Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton



Sgt. Joe Friday, played on TV’s Dragnet by noted former wooden Indian Jack Webb, was a straight shooting Los Angeles Police Department detective who frerquently admonished witnesses to crimes that what he wanted was

Just The Facts, Ma’am

If only that were the case with our present Presidential administration, from top to bottom.

In the aftermath of The Charlottesville race disturbances, culminating in the death of a young counter-protesting woman by a vehicle driven at ramming speed, Drumpf delivered some conflicting messages.

His first statement, issued Saturday was this:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Drumpf, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time…


He did NOT call out the Nazi’s and KKKers or other white supremacist groups by name, and stated quite clearly that the demonstrators who came to oppose the fascist racists were also to blame for the violence.

Reports have indicated his own aides urged him to make a stronger statement and on Monday he did. The perttinent part:

…Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. …

The full text can be found here:

Full text: Donald Trump says “racism is evil” in his latest statement on Charlottesville

Okay. Much criticism from some that it was far too late and from others that his lack of sincerity was obvious. That criticism can be dismissed, for our purposes, as quibbling.

But on Tuesday all hell broke loose as the Apologist For White Supremacists In Chief exploded in vitriol at a press conference that was not even meant to be about Charlottesville. He defended his Saturday remarks and seemed to walk back his critcism of racists on Monday:

I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts,” Drumpf said Tuesday. “It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. It is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.

The absurdity of that claim is patent. Case in point on Thursday, reacting to an apparent terroist attack in Barcelona he told a tale about how General Pershing once too care of Islamic terrorists. He had captured fifty of them and had his men dip the same amount of bullets in pig’s blood, the well known antidote to murderous attacks by Muslims. Lining the 50 Muslims up 49 were shot and the 50th was released to go back and warn his fellow Muslims that was what happened to their ilk.


Of course that never happened.

What else never happened? Well, over 3 million illegal votes in the 2016 election for one. There is simply no evidence that non-citizens vote in large numbers or that even citizens entitled to vote do so multiple times. Yet Drumpf, embarrassed by the fact Hillary Clinton outpolled him in the popular vote by about 3 million tries to make it look as if that margin was entirely due to illegal votes. But he shoots off his mouth about this to Congressional leaders a few days after inauguration without any…you know…FACTS.


In November Drumpf asserted, in a play to his racist base, that 81% of white homicide victims were killed by blacks. He added some other numbers that were fiction and cited a non-existent agency as his source. That happens to be one of his many “Pants On Fire” ratings from Politifact.


Indeed, Politifact has six different ratings:

  • True
  • Mostly True
  • Half True
  • Mostly False
  • False
  • Pants on Fire…That means the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

To date Politifact has examined and fact-checked 442 statements and claims made by Drumpf. A full 69% fall into one of the three false categories with 16% (69) Pants on Fire.


FYI: Barack Obama has more fact chgecks than anyone else with 76% in one of the true categories and only 2% Pants on Fire. Hillary Clinton has 73% in the true categories and only 2% Pants on Fire.

So Drumpf has about as much connection with fact as oatmeal does to ingredients for thermonuclear weapons.

Drumpf’s father’s real name was NOT Fred, as is commonly believed. It was Geppetto.


UPDATE NOTE: I originally wrote that “on Wednesday all hell broke loose” though Drumpf had spoken on Tuesday. My intent was to note the clamor that really went fullblast the next day, though in our internet world the outbursts were almost immediate. I edited Wednesday to Tuesday for greater clarity in that regard.










Earlier today I blew up on Facebook. I called friends who generally share my views stupid and those who don’t stupider. Much of my heartfelt enmity is the result of the rise of Drumpf.

Why do I refer to him as Drumpf? You can thank John Oliver for that.

Immediately after my viewing of this episode I downloaded the Chrome extension that converts Drumpf to Drumpf (I have found I can’t even type the actual name here without it undergoing the transformation) on stories in my browser. It is one small consolation to see this at work in the headlines and stories I see on Slate, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere, even on sites that lean farther right.

I deplore the lowlghts from all the 2016 campaigns. Our Presidential  electoral process is in the gutter, dragged there by Drumpf who has been joyfully joined there by Marco Rubio  who questions the size of Drumpf’s penis; by Ted Cruz simply being Ted Cruz; by Jeb Bush forced to defend charges of being a mommy’s boy; by Ben Carson, who fell in while sleep walking; by John Kasich, who destroyed any possible claims of being a moderate by defunding Planned Parenthood; and by the millions of presumably sentient human beings who listen to all the crazy talk about immigrants and an out of control government who couldn’t pass a U.S. citizenship/civics test if it were an open book exam and the original Declaration of  Independence and Constitution were splayed in front of them.

