Monday, July 24, 2017

Insulin Has Been Available to Treat Diabetes for Almost 100 Years – It Should Be Inexpensive

But It’s Not – Because the U. S. Puts Drug Company Profits Ahead of Patient Health

Almost a century ago prescription Insulin was made available to treat diabetes.  And the people who discovered and patented the drug were pretty civic minded

When the drug was discovered in 1921, the original patent was sold to the University of Toronto for $1 so that no one else could patent it and “secure a profitable monopoly.”

So what has happened to change things?  Well new versions are now available and patented and the cost, well given the monopoly power of drug companies what do you expect?

Numerous improvements later, insulin is produced by a three-company oligopoly. When the first of the newer insulin “analogs,” Humalog, hit the market in 1996, it sold for $21 a vial. Today, vials of analog insulins, including Humalog, sell for about $300 . Patients with Type 1 diabetes typically require two or three vials of insulin per month, but patients who are more resistant to insulin, such as those with Type 2 diabetes, may require six or more.  

Well surely insurance and Medicaid and other types of protection exist.  Well, sort of, but a lot of complicated rules prevail to raise the costs.  The results according to the physician who authored the article, again what you would expect.

Because insulin is so expensive, some people take less than their prescribed dose, causing higher blood sugars, which may lead to preventable, very expensive complications such as kidney failure, blindness, amputation, heart attacks or even death.

Why can’t something be done?  Well in this nation we have profit making drug companies and nothing can interfere with their right to do so, not even patient lives.  Sooner or later America will have to make a decision, regulate drug prices and drug company profits or let people die.  Looking at the Republican health legislation we know which way they want to go.

Great News – Under Trump a 21 Year Old Can Get Health Insurance for $12.00 a Year

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

In a bizarre interview with the NYT on many topics, the incoherent and fact challenged President said this.

“You’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan,” Mr. Trump said. “Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’”

Wow, that is a deal.  We knew the Republican plan would lower premiums, expand coverage, reduce co-pays and deductibles but never dreamed it would only cost $12.00 a year.

That’s a plan we all can get together, not like that awful plan the Republicans in the Senate cooked up.

Are There Any Democrats Left to Talk About Policy?

Republicans Are Wrong – But At Least They Go Out and Argue for Their Programs

On Sunday the NBC program Meet the Press took a holiday so the network could televise The Open.  Over at CBS Face the Nation had four guests.  Three of them were Republican s and one was an obscure Democratic House member.  This was not bias on the part of CBS,  apparently there are not any major Democrats willing to go public.  Even Bernie Sanders who is not a Democrat took the day off.

While we have no idea of what Democrats were doing as opposed to actually campaigning for their policies, here’s is what we think may have happened.

Nancy Pelosi:  The former Speaker thinks appearing on TV is beneath her, that she has many much more important social activities and besides, she did a lot of work on health care in 2009 so that entitled her to take a decade or so off.

Chuck Schumer:  The Senate leader of the Democrats decided he could hide better than Ms. Pelosi, so we have no idea where he is or what he is doing.  He did emerge to appear on ABC and talk about policy initiatives which neither he nor anyone else will follow up on.

Tom Perez:  The DNC Chairman won the job based on his position that he would lead the party.  He apparently thinks that this does not involve making public presentations, appearing on talk shows, recruiting candidates or raising money.  One must assume he is currently in the midst of a 6 month vacation leading up to taking off several weeks during the November/December holiday season.

Joe Biden:  The former Senator and Vice President is doing what almost all pols do, earn money for themselves.  Biden is writing a book and planning a speaking tour to promote it.  He may be contemplating a Presidential run in 2020 but is wondering if he is old enough.

Tim Kaine:  the VP candidate in 2016 has decided he wants to be the quiet voice in the Senate.  He is working on maintaining his silence.

Democrats have adopted a position that all they need to do to win elections is run against Donnie Trump.  After all, that worked great in 2016.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kelli Ward – Today’s Worst Person in the World

Honoring Keith Olberman and Exposing a Nasty, Vicious Person

On his old TV show, the one he had before he talked himself off the air, brilliant commentator Keith Olberman had a feature he called the worst person in the world.  We are bringing that back because there are so many candidates.  Today’s winner(?) is Kelli Ward, who last we heard from fought and lost a primary challenge against Sen. John McCain. Now Ms. Ward wants Sen. McCain to go away from Washington, go home and die.

“I hope Sen. McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward,” Kelli Ward, who lost to McCain in last year’s Republican primary and is now running to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said Thursday during an interview with an Indiana radio station.

In a statement posted later on her website, Ward said McCain’s cancer is “both devastating and debilitating” and he “owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside” when he’s no longer able to perform his duties.

Of course, the reason for her position is straightforward, she wants to be appointed to his seat.

Asked if her name is getting “thrown in the hat” as a possible replacement, Ward said: “Well, you know, I certainly hope so. Because, you know, I have a proven track record from years in the state Senate of being extremely effective and of listening to the voice of the people that I represent.”

