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The Path to Hell: Trump Proposes Right Ideas in Worst Possible Way Making Things Worse
Mar 12th, 2018 by Admin Mugsy

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Trump hosted a rally over the weekend for a Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania, where he bragged about himself (natch) more than the candidate. Trump bragged that “Obama, Bush and [Bill] Clinton all talked about sitting down with North Korea, but only *I* got it done!” Yes, because those other presidents demanded concessions from North Korea first, and when they didn’t get them, THEY had the good sense to say “No”. And Clinton/Bush/Obama didn’t say No following a year of breakneck nuclear testing and the appalling death of an American hostage (Otto Warmbier) like Trump had. I keep thinking about the message Trump is sending other rogue nations like Syria & Iran by agreeing to meet with Kim Jong Un after such behavior? “Develop your nuclear capabilities, kill an American hostage, and threaten Washington DC, and Trump will meet with you too… without preconditions.” Good intentions. Worse outcome. I’m all for talking with your enemies, but you get CONCESSIONS first. And you send envoys first. Not the President himself. North Korea isn’t suddenly agreeing to talks because they fear Trump’s “bluster” (as Trump himself claimed over the weekend), they are agreeing because they want the SANCTIONS lifted (and seeing life in South Korea during the Olympics probably made them think a lot about their own miserable lives.)

Trump also declared… with no apparent forethought… to impose a blanket tariff of “25% on all steel and 10% on all aluminum imported into the United States” without regard for country of origin. Tariffs can be a GOOD thing… when applied on a case-by-case basis to deny impoverished nations an excuse to underpay their workers. But applying the same 25% tariff on German imports where workers are paid more than most American workers, as you impose on China where workers earn pennies a day, is wildly unfair. You’re punishing trading partners whom do us no harm. In fact, you punish some nations which we have a trade-SURPLUS with. And they WILL retaliate.

After an outraged Canada (our largest steel exporter) pointed out this was in violation of NAFTA, Trump amended his impulsive blanket tariff to “exclude Mexico & Canada”. Great! Now he just created a MASSIVE incentive for foreign steel exporters to move to Mexico. I’m sure Mexico is happy about that. American steel-workers? Not so much. So in the end, cheap foreign steel will continue to flow into the United states, but instead of by boat, now it’ll come in by truck/rail across our Southern border, lowering their export costs even more. Excellent work, President Dumbass. You may have just made things worse.

Following the (latest) school massacre in Florida, in a highly-staged meeting with both Republicans & Democrats on the subject of “gun control”, Trump bragged about how HE would “stand up to the NRA”, that HE wasn’t “afraid of them” and that HE would succeed where all his predecessors failed. Then he impulsively proposed “if someone is believed to be a danger, he’d even support taking the guns away first and “worry about Due Process later” (right sentiment. Wrong policy. If a Democrat had said that… OMG! Republicans would be rioting in the streets!), pretty much ensuring nothing gets done on gun control as Trump is forced to walk back his impetuous remark. So then he talks to a VERY upset NRA and they convince him the “solution” is MORE guns and to arm every teacher. Once again, right idea delivered in the worst possible way, resulting in a “compromise” that may actually end up making things worse. What did THE NRA concede? Nothing… though they did “lose” the fight to protect “Bump Stocks”… though they didn’t really put up much of a fight. I’m sure they are delighted that’s ALL they lost. They gladly soldout “bump stocks” (giving Trump his faux “victory”) to save the AR15.

Trump also declared recently that we need to invest in “infrastructure”. Democrats said this for a decade but Republicans repeatedly obstructed them (If you recall, just three days before the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, a bridge collapsed in MN killing four and injuring dozens more, yet STILL Republicans refused to support the Democratic call to invest in infrastructure. Then Trump starts making ridiculous promises of how we can get all of our infrastructure rebuilt on the cheap and Republicans swoon. Never mind the details. So then Trump announce his big plan on how to rebuild our infrastructure for very little money. We basically SELL-OFF OUR INFRASTRUCTURE TO CORPORATE AMERICA, who then turn our roads & bridges into TOLL roads & bridges, public schools into private schools. If you live in rural America where it would be harder for corporations to make their money back, tough luck. Your infrastructure is just going to have to wait. Once again, the right intentions implemented in the worst possible way, only ensuring to make matters worse.

He never actually “repealed” ObamaCare BTW. His followers think he did, but all he did was undermine it in a way that ensures MILLIONS of Americans will find themselves with no insurance (or inadequate policies where every claim is denied.) People were complaining that “costs had gone up too much” and (despite Obama’s assurances), if their doctor was not on their new plan, they could NOT keep their doctor. Well, policy prices went up because insurance companies could no longer sell you worthless “junk” policies where every claim is denied. And you COULD have kept your doctor if Conservatives hadn’t stripped out The Public Option. But now, thanks to “TrumpCare”, insurance companies can sell you worthless policies once again. You can even go totally without insurance if you so desire (driving rates up for everyone else.) But at least you’ll save a few bucks (until you get sick or injured.) And just like that, once again, Best Intentions resulting in a “solution” that makes matters far worse.

Trump rolled out his 2020 Campaign Slogan yesterday. Maybe he should consider “Trump 2020: Best Intentions Going Lousy Yesterday”… BIGLY.
 


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Self-Proclaimed Protectors of America Hold Everything it Stands for in Contempt.
Oct 16th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I think I’m running out of ways to say “The Far Right hates America.” Which is ironic because it’s the Far Right who continually accuses “The Left” of “hating America” for complaining about the direction it’s heading (headlong into Fascism.) I’ve been writing this blog since the end of Dubya Bush’s first term in office, and one thing I’ve noticed is that people have disturbingly short memories. I actually heard a progressive radio host last week say that he “didn’t remember the Bush Administration having as much contempt for the Freedom of Speech as the Trump Administration.” “SERIOUSLY?” I barked out loud. You don’t remember “Free Speech Zones”, “Loyalty oaths”, and “fake newscasts with actors pretending to be reporters using fake names” being produced in-house by the Bush Administration and distributed to small market low-budget TV stations across the nation who then played those fake newscasts without ever revealing their source and clearly unaware the reporters were actors? You telling me you don’t remember ANY of that? None of this is new. Trump’s contempt for “Freedom of the Press”, “Freedom of Speech“, “Freedom of Assembly” and a “Freedom of Religion” that only applies if you are Christian, are only the latest depths of Conservative anti-Americanism. Trump’s supporters openly spoke of “secession” when Obama was president, and hate immigrants (ironically, in a nation of immigrants… of which their forebearers almost certainly were) to a xenophobic level. Not only did Trump launch his campaign calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers and rapists” (which his supporters cheered), and not only has he called for a ban on all immigration from the Middle East (to which he later tried to amend with exceptions based on religion), but they even tried to rewrite the story of the “Statue of Liberty” to claim the Lady with the Lamp guiding “the wretched refuse to our shores” was NOT intended to “welcome” immigrants, but instead was merely a monument to our greatness, adding that the famed poem describing the purpose of the statue “was added later.” If your hatred of the outside world is SO extreme you feel you must even rewrite Lady Liberty’s legacy, that’s beyond living in denial. They wave Confederate flags (the flag of rebels who broke apart from America and declared war upon it), hate half of the people who live here (blacks, minorities, non-Christians, Democrats) and think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect them from their own government. And the biggest problem is that the people who support all this anti-American activity ALSO claim to be America’s most fervent defenders/supporters.

As I’ve noted many times before, our Constitution mentions the word “TREASON” seven times and says the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is for its citizens to PROTECT AMERICA from those who seek to attack it. If you live here, it’s the FIRST Amendment that grants you the power to speak out against the government, petition it to redress your grievances, a free press to air those grievances and speak out against it, and a right to freely assemble/protest to bring about change. NO WHERE does it say “If you don’t like it, you can shoot your Congressman.” It’s there to guard against fascism (the merger of corporations, church & state). Guard against people who might seek to deny you your right of free speech. Guard against people who might do this country harm… by militarizing the police, polluting our air & streams, or keeping the nation in a perpetual state of war. The most fervent Second Amendment supporters are typically the same people who most live in fear of their own government, are the greatest supporters of those very same policies I just listed, and the quickest to threaten the use of force against it if the government strays from those very policies or endangers their right to own as much firepower as they can possibly amass over several lifetimes. The great irony in this country is that today’s Second Amendment supporters are the very people the Second Amendment was intended to protect us from.

These self-proclaimed “Protectors of America” hold everything this nation stands for in contempt: Immigrants, free speech, tolerance and a separation of Church & State.

With Trump’s new call for “Compulsory Patriotism” (demanding NFL team owners “suspend” any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem in protest), we join the ranks of reviled dictatorships like Iran, North Korea, Nazi Germany and (of course) Soviet Russia. It should come as a surprise to no one that Trump admires dictators… fascists who don’t have to answer to anyone… and bemoans the fact he can’t just run the country the way a corporate tycoon runs his company… the lone decision maker where his word is law and everything is done by decree. (We all remember how bitterly Republicans accused President Obama of “acting like a dictator” by issuing “Executive Orders” to circumvent an obstructionist Congress. They declared that “Executive Orders” in and of themselves were “unconstitutional” for that very reason. So imagine my shock (sarcasm) when Trump did EXACTLY THAT, issuing an unconstitutional “Executive Order” of his own last week (for fun, type “Trump executive order” in a Google News search and see how many options come up) “decertifying” a key provision in “ObamaCare” to provide subsidies to help the working poor afford their insurance. And imagine my further surprise (read: none) when Conservative pundit Michael Needham on Fox “news” Sunday yesterday dared claim “Nobody ever said Conservatives oppose ALL “Executive Orders”, just the “unconstitutional” ones.” It’s not THEIR fault every single one of Obama’s “Executive Orders” just happened to be “unconstitutional” (because they were used to circumvent an obstructionist Congress, while Trump’s EO was done because… ah… oh… uh…)

Now, if you are a Conservative, you’re probably calling me a hypocrite for not yet mentioning recent college protests seeking to shutdown guest speakers who wish to perform/talk at their school. Typically, the object of their fury are Conservative hate-speech bomb-throwers like Ann Coulter or Steve Bannon, but they’ve also protested Left-Wing stand-up comics like Bill Maher whom they criticize for his criticism of Muslims as followers of “a hateful ideology”, though to be fair, he says the same thing about the religious Right (as do I.) So, “the Left” has its intolerant anti-free speech zealots as well. But while “the Left” has a few intolerant young college kids who should know better but don’t, the Right has ENTIRE ORGANIZATIONS (like The Family Research Council who just hosted Bannon’s latest little fascist-fest, the “AEI: American Enterprise Institute“, and most famously “The Heritage Foundation“) with multi-billionaire backers funding them dedicated to undermining the very principles of Democracy. A few intolerant kids at a select few colleges just doesn’t compare.

If you claim to “love America”, then you must also love everything it stands for. If only those who claim to be ready to fight to the death to protect the Second Amendment were as fanatical about protecting the First.
 


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The GOP Can’t Replace ObamaCare Because They Don’t Have a Solution
Sep 25th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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I guess Republicans are hoping the old saying is true: “Seventy-first time’s the charm” as they attempt to repeal “The Affordable Care Act” for the SEVENTY-FIRST TIME (not an exaggeration) sometime this week before the September 30th deadline.

Yes, that’s correct. The GOP’s last failed attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act last July was attempt #70, and their next attempt before the looming deadline next Saturday is supposed to take place sometime this week… or will it? Because at the moment, Senate Republicans don’t have the minimum 50 votes (plus a Mike Pence tie-breaker) necessary to make that happen… thank goodness.

This time around, it’s the Graham/Cassidy bill, and their “solution” (as I predicted) is to dump the whole problem on the states (the “don’t blame me” approach.) The big selling point this time around is that “Senator Cassidy” is DOCTOR Bill Cassidy”… and who knows better about how to fix healthcare than a doctor, right? Problem is, Cassidy retired from private practice in 2006. The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2009 and wasn’t fully invoked until it survived a Supreme Court challenge in 2010. Cassidy NEVER dealt with the ACA as a doctor. He never saw all the additional patients who could now afford insurance thanks to “ObamaCare”, and never had to direct patients to the National Exchange because his home state of Louisiana refused to establish a state exchange. He has absolutely no personal experience dealing with the ACA as a doctor.

That would be like a wealthy real-estate mogul who had never held ANY public office before thinking he can be president and easily solve every problem “better & cheaper” “on day one”.

Co-author Lindsey Graham declared repeatedly yesterday that “Everywhere you look, ObamaCare is imploding. It’s a failure.” Nonsense, in states where the governor supports it, it’s working quite well (though no one argues it’s in need of improvement), while in states where the governors oppose it and are ACTIVELY working to sabotage it, then Yes, it is “imploding”. No program can succeed where people are working hard to ensure it doesn’t.

