The Democrats Own It…

The Democrats own ObamaCare.  They passed ObamaCare without a single Republican vote as I’ve railed before.  They stood, and continue to stand, steadfastly in the way of Republican efforts to reform and reshape ObamaCare into something that could withstand the rigors of the U.S. marketplace, and which would prove to be both acceptable to the people and sustainable for the insurers that choose to participate.

The Democrats own it because they created it.  They own it because they continue to refuse to help fix the mess that their votes caused to occur.

So, what is it they have squarely in their laps today?

Of the roughly 3,000 counties that exist in the United States…

40 counties to date have no insurers participating; that could change, for the worse, before the enrollment periods begin.  The residents of those counties can either move into a county or state that has at least one insurer or they can go without health insurance.  If they have life-threatening conditions, they can move or simply pray they’ll live long enough to see some kind of change to this “wonderful” health care insurance system.  The deciding vote most recently belonged to a Republican from Arizona by the name of John McCain; a person who, of course, has health care insurance as a member of Congress.  He just had surgery for a life-threatening condition but he had health insurance.  What about those who have similar situations without any hope of insurance coverage?

1,000 of those counties have a single insurer offering coverage.  Residents of those counties can either take it or leave it; that is their choice.  These will likely be the residents with pre-existing conditions that would be ‘covered’ by ObamaCare so they will be unable to find any other health insurance.  That is actually not a choice since a choice would require at least two insurers be participating.  Remember that the providers of care may or may not decide to participate in a carrier’s health plans and that decision is typically made based upon the reimbursements the providers receive for the services they provide, as well as for the reputation of the insurers so far as the ease of working relationships, etc.  In those cases, the insured person would run the risk of losing his or her physician relationship if that doctor is not a participant in the new plan.

The Democrats created this mess and they have recently voted to continue to provide this mess without changes that might’ve corrected the very obvious problems in ObamaCare.  For the most part, these people are isolated from their constituents and insulated from the possibility of having no health insurance.  That means their constituents are without choices if they live in one of the forty counties with no participating health insurers.  Even if these are very small counties, this would mean at least somewhere between a half million and 4 million or more would be uninsured only because they live in the wrong county.

Remember, also, that the only place a tax credit can be gotten for insurance premiums paid is through coverage with a participating insurer.  So, not only will coverage be scarce, it will likely be unaffordable for many people even if available.

The Democrats can see this as easily as you or I can see it.  The difference apparently is that you and I care about each other and that these Democrats do not care whether you and I live or die.  They only seem to care about being re-elected every two or six years.

Of course, had it not been for a lone Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona, a bill that worked to fix much of the problem would have passed and would likely have been signed by the President.  That bill had some flaws but it would’ve corrected much of what continues to be wrong with ObamaCare.  The Senator has had the reputation of being a ‘maverick’ and wears that reputation proudly, but maybe he should’ve thought more about what his vote meant this time before upholding the reputation of which he seems so proud.

This time the “tough” vote might’ve been a Yes vote.  At least some repair to the damages caused by the Democrats could be underway.  At least some more people might’ve gotten some coverage unlike those in the 40 counties completely devoid of affordable and available health coverage.

There are days when I think we ought to institute term limits for national offices, even though I am not a solid supporter of this approach.

Remember the man for whom this whole sordid mess is named as he basks in the limelight of what he greatly assisted in creating, and enjoys the lifetime pension for eight years of afflicting this country as his policies and positions did.

51st State? State of Disarray…

There were those who thought that Puerto Rico would become our 51st state, but, instead, the State of Disarray appears to have won the race.

Merriam Webster defines this word, disarray, as meaning:  a lack of order or sequence. 

Little did most of us know that this term would be used to describe our government in Washington, D.C.  I know, I know; you probably want me to ascribe this all to President Donald Trump.  He does share in my description to one degree or another, but he is far from the sole cause; there is a lot of company to share in this situation.  But, the White House seems very near the pinnacle if we were assigning blame.

Did this all happen as the direct result of the last Presidential election?  Absolutely not!  Was this assisted by those results?  Yes, absolutely, since ‘we the people’ decided we wanted to make some changes.  Our national government is seemingly a mess at the moment; and yes, President Trump is part of that, but by no means did this only begin this January when he took office.  This has been building for a long time.

There have been seemingly innocent enough variations on the theme over the course of time.  Stilted solutions to this or that disruption of what I know at my level as ‘Roberts Rules of Order’ have been affected for political ends and maybe we have gotten to the point of reaping “just desserts”.  The House and Senate operate in unique ways that even parliamentarians have trouble fathoming.

Maybe the addition of Donald Trump with no prior governmental background and no experience other than running a multi-million dollar business quite successfully has served as the final piece in the creation of the State of Disarray.  Businesses and governments operate differently in many respects.  President Trump is running the White House as he ran his companies.  He is accustomed to absolute control over every aspect of what he has the responsibility to operate.  He has brought that to the Presidency and that is not serving him or us as well as we’d like at the moment.

Another good man took one for the team yesterday: Reince Priebus got the heave ho.  He may well have had the biggest smile he’s had since coming to the White House.  I’d expect the Oval Office to still be going over bumps in the road, though.  The leaks will continue since that is the way of Washington, D.C. and its politics.  Bringing the latest guy, Anthony Scaramucci into the fold has done little other than to provide the next most likely shooting star.  He is, as he has already shown us, a vulgar man.  I called him “New York Cocky” in an earlier blog.  That sets him up as a press punching bag and he is the top dog directly beneath the President theoretically interfacing with the press through his selection of the person so designated.  I suspect his ego will have him in Press Conferences occasionally.  I hope he is capable of cleaning up his language at least for press conferences, but an ego the size of his, and a short fuse, in a room full of sizeable egos tend to make me think we’ll see fireworks.

Let us not forget the Dems who take great pride in their ability to be disruptive in the House and the Senate.  They have seized on these opportunities and they’ll continue to seize on them.  Not that this will always, or even ever, be in the best interest of we the people, but it will assuredly continue and our and the country’s best interests will not always be served as the result.

We will live in this State of Disarray at least over the next three years unless all the players learn how to play well together…but they will have to want to play well together and that is yet to be seen.  There are just way too many political points to be scored to expect good governance for we the people.  Trump alone is not the cause, but he will probably serve as a suitable catalyst.

You and I have to keep score so we’ll know how we ought to vote when we have that opportunity again.

Our vote is our only tool other than for making our thoughts known thereby influencing other votes from kindred spirits.

 

Anthony ‘Scary’ Scaramucci…

The latest addition to President Trump’s team is pretty much what we were told he’d be…a dyed-in-the-wool ‘New York cocky’ tough-talking guy.  If his direction from the President was to verbally assault everyone within the sound of his voice, he appears to be excelling.  He was ostensibly brought in to stop the leaks that appeared almost daily in the press.  The flow of leaks seems to have diminished possibly because Scaramucci is making more than enough news by himself to fill the papers and the evening broadcasts and talk shows.

If he were on my team, his nickname, well-earned already I think, would be ‘Scary’.  I told myself to give the President and Mr. Scaramucci some space and watch to see just what would occur with this new Presidential ‘pit bull’ roaming the corridors of power.  I thought it would take longer than it has, but…

It strikes me that Mr. Scaramucci has cost the President dearly.  He serves as a stark reminder of just what ‘New York cocky’ is and that, frankly, seems to be diminishing at least some of the things President Trump has already accomplished.  I understand that these surreptitious leaks to the press do not serve the President well, but it seems there could’ve been a better way to approach that issue.  A simple one-on-one with each high-ranking staff member would certainly have made the President’s point.

People who have paid dearly to see that we have a ‘President’ Trump are being subjected to ridicule before the entire nation.  The treatment of Shawn Spicer, the first Press Secretary, was very troubling to me.  If he wasn’t up to the job, so be it, but…

Our nation’s Capitol has run on leaks for years.  These leaks serve to tee up possible approaches and those are then vetted by the press and others without any significant personal investment (there is always good old “plausible deniability” on which to lean) having been paid.  I suspect that may be what Spicer had been doing since that is what most every Press Secretary has done.  To shut down that avenue of ‘low personal cost’ exploration seems like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Reince Priebus ran the Republican Party that enabled Trump to become President.  It was much better organized and considerably more efficient than was the Democrat Party.  Priebus has essentially been shunted off on a siding by President Trump, at least from what you and I see.  At the present rate, I’d not be surprised to see him ousted soon…and he might be praying that might be in his immediate future.

If what I think I see is really what is happening, I am very concerned.  I think I see President Trump reverting to his old buddies and his ‘New York cocky’ way of having done things before he was sworn in as President.  He cannot bully the Congress like he seems to think he can.  That body has deep-seated issues of its own and does not need, and will not respond well to, Trump’s edicts from the throne of the Oval Office.  He is no doubt thoroughly piqued, or maybe I should’ve used another “p” word, that he, as President, cannot order Congress to do his bidding.

I fear that Mr. Scaramucci might just be President Trump’s alter ego resurfacing after these many months of campaigning and governing.  I have never been in the world of Donald Trump other than maybe vicariously, BUT…

These are two very successful businessmen, not politicians, who have effectively ‘moved many mountains’ during their respective careers.  I can imagine that each has had his share of moments when he terminated someone in an instant…and then got on with getting on.  That does not work well, if at all, in this new world of rarified air.  There is a certain genteel air breathed by almost everybody in politics in Washington, D.C.   It is true, though, that many politicians would love to be able to be like Trump or Scaramucci have been in the business world.

I fear that President Trump might very well destroy whatever aura of success he brought with him if he becomes the neighborhood bully.  He might have those feelings, and I might also if I were there, but he has to keep those feelings a layer or two beneath the surface.  In effect, Anthony Scaramucci might be the Trump alter-ego.  And that would be truly ‘Scary’.

I earnestly hope my concerns are misplaced.

Classic ‘Blame Shifting’…

It is amazing, although by now we should know what to expect, that somehow the self-destruction of the ObamaCare marketplace is being blamed on whatever the Republicans decide they’ll do to repeal and replace this monstrosity.

This is a classic look at the power of the liberal press in concert with their ‘faves’, the Democrats/liberals.  It ignores the facts surrounding ObamaCare and, instead, chooses to blame Republicans for the mess that exists today.  Not a single Republican vote can be found for ObamaCare, and yet this destined-to-fail health care program is now their fault in the minds of many who don’t pay close enough attention.

If the press were not a willing accomplice, we would see headlines along these lines:  ObamaCare, Now a Shadow of the Promises Made is Dead Man Walking.

Instead, the far better story from the press’ perspective is the flailing about of the Republicans in their efforts to find the best approach to repealing and replacing the failure.  Yes, the Republicans are really good at looking inept as the various elements of the party thrash about searching for some way to bring themselves together and get the job before them done.  The Dems have internal issues as well, but we don’t often, if ever, read of or hear about those.  Again, the liberal press controls the distribution of ‘news’ all too often without any kind of orchestrated Republican push-back.

The ‘real’ ObamaCare is a fiasco with states having gaps in areas where coverage is available and with significant areas where there simply is nothing available.  Major health insurers have bailed from this disastrous program with losses in tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars to show for their effort.  The promises that they’d be made whole if they encountered “adverse selection” (which was assured to happen), were forgotten or at the least completely ignored by the Obama government.

I don’t think the Republicans have done the job of getting the real story of ObamaCare out to the masses.  I recognize they have had an uphill battle trying to make this happen since the Dems and the media have tried their very best to minimize this reality.  I suspect that the Dems may’ve originally recognized this would occur and actually planned for that to happen thus opening the door to the only remaining solution…Single Payer Health Care, owned and operated by the Federal Government in all its glory.

ObamaCare ushered in by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Democrat cohorts in the literal ‘dark of night’ was the tool that we can look back at and identify as the Trojan Horse it really was.  They knew they’d be able to count on the liberal press to aid and abet their cause.  They also knew they could back the Republicans into a corner from which they had no exit.  Either the Republicans would appear to be the cold-hearted monsters or they’d fold and get out of the way.

We are now watching the next chapter or two in this continuing saga as we gradually get to national health care in one guise or another.  The Republicans appear feckless in the face of the coming reality as they flail about trying to find a consensus among themselves as to just how they’re going to play this latest hand they’ve been skillfully dealt.  In this kind of down and dirty politics, we conservatives seem to come up a day late and a dollar short since there is a very decided non-conservative element inside the Republican movement.  We continue to fight amongst ourselves while the Dems are aligned and marching to the goal line they’ve established.

Wishing it were not so does not make it go away.

Transgenders & The Military…

I approach this subject as a former member of the military serving in both the enlisted ranks as well as the officer corps.  I have slept in a barracks with fifty plus men of all ages and colors and origins.  I have slept in the field with a similar assortment of fellow soldiers.  I am sure of offending some since it is impossible to avoid that with the stating of an opinion on matters such as this.  I have been a unit commander and I started as a basic enlisted man, an E-2.

The esprit de corps (a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group) is absolutely necessary for a properly functioning military unit whether Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force and all the derivations involved.  Mixed sex units have, I believe, finally achieved official acceptance from those in such units.  That is not to say there may not be occasional issues, but men and women are able to serve side-by-side without inherent man/woman issues encroaching on the mission capabilities.

I fear that the addition of transgenders to those units risks issues developing from both male and female members.  The definition of a transgender (denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex) brings another very difficult issue to the unit level.  Men who believe they are of the opposite gender and women who believe they are of the opposite gender mixed into units of men who were born men, and women who were born women simply indicates to me the seeking of issues not conducive to a fighting military unit of any branch.

I well remember the latrines of my time where everything about each of us was vividly exposed.  Showers were built to handle multiple people at one time.  Commodes were arranged side-by-side with no walls or partitions separating the facilities.  These conditions have no doubt changed since the time I was active.  What happens in the field environment?  Separate tents for four sexes now?  Separate latrines for four sexes now?  What about the differences in physical qualities?  Do we set up training courses for the four and adjust the qualification standards to accommodate the four.

What about combat conditions?  Do we somehow make those so as to be accommodating to different body types and strength ranges?  Do we try to find some way to eliminate the sexual drives of the four variations?  Is that even possible?  If this world is to be as accommodating as the non-military world, everyone has to be treated as an equal…and yet that is not the way it is.

The transgender issue is more than just an issue of supposed fairness.  We’re dealing with lives.  We’re dealing with military missions that must be accomplished sometimes, often actually, under very stressful physical and mental conditions.  I, frankly, would not want to be in a unit of regular and transgender males and/or females.  I certainly would not want to be in a combat, or potential combat, situation with transgenders of either sexual persuasion.  There are more than sufficient problems in a tactical military operation without increasing the potential exponentially.

Trying to somehow make believe that this is not going to be problematic by simply decreeing it so is pure folly.  This frankly sounds like a liberal solution to a problem that doesn’t exist except for the declaration of one’s gender being decided to be different than that which one was born with.  Such problems have no place being injected into the life and death world of combat forces.  That life is more than tough enough already.

Political correctness has certainly run amuck in this instance.

 

Spooky Or Simply The Future?

A River Falls, WI company announced yesterday that it would foot the cost of having some 300 employees implanted with a microchip in the web of the hand between thumb and forefinger.  The microchip is said to be about the size of a grain of rice and is removable if anyone desires.  These chips apparently rely upon Radio Frequency Identification, RFI, a passive technology.

In this case, the company said that the ‘chipped’ employees could gain access to the office, their computers, and the coffee machine simply by holding their hand up to the chip reader.  The implant cost would be about $300 per employee.

There is a company in the Seattle area named Dangerous Things that has sold tens of thousands of ‘implant kits’ to individuals and tech companies in Europe.

In answer to the question above, Spooky or Simply the Future?, I’d say “Yes”.  It is both.  Granted the chip implant in the web of the hand is not breathtaking but it is an example of where this might lead and very quickly.  It seems we unleash things or thoughts regularly that have a set of good consequences and not-so-good consequences surrounding them.  If a high tech company chose to use this technology for its employees to gain entry to restricted labs, for example, could not a bad guy kidnap an employee with that access implanted and use the employee as the key to gain entry?

If the implant is the ‘passive’ RFI-based device, maybe the employee’s hand would be the only thing required to gain entry.  Sounds sort of ‘mystery novel-like’ but we have the people capable of such in our midst today.

There are actually people who proudly tell all who are willing to listen that they are bio-hacking their own bodies to try to make improvements to those bodies.  There are always going to be these kinds of technology exploitations, my preferred term for this activity, in such situations.  Technology, in and of itself, is just that: technology.  We humans will continue to work diligently to advance technology; that is who and what we humans are.  Given that, there will always also be misuse as I’d define that term, of the technology…no matter in what field.

I think I am happy to not, at this point anyway, be tasked to decide the “chip or no chip” question.  I have obviously crossed a threshold that might be somewhat age-induced.  There might’ve been a time when I would have tended to be more embracing of such technology.  Now, I seem more intent on finding fault with such ‘newfangled’ things.

That might be based on experience understanding that all new technology seems also to have a black side that many are quite willing to exploit.  Or, I am simply getting grumpier.  Sounds like it may be time for me to crawl back under my blanket and pretend it is not 2017.

A Stacked Deck…

Even if you are not a Trump supporter, I believe an honest review of things to date would suggest to you, also, that he is working against the most massive stacked deck of the political ages.

President Trump was, of course, not a politician up to this point and then became President of the United States of America.  He blew the Democrats’ minds as they came to better understand in just how poor a light they had been held by the majority of the electorate.  Frankly, the majority of that Democrat minority still has yet to come to grips with their standing with voters.

We are now in the midst of the brouhaha that has evolved since the votes were counted.  On the Democratic side, we find the worst example in my lifetime of obstruction of the majority party through all means possible.  Nothing can get in the way of their blocking any and all Republican efforts to improve life and lower taxes for Americans.

This is THE perfect example of why the Dems are bringing up the rear today in public opinion.  It explains why their obstructionist tactics will ultimately explode in their faces.  This also, unfortunately, serves to show us just how poor the Republicans are at ‘fighting fire with fire’.  There are a few Republicans who call it like it is, but the majority of Republicans couldn’t say ‘poop’ if they had a mouthful.  Even though the Dems are the minority, the rifts in the Republican ranks provide further impetus to the Dems.

This is, of course, aided and abetted by the press.  Even conservative news people have a difficult time not playing the game of besmirching the Republicans and piling on at almost every opportunity.

To add a bit of salt to the broth, let us throw in a Special Counselor or two and see if that will cause the Republican machine, such as it is, to grind to a halt for the balance of these four years.  The Dems just know in their heart of hearts that they will defeat the Republicans and throw Trump out of the White House at the end of his first term.  Of course, this flies in the face of the fact they knew this the last time we elected a President and they found out they were wrong.  We also made sure there was a Republican majority in the House and the Senate.

For example, the idea that a Special Counsel should have the right to dig into the financial background of not only the President but members of his family and people with whom he has conducted business.  That when the knowledge of even the least aware person on the street would include thoughts about the Dems’ forays into a payoff here and there.  Does the name Clinton mean anything to you?  Choose either Bill or Hil; the shoe fits them both.

I think we can agree that the deck is stacked.  What seems the real problem is the lack of intestinal fortitude on the part of nearly all the Republicans other than for the President and his team.  That, coupled with the general lack of knowledge amongst the electorate, makes this threat a very real threat.

The President’s instincts are to fight this as he has fought similar things in the private sector.  He is even having problems in finding the right people for his White House team.  You or I might be thinking we’d be able to do a better job than some have done.  We forget, of course, that we haven’t been schooled in the gentile ways Republicans are expected to act in politics even while the Dems are permitted, expected even, to get down and dirty.

Stacked deck?  Sure seems like it.  Will Republicans finally take off the gloves and start going bare knuckle?  I don’t know if that is possible for a lot of the Republicans who are in Washington, D.C.  For some, for most probably, the idea of parting ways with the gentile approach to governance is something they abhor even thinking about.  They see the Dems using those tactics but must be so disgusted at the thought they’d rather lose than take up that style of political fisticuffs.

Please, Republicans!  You and those of us who put you there have the opportunity of a lifetime if we will but seize that opportunity.  Yes, that might mean you’ll have to get a bit of dirt under your nails, but this is the time for that if it becomes necessary…and it appears that time is upon us.

We’re watching but, unfortunately, some, me among them, are wondering if we simply cannot win even with majorities and the Oval Office.