“Removing the flag in South Carolina was one thing, but racism exists in South Carolina as policy and social practice.”
Two years ago this week, a young woman did something nearly unthinkable: Brittany “Bree” Newsome approached the South Carolina statehouse, scaled a 30-foot flagpole, and took down the Confederate flag.
“You come against me with hatred, oppression, and violence,” Newsome shouted with the flag in her hand. “I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”
Newsome’s move, for many, was nothing short of cathartic. Weeks before, white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine parishioners and injured three more during Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The day before Newsome climbed the flagpole, former President Barack Obama gave a moving eulogy for South Carolina state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the shooting’s victims, in which he called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.”
Newsome’s move caused an uproar but soon after, then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill removing the flag from the Statehouse grounds permanently. This year, New Orleans has removed several Confederate monuments from across the city, but local groups are calling for more.
Only a few years ago, Newsome says she would have been considered a hashtag activist. She worked as an artist in residence at Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency in New York, and was focused on art and filmmaking. Then the George Zimmerman verdict came, acquitting him of murdering Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. She said that verdict coupled with the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling on voting rights was a wake-up call. She went from tweeting to protesting and marching. Today Newsome says she is an artist and an activist who wants to use her background in communications to give voice to social justice issues.
Looking back on the anniversary of her bold act, Newsome reflects on the days leading up to the protest, and what racial activism looks like in the Trump era.
Why did you feel the flag needed to be taken down?
On one hand there is a kind of general history that's represented by the Confederate flag and then it resonated for me in a personal way. My ancestors were enslaved in South Carolina. I know their names. This is not something that's abstract for me in any kind of way. I grew up with my grandmother who was raised in Greenville, who told me about her experiences seeing the Ku Klux Klan beat her neighbor and things like that. The massacre in Charleston brought a refocus on the flag.
Why did you choose that day? Did President Obama’s call for the removal of the flag encourage you to do it or had you decided before then that you would take it down?
We [Charlotte activists] actually decided before. The Tuesday before [I scaled the pole] we had a meeting. There were about 10 to 12 of us activists who were on the ground that day involved in the action who, prior to the massacre happening in Charleston, had had previous conversations about how we would like to take the flag down in South Carolina, but it wasn't a concrete plan. It was just something as people who had grown up in the Carolinas this was just something that has always been an issue.
I was riding down to Columbia to take the flag down when I was listening to [President Obama’s] eulogy and it only confirmed for me that we were doing the right thing — very much in the spirit of the history of civil disobedience and the history of the civil rights movement in this country. We were doing it very much with that historical awareness. This flag was raised in 1961 really as a statement against the civil rights movement that was going on at the time. Then here we were with a kind of new modern civil rights movement going on and here we are, this attack on a black leader in a church.
How did you prepare for that day?
When we came together that Tuesday one of the people who had been in that conversation brought some other activists together who had a background in environmental activism, including a Greenpeace activist who had experience scaling trees. It was that Tuesday we had the meeting, when I agreed that I would do this. I asked everyone if I could just have a day. I didn't want to talk with anyone. I knew that this was not only very dangerous, I knew that this could be life altering either way. It was something I really couldn't talk to my family about. This was so secret what we were about to do so I took a day on Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday that was when I trained.
I worked with a Greenpeace activist and with James Tyson. He was the man who stood at the bottom of the pole when I scaled, kind of like the safety. He has a farm in South Charlotte, North Carolina, and he had a light post on his property, so we started on that but it was wider than we knew the actual flag pole would be. We tried lamp posts in a park a couple of times. We eventually did find a flagpole to practice on at a school. It really resembled what I would have to climb in South Carolina.
You said you took a day to yourself before training. What did you do? Did you meditate? Did you listen to gospel music? Were you thinking about your ancestors, or were you thinking about the enormity of the task at hand? Did you ever think, "Maybe I shouldn't do it, I want to back out?"
Everything that you mentioned, these were all things that were going through my mind. It was a mix of all of that because at the time that I agreed to do it I felt an overwhelming call. When we were in the house where they had the meeting, I stepped away to another room to really pray, to really read some scripture and pray even before I told them that I would volunteer to do that role. Then the next day, it was kind of like a wave of fear. I really thought about the enormity of it. I might have contacted one of the activists to talk about it again, and just to really make sure that I was very, very sure that this was what I wanted to do.
Upon reflecting on all of those things, I knew that I would regret it more if I had an opportunity to do this — which I felt was very much the right thing to do — and we had not done it. I honestly believe that the flag would still be up today had we not put that additional pressure on the state.
I read that you recited the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 27 when you were taking the flag down. Tell me about that.
I had no doubt about the decision that I had made at the time, but that didn't mean that I was oblivious to how dangerous it was and so it really did require faith on my part. I very much believe that God called me to scale the flagpole that day and I believe that God would bring me safely down. But faith is something that we practice, so even in that moment just praying and staying focused and calling out to God was very important.
How did it feel holding that flag in your hand?
The only word that can come to mind for me is triumph. It was triumphant at that point, and I recognized just how powerful the symbolism of it all was. There was the actuality of it and then there was the symbolism of it. I could just feel like at that moment I really did symbolize the struggle. Like it wasn't just Bree Newsome scaling the flagpole.
This was like the struggle of all these generations of black people to dismantle white supremacy. That's what it felt like and that's what I symbolized in that moment and I think that's part of why it resonated so much with everyone because there were so many people who wanted to do that. So many people thought that flag and South Carolina's refusal to lower the flag and so many people, I'm sure, were like, "Man, I wish I could just climb up there and just take it." In that moment as people were watching me it was like we were all there selectively doing that.
It just felt triumphant. Even if they raise the flag back up again as they did, it was part of, I think, what put that final pressure on them that needed to go ahead and lower it. To have this moment where we demonstrate this agency as black people and I think in the same way that it demonstrated power and agency for the Greensboro Four to go and sit down at the Woolworth's counter. "You're saying we can't sit here? We're going to sit here." You're saying we can’t lower this flag? We are going to lower this flag today. It was just a feeling of triumph.
I’ve heard you talk about this powerful image of a Black woman taking down the Confederate flag. Tell me about that.
There were other people who I think could have had the same courage, who believed as strongly. Everybody couldn't risk being arrested or everybody wasn't necessarily physically able to do it. That narrowed it down to about three of us. Of those three I was the only person of color. Of course at that point when we were looking at the situation I mean, we recognized like how powerful that is. Not just a visual of it, the visual image of the black woman scaling the pole, but of course as people learned who I was and I'm not just a symbol at that point.
