Category Archives: healthcare

2017 election results: victory for the left

By Joseph Ballin 11/15/ 2017 6:59 AM EST

For all the Hillarybots out there, I have just one question for you. Do you think we would have seen the left wing landslide win we saw last week if Hillary Clinton was president? As Jimmy Dore pointed out several times, Trump is a disaster, Trump can’t get anything done, he is destroying the Republican Party, and it’s better we get an ineffective fascist now, than an effective fascist later.

Andrea Jenkins (Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party) was elected to the 8th Ward of the Minneapolis City Council. She is first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. She was endorsed by Our Revolution. She’s very active in the trans community, including Trans Lives Matter. She’s a civil rights icon and a personal hero of mine.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreaforward8?lang=en

Lee Carter (Democratic Party/Democratic Socialists of America) was elected to the 50th district of the Virginia House of Delegate. He beat Jackson Miller, the majority whip for the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates. He won with almost no support from the Virginia Democratic Party.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carterforva?lang=en

Larry Krasner (Democratic Party) was elected 26th District Attorney (DA) of Philadelphia. He beat Republican Beth Grossman. A lot of people don’t know DAs have vast power, they can choose which cases they want to peruse or not. Larry is pro-BLM, anti-death penalty (won’t hear a single death penalty case), anti-war on drugs, pro-Occupy wallstreet, wants to reign in the police.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Krasner4DA?lang=en

Seema Singh Perez (Democratic Socialists of America) was elected to Third district of the Knoxville City Council. She is the first Indian-American elected council member.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Seema3rddistrict/

Maine Question 2 was passed by Maine voters over the objections of Governor Paul LePage (biggest douche in a governorship). It expands Medicaid in the state of Maine. This is very good because Maine is an older state, a lot of Medicaid goes to pay for costs of old folks homes. LePage wants to delay this as much as possible just like anything else he touches.

Other interesting notes from this election. The Washington state legislature flipped Democratic and the Virginia House of Delegates is still in recount over who controls the chamber. In the Georgia state legislature, Democrats won three key seats there, making Republicans lose their super majority there.

Intercept coverage of progressive wins this election:

https://theintercept.com/2017/11/08/a-year-after-trump-democrats-socialists-and-populists-sweep-elections/

22,000 good guys with guns

By Joseph Ballin 10/3/2017 4:20 AM EST

The Republican Party, which formally was a parliamentary center-right wing party, has long ceased to function as a reality based political party. The current “Republican” Party that exists in the US is called the Democratic Party. As Chomsky pointed out in 2010, the GOP has moved so far to the right that they need to mobilize sections on America that wasn’t formally political before like evangelicals, conspiracy nuts, anti-vaxers, gun nuts, etc.

By right wing I don’t mean “conservative” or “libertarian” in the Americanized understanding of these terms. The Republican Party is a corporatist anti-life party. Anything that is good for their donors they support. Anything that causes death and suffering of innocent people they support. That’s why they support police, the military industrial complex, prisons, ICE, cutting healthcare, Puerto Rico relief, CHIP, oil, etc.

The reason they love guns is because their donors give them millions of dollars to shill for more guns. It is as simple as that. There could be 1,000,000 Americans killed by guns tomorrow and the Republicans won’t do anything about it. We have long ceased to exist as a functioning democracy when SCOTUS in 2008 delivered the Heller decision, giving a “right” to own a fire arm and when we allowed dozens of innocent kids to die in Sandy Hook.

The chickens you could say are coming home to roast. In the past, Americans genocided Native Americans at the barrel of a gun. In the present, the US is sending millions of guns and bullets around the world to various evil fascist regimes to persecute innocent people. “The tyranny Athens imposed on others, it finally imposed on itself.” – Chris Hedges. Now the tyranny is coming back to America.

If I had it my way, I would take all the guns in the US, melt them all down, and make a statue for peace, but I’m sure the alt-right would protest to tear it down of course. We can’t do anything about guns, but we will take away your healthcare so you die from the gun wounds. I wonder how much money it will cost to take care of the 500 survivors of Las Vegas. I’m sure the Republicans will go back to trying to repeal Obamacare and ensure all those people die. Again it is a party of death, not life.

