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Ads for "Trumpcare," which doesn't exist, are everywhere

How is this even legal??

Ads for "Trumpcare," which doesn't exist, are everywhere

Do a quick search for health insurance, and you'll find plenty of ads for "Trumpcare" plans that cost $59 or less per month. But there's a catch: Trumpcare doesn't exist, and many of these advertised plans offer bare-bones coverage.

Why it matters: For people who buy health insurance on their own instead of receiving it through an employer, searching for a plan is already challenging. And deceptive marketing only makes it harder, especially when these plans will leave consumers on the hook for potentially ruinous medical bills.

Reality check: The primary way the Trump administration has altered the insurance market is by expanding niche products — including short-term plans, association plans and health reimbursement arrangements.

After seeing Trumpcare ads in search engines, I submitted contact information to get quotes about coverage options. Over the the next week, I was bombarded with 70 phone calls and 12 texts from insurance brokers.

Every broker I spoke to admitted there is no such thing as Trumpcare, and that it is a marketing ploy from the lead generator site.

When I asked how I could get the plan that was advertised for $59 or less per month, brokers said the ads were in reference to short-term plans or fixed indemnity plans that offer little to no coverage for serious illness or injury.

What they're saying: "These websites that are selling 'Trumpcare' are capitalizing on the fact that very few people know what's going on," said Louise Norris, an independent insurance broker in Colorado.

One family who recently bought a short-term plan through Health Insurance Innovations, a platform that has used fraudulent brokers, was on the hook for more than $244,000 in medical bills even though they thought they were protected, Bloomberg reported.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 07:28 AM (4 replies)

GOP Lawmaker Calls Trump Remark 'Repugnant'


GOP Lawmaker Calls Trump Remark ‘Repugnant’
September 29, 2019 at 10:38 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) criticized President Trump for quoting a pastor saying impeachment could trigger a “Civil War-like fracture” in the country.

Said Kinzinger: “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 06:31 AM (19 replies)

Biden Campaign Demands TV News Execs Stop Booking Giuliani

Biden Campaign Demands TV News Execs Stop Booking Giuliani
In a Sunday letter, the former vice president’s aides say that it is editorially irresponsible to book the president’s personal lawyer.
Maxwell Tani
Updated 09.29.19 3:15PM ET / Published 09.29.19 3:09PM ET

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign made an extraordinary request to executives of top news channels on Sunday, asking them to no longer book Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on their programs.

In a letter addressed to the heads of the major news and cable networks, as well as top news anchors, two top Biden campaign advisers make the case that by peddling routine falsehoods about the work of Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine, Giuliani’s presence on the airwaves is editorially untenable.

“We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump. While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation,” the letter from top aides Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield reads.

“We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative,” the letter continues.

The Biden campaign letter goes on to note that “Giuliani is not a public official, and holds no public office that would entitle him to opine on the nation’s airwaves.” And it demands that if the former mayor is put on the airwaves, “an equivalent amount of time” be given “to a surrogate for the Biden campaign.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Sep 29, 2019, 03:46 PM (29 replies)

Treasonous Trump Demands Democrats Treat Him Like They Treated Barack Obama


Posted on Sat, Sep 28th, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
Treasonous Trump Demands Democrats Treat Him Like They Treated Barack Obama

Donald Trump kicked off his Saturday morning as he so often does: by throwing a tantrum comparable to those seen around grade school playgrounds.

This time, as Democrats go full-speed ahead on impeachment, the president’s freak-outs are becoming increasingly laughable and somewhat pathetic.

In his latest, Trump – the man just caught trying to hijack the 2020 election and then cover-up evidence of that effort – revealed his new nickname for Democrats in the House and whined that they aren’t treating him like they treated President Barack Obama.

“Can you imagine if these Do Nothing Democrat Savages, people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC Plus 3, and many more, had a Republican Party who would have done to Obama what the Do Nothings are doing to me,” Trump tweeted.

