Newswire: It’s not over: as video champions new attacks, Biden-Harris Inauguration to be held outside

By Hazel Trice Edney

Right-wing group attacks Capitol on Jan. 6 ( Photo by Hamil/Trice Edney Communications) and Insurrectionists carry Confederate flag in Capitol attack

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A futuristic video circulating on social media early this week features the voice of President Donald Trump calling for a “Day of Reawakening” on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021.
The three-minute video, which features images of people dressed in Trump t-shirts, hats and other paraphernalia concludes with the apparent voice of Donald Trump encouraging them to not be afraid and saying that “God will protect you.”
This kind of rhetoric has heated up since the Jan. 6 violent insurrection in which thousands of vastly White Trump supporters showed up at the U. S. Capitol where thousands rioted, vandalized and assaulted police officers. Five people died as a result of the riot; including a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries he received while fighting off insurgents. Another officer, Howard Liebengood, died by suicide three days after the riot.
Widespread reports, including from NBC and CNN, say the FBI has warned of more likely terrorist attacks, insurrections and riots leading up to the presidential inauguration and on that day, Jan. 20. These riots are being planned for all 50 capital cities as well as the U. S. Capitol.
President Biden says he will still hold the inauguration outside of the Capital despite continued threats. A possible 15,000 National Guard troops are expected to guard the Capitol during the ceremony. People are being encouraged to watch the swearing in on television.
Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats and some Republicans are moving ahead with the impeachment of Trump for the charge, “Incitement of insurrection” for his verbal encouragement that resulted in the rioters storming the Capitol. He would be the first U. S. president to be impeached twice. Trump has repeatedly told his supporters the lie that his election “was stolen” from them.
Members of Congress may also face punishment for their words that day, namely Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who doubled down on Trumps lie, claiming the election was stolen and led the vote against the certification of the Biden-Harris election. Some members of Congress insist that to also have been insurrection, which the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, Section 3, cites as a reason for expulsion from the seats they hold.
The Fourteenth Amendment states: “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
The “Day of Reawakening” video went dead shortly after the social media website, Parler, was taken offline on Monday. Twitter and Facebook also shut down President Donald Trump’s accounts, blocking tens of millions of his followers. But tech experts believe these actions will simply drive Trump supporters and possible rioters to other more obscure platforms where law enforcement investigators can not easily track and monitor their organizational activities.
A string of arrests has taken place since Monday, mainly of people involved in the Capitol break in and the threats on the lives of members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who they threatened to shoot, and also threats against the life of Vice President Mike Pence, who they threatened to hang for certifying the Electoral College confirmation of the Biden-Harris election. At least two Capitol police officers have been suspended and about 10 others are under investigation for their apparent involvement in the insurrection.
Black leaders around the country, are calling for Trump’s immediate removal. They are also raising questions about why the Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies were not better prepared and more aggressive against the perpetrators as they have been against Black Lives Matter protestors.
“What we are witnessing at this moment is the manifestation and culmination of reckless leadership, a pervasive misuse of power, and anarchy. This is not protesting or activism; this is an insurrection, an assault on our democracy, and a coup incited by President Trump,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson during the insurrection Jan. 6. “We must not allow President Trump to continue to place our nation in peril. The NAACP calls for President Trump’s impeachment so that he will never again be able to harm our beloved country, and more importantly, its people.”

Newswire: Joe Biden chooses Kamala Harris as his Vice-Presidential running-mate

By: Lura Clawson, Daily Kos

Joe Biden with Kamala Harris

Ending months of speculation, Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential nominee.
Harris had been seen as a front-runner for the role since Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate from California in 2016, she served as the state’s attorney general and the district attorney of San Francisco. Harris has already made history as the second Black woman and the first South Asian person elected to the Senate.
In an email to supporters, Biden says “I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”
If Biden and Harris win, Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint her successor in the Senate, who will serve through 2022.

The reviews are pouring in and are roundly good for California Sen. Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Joe Biden’s naming of Sen. Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominee for Vice President marks an historic & proud milestone for our country. As the Vice President of the United States, Senator Harris will continue her legacy of trailblazing leadership to move our nation forward. […] Now we must ensure the historic election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States.”
Others who were under consideration for the position are just as laudatory. Stacey Abrams tweeted “Thrilled to support @KamalaHarris as next VP. I was honored to speak with @JoeBiden at length over the weekend and again today. His focus on reaching out to every corner of our country speaks to how he will lead us. I look forward to doing all I can for Team #BidenHarris!”
Rep. Karen Bass tweeted that Harris is “a great choice for Vice President. Her tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now.” Ambassador Susan Rice writes “Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who sill make a great partner on the campaign trail. […] I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris ticket with all my energy and commitment.”
And Rep. Jim Clyburn on MSNBC: “I am ecstatic. We are breaking ground here. I think he has chosen well.” That’s as well said as can be.

Newswire: Trump vows complete end of Obamacare law despite pandemic

By Devlin Barrett, The Washington Post
President Trump said last Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid a pandemic.
“We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law. “Obamacare, we run it really well. . . . But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.”
While the president has said he will preserve some of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, including guaranteed coverage for preexisting medical conditions, he has not offered a plan to do so, and his administration’s legal position seeks to end all parts of the law, including those provisions.
Democrats, who view the fight over the Affordable Care Act as a winning election issue for them, denounced the president’s decision.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that “the President’s insistence on doubling down on his senseless and cruel argument in court to destroy the ACA and every last one of its benefits and protections is unconscionable, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.”
Trump’s declaration caps months of debate within his administration about the best course of action, in which the stakes have only become greater now that the nation’s health-care system is struggling to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 80,000 Americans.
On Monday, Barr attended a meeting of senior officials in which he argued the administration should temper its opposition to Obamacare, leaving some parts of the law intact, according to people familiar with the discussion, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.
The case before the court was brought by a group of Republican states, and as part of that case, the Trump administration is seeking to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, which passed in 2010 and became one of President Barack Obama’s most significant legislative victories.
Barr and others in the administration have argued that killing Obamacare completely could be politically damaging to Republicans in an election year, particularly when there is a national health crisis. In two previous case, the Supreme Court upheld the law, but if the high court were to strike it down, millions of people could find themselves without affordable health care.
The high court plans to hear arguments in the case later this year, and a decision may not come until 2021, well after the November election.
The latest ACA suit was organized by Republican attorneys general in Texas and other states. When the Trump administration declined to defend the law, a coalition of Democratic-led states entered.
The case began after the Republican-led Congress in 2017, unable to secure the votes to abolish the law, reduced to zero the penalty for a person not buying health insurance. Lawyers for the state of Texas argued that in doing so, Congress had removed the essential tax element that the Supreme Court had previously ruled made the program constitutional.
A district judge in Texas agreed and said the entire law must fall. Eventually the Trump administration agreed with that assessment.

