On Beating A Dead Horse …

Two men who know less about health care and medical insurance than even I, have suddenly become experts in what is good for the health of our nation.  Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have brought the dead horse issue of repealing ACA (Obamacare) back to some form of life in the Senate, apparently in the hope of currying favour with Donald Trump.

dead horse 2

There was a time that I had some grudging respect for Senator Graham, but that time has long since passed, the final nail driven into the coffin last weekend when he lowered himself into the dung heap and appeared on Breitbart to make a plea to the masses.  The ‘nationalist’ Trump-supporting masses, that is, for the other 65% of us do not appear to matter to him.

The Graham/Cassidy bill looks remarkably like a clone of the bill that failed in July that was drafted by Mitch McConnell and his goons, none of whom know any more than I do about the details of a comprehensive health care plan.  Where are the experts?  Where are the people for whom this is charted territory, the people who understand the ramifications and effects on We The People?  They are not in the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, that’s for certain.

graham-cassidy.jpg

Lindsey Graham/Bill Cassidy

When Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins cast ‘nay’ votes on the Senate floor in July, I thought the issue was done … the dead horse had been beaten for the final time.  Trump ranted for a bit: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” He told them to go back to the floor and try again, but the senators were tired, it was time for their break, and they had other work to do. They also knew they could not sway the three who voted their conscience.

But now for some reason, Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy are determined to attempt to breathe new life into that dead horse. Make no mistake … it is the same horse and it is still dead.  The goal of Graham and Cassidy, I think, is to bully and browbeat and push for a very quick vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has time to remind us of the terrible consequences of the repeal.  I hope … I sincerely hope … that nothing has changed and that at the very least, Senators McCain, Murkowski and Collins will continue to stand by what they know is right.  I believe they will.  Senator Rand Paul has also said that he will not vote for the bill. But what about the other 49 senators?  Where are their consciences?  I think I know where … buried deep in their wallets, gathering dust and being crushed by their fat arses every day.

toon-1.jpgIf the Graham/Cassidy bill fails to pass by September 30th, then it will require a 60% majority to pass, which would mean at least 8 democratic senators would have to cast their votes in favour.  I would like, ultimately, to see bi-partisan efforts such as those being proposed by Lamar Alexander and Patti Murray to fix the cracks in the ACA and maintain it, rather than recklessly throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

On Saturday, Graham appeared on Breitbart to convince those who watch such things that his plan would somehow make them happy, I suppose.  One thing he said, though, sticks in my craw:

“So the goal is to get the money and the power out of Washington. This is not about repealing and replacing Obamacare. This is about stopping a march towards socialism.”

This was in reference to the single-payer plan laid out last week by Bernie Sanders.  I can speak only for myself, but if Bernie’s plan is considered socialist, and Graham’s plan is anti-socialist, then call me a socialist. Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal,  Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom all have universal health care, and none are socialist nations.  Senator Graham is wrong, just plain wrong. He is simply more interested in pleasing Trump and the lobbyists for the insurance industry than he is in seeing to the best interests of those who have voted him into office since 2003.

My best guess is that this latest incarnation will have essentially the same effect, that of leaving between 24-26 million people without health insurance and without the ability to pay for their own health care.  If so, that is an abomination.  Graham claims the states will then implement their own health care bills, but we all know that a) these things take time, and b) we cannot always trust the states to act in our best interests.

Meanwhile, folks, it is time to start once again making those phone calls and writing those emails once again.  This administration is going to owe us all new laptops and cell phones before it’s all over. Some analysts are saying it looks close this time, but of course it was close last time, and if Senator McCain had not pulled a rabbit out of his hat, it would have passed in July.  But we cannot rest on our laurels, and we cannot count on ‘right’ to win out over ‘might’, for Trump is a powerful bully who wears people down with his schoolyard tactics.  Please, take a few minutes to write to your senators and let them know how you feel.

We need to put this idea of repealing ACA at all costs, to bed.  If the GOP had a viable plan whereby everyone … everyone … would have access to affordable health care, I would not object. Obviously, they do not. It is not the senators who need to worry about how they will be able to afford a doctor next time they need one … no, it is you and I, our friends and our families.

A Man Of Honour — Senator John McCain

When I heard on Monday that John McCain would be returning to Washington for Tuesday’s vote on the Senate health care bill, I was surprised, to say the least.  Having just been diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of brain cancer, and still recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot from over his eye, I thought the last thing he would do was come back at that time … for a single vote.  As I pondered why he would, at such a difficult time, come back to work to cast a single vote, I sensed there was more to this than met the eye.

