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Archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ Category

Day 133. 

Later today the House is scheduled to hold its vote on the Americans Without Health Care Act.  There are a lot of things to take into consideration as you watch this vote and what appears to be a defeat for trump and Ryan.  The hypocrisy on the right is getting very loud and everyone should pay attention to that.

You have heard that the Republicans are claiming that the ACA is crumbling under its own weight.  You have heard about insurance companies pulling out of the program and that premiums are rising.  What they are not telling you is that all of that is their fault.

In 2015, Marco Rubio got a little measure put into a budget bill which is what is really killing the ACA in some states.  Here is what happened.  The ACA promised insurance companies to help make up for losses in coverage in the first decade of the law.  It was understood that there would be losses because getting some people to purchase insurance would be tough, and it would take some time for those without insurance at the time who were sick to get healthy and let everything balance out.

In 2015, it was estimated that this part of the bill would cost $2.9 billion.  However, Rubio and the Republicans decided to cut that amount of money down to about $440 million.  That meant that insurance companies did not get their help to stay in the market.  As a result, most started to pull out, especially in Red States that were fighting the law in the first place.  And, the ones that stayed in the program were forced to raise premiums.

If that little budget line item was not there, we wouldn’t see the problems in some states that we see.  It should also be pointed out that very recently, the courts ruled that the federal government reneged on the law’s deal and now owes these insurance companies $80 billion.  It won’t help in the short-term because you know it will be appealed.  Plus, insurance mergers have been going crazy and many non-profit companies that provided health insurance through the ACA were forced to go bankrupt due to this change in the law.

If the ACA is really failing, it is the fault of the Marco Rubio and his Republican cronies, not the fault of the ACA itself.  They sabotaged the law in order to help kill it.

Then we have the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House.  These wackos claim to be all for freedom.  Yet, their only agenda is to ruin the social safety nets and cut taxes.  Their goal is to get rid of the ACA, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.  They are opposed to the Americans Without Health Care Bill, because they call it “Obamacare light”.  They argue that it won’t cut the deficit enough because of the tax credits to help people get insurance.

What they really want is to repeal the ACA and they don’t care if anything replaces it at all.  In fact, they would prefer that no replacement bill even be introduced.  But, they are negotiating to get some changes they “might be able to accept”.  Only, those changes will make getting real insurance even harder than it already is.

The thing they have latched onto is the requirement that companies cover essential health benefits.  They want to cut that requirement from any health law.  Those essential health benefits number 10 and they are:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)

These are now all required to be covered in health care coverage.  The Freedom Caucus wants them to go away.  So, for example if you work for someone who believes that they don’t need to cover pregnancy, they can get health coverage that drops that protection.  It currently costs roughly $15,000 just to have a baby.  That doesn’t even touch pre-natal and post-natal care.  The states that have an opioid epidemic right now won’t be too happy about dropping substance use coverage either.

The Freedom Caucus has only been negotiating with trump.  The Republican House leadership wants him to placate this wacko group.  In other words, they are reeling him in to take ownership of the bill, especially if it goes down.

The irony of the so-called Freedom Caucus is that they claim to be “fiscal conservatives” who are only interested in the deficit.  Yet, they are not disappointed with the huge tax cuts in this bill for the rich.  They are not opposed to increasing defense spending or in spending 21 billion dollars to build our Berlin Wall.  And, you can bet you bottom dollar that they will be all for huge tax cuts that trump wants down the line for the rich and companies.  Naturally, according to them, if you reduce revenue and let the rich keep more money, the deficit will magically go down.

Ryan and his group have been negotiating with moderates who also hate the bill.  Their reason is that it will cut off their constituents from health care.  But, in order to placate them, the tax credits will need to be increased, especially for older people.  That won’t go over well with the Freedom Caucus.  As a result, it is difficult to see how this bill can get past the House.  Though anything is possible.

Over in the Senate, the bill will face much tougher opposition.  Especially if the Freedom Caucus gets trump to include the changes to the essential benefits part.  See, they are trying to get the bill passed through reconciliation.  That only works in the Senate if it only affects the budget.  The changes to the essential benefits part will not affect the budget, and it could cause it to go through normal procedures which includes the 60 vote threshold.

The Republican Party has made their living crying about the ACA.  They have undermined the bill wherever they could in order to cause it to fail.  They have promised over and over to “repeal and replace” the ACA.  They have had seven years to come up with a workable, viable plan that the American People could get behind.

In all of those years, they did absolutely nothing to craft a replacement.  They did nothing to make the ACA better.  They passed laws that made the ACA harder to enforce and do what it had promised.

Now, they have control of both the House and Senate, and trump is sitting in the White House.  And, the Americans Without Health Care Act is the best they could come up with?  Oh, Ryan says this is only part one of a three-pronged plan.  First is this horrible bill.  Then, they will let Price make administrative decisions on doing more.  Then, they will pass another law to fully replace the ACA and it will be much better.  Yeah, that sounds like one of the three great lies like the check is in the mail.  Hell, even Ted Cruz says the third part is a “bucket for suckers”.

The simple fact is that once Americans saw this bill, they lost their minds.  They realized that their own health care coverage lies in the balance, and it doesn’t look good for them.  They flooded “town hall meetings” and expressed their dissatisfaction about his horrible bill.

I guess the real problem the Republicans have right now, is that they are having a hard time explaining why they need to repeal the ACA since it was their bill to begin with.  Almost every line in the ACA came from the Heritage Foundation’s plan to help defeat universal health care in the 1990s.

They claim that the ACA was passed too fast.  That the Democrats went with reckless speed to pass it.  It took the Democrats nine months to get the law written and passed.  They tried to include Republicans, but they didn’t want to talk about their own bill.  Democrats also talked to health organizations and insurance companies to get their input.  They at least made an effort to pass a good bill.

This bill was kept secret until about a week ago.  The Republicans held no hearings on the bill.  They called no witnesses to testify about the bill.  They never spoke to Democrats to get their input.  They never talked to health organizations or to health insurance companies to get their input.   And now, they are trying to ram this bill through both Houses of Congress in less than 10 weeks!  If nine months of work is reckless speed, what do you call 10 weeks?

The Americans Without Health Care Act is nothing more than a tax cut bill for the rich.  It has nothing to do with your health care simply because Republicans don’t give a damn about hour health care.  It has brought to light the terrible “management” skills of Ryan and Republican leadership.  And, it has brought to light the terrible “deal making skills” of our beloved leader.

If this bill fails to even pass the House, both Ryan and trump will have a huge black eye.  It will call into question everything that they want to pass, even their tax reform bill.  It will especially call into question their ability to actually govern.

In the two plus months of the trump administration nothing has been done that will help bring down premiums for health care.  Nothing had been done to increase jobs.  Nothing has been done except help trump’s own companies and pollute our water and air.

This bill was supposed to show us how “great trump really is”.  It doesn’t look like very promising on that front.  If this bill passes we know that up to 24 million people will lose their health coverage.  Medicaid will be cut so badly that old people will be thrown out of nursing homes.  Premiums will go up even more.  And, deductibles will go up as well.  The Kaiser Foundation said yesterday that deductibles will increase an average of about $1400.