Newswire : Black leaders call out big insurance over surprise medical billing

By Hazel Trice Edney

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, CEO -NNPA

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Prominent figures in the African-American community are calling on Congress to rein in large insurance companies as lawmakers look to address an increasingly urgent problem in the health care market that falls especially hard on working families, including African-Americans.
The problem is known as surprise medical billing, a situation that occurs when a patient is hospitalized and then receives a hefty bill from a doctor who turns out to be outside of his or her insurer’s network.
The practice is costing American patients tens of millions of dollars in unforeseen medical fees, at a time when many are already burdened by higher premiums and rising co-payments. Nearly half of Americans say they have avoided going to the doctor despite being sick or injured for financial reasons.
Eliminating surprise billing has long been a priority for leaders of both parties. But it is now emerging as a key issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, as candidates and other leading Democrats make the case around the country for broader health care reform. Former Vice President Joe Biden invoked the need to end surprise billing in his victory speech on Super Tuesday.
As the issue comes into greater focus, prominent African-American leaders are urging candidates and lawmakers to find a solution that holds health insurers accountable for limited coverage networks and inadequate access to health insurance for minority communities – two forces, they say, that have helped create the surprise billing problem.
Addressing a group of Black ministers in South Carolina recently, Reverend Al Sharpton said solving health care issues disproportionately impacting communities of color must be atop the progressive agenda. Fixing the problem of surprise billing, Sharpton said, needs to go hand in hand with better protection of uninsured and underinsured populations.
Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network, an influential civil rights organization with roots in Harlem and chapters throughout the country, warned about a proposed bill in Congress that would potentially deepen the problem of costs being passed onto patients by giving insurers even more control over the prices they pay out-of-network doctors working in emergency hospital settings.
He said the proposed bill must be defeated because it fails to protect the underinsured and the uninsured. Dealing these specific policies that affect the disadvantaged is what is necessary in the 2020 election, Sharpton said in a recent speech at the Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., according to the Post and Courier.
Sharpton referred to a current bill before Congress aimed at addressing a practice known as “surprise billing,” which leaves patients on the hook for medical expenses even if they have insurance. The legislation needs to be defeated and replaced with something that would protect the underinsured and those with no insurance at all, he said,
describing it as one of those “issues that’s for the good of the people.”
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and former Executive Director of the NAACP, directed even sharper criticism at insurance companies. In a piece published by Black Press USA, Chavis  derided insurance executives for putting profits above patients.
“This outrageous situation benefits one group and one group alone: powerful insurance executives, who have managed to get off the financial hook for such bills, even as insurers shrink insurance coverage networks to wring more and more profits out of the system,” Chavis wrote.
Chavis expressed strong opposition to any legislation that would give insurers more control over health care prices.
Experts say surprise medical billing is most common after emergency treatment on nonsurgical hospital visits, when doctors and specialists often work together in teams to provide the care patients need. For example, in the case of an emergency procedure, a patient’s primary surgeon might be in her insurance network, but other clinicians who assist the surgeon, such as the anesthesiologist, might be out of network. In certain instances, the patients are left to foot the bill for out-of-network services.
Doctors have said that years of harmful cost-cutting measures taken by insurers are to blame. Many patients have been unwittingly pushed into highly restricted and increasingly narrow coverage networks, they say, leaving them with unanticipated costs insurers refuse to cover in full or at all. Doctors say insurance companies should be required to pay fair out-of-network rates, as determined by an independent arbitrator, for emergency care.
Insurers vehemently oppose that approach, instead calling for new rules that would enable them
to limit how much they pay for emergency care provided by physicians who do not contract with them. They favor a system in which they would automatically pay median in-network rates for out-of-network services.
The dispute between doctors and insurers reached a boiling point last year, when it appeared that insurers were going to get their way. A bill modeled on legislation passed in California in 2016 would have put in place the type of benchmarking system insurance companies want.
Doctors and hospitals, for their part, raised concerns about ceding too much power to insurers to control rates. If only required to pay median in-network rates for out-of-network emergency services, the doctors and hospitals said, insurers could artificially drive down those rates by further restricting coverage networks.
Apparently, those concerns were shared by at least some members of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reported to have expressed serious concerns in private, saying “we are not going to give a handout to big insurance companies.” The bill was ultimately defeated.
Now, as Congress returns to the issue early into the 2020 legislative session, it appears as though the debate could be layered into a larger conversation among progressives about the future of the nation’s health care system.
The insistence of influential Black leaders that surprise bills are a symptom of a coverage accessibility problem for communities of color seems to open up a new front for Democrats looking to curtail the power of major insurance companies.

Newswire: Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Trump

By Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clarke Jalonick, Associated Press

From left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff, D-Calif., unveil articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — pushing toward historic votes over charges he corrupted the U.S. election process and endangered national security.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, stood at the Capitol in what she called a “solemn act.” Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House.
“He endangers our democracy, he endangers our national security,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the Judiciary chairman announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. “Our next election is at risk… That is why we must act now.”
The charges unveiled Tuesday stem from Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals as he withheld aid to the country.
Trump tweeted ahead of the announcement that impeaching a president with a record like his would be “sheer Political Madness!”
The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as the House prepares for voting, as it has only three times in history against a U.S. president.
n drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Some liberal lawmakers wanted more expansive charges encompassing the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Centrist Democrats preferred to keep the impeachment articles more focused on Trump’s actions toward Ukraine. House Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump, meanwhile, insisted he did “NOTHING” wrong and that impeaching a president with a record like his would be “sheer Political Madness!”
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Judge John Roberts would preside over any impeachment trial, which would be held every day except Sunday until senators vote to convict or acquit President Trump of the articles.
McConnell said the Senate would hear the case House officials present before deciding whether to call witnesses, the Examiner reports.
“Or, it could decide that they’ve heard enough and they believe they know what would happen and move to vote on the two articles of impeachment,” the majority leader said.
Fifty-one Senate votes would be required to acquit Trump — and that would most likely happen, McConnell told reporters.
A two-thirds majority vote of the 100-member Senate is necessary for conviction and for removing Trump from office. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority.
“I said I would be totally surprised if there were 67 senators to remove the president,” McConnell said, “and that remains my view.”