Sonofa – It Passed

Well, with 216 votes the Obamacare repeal bill has passed! Yep, the AHCA bill is through and will most likely cost the US billions (if not trillions) of dollars, strip millions of their healthcare and maybe even collapse the insurance industry!

Sigh, it’s like their not even trying anymore. 

Though admittedly, it’s the Republicans, it’s not like anyone can expect them to actually make effective legislature.

Still given the nature of the senate, the concerns with a statewide election and the general, more moderate tone of the six year term members of that particular body it is likely that the bill will either be substantially changed (and therefore very unlikely to be passed again in the house, cause Freedom Caucus) or will just fail entirely. They might have been elected on getting rid of Obamacare, but no one wants be they one the state blames for costing millions their healthcare.

Well maybe Cruz and Cotton, and Paul but eh, I don’t know.

Still, I wasn’t sure it was gonna pass the house in the first place so certainly there’s no guarantee the bill won’t make it to Trumps desk. Also as I recall it has to be deficit neutral to pass reconciliation, right? Maybe it is dead in the water then.

 

Citation:
Politico: Obamacare repeal sqeuks past

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Thursday Update, May 4 edition (cause meh)

So, FBI Director Comey had his public hearing today, which was interesting. He spent most of his time defending himself (from what i read) and responding to concerns over leaks and the investigations currently ongoing. Apparently the Clinton thing was a big deal to a lot of people given the coverage, but I don’t understand why this was news really. It came out during the election and the aftermath why he responded the way he did, the concerns over leaking within his department and the republican support for Trump and disdain for Clinton.

The point about Bill’s meeting with Loretta Lynch was interesting though, apparently the tarmac meeting convinced him he needed to intervene. Hmm.

Also Teresa May has lashed out at Brussels regarding there comments about the British snap election, which of course they’re not allowed to do. That and the European papers (which I haven’t read) apparent depiction of the British position on the EU talks is also problematic. Because clearly the Brussels papers are going to be on her side? Meh, fodder for the masses.

There’s other things, but the AHCA, Putin and Erdogans meeting, they’re…relevant. But they just reflect current realities, until something changes I don’t feel any need to comment.

Also they’re not interesting, so. Yeah.

AHCA: over it edition

The Obamacare repeal, the AHCA, is currently being contested among house republicans. It has not yet reached the voting period, so there’s no guarantee what exactly would happen or if it would pass. Especially because both sides, that is the house leadership and the opponents, are insisting that their side wold win if it came to a vote.

The reason for this dispute is unsurprisingly because the conservative members of the caucus, the Freedom caucus, and the moderates of the Tuesday group are opposed to each other. The Freedom caucus has managed to push the bill to the right in certain areas and accordingly the majority (though not all) have agreed to vote for the bill. In turn the Moderates then began to oppose the bill because it went to far to the right, and in many cases because it removed the requirement for insurers to provide healthcare to those with pre-existing conditions.

Moderates tend to come from slightly bluer areas within the States, and accordingly concern themselves with protecting a few provisions while rejecting the majority of Obamacare because Republican. Conservatives are solidly red and therefore are allowed to be let ideology dictate how they vote.

At this stage the bill doesn’t look likely to pass, and if it does the more moderate senate will most likely change it and in turn force the conservatives to vote against it the next time it goes to the house.

Honestly I just don’t understand why they haven’t just sucked it up and begun work on fixing the issues with the ACA. Trump could probably bullshit his way into making that look good if he/the republicans really tried.

French Election Continues

The French Election has is currently undergoing is second round, between the two contrasting figures of Le Pen and Macron. while both represent a departure from the traditional left-right dichotomy, the two of theme represent such startling different visions for the future of France, and in turn the EU, that they couldn’t be farther apart.

And yet, in regards to that final note, the EU, there is a shared concern. Both sides acknowledge the flaws inherent in the system, even if the choose to respond in differing ways. Le Pen is demanding a referendum on leaving the EU, believing that the globalist construct is detrimental to Frances economic and cultural future, and not necessarily without reason. There is no question that France is struggling with an unacceptably high level of unemployment of 9.6%, with the youth rate currently around 25%. Culturally, while there is no question the xenophobia involved in Le Pens targeting of Muslims and Arabs, it should be acknowledged that the influx of refugees from the middle-eastern region has not come without cost to individuals and life style and should be responded to.

But this is all stuff that”s commonly known. Whats interesting’is what Macron said today. 

Confirming the concerns many have regarding the EU, Macron has announced a need for reform within the EU, or that it will face a Frexit. And make no mistake this is a far more significant threat than any Brexit could hope to be.

France is one of the chief economic partners of the EU project, the other being Germany. If either of these nations decided that they should leave, it is almost a certainty that the EU would collapse. In turn this means that the EU for it’s own survival is far more likely to listen and respond to such a threat. Assuming arrogance doesn’t somehow impede any discussions, though given the current struggles with Brexit it is unlikely (to me) that any of the leadership would invite further strife.

Now, certainly there are issues with the EU. An economic focus on the norther nations has often left many other states involved, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and other Southern states are struggling due to the lack of trade focus and economic involvement which such and imbalance encourages and impacts France as well. Coupled with the bureaucratic nature of the EU, and the difficulty individual nation states have impacting and shifting the priorities of the economic construct to better serve the whole and not the most immediately present and it’s no surprise there is discontent regarding the EU.

Understand I have little knowledge regarding the intricacies of the EU, and admittedly little motivation to investigate. What I do know is this is a major shift in politics for the such a central part of the EU, and if Macron maintains this stance, and wins the election, there is every chance this could result in legitimate change for the institution.

I like the EU, and I trust in its mission, that by binding Europe together economically there is a far lesser chance of conflict between the historically fractious states. That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

(My) Media Bias

The media’s weird to me right now. On one hand there’s the big studio media, CNN, Fox, MSNCB and the like, and they quite frankly are sh*t. Talking heads, derivative arguments and comments, and while at times there can be interesting and challenging commentary often it’s all just white noise. As Hasan Minhaj said at the Whitehouse Correspondent Dinner, not everything is breaking news, take an hour and calm down, and then tell us about the news.

But that’s one side, the TV Cable side. The other, the digital/print media side?

Holy Sh*t are they stepping up.

Again and again I read exposes, connections with Russia, news and information that goes way beyond anything I’ve seen from them (Politico, Reuters, Time) at any point. And look, I’m young I don’t have that much of a frame of reference. But from a lot of other perspectives, people involved and invested in this, journalists, commentators and the like, they haven’t been this energized in years.

Guess having an enemy in the Whitehouse is useful after all.

So on one hand, I’m annoyed with the media, with the derivative bullsh*t coming from so many big names and would be leaders in the field, who fail time and time again to challenge and fight and report the news, be it from bias or in the name of an objectivity that no one will support or defend (case in point).

From others, hunting and unearthing and fighting against something and someone I consider a genuine threat?

More please.

 

Citation:
Politico: WHCD comedian Hasan Minhaj slams Trump Administration

Friday Update April 28 edition

So, first 100 Days of Trumps presidency (and oh god there’s another three and half+ years of this shit) are nearly over and amount to just about nothing. A combination of executive incompetence, legislative resistance (from the Democrats) and a lack of unity (from the republicans) from congress, and federal blocks on most of his executive orders, what with being illegal and all, have left Trump looking pretty impotent by the 97th day (as of 28 April 2017).

Gorsuch got into the Supreme Court though! So hey, something happened. Cause the senate got involved. And changed the rules.

Macedonia’s in a bit of a crisis, though I don’t know nearly enough to confirm what it means or whodunit. Masked men have taken over parliament, and since there wasn’t really a functional government since the last election what with the unwillingness of the Majority party to work with the opposition, and the third party siding with said opposition, no one’s really in charge over there. This kind of reminds of Ukraine, if I’m being honest, but there’s just not enough information available right now.

There’s some other shit going on, but honestly who really care’s about Ann Coulter. Seriously all those so called conservative commentators whinging about Berkeley, meanwhile I’m more sorry for the conservative students being forced to call these people, and not someone actually qualified to talk about this stuff. Poor kids never had chance.

Anyway, see ya next week.

Trumps Tax (cut) Plan, is about what you’d expect

So, Trump released his tax plan. It’s, predictably, about as bad as everyone expected, even some conservatives. As one Derek Thompson from The Atlantic explained:

“Trump’s tax plan is, for now, only about 100 words long. But as law, it would dramatically change the way individuals and businesses pay taxes.

For individuals, the plan would:

  • reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three and cut the top marginal rate from 39.6 to 35 percent
  • double the standard deduction, while eliminating most tax breaks except for home ownership and charitable deductions
  • repeal several taxes, including the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax, and the Obamacare tax on investment income

For businesses, the plan would:

  • reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, paid for with unspecified cuts to “special interests” and a “one-time tax on trillions of dollars held overseas”
  • allow small-business owners to have their income taxed at 15 percent, as well (much more on this later)
  • move to a territorial tax system, in which businesses would only pay tax on income earned in the U.S. (so, Boeing wouldn’t pay taxes on planes sold to an Australian airline)”

 

So, functionally, it’s a big tax cut plan. It is most definitely not net neutral, and very net negative with the American Government standing to lose trillions over the course of ten years. The problem is certain aspects of the tax code in America do need to be rewritten or replaced, corporate tax needs to be done in such a way that encourages business while ensuring multinationals like Apple and Google actually, you know, pay taxes and small business owners shouldn’t be penalized for not being as large as their competitors so should receive a similar tax as well, and far more besides including things I am simply not aware of.

The problem is Trump doesn’t have any idea how to make a plan like that, seemingly no Republican does and above all none of them are willing to do the hard, long slogging work of actually sorting through the tax code to find out what needs to be done, not now and not during the transition period when they should have started.

 

Basically, no one knows what the hell they’re doing, and predictably this is the result.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: A Comprehensive Guide to Trumps Tax Plan