McCain set to de­rail health­care bill again Tolkien and Trump’s tough talk

As a chil­dren’s clas­sic reaches a mile­stone, many of its themes are still rel­e­vant to­day.

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD - AP, Reuters Danielle McLaugh­lin Septem­ber 24, 2017

Ari­zona Repub­li­can Se­na­tor John McCain has de­clared his op­po­si­tion to the party’s last-ditch ef­fort to re­peal and re­place ‘‘Oba­macare’’, deal­ing a likely death blow to the leg­is­la­tion and, per­haps, to the Repub­li­cans’ years of vows to kill the pro­gramme.

It is the sec­ond time in months that 81-year-old McCain has emerged as the de­stroyer of his party’s sig­na­ture prom­ise to vot­ers.

‘‘I be­lieve we could do bet­ter work­ing to­gether, Repub­li­cans and Democrats, and have not yet re­ally tried,’’ McCain said yes­ter­day of the bill, cowrit­ten by Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina, his best friend in the Sen­ate, and Bill Cas­sidy of Louisiana. ‘‘Nor could I sup­port it with­out know­ing how much it will cost, how it will af­fect in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, and how many peo­ple will be helped or hurt by it.’’

McCain, who is bat­tling brain can­cer in the twi­light of a re­mark­able ca­reer, said he could not ‘‘in good con­science’’ vote for the leg­is­la­tion.

This has all but en­sured a ma­jor set­back for US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, and ap­pears likely to deepen rifts be­tween con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans and a pres­i­dent who has be­gun mak­ing deals with Democrats out of frus­tra­tion with his own party’s fail­ure to turn pro­pos­als into laws.

With McCain’s de­fec­tion, there are now two de­clared GOP ‘‘no’’ votes on the re­peal leg­is­la­tion, the other be­ing Rand Paul of Ken­tucky. With Democrats unan­i­mously op­posed, that is the ex­act num­ber McCon­nell can af­ford to lose. But Maine Se­na­tor Su­san Collins said yes­ter­day she, too, was lean­ing against the bill, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was also a pos­si­ble ‘‘no’’.

Trump called ‘‘sad’’ and thing’’ for three McCain’s op­po­si­tion ‘‘a hor­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble the Repub­li­can Party. But he said he would con­tinue the fight to re­peal Oba­macare, even if it meant go­ing back again and again.

Mean­while, Trump has in­jected him­self into a bit­ter US Sen­ate pri­mary fight in Alabama, putting to the test his abil­ity to en­list his anti­estab­lish­ment vot­ers to come to the aid of an en­dan­gered Repub­li­can in­cum­bent. Trump spoke at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama yes­ter­day on be­half of Se­na­tor Luther Strange, who was ap­pointed af­ter the seat was left va­cant when Jeff Ses­sions was named Trump’s at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Strange is try­ing to ward off a chal­lenge from Roy Moore, an arch­con­ser­va­tive for­mer state Supreme Court jus­tice, in a runoff elec­tion next Polls show the race to be week. close.

A win by Moore could em­bolden other in­sur­gent can­di­dates to chal­lenge Repub­li­can in­cum­bents in next year’s con­gres­sional elec­tions, and per­haps give an edge to Democrats in some of those races.

Repub­li­can lead­ers fear that can­di­dates who are too far to the right could lose to Democrats, who are seek­ing to wrest con­trol of the House and the Sen­ate in the 2018 midterm elec­tions.

Trump is also weigh­ing the next it­er­a­tion of his con­tro­ver­sial travel ban, which could in­clude new, more tai­lored re­stric­tions on trav­ellers from ad­di­tional coun­tries.

The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity has rec­om­mended that the pres­i­dent im­pose the new, tar­geted re­stric­tions on for­eign na­tion­als from coun­tries it says refuse to share suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion with the US or haven’t taken nec­es­sary se­cu­rity pre­cau­tions.

The re­stric­tions could coun­try, of­fi­cials said.

Trump’s ban on visi­tors from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tions, which sparked protests and a flurry of law­suits, is set to ex­pire to­day, 90 days af­ter it took ef­fect. vary by

Tolkien’s The Hob­bit turned 80 this week. It’s a tale well known to Ki­wis, not least be­cause God­zone is of­fi­cially the in­car­na­tion of Mid­dle Earth.

Some of the ma­jor themes of The Hob­bit, and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing Lord of the Rings tril­ogy, hit home here in Man­hat­tan as the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly con­vened. Tolkien, a vet­eran of World War I, in­fused his nov­els with im­agery from the bat­tle­field and the lessons of war, in­clud­ing who ul­ti­mately bears its cost.

This week, those themes res­onated as the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent – be­fore the an­nual gath­er­ing of world lead­ers on East 42nd Street – threat­ened to an­ni­hi­late North Korea.

Trump’s threat to de­stroy an­other UN mem­ber, from the UN podium, was un­heard of in an or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to main­tain­ing peace and se­cu­rity and achiev­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion. And that’s say­ing some­thing, con­sid­er­ing Libya’s Colonel Muam­mar Gaddafi and Cuba’s Fidel Cas­tro had at other times taken that stage.

It’s not to say, of course, that North Korea’s ag­gres­sion is any­thing

John McCain

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ad­dress­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly this week. Be­low, Tolkien char­ac­ters Gloin and Bilbo Bag­gins from The Hob­bit.

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