Thursday, July 11, 2019

Trump’s bromance with authoritarians

Michael A. Cohen of the neo-Marxist "New School" in NYC writes below.  We have met his hate and unrealism about Trump before.

Given the Leftist trust in force, it is most unlikely that Mr Cohen has not heard of
Realpolitik but in his article below he pretends not to.  What Mr Trump has said and done out of diplomatic necessity, Mr Cohen calls a "bromance".  One also wonders if he knows the meaning of that term.

Perhaps we should feel sorry for Mr Cohen.  He sounds a most unhappy soul. He is 52 at the moment so you would think he would have found some peace by now

President Trump has a thing for dictatorial, sociopathic strongmen. But last week during his trip to the Far East for the G-20 summit, he took things to a whole new level — bro-ing out with some of the worst leaders, and worst people, in the world and in the process, further degrading America’s already weakened global image.

At the summit, Trump commended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “I want to just thank you on behalf of a lot of people, and I want to congratulate you,” he said. “You’ve done a really spectacular job.”

The crown prince has not only presided over a vicious crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia but is also widely believed to have ordered the assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. According to Trump, however, “nobody has directly pointed a finger” at the crown prince for Khashoggi’s death, a rebuttal to the conclusions of the CIA, which determined that he was responsible.

When Trump wasn’t praising the crown prince, he was bonding with President Vladimir Putin of Russia over their antipathy for the news media. Pointing to the journalists covering their meeting, Trump said, “Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”



Thanks to Trump, the healthcare choice is yours

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and many various versions of “Medicare for All” have something in common: they all want to limit your options: From which doctors you can see to the type of treatment you receive, and the kind of coverage you can get, both our current system and the socialized medicine proposed by the Left all depend on taking choices away from patients.

Fortunately, the Trump Administration has a different idea: expanding consumer options to get the insurance, and ultimately the care, that works best for each person or family. Individual empowerment not only makes care more accessible and costs more affordable, but brings the peace of mind Americans want regarding their health.

In 2017, the Trump administration issued an Executive Order to promote healthcare choice and competition across the United States, focusing on three areas for improvement in the near term: Association Health Plans, Short-term Limited Duration Insurance Plans, and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. Final rules have now been issued on all of these options.

Association Health Plans make it easier for small employers and independent contractors to band together and offer the same benefits larger companies have but at a lower cost. According to a study conducted in 2018, “The breadth of benefits had been one of the biggest concerns among detractors of association-based insurance. Yet according to the analysis, no evidence of narrow benefit designs was observed in the new AHP benefit descriptions.” These plans are already working and saving people money.

Short-term insurance plans existed under the ACA and were accepted as good options to offer relief for those in transition. For those that are in-between jobs, just getting out of school, have missed open enrollment periods, or losing coverage following a divorce, short term insurance plans play a necessary role in filling the gaps and not leaving people exposed. But not all gaps last just 12 months. So the Trump Administration’s final rule expands coverage up to 36 months to give people greater flexibility, more time, and better choices to figure out their health insurance needs.

Nonetheless, politicians from both sides of the aisle minimize the benefits and negate the wishes of Americans who choose to purchase short-term insurance plans that work for them, regularly calling them “junk” plans. But they are not “junk” to the people who are paying less and getting better service as they transition from one phase to the next.

The final rule for Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which is set to become effective on January 1, 2020, proves to be the most meaningful way of improving affordability and access for many Americans. This innovation allows employers to give their employees a set amount of money to buy insurance on the individual market.

Growing the consumer pool purchasing individual plans is projected to bring products back into the marketplace and drive down costs. According to the administration, “the rule will significantly expand worker options since 80 percent of firms that provide insurance currently offer only one type of plan.” This change would greatly reduce the impact of problems associated with pre-existing conditions, as plans would become portable and not necessarily dependent on an employer providing specific coverage.

More popular choices are being reviewed by the administration that will improve affordability while helping others with pre-existing conditions. Sharing Ministries, Medical Cost Sharing models and the fast-growing Direct Primary Care phenomenon have proven to offer more options, decrease costs, and improve satisfaction among their members.

Consumers can also use a combination of these services, depending on their individual needs and preferences. Whether through the solutions outlined in the Choice and Competition report or added as qualified medical expense under the IRS rules, these options are crucial for making healthcare less complicated, less confusing, and more easily accessible for all Americans. Peace of mind and individual empowerment are consistent with putting choice back into the hands of the people.



‘This Is the Liberal Establishment’: As Homelessness Rises in Major Cities, Trump Speaks Out

President Donald Trump says he is working on a plan to address a spike in homelessness in the United States, particularly in several California cities.

During a Fox News Channel interview that aired Monday night, host Tucker Carlson asked the president about homelessness in major urban centers.         

“It’s disgraceful. I’m going to [propose something], maybe, and I’m looking at it very seriously,” Trump told Carlson on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “We’re doing some other things that you probably noticed.”

The president added: “This is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting. They—I don’t know if they’re afraid of votes. I don’t know if they really believe that this should be taking place.”

The homeless population in Los Angeles is about 60,000, according to numbers released in June by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority—a 12% increase from last year.

That’s more than one-tenth of the nation’s homeless in a single city.

Nationally, about 553,000 are homeless, according to a December 2018 review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In other California cities, from 2017 to 2019 homelessness increased by 17% in San Francisco and 43% in Alameda County, which includes Oakland, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Four of the top 10 largest homeless populations are in California, according to a Forbes analysis of the HUD report.

