Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Democrats SAVED YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE again. Now, time to fix it.

The Republicans made one more effort to repeal Obamacare, and take health insurance, and thus health care, from tens of millions of Americans. And failed. Again. And most of the attention will go to the failure of Trump and the Republican congressional “leadership” to enact their toxic agenda despite full control of government. And that is a big part of the story. The Republicans are too incompetent to inflict the full damage they intend. But there is an even bigger part of the story.
The Democrats haven’t wavered in protecting Obamacare. Republicans couldn’t peel off even one Democratic vote. That speaks to the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and it also proves once again that even the worst Democratic members of Congress are paradigmatically better than even the least worst Republicans. No one should be allowed to forget that. And we all owe the Democrats our gratitude.
The Republicans will inevitably attempt to revivify their zombie efforts, but this current process is over. Because the Democrats refused to budge. And now Democrats can ramp up the conversation about how to improve Obamacare and put us on the path toward a full single-payer national healthcare system that affordably provides quality access to everyone.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

STOP THE HAMMERING!!!! Funny stuff

The Internet Has Already Made Some Hilarious Mash-Ups of the Lawrence O’Donnell Video

We knew you wouldn’t let us down, Internet. And, indeed, you didn’t.
Earlier Wednesday, we posted eight glorious minutes of video featuring MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell just completely freaking out during breaks in his Aug. 29 broadcast of The Last Word.
The obvious point of comparison for many on Twitter was the classic outburst from Bill O’Reilly years ago on Inside EditionDavid Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon evidently thought so too. And he went to town:
The breakout catch phrase from the O’Donnell video appears to be “STOP THE HAMMERING!” Daily Show producer Ryan Middleton, as such, decided it was Hammer Time — and he skillfully combined footage of O’Donnell and MC Hammer:
Great job, Internet. Keep ’em coming.
Watch above, via Twitter.

Shep Smith says Taking A Knee IS NOT Protesting the Flag.

Fox News’s Shepherd Smith on Monday argued President Trump’s criticisms of the NFL are a “play to his base,” noting the NFL players who participate in protests are not demonstrating against the national anthem itself.
“Of course they’re not protesting the national anthem. That’s not what they’re doing and we’re complicit,” Smith said during his Monday show.
Smith’s remarks come after Trump last week suggested NFL owners fire players who choose to kneel, rather than stand, during the national anthem in protest of racial inequity in the U.S.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired,' " Trump said at an Alabama rally Friday.
The comments, which the president doubled down on over the weekend, caused widespread protests and displays of solidarity at football games across the country on Sunday. 
Smith on Monday argued Trump’s attack on the NFL could be a way to distract from issues the administration is currently faced with, including struggling health-care legislation and North Korea’s ongoing aggression.
“It’s very clear that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat. Because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, ‘Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops, they’re attacking the flag,’ ” Smith said. 
“None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said, and yet he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base, and could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea’s the biggest mess since the Cold War?

Medicare For All is cheaper than you think: WE NOW PAY MORE FOR HEALTH CARE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY - and cover fewer people.

