Friday's HOT MIC
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
President's agenda today
I do not have the public agenda for President Trump today. Yesterday afternoon the president left for New York and was greeted by "well over a thousand" protesters.
They were there to greet President Trump, reports CBS New York, as he headed to a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at an event at the USS Intrepid.
The crowd booed and chanted "New York hates you!" over drums and tambourines.
There were also some supporters.
A small group of Trump supporters also gathered along the roadway, holding signs that said, "Thank God for Trump" and "Deport illegal aliens."
The group broke out in cheers of "U.S.A!" and "We love Trump!"
"We've got his back," said Grace Vasquez, a New York City native.
CBS News describes yesterday's protests as "a much smaller affair" than usual.
"We want him to know the resistance remains, even in his hometown," said Ruthie Adler, 30, a Manhattan waitress.
Democrats whip up hysteria over the House passage of AHCA
Yesterday the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Democrats are entirely unhinged. The bill still needs to get through the Senate before Trump can sign it into law, but that didn't stop the fear-mongering.
Some on the left predicted that millions will die now that the GOP has ripped their insurance away. Washington Free Beacon has a nice collection of Twitter hysteria.
Naturally, the elite, rich celebrity class weighed in on the bill.
I am calling on Patton Oswalt and Ron Perlman and Alyssa Milano to personally subsidize sick and needy Americans' health insurance premiums and medical costs. You are all rich. Nothing stops you from starting a charity with all your Hollywood money to help people pay for their healthcare. It seems you want the burden placed on the working middle class instead. This is why people hate the rich Hollywood elitists: They are very generous...with your money.
Senate has its own plans for healthcare
Let's turn to the Senate, apparently a much tougher audience than the House.
Republican senators say they don’t see a way to get healthcare reform over the finish line, even if the House passes a bill this week.
A senior GOP senator said the chances of getting 51 votes for legislation based on the House healthcare bill are less than 1 in 5.
The Senate is trying to figure out what they can pass, meaning they will write their own bill.
But the GOP senators are also preparing: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has convened a group of conservatives and moderates to figure out what healthcare legislation could get 51 votes on the Senate floor.
McConnell and the top two members of his leadership team, Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and GOP Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.), met with the group Tuesday.
People who attended the meeting said the group is trying to figure out if a consensus can be reached among Senate Republicans on an ObamaCare replacement bill.
If the group can’t reach an agreement, there is already discussion on whether a bill should be brought to the floor.
They will likely use the bill’s parliamentary framework but gut the legislation in favor of a completely different proposal, a process that will take weeks, or likely months. In fact, that probability emerged as a selling point in the House this week, with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) telling Bloomberg, “I would hope it gets changed over there.”
“The safest thing to say is there will be a Senate bill, but it will look at what the House has done and see how much of that we can incorporate in a product that works for us in reconciliation,” Sen. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) told the Washington Examiner.
And he is not the only senator who plans on editing the House bill:
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said there is “zero” chance the bill will pass quickly through the Senate without undergoing some major adjustments.
Moderate GOP senators have already registered complaints with the House bill’s reductions to Medicaid, while conservative members are said to be reviewing provisions that would defund Planned Parenthood and give states more flexibility on costs and care.
And then there are the moderate senators:
Four moderate GOP senators — Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) — are expected to push for more protections for Medicaid expansion beneficiaries.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has questioned whether Americans with pre-existing conditions would encounter significant insurance-related issues under the House bill. She also remains opposed to efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, according to an aide.
The AHCA will not be going anywhere soon. The Senate will wait until the CBO analyzes the House bill and estimates its cost. Ed Morrissey says the soonest the Senate can act is late June.
Hillary Clinton launches PAC...SOON
Hillary Clinton, who has two failed presidential campaign under her belt, along with years of federal law enforcement scrutiny, will be launching a PAC to resist Trump and "it could come as soon as next week."
Clinton, according to the sources, is currently working with former aides and donors to build an organization that will look to fund and invest in groups that have impressed her since her 2016 election loss.
Clinton identified herself as part of the so-called resistance earlier this week, and that was not in passing. The former secretary of state has been watching groups stand up to Trump from afar and is "particularly fired up," in the words of one source, to fund these groups and broaden their reach.
"I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance," Clinton said in her sit-down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. At other events she has heralded the work of small organizations that have grown in response to Trump.
"Activism is more important than ever, and it's working, from the women's marches across the country and around the globe to helping to bring down the Republicans' terrible health care bill," Clinton said earlier this year in Texas. "But we have to keep going."
Who in their right mind would give this woman money? She raised an unbelievable amount of cash for her campaign and lost. She's a confirmed loser at the ballot box; voters do not like her and view her as untrustworthy.
The group will have a small staff, including the few aides that are still working with Clinton day-to-day, but the former secretary of state is in the process of finding a board of directors. Dennis Cheng, Clinton's campaign finance director and longtime fundraiser, and Judith McHale, the former secretary of state's deputy at the State Department, are both currently working with Clinton on the project.
One thing I think the new Clinton PAC posse will find is that if they aren't selling access and favors as the Clinton Foundation appeared to do, they aren't going to get much money. Now that Clinton has no political power or the promise of political power, there's no reason to "donate" to her.
According to sources, the PAC will be named
Resist Together Onward Together.
And never forget: The Democrats suffered horrific national losses while Obama was in office: 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency.
Do the Democrats have a platform anymore? What is it? What are they trying to sell to the electorate other than NOT TRUMP? Let's see how that works.
Democrat Senator wants special prosecutor for Huma
Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wants a special prosecutor to investigate if Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin broke the law when she forwarded classified information to highly blackmailable ex-husband Anthony Weiner.
“If there was classified information and it was improperly passed to a person unauthorized to receive it, yes, naturally it’s a crime,” Blumenthal said on MSNBC. “Without knowing what the intentions were and so forth, there is potentially a prosecutable crime.”
This is going to be GREAT fundraising fodder for the new Hillary PAC!
FBI Director James Comey revealed during his testimony Wednesday that Abedin regularly forwarded emails from the Democratic presidential candidate to her husband out of convenience. “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him, I think, to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state,” he said.
When asked if either she or Weiner would be charged with misuse of classified information, Comey responded, “there was, we completed it.” “because with respect with Ms. Abedin in particular, we didn’t have any indication that she had any sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. We couldn’t prove any intent.”
I can't wait to try this out: "Officer, I didn't intend to drive over 55 mph so you can't give me a ticket."
The TSA warns about truck attacks like the ones we see in Europe. No word on who to watch out for that might drive such trucks.
And that's all I've got. Now go beat back the angry mobs.
Cinco de Mayo Greetings from the Daily Beast!
Ever since Paula's "slave to Chrome" comment this morning, I've had this Bryan Ferry earworm going.
But that's OK; it's an awesome earworm.
Private emails from the campaign of the leading candidate in France’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, have been posted online by an unknown source. The politician confirmed the leak in a statement, warning that this was, like other recent hacks, an attempt to interfere with the election and that fabricated content was mixed in with genuine emails.
“The ‘En Marche!’ movement has been a victim of a massive coordinated hacking campaign that is leading to leaks on social networks tonight,” read the statement issued by the campaign (TechCrunch’s translation). “The documents circulating were obtained several weeks ago in hacks on the personal and professional email inboxes of multiple people in charge of the movement.”
The emails were posted in a number of formats to Archive.org, then links to those files collected on a Pastebin page by someone using the handle Emleaks. A cursory examination of the documents by TechCrunch indicates a variety of content, from budget discussions, loan contracts, and so on. We are currently unable to verify these documents, but many are at least not obviously fake or modified, like some that have appeared as part of other politically motivated leaks.
A great deal of the emails are to or cc’ed to Cédric O, who is treasurer for Macron’s party En Marche, as well as consultant Pierre Person. This is a good indication that their accounts were specifically targeted, although others, including at least one Gmail account, appear to be represented.[...]
This timing is unlikely to be coincidental; releasing potentially damaging information (and damaging in that it was even able to be stolen) days before the election, and at a time when it cannot be officially discussed, is a fairly obvious attempt to affect its result.
It's not just the polls. There's another not-so-secret secret reason that LePen has less than zero chance against Macron in the French election: the stock market (aka la bourse). You'd have to be a pretty clueless investor not to have noticed the big jump in markets when Macron looked to be the big winner after the first go-round. That's not changing. I'm not clear on the percentage of French citizens who are invested in stocks -- here in the USA it's roughly 50% -- but it couldn't be that far off, even if somewhat less. People are just going to vote their pocket books -- duh -- whatever they think of the EU, immigration, etc. They pay for it eventually (or soon), but that's the way it is.
Mine own self, I confess I'm less depressed about this than I would have been a few weeks ago. When Marine made that statement denying French complicity in the Holocaust, I checked out. The apple had fallen close to the tree after all.
Speaking of the market, the percentage of Americans investing is down slightly. Reason: the millennials. They don't have the money. Tough luck for them, considering what's been going on since Trump was elected. The Nasdaq and the S & P hit all-time highs AGAIN today. Will that continue? Not forever, but maybe for long enough to make a killing. Bon chance!
Amusing to read all the reports of new new Syrian no-fly zones just negotiated by the ever-delightful Russians, Turks and Iranians. Somehow the true ruler of the Syrian skies got omitted. Somehow I don't think they're worried. Who do you think has the better, more experienced, more high tech airforce - these guys or the Russians?
Sorry, but I've got to beat this horse some more -- it might still be breathing.
This is coming from Avik Roy, whose ObamaCare criticisms have been right on the money since the law was just a gleam in Harry Reid's (now damaged) eye. Roy says that "Ryancare" got regulatory reform right, which is great. He also says that the bill does help to fix Medicare -- except for the parts it screws up. So that part is a mixed bag.
But then there's the big oops:
What Ryancare gets wrong: Health insurance tax credits
Unfortunately, the A-plus on the regulatory side is balanced out by a C-minus on the tax credit side. House Speaker Paul Ryan adamantly opposed a means-tested approach to providing financial assistance for premiums, instead insisting on a flat tax credit that remains the same if you’re at the poverty line or nearing six figures.
That approach means that million of low-income Americans in their fifties and sixties will be priced out of the insurance market, while millions of upper-income Americans who don’t need the help will get a big tax credit. Many of the people adversely affected by the AHCA are Trump voters whose favored candidate campaigned on “insurance for everybody.”
Furthermore, the Ryancare tax credit will trap millions in poverty, by slapping them with thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums should they make enough to no longer be eligible for Medicaid. That will discourage the poor from working and rejoining the economy.
On top of all that, Ryancare does nothing to reform the unlimited tax break for employer-based coverage that does so much to make insurance unaffordable for everyone. Indeed, the bill takes Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax,” an imperfect reform in the right direction, and pushes it back to 2023.
I want you to reread one line: "That approach means that million of low-income Americans in their fifties and sixties will be priced out of the insurance market, while millions of upper-income Americans who don’t need the help will get a big tax credit."
Those older, low-income Americans are also a big part of the Trump coalition, and those "upper-income Americans who don’t need the help" consist of a lot of gentry liberals.
So Ryancare as-is hurts those who pegged their hopes on Trump last year, and helps those who think of those Trump voters as a bunch of mouth-breathing racists.
Maybe this can get fixed in the Senate or through reconciliation, but as of right now, Ryancare contains a pill that's just too big to swallow -- and a poison pill at that.
Your moment of climate wisdom:
The increasing irrelevance of TV ads is not news, but the growth rate of Facebook advertising shown here is something to behold:
As Facebook nears the five-year anniversary of its initial public offering, it's worth reflecting on how far it's come. In 2012, Zuckerberg's baby was the world's tenth-biggest seller of ads behind a bunch of traditional media companies such as CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc., according to Zenith Media. It has trounced almost all of them to rise to number two in the rankings, surpassed only by Alphabet Inc., the Google parent that dominates search ads.
Together Google and Facebook controlled one-fifth of the $543 billion spent on ads last year, up from 11 percent in 2012.