Wednesday, May 09, 2018

How the politics works now

This paragraph is quite the mouthful.
Yesterday, she repeated her assertions in an article published by Watchdog.org, a well-known propaganda arm of the Franklin Center for Government Integrity, a far-right, anti-science organization funded by the petrochemical industry and loosely affiliated with the Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council (better known as ALEC).
Lamar is writing there about Slidell Republican State Senator Sharon Hewitt's crusade against "Medicaid fraud" which, no, that is totally not a thing.  But please read Lamar's explication. It shouts out our old pal Bruce Greenstein who is currently working in the Trump Administration and somehow I did not know about that.  (WAIT. I did know. Apparently I forgot.  Dammit, the whole reason I write stuff down on this blog is so that is less likely to happen. What are we even doing here?)

Anyway, the little bullshit pipeline Lamar describes in that paragraph is worth noticing.  It's well organized, well funded, national in scope, and it is how right wing activists get their message out. And while some tools (doctored video distributed via Facebook, for example) are more common now than they once were, the basic form of the Republican Puke Funnel has been with us for some time. It's only gotten further institutionalized at the state and local level recently and Hewitt's little exercise here is a good example of that.

I guess it's also worth pointing out to what end this is all aimed. The budget passed recently in the Louisiana House of Representatives represents an effective $1.8 billion cut to health care services (state and federal matching funds combined.) This week, the Health Department is notifying 37,000 Medicaid recipients that their benefits are in jeopardy.  The Republicans continue to not take this seriously saying at various times the deficit is not real, or that there is money to find somewhere, or that the feds will step in and fix the problem, or just kind of mumbling nonsense until their voices trail off.  Oh also, as we've seen, some of them are falsely claiming there is widespread "fraud" happening so billions of dollars in cuts is probably justified anyway.

The long term play here is the same as it was at the outset of the year.  Republicans are betting that those among their constituents who are harmed by the horror budget are likely to blame the Governor next year anyway. Which is why, even at this late hour, they're not in any hurry to fix this.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' staff also told The Associated Press he is looking at officially calling the special session to start May 22, a Tuesday, though that timeline could change. 

But Edwards and Alario have always expressed an eagerness to move on to a special session as quickly as possible. It's Barras and the House leadership that have been fuzzy on when -- and sometimes if -- they want a special session to take place.

That fuzziness continued into Tuesday. While Alario may have been certain about what the target for ending the regular session was -- and what would happen if that deadline wasn't met -- Barras was far less resolute in his statements.

"I guess you could call it the aim, but I can't guarantee anything at this point," said Barras of the May 18 date for ending the (regular) session.
 What are y'all's plans for the shutdown? 

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