I wonder. Will today's vote finally be enough to get Democrats—and lefties in general—to finally defend Obamacare loudly and vigorously? Or is it still going to be the same old tired There's no question that Obamacare wasn't perfect, but...?

Note to members of Congress: sure, Obamacare should be more generous and subsidies should be higher. But you don't need to harp on it. It's covered 20 million people! It cost less than projected! It's slashed medical bankruptcies! It forced insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions! It's great!

Note to lefties: sure, Obamacare should have included a public option and it should have been more generous. Hell, in a different, better universe it would have been universal single-payer. But just let it go. Obamacare has covered 20 million people! It cost less than projected! It's slashed medical bankruptcies! It forced insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions! It's great!

We'll see.

The Republican health care bill was surrounded by so much brazen lying that it's almost a relief to highlight a case of ordinary old misleading statistics. Here's the Daily Signal showing us how much crime plummeted in San Diego after a border wall was built in the early 90s:

Not bad! Of course, crime was plummeting all over the country during this period. I'm too lazy to dredge up the 2015-16 figures, but here are the FBI crime stats for our biggest cities for 1989-2014. Normally I'd show crime rates, but the Daily Signal used total crimes so I will too:

There are basically two buckets here: a group of cities where crime fell by about 70 percent (bottom) and a group where crime fell by about 30 percent (top). San Diego is a good performer, but so are Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York. That's three southwestern cities and one northern city. The top group of mediocre performers includes three southwestern cities and two northern cities.

So did San Diego's wall make a difference? It sure doesn't look like it. And that's despite the fact that everyone agrees it significantly dented the rate of illegal border crossings.

The refreshing thing here is that this is just an ordinary old misdemeanor case of deception via omission. It almost makes me feel nostalgic. Hell, it might not even be a case of deliberate deception. It's possible that reporter Kelsey Harkness had no idea that plummeting crime was a nationwide phenomenon. Not everyone reads Mother Jones, after all.

Lunchtime Photo

Today's photo has been personally curated for you by my sister. It's a cactus at sunrise over in Upper Newport Bay. UPDATE: According to a Twitter reader, this is Opuntia ficus-indica, "Brought by Columbus back to the Mediterranean, where it can now be found in large quantities." According to Wikipedia, "Some of the common English names for the plant and its fruit are Indian fig opuntia, Barbary fig, cactus pear, spineless cactus, and prickly pear."

Be sure to tune in tomorrow at noon1 for a very special episode of Friday Catblogging. Everyone is saying it's the best catblogging ever, believe me.

1That's noon God's Time, known to you humans as Pacific Time.

That's it. TrumpCare has officially passed the House. The Republican dream of taking health coverage away from millions of the poorest and sickest Americans is inching closer to reality. They must be very proud.

And here's what's happening next:

I think I might be sick.

From Vox's Dylan Matthews:

Donald Trump has changed Washington. There was a time when Republicans would have strained to make excuses for a piece of legislation like this. Heritage would have churned out white papers, data would have been cherry picked, words would have been twisted, and the spin would have been dizzying. That's politics. As recently as a couple of months ago, this was still the case for the original health care bill. Remember Paul Ryan's PowerPoint presentation?

Not anymore. Like Trump, Republican politicians now just say whatever they want. There's no longer any pretense of retaining even a nodding acquaintance with the facts. TrumpCare is going to benefit the rich. No it won't. TrumpCare will do away with protections for pre-existing conditions. No it won't. TrumpCare will rob 24 million people of health coverage. No it won't. TrumpCare will take Medicaid away from the poor. No it won't.

That's it. Just make the assertions and then sign off. TrumpCare is going to cover everyone, it bans any discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, it will make health care more affordable, it will reduce deductibles, and it will be great for older people. Gotta go now. Thanks for having me on your show.

