The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘AHCA

Operator:  Hello, this is the Spitefulness Hotline for Inhumane Troglodytes, S.H.I.T., how may I help you?

Caller:  I just called because I’m scared.  Really scared.

Operator:  Why are you scared?

Caller:  I’m a Republican and I’m having doubts.

Operator:  Doubts about what?

Caller:  Doubts that we are running out of ways to actually hurt people.  The only thing that helps me is drinking. Drinking a lot. Well, and the cocaine. That seems to help.  Then there’s the sex with my congressional staff.  Then there’s the sex with the spouses of my congressional staff.  And occasionally there’s the sex with their kids, but…

Operator:  Okay, I get it.  You’re just an average god-fearing, family values Republican trying to make a difference by delivering spitefulness to those hateful hordes back home.

Caller:  You are incredibly perceptive.

Trump ties: For the man who ate everything…

Operator:  Thank you.  I used to work as a Planned Parenthood protester.  I could spot those pregos at 50 paces.  Everyone said, “If pigs had a nose for truffles, I had a snout for amniotic fluid.”  Now, what seems to be the problem today?

Caller:  I’m just worried and depressed.  What if we can’t come up with new ways to hurt people?  I mean how else are we going to hypnotize the bloodthirsty Tea Party types?  What are we going to rant and rave about?  What if Ann Coulter couldn’t buy that cheeseburger she needs?  And how is it fair that Ailes and O’Reilly only got $65 Million?

Operator:  Is this the first time you’ve felt this way?

Caller:  No.  I had a bad case of the sads when we softened up on Civil Rights and the lunch counter thing.  And that Bush prescription drug plan!  Don’t get me started.  The only thing that kept me going during the Bush years was bombing some brown people.  Now those were some good times.

Operator:  That’s why we’re here.  If you are feeling charitable or bighearted, we are here to put the Freon back in your veins.  Why’d you want to S.H.I.T. talk today?

Caller:   It’s like what happens when you are coming down off a really good coke high.  You know no matter how good it gets, it won’t get any better than nose sledding through that pure white snow.  I mean really.  How does it get any better than charging cancer patients $142,000 more a year for piss poor insurance coverage?  How’s it gonna get better than hitting minimum wage working mothers with $17,000 more a year just because they might have a kid at some point?  If we don’t have that to look forward to, is life worth living?  Can you feel me bro?

Operator:  I can feel ya.

Trump’s Wimminz Advisory Council…

Caller:  I mean we made sure mentally ill people could get guns.  We finally got more mercury back where it belongs – in our air and water.  We even said, in our out-loud voices, that cutting Meals on Wheels was the compassionate thing to do.  Does it get any better than that?  Amirite?

Operator:  Have you tried talking with anyone else about these feelings?

Caller:  Well, we have cheerleading sessions down in the basement of the Capitol.  After we sacrifice some goats, the anime-eyed granny starver gets up and promises to take Medicare away, but he’s just talkin’.  Daddy won’t deliver.

Operator:  How do you know?

Caller:  He’s actually going to give the old folks vouchers.  Vouchers, I tell you.  Like grocery stores won’t take vouchers for cat food?  Of course they will.

Operator:  There are always wars.  Think about that.  Those young Bernbrained bros are about to get a camo-clothing allowance.  That’s something to look forward to.

Caller:  I know, but how many times can you watch chemical weapons and still get that cold fuzzy feeling?  I love the smell of Sarin in the morning.

Operator:  Do you have a family?

Trump: Bigger is more better — right?

Caller:  No, I ICE’d ‘em last year.  Had them deported. It was just a little early Christmas present I gave myself.

Operator:  Hey listen, like all good conservative think tanks we run an intellectual support group for those who might be feeling a little too altruistic and not getting their venom on.

Caller:  Really, what’s it called?

Operator:  S.H.I.T. for Brains.  Can we count on you?

Caller:  You bet.

Operator:  We like to keep anonymous data on our callers for statistical purposes.  We have a few questions.  Just exactly how white are you?

