Friday, September 22, 2017

ACA Repeal Bill v. 2017: GOP's Alamo or More Apropos the Coup De Grâce

America's Troika: Standing for good and decent healthcare
(Yeah, sure thing)

Oval Office Desk and Pen
(Trump vs. Needy Americans)

Two Major Updates (same day at 6 pm):

Update from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - bill sponsor and close friend of McCain - he and McCain share one of the closest friendships in Congress. 

His statement in part:

“My friendship with John McCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is. I respectfully disagree with his position not to proceed forward on Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. I know Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is the best chance to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is collapsing in Arizona, South Carolina, and across the nation — driving up premiums and reducing choices.  I feel an obligation to fix this disaster and intend to push forward for state-centric health care versus Washington-knows-best health care. I’m completely convinced taking money and power out of Washington and returning it to states to administer health care is the best way to replace a collapsing Obamacare system. I’m excited about solutions we have found in Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson. We press on.”

McCain for his part said: “Republicans should not be content to pass healthcare legislation on a party-line basis.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “I am leaning no on Graham-Cassidy.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “I cannot in good conscience support Graham-Cassidy bill.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) does not like it and has turned back threats from McConnell and others – he wants 100% repeal of ACA (Obama-care).

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) offered “political bribes” for her “yes” vote.

Then this update from both RED and BLUE state medical directors: “The bill will undermine and fail all of our attempts to deliver good healthcare.” 

Looks like it's going down, folks. and rightly so — Graham-Cassidy seen here (Cassidy looking down very gloom) outta say this:

We surrender - We give up 
(Hopefully not our seats they wish...)

Original Post and from here (my other blog) - same subject:

Introduction and an excellent rundown here (NY Times) by Paul Krugman.

ACA has reduced the percentage of Americans without health insurance to a record low, and it was created on a three-legged stool premise.

1. Regulations that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

2. A requirement that individuals have adequate insurance, even paying into the system while healthy – analogy to defy GOP illogical views: Young healthy people not buying under that requirement that is designed to help keep all costs down, spread the premiums across a wide range, and give everyone care is like them also saying: “I don’t want or need fire insurance, my house is not on fire.”

3.  Provides subsidies to make insurance affordable for the lowest-income families via insurance provided directly by Medicaid.

Most RED states did not like the Medicaid “expansion,” but under the Graham-Cassidy bill they get a block grant to do that taking money from those states that did expand Medicaid by reducing their like in NY and Calif, while helping Texas who resisted Medicaid expansion and now gets a bundle of cash.

Graham-Cassidy takes away that safety net and does this:

1.     It like other Republican plan attempts eliminates the individual mandate.

2.     It replaces direct aid to individuals with block grants to states, under a formula that sharply reduces funding relative to current law, and especially penalizes states that have done a good job of reducing the number of uninsured (Calif and NY example).

3.     It effectively eliminates protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Seems like novices put this new repeal bill together and now:

The AMA, the insurance industry overall like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and others have all warned that markets would be destabilized and millions would lose coverage. The GOP is not waiting on new CBO numbers since the Sep 30th deadline hangs over them (e.g., the FY ends and they have to go back to a 60-vote rules threshold in a new budget year or change the rules again for only 50 votes).

Also, this excellent view from here (NY magazine). It also hits the proverbial nail on the head: “If there was an oral exam on the contents of the proposal, graded on a generous curve, only two Republicans could pass it,” a senior Republican aide told a reporter this week — before stipulating that the bill’s putative co-author, Lindsey Graham, was not one of them.

But you need not take an anonymous aide’s word on it. Vox’s Jeff Stein asked nine GOP senators what problems the Graham-Cassidy health-care bill solves, and how it solves them. The lawmakers responded with platitudes about federalism, the phrase “read the bill and you’ll understand,” and a bizarre reference to the final scene of Thelma and Louise (i.e., over the cliff).

Still, Republicans know a few things about their latest iteration of Trump-care. 

They know that the bill reforms one-sixth of the American economy so radically the Congressional Budget Office will need weeks to generate a detailed analysis of its likely effects; that every major health-care-industry stakeholder — from doctors and patients and hospitals to insurers and medical charities — opposes the legislation.

