The Donald Chronicles, #40 – Mar. 14, 2017


*From The Hill

Trump official slams CBO score: It’s ‘just not believable’

The Trump administration on Monday slammed a new Congressional Budget Office estimate showing that millions of people would lose their health insurance under the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
“We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told reporters at the White House.
The CBO report shows that 14 million would lose their insurance coverage by next year, with the number rising to 24 million in a decade.
Of the 14 million figure, Price said that “it’s virtually impossible to have that number occur.”
“It’s just not believable, is what we would suggest,” he added.

**Well, who’re you gonna believe? The “anti-health care” appointee or a non-partisan gov’t agency? I’ll go with the CBO. If Ryan’s bill passes, you can expect a major (I mean MAJOR) uproar from those Trump loyalists who lose their healthcare – unless, of course, their powers of rationalization exceed anything previously seen.**


So much for President Trump’s pledge of “insurance for everybody.” The Congressional Budget Office said on Monday that next year 14 million fewer Americans will have insurance if the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is repealed and replaced on the terms the president is seeking. That tally would rise to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. By then, the total number of uninsured Americans would reach 52 million. And for what? To give a gigantic tax cut to wealthy Americans.

According to the C.B.O. the loss of health care coverage under the Republican plan stems largely from gutting Medicaid for low-income Americans, even though Mr. Trump has said he would not cut Medicaid. Coverage would also be lost in part because insurance would become unaffordable for millions as subsidies are withdrawn, despite Mr. Trump’s claim that coverage would become “much less expensive and much better.”


Tom Price speaking to reporters about the Congressional Budget Office report on Monday at the White House.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times 

Older people would be hard hit. The Republican plan repeals the penalty for not buying insurance. One predictable result of this change is that premiums will rise as younger, healthier people refuse to buy insurance. To hold down the cost of average premiums, the proposal would allow insurers to charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones, rather than three times, as permitted under Obamacare. The outcome would be reduced premiums for young adults, essentially paid for by charging substantially higher premiums for older people — and higher deductibles and other cost-sharing for everyone. At the same time, the plan provides a $600 billion tax cut over 10 years for wealthy Americans, because they would no longer be subject to the taxes that pay for the health care subsidies. When the tax cuts for the rich and the spending cuts to Medicaid are combined, they would result in deficit reduction of $337 billion by 2026. That’s a small fraction of the national debt in exchange for an enormous amount of human misery

Trump administration officials and congressional Republicans knew the C.B.O. report would be devastating, so last week they launched a pre-emptive attack on the agency, disparaging its professionalism and findings. Their insults were an impressive display of staying on message for an administration and party that has descended into infighting over the elements of the repeal plan. This might have been expected. Yet in the past President Trump himself has tweeted C.B.O. findings to attack President Obama on economic growth, tax cuts, employment and other issues. “We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on Monday. “It’s just not believable.” Well, whether Mr. Price wants to believe it or not, the numbers are the numbers. The C.B.O. has called it as it sees it, and the picture is clear: Trumpcare would throw millions of Americans off their health coverage. And no amount of spin or scorn for the C.B.O. can alter that reality.”

**As to the environment, there is the statement by Scott Pruitt, the newly-installed administrator of the EPA, that he doesn’t believe that green house gases are responsible for climate change. As has become more than painfully apparent in the last few days, we can kiss the EPA goodbye. At the very moment in time when vigorous action is demanded, we get a government that stands united in opposition to recognizing the threat of climate change.**

*But wait, it gets better:

“Spicer: Trump didn’t mean wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping

  • A week earlier Spicer said Trump’s tweet “speaks for itself”
  • But Monday, Spicer was open to providing an interpretation

(CNN)The White House on Monday walked back a key point of President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation that President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 election. Namely, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.

“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”Wiretapping is a narrowly defined surveillance activity that involves tapping into “a telephone or telegram wire in order to get information,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Spicer also said that Trump was referring to the Obama administration broadly — and not accusing Obama of personal involvement — when he tweeted that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower” and accused Obama of being a “bad” or “sick guy.”
Spicer’s comments came on the same day as the deadline for the Justice Department to provide evidence to the House Intelligence Committee to back up Trump’s claim. The White House has so far refused to provide any evidence, and numerous former officials have denied the existence of any warrant to wiretap Trump Tower.
A week earlier, Spicer said Trump’s tweet “speaks for itself” and declined to provide any further explanation. But Monday, Spicer was open to providing an interpretation for Trump’s tweet, saying the President told Spicer he was referring to means of surveillance beyond wiretapping in his tweets accusing Obama of doing just that.
But in each of the four tweets Trump fired off leveling the accusation, Trump referred specifically to phone tapping — and only used quotation marks in two of those.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” Trump said in his first tweet. “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president?” he asked in the next. Then, Trump tweeted that Obama “was tapping my phones in October” and had stooped low “to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process.”
But Spicer was not the only White House official to provide an alternative definition of the word “wiretap” despite Trump’s clear language. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also addressed the wiretapping claims in an interview Sunday with the Bergen County Record, suggesting that other covert surveillance methods used by the CIA — as revealed by Wikileaks last week — could have been used in Trump Tower by the Obama administration: “Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?” Bergen County Record columnist Mike Kelly asked Conway on Sunday.”What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” Conway said, before suggesting that surveillance could take place through phones, TVs or “microwaves that turn into cameras.” (emphasis added)”
 **It’s a challenge to keep up with all the shit that’s happening, day by day, all over the Trump kingdom. But I’ll call it quits for today with an item that I find particularly troubling, to wit:
US Border police have been confronting certain travelers – you guessed it, mainly Muslim-Americans – and demanding that they turn over (or forcibly removing) their smart phones (emphasis added). They also demand the phone password, and if that is not given, these people are detained while the phone is “cloned” (whatever that is). This is clearly a violation of the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which, to quote, guarantees: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things  …”

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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