Friday links! Courtesy of the red, white and blue edition

Toby Keith, who did not serve in the military, and his dog tags

Did you hear? President Trump dropped the MOAB on Afghanistan, killing 36 ISIS fighters and presumably ending our 15-year war. “MOAB” stands for “mother of all bombs.” The 11-ton weapon loves all other bombs and just wants them to be happy, and even though it has different expectations for each bomb, it is behind every single one of them 100 percent. You know who else loves bombs? Fox and Friends. Here’s the video they put together for yesterday’s strike:

“The video is black and white,” Ainsley Earhardt says, “but that is what freedom looks like. That’s the red, white and blue.” It’s true that a tyrant could never bomb anyone. Freedom isn’t life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. It’s a giant explosion seen from 30,000 feet. It’s Geraldo Rivera and his Wario mustache saying that “one of my favorite things, in the sixteen years I’ve been here at Fox News, is watching bombs drop on bad guys.” Today is Friday, and the most comfortable people in the world love to watch other people get bombed. Won’t you experience hot, searing freedom with me?

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iPhone remark suggests Chaffetz has no idea what insurance costs

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) addresses the Whos of Whoville.

Congressional Republicans have released their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and it is less than comprehensive. Andy Slavitt, former Acting Adminstrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services under President Obama, described the plan as “basically a $600 billion tax cut funded by gutting Medicaid.” Although its architects claim it will preserve access for the millions of previously uninsured Americans who found coverage under Obamacare, it does away with the subsidies that let them buy it. When it was pointed out to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) during an appearance on CNN’s New Day that “access doesn’t equal coverage,” the congressman implied that people who couldn’t afford insurance were spending irresponsibly. Quote:

You know what? Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare.

Chaffetz’s father once owned part of a professional soccer team, so the representative may have a shaky notion of how much individual health insurance costs. Either that, or he’s playing an old card: poor people aren’t poor because of iniquity or an economy that doesn’t serve them, but rather because they spend unwisely. The poor have just as much money as everybody else! Assessment after the jump.

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Policy problem: Should we stop Luis Lang from going blind?

Luis Lang of Charlotte refused to buy health insurance and is now going blind. Photo by Ann Doss Helms

Luis Lang of Charlotte refused to buy insurance and is now going blind. Photo by Ann Doss Helms

Luis Lang has a detached retina and bleeding in his eyes due to complications from diabetes. He needs a series of expensive injections and eye surgery, or he will go blind. A critic of President Obama, he refused to buy health insurance until late February, when he incurred $9,000 in emergency room bills. That’s when he tried to buy a policy through his state’s exchange and learned that he’d missed the 2015 deadline. He and his wife blame Obama and Democrats for passing a flawed, confusing bill. “[My husband] should be at the front of the line, because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” his wife told the Charlotte Observer. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.” First of all, I am sorry for Lang’s health problems, which are scary and bad. Also, he appears to be kind of an asshole. But does that mean we should let him go blind?

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Is it unethical to be wrong about public policy?

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) called Obamacare "the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress."

John Fleming (R-LA) called Obamacare “the most dangerous piece of legislation ever passed in Congress.”

Obvi, the most dangerous piece of legislation Congress ever passed was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which encouraged armed posses to cross the Mason-Dixon line and abduct black people. You know who agrees with me? Rep. Bill O’Brien (R-NH)—that’s why he put Obamacare and the Fugitive Slave Act in a tie. He seems to have been wrong, along with a great many pundits, commentators, chimerical celebrity/politician hybrids—you name it. Lots of people were vociferously wrong about Obamacare, as Krug Man points out in the New York Times. Shouldn’t they have to admit their mistakes? Bring them to Krug Man, so they may be cleansed. All hail Krug Man!

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GOP issues “moral document” in the form of 10-year budget plan

Paul Ryan (R–WI) pretends to think about your birthday present, but you're getting an iTunes card.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) pretends to think about your birthday present, but you’re getting an iTunes gift card.

If you want to feel superior and depressed at the same time, read this New York Times story on the budget plan House Republicans submitted last week. The good news is that it balances the federal budget by 2025. The bad news is that it does so by assuming $147 billion in additional revenue from the “macroeconomic effect” of the budget itself. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act and the taxes that support it, but still includes $1 trillion in revenue from those taxes. Finally, it counts $1 trillion in savings from unspecified cuts to social welfare programs. Don’t worry, though: there’s a $40 billion increase in defense spending next year, couched as “emergency war spending” so as not to violate the 2011 Budget Control Act. We’ll find the war later. As Rep. Rob Woodall (R–GA) of the House Budget Committee put it, “A budget is a moral document; it talks about where your values are.”

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