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Boardman writes: "Obamacare was a rickety compromise with a Rube Goldberg structure trying to satisfy mutually exclusive goals, one of which was NOT universal health care coverage. But still it managed to insure some 20 million Americans who were previously without health care insurance."

Flanked by HHS Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Pence, Donald Trump reacts after Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor. (photo: Getty)
Flanked by HHS Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Pence, Donald Trump reacts after Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor. (photo: Getty)


Impeachable Offenses Announced Live on TV - by President Trump!

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

28 March 17

 

We were very close [on the health care bill]. It was a very, very tight margin. We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very difficult thing to do. I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obamacare explode. It is exploding right now…. It’s going to have a very bad year…. This year should be much worse for Obamacare…. We’ll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future, after this mess known as Obamacare explodes…. I know some of the Democrats, and they’re good people – I honestly believe the Democrats will come to us and say, look, let’s get together and get a great healthcare bill or plan that’s really great for the people of our country. And I think that’s going to happen.
– President Trump, press briefing March 24, 2017

uite a curious piece of Trumpery, this ten-minute meeting prompted by the failure of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA) to get enough support even to risk a vote in the House. This wasn’t President Trump’s health care plan – he’s never proposed a plan – but he’s still selling the possibility of a plan, bi-partisan at that, even if he has to allow – or cause – millions of people to suffer in the process, which implicitly involves his committing clearly impeachable offenses. Back to that in a moment.

First let’s wonder: why would anyone with a grasp on reality be surprised by the absence of Democratic support for eviscerating Obamacare? Obamacare was a rickety compromise with a Rube Goldberg structure trying to satisfy mutually exclusive goals, one of which was NOT universal health care coverage. But still it managed to insure some 20 million Americans who were previously without health care insurance. And Obamacare passed in the first place with no Republican votes! So why would Democrats, even the truly corrupt ones, vote to make a bad situation worse? No wonder President Trump quickly abandoned this argument untethered to any recognizable reality. He clearly acknowledged that, stating “Obamacare was rammed down everyone’s throats – 100 per cent Democrat.” The president suggested that if Obamacare collapses as he predicts, that will pressure Democrats to seek a bi-partisan deal to the Republicans’ liking. As a candidate, Trump was selling a health care con, and that hasn’t changed.

“Obamacare is the law of the land,” House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged after his bill, the AHCA, was pulled before a vote.

Ryan had failed to get Obamacare repealed or replaced. That’s mostly because “repeal and replace” was always just an empty slogan. Passed by the House a zillion times in the past seven years, “repeal and replace” isn’t any kind of a plan no matter how loud you shout it. “Repeal and replace” may represent Republican seriousness and substance at its highest level, but even zealous Republicans can’t pass nothing into law.

Given that Obamacare is the law of the land, the president has a duty, an affirmative legal duty, to uphold that law unless and until it’s constitutionally changed. That’s the point of the president’s oath of office in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This is reinforced in Section 3, which enumerates many of the president’s other Constitutional duties, including: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” [emphasis added]

So when President Trump tells the Washington Post, “The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode,” he may be cynically correct, but he’s Constitutionally wrong. As president, Trump has no right to let Obamacare explode. He has a duty to faithfully execute Obamacare, which may prove easier than he hopes, since Obamacare may not be currently exploding so much as settling into a disappointing, low level stability.

At this point, no one knows what the Trump administration will or will not be willing to do to undermine the law of the land that it despises. Active measures by the White House could clearly be unconstitutional, but so could passive responses to Obamacare’s difficulties. The new Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, Dr. Tom Price, a former self-dealing Congressman, is a devout Tea Party enemy of Obamacare and was a point man for its repeal. As HHS secretary, Price is responsible for managing Obamacare, obligated to do his best to make sure it doesn’t explode. But he is also in a position to make large and small decisions to undermine Obamacare by stealth and connivance. And what Price does or doesn’t do is all, ultimately, the president’s responsibility.

It’s hard to imagine that either the president and his secretary, with their vivid history of bad faith, will act honestly to make Obamacare work as well as possible. Perhaps they will be more or less correct in their prediction of an Obamacare explosion and clever enough to conceal whatever nefarious fingerprints they leave on the wreckage. What will Democrats do then?

The smartest, simplest answer for American health care that benefits the American people has long been in plain sight, and specifically rejected by President Obama in 2009, after campaigning on it in 2008. Senator Bernie Sanders has campaigned for it for decades, but it was specifically rejected by the Democratic leadership in 2016. Now the idea of single payer health care, also known as Medicare for All, is once more being dangled not only before Democrats, but before President Trump as the only way he can fulfill his grandiose campaign promises on health care. Senator Sanders, at a Vermont town hall style meeting with the other two members of the Vermont congressional delegation and an audience of about 1,000 people, said:

We have got to end the international disgrace of being the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a right not a privilege. Within a couple of weeks I am going to be introducing legislation calling for a Medicare-for-All, single-payer program.

Over two months earlier, on January 24, 2017, Michigan’s Democratic congressman John Conyers introduced exactly such a bill in the House, HR 676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, that went unmentioned by Sanders, or even by Vermont’s Democratic congressman Peter Welch, who is one of the bill’s 72 current co-sponsors. As summarized by Congress.Gov, in part: “This bill establishes the Medicare for All Program to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.” The bill is currently before four House committees, none of which have yet voted on it. Media coverage of the Sanders initiative often ignored the Conyers bill, as if Sanders were doing something new. On Democracy Now, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler summed up HR 676 and its long history:

HR 676, would be, you know, everyone just pays their taxes, and everyone is automatically eligible for a program like Medicare, only it would have no copayments, no deductibles for covered services, no participation by the private health insurance industry, so an expanded and improved Medicare, expanded to everyone, improved so it doesn’t have the kind of gaps in uncovered services that do—you know, do exist in the current Medicare program. We’ve been advocating that plan for decades. Frankly, Congressman Conyers and Senator Sanders have, as well.

Most of Washington’s “leadership” class is way behind the Democratic minority, and way behind the country on single payer health care – not least because it requires the constitutionally mandated general welfare of “we, the people” to take priority over the profits of insurance and drug companies. But maybe, out of opposition to Trump if not for better reasons, Democrats can unite around single payer. That would give them the policy high ground by supporting the medical consensus best choice for health care. And it would position them nicely as offering Trump a way, as he put it, to “work out a great healthcare bill for the people of this country,… a truly great healthcare bill in the future,… get a great healthcare bill or plan that’s really great for the people of our country. And I think that’s going to happen.”

The likelihood of that happening is probably increased by the threat of impeachment over failure to enforce Obamacare, assuming that Democrats have the courage to stand behind the Constitution. That should be made easier by the reality that President Trump has been impeachably in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause (Article I, Section 9) since the moment he took office. Democrats’ timidity to date is hardly reassuring, but perhaps they’ll be more motivated by the President’s weekly trips to promote Trump properties, or the cost of security for Trump family vacationers at Aspen, or the nepotism that puts un-elected millionaires like his daughter Ivanka in one White House office and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in another with apparent czar-like powers derived not from the Constitution nor the Congress, but only from his marriage to the president’s daughter. Presumably, at some point, already long overdue, Democrats (and even Republicans with respect for the Constitution) will find the courage and integrity to say enough is enough, but this is too much.

And if those impeachable offenses aren’t enough, maybe others will be, such as the resumption of US torture, kidnapping, and black sites – or the mountain of revelations about the conspiratorial nexus of agents of the Trump campaign with agents of the Russian power structure – or maybe just the stink of innocent dead victims of war crimes like the escalating slaughter of local civilians by American forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and likely other defenseless places. There must be a limit. Mustn’t there?



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+45 # Phillybuster 2017-03-28 14:42
Law enforcement needs to get some of the smaller fish first then offer them reduced sentences or immunity to testify against the next higher rung on the ladder. Pretty soon, there will be a line of miscreants waiting outside prosecutors' offices hoping to make a deal to save their own neck. They should start with Michael Flynn.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2017-03-30 20:33
And two days later that is reportedly the case. Don't break out the Budweiser yet, but IF (BIG if) the Democrats have the sense and the decency to hold his (Flynn's) feet to the fire, and if he sings, things could get REALLY interesting.
 
 
+54 # CL38 2017-03-28 15:02
You saw how people responded to the Republican's attempt to do away with Obamacare? If Trump & the gop attempt to 'let it implode' whatever that means, he will be held culpable. People will be out in droves to stop his latest selfish lunacy.

Waiting to see him impeached.
 
 
+4 # rogerhgreen 2017-03-29 19:46
"Wanting to see him impeached"? I'd be careful with that. Impeach Trump and you get Pence. Rather like getting rid of Nixon and getting Ford, but worse. Ford didn't have a lot of smarts - Lyndon Johnson commented that he had played too much football without a helmet. Pence is a political fox, much more in touch with conservative Congressional Republicans than Trump is. Make him President and he'll probably get a lot of the right-wing agenda passed, that Trump couldn't get passed. Just like Lyndon Johnson got a lot of JFK's agenda passed after JFK was assassinated, stuff like the war on poverty and the civil rights legislation. Just be careful what you wish for. If Trump is removed, be ready to fight the right wing'ers even harder.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2017-03-30 20:41
"Just be careful what you wish for."

Yes, an example of that maxim almost without precedent. Nevertheless, if Flynn has the goods and spills, the Democrats might have no other choice.

WHAT AM I SAYING?!?!? If the Republicans could thwart the clear intent of the Constitution for a year -- much less the five years certain Senators claimed to be willing to block ANY appointment to the Supreme Court -- surely the Democrats can draw out an impeachment proceeding for four years before dropping the axe.
 
