It is time for the GOP to get honest about the ACA

It has been a good 8 years for the GOP.  They’ve had a boogey man in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and have gotten lots of miles out of demonizing.  They won elections claiming that the Affordable Care Act was evil incarnate.

Now they’ve got all the marbles and are realizing their calls of repeal are a lot harder than they wish that it was.

Frankly it is time for every GOP elected official to come clean and admit that they’ve been lying and miss-characterizing the Affordable Care Act, and instead of being obstructionists admit that they’ve found religion and repent for their sins.

The Affordable Care Act was never about death panels, or eliminating the sacred bond between you and your doctor, or any of the billions of other lies they’ve fed us over the years.

The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to tell the millions of uninsured people in this country that we, the insurance holding portion of the population, were sick and tired of paying for emergency room care.

See in this country we have a number of laws that say that if you are sick, and show up to a hospital, they have to take care of you no matter what.  And in pre-ACA America this is exactly how it worked.

The problem with this scenario is that those of us who have insurance policies were paying for this coverage through higher premiums and tax dollars used to reimburse hospitals for uncovered care.  It is the exact same principle as the portion of your auto-insurance that goes to cover uninsured drivers.

Emergency room care is the most expensive care out there.  The cost of a single emergency room visit dwarfs the cost of dozens of regular office visits.  Instead of treating a possibly life threatening disease, an early preventive visit with inexpensive treatment keeps all of our costs lower.

The ACA drew a line in the sand and said no more.  Quit using the emergency room as your primary care physician.  We are sick and tired of paying for the most expensive care out there.  Go buy an insurance policy and see a regular doctor once in awhile.  And we’re going to take all the money that we are already spending and subsidize those policies so that you can afford them.  And look if you are super duper poor we’re going to expand Medicaid so that everyone has a chance to go to a doctor.

But the GOP had other plans.  They’ve been lying to us.  Instead they obstructed Medicaid expansion to create a gap of people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too poor to get the subsidies.  This was done to continue the false narrative that “government doesn’t work see others are getting help and you aren’t.”

Now they are in a bind.  For a majority of Americans things are actually better.  For a small segment of America, things suck badly.  Things in the health insurance space are screwed up.  We have varying degrees of coverage and gaps in availability.  But (repeat after me) “THIS IS ALL THE GOP’S FAULT“.  The Affordable Care marketplaces suck because nobody in the GOP was willing to have an honest discussion on how to the make improvements.

For the better part of six years the GOP introduced bill after bill trying to simply gut the law rather than coming up with proposals that would address the coverage gaps.

And now things are bad.  They have a mess on their hands, that they’ve made.  If they repeal, we’re back to where we were in 2007 when for many Americans the emergency room was their only option.

I’ve been trolling my congressman John Moolenaar over the past few weeks specifically over these issues.  While he hasn’t replied directly to me he did write an op-ed calling for civil discussion.  I have never once threatened him, but I have called into question his honesty.

So John, here’s my attempt at civil discourse.  I am making the claim that you have been dishonest about the Affordable Care Act and by voting for a repeal before a single piece of legislation discussing the replacement you are endangering the health and lives of the 20,000 people in our district that use the market places.  I am also making the claim that by voting for a repeal without a single piece of replacement legislation is available your are threatening to increase the premiums that I pay by rolling us back to an insurance market that mirrors the early 2000’s.  Prior to the ACA my employer sponsored plan was increasing every year by huge amounts.  Since 2010 though, these premiums have been fairly flat.

So John I look forward to your response.  Explain to me how voting for a repeal without a replacement is a good thing.  Explain to me and the tens of thousands of other residence you represent how things are going to get better.

I am civilly making the claim that you can’t.

Are Donald Trump’s Facebook Followers All Fake

[Update]

I should remember to do a Google search for my own damn topic.  Read a Business Insider article from 2015.

[Original]

So we apparently now live in a world where official communication from the White House is now done via a Tweet to a Facebook post. My do we live in interesting times. I stupidly followed the link simply to see what line of BS was being slung at us and actually found something rather interesting. Take a look at the first comment on both this post

and this one.

