MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/wp-%3Cstrong%3Elogin%3C/strong%3E http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en "The Republican Party Is a Party Without a Purpose" http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2017/03/trump-ryan-took-voters-for-a-ride <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Philip Klein unloads on the GOP in the pages of the conservative <em>Washington Examiner</em>, calling Obamacare repeal <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gop-cave-on-obamacare-repeal-is-the-biggest-broken-promise-in-political-history/article/2618413" target="_blank">"the biggest broken promise in political history":</a></p> <blockquote> <p>What's so utterly disgraceful, is not just that Republicans failed so miserably, but that they barely tried, raising questions about whether they ever actually wanted to repeal Obamacare in the first place.</p> <p>Republicans for years have criticized the process that produced Obamacare, and things certainly got ugly. But after having just witnessed this debacle, I think Paul Ryan owes Nancy Pelosi an apology.</p> <p>One has to admire the commitment that Democrats and Obama had to delivering something they campaigned on and truly believed in. They spent 13 months getting the bill from an initial concept to final passage, and pressed on during many points when everybody was predicting doom. They had public hearings, multiple drafts of different bills, they kept negotiating, even worked into Christmas. They made significant changes at times, but also never lost sight of their key goals. They didn't back down in the face of angry town halls and after losing their filibuster-proof majority, and many members cast votes that they knew risked their political careers. Obama himself was a leader, who consistently made it clear that he was not going to walk away. He did countless rallies, meetings, speeches &mdash; even a "summit" at the Blair House &mdash; to try to sell the bill, talking about details, responding to criticisms of the bill to the point that he was mocked by conservatives for talking so much about healthcare.</p> <p>The contrast between Obama and Democrats on healthcare and what just happened is stunning. House Republicans slapped together a bill in a few weeks (months if we're being generous) behind closed doors with barely any debate. They moved the bill through committees at blazing speed, conducted closed-door negotiations that resulted in relatively minor tweaks to the bill, and within 17 days, Trump decided that he'd had enough, and was ready to walk away if members didn't accept the bill as is...</p> <p>There was a big debate over the course of the election about how out of step Trump was with the Republican Party on many issues. But if anything, this episode shows that Trump and the GOP are perfect together &mdash; limited in attention span, all about big talk and identity politics, but uninterested in substance.</p> <p>Failing to get the votes on one particular bill is one thing. But failing and then walking away on seven years of promises is a pathetic abdication of duty. The Republican Party is a party without a purpose.</p> </blockquote> <p>Go read the <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gop-cave-on-obamacare-repeal-is-the-biggest-broken-promise-in-political-history/article/2618413" target="_blank">whole thing.</a></p> <p>Trump, Ryan, and McConnell's total lack of commitment to repealing Obamcare really does stand in stark contrast to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid's total commitment to passing it in the first place.</p> <p>On the eve of the House ACA vote in 2010, Obama went to Democrats and <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/03/the_president_talks.html" target="_blank">implored them</a> to cast a vote many knew would be political suicide.</p> <p><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="343" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmotherjonesvideo%2Fvideos%2F1629907683705644%2F&amp;width=630&amp;show_text=false&amp;appId=265569630491558&amp;height=343" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="630"><br></iframe></p> <blockquote> <p>Sometimes I think about how I got involved in politics. I didn&rsquo;t think of myself as a potential politician when I get out of college. I went to work in neighborhoods, working with Catholic churches in poor neighborhoods in Chicago, trying to figure out how people could get a little bit of help. And I was skeptical about politics and politicians, just like a lot of Americans are skeptical about politics and politicians are right now. Because my working assumption was when push comes to shove, all too often folks in elected office, they&rsquo;re looking for themselves and not looking out for the folks who put them there; that there are too many compromises; that the special interests have too much power; they just got too much clout; there&rsquo;s too much big money washing around.</p> <p>And I decided finally to get involved because I realized if I wasn&rsquo;t willing to step up and be true to the things I believe in, then the system wouldn&rsquo;t change. Every single one of you had that same kind of moment at the beginning of your careers. Maybe it was just listening to stories in your neighborhood about what was happening to people who&rsquo;d been laid off of work. Maybe it was your own family experience, somebody got sick and didn&rsquo;t have health care and you said something should change.