Monday, June 27, 2016

History Doomed To Repeat Itself

The white nationalists and skinheads, clad in black, began to arrive a little before noon Sunday for their planned march on the state Capitol grounds. They were met by hundreds of protesters toting signs that denounced “Nazi scum.”

Violence began almost immediately, authorities and witnesses said, and by the time the clashes ended 20 minutes later, at least seven people had been stabbed, nine were hospitalized and many more suffered bruises, scrapes and cuts.

"They attacked each other without hesitation," said counter-protester Chandra Zafra, 50, a member of the Mexica Movement nonprofit. "It was a war zone."

For much of the afternoon, the historic domed Capitol was locked down, with staffers and tourists inside. Police swarmed the park-like grounds, but by Sunday evening there had still been no arrests.

The Sacramento stabbings came several months after another violent confrontation between members of a Ku Klux Klan group and counter-protesters at an Anaheim park.

As Shakezula over at LGM puts it, these are our Brexit thugs, they are the guys that are going to be very, very angry after November 8 and they're not going anywhere.  This was the mistake the left made in 2008-2010, figuring that an America that could elect a black President was an enlightened, awesome place.  Instead we got the almost immediate Tea Party backlash, the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party in the South and Midwest, and a GOP Congress after two disastrous midterms.  We're one election away at this point from going back generations on civil rights.

These guys aren't going anywhere when Hillary wins, and 2018 is going to be brutal.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trump Cards, Con't.

The slow trainwreck of the Donald Trump campaign continues to disintegrate in June, where last month Trump had a slight lead over Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post/ABC News polls, he's now behind by 12 points, 51-39%.

The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.

Roughly two in three Americans say they think Trump is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and see his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican American heritage as racist.

A slimmer majority say they disapprove of the way Clinton has handled questions about her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and half of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Clinton presidency, underscoring the historic unpopularity of the two major-party candidates.

In fact, so strong is many Americans’ opposition to Clinton and desire for a change in Washington that even some registering their disapproval of Trump say that as of now they feel compelled to vote for him.

Nevertheless, in a head-to-head general election matchup, Clinton leads Trump 51 percent to 39 percent among registered voters nationwide, the poll found. This is Clinton’s largest lead in Post-ABC polling since last fall and a dramatic reversal from last month’s survey, which found the race nearly even, with Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 44 percent.

And yes, Clinton would be the most unpopular candidate a major party was set to nominate in decades, except for the fact that Trump is even more unpopular and significantly so.  Of course there are people who dislike Trump who will vote for him anyway, but gosh, more people will vote for Clinton.

Of course this means Bernie Sanders supporters are starting to come around to Hillary, and they're not the only ones:

In May, Trump was more competitive with Clinton because he had just secured the Republican nomination and the party’s electorate was coalescing around his candidacy. Clinton’s unfavorable ratings among registered voters tied their record high last month, matching Trump’s at 57 percent and weighing her down.

But that dynamic reversed over the past month, with Democrats unifying behind Clinton and Republicans expressing fresh doubts about Trump. While 88 percent of Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents say they support Clinton, a smaller 79 percent of Republican-leaning voters back Trump.

And there is evidence in the poll that the emergence of Trump as the Republican Party’s standard bearer has pushed some GOP voters out of the fold. Just 69 percent of self-identified Republicans who supported a candidate other than Trump in the primary say they now support Trump; 13 percent say they back Clinton, while 11 percent volunteer “neither.”

There is also little evidence that Trump is winning over Democratic primary voters. On the campaign trail in recent weeks, Trump has made direct appeals to disaffected supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But the poll finds that just 8 percent of voters who backed Sanders in the primaries say they support Trump, down from 20 percent in May.

So yes, Trump is starting to really show signs of total disintegration here.  We'll see.

Sunday Long Read: Hell In A Cell

This week's long read is Shane Bauer's outstanding, heartbreaking piece on his four months undercover as a prison guard in the nation's oldest private federal correctional facility in Louisiana, making $9 an hour working for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and seeing every kind of hell imaginable.

At the end of one morning of doing nothing, the training coordinator tells us we can go to the gym to watch inmates graduate from trade classes. Prisoners and their families are milling around with plates of cake and cups of fruit punch. An inmate offers a piece of red velvet to Miss Stirling.

