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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

It was supposed to die in the House of Representatives. As recently as June, pundits were pronouncing the Senate’s health care legislation dead in the water. But this week Mitch McConnell unveiled a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and incredibly, Democrats lack a third Republican vote to kill the bill. Even more remarkable is that the newest BCRA is even more monstrous than the last.

For Paul Krugman, “it’s surpassingly ugly, intellectually and morally.” On Thursday, the New York Times columnist called Republicans’ efforts to roll back some of the savage Medicaid cuts a “scam.” That’s because McConnell’s health care legislation dictates tax-favored health savings accounts pay insurance premiums. This would not only enable the rich to set up huge tax shelters, but subject them to marginal tax rates, providing obscene savings.

“This is still a bill that takes from the poor,” Krugman writes, “It just does so with extra stealth.”

As if that weren’t enough, Trumpcare would effectively decimate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The new BCRA includes a Cruz amendment enabling insurers to offer skeleton health care plans with huge deductibles. Even industry insiders believe Republicans are flirting with disaster. America’s Health Insurance Plans, a national political advocacy and trade association with approximately 1,300 members, warns the amendment would “fracture and segment insurance markets into separate risk pools,” causing “unstable health insurance markets.” In layman’s terms, it would kick off the dreaded death spiral Republicans have been predicting for the Affordable Care Act since its passage in 2010.

It’s really very simple. If the GOP manages to pass its health care bill, millions of Americans will be deprived of insurance, while those who manage to keep theirs will pay considerably more for less. As Krugman sees it, this is what Republicans have wanted all along.

“Conservative ideology always denied the proposition that people are entitled to health care; the Republican elite considered and still considers people on Medicaid, in particular, ‘takers’ who are effectively stealing from the deserving rich,” he concludes. “So what we’re seeing here is supposed to be the last act in a long con, the moment when the fraudsters cash in, and their victims discover how completely they’ve been fooled.”

Read Paul Krugman’s column at the New York Times.

Jacob Sugarman is a managing editor at AlterNet.

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


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Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.