</p> <p>Something inspired you to get involved, and something inspired you to be a Democrat instead of running as a Republican. Because somewhere deep in your heart you said to yourself, I believe in an America in which we don&rsquo;t just look out for ourselves, that we don&rsquo;t just tell people you&rsquo;re on your own, that we are proud of our individualism, we are proud of our liberty, but we also have a sense of neighborliness and a sense of community -- (applause) -- and we are willing to look out for one another and help people who are vulnerable and help people who are down on their luck and give them a pathway to success and give them a ladder into the middle class. That&rsquo;s why you decided to run. (Applause.)</p> <p>And now a lot of us have been here a while and everybody here has taken their lumps and their bruises. And it turns out people have had to make compromises, and you&rsquo;ve been away from families for a long time and you&rsquo;ve missed special events for your kids sometimes. And maybe there have been times where you asked yourself, why did I ever get involved in politics in the first place? And maybe things can&rsquo;t change after all. And when you do something courageous, it turns out sometimes you may be attacked. And sometimes the very people you thought you were trying to help may be angry at you and shout at you. And you say to yourself, maybe that thing that I started with has been lost.</p> <p>But you know what? Every once in a while, every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made in all those town meetings and all those constituency breakfasts and all that traveling through the district, all those people who you looked in the eye and you said, you know what, you&rsquo;re right, the system is not working for you and I&rsquo;m going to make it a little bit better.</p> <p>And this is one of those moments. This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself, doggone it, this is exactly why I came here. This is why I got into politics. This is why I got into public service. This is why I&rsquo;ve made those sacrifices. Because I believe so deeply in this country and I believe so deeply in this democracy and I&rsquo;m willing to stand up even when it&rsquo;s hard, even when it&rsquo;s tough.</p> <p>Every single one of you have made that promise not just to your constituents but to yourself. And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine. We have been debating health care for decades. It has now been debated for a year. It is in your hands. It is time to pass health care reform for America, and I am confident that you are going to do it tomorrow.</p> </blockquote> <p>With Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, Democratic voters had representatives who were as committed to their goals as they were. Republican voters should realize today that they are not so lucky.</p></body></html> Contributor Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:47:59 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 328871 at http://www.motherjones.com Republican No Votes on AHCA Were All Over the Ideological Map http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/republican-no-votes-ahca-were-all-over-ideological-map <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's a fascinating chart <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-gop-plan-dead-trump-eyes-other-ways-to-reshape-health-care-1490434201" target="_blank">from the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_wsj_republican_holdouts.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;"></p> <p>Even the <em>Journal's</em> own description says "holdouts from two wings of the party" sank the health care bill. But that's not what their own chart shows. Ideologically, there was neither a "coverage caucus" nor a "conservative" caucus. The holdouts spanned the entire spectrum of the party in a pretty even way.</p> <p>I can't think of any insightful point to make about this, but it's worth mentioning anyway. The conventional narrative of the bill being caught between two extreme ends of the party looks like it's not really correct.</p> <p>By the way, here's how the <em>Journal's</em> article begins:</p> <blockquote> <p>With the collapse of Republicans&rsquo; health plan in the House on Friday, the Trump administration is <strong>set to ramp up its efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act</strong> in one of the few ways it has left&mdash;by making changes to the law through waivers and rule changes.</p> </blockquote> <p>Obamacare won't implode on its own, but it might after Trump does everything he can to sabotage it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:54:50 +0000 Kevin Drum 328866 at http://www.motherjones.com The Mayberry Machiavellis Lost a Battle on Friday. But the War Is Not Over. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/mayberry-machiavellis-lost-battle-friday-war-not-over <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here is the last paragraph of David Brooks' blow-by-blow evisceration of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/the-trump-elite-like-the-old-elite-but-worse.html?_r=0" target="_blank">every single thing related to the Republican health care debacle:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The core Republican problem is this: The Republicans can&rsquo;t run policy-making from the White House because they have a marketing guy in charge of the factory. But they can&rsquo;t run policy from Capitol Hill because it&rsquo;s visionless and internally divided. <strong>So the Republicans have the politics driving the substance, not the other way around.</strong> The new elite is worse than the old elite &mdash; and certainly more vapid.