I stand around with Collinsworth, an 18-year-old cadet with a chubby white baby face hidden behind a brown beard and a wisp of bangs. Before CCA, Collinsworth worked at a Starbucks. When he came to Winnfield to help out with family, this was the first job he could get. Once, Collinsworth was nearly kicked out of class after he jokingly threatened to stab Mr. Tucker with a plastic training knife. He's boasted to me about inmate management tactics he's learned from seasoned officers. "You just pit 'em against each other and that's the easiest way to get your job done," he tells me. He says one guard told him that inmates should tell troublemakers, "'I'm gonna rape you if you try that shit again.' Or something; whatever it takes."

As Collinsworth and I stand around, inmates gather to look at our watches. One, wearing a cocked gray beanie, asks to buy them. I refuse outright. Collinsworth dithers. "How old you is?" the inmate asks him.

"You never know," Collinsworth says.

"Man, all these fake-ass signals," the inmate says. "The best thing you could do is get to know people in the place."

"I understand it's your home," Collinsworth says. "But I'm at work right now."

"It's your home for 12 hours a day! You trippin'. You 'bout to do half my time with me. You straight with that?"

"It's probably true."

"It ain't no 'probably true.' If you go' be at this bitch, you go' do 12 hours a day." He tells Collinsworth not to bother writing up inmates for infractions: "They ain't payin' you enough for that." Seeming torn between whether to impress me or the inmate, Collinsworth says he will only write up serious offenses, like hiding drugs.

"Drugs?! Don't worry 'bout the drugs." The inmate says he was caught recently with two ounces of "mojo," or synthetic marijuana, which is the drug of choice at Winn. The inmate says guards turn a blind eye to it. They "ain't trippin' on that shit," he says. "I'm telling you, it ain't that type of camp. You can't come change things by yourself. You might as well go with the flow. Get this free-ass, easy-ass money, and go home."

"I'm just here to do my job and take care of my family," Collinsworth says. "I'm not gonna bring stuff in 'cuz even if I don't get caught, there's always the chance that I will."

"Nah. Ain't no chance," the inmate says. "I ain't never heard of nobody movin' good and low-key gettin' caught. Nah. I know a dude still rolling. He been doin' it six years." He looks at Collinsworth. "Easy."

The inmates' families file out the side entrance. A couple of minutes after the last visitors leave, the coach shouts, "All inmates on the bleachers!" A prisoner tosses his graduation certificate dramatically into the trash. Another lifts the podium over his head and runs with it across the gym. The coach shouts, exasperated, as prisoners scramble around.

"You see this chaos?" the inmate in the beanie says to Collinsworth. "If you'd been to other camps, you'd see the order they got. Ain't no order here. Inmates run this bitch, son."

"None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me."

Our mass incarceration system is awful.  Our corporations are awful.  Putting the two together was arguably the worst idea America has had over the last 20 years.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Last Call For Will To Powerless

The Party of Trump has lost long-time conservative WaPo curmudgeon and weird baseball fetishist George F. Will, who has apparently tendered his party affiliation in a fit of pique.

Will, who writes for the Washington Post, acknowledged it is a “little too late” for the Republican Party to find a replacement for Trump but had a message for Republican voters.

“Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House,” Will said during an interview after his speech at a Federalist Society luncheon.

Will said he changed his voter registration this month from Republican to “unaffiliated” in the state of Maryland.

“This is not my party,” Will said during his speech at the event.

He mentioned House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) endorsement of Trump as one of the factors that led him to leave the party.

Here's the kicker:

Will, a Fox News contributor, said a “President Trump” with “no opposition” from a Republican-led Congress would be worse than a Hillary Clinton presidency with a Republican-led Congress.

Which, if you think about it, that's bonkers, and this is how I know he's lying.  Trump with a GOP Congress would be the Dubya years unchained, would almost certainly lead to a 6-3 SCOTUS conservative majority, and effectively the end of the New Deal and Great Society eras that have defined modern liberalism for the last 80 years.  The Republicans would have nearly unfettered control of the entire US government and total control of at least half the states and the Democrats would be relegated to a being a coastal, urban party.

In part, it would be exactly what Will has said that he has wanted for decades. And you want me to believe that he's bailing on Trump out of principle after helping to create and enabling his rise?

That's hysterical.  Tell me another knee-slapper like this, laughing this hard burns a respectable amount of calories.

It's far more likely that Will is walking away from this slow-motion car crash so he can say "See? Trump failed our conservative values, but I was smart enough to know better."  He's saving his career, is what he's doing.

