Writing mid-week this week as my bags are all packed up and I’ll be on the road this weekend, heading on a new grand adventure. There’s nothing like a road trip in America, even now. Maybe especially now. I’m looking forward to talking with people out on the road, taking a pulse in the heartland.
I think there are two tides turning right now. Fury with the senate republican health care proposal on the one hand, and republican fury with democratic opposition to Trump. Both are building. Conditions are ripe for – something – maybe a technicolor swan?
And it’s hard to get a handle on what that swan might look like, too. Trump is conducting the most confusing foreign policy since, well, I don’t think there is a valid precedent to compare with his brand of chaos and confusion, or his outright duplicity, for that matter. He tells the Saudis one thing one day, then something off-the-wall-different the next. How would you like to be living in Qatar right now? And The Donald seems intent on frittering away seventy plus years of American global dominance with absolutely no end goal in mind – other than to Make America Great Again, whatever that means. Problem is: his policies (if they can rightly be called that) risk turning America into a third world cesspool, complete with the global standing of, say, Botswana. And I mean no insult to the people of Botswana, as they had no part in Trump’s election. No, our own homegrown deplorables did that all by their lonesome. Right, Hillary?
Yet the alt-right have created the most perplexing propaganda machine in history. At times completely devoid of reality, for the most part they’ve convinced their minions that when it’s raining the sun is actually shining, that what’s up is down and what is wrong is really right. It’s cultural psychosis, schizophrenia on a massive scale, it’s not hard to imagine where this leads. It’s not all that hard to understand, either. Look at Prince Vlad (er, Putin): his popularity is soaring in Russia, and here in the States, too. Why? Well, he’s strong. He’s virile. He wants to make Russia Great Again, too. That’s what the Right wants. A strongman.
They seem to have given up on democracy.
But it’s the same fascist mantra that’s been played for two thousand years, from Rome to Robespierre. Stalin and Mussolini played the same tune, and Hitler picked up the refrain, then the Russians played the music ’til Gorbie dropped the ball and let Yeltsin run with it. I think Trump is trying to play the same music, yet I don’t think he’s smart enough to carry the tune. Let’s hope he’s not smart enough, anyway.
So, did you hear the gnews: it may well turn out the Trump is not the most evil man in America. That distinction, according to many democrats these days, might just go to Mitch McConnell. Why? Well, consider this. The definition of murder is to intentionally and knowingly deprive someone of their life, then read the OMB’s forecast of how many people would be cut adrift from any insurance coverage – at all – if the Grand Ole Party has it’s way. Something like 20-26 million people over just a few years. Yet, more importantly, the AMA is forecasting that the number of people killed (hey, that’s just a word, right?) will approach something like 300,000, in just the same few years. Killed, as in: if they had ObamaCare they’d still be, well, alive.
Need some context? Well, here’s what 100,000 looks like, so multiply this times three.
So, imagine three football stadiums, say, just like the University of Michigan on homecoming weekend here, to get a visual image of the number of people that Senator Mitch and his merry pranksters are evidently willing to kill in order to pass along some modest tax savings to the Party’s richest donors. They’re not quite in the Himmler/Stalin league yet, but who knows. Give them time, as class warfare seems to be their objective. If you want to know what evil looks like, study this stadium image for a while, then look at the image of Mitch. Note the eyes. If you want to know what America is becoming, just think about the number 300,000 for a while, while you compare the images.
Let’s see…tax cuts, or 300,000 people. What will they do?
What would you do?
Anyway, The Onion has their own take on Mitch. Worth a look, too. Laughter is the best medicine, after all, but consider that many republicans think the democrats are satan incarnate. And both sides seem to be hardening in their outlook. It’s Breitbart vs the Evil Fake News Syndicate. No room for compromise. Think about the Lincoln-Douglas debates before the Civil War if you want another good laugh.
And, so, enough of that.
Or, if you want some more you can hop over and watch the video of a former congressman, a republican, talk about the consequences of trying to find insurance if you have pre-existing conditions. Here’s a little from the article, at Huffington Post.
David Jolly, a former Republican member of Congress who campaigned against Obamacare, said he’s had a change of heart since losing his own health insurance this year.
Jolly, who represented Florida’s 13th Congressional District until he was unseated last fall, opened up about his personal health care struggles during a discussion of the GOP health care bill Monday on MSNBC.
“I lost my doctor, and I lost my plan in 2013, and I was angry about Obamacare, and I ran for Congress,” Jolly said. “But in 2017, as an unemployed person with a preexisting condition, I knew Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.”
Jolly became unemployed Jan. 4, when his term in Congress ended. He didn’t elaborate on his medical condition.
“While I ultimately chose a private-sector plan, I also knew in 2017 [that] Obamacare provided an exchange that was a safety net that wasn’t there before,” Jolly said. “To be honest with you, if I had had to rely on it, I knew it was there.”
Check out the rest of the article at the link above.
So, is it time for a single payer system? Well, Warren Buffett thinks so.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett expressed support for adopting a single-payer health care system on Monday, arguing that it would likely do a better job of controlling runaway costs.
Buffett qualified his comments by claiming that health care policy was “way outside [his] circle of competence.”
“With my limited knowledge, I think that [single payer] probably is the best system,” Buffett said.
Buffett’s support for a single-payer health care system, in which one government insurer covers the entire country, was based on the current system’s failure to keep rising health care costs in check. He noted that health care costs have risen exponentially as a share of the economy in the past four decades, holding back the competitiveness of U.S. businesses far more than taxes have.
“In almost every field of American business, it pays to bring down costs,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of people involved in the medical, the whole ― just the way the ecosystem works ― that there is no incentive to bring down costs.”
A single-payer system would likely “be more effective” at reducing those costs, he concluded.
There is abundant evidence to back up Buffett’s argument. Medicare, a single-payer system for America’s seniors and disabled workers, has a far better record of containing costs than do private insurers. Among other reasons, that’s because Medicare does not need a fund a marketing budget or compensate shareholders and executives.
The United States, virtually alone among developed nations without a universal single-payer system, has by far the world’s highest per-person health care costs ― and based on many key criteria, it nonetheless has worse outcomes.
Of course, besides telling us that the republican bill is just “mean”, Donald Trump also says it’s okay if the republican bill just kind of goes away.
Maybe he really wants to be re-elected?
Pew’s annual survey on the world’s opinion of the United States is out — and things aren’t looking good.
Confidence dropped in 35 of 37 countries since Barack Obama left office. In European countries, confidence in President Trump is as low as 7%. Sweden had the biggest drop — from 93% under Obama to 10% now.
The outliers: Confidence increased by 7% in Israel and a staggering 42% in Russia since Trump took office.
Think about this: A median of just 22% worldwide think Trump will do the right thing in international affairs — that number was at 64% at the end of Obama’s term last year.
Yeehah. Let’s make Amerika Great Again, y’all…but don’t forget, even when it’s raining the sun is really out there, shining away. Don’t forget to wear a hat, and bring plenty of bullshit repellant.
Or look at it another way…is the US or the UK the biggest disaster right now? Doesn’t really matter much, I guess. One right wing fascist is as good as another, hey Mitch? You ready to start singing the Russian National Anthem yet? Apparently that’s not…well, no, I’m not going to say that.
Y’all have a good week or so. I’ll be offline, unless I finish another chapter of Deep End while on the road (yes, I’ve trained Heidi to take dictation).