Now maybe Mr. Bolton and Mr. Decaj are equally passionate about their views on Mr. Trump they share a psychic link, or more likely, they don’t exist.
I’m not an investigative journalist, but I decided to do a quick Google search on Mr. Leo Decaj figuring his name was far less common that Jim Bolton. The only links that come up are six random images and links to comment threads on right wing conspiracy sites. Prior to October of 2016 though it is just the feed of an Albanian 20 something with a fascination for Eminem. Now why an Albanian 20 something would suddenly switch over to English and take an fascination in US politics is beyond me, but I have a theory, Leo doesn’t care about Donald Trump. Instead someone offered him up some cash for his Facebook profile and it became part of the zombie hoards “supporting” our new President.
This is why Donald wants to bypass the “traditional media”, he can control the messaging and has an army of commenters bought and paid for that give the appearance of actual support.

All Heil The Great Orange One

Well there it is. It is official. The Great Orange One is going to be given the keys to the kingdom.

So the other day I listened to Obama’s press conference where he promised that there’d be swift retaliation against the Russians for the apparent hacking of our election.

It got me thinking that in order to keep tensions from escalating he’d employ the B or the C team to do the hacking and give him the results in his daily security briefing.

So I present to you America’s Least Capable Spy Agency.

America Did Not Just Endorse Trump

“Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die?” — Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn

The results are in, and while I personally am disappointed, I am trying to take a pragmatic view of things.

“Let’s do the numbers” — Kai Ryssdal

I’m going to start here. Fact: America does not love Trump or his views. How do I know this? He got 1,215,065 fewer votes than Mitt Romney. If this country was massively and enthusiastically endorsing Trump you would expect to have seen him out perform Mitt. Instead even members of his own party weren’t buying what he was selling, just like his steaks.

After the loss in 2012 the Republican Party commissioned the autopsy report to try and figure out what went wrong. With their 2016 candidate receiving 1.2 million fewer votes than last time either the report was wrong, or they didn’t read it. My advice to the Democrats, write your own report and read it.

Here’s the next number: 5,853,014

This is the number of people who who voted for Barack Obama who did not vote for Hillary Clinton. This election was not an endorsement of Trump, but a repudiation of Hillary. She and her campaign were well aware of this lack of enthusiasm but guilty of taking 5.8 million voters for granted. There will be countless political science doctoral thesis written about this number for years to come.

But the long and short of it, people don’t like her. Whether it’s deserved or not I’m not going to speculate at this time. It just goes to show that she and the DNC are just as out of touch with this country as the RNC.

This brings me to the next number: 46%

This is the rough approximation of the population who chose to abstain from the choices they were given.

When given the choice between slaughtering a million puppies or drowning a million kittens, the abstainers are the ones in the back of the room saying “Why the fuck do we need to kill anything?”

Read more here.

So, why do I support a liberal progressive agenda and the downfall of society as we know it?

Because I firmly believe that this country is built on generations of shared sacrifice. The generations before us built great institutions and solved massive problems and it is our duty to maintain and preserve their work and continue to build new institutions and solve new problems.

Typhoid, cholera, dysentery are words that are absent from modern America because our great-grandparents generation decided that they were tired of seeing people die and built sewer systems and clean water projects. Flint Michigan is the prime example of what happens when we forget this sacrifice.

The United States by most measures has the largest and strongest economy on the planet. The reason is that our grandparents generation felt that it was important to build the largest damn interstate highway system ever to lower as many barriers to free commerce as possible. The potholes you avoid are the example of what happens when we forget this sacrifice.

It is our duty to maintain and enhance these institutions as they are gifts to us. We then have a responsibility to our children to pick a new problem to solve and give the solution to the next generation. To me universal health care is that cause to fight for. When people have access to health care they are more productive and by extension the economy improves and businesses prosper.

“…government of the people, by the people, for the people…” — Abraham Lincoln

There is a tendency to speak about “the government” as an abstraction, this nebulous boogieman in the background that is the root of all evil. I hate to disappoint you, but we are the government.

The government that sent men to the moon, defeated fascism, and eliminated smallpox.