Trump is asking the wrong question

On any level, comparing the current disgrace in the White House with Barack Obama – a man of character who led a scandal-free administration for two full terms – is the very definition of insanity.

But the real question Trump should be asking in his tweets is this: Can you imagine how the Republican Party would react if Barack Obama committed even a fraction of the impeachable and treasonous offenses that this current president has?


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 28, 2019, 11:14 AM (11 replies)

The Week That Everything Changed


The Week That Everything Changed
By Lili Loofbourow
Sept 28, 20199:43 AM


And suddenly, overnight, the party has acted. An entire landscape of political feeling that felt drearily constant seems to have changed. A whistleblower’s complaint about Donald Trump pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden for his own political gain—with help from Rudy Giuliani and William Barr, and from White House officials who tried to hide the conversation by relocating the transcript—seems to have blown open political possibilities that were previously unthinkable. For the moment at least (but what a notable moment!) the impression is of one of a party pursuing a clearly-defined goal while the opposition careens wildly. Understatement can communicate power, and Democrats who railed against Trump’s actions during the Mueller Report have spoken about the Ukraine affair more in sorrow than in anger. It’s remarkable what a difference a day (and a formal inquiry) can make. What just weeks ago may have seemed like lackadaisical resignation on the part of Democratic leadership now somehow scans as sober purpose. “This is not a cause for any joy that we have to go down this path,” Nancy Pelosi told New Jersey Democrats Friday night, the reluctant warrior. While Breitbart is tweeting “President Trump says Pencil Neck Has to Go!” and GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz claims that House Speaker Pelsoi has been “functionally catfished” based “on a bloodlust for the president,” Adam Schiff’s calmness comes off as steely by comparison. While Trump implies that members of his own White House are “close to spies” and appears to wish them dead, even friend-of-the-resistance Rep. Ted Lieu is echoing the speaker’s “last option” and “sad time” rhetoric. You don’t do that unless you’re more confident of the hand you’re playing—one that makes bombast and hyperbole unnecessary.

Just as instructive is what’s happening to Trump’s defenders: Despite emailing their talking points to everyone—including the Democrats, by accident—the right has not figured out how to respond. It is not in control of its tone. Money may be pouring in for Trump’s re-election as the threat of impeachment looms (his more fanatical supporters will follow him no matter what he does) but the discourse on the right, which is supposed to rationalize that loyalty, is scattershot and unfocused—even sensitive. Take Fox News: Trump acolytes on the network’s The Five started literally shouting at co-host Juan Williams when he brought up the talking points that had, by this point, circulated widely. “What does that mean?” Gret Gutfeld yelled. “Are you saying I got talking points? You got to answer to the accusation!” The rest of the network is no more composed: Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports that Lachlan Murdoch is considering a new post-Trump direction for the network, that Paul Ryan, who now sits on the board, is urging him to cut ties with Trump, and that Shep Smith and Tucker Carlson are feuding. Chris Wallace appeared on Fox News colleague Sandra Smith’s show to object to “the spinning that has been done by the president’s defenders over the last 24 hours.” Carlson was reduced to calling Rep. Schiff “mentally ill” on Thursday night, and even Sean Hannity, Trump’s smarmiest propagandist, told a confidant that the allegations in the complaint were “really bad.” Elsewhere, Breitbart referred to the whistleblower (whose identity is unknown) as a “partisan federal employee” and the Federalist called the exploding scandal “an elaborate gossipy game of telephone.” But no one can quite agree on the angle: While some have argued that the complaint was sloppy, others aver that it was much too polished: A commentator and former Trump staffer claimed that the complaint is “too convenient and too perfect to come from a typical whistleblower.” A lack of confidence is leaching through most of these attempts to launder tribalist loyalty into a principled stand. There might be no better approximation of the current state of the right’s rhetorical power than Devin Nunes’ claim at Thursday’s hearing that Democrats want “nude pictures of Trump.”

