For the GOP, Call Me When Someone with Something to Lose Speaks Up

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In every analysis of the Republican Party and the dotard that leads them, the statistics say that their numbers are going down. Since the act of swearing in Orange Foolius in January, his overall approval has fallen in ALL 50 STATES, including those that he won in the November election handily (in Alabama, his approval has fallen 11%). Much of this is driven by the departure of independent and “swing” voters who migrate between the two parties, but there is also some eroding of support from those who align with the GOP, especially rural whites that haven’t seen the “winning” they were hoping for.

These numbers are noticed by those who bear the brunt of the idiot’s ravings, the Congress and state officials, whose ratings have cratered. Battered by the continued quagmire that Congress is – even though they have majorities in both bodies – these members of the GOP (in one of the most ridiculous statements that exist in the human vernacular) aren’t viewed as “conservative enough” and face backlash from the electorate. With this in mind, two of the stalwarts of the Republican Party in the Senate have chosen to resign rather than risk being rejected in the upcoming 2018 elections.

Last week, former President George Bush (II) blistered the current administration with a speech that called into question not only his abilities but the methods of leadership (nationalism) that Orange Foolius was trying to inflict on the country. Earlier this week, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker opened the exodus from the Senate by stating that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Then, in a stunning speech on the floor of the Senate where he stated that Orange Foolius was “debasing the nation,” Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also indicated that he would not seek reelection in what was expected to be a bruising fight (Corker did not face much threat of being “primaried”).

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Add in the current maverick streak from the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain, and the nuanced and thought out positions of Maine Senator Susan Collins (also considering leaving the Senate), Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (continuing the family tradition of being “Dr. No”) and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, you might believe that there is an uprising in the GOP that would pitch this jackass out on his plump ass along with the Confederacy of Dunces he has convened. For me, however, give me a call when someone in the GOP with something to lose actually speaks up against the fool that they say is their “leader.”

There’s a base statement that people must keep in mind whenever you hear someone speaking out against a particular subject. For lack of a better way to put it, the old gambling axiom of “What skin do you have in the game?” is precisely the thing to remember.

“Skin,” for those that aren’t up on that vernacular, is to have something at risk, usually something that is of a loss (sometimes significant) to you. In the gambling world, that usually entails some monetary wager. In this circumstance, however, it would mean having to put something on the line that would be greater than any monetary wager could ever be.

In the case of Flake, there was already plenty of evidence that he was going to have a very difficult time in getting through the GOP primary, let alone trying to beat a Democratic challenger and a revved-up opposition in a state that is supposedly shifting to the left. Flake also had previously spoken out against the current administration in the same passive aggressive manner in a book he had written, Conscience of a Conservative, which basically aired his grievances with Orange Foolius’ administration without mentioning him by name.

Corker, when he was first elected in 2006, said he would only serve two terms as a Senator, apparently employing the philosophy that if two terms was good for the President, it was good enough for a Senator. But there are other things that might be more appealing for the popular Tennessean, including a run at the Governorship in the Volunteer State. He also hasn’t ruled out being involved in government (on the state or national level) again in the future.

McCain’s story is well known by now. The veteran Senator, elected to his sixth term as the senior Senator from the Grand Canyon State just last year, was diagnosed earlier this year with a terminal brain tumor called a glioblastoma. Once diagnosed with the condition, patients have a usual life expectancy of 14 months, so it is obvious that, unless there are some Area 51-type secrets floating around Washington D. C., that McCain will not likely end his current term as Senator.

Although these three men (and we’ll get to Murkowski, Collins and Sasse in a moment) have served admirably for the past 12 years minimum, they have helped to create the issues that currently plague our nation. Corker was on the short list for the #2 seat on the GOP ticket with the Tangerine Nightmare and was one of the first legislators in D. C. to support him and his candidacy (the other, the Keebler Elf Jeff Sessions, received a cozy Attorney General appointment for licking his master’s boots). And other than his dramatic, Caesar-esque “thumbs down” vote on trashing the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or, to the simple minded, ObamaCare) this summer, McCain has supported the extreme rightward jerk of the GOP, especially after his drubbing by Bush II (and the neocons trashing of his reputation by insinuating he had an illegitimate black daughter) in 2000 and the resulting realization that he had to change or be steamrolled.

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Normally when you’ve completely fucked something up, you’re expected to stick around and fix it (often called the “Pottery Barn Rule” and made popular by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002 to Bush II prior to invading Iraq). But these three men are doing the exact opposite. Instead of trying to stick around and cure the ills that their previous actions have brought, they are supposedly going to be “liberated” by being able to vote their conscience (but note they didn’t say “oppose the current President and his actions”).

If you can name someone else who might actually tell Orange Foolius to go screw himself, I’m all ears. Right now, the GOP is like the person they elected, a flaccid chihuahua that has been defanged and declawed. While Murkowski and Collins (who was rumored to be potentially running for the governor of Maine until she shot that down earlier this month) have been a thorn in the side of Orange Foolius since he took office, they haven’t exactly been rabid opponents of the person WHO LEADS THEIR PARTY. With the right arm twisting, they could probably be coerced into the madness (note how, during the debate on the ACA, that both Maine and Alaska were targeted for “extra money” to try to sway the two Senators).

Some might say Sasse has the potential to be that Republican who can lead the party out of its nihilistic nationalism, but he is a first-term Senator that, should Breitbart editor Steve Bannon still be the Crypt Keeper when he comes around for re-election in 2020, will face one of his minions. Additionally, there’s just enough mystery about Sasse to still say he’s your typical, “screw you, I got mine” Republican who doesn’t look beyond anything but the party line (in 2016, he voted against the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which would have given states block grants to fight opioid abuse and fund recovery programs).

Paul, who has gone over to the Dark Side in disavowing his libertarian roots in favor of staying in power in D. C. as a Republican (guess who is a frequent golf partner for the Hacker-in-Chief?), has no desire to buck the current administration. If he can get a few concessions that demonstrate he trying to castrate the current federal system, then he can claim his Ayn Rand fantasies are being implemented and still be admired by those who would rather watch Rome burn than build it up.

Absolutely nobody who has spoken out from the GOP has any “skin” in the game. Not one of these people previously mentioned has put their Congressional seat on the line, their reputation, or their years in what was once a party that championed business, trade and was anti-Communist (now it is isolationist, crapping its panties and dreaming of a fascist to save their totalitarian day). And there isn’t anyone currently among the crop of cephalopods – including the tortoise Mitch McConnell nor Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan – who is showing any ability to step up and tell this administration “Enough,” as Flake lamely did in his Senate speech, especially elected officials like this.

It is time that someone – hell, a massive number of someones – assumed the role of an adult in the Republican Party as a whole and Congress for a start and looked to change things. There is something that Flake said that was spot on: “Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership…Regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.” It is time that the “adults” in the GOP revolt against the odiferous emanations that emit from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue like rancid flesh at a slaughterhouse. Or is it already too late for the party to be saved from the transformation into a fascist organization under the leadership of Bannon and his ilk?

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“TrumpCare” Is Dead – But We Should Fear What’s Next

Long ago in the States of America, Congress was a body that actually got some things done. They would battle it out on the floor of the House of Representatives or the Senate and, after discussing an issue thoroughly, would usually find some way to make it work for not only each party to save some face but for the people of the country to benefit from the decision. Unfortunately, with the polarization of the political process since the mid-1990s, that has become almost as unlikely as the sighting of Yeti on the Las Vegas Strip. Thus, the information rolling out of Washington D. C. on Monday night wasn’t surprising in the least.

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Late on Monday night, the Senate, and particularly Yertle the Turtle (AKA Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), finally came to the realization that what they had fought against for almost a decade was all for naught. For all their complaining about the Affordable Care Act (or “ObamaCare” for simpletons), for all their protestations, for all the literal ink and digital bits spilled on the subject, they had nothing to provide – not one iota of an idea – that would solve the issue regarding health insurance in this country. They weren’t the only ones, however.

Earlier this year, the House tackled the issue as one that they could bamboozle the people of the States of America out of benefits while handing a huge chunk of cash to the wealthy in the nation. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in his infinite wisdom and budget-wonkery, came up with a plan that “only” eliminated insurance from nearly 24 million people – the original “TrumpCare” or American Health Care Act (when the best you can come up with is only inserting one letter in the acronym, that probably should tell you that you’re going to have issues). It was only after pulling the bill off the table and rejiggering it (so that it only eliminated insurance for 23 million people) that the Freedom Caucus – those Tea Party bastards who didn’t think that the cuts hurt people enough nor go far enough to eliminate the ACA – came around and barely passed the bill through the House.

But McConnell would have none of that House BS. He decided he wanted to be the one to take responsibility for the AHCA with his own creation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. As such, he and a group of men – that’s right, despite health insurance having to cover women, not one woman was asked to be on the panel – wrote up a new bill that even other members of the GOP couldn’t see. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul even went on a hunt through DC attempting to find the group penning the piece of garbage that McConnell wanted to spin off, finally stopping when he couldn’t even find where they were writing it.

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McConnell proved to be about as flaccid on the issue as Ryan had been, unable to even draw in enough of his OWN PARTY to get the bill to the point of discussion on the floor of the Senate. Maine Senator Susan Collins protested over the cuts to Medicaid and the removal of protections for women (especially through Planned Parenthood); Paul stood against it because it was “ObamaCare-lite.” Then came the stunner:  Nevada Senator Dean Heller, facing reelection this fall and an angry electorate, said he wouldn’t vote for the bill due to the Medicaid cuts. After Utah Senator Mike Lee (like Paul, concerned that the new bill didn’t do enough to kill people) and Kansas Senator Jerry Moran (ditto) got on the “no” side – and with Arizona Senator John “Sorry I started this crap with nominating Palin” McCain out of action following a serious blood clot surgery – McConnell’s efforts to eliminate health insurance for millions went out the window.

With the failure of the Senate to even bring something to the table for discussion, we can honestly say that “TrumpCare” is done and that “ObamaCare” is still the law of the land. The Democrats shouldn’t be celebrating, however, as what comes next may be much worse than what they thought a “repeal and replace” would look like.

Orange Foolius himself, who during the Presidential campaign said that “repeal and replace” was a mandatory action to take, is now so desperate for something to hang his sorry excuse for election on that he wants to see the Congress simply repeal the ACA. This is an impossibility. Such a repeal has absolutely no chance in either body of Congress because they have constituents that they somewhat must listen to, and “starting from scratch” will have absolutely no support from the Democrats. The scary part of the possibilities is that the GOP and the conservatives – who claim to be “Christians” even though they go against every tenet that the Bible set out – now will gut the ACA further, leading to more misery for the people.

Believe it or not, conservatives, but the ACA is neither collapsing, imploding, or failing. In April, Gallup found that most of the citizens of this country – 55% – were supportive of the ACA. Since 2014, there had been a slow and steady improvement in the ACA, according to such “pinko” organizations as the Kaiser Family Foundation, Standard & Poor’s and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. So why do there appear to be problems now? Because the conservative SOBs have cut off funding for the ACA.

Republicans weakened the market because they repealed provisions that were supposed to aid in supporting the market, such as the fine for those who didn’t have coverage or the taxes on medical devices and “Cadillac” insurance programs that would have kept them stable (not very good ideas, but we’ll get to that in a minute). In not fully funding the program, the GOP has tried to guarantee that the ACA will fail.

Now what do we look forward to?

The good side would be the realization by everyone in the GOP – from the dogcatcher in Podunk, AK to the cretin who sits in the most powerful seat in the world using his dinky digits to plunk out missives to a mass of followers that cannot comprehend anything beyond 140 characters – that it is time to work with their loyal opposition on a deal that BOTH can live with. The ACA was entirely based on the plan that former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney used (well) in that state. It was only after Barack Obama latched onto the idea that many in the GOP went against something they had been working on since the Nixon administration, something that was a theme throughout the eight years Obama was President.

