24 June 2016


Paul Ryan Wants to Increase the Medicare Eligibility Age to 67 22JUN16

THIS is another reason why the republican party can not be allowed to win the presidency or control of the US Congress. Speaker of the House rep paul ryan r WI is reviving the no government policies of grover norquist, who said "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub". Raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, fewer people will be alive to receive the services they have paid for, leaving more money for tax breaks for the 1%. This is class warfare, plane and simple, and it must not be allowed to ever be part of any legislation voted on by the House and Congress. From +Mother Jones .....

Paul Ryan Wants to Increase the Medicare Eligibility Age to 67

JUN. 22, 2016 12:55 PM
Republicans announce a lot of health care plans. All of them are essentially the same, "a familiar hodgepodge of tax credits, health savings accounts, high-risk pools, block granting of Medicaid, tort reform, and interstate purchase of health plans." Today, after months of cogitating, House Republicans have finally agreed on yet another health care plan. It's not a hodgepodge, however, it's a "backpack." Beyond that, however,it should sound pretty familiar:
In place of President Barack Obama’s health law, House Republicans propose providing Americans with refundable tax credits.... catastrophic insurance.... health-savings accounts.... plans offered in other states.... fee-for-service insurance through a newly created Medicare insurance exchange [not a voucher! not a voucher! absolutely positively not a voucher! –ed.].... pay taxes on the value of whatever health insurance employers provide.
Hmmm. There's no mention of high-risk pools or tort reform or Medicaid block grants. What the hell is going on here? Who was responsible for—oh, wait. Maybe the Wall Street Journal just did a lousy job of describing the GOP plan. I can hardly blame them for not taking it too seriously. Let's check in with the Washington Post:
The GOP plan floats a variety of proposals.... refundable tax credit.... health savings accounts.... “high-risk pools”.... Medicaid funds would be handed to the states either as block grants or as per-capita allotments.
Now we're talking. Every single buzzword is there except for tort reform. But maybe I should check in with Reuters:
The Republican proposal would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age, which currently is 65, to match that of the Social Security pension plan, which is 67 for people born in 1960 or later....The Republican plan includes medical liability reform that would put a cap on non-economic damages awarded in lawsuits, a measure aimed at cutting overall healthcare costs.
Tort reform is there after all! And as an extra added bonus, the Medicare eligibility age goes up to 67. Hallelujah!
How could this possibly have taken more than five minutes to write? It's identical to every health care plan ever proposed by Republicans. There is, of course, no funding mechanism, possibly because Republicans know perfectly well that it will do nothing and therefore require no funding. But here's my favorite bit of well-hidden snark from the Washington Post account:
The most significant omission from the Republican health-care plan, though, is to what degree it will maintain — or, more likely, reduce — insurance coverage for Americans....Asked about the plan’s effect on coverage, a Republican leadership aide said Monday, “You’re getting to the dynamic effect of the plan and we can’t answer that until the committees start to legislate.”
But there is a significant clue in the GOP plan that it anticipates a surge in the ranks of the uninsured. Before the Affordable Care Act, the federal government’s primary mechanism for compensating health providers for delivering care to the uninsured was through “disproportionate share hospital” payments, or DSH, which are allocated to facilities that treated large numbers of the uninsured. Under Obamacare, DSH payments were set to be phased out because coverage rates were expected to increase dramatically....The Republican plan would repeal those cuts entirely.
Bottom line: this is just the usual conservative mush. It would accomplish nothing. It would insure no one. It would wipe out all the gains of Obamacare. Millions of people would have their current health care ripped away from them, all so that Republicans can repeal the 3.8 percent tax on high-earner investment income that funds Obamacare.
And just for good measure, it will also raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Because apparently, the old hodgepodge just wasn't quite Scrooge-like enough.

Kevin is a political blogger for Mother Jones. Email Kevin more of his stories, click here or follow him on Facebook.
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Meet the 45 Senators Who Blocked Background Checks

THESE senators showed they don't give a damn about victims of gun violence. Someday, they will suffer the horror and loss of someone in their family, or friends or someone they know because of gun violence, and I hope they are haunted by their vote for the rest of their lives. There will be blood on their hands they will never be able to wash off. Though this is from 2013 it is relevent to this weeks news because the US Senate rejected this legislation again, after mass shootings in San Bernardino, CA and Orlando, FL. From +Mother Jones .....