'Medicare for All' Could Be Cheaper Than You Think

Bernie Sanders' single-payer health care plan is bound to be expensive and politically challenging. For this critic, a simple expansion of Medicare offers a cheaper and more pragmatic path to universal care.
Photo Credit: mollyktadams / Flickr
Public support for single-payer health care has been rising in recent months amid failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Conversation
That’s perhaps why Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 13 introduced a new version of his single-payer plan with the support of 16 Democratic colleagues, a sharp rise from 2013 when none signed on to a similar proposal. It would not only expand Medicare to all Americans but make it more comprehensive by covering more services like mental health, dental care and vision, all without copayments or deductibles.
But Sanders’s plan would come at a steep price: likely more than US$14 trillionover the first decade, based on an estimate I did of a previous version.
There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: Simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare and, voila, everyone (who wants) would be covered by the existing Medicare program.
While this wouldn’t be single-payer – in which the government covers all health care costs – and private insurers would continue to operate alongside Medicare, it would be a substantial improvement over the current system.
I have been researching the economics of health care for four decades. While I prefer a more comprehensive universal health care plan that covers all Americans, a simpler version would be much more affordable – and maybe even politically possible.
What Medicare was and what it was meant to be
Striking the words “over 65” from the Medicare statutes was an idea championed by the late Senator Daniel Moynihan. Moynihan, who held several roles in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, was an original architect of the War on Poverty and a central figure in the evolution of health care policy in the latter 20th century.
In fact, many advocates originally intended that Medicare be the basis for universal health insurance. A key reason it serves so well as the foundation is that it includes a funding mechanism – the 2.9 percent Medicare payroll tax paid by you and your employer, alongside modest monthly premiums.
In addition, its limited scope, skimpy benefits and cost-sharing keep costs low. Medicare covers only a little more than half of participants’ health care spending, forcing many elderly Americans to buy private insurance and pay significant out-of-pocket expenses. A little over 11 million poorer participants also rely on Medicaid, especially for long-term care.
For example, Medicare covers hospitalization only after a person has paid the $1,316 deductible, and there’s a copay of $329 per day after 60 days and double that beyond 90. It also covers only 80 percent of the cost of doctor visits and the use of medical equipment – though only after a $183 deductible and the monthly $134 premium.
Still, it provides meaningful protection against the potentially crippling cost of accident or illness.
Giving Medicare to everyone
Single-payer, in its purest form, means the government becomes everyone’s insurer, and private insurance is largely dropped as redundant. This is the wayhealth insurance is provided in the United Kingdom and Canada, as well as other countries like Taiwan. Sanders’s plan would follow this framework.
A simple expansion of Medicare would be more like a hybrid system in which the government program exists alongside private insurers, with residents free to use any combination of the two.
One of the reasons single-payer health care has failed in the United States is that even though it might eventually lower costs, it would require substantial new taxes up front. Sanders’s plan, as I noted earlier, would cost around $1.4 trillion a year. But because of its lower benefit levels and built-in revenue stream, a simple Medicare expansion would cost substantially less, maybe only half that.
In 2015, the last year with complete data, over 55 million Americans received Medicare benefits (including nine million who were disabled). Total spending was $646 billion that year, or an average of $11,000 per recipient.
A simple expansion would add the nondisabled population under age 65 to Medicare: 28 million without insurance, 61 million covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan and 181 million with private insurance. For the purposes of my calculations, I assume everyone eligible for Medicare would take advantage of the program.
Because the vast majority of the new enrollees would be younger and healthier than current Medicare participants, the cost per person would be much less, or about $5,527 for the once uninsured and $3,593 for everyone else. With a few other calculations, the total price tag of an expansion would tally around $836 billion – almost $600 billion less than Sanders’ single-payer.
Substantial savings
Something that often gets lost in the debate over the cost of single-payer is that its implementation would lead to a host of savings that make the bill to taxpayers a lot less than the sticker price.
I estimate that a full single-payer system would likely save almost 19 percent of current spending, or about $665 billion for 2017. A simple Medicare expansion wouldn’t save quite as much but it’d still be significant.
So where would the savings come from?
To begin with, studies show that medical billing is more expensive in the U.S. than in many countries.
The U.S. health care system spends twice as much as Canada, for example, because more “payers” means more complexity. Savings from a simple Medicare expansion could reduce this waste by about $89 billion a year.
Another source of savings is on insurance administration. Private insurers spend more than 12 percent of total expenditures on overhead, compared with around 2 percent for Medicare. Savings from moving everyone to Medicare would approach around $75 billion because of economies of scale, lower managerial salaries and more meager marketing expense.
A third way a simple Medicare expansion would yield savings is by reducing the ability of hospital monopolies to overcharge private insurers. Medicare, in contrast, is able to pay 22 percent less for the same services because of its size. If all Americans used Medicare savings on hospital costs could exceed $53 billion.
These three areas then would save just under $220 billion, bringing the cost down to $618 billion.
One small step
While $618 billion still seems like a hefty price tag, taxes wouldn’t have to be raised much to pay for it.
For starters, most everyone would pay the premiums already charged by Medicare. This would generate an additional $210 billion in revenue from premiums.
In addition, a Medicare expansion would reduce the need for two current insurance subsidies: one for employer-provided insurance plans and another that the ACA provides insurers. This would save about $161 billion.
This leaves about $246 billion that would still need to be raised through additional taxes. This could be done with an increase in the Medicare tax that gets deducted from your paycheck. The tax, which is split evenly between employee and employer, would need to rise to 5.9 percent from 2.9 percent today. This would amount to just under $15 a week for the typical employee.
Campaigns for universal health insurance coverage have failed in the United States when they run up against the cost of providing coverage. Medicare, America’s greatest success in advancing health care, succeeded precisely because it was limited and had its own dedicated funding streams.
The ConversationWe might learn from this example. Rather than jump all the way to a comprehensive single-payer system like the one Sanders favors, we could take a step along the way at a fraction of the cost by simply expanding Medicare to everyone who wants it.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP!!! Well worth reading.

