“Who’s on first. What’s on second.” “I don’t know!” “Third base.” abbot and Costello It’s little wonder that President Trump is sarcastically referred to as The Pampers President, since these days being a Republican seems to entail acting like a two year old. Meaning, they spend all day screaming for something, and when Mama finally gives it to them, they throw it in the corner, and scream for something else instead. The GOP spent 8 years running monolithically on repealing the scourge of the American healthcare system, the Affordable Care Act, with its dreaded “death panels.” But now, fueled by a DOJ decision not to defend the law in court in a lawsuit, the GOP is approaching an even money that they finally get their wish. And instead of celebrating, the GOP is freaking out like a teen whose parents return hoe early to a toga party in the living room. Back in March, jealous of the Democratic success on running on healthcare in 2018, and fearful of what it could portend in 2020, Trump once again raised the Ghost of Stupid Past, proudly proclaiming that the GOP would once again be re-branded as “the party of healthcare,” by passing a massive reform bill that would be , “bigger, better, and cheaper.” It too Senate Majority Leader Yertl McTurtle all of about 30 seconds to piss in that punch bowl by proclaiming that the Senate had no intention of even considering any significant healthcare legislation ahead of the 2020 election. That was back in March, when the lawsuit was still widely seen as a long shot Hail Mary pass. But now, with the suit apparently steaming towards a showdown in the Supreme Court, with the reel specter that “Brewski” Brett Kavanaugh may finally pay dividends, the GOP is in a panic. Up until now, on more “socially” related issues, Chief Justice John Roberts has reluctantly sided with the liberals on the court, providing a speed brake on Kavanaugh. But on this issue, which could be repaired legislatively, it is possible that Roberts may finally decide to let Trump pay the piper for his craven stupidity. Now senior Senate Republicans are reacting like a drunk from Topeka who suddenly wakes up in cheap motel room in Sao Paolo. GOP Senator Lamar Alexander, who is copping a life raft off of the Trump death cruise next November is even talking about the possibility of reforming healthcare costs, and even Mitch McConnell is trading in his rendition of “Na-na-na-na,Hey,hey! Goodbye!” for a rousing chorus of “Kumbaya.” “I think the important thing for the public to know is there’s nobody in the Senate not in favor of covering pre-existing conditions. We would act quickly on a bipartisan basis to restore” those protections if struck down by the courts Every husband who has ever had a wife bitch him out about his gambling knows that this is exactly what she sounds like when he comes home and proudly displays the ten grand he just made at the track. The first thing he’s gonna have to spring for is a neck brace for her sudden case of whiplash. Such it is now for McConnell. Forget Trump, this is a nightmare scenario for the GOP, and a shining testament to their own stupidity. They ran for 8 years on repealing Obamacare without attempting to craft a […]
It’s no new insight that recent legislation in Idaho and Georgia is slashing women’s reproductive rights and sending them back to the days of back street butchers for abortions. This is abominable in 2019. It’s positively medieval. And so is this: South Carolina State Rep. Nancy Mace made a speech a few weeks ago, in which she identified herself as a rape victim. The purpose of her speech was to support exceptions for rape and incest, in conjunction with the proposed 6-week fetal heartbeat bill. Then a Republican colleague sent her a card, which is the image you see at the top of this post. Charlotte Observer: State Rep. Nancy Mace, R-Berkeley, gave the speech two weeks ago, successfully persuading the House to allow exceptions for rape and incest in a proposed 6-week “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban. On Tuesday, she returned to her desk to find a card left there by Magnuson. “It is a twisted logic that would kill the unborn child for the misdeed of the parent,” read the card, produced by Personhood SC, a group fighting for an outright abortion ban with no exceptions in South Carolina. Mace took the message personally, since it came two weeks after her speech, and House Democrats were outraged. She blasted the card on Facebook for its use of “misdeed” to describe rape and “parent” to describe “rapist.” In response, Magnuson on Wednesday distributed to House members a letter from a member of Personhood SC stating: “The problem of some is not the ‘poor wording’ of this sentence, but that these people just simply want abortion in cases of rape and incest.” “Calling rape a misdeed is ignorant, disgraceful and degrading toward women,” the second-term lawmaker ]Mace] said in an interview with The State Friday. “I didn’t get sent to Columbia to put up with bullshit like that.” Mace had kept the rape story secret for 25 years. It took a lot of courage for her to come forward. But that’s not how her Republican colleague perceived it. In his mind, any woman is just a breeding machine and should bear any man’s child, no matter how the conception occurred — or so I must conclude. There is no way a rapist can be construed as a “parent” doing a “misdeed.” And to expect a woman to bear a rapist’s child is so over the top that I’m amazed this conversation is even taking place in 2019. Republicans want to control women’s reproductive rights, totally, because that will allow them to control women economically. It’s as simple as that.