Meet the 45 Senators Who Blocked Background Checks

President Obama said that "there was no coherent argument for why we wouldn't do this. It came down to politics."

An amendment proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to require background checks for commercial gun sales (but not for sales between "friends and neighbors") was shot down Wednesday afternoon in a 54-46 vote, failing to capture the 60 votes it needed to advance. The bill would have been a modest victory for gun control advocates, while ceding numerous concessions to the gun lobby (the NRA initially called it a "positive development.") Nevertheless, only four Republicans voted for the proposal, with 41 voting against it. Five Democrats rejected the proposal as well (Reid was a special case; see below). Standing with families of Sandy Hook victims, President Obama said that "there was no coherent argument for why we wouldn't do this. It came down to politics."
Here's a list so you can see how your senator voted:

Republicans Who Voted for the Proposal

  • Susan Collins (R-Maine)
  • Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
  • John McCain (R-Ariz.)
  • Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

Democrats Who Voted Against the Proposal

  • Max Baucus (D-Mont.)    
  • Mark Begich (D-Alaska)    
  • Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)    
  • Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)    
  • Harry Reid (D-Nev.)  (Voted "no" as a procedural move to preserve option to reintroduce the bill.)

Republicans Who Voted Against the Proposal

  • Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
  • Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
  • John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
  • Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
  • John Boozman (R-Ark.)
  • Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
  • Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
  • Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
  • Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
  • Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
  • John Cornyn (R-Texas)
  • Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
  • Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.)
  • Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
  • Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
  • Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
  • Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
  • John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
  • Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
  • Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
  • Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
  • Mike Lee (R-Utah)
  • Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
  • Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
  • Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
  • James Risch (R-Idaho)
  • Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
  • Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
  • Timothy Scott (R-S.C.)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
  • Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
  • John Thune (R-S.D.)
  • David Vitter (R-La.)
  • Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Democrats Who Voted for the Proposal

  • Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)
  • Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
  • Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
  • Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
  • Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
  • Thomas Carper (D-Del.)
  • Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
  • Christopher Coons (D-Del.)
  • William "Mo" Cowan (D-Mass.)
  • Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
  • Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
  • Al Franken (D-Minn.)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
  • Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
  • Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
  • Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
  • Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
  • Tim Johnson (D-S.D.)
  • Timothy Kaine (D-Va.)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-La.)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
  • Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
  • Joe Manchin (D-W.V.)
  • Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
  • Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)
  • Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
  • Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
  • Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.)
  • Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
  • Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
  • John Reed (D-R.I.)
  • Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.)
  • Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
  • Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
  • Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
  • Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
  • Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
  • Mark Warner (D-Va.)
  • Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
  • Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)


  • Angus King (I-Maine): Yea
  • Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): Yea
Front page image: Jay Mallin/ZUMA Press

Evangelical Christians are selling out faith for politics & Trump peddles religious ignorance & Hillary Clinton: Speaking to Methodist women feels like a ‘homecoming’ 23&22JUN16 & Hillary Clinton: Speaking to Methodist women feels like a ‘homecoming’ 26APR14

donald drumpf WOWED the right wing Christian evangelical community with his racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, authoritarianism, militarism and greed. Adultery and divorce be damned, he is opposed to abortion as well as the social safety net programs that would provide for the children these people insist on being born, so he has their support. These people do not represent the Church I was raised in, believe in, the Christianity I try to live, sinner that I am, and I am ashamed of these "leaders" support of, the actual promotion of the evil of the republican presidential candidate.  It is a sad commentary of evangelical Christianity in America, and a good explanation of why so many are leaving the established Church for individual Christian spirituality. God help everyday regular Christians see these "religious leaders" do not represent our faith and are not leading the Church down paths of righteousness Full Definition of righteous
  1. 1:  acting in accord with divine or moral law :  free from guilt or sin
  2. 2a :  morally right or justifiable <a righteous decision>b :  arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality <righteous indignation>
  3. From the +Washington Post .....
  4. Evangelical Christians are selling out faith for politics

