit of humor…. Trump-Induced Anxiety Disorder, or TIAD

 

A busy week for Mr. Drumpf

The White House [may have] has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency GCHQ [the equivalent of the US National Security Agency] spied on Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama. White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

The Fox correspondent suggested that Obama used the British to do the spying as it is illegal for Obama or his administration to order wiretapping without approval of a court.

And yet, while every politician not in the Trump administration [both Republican and Democrat] claim there is no evidence of wiretapping, the administration claims there is. Trump said he would produce evidence within the next couple of weeks. Why not now? [Maybe because he has none!]

Whether or not there is any evidence about Trump’s claim that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower in New York, the damage will be done. Trump supports will continue to claim this the same way Trump and supporters claimed that Obama wasn’t born in the US or many other lies that were mentioned through the election process.

Meanwhile Trump claims he used quotations in his initial tweets claiming he wasn’t specifically saying wiretaps but other forma. And yet his latter tweets about it didn’t have quotes around wiretapping word. Backpedaling didn’t work. No one believes him.

In an interview Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, senior White House adviser, said “What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,” including “microwaves that turn into cameras,….” Latest she said that comment was taking out of context. I hope so but I doubt it!

Conway said “we know (former national security adviser) General (Michael) Flynn was wiretapped,” with no proof, of course. Then she said it was “leaked” – not the same as wiretapped.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in town on Friday for a visit, supposedly was given a copy of Playboy – not for the pictures [although it may be the first edition with nude females in over a year, but I digress] but because it has an article on how Trump supposedly thinks. Doesn’t Germany have their own intelligence agency?

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, 14 million Americans who were using the Affordable Care Act won’t be able to afford Trumpcare. This could rise to 26 million by 2026. In total, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured by 2026 under the GOP plan, compared to 28 million who would lack insurance under the current law [ACA].

While 5.9 million lost coverage with Obamacare, 22.8 million were added according a Forbes article. So in the end, maybe 35 million who were covered prior to Obamacare, may not be in 10 years with Trumpcare.

The American Health Care Act, would reduce the federal deficits by $337 billion over 10 years. Some of this is due to the wealthy Americans not paying the same share under ACA as well as large corporations paying less as well.

Thirty-one states – including 16 with Republican governors – elected to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and have found it to be a successful way of insuring low-income adults at little cost to their states. Trump said it could take several years before a drop in prices. Hmmmm.

Not surprising some Republicans and the Trump administration are downplaying the report. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said “If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place.” [Would they be saying the same thing if the report favored them?]

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said. Even Conservative Breitbart News were laughing that the comment.

“The press is making Obamacare look so good all of a sudden. I’m watching the news, it looks so good,” Trump said. Dummy, actually it is the polls have stated that Americans like Obamacare.

While 5.9 million lost coverage with Obamacare, 22.8 million were added according a Forbes article.

Before one Trump controversy can finish, another one stirs up. It is common that the incoming President will ask those appointed to step down as the new government is set up. 46 US attorneys [who are appointed] were kept on but unceremoniously were let go this past Saturday. One of them, Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, tweeted Saturday that he was fired after refusing to resign as requested by Trump’s administration. The Southern District is special that it takes on the toughest cases in the US often lasting at least a year.

This gets interesting because Deutsche Bank which facilitated the laundering of ill-gotten Russian gains to the tune of $10 billion. And the US Attorney that was investigating Deutsche Bank was Bharara. Meanwhile Trump owes Deutsche Bank somewhere in the neighborhood of $364 million. So Trump delays or maybe even kills the investigation [and maybe Trump’s bill may even be reduced].

Bharara was brought in under Barrack Obama on the recommendation of Trump nemesis Senator Chuck Schumer. Bharara is considered neutral going after politicians on both sides. Trump informed Bharara that he wanted to keep him on as a gesture to Schumer – then the incoming minority leader – whom Trump had previously supported for years. By letting go the US attorneys do, this will delay the various ongoing investigations until new appointments are announced and confirmed.

Two days before the mass dismissal of US attorneys, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave no indication in a conference call with US attorneys across the country that some of their jobs were in peril.

The former CEO of Deutsche Bank [Wilbur Ross] is now the CEO of the Bank of Cyprus and one of the major shareholder is a Russian billionaire who bought a mansion owned by Trump for over $95 million when Trump bought it for just $45 million earlier. The billionaire tore it down and never lived there.

Homeland Secretary John Kelly claims that his Customs and Border Protection agents will not ask those coming into the country their religion or political affiliation but there has already been at least a few cases where those trying to enter the country were in fact asked. Muhammed Ali Jr was asked. So was at least one Canadian trying to enter the US. The same goes for politics. See below.

In another example of continuous repeat of Canadians having problems entering the US, a woman of descent from India but born in Canada was hold for 6 hours and sent back home even though her two white friends could continue on. She was fingerprinted, photographed and questioned before being refused. She said she was told she was an immigrant without a valid U.S. visa even though her valid passport said she was born in Canada. She was told that she would need a visa if I ever went in the States again and the border agent told her “I know you might feel like you’re being Trumped.” A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman noted that possession of a valid travel document does not guarantee entry to the United States [this even though the border agent said she wasn’t a Canadian by birth].

Meanwhile, part of Trump’s 2005 tax return was leaked to Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston. The return said he earned US$153 million and paid $36.5 million but most of the tax came from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Without AMT, he would of paid 4%. Instead, he paid 25% – still below the amount he should of paid.

Trump tweeted “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns?” I guess he never heard of Johnson who won a journalism prize. The White House called it illegal. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign website called for the end of the AMT, which is expected to bring in more than $350 billion in revenues from 2016 to 2025. Again he’s favoring the wealthy.

Khizr Khan, the Muslim Gold Star father who famously offered to lend Donald Trump his copy of the U.S. Constitution has cancelled a scheduled speech in Toronto because “his travel privileges are being reviewed,” according to the event organizer.

General Motors announced 1100 jobs will be cut. I’m sure Trump will blame it on the Obama administration somehow.

Jared Kushner [Trump’s son-in-law] and family are part owners of 666 5th Avenue in New York. It was purchased by a group including his family for $1.1 billion in 2007. Now a Chinese company with alleged ties to the Communist Party there could buy it for over $2.2 billion. The Kushners would get around $400 million of that. Double the price in under 10 years? Sounds fishy. The building was already probably one of the most expensive in the US. That same Chinese company wants to buy a hotel next to a US naval base in San Diego. The Obama administration said no but Trump may say yes.

The European odds makers came out with a few of them related to Trump:

  • 5/1 odds that Melania will end her marriage with Donald before his tenure is up.
  • 6/1 odds that Tiffany will be the first Trump child to denounce him. [Ivanka is 7/1, Barron is 16/1]
  • 1/10 odds the marriage remains intact until a successor is inaugurated.
  • 500/1 odds to ban the Irish [a bit odd there].
  • 5/6 odds that Trump will outlaw guns in a state.
  • 25/1 odds that Trump and Vladimir Poutine will win the Nobel peace Prize.