Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Notes On The News: The Symbolism Of Killing Obamacare, Of Travel Bans, Hawaiian Shirts, And Of Income Taxes

[These are my quick reactions to things I saw in the Alaska Dispatch News, paper edition, today.  Links are to what I could get online.  The ADN takes national stories from other papers, so the links get to them instead of ADN and may have different headlines.  And even the ADN articles online may have different headlines than the paper edition.]

1.  CBO:  22 million would join uninsured  

My Take:  The Republican brand has been anti-Obama for so long that they have forgotten what they are for.  Their key symbol of Obama has been the ACA or what they dubbed Obamacare.  And Trump, who wasn't particularly involved in Republican politics before his campaign, piggybacked on the Fox News generated hate of Obamacare among his 'base' and made 'repeal and replace' one of his key campaign goals.

So now  Majority Leader McConnell is willing to wreak havoc for tens of millions of Americans who will be edged out of health care access, just so he can say, "We got rid of Obamacare."  It would be fascinating to know what psychic demons are driving McConnell's sick mission.

This is all symbolism, with potentially deadly consequences for many Americans.

2.  Supreme Court to hear case on travel ban

Basically the court said the 90 day ban on people coming from six Muslim nations and the 120 day suspension on the nation's refugee program, could happen, but with limits.  Trump claims victory, travel advocates say the decision will impact only a few.
"The court said the ban could not be imposed on anyone who had 'a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.'”
Immigrant advocates say such a bonafide relationship means people with relatives in the US, who have been accepted into universities or been offered jobs, or asked to give a speech.  Most applicants meet these standards, the advocates say, so the ban will affect few people.

But I'm looking at the issues of dates and security.  This ban was imposed right after Trump took office, in late January.  A CNN report from Jan 29 says:
Trump barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for at least the next 90 days by executive order, which a senior White House official said later Friday is likely just a first step toward establishing a broader ban.
"Trump also stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.
During that time, Trump's secretary of state will review the application and screening process for refugees to be admitted to the US."
So they've had plenty of time - more than the 90 and 120 days - to expand the ban and review the refugee process.    They should be ready now. If not,  it will be nearly another 120 days before the court hears the case.  So it will be moot.  Except probably what they wanted won't be allowed.

Trump said in February, "nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated."  Of course we all knew, and we all know now that if Trump doesn't know something, he believes 'nobody knows' it. Middle East peace isn't as easy as he thought either.  

He also had no idea of the high level of vetting that already existed for refugees  to get into the United States.  And he still has no idea of the suffering and hardships and fear refugees experience trying to get out of danger and into a permanent home, and how his polices just makes things worse for them.  And our Republican controlled congress. . . well see the first headline above.  The bans were just symbols for his base and his own ego.

3.  Rick Koch (1956 - 2017) 
"For the Celebration of Life, attendees are invited to wear loud Hawaiian shirts, awful camouflaged shorts and/or mismatched prints in honor of Rick's truly horrendous fashion sense."
An obituary that starts out like this suggests that the good things it says about Rick Koch are probably true.  He died too young (age 60 in a motorcycle accident), but it sounds like he was a good man who loved people and helping out.

3.  How to fix alaska's fiscal problem for the long haul

When I read this title, it hit me:  everyone is talking about a fiscal problem.  Alaska has no fiscal problem, we have an ideology problem  - the Senate majority is so stuck on the evils of an income tax that they can't see the forest for the trees.  As this opinion piece spells out, the compromise our legislature just made, pretty much drained the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR).
 A $13 billion CBR could have generated $650 million a year – year after year after year. At the end of the coming fiscal year, according to press reports, only $2 billion will be left.
This is a good piece (translation:  I agree with most of it, though I think he's a bit near-sighted about the Permanent Fund) and I recommend people read it.  A step in changing the ideology problem in the state senate is the announcement that Fairbanks representative Scott Kawasaki is seriously considering running for the state senate seat now held by Senate Majority leader Pete Kelly.

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