Meanwhile, once it was announced that he would return for the critical vote, people made assumptions and began spouting their mouths before thinking, and I was disturbed by some of the comments I saw both on mainstream and social media.  I saw him called a POS (piece of sh**) and worse.  I even saw a few that said they were glad he had cancer.  These were people who, like myself, opposed the inhumane health care bill that was on the Senate floor, and I could understand their frustration, but was disappointed in their lack of humanity under the circumstances.

McCain did return, and voted on Tuesday to open debate on repealing ACA (Obamacare).  The vote was not, as some apparently believed, a vote to pass the bill, but merely to open debate on the Senate floor.  In the back of my mind, I had a seed of doubt that he would actually vote for the bill itself, but merely felt it needed to be debated, as the specifics of the bill had been largely kept secret even from most senators.  Meanwhile, the hostility from the masses grew more vile.  For once in my life, I kept my mouth shut and adopted a “let’s wait and see” attitude. I did not discuss it with either family or friends, for I thought I knew what was about to happen, but I could not be sure.

The bill, then open to debate, would repeal large pieces of ACA without a replacement and would, by Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates leave as many as 32 million people unable to afford health insurance.  Although we were told a viable replacement would be forthcoming at some point in the future, there was no guarantee, and no word as to how far into the future.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had made clear their intention to cast “nay” votes, so for the republicans, McCain’s support was crucial, but uncertain.  The bill was debated, if one can call it that.  McCain was coerced from many, including numerous senators, VP Pence, and even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tried to assure McCain that he would steer the House toward a conference committee with the Senate.  McCain also received a phone call from Donald Trump at some point on Thursday.

And so, in the wee hours of Friday morning, the bill finally came up for a vote.  So sure were the republicans that they had convinced Senator McCain, that Mike Pence was on hand, fully planning to cast the tie-breaking vote.  Imagine, if you will, the surprise on the faces of some 49 republican senators when Senator John McCain, when called on for his vote, simply gave a thumbs-down signal.  And the bill that would have hurt so many in order to benefit a select few was officially, as of 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning … dead.

“I thought it was the right vote,” McCain told reporters as he left the Capitol. “I do my job as a senator.”

As I said in a previous post, I have not always agreed with John McCain, but I always thought he voted his conscience, which is a lot more than can be said for so many on both sides of the congressional aisle.

McCain will return to Arizona this weekend to begin treatment for his cancer, and it is not yet known when or even if he will return to the senate.  He came to town this week to review a bill and cast his vote for what he believed was best.  He achieved that goal.  He is an honourable man, and I hope … I sincerely hope that those who, without thinking, publicly accused him of treachery, will be as honourable and just as publicly tender an apology for their misspoken words.  We The People, and I certainly include myself in this, need to learn to think before we speak, else we are destined to lose not only our credibility, but also our right to be heard. Think about it.

Oxymoron Unlimited

The White House announced this week’s ‘theme’ will be “Made in America” week.  Now, I was not aware that there were ‘theme weeks’, but apparently, unbeknownst to me, they have been going on for a while.  Apparently there was an “Infrastructure Week” that collided with former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his abrupt firing.  And then there was “Jobs Week” that was interrupted by a shooting at a congressional baseball practice, a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate. My personal opinion here is that these are reminiscent of things a kindergarten teacher might think of to keep his/her young charges interested and occupied, but I suspect the reality is that it is an attempt to keep We The People distracted from the more relevant, important issues.

Hypocrisy:

According to White House director of media affairs, Helen Ferre, “This week the Trump administration will honor the amazing American workers and companies who have products that are made in America.” She said America sets “the world standard for quality and craftsmanship.”  Certainly the “Trump administration” will NOT be honouring any of Trump’s companies, nor his daughters!

How seriously can we take a man who says, “America First”, who demands companies stop outsourcing production of their products outside the country, when nearly all his own products are manufactured outside the U.S.?  Let us take a quick look at where Trump & Co.’s products originate:

  • Shirts – China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam
  • Sport coats – India and South Korea
  • Suits – Indonesia and Mexico
  • Eyeglasses – China
  • Furniture – Germany and Turkey
  • Home goods – China, India and Slovenia
  • Hotel items – China, Taiwan, South Korea

Remember when you were a kid and your parent used to say, “don’t do as I do, do as I say”?  ‘Nuff said.

