On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's assertion at the White House on Monday that "ObamaCare is finished, it's dead, it's gone...There is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore" is a blatant, cruel and malevolent lie. It is also, along with Trump's other efforts to undermine the federal law, an impeachable offense. Also today, very real and proven effective solutions to gun violence, which do not receive attention or funding they deserve. [Audio link to full show is posted at bottom of article.]
First up, Trump's recent comments and actions to sabotage American health care are, as I argue, in violation of his sworn oath to "protect and defend the Constitution", which includes the Article 2 requirement that the President must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
Instead of faithfully executing the law, Trump is undermining it, and putting millions of Americans at risk of losing access to affordable health care, as provided by the Affordable Care Act. In addition to his unforgivable lies about ObamaCare on Monday, thanks to his announcement late last week that he will stop payments to help cover out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays for low-income citizens (as mandated by the ACA), insurance premiums have now sky-rocketed in a number of states, including in Pennsylvania, which, its insurance Commissioner announced on Monday, will see average increases of more than 30%. (Similar increases are also slated for Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, Alaska and dozens of other states, thanks to Trump and the GOP's attempt to gut the Obama-era law that has helped some 30 million obtain and pay for health care, while improving health care insurance plans for hundreds of millions of Americans.)
Despite Trump's dangerous and impeachable lie, ObamaCare still very much exists. Its Open Enrollment period runs November 1 through December 15 at HealthCare.gov. (Please spread the word, since Trump also cut millions of dollars of funding to do exactly that, so most simply don't know.)
At the same time, Republicans continue to block gun safety legislation, even after 58 were murdered and more than 500 wounded in a matter of minutes by a gunman in Las Vegas just over two weeks ago. But while such mass murders make momentary headlines and gun safety legislation continues to be mired at the state and federal level --- thanks to the arms industry representatives of the terrorist-enabling National Rifle Association (NRA) --- very successful efforts to curb gun violence in the areas that need it most go largely overlooked by both Democrats and Republicans alike across the country.
We're joined today by PASTOR MICHAEL MCBRIDE, National Director for the LiveFreeUSA.org campaign, comprising hundreds of faith congregations throughout the US committed to addressing gun violence and mass incarceration of young people of color. McBride explains how, despite the organization's remarkable success rate in curbing gun violence in minority communities (see his recent NYTimes op-ed), such programs are often shamefully overlooked or ignored by public officials.
"We have been able to, over the years, figure out strategies to target those at the highest risk of shooting and being shot. And help make sure that their lives are saved, their lives are redirected, they're behavior is transformed and changed," McBride explains. "And, most importantly, we have communities that are not over-determined, that are not traumatized, that are not filled with fear because of the prevalence of gun violence."
"We believe that these are the strategies that we can implement and fully resource at the local level, without having to change the policies or get bogged down in a 2nd Amendment argument," he tells me, explaining how it can be done without over policing as well. "Too often in the black community, in poor communities, brown communities, racial profiling is used as the primary tool to try and identify these individuals, and that creates a 'collective punishment' kind of environment, where everyone in the community who looks like a 'criminal' is then treated as one. And we have found that that is not only unconstitutional, but it is certainly not effective."
McBride, who served as an Advisor on President Obama’s Faith Based Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, explains "we have found, consistently in cities across the country where this is done, decreases in violence in the first 18-24 months that can be as low as 30% and as high as 60%. Those numbers are unprecedented." He adds those numbers are achieved "without more arrests, without more incarceration" and even result in drops in police shootings, misconduct charges and complaints.
As to why such strategies are too often overlooked by politicians of all stripes, McBride argues that "'tough-on-crime' [policies] and growing police departments and building more prisons has been a bipartisan slam-dunk for those who want to seem they are being responsive" to neighborhood gun violence. But, these "very much underfunded" programs work and are far less expensive than too-often tragic alternatives. He describes it as "the cost for peace vs. the cost for death".
Please tune in for this highly informative conversation with more details than I can properly relay here.
Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with a remarkable amount of news on, among other things, the record hurricane that smashed into Ireland this week, the post-Hurricane crisis in Puerto Rico, the historic deadly wildfires in California (and elsewhere) and coal plants being shut down in both China and Texas...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)