I am a descendant of the people who for whom this flag represented enslavement. My ancestors were in South Carolina at the time when South Carolina seceded from the Union to fight this war to keep them enslaved. For me it was just powerful to represent all of that, you know? I don't know any other way to put it and I just kind of remain humbled by it because it's like, yes, it's Bree Newsome scaling the flagpole but that moment was so much bigger than me. It really is. It represents so much more than me.
You were arrested and jailed. How long were you in jail for taking the flag down?
I want to say about seven hours. It was probably around 7 in the morning when they took us to jail. I probably got out somewhere around like 4 o'clock that afternoon.
What were your thoughts while you were in jail?
At first I thought we had accomplished the mission. The mission was to get this flag down. By the time we had been processed we'd already gotten word that the flag was back up and so at that point I was like, "Well, I don't know how much of an impact it will make that we took this flag down but we took the flag down.”
In jail they had the TV on but they didn't have the news on so we didn't have any way to know what was going on. It really didn't occur to me how much of an impact it had had until word started trickling through the guard. One guard came and told us that Dwayne Wade had offered to pay our bail and that's when I was like, "Oh, wow.”
I had injured myself when I was going over the fence. James was helping me over the fence and at one point one of the spokes went into my right hand and so they were treating that when I was at the jail. So I'm talking with the nurse and that's when she's telling me how much commotion is going on around what we did. That's how we were able to kind of find out that it really had made a big impact. It wasn't until we were able to get out of jail to really see everything that was going on.
What did your parents say?
My first interaction with my parents was after everything had calmed down so I kind of learned my parents’ initial reaction after the fact. I still feel bad to a certain extent just because of the stress that I put them through. Their first reaction was they thought that I had just gone down there by myself and that day had made the decision to scale the pole because I was actually supposed to be going to Columbia, Maryland, that weekend for my friend's bridal shower. I couldn't tell anybody because it was so secret what we were about to do.
It was shocking to everyone outside of the folks who knew what we were going to do to see me on TV. That's where they found out about it. It was probably a couple hours between my parents finding out about it and then them really being able to talk to me.
My sister was the first person I called. She was in Augusta, Georgia, so she was able to come to Columbia. When I talked to my mom about it after the fact, I think her first reaction and her greatest fear was what's going to happen to me in jail. She had this fear of like she didn't know where I was and, obviously, I mean, you know how contentious the issue is. Just in New Orleans here recently they've had the folks who were hired to remove the monuments have had their cars fire-bombed.
I remember my mother's words distinctly. She said, and this was when I was on the phone with her at the jail, "We love you, we support you, we just don't want another martyr." Again, this is just within a couple weeks of this massacre at Charleston. We just had a civil rights leader assassinated.
It's two years later. What do you remember most about that day?
I would have to say probably just the unique view that I had of being up on the pole and looking down at the police officers and just that moment. I just remember looking out at the building when I was holding the flag, you know? Just that feeling of unhooking the flag and holding it in my hand. That's probably maybe the most visceral kind of memory that I had.
We were parked around the corner before we drove up and we had a couple folks out there who were jogging or pretending to be joggers so they could give us the heads up for when the police stepped away from the monument. We were sitting there in the back and I remember saying, "Like, wow, we're about to make history." We knew that. We knew it to a certain extent but it still. ... History is still something that it's like, it's easier to understand in retrospect, you know?
Recently, Confederate monuments have been removed in New Orleans and the names of Confederate soldiers and others are being taken off schools and government buildings in Southern states like Virginia. What are your thoughts on that?
I think it’s great, of course. It’s necessary and has to happen. It’s a sign of progress that cities and schools are removing these monuments, but there has to be education around it. We can’t think just because we removed these things then the problem is solved. We have to have an honest conversation about history and the history of slavery. Removing the flag in South Carolina was one thing, but racism exists in South Carolina as policy and social practice. We have to look at policy and how we are interacting with each other if we are going to address racism.
Two years after you felt the flag in your hand, what are your thoughts on race relations today in the Trump era?
I don't know. I see good things. I see bad things, right? I mean, Donald Trump’s whole rise to political power has been a racist reaction to Barack Obama. Whether we talk about it or not, that's really what it represents. At the same time I see a lot of pushback. They are trying to roll out this agenda but there has been greater pushback to the agenda than I think that they were expecting, and the fact that the majority of Americans did not vote for him, that also kind of gives me hope.
I think we're still in the thick of it. We still [have] a long ways to go. It's by no means over and I would really argue that I think a lot of the movement that happened since the Trayvon Martin case to now, is in many ways just the beginning.
I tell folks Emmett Till happened in 1955. The Voting Rights Act didn't get passed until 1965. We got to remember, we still got to push. When the Confederate flag came down people were like, "Oh, man. We won." It's this victory and it feels really good in that moment. It is a victory, but we still got a lot more battles to fight. We just got to pace ourselves.
Lottie Joiner is a Washington, DC-based freelance writer who covers race, social justice, civil rights, and culture. She has written for the Washington Post, USA Today, the Daily Beast, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com and Essence magazine.
Medicaid cuts will hit the disability community hard.
When I woke up on Thursday morning, I didn’t expect a picture of me in handcuffs to wind up all over the internet. I’ve been an activist with the Disability Rights group Adapt for 10 years. When we learned that the Senate planned to vote on a bill that included $800 billion in Medicaid cuts, we knew that we needed to take action quickly. Our months of trying to talk with legislators did not work. We needed to do something more drastic.
In less than a week we organized 60 activists, most of whom are disabled themselves, to hold a “die-in” at Mitch McConnell’s office. The die-in — where protestors physically disrupt a space by laying down their bodies to simulate corpses — represented the harm that the bill would do to so many disabled people. I traveled from Rochester, New York, to join in.
We poured into Mitch McConnell’s office and the hallway outside of his door at 11 am. We got out of our wheelchairs and onto the ground while chanting “No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!”
We were told to leave, or we’d be arrested. I was eventually handcuffed. I was taken into custody and charged with incommoding, or obstructing, a public space. The entire time, I passively resisted — I did nothing to insult or instigate the cops, but I refused to comply with the police’s orders to get out of the office.
I wasn’t going anywhere. When it comes to matters of life or death for both me and many other disabled Americans who depend on Medicaid, the threat of arrests will not deter us. After all, we’d rather go to jail than die without Medicaid.