  5.  Opinion writer  
    Oh, God — and I mean the entreaty seriously — the Trump/evangelical summit in New York was just as bad as some of us feared.
    More than 900 conservative Christian leaders, put in a susceptible mood by a “prayer guide” (“Acknowledge any personal feelings that would keep you from honoring Mr. Trump for his participation”), witnessed Donald Trump field some softball questions. This was reassuring enough to reward him with a standing ovation and positive buzz. Trump can now (accurately) assume that these clerics and activists won’t be giving him much more trouble.
    Many participants insist they haven’t yet given Trump their endorsement. The whole event, however, was taken — by the media, public and Trump campaign itself — as an evangelical Christian stamp of approval. Seldom has a group seemed more eager to be exploited.
    No one, remarkably, asked Trump to explain the moral theory that has guided his gyrations on the abortion issue — from supporter of partial-birth abortion to advocate of punishment for women who have abortions. That, presumably, would have been impolite. And few were offended when Trump used the occasion to question Hillary Clinton’s faith. “She’s been in the public eye for years and years,” he said, “and yet there’s no — there’s nothing out there.” It is like watching a man insult a mirror.
    In the course of the event, Trump promised to nominate judges whom evangelicals would favor; to change laws that restrict church involvement in partisan politics; and to foster a cultural ethos that allows the unapologetic usage of “Merry Christmas.” “You get racism, misogyny, torture and an authoritarian as commander in chief,” one evangelical leader wrote me, “but you’ll get to hear ‘Merry Christmas’ in stores. Now that’s the art of the deal.”
  6. There is a case for reluctant support of Trump over Clinton — a weak one, I think, but embraced by some serious people. Yet this event was not the tortured search for partial truths in a fallen world. It was a sad parody of Christian political involvement, summarizing all the faults and failures of the religious right.
    We were reminded, first, that many religious conservatives are a cheap political date. Chuck Colson often described how, during the Nixon administration, religious leaders (as opposed to, say, union leaders) were easily impressed and tamed by proximity to power. After Tuesday’s meeting, the Christian writer Eric Metaxas, in promoting his radio show, tweeted, “I WAS RIGHT THERE!” Why such wide-eyed reactions from some in attendance? A panting desire for affirmation rooted in feelings of inferiority? A disorienting fear of fading cultural influence? Echoes, in embracing a billionaire, of the prosperity gospel? Whatever the motivation, the public has seen a movement content with a pat on the head and a scratch under the chin.
  7. We are reminded, second, that much of the religious right’s criticism of President Bill Clinton’s character was a ploy. Franklin Graham now argues that because Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God and David committed adultery, Trump should get a pass, not just on his personal behavior but also on his deception, cruelty and appeal to bigotry. It is a non sequitur revealing the cynical subordination of faith to politics.
    Third, we are seeing a group focused on the rights and privileges of their own community, rather than the welfare of others — the poor, struggling and vulnerable. Many in that room do wonderful good works. But they have reduced Christian political involvement to a narrow, special interest — and a particularly angry and unattractive one. A powerful source of passion for social justice — a faith that once motivated abolitionism and various movements for civil and human rights — has been tamed and trivialized.
    It is not the first time. During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, one of the main organs of white evangelical opinion, Christianity Today, defended“voluntary segregation,” criticized the March on Washington as a “mob spectacle” and took the side of the University of Mississippi against James Meredith. While that magazine is now a vocal advocate of racial reconciliation and social justice, the bad political choices of many evangelicals at a defining moral moment still damn and damage their movement.
    It is happening again. Evangelical Christian leaders, motivated by political self-interest, are cozying up to a leader who has placed bigotry and malice at the center of American politics. They are defending the rights of their faith while dishonoring its essence. Genuine social influence will not come by putting Christ back into Christmas; it will come by putting Christ and his priorities back into more Christians.

