Continued Veterans Administration Failure

Dr Dale Klein is, formally, on the Veterans Administration payroll—to the tune of a $250,000/yr salary—but he’s not employed by them, and so his pain management skills are actively denied our veterans who would benefit from them.  Klein blew the whistle on his proximate employer’s—Southeast Missouri John J Pershing VA facility—secret waiting lists and wait time manipulation practices.  Now he’s shunned by his employers and banished to a room by himself where he’s denied access to his patients and patients are denied access to him.

Another Assault on US Intellectual Property

Beijing has proposed requiring cloud-computing services providers to turn over essentially all ownership and operations to Chinese partners and could result in the transfer of valuable US intellectual property, according to the letter, viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Not “could result”—technology theft transfer is the point of the requirement.  This comes against the backdrop of the People’s Republic of China’s ongoing technology requirements.

China already places restrictions on investing for foreign cloud providers operating in the country under rules passed in the last two years…including forced collaboration with rivals and technology transfer.

Is the PRC market really worth these losses?

House Freedom Caucus of No

Yesterday, the membership of the House Freedom Caucus of No forced the American Health Care Act, the first stage of a three-stage Obamacare repeal and replace program offered by the majority of the House Republican Conference, to be withdrawn from the day’s backup vote (recall that these No-ers already had forced a delay from Thursday’s vote over their demand to have their way or there could be no Act), and so there will be no AHCA.

Delays

The House Republicans were forced to cancel yesterday’s scheduled American Health Care Act vote.  The Freedom Caucus, the Caucus of No, couldn’t be satisfied.  Congressmen like Jim Jordan (R, OH) and Caucus of No Chairman Mark Meadows (R, NC) refused late compromises, all the while insisting by implication from their refusals that constituents of other Congressmen, for instance Tom Cole (R, OK), worked for them and not that Cole worked for his Oklahoma constituents—and that those Oklahoma constituents might have different imperatives than those Congressmen of the Caucus.  So, no compromise from the No-ers.

Obamacare Replacement

One aspect of the plan on offer in the House is this:

…whether it includes enough reform to arrest the current death spiral in the individual insurance market.

Notably, the bill includes a new 10-year $100 billion “stability fund” that allows states to start to repair their individual insurance markets. Before ObamaCare, it wasn’t inevitable that costs would increase by 25% on average this year, or that nearly a third of US counties would become single-insurer monopolies. With better policy choices, states can make coverage cheaper and more attractive for consumers and coax insurers back into the market, and the stability fund is a powerful tool.

Republican Gadflies

Karl Rove talked about health care coverage prospects in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, and that triggered a thought in my pea brain.

Senator Tom Cotton (R, AR) has announced that the House plan on offer, a plan designed to be passable through reconciliation, with later phases of repeal and replace for completing the task, is dead on arrival, and the House shoe start over and produce a more comprehensive plan in this first phase.  But Cotton has chosen to not offer a plan of his own, or outline what a plan acceptable to him would look like other than to address taxes and to more fully repeal right damn now Obamacare, or even to offer the tactics he’d use to get the new plan—which could not be done through reconciliation—past a Progressive-Democrat filibuster.

Dismembering Government?

If the advance word leaks about President Donald Trump’s upcoming budget proposal can be believed, it would appear that his swamp-draining and Government downsizing are about to get start.  And “news” outlets like CNN are getting their panties bunched over the prospect.  This is from this outlet’s piece, tellingly headlined Trump’s plan to dismember government:

It would codify an assault on regulatory regimes over the environment, business and education bequeathed by former President Barack Obama, and attempt to halt decades of steadily growing government reach.

And this:

Privacy

Cross-posted from my comment on the matter at Grim’s Hall and based on a CNN article.

From Comey’s quote as provided by CNN:

There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America….

That’s his (cynically offered, because I don’t agree he’s either as stupid or as ignorant as he’d have to be otherwise) straw man; he’ll have to play with his dolly without me.

He also has distorted (deliberately, if not from his lack of understanding, coming from Government’s perspective as he does) what the Founders wrought:

Misguided

In light of whose DoJ it’s been doing this most recently, it’s easy to say it was nefarious.  But the whole thing could be eliminated with either of a couple of steps and a change in underlying procedure.

What is “it?”  It’s a secret (or merely secretive) slush fund fed by settlement proceeds from DoJ civil suits against large banks.

When big banks are sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they can settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims. The settlements do not specify how these third-party groups could use the windfall.

Call Them on Their Obstructionism

Heather Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, says go big or go home regarding Obamacare.  Republicans in Congress should quit dithering, should not play reconciliation games, and should simply put an Obamacare repeal and replace package up for vote.  This would force the Democrat obstructionists—especially those #NeverTrumpNoHow and #NeverRepublicanNotEver Progressive-Democrats in the Senate on the record as by-name blocking reform of the Obama program that is in its death spiral, the endpoint of which will leave millions of Americans without health coverage and without even coverage providers to which to appeal.  Especially put those 10 Progressive-Democrats pretending to moderacy in order to protect their precarious reelection chances in 2018 on the spot.