Even seven of their own party’s governors also oppose it.

The health-care-policy analysts believe the bill would make health insurance unaffordable for many people with preexisting conditions.

It would radically reduce Medicaid and federal subsidies for health insurance.

Some expert analysts say those cuts would increase the ranks of the uninsured by 32 million over the next decade.

Accordingly, 48 Republicans (of the 52 in the GOP-run Senate) are ready to vote “Yea” for the bill next week and that raises the question: “Why is almost every GOP senator ready to vote for widely reviled legislation that they do not understand?”

All this is solely based on a GOP political campaign promise which is all well and good, but it is not sound public or health care policy or close to any even rational concern for people those in Congress say they are in office to serve.

This is a potentially very ugly policy. It is harshness that only GOP conservatives love.

Finally, how can anything be this harsh and cruel be labeled or judged worthy by our Congress as good, decent, right, or just? That kind of thinking is based not on empirical evidence, but instead based on harsh opinion, raw rumor, and wild-ass thinking, and that is just flat out wrong by any standard.

Stay tuned for sure. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How High's the Water Mama — How Hot's the Mueller Russian Look-see

Oval Office: May 10th One Day After Trump Fired Comey
(Trump and Russian Full Cast of Actors)

For. Min. Sergey Lavrov, Trump, Amb. Sergey Kislyak 

In his hit song, Johnny Cash asks about flooding: “How high’s the water momma? She answers 2 feet, then 3, then 4, and then 5-feet high and risin.”

We may now ask S/C Robert Mueller how hot’s the investigation temp? According to this latest report from the New York Times here – I’d have to say 120° in the Oval Office shade and risin’…

Intro and Highlights:

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser (Michael Flynn) and FBI Director (James Comey), according to White House officials.

Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the FBI director had relieved “great pressure” on him.  (See the two photos above).

Mr. Mueller has also requested documents about the circumstances of the firing of Michael T. Flynn, who was Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser.

Additionally, the special counsel has asked for documents about how the White House responded to questions from The Times about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that was set up by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, to get derogatory information from Russians about Hillary Clinton.

(Note: You may recall that Trump Jr. corrected the meetings attendees and purpose at least three different times, but his own documents caught him in the trial of lies).

More on that Oval Office meeting a mere one day after Trump fired Comey is also nicely covered here from NPR wherein Trump specifically says to the two Russians: I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.”

(I also note: It sure looks like the two Russians had a hearty guffaw upon hearing the news about the Comey firing, or so it appears?)

Finally, the temp inside the White House – more specifically the Oval Office is —for sure it's high and risin' and getting more intense and focused.

Stay tuned – we surely are witnessing a historical moment – more so and more intense than Watergate or anything before or since in American political history. Bet on it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Trump Above All Else Always Markets the Trump Brand (Now at the UN)

Opening words before his main UN speech was Trump Tower praise
(Totally astonishing)

Story from ABC News and TPM here – more to follow on this later I am sure. 

The headlines are startling:

First Words at UN Trump Praises the “Trump-Branded Condo (Trump Tower) Next Door”
Trump opened his first remarks at the UN by complimenting the Trump-branded property across the street (Trump Tower) in his first remarks right after he thanked everyone for his invitation saying this:
“I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project.” (Note: Trump World Tower is across 1st Avenue from the UN, between East 47th and 48th streets in NYC). 

US-UN Ambassador former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) introduced Trump by saying:  “he has a businessman’s eye for seeing potential, and he sees great potential not just in this (UN) reform movement, but in the United Nations itself.”

Trump precise words are here - the man has no shame, no skills, no finesse, nada, nothing, nil, zip, zero ... even called the UN Secretary General António Guterres (Gootiris). seen and heard at the 3:00 mark - astonishing:

My Notes: Trump cannot help himself … constantly marketing his name anywhere, anytime, and to anyone listening – his family takes that same path.

Again, he is trying to run the country as a whole like a new business endeavor he just acquired through some other “shady deal.” Only now he plays to the on the world stage with his “un-reality show.”