Nothing more, nothing less.  Count on it.

Waging Concession Negotiations

The Sanders camp is starting to get concessions from Clinton and the DNC as far as this year's official party platform, and the first is something America needs to get behind: a federal $15 minimum wage.

Democrats' platform drafting committee took a first step toward giving Bernie Sanders a major concession, voting to adopt language in support of a $15 minimum wage. The committee, which will continue drafting the party's guiding document Saturday, also aligned itself with Sanders's support for progressive ideas such as abolishing the death penalty and expanding Social Security, the Associated Press reported. The minimum wage language adopted echoes a common refrain by Sanders, who has called the current federal minimum of $7.25 a "starvation wage."

The platform also tackles financial reform, calling for "an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall."

Sanders has refused to suspend his campaign and endorse Clinton despite the fact that she has clinched the nomination. He has turned his focus to instilling progressive ideas into the party's platform — the party adopting proposals in support of a $15 minimum wage and free college tuition could factor into Sanders's potential support of Clinton.

"Right now, to be very frank with you, we are talking to the Clinton campaign to try to determine whether or not they can come up with some very serious proposals which will help us transform America," Sanders said to supporters at a rally in Albany, N.Y., Friday. "Whether it will happen or not — that's a good question. I don't know. We are working with them right now."

Clinton has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $12 but has expressed support for movements calling for $15 in places like New York and Los Angeles.

Considering California and New York have already beaten Clinton to the punch on that, it's good to see yet more evidence that Clinton is trying to accommodate the Sanders position on things in the name of unity, that's how it's supposed to work.

Having said that, hey Bernie folks? You will never, ever, ever, ever, ever see a dime increase in the federal minimum wage in this country again as long as Republicans control either chamber of Congress.

Help Democrats fix that in November.


Dispatches From Bevinstan, Con't

The unstoppable Obamacare analysis machine that is Richard Mayhew takes a look at Gov. Matt Bevin's new Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid waiver and nails him to the wall in one paragraph:

The only way money is being saved as per person costs are either the same or higher is by covering fewer people. The way that Kentucky will cover fewer people is by putting up half a dozen barriers to enrollment. Premiums, health savings accounts, limited open re-enrollment periods, benefit lock-outs and job training requirements all are barriers. Individually any of those barriers might only knock a few people out from the pool, but they are a bewildering array of complexity when put together. The goal of this type of waiver design is to reduce costs by making more people go without insurance.

And if all that sounds familiar, that's the same exact plan Republicans are using to keep people from voting, to keep people from getting abortions, and to keep people from taking advantage of a host of other government programs.  If you make it too obnoxious to get, then people will start going without it.

Bevin is no different.  His plan is designed to kick people off the Medicaid rolls, period, and claim that they're too lazy to jump through the hoops he set up to get back on.  It's not his fault people aren't going to do all the things he's making them do in order to get health coverage, you see, it just weeds out the bad ones.

The reality is far different, but Bevin doesn't care.  Once again, we punish the poors and tell ourselves that if we ever needed Medicaid, that we would follow all the rules out of "dignity".

And this state will buy that line of crap every time.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is Kaine Able?

Hillary Clinton will be here in Cincinnati on Monday at a fundraiser with Mayor John Cranley, which isn't super weird with Ohio very much being in play in November or anything. She'll be here along with Elizabeth Warren, which is definitely making people ask if Clinton has made her VP selection already.

Hillary Clinton will campaign Monday in Cincinnati with progressive U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – marking Clinton's first public appearance in Cincinnati this election cycle and her first campaign stop with Warren, a possible vice presidential pick. 
Clinton will also appear Sunday night without Warren at a twice-postponed fundraiser at Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley's home, with contribution levels ranging from $1,000 to $33,400. 
On Monday, Clinton and Warren will appear at 10:30 a.m. at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. The two women "will discuss their shared commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," Clinton's campaign said in a statement. Tickets to the event are available at
Clinton and her supporters have touted Warren's endorsement as the former first lady seeks to unite Democrats after a long primary battle with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders' progressive ideas won support, and primaries, all over the country. But Clinton won more delegates in primaries and won the support of most of the party's superdelegates, emerging this month as the presumptive Democratic nominee. 
Warren, a longtime progressive leader, waited until this month to endorse the former secretary of state over Sanders. She could help Clinton pull more Sanders supporters to her side.

