The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Health Care

Warning:  Be prepared to hate this post. How do I know? Because I hate myself for writing it.

Let’s back up a bit. Even before DYB’s brilliant post this week, I planned on writing about messaging. Here’s where the hate peeks in – for science respecting, policy loving “libruls”, digging deep for understanding is the mother’s milk of informed, dispassionate inquiry. I’m about to advocate something striking at the soul of that mantra – overly generalized statements aimed at evoking an emotional response.

Democrats are horrible at messaging. We are great at policy. We suck at capturing the voter’s imagination and allowing it to soar. Rethuglicans, courtesy of Frank Luntz’s rich fertilizer, are quite good at it. Think death panels, but with some truth behind it.

What blasphemy causes this change in my love of policy nuance? Simple. Democrats are whistling past the graveyard while Rethuglicans continue to foist the unmanageable brokenness of the health care and pharmaceutical industries back at Obama. Attitudes have no chameleon characteristics, they don’t change themselves.

Through adept Rethuglican messaging, Obamacare is now shorthand for every conceivable health care problem. Democrats did nothing to combat it. Now Democrats have an opportunity to change the debate. Without wading into the psychology of it, why aren’t Democrats messaging like this:

  • The ACA was nicknamed Obamacare because President Obama and Democrats cared about people. This President and Congress don’t care about people. It isn’t Trumpcare, its TrumpDontCare.
  • Since laws are supposed to fix inequities, in Republican-world it must be equitable to take away health care from 22 million people so a million rich people can get a tax break.
  • When you turn a Trillion Dollars worth of health care into tax cuts someone is going to have to come up with the difference or do without a Trillion Dollars in health care.
  • If you haven’t heard about a ban on a Dow pesticide linked to harming babies’ brains, don’t worry, there is no ban. Likewise, there’s no proven link between Dow contributing a million dollars to the Trump inaugural and Scott Pruitt meeting with the Dow CEO prior to nixing the ban.
  • Forget Kim Jong Un, the most dangerous man in the world is Mitch McConnell with $200 Billion to buy votes to hurt 22 million poor Americans.
  • If the Rethuglicans have their way, by 2036 if you need a nursing home bed, you better not out live your savings.

Essentially six statements with none of the juicy wonkiness we love around here, but lots of emotional punch to energize and anger. Why someone isn’t messaging this emotion is beyond me. Perhaps if the opportunistic wannabes so focused on climbing over Nancy Pelosi spent more time thinking about the Party instead of themselves, such messaging might have a chance.

Politically a wedge must be driven between der Trumpenfuhrer and the pitchfork/torch wielding Rethug base. Otherwise, chances for taking the House in 2018 and impeachment are severely diminished to the point of impossibility. The most potent antidote for this mad Trumpkin affection is convincing these hordes the clamorous Yam doesn’t care about them and their plight. The beauty of it is simple: He doesn’t.

This health care debate could reinvigorate the Democratic New Deal covenant. What is apparent is that the liberal caricature of conservatism isn’t a caricature at all. It is reality. This admission against interest is courtesy of Marc Thiessen, a Dubya speechwriter now writing for the Washington Post’s op-ed page:

Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible.

If Republicans want to confirm every liberal caricature of conservatism in a single piece of legislation, they could do no better than vote on the GOP bill in its current form.

But at what point do we admit that this isn’t the liberal caricature of conservatism? It’s just … conservatism.

 

What is so aggravating is forfeiting stimulating intellectual discourse for bumper-stickerisms. While offensive to the very core of my being, if it will rid us of the orange pariah eroding the dignity of the United States, I can live with it. What we have going for us is the truth, TrumpDontCare.

What’s on your mind today?

h/t Quixote for TrumpDontCare.

Filmishmish is an Arabic term meaning “in the time of the apricots” or “when the apricots bloom”, which is something akin to the English phrase “when pigs fly.” It seems as if we Progressive Democrats live in the time of apricots. We are filmishmish flotsam.

Let’s review where we are. With the Republican Party skulking behind closed doors cooking up the greatest transfer of wealth in human history from the poorest, oldest, and sickest to the richest Americans, what are Democrats doing?

Like zombies in the express lane of the lobotomy clinic drive-thru, one set of Democrats are shuffling around mumbling about a special election in a Republican +20 district in Georgia. While another set of self-serving insurrectionists are trying to depose Nancy Pelosi. Yet another set is second-guessing and flirting with Trumpian populism masquerading as BernieBroism. And not to be forgotten, we have the Alt-Left cross-pollinating with the Alt-Right, thereby erasing any semblance of a difference.