</p> </blockquote> <p>Remember the <a href="http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a2880/dilulio/" target="_blank">Mayberry Machiavellis?</a> In the Bush White House they were "staff, senior and junior, who consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest, black-and-white terms for public consumption." This is now the entire Republican Party. Keep in mind that they never wanted to propose an Obamacare replacement in the first place. They figured they could just promise one for later. So deliciously Machiavellian! But it turned out that even the rubes who usually took their cues from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity saw through their repeal-and-delay ploy. So they had to come up with a plan. Any plan.</p> <p>And they did. Within a few days they whipped up a health care bill. No one cared very much what was in it. Sean Spicer's initial selling point&mdash;seriously&mdash;was the fact that it was much shorter than Obamacare. A few days later the CBO gave it possibly the most devastating score of any bill in history: 24 million people would lose coverage. But that was just substance, not important stuff like politics, so Republicans shrugged. When Tucker Carlson told Donald Trump about the millions who would be kicked off their plans, Trump muttered "I know" and swiftly moved on.</p> <p>Then the horsetrading began. Not over details here and there, but over the very foundations of the bill. Old people would see their premiums treble or quadruple, which nobody considered a problem until AARP pointed out that old people vote. So Paul Ryan tossed in $75 billion and told the Senate to figure out what to do with the money. Cutting nearly a trillion dollars in Medicaid funding wasn't enough for some? Fine, let states add work requirements. The ultras don't like essential health benefits? Out they go. Progress is being made.</p> <p>By the time they were finished, a Rube Goldberg bill that was as brutal as anything we've ever seen had almost literally become tatters. Nobody cared what was in it. Nobody cared if it would work. Nobody cared if it would actually cover anyone.</p> <p>And even at that, something like 90 percent of the Republican House caucus was apparently willing to shrug and vote for it. Promise made, promise kept. Who cares what's in it?</p> <p>The silver lining here is that apparently there really is a limit to the power of Mayberry Machiavellianism. Merely repeating that the bill was "great" over and over wasn't enough. The hustle was just too raw. Even the white working class, the famous demographic that delivered the White House to Donald Trump, <a href="https://poll.qu.edu/images/polling/us/us03232017_Ukqbwg46.pdf/" target="_blank">disapproved of the bill 48-22 percent.</a></p> <p>So now we move on to tax cuts for the rich. Will the hustle work this time? Or has health care finally made even the Fox News crowd skeptical that Republicans actually care about the working class?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 25 Mar 2017 17:55:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 328861 at http://www.motherjones.com These Elegant Short Stories Are the Perfect Rebuke to Nationalism http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/03/kanishk-tharoor-swimmer-among-the-stars-book <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-f0ad91b7-0139-6e9c-bbe0-b9cc26c13c7a">In an era when insular politics have taken hold across the US and parts of Europe, Kanishk Tharoor's debut short story collection&nbsp;<em><a href="http://us.macmillan.com/swimmeramongthestars/kanishktharoor/9780374272180/">Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories</a></em>&nbsp;(Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is<strong>&nbsp;</strong>refreshing for its lack of attachment to national&nbsp;borders. Blending together the futuristic and folkloric with contemporary social and political concerns, Tharoor leads readers&nbsp;from a circus-like ethnography of a single woman speaking an endangered language to an eerie Skype call between a coal mine worker and the foreign photojournalist who splashes his image on a magazine.</p> <p dir="ltr">Much of the collection's charm probably owes to Tharoor's own peripatetic adolescence, spent shuttling between Geneva, New York, and Calcutta as the son of Indian statesman Shashi Tharoor. "Even though I'm Indian and I grew up in America, the lineages which my fiction aspires to aren't just Indian or American," Tharoor says. "I can find as much pleasure and value reading a Finnish epic." The result is a style of writing that lifts its references liberally across time and space rather than wrestling with the split of a hyphenated identity: "I was able to grow up in New York City with a sense of myself as an Indian who happened to be living in New York."</p> <p>Tharoor is perhaps best known as the presenter of last year's BBC radio series on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0738jc2/episodes/downloads">Museum of Lost Objects</a>, which looked at the plunder and destruction of antiquities during the wars in Syria and Iraq. "The past has always felt contemporary and relevant to me," Tharoor says. His own upbringing sparked a "wider interest in recovering the kinds of connections and moments in history" that are buried. I talked to Tharoor about his upbringing and fiction's role in the age of nationalist fervor.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Mother Jones: </strong>Given the surge of nationalism sweeping through the US and parts of Europe recently, what role do you see for authors in societies seemingly retreating from globalization?