Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April Fool: I'm glad with that

Big Donald did an excellent April Fool funny, that unfortunately not too many people noticed:

Unless, you know, Donald still hasn't found out what Obamacare is or what Republican senators are up to and isn't joking at all, which is a possibility, I guess. Senator Rick Scott (FL-Death Eaters) had showed up on NPR in the morning to provide some of the evidence:

recently, the Trump administration backed a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act with no replacement in sight. Now, the president does say he is counting on senators to fill that gap - senators including Rick Scott, our next guest. He is a former hospital executive and former governor of Florida, now a newly inaugurated United States senator. Senator, good morning.
RICK SCOTT: Good morning. That's right. The - well, let's - I think we can all thank the president for his interest in health care. I've been involved in health care all my life. And so I'm glad with that. And I'm going to work hard to try to drive down the cost of health care. That'd be the most important thing to Americans.
"We can all thank the president for his interest." That's very white of him, as they used to say.  Somehow that didn't sound like an answer.
INSKEEP: Well, you said drive down the cost. Let's talk about what the Republican approach really is here. From talking with others Senate Republicans, we get the impression the idea is to really stop trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and just find some narrower improvements in the existing system. Is that a fair description?
SCOTT: Well that's what I'm doing. Steve, drug prices are too high. So I put a bill out last week that would require transparency, so you know what things cost. But on top of that, Americans - it's not fair that we pay more for drugs than Europeans pay. I had the same problem when I was in the health care business.
That's an answer. I'd say Scott has stopped trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and just find some narrower improvements, or at least identify them, and he's not trying very hard to do that, or trying fairly hard not to do it, depending on your perspective, as Alison Kodjak explained later on in the segment:
Senator Scott - the other thing that he talked about - he focused on drug prices but slid over the issue of hospital costs. He's a former hospital executive. Hospital costs are much higher, generally, than drug prices. They take up a huge share of the medical costs that this country spends.
His old business of stealing from the Medicare program, for which his company paid what was then the largest Medicare fraud fine in history, $1.7 billion, which didn't stop him getting elected as Dark Lord of Florida and now the sunny state's junior senator. Not that drug prices aren't important too, but they're mostly important to the public and private entities that pay the bills, and to those unfortunates who don't have adequate insurance and have to pay outrageous prices themselves, and Republicans are definitely not planning to get them any (if the Texas vs. Azar lawsuit were to win, people with preexisting conditions like diabetes would be more or less uninsurable as the price of insulin goes through the roof). I don't know if hospitals are still in Scott's $232-million portfolio, or his wife's $173 million, but he certainly did have health care investments at the time of the Senate campaign last year, and he's decided not to make use of the customary blind trust, so if he wanted to keep an eye on the possible effects a given piece of legislation was going to have on his money, he could, because that's just how things are in Trumplandia.

What's clearly the case is that, as usual, President Trump is not authorized to speak for the Trump administration.

Another case of that came up with Trump's totally serious, not at all bluffing plans to close the entire Mexican border if some unspecified thing doesn't happen:
Senior White House officials sent a clear message Sunday: President Donald Trump is serious. It would take “something dramatic” over the next few days to convince Trump not to go through with his threat to close the southern border with Mexico, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said. “Why are we talking about closing the border? Because not for spite and not to—not to try and—and—and undo what’s happening but to simply say look, we need the people from the ports of entry to go out and patrol in the desert where we don’t have any wall,” he said on ABC’s This Week. (Via Slate)
Except there isn't any plan, and nobody really wants to make one:
Even as the two administration officials wanted to make clear that the plan to close the border could soon become a reality, some unnamed officials are raising concerns about whether the plan is even doable. Axios reports that administration officials say they aren’t even close to being prepared to carry out this type of plan on such a short timeline. “The widespread view within the White House and at the Department of Homeland Security is that it’s a terrible and unworkable idea,” reports Axios. But still, the issue is being analyzed since Trump has mentioned it numerous times.
It's an unbelievably terrible idea which could well kick-start a recession in the increasingly delicate US economy, Forbes reports, and in Mulvaney's quote you can see how the White House is trying to climb down from Trump's threats—sending a signal to the Mexican government that they should be deploying some Federales to wander the mountains south of the river and act like they're taking the president's concerns seriously ("because not for spite" is brilliant—Mulvaney's his own kind of heartless monster, but he does show signs of a nimble mind).

Expect the defunding of aid to the "three Mexican countries", which would certainly increase the number of people fleeing from Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador to the US border, not to take place either.

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