That doesn’t mean the right won’t find its footing. But its machinery is actually slow and ungainly relative to the whistleblower story, while what the Democrats have working for them is speed. The impeachment inquiry feels like an emergency (because it is one, even if others have come before it and gone unrecognized). And the Democrats’ single-minded sense of urgency is somehow outpacing the hurricane of misinformation the right usually generates to drive American news cycles.

It helps that this is a pretty straightforward case that has unfolded in good time. The whistleblower’s complaint builds on what we already know about how Trump operates and crystallizes the stakes in a new way, and perhaps most importantly it’s packaged in a way Americans can easily recognize as a scandal. The Mueller Report was too long and too complicated, too kneecapped by Justice Department guidelines and too already-reported for the average busy American to process and understand. But the Ukraine situation is clear cut, and the complaint is mercifully short. These factors have turned out to be key ingredients in a remarkable turn in political expression.


Things are moving fast. Friday morning, the White House blamed National Security Council lawyers for relocating the Ukraine transcript to the server it had no business being on. Some interpret this as another sign the circular firing squad is taking aim. As my colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley pointed out, Trump’s and Giuliani’s inclination to keep talking is generating a very useful list of witnesses for the impeachment hearings. And amid all this chaos, something palpable has shifted, and it might be our collective sense of how the seesaw of power has tilted anew, perhaps not so subtly. On the day Trump tweeted that if his “perfect phone call” wasn’t considered appropriate, “then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!,” Nancy Pelosi went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to say that “the clarity of the president’s actions is compelling and gave us no choice but to move forward.” She was by then in a position to afford some magnanimity. “I pray for the president,” she added. “I pray that God will illuminate him to see right from wrong.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 28, 2019, 10:34 AM (4 replies)

These Scientists Were Disbanded by the EPA -- They Plan to Meet Anyway

These Scientists Were Disbanded by the EPA — They Plan to Meet Anyway
Jordan Davidson
Sep. 27, 2019 12:44PM EST

A group of 20 scientists charged with reviewing the nation's air quality standards plans to convene and to issue a report on the country's air pollution regulations, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disbanded their panel.

In a move that is consistent with the administration's skepticism towards science and expertise, the EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, disbanded the Particulate Matter Review Panel, part of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, in October 2018, as The Hill reported.

When he disbanded the group, Wheeler claimed that the group — made up of some of the nation's top scientists assigned to review the impact of soot and other microscopic air pollutants on human health — took too long to perform its task, according to Bloomberg Environment.

Now, in a seemingly unprecedented maneuver, the scientists will meet in Arlington, Virginia Oct. 10-11, one year after they were disbanded, to issue a report on whether or not the current federal particulate matter standard is sufficient, according to Reuters.

The group, which now calls itself the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel wants to make sure there is a documented record of scientific consensus that reaches the EPA decision-makers.

"I'm proud to say that being disbanded is not an obstacle for our panel," said Chris Frey of North Carolina State University who chairs the panel to the NC State press office. "If anything, being told that we were unilaterally terminated has redoubled my determination to discharge the public service to which I originally agreed."


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 28, 2019, 07:03 AM (1 replies)

David Corn: How Trump's Response to the Ukraine Scandal Helped Russia


How Trump’s Response to the Ukraine Scandal Helped Russia
Intentionally or not, Trump gave Putin plenty of ammo for Moscow’s disinformation war.
David Corn

When President Donald Trump released a quasi-transcript of his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was trying to short-circuit a burgeoning scandal that was fueling a cry for his impeachment. Because there was no making-an-offer-you-can’t-refuse quid pro quo in the memo reconstructing the conversation, Trump believed he could spin this document into a defense. The truth was that this account contained an extremely quid-pro-quo-ish exchange. When Zelensky said Ukraine wanted more US anti-tank weapons, Trump immediately replied with a request for a “favor”: that is, Ukrainian-made dirt he could use against Joe Biden and the Robert Mueller investigation. Even though GOPers and conservative pundits did cite the document in echoing Trump’s claims of innocence, its release did not help the president and his crew. But there was one head of state it did indeed help: Vladimir Putin.