Sen. McCain has earned the right to do whatever he wants.  Ms. Ward has earned herself a ticket to Nowheresville.  Let’s hope she departs public life and slinks away to whatever place is so desperate for residents that they would have her.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Common Sense Starts to Prevail on Travel to North Korea – You Cannot Go There

Amazing That People Have to Be Prohibited From Visiting

An administration that seems to make mistakes hourly has come up with a policy they should have had on Day 1.  Americans will be forbidden to go to North Korea.

SEOUL—The U.S. government will ban its citizens from traveling to North Korea as tourists starting next month, according to two of the biggest travel companies that bring Western tourists to the isolated country.

Obviously most people don’t need to be told this.  But there is a group of people who think it is a good idea to (1) stick their hand in a garbage disposal, (2)  place a toaster in the tub with them, (3) try and slow down a chain saw by placing their fingers on the chain when it is running and (4)  tug on Superman’s cape.   Even conservatives would believe that government needs to protect these idiots  from their own folly.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sean Spicer - Today's Winner

Of the Happiest Man in Washington

A long vacation, a six figure contract to bloviate on Fox News, Home for dinner every night and he get's to sing "The Witch is Dead" everyday.

What Republicans Think of Health Care, What Junior Told Daddy

And Real News You Won’t Get Anywhere Else

The following is speculative, but that don’t mean it cannot be true.

  1. If Mitch McConnell, former boy genius, follows through on his threat to hold a vote on GOP repeal of ACA to make recalcitrants more vulnerable because of their opposition, he needs to think again.  Given the low popularity of the bill those opposing it will be heroes.

  1. It is almost certain that Junior Trump went running to Daddy Trump to tell him about his big coup in getting Russians to provide damaging info on Hillary.  And that is why Donnie went on to brag about big revelations about Hillary that were coming and then slink away when they didn’t.  Anyone who believes Trumpie didn’t know is busy buying that bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

  1. And anyone calling the soon-to-come Republican tax changes ‘reform’ probably says liver and onions is filet mignon with asparagus.

  1. Trump is reportedly mad about the collapse of the health care bill.  Just think how mad he would be if he actually knew what was in it.

  1. After saying that he would not own health care the President is expected to replace the sign in the Oval Office that says ‘The buck stops here’ with one that says “The buck don’t even come here’.

  1. Republicans need to raise the debt ceiling soon to avoid government defaulting on its obligations.  Watching Speaker Paul Ryan sweat and squirm on this one is expected to be must see TV.

  1. Democrats plan to spend the August recess searching for someone, anyone, who can actually go out and organize rallies.  Nancy Pelosi will say she would like to but she is having to go to dinner parties that month.

IRS Tries Private Debt Collectors – Again. Abuses Abound – Again

Refusing to Learn from Past Experiences

Debt collection firms use harsh and abusive practices.  They hire those so desperate for work that they have no hesitation to using false, unfair or just plain coercion to wring funds from people who just cannot pay (which is why they haven’t).  Twice before now the IRS has tried this, and this time it isn’t working any better than in the past.

The I.R.S. is owed about $138 billion, a sum that lawmakers are eager to reduce. To supplement the agency’s collection efforts, Congress ordered it to hire outside firms — an approach that was tried twice before, in 1996 and in 2006, and then abandoned because of cost overruns and concerns about abuses. Lawmakers hope the new program, which began this year, will yield better results; the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it could net $2.4 billion over the next 10 years.

So how is the program working?

The call scripts those agencies are using — obtained by a group of Democratic senators and reviewed by The New York Times — shed light on how the tax agency’s new fleet of private debt collectors extract payments from debtors. On Friday, those senators sent a letter to Pioneer, the I.R.S. and the Treasury Department accusing Pioneer of acting in “clear violation” of the tax code.

In particular, they object to Pioneer’s “extraordinarily dangerous” suggestion that debtors use 401(k) funds, home loans and credit cards to pay off their overdue taxes.

Now if the government wants to get more money the best thing it could do is hire more examiners and examine more tax returns from the wealthy.  But that would mean more government spending and despite the fact that each dollar spent on compliance returns many more dollars in tax revenue no conservatives want to go that route.  It makes too much sense.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Illinois Republican Governor – Mini Donnie – Can Stand Losing a Political Battle

Appears to Turn Mean and Angry

Illinois is a basket case, and an example of government failure.  Much of the blame can be put on Democrats who have controlled the state for much of the past, but Republicans share that blame with their having held the Governor’s office for a lot of that time.  In 2014 a conservative, combative rich guy won the governorship and vowed to shake things up, get everything right by attacking the unions, cutting taxes and imposing the conservative philosophy on everyone.  It did not go well and he is not popular.

The state has not had a budget for several years, and did not pay vendors to the tune of billions.  So finally the legislature had enough, and Republicans joined Democrats to pass a budget over the Governor’s veto.  The Governor, that spoiled rich guy has not taken it well.

CHICAGO — Bruce Rauner, the most vulnerable governor in the nation, is cleaning house in a radical office shake-up that has members of his own party fearing the blue-state Republican is making a hard move to the right.

