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Paul Krugman: The GOP has been caught in one of its most noxious lies

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Much to Mitch McConnell’s chagrin, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, thanks in no small part to senators Lisa Murkowski, John McCain and Susan Collins. Insurance markets are slowly stabilizing and insurer profitability is up. While the legislation is far from perfect, it has benefited tens of millions of Americans who were previously uncovered. So why were so many seemingly enraged when the bill was passed?

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As Paul Krugman explains in his Friday column, there are multiple explanations: “G.O.P. apparatchiks” despised President Obama, and “wealthy people [were] furious taxes were going up to pay for lesser mortals’ care.” But even that can’t account for the people who “screamed at their representatives in town halls,” or the protester who insisted his son suffering from cerebral palsy faced a “death sentence” under the legislation.

None of their complaints were grounded in reality.

“The people with pre-existing medical conditions are among the A.C.A.’s biggest beneficiaries and would have had the most to lose if conservative Republicans had managed to repeal the law,” Krugman writes. “Predictions of mass harm were completely wrong.”

Seven years later, the narrative has shifted. When Republicans open call lines and town halls for constituents furious with the state of American health insurance, they are met with “an outpouring of support for the law, bolstered by tales of lives and finances saved by the A.C.A.”

Krugman attributes the initial resistance to Obamacare to a flood of misinformation from Fox News and talk radio, which convinced a sizable percentage of the country that “death panels” would decide the fate of senior citizens. How did so many fall for these obvious falsehoods? Krugman continues:

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The answer, I believe, comes down to a combination of identity politics and affinity fraud. For generations, conservatives have conditioned many Americans to believe that safety-net programs are all about taking things away from white people and giving stuff to minorities. And those who stoked Obamacare rage were believed because they seemed to some Americans like their kind of people — that is, white people defending them against you-know-who.

While many have been duped, truth and justice have slowly prevailed. Obamacare is here to stay, at least for now.

Read the entire column at the New York Times.

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Conservatives rage after Westworld actor Jeffrey Wright compares armed protest to Klan rally

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Actor Jeffrey Wright kicked a hornet's nest of conservative fury by comparing an armed protest in Virginia to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

The star of HBO's Westworld three James Bond films mocked the Richmond gun rally in a tweet, which linked to a Washington Post article on the armed demonstration, and noted the event was scheduled on Martin Luther King Day.

“The organizers aren’t at all bothered that a gun circle jerk in Richmond, VA on #MLKDay has a Klan-rally smell to it?" Wright tweeted. "Wonder why."

The organizers aren’t at all bothered that a gun circle jerk in Richmond, VA on #MLKDay has a Klan-rally smell to it? Wonder why. https://t.co/1kq9pu1is1

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‘Dead wrong’: House Dems release scathing rebuttal to White House’s widely panned legal brief

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The Trump White House's latest defense of the president ahead of his impending impeachment trial has been widely panned, and has even sparked speculation that Trump himself had a hand in writing it due to its low-grade legal analysis.

A legal brief filed by President Donald Trump's lawyers late last week called impeachment proceedings "constitutionally invalid," even though impeachment is literally a part of the Constitution, and also accused Democrats of engaging in a "brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election," even though Vice President Mike Pence would take over in the event that Trump was removed by the Senate.

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White nationalist speaker heckled for denying Holocaust at Virginia gun march: ‘You are literally a neo-Nazi’

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A white nationalist speaker who has been affiliated with neo-Nazi rhetoric was caught on video denying the Holocaust at a pro-Second Amendment march in Richmond, Virginia.

The remarks were made by former Proud Boy Jovanni Valle, who goes by the name Jovi Val. Video clips of Valle's speech were shared on Twitter by writer Robert Evans.

"You wear a swastika and walk down the street," a man can be heard telling Valle. "You took it off and now you are like, oh no. You are denying the existence of the Holocaust."

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