The NRA’s bullshit propaganda runs hollow when you realize that those 22,000 people all probably had guns, and none of them “became a good guy with a gun.” This isn’t Die Hard, you cannot go around acting like Rambo shooting people you “suspect” of being the shooter. If all 22,000 people at the concert took out their guns and fired at the Mandalay hotel, we won’t be calling this a massacre, we would be calling this a genocide.

Trump isn’t just our only problem, he’s just the pure fucking evil of the Republican Party manifesting itself in it’s true form. In the same way Hitler was the manifestation of Germany’s rage for the Treaty of Versailles, the Trump voter is the finale columniation of 40 years of a slow moving coup by far right wing ideologies who have been going on a full blown propaganda brainwashing campaign, carried out by forces such as Fox News, right wing hate radio, Brietbart, and other reactionary forces.

Edit: I put 200,000 attended the Route 91 Harvest concert, it’s actually 22,000, but the point remains.

Donald Trump, George W. Bush’s third term

By Joseph Ballin 8/9/2017 12:46 AM EST

One thing that really drives me up a wall is when people say “Trump makes me wish we had Bush as president again.” When Gore Vidal said we are the United States of Amnesia, he wasn’t fucking joke. Bush was the second worst president (second only to the current asshole) in US history and nearly destroyed the country and the world. Growing up under Bush for me was like someone growing up under Hitler or Franco, it’s a dark time in your history to remember. I simply refer to it as “The Dark Times”. In fact Trump has brought back a lot of memories that I tried to suppress from the Bush administration.

Not to mention the fact it was Bush’s stupidity that helped create Trump in the first place. If Bush was never president, we never get McCain picking Sarah Palin, and if we never got her, we never got Trump. For all the MAGA chuds out there who said Trump would be different from from Bush, where are they now? In fact Trump has become Bush’s third term. Here’s some stuff Bush and Trump both did as president:

1. Bush killed the nuclear deal Bill Clinton established with North Korea, Trump just killed the nuclear deal with Iran that was established by Obama.
2. Both bombed an Arab Baathist country in the middle east for no reason at all.
3. Both came in trying to be friendly with Putin, only to have relations deteriorate dramatically over their presidency.
4. Both expanded NATO.
5. Both ran on an anti-interventionist foreign policy during their respective elections, only to turn into full blown neocon war mongers the second they get into the white house.

Other than that, every thing else is standard stuff presidents do in terms of foreign policy, which is basically war mongering and war crimes, along with breaking international and US law. One key difference between Bush and Trump foreign policy, Bush talked alot about freedom and democracy, Trump has the foreign policy of the Golden Horde, rape and pillage.

1. Both reenacted the Mexico City policy that was previously resided by president Clinton and Obama.
2. The civil rights department of the US government has been largely rendered defunct under both GWB and Trump.
3. The Bush administration abandons ratification Kyoto Protocol, while the Trump administration leaves Paris Deal.

On LGBT issues, I would say Trump is actually WORSE for LGBT Americans than Bush. Trump may not have ran an openly anti-LGBT campaign, but if you had looked at the 2016 GOP platform, it looked like something out of Nazi Germany on LGBT rights. The following things Trump has done on LGBT rights over the last 200 days: removed any referenced to LGBT people or civil rights on white house website, rescind Obama’s guidelines on transgender students bathroom access, rescinded Obama’s federal contractors executive order covering sexual orientation and gender identity, appointed a bunch of batshit insane Christian fucktards to various government departments and courts, gender identity not covered in US census, argued sexual orientation isn’t covered under civil rights laws, banned transgender service members from the US military, and a bunch of other awful shit.

Trump hasn’t been able (thank the gods) to get a lot of bills signed into place, outside of the recent sanctions bill he signed on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. No deathcare bill passed, not tax cuts passed, no federal right to work bullshit, etc. Outside of alot of deregulation and taking healthcare away from women, he’s been a failure for the most part in terms of the oligarchic Christian fascist movement in the US. Let’s hope the next 100 days have Trump signing stupid shit like the Fred Thompson courthouse and not stuff like privatizing social security.

The Sam Seder Tim Black debate, or the Sam talks over Tim while Michael Brooks makes snarky commentary.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/iyXhdzgGOSc/maxresdefault.jpg

By Joseph Ballin 6/29/2017 5:37 PM EST

Reader’s note: I am a fan of both Sam Seder’s The Majority Report and The Tim Black Show. I do not hold any hostilities towards either person debating in this piece and am writing this to illustrate how we on the left can find better solutions to our problems. That being said I’m biased toward Tim in this debate.