The good news of this bill is that the upper 2 percent of income earners will gain about $250 million in tax cuts over the next 10 years.  If you are not one of them, you lose.

If this bill does not pass, and it is looking like it won’t.  The health care industry will be thrown into a tizzy.  It is even doubtful if it will survive.  Since Republicans have done everything they could to kill the ACA over the last six years, and with no replacement, uncertainty will rule the health care industry.  Uncertainty is never good for any business.

If I were in the Democrat caucus right now, I would be writing a Universal Health Care bill to walk down to the White House after this disaster plays out.  I would put it on the desk of trump and say:  “You promised health coverage for all.  Here is the bill that will make your promise come true.  Support it and force your party to pass it with us and you will look good”.

You may be thinking that is crazy.  Why would I want trump to look good.  I don’t.  But, I would rather take care of the American People as I was sworn to do and worry about things later.  If you think about it, it could be a win-win for Democrats.  At least they would have a real plan to run against the Republican do-nothings.

Especially when you consider that the majority of the public favors keeping the ACA.  Just think of the political capital you could earn by doing even better.  As it is, all we can do is watch, wait, and hold our breath.  That is no way to run a government.

 

 

 

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Day 126. 

As a nation we need to ask one question.  What type of country are we willing to become?  Ever since trump won the election, that question has been at the top of everything he has proposed.  And, in my opinion, he is looking for something that has not been America.

He has pitted race against race, religion against religion, and rich against poor.  We have always had problems in these areas, but he has ramped them up to a point where your race, your religion, and your wealth is the determining factor of whether you are a winner or a loser in his America.

He has tried to place a limited Muslim Ban on travel to the U.S. twice now, and he was rejected by the courts twice.  He claims that is all in the name of “keeping Americans safe” but he always runs his mouth and shows that it is really based on religion, which is unconstitutional.  His administration doesn’t help either with their rants about how Muslims are the root of all of our problems.

Then we have the so-called “Obamacare Repeal and Replace” legislation trying to get out of the house.  The CBO scored it and there are some good things and some bad thing for both sides.  The good for Republicans is it says that it will reduce the budget by $337 billion over ten years.  The bad for everybody is that 24 million people will lose their health care over the same 10 years.  The White House memo says that 26 million people will lose their health care over that 10 year period.

It is also becoming apparent even to Paul Ryan that the bill as written cannot get out of the House.  His problem is that in order to get out of the house he needs to take it even further right.  But, in order to get it through the Senate it needs to go further left.  It would seem that he has painted himself into a corner, and trump seems willing to let him blow in the wind over it as well.

Now we are seeing trump’s first budget.  This budget shows us just what kind of country trump wants us to have.  A country with no culture, no heritage, no sympathy, no decency, just more military and more bullets.

Naturally, there is the huge increase in defense spending and a huge increase in DHS budget for mass deportations and his Berlin Wall.  But there are still huge cuts for the Coast Guard, the TSA, and FEMA.

The Coast Guard is really our front line defense for our borders in terms of drug trafficking and people trafficking, as well as our port security.  The TSA is supposed to make us safe while flying  FEMA is the agency that responds to natural disasters, and in case you didn’t know, they are responsible to coordinate relief work in case of a wide-scale terrorist attack.  Who needs these agencies?  Apparently not trump.

But it gets even worse.  HUD will lose $3 Billion in its budget.  Number one on the hit parade from HUD will be a small program called “Meals on Wheels”.  All funding will go away to help old and disabled people get food delivered to them.  There will also be the elimination of the heating help funding for poor and older Americans.

The State Department will lose 28 percent of its budget.  The EPA will be hit hardest with a 31.4 percent cut to its budget.  What will be taken away is 3200 jobs and eliminate a new plan for tighter regulations on power plants, and “zero out” programs to clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.

Health and Human Services is facing a 16.2 percent cut.  These include cuts of $5.8 billion from the nearly $32 billion National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research agency.  The NIH’s budget has not kept up with inflation as it is, and now trump wants to cut it even more.  This is the agency the does research on diseases to help us defeat things like cancer or stop pandemics before they get going too bad.  But then, since fewer people will have health insurance, who needs research?

The Department of Labor is facing a 20 percent cut.  These cuts include eliminating a federal program designed to help people 55 and older get new jobs.  The Labor Department is also supposed to protect your safety at work.  OSHA will see a huge cut in its budge meaning fewer inspections of workplace safety.

The Commerce Department is facing a 12 percent cut.  One of the biggest will be at NOAA.  These cuts would eliminate more than $250 million in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants, including a program that helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, deal with invasive species and maintain healthy water and fisheries. Also on the chopping block: the Economic Development Administration, which provides federal dollars to foster job creation and attract private investment; and the Minority Business Development Agency, which is dedicated to helping minority-owned business get off the ground and grow.

Other independent agencies will be cut off completely and be forced to shut down.  These include the Public Broadcasting Corporation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, the United States Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for National Community Service and the African Development Foundation. That foundation was established by Congress and provides seed money and other support to enterprises in some 20 countries on that continent.

I guess Big Bird is on the chopping block, again.  We really need to do away with things like education for young children and eliminating the arts for everyone else.  What kind of country needs those things?  And, chemical safety is definitely not needed since we can trust the Koch Brothers to protect us from harmful chemicals.

These are just some of the cuts that trump wants to make to the budget.  Of course, Republicans will tell you how much this budget will save money, but they will leave out their upcoming massive cut taxes, especially on the rich.  That means, even with these cuts, the deficit will grow even more than it is.

However, this also brings us back to the question I asked at the beginning.  What type of country are we willing to become?  All of these cuts affect the average person.  All of these cuts will have a negative impact on just about every American who is not in the top 2 percent of income brackets.

The Department of Education is also facing cuts and the biggest target is support for before and after school programs.  How is that helping the middle-class and the working poor?  It doesn’t and it will affect you directly.

There has always been a kind of pride in Americans and their willingness to help those in need.  Are we going to let that one trait of ours go away?  Are we going to stand by and let the unfortunate become poorer while the rich get richer?

Just how are the poor, the working poor, and the middle-class going to get ahead if they need to spend more income on things like expensive child care that will only keep them back?  As silly as some of you think, the Public Broadcasting Corporation helps educate children before they start school.  Are we going to handicap poor people’s children just to save a few dollars?

Before and after school programs allow parents to keep working to support their families and help keep kids off of the streets thus getting into trouble.  Should we really eliminate that funding as well?

The same people who want these cuts to take effect are the same people who claim that America was founded on “Christian Principles”.  Really?  These cuts to the social fabric of our nation are examples of “Christian Principles”?  If it is I am glad I am not Christian.

The health insurance argument really sums it up best.  The real question isn’t about liberalism v. conservatism.  It isn’t about right v. left.  It is about one simple question.  Is health care a right or a privilege?  If you believe it is a right that everyone deserves health care, then you must support universal health care because that is the only way people will actually have affordable health care coverage.

