Democrats…Don’t listen to Joe…Scarborough…about Healthcare, that is

Ed – Because this is “A Tale of Two Joes” I want to clarify up front, so there’s no confusion, that when I refer to “Joe” I am refereeing to Joe Scarborough. And Joe Biden is “Biden”. I think that covers it. Now on with the show…

I watch some Morning Joe in the morning…which, as far as I’m concerned, is the correct time of day to do it. I started watching around the time of our last presidential election.

I like the show…the regulars. Even if it is hosted by a recovering Republican “New Federalist” ( I guess he saw the light). But if I’m being honest, it often bores me. I’ll give you an example. Election Polls. When they talk about those polls…which is often the opening block of the show…they can go on and on and on…I know it’s a springboard to discuss the field of candidates (so they can tell us that Biden is best), but, CHRIST, it can be a mind numbing trek getting there.

I’ll save you some time…Trump has 45% of the country behind him (easy to remember…as he’s the 45th president)…if the number changes let me know…It’s like the SoCal weather report.

So it isn’t a great show…but it was a good place to go to heal when America stepped off the cliff in 2016…when we, via the Republican Party, elected a lying, crooked, incompetent, ignorant, White Nationalist, demagogue, narcissist, propagandist with “Russian ties” as our President.

From the start, Joe and his crew were, quite rightly, fronting a sort of soft “resistance”. You knew this was a news commentary show where you would get the deets on the latest distraction, scandal or tragedy, and not have to be bothered with any right wing propaganda talking points in an attempt to appear “balanced” or “unbiased”.

This “balanced” approach is what has kept me from watching CNN. I remember in 2016/2017 trying to watch Anderson Cooper’s “balanced” panels. And I would just think, “Why am I listening to Trump surrogate disinformation?” I love Anderson. And he would challenge the BS, but he was just too respectful and measured…so I stopped tuning over.

Anyway…Joe has been annoying me lately. BIG TIME. And it’s getting worse. To the point where I’m probably going to have to bail on his show (Sorry, Willie). I get it; In his mind he has picked Biden as the “Trump-Buster”…so he’s going to shill and distort for Biden.

I’m for Elizabeth Warren. I’m not anti-Biden, but I’m for Warren…so I don’t really want to hear Warren’s policy positions being misrepresented by a guy who rode into town with Newt Gingrich back in the 90s (Joe…never forget you are on lifetime probation for that).

The battlefield Joe is choosing to rhetorically soften Biden’s opponents up on is the Healthcare debate. This is what he picked (don’t ask me why). He claims it’s foolish for Warren, or anyone, to follow Bernie Sanders’ call to create National Health Service for America.

Universal healthcare is one of Sanders’ big things. He called his bill for it “Medicare for All”. But it’s not based on the American Medicare system. The name is just a branding thing because “Medicare” is popular. It is in fact a single-payer plan.

If implemented we might come to call it the “Public Healthcare System”…kind of like your friendly Public School System. Or, if you want to make it really scary, call it “Socialized Medicine” [Horror movie jump scare sting]. BRING OUT THE DEATH PANELS!!! (The Death Panelists, BTW, also have a second job…they will also make the compulsory creepy-male-gynecologist assignments.)

No joke, single-payer is an ambitious vision for the future of American healthcare and would require radical changes to a huge and ever expanding part of our economy (Somewhere around 20% of our current GDP as it stands. That’s a lot of cheese). The entrenched, monolithic forces allied against this change (be they good or evil…mainly evil) would be insurmountable. As they were against Obama and his Affordable Care Act (ACA)…but wait, maybe “insurmountable” isn’t the word…because Obama did manage to move the ball.

And, yes, it cost him greatly. On the difficulty chart, reforming the American healthcare system is tantamount to a mainland invasion of China. Obama pissed away a huge amount (maybe all) of his “Yes We Can!” political capital bringing us the ACA and its ending of the great “preexisting conditions” FRAUD…It cost him, but he did do it.

It was a sacrifice he, his administration and his party made for you and me. In just about every way you can imagine, he was hobbled and lame-ducked on the back of that sacrifice…but it was a “step”. He pushed back the immovable object that is the healthcare industry, if ever so slightly.

And oh how the Republicans cried and swore to “repeal and replace” the ACA for YEARS. And SIX YEARS later, when they finally had the presidency, both houses of congress and the power to actually “repeal and replace” the ACA…Guess what? They somehow FORGOT to come up with a suitable replacement in those six years…WHAT? WOOPS! So, yeah, that happened. And then they said, “Well…I guess we’ll just repeal it then.” But by some miracle, John McCain stopped that…then died…and then the Republicans just sort of moved on and soon lost the house in the next election…So we still have the ACA…I swear, you can’t write this shit.

I know, as a Warren supporter, that Health Care reform is not really her big thing like it is for Sanders. Just look at Warren’s campaign website. It literally is not addressed there. As a woman with a plan for everything, you’d think you would find a position paper on it there…somewhere, amongst a looot of papers…somewhere…but you’d be wrong. Maybe she has a plan for writing it. I don’t know.

But even without a position paper, it is understood that Warren would protect and expand the ACA. Furthermore, when asked, she has stated she’s for single-payer. She is a co-sponsor of Sanders’ Medicare for All bill. So she is in…just not deep enough to put it up on her website…yet.