Democrats know there are basically four ways to guarantee affordable universal coverage:

    1) A universal government run medical system like the V.A. or seen in most of Europe, which would require privatizing a multi-Trillion dollar industry, confiscating Hundreds of billions in private property, and turning every doctor into a government employee. That’s not happening.

    2) “Single Payer v1”, where the government takes over the entire health insurance industry and turn it into a non-profit. That’s not happening.

    3) The “Affordable Care Act” (aka: “ObamaCare”), where you mandate every person purchase private insurance, and in exchange, private insurers agree to price controls and to not reject anyone due to a preexisting condition.

    4) “Medicare for All” (or “Single Payer v2”), where every citizen is entitled to minimal basic care paid for by the government (paid for in increased taxes, but you no longer need costly more-expensive private insurance, for a net savings.) If you wish to have additional/premium care, you can purchase a supplemental private plan. This is the best solution IMHO and is Bernie Sander’s currently pending bill.

While Republicans have attempted to dismantle all or part of The ACA a total of 71 times now, they have actually only proposed a “replacement” six times (four under Trump), and each and every time, the proposed “alternative solution” has been different.

Oh sure, some aspects never change… like cuts to Medicare (the government program so many Tea-baggers demanded the government not touch during the ACA debate), getting rid of the mandate, and tax-cuts for rich people (the GOP can’t rename a post-office without include a tax cut for millionaires.) But NONE of those things do ANYTHING to ensure “more people are covered for less money.”

I went back and tried to figure out what the GOP “solution” was for ensuring “affordable guaranteed coverage of every man, woman & child in the US” for every plan put forth since Trump became president, but it really is impossible. Other than stripping out the parts of “ObamaCare” that they don’t like, they typically offer NO solution(s)… things they KNOW will work and therefore must be part of any GOP Plan.

The closest thing I can find to a “consistent” solution is tax free “Health Savings Accounts”… this mind-numbingly clueless “solution” of theirs is to “permit” hundreds of millions of American’s (most of whom are already deep in debt and/or living paycheck-to-paycheck) are given the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tax free savings account to help cover their expenses when they get sick. If you’re a middle-income American making around $50k/yr with $16,000 in credit card debt (the national average), just how long do you think it will take you to save $100-$200 Thousand dollars that you could afford to set aside and not touch? What if you get sick long before then? And let’s hope little Billy wasn’t planning on attending college. Now imagine you are in the 70% of Americans that aren’t even THAT well off. It’s just yet another way for millionaires to avoid paying taxes, not a “solution” towards making healthcare more affordable for every American.

And it DEFINITELY does not ensure guaranteed acceptance.

During “PoliticsNation” yesterday, a critic of the GOP replacement bill made an excellent point: “Access to healthcare is not the same thing as Affordable healthcare. You may be covered, but if the cost of your out-of-pocket cost is $250,000/year, you won’t have healthcare because you can’t afford it.” That’s one simple fact I think Republican’s just don’t get.

Interestingly enough, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has become a leading voice in exposing GOP efforts to return to the bad old days of preexisting conditions and worthless policies that cover nothing and deny you for anything. Kimmel had on Sen. Cassidy recently to explain what he meant by “The Jimmy Kimmel Test” he applies to access & affordability of any plan, only to have Cassidy either knowing lie to Jimmy’s face about what his bill would do, or is totally clueless as to what his own bill would permit (I’m betting on the latter. Clueless.) The GOP’s “solutions” aren’t. If they actually worked, they’d never allow it. For instance, it’s just not possible to “mandate” insurance companies cover everyone without also a “mandate” that everyone have insurance. You just can’t separate the two. Republican’s think you can. That’s not dealing with reality.

Another consistent non-solution in every GOP Plan is the absurd idea that “the Free Market will control prices.” Somebody PLEASE inform these hedgehogs that THAT is the system we had before the ACA, and health insurance costs were rising out of control to the point it became THE dominant campaign issue of 2008. And just as in 2008, Republicans had no clear solutions (and nothing original.) The most popular Republican solution is to allow consumers in one state to bypass their state insurance regulation board and purchase coverage “across state lines” from another state with more lax insurance laws/regulations… the very definition of “race to the bottom” as states try to outdo each other by allowing insurance companies to sell the most worthless policies imaginable for the lowest price possible.

Now Graham & Cassidy insist that “preexisting conditions are still covered by their bill” (which turns control of healthcare over to the states.) But their bill permits states to issue “waivers” that allows them to exempt insurance companies from any regulation they see fit (so it’s guaranteed to happen.) And with all those states competing to draw all those consumer dollars to their state looking for the cheapest policy possible, how many states do you think will start issuing waivers that allow them to deny coverage for preexisting conditions (PXC’s) if it means they can sell cheap worthless policies en masse? And the reason Graham & Cassidy can insist PXC’s are still covered is because they don’t actually repeal the ACA. They are relying on the part of the bill that mandates insurance companies cover them… despite introducing a loophole big enough to drive an HMO through.

And WHY aren’t they actually “repealing” the ACA? Because they can’t. Republicans have been talking about “repealing ObamaCare” for years, but they really can’t do that because it would take at least 60 votes in the Senate… and they can’t muster 50. So instead, they’re using something called “Budget Reconciliation” to GUT the existing law, keep what they like and insert their own changes, which only requires 50+1 votes. It’s a bit like gutting a Toyota and replacing the engine with a hamster in a wheel and milk crates for seats, then promising you can buy a better hamster from “Sally’s Hamsters & Things” in Milwaukee and seat belts & airbags from “Joe’s Body Shop & Sushi” in Podunk, Mississippi.

And of course, the GOP is once again in a rush to pass another healthcare bill before the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) has a chance to score it. It’s basically an open admission that they KNOW once the bill is scrutinized, everyone will know how bad it really is. And they are so desperate to pass ANYTHING… no matter how bad… just to fulfill a ridiculous promise to their clueless minions.

Fortunately… as of this writing… two more Republican senators (Collins-ME & Cruz-TX) have announced they currently don’t support the bill… both for very different reasons. Collins says she doubts it will cover more people for less money. Cruz (who says he is working to get to a “Yes”) says he doesn’t believe the GOP bill allows for enough competition to bring insurance prices down. Cruz is staunchly opposed to a “Public Option”, and there are only around five major insurance providers in the entire United States. So either he wants a bill that’ll create new insurance companies out of thin air, thinks “Mutual of Mars” should be allowed to sell policies on Earth, or he’s just blowing smoke because he wants the GOP to beg him for his support.

No matter. It’s a miserable bill and they all know it. Consumers know it. They don’t have the votes to pass a bad bill in an obvious rush, and once again, Trump has made a  promise the GOP’s ass can’t keep.
 


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Republicans Can’t Devise a Health Care Plan because they DON’T WANT a plan
Jul 10th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Two weeks ago, everyone was expecting the GOP to vote to repeal “ObamaCare” before the July 4th break (with no replacement) just so they could return home to “cheering crowds” to whom they could announce, “We did it! We got rid of ObamaCare!”

Everyone… except Me that is.

I don’t know what kind of fantasy world these people live in, but their efforts to repeal the ACA with no replacement was NOT received warmly… unless you count “torches” as a “warm” reception.

Instead, in town halls across the country, angry voters ridiculed “heartless” GOP efforts to take away their existing healthcare and replace it “later”… “someday soon”… with something really peachy keen. Something “better” than “ObamaCare”, cover “more people” and provide “more choices”. Oh, and it’ll be “cheaper” too!

“Just don’t ask us how.”

The reason why Republicans have yet to devise a health care plan that meets all those criteria (besides the fact it has no basis in reality) is because the very thing they are trying to do… create an entire system of government regulations over health care… is an anathema to everything they believe in. A blind man might be able to paint, and hell, even Beethoven was almost totally deaf when he wrote his last symphony, but there’s a reason you don’t hire a Creationist to teach Science Class, or someone who hates children to babysit your kids. Their heart just isn’t in it. It would be like asking an arsonist to think up ways to put out fires (and once they do, would it shock you to find half their “solutions” require gasoline?)

And there’s a reason you don’t ask Republicans to write bills to regulate an entire life & death industry like health care: Because their first instinct is to burn it to the ground, not find ways to put the fire out.

So in the end, you have Republicans divided between those who WANT to ensure every American has health care, and those who don’t want the government involved in ANY way, shape or form. So is it any wonder Republicans can’t agree on a way to “fix” healthcare?

And they never will, because there just is no middle ground between those two extremes. In the end, if Republicans in Congress DO finally vote on a “solution”, it will be to pawn the whole mess off on the states and let each one come up with their own solution… without ANY assistance from the Federal government. Not in the form of Regulations and (doubtfully) not in the form of financial assistance. In short, the only answer Republicans will be able to agree upon is to do nothing and dump the problem off on someone else (the states.)

And states with Republican governors and/or legislatures won’t want to get involved either, so they will abdicate THEIR power… in this case their state insurance regulatory boards… and just let their residents buy insurance from whatever state with the most lax insurance laws allows them to buy the cheapest, most worthless policies imaginable.

If your goal is to improve the health of every American and improve outcomes, then this plan will fail miserably. But if your plan is for every American to be able to afford a worthless policy (or go completely without if they so choose) that gives everyone a false sense of security at a very low rate, then the GOP plan will be a triumphant success!

A week ago on “Meet the Press”, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said he wanted Republicans to devise a healthcare plan that moved “upper level” people off Medicare and onto “Private Insurance” because it would allow them to advance in their careers “without fear of losing their insurance” [because they’d make too much money to qualify for Medicare.] In Cassidy’s myopic Conservative view, he simply wants everyone off Medicare and sees it as a hindrance to occupational advancement. Meanwhile, Democrats like me wonder why EVERYONE isn’t guaranteed at least minimum basic coverage through Medicare? You can’t be “kicked off” just for making too much, so Cassidy’s odd concern for people worried about “making too much that may cost them their Medicare”, would no longer be a concern. Medicare is already an in-place and working health insurance program covering millions of Americans. No “new” government system would have to be devised if we just opened it up to everyone.

Think how much every American pays per year for Private Insurance? $5,000? $10,000 per family member? What if you didn’t have to buy private insurance at all (unless you want “Premium” care?) Would you be willing to pay an extra $99/month in taxes for guaranteed basic minimum coverage under Medicare if it meant eliminating those costly private insurance premiums? See any doctor you like (yes, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”) How much would you save? $400/month? $800? A $1,000?

And if you want “Premium” care, like “a private room” when you’re in the hospital, or “Specialists” to treat you when you get sick, you can buy a “supplemental” policy, keeping the insurance companies, medical billing agencies, etc all in business without destroying an entire industry and putting hundreds of thousands out of work?

If Senator Cassidy REALLY wants people to have something “guaranteed” that isn’t taken away just because they make too much money, maybe he needs to talk to some Democrats?

Another option: The Public Option. This is the simplest solution, where Medicare is allowed to compete with Private Insurance. Republicans complain of (Red) states where the people “only have ONE choice” of insurance provider. And without any competition, their rates skyrocket. Let Medicare compete with private insurance. Consumers are instantly given a second choice and private insurance must lower rates to compete. Problem solved.

Except for the fact Republicans DON’T WANT more people on a program they’ve been trying to kill since it’s inception. And private insurance would ALSO still have to accept people with “preexisting conditions” to ensure every person with PXC’s weren’t simply dumped off on Medicare. That’s a “regulation”, and Republicans HATE those! Ronald Reagan called Medicare “a foot in the door to Socialism”, and more recently, Ben “Sleepy” Carson and Sen. Rand Paul both equated guaranteed healthcare with “slavery [for physicians]” (yeah, don’t ask me to explain that.) Sarah Palin… who (shocker) had no clue what she was talking about… terrified the stupid by claiming that a public option would lead to “[government] death panels” (Medicare has been around since 1965. No “Death Panels”… unlike the PRIVATE insurance system we have now that denies thousands of claims daily.) A “Public Option” was part of the Democrats original healthcare plan in 2009. Democrats had exactly 60 senators (briefly. Just 24 working days), just enough to pass any legislation they wanted, except one “Democrat”… a disturbingly Conservative Democrat named Joe Liebermann (best remembered for being part of the Liebermann/McCain/Graham trio that pushed for war in Iraq and then continued to insist victory was always just around the corner for the remainder of the Bush presidency) declared that if The ACA included a “Public Option”, he’d vote with the Republicans to kill it. So the Public Option was stripped out (without a fight), rates went up for many poor Americans (because they could no longer get cheap worthless policies that covered nothing) and many Red state citizens were left with only one choice in their healthcare exchange. Republicans have been using every negative consequence of that decision as an excuse to kill off “ObamaCare” as a “failed” system.

But with the changes to health care Republicans are proposing, you will once again be able to get those cheap worthless policies whose greatest value is in the false sense of security they give you. And to keep rates low, insurance companies will once again be allowed to deny you coverage for a preexisting condition… because in Republican Land, survival of the insurance companies is more important than the survival of its citizens.

In 1994, during President Bill Clinton’s second State of the Union address, he announced his desire for Congress to create a National Healthcare System where every citizen was issued a government insurance card… similar to your Social Security card… that would entitle you to free (“taxpayer financed”) care in any hospital in the country. And Hillary Clinton would be in charge of developing this program. Democrats cheered. Republicans were horrified. A massive new taxpayer funded entitlement? But how to scare people into fearing “free” healthcare? The part about the magnetic strip on the back giving doctors access to all of your medical records was touted as an enormous security risk and/or privacy violation. “Just imagine what someone could DO with all that private information!” they cried. Of course, the technology in 1993 wasn’t advanced enough to fit all of your medical records on a tiny magnet strip that holds at most 256 characters worth of information. But critics started talking about “X-Rays and detailed medical records” all being stored on that tiny card. And “What if you lost it!” Gasp! All of your medical records GONE!

The hysteria reached epic proportions, and you just can’t reason with millions of hysterical irrational people who were being encouraged to be hysterical & irrational by Republicans in Congress. By the end of 1994, the hysteria helped bring about “The Gingrich Revolution” where Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in over 40 years.) And with that, healthcare reform was dead.

Until a Democratic majority in the House and Democratic Super Majority in the Senate in 2009, unencumbered by Right Wing hysteria, made tackling it a very real possibility once again.

And now Republicans are in charge. But they don’t have a Super Majority in the Senate, so the only way they can change healthcare is if they do it through “Budget Reconciliation”… changing the existing law in such a way that it doesn’t cost any more money. And THAT only requires 50+1 votes. Yet so far, they can’t even do THAT because (as I pointed out), you can’t ask chronic Deregulators to write a host of new Regulations. Their natural instinct is to kill it.

…Or pass the buck off on the states and let them handle it… which is EXACTLY what I predict they will do (but not anytime soon.) To quote DNC Leader Tom Perez on “Meet the Press” yesterday, “You don’t fight a fire with only 5 gallons of gas.” [sic]
 


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GOP Healthcare Plan Would Be Largest Shift in Income From Poor to Rich in History
May 8th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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Last Tuesday night in his “Late Show” monologue, Stephen Colbert responded to Trump’s insulting treatment of fellow CBS reporter John Dickerson with an insulting rant of his own that… while censored… still has the Right in near hysterics, calling for Colbert to be fired over his “disgusting” treatment of the disabled-reporter-mocking pussy-grabber-in-chief. How disrespectful! And they call US “snowflakes”? Please.

So if I may go on a little rant of my own…

Last week, the House passed H.R.1628 – The American Health Care Act of 2017. It was the GOP’s third attempt to repeal The Affordable Care Act since Trump took office, and passed with only Republican votes (remember when passing a heath care bill with votes from only one Party was a “bad” thing?) It passed by only four votes (217-213 despite 20 Republicans voting against it.) Republicans cheered! Finally! They completed the first of five hurdles in their 7+ year crusade to repeal something THAT DOESN’T EXIST: “ObamaCare”… the pejorative euphemism for The Affordable Care Act that has convinced millions of gullible Republican voters that they are being forced to purchase an insurance policy from the government to enroll in some misfit insurance program run by the IRS. And that’s not by accident. The GOP has been drumming that very misconception into people’s minds since before the ACA became law. It’s why there are people who say they “hate ObamaCare” but “like The Affordable Care Act“.

But Republicans don’t DARE call it by its true name because “The Affordable Care Act” is actually quite popular (61% now say keep it vs 37% who say scrap it.) Under Trump, “ObamaCare” is actually more popular than TRUMP. And why? Because the more they hear about the GOP’s alternative plan, the less they like it. Most notably, the likely loss of coverage for tens of millions and the very real possibility of the return of denials over “preexisting conditions”.

But perhaps the most heinous and indefensible policies in the “American Health Care Act” passed by the House is that it CUTS $880,000,000,000 ($880 Billion) in Medicaid subsidies the ACA offered the states to help them pay for expanding the state-run program, and using it to offset the cost of a massive honking tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Part of the reason why “ObamaCare” failed to help as many Americans as it could have was because a huge swath of Republican governors refused to accept those Medicaid dollars “out of spite… er ‘principle'”, to help cover millions of the poorest Americans (Ironically, most of whom live in deep Red states in the South.)

The justification for cutting nearly $900 Billion in Medicaid subsides, according to Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during Fox “news” Sunday yesterday was that they are simply eliminating “redundancy”… duplication of services covered by other agencies (which is nonsense.) When asked about concerns with the House bill, Priebus assured Andrea Mitchell that “the Senate bill will be better.” Which raises an interesting question: “If the House bill was inadequate, why was there such a rush to pass it… even before many House members even had a chance to read it? (another Republican complaint regarding passage of the ACA in 2009.) Wouldn’t it have made more sense to take your time and draft a single bill that was likely to pass BOTH houses without major changes ensuring easy passage? Instead, now, we have millions of Americans learning about this mess of a bill… NOT liking what they are hearing… waiting perhaps months before the Senate votes on a bill of their own (the earliest they could possibly vote is in a few weeks, but most say the Senate wants to write their own bill, which could take a while. Then wait for it to be scored by the CBO and debated. And Texas Senator Cornyn says they won’t vote for the bill until they can be sure they have “at least 51 votes”. Then add all the vacation days between now and then and I’m thinking… September by the earliest to complete “Step 2”?) Then comes the merging of the two bills into one (Step 3) where it is voted on again by both the House and Senate (Step 4) and then signed by Trump (Step 5). I figure it is possible “TrumpCare” could come up for a vote right in the middle of the 2018 midterm elections. We’ll see.
 

Seniors may pay more under AHCA

 
Fewer covered under AHCA

 

You KNOW a Republican bill is bad when even Fox isn’t buying it.

“Health & Human Services” Secretary Tom Price tried to argue during “Meet the Press” yesterday that a change that could result in pre-retirement seniors paying as much as FIVE TIMES more for health care, was actually a GOOD thing because the change would result in them having “more choices” than they do now (I’m assuming by adding DEATH to their list of options.)

As Salon Magazine pointed out last March, two taxes on the richest Americans to pay for the Medicare expansion in the ACA that TrumpCare eliminates is a $275 Billion dollar tax break for the richest 2% of Americans. If you earn less than $200,000/year, you will not see a single penny in tax cuts resulting in the elimination of those ACA tax increases. People who make between $500K & $1mil per year will see “a modest cut of about $4,700”, modest millionaires would get back around $54K/year, while the top 1/10th of 1% (those earning over $300 million/year) will get back around $7 Million dollars/year.

Republican Congressman Raul Labrador became the poster-boy for GOP cluelessness/heartlessness last week when he was caught on camera arguing to his constituents: “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care”. And it makes sense that he’d say this because it’s a Republican Talking Point that has been drummed into their heads for eight years. The argument is that “Emergency Rooms are required by law to provide care even if you can’t afford to pay. Ergo, no one dies due to an inability to afford health care.”

As the cook said to waitress Kelly Bundy, “You are one whopping moron!”

Let’s set aside for the moment that Emergency Room care is the most costly form of care there is and when patients can’t pay either the government pays or they swallow the cost. Forget that for now. Here are just a few scenarios off the top of my head where you could die from not having access to healthcare:

Scenario #1: Imagine a guy develops an infection (infected cut, steps on a nail, whatever) but he doesn’t have insurance, so he tries to treat it himself at home. But as time goes on, the infection gets worse & worse and eventually he has no choice but to be rushed to the hospital (assuming he hasn’t died in his sleep before then.) But he waited too long, the infection doesn’t respond to antibiotics, and he dies.

Scenario #2: You develop cancer. But you can’t afford treatment (chemo, radiation or both) so you never get treated. By the time you are so sick you are taken to the ER, the cancer has spread throughout your body and you die.

Scenario #3: You have diabetes and your kidney’s start to shutdown. You need dialysis but don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay out of pocket. You never get treated and you die.

Scenario #4: You develop the flu. You can’t afford to go to the doctor so you try to treat it yourself at home using over-the-counter medicine. But it’s not the flu. It’s something worse. And by the time you get to the ER, there is nothing they can do.

Scenario #5: You develop the flu and try to treat it yourself. But you have small children. The baby catches your flu, develops a high fever and dies before you can get her to the hospital.

That’s just five scenarios off the top of my head where not having access to routine care could be deadly. Are you telling me no Republican is capable of envisioning a scenario where a person could get so sick even the ER can’t save them? Apparently, NO ONE WHO GOES TO THE E.R. EVER DIES IN GOP LAND (or Congressman Labradoodle’s world.) These people make me want to vomit.

When President Carter ran for reelection against Reagan in 1980, Reagan criticized Carter for allowing the National Debt to “balloon” to an ungodly “$800 Billion dollars” (Reagan then proceeded to more than TRIPLE 204 years worth of Debt to $2.5Trillion in just eight years.) The entire National Debt in 1980 was less than the size of the GOP’s proposed cut to Medicare over ten years or Trump’s proposed annual tax cut for the wealthy.

The GOP’s Health care bill would be the largest shift in income from the Poor up to the Richest Americans in U.S. history. Tell us again Trump voters how President Pussy-Grabber or lapdogs like Labrador are looking out for people like you?
 


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Trump Voters Are Discovering a Wish List is Not a Plan
Mar 27th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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“TrumpCare” went down in flames last week. Trump’s promise to “repeal ObamaCare on Day One” fell a bit short (by 61 days if not indefinitely)… because what we’ve ALL known all along is that the GOP didn’t have a “secret” alternate plan ready to go like they’ve been suggesting for years. On the campaign trail, Trump offered less than nothing when it came to specifics, only that “his (secret) plan” to replace “ObamaCare” (which he called “bad insurance” when it’s not even insurance at all) wold be “better, cheaper and cover more people.” In the end, what we got was a hastily drawn up GOP wish list that… once scored by the GAO… covered 25 MILLION FEWER people and would result in costs skyrocking for the majority of the poor. Trump turned up the heat on this turkey of a bill and it came out exactly as you’d expect when you threaten to cook a turkey with a flamethrower.

But it recent weeks, we also saw his Muslim Ban “plan” go down in flames for the second time after being told his “revised” version was just as unconstitutional as the first, with Trump responding that he should have just “stuck with the first” (unconstitutional/illegal/prohibited) “plan.”

And before that, it was the recognition that he really had no “plan” to get Mexico to pay for that Wall of his, and just as critics had been warning all along, Trump wants the American Taxpayer to foot the bill until he can think of a way to force Mexico to reimburse us. And his big idea on that? To charge AMERICANS an import tax on good coming in from Mexico.

The only “secret plan” Trump hasn’t tried & failed to enact yet is his “plan” to defeat ISIS (in his first 30 days in office.) But don’t expect any miracles there either.

Just as when Trump miraculously discovered (and apparently no one else was aware of) that “Reforming health care is more complicated than anyone realized” (and by “anyone”, he means “himself”), Trump is repeatedly caught completely unprepared to make good on his promises. (Remember last January when Republicans were caught on tape panicking about having to come up with a “replacement” for ObamaCare after claiming to have a replacement after 7 years?) We (Democrats) decided to let him try doing it with ZERO support from the opposing party. But the bill wasn’t yanked at the last second because of “Democrats” (despite him blaming them), but because he couldn’t get enough REPUBLICANS to support his bill. And THAT opposition was split between those who wanted to make the bill better so it covered more people, and the Tea Party Anarchists that think covering anyone it a bad thing.

It should be clear to anyone paying attention at this point that Trump was under the impression he could legislate with GOP votes alone (despite not having anything close to a Super Majority.) He didn’t know because he didn’t (doesn’t?) understand how the legislative process works.

So blame Democrats. GOP can’t organize a two clown-car parade, but “blame Democrats.”

Remember President Obama’s first year when he had to repeatedly point out to Republicans the enormity of the shit-storm handed him by his predecessor, and Republicans ridiculed him as the “blamer-in-chief”? They’d say things like “Reagan never blamed Carter” (which isn’t true, but when did reality ever stop a Republican from saying something untrue?) How many times has Trump talked about how bad the economy is doing and how desperately we need to “create jobs” WHILE taking bows for a great February jobs-report after being in office for only 11-days when February started? And taking victory laps for “creating jobs” that were merely promised (many of which were in the planning stage for more than a year) but have yet to actually be created/filled?

If you believe “promises = plans” and in taking credit (or casting blame) for the work of others, then it all makes perfect sense.

But at some point, Trump is going to have to actually legislate, and if he is suddenly in danger of looking like a failure, he’ll reach out to Democrats looking for a lifeline in hopes they’ll bail him out. He’d sellout the GOP faster than Mexico sells out of Trump pinatas if he thought it would help him save face. But don’t take the bait Democrats. You’ll get played like a cat plays with a toy mouse as Trump lavishes himself with praise for “reaching across the isle” to “get things done” in his quest to “serve the American people.” But like the fable of the toad who gave a scorpion a ride across the river only to get stung so they both drowned, you knew who he was when you met him. A dangerous clown. A carnival barker whose loyalty lies only to himself. You rehabilitate him and he runs back to the GOP’s welcoming arms as he makes to them as well.

“Wish Lists” are not “plans” any more than believing one had “the largest inaugural crowd in history” makes that so as well. Like the rest of the GOP, Trump does not have any “plans” he drew up in the middle of the night while on the campaign trail. I’m not entirely convinced he’s ever written anything that couldn’t be expressed in a 140 character tweet. All he has are “things he wants to do”, and suffers from the child-like delusion that every problem has a “simple” solution (Tired? Nap. Hungry? Eat.) His “secret plan” to “fix healthcare” I assure you is every bit as well thought out as his “secret plan to defeat ISIS” both “quickly & completely” (ie: drop a bomb on them), or his unconstitutional “Muslim Ban” or his sure-fire “plan to make Mexico pay for his wall”, or bring back jobs (by building pipelines across the country and deregulating our environment within an inch of OUR lives.)
 


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Trump Has Been Great for Advancing Progressivism
Jan 30th, 2017 by Admin Mugsy

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They say you never appreciate what you’ve got until someone tries to take it away. One day after Donald J Trump was sworn into office, a massive GLOBAL protest took place condemning the new Commander-in-Chief on Women’s Rights. And just this past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied to oppose Trump’s ill-conceived (and likely unconstitutional) “Muslim Ban” that singles out travelers from any of seven “red flagged” Middle Eastern nations, yet incredibly, excludes five nations, most with known links to terrorism inside the United States including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia… where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from, and Turkey, a close ally of the U.S. but where ISIS committed a brutal attack on the Istanbul Airport just last June (the fifth nation being the UAE, also linked to 9/11.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bloomberg pointed out Friday that the five exempted majority-Muslim nations all just happen to be countries in which Trump has business interests. Hmmm.

More people are talking about the potential negative consequences of enacting Trump’s extremist Conservative agenda in just the past week than have stood up and defended Progressive ideals in the past 30 years. When Obama took office in 2009, just WHO did we see taking to the street in massive protests? Teabagging idiots, carrying semi-automatic weapons, waving racist misspelled signs demanding: “keep your government hands off my Medicare!” If Hillary or (and it pains me to say this) even Bernie had won the election, just WHO would we see protesting in the streets today? The same racist teabagging idiots demanding we “build the wall”, take away their own health care, and “lock up” Hillary Clinton for something, something, BenghaziTM.

But instead, we see people flooding the streets demanding the protection of women’s rights, demanding fair treatment of non-Christian immigrants, welcoming refugees and pointing out all the problems with Trump’s ridiculous border wall with Mexico. Columnist Tom Friedman on “Meet the Press” yesterday pointed out that “Every time someone on the terrorist watch list flies into Mexico, the United States is notified. Just how willing will they be to continue such cooperation if Trump builds his wall?” And one of the proposed means of raising money to pay for the wall would be to “place a 20% import tax” on all goods entering the United States from Mexico. Well, who then pays that tax? YOU DO, not Mexico (of course, you could boycott all Mexican imports, but then YOU’RE STILL stuck with the bill since they’re not waiting for Mexico to pay for the wall before they start building it at YOUR expense.)

And because of all this Conservative stupidity, I’ve seen more Progressives on my TV in the last 8 days than I’ve seen in the last 8 YEARS.

On the flip side, there is one issue in which Progressives and Trump agree, and that’s the issue of “Free Trade”… or more precisely, OPPOSITION to it. Progressives have long railed against the nonsense of “Free Trade” while Conservatives have long championed it. In the 1990’s, President Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Conservative votes. Republicans told us how “great” it would be for American business while Ross Perot warned of “a giant sucking sound” as American companies rushed to move their factories to Mexico for the cheap labor and then reimport it back into the US for sale. Trump’s opposition to NAFTA (or more precisely, Mexico since he never talks about “Free Trade” with Canada) and the TPP are driving Republicans nuts. Suddenly, they are forced to agree with their Party Leader that perhaps “Free Trade” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and Progressives were right all along.

So while Trump is ranting about “US sovereignty” and railing against foreign countries taking advantage of us only to sell their goods back in the U.S. without benefiting a single American worker, he then signs an Executive Order granting permission to two Canadian oil companies to build a pipeline through the U.S. to produce “oil” that very little of which we can even use. As part of the deal, Trump is demanding the pipeline “be built using American steel”, thus “creating American jobs”, but as I pointed out [ibid], most of that pipe has already been purchased and there is no requirement they scrap all that leaky Chinese pipe and purchase all new American steel pipe. As such, the number of jobs created from providing steel pipe will be minimal.

In addition to Keystone, Trump also restored the controversial “Dakota Access Pipeline” (DAPL) that had hundreds of protesters… including veterans… protesting in the freezing cold of Northern North Dakota a few months back against the building of a pipeline from Canada through native American land and endangering their water supply. President Obama, who initially supported the plan, relented to protesters and shelved the project. Enter Donald Trump who reignited the controversy by allowing the project to resume, promising it will create more temporary jobs over several years than the U.S. economy needs EVERY WEEK just to keep up with population growth.

Also announced last week, hundreds of thousands of scientists are planning their own “@ScienceMarchInDC” in April to protest the Trump Administration’s anti-science policies, not just their disbelief in Climate Change that leads them to believe they can build those pipelines without consequence and go ahead with plans to reduce regulations on coal production. But in addition to Climate Change, they are also protesting “slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public“, calling it “absurd.”

For six years, Republicans railed against “ObamaCare” and vaguely promised to “repeal & replace” it with “something better”. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was “working on a plan” for a replacement to “ObamaCare” that would still “cover everyone”, continue to prohibit exclusions for “preexisting conditions”, all without a mandate or possibly causing you to lose your doctor. And every time people asked Trump or Republicans about “their plan” to replace “ObamaCare”, they always assured us they were “working on it” but it would be great. Trust us. Barely two weeks ago, just as Obama was preparing to leave office, the new Congress made voting to “repeal ObamaCare” (for the 66th time) one of their very first acts. The big cowards passed the bill before Obama left because they knew he’d veto it. But they don’t DARE pass it again NOW, forcing Trump to sign it before they have a plan to replace it.

So then, just this past Wednesday/Thursday, at a “retreat” in Philadelphia, Republican lawmakers got together to discuss what to replace “ObamaCare” with now that they finally have a president that’ll sign whatever they pass. Audio of the meeting (93 minutes) was described as Republicans “freaking out” over the fact they HAVE NO replacement, no plan, no clear ideas, no agreement regarding what to “replace” it with, and that coming up with their own plan is going to be a matter of months not “weeks” as they had hoped, was leaked to the Washington Post.

This is what Democrats have been saying all along. “They have no plan!” They “can’t keep just the parts they like and get rid of the parts that help pay for it!” Conservatives are irresponsible children and they appointed a reckless Toddler promising them candy for dinner, only to wake up with tummy aches. Conservatives are just starting to realize how empty those promises have been all along.

Trump ran for office on being a successful businessman who was adept at finding “the best people” to run the government. Then he nominates people like Rick “Oops” Perry to run a department he was forced to admit in his confirmation hearing that he didn’t realize everything the department did when he proposed shutting it down four+ years ago, and Ben “Sleepytime” Carson (a surgeon) who has been tapped to run the office of “Housing and Urban Development” (NOT Surgeon General) whose sole experience is that he “once lived in Public Housing” (by that logic, I should be flying jumbo jets around the globe.) And in case you were wondering (as I was), No, Trump has not yet picked a Surgeon General… someone he could use as the GOP hashes out their “ObamaCare” replacement.

Even Republicans are expressive concern now that Trump’s Travel Ban “wasn’t properly vetted” before it was enacted and they clearly did not think things through. McCain & Graham, who have openly criticized their new Party leader before, are expressing concern that the backlash from this travel ban could actually do more to harm national security than help it as we anger the few allies we have left in the Middle East and leave interpreters & guides wondering why they should help a country that views them as “the enemy” simply for their religion?
 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Global protest supporting women's rights
Global Anti-Trump protest in support of women’s rights – 1/21/2017

 

Travel ban protests across country
Tens of thousands protesting Trump’s Muslim Ban across the country – 1/28/2017

 

People are starting to realize the emperor has no clothes, and Progressives are the ones pointing it out. Ignored once, but rapidly organizing & growing. And it took electing an incompetent, racist man-child to mobilize them.
 


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Predictions for 2017: It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Dec 31st, 2016 by Admin Mugsy

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Okay. Maybe not the “The Apocalypse”. The election of a new president already provides lots of fodder for those making predictions. Literally EVERYTHING becomes an open question, but the $#!+storm awaiting us as a political novice with the impulse control of a toddler takes control of the most powerful office on the planet is difficult to quantify. No one (outside of the Trump campaign and his most ardent believers) thought he was going to win. But in the end, the Clinton campaign was a victim of its own success. They made Clinton’s victory seem SO inevitable, and Trump’s presidency SO unthinkable, that millions of Democrats didn’t even bother to vote, allowing a reality TV show star riding a wave of xenophobia to ascend to the presidency. And his choices to lead his Administration raise serious concern. Trump’s case for why he should be president was that… as a corporate CEO… he knows how to pick “the best people” to create an incredibly effective government. But instead, he has been awarding top-level cabinet-level positions to friends, lobbyists and far right ideologues the way other presidents awarded ambassadorships… not based on qualifications, but purely on their fealty to Trump himself.

We start off year nine of my prognostications as we do every year by looking back at the predictions of others. Always good for a laugh, I find myself wondering why anyone takes these people seriously with such miserable track records. Typically, most “psychics” make dozens… even hundreds… of incredibly vague predictions, then declare success when one of their predictions is twisted and massaged to where they can claim they accurately predicted some obscure global event. Some place no time-frame on their predictions, so they are never “wrong”, their predictions simply “haven’t come true yet.” I don’t do that. I don’t make “vague” predictions (the “Two moons will join as one” crap) and only make predictions for the coming year. If something I predict doesn’t happen within the next 12 months, that prediction is ruled “wrong”.

The Huffington Post declared “16 Shocking Predictions for 2016” written by clinical psychologist Dr. Carmen Harra. What a psychologist is doing making “psychic predictions” is anyone’s guess, but of her 16 predictions, I found none of them particularly “shocking”, and only one prediction… the election of a female South American president (Dilma Rousseff of Brazil)… appears to have come true. Even her “gimme” predictions (like “more extreme weather”) I’d classify as “wrong” because there were no widespread devastating weather catastrophes in 2016.

As many of you know, I live blog the top three political talk shows every Sunday: Fox “news” Sunday, “Meet the Press” and ABC’s ThisWeek. Typically, their final show of the year includes predictions for the coming year. I always find the predictions of Conservatives on Fox the most fascinating. It really is a window into their dark fantasy world. Simply put, Democrats will always usher in economic chaos, and Republican policies are always a resounding success:
 

Fox “news” Sunday’s Predictions for 2016 (8:57)

 

Some highlights:

  • “Common sense will prevail [within the GOP] and Trump won’t win the nomination”. – Oops. I guess it didn’t.
  •  

  • Economy will be down. “Recession.” – The U.S. economy continued to grow, growing at a remarkable 3.5% in the third quarter of this year.
  •  
    The political predictions end about halfway in, but I posted the full clip because it highlights just how routinely wrong the extremely partisan frequent guest panelist Mike Needham (of National Review Online) is. In previous years, “Bloody” Bill Kristol (of The Weekly Standard) was the Fox panelist that never got a single thing right before swapping places with George Will (a fixture on ABC’s ThisWeek for decades but became buttsore when they handed hosting duties over to Stephanopoulos). Like all Republicans, Needham is extremely sure of himself despite rarely ever being right on anything, and allows his partisanship to get in the way when making his predictions. Nothing connected to a Democrat ever turns out good. Nothing linked to a Republican ever turns out bad. I’m not sure Needham is EVER right on anything. But he tells Republicans what they like to hear, so he’s repeatedly asked back to give his opinions.

    Mike Needham:

  • “Low interest rates [are] maintaining the facade of Keynesian monetary policy.” – In Mike’s world, “Trickle-down” Reaganomics was a huge success while Keynesian “trickle up from the poor” economics is fantasy. Mike predicted that the Obama economy was being artificially propped up by low interest rates and once rates started to rise, the economy would start to implode. Interest rates are rising while Trump takes credit for the surge in the Stock Market.
  • Disagrees that Chicago (Hillary’s hometown) Cubs will win World Series. Instead picks the NY (Trump’s hometown) Mets. – While the Mets did okay in 2016, they came in sixteen games behind the World Series champion Cubs in the National League.
  • Picked “Batman vs Superman” to be the next big Hollywood blockbuster. – “Batman vs Superman” turned out to be a flop of epic proportions. Needham also predicted (noted Hollywood Liberal) Ben Affleck would go down as “the worst Batman in history.” To the contrary.

Give it up, Mike.
 

ABC’s ThisWeek predictions for 2016 (6:18)

 

Less drama (and fewer predictions) over on ABC’s ThisWeek. Everyone seemed to agree Trump had a better than average chance of winning the GOP nomination, with two of them even accurately picking “Tim Kaine” to be Hillary’s running mate.

Now let’s look back at my predictions from last year to give you some idea of just how seriously you should take me. Compared to “celebrity psychics”, even on my worst years, I totally crush them. The difference is that I freely admit that I’m no psychic. I’m just very good at spotting political trends and knowing how people think. So let’s take a look at my “Predictions for 2016”:

  • wrong – “Will we see another “France-style” terrorist attack in 2016? I don’t think so.” 2015 saw the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris (including a suicide bomber detonating just outside the National soccer stadium), so it seemed unlikely anyone would be able to pull off a similar attack in 2016. But unfortunately, last June, suicide bombers killed 41 in a siege of the Istanbul International Airport in Turkey, and France’s Bastille Day celebrations came to a tragic end when lone disturbed ISIS Sympathizer killed 84 and mowed down hundreds more using a large truck. Germany also saw a less deadly but no less tragic mass murder using a large truck driven by another ISIS sympathizer.
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  • wrong – The establishment of “Safe Zones” inside of Syria & Iraq to counter the flood of refugees into other countries that were becoming increasingly unwelcome. Seriously, I am quite disgusted that six years later, we are still talking about the Syrian civil war. Unfortunately, the rest of the world found it easier to do nothing than to try and safeguard the civilian populations living in the region. The massacre in Syria has been a sticking point with me ever since I (incorrectly) predicted in 2011 massive international intervention to stop Assad from massacring his own people. But instead, Russia sided with their good friend King Assad, labeled the rebels “terrorists”, and made it impossible for anyone to intervene without risking a war with Russia. And instead, four years later, we’ve elected a president that sides with Russia on every controversy, and the city of Aleppo was pretty much obliterated and recaptured by Assad’s forces. Even more disturbing is the number of Trump supporters who believe photos like “Aleppo Boy” were “staged”. I’m not sure what has to die inside a person to look at that photo, call it a fake, and take the side of Syria & Russia.
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  • right – ISIS will still be about the same size as it is today… roughly 30,000 fighters. – While it is difficult (if not impossible) to get an accurate reading on the number of people fighting on the ground in the region of Syria & Northern Iraq, most analysts seem to agree that “ISIS is shrinking”, not growing, preferring instead to try to inspire weak-willed outcasts feeling ostracized by society to commit “lone wolf” attacks in other countries and then take credit for those attacks. It is difficult to inspire Muslim sympathizers to the ISIS cause when the majority of their targets are fellow Muslims (see the Turkey airport attack above.) I fear Trump’s “take no prisoners” scorched Earth plans for dealing with ISIS will do more to create sympathizers and grow ISIS than actually serve to defeat it.
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  • wrong – Russia WILL focus more on attacking ISIS and less on helping Assad destroy the Syrian rebels – I was wrong about Russia suddenly growing a conscience and pulling back in it’s support of helping Assad crush him political opponents, though I was correct that they would not JOIN forces with the U.S. in alliance to destroy who they claim is a common enemy: ISIS. Poor naive Donald Trump has bought Russia’s line of bull that the Syrian civil war is all about fighting terrorism. Russia has only become more bold in its international meddling in 2016 as Putin sees an opportunity to regain its Soviet-era dominance in the world as America’s influence wanes as we begin our 15th year of war.
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  • right – Iran is likely to increase military aid to Assad as Russian support for the war wanes. – Iran “reportedly felt blindsided by the terms of the [Syrian] truce brokered in Turkey between Russia and the rebels.” Iran’s involvement in Syria has deepened as they disapprove of Russia focusing more on seizing more control in the region.
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  • right – The Syrian conflict [will] still be raging throughout the year, eventually culminating in a treaty between Assad & the rebels. – The Syrian Civil War is only now being declared “coming to an end” here in the final days of 2016 as Russia brokers yet-another cease fire treaty. After years of conflict, it has become clear that we have are now incapable of bringing wars to an end.
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  • wrong – We will see a MILD economic decline as the Republican controlled Congress stifles the economy to help the GOP presidential candidate. I’m actually quite stunned the GOP didn’t do more to cripple the economy to help the GOP nominee win the election. But then, I didn’t expect the GOP to be so unhappy with their candidate. In the end, they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about helping Donald Trump become the leader of their Party (and if you ask me, they are terrified of being branded “The Party of Trump”.) Instead, the Obama economy continued to grow at a remarkable rate.
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  • right – Gitmo to still be in operation by the end of President Obama’s presidency, [though] steps will finally be in place to close it permanently before he leaves office. – Yes on both counts. Our POW camp at Guantánamo Bay is indeed still in operation (though currently down to just 59 detainees that will reportedly be down to just 41 by the time Obama leaves office. In February, he did send his Guantánamo Closing Plan to Congress, but no action was taken. And Trump has vowed… not only to keep it open… but to even EXPAND it, so our giant “middle-finger” to all our principles will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.
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  • wrong – GOP will retain control of the House following the election but lose the Senate. – This did indeed become the conventional thinking in the final days of the election, and there’s no way of knowing if Russian meddling had any impact on the outcome, but Democrats did pick up two seats… three seats short of control of the Senate (under a Republican White House.)
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  • right – The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will be relatively uneventful. – No terrorist attacks, and despite concerns of rampant local crime, polluted water, and unfinished facilities, the Rio Olympics pretty much went off without a hitch.
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  • right – Trump will be the GOP nominee. – I’m surprised (well, maybe not) that so many people believed Republicans would come to their senses and pull back from the brink before allowing this cartoonish man-child to come within earshot of the presidency, but I was one of the few that knew better. Before the first primary of 2016, I knew from the 2012 nomination of Mitt Romney, “wealth = good” among low-information Republican voters. Bush & Cheney ran as “businessmen” in 2000 promising a “CEO presidency”, and it was an absolute disaster. But that didn’t stop them from nominating Mitt Romney in 2012 (regardless of how he made his money.) Just as in 2012, Republicans didn’t like the GOP front-runner (Romney) and constantly kept looking for someone to take the nomination away from him. But as each new front-runner crashed & burned, Romney kept floating back up to the top of the bowl. The same thing with Trump in 2016. There were a couple of brief scares when Ben Carson and Ted Cruz became the front runners momentarily, but they always came back to Trump as his rivals crashed & burned.

    I also predicted that Trump will plan to delegate most of his responsibilities as he has no interest in actually doing the job, which he & his son both confirmed last May.

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  • wrong – Expect Trump to name his running mate early if he finds himself struggling to win the nomination. – This didn’t happen… with Trump. But it bears mentioning that this is EXACTLY what Ted Cruz did all the way back in April. Also of note, I included the caveat that “if [Trump] gets locked in a battle with the Democratic nominee, his ego will rope him in until the election in November” seeing his candidacy through to the bitter end, win or lose. And I was absolutely right on that. All the polls were predicting an easy win for Clinton, and even Trump himself was surprised when all of the “must win” races started falling his way, yet he stayed in to the very end with most expecting him to challenge the result if he lost… completely unwilling to believe this country might choose Hillary over him.
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  • right – Hillary to win the Democratic nomination. – Probably my most painful prediction as a Bernie supporter, but this is what separates me from Republicans who shape their predictions to fit their personal ideology. And this is why their record of predicting things is so miserable. They are SO sure their beliefs are right, the possibility they could be wrong never crosses their minds.
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  • wrong* – the Democratic nominee will win the election in November. – It is difficult to know if Russian meddling in our election may have altered the outcome, but I’m not aware of even one legitimate poll that predicted a Trump victory. The entire Trump candidacy was one embarrassment after another, from making racist & sexist remarks during his campaign, the embarrassing Convention with guest speakers like Scott Baio, culminating in the “Access Hollywood” (“grab them by the [meow]” tape.) And despite needing to sweep nearly every single swing state to win, that’s exactly what happened… an achievement suspicious in itself. But I didn’t factor possible election fraud into my prediction.
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  • right – As ISIS begins to feel the pressure of increased international focus on defeating them, they will in turn focus more on inspiring outside sympathizers to commit “lone wolf” terrorist attacks in their respective countries. I predicted at least three such attacks in the coming year. – Indeed, this was the case, with terrorist attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Istanbul, Turkey, Nice, France, and the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany.

8 right, 7 wrong. 53%. Not bad. I’ve done worse. That keeps my lifetime average well over 50%. I was one of the few to predict the presidential race to come down to Clinton vs Trump when must people were predicting a “Hillary vs Jeb” contest. I’m pretty proud of that.

And now…

My Predictions for 2017:

With a totally new administration full of billionaires, ideologues and sycophants with no track record of public service whatsoever, the possibilities are endless as what to expect from the coming year. As “president-elect Trump” rejects the need for a “Presidential Baily Briefing” (on the grounds the information is “repetitive”), I’m frequently reminded of how President Bush in 2001 repeatedly dismissed his own PDB’s while our intelligence agencies were desperately (“Lights were flashing red”) trying to get him to pay attention to the threat of alQaeda until it was too late with the attacks of 9/11 just eight months into office. Now Trump is doing the same while ISIS attacks seem to be growing in magnitude & frequency. Predicting the first year of any new administration is one big crap shoot, but I know how Trump and his ilk think.

  1. Trump is already taking credit for a rise in the Stock Market since his election while Obama is still president, but once he takes office, if the economy does not continue to improve, he’ll stop taking credit and start blaming Obama (remember how Republicans berated Obama the first couple of years for “blaming Bush” for the deep hole we were still digging our way out of?) Trump will be handed an economy that’s 180 degrees from what Obama inherited (soaring stock market, unemployment falls to just 4.6%), and President Obama’s final budget will still be in effect until October, so it is unlikely the economy will turn South in Trump’s first year unless he does something extremely provocative to spook the global financial (or oil) market. We’ll have to wait & see if Trump becomes a “don’t rock the boat” president, or (more likely) an impulsive hothead that doesn’t consider the consequences before acting (which is the defining characteristic of Republicans.)
  2.  
    Trump’s coziness with the Russians continues to disturb me. His first campaign spokesman, Paul Manafort, was forced to resign when it was discovered that he had been paid millions lobbying for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs… not because of his Russia connection, but because he worked as a lobbyist at a time when Trump was still trying to act as though he disapproved of lobbyists and the Russian annexing of Ukraine was unpopular with most Americans. Yet, despite being fired, Manafort continued to live in Trump Tower (along with another fired Trump staffer, former campaign manager Cory Lewandowski.) This tells me Trump doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he just tucks them away until after the heat blows over.

    His eventual choice for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, wasn’t even on the original lists of nominees. The person that appeared to have to best chance was Mitt Romney… who called Russia “our #1 Geo-political enemy” when he ran in 2012. Then suddenly, Romney was out and Tillerson… a man who was awarded the “Russian Medal of Friendship”…. was in.

    His daughter Ivanka was even caught palling around with Putin’s girlfriend in Croatia.

  3. Trump’s Russian ties will continue to haunt him in 2017, but with a GOP controlled Congress, nothing will ever come of it. Every move that involves Russia will draw additional scrutiny. Investigative reporters may start to report on concerns of Russian influence on the Trump White House, but President-elect Trump has been working hard to delegitimatize the Media as “Fake News” so that… should they report anything critical of his administration, he can simply dismiss it as “fake news”.
  4.  
    George Bush appointed a single unqualified mega-donor sycophant to his Administration (Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie” Brown)… an Arabian horse judge… to be in charge of FEMA, and we all know how that turned out. Trump’s cabinet is FULL of unqualified “Brownies”. He has been gifting crucial administration posts the way other presidents once awarded “ambassadorships” to friends & big donors. This is particularly disturbing when one of the key arguments Trump and his supporters gave to justify electing a “CEO President” with NO political experience to the presidency was that he’d appoint only “the best people” to manage his administration. Among some of Trump’s other “So good, you won’t believe it” appointees so far:

    Former opponent Dr. Ben Carson… NOT as Surgeon General which might make SOME sense… but as the head of “Housing & Urban Development” (which Carson himself justified due to having “once lived in Public Housing”. By that standard, I should be piloting 747’s because I once flew in one.)

    Co-founder of the WWE (“World Wrestling Entertainment”) Linda McMahon to head the SBA (“Small Business Administration”.) I think we know how she got the job:

     
    Trump in Wrestlemania
     
    Trump wrestles McMahon

    (Remember all the Republicans who whined Bill Clinton was destroying the dignity of the Oval Office?)

    The former Attorney General from the Oklahoma oil-patch, climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and “Clean Water Rule” while OK-AG, and even tried to pass off a letter written by oil company lobbyists critical of the EPA as his own. And now he will be in charge of the organization.

    While not yet appointed at this time, Trump is reportedly considering billionaire eccentric “Peter Thiel” to head the FDA. Like Ben Carson who believes he’s qualified to run HUD because he once lived in public housing, it is reported that Theil once ate food and took medicine.

    Trump appointed Steve Bannon the head of alt-Right website “Brietbart.com”… probably the only “news” outlet to endorse Trump… to be his Chief Strategist. While Team-Trump is working overtime to delegitimize the legitimate news as “fake news”, Brietbart is the very definition of “fake news”.

    Former Texas Governor and “Dancing with the Stars” reject Rick “Oops” Perry… who famously forgot that the Dept of Energy was the third government agency he would close as president… was appointed Trump’s Secretary of Energy. He will be replacing nuclear physicist Ernie Moniz.

    …to be continued.
     

  5. With so many incompetents put in charge of so many prominent offices within the Trump Administration, the chances of another “Brownie”-like disaster in the next few years increases exponentially. I predict at least one of Trump’s incompetent appointees will have their appointment questioned and perhaps even be forced to resign due some inexplicable cock-up that embarrasses the incoming Trump Administration.
  6.  

  7. Trump detests having to answer questions. He considers having to explain himself an indignity and the Press exists solely to try & discredit him. This is why he adores Twitter where he can simply ignore any question he doesn’t like. Trump will hold a record low number of Press Conferences, preferring instead to use Twitter to communicate with the American people. He, his staff, and his supporters will herald this as “a new era in unprecedented access to the Commander-in-Chief” that supposedly makes him more “accessible” by the American people, when the truth is it will quite the opposite: a new era of secrecy in presidential administrations that closely controls just how much access the fourth-estate has to it. (August 10 edition of “60 Minutes”, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon praises Trump’s use of Twitter as “circumventing Big Media and speaking directly to the people.”)
  8.  
    In these final days of 2016, we keep seeing situations where the incoming Trump Administration is publicly disagreeing with… not just the outgoing Obama Administration, but U.S. foreign policy of the past 30 years when it comes to Israel and the pursuit of a “two state solution” to bring peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a neo-con, and his continued illegal building of settlements in occupied territory threatens to jeopardize any hope of peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the recent construction of new Israeli settlements as provocative and not in the interests of achieving peace in the Middle East. Netanyahu… who never liked the Obama Administration and vocally condemned it for agreeing to lift sanctions on Iran… basically told the U.S. to mind its own business. Trump… breaking with decades of “one president at a time” tradition (an unwritten rule where the incoming administration doesn’t publicly contradict the outgoing administration, instead declaring “the U.S. speaks with one voice”), Trump again publicly criticized the outgoing Obama Administration, taking the side of Israel and declaring “things will be different” come “January 20th.”

  9. Taking the side Israel so publicly, there is NO way the U.S. can be seen as an honest broker in any possible future peace negotiations between Israel & Palestine. Trump’s chosen Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a pro-settlement bankruptcy lawyer with no relevant experience other than the fact he is president of the US fundraising arm for Bet El, a settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Both Trump & Friedman have taken the unimaginably provocative position of calling to move the capital of Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem… nothing short of spitting in the eye of a billion Muslims. Indeed, Osama bin Laden even cited the “Israeli occupation” and part of alQaeda’s justification for 9/11 and their war with the West. Trump has just made his job of achieving an end to the wars in the Middle East infinitely more difficult. Couple that with his pledge to “quickly, easily & completely” defeat ISIS, I have great difficultly in seeing how he can “defeat ISIS” and end the war in Afghanistan without doing something monumentally insane like declaring war on the entire Middle East and conquering it using nuclear weapons. No matter how nuts he may be, there are still enough sane people left in Congress to stop him from starting World War III. As such, I have little doubt that as Commander-in-Chief, Trump will still deploy between 100,000 and 300,000 troops back into Iraq & Afghanistan (and possibly Syria) by the end of the year, greatly expending the war rather than helping to resolve the conflict and bring America’s longest war to an end (cooler heads will prevail among his generals not to introduce nuclear weapons into this war, but reports will emerge that it was discussed).
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  11. In 2015, increased pressure on ISIS resulted in various domestic terrorist attacks overseas, and (as I correctly predicted) there were at least three more such incidents of domestic terrorism around the world as that pressure continued to grow. If Trump does indeed greatly expand the war in the Middle East, coupled with openly taking Israel’s side in promoting illegal settlements, expend the number of incidents of domestic terrorism committed in the name of ISIS to grow. I predict at least five such deadly mass casulty attacks across the world in the coming year.
  12.  

  13. The election of the first black president allowed a stunning number of closeted racists to feel liberated, coming out as openly racist, cloaking their racism as nothing more than “political differences”. The election of an openly bigoted xenophobe like Trump will worsen this three-fold as Trump-supporters feel they now have carte-blanc to be openly bigoted against Mexican’s and Muslims as well.
  14.  

  15. Which reminds us of Trump’s promise to “build a border wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it”, and deport… not just 11 million “illegal immigrants”, but in many cases their American-born children as well. There will be NO significant border wall construction in 2017 as the issue falls by the way-side. However, the Trump Administration may try to claim plans for a border wall are “in the works”. And rather than Mexico paying 100% of the cost, to save face, the Trump Administration will rely on some creative accounting to try and claim Mexico will be paying for it when they are in fact not.
    UPDATE: 1/6/2017 – Not even president yet, “Trump asks Congress, not Mexico, to pay for border wall.
  16.  

  17. During the primaries, a number of countries were so appalled by Donald’s Trump’s “racist & sexists remarks”, they went as far as to say the GOP candidate was “not welcome” in their country. Scotland declared Trump “unwelcome” in that country the day after the election and urged him not to visit. In January of 2016, the British Parliament had already discussed banning Trump from the UK. And in October (just before the election), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau banned Trump from entering Canada until he apologized for his offensive remarks about Muslims & Mexicans. I predict that in the coming year, at least one nation will say Trump is not welcome in their country.
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  19. As I’ve been pointing out since the day he declared his candidacy in 2015, Trump only wanted to prove he could win the presidency if he wanted it, but has no interest in actually doing the job. Early on, he will appear to be doing his job, but gradually over time, we will see less & less of him as he tries to delegate more & more of his job over to others in his administration, setting up a Constitutional crisis.
  20.  

  21. Calls for investigations into all of Trump’s conflicts of interest will grow along with demands that he fully divest himself of his empire (which he’ll never do) as it becomes clear foreign countries are trying to curry favor with the American president though his investments. Trump’s massive ego will never permit him to sell off his empire. All those skyscrapers with his name on them feed his massive ego. If it becomes a serious enough problem for him, he’d resign his presidency before selling off his empire.
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  23. Speaking of which, every building with Trump’s name on it will become an instant terrorist target the moment he’s sworn in, and the cost of protecting those buildings will become a serious matter.
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  25. Beyond foreigners trying to get on the good side of America’s president by renting out his hotels & casinos and possibly giving him favorable treatment when his companies seek construction permits in foreign countries, simply being president gives Trump an unfair advantage over his American competitors that will open him up to all sorts of lawsuits. Expect at least one American company to file an “unfair trade practices” lawsuit against Trump.
  26.  

  27. Trump’s Climate-Change-Denying policies of promising to “greatly expend the use of coal” and “complete the Keystone XL Pipeline” will be met with a resounding thud as both projects prove to no longer be cost effective in the modern era. There just aren’t that many workers looking to get started in the lucrative business of digging coal (yes, that’s snark) in the 21st century, and for the mining/conversion of tarsands to “oil” to be cost effective, oil needs to be up over $70/barrel again. George W. Bush destroyed the global economy and brought the United States to the brink of economic collapse by pushing the price of oil from $30/barrel to nearly $150/barrel in six years. Oil prices are (at this writing) just above $50/barrel after having been much lower in recent years, and some analysts fear that if Trump greatly expands the war in the Middle East, the price of oil could shoot back up to over $100/barrel which would make both energy sources financially viable again. But if that happened, it would absolutely crush the U.S. economy. As friendly as the Trump Administration clearly will be with Big Oil, I have my doubts that even THEY could be THAT fiscally irresponsible.
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  29. Russia may find themselves wondering if they made a mistake by cozening up to Trump (and possibly aiding his election) as they quickly learn how erratic and vindictive he can be. Early in the primaries, Ted Cruz leaped into second place when he refused to criticize GOP front-runner Donald Trump like all of the other candidates. Just before the start of the 2016 primaries, Cruz even tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt” Then the race began, and as soon as Cruz became a threat, the bromance was over. By the Convention in July, the two were already the worst of enemies. I expect Trump’s relationship with Russia to become strained as he grows increasingly erratic.
  30.  

  31. As much as Trump and his supporters may want it, he will not be able to amass enough Republican votes (and zero Democratic votes) to repeal “ObamaCare” without having a replacement program ready to go first. Republicans will try (repeatedly) throughout the year to immediately end the program despite having no alternative, but Democrats need only three Republican Senators to stop any repeal from reaching the president’s desk. And while Republicans honestly believe Americans want to see the entire program scrapped, they are in for a rude awakening if 20 million Americans are suddenly faced with the potential loss of their insurance. Trump says he won’t allow insurance companies to deny patients with “preexisting conditions” from getting coverage again, but there is NO way to do that without the “mandate” they so deplore. And in eight years, no Republican has been able to devise a system that covers everyone that doesn’t include a mandate. So, no ObamaCare repeal. They will try. They will get close. They may even pass a bill severely limiting it, but no full repeal of the law.
  32.  

  33. Early on, Russia will test their new found relationship with the new administration to see just how much they can get away with and what reaction (if any) they get. Democrats in Congress will demand action. Republicans will not. And the public will be evenly split, ensuring nothing gets done.
  34.  

  35. Trump didn’t remember half of the promises he made during the campaign. He had completely forgotten he promised to stop the export of over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana “Carrier” plant until he heard a plant worker on TV state that he had personally promised them he’d save their jobs. He also forgot HOW he said he’d save them (by threatening to charge “Carrier” a reimportation tax.) Likewise his ridiculous threat to “lock her [Hillary] up” was quickly dismissed following his victory, the deportation of “11 Million illegal immigrants” quickly became only “a few million with criminal records” (illegal immigrants with criminal records are already deported upon capture), and his “border wall” was scaled down to “a fence in some locations.” Trump has a very short memory when it comes to his promises, so don’t be surprised if focus on many of his campaign promises are overshadowed by new catastrophes that develop in his first year.
  36.  

  37. In the final week of 2016, Trump startled the world by suggesting that we need to start expanding our nuclear arsenal again… reversing more than 30 years of American nuclear policy. Will Trump start a new Nuclear Arms Race? That takes money. Sadly, I don’t see enough sane Republicans in Congress willing to say “No” to Toddler-Trump and reject the possibility of attracting a few thousand defense industry jobs to their states, but I DO see just enough to side with Democrats to stop any such proposed increase in our nuclear stockpiles. No expansion.
  38.  

  39. And rounding on for an even 20, 2017 will be declared “the hottest year on record”.

 

Wow, that’s one incredibly dark miserable year I foresee. But Toddler-Trump is just too immature, too erratic and too impulsive to see things becoming anything other than a total mess in 2017.


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Thanksgiving With My Conservative Family Explains A Lot
Nov 30th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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When you’re the only Liberal in a family of Conservatives living in the South, getting together for the holidays can be a tricky thing. But mostly, it has taught me a lot about the Conservative Mind and particularly why they believe what they believe. First, you start with a foundation of bigotry. It may not be very deep, but it is always there. Mexicans, blacks, gays, Muslims… basically anyone that frightens them… which is just about anyone they don’t have anything in common with. And when something annoys them, it’s always the fault of one of these groups. Lots of crime? Blame the blacks. Bad drivers? Typically “foreigners” but not a hard & fast rule. Perceived immorality? Mexicans, Blacks and/or gays. You know the drill.

THEY (ie: White religious Conservatives) are the “oppressed minority”. The rest of the “Liberal Media” keeps trying to force them to accept blacks, Mexicans, gays, Muslim Refugees, etc as “equals”. They already know what’s true just by observing the world around them, and IF they consume any news at all (and believe it or not, they don’t watch a lot of Fox. In fact, they watch almost no news at all. It only angers them), Right-Wing Media merely confirms what they already believe to be true. For example, Donald Trump is CERTAIN that he saw ON TV “THOUSANDS” of Muslims IN NEW JERSEY cheering the fall of the WTC Towers on 9/11. Now, if it were “on TV”, SOME television station somewhere would have tape of it (archival footage is NEVER destroyed), but no one has produced any such footage because IT DOESN’T EXIST. Never happened. (He’s also implying that “thousands” of Muslims already living in the U.S. are terrorist sympathizers that had inside knowledge that this was an attack.) But it doesn’t hurt Trump’s poll numbers because Conservatives all believe they saw it too. Trump is merely confirming what they already believe is true, and no amount of evidence (or lack thereof) is going to sway them.

Conservatives all believe themselves to be “victims”. It’s the ultimate “victim mentality”. When in fact they are far more often the victimizers. Oppressing minorities and bullying the political system till they get their way. In their world, there is a “War on Christmas” if Starbucks removes the reindeer from their Xmas cups. But just why did Starbucks ever offer Xmas themed cups in the first place? Not Hanukkah cups or Kwanzaa cups, but ONLY cups with Christian Christmas themes on them. I never heard a Jewish person accuse Starbucks of a “War on Hanukkah”. No Atheists protested the use of Christmas cups in the first place. But take away a “privilege” they enjoyed that they never had to ask for in the first place… like being wished a “Merry Christmas” by the sales girl… and suddenly they are the victims of “Liberals” out to “destroy Christmas”.

And yet, the great irony is that they ARE victims. Not of The Media or Liberals, but of deliberate misinformation campaigns by the rich & powerful to get the reactionary, ill-informed Conservative masses to do their bidding. Just look at the list:

  • “ObamaCare”: Just before leaving for home, one of my family members said they were “refusing to buy ObamaCare even though the government was telling them they had to” because doing so “would only suggest I approve of it.” In what little time I had, I tried to explain, “You don’t buy ObamaCare. ObamaCare is not health insurance. It’s just a set of rules & regulations telling the insurance company they can’t deny you care or jack up your rates.” The reaction: “Then why are they telling me I have to to buy it?” “They aren’t. You only have to buy insurance. ANY insurance from any old insurance company.” A hand goes up about half-way. “Whatever!” as I was dismissed. My explanation didn’t comport with the “reality” she has been spoon-fed for years. I must not know what I’m talking about.
  •  

  • Planned Parenthood: Another Right-Wing lunatic with a gun murdered three people and wounding nine others last Friday at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, ranting about “President Obama” and “No more baby parts”… clearly a reference to the highly edited video disseminated by an anti-choice group earlier this year that falsely accused PPA of “profiting” of the sale of “baby parts”. Once again, reality was deliberately twisted to convince easily duped Right-Wing lunatics that something they already believed to be true to in fact be the case. It doesn’t matter that the facts don’t bear them out. Someone has already “confirmed” what they always believed to be true, and anyone trying to convince them otherwise is actively trying to deceive them. Meanwhile, yet another lunatic Evangelical white guy with a gun goes on a killing spree, but it’s desperate homeless Syrian refugees seeking shelter that we have to be afraid of.
  •  

  • Global Warming: There are some very powerful interests that don’t want you to believe it is true; the oil industry and the mega-church industry. And in the Deep Red South, there’s about a 99% chance you’re< connected to one or both. And despite the fact we are still seeing hurricanes nearly a month past the end of hurricane season and temperatures near 80′ for Thanksgiving in Houston, ANY cold weather is proof Climate Change isn’t real… because every “Snowmageddon” they’re told “How can there be both Global Warming AND record snowfall?” Don’t bother explaining concepts like “evaporation” and that “warm air holds more moisture” to them because they just tune you out. “Facts” mean nothing when it conflicts with what they already WANT to believe is true.
  •  

  • Tax hikes on the Wealthy are a tax increase on THEM no matter how poor: Despite being about as middle-class as can be, ANY tax increase…even on billionaires… is a tax increase on them personally. There are two reasons for this: 1) They think THEY are in the “Top 1%” if they own their own home. And 2) Tax increases are ALWAYS just passed on to the Consumer (despite their faith in the “Free-Market”.) This is what they’ve been told for years by the people manipulating them and what they already believe to be true.

While watching TV, over the Thanksgiving holiday, a promo for a new reality show came on. Only this one stars an Indian family living in California (IIRC). This quickly drew some agonized groans of annoyance from family members with the response, “this is what they do now. Put on shows about foreigners…” I quickly pointed out, “Not ‘foreigners’. Ethnicities. They’re not foreigners, they’re Americans that just happen to be Indian”, I said in exasperation. The Kardashian girls are Lebanese, but they are attractive, so that doesn’t count (until they bring home their black boyfriends that is.)

Critics of Donald Trump are wondering if his latest indefensible moment caught on video mocking a disabled reporter will finally be the thing that takes him down. Seriously? We’re talking about the same group of people who rushed to the defense of Rush Limbaugh when he mocked Michael J. Fox in nearly the exact same fashion in 2009. “If you can’t laugh at that, you’re just a politically correct Liberal buzz-kill.”

I noticed a few weeks ago that a lot of Fox “viewers” don’t actually listen to the program. It plays in the background while they do something else, occasionally flashing a glance at the TV to read the chyron when a particular word catches their ear. In one recent incident, they did a story about the political leanings of the latest round of students attending college. Their own polling showed that most new college students “tend to be Liberal both politically and Socially”, yet the chyron on the TV read, “College students more Conservative”. How? Well, while the poll found more students overall to be “Liberal”, the same poll found the number of students identifying as “Conservative” had grown over the year before by a few percentage points. Ergo, students are now “more Conservative” than they were a year ago (though still badly outnumbered.) But if you’re the typical Fox “news” viewer who only glaces at headlines without paying attention to the entire story, you might very well come away thinking there are “more” Conservative college students than Liberals. It only confirms what they already want to believe is true, and why study after study confirms Fox “news” viewers are the least well informed of all (less informed than even people who watch no news at all.) It’s also how Fox gets away with saying, “Hey, our stories aren’t biased! We defy you to find a clip where we lied!”
 
Two Fox “news” Chyrons following the conviction of Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on 7 of 8 counts in March of 2007:
 

Libby Not Guilty Libby Not Guilty

 

Guilty on 7 of 8 counts, but Fox focused on the ONE count he was NOT convicted on, and the casual “glancing” Fox viewer only sees “Not guilty” then grumbles something about how “Librul’s” persecuted this poor man for months.

Oh, and by the way… that nut who shot up the Colorado Planned Parenthood last Friday? When he first moved into town, he recommended to a neighbor that he put a metal roof on his house “so the government couldn’t spy on him.” Why bother with a tinfoil hat when you can put a tin roof on your entire house?

He was then allowed to legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, a 9mm pistol and a .357 revolver.
 


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Dr Carson Revives Dangerous “Health Savings Account” Zombie from 2012
Oct 26th, 2015 by Admin Mugsy

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I have a long standing rule not to criticize truly awful GOP Primary candidates when they are winning. “When your opponent(s) are digging themselves into a hole, the only thing you should hand them is a shovel.” I’m going to break that rule this week because Dr. Ben Carson has decided to bring back a dangerous (and arguably deadly) idea from the 2012 election that a disturbing number of Conservative voters think is a good idea: doing away with Medicare/Obamacare (remember “Keep your government hands off my Medicare“?) and replacing them with “Health Savings Accounts”, only this time with a convoluted scheme that would impress even Rube Goldberg.

The GOP version went something like this: instead of everyone paying into Medicaid (an astoundingly safe & successful single-payer health insurance program run by the government), let people choose to “opt out” of Medicaid and put their money into a tax-free “Health Savings Account”, similar to an IRA, from which you pay your medical bills should you ever get sick. The “advantage” of such a scheme Conservatives argue is that the money remains in your possession should you ever need it for something else. Now, if you have a brain larger than a walnut, you can probably already see the (multitude of) problems with that. THAT is the GOP plan from 2012 (pdf). Carson’s new version supposedly “fixes” those flaws. Try to follow along as he “explains” his version of HSA’s to NBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday:
 

Carson explain his “Health Savings Account” scheme (2:18)

 

(Quite honestly, I could have dedicated this week’s entire post to Carson’s insane interview, but that could take weeks. This segment was following an equally disturbing ten minutes defending his prolific use of Nazi analogies to justify his positions on just about everything. From arguing that the Second Amendment exists to protect us from our our own government (it doesn’t), questioning the value of a mother’s life over that of her unborn child, to saying rape/incest victims should be forced-by-law to carry their unborn babies to term. (Whom exactly he’d prosecute if she didn’t was never asked and remains unclear.)

Todd never asks Carson the most obvious question about Medicare, “What’s wrong with the existing system?”, because HE KNOWS the answer he’d get: to a Conservative ANYTHING connected to the government is bad regardless of how successful it is, because in their mind, a government that “provides for the general welfare” is tantamount to “slavery” (a position he shares with the OTHER Right-Wing nut doctor in the race, Rand Paul.)

So let’s see if we can’t diagram Carson’s “alternative to Medicare”:

Step 1) Make everyone independently wealthy thanks to a roaring economy under his leadership. (You think I’m exaggerating? Watch the video.) That way, we “negate the need for Medicare”. So right off the bat, his plan relies on everyone suddenly striking it rich such that they will be able to pay cash for their health care needs. And just how do we accomplish that? Tax-free “Health Savings Accounts” that can be passed down from Generation to generation. And we KNOW this works because look at all the people who became stinking rich inheriting IRA’s from their parents (that’s snark by the way.) Somehow, I just don’t see a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck suddenly being able to sock away enough spare cash to pay for unregulated… because he does away with “ObamaCare” AND the buying power of Medicare… rising medical costs out-of-pocket with enough left over to leave to their children (a plan that doesn’t seem to take into account the prolonged medical costs of aging, people pilfering those accounts like a tax-free piggy bank, or unforeseen economic crisis’ that always seem to pop up during Republican administrations.)

In fact, Carson actually advocates allowing family members to raid their own HSA in order to help another family member pay their medical bills. Carson is a big believer in the Power of Prayer, and you’d better be too if you pilfer your trust fund in hopes you won’t need it. What was it Rep. Grayson said? The Republican Plan: Don’t get sick. But hey, everyone suddenly becoming wealthy enough to pay cash for all their medical expenses could happen, so let’s give him the benefit of the delusion… er, doubt, for a moment.

BTW: Carson acknowledged the “Liberal” meme that “we pay twice as much for our health care than the rest of the world”, but offers no explanation on how to counter it. In fact, quite the opposite. He wants to kill off the two government programs keeping those costs under control. If I had to guess, Carson appears to blame insurance companies for those outrageous healthcare costs. Yet the solution… “single payer” programs like Medicare… would wither & die under his “divert money from Medicare” scheme. Moving on…

Step 2) Insurance companies still have a role though: covering “catastrophic illness” that would decimate most HSA’s. Get them out of the business of covering more lucrative “basic health care” and instead limit them to covering only the mega-costly health care bills. Carson argues that by not having to cover “basic” heath care needs, it’ll save the insurance companies tons of money and drive down premiums. You buy that? No? You’d better because you’re going to have to (literally). Okay, so now you’re now pouring money into TWO forms of medical insurance: your personal HSA AND “catastrophic illness” insurance.

Those “basic” health care policies are where insurance companies make their biggest profits. Carson actually believes that insurance companies will make MORE money… AND charge you less for catastrophic care insurance… if you eliminate all that rarely-used coverage customers pay into and limit them to covering just the most costly long-term procedures. What do you think THOSE premiums will look like? There is nothing more expensive than “end-of-life” care… a cost 90%-95% of us will incur. “Wow” doesn’t begin the capture the mind-numbing stupidity of that Palinesque plan. If we’re all going to strike it rich under President (cough) Carson, it’d better happen damned quick.

Step 3) We don’t actually eliminate Medicare, we just allow people to “opt out”… which underfunds the program, which bankrupts it. It’s not Carson’s fault if underfunding Medicare kills it off. That just proves it wasn’t fit to survive in the first place (“survival of the fittest” seems like an odd defense for someone who doesn’t believe in evolution.) In the Jewish & Muslim faiths, it is a sin to take a life… any life… (“Thou shalt not kill”), so to kill an animal for the meat, they slit it’s throat so they can rationalize that the moment of death does not occur at their hand. It’s the same thing here. Carson doesn’t “kill” Medicare, he just slits its throat, and if it (and the people who depend upon it) dies, well that must have been God’s Will.