</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Kanishk Tharoor: </strong>I do think it is incumbent upon writers to open their fiction to a wider frame of reference. Americans have always had this luxury of being a "continent of a nation." A lot of people elsewhere in the world have to be a lot more open to the literature of other places because they're smaller. America is so big&mdash;in every sense&mdash;so Americans have always been able to satisfy their cultural needs within the bounds of their [own] nation. I think what we consider American literature can often be a little bit insular. It would be great if people read more translation, or if American writers took a wider interest in the world beyond the immediate world of their [own country's] fiction. At a minimum, we should all be reading more literature from other places: That's one of the best ways that the walls around us can be knocked down.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MJ: </strong>What unites the stories in<em> Swimmer Among the Stars</em>, in your view? Why did you feel they belonged together?</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>KT:</strong> I'm always interested in recovering lost moments that often get suppressed in the larger, dominant narrative. A lot of these stories are about recovering lost objects. Even if one story is set in an apocryphal village in central Asia, and another is set in outer space, there is a thematic interest that links them.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MJ:</strong> The "Fall of an Eyelash" looks at refugees. Was the genesis of that story directly linked to the news cycle?</p> <p><strong>KT:</strong> Part of it is actually based on a family friend's story who fled Iran. When I wrote this story, it was before waves of Syrian refugees entered Europe, and seeing that crisis metastasizing. We live in the greatest era of displacement because of conflict and this short story is certainly interested in the experience of that problem.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MJ: </strong>What about the story "Portrait with Coal Fire"?&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>KT: </strong>I was looking at this photo of an Indian miner in deplorable conditions doing horrific work. There's a great deal of sympathy on the part of the photographer and indeed the readers of the magazine itself. At the same time, it made me think about: Has the man seen this photograph, and what does he think about seeing himself in a magazine like this, if that was even possible? It was almost a thought experiment&mdash;to imagine what would it be like to be photographed and try to be represented in a way that you thought was more appropriate. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>With your father Shashi Tharoor publishing more than a dozen books, mostly on the history and politics of India, how much of your own literary journey started at home?</p> <p dir="ltr">My dad is a writer, but my mom is a professor of English literature as well, so I grew up in a household flooded with books. &nbsp;I'm also a broadcast journalist, which I do alongside my fiction work. Readers of the collection will see there is pretty strong historical interest present. For a while, I considered becoming a historian, but I decided the kind of writing I wanted to do was not academic writing.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MJ:</strong> One of your characters is the last speaker of an unnamed language. Are you interested the preservation of rare languages? How many languages do you speak?</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>KT:</strong> I speak maybe six or seven languages imperfectly. I don't really consider myself much of a polyglot.</p> <p dir="ltr">The issue of language extinction has always interested me. We live in crazy times in human history in terms of the death of languages. A friend of mine runs the Endangered Language Alliance, Ross Perlin, and he studies languages and endangered languages. He turned me on to the fact that in New York City, where I live, over 800 languages are spoken in the city. There are many languages here, whether they're from East Africa or southeast Asia or wherever else, which are no longer spoken in the places where they came from, but survive here in dying form amongst immigrant communities. As people who read, write, think, and dream in English, it is incumbent upon us to be aware of the damages or the losses incurred by these languages.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MJ: </strong>One of your short stories hints at the danger of climate change. How do you see an author's duty, if there is one, to engage with political or environmental struggles.</p> <p><strong>KT:</strong>&nbsp;Fiction, I think, can make people think about issues, can spark imaginations, can open doors, can take people out of their own frame of reference. All those things are good. That's what I would like to do with my fiction. I don't know how much I would like to serve an advocacy function. If there is a story that touches on climate change, I think the message is embedded in the conceit of the story.</p></body></html> Media Books Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:00:07 +0000 Sabrina Toppa 328806 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump Beats Obama LOLOLOLOLOL http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/trump-beats-obama-lololololol <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American Action Network PAC aired a bunch of ads on basketball games tonight <a href="http://screengrabber.deadspin.com/basketball-fans-treated-to-ads-congratulating-republica-1793629526" target="_blank">congratulating Republican members of Congress</a> for voting to repeal Obamacare. Here's my artist's conception of Obama's response.