Caller:   I was the centerfold for Cracker Quarterly.

Operator:  What sign were you born under?

Caller:  Tuscaloosa 12 miles.

Operator:  Who has been your greatest influence?

Caller:  Porn stars.

Operator:  Why?

S.H.I.T. for Brains Board Meeting…

Caller:  On camera, no one changes positions faster.

Operator:  That’s all I need.  Thanks for calling.  Spread S.H.I.T. around.

Caller:  I feel better.  Here’s a little virtual fist bump just like the one Kush, ever so gently but firmly, gave me as we reached for the same Egyptian 1,500 thread count sheets.

End of recording.

What’s on your mind today?

 

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Sometimes when presented with esoteric information I find myself thinking, “Why would I ever need to know that?” Without being psychic, there’s a better than even chance you are about to have that exact same thought, because…

This post is about budget reconciliation, the Senate Byrd Rule, and tax cuts.

Stick with me for about 400 more words and I promise everything will come together.

First, a quick story. Let’s say you are an enterprising high school student who, on occasion, visits your parent’s liquor cabinet. The parents, just as enterprising, mark the level of happy juice remaining after they partake. Therefore, fun is calibrated by hash marks running down the spine of the bottle indicating how much happy juice remains to be imbibed.

How does the enterprising teenager cover his surreptitious “borrowing” of fun juice?  A “C” student would use water to fill the bottle back to the hash mark. An “A” student would find the pen used to make the hash mark and just make a new, lower one.

Folks, that’s a synopsis of the federal budget reconciliation act for purposes of tax cuts. I’ll explain.

Being discerning Widdershinners, the velocity with which the Republican American Health Care Atrocity Act (AHCA) moved was worrisome. Why the breakneck speed to alter almost one-fifth of the economy? The reason: Paul Ryan didn’t want anyone to notice the tax cut hash marks were being changed.

What the AHCA did was to lower the liquor bottle hash marks for tax cuts. It changed the tax baseline. The reason this is important is that the Senate rules require any tax cut to end after ten-years unless it is “paid-for” – ergo, the lower the hash mark, the less you have to replace. That’s the Byrd Rule.

The Republicans wanted to eliminate $1.0 Trillion in taxes over the next ten years by repealing the A.C.A. That meant $1.0 Trillion less they would have to replace in “pay-fors” in the next round of tax cuts, which they euphemistically call “tax reform”.

Paul Ryan doesn’t care about health care policy. He cares about tax cuts. The AHCA was merely a means to an end. Ryan, with a complicit White House, was merely figuring out a way to make the coming tax cuts larger and permanent.  He was lowering the hash mark on the liquor bottle so he and his overlords could swill more of that sweet, delicious juice of the tax cut. The repeal of the A.C.A. taxes make the next tax cuts coming through “tax reform” look more affordable.

The chart below demonstrates what a massive redistributive tax cut the AHCA represented. It was redistribution from those least able to pay to the wealthiest collective in the country – the One Percenters.

Why am I taking your time with this? The quest for larger and permanent tax cuts isn’t over.

Ryan and his tax cut swilling cohort aren’t quitting – just like drinkers, nobody likes a quitter. Yesterday, a purloined recording of Ryan cooing to Republican donors surfaced. He promised:

We’re not going to just all of a sudden abandon health care and move on to the rest. We are going to move on with rest of our agenda, keep that on track, while we work the health-care problem. . . . It’s just that valuable, that important.

The anime-eyed granny-starver isn’t giving up. He might announce his grand plan as early as Thursday or Friday. Hell hath no fury like a Republican denied tax cuts. Who would have thought Republicans would seek to cut taxes, end regulation, rollback civil rights, and then for good measure, cut some more taxes? Who’d a’thunk it?

This class on budget reconciliation is now adjourned.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Indeed, a bold move, let’s see if it pays off for them. So bold, the logic is nonexistent or exists in a parallel bizarro universe. Originally, I was going to post about a political science study, but it is too egg-headed and stuffy for a day like today.