It’s no exaggeration — I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Medicaid
I was born a disabled child with spina bifida into a working-class family with Republican ideals. My father quickly learned that no amount of pulling on his bootstraps would get his disabled child health care coverage.
I needed countless surgeries, medications, and wheelchairs to keep me alive and independent. I had more than 15 surgeries on my spine, legs, and feet before I turned 10. I still have an affinity for hospital food because I ate it more often than I ate home cooked meals. It is no exaggeration when I say that my family depended on Medicaid to keep me alive. I was a Medicaid recipient until I graduated from law school when I was 25 and got a job with private insurance. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for Medicaid.
My passion for helping other people in my community led me to devote my life’s work to helping people with disabilities. I am now an attorney, and my work focuses on the legal end of helping disabled people get access to health care, public accommodations, and better quality of life and independence by helping them get out of institutions and into the community.
My activism began when I was 19 and I started working for the Center for Disability Rights as an intern. This is when I learned about Adapt, a national grassroots community that organizes Disability Rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom. I joined Adapt because it helped me to realize that my voice as a disabled woman matters. It also showed me that there are many tools activists can use to create change.
In fact, Adapt has taught me that protesting is not the first step, it is the last step. For every direct action that the group has organized, there is months, if not years, of groundwork that has lead up to it. We meet with legislators, we write policy, we try to work with administrations, and when we are ignored we demonstrate.
Two months into joining Adapt, I was asked to go to Albany for a demonstration in the governor’s office regarding funding cuts to home and community based services for disabled people. I went. I chanted. I fought for the rights of my brothers and sisters with disabilities to live in freedom. I fought against the institutional bias. When I asked what “institutional bias” meant, the explanation was simple: “People just like you are forced into nursing homes just because they need help with things like showering or transferring to their wheelchairs. They’re forced there because Medicaid will pay for nursing homes, but won’t always pay for people to get help in their own homes.”
McConnell’s Senate health care bill will take away our lives and liberty
The Senate’s bill would gash Medicaid by more than $800 billion dollars.
This is devastating to people with disabilities. Medicaid covers 30 percent of all adults with disabilities and 60 percent of all children with disabilities. The things that Medicaid covers for disabled people go beyond the medication and assistive devices, such as our wheelchairs and crutches, that keep us alive and active. Medicaid also covers 51 percent of all long-term services and supports including a broad range of assistance with medical and personal care, such as eating, dressing, showering, cooking, medication management, and housework.
Our health care system isn’t perfect. Many people with disabilities are forced to go to nursing facilities right now because there are waiting lists for Medicaid to pay for their community-based services. But the Senate bill would make our system and our lives so much worse. Under federal law, Medicaid is required to pay for nursing facility services, but paying for services in the home and community is optional, even though it is often cheaper and it is generally where people with disabilities and seniors want to live. With the significant Medicaid caps and cuts that the Senate bill includes, this means that home and community based services will be cut first — again, even though they’re cheaper — because these services are optional.
In terms of real people, this means that not only are our medications and wheelchairs at risk, but our lives and our liberty are, too. Many disabled Americans who rely on community-based services would either die or be forced into nursing facilities and other institutions just to get the services and supports they need to live.
We’d rather go to jail than die without Medicaid
When I say live, I don’t just mean to continue breathing, though many of my friends and millions of Americans do depend on Medicaid to simply stay alive. When I say live, I mean to truly live. To live in the community, to work, to raise a family, to have cats and eat a ridiculous amount of pizza rolls and cheeseburgers like I like to do. I mean to live an ordinary life. I mean to live in freedom.
Because the liberty of so many Americans with disabilities is at stake, we laid our bodies on the line last week. We chanted loudly as we were taken away from the office and into police custody.
After I was taken out of the Senate Russell building, I was plopped on the sidewalk and cuffed. Then I got back into my wheelchair and was placed on a Capitol Police bus to go to the station for processing. I was held in a room with at least 25 other wheelchair users, while the other Adapt members were held in another room. We were held for approximately 10 hours in a building with no accessible women’s facilities. The officers told me I would be charged with incommoding, but not having access to a bathroom for hours was a far worse punishment than the $50 fine I was finally slapped with.
Our protest in Mitch McConnell’s office is not the last protest in this fight. It cannot be the last. Together, we must all take the streets. We must demand a health care system that aligns with our core American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
We would rather go to jail than die without Medicaid.
Stephanie Woodward is the director of advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, New York, and an organizer with Adapt. She is a proud disabled person and cat lady. When she is not fighting for Disability Rights, Stephanie can be found eating cheeseburgers and playing with her four cats.
Мама Виктора Агеева, его друзья и бывшие сослуживцы подтвердили Русской службе Би-би-си, что после срочной службы тот остался служить в армии по контракту, который подписал в марте 2017 года.
Разведчик Виктор Агеев 1995 года рождения попал в плен 24 июня в районе села Желобок Славяносербского района Луганской области в результате столкновения бойцов 93-й отдельной механизированной бригады и разведгруппы 4-й механизированной бригады 2-го армейского корпуса самопровозглашенной Луганской народной республики (ЛНР).
Об этом Би-би-си сообщили источники в 93-й бригаде и минобороны Украины.
Командир бригады Владислав Клочков, комментируя детали боя с "диверсионно-разведывательной группой ЛНР", заявил, что в ходе столкновения был убит командир этой группы. Украинские СМИ сообщили, что убитый - "кадровый российский офицер" Александр Щербак.
Украинские военнослужащие сообщили также, что в плен попали четыре бойца ЛНР, в том числе "22-летний гражданин Российской Федерации, житель Алтайского края".
Сайт украинского телеканала "24" сообщил имя задержанного - Виктор Агеев. Эту информацию Би-би-си подтвердили собеседники в украинском минобороны и 93-й бригаде, предоставив фотографии его документов.
Фото паспорта и военного билета задержанного также опубликовала у себя в Facebook журналистка украинского телеканала ICTV Юлия Кириенко.
Паспорт выдан местным управлением миграционной службы в мае 2016 года. Военный билет подписан военным комиссаром по Топчихинскому и Калманскому районам Алтайского края Константином Эллером...
Как стало известно Би-би-си от двух бывших сослуживцев Виктора Агеева, после окончания Алтайского государственного колледжа он в 2015-2016 годах проходил срочную службу в воинской части 65246, расквартированной в Новочеркасске Ростовской области...