The print above is “Two Birds” by the marvelous surreal artist M.C. Escher. (You may remember his famous hand sketching another hand with a pencil, and all those terrific staircases?) In any event, as you notice, it’s the same image repeating itself. Now, take a look at the other image. Why is she touching a wall with what appear to be large dots? — Colleen Scanlon (@ColleenScanlon) April 27, 2019 Good question. Possible answers: She’s telling the dots not to bully each other, but to “Be Best?” These are magic mushrooms, and if she touches the right one, it will turn into her hubby’s dick, dance away, and throw itself down the sinkhole on the White House lawn? If you take too many opioids, your arms will fall off and you’ll be left with one arm growing out of your stomach to do everything with? If you answered, number three — you’re close. Yes, April 27 is National Drug Take Back Day, and this is the photo op that accompanies it, Melania doing God alone (or maybe Stanley Kubrick?) knows WTF. Because we sure as hell do not. National Drug Take Back Day is touted by the White House as a pro-active measure in curbing opioid addiction. The concept is that most people who abuse opioids are getting them, with or without permission, from a friend or relative. Now, some people may get off on the wrong foot by swiping Mom’s left over pain killer from knee surgery, granted. Kids will be kids. And, it’s not a bad idea, ever, to do a regular inventory of drugs in the household and clean house by throwing them away. Hear, hear. I have no problem with that. My point is that it is naive in the extreme to think that the opioid crisis in this country originates from the family medicine chest, or can be stopped there. It is either deliberate obfuscation on this part of this administration to say such a thing, or, alternatively, they don’t have a clue and feel that they have to say something and this is the best that they can come up with. Be that as it may, here are a few facts to look at, to get the origins of the opioid crisis in some kind of a realistic context. Stat News, Boston Globe Media: The widespread abuse of the potent opioid fentanyl appears to be largely the result of illicit manufacturing of the synthetic drug as opposed to the misuse of legally prescribed versions of the painkiller, according to two US government studies released Thursday. That represents a dramatic change in the way opioids have traditionally been abused, and means public health officials will likely have to adjust their response to the two-decade-long crisis. The number of drugs containing fentanyl seized by law enforcement jumped 426 percent from 2013 to 2014, and then almost tripled from 2014 to 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The number of synthetic opioid deaths nationally went up 79 percent from 2013 to 2014. But the number of prescriptions for fentanyl from 2010 through 2014 has remained flat. In Ohio, which has been particularly hard hit by fentanyl overdoses, prescriptions for fentanyl actually declined by 7 percent from 2013 to 2014. So, street drugs, not wrongly written prescriptions, are powering the opioid crisis. More specifically, the […]
In the euphoric days following the Democratic steamroller in the US House, the conversation quickly turned, since as Democrats we’re actually concerned with governing, The Democratic challengers had made quite a few rather concrete promises, and the question was how to actually get anything done in a split congress. One possible solution was to pass promises made through the House, and then let Yertl the Turtle scuttle them in the Senate, enabling the Democrats to put more pressure on flipping the Senate to get those measures passed.That’s a perfectly valid strategy, since it shows that we’re doing our part, and it’s McConnell and the Senate that are stifling popular measures. My personal suggestion was that we consider using incremental steps on big issue legislation. Medicare-for-all was a perfect example. It’s popularity in polling is now well over 50%. and a lot of candidates touted it in their campaigns, but it’s not something that could be passed in this congress , Or even in a Democratic Senate that lacked 60 votes to break a filibuster. So don’t even try. Remember, a walk scores the same run as a homer if you can get all the way around the bases. My suggestion was to break Medicare-for-all into smaller, incremental pieces, each one of which itself is popular, and yet sets the table for future incremental steps. The example I chose was prescription drug prices. Medicare and Medicaid combined