But that isn’t all … daughter Ivanka Trump’s company produces almost all its clothing, shoes, handbags and more in Malta, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Yemen.

It rather makes a mockery of Trump’s inaugural speech …

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.”

And while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission,” her company actually does less than most to ensure fair treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world.

Products manufactured in the countries mentioned above are often produced in sweatshops, where poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labour, and a lack of benefits for workers is the norm.  This is why companies like the Trumps’ outsource overseas … labour costs are dramatically reduced. While Donald and Ivanka are contributing to this travesty, he is talking out of the other side of his mouth about “bringing jobs back to America”.

Distraction:

This whole ‘weekly theme’ idea is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  Educators may use weekly themes, food companies may use weekly themes, but governments do not use weekly themes.  So why?  No other reason that I can see than to keep our eyes off of the ever-expanding ties between the Trump family & advisors to the Russian government.  To keep us from wondering just exactly how much collusion took place between Trump & Co. and Vladimir Putin.  To keep us from wondering just who else is involved and in what capacity.  To keep us from focusing too much on the abominable “health care” bill that is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate.  To keep us from thinking about how much of our money Trump is wasting with his every-weekend golf outings.  To keep us from focusing on how his executive orders are leading to the destruction of the planet earth.

Obviously, since I, who am a major news junkie, did not realize we were playing “theme of the week”, his attempts to distract have not been very successful.  Perhaps that is the reason this week’s theme has been hyped to the max.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks.  Focus on the real issues, not the hypocrisy that is being spouted and spewed by the administration.  Not the silly little games like ‘theme week’.

Note to readers:  When asked about Trump products made overseas, Sean Spicer declared the question “out of bounds”.

Sound The Alarm! The US Senate’s Trumpcare 3.0 Is Worse Than Prior Two Proposals

I cannot even comment on this latest farce of a “health care” bill, but Gronda has summed it up well, so please take a moment to read her post. Then let us all contact our elected representatives … once again … and let them know that they can say “bye-bye” to their cushy jobs in 16 months if they pass this abominable bill. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us abreast of these developments!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of senators on rollout of latest healthcare billDear Resistance Participants, It’s time to call your US senators again. I am referring to the republicans latest roll out of an updated healthcare plan on July 13, 2017 which is worse than the prior two bills that the tried to pass. I am calling this third attempt, Trumpcare 3.0.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get the picture that the Senate leaders mean to get this bill passed passed with this third attempt to where any tactic, strong-arming, threats and bribes are acceptable tools to insure its passage.

Image result for photos of senators on rollout of latest healthcare bill NOTE SEN. CRUZ AND LEE WERE NO VOTES , BUT NOW THEY ARE YES VOTES

The latest maneuver by the Senate Leader Mitch MConnell is the perfect example…

The US Senate leadership, Senators Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn have rolled out their latest version of Trumpcare, claiming that they intend for republican legislators to honor their promise to the base…

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They Just Don’t Get It …

I had not planned to address the ridiculous piece of health ‘care’ legislation under consideration by the Senate again just yet, but my hackles were raised this morning by a story in Think Progress about the new party line floating around on Capitol Hill.  The headline read:

Republicans Argue Anyone Who Loses Coverage Under Trumpcare Really Doesn’t Want It

According to the article, this is the ‘talking point’ these days in the halls of Congress.  The philosophy being that once the mandate to purchase insurance is gone, some people will simply choose not to have insurance.  With reductions in coverage, higher rates, and state’s ability to choose not to cover pre-existing conditions and essential services, the Congressional Budget Office estimates some 22 million people will not be able to afford adequate coverage. The Republicans in Congress seem unable or unwilling to understand how those of us without 7-digit bank accounts live. Let us take a look at a few of the more egregious statements members of Congress have made recently:

  • Just this morning, a reporter accused Senator John Cornyn from Texas of not caring that 22 million people would lose their coverage. His response?  “Not lose, choose. People will buy what they value.”

  • On Sunday, Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs claimed, “That’s not losing, that’s choosing.”

  • Last month, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryans, said, “So it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan. It’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.”

  • Back in March, former Representative Jason Chaffetz made this statement: “And you know what? Americans have choices, and they’ve gotta make a choice. And so maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve gotta make those decisions themselves.”