Holding them hostage there are David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremicist groups armed to the teeth courtesy of the National Rifle Association, crazed Evangelicals who believe Drumpf somehow possesses better Christian bona fides than the Pope when The Donald is probably more likely to provide a quote from a Smokey Stover comic book than from II Corinthians when asked about his favorite Bible passage.

Let us not forget the Secret Srvice which somehow has improved its training to the point that a reporter who wanders 10 inches outside the designated journalist area at a Drumpf rally is strong armed when only a few months ago intruders inside the White House grounds stole President Obama‘s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe before being hustled to the requisite nearby mental hospital for observation.

Oh I’m not forgetting the Democrats. Their participation is in somewhat shallower waters near the curb cutouts that allow wheelchair crossing rather than in the middle of the block, but where the H2O is equally putrid. This time it is not so much the candidates themselves…Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton …hurling invectives at each other so much as it is the so-called BernieBros who have been accused of ugly misogynistic characterizations of the other camp while feminist icons Like Gloria Steinem, though using politer language, are equally sexist in how they portray young female Sanders enthusiasts.

And from these nominal Progressives come the enabling threats to withold their vote from the nominee should he or she not be the one they love to death at this moment. Enabling threats because by doing so they will practically guarantee that our next President will have a bulbous red nose, bizarre multi-colored makeup, a fright wig,  and will be making nonsense noises as he struts around the circus ring. Of course all but Drumpf will need to be fitted for this outfit.

Accompanying this flotsam down the gutter where it will eventually empty into the stream that will make the water supply of Flint, Michigan seem utterly pristine by comparison are various pundits, analysts, economic gurus, and the like offering opinions that may be parsley, rosemary, or thyme, but most certainly not sage.

Perhaps the only good that is coming from this is Spotlight. No, not the latest Oscar winning film but the harsh relentless glare focused on the entire Presidential nominating process that places premiums on a candidacy that begins within weeks after the prior election and is fueled by endless speculation, pollmongering profiteers, the need to fill cable TV news with anything but substance, and the proliferation of web sites whose sole purpose is to promulgate lies, denigrate anyone with opinions different from theirs, and disregard anything remotely likely to benefit the America they all profess to love but which they incessantly subject to virtual domestic violence while declaring their fealty between bruising blows.

Super Tuesday is an agglomeration of primaries in states and American Samoa which would be significant just for the sheer numbers of opportunities for voters to express their choices were it not for the media telling us that the issues have been decided by the primaries/caucuses already consigned to history in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina and whch have a combined poulation dwarfed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania whose own 2016 primary is not until April 26, a date by which the names of many former candidates will be not even a memory and which may represent only the merest possibility of ultimate success to the horses (asses) still in the race.

All this makes the Swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004 look more like the highest level of forensic debate by comparison.

Oh, hell. I’ll admit it. I, too have awkwardly stepped off the curb and fallen into the slime. But the murky waters are deep and I really can’t swim so I am about to drown in this torrent I am now a part of.

In splashing around for survival I might occasionally send splurges of nastiness into the open mouths of others, but they were there first voluntarily.



We are rapidly, or maybe not rapidly enough, moving towards the 2016 Presidential election. The house pictured above is the residence the announced candidates aspire to inhabit. But what about their current residences? How do they compare?

We are blessed by this article which gives us pretty pictures of the house or houses owned by some of the candidates, but limited to only Trump, Bush, Clinton, and Sanders.


I have not been able to obtain photographs, but I am assured by reliable sources that the following descriptions are accurate depictions of their living spaces for some of the other candidates.

Mike Huckabee—a little warren within some evangelical church, away from the riff-raff whom he has time for only to deliver his latest irrational screed. Inside his personal area the walls are plastered with pictures of various acts of sado-masochism performed by him with waitresses from Hooters. Oh, and a portrait of Soupy Sales.

Rick Perry—His house is built to emulate the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas which contains the state’s Death Row. Inside, Perry’s great room contains plenty of loungers with wrist, waist, and ankle straps and IV poles ready to deliver his guests’ beverage of choice.

Scott Walker—-Surprisingly he lives a very ascetic life in a bare bones home. After all, even in these times it’s difficult to fully furnish and decorate a house without objects that were union made. Obviously he has no car.

Rand PaulDesigned by renowned architect Howard Roark Paul’s home has a small but comfortable library which holds only the works of Ayn Rand…oh…and the Gideon Bible he brought home from his last national Ophthalmology Convention, aiming to use it for guidance when advising Kentucky County Clerks on their job duties.

Ben Carson—A comfortable but not ostentatious home in which his favorite room is the one where he displays mementoes of his life. Among thse are a brain preserved in formaldehyde complete with electric stimulators he can operate for old times’ sake, a sonogram of the pre-aborted fetus he later used for stem cell research, and an unused booklet of Food Stamps from his childhood.

Martin O’Malley—He lives in a house that formerly housed one of those crab shacks like you find dotting the Maryland shore. He maintains a supply of wooden mallets, a stack of old newspapers (each containing a report of one of his speeches) used to cover the wooden picnic table where his family dines, and a to-the-ceiling pile of O’Malley For President bumper stickers that no one has accessed his web site to request.

Rick Santorum—Since his unpublicized divorce and remarriage, he had to move into his new spouse’s dog house.

Chris Christie—Has houses all over the country. You can recognize them by the Dunkin Donuts logo outside.

Carly Fiorina—Her house is an nondescript suburban block and brick building, miles from public transit, part of which she leases to the local unemployment office serving laid off tech workers.

Jim Webb—A 3476 sq ft Virginia Colonial, indistinguishable from most of his neighbors save for the electric message sign in front displaying a continuous loop reading “I AM NOT THE JIM WEBB WHO WROTE THAT ATROCIOUS SONG MACARTHUR PARK. There is currently a class action by his neighbors pending in which they seek damages for the ear worm they cannot get rid of.

Jeff Boss, Harry Braun, Lawrence Lessig, Robby Wells and Willie Nelson (not the singer) , a bunch of unknowns seeking the Democratic nomination, who reside jointly in a suite at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia.

Bobby Jindal–He used to live in a home resembling the Taj Mahal, but Trump evicted him for nonpayment of rent after he gambled all his money away in the building’s casino.

Ted Cruz—Rumored to reside just outside Winnipeg.

Marco Rubio—Lives very modestly in the rear of a Cuban sandwich shop in Miami’s Little Havana.

John Kasich—Currently living in the Ohio Governor’s mansion in Columbus, but preparing to move to a mountainside cabin on Denali. when his term expires.

Lindsey Graham—Once his objective of attacking Iran to end its nuclear program is acheived, he is going to retire from the Senate, and move into the penthouse condo he has already purchased overlooking the grandest boulevard in downtown Tehran.

Considering our options, would it be possible to change the locks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. before January, 20, 2017?


UPDATE. The original version mis-stated Martin O’Malley’s first name as Michael. The text now reads as corrected.



Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 have one thing undeniably in common. They all pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with lollipops and rainbows…er, lower premiums and lower costs and more freedom. These candidates have been asked repeatedly for specifics of their plans and sidestep the questions with more general, meaningless statements.

Well Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has finally put the pedal to the metal and produced an outline of what he proposes to do to replace the ACA.

To preface my introduction to his plan let me just assert that

  1. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, and
  2. There are ways available to address any flaws without tearing the entire law apart, and
  3. Any fix or replacement must be based on the facts of the current situation


Here is the first paragraph of Scott Walker’s plan.

Washington’s failed approach to health care is hurting the American people. Big government created a health care system built around Washington, not hardworking families. This backwards approach drove up health care costs and reduced access to medical care for far too many of our neighbors, friends, and family members.

Each sentence is a lie.

Washington’s failed approach to health care is hurting the American people

On the contrary, the uninsured rate has dropped dramatically and there have been real positive consequences of the law.


Big government created a health care system built around Washington, not hardworking families.

Again false, That is the equivalent of the often made claim that the ACA was a “government takeover of health care.” And that, my friends, was the Politifact 2010 Lie Of The Year And do not dismiss Politifact as a source because Walker himself takes advantage of it in support of his ideas, which you will see.


This backwards approach drove up health care costs and reduced access to medical care for far too many of our neighbors, friends, and family members.

To this I can pretty much only respond, HUH?

