Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Macro View – Health, Financial And Political News Relevant To E-Health And The Health Sector In General.

August 24, 2017 Edition.
On the overseas front we now see President Trump seems to have eased beating up on North Korea but now firing staff right left and centre and doubling down with his alt-right neo-Nazi rhetoric..
One gets the feeling all this this may not end as well. There is great division in the US and it seems risks for social unrest on a large scale are rising. It is very sad to see all this happening.
In Australia Labor continues to lead in the polls and letting same sex couples marry is causing havoc in the Coalition to the extent we are now having a postal plebiscite – subject to the High Court agreeing.  Additionally the queue for a High Court  determination of valid election continues to grow! Energy policy, tax policy and a few others are also seemingly up in the air.

Thursday Update: Basically the chaos continues with Trump now threatening to shut down the US Government unless he gets the money to build his wall and the citizenship fiasco draining the will to live from most Australians - weekly consumer confidence has now hit the lowest level since 2015. Basically things still seem to be going the hell in a hand basket - situation normal! 

Late Afternoon Update: It seems the High Court won't get to the disqualified pollies until Oct 11,12 and 13. What a farce - please just get on with it ASAP!
Here are a few other things I have noticed.

National Budget Issues.

  • Updated Aug 13 2017 at 11:00 PM

Treasurer Scott Morrison says cheap coal-fired power era is ending

by Phillip Coorey
Treasurer Scott Morrison says the era of cheap, coal-fired power is coming to an end and anyone claiming it is the sole solution to the nation's energy dilemma is propagating a myth.
In comments that push back at calls by Tony Abbott and others that Australia should ditch its commitments to greenhouse gas reduction and just build coal-fired power stations, Mr Morrison said that would not work.
New coal-fired power was much more expensive than that being generated by existing power stations which were nearing the end of their lives, he told a private policy forum over the weekend.

Federal Labor tax plan will cost families, small business more than $100 billion over a decade

Rob Harris, National politics reporter, Herald Sun
August 13, 2017 11:00pm
FAMILIES and small businesses would cop a bill of more than $100 billion over a decade under federal Labor’s tax plan, new figures reveal.
Independent Parliamentary Budget Office modelling, out Monday, shows the cost of tax hikes to small businesses, mum-and-dad investors, older people, and high-income earners under a Bill Shorten government.
Treasurer Scott Morrison, stepping up his attack on Labor’s “unprecedented tax grabs” and its opposition to a lowering of company tax rates, warned wages would not lift and money would be ripped from the pockets of hardworking Australians.

Rise of the machines: the death of a decent day's work

Jessica Irvine
Published: August 13 2017 - 10:18PM
My working life began pushing a two-stroke mower across the sprawling lawns of my suburban childhood home – a tricky business mustering enough force to pull the starter cord but, after that, a thoroughly satisfying process of methodically retracing one's steps at half-metre-spaced increments.
Later, I'd land my first real job as a retail sales attendant at a big chain women's fashion store, where I quickly eschewed the more customer-facing aspects of retail – like actually talking to people at the till - to hide in the lingerie section, where I occupied myself with the pernickety business of adjusting bra straps back to their shortest length, looping them onto hangers and returning them to the racks.
While studying for my an economics degree, I spent most of my university holidays doing office-based temping work, including data entry, answering phones and entire working days spent folding paper, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps - or pressing them on to moist foam pads to save my salivary glands.

The Trump factor means Parliament should approve if it is to be war

Mark Kenny
Published: August 12 2017 - 5:26PM
It was only last week that Australians  learnt what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had told US President Donald Trump privately seven months ago: "You can count on me. I will be there again and again", which elicited the response, "I hope so, OK, thank you Malcolm".
Then this week, amid a shrill escalation of bluster between Trump and North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un – two of the world's chestier front men – the Australian Prime Minister came good, pre-emptorily declaring this country's unwavering support under the 1951 ANZUS Treaty.
So as the world tumbles closer to the unthinkable, Australia faces entanglement in a situation it has no scope to influence.