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_obama_comstock_sign.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px -15px 0px;"></p> <div class="caption">Pete Souza/The White House via ZUMA</div> <p>Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Barton (R&ndash;TX) earns quote-of-the-day honors for this explanation of why, after Republicans had unanimously voted to repeal Obamacare repeatedly over the past six years, <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/leadership-pulls-obamacare-repeal" target="_blank">they couldn't get it done this time:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Sometimes you&rsquo;re playing Fantasy Football and sometimes you&rsquo;re in the real game. We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. <strong>This time we knew if it got to the president&rsquo;s desk it would be signed.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>LOLOLOLOLOL. And Trump himself <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/president-trump-called-my-cellphone-to-say-that-the-health-care-bill-was-dead/2017/03/24/8282c3f6-10ce-11e7-9b0d-d27c98455440_story.html" target="_blank">comes in a close second:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>I&rsquo;m a team player....It&rsquo;s very hard when you need almost 100 percent of the votes and we have no votes, zero, from the Democrats. <strong>It&rsquo;s unheard of.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Unheard of! LOLOLOLOLOL.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 25 Mar 2017 04:15:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 328856 at http://www.motherjones.com What If I Told You That Republicans Spent Only 36 Days on Trumpcare? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/what-if-i-told-you-republicans-spent-only-36-days-trumpcare <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If you want to know why Trumpcare failed so disastrously, here's a big part of the answer:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trumpcare_days_1.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 0px;"></p> <p>The process toward passing Obamacare began on March 5, 2009, when President Obama convened a "health summit" with various players in the health care industry. It finished 383 days later, on March 23, 2010, when he signed it into law.</p> <p>Trumpcare began life on February 16, 2017, when Paul Ryan released an outline of what a Republican bill would look like. It was abandoned 36 days later, on March 24, 2017.</p> <p>And this doesn't even count the fact that Democrats had been seriously debating and designing health care policy for decades before Obamacare was born. Republicans had never gone much beyond the debating point stage. But policy matters: detailed, messy, real-life policy that makes compromises in order to produce something that works and has the support of all the stakeholders. The problem is that Trump isn't used to that kind of thing. Ezra Klein points out today that, in fact, Trump isn't a very good dealmaker. That's true, and it's something I've written about frequently. <a href="http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/24/15049820/donald-trump-extremely-bad-making-deals" target="_blank">But he also says this:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In Trump&rsquo;s past jobs, he could simply move on from failed deals and find new partners, and new markets, and new sectors. But that&rsquo;s not how the presidency works, and it&rsquo;s not clear he realizes that.</p> </blockquote> <p>"Take it or leave it" works only if you really are willing to leave it. Trump often is, because he can always turn around and do a different deal with someone else. But there's only one Congress. If Trump gets bored after a whole month of negotiations and gives up, there's no other Congress he can turn to. That's why Trumpcare is dead.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:06:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 328851 at http://www.motherjones.com Leading Global Warming Deniers Just Told Us What They Want Trump to Do http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/03/what-climate-deniers-want-when-white-house-listening <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>What does a climate change denier wish for when everything seems possible? With Congress and the White House in agreement on the unimportance of science, there's no need to settle for rolling back President Barack Obama&rsquo;s environmental agenda one regulation at a time. It's time to get the Environmental Protection Agency out of climate change altogether.</p> <p>To get a sense of what the wish list looks like, the annual conference of the Heartland Institute would be a good place to start. The right-wing think tank that has received funding from ExxonMobil and Koch groups&mdash;and is best known for pushing out misinformation on climate change&mdash;has sponsored this annual gathering for the last 12 years. This year the theme was "Resetting Climate Policy," reflecting the triumphant and hopeful mood of the conference now that they control the agenda.