And the worst one of all came from Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama …

  • “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”

Mr. Brooks’ comment is so deplorable that it causes one to question his mental acuity.  Let’s face it, most of us have some form of pre-existing condition, whether it is diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or something more serious such as a heart condition or cancer. His suggestion that those of us with pre-existing conditions are in this situation because we don’t “lead good lives” is a crock of very stinky stuff.  Brooks is in line for Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award soon. Mr. Brooks is from Alabama, as is Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions … maybe that explains a lot.

The prevailing attitude, however, is of greater overall concern than the ignorant comment of Mr. Brooks.  It is further proof, as if we needed any, that some of our elected representatives, particularly those of the Republican Party it would seem, are so far removed from the people they are supposed to represent, that they might as well be living in another universe.

If the costs for health insurance rise, as they will do with reduced subsidies, higher costs for certain people, such as those with pre-existing conditions, and reduced benefits, it will not be a matter of “choice”.  Or rather, the “choice” will be between putting food on the table, or buying health insurance.  A choice between paying the rent in order to avoid being homeless, or buying health insurance.  It is NOT a question of buying an i-phone rather than health insurance, and anyone who thinks it is, does not deserve to be sitting in Congress!

The chart below* reflects the average net worth of members of Congress.  I think it goes a long way toward explaining why our elected representatives do not understand how those of us in middle and lower income brackets need to make purchasing decisions!

   

 

U.S. Senate U.S. House of Representatives
Year # of Senate Reports Senate Average Year # of House Reports House Average
2011 112 $14,013,596 2011 512 $6,594,859
2010 116 $13,224,333 2010 525 $5,992,869
2009 116 $13,229,651 2009 536 $5,106,476
2008 110 $13,835,333 2008 490 $4,719,554
2007 106 $17,170,451 2007 497 $5,661,643
2006 107 $14,106,027 2006 487 $5,071,549
2005 101 $14,553,612 2005 441 $4,511,705
2004 105 $14,455,289 2004 475 $4,243,935

Not surprisingly, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is among the 10 wealthiest senators with an estimated net worth of $22,841,026.

While I do not pretend to have all the answers for having a Congress that can at least begin to relate to the needs of their constituents, not only in health care, but in all areas, I see a few changes that might have a positive effect.

  • Term limits – I have discussed this before. I once was against term limits, thinking that if a senator or representative was good, we would want to keep them as long as possible, and if they were not good, the democratic process would weed them out quickly enough.  Turns out, this is not the case, as in this day and age elections are bought by PACs, lobbyists, and large corporations.  So, term limits must be seriously considered.
  • Gifts to members of Congress – I would propose a moratorium on all gifts to members of Congress, monetary or otherwise. A gift in this case is not a gift, but to put it bluntly, a bribe.  Almost every Republican in both the Senate and the House received monetary gifts from the NRA in 2016, ranging from $250 to $11,900.  Not huge sums, admittedly, but suggestive of an expected ‘return on investment’ nonetheless.  Insurance companies and other large corporations also contribute ‘gifts’ to members, especially during election years.  Even if there were no strings attached, there is room for speculation.
  • Congressional healthcare – Since members of Congress believe the plan they are proposing is such a great plan, they, too, should be able to take advantage of it! It hardly seems fair that We The People should have this wonderful plan, while our elected representatives are stuck with the one they receive as part of their fringe benefits, whereby the federal government subsidizes approximately 72% of their health care costs.

Ultimately the responsibility to hold members of Congress accountable for their rhetoric and actions rests with We The People.  We must stop being influenced in election years by rhetoric and flashy ads sponsored by corporations and PACs whose interest is far different than our own.  We must say to the Mitch McConnells and the Paul Ryans, “You know what?  You did not go to bat for me over health care, so you are not going back to Washington next year.” And then we need to vote for people who have, perhaps a little less wealth and a lot more conscience.  Until we do our homework, research issues and the candidate’s views on those issues, until we all vote and vote responsibly, nothing will change.  Think about it.

* Https://ballotpedia.org/Net_worth_of_United_States_Senators_and_Representatives

 

What’s Behind The Smokescreen???

Smokescreen:  a cloud of smoke created to conceal military operations; a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.

Smoke and Mirrors … Trump’s most recent rude & crude tweets appear to have taken over the internet, airwaves, and every other communication venue.  I will address those in a later post, as I, too, have much to say about them, however … those tweets are NOT the most important news of the day.  In my last post, I informed you that your voting history is about to be made public information by the Trump administration, and now I have more news …

smokescreenAll week long, the big news has been the Senate’s so-called ‘health care’ bill, written by America’s #1 Obstructionist, Senator Mitch McConnell, with the assistance of only a handful of other senators. The bill, once revealed, showed that the Senate bill was just as egregious as was the House bill that passed the House in May.  In the Senate, however, it requires only three (3) republican senators to vote ‘nay’ and the bill is dead in the water.  As the week progressed, it became clear that the republicans would not have the votes to pass this abomination of a bill that would cost every single lower-to-middle class person in the country.  So, the vote was delayed, much to the chagrin of McConnell & Trump.

So what next?  Well, Congress is now on its week-long July 4th break, but Trumpty-Dumpty has a brilliant idea!  “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”  Excuse me?  Take away healthcare from some 20 million U.S. citizens and give nothing but a vague … “one of these days we might give you something”?  I leave it to your imagination what words initially came from these fingertips, words that I have since replaced with nicer ones. (I may have to have a new computer soon, as I have beaten this poor little Dell to death in the past 5 months!)

Congress is officially on break as of the close of Friday, and the Senate will return on Monday, 10 July for three weeks before taking a month-long break in August.  Must be nice, eh?

To legislate Trump’s ‘repeal, no replace’ plan would cause anywhere between 20 million and 32 million people to suddenly be cut off from affordable healthcare.  Trump and certain members of Congress claim that this is what their supporters want, that they ran on a platform of repealing ACA and that is what they must do, whether or not they can come up with a viable alternative.  I cry FOUL! Though not a Trump voter nor supporter, I am a voter, I am a citizen of this nation, and my voice counts just as much as does any single Trump supporter. And my voice says I do not wish to see one single person lose their medical insurance, have to pay higher premiums, or see a reduction in benefits.

The idea was apparently the brain-child of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and is also supported by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.  However, health industry officials are warning that overturning the existing law, which has extended insurance to roughly 20 million Americans and changed the rules under which insurance is offered across the country, would create chaos in a sector that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The Kaiser Family Foundation polled this very approach back in March, and found only 19 percent of Americans favored repealing Obamacare first and then working to replace it. A 51% majority of Americans say they do not want ACA repealed at all, but simply prefer to work through the problems.

ACA  chart.pngOne theory is that repealing ACA now would force Democratic senators to work more closely with Republicans to craft a viable bill.  The fallacy in that, of course, is that the Republicans have made it clear they are gearing any health care bill toward the wealthy and to hell with the rest of us, and I cannot imagine that Democrats are going to compromise their values for that.  Even some of the high-ranking Republicans who have been working on the legislation rejected it as impractical, making it doubtful that they could even obtain the 51 votes required to repeal without replacing.

A group of Senate Republicans suggested Friday that McConnell should scale back or cancel the chamber’s month-long August recess, given the lack of progress they have made on not just health care but a tax-code overhaul, spending bills, the debt ceiling and a budget resolution. Personally, though I think a month-long recess is excessive, I would just as soon they stay on break throughout August and give us a break from their shenanigans.  Perhaps if they get a nice, long rest, they will be able to actually engage their brains and get something right in September.  Meanwhile, we must all hope that Trump doesn’t get a notion to repeal ACA on his own via ‘executive order’!!!

The Way It Should Be …

The United States of America is comprised of some 330 million people, individuals, human beings.  Of those, 535 are members of Congress, and a few thousand others work in some capacity in the federal government.  When I use the term We The People, I do not exclude the federal workers, but I also do not rank them any higher than the farmer in Iowa, the steel worker in Pennsylvania, or the rancher in Texas.  I do not rank them as being any more important than the person working the drive-thru in a McDonald’s in Poughkeepsie or the teller in a bank in Seattle.  Senator Mitch McConnell is only one of those 330 million people.  Donald Trump is only one of those 330 million people.  They are no more important than I am.  They almost certainly have more money and can afford more things than you and I, but from where I stand, that does nothing to make them any better, any more important, than you and me.