Here’s the deal – the loss in Georgia wasn’t the end of the world. Losing sucks. I hate losing, but a win in Georgia would have been the equivalent of a sugar high to a diabetic – dangerous and injurious to our long-term health.

Let’s break it down. First and foremost, Democrats, while losing, are over-performing in these special elections. There is a good piece by Dave Wasserman, no Democratic fluffer, in the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. The report centers on the Partisan Voter Index which measures each district by the spreads in the last two presidential races relative to the nation as a whole.

The Voter Index for the five special elections this year equates to over-performance by the Democrats of 8 points. If Democrats were to over-perform in the 2018 mid-terms at that rate, the Democrats would pick up 80 seats.

Eighty seats!

Realistically, that isn’t going to happen since incumbents are going to be more firmly entrenched than special election nominees, but Democrats are in a strong position in 2018. In fact, we are in a much stronger position than Republicans were in 2010 or 2014.

Democrats allowed the Georgia “expectations game” to froth up into a bad case of hydrophobia. The political consultants sold a bill of goods. There was plenty of money to support the wrong conclusions. The truth no one wanted to believe was this: Hillary was the high water mark for Democrats in the district. Surprise! Hillary was a good candidate. Hillary lost the district by 1½% and a presidential race is always of higher concern than a congressional contest.

That is not to say Ossoff was a bad candidate, but he looked like he just asked his daddy to borrow the car for an after school math club meeting. He didn’t live in the district allowing him to be “otherized” as “not one of us”. Catnip to the tribal instincts of the district.

This brings us to the next major point – tribalism. The base of the Republican Party is full-blown tribalistic and ethnocentric. As such they are enthralled by authoritarianism. Dolt 45 scratches that itch.

Here is a piece of long journalism on tribal epistemology. The frightening aspect of tribalism is that truth is no longer operative. There is no fact outside what is good for the tribe. Hypocrisy is suspended. It is no longer offensive if it furthers the tribal cause. The world exists in terms of “us” versus “them”. The “others” threaten the tribe. It is not enough to defeat the “others,” they must be annihilated.

When you overlay the Republican tribal mentality against the failures of Dolt 45 and his merry band of henchmen, a monumental case of counter-intuitive logic appears like Stonehenge out of the mist.

The tangelo wearing a kangaroo stretch scrotum continues to hold his base because he hasn’t done anything yet. He’s signed some fancy press statements about thinking about doing things, but he has not yet done anything. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Not until the dissonance occurs between promises and actions will the tribe fall out of like with his Orangeness. For instance, let’s say twenty million people lose health care so that one million rich people can get a tax cut. That is liable to cause more than a little economic angst to creep into the tribal zeitgeist. So much for economic populism.

This is why the Georgia loss is a positive development. Anything that builds confidence for an agenda that has no constituency is blowing smoke up the all too receptive sphincter of the orange biopsy. Likewise, Custer didn’t lose sleep over worrying about overconfidence.

Folks, Dolt 45 hasn’t yet been presidenting for six months. He’s supremely talented at turning everything he touches to crap, but even he needs the time to do it in world-class fashion. Perhaps the season of Filmishmish is upon us, but no pigs fly before their time.

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?

 

 

When I’m cooking, I’ve learned if you have the luxury of time, low and slow is the way to go. Earlier in my scotch-addled life, my friends told me of limbo contests where I physically went low and slow. And speaking of my scotch-addled life, low and slow pretty much described my dating habits.

Low and slow is neither the way to run the government nor is it the way to run the economy. It is inconceivable to imagine a budget lower in basic human services than what we saw this week.

Yesterday in watching Dick Prick Mick Mulvaney, the dust ruffle of crazy town, claim that cutting Meals on Wheels is the compassionate thing to do, I’m pretty much convinced we can’t go much lower. As we say around here, we are “next to the belly of a snake in a wagon rut.”

Obviously, Dolt 45 is as dumb as a box of hair mated with some orange zest and Adderall. He could care less what these crazy ideologues do as long as he can continue belching his lies in front of half-empty venues.

So why should he care? He’s got Mulvaney and anime-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan to shovel the steaming dump Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation just took on the country. This budget, which will never pass, is nothing but the greatest hits from 1980s Heritage Foundation. Not even Reagan dared going this low.

When someone has no shame, there just is no limit to the depths they will sink. Given this first fifty days, it won’t be long before we are plumbing the depths of the Mariana Trench.