The same government that irradiated its population, listens to your phone calls, and infects people with diseases. Which is why we cannot sit on the sidelines and not participate.

We (the government) must be held accountable and laser focused on what our shared goals are. Focusing on issues such as whom we share a bed with are simply distractions that allow those in positions of power to ignore the shared goals and focus on their personal goals.

For those of you disappointed in the election remember this, in the last 24 years the platform and policies proposed by the conservatives have won the popular vote once. This means there are more of you who share an alternative view of where our shared priorities need to be.

For those of you excited about the election results, remember this, you now have all the marbles. You are being handed an unemployment rate below 5%, low inflation, rising wages, and (by some miracle) all three branches of government. Once the euphoria of the victory wears of, you have a job to do and for at least a little while, there is nobody else left to blame.

Numbers and statistics from here.

007: From Russia With Love

Bond Life Lesson: When two gypsy chicks are having a throwdown over some other guy, politely ask them to stop, odds are in your favor for a threesom.

From Russia where apparently a Mexican can play a Turk, an Italian can play a Russian, and holy shit is that Quint from Jaws? The second 007 outing benefitted greatly from the success of the previous film and the obviously increased budget that afforded. The plot is far more contrived and the explosion count is easily doubled that of Dr. No.

The film opens with Quint Grant killing Bond in a hedge maze. Syke it was just a dude in a rubber mask. Actually we just want you to watch these go-go dancers for the next three minutes.

Zoom in on a chess game where SPECTRE #5 is about to lay a Boris Spassky level smackdown on his unwitting opponent. For the uninitiated SPECTRE is an organization of ex British and Soviet spies led by the feline obsessed #1. Their main goal in life is to serve as a plot device to make sure James Bond gets laid and occasionally blow some shit up.

SPECTER HR would like to welcome our new #3 who has just completed her orientation. She comes to us by way of the Soviet secret services, likes snearing, inspecting Grants abs, coercing her former comrades in to committing treason, and might just be a lesbian. Please give her a warm welcome if you see her in the hallways.

Back at MI-6 HQ M and Bond are having the following conversation:
M: Bond a Russian operative in Istanbul wants to give us a secret decoding machine.
Bond: Do I have to? I just got back from Jamaica and told my girlfriend the most convincing story about why I had to spend six months there.
M: She’s an Italian super model.
Bond: When do I leave?

Upon arriving in Istanbul, Bond meets up with Kerim Bey played by legendary Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz. I’m assuming the call sheet simply said tan actor required, must bring his own accent. Normally when a super suave secret agent arrives in Istanbul he can assume he will be taken to the famous Turkish baths. Not our man Kerim, he takes Bond on a scenic tour of the sewers because they’ve installed the periscope from a future Connery vehicle in the Russian embassy in the hopes of catching a few up skirt shots.

As an apology for the pending dry cleaning bill Kerim takes Bond to a gypsy camp where the first course is lamb, followed by some girl on girl wrestling with grappa, and then some good old Turkish blood feud. Afterwards Bond is angry that his suit now needs both dry cleaning and a tailor. Not to worry though, one of the wrestlers is a seamstress and takes banging as trade, as long as her former enemy gets to join in as well.

After a brief stop to assassinate some guy Bond is finally able to check in to his hotel room where house keeping has conviently left a Russian dubbed Italian super model on his pillow. The take away here is that pussy acquisition in Turkey is far easier than Jamaica.

To finally kick the plot in to high gear Bond shockingly lies to his new friend with benefits, blows up the Russian embassy, steals the decoding machine, jumps aboard the Orient Express (yes that Orient Express), films a PSA about domestic violence, kicks Grant’s ass, and steals a dude’s truck. Future generations will have a hard time coming to grips with the level of grand theft auto present in early ’60’s cinema.

Since stealing a truck isn’t enough for this movie Bond is on the lookout for a boat he can aquire and thankfully finds one. Using Scotland as a stand in for the Greek Islands this movie wouldn’t be complete without cleaning up an oil spill using a flare gun. With the minimum explosion requirement having been met all that is left is for #3 to make a brief cameo in Venice to remind us all that she was in this film and for Bond to get a hand job on a gondola while the credits roll.