Here is how things are supposed to work.  Each of the 330 million people who are over 18 are to be allowed to cast one vote that counts toward electing members of Congress every other year, and a president every fourth year.  Those people we elected are then expected to make decisions that are in the best interest of those of us who voted for them.  Those people we elected, if acting in the best interest of their constituents, will not always agree.  For example, an elected official from Iowa will have the best interests of farmers on his agenda, as Iowa is a largely agrarian state, while the official from Michigan may have the best interests of factory workers on his agenda.  However, at the end of the day, they make policies that end up helping We The People in one way or another.  That is how it is supposed to work.

Here is how it really works.  Some of us over the age of 18 dutifully cast a vote, while others decide it is too much trouble and return to their television sets and potato chips.  We may or may not be swayed by the ads that are bought and paid for by the very wealthy corporations, ads whose main goal is not to enlighten us about the candidate, but rather to finger-point and tell us how bad the other candidate is.  Then, once a candidate is elected, they promptly forget about those who voted for them until the next election rolls around.  Instead of making policy decisions that are in the best interest of their constituents, they make policy decisions that are directly guided by the large, wealthy corporations who paid for their advertisements.  They forget that we, the taxpayers, pay their salary and they are more interested in the campaign donations they will receive from their corporate sponsors if they do their bidding.

Thus we have seen the introduction of two very similar and very detrimental health care bills in recent months.  The House bill passed, but now the Senate bill is being promoted and any senator who has the cojones to be unsupportive of the bill is being punished by Trump and Company.

Dean-Heller

Sen. Dean Heller

Dean Heller, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. Senate by the people of Nevada in 2012, by a narrow margin.  He will be up for re-election in 2018, and it is expected to be a close race.  A look at Heller’s ideology and past voting record shows that he has voted for some things that, as a liberal-thinker, I agree with, and some that I don’t. However, Heller took a stand and announced that he does not support the health care bill that was crafted by Senator Mitch McConnell.  Here’s what happened next …

A Trump-supporting Political Action Committee (PAC) called America First Policies and sanctioned by the White House ran a 30-second television ad in Heller’s home state of Nevada:

[N]ow with strong leadership and a chance to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered care that protects American families, Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ Call Sen. Heller, tell him America needs him to keep his promise: Vote ‘yes’ to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

They also ran a one-minute ad that went even further:

“…[N]ow with the leadership of President Trump, we have a real chance to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered care that protects American families and provides health care stability. But Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is saying ‘No.’ ‘No’ to tax cuts to help small business, ‘No’ to ending Obamacare penalties, and ‘No’ to families who can’t afford to see the doctor of their choice. Call Sen. Heller and tell him to keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare — before it’s too late.”

Senate Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, were furious over the ads and contacted America First Policies to stop the ads. The ads have since been removed, but not before the damage was done.  In all likelihood, Senator Heller will lose his bid for re-election next year because he attempted to do the right thing, to stand firm for the best interests of the people of his state.

Sadly, in the Trump administration it is not about ‘doing the right thing’, and it is not about making policy that is in the best interest of We The People, but it is about supporting the wealthy, the big corporations, and Donald Trump … at all costs.

In an interview in April, Trump, frustrated with his failure to get any of his legislation through Congress, said that the Constitution, the foundation of our current system that has served fairly well for 230 years, is ‘archaic’ and ‘a bad thing for the country’. One can only imagine what he would like to replace it with.

The two-party system should encourage healthy competition and give citizens viable choices on election day.  Instead, it has led to corruption, stalemate, vile rhetoric, and a complete disregard on the part of both parties for We The People.  In a future post, I will address some ideas for fixing our broken system, but for today it is enough to say that from the top on down, our government under the current regime is no longer a representative government, no longer a democratic-republic, but is an oligarchy … one where the wealthy rule and the rest of us are forgotten.

McConnell And Company … Our Executioners

I have only one word to define the GOP senators who are in support of a health care bill that would be disastrous to ALL of us who do not have six figures in our bank accounts:  BASTARDS!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their preliminary analysis that the senate bill would only rob 22,000 citizens from having adequate medical coverage, some 1,000 fewer than the House bill that was passed last month.  Republican senators are patting themselves on the back for this.  22,000 vs. 23,000 … no matter … either way it is an abomination!  Even robbing 1,000 people of the right to live is an abomination.

As everybody who reads this blog is aware, I did not vote for Trump and cannot stand the ‘man’ and his sleazy, lying ways.  But those poor suckers who did vote for him did so, at least in part, because he promised them …

“I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.” 27 September 2015

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

“We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.” – Kellyanne Conway, speaking on behalf of Trump.