What’s the difference between a liberal and a progressive? Personally I don’t care or like these labels. Hillary described herself as a “progressive who can get stuff done.” So I couldn’t care less about those labels, but Tim goes into what I think he meant is between neoliberal corporate shills and people who want change in this country. Yes Sam is correct that the Majority Report does talk about all of the issues that Tim Black listed. So Sam goes to Tim’s youtube page and criticizes him for not covering healthcare enough. However, Sam has not watched Tim’s show and doesn’t know that he’s covered healthcare numerous times on his show. And now Sam goes into the Seth Rich / Kimdotcom territory.

The one thing me and Jimmy Dore have both been very clear on, we want evidence. We want evidence of Russiagate, evidence Assad gassed his own people, evidence for or against the Seth Rich cover up, etc. That’s reality based thinking. That’s why I’m an agnostic atheist, because I can’t prove there isn’t a god/gods, but there is no evidence that they do exist so there is no reason for me to believe in them. In fact, nothing in the universe can be proven. A fact is a statement that is taken to be true based off of evidence. It is something we collectively as a society agree what is real and fake. A theory is a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.

Ok now that we got that out of the way let’s deconstruct all this shit. There is no verifiable evidence Russia hacked, interfered, or colluded with Donald Trump or his campaign. In fact, as president, US relations with Russia under Trump are at a record low. Trump has repeatedly attacked the government of Bashar Al-Assad and Iranian militias several times, Russia’s allies. Trump signed a treaty expanding NATO to Montenegro, something Russia opposes. He signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which authorized $100 million dollars for the “Countering Russian Influence Fund”, to counter “Russian influence and aggression” and to “support civil society organizations in Europe and Eurasia.” It also included a measure imposing new restrictions and oversight on Russian diplomats in the United State. The Act also includes provisions that no appropriated funds may be used to support the Russian annexation of Crimea and assist Crimea, if such assistance includes the participation of Russian Government officials, or other Russian owned or controlled financial entities. It also states that no funds may be used to support “the Russian occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia” or to assist the central governments of other countries that have recognized the two territories’ independence. On top of all that, US has imposes more sanctions on Russia during Trump’ presidency. If Trump’s a Russian puppet, he’s doing a really shitty at it.

Again this is not to say there isn’t business ties Trump has to Russia, like with Deutsche bank and Trump hotels because he’s a billionaire, but he also has business ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Philippines, Azerbaijan, mafia, etc., but the mainstream media never mentions this. Why does mainstream media never bring up the fact General Flynn was a paid agent of the Turkish government? Why does the mainstream media not bring up the fact Trump appointed all these Goldman Sachs people because of his ties to Israel? Or China provisionally granting Trump 38 trademarks after getting elected? Or the Clinton’s business dealings in Russia? So there is enormous hypocrisy on this issue. Focus on Russia and nothing else. Why you may ask? Because starting a new cold war with Russia ensures defense contractors can make giant profit because now we have a great power enemy again. Also we can’t start a cold war with China because our economies are to tied together. It has less to do with Trump himself and more to do with more spending on the military and strengthening the police state. That’s why you don’t hear anything about getting rid of voting machines or having open, fair, and free elections.

As for the Syria gassing of 2017, the entire thing was brought up so briefly and forgotten about so quick by mainstream media and the Trump administration it really makes you wonder what really did happen in Syria. Why has there been no independent UN investigation into the gassing? There is no evidence Assad ordered the gassing of any civilians. As for the Seth Rich story, I stated on day one when I first heard about the Seth Rich murder that I found it very fishy. I have no idea is Seth Rich was the Wikileaks leaker or who killed him, but I do know a couple things. I do know Assange has hinted, but not confirmed, to Seth Rich being the leaker. Wikileaks, outside of the Garani Massacre Video which they said they would publish, but never did, has been 100% on point. So now that we got all that out of the way, back to the debate.

So Sam now brings up whether or not it’s a good thing to promote the Russia fear mongering story to split off three Republican votes in the Senate for healthcare. First of all I won’t advocate a new cold war with Russia over healthcare. Second of all why does Sam think Russia influences how Republican senators vote on healthcare. We’ve already seen the Senate healthcare bill be delayed because of how awful it is. People aren’t thinking about Russia when they think of healthcare, they are thinking of NOT DYING! Plus I would wager all that corporate cash the Republicans senators take is more of an influence than the so called Russia scandal over Trump’s head. The only thing that will force Republicans to change their votes on healthcare is though mass movements.

Now Black brings up the rigged 2016 Democratic primary and the DNC fraud lawsuit. Tim brings up exit polling being used by the US to determine whether an election is legit or bs in foreign countries. I would like to point out that irregularities in exit polling in Ukraine were cited by the US and EU for the fascist coup in Ukraine. And I would also like to point out Sam Seder has had on Greg Palast on Ring of Fire, someone who says the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged. But ok Sam I guess the primary wasn’t “rigged.”

Continuing on Tim brings why Democrats blaming progressives for the lose of Hillary Clinton. So Tim brings up Susan Sarandon and her revolution comment about Trump, stating we are seeing a revolution already taking place under Trump. Ok so I agree and disagree with Tim here. A revolution against Donald Trump hasn’t sustained itself, yet. It needs to be sustained though mass rallies every week and civil disobedience in the streets. And I believe a revolution under Trump can happen if he topples Assad and invades Iran

Michael continues to break into this heated debate to make a funny comment. Now we get back to Seth Rich. So Sam again thinks that it’s crazy to think that politicians won’t murder people to cover up corruption. I agree Tim Black that we need to ask questions. Again I’m an agnostic on Seth Rich, I don’t know who killed Seth Rich.

One of the most damming quotes from the Sam Seder vs Tim Black debate comes right around here. “She (Nancy Pelosi) is a great leader. I would not support a challenge to her” – Sam Seder. Ok so let’s give Sam the benefit of the doubt and say Pelosi wasn’t guilty for the thousands of losses of Democrats in elections over the past decade or so. So why is it Sam doesn’t bring up the fact Pelosi didn’t do shit to bring about real progressive change during her time as speaker from 2007 to 2011? She opposes single payer, she didn’t prosecute GWB, and she didn’t bring up the Employee Free Choice Act.

And finally Sam says Steny Hoyer would be worse than Pelosi. So Sam why not get rid of Hoyer? And if he’s replaced with another corporate Dem get rid of them until we get someone who will at least listen to progressives. That’s what the Republicans did with Eric Cantor and their party is stronger than ever. Tim brings up the fact Sam voted for Hillary Clinton in New York, a blue non-swing state, but he doesn’t blame Hillary for not appointing Bernie Sanders as her VP pick, which everyone agrees would have won her the election. You know why she didn’t do it? Because of spite and corporate greed. She would rather lose to a Republican than give an inch to progressives, and that’s why we have Trump.

The Hypocrisy of Risk Management

Listening to the snorting pigs on right wing radio, in the wake of the Japan earthquake / tsunami / nuclear meltdown situation, these hypocritical pigs scramble to lay cover for their beloved cash cow, the nuclear energy business.

Heard a fat bozo to remain unnamed saying how all energy comes with risk, oil, coal, natural gas explosions, cave ins, and nuclear is just like any other. The pig man said that whiny liberals want to create a fantasy realm where there are no accidents and we all live in a clean fairy land.

Wait a minute Miss Lippy…when you have a dangerous money making venture you got a responsibility to assess that risk!! You get out there and you clean up your messes!!

No so fast junior. Instead do a fake assessment of risk, make as much money as possible, and lawyer up. Piggo says all energy all has risk….wait a second pighead, how about your precious insurance companies?? You give them the liberty to assess risk all day long, so that in the name of profit, they say some risks, like pre-existing conditions, are just too darn risky.

If Pig-run insurance companies can assess risk and act accordingly, then why can’t we the people do the same? Fossil fuels and nukes are pre-existing conditions, and we should begin to wean ourselves from them, so that those energy sources with less risk, solar, wind, can pay us back a fat profit, which is of course the earth, in one piece. Clean energy is betta, it makes the earth silky and smooth.

Stop looking at me, swan.

Pre-existing Conditions (ANOTHER FREE SONG!)

Prepare for a whole new dimension in Reefercake productions…presenting Mrs. Reefercake on the Drums!!

Pre-existing conditions

Last friday on the Majority Report, someone IM’d about Huntington’s disease…also said they liked my song “how’d you get that job?” but that is beside the point…They were worried about getting tested, because they could be nailed with a pre-existing condition.

I am obsessed with healthcare system, kind of how sammy is obsessed with social security. I googled around and found this. The situation is pretty fucked up – essentially you need to hide and lie and play games….

http://www.lkwdpl.org/hdsa/hdtest.htm
from this site…
“Are the test results confidential?

Test results should be kept confidential and should only be given to another person with your written permission. On an initial call to a testing center, you should ask how confidentiality is ensured.”

so go and get the test, but make sure the place is confidential and only get a claim in for your insurance, if your test comes up clean.

If you do test positive for the huntington’s disease gene, don’t submit the claim, and keep if confidential. Also keep in mind, that marijuana has been effective in treatment, so keep hope alive, there are treatments. Best wishes.

Tardball

HA! I forgot about this… Here’s legendary nitwit Chris Matthews berating Alan Grayson not two short months ago about Grayson’s assertion that health care reform would ultimately get passed via reconciliation.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It’s almost as if Matthews has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Unpossible!

Meanwhile, Grayson is now up to 80 House co-sponsors of his Medicare For All bill with 40,000 petition signers. Have you signed the petition yet?

Relatedly, here’s a nice summary by Robert Reich about the philosophical roots of the HCR legislation that was passed last night…

Medicare built on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal notion of government as insurer, with citizens making payments to government, and government paying out benefits. That was the central idea of Social Security, and Medicare piggybacked on Social Security.

Obama’s legislation comes from an alternative idea, begun under the Eisenhower administration and developed under Nixon, of a market for health care based on private insurers and employers. Eisenhower locked in the tax break for employee health benefits; Nixon pushed prepaid, competing health plans, and urged a requirement that employers cover their employees. Obama applies Nixon’s idea and takes it a step further by requiring all Americans to carry health insurance, and giving subsidies to those who need it.

So don’t believe anyone who says Obama’s health care legislation marks a swing of the pendulum back toward the Great Society and the New Deal. Obama’s health bill is a very conservative piece of legislation, building on a Republican rather than a New Deal foundation. The New Deal foundation would have offered Medicare to all Americans or, at the very least, featured a public insurance option.

I’m not posting this in order to be (too) cynical about the new legislation.  As Reich notes, the larger political significance is the rebuke of Reaganism, which I can fully appreciate.  But it’s not nearly enough, which is why it is so critical that Grayson continues to push Medicare For All.

UPDATE:

Noam Chomsky’s take on the bill.

H.R. 4789

Alan Mother-Fucking Grayson…

Will somebody please put this man in charge??? Can you imagine if this had been the health care plan that Democrats were pimping from the get-go? All the bullshit fretting and hand-wringing and, quite frankly, republican empowerment we could have avoided. But instead, Democrats act like Republicans, Republicans hypocritically demonize them for doing their dirty work, and the rest of us get disgusted and turn off politics. You’d think that the Democratic Party would somehow cease to exist if the insurance/drug company money suddenly dried up.

(via)

UPDATE:

Tom Mother-Fucking Tomorrow

Embrace Failure Open Thread

I tried to watch some of the Health Care Summit on teevee yesterday, but it was fairly unwatchable, not least because of the cable channels. It wasn’t on C-SPAN – later I learned they buried it on C-SPAN3 (seriously? not even 2?) – so I landed on CNN, who managed to cut away to their gasbags every time one of the non-leadership Democrats started to speak. Then at the break they told me that what I was seeing from Republicans was “an honest difference of opinion”.

Anyway, this is a nice compendium of the things I missed thanks to commercials and Wolf’s talking beard. I must say, I did not know Rochester’s Louise Slaughter was a suthna.

And just as a side note to the whole stupid idea of this summit, which seems to be nothing more than a prelude to using reconciliation (aka majority rule) to pass healthcare reform – can you imagine if republicans felt the need to do the same thing prior to passing the tax cuts? The average person has no idea those things passed with a mere majority vote. Furthermore, nobody gives a shit! Just Pass The Damn Bill!

Update: See also, Greg Sargent

Take action before all the Democratic Senators Resign

The public option is making a comeback thanks to Michael Bennet and three other brave senators. Contact Harry Reid now before all the Democratic Senators resign because Republicans are hurting their feelings. Maybe those of you popular enough to have more than 20 facebook friends can post this as well.

And here’s a little commentary on Evan Bayh, the latest Repub- er, Democrat to announce he will be leaving the Senate.