Since Monday morning, the first-term governor has fired his chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and his spokesperson, among other aides. At the same time, he pushed through the demotion of a GOP state House legislative leader. In another sign of the turmoil gripping Springfield, state Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, who helped lead a grand bargain attempt to resolve the recent budget stalemate, resigned from office July 1.

And instead of trying to work with everyone, he is turning hard right and alienating everyone including his own party.

Rauner is replacing his staff by opening the doors of the governor’s office to an influential — and controversial — conservative think tank: the Illinois Policy Institute. He hired its president, Kristina Rasmussen, as his new chief of staff, and its vice president of policy, Michael Lucci, as a deputy chief. He’s also bringing on Laurel Patrick, a former spokesperson for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as his communications director, according to an internal office memo. More staffing changes are expected this week.

This think tank has a history, and not a particularly good one.

Privately, Republicans who have in the past allied with Rauner fear he’s straying from his personal principles and alienating lawmakers he needs by pairing up with a conservative group that’s out of step with many of their constituents. They blame the IPI for contributing to a toxic atmosphere on social media, so much so the institute issued a warning to its followers last week to keep the conversation civil.

It looks like an opportunity has been missed.  A constructive administration operating on a bi-partisan basis might have helped Illinois not become the poster child of ineffective governance.  But the ego of the man is not totally but large responsible for the mess.  Hmm, any parallels to Washington?

New York Times Comes Roaring Back From Second Place in Investigative Reporting to Take the Lead

Now Washington Post Must Step Up to the Plate and Regain the Lead

Years from now historians will look back on this year as a golden age of journalism.  The Washington Post and New York Times (and even once the Wall Street Journal) have been stellar in their reporting on the activities of the Trump administration and their calumny.  The Post had been in the lead, but by breaking the story on Fredo Trump and his brining Young Jared and Paul Manafort into a meeting with a well connected Russian the Times is now leading the pack.

This should worry the White House folks who are trying to bury the truth.  WaPo reporters are going to re-double their efforts, to the great benefit of the American people and to the horror of a corrupt and lying administration.  And the funny thing, Trump is an accomplice in his own problem.  He gave an interview to the Times that is making headline news.  And not in a good way.

Republican: Voters Sent Us to Washington to Repeal and Replace ACA ---Voters: The Hell We Did

Democracy in Inaction

One of the consistent Republican talking lying points on health care is that if they don’t vote to overturn ACA and replace it with some draconian measure they are going against the public that sent them to Washington to do just that.  But a Kaiser study shows just the opposite, an overwhelming number of voters don’t want ACA taken away and really don’t want the Republican plan.

·                           “The July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that most Americans (61 percent) continue to hold unfavorable views of the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including over four in ten (44 percent) who say they have “very unfavorable” view. The share of the public with negative views of the law has increased slightly in the past month, from 55 percent to 61 percent. Views of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the ACA continue to vary widely by party and a large intensity gap remains, with Democrats being nearly three times as likely to hold a “very unfavorable” view as Republicans are to hold a “very favorable” view (71 percent versus 25 percent, respectively).
·                           Nearly two-thirds of the public opposes (65 percent) major reductions in federal funding for Medicaid as part of a plan to repeal and replace the ACA, and most continue to oppose these reductions even after hearing arguments in support of them. About half of Republicans and those who approve of President Trump support major reductions in federal funding for Medicaid.”
Read ‘em and weep boys and girls of the GOP

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sen. Ron Johnson (R, Wi) Discovers GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is a Two Faced Liar

Apparently He Has Never Met His Party’s Leader

One of the more despicable tactics politicians use is to delay unpopular provisions of a bill and hope that they will not be blamed when the bad things happen.  In the case of the now brain dead health care bill Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky) went even further and said not to worry about the bad provisions.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), another Obamacare repeal skeptic, on Monday accused McConnell had committed a “breach of trust.”

The Wisconsin Republican was stunned to read in The Washington Post that McConnell was privately arguing that major reforms to Medicaid were so far in the distance that they would never take effect. Johnson said Monday that he’d confirmed through conversations with other senators that McConnell had made the remarks, which he said now puts a procedural vote on the bill in “jeopardy.”

“The reported comments from Leader McConnell before last Thursday about ‘don’t worry about these Medicaid changes, they won’t take effect,’ that’s troubling to me. I have talked to senators that basically confirmed that. I’ll see what Leader McConnell says tomorrow,” Johnson said on Monday evening. “From my standpoint, it’s a pretty serious breach of trust, those comments. I’m just troubled by those comments.”

Now anyone who has followed Sen. McConnell is all of this would not be surprised at his duplicity.  He drafted the bill in secret.  He refused to allow Democrats to be involved.  He ruled that there would be no public hearings.  And all of that was in direct contradiction to his stance when ACA was being debated.  And after saying he did not support repeal without replace, that he would not do that he is trying to do that.  So why Sen. Johnson thought McConnell would not sell him out is a mystery.    

Sorry Ron, when you lie down with snakes you are going to get bitten.    

The Concept of the Clean Coal Takes Another Hit

Clean Coal – See the Definition of Oxymoron

One of the many fables put out by Mitch McConnell and Donnie Trump was that the coal industry could be brought back to growth by using ‘clean coal technology to fuel power plants.  A technological disaster of epic proportions with regard to a ‘clean coal’ plant in Mississippi is putting one of the final nails in the concept.