The Carson Plan: 1) Everyone becomes fabulously rich. 2) Puts their “spare” cash, once wasted on Medicare, into a Christmas Club. 3) Prays like hell they don’t need it. 4) Buys insurance anyway to cover “catastrophic care” which will be dirt cheap thanks to benevolent insurance companies saving a bundle on checkups and passing the savings onto you. 5) What you don’t spend, you leave to your children. 6) Repeat.

Remember “Let him die!” from the 2012 debate? If a person doesn’t pay into Medicare and refuses (or simply can’t afford) to put money in an HSA or buy insurance and suddenly gets sick, what do we do? Let them die? Conservatives like Carson think Medicare will just take care of people that never paid into the system. Ron Paul believed the burden should fall upon the churches. Who would put money in an HSA or buy insurance if you could be guaranteed care that way?

The raging stupidity of Carson’s plan should come as no surprise. It’s just one more drop of water in the Bucket-o-Crazy that is Ben Carson. Quite honestly, I can’t be entirely certain he wasn’t making it up as he went along. It really sounds like he hadn’t given it a lot of thought.

And you were wondering what it would take to dethrone Donald Trump.
 

Iowa GOP just as crazy as Carson
Iowa GOP poll 151023


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Ebola Hysteria Is A Greater Threat Than Ebola
Oct 20th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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In the Summer of 2001, before “9/11”, reports of an 8 year old Florida boy losing an arm after being attacked by a Bull Shark grabbed the headlines. A day or two later, a New York man vacationing in the Bahamas lost a leg in a shark attack. Barely a week after that, another Florida man was bitten six miles from the spot where the first boy was bitten. The media went into hysterics and suddenly it was “The Summer of the Shark”, despite the fact that the annual number of shark attacks was actually DOWN that year as compared to 1999 & 2000. But 2001 was already shaping up to be a slow news year and they needed something to fill the empty airtime. It was “tabloid TV” at its worst, creating fear & panic without justification just to give the Media something to talk about. And we’re seeing it again now with the hype over “Ebola”.

A grand total of THREE people in the entire United States have developed Ebola while here in the U.S., and ALL THREE linked to the same man. The family of the man that has since passed away… who had been living WITH him in the same house and were then imprisoned in their own home WITH his infected sheets and other personal items for weeks… did not contract the virus and are perfectly healthy. The health care worker that stupidly flew cross country WHILE running a fever… the man that sat next to her on the plane… he’s infection-free as well. For a disease that is so infectious (easily caught), it’s not turning out to be easily contagious (easily spread).

In 1978, a movie called “The Swarm” capitalized on the hysteria over a report that “Africanized Killer Bees” were making their way up from Central America, across our Southern border and into the United States. The movie may have bombed at the box office in part by people too afraid to leave their homes to go to the movie theater for fear of being attacked by bees. Eventually, the bees did get here, but in relatively small number and reports of “death by killer bees” are incredibly rare. But the panic at the time was very real. Of all the things people had to be frightened about, sky-darkening swarms of “Killer Bees” decimating entire cities wasn’t exactly one of them.

This really caught my attention yesterday morning (from the opening minutes of “Meet the Press”):
 

More deadly than Ebola

 

15 minutes into their hour long Fear Fest over Ebola, Chuck Todd produced the above list of things you have a FAR GREATER chance of dying from in the U.S. than Ebola, yet that didn’t stop them from spending the entire hour preying on people’s irrational fears for the sake of ratings (in fact, ALL FOUR major network Sunday Shows yesterday were dedicated to the topic of “Ebola”.) I’d just like to point out for the record that the name “ISIS” never came up once on ANY of these shows. Two weeks ago, we were “all gonna die” as ISIS/ISIL made it’s way into the U.S. across Rick Perry’s extraordinarily porous border with Mexico. Why must every mortal threat to Republicans cross the Mexican border?

You have an almost 54 THOUSAND TIMES greater chance of catching & dying from THE FLU than Ebola. And you are TWENTY-SIX TIMES more likely to be struck & killed by lightning, but for some reason, THREE cases… only one of which was fatal… all connected to the same man… has everyone in a panic.

And when I say “everyone”, I of course mean Republicans. Because, as I’ve been pointing out for weeks now, Republicans are terrified of EVERYTHING. They live in constant blinding fear of everything from “government plots” (see: “FEMA camps” and “Death panels”) to black kids in hoodies. They sleep with a gun under their pillows and think one guy with Ebola in Dallas is going to lead to a nation-wide pandemic (though by definition, a “pandemic” is global.)

A number of prominent Republicans are harnessing that irrational fear of Ebola for political gain, attacking President Obama’s “failed response to controlling the Ebola outbreak“… which I remind you has been just THREE people in Dallas. And it doesn’t help matters any when a spineless White House seems to concede their ridiculous claims by “admitting” they could have handled their response to the Ebola “crisis” better. And even when Chuck Todd gave several medical professionals an opening to criticize the GOP’s refusal to appoint a Surgeon General (who normally would be in charge of setting national policy on an issue such as this), they were quick to dismiss the idea that a Surgeon General is even necessary.

One of the (ridiculous) key criticisms being levied by the GOP against President Obama’s choice of “Ebola Czar” is that he’s “not a doctor” (which is stupid because no one expects The Manager to be able to do the job of his staff. Could your boss do YOUR job?). But you know who WOULD be “a doctor”? A Surgeon General, which the GOP has chosen to block (Sen. Roy Blunt defended the GOP’s year-long obstruction of Obama’s nominee by putting the blame on Obama for “not appointing someone they could support.” Does anyone reading this believe there is ANYONE Obama could have nominated they wouldn’t have blocked? They’ve blocked FAR less controversial nominations for purely political reasons. And now it looks as though voters that haven’t been paying attention will reward their unprecedented obstruction, awarding control of Congress to a Party with an approval rating lower than Ebola.)

The Big Talking Point right now that Republicans seem to be gaining the most traction with is a “Travel Ban” to/from nations in Ebola “Hot Zones”. This “quick-fix” has a lot of appeal to easily-panicked Americans that have been fed a steady diet of Fear by the GOP-led media for the past month. I mean, it seems so obvious! “Why hasn’t Obama cut off commercial travel to Ebola-infected territories?”

Here’s why:

  1. There are no direct flights between the U.S. and these tiny West African nations dealing with the disease, making identifying travelers a logistical nightmare. It’s not like you know which country a passenger is returning from when they arrive in the U.S.. It would be like trying to screen out people that visited Martha’s Vineyard before allowing them into California when there are no direct flights between the two.
  2. If you make travel to these regions “a crime”, you drive potentially infected travelers underground, afraid to seek help should they become ill for fear of being arrested.
  3. And following up on #2, a willingness to come forward and/or seek help means greater tracking & accountability. We are presently able to track/contact other passengers & coworkers that might have come in contact with infected patients. Drive the victims underground, and tracking their movements becomes impossible.
  4. “Bans” & “Restrictions” create panic. If we start restricting travel in & out of these countries, you’re going to see people trying to “sneak in”. And I don’t mean “across the Mexican border” like Rightwing fear-mongers would use to terrify their racist hoards, I’m talking about simply getting your passport stamped in a “non-restricted” country so they can fly in without being questioned.
  5. And when people start to panic, their irrational fears get the best of them. Soon you have every idiot with a mild fever clogging up the ER because their nephew’s classmate has a cousin from Liberia. Add to that, doctors spending additional time running (expensive) unnecessary tests checking otherwise healthy patients for a disease that’s less common than being mauled by a black bear and a brown bear on the same day.

Republican governors across the country that are suddenly worried about the spread of Ebola haven’t exactly helped matters any by refusing Federal Medicaid funding to provide health care to tens of thousands of poor Americans. So now you have an enormous pool of high-risk people that will be slow to seek medical help because they can’t afford it.

One of those governors is Rick “Oops” Perry, who is on a world tour criticizing President Obama (remember when criticizing the president overseas was a major no-no?) for refusing to ban travel to Ebola affected regions. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the ONLY place that has seen a person-to-person transmission of Ebola is Dallas in Perry’s home state. So when this idiot starts calling for a travel ban in & out of Texas and orders the closure Texas’ airports to the rest of the country, I’ll give him a listen. Till then, he’s just stoking fear to score some cheap political points.
 

REMINDER: In many states, Early Voting begins today. Don’t allow Republicans to be rewarded for their obstruction, Sequesters, Shutdowns, pointless investigations, refusal to expand Medicaid, and an almost certain likelihood of attempting to impeach President Obama, by allowing them to win control of the Senate or Governor’s race. Vote!
 


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Ebola Is Only the Latest Terror Helping Conservative Find Their Pro-Big Government Roots (again)
Oct 6th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy

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Whenever someone whines “both Parties are the saaaaaaame!”, I tell them (after telling them they’re an idiot) that “the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans think government is a force of evil that can’t do anything right while Democrats see government as a Public Service that exists solely for the Public Good. You either believe one or the other. There is no middle ground.” So pardon me if I chuckle when Fox “news” Sunday opened yesterday morning with the predictable hysteria over “what is THE GOVERNMENT doing to keep us safe from the E-bola virus?” Funny how they spend nearly every week attacking the government and inviting on Conservative miscreants every week on how we need to CUT [the size of] government, defund various government agencies, and advance the idea that “the private sector can do it better/faster/cheaper.” But the moment something new terrifies them, they want to know where the government is to rescue them. In the run-up to the 2012 campaign, Libertarian darling Ron Paul believed “there are only two legitimate functions of government: police & national security.” Everything else should be turned over to the private sector. Most Republicans aren’t THAT far out in Crazy Land (yet), but Texas gov Rick “Oops” Perry did reach national prominence by failing to name the third government agency he’d cut (to which Ron Paul said the correct number was actually “five” not “three”). Now, it is highly unlikely Perry’s third unnamed agency was The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), but ideologically speaking, it could have. ANY government agency is a target for privatization among the GOP-faithful. Dig around on Conservative blogs and you’re sure to find more than a few threads on the “incompetency” or “dubious power” of the CDC… exemplifying government as a whole (too big, too powerful, too expensive and incompetent.) But we don’t have to imagine what medicine would be like in a Libertarian America because we’ve been living it for the past 237 years.

The fight against Ebola is one giant example of why a National Healthcare System is vastly superior to our privatized healthcare system.

Try to imagine if we had to rely on Private Industry to fight Ebola? Simple question: Is there more profit to be had in “curing” Ebola, or (secretly) helping it spread and then treating (but not curing) it as a chronic illness?

The most promising treatment for Ebola appears to be an experimental drug known as “ZMapp” (pronounced “zee-map”), developed by “Mapp Pharmaceuticals” thanks to millions in “government funding”. Why? Because there’s almost no profit to be made in providing a cure to an obscure disease found almost exclusively in central Africa. Producing more “ZMapp” in bulk will take spending lots of money for little-to-no financial gain… unless there’s a pandemic and you can sell the cure for $10,000 a dose… ensuring that only the Mega-Rich survive while we… The Rabble… that’s you & me…are left to fend for ourselves.

And the great irony is that when Republicans are scared… and they live their lives in constant fear… be it a black kid in a hoodie that convinces them they need to carry semi-automatic weapons into Kroger’s, unaccompanied immigrant children flooding over our Southern border, or the latest Middle-Eastern threat that demands a full-scale invasion to resolve… Republicans are quick to over-react and demand massive government intervention that usually involves spending lots & lots of money.

The perfect example: look at the GOP response to 9/11: Create the largest gov bureaucracy in history (DHS) and start invading unrelated Middle-Eastern nations on just the suspicion they might be planning to harm us. When Republicans are terrified (and that’s All. The. Time.) no government program is too big and no amount of money to deal with the problem is too small.

In the 1980’s, Reagan exploded our National Debt fighting the Cold War to spend the Soviet Union into oblivion. Among his most expensive boondoggles… “Star Wars”. Not the movie, but the government program of possibly putting satellites in orbit capable of shooting down inbound Soviet missiles… a threat that was about as likely as 1980’s me charging into the Kremlin with a knife clutched between my teeth and orders to rescue the last Romanoff from the secret prison beneath Red Square.

Two weeks ago, it was a terror-struck Lindsey Graham prepared to go to any expense to re-invade Iraq and invade Syria to defeat ISIS. This week, ISIS beheads its fourth hostage and it doesn’t even make the lead story of the evening news. Terror today, passé tomorrow. What will the next costly “save us, Mr. Government!” moment be for the GOP, and when do people start pointing out the obvious hypocrisy?
 


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