Thanks for coming by. Come again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trump Says Illegals Cost Him Popular Vote and He Sticks to the BS Line

“A tool for voter suppression” yep, the Kobach Commission at your service
(Hell, even Trump nails it - smile)

The headlines from this story is a bit unnerving to say the least - but many of us already knew that:

“Database Used By Fraud Commission Disproves Its Own Point”

 FAKE NEWS – you want FAKE NEWS … about this garbage on “voter fraud” – news from the experts at NYU who track this closely. An eye-opener for sure – at least for level-headed, rational people who are not stone-deaf GOPer right-wingers bent on “voter suppression” and not fraud per se.

Example of the “fake facts in the fake news” that the Kobach Commission uses: 

[Click image for larger view]

Hard to dispute the facts, isn’t it – but leave it the Trumpeters and the fake phony Kris Kobach voter fraud commission to dispute the facts anyway possible that favor their narrow view about voting rights.

In the end, I say not only no, but hell no. Stand up to this total pile of horseshit and ask them just like in the movie: “How do you get the shit back in the horse?” (Quote from “Olaf Andersen” here in a very funny movie).

Thanks from stopping by and help stamp out this as Trump likes to say: “Witch hunt” in short – there is NOT voter fraud and the numbers prove that true.

The Brennan Center at NYU is top-notch in their research … check them out here.

And, come again.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Trump v. Kim: Two Madmen Play “The Madman Game” = End of Mankind

When Empty Heads Clash: Kaboom

Introduction: “It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood ... War is hell.”  — Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

Updated after Original Post (which follows):

A serious need to get to the table with North Korea is in order ASAP.

UN Conference Table in Panmunjom (the DMZ)

We have dealt with and more or less contained and restrained both Russia (old USSR) and China and guess what: That helped get them in the mindset of economic growth and taking care of their people were best for everyone all around and not more sustained war or nuclear threats. We need that approach and strategy with North Korea and the sooner the better.

My greatest concern is that this administration in DC is incapable and unwilling to get to that table, let alone even know what a table and serious negotiations are.

I assure anyone who knows anyone about North Korea that trying to out shine them in the PR arena, or show them off has not and will not work.

Talking never hurts, war does, and nukes would be the end for mankind.... this is not hype - just the raw truth. 

The Original Post From Here

This story from US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT in part here:

This should concern everyone in America, indeed in the free world, and especially our Congress ... since if Trump and Trump alone says “launch the nukes” – that order cannot be over ridden and the launch takes only 4 minutes. No one can stop them once the order is given and they are airborne.

As of today, those two “so-called leaders” (Donald J. Trump and Kim, Jung-un) are playing the so-called “Madman Game” that Richard Nixon tried to master as various times.

Both Trump and Kim are impulsive, unpredictable, and willing to defy the norms of international behavior. Both are acting in a threatening and bellicose way, raising fears that each would use nuclear weapons against the other and that would trigger Armageddon.

I say this in all honesty since there is no such thing as a “limited nuclear” war – 

Every country with nukes would get nervous and start throwing their nukes at their enemies far and wide. That would result in one giant fireball and the end of planet Earth – gone in minutes.

Thanks for stopping by and keep holding out hope for some kind of talk to end this utter madness.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trump vs. Kim: Both Seek Limelight and Thrive On It at World Expense

Swap Hair Styles and Have Same Motivation 
(Get and keep bizarre and outrageous attention)

North Korea's latest launch of a missile over Japan was a prelude to more military operations directed at the American territory of Guam, North Korean state media has warned (again). NK’s state-run Korean Central News (KCNA) reports that leader Kim, Jong-Un presided over the dawn launch of the “ultra-modern rocket system (called Hwa-song 12),” the first missile ever fired from the capital Pyongyang. North Korean officials told CNN that Kim “… was very satisfied with the performance of the missile.”

This firing over Japan further fuels tensions between North Korea, the U.S, Japan, South Korea, and American allies. As usual NK says their testing and the on-going ROK/US military exercise drills are to their “prelude to an invasion of NK, hence: “We have to be prepared” (usual standard NK insane and hyperbolic rhetoric spewed for over 60 years).