A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co.spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all -- and instead just run like a natural gas generator.
After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant, now estimated to cost about $7.5 billion, fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity -- all while capturing emissions.
A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co.spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all -- and instead just run like a natural gas generator.
After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant, now estimated to cost about $7.5 billion, fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity -- all while capturing emissions.

Sorry folks, it just cannot happen, coal cannot be clean.  Reality bites.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Yes, Health Care in America Still Needs Massive Reform - But For Just One Days Let's Enjoy the Republican Fiasco

One Day of Joy in Six Months of Agony

It's not just failure of the Republican health care bill that took place in the last 24 hours, it was also the humiliation of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.  Trump held a dinner Monday night with key Republican Senators to get them on board, but he just happened to leave out two key Senators who spent the time they would have been at dinner crafting their statement dooming the Senate bill.

And then McConnell, who had previously said he would not support repeal and replace later then came out for repeal and replace later, only to be shot down immediately by three Senators who said no way, no how.

All of this is pure joy, the Washington Senators haven't been this bad since the baseball team of that name in the 1950's (Washington, first in war, first in  peace, last in the American league).

Why are these people smiling?  Well two out of three are, one just looks like a jerk.

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan sit at dinner together.

Another Lie of Republican Health Care Exposed - No One on Medicaid Will Lose It

Except for the Six Million Who Will

Darn Numbers, and imagine what it will look like with just a repeal of ACA as Republicans may now try to do.

The JAMA has the numbers on Republican version of health care.  They ain't pretty.

Medicaid by the Numbers

  • Number of beneficiaries in 2017a
    • Total, 77 million
    • Children, 34 million
    • Parents and childless adults, 27 million
    • Elderly (≥65 y), 6 million
    • Blind and disabled, 9 million
    • Pregnant women, 2 million birthsb
  • Projected number of beneficiaries in 2026 (ACA)c
    • Total, 86 million
    • Children, 35 million
    • Parents and childless adults, 32 million
    • Elderly (≥65 y), 8 million
    • Blind and disabled, 11 million
    • Pregnant women, NA
  • Projected number of beneficiaries in 2026 (proposed legislation)d
    • Total, 71 million

  • So what's the difference between the 77 million benefiting today and the 71 million in 2026 that would be covered if the Senate passes their bill. Six million you say. But not to worry, maybe some of those people will needlessly die, so they don't count.

Trump Deliberately and Personally Attacks the News Media and Its People

Now Critics Are Attacking the Victims

The news media is not always accurate.  It cannot be because there is a huge amount to cover and it has to be done quickly.  Size and speed lead to mistakes.  But in America, other than Fox News when the news media makes a mistake they correct it, and sometimes if it is so egregious they fire people.  They are held accountable.

The President attacks the media because like all would be tyrants and bullies and liars he knows that the truth is his greatest enemy.  So his attacks make news.  And now some are, incredibly, blaming the press.

“The media’s impulse, which is understandable, is to keep the focus on his threats to the press, and not to let them become normalized,” Pope wrote. “But we have reached the point at which the media response has become counterproductive and even beneficial to the president and his lackeys in the White House, who have turned the West Wing into a megaphone for Trump’s faux media war and reporters in the White House briefing room into photo-op foils.”

Wow, it’s like that mugging victim should be jailed for walking down the street and getting mugged.  The speaker above is a professor at an ivy league school.  Okay, that explains his confusion and errors.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Does Jared K. Have the Lamest Excuse Ever in the History of Lying

Can’t the Most Expensive Lawyers in the World Come Up With Something Better?

The big problem, well one of the many big problems in Juniorgate is that Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law and meathead is in the White House and was in the meeting with Junior.  But he conveniently and deliberately forgot and now had to amend his disclosure form.  But wait, he has an excuse.

According to Yahoo News, Mr Kushner’s legal team said that they sent in his SF-86 form for senior administration posts in January without mentioning any meetings with foreign government officials, because “a member of his staff had prematurely hit the ‘send’ button for the firm before [the form] was completed.”

And of course once they accidentally hit ‘send’ then it was too late to do anything but move one.  And if they ‘accidentally’ left off some incriminating info well in Trumpworld lying is a virtue so Jared gained some points with the big guy.

Trying to Be the Most Cruel People Ever – Trumpies Meet the Challenge

Arresting Parents for Trying to be With Their Children

It is hard to believe, hard to comprehend and hard to accept just how mean and cruel and inhumane people who are now in government can be.  But here is reality.

The Trump administration has begun a new tactic to crack down on illegal immigration, this time arresting undocumented parents suspected of having paid to have their children ushered into the country by smugglers.
When unaccompanied children are apprehended at the border — often after having been taken there by smugglers — immigration officials initiate cases for their deportation, a process that can take months or years. In the meantime, many of those children are placed with parents or relatives who crossed earlier to establish a foothold in the United States and earn money to send back home.
Until recently, those adults have not been priorities for arrest, even if they are in the country illegally.

