Come on now

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Is this really where we’re at as a culture?   We can all applaud Fidelis Care for its worthy aspiration — that no child in our wealthy nation die a preventable death for lack of health insurance coverage [1] — but, seriously, is this something we as a people really need to have a nuanced discussion about? [2]

We are living in a culture where extreme cruelty to children who look like the kid pictured in this poster is a mere instrument of policy, yawned at, because, you know… what the fuck.  Poor kids die by the millions every day, everywhere, what’s a few more?   Seriously– who among us has not inadvertently murdered some little kid somewhere?   Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at our well-born masters who decide who shall live well and who shall die miserably and unnecessarily, as it is said in the private clubs where these fabulous luxury-loving job creating philanthropists congregate when the unfortunate subject of the stinking poor comes up: why don’t they just go fuck themselves? 

 

[1] And note that it is lack of access to insurance coverage (which allows a lucrative private intermediary to negotiate health care prices with “providers”), not lack of access to affordable health care service itself, that deprives millions of kids of the same chance for a healthy life that that every brat in the poor child’s well-born cohort enjoys as a matter of course.

[2]  While the “well-born” Donald Trump bellows about stupid black bitches who hate our country and wolf-whistles to his enraged base, his party continues to attack hated Obamacare, the rightwing think tank health insurance plan once known, in Massachusetts where it was first implemented, as Romneycare.   The lying demagogue has no plan whatsoever to replace it because, heh, if you’re dumb enough to believe anything I say you deserve what you get, losers.    Here’s an article about the Republican party’s latest attempt to have the Affordable Care Act declared “unconstitutional” by the Federalist Society’s best minds on the federal bench.

Here’s a terrible section of that piece by Paul Waldman:

Let’s go over the relevant history, just so we’re clear:
  • Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurers could deny anyone coverage or charge them exorbitant premiums if they had a preexisting condition. The ACA outlaws that practice, creating the protections for the first time. Every Republican in both the Senate and the House votes no.

  • Republicans spend the Obama years filing lawsuits to get the entire law struck down and holding congressional votes to repeal it, which if successful would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions.

  • Republicans take control of the entire federal government in 2017 and realize they had promised repeal but hadn’t bothered to come up with a replacement. They hastily assemble a bill, including ending protections for pre-existing conditions. The overall effort fails when John McCain opposes it at the last minute.

  • Attorneys general and governors from 20 Republican-led states file a lawsuit to strike down the ACA. One attorney general who spearheaded it, Josh Hawley of Missouri, runs ads in his successful Senate bid touting his commitment to pre-existing conditions protections, the very ones was attempting to destroy.

  • Even conservative legal scholars who opposed the ACA argue that the lawsuit is ridiculous.

  • The lawsuit is filed in Texas so that it will be heard by Judge Reed O’Connor, an unusually partisan Republican. He rules that the whole ACA must be wiped out, thereby eliminating those protections.

  • The Trump administration signs on in support of the lawsuit, asking the appeals court to strike down the ACA and its protections for pre-existing conditions.

    source

fueled by partisan outrage

It’s worth taking a closer look at what the pathetic porcine puppet said during his forty minute spin session on national TV before he released the redacted Mueller report on the investigation into Trump’s alleged misconduct.  Let’s take this part of his long statement apart, it’s rich in inventive detail.

ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: In assessing the president’s actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office and sought to perform his responsibilities as president, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the president’s personal culpability.

Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.   Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

President Trump faced an unprecedented situation, Mr. Barr points out sympathetically.  Just because Mr. Trump was constantly sending out angry tweets that made him look guilty, changing his story constantly, repeatedly lying, raging, acting like a guilty man, he was unfairly attacked by his enemies.

Fair enough.

Also, there was this vicious inquiry into his associates, very few of whom were actually indicted and convicted of serious crimes.  These crimes, outside of the financial ones, were crimes of loyalty to the president, in the cases where only a small handful of his closest former associates lied to Congress and the FBI.   Can you really even call lying out of loyalty a  crime?   Just because some of his closest advisors are heading to prison, and others cooperated with the investigation in exchange for staying out of prison, is no reason to believe there is anything dirty or unethical about the president himself.

There was no collusion.  Fair enough.  Mr. Trump’s personal style is chaos, he is not a collaborative leader, he does not listen to advisors or work well with others.  His mother once noted with a chuckle that little Donald never played well with other kids, he always played to win, even in the playroom, even against his baby brother.

Here is my favorite part, a completely meaningless piece of lawyerly bullshit:

And as the special counsel’s report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.

OK, Mueller provided ample evidence (much of it seen in real time by every American not turning away in horror from all media coverage of this unique president) that Mr. Trump was sincerely frustrated and angry.   Now we know, informed by Mr. Barr, that Trump’s belief was sincere that they couldn’t lay a finger on him because he was innocent, innocent, innocent!  