О том, что он поступил на контрактную службу, Виктор Агеев сообщил и сам на своей странице в социальной сети "ВКонтакте" 1 апреля. В соцсети он вел аккаунт не под своей фамилией (подлинность аккаунта подтвердили знакомые Агеева) и состоял там, в частности, в группе "4-я Отдельная Мотострелковая Бригада НМ ЛНР".
Там же, а также под своим именем на своей странице в сети "Одноклассники" он опубликовал в апреле и мае несколько своих фотографий с символикой военной разведки, а также несколько своих фото на позициях с оружием и без опознавательных знаков...
В личной переписке с одним из бывших сослуживцев, с которой ознакомилась Русская служба Би-би-си, Виктор Агеев на вопрос, не на Украине ли он находится, ответил: "Да, на Украине". А на уточняющий вопрос друга, чем он там занят, написал: "Контрактник. Платят достаточно".
Русская служба Би-би-си связалась с мамой Виктора Агеева Светланой, которая опознала в документах, оказавшихся в распоряжении вооруженных сил Украины, документы своего сына.
"Я волнуюсь, потому что он очень давно не выходил со мной на связь, - рассказала Светлана Агеева. - Последний раз он звонил мне 30 мая".
По ее словам, 18 марта 2017 года ее сын подписал контракт, новым местом службы сына стал Батайск Ростовской области, где расквартирована 22-я отдельная гвардейская бригада специального назначения ГРУ Генштаба России.
Перепост допису bytebuster: Новини одним рядком
Новина дня — теракт у Києві.У Києві внаслідок вибуху автомобіля загинув начальник резерву ГУР Міноборони полковник ГУР МО Максим Шаповал.
Він працював над доказами агресії РФ: перемога в Гаазі досягнута завдяки його роботі. Загиблий проводив унікальні розвідувальні операції в глибокому тилу бойовиків на Донбасі.
Вбитий у Києві полковник розвідки був командиром групи спецназу, яка звільняла Донецький аеропорт
Московсько-фашистський слід у вбивстві полковника ГУР МО України Максима Шаповала. Підрив у Києві машини керівника одного з підрозділів Головного управління розвідки Міністерства оборони України – це, безумовно, виклик. Виклик Україні – від російських спецслужб. Загиблий полковник Максим Шаповал, 1978 року народження, був начальником управління спецрезерву ГУР МО.
Власне тактика державного тероризму – тобто тероризму, який виходить безпосередньо від структур ФСБ, а отже, держави «Росія» – явище зовсім не нове. Саме ця тактика використовувалася і використовується, починаючи з 2014 року, ще з Майдану і подальших подій. Зараз мішенню стають конкретні люди у силових структурах України. Мета цього – залякати і продемонструвати могутність і безнаказаність. Згадуємо відоме кремлівське «а докажите» у відповідь на політичні та дипломатичні закиди у сприянні, підтримці і, фактично, керуванні тероризму. Загалом, стиль російських спецслужб – це почерк Луб’янки і НКВС, який за вісімдесят чи дев’яносто років у базових моментах не змінився.
Головна мета і ціль тероризму – посіяти страх і невпевненість, відчуття абсолютної незахищеності. Об’єктом терористів може стати будь-хто, залежно від конкретно поставленого завдання: як керівник військового підрозділу, так і дитина чи пасажири вагону поїзда метро. Однією із важливих опцій при цьому є інформаційний супровід, який відбувається автоматично.
А от УПʼячка розповсюджує чутки, що полковник ГУР керував охороною рашиста Вороненкова // Я так розумію, що — з метою відволікання уваги від ролі Шаповала у підготовці до Антифашистського Трибуналу
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It’s a satire about factory farming and corporate greed, but with awesome chase scenes.
A sprightly, creepily cheery woman strides across the screen. She’s wearing a fantastical blond blunt-cut wig and has braces on her teeth. She’s Lucy Mirando, she tells us, with an indefatigable grin. (She’s Tilda Swinton, of course.) She’s the new CEO of Mirando Corporation, a pharmachemical giant that’s in need of a serious image revamp after committing some light atrocities against mankind. And in this corporate video, she’s going to unveil her plan to achieve that revamp: a global superpig breeding contest.
It’s a lot to take in, but it makes for an intoxicating start to Okja, the latest bonkers satire from director Bong Joon-ho. In his past work, which includes movies like Snowpiercer and The Host, Bong has proven that he can put his imagination to splendidly zany use and deliver biting social critique at the same time. Okja is his latest example of this approach — and this time, it comes with the addition of a giant, lovable pig-hippo-puppy hybrid. The film is a wild ride, and definitely one worth taking.
Okja was already controversial before it premiered: Along with its fellow Netflix release The Meyerowitz Stories, it was selected to play in competition at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. But because of arcane French laws that restrict a film from coming to streaming services until 36 months after its theatrical release, Netflix didn’t plan a French theatrical release for either film. French theater owners protested Cannes’s selection of the two films, and the resulting arguments and policy changes became the controversy of the festival, which revealed a rift between different ways of thinking about the theatrical experience.
But the film itself was warmly received (even with a botched first press screening). It’s hard not to love it. Okja’s unusual introduction to the world was oddly fitting for a film that’s every bit as weird — and on the whole, every bit as wonderful — as you’d expect from Bong, especially in a screenplay co-written with Frank screenwriter Jon Ronson.
Okja critiques factory farming and corporate greed in the most fun way imaginable
The film starts in 2007, when Swinton’s Lucy Mirando — who is succeeding her sister Nancy as Mirando Corporation’s CEO — has come up with the idea of sending 26 “superpiglets,” bred from a happy and unusually excellent pig discovered at a farm in Chile, to farmers around the globe. The idea, we’re told, is that each superpiglet will be bred according to local farming practices, and in 10 years they’ll be judged in a globally broadcast contest helmed by the new face of Mirando Corporation, television personality Dr. Johnny Wilcox (a sweaty and unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal, pitching his voice into every register imaginable).
Then we jump forward to 2017. One of the superpiglets, named Okja, has been living a happy life with the farming family who raised her in the mountains of Korea. Her favorite person in the world is Mija (Ahn Seo-Hyun), an orphan living with her grandfather (Byun Hee-Bong). Mija was only 4 when Okja joined the family, and the pair grew up together frolicking in the woods, each the other’s caretaker.
But now the time for the competition has come. The Mirando representatives arrive on the mountain, where Dr. Johnny proclaims Okja the best of the superpigs. As preparations are being made to transport Okja to the unveiling in New York City, Mija becomes determined to keep that from happening.