are the largest purchasers of prescription drugs in the United States. And yet they are at the mercy of the big pharma companies, forced to pay the “going freight.” Pass a bill that allows Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with the drug companies for lower, bulk prices. And if they refuse, then threaten to negotiate directly with Canadian drug companies for FDA approved alternates. Since the GOP base is largely made up of older, lower income, white Americans that are currently on either Medicare of Medicaid, good luck killing that bill in the Senate, and see what it gets you.The next increment would be to allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate directly with insurance company medical “groups” of hospitals and physicians for lower rates. See how it goes? Well, one of the candidates currently running for President on the Democratic side is proposing to do exactly that, but writ large, and on a much sneakier (which I of course love) level. In her televised town hall in Michigan on MSNBC Monday night, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand floated her own vision of Medicare-for-all, on an incremental level. One possibility that has been floated was for anybody over the age of 50 or 55 to be able to voluntarily “buy in” to Medicare. This is a totally sensible plan, since it allows those most likely to be uncovered by private or company provided insurance access to healthcare, and it also minimized the “high risk” pool for insurance companies. Gillibrand’s plan is subtly different, but that subtle difference make all the difference in the world. Her plan would allow anybody not covered by private insurance to “guy into” Medicare, regardless of their age. It would leave people already covered by private or company provided medical insurance the option to keep their coverage if they wished. In my humble opinion, if this bill passed, it would lead to Medicare-for-all […]
I’m shedding a tear here. It’s kind of like the day when you finally throw out your favorite old pair of socks because you can put them on from either end, a melancholy sense of loss. Apparently, the GOP is finally putting the repeal of Obamacare out to pasture. Never again will we hear “Repeal Obamacare root and branch” screamed at a rally, to raucous applause. The first step to solving a problem is to admit that there is a problem, and apparently the GOP is finally willing to take that first, tremulous baby step. According to reporting in The Hill, Republicans are starting to try to find a palatable replacement for the failed strategy of repealing the ACA, while promising only to replace it with a nebulous, kind-of-concept to be determined package. GOP pollster Whit Ayres apparently looked at some actual polling and noticed a wee problem; “Republicans need a positive vision about what should happen to lower costs, expand access and protect pre-existing conditions,” he added. “You’ve got to be able to answer the question, ‘So what do you think we should do about health care?’ ” OK, right out of the box, and already, “Houston, we have a problem.” Ayres states that the Republicans need a ?positive vision” on healthcare. Since January 20, 2009, if there is one thing that the GOP has lacked, it is a positive vision on anything. Mitch McConnell darkly promised to use any means necessary, fair or foul, to make Barack Obama a one term President. Their own President, Donald J Trump, provided a stunningly “positive vision” when he spoke of “this American carnage” in his inauguration speech. The GOP has struggled to find anything positive to say about the menu at the congressional cafeteria, even though they controlled the menu for eight years. The old saying is that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and on healthcare, the GOP message was even more bleak than “American carnage.” Caribou Barbie from Wasilla led the rallying cry that “death panels” were coming to pull the plug on Granny! Both the federal budget, as well as the insurance companies, would collapse under the onerous weight of Obamacare, and everybody would die! Maybe Ayres is right, it’s time for a new set of drapes in the den. It couldn’t hurt, right? But there are several problems for this “positive vision” healthcare 2.0 that the GOP is trying to push. The first problem is that the GOP have been obstructionists for so long, that they’ve long ago forgotten how to have constructive ideas. Say what you will about the weaknesses of Obamacare, at least the Democrats did some honest research on what the issues and problems were, and tried to come up with solutions for them. The ACA was weak specifically because the Republicans vociferously resisted any attempts to make it strong and effective. The GOP didn’t research jack about healthcare, simply because they were devoted to the status quo. Another problem is that the Republicans are so covered in health insurance and pharmaceutical pocket lint that they can’t see clearly enough to drive their cars anymore. Any effective healthcare legislation would hurt insurance companies and big pharma, and that is a “pill” that the GOP is going to find very bitter and hard to swallow. But it seems […]