Think about what this is saying.  Try to reunite your family, try to support your children, try to build up and increase family values, the government will throw you in jail. 

Can it get any worse?  Well yes, just wait.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Health Insurance Experts Say Sen. Cruz Plan is Unworkable in Any Form

Who You Gonna Believe?  Experts or a Political Hack

Republicans:  We'll Take the Hack

To be fair, Senator Ted Cruz (R, Tx) does have a pretty good resume.  Harvard Law, practice before the Supreme Court, Texas AG.  But nowhere, and we mean absolutely nowhere in that resume is any experience, knowledge, understanding, education or anything else regarding the concept of insurance.  He knows nothing on the topic.

But that has not stopped Cruz from proposing a radical plan to the Senate health care bill.  His plan would segment insurance, so people could buy the coverage they think they need.  The result is that the insurance market would collapse, or so the experts say.

On Friday evening, the insurance industry’s two main trade associations, America’s Health Insurance Plans and BlueCross BlueShield Association, sent a letter to the Senate voicing adamant opposition to the plan, which they say would create two distinct markets. The proposal “is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people currently enrolled in the individual market,” the groups wrote.

Notice the language, ‘unworkable in any form”.  No this is not Democrats, this is insurance organizations, in fact some of the leading insurance organizations.  Why do they care?  Because people like Ted Cruz will blame them for the monumental failure if this passes.

Here is a story from the times that shows what people will face.

Ned Scott, 34, who lives in Tucson, said the health plan he had before the Affordable Care Act left him with $40,000 to $50,000 in unpaid medical bills after he learned he had testicular cancer when he was in his late 20s.
“I thought it would cover things,” Mr. Scott said. But once he needed it, he learned the plan limited what it paid for outpatient care to $2,000 a year, and all of his treatment, from chemotherapy to CT scans, seemed to fall in that category.

But now we know why the Senate crafted the bill in secret and will not have hearings or much debate.  They would get the truth, and they can’t handle the truth.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Terrorist Organization is Firmly in Place at Airports – It’s Called United Airlines

The Latest in Their Campaign to Attack Passengers

Give a company a near monopoly and they will not act very nice or in the customer’s interest.  Case in point, United Airlines.  If one defines Terrorism as the process of changing people’s behavior by fear of attacks, United fits that bill.  Recently a woman traveling with her two year old bought both of them a ticket.  But the airline gave away the two year old’s seat and she didn’t complain.  Here’s why.

 “I was told if we refund you anything right now, we’re going to have to cancel the rest of your flight arrangements to Hawaii,” she told KITV.

She told Hawaii News Now that she considered protesting, but was scared to make a scene. “I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth being knocked out,” she said.

So the mother continued on with her flight, holding her two year old instead of having the child safely in a seat, which she apparently paid $1,000 for.  What did United do?

A United spokesman told The Post that the airline would compensate Yamauchi “as a goodwill gesture” and will work with employees to avoid a repeat of the mistake.
“We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience,” the spokesman wrote in a statement, although he did not answer questions about why the child was allowed to fly without a seat, and whether it was safe.
Meanwhile of course, the United campaign to make every last dime from its passengers continues.  Even if it means endangering a child and potentially violating safety standards. 

Republican Senators Collins and Paul Throw Fellow GOP Senator Heller Under a Gigantic Bus

Sorry Dean, You Are About to be History, and Not the Good Kind

The new Senate health care bill can afford to lose only two Republicans before it is declared brain dead.  So there are two ‘get out of jail free’ cards.  Immediately after the unveiling of the newest and greatest version Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine grabbed the two tickets.  So the next Senator who says he or she will vote no on the bill will be the one who scuttled repeal of ACA for the GOP.

There a several Senators who could step up to the plate and take strike three, but the most likely batter is Nevada Senator Dean Heller.  The popular Republican governor of the state has come out against the bill and Heller has said he is opposed.  But if he declares opposition he is the person who killed the Republican dream.  And in his state there are billionaires who are ready to kill his political career if he does not support the bill, and voters who are ready to kill his political career if he does.

The ideal situation for Heller would be for several other Senator to join him in rejecting the health care law proposed by Mitch McConnell.  But Heller may not be smart enough to realize this, or those other Senators may be too smart to join the suicide squad Heller would like to form.  So, so long Dean, hope you are enjoying your one and only term in  what used to be the world’s greatest deliberative body and is now just another fetid swamp in Washington.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Remember When Trumpie Called the Iran Nuclear Deal the Worst Ever (Except for all the Other Deals He Called the Worst Ever)

Now He Will Certify Iran is in Compliance


Real issue are being lost in the Juniorgate scandal consuming Washington at this time.  One of them is the Iranian nuclear deal that Trump promised to tear up on day 1.  Well like all of his other promises, this one is blowing in the wind. 

The Trump administration, delaying an anticipated confrontation with Iran until the completion of a long-awaited policy review, plans to recertify Tehran’s compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

The recertification, due Monday to Congress, follows a heated internal debate between those who want to crack down on Iran now — including some White House officials and lawmakers — and Cabinet officials who are “managing other constituencies” such as European allies, and Russia and China, which signed and support the agreement, one senior U.S. official said.
As for the future, well, once Trump has lost every single friend America has, then he will be free to act as he wanted to, maybe, well sort of, well you know

The Political Hack Second In Line for the Presidency

From Taegan Goddard and other sites

Insurance Insanity – The Coming Senate Health Care Plan That Will Bankrupt Families

Conservatives Will Get Their Greatest Wish – Pain and Suffering For the Low and Middle Income Folks
In the new version of the Senate health care bill is what will be called the Cruz Plan, named after Texas Senator Ted Cruz but will really be the Cruel Plan.  Briefly, the Cruel Plan will allow insurance companies to offer policies with restricted coverage as long as they offer one policy with all of the Essential Health Care Benefits, that is, the policy everyone needs.

What will  happen is that the full benefit policy will be prohibitively expensive so no one will have full coverage.  The restricted policies, Zombie Policies will be insurance but with coverage so restricted, deductibles and co-pays so high that they will not be insurance at all.  They will be paid for, in many cases in full by the tax credits, so they will be free.  Free of cost and free of benefits.

The result will be a massive lack of coverage for the people who need it the most.  Visits to their doctors will be shocking as they learn they are not covered for what ails them.  Credit card debt for medical treatment will skyrocket and lead to bankruptcies, with the bankrupt suddenly learning that they cannot discharge their credit card debt in bankruptcy.  It will be a conservative dream come true.,

The defense of this policy will be that once individuals have to pay for most of their health care they will lead healthy lives and shop for the best price.  See, in the mind of conservatives people choose to have birth defects, they select cancer, they welcome heart problems and they actively seek to be diabetic because they are covered.  They choose unneeded testing and undergo procedures purely for the joy of waiting hours in an medical office and being subjected to humiliating explorations of their bodies. 

Conservatives also believe that medical care is subject to shopping.  While riding in the ambulance to the ER they could explore the best and cheapest options instead of just lying there and being taken to where the medics think they get the best treatment.

Ultimately these Zombie policies will make their way over to the employer group plans, and for full coverage employees will pay more, a lot more.  Of course with the employer mandate gone many if not most small firms will give up group coverage altogether, putting millions into the Zombie policies for individuals.  And the great thing for conservatives, health care costs will go up substantially, meaning even more of a burden on employers, individuals and everyone except the millionaires. 

What a great plan!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why Medical Providers and Patient Advocacy Groups Are Against The Republican Plan to Gut Health Care

Current Law Saves Lives and Saves Money

Conservative ideology cannot be challenged according to conservatives.  If they believe something is true it is true no matter what the facts and logic against it.  So if they believe Obamacare is a disaster it must be a disaster.  But if it is a disaster why are medical people and organizations like the American Heart Association fighting so valiantly to keep.  The WaPo tells why.

First of all by expanding insurance coverage it sharply reduced the free care that hospitals had to give to anyone showing up at the ER.

Hospitals who gave up some federal payments under the ACA in exchange for the promise of more insured patients have made a particularly impassioned case against the measure. Strange noted that Arizona froze Medicaid enrollment in 2009 and expanded the program at the end of 2013. The hospital’s bill for bad debt and charity care dropped from $25.9 million in 2014 to $8 million in 2016: even though it paid $11.1 million to help pay for Medicaid expansion last year, it still ended up ahead.

But money is not the major thing.  Health is.

In contrast to the original fight to pass the ACA, the coalition of organizations pushing to preserve the law are broader than they were in the past. “Protect Patients First” encompasses most of the nation’s most influential provider and disease advocacy groups: AARP, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Federation of American Hospitals, March of Dimes and American Nurses Association.

And what is going on?  Well here is the American Heart Association story.

Sue Nelson, vice president for federal advocacy at the American Heart Association, said the fact that more Americans are insured now has added an urgency to groups’ efforts compared with the pre-ACA days.
“We also have so much more to lose now,” Nelson said, citing a recent finding that the incidence of cardiac arrest significantly declined among middle-aged adults who got covered after the law’s passage.

For those who don’t know, cardiac arrest is a bad thing.  Your heart stops.  This is a bad thing.  You die.  Even Republican Senators know that is a bad thing.

So when it comes to health care policy, who you gonna trust?  A political hack or those groups mentioned above.  It ain't brain surgery to answer that.

The Democratic Party Is Near Bankrupt with Respect to Policy Spokespersons

Depending On a 70+ Year Old Who is Not Even a Democrat

The Sunday morning political talk shows are important not because of large viewership but because what is said makes news.  So it is important that Democrats participate.  Only Dems don’t know this.  From the WaPo.

Still, opponents of the health-care bill were far more visible than its supporters. The pro-Trump organization America First Policies floated then abandoned a plan to organize pro-BCRA rallies. While no prominent Senate Democrats appeared on Sunday’s talk shows, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spent the day rallying voters in West Virginia and Kentucky against the bill.

Optimism is strong with the Democratic party, but if you can't find a single person to go on the Sunday shows and if Sen. Sanders is all you got Dems, you better revise your expectations downward.

Donald Trump Thought He Needed Ivanka to Save His Seat When He Had to Go Weewee at the G20 Summit

It Just Gets Stranger and Stranger

When Donald Trump got up from  his chair at the G20 Summit, presumably to take a bathroom break he wanted to find someone to hold the seat.  Apparently thinking that when he came back he would find the chair gone, or some lesser body sitting in it he asked his daughter to sit there and participate in the Summit.

President Donald Trump said he asked his daughter Ivanka to take his seat at a G-20 Summit working session and her participation was "very standard."
"When I left Conference Room for short meetings with Japan and other countries, I asked Ivanka to hold seat. Very standard. Angela M agrees!," Trump tweeted.
Typically, a government minister would stand in for a head of state if they were unable to attend such an event, according to the Washington Post.

Uh Donnie, see a world summit is not like what you are used to, you know, going to the All You Can Eat Buffet at KFC and finding it so crowded that you need your daughter to keep the seat for you.  At the summit they would have let you come back in and sit, at least we think so.

But we do understand your choice of Ivanka.  We know you wanted the least qualified person available and obviously Jared was not around.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trump War Against the Press to Accelerate

But There is One Problem With It

The Washington Post is reporting the reaction in the White House is to step up their attempts to discredit the messenger and turn America against free and unbiased reporting.  But the story has a telling clue as to why it will not work.

But one outside adviser said a campaign against the press when it comes to Trump Jr.’s meeting could be futile: “The meeting happened. It’s tough to go to war with the facts.”

Warring against facts, just another day in Trump world.

Trump’s Promise to Settle the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – FAILURE

New Israeli Settlements Belie Attempts by Boy Wonder Jared Kushner to Reach a Resolution

Donald Trump put his best man in the Middle East to solve the conflicts, his son-in-law.  Never mind that Jared had no international experience, no knowledge of the intricacies of the conflict and no personal relationship with any of the players.  Trump is the master deal make so surely his daughter’s husband with his extensive experience in New York area real estate deals could deal with the simple matter of the Arab/Israeli dispute.

Well now look at what’s happening.  Israel is building massive new settlements in captured territory.

Called “Amichai,” a contraction of the Hebrew for “Amona is alive,” this is the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank fully approved by the Israeli government in 25 years.
It is located in the heart of the occupied West Bank, closer to Jordan than the Mediterranean Sea, on land that Palestinians want for an independent nation. 

As for Jared, well he made a one day trip to the area, got a bad reception and came home to deal with his own personal problems with his real estate ventures that are in financial difficulty, his potential criminal liability in various campaign actions and now the fact that he tried to extort favorable coverage from Morning Joe by trading an endorsement of Trump for spiking a story in the National Enquirer.  Nice going Jared.

Further Proof (None Needed) That Republicans Don't Care What is in Health Care Bill

"N. C. Senator Will Support Anything

One of the myths in the health are debate is that Republicans actually care about health care.  They don't.  They are driven by hate, hate of Obama and hate of the Obama health care reform.  They don't care what they do as long as they can say they repealed ACA.

Need evidence?  Here is what Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina is saying.

"As Senate Republicans look for ways to increase support for their stalled health care bill, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis is willing to go along with a number of changes in the interest of getting it passed.
That could include a proposal to keep the Affordable Care Act’s investment tax to generate more revenue for Medicaid in the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act.
“I’m supportive of anything right now to get to 51 votes,” Tillis said when asked Thursday about keeping the tax."

Gosh, these people have so little principles that they don't even care if people know they have no principles.

People Are Not Being Nice to Speaker Paul Ryan

So He Won't Play With Them Anymore

From Taegan Goddard we have the report that when House Speaker Paul Ryan finds out that a few folks don't like him, which he kinda shoulda expected since he wants to take health insurance away from tens of millions and use the savings to give huge tax reductions to millionaires he runs and hides.  Don't expect to see Ryan mentioned if anyone looks up the term "courage of his convictions".

"Ryan Says He’s Done with Town Hall Events

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told CBS News that he will no longer hold public town halls.
Said Ryan: “I don’t want to have a situation where we just have a screaming fest, a shouting fest, where people are being bused in from out of the district to get on TV because they’re yelling at somebody.”
Political WireInstead, Ryan said he would use “new and creative” methods of having a civil dialogue with constituents."

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ivanka Trump Sits in For Daddy at G 20 Summit

And Does Not Make Things Worse!

Since the real news is so depressing here is news of things that didn’t happen, but could have.

  1. “I know nothing about no foreign policy” Ivanka Trump took over her father’s seat at the G 20 Summit for a little while.  Of the 19 other participants, 12 didn’t notice that she had any more knowledge than her father,  5 thought she was a comedian and part of the entertainment and 2 didn’t notice because they were wrapped up in substantive issues.

  1. Republican Senators are reported to be furious that constituents want them to vote the way the people desire rather than take direction from House Speaker Paul Ryan on a health care plan.  Having to answer to the voters is new to most GOP Senators and almost all of them said they had no idea that what voters want actually means something.

