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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Day 163. 

We are quickly approaching the 100 day mark in beloved leader’s presidency.  All through the campaign and at the very beginning of his presidency, he has said over and over that he will accomplish so much in the first 100 days.  He even had something called his contract with America on what will be accomplished during his first 100 days.  I believe there were something like 10 legislative bills he said would be passed.

Well, so far, nothing has been passed.  He made a very feeble attempt at passing a replacement for the ACA, and it crashed and burned even before it could get to the floor of the House and have a vote.  He hasn’t released any information on his tax reforms which he claimed would be passed by now.

He ordered a 90 day review on cybersecurity and promised we would all be very pleased with the results.  No results have come forward, and no one seems to know who is even supposed to conduct this review.  So, one hasn’t even started yet.

Beloved leader claims to have “done more in my first 100 days than anyone in history”.  Which is a blatant lie.  Now he claims that the “first 100 days” thing is a bunch of bullshit.  Maybe because he hasn’t done anything yet.

About the only thing he has accomplished so far is to destroy the EPA and our environmental protections.  He has made it much easier for coal companies to pollute rivers and streams but not at producing more coal.  He has tried to implement his Muslim Ban but has failed at that as well since it was blocked in the courts more than once.

Yes, he did get his terrible nomination to the Supreme Court.  But, as usual, the Republicans had to change and break the rules to get it done.  They proved once again that “they don’t need no stinking rules”.  Something trump loves to hear.

Oh, he launched some missiles at Syria after saying that the dictator could stay as far as trump was concerned.  The damage was so minimal that the Syrian Air Force was carrying out air strikes against the rebels the very next day from that airfield.  Maybe that is because he warned the Russians and therefore the Syrians we were coming.

And, of course, we cannot forget that his administration is under FBI investigation for possibly colluding with the Russians hacking during our elections last year.  I guess that is something he is real proud of as well.

So, as we approach his first 100 day mark, we need to ask what will be his first major “victory” of his administration.  Here are my choices.

First, will he start a war with North Korea?  All of the signs are leaning in that direction.  Only, he doesn’t seem to understand that a war with North Korea would probably include nuclear weapons.  That could cause a global catastrophe.  I really doubt if he fully understands that threat.  I am more inclined to believe that he thinks that would be okay since the nuclear weapons would only be used on Asians anyway.

Second, will he manage to start a war with Iran.  Republicans and trump have been itching for a war with Iran for a very long time.  He want’s to “review” the nuclear deal with Iran even though his own State Department put in writing that Iran is complying with the accord.  Since when does this country pull out of an agreement that is being followed?  Does our word mean nothing anymore?

He claims that Iran isn’t complying with the “spirit” of the accord.  What he really means is they aren’t complying with his “spirit” of the accord.  So, he can just pull out and let Iran get the nuclear weapons this accord has prevented them from getting.  Does that mean that if we pull out of the accord, are we then going to invade Iran on the premise of them wanting nuclear weapons and we are just trying to stop them?  Doesn’t that sound a lot like the second Iraq War that W. got us into and trump blasted during the campaign?

Third, will he finally manage to toss 24 million people from their health care coverage.  He and Republicans are going to try again to pass the Americans Without Health Care Act.  Only this time, because the have allowed the so-called Freedom Caucus to name the conditions, more than 24 million people will lose their coverage.

The Freedom Caucus wants a provision that allows states to opt out of the coverage part for people with pre-existing conditions.  The provision says they must have a “High-Risk Pool” for these people.  But, it doesn’t say how it is to be funded.  Meaning, when a state opts out, insurance companies will have license to price pre-existing conditions out of the market.  So instead of just 24 million people losing their coverage, the number will most likely double.

But don’t worry, trump calls this a “wonderful bill” that will make coverage cheaper for everyone.  People with pre-existing conditions, and those who will lose Medicaid coverage are not considered as part of the “everyone” trump keeps talking about.  Or he believes that having no insurance is “cheaper” since you don’t have to pay premiums.  So what if you get sick.

Fourth, will the administration allow those retired miners to lose their coverage and pensions as we talked about the other day?  Is he going to step up to the plate and ensure they keep their retirement benefits or just throw them to the side of the road like everyone else who isn’t rich?  Can we consider that a “major victory” for trump because it will save a whopping 200 million dollars per year?

Fifth, will he cause a government shutdown at the end of next week.  As of midnight next Friday night, the government money will run out.  If there isn’t a continuing resolution, the government will shutdown again.  And, if it does shutdown it will be trump and the Republicans fault full stop.

The only thing that needs to be done is a continuing resolution that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year.  That is all.  But, Republicans and now trump love to throw in “poison pills” that hurt people just to say they are “standing on principle”.  They simply cannot allow a continuing resolution to pass cleanly and try to get their pet projects through normal channels.

This time, trump seems to be the trigger.  He wants his money to build his damn Berlin Wall.  He is even threatening to stop paying the subsidies in the ACA if he doesn’t get the money.  That would mean that millions of poor people, working poor people, and middle-class people would immediately lose their health care coverage because they wouldn’t be able to afford their premiums.

I mean really?  Beloved leader hates Latinos so much that he is willing to let you lose your health care coverage?  There are ways to fund projects, but holding hostage half of America is not the way it is supposed to be done.  You simply put together a plan and a bill, take it down to Congress, and fight like hell to get what you want.

The problem with this simple legislative way the government is supposed to work is that Republicans abandoned that principle 40 years ago.  Now, they simply want to hold America hostage and hold their breath until they get what they want.  They think it is much easier that way.  And, the only people who will be hurt by their tactics are the “little people”, not themselves.

Those are my five favorites of what would be trump’s “major victory” during his first 100 days in office.  He hasn’t proposed any meaningful legislation.  He hasn’t issued any Executive Orders that does anything except help pollute the planet and make the rich richer.

He has made sure that the “swamp” he promised to drain is overflowing its banks right now.  Corruption and unethical behavior are running rampant in his administration.  So, maybe he is right when he says that he has done more than anyone else in history.  I haven’t seen so much corruption and unethical behavior surface so fast in an administration in my lifetime.

I have said before that the first 100 days thing doesn’t mean much to me.  I am more interested in being shown that the person in the White House has some kind of plan and is ready with some real legislation to push the plan forward.  Beloved leader doesn’t seem to have a plan, and he has no legislation to put forward.

His backers say he is “learning on the job”.  I say it shows his incompetence.  He has shown me only that he is interested in making the rich, like himself, richer.  He is interested in destroying our planet by tearing down environmental protections that have taken decades to implement.  He is interested in allowing a foreign oil company take land away from private farmers in America to build a pipeline that will produce not one drop of gasoline for our country.  It is all going to be exported.

He has shown disdain for the Average American by trying to take away their Health Care Coverage and polluting their drinking water and poison the air they breath all in the name of profits for the insurance companies and the polluters.

I seriously doubt that trump will manage to accomplish even one of these five options.  He doesn’t have the competence to accomplish anything and he is proving that day-by-day.  Which could be a good thing for us.  Because any one of the five options above would be disastrous for the American People.  Especially to most of the very people who voted for him.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 160. 

As coal mines began to close down, they began showing up in bankruptcy court.  The victims of those bankruptcies were the retired miners who were about to lose their health benefits.  And, since most retired miners suffer from very debilitating diseases like black lung, something had to be done.

Those health benefits began to head towards the Federal Government.  The government took over those health benefits for the retired miners.  After all, it wasn’t their fault they were losing them.  Last fall Congress voted to finance health benefits for a large swath of retired miners for several months.  However, they have been unable to pass any long-term plan.

This brings up a real problem for these retired miners.  If nothing is done by the end of the month, about 20,000 retired miners will lose their health benefits.  These miners are all in states that went for trump in the last election.

Yet, beloved leader has said nothing about how much he wants Congress to come up with a long-term solution.  He has given coal mine owners breaks in several ways including Executive Orders, but has done nothing for the workers or these retired miners.

The health benefits are critical to these miners.  What is at stake is not only the ability to maintain a middle-class retirement, but in a lot of cases, their lives.  For example, Norm Skinner worked for more than 20 years as a miner in eastern Ohio and had triple bypass surgery in 2010. Without the retiree health plan, he said, the surgery “would have broke me,” even with Medicare picking up much of the bill.

Another miner Mr. Van Sickle, who lost parts of two fingers on the job, said his doctor advised him to retire two years ago, at 59, because he suffers from black lung, a condition associated with long-term exposure to coal dust.

He manages the illness by attaching himself to a breathing machine that essentially props open the airway to his lungs while he sleeps. “My oxygen content would drop so low without it,” he said.

Last fall, Mr. Van Sickle priced out a private insurance plan that would provide roughly comparable benefits for him and his wife, who takes about a dozen separate medications to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The estimates came in at $1,500 to $1,800 per month.

“I always wanted to be a person who would leave a little legacy for my children,” he said. “If I lose these benefits and my pension, there will not be enough for me, let alone for my children.”

The other odd part of this story is that Mr. Van Sickle and his wife might be eligible for thousands of dollars in subsidies if they were able to purchase their insurance from the ACA.  However, that plan would be less generous and trump and the Republicans want to kill the ACA which would leave him with nothing.

The other thing you need to realize is that miners, like many other union workers over the last 20 years, took lower pay raises in new contacts in order to ensure health benefits and retirement pensions were never hurt.

Beloved leader made all kinds of promises to the miners during his campaign.  He talked about how those mines were going to be digging more coal than ever under his administration.  He made promises that even miners knew in their hearts was untrue, but they were hopeful that at least some of the promises would come true.

They believed their wish was a modest one. The price tag for their benefits averages a little under $200 million per year over the next 10 years, which can be partly offset through interest that accrues in a federal fund for reclaiming abandoned mines. Because no new miners would become eligible for the health benefits awarded to this group, the cost would eventually dwindle to zero.

But, Mitch McConnell is reluctant to expedite a vote on a permanent fix of this problem.  And, Paul Ryan says he may be open but not for more than 20 months at which point the benefits would either end or have to be reapproved.  Gee, how generous of the bastard.

In the last few days, the House Republican leadership has suggested that it, too, might support a permanent fix, according to Phil Smith, the chief lobbyist for the miners union, but only if it can settle on a revenue source to offset the full cost. “It leaves the door wide open to ‘Well, we couldn’t find one,’” Mr. Smith said.

Here we go again.  If something benefits average people, especially their health, it must be paid for by cutting something else.  If it benefits banks and/or billionaires, it doesn’t have to be paid for by anything.  You can always count on Republicans to screw over the “little people” with stupid arguments about the “deficit”.

And, while all of this is going on, beloved leader, who used coal miners to win his election is saying nothing about their plight.  He isn’t calling McConnell and Ryan and demanding these retired miners be taken care of like they were promised.  No, he is off playing golf and spending tax payer’s money, like from these retired miners, on lavish vacations at his own resort, thus putting money into his own pocket.

As far as he is concerned, the retired miners can just shut up and die.  He doesn’t care about them.  They are a burden on coal mine owners and the Government because the mine owners are pawning off their responsibilities on the tax payers.  Talk about the “takers”.

Working is a mine is a very dirty and dangerous job.  These people literally risked their lives to get out that coal the powered our power plants for generations.  They don’t deserve to be thrown to the side of the road by Republicans or trump.

Ever since beloved leader took the oath of office, he has shit all over the average American with his policies, executive orders, and silence.  He has shown that we don’t matter.  You only matter if you are in the top 1 percent of the economic ladder.

His Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross founded the International Coal Group, which was formed after several coal companies went bankrupt. The United Mine Workers of America protested the bankruptcy reorganization as it led to changes in health care and pensions for the existing employees.  Arch Coal purchased International Coal Group for $3.4 billion in 2011.

But before that, in 2006 there was an explosion in the Sago Mine owned by Ross’ company that killed 12 workers.  In a report from the New York Post, Ross apparently knew all about the mine’s safety violations.  The article also reported that the mine had 12 roof collapses in 2005, and that the U.S. Department of Labor data showed 208 citations for safety violations in that same period, including 21 times for build-up of toxic gasses.

So, is there any wonder why trump is not saying anything about protecting these retired miners?  Ross didn’t give a shit about the miners when they worked for him.  He certainly doesn’t care about them now either.  So, why would trump?

This administration should be called the “billionaires club”.  Because it seems that if you aren’t a billionaire you cannot work in the administration.  And, when the “little people” need something, the common answer from the billionaires club is “screw you”.  Those are words Republicans have been telling us for years.  We are unused to hearing an administration use them so blatantly by their actions before.

Hell, I bet Exxon/Mobile gets their waiver to return to the oil contract they signed with Putin to drill oil there.  They applied for a waiver today.  If that goes through, there will be no question whose side trump is on.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 158. 

All through the campaign and ever since he took office, our beloved leader has promised to create millions of new jobs.  If you were watching very closely, you will have noticed that his promise is not just a pipe dream.  He really will create those jobs.  Well, it may seem like that at first glance.

What he is really going to do is cull the workforce from those lazy bastards that already fill up employment rolls and replace them with new workers who will be overjoyed to finally have a “good paying” job.  And, he has already taken the first steps to make all of that happen.

While you were watching him stumble and bumble his way through these first three months, our beloved leader was quietly signing bills placed in front of him by his politburo Republican Congress and his Department of Labor was quietly changing rules.  These bills and rule changes only affected simple things like workplace safety.

See, if you do away with all of those expensive workplace safety rules, then people will get injured to the point of permanent disability and maybe even die.  That will open up millions of jobs over the next four years for anyone who wants them.  New job creation accomplished.

The first thing he did was to sign two bills from Republicans that make it harder to track workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths.  The first one undoes a rule requiring federal contractors to fully report all labor violations.    The second one undoes a rule to strengthen employer’s workplace illness and injury record-keeping requirements.  The Republicans call these regulations – job killers.

In case you may be wondering why these are important rules, it is simply because they allow OSHA to monitor what is going on in the workplace, find out what is really behind workplace safety, and help to fix the problem to protect workers.  So, you can see how much the industries would hate such bills and/or rules.  They just might be required to protect their employees while at work.

Then we have the Department of Labor delaying two very important rules.  The first one deals with silica dust.  Silica dust is a very hazardous carcinogen that causes lung cancer and death.  There has been an outcry about Silica since the 1930s.  A rule was passed in the 70s, but it was called inefficient.  Then last year the Obama Administration placed more restrictive rules on the amount of Silica dust that could be present.

The industry howled about the administration being intrusive in their businesses.  The new rule would force employers to install new ventilation systems and provide better respiratory protection devices for their employees who work in that environment.  And, in fairness, it would cost a lot of money.

So, hearing his buddies cry about the new rule, the DOL placed a three-month hold on the rule.  The industry is gearing up for a lobbying attack to make sure they kill the rule completely.  But, even if it were put in place after the three-month delay, it is estimated by health experts that up to 600 people will be affected to the point of getting lung cancer and even dying from breathing in the Silica Dust in that three-month period.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has also twice postponed implementation of its rule updating standards for workers’ protection from carcinogenic beryllium dust.  Like silica, exposure to beryllium, used in construction, shipyards, foundries and industries that use the metal to make electronics, aerospace, defense and other components, causes incurable lung disease and lung cancer.

“OSHA estimates that when fully implemented it [the rule] will save 94 lives a year. Every four days of delay in the implementation dates costs the life of one American worker,” wrote Michael Wright, director of health, safety and environment at United Steelworkers, in comments submitted to the DOL.

Of course Republicans hate the rule and want it killed as well.  They call this rule a “midnight rule”.  They claim that it was rushed through at the last-minute.  However, in fact, the rule results from actions that go back to 2002.

Also delayed are Environmental Protection Agency rules to prevent emissions of formaldehyde, a carcinogen and serious respiratory hazard, from manufactured wood products, to increase safety at industrial plants that use and store highly hazardous chemicals and to increase protections for pesticide applicators.

Then we have beloved leader’s proposed budget which will all but eliminate OSHA.  One of the things being eliminated under his budget is something called the Susan B. Harwood training grants. “The Harwood grants include very important training programs to reduce occupational illnesses, like grants that go out to train workers in nail salons and beauty parlors,” on exposure to hazardous chemicals, explained David Michaels, George Washington University professor of environmental and occupational health and Obama administration Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.

The budget to OSHA to enforce workplace safety laws will be slashed dramatically as well.  OSHA is really an enforcement agency.  It is tasked to investigate injuries at the workplace, make recommendations to see it doesn’t happen again, and even levy fines to the company if warranted.

Not only that, but the cuts will hamper the agency from updating things like their outdated chemical safety standards.  This may all seem obscure, but these standards do not just affect those working at chemical plants, but the surrounding area as well.  It puts everyone’s life in jeopardy.

So, as you see can beloved leader really does have plan to create millions of jobs.  What he isn’t telling you is that won’t be “new” jobs, you will simply be filling jobs of people who were made disabled or killed due to poor workplace safety.  But, what the hell, a job is a job according to beloved leader.

This administration wants to take us back in time when corporations controlled our entire lives.  They want to see “company towns” where you were forced to live and purchase everything from the “company store”.  The administration believes just like the employers that “workers are a dime a dozen so if someone is hurt, disabled, or killed no big deal.  We can replace him easy enough.”

Remember, if you don’t pay attention to the little things that go under the trump stupidity meter in the media, you will find yourself on the outside looking in just like your grandfathers.  If you think trump cares about the average person, just look at what he is doing to your safety in the workplace.  If that is caring for me, please start to hate me instead.  At least I would know your true intentions were to get rid of me.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 154. 

I am very sorry, but I refuse to give our beloved leader any credit for seemingly acting like a president for two minutes.  This low bar acceptance for this clown is getting real old real fast.  In the last two days, our beloved leader has changed his position on six different campaign promises, and for two minutes during a press conference with the head of NATO, he sounded presidential.  Whoopee!

How is it that in the 21st century, we are willing to allow the so-called leader of the free world such a low bar to say he is doing his job.  That is ridiculous and I refuse to go along.  While the pundits are falling all over themselves praising the clown for his meaningless attack on Syria, for his now saying NATO is no longer obsolete, and for claiming that China is not a “currency manipulator” and looking presidential, he is on the verge of killing his own people.

Our beloved leader is so upset that he was unable to get his Americans Without Health Insurance Act passed, he is willing to make sure that Americans will lose their health Insurance anyway.  He says, “I don’t want to hurt anyone” but he is going to go ahead and not only hurt people, but possible kill people just to make a political point.  And, our wonderful pundits aren’t even talking about it.

According to the ACA, there is something called cost-sharing subsidies.  These are payments that are made to insurance carriers in order to help poorer people afford health insurance.  The Republicans sued to stop the payments, and that suit is in appeals, and even trump’s administration is defending the subsidies in court.

Yet, trump is now saying that if Democrats don’t help him repeal the ACA, he will probably cut off those subsidies.  You read that right.  In order to blackmail Democrats into helping him kill the bill they are proud of, he is willing to take health insurance away from millions of people.  Additionally, it will result in raising premiums for everyone else an average of 19 percent.

It is also expected that insurance companies will simply walk away from the exchanges altogether.  Which will mean even more people will lose their insurance.  But, trump doesn’t care.  He doesn’t care that a lot of his supporters and voters will lose their insurance either.

This whole plan of his is what we called a “protection racket” on the South Side of Chicago.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal that appeared on Wednesday, he said:

I don’t want people to get hurt.  What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.

Those are the exact types of words you would expect to hear from a mobster heavy when speaking to a business they are trying to extort.  But, I am not sure Democrats have the stomach to go along with this extortion.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said, “Our position remains unchanged: drop repeal, stop undermining our health care system, and we will certainly sit down and talk about ways to improve the Affordable Care Act.”

My advice to any trump supporter it you better take a good look at what your beloved leader is trying to do.  He isn’t happy taking away your health insurance in the long run, he wants to use your health care as extortion bait against the other party.

Yesterday I told you about a “bait and switch” game Republicans and trump are going to use to try to take away social security.  Their plan is to eliminate the Social Security tax from your payroll deductions.  They will claim they are saving you a lot of money.

But, on the flip side there will be no dedicated funding for Social Security.  Meaning it will fall to Congress to ensure the system gets enough money to survive.  Naturally, they will claim it will be too expensive and therefore they will need to cut or eliminate the plan.

The biggest argument against their plans so far is that we pay into the system, so it isn’t really an “entitlement” it is a paid for benefit that we earned.  If the tax is eliminated, they will claim it is an “entitlement” and therefore you would be getting something you don’t deserve.  Another angle to the “taker” mantra they love to bandy about.

As you can see, our beloved leader is anything but presidential.  He is acting more like a mobster than a leader.  He is willing to lie to his supporters and then hurt them without any guilt at all.  He is a man who has no morals, no integrity, and no conscience.

Rather than working with both moderate Republicans and Democrats to fix the ACA and make it better, he wants to kill it and remove at least 24 million people from their health care insurance.  Even after saying “We will have a wonderful plan that will cover everyone”.

Rather than keeping his promise to “never touch Social Security and Medicare” he is planning a bait and switch game to take Social Security away from those who need it.  And, he doesn’t care who it hurts.  Even though it has been shown that his supporters are going to be hurt the most.

Of course none of this will matter much if he manages to bungle us into another war with Russia.  His tactics so far to “work wonderfully with Putin” as he claimed he would do, he admitted yesterday that our relations with Russia are probably at their lowest point in history.

The man has absolutely no clue what he is doing.  He doesn’t care about anything except that he is president and he won the election.  It is nonsense to saying that looking presidential for two minutes is a positive sign that he is learning his job.  I say bullshit.  Just look at what he is planning to do to us.  He is a buffoon who should have never even come close to the White House.

But, he is in the White House, so it is up to us to resist his madness.  The best way to resist is to throw his Republican Politburo out of office next year.  As my religious friends would say, “if we don’t god help us.”

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 151. 

Yesterday, the news media was still all agog about the strike on Syria.  Still too many of our media were trying to show that trump was being “presidential” when he ordered the attack.   However, there were four words that prove you cannot trust trump, and that his administration will spin anything to try to make him look good.

Those four words came from Nicky Haley who is the UN Ambassador for the U.S.  She was on Jake Tapper’s show when he asked:

He was worried about starting World War III over Syria. Why is that no longer a concern? And why was the 2013 chemical weapons attack, which, as you know, was deadlier, not a trigger for him in terms of the principle of inaction in Syria?

In typical Republican fashion she replied:  “He wasn’t president yet”.  She went on to say:

But I don’t know what his thought process was then.  I can tell you what his thought process was this week, which was, he is not going to condone chemical weapons use ever.

I can tell you that of the conversations I had this week, he knew what the risks were, he knew what the situation was, he looked at the history of the situation, and he decided.

But, it was the first four words that she uttered that are the most scary.  She admitted that trump cannot be trusted to follow through on his “promises” that he made on the campaign trail.  See, it wasn’t just in 2013 that trump said attacking Syria would be wrong, he kept that up through the entire campaign.

He kept up his anti-interventionalist attitude and even went so far as to say that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would start World War III over Syria.  The 2013 comments were not one-offs.  They were expressed as his foreign policy.  Just a week before the chemical attacks, his administration made it clear that it was not our goal to oust Assad.

Then, when he does intervene in Syria, it is okay because when he made all of those comments “he wasn’t president yet”.  And, unfortunately for us, that leaves a whole lot of questions about other promises he has made.

For example, all during the campaign, he said that he would “repeal and replace Obamacare” with something great.  He said that his health care plan “would cover everyone”.   But, his backing of the Americans Without Health Care Act proved he didn’t mean that either.  Is that because he “wasn’t the president yet”?

Then we have his promise not to touch Medicare or Social Security.  Are we to believe that he will keep Ryan and Price from gutting those two programs?  Or, are we to believe that he can dial those promises back too because “he wasn’t president yet”?

That can go for just about everything he promised during the campaign.  We are already hearing from his Secretary of Homeland Security that his “beautiful wall” probably won’t be a full “physical wall”.  We are still waiting to see how his infamous “infrastructure bill” will look like.  He has not given specifics on that one either.  Are we to assume that he wasn’t telling truth because “he wasn’t president yet”?

Then we have to consider the simple fact that he said he conducted the attack because he was so moved by those “beautiful babies” being killed in the chemical attack.  Yet, he still says that he won’t allow those same “beautiful babies” to immigrate to the U.S. in order to keep from dying in the next chemical attack.  That is because all of those “beautiful babies” are a real threat to America.

The unfortunate part in all of this is that our wonderful media did not press the issue.  No one asked Haley if the fact that he changed his mind so easily was simply because when he said he was against such actions “he wasn’t president yet”.  No one asked if that included his promises on everything else he said during the campaign.

We are only three months into the trump presidency, and we already see that he cannot be trusted with anything he says.  When he breaks his promises to his majority of supporters and guts Social Security and Medicare, he can always fall back on this absurdity of “he wasn’t president yet” when he made those promises.

I know that everyone thinks that politicians all lie to get into office.  However, we have not had a president who so blatantly has lied to the people and then use the lame excuse of “he wasn’t president yet”.

As we speak, he has sent a naval fleet off the coast of North Korea to “show our strength”.   Russia and Iran are rattling their swords saying the attack on Syria “crossed many red lines” in their opinion.

Are we going see his “America First” policy really meant “America First In War” policy?   Will he then use the excuse that “he wasn’t president yet” when he said he wouldn’t drag us into another war?

Since Republicans are having a hard time to really defend the “moron in chief”, they are grasping at straws to defend him.  However, every time they open their mouths, they give us another reason not to believe or trust our beloved leader.

Yesterday it was Nicky Haley who blurted out that we cannot trust trump with those four little words.   All kinds of pundits have been claiming that she is the “rising star” in the Republican party today.  If those words are any indication of her qualities, we still don’t have any “stars” in the Republican party.

The party is filled with political hacks who are not interested in governing.  They are only interested in the power of being in office gives them.  And, as usual under Republican rule over the last 40 years, we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 145. 

Monday has come and gone, and things are getting even worse for the average person in America.  One of the first things trump did was sign the bill that allows ISPs to make money off of you without your consent.  He signed the bill that allows them to sell your personal information, including browsing history, to anyone they want to as long as they pay the price.

Not only is this law an invasion of your privacy, one right going away under trump, but it also steals from you.  Yes, I said it steals from you.  Under this bill, if an ISP gets a high bid for your browsing history, they can sell it and not give you a dime in compensation.  I don’t know about you, but I consider that theft of my money!  If an ISP sells my information to some advertiser, they should have to compensate me with a commission on that sale price.

The odd thing is that over 75 percent of the American people were opposed to this bill.  Over 72 percent of trump voters were opposed to this bill.  Shows just what trump thinks about us and his voters.  So under this bill, we lose our right to privacy and we lose our right to make money off of our use of the internet.  We lose two rights in one bill.

Then he decided that women in the workplace, especially those who work for government contractors don’t need to be paid fairly or protected.  He rolled back the Obama Rule that made federal government contractors be transparent with their pay and not be allowed to use “secret arbitration” for sexual harassment or sexual discrimination cases.

The law required contractors to report pay to the government so they could ensure that women are paid the same rate as a male counterpart doing the exact same work.  It took away the arbitration part because under it, companies could hide any sexual discrimination or sexual harassment cases from the public.

The purpose of this law was to make sure that “companies acting badly” cannot make huge amounts of money off of the tax payer.  It told contractors that they had to follow the law in all aspects or they would not lose their contracts.  If a contractor had a history of violations, they would be refused the ability to even bid on a new contract before fixing all of their violations.

Sounds reasonable to me.  Why should the tax payers be forced to pay contractors who abuse their workers?  Well, trump has decided that is exactly what the tax payer should do.  They should be forced to use their tax dollars to pay contractors who cheat, steal, or hide sexual harassment or sexual discrimination.  In other words, trump says if you treat your employees like slaves, that should not keep you from making money off of the government.

So, when it comes to government contractors, trump is saying they don’t have to follow any laws to protect employees.  Especially female employees.  The barbarians are going to be allowed to remain barbarians and still get fat government checks.  How wonderful for the average American.

Then last night it came out that the “repeal and replace” of the ACA has been put on life-support.  It was announced that our vice president mike pence is negotiating with those wacky guys in the so-called freedom caucus.  He is trying to get their support so some version of the bill can pass.  And, in order to keep the moderate Republicans who supported the bill, they are using a nice semantics game that will cause a lot more harm that the original bill did.

The final version of the “bill” hasn’t been made up yet, but there are two parts that came out that show just how heartless these miserable bastards really are.  And, the chances are these changes will have very negative effects on you or a family member if it passes.

The first thing they want to do is claim they will allow those with pre-existing conditions to keep purchasing health insurance.  But, in a nice switcheroo, they are going to allow states to “opt out” of that requirement as long as they have “high risk pools”.

Here is how it would work.  It would allow states to not use community rating.  Under this rule in the ACA, insurance companies are not allowed to charge people more money than anyone else in their age bracket.  Meaning, if you have a pre-existing condition, you cannot be charged more than someone who is healthy and the same age.  That is the basic principle of insurance of any kind.  Spreading the risk and costs.  Under this bill, states could change that part of the law so people with pre-existing conditions would not “technically” be denied coverage, they would simply be charged a whole lot more in premium costs and deductibles.

For example, if a woman is diagnosed with cancer, she would be able to purchase coverage at high rates.  But, the insurance carrier could also say they won’t cover chemotherapy.  So, she would have health insurance, but not the ability to receive the treatment she needs to get healthy.  Unless of course she has lots of money.  In other words, she will probably die.

You must also go back before the ACA to fully understand this problem.  It is not just related to serious life-threatening diseases that everyone wants to talk about.  Prior to the ACA if you didn’t get insurance through your employer, you could not get insurance if you had a pre-existing condition like allergies or arthritis.  If states are allowed to use “high risk pools” to cover people with pre-existing conditions, millions of people will probably be priced out of the market.

The other part of the bill would allow states to change the state requirement for insurance carriers so they don’t have to cover the 10 essential coverages as required under the ACA.  States under the ACA can still opt out of this requirement if they can show that an alternative program would cover as many people with comprehensive coverage at a lower cost to the government.  Not one state has been able to meet that requirement.  So, not one state has been able to “opt out”.

The evil freedom caucus leader, Representative Meadows from the Soviet Socialist State of North Carolina, says:

The fundamental idea is that marginally sick people would pay the risk associated with their coverage.  Those that have premiums that would be driven up because of catastrophic illness or long-term illness, we’ve been dealing with that for a long time with high-risk pools.

Yeah, they have been dealing with that for a long time.  Under the old rules, insurance companies charged sky-high premiums, extremely high deductibles, and had lifetime limits on how much they would be forced to pay before they dropped you like a rock.  Additionally, insurance companies would not cover your pre-existing condition for six months to one year.  And, in some areas, there were waiting lists you went on before you could even buy insurance.

The original Americans Without Health Care Act was going to toss about 24 million people from their insurance.  This new version with these wonderful satanic changes will toss even more people off their insurance.  See, there are two ways to reduce the health care coverage rolls.  Simply cut things like Medicaid and by making those damned sick people pay through their nose to a point they cannot afford coverage.

I wrote once before that Republicans understood our real problem when it came to health care coverage.  The problem as they understood it is that “too damn many people have health insurance”.  So, they came up with the Americans Without Health Care Act to trim those rolls.  When it crashed and burned, they had to go to the crazies in their party to make the bill even worse for the average person.  All in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy.

If these changes are accepted and put in the bill and passes, Republicans will deal a double whammy on the health care coverage of Americans.  They will get rid of many who rely on Medicaid, and they will get rid of the sick bastards that are driving up their costs.  The two ways to reduce the health care rolls in one bill.  Nice!

Who will be the people most affected by this evil bill?”  Those wonderful people who voted for trump believing his lies about making sure that “everyone is covered under my great health plan”.  Most of his voters in rural areas will be the first to lose their insurance.

During the campaign trump said he would “make America great again”.  What his devoted followers didn’t realize was that he didn’t mean “great” for them.  He meant “great” for the rich and the corporations.

To put it in very crass terms, trump voters are nothing but “cannon fodder” in his war against our democracy.  There were three things that trump did yesterday that puts this on full display.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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Day 144. 

The Neil Gorsuch war heats up today.  The Senate Judicial Committee is to hold its vote today to send Neil Gorsuch to the full Senate for confirmation.  If Gorsuch gets approved because McConnell decides to change the rules to keep Democrats from filibustering his nomination, our democracy will face a new dilemma.

The real question is are the Democrats barking up the wrong tree in their disgust for Gorsuch?  They have lots of good reasons to oppose Gorsuch.  For one, he is definitely a right-wing nut job, in my opinion, and was very evasive in his answers to some very pointed questions.  He wouldn’t even go so far as to say things like Roe v. Wade is the law of the land that was settled by a Supreme Court Decision.

His record shows that he favors the “fat cats” over the little guy.  He has made some horrible decisions when it comes to worker safety, disabled education they require and worker’s rights.  But, are those the reasons that Democrats should be using to fight him so hard?

They are being handed something and they aren’t hitting it out of the park.  Republicans are arguing that no Supreme Court Nominee has been denied because of “partisan” filibustering.  They are half right.  In 1968 a Supreme Court Nominee was denied his seat due to a filibuster.  Only in that case there was enough screaming from both parties that it was considered a bipartisan filibuster.

Then there was the case of Bork.  He wasn’t filibustered, but he did withdraw because he was so bad he had no choice because there would clearly have been a filibuster.  But, being half-true in your claim doesn’t make you truthful.

You also have to look at the other side of the coin.  In total honesty, never in our history was a Supreme Court Nominee totally ignored for partisan reasons.  At least not until last year when the Republicans totally ignored the nomination of Garland.

Their argument of not approving a nominee from a President in his last year of office was bogus then, and it is bogus now.  The idea that McConnell is trying to push that the Democrats would have done the same thing flies in the face of past history.  Kennedy was approved in the last year of a President’s term, and Democrats did not ignore the nomination like it never happened.

Which brings us to the “cheaters” claim.  Republicans are willing to break any of the so-called “sacred rules” of the Senate if it is to their advantage.  They will cry bloody murder if the Democrats do the same thing.

Remember the howls that Republicans made over the change in rules to get lower court appointees confirmed?  There were so many open court seats that something had to be done.  The reason was because Republicans were “filibustering” those lower seats nominations because they believe the nominees were too “liberal” for them.  Wouldn’t you call that partisan?

But even then, the Democrats knowing how important the Supreme Court is, they left the filibuster rule in place for that court.  Now, Republicans are claiming that if Democrats demand a “super majority” to approve a Supreme Court nominee, they will change the rules so they can ram through anyone they want.

Some pundits are arguing that fighting against Gorsuch and letting the Republicans change the rules now will hurt with the next Supreme Court nomination fight.  I don’t see it that way.  If Republicans are still in control when the next vacancy opens, they will simply change the rules then to get who they want.

Neil Gorsuch is a terrible choice to sit on the Supreme Court.  He would prefer to let a company fire a truck driver because he chose to break one rule to keep from freezing to death.  His argument: “The law is the law and I must rule on the law”.  Sorry, as a Supreme Court Justice it is your responsibility to protect the minorities and average people from unjust and unfair laws.  Not to rubber stamp them.  If he refused to do that on an Appeals Court, he won’t do it on the Supreme Court.

With Justices like him on the court, we would never have had school desegregation, inter-racial marriages, same-sex marriages, civil rights, or voting rights.  All of those unjust and unfair laws were overturned by the Supreme Court.  With Justices like Gorsuch, those laws would have remained because as Gorsuch says “the law is the law”.

The real problem with the Gorsuch nomination is that it should never have taken place.  There should never have been an opening right now.  If Republicans had done their job and defended the Constitution as they swore to do, Justice Garland would be on the Court and there wouldn’t even be an opening to cause this fight.

I will stand by my previous statement that as far as I am concerned Neil Gorsuch is nothing more than a ultra-right wing snake oil salesman masquerading in a business suit.  In my world, evading answering questions is just as bad as out lying.  To me, his polished evasions during his hearing was nothing more than outright lying.  As I watched the hearings, I wanted to scream out “Just answer the damn question ass hole!”

So, as with everything else Republicans have touched over the last eight years, rules mean nothing to them.  If they need to change the rules to screw over the American People, they will change the rules.  If that means a little more of our democracy is harmed, that is okay with them.  Power is the only measure of their world.

I dare Republican Senators to join the Democrats in fighting this horrible nominee.  Gorsuch may come across as a charming nice guy.  But, according to the stories in the Bible, so does Satan.  Gorsuch would be a disaster for our country and the rights of minorities and average workers for years to come.  He must not get on the Court, but with the cheaters in charge, there is little anyone can do to stop them from the outside.  Republican Senators who have an ounce of integrity and love for country will help stop putting him on the court.

But, I haven’t seen any integrity or love for country from today’s Republican Party.  Today’s Republican Party created the partisanship in our Congress and our Politics today.  This is not about ideology either.  It is about what is right and what the Court is supposed to be.  The protector of the rights granted under the Constitution.  Even still, Republicans are not about to give up the ghost in the name of what is right.  And we all lose.

And, the shirts keep marching along.

 

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