OK Democrats, in another two months it’s going to be time to put up or shut up. We got the House over the finish line, and we did it the old fashioned way, we worked our collective ass off for it. We won like any political party does, by making promises. But this time is different, because voters believed those promises for the simple reason that a lot of the people making them weren’t lying politicians for a change. We ran on healthcare. This was a dream issue to run on, for several reasons. For one thing, once you give people stuff, they tend to like it. It was always known that the ACA would be a slow developing program, 4 years to implement completely, with the real meat and potatoes coming in the last two years. Republicans could run against it only until it started working as intended. Once it did, people in states that had it wanted to keep it, and people in states that didn’t have it wanted it. And the GOP came off looking like schmucks. Healthcare was the overriding political issue of 2018, no matter how badly Trump wanted it to be about barefoot brown people going us all leprosy. But you know what? 2020 is going to be all about healthcare too. And the Democrats, specifically the Democrats in the House, have the chance to hone that issue, and jam it up the Republicans ass with a telephone poll. This doesn’t have to be like 2009 all over again. The Democrats don’t have to create some massive, intricate overhaul of the system. We already did that in 2009. The beauty of the ACA was that when it was implemented, it became an interwoven part of the healthcare system. This is why the GOP couldn’t just repeal the ACA, even the health insurance companies knew that if they did, the old system would collapse, because the structure of the system had been fundamentally changed. Hence, the GOP tinkering with the individual mandate, support payments, and junk policies only destabilized the system, making it a ripe issue for Democrats. The Democrats don’t need to try to do everything at once, in fact that would be a mistake. The more complicated something is, the harder it is to explain, and the easier it is for the GOP to misrepresent it, we found that out the hard way in 2009, with all of that “granny death panel” nonsense. There are several things that the Democrats can do immediately, but do them one at a time. First of all, small simple things are easier to explain, and their benefits ore apparent. Second, a steady stream of bill passages on healthcare will show that the Democrats are making good on their word. And third, every parent knows that if you hide the strained peas, you can con the kid into thinking that every spoonful is the last one, making it easier to get it into their mouth. First things first. Pass a bill that restores the original pre-existing conditions language of the ACA. The GOP will have a hard time fighting that, since so many of them swore fealty to covering those in their own campaigns. And since they’ll have a hard time fighting it, add in language that restores the original individual mandate, and […]
The Senate will vote as soon as Wednesday on a discharge petition forced by Democrat Tammy Baldwin to overturn the Trump administration's new rule allowing the sale of junk insurance plans that will undermine...
This week a federal court will take up the latest bogus challenge to the Affordable Care Act, and for the first time the law of the land will not be defended by the Department of Justice. That's ...
"Threatening poor people's lives—which is what getting rid of their healthcare coverage essentially means—is not a way to eradicate poverty. It is simply a way to punish the poor for being poor."
Let the games begin. As I write this, the world is waiting for the Tangerine Tantrum Machine to tell us all how we totally misunderstood what he said yesterday, and how strongly he shoved Putin into the corner when nobody was watching. Knowing His Lowness, he’ll probably recap his amazing electoral college win again. That seems […]