The memo included remarks from Zelensky that made the new and inexperienced Ukrainian leader—he was previously a television comedian—look pretty damn bad. In the conversation, he slavishly kowtows to Trump’s improper requests. He sucks up to the American president by noting he stayed in one of his properties on a trip to New York City. More significantly, he diminishes the assistance Ukraine has received in its fight against Russia from President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. “They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine,” Zelensky is quoted in the White House account. And Zelensky reportedly agreed to the release of the reconstructed transcript because he had the impression that Trump would only be putting out Trump’s side of the chat—not Zelensky’s. So it appears the Ukrainian leader got played.


The overarching goal for Russia is to get Ukrainians to believe that they are largely on their own. “There’s just Russia and Ukraine and no international coalition supporting Ukraine,” Fedchenko says, “and Ukraine is left without reliable military or political back-up.” And Zelensky’s remarks can be used—even if in somewhat of a tortured way—to push that point. As Fedchenko notes, “Russia wants there to be direct negotiations between the two countries, with Ukrainians believing no one cares about you. So let’s discuss peace, but on Russia’s conditions.” And this is a dangerous moment, he adds. Zelensky is inexperienced in diplomacy and governance, and he is not surrounded by a team of well-seasoned advisers and aides. (“Oh, Putin is loving this. It makes the Americans look unreliable and strengthens the hand of the Russians and the pro-Russians in the east,” Alex Crowther of the National Defense University told Foreign Policy. “By withholding aid, you are injecting instability into an already unstable situation and strengthening the Russians.”)

Fedchenko admits that he cannot quantify the ongoing Russian disinformation campaign now exploiting the White House memo. But he senses Moscow has revved up its propaganda efforts this week. “It’s intensified,” he remarks. “This case is certainly in progress. Russia is using this to try to corner Ukraine into one-on-one negotiations.”

By disclosing the quasi-transcript, Trump didn’t do himself any favors, and he certainly undermined Zelensky to Moscow’s advantage. But the same day Trump put out the memo, he went even further in screwing Zelensky. During a meeting with the Ukrainian president on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump said, “I believe President Putin would like to do something. I really hope you and President Putin get together and can solve your problem.”

It was a double whammy. First Trump provided Moscow a set of highly useful talking points for its disinformation war against a nation it has partially occupied; then he endorsed Putin’s strategic aim. Trump hurt himself this week, and he hurt Ukraine—but somehow he managed to hand Putin a beautiful gift.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 27, 2019, 08:51 PM (1 replies)

Frank Rich: The Case for a Fast, Focused Trump Impeachment

the national circus 2:50 P.M.
The Case for a Fast, Focused Trump Impeachment
By Frank Rich


No one needs to hear from me that Pelosi knows what she’s doing. She surely recognizes that one of the problems with a multi-strand impeachment inquiry is that there are so many potential charges against Trump and the grifters in his White House circle (family included) that it could take a decade to get to the bottom of them. She also has to reckon with the reality that there isn’t a ton of talent in her caucus that’s up to so demanding a job. For every capable and focused inquisitor like Adam Schiff, there are many more who, as we saw in Thursday’s hearing with the acting National Intelligence director Joseph Maguire, are prone to showboating, losing the forest for the trees, repeating each other, and, in general, hiding rather than advancing the prosecutorial ball.

There’s no time for this. Speed is of the essence for several reasons. In a nation attuned to binge watching, we like our stories to play out without interruption. What’s more, speed is the organic pace of a modern impeachment. Less than eleven weeks separated the opening of the House Judiciary Committee’s formal impeachment hearings on Richard Nixon in 1974 and the committee’s first vote on an article of impeachment. That same process took just under ten weeks in the Bill Clinton impeachment of 1998. Both efforts were narrowly focused even though in both cases the sitting presidents’ adversaries had other charges they were panting to adjudicate.