Today we get to watch a bunch of Congressional one-eyed lemmings follow one another off the cliff because they’ve been told they can learn to fly on the way down.

 

These lemmings were tricked into trying to “midair Kitty Hawk” by King Don Dumb, the author of Schart of the Zeal.  That’s a book about living a goony-eyed life of believing your own sh!t so much you get all excited and poop yourself, but not before toot farting, thereby signaling your unbridled zeal.

Here’s the upside for King Don Dumb if it passes – 24 million lose their health insurance, premiums go up, deductibles go up, coverage goes down, but the really rich get millions in tax cuts.

Wreck-It-Ralph has let himself go…

Overnight, there was another ransom note from the freaky Freedom Caucus.  Not only does it cut essential benefits like maternity care, newborn care, pediatric care, mental health, drug treatment, rehabilitation, prescription drug coverage, preventative care, wellness care, chronic disease, laboratory services, hospitalization, and outpatient services, there’s more – even though that list looks like pretty much everything insurance is supposed to do.

To the things listed as essential services, add about eight other technical things that must have been written down during especially unctuous nocturnal emissions of insurance lobbyists.  They include eliminating the “single risk pool” allowing insurers to cull the cheap healthy from the expensive sick, reinstating lifetime and annual coverage limits, eliminating the requirement for no-cost preventative care like mammograms, and undoing the Medical Loss Ratio standards, which is a fancy term for forcing large insurers to pay out at least 85% of premiums on claims and rebating the rest.

And here’s what I can’t believe hasn’t been covered: This travesty – this atrocity increases the deficit. It’s only slightly cheaper than the ACA, but it still increases the deficit because of the tax cuts. These heartless, amoral, hell-bound morons are borrowing money to heap suffering on 24 million people. It’s like an arsonist taking a mortgage on a house before torching it.

For seven years we’ve heard that selling insurance across state lines is the magical elixir to reduce premiums. That tired story is just another hornless unicorn, but it is what “wonkinator” Paul Ryan has sworn will work. States already allow interstate insurance sales, but insurance companies don’t do it because it doesn’t make economic sense. As health care expert Austin Frakt, told the Los Angeles Times, “I never understood the appeal of this idea. It only makes sense if you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Here in one chart is all you need to know. The chart depicts the percentage of income paid for premiums of a 60-year old making $20,000.00 a year. Under the ACA, she pays about 5% of her income no matter where she lives. Under this “Death Care” (© Fredster), in some parts of the country the same 60-year old pays 100% of her income for coverage. No one is going to do that. No one can do that.

 

The Council of Scary Lady Parts meets to cut mammograms, pregnancy, and pediatric care…

No idea how this will turn out in the morning, but I’m sure of these things: The legislative language is still being worked out, there is no CBO score so no one knows how much these changes will cost, and oh yeah, this Death Care is polling at 17%.

One other thing, even if it does pass, it is DOA in the Senate. King Don Dumb has tooted and schart his pants declaring, “Take it or leave it, I’m done with health care.” At about 11:00 p.m., he blamed the anime-eyed granny-starver for this fiasco. As if that is a surprise.

The bold strategy is whether or not they can hide the fact this “wealth care” is only about the rich and Republican swamp dwellers. Hell of a thing. If someone had only warned us.

The first procedural vote is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. EDT this morning.

What’s on your mind today?

 

 

Noted scholar and transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” So to begin my self-allotted 800 words, what do I do? I quote a smart man explaining his utter disdain for quotes.

True story. I love quotes. Collect them I do. I’m always looking for smart words from those who have journeyed before. Their wisdom is manifest and unmistakable. I find comfort in that.

So this week while thinking about this post, I began looking for a quote about shame. There weren’t that many shame quotes and the few I found were all wrong. They talked about shame as a regulator of behavior – as something to be “ashamed of”. There weren’t any quotes about the lack of shame.