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The Dems got to give up some of the taxation on the “Cadillac” plans, for example. These plans, which in some cases give the wealthy the opportunity to have a doctor on call 24/7, were hard earned through their labors and shouldn’t be punished in the slightest. The GOP would have to give up the notion that health insurance is a business that the “free market” should determine all aspects of medical issues; in this case, it should be determined by the government so that it is fair for all. There are many other areas, but the essential point in this scenario is that the buffoons who occupy the halls of power in this country should work together instead of continually damaging the country with their polarization.

The bad side? Orange Foolius gets his entire repeal (which isn’t going to happen due to the fact that 1) it would take 60 votes to push any legislation through the Senate, and 2) that the GOP doesn’t want to be responsible for killing Granny) and everything goes to Hell. The repeal of the ACA would cast the entirety of the health insurance system into chaos, send shockwaves through Wall Street and send medical costs skyrocketing. Most importantly, however, it would devastate families who would have coverage ripped away, families that for the first time were able to visit a doctor for care rather than the Emergency Room.

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The people of this country must get used to the idea that they look after their fellow man also. For those who grouse about the “increase in taxes” for the ACA, well…there’s always the increase in your own insurance costs for paying for those Emergency Room visits for a cold. Then there’s the factor that it is inherent in the human condition to help those less fortunate than you, not “I got mine…screw you.”

There’s plenty of growing up that needs to be done across the board. The two ruling parties need to fix something rather than destroy it. The people of the States of America better back up their talk about being a “Christian” nation, otherwise the hypocrisy is ripe. But the problem that we face is, now that “TrumpCare” is dead and the ACA is not being funded by the GOP, what is going to happen in the future, working together or trashing the country?

Rather Than Destroy Obama’s Signature Legislation, Fix It

While much of the world has been casting their eyes towards Orange Foolius and the latest adventures of his Confederacy of Dunces, the Congress has tried to inch forward quietly with legislation that would hammer virtually everyone in the States of America who earns less than $1 million a year. You don’t believe me? Let’s look at the ledger, shall we?

When looking at the current Administration or the GOP-led majorities in Congress, we’ve seen desperate attempts to either destroy the legacy of Orange’s predecessor, Barack Obama, or simply the cruelty of the GOP looking to enact their draconian ideas. Of most importance has been what many call the signature legislation of the Obama Administration, the Affordable Care Act (or “ObamaCare” to simpletons), which allowed for millions to have insurance they previously didn’t have before and others to have arguably better insurance. This has been one comedy of errors after another since the GOP has tried to run the ball.

First were the attempts by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to gather his cats (fellow GOP members of the House of Representatives) and push a bill that, instead of helping people, would have cast 24 million people out of health insurance (and let’s make a BIG distinction here…we are talking health insurance, not health care…they are two different things, one paying for a product and the other the product provided, which is pretty good because of the quality doctors we have in this country). In their infinite wisdom, Ryan and his gaggle of GOP gangsters would have made sure that any money saved from the changes (approximately $337 billion over 10 years) went to those who needed it most: wealthy millionaires who didn’t need the extra money.

That attempt initially failed – and rather spectacularly – because there was a faction of the GOP, the House Freedom Caucus (about the most oxymoronic three words other than “little big man”), that felt the new legislation, known as the American Health Care Act, didn’t go far enough in eradicating the ACA. After getting over the embarrassment of not even being able to bring the legislation to the floor, Ryan twisted some arms and rejiggered some numbers a couple months later (“HEY! LOOK! We brought the uninsured down to 23 million!”) and was able to cajole enough people to pass the House version of the AHCA, to much fanfare at the White House and the public blessing of Orange Foolius.

That House bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, was DOA when it reached his chamber. The GOP Senators were going to “begin from nothing” and come up with their own piece of legislation, Yertle said, and it would look far different than what had been proposed by the House GOP. Even the Orange One seemed to be on board with McConnell’s efforts, remarking how the House version was “mean” and for the Senate to come up with “more money” to make it kinder. Instead, McConnell – ensconced in a secret location that even members of the GOP not working on the health insurance plan had no access to, let alone Democratic members of the Senate – looked into his cauldron and pulled out of the ooze…virtually the same plan that the House had put up, but with NEW rejiggered numbers that brought the uninsured count down to “only” 22 million people.