The story unfolds from there, combining madcap chase scenes and wry (but savage) corporate satire with touches borrowed from torture horror and dropping them into a story about factory farming. There are ostensibly peaceful ecoterrorists, too, in the form of the cleverly named ALF (Animal Liberation Front), a group led by a very sincere young man named Jay (Paul Dano). The ALF tries to outsmart Mirando’s cadre of suits — especially Lucy and her chief henchman (Giancarlo Esposito) — and everything gets wildly out of hand.
Okja is at its best when it gives in to its most human (and superpig) moments
And so it should. Bong’s great skill as a director is soulful social satire, juxtaposing the absurd with surprisingly touching moments that help his films retain the kind of humanism that is sometimes absent in satirical works. In Okja there are psychopaths, for sure, but there are also people for whom practical concerns get in the way of ideals: Dr. Johnny is a self-proclaimed “animal lover” who finds himself in bed with big farming, and Jay can’t quite keep his crew of idealistic activists loyal to their total no-harm stance.
Okja isn’t perfect; it falls down when the bizarre and the serious ricochet back and forth between scenes, making it hard to track the film’s tone. But that’s easily forgivable, because Okja is a big, ambitious movie, and when it works, it is ridiculously fun.
Okja extends a more standard anti–factory farming argument in order to skewer the absurd ways in which corporations co-opt the language of environmental and localist movements to reel in consumers. The result is kind of a master class in how vocabulary can be leveraged for insidious ends. Words like “natural!” and “eco-friendly!” are splashed across the screen behind Lucy Mirando as she announces the superpig competition. And the idea of having local farmers raise superpiglets is, of course, a handy way to camouflage what’s really going on at Mirando Corporation (which is headquartered in Paramus, New Jersey, of all places).
If factory farming is an ugly product of the corporatization of American culture, so is the twisting of activist movements — from environmentalism to feminism to political ideologies — into corporate lingo, and the cynical transformation of noble ideals into sales slogans. And Bong cleverly broadens his approach to this idea by showing how it affects cultures far beyond the borders of the US.
That this market critique comes from a movie so closely tied to Netflix, which often comes in for economic and corporate critique both at film festivals and in the broader marketplace, makes it more than a little ironic. And there’s plenty about the company that’s concerning to people who care about both the business and the aesthetics of cinema.
But Okja is also a rare breed of movie: It boasts a multi-hemispheric setting and cast, the extended use of two languages, and the distinction of combining action, arthouse filmmaking, and political satire in one funny, biting, disturbing, and often kind of adorable package. Would traditional studios, with their proclivity for blandly appealing blockbuster fare, even have the guts to gamble on a film like Okja?
Okja releases in limited theaters and on Netflix on June 28.
The bill is a disaster in the making for America’s opioid epidemic.
Kellyanne Conway sounded like she couldn't believe what she was hearing.
Asked on CNN about why the Senate health care bill to replace Obamacare (the Better Care Reconciliation Act) would do “nothing” to address the opioid epidemic, the White House senior counselor shot back: “That’s not true, and that is not fair. That is so not fair. … It actually helps no one to peddle the false rumor that this health care bill does ‘nothing’ to help.”
If this “rumor” is false, it’s because the Senate health care bill is worse than nothing. The bill does create a $2 billion fund for addiction and mental health treatment. But the rest of the bill slashes access to insurance — cutting off tens of millions from health plans, particularly Medicaid — and imposes other regulatory changes that, experts and advocates argue, add up to much steeper cuts than a paltry $2 billion.
“It’s pretty clear it will make the crisis worse,” Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University, told me. “Right now there are thousands of people who are receiving effective treatment for their opioid addiction, paid for by Medicaid. … If they lose access to treatment, you can expect that they’ll relapse.”
This repeats many of the same mistakes of the House health care bill, although that bill didn’t include a fund for addiction and mental health care.
America’s opioid epidemic has already led to the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history. In 2015, drug overdose deaths climbed to 52,000 — an all-time record, based on federal data. Roughly two-thirds of those deaths were linked to opioids. The death toll climbed to as many as 65,000 in 2016, according to a New York Times analysis.
If it passes, the Senate health care bill stands to make this worse — by limiting access to care that can prevent addiction and overdose. To understand how, here’s a breakdown of the three major ways the Senate bill will affect the epidemic.
1) Massive cuts to health insurance, especially Medicaid
Based on the Congressional Budget Office’s numbers, there are a lot of people who will lose access to insurance through the Senate health care bill: 22 million. Not all or even most of these people are struggling with addiction, but a significant number likely are.
By slashing access to health insurance, the bill cuts off the one thing that makes addiction treatment affordable to potentially millions of patients. Obviously, losing insurance can be bad for anyone, whether they’re struggling with addiction or not. But it’s particularly troubling for patients suffering from addiction who rely on insurance to pay for treatment and medications.
Consider the most devastating insurance cuts in the Senate bill — to Medicaid. Based on the CBO’s estimates, the Senate bill would slash Medicaid by about $772 billion over 10 years. That happens not just by ending the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion (which lets anyone in participating states who earns up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level sign up for Medicaid), but also by creating additional caps on how much federal money states can get for the public health insurance program.
Medicaid currently plays a big role in addiction care. According to a 2014 study by Truven Health Analytics researchers, Medicaid paid for about 25 percent — $7.9 billion of $31.3 billion — of projected public and private spending for drug treatment in 2014. That made it the second-biggest payer for drug treatment spending after all local and state government programs.
By slashing Medicaid, the Senate bill will make it a lot harder for patients to use the program for this kind of addiction care. And Medicaid will have a more difficult time paying for addiction care for patients who remain on the rolls — potentially leading Medicaid to, for example, resist paying for certain kinds of treatment.
There’s a secondary effect: If treatment programs suspect they’re going to have fewer people using their services (since fewer people will have insurance), they’ll probably be more reluctant to open up more facilities. And that could leave even more areas without any options for care.
“A key issue here is that [addiction] care is not like oncology or cardiology,” Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University, previously told me. “Most providers are small, mono-business entities that can’t absorb costs elsewhere in their care systems. What this means is that while hospitals will not go broke if poor people get less oncology care coverage, many [addiction] treatment agencies will.”
And the bill makes cuts from an already insufficient starting point. According to a 2016 report by the surgeon general, just 10 percent of the people with a drug use disorder got specialty treatment, due in large part to a severe shortage in addiction treatment options — and that was with Obamacare largely in place. So what the US is doing is already inadequate, and the Republican bill is set to make the situation even worse.