More lies

The list of ObamaCare failures is long. Democrats have long promised affordability with their big-government health care plans, from HillaryCare to ObamaCare. But instead of lower costs and expanded coverage, ObamaCare has caused insurance premiums across the country to spike as the cost of Washington’s new regulations and taxes are passed to the American people. The Heritage Foundation found from 2014 to 2015, average premiums for young people increased by approximately 14 percent in Iowa and 19 percent in Ohio and Minnesota. Families in Kansas and Louisiana saw increases of almost 14 percent.[1] We will likely see even higher premium increases in 2016 and beyond as ObamaCare’s insurance company bailouts phase out. Probably the most cited ObamaCare failure, and Politifact’s 2013 ‘Lie of the Year,’ was President Obama’s repeated claim that if you liked your existing health care coverage, you could keep it.[2] So while both Obama and Hillary Clinton made promises that their health plans would allow Americans to keep their existing coverage, millions of people were pushed out of their preferred health plans and restricted access to the doctors they wanted to see.[3] ObamaCare has also punished employers with costly mandates and red tape, hurting growth and job creation. Another ObamaCare failure is the way it went about expanding coverage. Where ObamaCare expanded the number of people with coverage who previously were not insured, it did so mostly by pushing people into Medicaid, a program that was already overburdened.[4] And many of the people who received insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges had in fact been previously insured, but got knocked off their private health plans. Others switched coverage because federal subsidies only flowed if they signed up for ObamaCare’s prescriptive plans. As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on downgraded health policies.

Let me make some points here.

  • The Heritage Foundation can find whatever premium increases it wants, but these increases have been predicted since day one of the law and, guess what, the average actual increase for premiums from 2014 to 2015 was ZERO


Now, of course an average of zero does not mean there were no increases but that there were both increases and reductions. And the article cited notes the reasons behind the relative stability of health care premiums across the board including the benefits derived from the standardization of plans under the ACA. But other factors include geographical differences, the number of insurers in the market and other variations.

Likewise the predictions for hikes in 2016 are based on proposals not actualities. Again look to the Commonwealth Fund for guidance.


  •  “ObamaCare’s prescriptive plans”,

I am not certain what he means. All the ACA does is require health care plans to now contain prescritption drug coverage, though not necessarily for all drugs, whereas previously they did not have to.


  • Where ObamaCare expanded the number of people with coverage who previously were not insured, it did so mostly by pushing people into Medicaid, a program that was already overburdened.[4] And many of the people who received insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges had in fact been previously insured, but got knocked off their private health plans.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 11.7 million Americans signed up for coverage through the exchanges in the 2015 enrollment period ending in March and

As of March 2015 HHS reported a total of 16.4 covered due to the ACA between the Marketplace, Medicaid expansion, young adults staying on their parents plan, and other coverage provisions.

So Medicaid enrollees are nowhere near a majority of the newly insured. Even if that were so, the states that accepted the expansion of Medicaid are saving money.


However, the states that refused to expand that program are experiencing greater costs to care for the uninsured.

Nationwide, the cost of caring for uninsured people in non-expansion states between now and 2024 is projected to reach $266 billion if no new states decide to expand Medicaid, according to a report in April from the Kaiser Family Foundation. If all states decided to expand, that cost would drop by a third.


  • millions of people were pushed out of their preferred health plans and restricted access to the doctors they wanted to see.

First of all, the number of people who may have had policies cancelled appears to have been grossly overstated.


But do you know the only group that specifically was mandated to lose their coverage under the ACA? No, you probably don’t, but it was Congress, together with certain staffers who were kicked out of the coverage they had had. And that coverage was simply participation in the same menu of plans available to all federal civilian employees. That is why, when Ted Cruz lost his spousal coverage when his wife left Goldman Sachs, he was forced to purchase coverage from one of the ACA exchanges. Yes, Virginia, there is a mandate for Congresscritters to participate in the exchanges. A mandate, incidentally, I believe to be both totally political and stupid.

Because I find the source, FOX News, to be amusing in this context I’ll present a viewpoint expressed there.


But in an overall sense the ACA is a scapegoat for any cancelled policies. If insurance companies had enough introspection they would paraphrase Cassius

The fault lies not in the ACA, but in ourselves.

You see…and really this is not revelatory, simply a reminder…prior to the Affordable Care Act insurers could cancel policies for any damned reason or none at all. Just peruse this article from 2007 before the ACA was a gleam in Barack Obama’s eye.


And private health care plans frequently change the providers they allow access to. See this look at the UPMCHighmark steel cage match in Pittsburgh.


Now to the essence of Walker’s plan, his five points.

1. Repeal ObamaCare in its entirety.

We heard you already, Scott!

2. Ensure affordable and accessible health insurance for everyone.






Part A is a pipedream and Walker’s ideas as to how to accomplish this are nebulous and sketchy at best. And it ignores the reality that in this century health care costs and premiums for coverage have seen steady, sometimes very large increases, with and without the ACA, but the rate of growth of both has slowed since the law was enacted.

Part B, A footnote accomopanying a chart showing suggested levels of subsidies states

so there would be no intrusive oversight by the IRS and no accountant needed to determine the credit amount.

Pray tell who administers or tracks these subsidies if not the IRS. And he wants to put honest accountants out of work? I have friends who would be hurt.

Part C Here’s more on health savings accounts and pros and cons.


One note I will add is that in Part B Walker claims his simplification of subsidies will lessen IRS influence, but HSA’s appear to reuire high IRS maintenance to ensure compliance with the law.

Part D This may be the only part that has some merit in that presumably there would be more competition for the health insurance premium dollar. But the same was said about permitting banks to operated across state lines and look at what Dr. Franken-deregulate-Stein has created.

Part E The devil is in the details. And these details have a strong resemblance to Satan. For, instead of simply requiring companies to insure those with pre-existing conditions, he forces them back into high risk pools with limited coverage. No thank you.

3. Make health care more efficient, effective and accountable by empowering the states.



In this part Walker highlights Medicaid and declares it so broken only the states can fix it. Balderdash, Run by the states eligibility reuirements are set so unfairly that many desperately poor people have no chance of becoming insured, and thus will tax resources as noted above.

For instance in the U.S someone is considered to be below poverty level if their income is no more than $11,770 for one person, $15,930 for 2 persons in a hosehold and  $20,090 for a family of 3. But states that did not opt for the Medicaid expansion do not allow eligibility for those above a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. In Alabama, it is 13% for parents and 0% for other adults.


In other words In Alabama a household with 2 parents and a child, earning barely more than $2600 per YEAR means the parents cannot receive Medicaid (though the child may be eligibe for CHIP).

Think about that. Can states be trusted to take care of their own? Or only a small proportion of their own.

As to returning regulatory authority to the states, again this is a fallacy because they still exercise the majority of regulatory authority over insurance companies. Indeed, the differences between state actions in this respect are another reason why premium rates differ so greatly.

Along the way he asks that the current funding means for Medicaid, shared by the state and federal governments, remain in place with some tweaking of the formula with states getting block grants from the Feds. However, in states with no expansion, they are right now tied to the old levels of federal participation which rarely exceed 50% of Medicaid costs, whereas those falling under the Medicaid expansion get 100% paid by the feds until dropping to 90%. A much better deal than now.

4. Increase quality and choice through innovation.





While at least A B and C have some merit on the surface, Walker’s approach is oversimplistic. As to Part A, group plans, these already are very common for members of groups like unions or fraternal organizations or even members of credit unions or those having other affinity relationships. The one basic limitation is that the persons eligible for such policies have some affiliation with each other besides the mere fact of seeking group insurance. Indeed, besides health coverage one can get auto or life insurance or pretty much any kind of insurance. Since so many Americans belong to affinity groups I would guess the extent of this type of coverage may be reliant on knowledge and desire of groups to pursue such measures.

Wellness incentives are already included in many private insurance policies. Does he want the government to mandate such coverage or merely command people to stay healthy?

Long term care coverage can be very important to individuals or even couples. But from what I can find on the topic, it does not really appear that the practice is over-regulated. In some cases there is next to no regulation. But Tax Qualified policies, because they do not tax benefits, of necessity must follow IRS regulations. Here is a good overview of such policies and practices.


Part D is a complete lie. That is tort litigation is not a prime mover of medical costs. Best estimates that the total cost of the effects of medical malpractice are slightly more than 2% per year.


But what does that mean exactly? According to the study cited here perhaps 10% of the total figure  is for what is paid out in judgments and settlements, nearly $6 BILLION a year. But that money was paid out because doctors did something wrong.That was not mere generosity on the part of malpractice insurers. In addition defense attorneys cost those insurers almostt 20% of those payouts. But defense lawyers get paid no matter the outcome.

But the major thing wrong with this point is that it is based on myths, which are dispelled here.


For instance various sources put the number of yearly deaths due to medical mistakes at 100,000 or more. That is close to 4% of all deaths in the country. That’s an awaful lot of malpractice yet only 1 in 8 victims of such treatment files suit. So it is bogus to argue there is excess litigation when the opposite is true.

Now Walker and his cohorts will assert that excessive damages are frequently awarded, especially for pain and suffering, but this, like many opinions, depends on whose ox is getting gored. Rick Santorum has pushed for limits and still advocates the same but when his wife lost a baby and undoubtedly experienced pain and suffering, to which he testified on her behalf, she got an award over the limits he wants for everyone else. (Not being intimately knowledgeable about her case, I believe the award is nowhere near out of bounds.


5. Provide financial stability for families and taxpayers.

Hey! Who can argue with that goal?

As a result, all of our citizens in poverty have gained access to health insurance through our state’s Medicaid plan, BadgerCare – a first in Wisconsin history. And our reforms are providing everyone in the state access to health insurance, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation

Never dare The UMOC to check your claims of others’ approval. In fact, not everyone in poverty in Wisconsis has access to coverage but many of the ones who gained coverage through the Medicaid waiver links to BadgerCare must now pay premiums for that coverage (unlike regular Medicaid enrollees) and can lose eligibility for enrollment for a period if they fail to pay these premiums.

In 2012, Wisconsin received approval to apply premium payments to TMA adults above 138%FPL with a 12-month restrictive re-enrollment policy as a penalty for failure to pay premiums.  In 2012, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) studied the effects of the increased and expanded premiums implemented on TMA individuals above 138% FPL. This study found that between July 2012, when the premium provision was implemented, and December 2012 over two thirds (69%) of the 18,544 individuals between 133% and 150% FPL had left the program. About one in five (21%) of that population lost coverage due to failure to pay within the initial six months.


Now early on in this plan Walker justifies his desire to rid the world of “Obamacare” with this statement.

It should come as no surprise that many pillars of ObamaCare can be traced to “HillaryCare,” Hillary Clinton’s 1993 health care plan. And the proposals in Hillary’s “American Health Choices Plan,” released during her 2008 presidential campaign, provide a useful link between her 1993 plan and her present-day ideas.

I smile at the irony. You can get a glimpse of Hillary’s plan here, in the assessment of the Heritage Foundation, a reliable go-to source for WAlker.


The Affordable Care Act does NOT resemble that at all. What it does resemble is a health care plan brewed up by that same Heritage Foundation that was introduced into the Senate in December of 1993 by 21 mostly Republican co-sponsors that also was the basis for the plan Massachusetts adopted when Mitt Romney was Governor. Now, was that 1993 plan, submitted in opposition to the Clinton plan, identical to what became the ACA? Of course not, and truth be told, it never came to a vote and other GOP Senators vehemently opposed it.


The core part of both the Republicans HEART plan and the ACA was the individual mandate which, of course became such a point of contention in debate and in litigation when the law passed. Sure there were significant differences.

This article expounds on the genesis and evolution of the GOP plan.


Have I been harsh on Scott Walker? Or rather on the health care plan he has submitted for public scrutiny? Oh, Geez, I surely hope so. I’m a scrutineer from way back. But this plan is deserving of all the snark and skepticism I can muster because from the get go it fails to honestly and objectively assess what impact the Affordable Care Act has had on health care after 5+ years of implementation.

I stated at the outset that the law is flawed. However, Walker chooses to evade discussion of the real flaws and instead focus his attack on the bogeymen created by Republicans and other opponents of the law, together with the same sound bites, debunked allegations, and outright lies that have characterized this eminently debatable issue since the first inklings of what the law was to be emerged in 2009.

Do I unequivocally support the entire ACA? Hell NO! While it does some great things and millions of people are reaping its benefits, at heart is still does not achieve what its main goal purports to be, and that is ensure every American has access to health care through a system of insurance.

As Bernie Sanders and others remind us to a steady drumbeat. the United States is the only major industrialized nation without universal health care.

We can argue the best means to get to that Nirvana, that paragon, but we still waste far too much time arguing if this is a desirable goal at all.

Disappointingly far too many of our politicians would sooner have us at the mercy of private enterprise…oh, yes, that institution that has never harmed one hair on our collective chinny-chin-chins. perish the thought!

All the more dejecting because a simple solution is right before our eyes.

Once more to the ramparts exclaiming…MEDICARE FOR ALL!



I just had a thought. At least it’s not as dangerous as most of my impulses.

While reading an article about Bill Clinton’s possible role in Hillary’s campaign, and having seen a headline where former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley stated that we need to get rid of the Clinton—Bush mindset, I was inspired. (Also expired and perspired but that’s for later)

Let us have a Clinton vs Bush contest in 2016, but Bill against Dubya, not Hillary against Jeb.

There’s no Constitutional problem with a third term for either because, as the Teabaggers have been telling us for several years, the Constitution has been taken away, just like school prayer, everybody’s guns, and their freedom to worship  the two or three time divorced Conservative heroes of their choice.

You ask, “how is this a good idea?” And I pretend I am on a Sunday morning network political talk show and reply, “How is it not?”

Don’t ask again, I’m moving on with my own talking points. (I am a HUGE fan of Meet The Press)

How in the world could one not appreciate another Presidential campaign involving these men, but for the first time, facing off directly.

The contrasts are clear. It would be as if Sandy Koufax were to come out of retirement to pitch to a similarly unretired Willie Mays. Their records are clear, if not written in stone…or, as in the case of Koufax and Mays…written in BaseballReference.com.

One easy comparison would be to say one sucked and the other one was sucked. But that would be crude and lowdown and I refuse to go there.

Another easy comparison is that one finally brought the federal budget back into balance with a surplus four years running as he left office while the other immediately brought yearly deficits back to life.

One used his powers as Commander-in Chief (CINC) to deploy troops with a loss of approximately one hundred as a result. The other used his powers as Commander-in-Chief to deploy troops who suffered deadly losses of over 6000.

One saw the creation of nearly 23 million private sector jobs during his tenure and the other saw the creation of fewer than 2 million private sector jobs during his.

But I’m taking myself far too seriously here. What I am really concerned about is entertainment value.

Just imagine the delight the media will take in bloviating about draft dodging vs AWOL, about “not inhaling” vs drunken, cocaine fueled escapades.

Post-Presidency fund raising from foreign despots vs Post-Presidency crappy artwork.

Avoiding your Vice-President because you never got along anyhow vs avoiding  your Vice-President because you refuse to hang out with known criminals.

But there is one main reason Bill, rather than Hillary Clinton should run. We probably will not hear the word Benghazi more than 6453 times in attack ads if Bill runs while the number would be infinite if Hillary did.

On the Bush side running George instead of brother Jeb means the deepest desires of their mother, Barbara,  to not have another Bush in the Oval Office will be satisfied.

And I kind of like the old gal.



Jamelle Bouie is a young writer for Slate. He covers policy, politics, and race. I have read many very interesting stories from his pen and our opinions are compatible more often than not.  I have quoted from his pieces and posted them on Facebook.

But I find myself at odds with him here. And it’s on a relatively simple matter. He believes Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Stewart has announced he is stepping down from his perch as host of the hit satirical cable program later this year.The liberal world that pays attention to such matters is in mourning. He has been our “spokesman” for over a decade and a half as he has torn down the facade so often erected by the right of political positions and absurdist societal ideals that are based on superstition, distortions and outright lies.

But he has not been hesitant to bring to our attention the sometimes hilarious, and, at times, equally ugly and disturbing faux pas of actual liberals and even of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, true liberals only in the worst nightmares of of those who oppose their every action or word.

But the primary function of Stewart is to make his audience laugh. And his audience mostly skews liberal. It may be the only two conservative viewers he has are Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, both digging for ammunition to maintain ongoing feuds, just as Stewart himself mines their programs for his own material, taking extra delight in tossing barbs their way.

And when Stewart is sometimes attacked for his mainly liberal take on things and notation is made of his show’s influence and higher credibility ratings than either most mainstream or conservative media, he is wont to protest that he is “merely a comedian”.

Bouie dissents.

More often however, Stewart’s stance is frustrating. His protests to the contrary, Stewart is a pundit, and like many pundits, he’s wed to a kind of anti-politics, where genuine difference doesn’t exist (or isn’t as relevant as we think) and political problem-solving is mostly a matter of will, knowledge, and technocratic know-how.


I like this writer but have to disagree with him here. But our differences may stem more from our age disparity and the perspectives our own life experiences represent. He graduated from college in 2008, I in 1969.

Perhaps his relative youth lends him more optimism that true engagement on the issues is possible. I, on the other hand, have been witness to the deterioration of the relationship between our two major national “sides”— conservative and liberal.

I have vivid memories of my (thankfully brief) embrace of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and voting for Richard Nixon in 1968 upon my first eligibility. And though today I would not support either of these legendary Republicans based on their platforms and accomplishments in their time, today I’m not sure many conservatives would either, were they to look more closely at what they, especially, Nixon did. And that is utterly apart from Watergate which really cannot eradicate his diplomatic overtures to China or establishment of the now frenetically hated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or (GASP!) …as modern conservatives disparage the minimum wage itself…Nixon’s proposal of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) in 1969.


Bouie sees Stewart as feeding into uncompromising dysfunction of the contemporary political dialogue (more accurately simultaneous monologues) and the seeming inability of Congress to pass anything other than the 3462nd attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and sponsoring bills to eliminate even more long-standing laws.

I see Stewart as providing a necessary counterpoint to…in  my own views… a far conservative right wing wanting to dismantle the great progressive improvements to America since…let’s say…the New Deal. And he makes me laugh, though much of that laughter is as attributable to his “correspondents” as it is to him.

And I need laughter. As much as I may be the beneficiary of confirmation and validation of my own opinions I am the receptor of material that tickles my funny bone. Comfort food, if you will.

In this very piece whether you agree with my views, individual or as a whole, that I express here, is irrelevant. I know some of you do not see things as I do. But this is about Stewart and what place he merits in our psyche.

As much as I admire Jon Stewart and would love to have a conversation with him over a few beers, in the end, though, whether you deem Stewart a comic or an acutely perceptive political pundit cum humor, he is simply one of the Comedians and I am not referring to characters in the Graham Greene novel of the same name.

Then again, it could be the Lords of FOX who take him much too seriously nail it, which would..I believe..make them the Tontons Macoutes 


Much has been made of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals, drawing praise from the right and opprobrium from thinking, moral people.

However, even those on the right inclined to accept most of his plan, are vocal in their protests on how Medicare might be affected. Of course these folks largely consist of those already on Medicare or who might qualify for it in the near future. They are rightly concerned that, despite assurances to the contrary, their own medical care and the costs to them may be adversely treated.

I was not previously aware of this, but Ryan’s suggestion that Medicare be converted into a premium support program operating through private insurers is not a new idea.

In 1995 Henry Aaron—not the baseball great—devised this premium support plan with Robert Reischauer, former president of the Urban Institute. They did this as an alternative to the failed health care plan offered by Hillary Clinton that was rejected by Congress.

The basic idea is simple: let people pick their health insurers in the private market, subsidize the premiums, and competition will drive down costs. That’s the theory behind Ryan’s plan, recently endorsed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in a white paper the two wrote.

It differs from Aaron’s original vision — in part because it has fewer protections for beneficiaries — but the essential concept is the same. Aaron said this isn’t the time to test it out.


In that article Aaron explains why he has changed his mind. A large part of his plan rested on the assumption that market pressures with some government influence would result in lower insurance costs to participants. But experience has demonstrated that is not happening.

The best example for this is Medicare Advantage. Many seniors opt for this coverage rather than regular Medicare. The “advantage” in these plans may well be the additional coverage for treatments not included in Medicare like vision and dental or bonuses such as health club memberships.

But in the case of Medicare Advantage, similar to premium support in that Medicare pays a private insurer to cover someone, the attempts at risk adjustment have raised costs by about 8 percent, Aaron noted. On top of that, although there are many Medicare Advantage plans in existence, they are not cheaper than traditional Medicare, and there’s little to suggest they will get cheaper.

“The evidence to date is not encouraging,” Aaron said, noting a recent study that isolated the effects of competition on Medicare Advantage costs from government-related influences. “After controlling for all those factors, Medicare Advantage plans are more expensive than is traditional Medicare.”

Aaron has not totally abandoned his original idea that premium support might be a workable solution. He warns about adoption for the citizenry as a whole since certain aspects of premium support are now in place for some through the health insurance exchanges established in the Affordable Care Act.

Aaron said. “The Medicare population is vastly more difficult to deal with than the population under the Affordable Care Act. We should prove that the health insurance exchanges work, get them up and running before we take seriously, in my view, calls to put the Medicare population through a similar system.”

Aaron believes two further problems exist with the plan set forth by Ryan, or any premium support plan for that matter.

The first is that the cap on Medicare inflation mandated by that plan is no more than 1% above GDP. But health care costs have soared far above the growth in GDP and such a cap would mean fewer and fewer benefits.

Furthermore to achieve the goals of premium support for Medicare requires strict regulatory controls. In light of the strong antiregulatory mood present in Ryan’s own party today, it is doubtful that those effective controls would be in place.

Aaron recently testified before Congress and the article I cited above includes both a link to that entire testimony and a video of Aaron on why he changed his mind.

I am on Medicare and have no complaints about my coverage or the program in any way. Since I became enrolled I have had six hospitalizations, an untold number of tests and doctors’ visits, and major heart surgery. I firmly believe any changes to Medicare as it exists would be detrimental, if not to me, to future beneficiaries.

But the most striking aspect of this story to me lies in its utter irony. I have often noted that the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act, as well as other provisions, were originally a Republican proposal introduced in the Senate in 1993, also as an alternative to Hillary Clinton’s plan.

That mandate was touted as the way to go by large segments of conservatives and, of course, was the basis for the Massachusetts health care plan promulgated by Mitt Romney.

But, come noon on January 20, 2009, that plan was dropped like a hot potato by the right, with formerly enthusiastic supporters calling it socialistic and unconstitutional.

Now the OTHER option to Hillary Care has resurfaced only to be at least partially discredited by its own architect. Of note, however, is that his rationale for doing so is rational, unlike the illogical and lying screeds unleashed against the ACA.

That law is now before the Supreme Court, due to lawsuits filed by liars and hypocrites.

I guarantee you that if Ryan’s plan becomes law, the nearly 50 million current Medicare beneficiaries and the millions more on the cusp of eligibility will make the work of 26 states’ attorney generals resemble child’s play.