In both cases as well, the calcifying of public opinion sped up in tandem with the narrative, leading to a clear majority verdict and forcing cautious party loyalists to fall in line. The slow burn of the Nixon impeachment narrative may foreshadow Trump’s. It took until three months before Nixon’s resignation for three Republican senators to muster the nerve to call for his exit ⁠— three senators, not so incidentally, who were up for reelection that year. In Clinton’s case, his approval rating started skyrocketing in direct proportion to Newt Gingrich’s impeachment putsch, leading to the failure to convict in the Senate and a GOP political debacle. In the instance of Trump, we are already seeing the start of a shift in the polls, with major surveys this week showing for the first time that the country is evenly divided on impeachment rather than opposed.

Another argument for speed is that it’s a smart play to strike when the White House is on the mat. It’s an indicator of the overall disarray that Trump released the incriminating phone readout without even recognizing how incriminating it is. The ranks of the presidential bubble/bunker have dwindled down to heel-clicking sycophants who didn’t even think to put an impeachment war room in place. The fact that Corey Lewandowski’s name is being floated as its potential general indicates the bargain-basement caliber of talent available for such an assignment. It’s indicative of the shortfall that Trump and his GOP defenders have been reduced to recycling nearly half-century-old lines from Watergate. The Nixon White House spokesman Ken Clawson ⁠— to take one representative example ⁠— decried that investigation as a “witch hunt” ginned up by “people who were completely rejected at the polls” and were “trying to bring down this presidency.”

This week we’ve also seen the White House accidentally send its pathetic talking points to the Democratic congressional leadership and then, even more haplessly, attempt to “recall” the errant email once the blunder was revealed. The president who has declared war on leakers can’t even stop his own staff from leaking in broad daylight via a mass email blast. And let’s not forget the farcical White House effort at the start of the week to throw Rudy under the bus: Instead of making Giuliani the fall guy, Trump and his lackeys have instead spurred him on to grab any and every media opportunity to compound the charges and underline Trump’s guilt.

As the wheels are falling off at the White House, so they are spinning out of control in Trump’s already addled brain. It’s hard to see how his threatening whistle-blowers with death or calling Adam Schiff “sick” accomplishes anything beyond making the case that he is incapacitated and should be removed by the 25th Amendment ⁠— a solution also considered by some Republican senators as an impeachment alternative for Nixon. A Washington Post article this week quoted a former presidential aide as worrying that Trump’s fury “may lead to less structured output from the White House.” Given that there’s already no structure in the White House “output,” it beggars the imagination to wonder what’s in store.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 27, 2019, 03:46 PM (4 replies)

'Make the time, or quit': AOC demands lawmakers read the bombshell 9-page whistleblower report...

'Make the time, or quit': Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demands lawmakers read the bombshell 9-page whistleblower report after some said they didn't look at it yet
David Choi
12 hours ago

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York derided US senators for not having read the declassified version of the whistleblower complaint by Thursday afternoon.

Several senators cited numerous reasons for not reading the nearly nine-page complaint, which was released earlier in the morning.

"There is almost no excuse for a member of Congress to have not read the whistleblower report by now," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. "It's a few pages. This is literally our jobs. If you don't have the commitment to be here and do the work, cut your fancy fundraisers & make the time, or quit."


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 27, 2019, 01:57 PM (50 replies)

Kremlin says it hopes U.S. won't release details of Putin-Trump calls

Gee, ya think?


Kremlin says it hopes U.S. won't release details of Putin-Trump calls
1 hr ago

The Kremlin said on Friday that it hoped that Washington would not release confidential details of phone calls between President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comment when asked about the White House's release of a reconstruction of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that has set off a U.S. domestic political storm.

Peskov said it was not normal diplomatic practice to release confidential details of such calls and that he hoped the bad state of ties with Washington would not lead to a similar situation arising in Russia's case. (Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Tom Balmforth; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 27, 2019, 08:16 AM (14 replies)
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