2) The end of Obamacare protections for addiction treatment coverage
Beyond the insurance cuts, the Senate bill would make regulatory changes that could severely limit the accessibility of addiction care.
Under the Senate bill, states can obtain waivers to overhaul their health insurance markets. In doing this, they can ask for waivers that would let them pull back Obamacare-established “essential health benefits,” which require insurers provide specific kinds of care. Among those essential health benefits: addiction care.
Before the essential health benefits mandate, it was common for insurers on the individual market to leave out addiction treatment in their plans. If someone with a drug use disorder wanted to get coverage, she would typically need to find a more expensive plan that did include addiction treatment — and perhaps she wouldn’t be able to find a plan, particularly an affordable one, at all.
“Over the last 60 years, 70 years, or so, insurers have scrupulously avoided enrolling people with mental health and addictions as much as possible,” Richard Frank, a health economist at Harvard, previously told me. “That’s because they are more complicated and expensive to treat. And they did so by offering either no coverage or limited coverage.”
According to a previous analysis by Frank and Sherry Glied of New York University, this part of Obamacare helped 2.8 million Americans with drug use disorders and nearly 1.3 million with serious mental disorders. These people would stand to lose potentially lifesaving addiction and mental health coverage if essential health benefits were repealed, whether through their states or in a more sweeping Obamacare repeal than the Senate is currently proposing.
Republicans have long decried Obamacare’s essential health benefits, arguing that mandating so much coverage for insurers makes health plans far too expensive. It’s true these requirements do make insurance overall more expensive, since they force insurers to cover more stuff. But the idea is that by requiring everyone to cover these benefits, the cost is shared by the whole insured population, not just the people who need, say, drug treatment and would otherwise have to find a way to pay for it on their own.
Republicans simply say the trade-off isn’t worth it, since it makes insurance a bit more expensive for everyone.
But without these protections, people with drug use disorders will suffer as insurance becomes less accessible and skimpier. As Jessica Goense, who obtained care at a New Jersey addiction program with the help of Obamacare-expanded Medicaid coverage, recently told me, “If it wasn’t for insurance, I wouldn’t be here.”
3) A paltry fund for drug treatment and mental health care
When you add it all up, Frank estimates that it would cost $183 billion over 10 years to make up for all the cuts to addiction treatment and other medical problems linked to drug use, such as HIV and hepatitis C, if Obamacare is repealed.
Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) originally proposed a $45 billion fund over 10 years to make up for the Senate bill’s impact. That, based on Frank’s estimate, would have been insufficient. But the final Senate bill does even less than Portman and Capito’s proposal, setting up a comparatively measly $2 billion fund — or about 1 percent of what Frank deems necessary.
The fund also doesn’t make it clear how the money will be used. It only states that it’s “to support substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services for individuals with mental or substance use disorders” — all of which is very vague.
Advocacy groups have also decried the funding as unfair and even stigmatizing to patients struggling with addiction and mental health issues. In a statement, the National Council for Behavioral Health argued, “Grants are not a substitute for health coverage. We don’t rely on grants for the treatment of heart disease or cancer, and addiction and mental health should be no different.”
The bottom line, however, is that the Senate bill’s cuts are so far-reaching that even $2 billion is nowhere near enough to make up for the massive losses elsewhere.
Two now-standard responses — strengthening our parties and making two-party elections more competitive — are not going to reduce polarization.
Recently, I wrote a piece asking what would happen if we accepted the increasingly overwhelming evidence that “more public participation” can’t, by itself, save American democracy. The tentative conclusion was that we needed to think harder about how “intermediary institutions” (parties, politicians, interest groups) could do a better job of helping citizens to collectively realize their interests than they would be able to do individually.
Among political scientists, the favored intermediary institution is often “political parties.” Political parties, political scientists often reason, are mass popular organizations, whose existence and success depend on mobilizing large constituencies. Because they have to appeal to a majority of the electorate to win, this should, in theory, prevent them from becoming too extreme or unresponsive. In theory, parties should converge on the mythical “median voter,” a moderate, reasonable person.
The big problem with this theory is that it doesn’t match up with the evidence. Since the late 1970s, our two major political parties have grown further and further apart by every conceivable metric. They may mobilize large constituencies. But they have been doing so in ways that are pulling to extremes, not converging on the center.
Is ideology or partisan teamsmanship the bigger problem?
In one way of thinking, the key driver of polarization is that the leaders of our political parties have not been powerful enough. Parties are too porous, and have thus been taken over by outside groups that prioritize extreme policies over everything else.
In another way of thinking, the problem is the reverse — that party leaders are actually too powerful; that they enforce too much orthodoxy on elected party members, controlling legislative agendas, and forcing members to vote in particular ways to draw contrasts with the other party so they can win elections.
In the first way of thinking, the core problem is ideology. Parties are being pulled to extreme ideological positions by powerful factions within the party.
In the second way of thinking, the core problem is teamsmanship. Factions are being pulled into zero-sum team political conflict by powerful party leaders.
If the problem is ideology, the solution is to empower party leaders to discipline these extremist groups that are pulling apart the parties, weakening the power of factions.
If the problem is teamsmanship, the solution might actually be to weaken party leaders, to let factions have more power and have space to form different types of coalitions across different types of issues, sort of like how Congress operated in the 1970s and ’80s, when party leaders were much weaker.
One challenge in ascertaining the problem is that these two approaches are often observationally equivalent. That is, when we look at polarized voting patterns, it’s hard to tell which mechanism is at work. Are parties diverging because party leaders are enforcing team orthodoxy? Or are parties diverging because factions are pulling leaders to extremes by threatening to mutiny?
One way to get more leverage on these questions would be to compare across the 50 states, since they’ve polarized to different extents.
The (weak) case that financially weak parties are to blame for polarization
If the problem is that parties are being pulled to extremes by outside groups and factions, we might expect that in states where parties can control more money, there should be less polarization. This was the contention that political scientists Raymond J. La Raja and Brian Schaffner put forth in their 2015 book, Campaign Finance and Political Polarization: When Purists Prevail. They argued that “that financially strong party organizations should reduce party polarization,” and found some evidence for it in the data, though I disagreed with them on their data analysis. I also disagreed with them on the larger thrust of their argument.
Their intuition was that competition over elections would pull parties to the median voter, who was expected to be in the political middle, thus moderating politics. "Because party insiders are chiefly interested in winning elections," they wrote, "their priority is to invest in candidates who will be most competitive in general elections — candidates whose views are closest to the median voter." (My italics.)