 
+47 # Wise woman 2017-03-28 15:45
Yes - however we reached that limit last November. What we now have to deal with is the fallout resulting from the unheard of group of sociopaths running the country. Trump has the attention span of a low grade moron and a gigantic ego - an unhealthy combination not only for himself but for the country. I think he won't last much longer. Perhaps he will explode along with Obamacare??? Is signing an executive order trashing all of Obama's laws regarding climate change impeachable?
 
 
+24 # WBoardman 2017-03-28 21:37
As Gerald Ford said many years ago (I paraphrase):
an impeachable offense is whatever a majority in the
House of Representatives says it is.

Reversing another president's executive orders is not,
in and of itself, an impeachable offense.

But the attack on the environment could easily fit under 'the heading of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Just not likely with the current Congress.
 
 
+10 # Doc Mary 2017-03-29 14:52
Which means Job One for EVERYBODY is to get competent people in Congress in the next election - which I believe is 19 month away.
 
 
+3 # CL38 2017-03-30 17:54
If people rally for climate change as we did for Obamacare and women's marches against trump inauguration, we can twist their arms to do the right things. The thing they fear the most is not getting re-elected!
 
 
+19 # tedrey 2017-03-29 06:13
"Trashing" Obama's executive orders is one thing; trashing a congressionally (and presidentially) mandated law is quite another. And as I don't think Trump realizes the difference, I expect that may bring him down.
 
 
+19 # Phillybuster 2017-03-28 21:30
How many of Trump's advisers, family members and sycophants have to meet and deal with Russian oligarchs closely tied to Putin before the American people wake up and smell the vodka?

What's really scary is "you can't fix stupid" and the Mother of all Stupid is now at the head of our government.
 
 
+17 # grandlakeguy 2017-03-28 22:55
If the American people ever wake up and learn that our so called "free and fair" elections are a charade the uprising will sweep all of these corrupt politicians out of office.
Perhaps that is why American journalists are so intent on keeping the truth out of the mainstream and labeling those who speak out as looney conspiracy theorists!
I am proud to be in the company of Greg Palast, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, Marc Crispin Miller and Bev Harris!
The day WILL come when the treason of our fake elections is exposed.
 
 
+20 # elkingo 2017-03-29 01:37
Seems to me that this guy is at pains to kill off the elderly, the ill and the poor. A sort of pruning of the herd, leaving only the rich, who after are all, the only ones God loves.
 
 
+23 # Desiderata 2017-03-29 07:13
That photograph says it all. Three uber wealthy white middle aged men supposedly representing the needs of all.
America wake up.Get moving , get active, stop whining and get rid of them. As Trump's popularity tanks he quietly positions his family to
be him "in case" . Daughter , son in law ...hmmm
Trump Dynasty will be your new reality show for 2018 unless it is nipped in the bud now.
 
 
+4 # CL38 2017-03-30 17:56
or so they think.
 
 
+6 # newell 2017-03-29 13:49
Impeachment? The Republicans would love to have a President Pence, a really dangerous zealot, a true believer while Trump is just an obnoxious narcissist. Pence is ready for heaven and will take us with him.
 
 
+6 # CL38 2017-03-30 17:58
We need many, many more women to run and win public office to replace these white males who seem to hate and fear women.
 
 
+7 # CL38 2017-03-30 18:01
Pence lied, he knew about Mike Flynn's history as a foreign agent. Pence headed up Flynn's transition team.
 
 
+8 # Buddha 2017-03-30 12:23
Quoting William Boardman:
...why would anyone with a grasp on reality...


There is your problem right there, thinking Republican voters have any grasp on reality. Koppel put it well when he said that FOX and the GOP have attracted the fraction of our population for whom ideological purity matters more than facts and reality. The GOP is no different than a cult, where its followers are so bamboozled that they no longer can tell truth from fiction, reality from fantasy, and where they only believe what the cult leaders tell them to believe.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2017-03-30 20:44
I think it is less a matter of ideological purity than of (as Samuel Johnson is said to have once acknowledged) pure ignorance.
 
 
+1 # WBoardman 2017-03-31 10:59
But that raises another question:

in what sense can ignorance ever be "pure"?
 
 
+3 # Elroys 2017-03-31 14:55
The GOP is a cult of corruption, destruction and extraordinary greed and lies. We cannot allow the 36% who are corrupt and / or ignorant enough to continue to support this moron and his cabal of awful human beings to destroy America. It is an unfinished and critically important human experiment to allow these bastards to destroy it for the Mercers, Kochs and other trillionaire free market fundamentalists who have not care for the common good. We cannot let Trumph continue and we must find the way to run him and his cronies out of office, and soon. Otherwise, Putin and his cronies will soon be running the show. Let's see what he has on them. Let's see Trumphs tax returns - how about a $10mm rewards for the hacker(s) that expose them.
 

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