EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST A DISTRACTION

1. It’s Monday, June 19, 2017.

2. It’s the commemoration of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when Texas found out the Civil War was over and that the Confederates lost. It became the last place in the re-United States to abolish slavery, thus ending it everywhere in the nation.

It’s good that this gets more attention than it used to. Reaffirming the idea that this is a land of freedom seems like a slam-dunk good thing.

But, as we’re made all too aware all the time, ending slavery didn’t end racism in this country. Hardly.

3. Mitch McConnell, among the lowest forms of life on this continent, is putting together the Senate’s version of the TrumpRyan health care bill that passed the House.

Forget the fact that he’s not looking for any input from Democrats. He’s not even telling Democrats – or anyone else for that matter – what the hell he’s doing.

The idea is to get the bill passed as quickly as possible, reconcile any differences with the House, then get the reconciled measure approved and signed by Trump. This would count as an accomplishment that Republicans can try to sell to their fevered supporters – they kept their promise to get rid of Obamacare.

Forget the fact that 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance in the next decade. Or that millions of other Americans would find that the coverage they thought was pretty substantial is full of little loopholes aimed at making sure insurers pay out as little as possible.

As I mentioned last week, this measure as it stands is vastly unpopular. A New York Times survey shows unfavorable opinions about it outweigh favorable in all 50 states.

But Republicans being Republicans, they believe they are rulers. And ruling means giving people what Republicans, not people, want.

So push should be coming to shove soon.

Democrats are pretty powerless here, unless there are three GOP defections. But it would be stupid for them to just sit there and let this happen.

They plan to start tonight by slowing the world’s most deliberative body to a crawl. They also plan to press the Republicans for details about their proposal at every opportunity.

The Democrats are betting on the numbers they see – that people are frightened by this trash masquerading as legislation. The Republicans are betting on their history – people will forget this by the time they vote for Congress next year, aided by whatever distraction Trump can manage in the next 17 months.

We’ll see who prevails. But it’s good to see the Democrats put up a fight.

Because right now, nothing else matters in this country.  The prospect of millions of Americans losing their health care coverage should be front and center until it’s resolved.

4. The guy who plowed a vehicle into pedestrians near a London mosque is in the running for ISIS Employee of the Month.

But so is whoever attacked and killed a Virginia girl who was leaving her mosque after a Ramadan service.

The fact of the matter is that whoever commits these horrible acts against Muslims is not just doing ISIS’ work. They are ideological confederates, craving nothing more than violence and fear. Creating fear is their orgasm, the rush they crave.

Ideology? That’s bullshit. The Muslims who worship ISIS are as Muslim as the Christians who kill Muslims like these ghouls over the weekend are Christian. Which is not at all. They could care less about Muhammad or Jesus.

This nihilism is the scourge of the world. It is really hard to defeat, because it is a belief in nothingness, that chaos and terror are better than peace or comity.

My heart goes out to the families of those affected by these tragedies. I hope you find strength in your faith, and in the fact that the civilized world is horrified by such atrocity as those that befell you.

 

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