When it comes to slow things, the economy is troubling. About a year ago, I started paying attention to certain economic indicators believing Hillary was about to inherit a lethargic economy. There are disturbing indicators.

Here is a truism:  Economic expansions never die from old age. The current expansion is seven and half-years old. That is long in the tooth.

Gallup surveys economic confidence and says it is at a historic high. The stock market is at a record high. The economy is still adding jobs. So why am I spending your time on the subject?

We are in a bubble. The confidence and stock market are anticipatory highs. It is not based in value. The highs are based upon a belief in massive Trumpanzee promised corporate tax cuts and the repatriation of $2.1 Trillion in offshore profits. Neither will be invested in expansion, but will be paid out in dividends or in stock buybacks. It will make the 1% even more one-percentier.

Unrelated to this economic giddiness, there are indicators screaming we are heading into another slowdown if not outright recession. Not to bore you, but just a few indicators:

  • Employers are cutting back hours. We are seeing the highest percentage in the decline of hours since the 2008 recession.
  • Tax receipts are down.
  • Retailers are missing their earnings projections.
  • Lending standards have tightened.
  • Job growth at the S&P companies has gone negative.

All of these are warning signs of a slowing economy or impending recession. Any external event could hasten an economic retreat. Perhaps even monkeying around with one-sixth of the economy with an ill-conceived health care plan or a federal budget that would decimate hundreds of thousands of employees could precipitate it. Who knows?

I do know this:  There are very few tricks left in the wheelhouse to combat recession. We will hear tax cuts from this bunch of Neanderthal MAGAbators, but as we have seen time and time again, sloganeering is not economic policy.

We are still paying for the last time we allowed this knuckle-dragging crowd to raid the Treasury with tax cuts, two wars, and unfunded benefit programs. Half of the national deficit is due to giving them the credit card and hoping for the best. Well, we know how that turned out.

Why do I think this is important enough to take your time this morning? From what I saw in the proposed budget, these people are unimaginative at best and stone-cold ignorant at worst. They are uncaring and vindictive. They are politically deaf. Power is a means to an end for them.

The choices represented in their budget were callous and heartless. If the worst happens, their response to an economic downturn will be likewise – callous, heartless, low, and slow. Human suffering will be but a minor inconvenience for a $2.1 Trillion payday. Daddy needs a new Gulfstream 650.

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.

-Trump Chuckie

On March 4th, The Thing in the White House sent out a bunch of angry tweets blasting the previous President for wiretapping Isengard Trump Tower. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Then 30 mins later: “How long has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process? This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” When asked to clarify this insanity, The Thing’s minions really could do nothing but heee and hawww. The Thing read it somewhere, they said. NY Times! Louise Mensch! BBC! Naturally once reporters dug deeper, they found that NO, none of those reports talked Trump Obamaabout wiretapping. Mensch broke the story on her right-wing blog HeatStreet on November 7th about the FISA warrant, but all she said was that a FISC court granted permission to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.” In question was a mysterious communication between two Russian banks and a server in Trump Tower. (David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of the two banks and Trump Tower, but all media dismissed it as a bizarre conspiracy theory a couple of weeks earlier.) In the follow-up reports to Mensch’s story, BBC and the failing NY Times confirmed a FISA warrant, but nobody mentioned wiretaps… except Breitbart and then The Thing in its Tweets. Ahhhhh, the plot thickens. Where did Breitbart get the information about wiretaps at Trump Tower and did The Thing just leak top secret information in a series of Tweets? Sure seems that way. Will anybody hold him accountable? LOL.

There are fleeing moments when it feels like Lady Lindsey Graham and Hero John McCain might hold The Thing accountable for the numerous impeachable offenses it has committed. Earlier today Graham tweeted: “An attack on one political party should be considered an attack on all. We must push back on Russian election interference at home & abroad.” That sounds great! However it should also be noted that Graham had lunch with The Thing earlier in the day.

“Great lunch meeting with ‪@POTUS today. President Trump is strongly committed to rebuilding our military which is music to my ears. (1/3)

President Trump is in deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. (2/3)”

“How good was the meeting with ‪@POTUS?

I gave him my NEW cell phone number.”

Somebody responded: “1-800-DOOR-MAT?” And then “You, sir, are a profile in courage.”

And that, folks, is Lindsey Graham summarized in a handful of tweets. We have to get used to the notion that no, Graham and McCain won’t hold The Thing accountable for anything until they’ve gotten what they want from him: tax cuts for the rich, bigger military, gutting ACA, etc. etc. etc. Then maybe, possibly, once that’s all done, they’ll throw The Thing overboard.

Speaking of handing out cell numbers, can anybody afford a new cell phone after Republicans pass Trumpcare? Jason Chaffetz, the man who investigated Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to death, and who doesn’t think there is any reason to look into Trump’s connections to Russia, went on CNN to start selling Trumpcare to America.

Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice. And so, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest it in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, patently absurd. An iPhone unsubsidized by a phone company might cover one month’s premium for a single person. How many iPhones does Chaffetz think people buy? Of course, Chaffetz himself doesn’t have to buy his own phone. He gets one from work. His cell bill gets covered too. “How much does an iPhone cost” is the new “How much is a gallon of milk?” and Chaffetz doesn’t know  the cost of either.

Medicaire

Overall Trumpcare is going to gut poor people into oblivion. It gives tax breaks to the rich, provides insurance companies with tax deductions on CEO salaries, will raise costs of premium, reinstate caps, gut preexisting conditions. Millions of people will lose their insurance. Many of them were Trump voters. Sadly many of them were not. But they will suffer also.

Why do Republicans hate poor people? It’s a question that has been asked often and there are many answers. As it came up again in the current Trumpcare discussion, I was reminded of a scene in E.M. Forster’s great novel “Howards End.” In the 1910 novel ForsterForster explored 3 groups of people from 3 different classes: the extremely wealthy and conservative Wilcoxes, upper middle class but liberal Schlegels, and poor but aspiring for something bigger Basts. The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, try to help poor Leonard Bast, but their well-meaning interventions in his life, as well as not-well meaning interventions from the Wilcoxes, prove disastrous. He loses his job as a clerk in an insurance company after following bad advice from patriarch Henry Wilcox. When the impetuous Helen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in the magnificent film, with Emma Thompson as Margaret) tries to make her case for helping the poor to the condescending 1%-er Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins in the film), the following exchange takes place. Written in 1910, “Howards End”is still relevant in 2017.

From Chapter 22

He [Henry Wilcox] raised his finger. “Now, a word of advice.”

“I require no more advice.” [said Helen]

“A word of advice. Don’t take up that sentimental attitude over the poor. See that she doesn’t, Margaret. The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them, but there it is. As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound to pinch in places, and it’s absurd to pretend that any one is responsible personally. Neither you, nor I, nor my informant, nor the man who informed him, nor the directors of the Porphyrion, are to blame for this clerk’s loss of salary. It’s just the shoe pinching–no one can help it; and it might easily have been worse.”

Helen quivered with indignation.

“By all means subscribe to charities–subscribe to them largely– but don’t get carried away by absurd schemes of Social Reform. I see a good deal behind the scenes, and you can take it from me that there is no Social Question–except for a few journalists who try to get a living out of the phrase. There are just rich and poor, as there always have been and always will be. Point me out a time when men have been equal–”

“I didn’t say–”

“Point me out a time when desire for equality has made them happier. No, no. You can’t. There always have been rich and poor. I’m no fatalist. Heaven forbid! But our civilisation is moulded by great impersonal forces” (his voice grew complacent; it always did when he eliminated the personal), “and there always will be rich and poor. You can’t deny it” (and now it was a respectful voice)–“and you can’t deny that, in spite of all, the tendency of civilisation has on the whole been upward.”

“Owing to God, I suppose,” flashed Helen.

He stared at her.

“You grab the dollars. God does the rest.”

It was no good instructing the girl if she was going to talk about God in that neurotic modern way. Fraternal to the last, he left her for the quieter company of Mrs. Munt.

[…]

“Don’t ever discuss political economy with Henry,” advised her sister. “It’ll only end in a cry.”

“But he must be one of those men who have reconciled science with religion,” said Helen slowly. “I don’t like those men. They are scientific themselves, and talk of the survival of the fittest, and cut down the salaries of their clerks, and stunt the independence of all who may menace their comfort, but yet they believe that somehow good–it is always that sloppy ‘somehow’ will be the outcome, and that in some mystical way the Mr. Basts of the future will benefit because the Mr. Brits of today are in pain.”

Howards End

Also, in brief: Richard Steele, the British spy who wrote the infamous “pee pee” dossier, has resurfaced. While American Senators want to hear him testify about what he knows.

WikiLeaks is dumping top secret CIA documents.

And contrary to earlier denials that he’s never met the Russian Ambassador (a man nobody has ever met), a newly unearthed article in the Wall Street Journal from last April says that Trump met with the Russian Ambassador and greeted him warmly.

