Monday, June 26, 2017

Senate Republicans' health care bill cuts 22 million from health care

Imagine if some kind of economic catastrophe in the United States caused 22 million people to lose their health care.  Imagine the headlines, the photographs, the videos, the stories of untreated illnesses, of the diminished lives, of the diseases and deaths of of millions upon millions of people.

What kind of economic catastrophe could do that?  Stock market crash? Massive unemployment? Depression, deflation, hyper-inflation? Russian cyber-war that destroys the banking system? 

How about a man made catastrophe of the most avoidable kind - ideologically caused economic catastrophe.

That is what the Republican Party is rushing to do to America today.  This isn't Trump's doing.  Trump just barely has an opinion about health care in America.  Trump never thought for more than a few moments about health care in his life, other than to find the hot button phrases that could excite the conservative base into voting for him.

No, this is ideology - a blind ideology that has been entrenched ever since Obamacare was debated and put into law. This is the ideology of the Republican Party, and it is a disastrous lurch into economic calamity.  This is a rush to pass a law without debate, without inputs from the various medical players, without testimony from expert witnesses - oh, I forgot, conservatives don't like experts, they hate experts I guess because experts say different things than talk radio and Fox News folks say, so you can't trust experts because experts don't say simple things that can be put on bumper stickers or baseball caps.

The CBO projection is that 22 million people will lose their health care if the Senate Republican plan becomes law.  The CBO projected that 24 million people would lose their health care if the House of Representative plan would become law. Is this supposed to progress?

My conservative friends justify this stunning cruelty by telling themselves that Obamacare is collapsing of its own fatal flaws.  But it seems to me that those states that cooperated with Obamacare are having a pretty good experience, and those states that refused and obstructed Obamacare are having bad experiences.  It seems pretty clear to me that many Republicans, unfortunately including the president, are doing all they can to sabotage Obamacare, as if Obamacare were just some kind of idea that they didn't like rather than being the thing keeping people in their states alive and healthy.

I don't think the Republicans will overturn Obamacare because they won't be able to get the votes of both the "moderates" (i.e. those who don't want to watch folks die for lack of Medicaid funding in their states) and the "conservatives" (those who think the only thing that counts is cutting spending and shrinking or better yet eliminating the federal government which they see as some kind of evil restraint on freedom).

If a bill gets out of the Senate and goes to committee, it is hard for me to believe that a bill will then be be approved by both the House and the Senate and become law.  The "freedom caucus" (who I think are really pretty much blinded by their own dogmas and fanatical obsessions) will never go along with anything that smacks of compassion for the poor in favor of their most sacred of all desires - tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.

All I can say is that if a terrible health care law gets passed by both houses and is signed by Trump, people will be much better off if they live in California than if they live in Kansas.  I fully expect that those states that have encouraged people to enroll in Obamacare, and who have cooperated with the Federal Government's efforts to make it work will treat their people much better than those states that have done everything they could to sabotage it.   


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Warren Sapp to donate his brain to research when he dies

Multiple Pro Bowl football player Warren Sapp is donating his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for research upon his death.  He is 44 years old and is losing cognitive function due to the violence to his brain during his football years.  It doesn't matter how strong one's body is, or how much pain one is willing to take, there is no way to toughen up the brain to withstand blows to the head. 

"We're playing in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything. Legends of the game," he said. "There's no way any of us wanna really admit that we can't remember how to get home or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be.

"You try to [say], 'All right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep -- maybe it's something I did last night, maybe something I drank,' or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not that it's my brain, that I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes.
"It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep.""

He hopes the research can make the game safer, but as far as I can tell there is no way to make the game of football safe from brain trauma and damage.

I expect parents to stop letting their children play football. I expect the game to fade away.  All I see when I watch football is blocks, tackles, and brain damage.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trump's inability to understand the Russian threat

Trump's hyper-fragile grandiose ego has changed the Russia probe from what it really is - an investigation into Russian interference into the American election - into Trump's egocentric view of it - an investigation to discredit Trump's "fabulous" victory in November. 

This is about Russia's war on the U.S. and all of the West.  Russia tried to elect a Fascist in France, but the French were on to the ruse and defeated Russia's candidate.  Russia had and continues to havre massive control over Ukraine.  Russia continues to interfere in American politics.  It must be uncovered and countered.  They have fractured America's political system and damaged America's relations with our allies.  Russia is winning this war, which our president doesn't even recognize.  Amazing.

Russia has found new weapons in today's electronic world - hacking.  They are being quite successful, unfortunately.  And our current president is missing the entire point.  Not a big surprise, of course. 

It's not about Trump - it's the Russians, stupid...

Of course, if he actually did/does collude with the Russians, it becomes about him too...Could be a motive for him to try to stop the investigation, of course.