Carefully staged like everything in North Korea 
(For max show and PR impact)

Now once again NK threatens Guam which is the closest U.S. territory to North Korea and hosts two important US military installations: Andersen Air Force Base, from which has been staging B-1 bomber flights over the Korean Peninsula, often in response to North Korea's missile tests.

Other responses about this latest NK missile firing from this CNN story:

1.  Guam governor's office said in a statement there is no change in the island's threat level. “We knew, based on North Korea events in previous years, that with the joint exercise between the US, South Korea, and its Allies, we can expect rhetoric and activity in North Korea,” said George Charfauros, Guam homeland security adviser.

2.  South Korean President Moon, Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both now believe “pressure on North Korea should be raised to its limit so that North Korea will voluntarily come to the table for dialogue,” South Korean presidential spokesman Park, Su-Hyun said in a statement. The two also agreed that the United Nations Security Council should enact more detailed and effective sanctions against North Korea. A new round of sanctions against Pyongyang were unanimously approved by the Security Council earlier this month. 

3.  U.S. MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said the U.S. “will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

4.  Trump now basically says “No more talk” as he once again warned that all options are on the table adding: “The world has received North Korea's latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”

5.  The global community also swiftly condemned the launch as a violation of international law, e.g.., the UN Security Council demanded North Korea stop further missile launches, strongly condemning the country's “outrageous actions,” adding: “North Korea is deliberately undermining regional peace and stability causing grave concerns around the world,” Egyptian Ambassador and current UN Security Council President Abdellatif Aboulatta said in a prepared statement, agreed to by all 15 Council members.

My conclusion: This is very serious indeed and hair-trigger for both Kim and Trump for one sole reason – no one knows what Kim’s real goal is aside from typical NK barking of crazy propaganda talk about U.S. invasions and “we need to protect ourselves.”

All the while they hold more glitzy staged events with a handful of old generals, all over the hill in age, standing behind Kim taking notes as they always do in those silly posed photos while looking serious and Kim splashes wide grins and looks “leader-like directing things.”

His stunts and PR campaign stunts rival Trump’s as they both hunger for and seek maximum world attention and love at home from “beautiful crowds” who they say adore them both.

Folks, that aspect can’t be good for anyone: Two power hungry, attention-needing whack-job “leaders” trying to out Pee-pee the other.

Stay tuned. This can’t possibly turn out good for anyone anywhere, I’m sad to say.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NRA Today: Angrier, Uglier, Money-Hungry, Sedition Advocates

They Lost Original Rational Focus 

One of NRA’s Strongest Voices Today

You want a scary worrisome story? Well here it is reported on from the AP vis-à-vis NRA’s new tactics. That is: guns in America and who they more so consider to be their “enemy” and their message: “we are coming for you.” That’s the damn scary part – short introduction below. What is most interesting are the comments at the end of the fine article from now and soon to be former NRA members *my emphasis:

ATLANTA (AP) — The election of President Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress meant the National Rifle Association could probably rest easy that gun laws wouldn’t change for at least four years. But the NRA has begun a campaign not against pending legislation but what it sees as liberal forces bent on undoing the progress it’s made — and the political powerhouse is resorting to language that some believe could incite violence.

Using the hashtags #counterresistance and #clenchedfistoftruth, the NRA has put out a series of videos that announce a “shot across the bow,” and say the gun-rights group is “coming for you” and that “elites … threaten our very survival,” terms that suggest opponents are enemy combatants.

“The times are burning and the media elites have been caught holding the match,” NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch says in one video aired on NRATV, the gun lobby’s web video site, as it shows footage of people fighting police, breaking storefront glass and burning the American flag.

Later, she specifically calls out The New York Times: “We’ve had it with your narratives, your propaganda, and your fake news. We’ve had it with your constant protection of your Democrat overlords, your refusal to acknowledge any truth that upsets the fragile construct that you believe is real life. And we’ve had it with your tone-deaf assertion that you are in any way truth or fact-based journalism. Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow. … In short? We’re coming for you.”

Continue at the link… worthwhile reading and keeping handy. 

