Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ First, thanks to so many of you for reading my latest column at Real Clear Politics. And I want to thank many others who shared it with friends by email or as Facebook posts.
It’s important to shame the organizers of the Dyke March–if such embarrassment is even possible.
In any case, it is important to explain how they mistreated the Jewish lesbians who wished to march with a pride banner that included the Star of David. Instead, they were banned.
Today, the march organizers saw the criticism and, rather than recanting, actually doubled-down on their idiocy. They even repeated the grotesque charge of “pinkwashing,” as if Israel’s positive treatment of gays were somehow a subterfuge. Truly paranoid reasoning.
It’s passing strange to see the extreme left and extreme right find one thing they can agree on.
◆ Healthcare bill postponed in the Senate: Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes and delays a vote until after the Fourth of July recess. He has some dollars to bargain with.
But his main leverage, as I see it, is individual Republican holdouts understanding the grave political dangers they face if they cannot pass a reform bill, however imperfect.
Mitch puts a smiley face on the delay and says they continue to make progress (story here at the Washington Post)
Meanwhile, the nineteenth Obamacare cooperative has failed; only four are left standing. (Washington Free Beacon)
It’s like an Agatha Christie movie as we wait to find out which one is left alive.
◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆
Comment on the basic political problem facing Republicans on the healthcare bill
The biggest problem for Republicans who want a smaller central government but still want to be reelected is this:
Obamacare subsidizes health insurance for everyone up to four times the poverty level.
That’s extremely costly, of course, and actually has the perverse effect of lowering the quality of care (to keep costs down) and channeling subsidies away from the most needy (because so much is devoted to others, just above them).
Whatever the problems, people get hooked on “free” benefits, especially if somebody else is paying.
Unwinding those benefits is nearly impossible politically.
The Democrats knew that when they passed the bill.
Indeed, passing out such largess and locking in these big-government social programs has been the basic Democratic strategy since the mid-1960s.
That’s exactly what they did here.
Among the beneficiaries are lots of “working poor,” including the lower-middle-class whites who voted for Trump but won’t vote for Senators who take away their benefits.
What Republicans are coming to recognize, however painfully, is that they may be able to scale back the subsidies a bit and promote market-based solutions, but they cannot undo the basic features of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi subsidy program. It has already metastasized.
◆ As Venezuela descends into chaos and civil war, a policeman stole a helicopter and strafed the country’s Supreme Court (CNN)
Regime loyalists shot back and lobbed grenades.
Comment: Sean Penn had no comment.
◆ Three Chicago cops indicted for lying to coverup an infamous 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer. (Chicago Tribune)
When tapes of the shooting were finally released after more than a year, the city was engulfed by protests.
The shooter, Officer Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder, and the DA who withheld the tapes was defeated in her campaign for reelection.
But people also wanted to know about all the other officers on the scene. What did they say and do?
That’s what the current charges, made by a special prosecutor, are about.
They strike at what critics call a “blue wall of silence,” sometimes buttressed by outright lies.
◆ Former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, finally registers as a foreign agent (Politico)
He did not register while he was receiving the money and doing the lobbying. Now, he has. His firm
made more than $17 million working as a foreign agent of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, according to newly filed disclosure reports. –Politico
These pro-Russian groups didn’t put all their eggs in one basket. No sir.
They also hired two other firms for big money, one of them with a family name, The Podesta Group.
Who runs the Podesta Group? Why, it’s the brother of the chair of Hillary’s campaign.
Comment: That sulfurous smell? It’s the Washington Swamp, and it’s bipartisan.
◆ How big is Facebook? Two billion monthly users. YouTube is up to 1.5 billion (Techcrunch)
Whatsapp is now over a billion, as is Facebook Messenger.
Twitter, by contrast, has 328 million monthly users, all with very short attention spans.
◆ The Onion: Robert Mueller Begins Thirteenth Day Undercover As White House Janitor
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Bob Schwartz for the update on the Dyke March Collective
◆ Michael Lipson for the Manafort story