One implication of this intuition is that competition should move parties to the center. That is, that in more competitive states, parties should be more moderate, because parties are fighting over the median voter.
The (strong) case that strongly competitive elections are to blame for polarization
It turns out, however, that the opposite is true. The more competitive the state, the more polarized the state. This is a significant and important finding that political scientists Frances Lee and Kelly Hinchcliffe published in a 2015 article, “Party Competition and Conflict in State Legislatures,” which later became a chapter in Lee’s important 2016 book Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign. The thesis in both Lee’s book and the article is that rather than moving parties toward the middle as the median voter theory suggests, close competition actually moves parties away from the middle, because it pushes party leaders to centralize power and use that power to draw sharp contrasts.
As Lee and Hinchcliffe write, “When a political party either fears the loss of power or perceives opportunities to win power, its members have stronger incentives to step up their organizational efforts. … Close competition for party control fosters partisan contentiousness, as legislatures look for opportunities to criticize and embarrass their opponents."
The evidence in their paper is pretty compelling. So is the evidence in Insecure Majorities, as well as in Lee’s 2009 book Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the US Senate, which, as the title suggests, argues that something more than ideological principle has been driving polarization. That something is a struggle for power, and attempts by leaders in both parties to draw contrasts that they think set up them up better in the next election, either by making their side look good or, more often, by making the other side look bad.
There’s also evidence that partisan teamsmanship explains more than ideology among voters, too — for example, in Donald Kinder and Nathan Kalmoe’s new book Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public, which I recently reviewed in the Washington Monthly. Political scientist Lilliana Mason also has some very convincing evidence that partisan sorting, for more than ideological extremism, is to blame for the growing nastiness of polarization, since partisan sorting has increased notably over the past several decades, whereas issue positions have been mostly stable.
Tight partisan competition explains a lot more than party funding flows
Interestingly, however, neither La Raja and Schaffner nor Lee and Hinchcliffe took the alternative explanation into account in their data analysis by controlling for it in their models.
Now, along comes a new Campaign Finance Institute analysis, “Party Contribution Limits and Polarization,” which puts the two explanations for partisan polarization into the same data analysis and compares the evidence
In the head-to-head contest, there is a clear winner: Lee and Hinchcliffe’s story holds up. La Raja and Schaffner’s doesn’t. More competitive states have more polarized legislatures. By contrast, campaign finance laws had no effect. As study authors Michael Malbin and Charles Hunt write, “whether a political party was allowed to make or receive unlimited contributions had no independent effect on the level of polarization in state legislatures.”
But if close competition doesn’t produce moderate politics, then what?
The conventional wisdom is that we want close two-party competition, since elections are supposed to discipline parties into representing the median voter and reducing polarization. If competition is having the opposite effect — pushing parties further apart as they seek to draw distinctions with each other — where does that leave us?
Certainly, giving them more money will not help, since they’d just use it to run more aggressive attack ads and to discipline party members into taking more party-line votes to draw contrasts. And yet one-party democracy doesn’t seem like the answer either, since most democratic theory assumes that for there to be democracy, voters must have meaningful choices over alternatives. One-party democracy doesn’t provide that.
This is a real conundrum. As I’ve argued previously, we need better intermediary institutions, and parties are leading candidates. But under current arrangements, strengthening leaders in either of our two political parties by giving them more resources doesn’t seem like a winning strategy, given the evidence that Lee and Hinchcliffe have demonstrated.
This requires more thinking. Perhaps the answer is weaker party leaders, with more overlapping factions within parties, like we used to have. But maybe we can’t get back there. And maybe we don’t actually want to — there’s a compelling political science case that strong parties are central to democracy, because that organizes and channels conflict in ways that make it sensible and logical for voters who don’t have time to study all the issues on their own.
If so, perhaps the answer is to do away with the two-party system entirely, and move toward a multi-party system, in which case, the most essential reform right now would be to move to the multi-member districts required to make a multi-party system possible. The best way to do this would be to pass the Fair Representation Act, which was just introduced this week.
What’s clear is that two now-standard responses — strengthening our two parties and making two-party elections more competitive —are not going to reduce polarization. It’s time to move on and update our collective thinking.
Только это, блядь, вообще не работает по части патчей. Лечение ЕСЕТом помогает.
Тут коллега пишет: "То не той пєтя. :( И лінки на security 17-010 тут ні до чого, останні апдейти ставилися у неділю, а сьогодни пошифроване геть усе вкупі із доменконтролером, до якого доступу з інету немає, а з локалки тіко у єдного доменадміна. %) То маячня якась, не розумію як воно пролізло. :( "
Да, я сижу на работе и лечу сетку, ибо тупые курицы любят открывать вложения. Даже древний ЧИХ95 их не впечатлил... Халк убивать!!!!!!!!!!!!
Я сегодня в сети очень относительно и с телефона. Коллеги-админы - удачи. jurgen в частности))
Речь идет о постановлении «О дальнейшем улучшении дела охраны памятников культуры в РСФСР», в котором зал в доме 9 на Садово-Кудринской улице, где выступал Сталин в 1924 году, указан как памятник истории местного значения.
По словам представителей академии, постановление по-прежнему действует и предписывает обозначать зал «как памятник культуры местного значения, подлежащий охране».
По поводу увольнения из академии адвоката Генри Резника в пресс-службе заявили, что «уважают позицию Генри Марковича Резника», но «не желают при этом вступать с ним в полемику». «Уход никак не скажется на учебном процессе, поскольку он занимал 0,1 ставки профессора», — заявили в МГЮА.
В постановлении Совмина РСФСР, на которое сослались в МГЮА, сказано, что региональные органы власти должны в 1960–1965 годы «отремонтировать исторические здания и сооружения», признанные памятниками истории, и «установить на них памятные доски».
27 июня адвокат Генри Резник заявил, что уходит из МГЮА из-за того, что там восстановили мемориальную доску Иосифу Сталину (она была установлена в 1949-м, но демонтирована после разоблачения культа личности).
То есть 60 лет кто-то бережно хранил эту доску в надежде, что наступят времена, когда ее можно будет вернуть на место. И вот это время настало.
Кстати, ректор этой академии (она же университет) Виктор Блажеев в советские времена был обычным московским ментом. Сейчас он один из руководителей Общероссийского Народного фронта.
Кому нужны все эти липовые экономические и личные свободы, который не выдают реального результата в виде постоянного роста благосостояния глав-ячеек государства "Я и моя семья" - наверное и во век не пойму. Тем более, что совсем наоборот - если верить результатам по всему "цивилизованному" миру проведённых опросов. Тогдашними национал-социалистами применённая финансово экономическая модель дала реальный результат - по сей день даже близко не повторённый экономический рост, плоды которого достались всем (за исключением нескольких этнических групп, разумеется). И это, замечу - в условиях блокады свободного доступа к финансовым ресурсам, к мировым рынкам и к запасам сырья.
Отрицать реальность существование Хозяина - это как тыкать головой в песок, тем самым подставляя задницу для пользователей. Но и реанимировать национал-социализм тогдашнего образца - это как тупо биться головой об стенку. Рациональнее всего дотошно изучить опыт национал-социалистической Германии, чтобы отделить зерно от плевел. Только тогда появляется понимание, что национал-социалистами применённая финансово-экономическая модель была и есть самой совершенной на свете. Как раз вокруг неё должна выстраиваться новая схема построения земного рая. А все эти с позволения сказать идеологии - всего навсего дешёвые дурилки для стада. Сам же неолиберализм - это цена, которую мы платим за слепое поклонение разноцветным рабовладельческим идеологиям. Да, да - все они рабовладельческие.
По словам Турчинова, все государственные учреждения, которые выполняли рекомендации Национального координационного центра кибербезопасности и были включены в защищенный контур (защищенный узел интернет-доступа), не были повреждены.
«Сейчас специалисты по вопросам кибербезопасности в оперативном режиме оказывают помощь госучреждениям, которые по субъективным причинам не вошли в защищенный контур, объектам критической инфраструктуры, а также банковскому сектору», — сказал Турчинов, добавив, что уже сейчас, первично проанализировав вирус, можно говорить о российском следе.
IT-специалисты Укртелекома с коллегами из Microsoft совместно работают для устранения проблемы.
Пострадали Ощадбанк, Новая Почта, Укртелеком, Укрпочта, Киевэнерго, Укрэнерго, ДТЭК.
«Голос Америки» сообщил, что состоявшаяся ранее кибератака против США и Украины шла с одного IP-адреса — и наверняка из российского.
РФ превратилась из международного нахлебника, сначала в изгоя, а сегодня в главный центр Мирового Зла на планете. Какой смысл увещивать душегуба и убийцу?! Отключить SWIFT и вообще инет. Максимум несколько месяцев и Крым с Донбассом будут украинским, а Путина местная элита придушит, разобьют голову табакеркой или отравят полонием.
The design phenomenon that defined the decade.
The ’80s was the decade of crazy patterns, vibrant colors, and feathered hairstyles. The time had such a distinctive style that the mere mention of “the look of the ’80s” conjures up specific visuals. The look was so influential that it continues to inspire design today.
The essential elements of the ’80s look were created by the Memphis design movement, led by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass. The collective included designers and architects from all around the world — Italy, Japan, Britain, Austria, France, Spain, and America. They set out to break out of modernism, a style that required designers to follow many rules. George Sowden, a co-founder of the Memphis Group, said in an interview that “a lot of people felt trapped within these rules.”
The Memphis Group’s first show took place in Milan, at the Salone del Mobile Milano, in 1981. It featured the “Bel Air” chair, which had a plastic ball as a part of the leg, and the colorful “Carlton” bookcase that cascaded outward. The show crowded the streets so much that on his way to the venue, Sottsass thought a bomb had gone off in downtown Milan. The New York Times wrote that the show “appalled some and amused others but put everyone attending the fair in a state of high excitement.” According to Glenn Adamson, a senior scholar at the Yale Center of British Art, the design trend caught on very quickly:
It was this huge phenomenon, and then you saw it caught on very, very quickly as the look of the ’80s. How that happened is fashion, you know. I always think it’s important that it happened virtually simultaneously with MTV, which also launched in 1981. And if you think about the logo of MTV with all those colors and patterns and the scratchy graphics, that clearly is close to the graphic designs coming out of Italy that were in context of which Memphis emerged.
To learn more about the Memphis Group and how it inspired the look of the ’80s, check out the video above. For more Vox videos, subscribe to our channel on YouTube.
Republicans’ bills to repeal and replace Obamacare are overwhelmingly unpopular in public polling, and among many industry lobbyists. But they’re still popular with groups that want to see the bills’ tax cuts go through.
The US Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business lobby, has urged Republican lawmakers to support the repeal-and-replace bills all along.
On Tuesday, the chamber threw its support behind the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the Senate’s health bill — saying the proposal would be “preserving and improving the employer-sponsored health care system while also ensuring that those outside the employer-based system have access to multiple, affordable options for coverage.”
It also noted how the bill would benefit insurance companies and industries hit by the taxes that were levied to fund Obamacare:
The BCRA will repeal the most egregious taxes and mandates of the ACA, which will help lower the cost of health care coverage and allow employers to create jobs. The bill repeals the medical device tax that unfairly penalizes American manufacturers, and zeros out the employer mandate penalties.
The chamber’s “key vote alert” letter alludes to the fundamental structure of the Republican health bill: a proposal that cuts Medicaid, a health service for poorer Americans and the disabled and elderly, by $772 billion over the next 10 years, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, to pay for the tax cuts on high-income people, fees on manufacturers, and Obamacare’s excise taxes.
Basically the chamber is saying this bill will reduce the burden on health insurance companies and manufacturers — with less focus on how it might impact the American people in need of health care.
This bill could cause millions in employer-based coverage losses
The chamber also lauded the health bill for preserving “the employer-sponsored health care system that 177 million Americans depend on for quality coverage.”
But that’s not exactly what the CBO projected would happen. Instead, its evaluation of the health bill projects that it would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured, and not only in Obamacare’s individual markets.
Under Obamacare, employers who did not offer insurance face penalties. The Senate bill repeals that provision — and the CBO projected there would be up to 4 million fewer people with employer-based insurance in 2018, and upward of 9 million fewer by 2022.
In other words, the CBO estimated that “eliminating that penalty would cause some employers to not offer health insurance”:
Similarly, the demand for insurance among employees is greater under current law because some employees want employment-based coverage so that they can avoid paying the individual mandate penalty. Eliminating that penalty would reduce such demand and would cause some employers to not offer coverage or some employees to not enroll in coverage they were offered.
The system would be preserved, yes. But it would cover fewer people.