There’s a certain danger in paying too much attention to the daily barrage of terrifying headlines that now dominate the daily news cycle. Today, alone, we learned that President Trump has acknowledged he is under investigation for obstruction of justice; that administration officials are genuinely afraid he will fire both the special prosecutor appointed to investigate him and the man who appointed him, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein; and that Trump has appointed a wedding planner with a possibly falsified resume to head up New York’s federal housing programs.
The problem is that while we’re paying attention to the latest crisis, Trump and his allies in Congress are hoping we don’t notice that they’re rolling back health care for millions of Americans with “preexisting conditions” like pregnancy and depression; appointing right-wing bloggers who compared abortion to slavery to federal judgeships; and opportunistically exploiting a tragic shooting by suggesting that Democrats are to blame for gun violence (while ignoring the common denominator that unites virtually all mass shooters).
So before you return to your regularly scheduled programming of late-night Presidential tweetstorms and speculation about modern-day Saturday Night Massacres, here’s a closer look at some of the stories that didn’t make it above the fold.
Senators have worked hard to keep the latest version of legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act under wraps, but Axios reported that it will likely allow states to request waivers so that insurance companies won’t have to cover “essential health benefits”—things like maternity care, which the so-called “pro-life” party does not consider an important part of health care coverage. (Hey, none of the elderly white men who run the party will ever get pregnant, so why should they)? States could also get out of a requirement that limits how much more older people can be charged than younger people—a provision that disproportionately impacts women, since women generally live longer than men.
Many people who get their insurance coverage through an employer would not be protected, because the Senate health-care bill would once again allow annual and lifetime limits on coverage for non-“essential” benefits in states that apply for waivers to the essential benefits requirement; this would apply to both the individual and employer markets. The Center for American Progress estimates that some 27 million people who get insurance from their employers would face annual caps on their coverage, and about 20 million would face lifetime caps—meaning that a single complicated pregnancy, or bout with ovarian cancer, could max out a woman’s insurance coverage for a year—or the rest of her life.
You might think HUD director Ben Carson was the only underqualified Trump appointee who once compared abortion to slavery, but think again—John K. Bush, a right-wing blogger whom Trump nominated to the powerful 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, has written that “slavery and abortion” are “the two greatest tragedies in our country.” Think Progress reports that Bush went on to claim that Martin Luther King, Jr. “would have opposed Roe v. Wade had King been alive when that case was handed down. In reality, there’s no evidence that King — who supported efforts to increase access to birth control and said in 1960 that he’s always been deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood Federation’— would have stood against reproductive rights.
Bush has also argued that there is no way a black man or a woman could become President without some unfair advantage; expressed outrage that passport applications were changed to acknowledge the existence of same-sex parents; and referred to the Rodney King beating as “a police encounter.” Politico calls Bush “shocking in his blatant disdain for equal rights and animus toward racial and other minorities.” The Senate is still considering his appointment, and the Leadership Conference is encouraging people to contact their senators to urge them not to approve the appointment.
While Republicans, and many in the media, were quick to seize on the fact that Congressional baseball practice shooter James T. Hodgkinson had been a Bernie Sanders supporter, ThinkProgress (and others) point out a far more relevant common denominator between Hodgkinson and the vast majority of mass shooters: A history of domestic violence and misogyny. Think Progress reports that Hodgkinson was arrested in 2006 for assaulting a woman who tried to intervene when she witnessed him “throwing his daughter around”a bedroom. Hodgkinson, the woman said, punched her in the face.
Men who hurt female family members often go on to hurt other people, yet most mainstream news organizations fail to connect the dots. Robert Dear, the man who shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, had a history of domestic violence; so did Omar Mateen, the shooter who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando one year ago. The list goes on and on and on. Violence against women is one of the best predictors for future mass violence. Yet we don’t treat it as such. And that’s a tragedy.