If you believe that it is a privilege then you fully support the Republican plan.  You are saying openly and defiantly that health care only belongs to those who can pay for it out-of-pocket.  If you cannot afford it out-of-pocket, you don’t deserve it.

If you believe that health care is a privilege, then you are surely in favor of all of these social cuts to the budget as well.  If health care is a privilege then so is clean air and water.  So is workplace safety.  So is being warned about weather events that may hurt or kill us.  So is medical research.

Those are some areas where these cuts are most felt.  The disadvantaged are being targeted so trump can have a massive military buildup.  They are being targeted so the rich can get more massive tax cuts.  Trump is telling his supporters who will be hardest hit, “screw you, I won”.

Of course it still needs to get through Congress.  We know that Democrats will be against most of these cuts, if not all of them.  We can only hope they are able to kill this budget before it kills too many of us.

If you believe that the disadvantaged should be abandoned and left to die, then trump is your president and the Republicans are your party.  But, I would suggest you stop your “Christian Principles” argument because you are not only lying to us, you are lying to yourself.  “What you do unto the least of you, you also do unto me”.

So far, I believe that this administration and Republican Controlled Congress want to abandon the disadvantaged.  They are only interested in the wealthy.  To me, that lacks all decency.  This budget is a snap shot of that lack of decency and moral fiber.  It is a perfect example of greed and a “me first” attitude.

So much for Christian Principles.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 124. 

The awaited CBO scoring of the Americans Without Health Care Act is in.  As expected, you lose.  The CBO score has one good news story for Republicans, it says that the bill will reduce the deficit by $337 billion over 10 years.  But, it also says that up to 24 million people will lose their insurance in the same 10 years.

The administration and Republicans are already calling the report false.  And, according to a memo that Politico saw from the White House, they are right.  According to that memo, the White House says that up to 26 million people will lose their insurance in the next 10 years.  See, the CBO is low on their numbers!

Here is an example of the plan.  Under this plan, if you are 55 to 64 years old, and you make about 30,000 per year, your premium will increase 700 percent and your coverage will go down from 87 percent to 65 percent.

It works this way.  Under the ACA a person in this group now pays $1,740 in premiums including the subsidies that they receive from the government.  Those subsidies will go away and instead that person will receive $4,000 in tax credits to purchase their insurance.  That means this person will be responsible to pay $14,640 in premiums.  So, if you are that person, half of you income will go to your health insurance, if you keep it.

The CBO report says that about 14 million people will lose their health insurance in the first year.  Again, that is because of the removal of the subsidies in helping to get insurance.  In the future, at the end of 2019 to be precise, Medicaid will be slashed big time.  In addition, growth in Medicaid will be capped and the money will be given to states in “block grants”.

The block grants will be based on the number of people on Medicaid, not the costs of health insurance needed for coverage.  And, with the caps on growth, that means more people will be tossed off of Medicaid.  You know, the program that trump said would not be cut.

There are a lot of other problems with this plan.  Planed Parenthood, which is the largest provider of birth control and pre-natal care for poor women will be cut from the Medicaid funding altogether.  Meaning they won’t be able to provide those services to poor women.

The CBO report says we can expect thousands of unwanted pregnancies due to these cuts.  It also means that people who need pre-natal care the most and can’t afford it won’t get it.  Meaning many more birth defects can be expected as well.  Plus, it will probably also result in more abortions.  Abortion rates are at 30 year lows because of the birth control that places like Planned Parenthood offer.  More birth control results in fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions.

The only reason that Republicans have targeted Planned Parenthood is that they offer abortion services.  They do not allow abortion services that are paid for through Medicaid since that would be against the law.  But, since they offer the services, Republicans say they can’t get any money from the government.

So, more unwanted pregnancies will result.  Fewer cancer screenings will result.  More women will be hurt by not receiving these services, just because Republicans simply don’t care about women’s health care needs.

Paul Ryan is actually happy as a lark over the report.  He naturally is claiming the deficit reduction is all that matters.  But, then, that is the whole purpose of this Americans Without Health Care Act.  To cut the deficit and to cut your health care coverage and to give the rich a bigger tax break.  As far as Ryan is concerned, mission accomplished.

It isn’t just the old who are going to get slammed by this bill either.  The middle-class will also get hurt.  It is estimated that the average increase in premiums will be over $1200.  So, unless you are making over 75,000 per year, you can expect your insurance coverage to go up.  Plus, it will cover less than the current law does.  That 87 percent is cut to 65 percent across the board.

There is also the very real possibility that if you are currently covered by an employer sponsored health insurance plan, you could lose it.  The new law takes away the employer mandate.  Under the ACA, if a company employed 50 people or more, they were required to provide health care coverage.  If this law passes, they will no longer be mandated to provide that coverage.

That means that any company who currently provides health insurance as part of their employment package can opt out and leave you hanging.  I really don’t expect a lot of companies to do that, but the possibility is there which means the numbers of people without insurance could be much higher than the CBO or even the White House currently expects.

Rural areas are going to be especially hard hit.  Whether or not you know this, it is in rural areas where opioid addiction is at its worse.  Just to give you a hint, there is a small town in West Virginia that has a total population of 400 people.  Three pharmaceutical companies sent over 4 million doses of opioid pills in just one year to that town.  A former State Senator is suing the companies over this abuse.

Some of the things that are being cut in the Americans Without Health Care Act is treatment for addiction.  Without Medicaid, people in rural areas won’t be able to afford treatment for their addiction.  And, addiction requires constant treatment, it doesn’t go away with one or two visits.

The result will be that poor people in rural areas will continue to die from opioid addiction and this plan will do nothing to help them.  Instead, it will make the problem even worse.

Here is another simple fact.  These poor rural people are the very people that voted for trump.  He promised them he would take care of them, and now he is backing a bill that will ultimately kill them.  That is not hyperbole either.  Without health care, people will die.

You also need to know something that will couple with this bill.  There is another bill going through the House that deals with so-called “wellness programs”.  These programs were designed to help keep costs of health care down by helping people live better healthier lives.

Under these plans in the ACA the program is voluntary.  They offer screening for things like cholesterol, high blood pressure, body fat, etc.  If you agree to the program, you can receive a lower rate on your premiums or other incentive awards.  Those awards are capped on dollar values.

The new bill that is sponsored by Virginia Foxx from the Soviet Socialist State of North Carolina goes even further.  It says that an employer can ask you to give them a DNA test.  She claims it is “voluntary” but if you refuse, the company will be allowed to charge you a basically unlimited amount of money for your premiums.  That is not “voluntary” it is “mandatory” unless you want to pay much more for your insurance.

Forget the idea that this program would be a violation of your privacy.  The bill strips that privacy right away from you when it comes to your health coverage.  If your DNA shows a genetic trait, what is going to keep the company from dropping you from the health plan?

As far as I am concerned, the covers have been thrown back to show what the Americans Without Health Care Act is all about.  It is a simple tax cut for the rich at the expense of the working poor and the old.  It is estimated that the top 2 percent of income earners will receive a whopping $250 billion tax cut over ten years from this bill alone.

The fact that their tax cut is being paid for by you losing your health care does not matter to Republicans or to trump.  The only thing that matters is that the rest of us be kept in our place.  The only thing that matters is that income inequality is to grow and grow.  If you die, so be it.  You don’t matter.

This especially comes true when you look at the cuts that the trump administration wants to make in the budget.  They want to cut research funds for the CDC.  They are rolling back environmental protections that will result in more illnesses.  They are cutting back on FEMA funds.  They are basically abandoning the American People.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 123. 

According to the Republicans in Congress and our beloved leader and his administration we will all be better off with our health coverage because they will let the “free market” be the driver for our coverage.  The problem is they are selling a myth.

Do you know just how many “free market” insurance systems are out there?  Do you know how many of them are actually working and keeping the costs down?  The answer to both questions is zero.  There are no “free market” insurance systems in existence anywhere in the world.

There is a reason for that.  The simple reason is that a “free market” system just won’t work to cover everyone.  The simple fact is that if you believe that everyone deserves access to inexpensive health care coverage, the free market is incapable of providing it.

The Republicans claim that their “free market” insurance system will be different.  They claim it will work, and they offer a lot of examples as to why it will work.  And, their arguments are all over the board.

For one, Ryan claims that the free market is the only way to go because “then a healthy young person won’t have to pay for the insurance of a sick older person”.  He basically doesn’t understand how insurance works.  Or more importantly, he doesn’t care how insurance works as long as his words sound good.

We all know that the only way to keep costs down for everyone is to have everyone purchase insurance.  That way, the younger healthy people get insurance and the costs they pay help keep down the costs for older people.  Then, when the healthy younger person becomes older and sicker, they also get lower costs from the younger healthy young people.

That is the only way that insurance can work.  Without the healthy young people in the insurance market, the insurance companies cannot afford to protect the older people who may have more coverage needs.  This is the same formula for car insurance also.

One of the main reasons that states require you to have car insurance is to help keep the costs down because safe drivers help pay for poor drivers.  That is a simple fact of life.

Another argument for this so-called repeal and replace from Republicans is that it “doesn’t matter how many people have coverage, but rather how many have access to their doctors”.  That is a perfect example of double-talk.  Everyone who has been without health coverage knows that you don’t have access to any doctor unless you have health insurance.

The costs of just seeing a doctor are astronomical for anyone without insurance.  Then, we have the case that hospitals are required by law to treat uninsured people who enter the emergency room.  Only, when they can’t pay for those services, the rest of us pay for it through higher health insurance premiums.  And, if the hospital has too many patients that cannot pay, they lose money and shut their doors.

Additionally they claim that young people who want to should be able to just purchase “catastrophic” insurance.  That means they will not have access to health care by visiting a doctor.  Preventative health care is not part of catastrophic insurance, only hospital stays.

Republicans also say that the reason that insurance premiums are so high is because they cannot sell insurance across state lines.  That is lie.  There is nothing to keep insurance companies from selling across lines right now.  Except, they must be in line with each states regulations regarding health insurance.

If they are going to pass laws that supersede state laws, aren’t they violating their highly touted “states rights” argument?  Wouldn’t they be interfering with each states’ right to determine health insurance requirements for their citizens?

Finally, you have the very real problem of people with pre-existing conditions.  Both Republicans and the administration says they won’t lose their health care.  They are going to be protected.  But how?  If young healthy people don’t have to purchase insurance, how can health insurance companies afford to cover those with pre-existing conditions.

The Republican idea is that they will be placed in high risk pools.  That on top of the plan to charge older people up to five times as much as they charge younger people.  If you place pre-existing condition people in high risk pools, the costs of their premiums will explode.  That isn’t making insurance cheaper, it is making it more expensive.

Republicans claim that the “free market” is the way to go.  By using the free market, they claim that premiums will go down and everyone will be able to afford health insurance.  That is a total fantasy.

We have seen the same “free market” and “more competition” argument used in other areas that was supposed to keep prices down.  The result was just the opposite.  When companies are given a free hand, they reduce their competition by merging with it.  Then, when they cut the competition down, they raise rates even higher.

We have seen it with phone companies, cable companies, and even health companies.  Remember the only reason that Aetna pulled out of the exchanges is because the government denied it permission to merge with Cigna.  The government said it would reduce competition and cause prices to go up.

Aetna threw a hissy fit and pulled out of the exchanges to “punish” the government.  That is the only reason they pulled out, not because they were losing money.  That is what the “free market” gives us.

Before the ACA was implemented, we probably had the closest thing to “free market” insurance in the world.  And, costs were high, and going up, and about 40 million people had no coverage.  Plus, hospitals in rural areas were shutting their doors at such an alarming rate that many areas of the country don’t have a hospital within 200 miles of people.

On the other hand, countries that have a one-payer system pay less for health costs.  We pay twice as much in health care costs than people in a single-payer system.  Why?  Because under such a system, everyone has health insurance.  The covered pool is much larger, and it makes it cheaper for everyone.

And, don’t swallow the lie that everyone in those countries are trying to get here for better coverage.  They aren’t.  I know a lot of Canadians for example, and none of them are willing to come here because of our “wonderful” health care coverage.  They are perfectly happy with their health coverage.

Additionally, people who live under single-payer coverage live longer than we do.  Their life expectancy is higher than our life expectancy.  That is because they have proper health coverage that helps prevent problems and/or catch serious problems earlier allowing proper treatment before it is too late.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about health insurance or anything else.  The free market scheme simply does not work the way Republicans want you to think it does.  A total free market takes away all regulations that keep companies in line and keep them from forming monopolies that will hurt the consumers.  That is why we have anti-monopoly laws.  That is why we have laws regulating the financial markets and banking markets.

The old Robber Barons of the late 19th century and the early 20th century were able to create monopolies to make themselves rich.  Only, they didn’t take the rest of us along by raising wages or lowering prices.  The opposite happened.  They cut wages and raised prices.

That is what the Republicans want to happen to our health care insurance.  They want to let the insurance companies loose to do as they see fit.  If you lose your coverage, Republicans just don’t care.  If your premiums go way up, they simply don’t care.

The Americans Without Health Insurance Act is simply a tax cut for the rich and corporations.  The ACA relied on these taxes to pay for the health coverage of poor people and used these taxes to pay for the subsidies you may get.  Republicans want to eliminate those taxes so only the rich and health care companies see the positive results.

Ryan was even bragging on television the other day that he was cutting Medicaid massively with the biggest cuts in history.  How is that allowing poor people to have health insurance?  It doesn’t, it takes it away.  And, Paul Ryan is perfectly fine with that fact.

There is a huge difference between capitalism and a free market.  Capitalism works well, as it has in this country, but only if there are reins on it to keep it from going wild.  The free market on the other hand has no reins on it and they go wild to the detriment of everyone who isn’t rich already.

If you have been wondering why there isn’t a single “free market” health insurance system in the entire world, the answer is simple.  It won’t work!  Republicans know this simple fact, too.  That is why they want to keep “tax subsidies” in their plan to make you think they are helping.  That is why they want to keep pre-existing conditions covered.  They know that the “free market” system they are touting won’t work and will leave these people behind.

But, they are going to leave them behind anyway.  The poor will lose their health care because Medicaid expansion will be revoked.  Those with pre-existing conditions will be left behind because they won’t be able to afford the premiums in those “high risk pools’.  Everyone else will be left behind because in the first year, it is estimated that premiums will increase almost $1500.  And, by 2020 those premiums will increase another $2400.

In the meantime, companies like Aetna will be allowed to swallow up more and more of their competition and that means less competition not more that Republicans promise.  Meaning, premiums will go up even more than expected.  Less competition means higher prices.

Have you looked at your cable bill recently?  It keeps going up because of the “mergers” of cable companies reducing the competition.  That is what Republicans want to do to your health insurance.

The bottom line is that a total “free market” does not exist simply because it cannot work.  At least not for the average person.  The only way to reduce health care costs is to go to a system like Medicare for all.  Otherwise we will take the Republicans word and just piss into the wind as we get sicker and sicker because we can’t afford health insurance.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 119. 

With all of the hoopla going on about the Russian connections between trump’s administration a Russian officials, the Republicans in Congress have fired off several rounds in their war on the people of this country.  And, it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

There has been one battle cry from Republicans since the income tax was first introduced.  They say this is what has been going on.  Rich people are being “unfairly” taxed and the money is given to the rest of the lazy worthless people who live in the country for free.

You really have to understand where Republican priorities are.  According to their mantra, if you are rich, you are blessed and worked hard to get your money.  If you are not rich, you should be “thankful” that some rich guy has been nice enough to let you work at the factories that make him rich.  Even if the wages he pays you don’t let you support your family.

You are looking at everything the wrong way.  These rich people are our saviors.  If not for them, we would all be even poorer than we are.  They have all the power.  They have all the money,.  They have all the land.  We should be thankful that we are fortunate enough to live among such great people.

The way things are supposed to work in our country is that the rich, who are marvelous caring people, should pay little or no taxes.  Instead the rest of us should pay all of the taxes the country needs and just shut up.

The rest of us do not deserve the things that we already have.  We don’t deserve a secure retirement through Social Security even though we have paid taxes all of our lives to get it.  We don’t deserve health care when we are old through Medicare even though we paid taxes all through our lives to get it.  We don’t deserve health care at all.  If we can’t afford to pay ridiculous premiums so Insurance Company CEOs can get a bigger tax break, that is our problem.

We don’t deserve proper housing.  We don’t deserve food that has been inspected to make sure it isn’t bad and make us sick.  We don’t deserve clean water to drink or clean air to breathe.  We don’t deserve to have our children receive a good public education.  No, we don’t deserve any of that because we are just slime that is allowed to labor for the rich to get richer.

According to the Republican worldview, there are two kinds of people. The marvelous, wonderful rich people and everyone else.  Everyone else must be fully dependent on the rich letting us work for low wages and we should be very thankful for their generosity.

When it comes to the nation we live in, our rights are all dependent upon their view as well.  They say the government cannot get between a doctor and his patient, but it is okay for the government to get between the doctor and patient if that patient is a woman.  See, women are stupid ignorant forms of life that need a man to tell her what is right and wrong.  She needs that man to tell her how to live.  And she needs that man to tell her how to behave.

I know you think I am being facetious.  I am not, this is exactly the current Republican view of the world.  What Congress has been doing behind the curtain is very showing of this view they have.

Let’s examine what they have been up to.  The very first thing that they got their brainless hand to sign hurts first time home buyers.  Under President Obama, the rates for the Mortgage Insurance that is usually required for first time home buyers was to be reduced.  NO shouted Republicans.  They killed that decrease and instead raised it so people buying their first home will have to pay $500 more per year in home mortgage insurance costs.  Even if that is the drinking water for their workers.

The second thing they did was kill a clean water provision.  Mines have for hundreds of years polluted the water around the mines.  There was a rule that said that mines could no longer dump their byproducts into streams and rivers thus polluting the water.  The Republicans again shouted NO, and passed a law killing that rule.  So, now mine owners can pollute the water anytime they desire just to save a few bucks.

Then there was the rule that made it so brokers handling your retirement plan had to serve you and not his commissions.  They were required to let you know the disadvantages of buying a new stock, and get your permission.  Again a loud NO came screeching from the right.  So, now they passed another law that allows these brokers to simply change your portfolio without your consent even if that change will increase their commissions and hurts you.

Then we come to the proposed budget from the trump administration.  You can see there what the Republicans worldview really is.  This budget targets the vulnerable people in our country, as well as the middle-class with massive cuts while giving our best equipped, strongest, and best military in the world a $54 billion increase in their budget.  Plus, they need another $21 billion to build the Berlin Wall on the southern border.

How are these massive unnecessary increases gong to be paid for?  Well, you guessed it.  Out of your pocket.

The administration has decided that we don’t need a State Department anymore, or at least not one that works.  They are planning to slash at least 30 percent from the State Department’s budget including from USAID.  These programs that are being targeted are the very ones that help us maintain our leadership throughout the world, but since trump appears to be wanting to partner with Putin, we don’t need to hold on to that leadership role anymore.

The budget also calls for a 35 percent cut in the budget for the EPA.  Who the hell needs a department called the Environmental Protection Agency if you don’t care if the people get clear air and drinking water?  That is obviously an unnecessary agency.

We will also see a $6 billion cut to HUD.  These cuts will be made to cut back on major repairs to buildings.  Why should we fix buildings that people live in?  They are just poor schmucks and should be happy they have a roof over their heads.  Quality of life means nothing to them.  Hell, this works nicely for the wealthy.  Our own president made millions doing just this type of ignoring properties in private business.  The biggest cuts will hit the community planning and development grants, which have been used to clean up struggling neighborhoods.  That area will see a $4 billion cut.  Who needs to clean up struggling neighborhoods.  Rich people don’t go there.

Other cuts will include direct rental assistance payments — including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans — would be cut by at least $300 million, to $19.3 billion. Additionally, housing for the elderly — known as the Section 202 program — would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, nearly 20 percent. Money available for Native American housing block grants would fall by $150 million, more than 20 percent.

But, what is the problem here?  These are worthless people who don’t really contribute to the rich people’s pockets.  They merely take up space and breathe some of that clear air we won’t have very much longer anyway.

In addition, we are looking at deep cuts to the Coast Guard and TSA.  Two vital organizations that are part of our vital national security to keep us safe.  We are going to se massive cuts to FEMA.  We only need FEMA if there is a natural disaster or some major large-scale terrorist attack relief responses.  But, since there is no climate change, natural disasters won’t happen.  And, since the military will get a massive increase in their budget and we will have our marvelous Berlin Wall on the southern border, there won’t be any terrorist attacks either.

We are going to see huge cuts to the Department of Education, Health and Human services and much more.  The only things that won’t be cut are defense and ICE.  They will increase “hugely”.

Finally we have the Americans Without Health Care Act that is currently being rammed through Congress.  Under this plan, the likelihood of you losing your health care coverage is better than 50/50.  If you are one of those “takers” who get subsidies so you can afford to get health insurance, you will lose those subsides.  Instead you will get a smaller amount in “tax credits””, which you won’t be able to use either.

If you are someone who got coverage under expanded Medicaid, you can forget about having any coverage after 2020.  If you have pre-existing conditions, you can look forward to higher premiums and higher deductibles in those nice fancy “high risk pools” they want to set up.

If you are someone who is between age 55 and 65, you can expect a doubling of your premiums since the company will be able to charge you five times more than a younger person for the same coverage.  Plus, if you are making less than $75,000 per year your subsidies will decrease up to about $10,000 per year to purchase your health coverage.

If you live in a rural community and have less access to health insurance on the open market, you will get even fewer choices and the chances are your hospital will close down due to lack of funds.  With fewer people with health insurance, hospitals will have to go back to giving out free treatment thus losing money forcing them to shut the door for good, just like before the ACA was enacted and saved many of these hospitals.

And, if you are wondering, everyone loves this new plan.  Well except the American Medical Association, The American Hospital Association, and AARP.  But, so what, the Republicans didn’t ask their opinion to begin with so who cares what they think.  They are just the professionals and who knows more rich tax cut friendly Republicans or health care professionals?

Besides, what is most important in this bill is that the CEOs of the companies about to be allowed to rip you off will get a tax cut.  And, those nasty taxes that made the ACA possible without hurting the deficit will all go away too.  Meaning those who make over $250,000 will also get a tax cut.

We all know that tax cuts for those people are far more important than the average American scumbags having health care coverage.  How dare anyone think that their health is more important than the rich’s tax cuts?  You must be on some illegal drug to think that.

Paul Ryan said two things yesterday about the Americans Without Health Care Act.  First he said this was “sound, good conservative plan”.  Then he said “this plan is an act of mercy”.

And, according to the Republican worldview, he is absolutely correct.  This plan is a “good conservative” plan because it throws overboard everyone who isn’t rich.  And, it is “an act of mercy” because it ensures that more rich people get more tax cuts.  That is exactly what Republicans think their job is.

As you can see, you have been looking at the real world upside down.  The only people who matter are the rich.  You and me and the rest of America who slave away trying to make ends meet are just in the way of the rich.

We are all just supposed to fall in line and do what we are told by the rich.  If we dare to ask questions, or we dare to expect fair wages for our labor, or if we dare to consider ourselves equal to them, we need to be put back in our place.

So far, everything that the Republicans in Congress and what has been done by our beloved leader are intended to put us back in our place.  If you are willing to go along with this, I feel sorry for you.  If you are willing to allow this dehumanizing of our people to continue, then you need help.

All of this is just the tip if the iceberg that is heading towards our Titanic.  Soon you will hear about how Medicare should be voucherized and how Social Security should be prioritized.  The vouchers for Medicare won’t be nearly enough to purchase proper insurance for seniors, and the privatization of Social Security will only be set up to allow bigger commissions to crooked brokers.

Remember, these cuts are not just aimed at the poor. They are aimed at everyone who is not rich.  The massive tax cuts on the horizon are not intended to help your, they are aimed at the rich and corporations.

In the current Republican worldview, there are two classes of people.  The rich and everyone else.  Everyone else are on their own.  If they can’t make ends meet, it is their fault.  If they can’t get a good education it is their fault.  If they can’t afford health care coverage for themselves and their families, it is their fault.

We are all supposed to bow down to the oligarchs and thank their golden idol for their existence and great generosity for allowing us to work for slave wages.  That is what the Republican Party is giving us.  That is the world they want for themselves and us.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 118. 

Well, it is out, and it is as bad as everyone thought it would be.  Paul Ryan and his Republican cronies have unveiled their repeal and replace plan for the Affordable Care Act.  And, though the numbers are still not firm, it is going to be very bad for anyone who needs health care and anyone who doesn’t make about 1 million dollars per year.

And, of course, the poor, the working poor, the elderly and the middle-class will be the biggest losers.  Who else is there to target?  Their donor class?  I don’t think so.

Some things won’t happen until 2020, because they are afraid of the consequences to their immediate political future.  Things like Medicaid expansion are on the chopping block.  So, the poor and the elderly will be hurt the most when this ends in 2020.

The Republican plan for Medicaid is to “block grant” Medicaid to the states.  Only, they will receive less money than do today.  Today Medicaid is open-ended in that states get enough money to cover the costs of the program.  Instead, the Republicans want to set the bill at the number of people “on Medicaid” per state, which means a substantial cut in the program funding.  That means millions of people will lose their health care under the killing of expanded Medicaid.

But, it isn’t just the poor people who get hurt under this plan.  Most people who live in nursing homes get their funding through Medicaid.  If that is taken away, we will have more people who cannot afford to stay in the nursing home.  But, what the hell, Republicans seem to believe that since they are so old they should just die.

Then we have the case of the subsidies which help people afford to purchase health insurance.  That is also going away.  Instead, the Republicans say they will give “tax credits” so you can buy insurance.  But, the numbers just don’t add up.

Those tax credits will range between $2,000 and $4,000 per year.  Those numbers are based on age not income.  Those numbers are not even close to what people need to purchase health insurance.

For example, Martha Brawley of Monroe, N.C., said she voted for President Trump in the hope he could make insurance more affordable.  But having seen reports on the new plan she has become increasingly nervous.  Under the ACA she pays about $260 per month for a Blue Cross plan and receives a subsidy of $724 per month to cover the rest of her premium. Under the House plan, she would receive $3,500 a year in tax credits — $5,188 less than she gets under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m scared, I’ll tell you that right now, to think about not having insurance at my age,” said Ms. Brawley, who underwent a liver biopsy on Monday after her doctor found that she has an autoimmune liver disease. “If I didn’t have insurance, these doctors wouldn’t see me.”

The plan hurts elderly people eve more.  Beginning next year, health insurance companies will be able to charge up to five times more for the elderly premiums than for younger people.  Under the ACA that is capped at three times as much.

That means for people like Alan Lipsky, a self-employed consultant in Arden, N.C., the Republican plan could have a huge financial impact. Mr. Lipsky, who is 60 and whose wife is in her 50s, receives a tax credit of $2,097 a month for his family of four and pays $66 a month out of his own pocket. His family’s total annual tax credit of $25,164 would be reduced to $11,500 under the new plan, covering less than half of the total cost of his current coverage.

“I don’t think the Affordable Care Act is perfect,” said Mr. Lipsky, whose family deductible is $12,000 per year, “but at least for people like me it gives a baseline, and I’m worried I won’t have that baseline anymore. What they’re talking about is unaffordable for me.”

S&P analysis says that 64-year-old could see annual premiums increase by almost 30 percent to $13,100 on average.  The tax credit for these people will be a whopping $4,000.  As you can see, these people won’t be able to afford insurance if this plan becomes law.

Some of the biggest losers will be people who live in rural areas.  That is because rural areas have fewer hospitals and fewer insurance plans than large cities.  Before the ACA, rural hospitals were closing at terrifying rates.  Since the ACA, that has been significantly reduced because rural hospitals were not seeing more uninsured people.

Then there is the dropping of the mandate that everyone will have to purchase insurance.  I know a lot of people don’t like that part of the ACA, but without it, young healthy people will probably opt out of insurance altogether.  That means health insurance companies will need to raise their premiums to cover the more expensive older and sick people who have coverage.

The result, said Donald H. Taylor Jr., a health policy professor at Duke University, is that people who buy coverage are sicker, causing the cost of premiums to soar. “This looks like to me adverse selection on steroids,” he said. “I don’t see how it doesn’t crater the individual market.”

There are other side effects to the plan that no one has talked about yet.  Remember the Ebola scare a couple of years ago?  Remember the Zika Virus scare in our country last year?  Those diseases have not gone away.  They are waiting for another round.  Especially Zika which is just waiting for warmer weather and hungry mosquitos.

The ACA set up the Prevention and Public Health Fund to try to lower health costs by preventing diseases before they happen.  Well, this fund will be slashed by $1 billion.  What does it do you ask?

The CDC uses it to help states deliver vaccines, watch for infectious diseases, keep an eye out for lead in water, promote breastfeeding in hospitals, prevent suicide and watch out for hospital-associated infections. It totals $931 million for 2017.

“It really is a core activity,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director.  But, this is just the beginning of these cuts to this program.  In the 2018 budget being proposed by trump, domestic spending like this program will be cut even more.

“These funds are used to prevent diseases such as hypertension, cancer and diabetes, which are drivers of the major causes of death in the United States,” said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner.

“They also help ensure that our nation is prepared against emerging threats such as bioterrorism and Ebola and other infectious diseases. Cutting these funds will hurt patients’ health in the short-term and compromise national security in the long-term.”

Then there is the point where the plan will allow large companies to opt out of offering health care coverage for their employees.  So, if you think since you work for one of these large companies so you are safe, you are wrong.  You could lose your company sponsored coverage and have to go on the open market by yourself.

When Democrats worked on the ACA, they included health insurance companies and health experts in the working groups.  The Republicans have not done the same thing.  They have worked on this in some dark closet in Capital Hill and no one outside a small group of people saw it before yesterday.

As a result, most insurance companies are against the bill.  The problem is that the conservative wackos in the house absolutely hate it.  Not because of what it does in terms of taking away health insurance coverage from their constituents, but because they say it is too “generous” and not bare bones enough.

One of the main talking points for Republicans is that we need to allow insurance companies to sell across state lines.  But, what they won’t tell you is that they already can sell across state lines.  The problem is that each state has their own set of rules when it comes to health care coverage.  In order to sell across state lines, companies must meet those standards.  If they don’t they cannot sell across state lines.

In other words, this is a perfect example of “states rights” that Republicans love so much.  If they really want companies to sell across state lines, they must remove each state’s requirements.  Or, they must eliminate the “state’s rights” to let insurance companies make more money.

Of course women will be hurt the most.  They will see their sex become a “pre-existing condition” again and be charged more for health insurance just because they are women.  Those with preexisting conditions will eventually be forced into “high risk pools” in order to keep their insurance.  That means they will pay substantially more for their coverage.

Because of all of the rules protecting our water and air are being wrecked by the trump administration we will see more diseases like asthma and lead poisoning from our drinking water increase.  That will also cause costs to increase.

Of course, the rich will get their tax cuts.  This bill even includes a tax cut for health insurance company CEOs who make more than $500,000 per year.  How the hell does that make my premiums go down?

I know that conservatives don’t like to hear this, but the real only answer to our health care coverage crisis is a one-payer system.  In other words, Medicare for all.  Before you all lose your minds, think about this.  We pay twice as much per person for health care coverage than countries who have universal health care.

Yes, we pay twice as much per person for health care.  How is this plan going to reduce that fact?  It won’t.  It will merely mean that more people will have to go without health care.  That means our total costs will increase just like they were before the ACA.

As a result, rural hospitals will begin closing again leaving large swaths of our country without any care for the citizens.  Large swaths of our country, mostly Red State areas will see health care become a luxury, not a common practice.

This is the future of our health care.  The plan really needs to be called the “Americans Without Health Care Plan”.  That is going to be the ultimate result.  As I wrote earlier, the number one problem Republicans have seen in our country is that too damn many people have health insurance.  They promised to do something about that problem, and this plan is the first step to resolve it.  They won’t be hurt by it, but you will.

After seven years of bitching about the ACA and promising to “lower costs” their ultimate plan is to take away insurance from the elderly, poor, working poor, and middle-class.  WOW!  What a bunch of assholes.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

 

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Day 116. 

We are seeing an escalation of the attacks on our democracy.  However, you cannot place all of the blame on trump himself.  His administration is just as dangerous, maybe even more so, than he is.  I am really beginning to wonder if there is a single brain cell collectively in the entire group put together.

The media isn’t helping very much either.  With a few exceptions, our media is trying too hard to “legitimize” this idiot that happens to sit in the West Wing.  This became very apparent during the last week.

First, after his so-called speech on Tuesday night, most of the media raved about how “presidential” he looked and how much lower the tone was.  They obviously didn’t listen to the words he said.  They were the same vitriolic hate filled words he has used over and over since he started running for the office.

Besides, I do not consider a moron like trump standing in front of Congress reading a speech he obviously did not write acting like a six year-old reading in front of the class for the first time.  Every time he reads from his teleprompter I see a six year old reading “See     Dick    run.  See   Jane   run.”

That is not being presidential.  That is being a moron.  How is it that we consider that he gave a “great speech” just because he was able to read a speech someone else wrote.  Hell, he was video-taped practicing it in the car on the way to Congress.  And, in my opinion he still did a shitty job.  And before you ask, yes I have given many speeches to various sized crowds in my life.  I know a bad speech when I see one.

Right after his speech, his administration announced that the Travel Ban, which was supposed to be signed the very next day, would be delayed for a few days to let “the speech breathe”.  Say what?  They were so shocked that it went kind of well that they needed it to “breathe”?

Remember, this is the same travel ban that was so necessary in order to keep all of those “bad dudes’ from getting in the country.  Our beloved leader even said after it was stopped by the courts that “they were pouring in”!  Yet apparently it isn’t so necessary or vital after all.  Otherwise, they would not have waited so his speech could “breathe”.

But, on the day he was supposed to sign his new Muslim Ban, it was reported that his Attorney General did in fact have contact with the Russian Ambassador during the campaign and transition period.  This, after he said at his hearing that “I had no contact with any Russian official.”  Oooopps!

Then on Thursday, Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from anything to do with any investigation about Russia and their involvement with our elections and/or the campaign of trump.  He said it was the “right thing to do”.

Then we were told that Jared Kushner and Mike Flynn met with the Ambassador in Trump tower!  Only, no one saw him enter the building which is under constant watch for such people coming.  He obviously came in the back door.  Why?  What was trump hiding?

On Friday, trump supposedly went ballistic.  Reports say that people said “I have never seen him so angry”.  There was even video shot through the window of the West Wing showing a very heated argument going on inside.  That was supposedly over Sessions recusing himself, which trump did not want him to do.

So, trump set off for another vacation weekend to Florida mad at the entire world.  Then, before dawn, his thumbs took over his brain again.  He claimed that he just found out the President Obama “tapped my wires” in Trump Tower.

That set off a shitstorm like none other so far.  Naturally, he offered no proof of this abuse of power other than his tweets.  But, there is proof.  Only the proof lies with Mark Levin and Breitbart.  Mark Levin is a right-wing conspiracy wacko that makes up more shit that a cow on laxatives.  And, we already know what Breitbart’s motives are.

Throughout the weekend, and even this morning, the White House and their talking minions have not backed down.  Nor, have they shown any reason for anyone to believe them.  On top of that, they are showing their total ignorance of how things work in the real world.

First off, Clapper and Comey both have said the wires were not tapped in Trump Tower.  Clapper was the head of DNI at the time and clearly said he would have known if any FISA wiretap was authorized.  Comey wanted the Justice Department to state clearly that the accusation was wrong.  He was rebuffed.

Secondly, the President cannot “order” wire taps without a court order.  And, there are only two ways to get a court order.  The first is for a criminal investigation which requires that the government show that there is probable cause that laws are being broken.  The second, and most importantly in this case, is under a FISA order.  Only, to get a FISA order against an American Citizen, the requirements are even stricter.

What all this means is that if anyone in the government got a court order to wiretap Trump Tower, there was something that showed probable cause or even more that something was seriously wrong in Denmark.  Which also means that trump and/or members of his campaign were seriously suspected of committing a crime up to espionage.

Does anyone in this administration understand that simple fact?  Why are they trying to put light on a possible fact that trump and/or his associates were committing crimes?

They are also saying that trump must have classified information that we don’t have.  That is possible, but there is also one fact they are ignoring.  If trump was a suspect in these investigations that led to a wiretap, he would not be given that information even though he is the president.  No law enforcement agency or intelligence agency would “read into” the investigation the suspect in that investigation.

So, if his tower was the subject of a “wiretap” he would not be given that information.  Unless his Attorney General is breaking the law and all protocols in properly handling an investigation.

Then we have the so-called travel ban that he just signed.  The only real difference is that Iraq was removed from the list of countries.  But, that doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Right now at LAX, there is an Afghan family being held by Customs.  This family came to the U.S. the other day on a “special visa”.  The man worked for the U.S. in Afghanistan and was properly vetted to get this “special visa”.

Yet, when they landed in Los Angeles, they were taken into custody and have been held for at least five days without being given access to an immigration lawyer.  Remember, Afghanistan wasn’t even on the original list of countries.  So, why are they being held at LAX?  And, the man worked for our government!

Ever since trump was elected to be our president, he has gone off on rampages trying to destroy the very fabric of our democracy.  He has claimed that 3-5 million “illegals” voted in the last elections.  Remember that?  Still no proof that ever happened and no “investigation” into it either.  He attacked our intelligence community even comparing them to Nazi Germany.  Then he attacked our media calling everyone but conservative organizations Fake News.  Then he attacked the FBI.  Then he attacked Congress.  Now he is attacking President Obama.

He has done nothing else except relax environmental laws and banking laws designed to protect our air and water and our finances and economy.  If you are part of the upper 1 percent of the wealthy, you are in for great times.  If you are one of the rest of society, you are screwed.

We have seen our public education placed under attack.  We have seen  science placed under attack.  We have seen LGBT rights under attack.  We have seen immigrants under attack.  About the only thing we haven’t seen under attack are the white supremacist domestic terrorists.  They are loving all of this.

But, this is all part of the fascist playbook.  The only way a fascist can take power is to make things so chaotic and bad for everyone, they can come in and say “I alone can fix it”.  Sound familiar?

Then they hope that everyone is so afraid that they won’t resist when the real power grab takes place.  Our president has sown the seeds to start his power grab.  The only question is when will he move to seize power?

Stop kidding yourself.  There will be no “pivot”.  There will be no trump being presidential.  There will be no easing of the innuendoes or accusations without proof.  That is what he is banking on.  He is banking on the idea that we will get tired of it.  He is banking on us falling asleep because of all the chaos he is spreading.

The mouthpieces he has put in place are all helping make him our first dictator for life.  They are spreading all of the falsehoods and treating them like facts to confuse the general public.

They have all their code words in place like “Make America Safe Again” in order to keep non-whites out.  They always talk about “double standards but only when their leader gets caught in another lie or his hand in the cookie jar.  The only “double standard” is the fact that trump sprouts his filth to the public and needs to prove nothing while his opponents are called “professional protesters” getting paid to take to the streets.

We need to start wondering when the purges will begin.  When will we see the Muslim Ban take full effect?  When will we see the Muslim registry take effect?  When will we see the “need” for national papers?  When will we see “travel papers” to visit another state than the one we live in?

When will we see the detention centers sprouting all around us for “illegal immigrants” become internment camps for anyone opposed to trump?  If you think all of this sounds ridiculous, you haven’t been paying attention.

Everything that has taken place are NOT distractions.  The accusations and innuendos are part of the game plan.  Travel bans are just the start of all kinds of bans.  Detention centers, or more precisely the “private prisons” trump is opening are just the beginning.

All of this chaos is planned.  All of this unnecessary “constitutional crises” are being plotted in the White House.  Steve Bannon is a self-proclaimed Leninist who wants to tear down completely our government and replace it with something else.  He has said so in public.

All of this has been choreographed.  And, the choreographer is none other than Steve Bannon.  Why else would he be so crucial as to be placed on the NSC Policy board with a permanent seat while the Joint Chief of Staff lost his?

All we can do is fight back as hard as we can.  We cannot let our Representatives and Senators fall in line with this dangerous attack on our values.  And, our wishy-washy media must wake up and smell the roses.  They are the one institution that can be our voice of opposition.  But, they have to grow a backbone and report the facts and stop giving trump excuses.

Do not give up, we can and we will win in the end.  Americans are too good, too smart, and too strong to allow this to go on until we lose our country.

It is time to call a fascist a fascist.  Trump, Bannon and their puppets are fascists or at least fascist wannabes.  We can beat them by peaceful protests in the streets. We can beat them by having our voices heard in the halls of Congress.  And, most importantly, we beat them it by voting out the fascist abettors.

It is time to stop the shirts from marching along!

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