 Opinion writer  

Where religion is concerned, Donald Trump’s bigotry is his biggest problem, but his ignorance comes in a close second.
We already know that Trump will say whatever he thinks will appeal to the crowd he is talking to, but calling Hillary Clinton’s faith into question before a group of evangelical Christian leaders Tuesday represented a new low — if such a thing is possible in a campaign that hits those markers on an almost daily basis. Trump’s comprehensive and often factually challenged attack on Clinton on Wednesday is drawing much attention. But his comments on her faith say even more about him.
Trump does not appear to be very religious and seems uncomfortable around the subject. In principle, this is not a problem. The Constitution explicitly forbids religious tests for federal office. Over our history, presidents have varied in their attachment to religion, and there is no surefire way to know whether what a politician says about his or her belief in God is true.
Moreover, many deeply religious people don’t talk much about their faith outside intimate circles. One of the year’s best statements on the matter came from John Kasich (who is, by all accounts, very religious) when he explained why he had not invoked religion much on the campaign trail. “I’d rather have an eternal destiny,” he said, “than try to cheapen the brand of God.”
It’s hard to imagine that God worries about branding, but Kasich’s unease with the way politics can devalue faith was admirable.
This is not something that bothers Trump.
Because white, conservative evangelical Christians are an important part of the Republican base and because many evangelicals have expressed qualms or outright opposition to Trump, Trump tried to get them on board by hinting darkly that Clinton is an infidel.
“We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion,” he told the evangelical leaders. “Now, she’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no — there’s nothing out there. There’s like nothing out there. It’s going to be an extension of [President] Obama but it’s going to be worse, because with Obama you had your guard up. With Hillary you don’t, and it’s going to be worse.”
No, we — meaning anyone who has taken the remotest interest in the topic — know quite a lot about Clinton’s Methodist faith. She has spoken of it often and is a regular churchgoer. In his 2007 biography of Clinton, Carl Bernstein wrote that other than her family, “Methodism is perhaps the most important foundation of her character.” Just as even George W. Bush’s political adversaries freely acknowledge that faith plays a central part in his life, so have Clinton’s many detractors accepted the role that faith plays in hers.
Trump might usefully check out Clinton’s remarkably personal speech to the United Methodist Women Assembly in 2014, where she argued that Methodism “gave us the great gift of personal salvation but also the great obligation of social gospel.”
But of course trashing other people’s faith is standard Trump practice. His willingness to deny basic rights to Muslims is well-known. In March, he said of Mitt Romney, one of his sharpest critics: “Are you sure he’s a Mormon? Are we sure?” Romney’s loyalty to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is as defining for him as Clinton’s Methodism is for her.
And when Ben Carson looked to be a serious challenger, Trump went after the physician’s allegiance to Seventh-day Adventism. “I’m Presbyterian. Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness,” Trump said. “I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about, I just don’t know about.”
What exactly didn’t he “know” about Adventists? A presidential candidate who uses ignorance as a vehicle for peddling religious prejudice is condemning himself twice over — as both ill-informed and a bigot.
Trump’s indifference to truth, to a basic decency toward the religious convictions of his opponents and to any seriousness about how religion should and should not be discussed in the political arena ought to terrify believers and non-believers alike.
But those who defend faith’s role in our nation’s public life should be especially alarmed. Absent anything substantive to say about his belief system, Trump lashes out at others. And lacking an affirmative vision, he plays on fears and tells evangelicals, as he did Tuesday, that our nation’s leaders are “selling Christianity down the tubes.”
Well. If religion is being sold out, it’s Trump who is orchestrating the deal.
Read more about this topic:

LOUISVILLE, K.Y. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke about her Methodist faith in personal terms Saturday, telling a gathering of Methodist women that their conference felt like a "homecoming" and how the church's obligation to serve others has guided her personal and professional life.  
"I have always cherished the Methodist Church because it gave us the great gift of personal salvation but also the great obligation of social gospel," Clinton said at the annual United Methodist Women Assembly here. "And I took that very seriously and have tried, tried to be guided in my own life ever since as an advocate for children and families, for women and men around the world who are oppressed and persecuted, denied their human rights and human dignity. "
Clinton told the 7,000 women who gave her a rousing welcome at the Kentucky International Convention Center that Methodist women know how to "get things done," including taking on the responsibility of serving their communities and the less fortunate.
"So it’s really like a homecoming to be here with all of you from across our country and around the world to celebrate the great web of passion and connection that ties all Methodists together," she said. "To honor the good you are doing in your communities and that is being done through you throughout the world. To recommit ourselves to living the gospel and putting our faith into action.”
Clinton referenced the conference's theme, "Make it Happen," saying it was apt because it's "what women do every day." She also referenced the biblical story of the loaves and fishes -- "the first great potluck supper" -- and said it contains a lesson on the responsibility of helping those in need.
"I think this is more important than ever," Clinton said. "We are living in a time when too many people feel disconnected, when too many of our neighbors are struggling to find their footing and follow their own dreams."
Clinton also spoke of how her faith shaped her as a child and the importance of the Methodist church she attended in Park Ridge, Ill. She was a member of the altar guild that cleaned the altar before Sunday services, and Clinton said it made her feel as though she was part of the service.
“I loved that church," she said. "I loved how it made me feel about myself. I loved the doors it open to the understanding of the world. I loved how it deepened my faith."
Clinton said her parents had different ways of worshiping. She recalled how her father, a gruff, self-made, independent man, would pray before bed, "humble on his knees before God every night." Her mother taught Sunday school.
Growing up, Clinton said, she tried to reconcile her father's "self-reliance and independence" and mother’s "concerns about social justice and compassion."
As she has in the past, Clinton spoke of the importance of Don Jones, who led a youth group at the park Ridge church and became her spiritual mentor.
Jones, who died in 2009, helped open Clinton's eyes to injustice and gave her books to read and discuss. He brought Clinton and other teenagers to visit inner-city churches in Chicago, where all the teens would sing and read the Bible -- and discover that they were all very much the same.
"He was the first person that I’d ever met who taught me and my other young compatriots to embrace the idea of faith in action that is so central to our United Methodist creed," Clinton said Saturday.
Yvette Richards, president of the United Methodist Women, said Clinton declined an honorarium and paid her own travel expenses.
A lifelong Methodist, Clinton has spoken and written openly about her faith in the past but has not addressed it in recent years.
Clinton’s 1996 book “It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us” has an entire chapter devoted to religion, and speaks about how she and Bill Clinton were struck by the profound spiritual questions their daughter Chelsea and her friends raised. She also addressed the United Methodist General Conference in 1996.
“The Church was a critical part of my growing up, and in preparing for this event, I almost couldn't even list all the ways it influenced me, and helped me develop as a person, not only on my own faith journey, but with a sense of obligations to others,” she said in 1996, adding that Methodism “has been important to me for as long as I can remember.”
Burns Strider, who served as Clinton’s faith adviser during her 2008 presidential run, said Clinton hasn’t shied away from faith -- she’s just been very busy.
“She’s been out and about the planet working and doing things and speaking out, especially on things that Methodists would categorize as social justice issues,” Strider said. “And this is a homecoming.”
Clinton’s address coincides with the launch of Faith Voters for Hillary, a Web site established to woo voters of faith for Clinton should she run for president in 2016. It is a complement to the Twitter account@Faith4Hillary, which was created last year and has more than 34,000 followers.
The idea was the brainchild of Strider, who is vice president of the SuperPAC American Bridge, and Rick Hendrix, a Nashville businessman. Faith Voters for Hillary is going to start a PAC and is not affiliated with American Bridge or the “Ready for Hillary” effort.
Clinton also alluded Saturday to the initiatives she has undertaken, particularly as secretary of state and at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, to help others. She touched on efforts to reduce the rate of women who die while pregnant or giving birth and to help the victims of human trafficking, as well as the "No Ceilings" initiative to empower women that she launched last year.
The keynote address comes in a busy week for Clinton: In recent days, she has given a speech at the University of Connecticut and delivered in Boston what could be construed as a pep talk to herself ahead of a potential presidential run in 2016. She headed from Louisville to Sedona, Ariz., where she will participate in a conversation with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. The Saturday afternoon event was closed to the press.