‘It Puts America Last’: John Kerry on Trump Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Deal

While President Trump was threatening to blow up North Korea during a speech at the United Nations, former Secretary of State John Kerry started this week with a two-day event at Yale University, where he is a distinguished fellow for Global Affairs, to discuss the future of climate change policy and the Paris Climate Accord. The event drew big names, from GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt to

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: ‘It Puts America Last’: John Kerry on Trump Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Deal

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Source:: Rolling Stone – Latest Politics News

The Red States That Will Lose Under Graham-Cassidy

“Obamacare, for whatever reason, favors four blue states against the rest of us.” So South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, in a floor speech on Monday, defended the central rationale of his Obamacare replacement, the Graham-Cassidy bill. In that speech and other statements, Graham has cast his bill as a redistribution, taking federal Obamacare money poured into the liberal bastions of California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, and giving some of it it to cash-strapped red states that have been left out, and whose sicker populations have languished. In this telling, Graham is Robin Hood, and his co-sponsors Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are his merry men.

There are a few problems with this reasoning, though. To start, the states that receive the most money from the Affordable Care Act are the ones that have expanded Medicaid, while the ones left out of the revenue stream have deliberately chosen not to accept federal funds to do so. Additionally, Graham-Cassidy’s “redistribution” isn’t really a redistribution: It would allocate Medicaid expansion and exchange tax-credit funds on an equal per-capita basis to states for covering low-income people, but would do so after greatly restricting eligibility and shrinking the funding base. In essence, Graham-Cassidy would diminish support for the majority of states to provide a reduced version of benefits to states that have refused more generous benefits in the past.

The states with populations that would be hurt most by such a scheme aren’t California and New York, but cash-strapped, smaller, mostly-rural states or Rust Belt states that decided to expand Medicaid, often in order to meet extraordinary statewide health crises. These states are not liberal bastions Graham claims are favored by Obamacare; rather these states—Louisiana, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Iowa, Alaska, New Mexico, North …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Actually, Promising to Destroy North Korea is Nothing New

How are we to make sense of the president of the United States—a man with unitary launch authority for over a thousand nuclear weapons—going before the United Nations General Assembly and threatening to annihilate a sovereign state? That’s exactly what President Donald Trump did on Tuesday, halfway into a long, winding speech on everything from sovereignty to UN funding. “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump read carefully from his teleprompter. In one breath, he touted the virtues of the nation-state and sovereignty and, in another, promised the utter destruction of a sovereign state.

While Trump’s apocalyptic rhetoric and threat to commit a horrific act expressly forbidden by international humanitarian law will surely down in General Assembly history, their underlying logic is undeniably familiar. The remarks echoed similar, countless deterrent threats levied against North Korea by past U.S. presidents with more subtlety and innuendo, perhaps allowing for a more calibrated and flexible response. But ultimately vowing to “totally destroy” North Korea if America or its allies come under attack is, in fact, not all that sharp a break from existing U.S. policy.

That familiarity, however, shouldn’t obscure that this kind of posturing is precisely the kind of rhetorical exercise that can exacerbate North Korea’s insecurity and lead to deadly miscalculation—miscalculation that would, now, almost certainly expose Americans, South Koreans, and Japanese, to nuclear attack.

Unlike Trump’s off-the-cuff August promise to respond to continued threats from Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury,” his latest words were presumably the product of interagency coordination—or at least considered speechwriting reflecting policy. As a result, they reflect a bona fide U.S. position. “Rocket man is on a suicide mission …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics