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Archive for the ‘Things That Suck’ Category

Day 125. 

We are now seeing the fourth step in dismantling our democracy.  That is a simple process of sowing seeds of distrust and just lie your ass off.  The object is to take your enemies and your friends and have them fight between each other.  But, more importantly, have your friends fight between each other.

You may think that sounds crazy, but getting your so-called friends to fight each other allows you to come in and end the fights with some form of crackdown.  That way the people think you are a savior because you tamped down opposition on both sides.

I say we are starting to see this step because of the Americans Without Health Care Act.  This one bill is showing that trump is trying to divide and conquer his own side in order to rule properly.

Here is how things work under step four.  First, you make unproven allegations that make someone else seem like a devil.  Then you make comments about how great a bill may be and then turn your back on it by claiming it isn’t your bill when it runs into trouble.

You make sure your own staff is fighting each other so you can claim some “devious deep state” exists from your predecessor who is out to get you.  You hire people to fill important positions by telling them they have the right to hire and fire people and then tell them no, “I will only make those decisions”.

The object is to keep everyone in the permanent state of confusion.  If you can achieve that, then you have a leg up on everyone else.  By keeping the populace confused about what is going on, you can pretend that you did not start it, but you are the only one who can fix it.

Let’s look at just how trump has put his plan in place:

First, he has the entire White House staff afraid.  It has been reported over and over that the knives are out and everyone is looking to either survive or assassinate the career of their rivals in the office.

There are staffers who are using encryption to talk to each other via email or twitter.  They are afraid to speak up in meetings because they are afraid to be labeled “traitors” to the president or his agenda.  It has been reported that once they get home they turn off their government cell phones because they are afraid they are being monitored or tracked.

Normally I would take all of that with a grain of salt.  But, these reports keep coming out, and they can only be coming from employees who are in this situation.  Then, you have that nice instance when Sean Spicer called in his staff and inspected their cell phones looking for leakers.

I don’t know about you, but that seems like a very toxic environment to work in.  How can anyone expect people to actually do their jobs if they are afraid of being monitored and/or tracked by their cell phones.  With this kind of toxic environment, power is coalesced into a few hands and everyone else is just puppets that are basically expendable if things go bad.

Second, if you hire someone, you need to tell him or her that they can hire their people.  Then, you put the kabosh on that promise once they try to exercise that role.  It was reported that McMaster was hired by trump to be National Security Advisor with the promise he can bring in his own people.  Wrong.

McMaster informed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, that he’d be moving to another position on Friday, according to reports.  He made that decision after several career veterans complained that the 30-year-old wasn’t measuring up.

So, Cohen-Watnick went to Bannon and Kushner to complain.  Cohen-Watnick apparently formed the alliance with Bannon and Kushner during the transition.  When Bannon and Kushner told trump on Sunday about the move, trump vetoed it and told Cohen-Watnick he was staying put.

To show just where things stand, it was Mike Flynn who brought Cohen-Watnick into the transition team to begin with.  So, McMaster who is supposed to be head of the National Security Team apparently has to clear his employee decisions with Bannon and Kushner.

This tells me that there is no chain-of-command in trump’s white house, except trump, Bannon, and Kushner.  That is a problem, especially for all of the generals he has hired into key positions.  Chain-of-command is very important to military people.  It allows them to do their job.  Meddling in that prohibits them from doing their job and politicizes the entire Intelligence Apparatus.

Third, throw out unsubstantiated accusations against anyone and expect someone else to “prove” you are correct.  Only, when those “others” actually try to show you are right or wrong, use delaying tactics and don’t cooperate with them.

This is playing out in front of us right now.  Our beloved leader claimed that President Obama “tapped my wires” and called for an investigation.  There were already a few investigations into the Russian interference into our elections, and they said they would check it out.

The House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to the DOJ to get any information they have on any wire taps.  The DOJ has not given them any information, but said they need more time.  Sen. Graham sent a letter to the FBI requesting any paperwork on wire taps and/or wire tap requests.  The FBI has yet to give them any information.

Finding the paperwork for any wire taps is very easy.  All you do is go to the computer, pull it up, and print it out.  There isn’t investigative techniques needed to produce the paperwork.  But, if you don’t have such paperwork, then you make it look like something nefarious by delaying or refusing to produce the non-evidence.  That allows the false story to continue circulating and keeping attention away from the real investigation of the Russian hacking.

Or, you make false claims about 3 to 5 million “illegal aliens” voting in the last election, calling for an investigation, and then doing nothing.  That is just to stir up your base and let more false stories float around.  It is even better when you ignore even your own party’s election officials who say openly you are lying.  Truth doesn’t matter, just confusion.

Fourth, you run on a promise to “repeal and replace” the health care law.  You change your story several times about what you want the “replacement” to be.  You first say it needs to be repealed and make premiums cheaper for everyone.  Then you say that you won’t touch Medicaid.  Then you say you want health care for everyone.  Then you say you only want premiums to go down.

The House leadership believes you intend to sign a bill that repeals the ACA.  So, they put together a bill that does that, and even gives tax cuts to people like you.  You immediately come out and call it a “great piece of legislation”.  Then when it starts to go bad, you start to blame someone else.

When people start calling it trumpcare, you complain that it isn’t trumpcare, but rather Ryancare.  You still optically say you want it passed, even put on a phony charm show to prove you want it passed.  Only, you keep stepping further away from it.  You even say, “I am open to negotiation” on the bill when your House leader says this “is the bill”.

Sow more distrust between your leaders in Congress and the ultra-conservatives to make it seem like it has nothing to do with you.  All you are trying to do is repeal what you call a bad bill and replace it with something better.  If it turns out to be worse and it still passes, you simply blame the Republicans for putting a bad bill on your desk.  If it doesn’t pass you simply blame the Democrats for not supporting such a wonderful bill.

Sow the seed of confusion.  Don’t let anyone know where you really stand on the bill.  Just let everyone else fight it out, and then blame everyone else for its failure.  That way you can “prove” to your followers that only you can fix the problems and we don’t need that stupid group of people called the U.S. Congress.  So, let’s just shut it down.

Fifth, of course you need to divide the people even more.  You look at things going on around the country and pick and choose the items that work best for you.  Only, you don’t really denounce anything, just call it bad.

You complain that we shouldn’t be making bomb threats to Jewish Centers or defacing Jewish cemeteries, but ignore the Mosques being burned to the ground.  Nor, do you denounce firmly anyone who is involved in any of these activities.  You simple say something opaque like you “should knock it off”.

When full-throated supporters like Steve King of Iowa make overtly racist comments, you simply stay quiet.  You allow your racist surrogates to try to tell us that King didn’t really mean what he said and we are taking things out of context.  Even when King doubles and triples down on his comments.

You pit people against each other.  That way, when violence does erupt, you can crack down on the side you don’t like and say you are just enforcing “law and order”.  To sow distrust, simply prop up those who think like you and put down those who oppose you.  It doesn’t even have to be open.  You can do it quietly with subtle hints to those who are looking for a fight.

Sixth, unleash law enforcement on immigrants and citizens alike.  You see this with the massive “crackdowns” on undocumented immigrants being rounded up and deported.  What you really haven’t seen is the crackdown on the borders.

Only, this crackdown isn’t against just immigrants.  It is against U.S. civilians.  A very little know fact is that current law says that your rights under the 4th Amendment are not valid at the borders.  As a result, the government is doing everything it can to gather information on its citizens.

As an example, if you live near the Canadian border and decide to drive across and have dinner at your favorite Canadian restaurant, you could be in for a rude awakening when you return.  Customs can demand that you hand over your cell phone along with your passwords so they can check the information in your emails and/or contact lists.

If you refuse to hand over the information, you will be taken into custody until you do.  This began after 9/11 in order to try to find terrorists before they entered the country.  But, citizens were more or less left alone.  Not anymore.

In the month of February alone, more people, mostly U.S. Citizens were ordered to hand over their cell phones or laptops than during the entire year of 2015.  The devices are taken into a separate room from you and the officers do not return for about a half hour.  It is obvious to most people, your information is being downloaded from your device.

The argument by the administration is that they are just trying to “keep us safe”.  Sorry, but I don’t believe it.  If they are just looking to “keep us safe” why do they have to go into a separate room?  It is obvious they are downloading your personal information for their use.

Since the majority of people being ordered to hand over their phones are of the “non-white” population, more seeds of distrust are being sown.  People seeing these activities are seeing the profiling of others to make everyone else distrust them.  Obviously they have “something to hide” or are obviously “suspicious” and are suspected of being terrorists.

We are well into the fourth step of dismantling our democracy.  Distrust and hate is on the rise.  People are pointing fingers at each other, even in the White House.  The chain-of-command in government agencies are being taken away from the heads of those departments.  Lies are becoming the new “truths”.  Confusion reigns supreme.

We are seeing friends fighting against each other.  We are seeing friends fighting against enemies.  We are seeing people being pit against each other.  We are seeing races being pit against each other.  We are seeing religions being pit against each other.  We are seeing the deliberate attempt to create chaos.

Unless there is chaos, you cannot “crackdown” on your opposition.  You need chaos and violence in the streets in order to fully take control.  With chaos and violence you can claim to be the “savior” that will restore “law and order”.  Only it won’t be the “law and order” of a democracy, it will be the “law and order” of a totalitarian dictatorship.

All of this chaos and we are just two months into this administration.   It is obviously going to get worse as time goes by.

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 121. 

The trump administration has put all of us in a conundrum.  That is basically this.  Can we trust anything they say anymore?  I am not asking this rhetorically either.  They have shown over and over that they will lie to the American people with so much ease that it is frightening.

How can we believe the president if he tells us that some other country, say North Korea, is beginning to cross over the border with South Korea?  Will we ask for proof first, or just go to war as he wants?

This lying goes throughout the administration.  We have all accused Kellyanne Conway of lying.  We have accused the president, Sean Spicer, and Mike Flynn of all lying.  Now we also know that Mike Pence is a liar as well.  The latest proof of their willingness to openly lie is the Mike Flynn being a “foreign agent” during the campaign, the transition, and while he was National Security Advisor.

The administration is trying to claim that they “did know that Flynn was lobbying for Turkey” something that the facts prove is a lie.  Mike Pence said yesterday on Fox New of Flynn registering as a foreign agent retroactively that was the first time he heard of it.

Spicer during the press briefing yesterday said that Flynn had kept his lobbying secret and that no one in the administration knew about it.  He said:

We trust that employees are filling out forms in the legal manner, we advise them to do the proper and legal thing, and we expect every employee to follow the law.

He lied when he said those words.  We know that all of this is a lie from Mike Pence and Sean Spicer because on Nov. 18, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect, detailing concerns about Flynn’s lobbying on behalf of a foreign government’s interests. Flynn even consulted a lawyer, who called a member of Trump’s transition team to disclose Flynn’s work for his Turkish client.

So, how can Pence claim that the other day was the first time he heard about Flynn’s activities on behalf of a foreign country?  The letter was addressed to him. Is he expecting us to believe that he doesn’t read the letters he receives from member of Congress?

They just won’t give up on lying, even when they know they will get caught in their lies.  They will go to any lengths to distance themselves from their self-made conflicts.

At one point yesterday Spicer, when asked about Flynn again, accused the reporter of trying to “impugn” the reputation of Flynn.  His response was:

What dealings are you referring to, the fact that he had a client?  He was also head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, unbelievably qualified impeccable credentials. What is exactly are you getting at?

Flynn was also fired from his position as head of the DIA because of his horrible leadership abilities.  The entire DIA staff was almost in open rebellion because of a lack of his management skills.

What this all boils down to is that the administration knew that Flynn was lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.  While he was doing so, he sat in on Intelligence Briefings during the campaign and the transition, and while in office.  If that sounds like something that should never happen, you are correct.  It should never have happened!

Spicer seemed to end his comments on the matter by saying:

At the end of the day, when [Trump] found out that Gen. Flynn betrayed the trust of the vice president, he let him go.  The president has high standards for everyone that works in the administration.

Then he added:  “I can’t tell you that every single person has done everything.”

This also shows just how frighteningly incompetent this administration is.  When you are looking to hire someone for a serious position in our government, you are supposed to do something called “vetting”.  If you properly “vet” someone, you will discover just what they have been up to.

I hate WalMart.  But, even WalMart does a better job of screening their future employees than this administration does.  This administration is absolutely pathetic.  If they cannot properly vet those they wish to serve in the government, how can we trust them to safely analyze the intelligence they are receiving to keep us safe?  We can’t.

When you couple their incompetence with their constant lying, we cannot believe a single thing they say.  And, that is the really frightening thing about this administration.

We are now faced with a government that we cannot trust.  Think about that for a minute.  We cannot trust the president, vice-president, or any other member of the administration to tell us the truth about anything.

Then, to make matters worse, Republican leaders in Congress let them get away with all of their lies without batting an eye or opening their mouths.  These are not good signs for our country.

It has been said that “the truth shall set you free”.  I guess trump and his administration don’t believe in that old adage.  They believe that the best way to totalitarian government is to lie like hell every time they open their mouths.

The supporters of trump are about to find out just how much he lied to them, too.  When the Americans Without Health Insurance Act passes, and they lose their health coverage, they may finally understand.  When the retired coal miners in West Virginia lose their pensions and health care because Republicans won’t extend their coverage, maybe they will finally understand.

Our beloved leader and his gang of thieves have lied to the very people who got him elected, and they are openly defying them.  They are showing with each passing day that they lied to these people.  Let’s hope these people wake up and see that they were lied to.

I never thought that we would ever have a government controlled by one party that we cannot trust.  Unfortunately, that is what we have.  Talk about torture!

And, the shirts keep marching along.

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Day 120. 

To paraphrase Jim McKay what in the wide world of sports is going on around here?  The whole problem of trump’s Russia connections keeps growing and growing.  We don’t know what exactly what those connections really are, but the circumstantial evidence is showing more and more that it isn’t very good for our country.

In all of this we are also learning that trump is not the great leader or business man he has claimed to be.  His people, according to him, are running around without his knowledge getting involved with lots of things that are proving troublesome for trump.  Either he is really stupid, or he really knows what is going on and covering it all up.

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.  But, I do believe in reasoned deductions and logic.  Maybe it is time we really look at this somewhat logically and see what happens.

As you know, the only “plank” in the Republican Party Platform that was changed at the Republican Convention was one that dealt with Ukraine.  The original plank said something along the lines that we should support the Ukraine in their fight against Russia and Russian insurgents in Ukraine up to providing lethal weapons.

That plank was softened to remove the part about providing Ukraine lethal weapons.  People who were at the meeting said that it was the trump campaign that lobbied and fought for the change.  “Not so” said the trump campaign.  Paul Manafort, who was campaign manager at the time said that the campaign had no input on that change.

Now, there is a problem with that denial.  Seems Manafort had a protégé named Liminik.  He is a duel Russian/Ukraine citizen who worked with Manafort when he was leading the campaigns for Putin’s puppet dictator in Ukraine who was thrown over.  It is also known that Liminik was a GRU agent.  GRU is the Russian Military Intelligence Agency.

Shortly before the convention, Carter Page, one of trump’s advisors was granted permission to travel to Russia to give a speech.  Right after that speech and Page returned to the U.S. and Liminik turned up in Cleveland and has since bragged to Russian News that he lobbied the trump campaign for the change.

And, Gordon, a trump campaign advisor, has recently admitted that he was the campaign spokesperson who lobbied an fought to get the change made.  He even said that he was acting on orders from trump himself.

We also remember the WikiLeaks dumping of emails from the DNC the day before the Democrats started their convention.  It also mysteriously leaked more information every time trump put his foot in his mouth and those leaks helped deflate trump’s errors.

Then we have the case when Roger Stone, a trump confidant, tweeted that Podesta was the next to be on the WikiLeaks hot seat.  Two days later at 8:06 AM RT, the Russian propaganda media outlet, announced that WikiLeaks released Podesta emails.  Only, at 8:27 AM the same morning, WikiLeaks did finally release Podesta emails.  How did RT know before hand that the dump was coming?

Our beloved leader bragged about how much “he loved WikiLeaks” and how marvelous these criminals were.  This love affair was because they were attacking his opponent.

During the campaign all 17 Intelligence Agencies for the U.S. said that they had proof that Russia was behind the hacking and leaks that WikiLeaks were giving out.  Only trump would not accept that analysis.  He claimed that is was probably some 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed in his mother’s basement that hacked the DNC.

Since the election, we have heard all of the lies from his people that no one had any contact with Russian officials during the campaign or during the transition period.  Those lies were exposed big time as trump would say.  Mike Flynn was fired over his lies.  Sessions has not resigned or been fired over his lies under oath to Congress.

Since Rex Tillerson became Secretary of State, there have been mass firings at the State Department.  These firings have included the most senior career members of the Department that have the most knowledge about Russia.  Tillerson has remained silent about the cuts in staff, and about the proposed 37 percent cut to his budget.  As a matter of fact, Tillerson has been invisible since he became Secretary of State.

No one from the State Department have been invited to attend meetings with heads of state from other countries.  To show just how bad things are, the spokesperson for the State Department was asked the other day if anyone from State would be involved in talks with a high-ranking official from Mexico this week.  He said he didn’t even know the official was even in town.  Sorry, but isn’t it the job of the State Department to deal with foreign governments in the interests of the United States?  Here is a person in the country and State doesn’t even know he is here?  Really?

Then, right after trump made unsubstantiated claims that President Obama “tapped my wires” and the heat got higher on him, we have WikiLeaks claiming to have hacked the CIA and releasing lots of classified material.  What have we heard from the trump administration of this huge problem?  Nothing!  Why is that?  Why hasn’t trump made any condemnation about this criminal hack from his favorite criminal organization?  Does he hate the intelligence community so much he doesn’t care of we are placed in danger from our enemies over such a hack?  What the hell is going on here?

About the same time, his former National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn, submitted paperwork that says he is a foreign agent, which is fancy talk for lobbyist,  working for Turkey.  He also claimed in the paperwork that his job period was retroactive to before the election when he was working for the trump campaign.  Which means that while he was advising trump on intelligence issues during the campaign, and during the transition, and during his time as National Security Advisor, he was working for a foreign country.

The trump administration claims that trump had no idea that Flynn was working for Turkey.  Hmmm.

Yesterday, Comey met with the “gang of eight”, the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  When asked if the wire taps trump claimed Obama put on his tower were discussed, Comey said nothing.  When a Republican Senator at the meeting was asked about the wire taps, he said “there is no evidence that I have seen that says it happened.”

We really need to ask some very hard questions of trump.  Logical deduction is saying that there is something not quite right with all of this.  Especially when you take into account that unverified dossier created by the former MI6 agent.  If you compare that dossier to what is coming out, a lot of what is in that document is being proved to be correct.

We all know that there are two agencies that Putin hates the most.  The first is the Department of State and the second is the CIA.  We also know that Putin is a former KGB agent and former head of the FSB which replaced the KGB.  The CIA was his opponent all of the time, and he really hates them.

He also hates the State Department because they have the audacity to call him on the carpet for his murders of opposition leaders and reporters who write scathing articles against him.  Additionally, when protesters hit the streets in large numbers in Moscow, Putin blamed Hillary Clinton for “antagonizing the situation”.  He claimed that State was “helping and stirring up” the protesters against him.

Then, during the election, he interfered with our election.  I don’t know if he loved trump that much or if he hated Clinton that much.  But the interference was certainly designed to hurt Clinton whether or not she won.  Now that trump is president, the Department of State is being gutted of anyone who is better equipped to fight back against Putin and Russia.

It appears that trump is side lining the Department of State and not allowing it to do their job.  How can that be?  Why would a president hamstring the diplomatic agency responsible to work with our allies?  It doesn’t make sense unless you don’t want to work with our allies.

Since trump is so twitter happy, why hasn’t he said a word about the CIA hacking?  What is he hiding about that incident, if anything?  It doesn’t make any sense.  It seems like he is happy about the hack.  You got that feeling when asked about it yesterday, all he did was smile.

What is even worse in all of this is the silence from Republicans in Congress.  With the exception of very few Republicans, no one wants to question beloved leader.  No one wants to properly investigate what is going on.  No one wants to be the target of one of trump’s famous tweets, apparently.

This is madness.  Remember when Bill Clinton was running for office and it was discovered that someone from China donated to his campaign?  There was an outcry from the right that brought down mountains.  Now, when evidence is showing that trump or members of his staff just might have colluded with Russia to influence the election, we hear nothing from the right.

There simply are too many questions and way too many lies floating around for this to continue.  It is now the time for Republicans to get off of their asses and set up an independent commission, complete with a Special Prosecutor, to find out the truth behind all of this.

The American People deserve to know the truth.  We deserve to know the facts.  Our democracy, our freedoms and our very country is on the line.  I don’t know if trump and/or his minions were involved in colluding with Russia.  But, I want to know the truth.  I hope trump was not involved.  That would be a crisis that we really don’t need right now.

I served my country for 20 years under five different Presidents of both parties.  I don’t give a shit about party affiliation.  I do give a shit about my country.  If Republicans do not establish that independent commission with a special prosecutor, and any of this turns out to be true, they would be just as guilty as trump and/or his minions.

This is really the time to put country ahead of politics.  It is time we learn the truth.  This is not Russia.  Congress is not supposed to be trump’s rubber stamp for anything he wants to do.

It is time for Mitch McConnell to show he s a real patriot interested in the well-being of our country and not just a politician trying to cover for his president.  So, I say to McConnell, “from one old fart to another, show some guts and do what is right for a change”.

If he doesn’t act, the shirts will 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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