Given the lack of quotes about shamelessness, it might indicate we are regressing along the evolutionary continuum. I imagine shamelessness requires less higher reasoning and a greater reliance on the lower brain stem – which brings me to Supreme Commander Monkey Butt (hereinafter “His Redness” or sometimes “Dolt 45” or “His High Assholiness”).

When I’ve described Dolt 45’s personality traits, I’ve been quite reticent about his mental health. With a high degree of probability I can surmise his behavior patterns, but his mental condition I will leave to others.

This brings me to his shamelessness. The only shame he fears is being labeled a fraud which is his primary and paramount behavioral avoidance priority. For all other types of normal, human shame – he has none. The shame a normal human would suffer does not faze him.

Within the last forty-eight hours, he told Tea Party groups not to worry if the Trump/RyanCare plan failed because he would make sure the ACA failed so he could blame the Democrats. Or telling the same groups he was fine with accelerating the human suffering by speeding up the Medicaid cutbacks by two years if that’s what it takes to win. Sociopathic behavior for sure, but no evidence of shame.

My point is this: While His High Assholiness’ behavior is abhorrent, it is the new Republican Trumpism. He is near the perfect Republican or so says at least 89% of self-described Republicans. Again, my feeble mind is called to a quote from H.L. Mencken:

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

The great and glorious day has arrived and the White House is now resplendently adorned by the consummate “downright moron” who happens to be unburdened by shame. He was the apple-eyed desire of the plain folks or at least 70,000 under-educated white men in three states. That desire still burns white-hot in nine out of ten Republican hearts.

The areas in green fare better under Trump/Ryan Care while the areas shaded in maroon fare better under the ACA.

These Trumpian sycophants know no shame. Just consider: Passing legislation affecting one-sixth of the economy without a hearing in the dead of night. Or ending life-sustaining medical care for maybe 15,000,000 people. Or ending opioid therapy or mental health treatment for millions. Or ending health clinics and outreach for the poorest and most under-served populations. Or doing all of this without an estimate of the costs.

All of this to give the wealthiest, most secure, and most powerful a massive tax cut. And on top of that giving insurance companies and medical device manufacturers a tax cut. And on top of that making sure the inadequate tax credits are as regressive as possible without regard to need or ability to pay. And on top of that, and this is where the shamelessness is extraordinary, financing the whole damn thing by draconian cuts to Medicaid – cuts to the poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable among us.

This bill isn’t a health care plan, it is a massive tax cut disguised as a political slogan to repeal the ACA. It is a WealthCare plan. It is a risible act of ignominy so outrageous it wouldn’t even make the SNL trashcan.

Not for a second do I believe this nasty pettiness wasn’t planned as a feature to make Grandpa Grumpy happy…

As discerning Widdershins, you are asking, “Why isn’t he mentioning the hypocrisy?” The answer is simple – without shame there is no hypocrisy. Talking to these people about hypocrisy is like talking to a cobra about venom or a skunk about stink. It is what makes them who they are.

The inimitable Mr. Emerson was a transcendentalist meaning he believed in the inherent goodness of individuals. I want to believe that too since there’s no shame in that – at least not yet.

I’m going to leave you with a musical interlude then I’ll list some links for interesting stories I couldn’t work into my self-indulgent rant/therapy. As always, take the safety off, comment at will, and thanks for listening.

 

Speaking of clowns, here’s one, and he’s a substitute for the Presidential Daily Briefing:

 

A wonderfully researched study of 1.25 million stories by the Columbia Journalism Review indicating Breitbart to be the right-wing media anchor hub of a distinct and insulated media system that appears to have set the agenda and overall tone for Hillary’s negative coverage.

An interactive demonstration that the “higher premium” lamentation by the shameless Republicans is, like so many things, made of whole cloth.

The lackadaisical use of military force is troubling and a bad omen of things to come. One week of bombing is equal to one year of missions under Obama.

Watch Paul Ryan’s Adam’s Apple when he’s asked about his “good, best friends” the rich.

One way the Trump Administration is a fine-tooled machine.


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