But having Warren actually by her side isn't enough apparently to stop the rumors that Clinton really wants Virginia's Tim Kaine as her running mate.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is emerging as the leading candidate atop Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential short list, according to Democratic allies and operatives close to the campaign. 
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and HUD Secretary Julian Castro are also top prospects for the Democratic ticket — both representing nods to important Democratic constituencies.

But they have serious drawbacks that make them less appealing for Clinton than the Spanish-speaking, Terry McAuliffe-endorsed, former missionary and swing state governor, who was a finalist in Barack Obama’s vice presidential vetting process eight years ago. 
Kaine currently towers over other top-tier candidates still in consideration like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, California Rep. Xavier Becerra and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. 
“Tim Kaine was a finalist eight years ago because of his executive experience, solidity, values, standing in a critical state and overall profile as someone who would be a good governing partner to Obama,” said former Obama senior strategist David Axelrod, who was involved in the selection process eight years ago. “He was very much in contention and highly regarded.”

Which is weird, because that's exactly what Politico said 8 years ago about him being Obama's veep.

As Senator Barack Obama turns to the choice of his running mate, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has emerged as one of the campaign’s potential finalists, sources familiar with conversations in Richmond and in Chicago said. 
Kaine, an early Obama supporter whose biography nicely dovetails with the Illinois senator’s, "ranks very, very high on the short list," said a source who has spoken recently to senior Obama aides about Kaine. 
Kaine "is getting a critical examination," the source said.

That turned out to be utter BS, and we already know that Politico is happily printing warnings from Wall Street that they will abandon the Democrats completely if she picks Liz Warren.

So no, I wouldn't worry about Kaine, rather than Clinton campaigning in a swing state with somebody on her short list.

Anarchy In The UK

A little Sex Pistols this morning in honor of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson (who will most likely be the net PM) and the rest of the Brexit crew managing to convince the UK to leave the EU and wreck their own economy for a decade or so. 

I am an anarchist
Don't know what I want
But I know how to get it
I want to destroy the passerby

Apart from causing a sharp, short-term hit to Britain’s economy, the first consequence of Thursday’s vote to leave the EU will be a government crisis in London. David Cameron is now almost certain to resign as prime minister and Conservative party leader — most probably sooner rather than later. A new Conservative administration, distinctly more anti-EU in tone, would replace him.

Unless carefully managed, this process will damage relations between London and other EU capitals. The latter will interpret the Brexit vote as a hammer blow to Europe’s unity. For the sake of protecting that unity, they will be in no mood to offer generous post-Brexit deals for Britain. Negotiations will be in danger of turning into an acrimonious tug of war, distracting Europe from other urgent business.

Second, Brexit will make financial markets more sensitive to the vulnerabilities of the 19-nation eurozone. Sterling has already plunged to a 30-year low. Investors will ask whether, in the light of the Brexit shock, eurozone governments have the political will and public support to strengthen the architecture of European monetary union.

One test will be whether Europe’s banking union, including a plan for common deposit insurance, makes progress over the next 12 months. At present it is blocked. More ambitious proposals, such as an Italian plan for common EU “migration bonds” to finance the EU’s response to the refugee and migrant crisis, will have little chance of being turned into action.

Individual eurozone countries will be under intensified market scrutiny. Ahead of the British vote, yield spreads widened between German government bonds and those of less financially solid southern European countries.

The outlook for Portugal, which is ruled by a shaky coalition of the moderate and radical left, is unsettling investors. The deep-seated troubles of Greece have never gone away. In Spain, which holds a general election on Sunday, the prospects for stable government and economic reform are clouded by a fragmented political party system and Catalan separatism.

Not to mention the almost assured rise of Marine Le Pen and the French nationalists in Paris. Count on other countries to hold referendums as well, and it's not going to be pretty.

Now it's still possible that the next government will find a way to stay in and will not invoke Article 50 and leave the EU within two years, but the odds of that are pretty low.  We won't know the full damage from this for several years at the minimum, but this is a cautionary tale: fear of the other won an historic victory in the UK last night.  I'm thinking at some point it will win here in the US, too.  Maybe not Trump, but somebody far worse.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Trump Cards, Con't

It's finally soaked in under The Donald's neoprene hairpiece that the best way to get Republicans to stop hating him is to make them hate Hillary Clinton as much as possible. That it took this long for him to deliver a conspiracy-laden tirade against her in a speech is telling, but it was the red meat the Pretty Hate Machine wanted to chew through, and they got it by the truckload. NPR's Mara Liasson was very impressed.