  1. It has been reported but not confirmed that Trump supporters from West Virginia were flown to Poland to clap for Donnie during his speech.  “Where else were we going to get people who didn’t throw rotten tomatoes at the President” spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said.

  1. At the beginning of their talks Vald the Putin told Trump he was a great man and that the reason Russia did not interfere in the election is that a great man like Trump didn’t need help.  After that Trump told Putin, whatever you say, goes, and can you give me pointers on how to jail journalists.

  1. Democrats are reported to be revising their guidelines for selecting candidates and may require those seeking a nomination from the Party to actually know something about politics, government or policy.

  1. For the first time since 2012 an actual reporter actually attended a Nancy Pelosi news conference.  The joy in the former Speaker’s office was muted when it was leaned the reporter was actually looking for the bathroom.

  1. Republicans are studying whether or not they can repeal the health care taxes on the very wealthy twice, and so tell the Koch Brothers that they delivered 200% on their pledge to protect billionaires from supporting things like national defense, health care and anti-poverty programs.

  1. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi was initially thrilled when a voter approached her in a restaurant and gushed about how much he admired her work.  The joy subsided when it was learned that the voter thought Ms. Pelosi was the star of That Girl on tv and later played somebody’s mother on Friends.

  1. Trump apparently told members of the G 20 at their summit that with every new dollar they spend on defense they would get a 1% discount on the initiation fee at a Trump golf club. 

Holier Than Thou Hobby Lobby Illegally Acquired Artifacts

But They Thought It Was Okay Because They are Devout and Pious

The Hobby Lobby company is famous for wanting to control their employees private sex lives and for getting Supreme Court decision to allow them to do so.  They also bought a large number of religious artifacts, illegally as it turns out.

Prosecutors said in the complaint that Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical Christian owners have long maintained an interest in the biblical Middle East, began in 2009 to assemble a collection of cultural artifacts from the Fertile Crescent. The company went so far as to send its president and an antiquities consultant to the United Arab Emirates to inspect a large number of rare cuneiform tablets — traditional clay slabs with wedge-shaped writing that originated in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.
In 2010, as a deal for the tablets was being struck, an expert on cultural property law who had been hired by Hobby Lobby warned company executives that the artifacts might have been looted from historical sites in Iraq, and that a failing to determine their heritage could break the law.
And having been caught, they had a ready excuse.

Mr. Green said that Hobby Lobby’s collection of historical Bibles and artifacts like the tablets was “consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible.” He added that the company had planned to display the items it bought in various museums and public institutions.
As for the smuggling allegations, Mr. Green said in the statement that Hobby Lobby was “new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process.” He added that “regrettable mistakes” were made and that he should have “exercised more oversight.”

Our Bible says ‘thou shall not steal” but maybe Hobby Lobby has a Bible that says it’s okay if you are religious.  Like it’s okay if you are religious to keep family planning services away from  your employees just because you the employer don’t believe they are moral.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Conservative Columnist Bret Stephens Goes from WSJ to NYT and – Leaves Radical World and Goes Completely Into Fantasyland

Solution to Korean Crisis – Not Just Nutty, Peanut Butter Nutty

The New York Times in a failing effort to find a rational conservative for its editorial pages chose former WSJ radical Bret Stephens to grace its opinion pages.  Apparently they found him in the nuthouse.  Stephens touts his option for dealing with a nuclear threat from North Korea this way.

The right answer is that we want the Kim regime out of North Korea. It isn’t the nukes that ought mainly to worry us. It’s the hands that hold them.
Critics of a regime-change strategy note that the only way it could be brought about — short of war, coup or uprising — is with China’s acquiescence. Beijing could end the flow of diesel and gas to Pyongyang, invite Kim for a parley, and permanently ensconce him in the guesthouse that once housed Cambodia’s deposed Prince Sihanouk. Instead, Beijing prefers to maintain the North as a buffer state, a diplomatic bargaining chip and a tool for indirectly threatening the United States.
. . .
 Washington can recognize a North Korean state, even a nuclear one, provided the Kim dynasty doesn’t control it. Beijing should recognize that its interests are best served with Kim gone and North Korea intact, stable and under control.

Yes this apparently is not a joke and you are reading it correctly.  Stephens wants China to kidnap the North Korean leader, imprison him and then, miraculously a new regime takes over which can have all the nukes they want.

Now the U. S. has a history with regime change.  In the 1950's America effected the overthrow of the elected government of Iran and replaced it with a despot, the Shah.   Iranian relations and problems can be traced to that stupid mistake.  In the 1960's part of the strategy was regime change in South Vietnam.  That was a disaster.  Overthrowing Noriega in Panama did not do much harm, but regime change in Iraq was, well, we all know how that worked out.

Even worse, the North Koreans may regard publications like the Times as official government news, since they have no experience with the Freedom of Press thing.  So they might interpret the Stephens piece as an official recommendation, or at least something the Administration is considering.  If they do think this, that the American government is working to overthrow them, it will make them much more difficult to work with and give them a reason to provoke the U. S. into a confrontation.  

Mr. Stephens can and should be able to write whatever he wants.  But shouldn’t sanity, intelligence and restraint be a requirement to publish opinion in the Times?