Biden, on the other hand, is also for protecting, expanding and improving the ACA. He is, however, not for a single-payer plan…so there we disagree, but I understand Biden’s desire to stay away from that proverbial invasion of mainland of China. After all, he was right on the front lines when Obama got neutered back in the day. Once bitten, twice shy. A totally sensible position.

But there is a difference. And it is a big difference that matters to me. It’s a moral issue for me.

I believe American citizens should have access to routine preemptive care, reproductive health care, medically necessary surgery, treatments and medications, without financial penalty, as a right.

“So how do you fund that?” Funding would come from a new National Health Service tax which will pay out for services rendered at negotiated rates. Now you’re not paying an insurance company, you’re paying the government, who will be accountable to you, instead of shareholders and “milkers”. If the rates get set right, and we corral Big Pharma, we’ll be paying less than we do now…Sorry, GDP.

And so this difference in position, among other things, is why I prefer Warren to Biden. Even if she isn’t currently putting herself out strongly on that specific issue.

It is at this point that I will address concerns, very justifiable concerns, over the concept of handing over a fifth of the economy, funded via a big, ugly tax mandate, to a big, ugly Federal bureaucracy.

If not set up correctly, if not managed responsibly, it will become a nightmare. Replacing one problem with another, worse problem.

For a troubled model of a American healthcare bureaucracy, we need look no further than  the VA scandals just in this last decade, with their outdated medical records systems and long wait times for access to care costing lives…let’s face it, it doesn’t really help me make my case that a single-payer bureaucracy funding your healthcare is better.

One positive thing you can say about a voluntary, free market insurance based system is that failed companies can be replaced with new companies and innovation in a free market. This sort of churn, or ‘crop rotation’, is hard to foster or create in a bureaucratic system…no one wants an underfunded-DMV-like hospital experience.

I can see the insurance industry lobby attack ads now. We start on a cold, grey, Soviet-era-style hospital building. Cut to a dirty, chaotic, overfilled waiting area that goes on for a mile. Cut to a dim, dingy multi-patient room with cement block walls and no windows, lit by a single flickering bulb hanging on a wire. We see tortured patients, weak and writhing on lined up stainless steel hospital beds that look more like mortician slabs. A doctor enters in a dirty lab coat, mask on; a cold, dead expression in his lifeless eyes. He clumsily reaches for a rusty scalpel on a tray of implements right out of an Eli Roth film. You see the doctor’s dark form silhouetted in the harsh light of the naked bulb. He raises the knife up above his head. Cut to black….and then these words…“Socialized Medicine…Do you really think it can work?…TRUMP 2020”

I understand the argument. I’m not naive. I comprehend the risks and challenges inherent in creating a National Health Service. Particularly in an America that is in the midst of a culture war…where we can’t even have a productive discussion on climate change. But I will not let fear be my guiding principle. I will not give up on the idea of free universal healthcare coverage for all citizens, regardless of wealth or employment status. The current insurance model, even with a public option, will not get us there. So we need to move to a system that will…like the one they have in England, Canada, Australia…and some 60 or so other countries according to Wikipedia.

So I’m for single-payer, making the case for it and doing the hard work to make it a success in implementation.

Okay, so now I’ll get back to how Joe is annoying me…daily.

Here’s what he’s doing:

  1. He has painted candidates who support the single-payer plan as criticizing or attacking Obama, Obama’s legacy and/or the ACA.
  2. He has taken the position that the single-payer plan is an impossible, naive dream, or worse a lie…often comparing it to Trump’s “Great”/“Best” Healthcare plan (a plan that we all know doesn’t actually exist).

His first point, that advocating for single-payer is somehow anti-Obama or anti-ACA is just flat out ridiculous. Every one of the candidates knows Obama crucified himself to make the ACA happen, and that it was an improvement over what it replaced…a flawed but workable solution. Obama knew he could only take things so far. He chose his battles. He executed on a plan and he got something done. For instance, ending “preexisting conditions”. Not for himself, but for millions of suffering Americans. Every one of those Democratic candidates knows and respects that. SO PLEASE, Joe, get off that point. It is a misrepresentation of the facts. THEY JUST WANT TO TAKE WHAT OBAMA STARTED FURTHER…you know? Based on their plans or ideas…Just like any progressive candidate running for president should.

But it’s that second point, his constant assertion that single-payer is an impossible Trumpian lie. That BS has me turning on Joe, “BIGLY”.

When I hear him spilling that BS, I could swear to God I’m listening to a medical insurance industry lobbyist.

Single-payer isn’t a lie. It has nothing to do with Trump. And it isn’t impossible. It is a “vision”. It is a vision for the future of healthcare in America modeled on systems we see in place and functioning well in other countries. Other counties where they seem to (surprise, surprise) have more control over their per capita health care costs (…passing those savings on to you, the common man).

American Big Insurance, Big Med, Big Pharma…they are MILKING the common man. You and I know it, Joe. It is a BIG milk job. Inflated Insulin prices… a BIG milk job. Cost of inpatient care…a BIG milk job. The synth-opioid epidemic…a BIG milk job. Every GOD DAMN thing they do is a BIG GOD DAMN milk job…which is GREAT for the investors (who, I suppose, already have the really good insurance), but it isn’t working for the common man…and hasn’t for a long time.

I guess it kind of works…if you have a BIG employer or union that actually provides benefits…you know, one of those unicorns…then you’re safe (knowing you haven’t lost your right to have access to your chosen physician…the BIG FEAR)…but everyone else is just scrambling.

In truth, every person is a perfect target for the milkers when their number comes up. And so, another family with a chronically ill child and good insurance goes bankrupt. Hey Joe, you go tell that family that single-payer is impossible. You tell them single-payer isn’t worth fighting for. That it’s just a Trumpian lie. Tell them that incremental improvement to the current system, including maybe a public option down the road is the best we can do, even though this shit wouldn’t happen to them if they lived in England or Canada. Cause I’m not going to. I BELIEVE there IS a better way. I have FAITH that we can fix the problem. THAT WE CAN GET CONTROL OF BIG MONEY! WE JUST HAVE TO FIGHT FOR IT! WE JUST HAVE TO VOTE FOR IT!

So all that milk money being stolen (or skimmed, if you prefer) by these investors and these owners and the executives (who provide NO CARE)…all that money needs to be taken back and paid out to the ACTUAL GIVERS OF CARE…like they do in all those other countries that got it straight.

For instance, we can use some of that money to fund those rural hospitals that seem to be disappearing because they can’t “stay in business”. That’s a red state concern? Right? See? I care.

We know the ACA was not the end of the fight…it was a battle won. The battle to end EVIL “preexisting conditions” clauses as a thing.

We will continue to battle, and we will have to until America catches up to the rest of the civilized world.

If we’re ever going to get there, we need leaders with a desire and a vision to get us there. Even if they are unable to execute on it immediately, they need to plant the seeds. They need to educate the electorate that there is a better way.

Our current American medical insurance industry paradigm was not handed down by God on stone tablets. It developed rapidly and recently, historically speaking. Yes, as a system it was, and is, a great wealth generator (WE LOVE OUR CAPITALISM), but that does not mean it is the best system to fund and provide healthcare access to the American people.

Instead of providing care, our current healthcare system, for too many, supplies fear, stress, insecurity, and unaffordable prescription medications.

It creates an environment where people avoid going in for routine checkups that can detect health issues before they become catastrophic. Costing livesLives that Neil Degrasse Tyson sincerely cares about via Twitter.

It creates an environment where people skip or half their meds because they can’t afford their prescriptions and their rent. Causing some to, you know, dieNeil can get you the statistics on that, if you’re interested.

It creates an environment where people work jobs they don’t want to because they are afraid of losing their benefits…and live shitty compromised livesUnlike Neil Degrasse Tyson, who loves his job and his life…and tweeting apparently…but I digress.

If America is about freedom, why can’t we be free of this nonsense, this bondage, this fear that is Medical insurance? Ya know, just get healthy…in mind and body. Is that so crazy? To get this yoke off the common man’s neck? Is it?

It’s fucked up, Joe, and it’s fucked up that you would belittle and malign a very sensible solution to one of the great issues facing American families…our healthcare dollars getting ripped off to pay out the investor class… instead of being used to buy us, you know, healthcare…and do it just to try to make some points for your buddy Biden the “Trump-Buster”.

It’s fucking cowardice…from a lot of angles.

But I don’t know, maybe you invest in healthcare stocks, maybe your advertisers like where you’re coming from. You know, the status quo…

I guess Joe, and people like Joe, think that fighting for a single-payer National Health Service is a bad idea. That somehow just talking about it is going to get Trump reelected. They see Biden’s rejection of single-payer as some sort of pivotal difference, proving he is the better candidate.

…but me, just knowing the nonsense, the pain, the poverty and the toll in human lives the current broken, insurance based system is causing, it makes me think these anti-single-payer people are either craven, corrupt, compromised, blind or stupid.

…so I guess we’ll agree to disagree.

I’ll tell you this, give Warren a year to make her case to the American people. Single-payer or no. Trust me. She’ll bust Trump. No fucken problem.

And I swear to God, Joe, if I hear any more of this anti-single-payer propaganda coming out of your [insert descriptor here] face, I’m canceling you off the DVR…probably (I can’t quit my Willie).

Time’s Up

Dear Representative Pelosi…Hi…How are you?

…Me? I’m “good”.

Yeah, I don’t write much for this blog anymore. I was feeling, with the political stuff, that I was getting redundant. I was tired of reacting to #PresidentShithead’s redundancies. I was also disheartened that the Democratic Party leadership (I am not a Democrat, BTW) in this newly won Congress was not being more strident in their pursuit of exposing #PresidentShithead as the compromised, corrupt and dangerous president that he is.

From my vantage, this years performance has appeared to be a very weak show. A lot of ignored subpoenas met with a lot of waiting. As if waiting is somehow going to change the fact that this administration is never going to willfully contribute to its own demise (spoiler alert…he knows he’s guilty). So yes, Democrats, you look weak. You look afraid to speak the truth. You appear to be afraid of following the law because it may be unpopular.

And so this inaction becomes the story.

Yet #PresidentShithead is the same asshole he has always been. He plays the exact same moves, over and over. He has perfected his racist-trope-Twitter-rants to the point that their release is now a predictable ritual.