Donald Trump did what Republicans have begged their presidential candidate to do for months — lay out the case, from A to Z, against Hillary Clinton. 
Trump didn't hold back in a blistering speech Wednesday. He went through chapter and verse of every criticism — based in fact or conspiracy theory — against the Clintons. In sum, Trump said, Hillary Clinton may be a "world-class liar" and "the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States." 
The speech will be fact-checked, and before it was even delivered, the Clinton campaign and its allies were pushing back with a detailed rebuttal. Nevertheless, the political significance of the speech is undeniable. After wasting the first six weeks of his time as the presumptive nominee of the GOP — getting sidetracked almost daily by petty personal feuds and provocative statements — Trump finally laid out a case against Clinton on foreign and domestic policy. 
This speech should quiet some of the angst inside Republican circles about the quality of the campaign Trump is running (or not running). Opposition to the Clintons is one of the strongest strands in the GOP's DNA — and now that decades-long animus seems to have found a focused champion in Donald Trump. 
It's the speech Republicans have been itching to hear, in a crystallized way, since the 1990s. Trump gave them exactly what they wanted and likely quelled some fears about his candidacy. They might not be totally behind him, but Republicans are virulently opposed to her. 
And the best way to galvanize people who should be on your team is to find a common enemy.

So we're congratulating Trump for being a standard, hateful Clinton-bashing Republican? Mara definitely misses the 90's. Ironically, it took this long for Trump to focus on Clinton because his overweening narcissism prevented hm from talking about anyone other than himself for a year.

And let's not overlook the fact that the speech itself was basically one giant bucket of lies.

Look, Trump figures his only shot is to try to drag Clinton down to his level.  It will probably work to keep the "Never Trump" rubes (including Liasson, apparently) in line, but it's not going to help him with anyone else.  Still, to have any shot in November, Trump has to get his party behind hating Clinton 24/7.

We'll see how that works out for him.

Ryan In The Reign Storm

So how did Rep. John Lewis and House Democrats get away with their sit-in protest over forcing a vote on gun control legislation on the floor of the chamber yesterday, and why were House Republicans so utterly unprepared to deal with it?  Two reasons: social media, which allowed the Democrats to broadcast even after the GOP pulled the plug on proceedings in the House, and Paul Ryan being the most inept House Speaker in decades. 

A Democratic protest demanding votes on gun-control legislation led to pandemonium in the House chamber that did not end until early Thursday, when Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his fellow Republicans reclaimed control long enough to force through a major spending bill. They then abruptly adjourned and left the Capitol.

Furious Democrats remained on the House floor, where they huddled around their leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who praised their stand as a “discussion heard around the world.”

Ms. Pelosi expressed bewilderment at the Republican position. “What could they be thinking?” she asked. “Whatever it is, they don’t want to tell anybody about it. That’s why they left in the dead of night.”

The standoff, which began with a Democratic sit-in on the House floor just before noon on Wednesday, did not end until about 3 a.m. Thursday when Mr. Ryan — barreling over Democrats’ objections — took the rare and provocative step of calling a vote on a major appropriations bill in the wee hours and without any debate. He then adjourned the House, with no legislative votes scheduled until July 5.

The House approved the bill, which includes $1.1 billion in emergency financing to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus — and more than $80 billion in other government spending — by a vote of 239 to 171 shortly after 3 a.m.

Republicans dashed from the chamber into the sticky heat gripping Washington and were met by protesters who jeered, with some shouting, “Do your job!”

All I have to say is that John Boehner, for all his incompetence in getting rolled by Nancy Pelosi and sometimes even his own party on a regular basis, never would have let John Lewis get this far in the first place.  He would have known this was coming after Senate Democrats tried a similar move, moved the Zika vote up, and would have placated Lewis with a promise to vote before the Dems got hours of free publicity making the GOP look like a bunch of savage assholes.

But this was Paul Ryan's show, and he failed the tests from the get-go. Instead of taking control of the House immediately, Ryan went to CNN to talk to Wolf Blitzer, when Republicans had been avoiding the media for the month of June in order to dodge Donald Trump questions.

Amid Ryan's bluster about due process, which should come as a real surprise to the families of  the victims of Orlando's massacre, was the fact that Ryan was pleading with media to call foul on the whole affair and side with him in order to help shut Lewis down.