</p> <p>The usual ideas floated at the conference have ranged from&nbsp;abolishing the EPA to touting the universal benefits of fossil fuels, but this year one idea in particular dominated the discussions: Climate deniers think they have a chance to reverse the EPA's <a href="https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment-and-cause-or-contribute-findings-greenhouse-gases-under-section-202a" target="_blank">endangerment finding</a> that formally says greenhouse gasses poses a threat to Americans and their health. That 2009 determination, prompted by a Supreme Court decision in 2007, is the basis for the EPA's regulatory work on climate change.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been at this for 33 years. We have a lot of people in our network,"&nbsp;Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast tells <em>Mother Jones, "</em>and many of these people are now in this new administration.&rdquo; Transition staff and new appointees in the Trump administration &ldquo;occasionally ask us for advice and names of people,&rdquo; he added.</p> <p>Rescinding the endangerment finding is the &ldquo;number one&rdquo; priority Bast sees for Trump&rsquo;s EPA. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s almost a sure thing they are going to revisit it,&rdquo; Bast<strong> </strong>says. &ldquo;Whether they are going to succeed is maybe a 90 percent certainty.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bast overstated the strength of his case. The problem with rescinding the endangerment finding is that the EPA would somehow have to make a convincing case that holds up in court that climate change isn't a threat to humanity. In other words, it would be incumbent upon the EPA to disprove climate change is real.</p> <p>During, his confirmation hearings, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt acknowledged that the endangerment finding was the "law of the land" and there is "nothing that I know that will cause a review at this point." But he has recently suggested he may attempt to <a href="http://www.vox.cm/energy-and-environment/2017/3/13/14907260/scott-pruitt-climate-denial-epa" target="_blank">change course. </a>He went on CNBC and claimed "we don't know" that the science is settled, and insisted "we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cato Institute's Director for the Center for the Study of Science, Patrick Michaels, who gave an address to the meeting, agreed that the administration should make reversing the endangerment finding its priority. At one point in his presentation, Michaels asked if David Schnare&mdash;who previously spent years suing the EPA until he became a transition appointee at the agency&mdash;was in the audience. "David&rsquo;s big on this," Michaels said. Schnare was not there, but he helped to emphasize Bast's point: Trump's appointees are familiar, friendly faces.</p> <p>In his keynote address, House Science Chair Lamar Smith (R-Texas) expressed his gratitude to Heartland for its "help and support." Asked if he will be holding a hearing on the endangerment finding, Smith answered, "Probably....It hasn't been set yet. We can add that to our list." Smith, who has already held a "Making EPA Great Again" hearing, will plans a <a href="https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/full-committee-hearing-climate-science-assumptions-policy-implications-and" target="_blank">hearing</a> for next week questioning the scientific method of climate studies.</p> <p>For anyone who acknowledges climate change is a reality and a threat, Smith's final words about President Trump to the roughly 200 attendees who were gathered might be considered ominous: &ldquo;You won&rsquo;t be disappointed with the direction he&rsquo;s going.&rdquo;</p></body></html> Environment Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:34:10 +0000 Rebecca Leber 328836 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump: Failure of Health Care Bill Is All Democrats' Fault http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/trump-failure-health-care-bill-all-democrats-fault <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>It's laughable watching President Trump whine endlessly this afternoon about how his health care bill didn't get any Democratic votes. Not one! The Democrats just wouldn't work with him to craft a bill! Boy, that sure makes things tough.</p> <p>Needless to say, neither Trump nor Paul Ryan ever tried to bring Democrats into this bill. It was purely a Republican plan from the start, and neither of them wanted any Democratic input. That's just the opposite of Obamacare, where Democrats tried mightily to get Republican buy-in, and still ended up getting no Republican votes in the end. Not one!</p> <p>Anyway, Trump's plan now is to wait for Obamacare to implode and then Democrats will <em>have</em> to do a deal. I guess it hasn't occurred to him that he could do a deal with Democrats right now if he were really serious about fixing health care. But no. Trump says he intends to move on to tax reform, because that's something he actually cares about.</p> <p>In the meantime, it's very unclear what will happen to Obamacare. With so much uncertainty surrounding it, it's hard to say how insurance companies will respond. They might give up and pull out. Or they might stick it out and wait. It's pretty close to a profitable business now, so there's probably no urgency one way or the other for most of them. And anyway, somewhere there's an equilibrium. Having only one insurer in a particular county might be bad for residents of that county, but it's great for the insurer: they can raise their prices with no worries. There are no competitors to steal their business, and the federal subsidies mean that customers on the exchanges won't see much of a change even if prices go up. In places where they have these mini-monopolies, Obamacare should be a nice money spinner.</p> <p>April will be a key month, as insurers begin to announce their plans for 2018. We'll see what happens.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> It was also amusing to hear Trump say that he learned a lot during this process about "arcane" procedures in the House and Senate. Like what? Filibusters? Having to persuade people to vote for your bill? The fact that the opposition party isn't going to give you any votes for a bill that destroys one of their signature achievements? Reconciliation and the Byrd rule? I believe him when he says this was all new to him, which means he never had the slightest clue what was in this bill or how it was going to pass.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 24 Mar 2017 21:07:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 328841 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Trump Call Obamacare Repeal "So Easy" http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/trump-obamacare-repeal-promise-so-easy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After a week of emergency meetings and last-minute attempts to unify their party, Republican leaders pulled their Obamacare repeal bill from the House floor Friday when it became clear they didn't have enough support to pass.</p> <p>The decision comes as a major defeat for President Donald Trump, who during the campaign bragged that Obamacare repeal would be "so easy."</p> <p>"Together we're going to deliver real change that once again puts Americans first," Trump said at an October rally in Florida. "That begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare&hellip;You're going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost&mdash;and it's going to be so easy."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/R-VTbt-i_b4" width="630">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe></p> <p>Trump also argued on the campaign trail that electing a Republican-controlled Congress would allow him to quickly dismantle the health care law and pass other pieces of legislation. "With a Republican House and Senate, we will immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare," Trump said at another event. "A Republican House and Senate can swiftly enact the other items in my contract immediately, including massive tax reduction."</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="http://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/791981635545" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>"We will [repeal and replace Obamacare], and we will do it very, very quickly," Trump said during the <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trump-obamacare-special-session-230588" target="_blank">final week </a>of the campaign. "It is a catastrophe."</p> <p>Trump's confidence in his ability to win the health care fight continued through the first few weeks of his presidency. On February 9, he bragged that when it came to repealing Obamacare, "Nobody can do that like me."</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We will immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare - and nobody can do that like me. We will save $'s and have much better healthcare!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/697182075045179392">February 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>By the end of February, Trump had <a href="https://twitter.com/BraddJaffy/status/836240697590063105" target="_blank">changed his tune somewhat</a>. "Now, I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," the president said. "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."</p> <p>One person who certainly did know was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who successfully shepherded Obamacare through the House in 2010. On Thursday, she mocked Trump for trying to rush the repeal bill through the chamber, calling it a "Rookie's error."</p> <p>"Clearly you are not ready," Pelosi said.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_pT4-gkYMYk" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Donald Trump Health Care Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:31:47 +0000 Inae Oh 328816 at http://www.motherjones.com Republicans Pull Bill to Repeal and Replace Obamacare http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/house-fails-obamacare-repeal-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a stunning defeat to House Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump, Republicans on Friday pulled from the House floor their bill to repeal and replace the Obamacare, abruptly cancelling a vote that was scheduled for Friday afternoon.</p> <p>The GOP plan was originally scheduled for a vote on Thursday but was postponed amid doubts about whether it could pass. The vote was rescheduled for Friday, but apparently Republicans were still unable to cobble together enough support. Trump reportedly warned House Republicans that if they failed to pass the health care legislation, he was prepared to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/gop-health-care-plan-hangs-in-balance-as-house-leaders-push-for-thursday-floor-vote/2017/03/23/6e8bf05a-0fbd-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?tid=ss_tw&amp;utm_term=.a5f322b48353" target="_blank">move on and keep Obamacare in place. </a></p> <p><em>This is a breaking news post. We will update when more information becomes available. </em></p></body></html> Politics Health Care Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:54:06 +0000 Inae Oh 328756 at http://www.motherjones.com