So his anger was righteous anger, according to Barr, similar to Boof Kavanaugh’s righteous, perfectly understandable rip-snorting, tearful temper tantrum when confronted with  credible testimony describing how he, while a blackout drunk in an elite Catholic prep school, had traumatized at least one teenaged girl while he was in a drunken state.    That allegation was thoroughly investigated in five days by the FBI and, naturally, no corroboration of the woman’s story was found among the small handful of people interviewed by the FBI.   Nothing to see there, unless you are fueled by pent-up rage over being a loser!

Since the president sincerely knew the  Mueller investigation was totally unfair, a witch hunt, knew that he was totally blameless, perhaps the most blameless president in history, he was absolutely right and morally entitled to be frustrated and angry, according to Barr who says that Mueller “acknowledged” all this.  

What?   Get the fuck out of here.

Mueller was, according to Barr, working for the president’s political opponents, even though Mueller belongs to the same political party as the president and the president’s party was in power when Mueller was appointed– and they oversaw his investigation.

I guess Barr’s point was that since Trump sincerely believed he was completely innocent he would have had to have been Jesus Christ himself not to react in frustration and rage, on a several times a day basis, at all the speculation in the press about how guiltily he was acting.   How would YOU feel if YOU were totally innocent and subjected to that kind of vicious, partisan witch hunt?  And the media would not shut up about it!!!  Wouldn’t you instruct your people to shut that shit down, if you had the power to ?!!! Sure you would.

Last bit of great shit from the pathetic, porcine puppet:

Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely, and asserting no privilege claims.

This statement is what used to be called a lie, since it asserts things that are not, strictly speaking, true.  The White House merely refused to answer follow-up written questions from the Mueller team, after the president’s lawyers submitted incomplete written answers (that Trump claimed, ludicrously, to have “written” himself)  the first time.   The White House legal team (of which Barr is now, unaccountably, a member) made it clear that they would not let Trump, a habitual, reflexive,well-documented liar, walk into a “perjury trap” by talking to Mueller (taking the lesson of what happened to perjurer slick Willie Clinton, a much more sophisticated, articulate man– and a trained lawyer–  than the smartest president in human history, the man we have now).  The access was fettered, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the president was continually ordering subordinates to bend or break the law, to stifle the investigation and create the public perception that Mueller had absolutely no grounds to pursue his partisan inquiry into a president who, among other suspicious official acts, innocently met with Vladimir Putin twice, alone, with only a translator, and ordered the American translator to destroy his notes of the meeting he translated.  Nothing to fucking see here!

That’s what the pathetic porcine puppet would call full transparency.  The president was sincere in his belief that he could get away with it.   And he did!   Proving, as always, that Mr. Trump’s sincere belief is the best measure of everything in his world, a world the rest of us just live in.

L’histoire de ma vie, part 72

A few times a year I get a comment from a friend on something I write and post here.   These comments, though always welcome, often strike me as mixed blessings, like this recent email: 

Very good. Worthy of publication. You should submit to New Yorker or Onion or …..

I wrote to tell her I was glad she liked it.   I realized her enjoyment of my understatement probably depended on  knowing every hideous detail of my recent hassle with multiple corporate psychopaths (redundant, I know.)  I added that to make the little letter fit for publication it probably needed a little background, a frame like: 

The author of this response to his own letter to the CEO of medical insurance company Healthfirst recently received a replacement drug four times the strength of his current dose.   This new drug was sent to him in error by Healthfirst’s third party pharmacy CVS Caremark.  CVS, during an endless two hour phone call, took no responsibility for their part in the potentially deadly mistake.   

The patient/customer knew from a wealth of past experience that in our corporate healthcare system, even under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, even in New York State, an early adopter of Obamacare, there is no regulatory agency that oversees private health insurance companies.    He wrote directly to his insurance company’s CEO, Pat Wang, to “alert (her) to the negligence and unresponsive customer care of her third party pharmacy.”    It was a mere expression of exasperation, no matter how clearly written or how cogently argued.  

The following is the hypothetical response of a CEO with no obligation to respond to anything, outside of a long-shot lawsuit.

Dear Sir [1]:

My assistant is in receipt of your recently emailed complaint about allegedly getting the wrong medication from our third-party pharmacy.

Apparently, in addition to writing long emails of complaint to strangers, you also, fortunately, had the common sense to research the drug that was, you claim, erroneously sent to you.  You prudently did this research before taking the drug.  As a result you suffered no serious bodily harm, no monetary loss nor any other cognizable legal injury.   

You don’t need to be a lawyer (and I am not) to know that without a cause of action, and a viable, filed lawsuit against our company, you are powerless to compel any kind of response from me.

However, on a personal level, let me simply state the sadness I feel for your situation.  Clearly, by the minimal level of health insurance you are entitled to under the PPACA, you have not thrived in our system.   I suggest a better use of your time would be figuring out the answer to that riddle, you sad fucker.

I hope this addresses the concerns raised in your recently emailed letter.  As always, thank you for your ongoing business and please do not hesitate to contact us if you ever feel the need to whine about things beyond anyone’s control.

Yours sincerely, etc.

 

[1]  NO!  I’m kidding.  She ain’t gonna write back!!!  LOL!