No such luck. Meanwhile, the Senate is introducing bipartisan legislation that would block gun sales to people on the No Fly list.

Maine Republican Susan Collins and a bipartisan group of senators have introduced a compromise bill that would authorize the Justice Department to deny gun sales to individuals on two terror watch lists; while the proposal's chances of passage are still unknown, it's the first congressional response to the Orlando attack that has had the backing of figures from both parties. (Four other gun-control bills failed along party lines in the Senate earlier this week.)

The bill—technically an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act—would apply restrictions to individuals on the no-fly and "selectee" lists, a narrower group than would have been covered by a failed amendment proposed by Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The proposal attempts to address concerns about Constitutional-rights issues related to the watch lists by including "a process for Americans and green card holders to appeal a denial in U.S. Court of Appeals and to recover their reasonable attorneys fees if they prevail."

So by shutting down the House, Ryan now gives the Democrats in the Senate the opportunity to move this bill forward and continue their narrative, with Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine already on board.

Ryan got rolled, plain and simple.  For once, it's working in America's favor.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Last Call For Crossing The Rubio Con, Con't

It's official, Sen. Marco Rubio really is going to run for re-election after his disastrous presidential run.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will seek reelection to a second term, sources familiar with the decision said Wednesday, a complete reversal from his earlier plans that gives the GOP a significant boost in its efforts to block a Democratic takeover of the Senate. 
Rubio becomes the immediate frontrunner in a battleground race that Democrats had been slightly favored to win, though he faces a primary and a potentially tough general election to secure a second term.

Indeed, the first Quinnipiac poll measuring Rubio getting back in the race after his heavily rumored return last week finds Rubio coasting to an easy win over both his potential Democratic opponents.

In Florida, Sen. Rubio leads U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy 47 - 40 percent and tops U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson 48 - 40 percent. Murphy and Grayson are ahead of several largely unknown Republican contenders.

That's somewhat surprising, but we'll see how long this lasts once Rubio comes under attack.

"With Republican national leaders worried about keeping control of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio might ride to their rescue if he decides to reverse field and seek re-election," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"This Quinnipiac University poll finds Sen. Marco Rubio in good shape when matched against his two potential Democratic opponents," Brown added.

"None of the other Republican candidates for Sen. Rubio's seat has a lead over either of the two Democrats, Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson. But if Rubio's last-minute decision is to seek re-election, he could be in the driver's seat."

Until he crashes the car.  We'll see.

Bevin Dis-Kynects Medicaid In Kentucky

And so seven months after taking office, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin makes good on his threat to wreck the country's most successful Medicaid expansion under the ACA and replace it with Indiana's broken plan where everyone pays a monthly premium for Medicaid "out of dignity".

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday he's seeking a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. 
If the Medicaid waiver is approved, Bevin said it will result in $2.2 billion in taxpayer savings. 
Bevin announced his "transformative and sustainable program" called Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health, or HEALTH. Under the plan, Kentucky would impose premiums on able-bodied adults from $1 to $15, depending on their income levels. 
Bevin said requiring Medicaid expansion users to pay for their own premiums will give them "dignity and respect." The program is about teaching people, he said, emphasizing it is a "learning experience."

One catch though, for people who have been on Medicaid for "years" it seems that $15 a month may not "fully cover" benefits.  Also, it seems that Gov. Bevin will "use health care dollars" to address the state's opoid addiction epidemic, but he doesn't say how.  On top of that, there are several things that will no longer be covered by HEALTH that Medicaid in Kentucky covers now, like "non-emergency transportation". Also, Bevin says that the program will go statewide but start as a "trial" in "select counties" first, by which I'm betting he means Fayette and Jefferson counties. You know, Lexington and Louisville.  Where those people live.

That's how he'll get away with it with the voters until after he's up for re-election in 2019.

Oh, and finally, he's taking 400,000 hostages.

Bevin said if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services does not grant the waiver, he will still move ahead with his plan to repeal Medicaid expansion in the state.

Understand that this is an open threat to 400,000 Kentuckians: accept being one of the poorest states in the nation where Medicaid recipients have to pay monthly premiums, or Bevin will kick them off health coverage completely.

Because "dignity".

By the way, you can laugh at Kentucky being stupid all you want to, but I won't spend too much time on it. Should the Republicans win in November, the Bevin HEALTH plan is coming to your state, too.
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