What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

Taxes

Russia Investigation

Country over Party

Six words, that’s it.  If we’re lucky, by 2018 we won’t even need a noun or a verb to finish the thoughts.

Come for the chaos, stay for conflagration.  This is the Dolt 45 fine-tuned machine.

Yesterday’s performance was a guided tour of Dolt 45’s brain. In 77 minutes, he demonstrated what I have so inadequately tried to explain.  He is the San Andreas of emotional fragility.  He’s not going to change.  You saw what stress does.  Behavior patterns become more pronounced.trump-presser

Dolt 45 is not crazy.  He’s a 70-year old man who has never worked an honest day’s work in his life who likes to watch television and tweet.  He believes he’s infallible because he doesn’t know what the word means.

Setting up warring factions in the White House ensures he is the eye in a hurricane of chaos.  It provides him the self-esteem he so desperately craves and the charade of power sustaining his veneer of legitimacy.

Let me try to explain.  Think about the best, mind-blowing, earth-moving sex you ever had.  That is what yesterday’s press conference was for the citrus pustule.  As he said, “I’m having a good time doing it.”

Here’s what I know from studying leadership.  Any organization centered on charismatic leadership (personality-centric) rests upon clay feet.  It is like the Platte River – a mile wide and three inches deep.  It evaporates in the least bit of heat.whats-wrong-with-trump

Crises are not planned via e-invites.  They are coming.  Whether it is a natural disaster, a Horizon oil spill, an incident in the Strait of Hormuz, or a terrorist attack, the time is ticking down.  It won’t just be a failure; it will be a Category 5, Frontline documentary fiasco.  Failure is simply the non-presence of success, but a fiasco is where anarchy apportions anguish and adversity.

This weekend troubles me.  It has been almost 84-years to the day since the Reichstag Fire.  It was a planned provocative act of arson to set emotions ablaze.  This weekend event in Florida has a certain suspicious air about it.  Nothing would change the media’s attention faster than paid insurrectionists rioting at an event where Dolt 45 is whisked away by Secret Service.  Just sayin’.gop-support-for-trump

Currently among Republicans, SCROTUS (So Called Ruler of the U.S.) is at a more robust approval rating than either Bush or Reagan was at a comparable time.  The symbiosis is complete.  Congratulations Dr. Frankenstein, it’s a boy.

And this brings me to the Country over Party part of TRICOP.  Never before has the reverse concept been so clear to me.  I’m guilty of mindlessly accusing Republicans of prostituting themselves as Party over Country and Power over Country, but when a future drapery salesman from South Carolina is your party’s lone moral compass, the GOP ain’t exactly writing new chapters for Profiles in Courage.

Here’s the takeaway:  The Republican Party will allow this orange stooge to do immeasurable harm to the country in order to eviscerate FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.

There is an ugly, angry, maniacal lust at work to deprive twenty million poor people of health insurance in order to allow the One-Percenters an obscene tax break.  I lack the intellectual capacity to understand that.  It isn’t just the repeal of the A.C.A.  It is also a rollback of Medicaid that happens to be the primary financing mechanism for the country’s nursing home/end of life care.

The gobsmacking piece of all of this:  To finance the lipstick for the piglet they are going to pass off as a “replacement,” they are proposing taxing some portion of employer furnished health insurance.

Here are a few highlights from the first 25 days:what-coal-mining-does-to-streams

The first Republican counteroffensive against the War on Coal was signed into law this past week.  Coal mines will now be free to pollute some 6,000 miles of once protected waterways in the country.

For those poor, over-regulated, underappreciated oil companies, they will no longer have to report their payments to foreign governments.  Anti-corruption is so déclassé.

If you are keeping score, this weekend we will be spending $1,240,000 a day to protect Trump Tower with no one home, another $3.0 Million for another Mar-a-Lago golf outing, and about $200,000 for Uday and Qusay Trump to open their Dubai golf course.

Finally, if you are a policy wonk like me, we can be alarmed that Dolt 45 swatted away 50-years of U.S. policy supporting a two-state Middle East solution as easily as he would a Citrus Whitefly.  And if you were worried about that pesky dust-up over a “One China” policy, it seems to have ironed itself out quite coincidentally with the granting of Chinese Trump trademarks.

For those 70,000 under-educated white guys in the upper Midwest:  Is America great enough yet?

What’s on your mind today?  Spasibo.  Never too early to learn some Russian.

a-trump-hat

 


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed