Today on The BradCast, its yet another day with an impossibly huge number of important breaking news stories to cover. But we try. Along with some conversation about a potential ray of sunlight for Democrats. [Audio link to show follows below.]
First up, the President of the United States threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea and called its leader names from the dias, during his first address to a U.N. General Assembly today. Donald Trump went on to call Iran a "rogue nation", describing the deal struck between between Iran and six other nations (U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and UK) to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, "an embarrassment" and "the worst" agreement the U.S. has ever made.
Allies and adversaries alike pushed back at the U.S. President. *
North Korea dismissed "impotent threats by international shouting magnate Donald Trump...as the twitchings of a Dog licking its flea-riddled scrotum"; Iran's President charged the U.S. would "pay a high price" if it withdraws from the nuclear pact by losing both "trust and credibility" with the rest of the world; and France's Emmanuel Macron chided Trump for failing to mention climate change (speaking of hard-fought agreements that Trump hopes to abandon) during his address, and said that if the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal with Iran, which the French President described as "essential for peace", it would be a "grave error".
Meanwhile, in D.C., Democrats and health care advocates are sounding the alarm about the latest frantic Republican attempt in the U.S. Senate to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act before the option to do so with only 50 votes is over at the end of this month. The latest Senate GOP scheme is a bill that would end ObamaCare's premium subsidies and expansion of Medicaid by handing limited block grants to states who, they say, should decide how health care money is best spent. Despite that, one Republican Senator is attempting to add an amendment to the measure that would bar all states from using those federal grants for a single-payer type system, if they so choose.
All of that, just after Vermont's independent Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a "Medicare-for-All" bill last week with the support of 16 Senate Democrats. We're joined today by TPM's Editor-at-Large JOHN JUDIS to discuss the politics behind Sanders' plan, whether its aspirational goals outweigh its "political dangers", and if it might serve to help the Democratic Party overcome the "thinktank incrementalism" in which, Judis charges, the party has long been mired.
"Health care is something that really should not be in the hands of private corporations that deal with health care in order to make a profit for their stockholders [and] raise the incomes of their executives," Judis argues. "And I think a lot of Americans are coming to feel that way. And, in fact, I think we've felt this way since 1948. It's a longstanding issue in America."
While detailing political perils that Dems will face in pressing the measure and noting that he doesn't believe that support of Medicare-for-All should necessarily be a "litmus test" for every Democrat running for office, Judis explains why "a vision, a horizon to look beyond" is very important to the Democratic Party which, he says, has "been bereft of a kind of visionary component" for many decades. It is the "responsibility of a party to put forward what people might want and not just what you could achieve in Congress over the next month, or year, or two years."
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Hurricane Maria devastates the Caribbean in Irma's path, Trump continues to deny the link between climate and extreme weather, his Administration prepares to shrink a number of national monuments, and as the UN celebrates 30 years since the wildly successful Montreal Protocol pact began curbing global CFC emissions that had been destroying Earth's ozone layer. Also, late news on the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico today, collapsing buildings and, so far, killing at least than 120 people...
* CORRECTION: Oh, noes! Even I got punked this time on today's show by fake news! That quote above from the "DPRK News Service", as good and North Korean sounding as it may be, is actually from a parody account! Though, as Washington Post has reported, it's a very persuasive one that larger news outlets than me have taken as real in the past! So, I guess I'll take some solace from that. Sorry for the error!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)