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through.” – Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

NPR has put together an excellent chart  that clearly summarizes the projected effects on We The People of both the House and Senate bills.  The bottom line is that every single one of us stand to lose.  So, you have insurance through your employer?  Plan to pay more.  You have a pre-existing condition?  Plan to pay more and have fewer benefits.  Between the ages of 55-65?  You will pay up to five times more for your medical insurance. Have an elderly parent in a nursing home?  Medicaid coverage is likely to be cut. Are you a woman who needs a mammogram you cannot afford?  Planned Parenthood, who would do it for free, will be cut off completely from federal funds for a minimum of one year. Have a severely disabled child who receives Medicaid, as I do?  Better start figuring out where to apply for that second job so that you can cover his/her expenses, for Medicaid will be cut dramatically.

And the list goes on.  For full details, please do check out the chart (link above).

conway-stephanopoulosLast Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Kellyanne Conway said, and I paraphrase, that nobody would lose their Medicaid.  If you are on Medicaid now, you will not lose it.  But, for those who do lose it, there will be other options, such as getting a job. Ask me again why I refer to her as America’s #1 BIMBO!

But now comes the real kick-in-the-teeth …

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.

Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell drafted the senate bill behind closed doors, in secrecy, with only a handful of GOP senators contributing at all.  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been in office since 1984, is determined to shove through his abomination of a so-called ‘health care’ bill this week, before Congress recesses for its unearned July 4th break.  Well, guess who some of his largest campaign donors are?  Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare, a health care services company, was the third-largest contributor to McConnell’s campaign committee from 2011 to 2016, donating $104,650. Health insurer Humana was number 4, with $103,300 in donations. Financial firm Blackstone Group came in first with $217,700 in donations.

DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?????

I have something to say to two groups of people:

  • GOP Members Of Congress: Get your collective heads out of your collective arses and remember that it is not Koch Brothers, not Humana, not Mitch McConnell, and for damn sure NOT Donald Trump who pay your salaries and allow you to remain in your current jobs.  No, it is We The People, and you are treading on us in the worst, most horrific way possible.  You are attempting to sentence us to death or destitution in order to line your own pockets and those of the already filthy rich insurance companies.  I do not know nor care how you manage to sleep at night with this on your conscience, but I will tell you this:  We The People will remember this in sixteen months when the mid-term elections roll around.  You The Crooks will be outed.  Mitch McConnell does not seek re-election until 2020, but if there is any sort of justice, he will be impeached for his criminal behaviour against the very people who have put him into office again … and again … and again … ad nauseam.

  • Trump Supporters: Wake up and pull your collective heads out of your collective arses!  Back in 2015-2016, Donald Trump made you a bunch of promises that I and others tried to tell you were falsehoods, promises he could not possibly keep. But so mesmerized were you by his promises that you tuned us out.  You believed because you wanted to believe, and damn anyone who tried to make you see the truth!  No, I do not think you are stupid, but I do think that you are ignorant, lazy and uneducated.  You are ignorant for you do not see the writing on the wall, do not understand what this healthcare bill means for all of us.  You are lazy because rather than do some research, you find it easier to watch Fox News, Breitbart and Alex Jones and take their word that Trump is God and liberals, Democrats and Socialists are evil incarnate. And frankly, you deserve whatever you get, but the rest of us do not!  You have sentenced 98% of this nation to higher costs, fewer benefits, and in many cases …. Death.  And this is only the beginning … there is even worse to come.

Yes, I am angry.  I have tried very hard to keep my arguments on an intellectual plane, eschewing rants in favour of reasoned discourse.  I am fairly certain I will return to that tomorrow.  However today, I am angry.  Today I shall rant.  Not because this abomination of a bill affects me personally, though it does, but because it affects us ALL.  Because the very people who we trusted enough to vote into office, the very people whose salaries we pay, are the very people who are thumbing their noses at us and they watch us lose … and lose … and lose still more until we have nothing left for which to live.

Note to Readers:  I have said since May, when the House passed their ludicrous “health care” bill, that the Senate would never pass such a destructive bill.  In light of the handful of Senators who are against McConnell’s bill, I would like to say that I still believe this.  However, in light of the huge amounts of cash in the form of special favours, perks and campaign monies that are, even as I write, being passed among senators, I must change my stance.  It is obvious to me that the greed of our elected representatives is far stronger than our best interests.