The message is hard to miss…brown people stay out of this country…and, if you happen to be brown and here already, if you aren’t going to pledge fealty to Trump then go back to the “shithole” from whence you came…It’s fucking crazy.

The media responds, due to moral obligation, and sometimes it feels like a lot of time spent letting us know that the sky is still blue. All the while the “big rip-off” continues to happen in the background, cloaked in a calculated dust cloud.

We get stories on the corruption, but they don’t get the same level of “engagement” as the culture war stuff. Too boring. And it’s hard to make the argument that we shouldn’t make a priority of fighting presidential racism, especially in the midst of the border refugee detention crisis, but it seems to distract from getting the financials and getting the impeachment process started. And that is where we want him and his administration…on trial.

I have this fantasy of a Trump media blackout…starting with a lifetime Twitter ban. I mean, is Twitter a constitutional right? Ban the fuck. Send him a message…Well, a man can dream anyway.

But what I keep thinking about, in the swirl of distraction, is that all the while Mitch McConnell is choking our courts with states’ rights zealot appointees who will serve one purpose…keeping the Republican political machines in low population “Republican states” strong, via states’ rights.

By funding political machines in low population states they keep thier “farm teams” strong and entrenched there, leading to the output of Republican senators from these states, keeping Republicans in control of the Senate…and, better yet, they can even manage to grab the Presidency while losing the popular vote by millions…due to this fucked up electoral college bullshit.

They game the system so that even though, by population and actual support, the Republican machine should only hold a 45% stake of political power, this minority somehow rules over us…and impedes our ability to keep the wealth class in check. So long as Republicans maintain this control, we will never get big money out of our government.

You see the Republican party is the defacto party for land owners and tycoons who depend on “states’ rights” to keep their taxes and regulations low so they can continue to “grow”.

And so we see for example, through disinformation, that climate change is branded a debate, instead of the crisis it is. Because if it was a crisis, well then you couldn’t make big money fracking your land for combustion fuel and pumping poisonous chemicals directly into the water table. But if the Republican Political Machine is strong…you can. Because the truth isn’t the truth. So donate today!

States’ rights is not a bad thing. But Republicans don’t really care about states’ rights for the betterment of all, they care about it as a useful tool to consolidate and keep capital and power. They use it not to protect the states from the Federal government, but to ensure they have control over the Federal government. It’s a means to an end. You can buy and control the Political Machine of a small state for a steal…Buying the whole country?…Well that’s just not good “business sense”.

They use states’ rights deftly to protect their position. Look at voter suppression in the south. Do you think that would be possible without their abuse of states’ rights protections?

You see, it’s not a Trump cult. It never was. It’s a wealth cult. It’s a money cult. It’s a power cult. It just happens to align with Trump because it also happens to be a white power cult. It’s a “chocolate meets peanut butter” situation. Except, in this case, the chocolate is white and the peanut butter was manufactured in a low regulation state and is teaming with salmonella.

Trump and Trumpism does not happen without a Mitch McConnell…period. McConnell is a morally empty, power-obsessed chess master who cynically used the white fear generated by Obama’s election, and played the racist Tea Party movement that white fear supercharged, to create the dominant minority rule situation we are now living under.

Maybe that dominant minority rule party didn’t mean to shit out a Trump, but it did.

And it’s a marriage made in hell. You know the true Republican leadership (and their financiers) all despise Trump. They told the truth about him when he was a candidate. But just as Trump is Putin’s useful idiot, so too is he the Republican Party’s idiot, as well. And in a short time their relationship became quite symbiotic. Think of Trumpism and the Republican Party as conjoined twins that even the BRILLIANT Dr. Ben Carson could not separate without killing them both. McConnell recognizes this, cynically accepts it, and just goes on playing his own redundant, malevolent game.

And us, the plebs, the peasants, we’re all suckers. But Mitch…he got out.

And if you don’t care about social justice (or feel threatened by it) and you are working, got a job (or hoping for a job)…well then maybe you don’t care about the toxic race hate culture infesting your party. And so you throw your support to Trump and the Republicans. Because things seem good for you (“It’s the economy, stupid”)…So forget about the law, forget about the spending, forget about the ripoff, forget about the recession that is coming. The recession where we’ll have no international ties and we’ll be spent to the hilt for. How could that go badly? Just put your trust in Trump and McConnell. They’ve got your back. They’ll be there for ya. You couldn’t find two more wonderful guys looking to help others.

So this monolithic, moronic stupidity gets us up from 30% (being the base “basket of deplorables” quotient) to a nice firm 45% in support for Trump. That truth scares the shit out of me. And, no doubt, it scares the shit out of the Democratic leadership…and keeps them from moving on impeachment.

That’s right, I was talking about Impeachment

I was. I’m sorry. It’s all related…that’s my point. The Republican Machine is hell bent on saving Trump to save themselves (see, conjoined twins).

We are at war! A war for this country’s future. It is time to start acting like it.

Here’s the news: Mueller has spoken. To paraphrase the message “There is substantial evidence that Trump engaged in criminal activity”. And this was just within the narrow confines of what the probe was allowed to investigate related to election interference. Trust me, there is more.

Mueller is not media friendly. I don’t give a fuck. He is a conservative who believes in the law…that it matters. That, I do give a fuck about. Mueller said that when Trump is no longer President (and not under his current “special” protections) he believes Trump can be criminally charged for his actions as President. He said these things outright and under oath to congress.

So…

Trump is a lying criminal who has no business being the President of the United States. Not for one more day. Period.

Nancy, I beg you, make it known that the law is not based on a popularity contest. It is the law. The law matters. It is your duty to start the process to impeach the President.

I know Mitch McConnell will kill it in the Senate. Let him. Let it be another part of his terrible legacy.

Don’t let pacification be yours.

I’ll make an analogy…

The Mueller Report is a call to the fire department (in this case the House of Representatives). A building is on fire (the building might be America…Clever, huh?). The fire fighters shows up in their ladder trucks. They see the building has smoke pouring out of the top.

What should they do? Should they…

  1. Stare at the smoke, and consider closer analysis of the smoke, and discuss the pros and cons of fighting the fire and risk offending pyromaniacs in swing districts. Allowing enough time to elapse in the debate that the whole building burns to the ground.
  2. Grab their axes and hoses and go fight the fucking fire, FULL TILT.

If you picked “A” you might be Nancy Pelosi. And that’s okay. I’m not saying I’m right. I have an opinion. And my opinion is this (and then I’ll get off)…

We have “law” in this country. Anti-Trumpers, like myself, flog Trump for undermining the law.

Okay, now look at the “wait until we build popular support”/“make the case” position. You wait. And you wait. The longer you wait the more the law seems like an “optional” thing. In time it becomes “Maybe what he did wasn’t so bad”. Or “If there was something to this they would have done something.” Which eventually gets to “If they aren’t doing anything they must be full of shit. They are just trying to punish him for beating them”…

People WILL come to see it this way, especially people who are not steeped in the facts or educated in civics (and there are a lot of them…thanks states’ rights).

I know that when the law has ever come for me…for, let’s say, a speeding ticket, nothing optional happens there. I’m on the hook. I pay or I’m fucked.

So if application of the law is seen as optional here, what kind of precedent does that set? What kind of message does that send? To admit the president is above the law so long as he maintains popular support? So long as he is rich and connected?

If so, why the FUCK should we respect the law at all?

Does law become meaningless? Just a cudgel to control the working class?

Tell me Nancy, does diluting the law through pacification undermine the law? I think it does.

Lawlessness can happen at both ends. If you want these lawful institutions to survive, thrive, and grow to serve us better…please apply the law.

The constitution assigns the duty of prosecuting a law-breaking President to the Congress. For the law, if not the country, get off your ass and do it, Nancy.

Time’s up.

Bandini Mountain, Apathy and Metaphorical Cancer

Yeah, I stopped writing the blog on the reg. Sorry about that. I’ll tell ya what happened. I was writing this tribute piece on the Sex Pistols a couple of weeks after my last post and I just kind of stopped mid-article and said to myself, “Fuck this.” I think I came back a couple of weeks later and thought, “Yeah, I don’t need to finish this.”

Here, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes…I love “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”… And, if you agree, doesn’t that make you feel good?

See? I just got the same result and saved us both a lot of time.

Honestly, I was trying to get into writing something less to do with #PresidentShithead and his cult, because I’m tired of writing about that. I guess I found I’m just getting tired of everything (except for family and friends…they get a pass).

Like every person of conscience, I’m tired of the situation. And I know that this fatigue is by design. It’s what the situation creators want…

Apathy.

Everyday is a Bandini Mountain to be sifted through…pie by pie…and the next day they just stack up another mound. I mean Trump has been playing the system, the media and us his whole life…and now he has the full force of the executive branch of our government and the Republican party behind his act. And he’s going to use that power to run our batteries down with his constant turd-valanche…to wear us out. It’s what he does. He exhausts his adversaries. It works for him. It always has. What makes you think it’s going to stop working now? Like I said…

Apathy.

I know Trump is an asshole. I know the Republican Party is run on asshole power. I know their combination is a marriage made in hell.

Every fucking day we have to sift through his fucking turds and this administration just watches us, smiles and says, “Keep sifting…We’ll make more.”

You get tired at a certain point in handling excrement. You need escape. You say, “Let’s just fucking impeach this tool already.” And you hear back, “Oh, no. We have to make our case to the American People first.” Well good luck.

With the Democratic Party you have a 25 headed Hydra sitting on top of the Tower of Babel. How is that disparate group going to put a signal to noise against the monolithic Trump/Twitter megaphone and the Fox media run state? If the Dems want to win this war they will need to get a unified message and stick to it. Here’s one…

“We are going to impeach Trump…soon”

Strong, huh? I guess I’ll have to take that back to the drawing board. But my point stands, the Dems do need a unified message. And SOON.

I want to be fair, though. It’s unenviable what the true turd sifters have to go through. I’m talking about the politicians, and lawyers, and activists, and journalist, and law enforcement, and researchers, and citizens who stand on the front lines and fight the apathy and fight to save our federal government from stumbling into becoming a full blown kleptocracy…

Or maybe it already is one.

The undetected, malignant grapefruit-sized tumor (that’s been there for years) just shifted and now we have a visible lump. I mean let’s get real, this didn’t start with Trump. He’s just a tumor.

But as apathetic as I feel. And as much as I hate the idea of being sick with chemo. And as much as I know I’ve got Stage 4 and we’re not gonna catch all of it. I want to send a message to the Doctor.

Dr. Pelosi, if you’re out there. If you can hear me. I’m getting weak. We need to schedule the surgery. We need to get this tumor out. I know you want to run more tests, and that’s fine, you’re the doctor. But we have to schedule a date, please. Because I’m looking at this tumor and it ain’t gonna just teleport out of my body. I know you want to put me on that drug that’s in trials and coming out next year, Nuprezdint. But I heard it only has a 50% success rate…I don’t like those odds. I’m watching this tumor grow day-by-day and thinking about everything going on in my body I can’t see. You gotta cut it out, Doc. You gotta! I’m fighting for my life over here…cough cough…

…And scene. (Touching, wasn’t it?)

I’m trying not to let apathy win. Really I am. I’m trying. But God Damn if they don’t make it easy…
 

 

The Shutdown Isn’t About the Wall

Yeah, the shutdown isn’t about the wall anymore…if it ever was. It’s day 35 of said shutdown now. On December 11, 2018, our beloved leader, “#PresidentShithead” Trump, in a very cringe televised meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, said he was going to shutdown the government if he didn’t get $5.7 billion for the border wall (the 2000 mile long southern border wall that Mexico was going to pay for…To be clear, I don’t want anyone to pay for that wall). In the meeting, Trump should have been wearing a bib, bonnet and diaper…he clearly needed a changing. Not surprisingly, the Democratic leadership said, “No deal.”…that Trump could stick those steel slats up his ass…sideways. He knew they would not accept his ultimatum…it was all stagecraft.

On December 22, 2018, while the Republicans still held the House majority, an appropriations bill was sent up to keep the government funded. It included a negotiated 1.6 billion for “border security”. In a prior meeting, #PresidentShithead signaled to goiter-turtle McConnell that he would accept a bill that did not include the 5.7 billion. This promise being the only reason McConnell would allow the bill to go to a vote…and so that appropriations bill was unanimously passed by the senate… Well, it turned out that Trump lied (WHAT?) and would not sign the appropriations bill after all, not without the 5.7 billion…and the government shut down…just in time for Christmas. Isn’t that sweet? A Christmas gift for us? The American people? Oh, he shouldn’t have (No, seriously, he really shouldn’t have).

So yeah, all that is bullshit. It’s the facts, or better, some of the facts. But it all seems to be framed wrong, in my mind at least, in what I see coming from the main (“lame”) stream media.

[Pushes up spectacles and giggles to self while typing.]

Here’s the deal, the shutdown is a stall. It’s a distraction. It’s a smokescreen.

Trump is hitting the “snooze button” to stall the inevitable destruction of his Presidency.

So long as the government can’t function, the government can’t “get him”.

We’ve all had those experiences…when you know something bad and inevitable is coming your way…You just don’t want to deal with it “right now” so you just find some way to put it off. You know the end is inevitable, but you just want another week, another day, another hour…before your number comes up…before you have to pay the piper (Hitler in the bunker, anyone?…Too dated? How’s about Billy McFarland at the Fyre Festival?)

Trump is fucked. He knows it. He knows that the Democratic House is going to roast him alive. All the itty-bitty-titty committees are going to convene and start digging into all his shit and he won’t have Devin “the Waterboy” “Numb-nuts” Nunes (and his analogs) there to cock-block the Dems anymore. The Dems have subpoena power now. The Dems have been waiting two years to get to Trump’s fucking, and they are going to fuck him good…and there will be no lube.

And Trump will be easy pickings, because he is an immoral, corrupt, lying criminal. Sure, he’s a criminal who, with the help of Vladimir Putin, conned just enough racists, superstitious, hateful, greedy and stupid Americans into voting for him to get elected President. But he’s a criminal nonetheless.

The thing is that Trump’s “little” shutdown, the one that gave him a January of “not having to deal with it”… well, it’s not “little” to all the Federal workers who are affected. It’s a BIG deal to them. They have financial obligations, they have daycare payments, they’ve got kids in college, they’ve got children and spouses with healthcare problems, they have parents in assisted living facilities. Some of these people are living paycheck to paycheck. They are not the wealth class. When their ends don’t meet they suffer, they lose. What Trump is doing to these people is straight up evil. But he doesn’t care.

If there is one thing we know, Trump is a narcissist and he doesn’t give a shit about anybody but himself. His comfort is king. Just remember what Trump’s daughter-in-law said, that the shutdown is “bigger than one person”…I guess that’s true, if you count Trump and her…then that makes two.

And the State of the Union drama is just another distraction point to buy another week’s vacation.

But the shutdown will end. The Democrats will not negotiate with a terrorist. They need to set a firm precedent with this asshole, that if he tries to hold the government hostage he loses.

And that shitheal McConnell, he’s doing his job…ever the control-freak partisan…sticking by his toxic, criminal President to the bitter end. But it’s all just “by the numbers”. The turtle’s been around long enough. He knows when he’s lost. He knows the President’s holding a losing hand. Now it’s just a waiting game until the President or the Senate fold. You can only stare at a losing hand for so long before you have to fold. In the words of Giuliani, “Put up or shut up.”

It was just a couple of days ago when the FBI Agents Association put out a statement that said “The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate” and that “The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.”

“Well,” I thought, “that must be so comforting to the President”…to know that the FBI is now dysfunctional. Mission Accomplished.

But I think the shutdown is coming to an end soon. Like Giuliani said, “Put up or shut up.”

I could sit here and slag all these Trumpee assholes, one-by-one. But that would be a waste of my time. Fuck ’em. Paid comedians with full staffs of writers and researchers do a far better job of that than I can.

[Trump reaches for the snooze button again.]

[Tom Petty stands above him, dressed in full Tom Petty regalia: top hat, Roger McGuinn color tinted granny glasses, waistcoat, red sunburst Rickenbacker 360/12 strapped on (amp cranked to 11), flashing silver guitar pick raised high in hand…He stops, turns to the piano and plays Wake Up Time]

 

 

Lite Blog

Hi. Howaya? I started writing the piece below on December 30th. I got busy. Plus I wasn’t really all that taken with it, so I shelved it. I also felt it was analysis with little in the way of “fun” spin, so I thought it wasn’t in the spirit of the blog. I wanted to get in my general disappointments with the administration and the lack of movement nationally toward an assault weapon ban as a sort of “end of year wrap-up”. It just seemed slight in light of the actual year.

Today, January 11, 2019, our federal government is in the midst of a record-setting-long government shutdown that is the work of one man (one immoral and vomitous man. Guess who.), in a desperate attempt to create political momentum to brace himself…to save himself from the incoming storm that will sweep over him when the Mueller Probe drops their report. If federal workers and those that rely on them, their income or services suffer, so be it. Most sickening is the support this behavior gets from the Republicans in the Senate.

I just want to make a short point here based on the news of the day, before I get to the news of yesterday.

Trump’s wall and the philosophy behind it must be fought to the death.

There is a need for a lot of funding on the border (even funding for new walls, barriers and fences, as well as maintenance and upgrades on the existing 500+ miles of existing barriers…that is what we call “infrastructure maintenance”). No one with any reason is calling for “open borders”, or removal of exiting barriers. Okay?

I just don’t trust the racist, xenophobic assholes of this administration to apply that funding. If they are really concerned about the influx of refugees fleeing Central America seeking asylum in the US, then I need to hear something in the plan about how all that is going to be addressed at the source. That really should be the main thing to talk about. I also need to hear about the investment in humanitarian solutions to help these refugees until the source problem is addressed (such as investment in better refugee handling facilities or procedures).

Instead, we just get the same old tired fear tactics about crime, drugs and terrorism as justification to push through the manifestation of that tired old 2000-mile-long-wall trope. Everything else, the source problem and the humanitarian crisis it creates, gets swept under the rug. Why? Because construction projects are easy. Finding solutions to actual problems that work…that fix the source of the problem…that’s hard. That takes real commitment, empathy, investment, sacrifice. I don’t think these asshole Republicans understand any of these things.

I’m not going to support funding some racist band-aid solution…A solution that’s only being discussed (at this level of national attention) because some asshole wants to say he kept his promise to his asshole supporters…so they’ll “be there for him” in the inevitable, upcoming impeachment fight.

Today, I see so many “band-aid” solutions to very serious issues. The southern border security issue (as framed by Trumpists) isn’t even on my radar as a crisis. We have robust, well funded border security and immigration enforcement. But this band-aid solution of a wall will do nothing to address the problems it is purported to “fix”. We will still have an opioid crisis. We will still have crime where there is poverty. We will still have shifting demographics and the insecurity and fear they can generate.

It’s really tough for me to witness this farce…to know how many people it’s hurting. All in some sick attempt to give solace to isolationist, racist and xenophobic Trumpists and White Nationalist. And the Republican Senate is totally behind it. They could get us out of this shutdown with a supermajority vote…They could, but they wont. I wonder why?

So now on to the other bit…

The “crummy” End-of-Year piece

So, this year. This fucking year. I’ve been so challenged this year. Remember when people said that 2017 was rotten?  That was so cute. Well, here comes 2019.

And I know 2019 is either going to be Trump’s impeachment or the fight for Trump’s impeachment. It has to be. His behavior as president has been too disgraceful for the new House to ignore. I mean what is a “President” anymore? The construct is so degraded at this point.

Trump’s doctrine of “I alone”-ism is an affront to and assault on the constitution he swore to obey and protect. His impeachment in the House (regardless of the Senate’s support) is going to happen in 2018. Bet on it.

Trump was (shortsightedly) protected by the Republican majority in the House until now. With the Democrats taking over, things are going to get really tough, really fast. And it needs to be that way. Trump is a threat to our country through, just to start, his immorality and incompetence. You need to face a threat like that head-on. There is no other way (We don’t need a “Chamberlain” right now. We don’t need to appease him. We can’t afford it). We don’t need to live under this Trumpism bullshit; this never-ending bullhorn blasting hatred and lies.

If the Democratic house does not pull out every stop to make Trump completely transparent to the American people they will have failed.

As I see it, all presidents need to be totally financially and ethically transparent to the population they serve; we need to know every connection point, every sphere of influence. That must be the price paid to become President. If you want to serve as the President you have to come clean. No lies. You lie (specifically to hide a crime), you’ve perjured yourself to your oath of office and you need to go.

Trump’s obsession with southern border security and his popularity with the white nationalist movement are also worth feeling sick over. The child separation policy is a perfect window into the mind of this fuck and the people who support him.

So yeah, in 2019 were going to need to put all of Trump’s shit out in public and try to get the Republicans to “manage their yard”…ya know? “Pull the weeds”. We do this not because we want to, but because we have to. We have to protect this country from this treat.

2019 is going to be intense. You throw a recession on top of that and we’re talking fun city. It’ll make 2018 look like a fucking daydream.

Guns

Anyway, I really came here to write about guns. Which is something I think about at this time every year. I’m always seeing a “Year’s Biggest Stories” news special around this time of year and there is always a section about the mass shootings that happened in the last year.

I’ve always been sensitive to this. If you aren’t you are a sick fuck (IMHO). But I became more sensitive in 2012. I became very rigid on this subject when the Newtown massacre happened, when twenty 6 and 7-year-olds where slaughtered, literally blown to pieces, in minutes (seconds) with an AR15. I recall watching the news that day, ELEVEN DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, holding my newborn son in my arms. I saw the truth with such clarity that day, I never will be moved off of it. The voice of GOD! This truth I saw? All assault rifle style firearms need to taken out of public circulation NOW!

I hate all guns. I prefer no guns at all. That said, I appreciate and respect that people want to have the right to feel protected. They want to have access to a lethal weapon that can afford them that protection. I say we can meet that need without the assault weapons.

I’ll give you the common arguments I see (arguments I have had to answer) and my responses.

Argument 1) “What you call assault weapons are really semi-automatic firearms; a category that includes handguns and hunting rifles. You, as someone who doesn’t own a firearm, don’t know what you are talking about. There are no differences between semi-automatic firearms. You outlaw one and it’s a slippery slope. Your ignorance is going to impede my right to protect myself and my right to bear arms”

So, this one is easy. AR15 style weapons have a long barrel, high muzzle velocity and ammunition that explodes inside the body. It is not a hand gun. It is not a hunting riffle. It is the semi-automatic version of a military assault weapon designed with one purpose, to kill large amounts of humans efficiently.

In that way it is its own category of weapon and ammunition. See? People with reason or brains understand the concept of categories. Like “because this item has these specific pre-determined attributes, it belongs in such-and-such category”…Go to an online firearm retailer, they seem be able to determine categories. See? https://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/semiautomatic-centerfire-rifles/_/N-1114861/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_105524280

Militaries choose this weapon and ammunition type over handguns and hunting rifles (and their related ammunition) for a reason. They want to inflict maximum casualties, to bring maximum lethality. They choose a long barrel gun with a high muzzle velocity that causes the bullet to explode and shred the organs inside the target…to insure not just “incapacity” but death.

When the bullet hits your body whether it comes from a fully automatic version of this weapon type vs semi- automatic hardly matters. Your organs explode…You die.

To go one further semi vs full auto doesn’t really slow the shooter either. Per some self-confessed firearms expert on Quota (https://www.quora.com/Do-you-prefer-3-round-burst-or-full-auto-in-a-military-rifle):

“Suppressive fire is the classic reason one uses a weapon in full automatic configuration, but continuous fire from a skilled operator firing a semi-automatic weapon can create the same desired effect.”

This 60 minutes story lays the facts out pretty well (if you care to know them):

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ar-15-used-mass-shootings-weapon-of-choice-60-minutes/

So, no. AR15 type weapons are not the same as other semi automatic firearms, they are a type or category of firearm and ammunition and, as such, can be singled out and banned based on pre-determined attributes that would not affect access to other categories of semi automatic firearms.

Argument 2) “Assault weapons only account for a small fraction (2%) of firearm related deaths. Singling them out is foolish, unfair and unreasonable.”

I’m not sure about the accuracy of firearm death statistics because the CDC isn’t funded to get all the info. I want to see their full report, when it is funded. I think it will be very illuminating.

When we get these reports and records, I want to see these deaths put into very specific categories. For example, if we make a category for “unhinged shooters” I think we will see that the percentage of murders committed using assault rifles goes up.

Bottom line, I don’t care if it’s 2% or 0.2%.

The day we have a mass shooting with an assault rifle that was illegally acquired because it was against the law to own such a weapon will be a sad, tragic day. But it will be a day I’ll be comforted to know that we, as a country, did what we could to stop it from happening with our system, legally.

I’ll be comforted to know that we will able to prosecute every link in the illegal/black-market supply chain that delivered that gun to that killer.

Argument 3) “Regulations don’t stop the criminals from getting banned firearms.”

Okay…That is the dumbest argument of all. Following that logic to its natural conclusion means we shouldn’t have any laws at all, because all laws can, and will, be broken.

People who have an understanding about reality, understand that laws do not keep immoral, antisocials from committing crimes. Instead these laws give law enforcement and the judicial system the ability to create programs to fight the black-market, collect and destroy contraband and punish people who break the laws related to owning, trading or committing crimes with banned firearms.

Laws don’t stop crime; they define what a crime is.

In conclusion

I’m a dreamer. I want assault rifles gone. I want Trump and Trumpism gone. Is 2019 gonna get me any of this?…Well, probably not the assault rifles, anyway.