Make Your Voice Heard—with Resistbot!

resist

This from our intrepid and growing body of progressives here at Happy Acres.

The Resistance Now: robots join the movement.

A robot joined the fight to defend Obamacare – which remains in place indefinitely following a stunning defeat for Donald Trump this afternoon.

Resistbot launched earlier this month but picked up traction this week as protesters sought creative ways to pressure politicians on the healthcare vote.

Created by startup entrepreneur Eric Ries, it turns text messages into faxes which are then sent to members of Congress. And it’s free – Resistbot is supported by donations.

“Resistbot was born out of my personal frustrations with trying to contact my members of Congress,” Ries said.

“My reps’ phone lines are always jammed, and there’s only someone there during the day […] So I designed Resistbot to solve this problem for me. It makes it insanely easy to generate a fax to each of my representatives every day.”

How does it Work?

Text  resist  to 50409.

Resistbot turns your text messages into daily letters to Congress— in the simplest and easiest way possible. We are working hard behind the scenes to make sure they are delivered and that your representatives take them seriously.

You can donate if you choose, but there is no cost.

So who says we older folks aren’t tech savvy?

Trump Henchman Protests: EPA not Killing the Environment Fast Enough!

coal pollution

I am sure that you, gentle reader, have probably already digested Robert Draper’s comprehensive account in the New York Times Magazine of last week’s legislative debacle—and of multiple clusterfucks yet to come. (And what about that black and white photo of Trump, huh?)

To complete your reading pleasure, please permit your Uncle Aardvark to direct your wandering eye to this evening’s takedown in Politico: White House blame game intensified as Trump agenda stalls. Truly, the court of the Borgias had nothing on the court of our naturist emperor Trump.

I particularly loved this part. You remember how Trump’s team put a few henchmen into each important cabinet and agency to ensure loyalty? Well, it turns out the minion installed at EPA, one David Schnare, has now crawled out from under the rock he was assigned to watch—and is accusing Trump’s odious EPA head of being too much of an environmentalist.

Revitalizing the beleaguered coal industry and loosening restrictions on emissions was a cornerstone of Trump’s pitch to blue collar voters. Yet, two months into his presidency, Trump loyalists are accusing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt of moving too slowly to push the president’s priorities.

Earlier this month, David Schnare, a Trump appointee who worked on the transition team, abruptly quit. According to two people familiar with the matter, among Schnare’s complaints was that Pruitt had yet to overturn the EPA’s endangerment finding, which empowers the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as a public health threat.

Schnare’s departure was described as stormy, and those who’ve spoken with him say his anger at Pruitt runs deep.

“The backstory to my resignation is extremely complex,” he told E&E News, an energy industry trade publication. “I will be writing about it myself. It is a story not about me, but about a much more interesting set of events involving misuse of federal funds, failure to honor oaths of office, and a lack of loyalty to the president.”

Other Trump loyalists at EPA complain they’ve been shut out of meetings with higher-ups and are convinced that Pruitt is pursuing his own agenda instead of the president’s. Some suspect that he is trying to position himself for an eventual Senate campaign. (EPA spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment.)

Oh, So That’s the Reason

fantasy football

Reporters asked why, after Republicans held dozens of nearly-unanimous votes to repeal Obamacare under President Obama, they were getting cold feet now that they control the levers of power. [Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, responded,] “Sometimes you’re playing Fantasy Football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” he said. “We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”

Fuck You, Democrats. And Please Work with Me on Health Care. Pretty Please with Sugar on Top

please

In his Oval Office remarks on the evening of March 24—the day Trumpcare bit the dust—master logician Donald Trump blamed his party’s failure to govern on … the Democrats!

Moving on from that elevated beginning, Trump went on predict the implosion of Obamacare and let us in on how much delight he will take in blaming said allegedly forthcoming implosion on—take three guesses—the Democrats!

These developments, he confidently predicted, will force the evil, cowardly Democrats to crawl into the Oval Office, praise his fine new suit of clothes, lick his feet, and beg to be allowed to cooperate in fixing the imploding Obamacare legislative project.

It was an odious invitation. If anyone is inclined to accept it, they will need to bear in mind that he who would sup with the devil should bring a long spoon.

Should Democrats give it a whirl anyway? And how do they answer the underlying questions: Is Obamacare “imploding” or isn’t it? (Much of the discussion of that question has a superficially partisan ‘tis/t’ain’t/’tis/t’ain’t quality about it; where does the truth really lie?) Insofar as there are real problems with Obamacare, not just partisan bullshit, how would reasonable people go about fixing the problems? And is there an icecube’s chance in hell that at least some Republicans could be persuaded to work with Democrats to find real solutions? (This would require, among other things, that Paul Ryan invite the “Freedom Caucus” to kiss is ass. After this evening, Ryan might welcome the opportunity to make such a declaration.)

I intend to inform myself better on these matters and, in future posts, to share the gist of what I think I have learned. My working hypotheses are that

  • Yes, the mandate was relatively weak to begin with; the Trump Administration has taken steps to make it even weaker; and that’s a problem.
  • Some people who buy insurance on the exchanges really do pay too much in premiums and, having made their unduly high payments, suffer from high deductible which they have trouble paying, if they become sick, because they paid too much for insurance to begin with. It’s a problem that could be addressed by increasing subsidies, taking steps to hold down payments to providers, and doing everything possible to make sure that insurance markets have enough competitors to make them “workably competitive,” as the microeconomists would say.

I tend to think the Democrats should make, and should be seen to be making, a good faith attempt to work with whoever is willing to work with them on these problems.

 

Pass the Popcorn, Please. And Where’s the Bourbon?

bourbon

As we wait for the big vote, or not, this morning David Brooks writes,

I opposed Obamacare. I like health savings accounts, tax credits and competitive health care markets to drive down costs. But these free-market reforms have to be funded in a way to serve the least among us, not the most. This House Republican plan would increase suffering, morbidity and death among the middle class and poor in order to provide tax cuts to the rich.

It would cut Medicaid benefits by $880 billion between now and 2026. It would boost the after-tax income for those making more than $1 million a year by 14 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center. This bill takes the most vicious progressive stereotypes about conservatives and validates them.

It’s no wonder that according to the latest Quinnipiac poll this bill has just a 17 percent approval rating. It’s no wonder that this bill is already massively more unpopular that Hillarycare and Obamacare, two bills that ended up gutting congressional majorities.

If we’re going to have the rough edges of a populist revolt, you’d think that at least somebody would be interested in listening to the people. But with this bill the Republican leadership sets an all-time new land speed record for forgetting where you came from.

The core Republican problem is this: The Republicans can’t run policy-making from the White House because they have a marketing guy in charge of the factory. But they can’t run policy from Capitol Hill because it’s visionless and internally divided. So the Republicans have the politics driving the substance, not the other way around. The new elite is worse than the old elite — and certainly more vapid.