At this moment, the Senate health insurance plan is about as popular as a herpes-infested whorehouse. After the full CBO breakdown was revealed, GOP Senators like Dean Heller of Nevada, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky have said they cannot accept this bill (for differing reasons; Paul has said he doesn’t want “ObamaCare Light,” which is a fair argument at the minimum). This is critical because, in losing even three votes from his own GOP caucus, McConnell cannot move any legislation forward in a Senate broken down by a 52-48 margin.
While McConnell retreats into his shell to protect himself, here’s a suggestion: rather than destroy Obama’s signature legislation, how about looking for ways to fix it?

When it was enacted seven years ago (and seriously GOP…you couldn’t come up with anything over the term of the Obama Administration as a counter?), the ACA was an audacious stab at solving a complex problem that, in reality, is one that cannot fully be solved. Health insurance isn’t a requirement, like car insurance (which is also flouted by many, but I digress), and when people are initially forced into buying something – even if it helps them – there’s a great deal of reluctance. As time has passed, however, there are several areas of the ACA that have been tremendously good for people, such as the ability of those with pre-existing conditions to obtain affordable insurance and covering young people on a family’s plan up to the age of 26. Even with these good parts, however, it is obvious that there needed to be some tinkering with the ACA (such as having 80-year olds paying for pre-natal care – yes, I KNOW how insurance works…spreading the costs amongst a larger pool…but not everyone is that knowledgeable).

First off, instead of cutting funding off to the ACA and falsely saying “it’s collapsing” (as Orange Foolius is using his dinky digits to type out over Twitter), FUND THE DAMN THING. Let’s see what works and what doesn’t, what needs to be changed and what needs to be eliminated. It is only through complete funding (and, to be honest, the insurance companies need the stability to be able to set their costs) that the ACA can be fully and fairly judged.

Second, look at other options. I personally think – and have stated on many occasions – that it is time to enact “Medicaid for All.” Under this plan, the Medicaid program on the federal level would be expanded so EVERYONE has a base of insurance. Want to have a yearly checkup? You got it. How about a basic test for disease? No problem. Such a base of simple medical should NEVER be denied anyone simply because they can’t pay for it (and really – if you listen to the doctors – more serious conditions could be prevented if caught in basic medical care).

So, what about the insurance industry? Before you go weeping for them, we’ve got them covered. If people want to have “more” medical insurance – perhaps to cover Tiffany’s rhinoplasty or pay for Daddy’s Viagra so he can chase the secretary around the desk – then they can buy plans conceived by the insurance industry to cover a multitude of things. Businesses could use these expanded plans as a recruitment tool for bringing in prospective employees – people could factor those expanded insurance plans into their decisions as to where to work.

This solves many of the aspects of health insurance (remember, health care is already there and very good) that are under debate. People can take their base insurance Medicaid wherever they go, thus eliminating the issue of going across state borders and losing one’s insurance. If a person or a business wants or needs more coverage (for whatever reason), the insurance companies are there to give it. Costs? Without the crippling competition, medical costs would come down, although there would still have to be some work done on the pharmaceutical end of the spectrum (when you pay $2 for a pill in India and $800 for the same pill in the States, you’ve got a problem)…perhaps allow for LIMITED class act negotiation to get the best deals from pharmaceutical companies, either through the local Walgreens, an employer, or the government itself?

The Affordable Care Act does have its issues. But those issues need to be worked on, not discarded like a candy wrapper. Putting a new name on it doesn’t serve any purpose except to grandstand that “you repealed it” (hear that, GOP?). Fund the operation and see what needs to be fixed, don’t starve it and then claim it didn’t work. It’s time for some people to be adults about the issue and, since the toddler in the White House is unable to get about without messing his nappy, it’s high time Congress took the reins.