My last word: A democratic congressional candidate in AR wrote this: “If the NRA does not stop their hate campaign, I will call them out on sedition. Sedition is the willful undermining of the legal authority, the Incitement of Violence.”

I agree with that statement, and as I said, damn scary stuff for some on the “edge” of reality – perhaps just a enough to push them over the proverbial edge like we have seen in some many other places with “open carry laws” and guns in our collective face.

Shame on the NRA. I belonged to them but tore up my membership card years ago, and yes, I do support the 2nd Amendment, just like I do the entire Constitution, but Wayne LaPierre and his gang of thugs are bent on violence to get their way…!!!

BTW “Out of Bounds / Off the Mark” NRA: My right to say that is the 1st Amendment… something you always seem to always skip over.

Shame on you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump Won't Directly Disavow Alt-Right and David Duke Types: Why Not

Charlottesville, VA (August 12

Basically a Growing Scene Across America

Trump angrily denounced the so-called alt-left at his Trump Tower news conference (August 15) claiming that the group attacked followers of the so-called alt-right at a white supremacist rally that exploded into deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA (on August 12).

Short clip from that Trump-Press encounter in this short 2-minute segment on this exact subject:

The full press conference (25-minutes) is here:

He said in part – time and time again: “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt? There was blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it.”

(My Note: Trump cannot and still has not directly disavowed David Duke’s support statement – why we must wonder – why no indeed).

Reporters then were like a dog with a bone – they countered him and he loved it. 

Trump went so far as to blast, insult, and name-call others, including Sen. John McCain for his “no” vote (that took about good health care away from everyone) – which basically killed Trump’s dream and signature issue: The “repeal and replacement the ACA (Obama-care).”

So, a lot of terms are tossed about lightly for impact and nastiness, like these for simple clarification (extracted from this fine NY Times article and also with more details; however, I simply wanted to highlight these three words in particular as the ones we hear almost daily):

Alt-Right: The “alt-right” is a racist, far-right movement based on an ideology of white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Many news organizations do not use the term, preferring terms like “white nationalism” and “far right.”

The movement’s self-professed goal is the creation of a white state and the destruction of “leftism,” which it calls “an ideology of death.” Richard B. Spencer, a leader in the movement, has described the movement as “identity politics for white people.”

It is also anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, and opposed to homosexuality and gay and transgender rights. It is highly decentralized but has a wide online presence, where its ideology is spread via racist or sexist memes with a satirical edge.

It believes that higher education is “only appropriate for a cognitive elite” and that most citizens should be educated in trade schools or apprenticeships.

Alt-Left: A lot of researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.”

Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), says the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like. It did not arise organically, and it refers to no actual group or movement or network. It’s just a made-up epithet, similar to certain people calling any news they don’t like as “fake news” (the #1 favorite word used by Trump practically daily in everything he talks about).

Antifa: This word is a contraction of the word “anti-fascist.”

It was coined in Germany in the 1960s and 1970s by a network of groups that spread across Europe to confront right-wing extremists, according to ADL’s Pitcavage.

A similar movement emerged in the 1980s in the United States and has grown as the “alt-right” has risen to prominence. 

For some so-called antifa members, their goal is to physically confront white supremacists or as Pitcavage says: “If they can get at them, to assault them and engage in street fighting.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the group “an old left-wing extremist movement” and alt-right members broadly portray protesters who oppose them as “antifa,” or the “alt-left,” and say they bear some responsibility for any violence that ensues — precise claim Trump made during his Trump Tower face-to-face with the press.

With all we have seen over the past 12 or so years as depicted by the photo above and remarks from Trump and the most-recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.

I ask the high court: Is this what the Supreme Court wants for America?

In all honesty it is hard for me to fathom that they expected to see this and for any rational logical answer – none fit.

My Conclusion: Armed groups on our streets looking a segment from some SWAT movie or latest 24-hour TV show or worse, ISIS types roaming the streets looking for what, pray tell?

This is not the country I served for over 40 years, the country I fought for and bled for, and not the one I want for future generations.

Our rights and freedoms are critical, for sure, but armed militia by any name they self-label themselves taking to the streets the way they do now – and: 

I simply ask: Why??

Thanks for stopping by.