Barnaby Joyce citizenship: Email that could bring down the deputy PM was sent on August 7, at 12.31pm

Adam Gartrell
Published: August 14 2017 - 12:48PM
Last Monday I got a phone call from a normally reliable source. With the section 44 wrecking ball still swinging through Parliament, the source suggested I might want to take a closer look at Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's citizenship.
My first reaction was to laugh. Joyce had been in Parliament since 2004, serving in both chambers. He'd risen to the second most powerful office in the land. Surely he'd done his due diligence? Plus, Joyce was a guy who prided himself in being authentically Aussie. The thought he might secretly be a Kiwi was almost too outlandish to contemplate.
The fear of getting scooped is a powerful motivator in journalism. So I quickly started digging, establishing that Joyce's father - James Joyce - had been born in the south island city of Dunedin in 1924. He was born a British subject but New Zealand citizenship laws made him an New Zealand citizen. The same laws - the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 - said that: "A person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a New Zealand citizen by descent if his father was a New Zealand citizen." 

Parliamentary Budget Office disowns $150 billion Turnbull government costing

Eryk Bagshaw
Published: August 14 2017 - 1:31PM
The Parliamentary Budget Office has been forced to disown modelling released by the Turnbull government that claimed Labor's tax plan would put a $150 billion tax bill on families and small businesses. 
On Monday, Treasurer Scott Morrison seized on the figures to claim that Labor's tax plan would hit retirees, businesses, negative gearers, and those benefiting from capital gains tax. 
"There is a tax winter coming under Bill Shorten if he ever becomes Prime Minister," Mr Morrison told Sky News. 
  • Aug 15 2017 at 3:30 PM

Citizenship: ignorance or inheritance may be no escape from section 44

by Anne Twomey
Over 100 years ago, NSW premier William Holman lamented that he had not heard of any other leader who had been "confronted with the spectacle of his entire majority falling over the balustrade of a staircase".
He noted that "constitutional textbooks gave no guide for action in such unusual circumstances". In 2017, Malcolm Turnbull might sympathise, being confronted with the spectacle of his entire majority, and a sizeable proportion of the Senate, tripping over section 44 of the constitution. Constitutional textbooks have not been particularly helpful to him, either.
Section 44(i) states that a person is "incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives" if he or she "is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power".

Australia seems ready too easily ready to tumble into war with North Korea, and that's a big worry

Nicholas Stuart
Published: August 16 2017 - 12:00AM
A couple of months ago I was staying in what had obviously been, at one time, a lovely, five-bedroom two-storey house in Mosul. The real estate brochure could have written itself: "Rose filled internal courtyard garden; opportunity for huge gym in basement; wide atrium and sweeping staircase; and gorgeous rooftop balcony with views to river." It was, in fact, a home to die for. Quite literally.
As it turned out, the family that owned this house was safe, somewhere in the south. They'd largely managed to avoid the worst of the conflict, until finally, as it always does, it arrived at their door. Prosperous Sunni Muslims, they'd been successful in keeping a low profile through successive transitions of government, but unfortunately their daughter had married the son of a Shia family across the road. That house, equally beautiful, had been demolished. Only shattered concrete blocks remained. The boy had disappeared, presumed killed. Civil society had vanished, replaced by ideology and division.

Ross Gittins: 'Why the cost of living is not as high as you think'

Ross Gittins
Published: August 15 2017 - 4:58PM
Let me tell you a home truth no politician would dare to: We don't have a problem with the cost of living. In fact, consumer prices rose at the unusually slow pace of just 1.9 per cent over the year to June.
I don't expect that telling you you're kidding yourself will make me popular – which, of course, is why the pollies aren't game to tell you, even though they know it's true.
But how on earth can I claim there's no problem with the cost of living when, in this column only last week, I wrote that the retail cost of electricity had more than doubled over the past decade, and was now rising by a further 15 or 20 per cent?

Mad days in Canberra amid Joyce saga

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 16, 2017

Paul Kelly

Malcolm Turnbull is a prime minister prepared to “do and say anything to try to cling to power” — this is the lethal hyperbole from Labor’s Tony Burke in his assault on the government over the Barnaby Joyce crisis, his purpose being to destroy the Prime Minister’s governing legitimacy.
Turnbull’s government is not terminated. But this question depends on the High Court and defies prediction. If the court finds Joyce’s eligibility as an MP invalid then it will cost the government its majority and force a by-election that Joyce should win — but this struggle will be consuming.
Whether or not Joyce is found ineligible, the government’s standing will be diminished and its vulnerability paraded. It proves yet again that Labor is structurally superior on politics — it outsmarts, outmuscles and out-thinks the government on almost every issue. Luck runs Labor’s way but that is no accident. The government must hope another twist will trap a Labor MP in the citizenship provisions.

Australian wages stall at record low of 1.9 per cent

Eryk Bagshaw
Published: August 16 2017 - 5:52PM
The wages of working Australians are going nowhere, new figures show, stalling at a record low while the earnings of more than 10 million private sector employees fall below the cost of living.
The figures, published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, show wages grew by just 0.5 per cent in the June quarter, or 1.9 per cent over the year, placing mounting pressure on household budgets.
The result also means the Turnbull government is now barely keeping up with its budget forecast of a 2 per cent wage rise, a figure it is banking on to return to surplus by 2020-21. It has fallen well short the 2.5 per cent rise it forecast for the year to June in the 2016 budget.

Opinion: Labor ‘tax grab’ no worse than Medicare levy spike plan

Paul Syvret, The Courier-Mail
August 19, 2017 12:00am
THERE was a certain perverse symmetry to Scott Morrison’s week.
On Monday, the Treasurer tried to recalibrate what was always going to be an ugly few days for the Government – though no one, at that stage, realised just how pear-shaped it would become – with an assault on Labor’s tax reform plans.
The “tax grab”, the Treasurer alleged, would cost Australians $150 billion over the next decade. This, he claimed, was borne out by modelling prepared by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.
  • Updated Aug 18 2017 at 4:42 PM

Investors shrug as political risks rise in Australia

While news of Donald Trump's latest offences have whipsawed markets once again this week, the cresting wave of political risk at home has totally failed to register on local investors' radars.
True, we are not talking the tearing of our social fabric – neo-Nazis are not proudly walking the streets while our elected leader equivocates – but nonetheless the developments in Canberra in recent weeks deserve some attention.
The ruling Liberal-National government holds a precarious one-seat majority in the House of Representatives. And news that Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals, may be ineligible for Parliament by dint of a surprise dual New Zealand citizenship risks turning the Coalition into a highly unstable minority government.

Canberra chaos threatens investment: business leaders

Clancy Yeates
Published: August 19 2017 - 12:15AM
The dual citizenship chaos engulfing the federal government risks damaging Australia's reputation among foreign investors and could threaten much-needed investment if it is not resolved quickly, business leaders have warned.
Ahead of a critical High Court hearing next week, leaders called for a speedy resolution to the crisis that escalated on Friday when Senator Nick Xenophon joined the group of federal MPs who may unwittingly have been holding dual citizenship, which is not permitted under the constitution.
David Murray, former Future Fund chairman and chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, said the issue risked derailing the reputation of institutions such as the Parliament, which was a key consideration for foreign investors.

The truth of the matter about the extent of our unemployment problem

Ross Gittins
Published: August 19 2017 - 12:15AM
So, the Australian Bureau of Statistics told us this week, the rate of unemployment fell a tick to 5.6 per cent in July. Trouble is, most people know the official unemployment rate understates the extent of the problem.
What many people don't know, however, is that when you take the rate of unemployment and add the rate of under-employment, which in May took us up to 14.5 per cent, you overstate the extent of the problem.
It's well known by now that the official definition of unemployment is a very narrow one because you only have to do one hour's work in a week to be classed as employed.

Health Budget Issues.

Bupa calls for aged-care reforms

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 14, 2017

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Bupa has called on the Turnbull government to overhaul aged-care funding and introduce a market-driven system that will see Australians financially contribute to their care.
The company, in its submission to a Senate inquiry into the sector, said it recognised that in the current budgetary environment, it was not realistic to expect the government to increase funding to the industry.
“We therefore believe the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to move to market-driven aged-care funding, where people who can afford it contribute to the cost of their personal care, while those who cannot afford it continue to be heavily subsidised, should be seriously considered as part of a much-needed national conversation on ageing and aged care,” the company said.

Costs eat into private health incentives

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 14, 2017

Sean Parnell

The financial incentive to take out private health insurance is fast diminishing for tens of thousands of Australians, as rising premiums and bracket creep make it cheaper to pay the Medicare Levy Surcharge than to ­invest in basic health cover.
Alongside the “carrot” of an insurance rebate, the Medicare Levy Surcharge has long acted as a “stick” to compel people to take out hospital cover rather than being slugged extra tax. Individuals earning $80,000 or more, and families on $180,000 or more, face being levied up to 1.5 per cent extra tax if they remain ­uninsured.
Since the measure was introduced by the Howard government, insurance has remained cheaper than the potential tax hit, but that equation is starting to change. Actuary Jamie Reid, the principal of Finity Consulting, yesterday said affordability had been undermined by rising premiums and the erosion of the ­rebate.

Why it costs you so much to see a specialist – and what the government should do about it

August 14, 2017 7.13am AEST

Author  Stephen Duckett

Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute
Australians pay too much when they go to medical specialists. The government can and should do more to drive prices down. A current Senate Inquiry on out-of-pocket costs will hopefully lead to some policy action.
The problem is clear to anyone who has had to see a specialist recently. About 85% of GP visits are bulk billed, but the rate of bulk billing for visits to a specialist is much lower, at around 30%. The out-of-pocket costs can be very high, hurting patients.
To work out how to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for specialist care, we first need to identify why they are so high. There are four potential reasons.

Same surgery, different surgeon: huge variations in out-of-pocket costs for orthopaedic operations

Kate Aubusson
Published: August 15 2017 - 8:16AM
Some surgeons are charging thousands of dollars more than their colleagues for the same orthopaedic operation, leaving patients with up to $5500 in out-of-pocket costs.
Paying for a return flight to Adelaide for a hip or knee replacement would, in many cases, be cheaper than seeing a Sydney or Melbourne surgeon, an impractical hypothetical revealing the huge variations in surgeon fees across Australia.
A Medibank report detailing the vast disparities sends a clear signal to patients to shop around for their doctor, taking into account out-of-pocket fees, complication rates and expertise.

Health insurance premiums pushing patients out of cover

  • The Australian
  • 9:00PM August 14, 2017

Sean Parnell

Almost 40 per cent of health ­insurance policies have exclusions to help keep premiums down, raising the risk members will find themselves without cover when they need it.
Some of the most common ­exclusions, such as cataract surgery and hip and knee replacements, are locked in when a member is young and healthy and not given another thought until a problem arises later in life.
The trend of members “hollowing out” their cover to save money, while others dump their policies altogether, has continued even as a federal government ­reform committee tries to stabilise the sector.
Health Department data shows the number of insurance policies with exclusions rose 14 per cent from March 2014 to March this year. This is separate from the trend of policies being laden with excesses and co-payments.

Comparing costs at retirement villages and aged-care facilities

  • John Rawling
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 15, 2017
One of the major things many people have to decide later in life is whether to move into a retirement home — which allows independent living — or aged-care accommodation. The two are very different, and the costs vary significantly.
The listed Aveo group brought this issue to wide public attention in recent months when it was mired in public controversy over the nature of its financial service contracts at retirement villages. The stock has lost almost a quarter of its value in recent months.
Curiously, Aveo has traditionally run retirement homes and is now entering the aged-care industry.

Over $40,000: the staggering difference surgeons charge for prostate cancer procedure, report shows

Kate Aubusson
Published: August 15 2017 - 3:38PM
Prostate cancer patients are forking out as much as $10,000 in out-of-pocket costs for radical surgery, with some urology surgeons charging over $40,000 more than their peers for prostatectomies, the latest Medibank data shows.
The urology surgical variation report released on Tuesday also found as many as one in four bladder cancer patients had to be re-operated on six months after their initial surgery. 
The average cost of a radical prostatectomy ranged from $14,553 to $55,928 depending on the surgeon, according to the joint Medibank and Royal Australian College of Surgeons report.

Still don't know what a Health Care Home is? Here's a guide

16 August 2017
It’s the biggest GP reform since Medicare, D-day is a few months away, but not many GPs are aware of what is going on. For those who are, there seems to be more unanswered questions than in the plotline of Lost.
Yes, welcome to your new Health Care Home.
The current political rumbles are focused on practices pulling out of the trial. Two hundred were meant to be signed up by 21 July. Some 27 have already said no and a further 70, at the time of going to press, have yet to put ink on the contracts.

Hospital cover falls as fund profits rise

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 16, 2017

Sean Parnell

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Private hospital cover in Australia has fallen to its lowest level in five years amid rising costs, disputes between stakeholders and delays in long-promised reforms.
The latest quarterly figures, ­released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority yesterday, put the national coverage rate at 46.1 per cent, down from 47 per cent a year earlier, even as health fund profits rise.
Health insurers had almost 35,000 fewer members than the previous quarter, with people of all ages deciding to go uninsured. The only exceptions to the ­decline were newborns put on to family policies and adults seeking to avoid Lifetime Health Cover surcharges around the age of 30. Premiums rose again, this time by a weighted average of 4.84 per cent on April 1, and the dollar value of the government rebate continued to erode.

Coalition tips Medicare Levy to get over the line

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 17, 2017

David Crowe

The Turnbull government will put its $8.2 billion increase in the Medicare Levy to federal parliament today in a sign of growing confidence in legislating a flagship budget policy to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Scott Morrison will introduce the package of 10 bills this morning after talks with Senate crossbenchers in recent weeks helped clear the ground for a deal.
More than nine million Australian adults will be exempt from the expanded Medicare Levy, which will rise from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent for most workers, under a package that aims to increase protections for those on low incomes while raising revenue to help the disabled.

Hospitals in ‘cost-shifts’

EXCLUSIVE, Sarah Martin, Federal Political Editor
Saturday, 19 August 2017 2:45AM
State hospitals are being accused of “cost-shifting” to private insurers and prioritising fee-paying patients, sparking expert warnings of a two-tiered public health system that favours the well-off.
Independent Hospital Pricing Authority figures showed WA had the second-highest increase in private patients in public emergency rooms in the nation, surging 57.2 per cent since 2013.
The number of private patients having elective surgery in WA public hospitals is also rising, with about 10 per cent using insurance for procedures.

Treatment for cystic fibrosis sufferers still out of reach

August 18, 20176:03pm
Lanai Scarr News Corp Australia Network
HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has been called on to step up and do more for 1000 sick Australians battling cystic fibrosis, including kids from the age of 12, after the government’s pharmaceutical advisory body denied access to a medication that would change sufferers lives.
The drug Orkambi currently costs sufferers $250,000 a year, or more than $20,000 a month, to access, putting it out of reach for most of the sickest Australians.
Yesterday the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee rejected the medication for listing on the PBS — which would reduce the cost to $38.80 or $6.30 for concession holders — for the third time, despite Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Luxembourg all subsidising the drug.

International Issues.

Anthony Scaramucci says White House 'plotters' are working to oust Donald Trump

Published: August 14 2017 - 2:49AM
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has used his first television interview since his sacking to claim there are plotters inside the White House looking to oust US President Donald Trump.  
"What happens in Washington ... is the President is not a representative of the political establishment class, so for whatever reason the people have made a decision that they want to eject him," he told George Stephanopoulos on This Week on ABC News on Sunday.
"I think there are elements inside of Washington, also inclusive in the White House, that are not necessarily abetting the President's interests or his agenda."

Trump loses any claim to moral leadership with equivalence on far right

E.J. Dionne Jr
Published: August 14 2017 - 8:40AM
Washington: It should not have taken the death and injury of innocents to move our nation toward moral clarity.
It should not have taken President Donald Trump's disgraceful refusal to condemn white supremacy, bigotry and Nazism to make clear to all who he is and which dark impulses he is willing to exploit to maintain his hold on power.
Those of us who are white regularly insist that the racists and bigots are a minority of us and that the white-power movement is a marginal and demented faction.
This is true, and the mayhem in Charlottesville called forth passionate condemnations of blood-and-soil nationalism across the spectrum of ideology.

Nuclear war with North Korea isn't imminent: top US officials

Heejin Kim, Alan Levin and Ben Brody
Published: August 14 2017 - 12:26PM
Seoul: Two top US national security officials sought to tamp down fears of imminent nuclear war with North Korea following days of heightened rhetoric by President Donald Trump, as America's top general prepares to meet with South Korea's leader.
Walking a fine line of backing the tough talk directed at Pyongyang, but not wanting to raise the alarm at home, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser HR McMaster, in separate Sunday talk show appearances, said there was no indication war will break out.
"I've heard folks talking about that we're on the cusp of a nuclear war," Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. "I've seen no intelligence that would indicate that we're in that place today."

Donald Trump signs memo directing probe into China's trade practices

Published: August 15 2017 - 5:33AM
Washington: US President Donald Trump on Monday signed a presidential memorandum authorising an investigation into China's alleged theft of American intellectual property, declaring it "one big move."
The order directs US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine whether to investigate Chinese trade practices that force US companies operating in China to turn over intellectual property.
"Ambassador Lighthizer you are empowered to consider all available options at your disposal," Trump said before he signed the memo. "This is just the beginning," Trump added.

North Korea moves missiles into position for launch: report

Published: August 15 2017 - 9:19AM
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam, the North's official news agency says.
The country has said Kim will watch the actions of the US for a while longer before making a decision, 
Separately, there are unconfirmed reports that spy satellites have captured North Korea moving missiles into position.

Kim more predictable than Trump but Turnbull most transparent of all

Peter Hartcher
Published: August 15 2017 - 12:05AM
Is Kim Jong-un mad? You could be forgiven for thinking so thanks to media reports about his general setting out publicly a detailed plan for the bombing of a US island, Guam, home to a huge American military base.
But many news outlets have been a bit sloppy in their reporting of the North Korean threat. Two key facts were omitted in most of the news reporting. First, the North Koreans are at no point threatened to bomb the island of Guam, which has a civilian population of some 150,000 as well as 12,000 military personnel and their families, on the Pentagon's figures.
Specifically, the commander of the North Korean Army's Strategic Force, General Kim Rak-gyom, said the force was "carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with the medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12," based on the English-language version supplied by the official Korean Central News Agency.
  • Updated Aug 15 2017 at 11:22 AM

Under Donald Trump, America is now a dangerous nation

by Gideon Rachman
The claim that America is a "threat to world peace" has been a staple of Russian and Iranian propaganda for many years. For believers in the western alliance, it is painful to acknowledge that there is now some truth to this idea.
Under Donald Trump, America looks like a dangerous nation. Over the past week, Mr Trump has indulged in nuclear brinkmanship in North Korea, issued vague threats of military action in Venezuela and flirted with white supremacists at home. He is offering the very opposite of the steady, predictable and calm leadership that American allies seek from Washington.
Mr Trump's swiftly notorious threats that North Korea risks "fire and fury" from a "locked and loaded" America were particularly irresponsible. Even if the threat is a bluff, it puts American credibility on the line and risks triggering escalation from the Kim Jong Un regime, which is threatening to fire missiles near the US territory of Guam.

'Blame on both sides': Donald Trump criticises 'alt-left' in Charlottesville

Michael D Shear and Maggie Haberman
Published: August 16 2017 - 7:00AM
President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted that he did nothing wrong on Saturday when he declined to specifically condemn Nazi and white supremacist groups, asserting that "before I make a statement, I like to know the facts."
In a long, combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower, the president repeatedly rejected a torrent of bipartisan criticism for waiting several days before naming the right-wing groups and placing blame on "many sides" for the violence that ended with the deaths of a young woman after a car crashed into a crowd.
Trump repeated that assertion on Tuesday, criticising "alt-left" groups that he claimed were "very, very violent" when they sought to confront the nationalist and Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park.

Trump's business councils disband as CEOs quit over Charlottesville response

Jena McGregor
Published: August 17 2017 - 3:52AM
Washington: President Donald Trump's relationship with the American business community suffered a major setback on Wednesday as the president was forced to shut down his major business advisory councils after corporate leaders repudiated his comments on the violence in Charlottesville this weekend.
Mr Trump announced the disbanding of the two councils - the Strategy & Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Council, which hosted many of the top corporate leaders in America - amid a growing uproar by chief executives furious over Mr Trump's decision to equate the actions of white supremacists and protesters in remarks on Tuesday at Trump Tower.
Earlier on Wednesday, the CEOs of Campbell Soup and the conglomerate 3M resigned from the manufacturing council, as other business leaders faced pressure to take more dramatic action.

Donald Trump after Charlottesville is the 'alt-right' president

Nick O'Malley
Published: August 16 2017 - 1:34PM
In a rage-filled press conference Donald Trump has confirmed two bleak facts about his character and presidency. Firstly, that he does not signal to the so-called alt-right with his incendiary statements and his regurgitation of online conspiracy theories, he is in fact an alt-right president. Secondly, that he is utterly uncontrollable by the senior staff who rapidly cycle through his increasingly chaotic White House.
Trump appeared ostensibly to talk about plans to revitalise infrastructure, then offered to take questions.
This was, you might remember, the third time Trump addressed the deadly violence that accompanied a rally organised by and for white supremacists to protest against the removal of Confederate monuments on Saturday.

Trump's relationship with corporate America continues to fracture

Jeff Green
Published: August 17 2017 - 2:50AM
Mary Barra of General Motors wanted to stay close to the White House. Indra Nooyi of Pepsico was pressured to walk away. Kevin Plank of Under Armour got pushback when he did just that. Doug McMillon of Wal-Mart Stores took heat for rebuking President Donald Trump - and for not severing ties with him as three more members of a presidential advisory council resigned.
That was all just on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, 3M Co. chief executive officer Inge Thulin stepped down from the White House's manufacturing council, adding to the corporate exodus. Thulin, who didn't address Trump by name in the statement, said 3M, widely known for office supplies such as Post-it notes, "will continue to champion an environment that supports sustainability, diversity and inclusion."

From Civil War to Charlottesville: How America has changed

Bob Carr
Published: August 16 2017 - 6:08PM
First, absorb the fact that the President of the United States – the successor to Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower – is still defending himself for not specifically condemning Nazi and white supremacist groups following their weekend violence.
Now ponder for a moment that America's greatest hour between the end of the Civil War and today was the 1945 US-led victory over Nazism in Europe.
Absorb that, and then close-focus on the present: a demagogue occupying the Oval Office combatively resists criticising far-right groups, some of whom exalt the swastika.
  • Updated Aug 17 2017 at 9:27 AM

Donald Trump's apologists have nowhere to hide

by Edward Luce
Who poses the most realistic threat to the US republic: Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump? In theory, it is obviously Mr Kim. Yet US democracy is within Mr Trump's striking range at all times.
By providing cover to homegrown neo-Nazis, America's commander-in-chief is giving succour to the most lethal ideology in history. The fact that the US president does not understand this - or, worse, that he knows it but does not care - is an academic question.
The Ku Klux Klan and fellow travellers can scarcely believe their luck. Mr Trump is Mr Trump. The question is what the Republican party plans to do about him.

The Trump presidency is starting to disintegrate

  • The Australian
  • 1:56PM August 17, 2017

Cameron Stewart

Piece by piece, controversy by controversy, the Trump presidency is starting to disintegrate.
The collapse of his two key business advisory bodies is a self-inflicted blow to the one area — the economy and jobs — where Trump can reasonably claim to have done well in his first six months.
But the president’s apparent attempt to dog-whistle to his supporters his tolerance of white extremists has badly misfired.
He has alienated almost all key Republicans and all Democrats, world leaders and the vast majority of Americans of all races and political leanings.

Steve Bannon, basically: Trump's campaign was a fraud

Callum Borchers
Published: August 20 2017 - 1:56AM
Stephen K. Bannon says he will be "covering" for President Donald Trump on the outside, but the former White House chief strategist made a breathtakingly candid admission in the hours after his exit on Friday.
"The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over," Bannon told the Weekly Standard.
"We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It'll be something else. And there'll be all kinds of fights, and there'll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over."
I look forward to comments on all this!


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Talking about insurance, the ADHA strategy doesn't even mention the potential (unintended) consequences of making MyHR data available to insurance companies, let alone how to address them.

Australians can be denied life insurance based on genetic test results, and there is little protection


Anonymous said...

They do seem to avoid quite a bit regarding consequences, the insurance one is interesting considering that Rachel De'Sain Executive General Manager at ADHA is a fan of the American system.