I'm not sure anymore what you do about this. Is it even lying per se? The sky is green. Scientists say it's blue. It's green. It's always been blue. It's green. I just looked out the window. It's blue. It's green. It's right here on my monitor. It's green. Thanks for the interview, congressman.

But some people are still telling the truth. Nancy Pelosi is currently on the floor of the House: "It's a tax bill, not a health care bill." Yep. And the House will be voting on it in five or ten minutes.

While we're waiting to see if moderate Republicans have the courage to oppose an act of evil here in our own country, Robert Zaretsky describes the stakes in the upcoming French election:

Macron is our French Frodo. Just as the future of Middle Earth was thrust into the hands of an untested and provincial youth with a weakness for older blonds, this now is also the case for France.

Just step away from the word processor, professor. No one has to get hurt here. It's May Fourth. This whole piece should have been a Star Wars analogy, amirite?

From Ann Coulter, on the recently passed budget bill:

When your main complaint is that the other side is gloating too much, maybe you're not that great a negotiator.

Credit where it's due. Coulter is wrong most of the time, but when she's right, she's right.

Republicans will be voting to take health care away from 24 million people in an hour or so, but while we wait for this vicious act of wanton cruelty to become official, let's talk about President Trump's tax plan. Will it pay for itself via supercharged economic growth? The IGM Forum asked a panel of economists:

Well, that's pretty unani—wait. What's that 5 percent of economists who strongly agree? Who the hell are these people?

The answer is Bengt Holmström of MIT and Kenneth Judd of Stanford. Seriously? Ha ha. No, just kidding. We think. The moderator adds this in comments: "Panelist meant to Strongly Disagree (question misread)....This is my best guess."

So it was really 100 percent of economists who think the "plan" has zero chance of paying for itself. But maybe some enterprising reporter should ring up Holmström and Judd just to make sure.

It looks like Republicans are planning to vote on their health care bill on Thursday. Will it pass? Leadership is saying so, but they might just be lying. Who knows? One way or another, it's going to be close.

With that in mind, let's do a quick wrap-up of the bill:

  • There have been no public hearings.
  • There's no final text.
  • There's no updated CBO score.
  • It is opposed by virtually every patient advocacy group and everyone in the health care industry.
  • Congress is still exempted from the new rules that allow states to waive essential benefits.
  • It raises premiums dramatically for older people.
  • It removes Obamacare's protection against being turned down for a pre-existing condition.
  • It would steadily gut Medicaid spending for the very poorest.
  • It removes coverage from at least 24 million people, probably more.
  • It slashes taxes on the rich by about a trillion dollars over ten years.

This is a depraved piece of legislation. It's a windfall for the rich and promises nothing but misery for the poor. How is it possible that 90 percent of House Republicans are happily voting in favor of this moral abomination?

It's been literally hours since I last updated you on the Republican health care bill, so let's catch up. Twitter is our friend:

What's the rush?

Roger that. TrumpCare 1.0 arguably failed because of that hideous CBO score saying that 24 million people would lose coverage—a truly remarkable achievement since Obamacare only covers 20 million people in the first place. TrumpCare 3.0 is even worse, so God only knows what the CBO would say about it. Anyway, how bad can it be? I mean really?

Urk. Pretty bad. Even the AMA gets it:

Good for them. What's remarkable, though, is how lonely their position is:

I don't really get this either. Maybe they've given up? Maybe they figure that as part of the hated establishment, their opposition is just more likely to make Republicans vote yes? Beats me.

Apparently a lot of Democratic politicos are sort of hoping the bill passes and then gets killed in the Senate. That way they have an unpopular vote to wrap around the necks of vulnerable Republicans in the 2018 midterms. But is that worth the risk that, somehow, it might actually pass if it gets through the House? It seems like better strategy to make it crystal clear that there's simply no needle Republicans can thread on this subject.

Then we get to wait and see if President Trump kills Obamacare anyway in a fit of pique by cutting off the CSR subsidies. This is really shaping up to be a great year.