Dribs and Drabs
Health Care, cont.
The first round of polls are in regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate’s attempt at “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act (ACA –“Obamacare”) and it’s not very pretty. The USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed 12% supported the BCRA and 45% opposed it. A Quinnipiac University poll showed that only 16% of those questioned approved of the Senate bill. An NPR/PBS/Marist poll showed 17% approved while 55% disapproved --- but (maybe not shockingly?) 24% “have not heard enough about it to have an opinion.” What? 24% haven’t “heard enough” to have an opinion? Excuse me, but who are those people? Even the Fox News poll only had 27% support while 55% disapproved. Overall, the BCRA is wildly unpopular with the American public yet Mitch McConnell is still trying to get a vote by tomorrow (Friday), before the July 4th recess. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen but let’s consider what’s really wrong with this picture.
Both parties are screwing the pooch, from what I can see. The Republicans, following McConnell’s lead, are so insistent about “Repeal and Replace” that they have seriously divided their own conference and their bill looks dead on arrival, though McConnell may twist enough arms and offer enough bribes to get his 50 votes. The Democrats, for their part, have dug their heels in “resisting” and “opposing” the Republicans but what have they offered --- in terms of concrete ideas --- to counter the “repeal and replace” nonsense? Nothing. While there is a lot of chatter about “bipartisanship” (Susan Collins, Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Joe Minchin, Chris Murphy) we’re going to have to wait to see what, if anything, comes of it.
Nothing will go anywhere as long on the Republicans insist on the “repeal” nonsense and if the Democrats simply become the party of opposition. Obamacare is failing in some places (some of it brought on by the Trump Administration’s failure to provide necessary funds) and certainly it needs serious, thoughtful, and extensive repair. The Medicaid situation requires serious and immediate attention from all our elected representatives. The time for bipartisanship is here. Let’s hope it happens.
Fake News . . .Again
Bret Stephens has written a thoughtful Op-Ed in the NY Times (electronic edition) about Trump’s incessant attack on established news organizations as “Fake News” and how the President has established a false dichotomy that his “base” firmly believes in. He points out that while confidence in the President has dipped to 32% (from 36%), confidence in TV news is only at 27% (up from 24%). Among Republicans, only 14% had confidence in TV news while 60% had confidence in the President. Trump’s ability to convince his followers (and Republicans, in general) to equate mistakes that may occur in reporting (like CNN’s gaffe about Anthony Scaramucci last week --- for which CNN apologized and three employees resigned) with “Fakeness.” As Stephens’s notes, making a mistake In pursuit of the truth is far different than inventing stories out of nowhere --- and blatantly lying to the American people. Despite our being able to list Trump’s countless lies (the Sunday NY Times “Week in Review” used it’s entire back page with his lies, presented chronologically since the inauguration) he uses the bully pulpit --- with stooges like Sean Spicer and Sarah Chucklehead Sanders --- to continually sow falsehoods. Trump’s war on truth is dangerous --- and an assault on institutions intended to check and balance Presidential abuse of power and overreach.
The “Art” of Bigotry
Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple based on “religious” grounds probably knows that using one’s faith as a reason to discriminate when running a public business won’t fly so the second prong of his defense is to claim he is a “cake artist” (I’m not kidding: check out the NY Times, June 26 Adam Liptak story). Here is what his lawyer stated: “Every American should be free to choose which art they will create and which art they won’t create without fear of being unjustly punished by the government.” I certainly don’t disagree with that notion. What I will take issue with is that baking a cake makes someone an “artist.” I’m sorry, but I have visited Museums all over the United States and in London, as well as innumerable Art Galleries and I never, never EVER saw a “cake” on display as an “artistic” exhibit. There is a “Cake Museum” started in Los Angeles (in 1994 by a former vaudeville performer, Francis Kuyper), moved to New Orleans and is actually called the “Kuyper Cake Collection” (and the cakes are mini-sized and Styrofoam and plastic). I don’t think Ms. Kuyper’s collection will support Mr. Phillips’s claims. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear this case but I’m guessing their ruling will be that if Mr. Phillips is an “artist,” he’s only a bullshit artist.