The entire state of California had about 130,000 homeless in 2018.     

“Some of them have mental problems where they don’t even know they’re living that way,” Trump also said during the Fox News interview.

The president commented directly on the nearly 7,000 homeless in Washington, D.C.

“When we have leaders of the world coming in to see the president of the United States and they’re riding down a highway, they can’t be looking at that,” Trump said. “I really believe that it hurts our country.”

“They can’t be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco … so we’re looking at it very seriously,” the president said. “We may intercede. We may do something to get that whole thing cleaned up. It’s inappropriate.”

Policy Options Under Review

Homelessness overall has been on the decline by 95,000 since 2007, according to HUD, and the number of homeless military veterans has dropped by 50% since 2010.

“Like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation, and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told The Daily Signal.

“Last week, the president took action and signed an executive order to confront the regulatory barriers to affordable housing development, a leading cause of homelessness,” Deere said. “President Trump has directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy.”

From 2017 to 2018, the homeless population among veterans fell by 5.4%. The number declined by 10% among female veterans.

Homelessness among families with children has fallen by 29% since 2010, and by 2.7% (or 4,000 families) from 2017 to 2018, according to HUD.

A Zillow study found that homelessness rates begin to increase once a city’s average rent reaches 22% of median income; homelessness grows even faster once the average rent surpasses 32% of median income.

In Los Angeles, the average rent paid is 49% of median income. For every 2 percentage points that number increases, an additional 4,227 persons are likely to become homeless.

Government’s Role

There shouldn’t be a real federal government role for addressing homelessness, contends Kerry Jackson, a fellow with the Pacific Research Institute’s Center for California Reform.

“I don’t see a federal role at all regarding the homelessness issue, any more than I see a federal role for education and many other places where Washington has become involved,” Jackson told The Daily Signal. “It is a state and local issue, and they already have incentives to do the right thing.”

“If they don’t do the right things, they will lose businesses and they will lose residents, and they will have public health problems that fester,” he said in an email. “Those should … motivate them enough to come up with effective policies.”

Mental illness is assuredly part of the problem, said Joel Griffith, a research fellow in financial regulation at The Heritage Foundation.

“A lot of homelessness comes from cities refusing to involuntarily commit people who are mentally ill,” Griffith told The Daily Signal. “A lot are not seeking proper health care or shelters that are available.”

Homelessness largely stems from problems spurred by local regulations, he added.

“Rent control and density zoning artificially constrains housing supply,” Griffith said. “Well-intentioned laws have unintended consequences. In many ways, governments have caused the affordable housing problem.”

Biggest Homeless Populations

Nationally, almost one-quarter of all homelessness is found in Los Angeles or New York City, according to the HUD report in December, about six months before the increased numbers in Los Angeles released in June.

In more updated numbers, spanning 2017 to 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported a 17% increase in homeless residents of San Francisco.

The city faces problems of “aggressive panhandling and human waste,” the Pacific Research Institute’s Jackson said.

An institute issue brief on San Francisco homelessness called for the city to better engage law enforcement, reform city housing policy to expedite housing permits and reform zoning laws, and require more accountability over how taxpayer dollars are spent on homelessness.



Leftist Fact Checking Site Snopes Has To Admit Obama Built Cages For Immigrant Children

The left-wing bias of popular “fact-checking” sites like Snopes or Politfact has been well documented for years.

So when Snopes took on the task of fact-checking the claim “The Obama administration, not the Trump administration, built the cages that hold many immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border,” I expected them to, at the very least, rate it as “Half-True” or “False” and come up with some longwinded explanation with some absurd standard for why the Obama administration was in the clear.

Last year, couldn’t bring itself to admit that family separations happened under Obama, even though their research proved it did.  But alas, Snopes couldn’t find a way to clear the Obama administration on this one, and had no choice but to rate the claim as true.

"But then Trump stated, “Obama built the cages. I didn’t build them. Obama built them.”

That portion of Trump’s commentary is true. Images of children behind chain-link fencing were widely seen at a site in McAllen, Texas, that had been converted from a warehouse to an immigrant-detention facility in 2014. Social media users who defended Trump’s immigration policies also shared a 2014 image of Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson touring a facility in Nogales, Arizona, in 2014, in which the fencing could be seen surrounding migrants there, too. That image was taken during a spike in the number of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries."

Of course when you have two former Obama administration officials (Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and executive associate director of ICE  Thomas Homan) both on the record on the issue, in addition to media reporting at the timeit’s really hard to claim anything to the contrary.

Last year, Snopes also had to admit that the Obama administration placed immigrant children with human traffickers. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy admission for them either, especially since concerns about human trafficking are why children are separated from adults in the first place.



It looks like Boris Johnson as British PM will get the same hate Trump gets

Once reserved for heinous regimes, embargoes are now deployed on firms with the 'wrong' opinions

Earlier this week, a group of hardline Left-wingers and Remainers chose to channel the fury they usually reserve for metaphorical “gammon” – middle-aged white men – towards something closer to the real thing; Heck, a family firm that manufactures gluten-free sausages. Its crime? Hosting Boris Johnson at its factory.

Just hours after pictures surfaced of the leadership hopeful posing with a string of sausages around his neck, Heck’s Google review rankings had plummeted after being bombarded with one-star ratings from “customers” who had stayed strangely silent before the furore.



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