"If a player wants the privilege ... of making millions of dollars in the NFL or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag or Country.” -Donald Trump
A response from Nance Greggs:
"If an Idiot wants the privilege of living in our White House, he shouldn’t disrespect it by calling it ‘a dump’.
If a traitor wants the privilege of working in the Oval Office, he shouldn’t disrespect it by using it to convey classified information to our Russian enemies in ‘secret meetings’ behind closed doors.
If an incoherent blowhard wants the privilege of addressing the UN, he shouldn’t disrespect it by threatening to destroy another country, or referring to their leader by a silly nickname.
If a draft-dodger wants the privilege of being the commander-in-chief of our military, he shouldn’t disrespect them by putting them in harm’s way to salve his own ego, or telling them that their sexual orientation makes them unfit to serve.
If an ignorant dumbass wants the privilege of being treated with respect by world leaders, he shouldn’t disrespect them by not even bothering to learn the names of their countries.
If a lazier-than-fuck con-artist wants the privilege of working for his countrymen, he shouldn’t disrespect them by spending his days tweeting, watching TV, and playing golf.
If an obvious racist wants the privilege of being our nation’s leader, he shouldn’t disrespect it by calling a black athlete a “son-of-a-bitch”, or calling white supremacists “fine people”.
If an immature bully wants the privilege of being seen as an adult, he shouldn’t disrespect it by tweeting gifs of hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball, or falsely accusing his predecessor of having “tapped his wires”.
If a blatantly stupid ignoramus wants the privilege of being in charge of the government, he shouldn’t disrespect it by not knowing how it works, and not bothering to educate himself.
If a know-nothing jerk-off wants the privilege of holding the highest position in the land, he shouldn’t disrespect it by acting like a low-life thug at home, and a ridiculous buffoon on the world stage.
If a self-serving narcissist wants the privilege of being POTUS, he shouldn’t disrespect the office by lying, lying, and lying again – repeatedly and unabated – to the citizens he has sworn to serve.
If a shit-for-brains moron wants the privilege of being called “the leader of the free world”, he shouldn’t disrespect that title by trying to diminish the freedoms of his own citizens.
If a classless imbecile wants the privilege of enjoying the perks of the presidency, he shouldn’t disrespect that by pocketing profits from the sale of his own POTUS-labelled merchandise, charging the taxpayers for housing his SS entourage while he plays golf at his own resorts, and using donations to his “re-election fund” to pay the fees of lawyers who are desperately trying to keep him out of prison.
When it comes to any suggestion that anyone is being “disrespectful” of our flag or the country it represents, one need look no further than the Idiot-in-Chief who has shat on both every single day of his tenure in office."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ana Navarro, GOP, tears into Trump supporters about a Trump tweet that had a golf ball knocking Hillary down.

Watch the video below via CNN:

CNN regular Ana Navarro blistered a supporter of Donald Trump after he smirked his way through an answer defending the president for retweeting  a video of himslef hitting a golf ball at Hillary Clinton.
Sunday morning, the president went on a Twitter binge that included an animated gif of himself hitting a golf drive that cut to another clip that made it appear it hit Hillary Clinton in the back and knocked her down.
Asked about the clip, former Trump campaign strategist David Urban tried to dismiss the president promoting violence against women.
“The president speaks directly to the folks,” Urban offered.
“I won’t judge what’s appropriate and inappropriate. Retweets do not equal endorsement, I think it says that on the bottom,” he continued before smirking at the camera.
His response did not sit well with Navarro, who let him have it after he also stated that Trump is “not obsessed with Hillary Clinton.”
“This is the part that drives me crazy,” Navarro began as a very uncomfortable former Sen. Rick Santorum (R) sat next to her.
“When decent people, decent Republicans who I know would judge Democrats differently give and normalize what Donald Trump is doing,” she continued. “We cannot normalize this kind of behavior from the president of the United States, he is still an example.”
Turning to Urban she scolded him, saying, “If your six-year-old son did this he would be punished and so this 71-year-old should not be accepted. He is being a jerk and he’s not being a president.”
Watch the video below via CNN:

Monday, September 11, 2017

11 Trump Facts which were not true.

Anyone who still supports Trump is simply in denial. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich decided to make a list of things Trump has done to help remind any remaining Trump supporters why the man is a crook.
Throughout Trump’s young presidency, Reich has been a vocal critic of Trump, and this may be his best work yet. The list was designed specifically to show hard headed Trump supporters the truth.
Reich posted the list generated by his Facebook follower, Rosa Figueroa, to his personal Facebook page.
Read the full list below:
1. He called Hillary Clinton a crook. You bought it. Then he paid $25 million to settle a fraud lawsuit.
2. He said he’d release his tax returns, eventually. You bought it. He hasn’t, and says he never will.
3. He said he’d divest himself from his financial empire, to avoid any conflicts of interest. You bought it. He is still heavily involved in his businesses, manipulates the stock market on a daily basis, and has more conflicts of interest than can even be counted.
4. He said Clinton was in the pockets of Goldman Sachs, and would do whatever they said. You bought it. He then proceeded to put half a dozen Goldman Sachs executives in positions of power in his administration.
5. He said he’d surround himself with all the best and smartest people. You bought it. He nominated theocratic loon Mike Pence for Vice President. A white supremacist named Steve Bannon is his most trusted confidant. Dr. Ben Carson, the world’s greatest idiot savant brain surgeon, is in charge of HUD. Russian quisling Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State.”
“6. He said he’d be his own man, beholden to no one. You bought it. He then appointed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, whose only “qualifications” were the massive amounts of cash she donated to his campaign.
7. He said he would “drain the swamp” of Washington insiders. You bought it. He then admitted that was just a corny slogan he said to fire up the rubes during the rallies, and that he didn’t mean it.
8. He said he knew more about strategy and terrorism than the Generals did. You bought it. He promptly gave the green light to a disastrous raid in Yemen- even though all his Generals said it would be a terrible idea. This raid resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an 8-year old American girl, and numerous civilians. The actual target of the raid escaped, and no useful intel was gained.
9. He said Hillary Clinton couldn’t be counted on in times of crisis. You bought it. He didn’t even bother overseeing that raid in Yemen; and instead spent the time hate-tweeting the New York Times, and sleeping.
10. He called CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times “fake news” and said they were his enemy. You bought it. He now gets all his information from Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and InfoWars.
11. He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-Chief” and accused him of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods. He promised to never be the kind of president who took cushy vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, not when there was so much important work to be done. You bought it. He took his first vacation after 11 days in office. On the taxpayer’s dime. And went golfing.”
There’s no denying Reich’s points. The liar-in-chief made empty promises throughout his campaign all the way into the Oval Office. After winning the election, Trump’s true colors were put on display.
Do you agree with Reich?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma: FLOODING IN DOWNTOWN MIAMI - video

Video posted on Sunday showed streets in downtown Miami turning into rivers as Hurricane Irma made landfall.
Twitter user Killarney Knight‏ posted the video, which shows Miami skyscrapers being flooded by the incoming storm surge.
Some Twitter users pointed out, however, that Knight‏’s approximation to the Miami River made the flooding seem worse than it was, and that other parts of the city were in better shape.

THE SUPER RICH PAY LITTLE TAXES!! Tax Inequality is getting worse. New Study proves how bad it is.

A new study shows how little tax the super-rich pay

Wealth inequality may be worse than previously thought
OF LIFE’s two certainties, death cannot be dodged even by the well-to-do. Taxes are another matter. Quantifying quite how much they manage to keep from the taxman, however, has always been tricky. One common approach governments take is to conduct randomised audits of tax returns. This methodology can give regulators a rough sense of overall tax revenues lost. But it is far from ideal. For instance, studies based on randomised tax audits are usually both too small and too crude to reflect accurately the financial shenanigans of the most egregious tax-dodgers: the super-rich.
A new study by Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman, three economists, tackles this problem by investigating two recent financial-data hoards: the “Swiss leaks”, a record of bank accounts held at HSBC in Switzerland; and the “Panama papers”, files that document the use of offshore accounts and shell companies by clients of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama. By matching the leaked information with wealth data from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the authors are able to construct the most detailed estimate to date of the extent of tax evasion.

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Their research leads to two conclusions. First, tax evasion is extremely concentrated. The average Scandinavian household paid around 3% too little in taxes in 2006; the richest 1% of households, with net assets of at least $2m, underpaid by around 10%. The truly rich, though, behave truly differently. The top 0.01% of households, with net assets of over $40m, short-changed the taxman by a whopping 30%.
Second, the numbers imply that previous estimates of wealth inequality, often based on tax data, have understated the problem. And the Scandinavian statistics may provide a conservative estimate of worldwide tax-dodging: only around 2% of Scandinavian household wealth is held in offshore accounts, compared with the global average of 4%.
Globalisation has disproportionately benefited the rich in part by rewarding capital more handsomely than labour. But globalisation has also made it easier for the well-heeled to hide their wealth. In that sense, maybe the data should cause even more surprise: despite the best efforts of a lucrative global tax-evasion industry, Scandinavia’s ultra-rich are paying 70% of their taxes.
This article appeared in the Finance and economics section of the print edition under the headline "Gimme shelter"