Thursday, May 10, 2018

Is the Nobel Prize a Lollipop?

When an out-of-control li'l kiddo needs work on his chompers, it's often customary to bribe him with a treat, say a lollipop. That's assuming he's a good boy, and refrains from biting the dental hygienist. In other words, just by behaving, he'll be rewarded.

In the wake of the peace summit between North and South Korea, eighteen members of Congress --- all Republicans --- have actually penned a letter to the Nobel Committee, proposing that Donald J. Trump be given the Nobel Peace Prize. With an extra flourish, The Donald's Senatorial Main Squeeze, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), opined that there would be mass casualties if it happened, because "A lot of liberals would kill themselves if they actually did that!" Not me! I'd just vomit.

There's precious li'l doubt in my mind that Young Master Donald must have been an insufferable brat, constantly in need of attention. The No-Longer-So-Young Master Donald? Still a brat: The planet's most powerful brat, at that! 

So how exactly did No-Longer-So-Young Master Donald contribute to the pan-Korean thaw?  Let's be real. South Korean President Moon Jae-in did the real heavy lifting. He was elected, having promised his constituents that he would seek rapprochement with their immediate neighbors and fellow ethnics. He kept that promise.

On the other hand, until recently, The Most Powerful Brat on the Planet, had been relentlessly engaged in a prolonged pissing match --- a potentially lethal one --- with Kim Jong-un, whom he called "Little Rocket Man." For example, The Donald would bluster, "My penis --- oop, I mean 'nuclear button' is bigger than yours." "Military solutions are now in place, fully locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely." And not to be forgotten, he once threatened to unleash "--- fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before."

Now that the two Korean leaders have jointly broken bread, Our Wayward Head-of-State somehow got the message that he needs to make nice with Little Rocket Man. Done!  Now that he's being a good boy, a Nobel Peace Prize may actually be in his future. If so, that's quite a lollipop! 

Come to think of it, suckers have defined much of his life. They still show up at his campaign rallies.

NOTE: This post was conceived before Trump's dreadful decision to scuttle the nuclear agreement with Iran.  Somehow, I doubt that he'd be warmly received in Oslo anymore, Nobel or no Nobel.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dick & Jane Redux, a.k.a., These Are The Good Old Days (With Due Respect to Carly Simon)

Back in ye olden days, from the 1930s throughout much of the '70s, many schools attempted to teach primary-grade students to read by force-feeding them Dick and Jane primers.  These precious li'l picture books were standard fare in the Chicago Public Schools during the early '50s when I was still a wee kiddo. And gawd, were they ever booooorrrring!

They featured a boy named Dick and a girl called Jane as well as their baby sister Sally, Spot the Dog, Puff the Cat, and a pair of soulless parental units, known as "Mother" and "Father," for some strange, unfathomable reason. "Father," of course, smoked a pipe, which meant that he always knew best!  

Prior to 1965, the entire Dick and Jane cast of human characters wore the same baby-powder-colored skin tone. Only then, did the publishers, Scott-Foresman & Company (based here in Chicagoland), make the long-overdue decision to create versions of this iconic, but deadly dull, family in darker hues. However, their names stayed the same. Jane remained Jane, and Dick was, well, still a Dick --- for keeps!  And the primers themselves still sucked.

Here's an example of the inspiring wordplay our impressionable young minds were expected to absorb:  See Dick run!  Run, run, run!  See Jane skip! Skip, skip, skip!  Anyhoo, you get the idea.

All that running and skipping was enough to make my head explode. And they were, oh, soooo free of care --- Dick and Jane and Baby Sally and Spot and Puff --- in their leafy suburban paradise. (No worries over sweet, sweet, li'l Puff ever getting squished by a big, bad ol' semi!) A real treat to read for all of us snot-nosed city kids, hangin' tough in our own pavement-colored heaven!

Now those were the good ol' days, back when America was great! The Orange Caudillo obviously pines for those days. Maybe that's the real reason he anointed Betsy DeVos as   ---uh--- Education Secretary. After all, with Sweet Betsy at the helm, everything's gonna be hunky-dory, like it's 1951 again. She might even bring back Dick and Jane!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trumpcare 3.0: Seriously?

During the waning days of September, Republican senators will try once again to ramrod their latest Trumpcare aberration through the legislative process. It's only been two months since its last crash-landing, the culmination of an effort known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or "The Skinny Repeal" [of Obamacare; the 79th attempt overall, maybe?].  

Only this time 'round, the fresh proposal, known as the Graham-Cassidy Bill in honor its Senate co-sponsors, is far more draconian. It eliminates the mandate, enables insurance carriers to charge patients with pre-existing conditions enough to force them into indentured servitude, and ends Medicaid subsidies to the states. Each state will instead be given an unrestricted-use block grant --- at a reduced level of funding, of course. After all, we can't allow HHS Secretary Tom Price to fly coach or ride Amtrak like the rest of us peons, now can we? Perish the thought!

Remember last July's fiasco with "The Skinny Repeal?"  It fell short by one vote; three Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues and deep-sixed it: The Good Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and, in dramatic fashion, John McCain. Ever see a Senate majority leader blubber? Well, neither have I, but Mitch McConnell did get all somber and teary-eyed --- right on the cusp of a marathon man-cry, that could have left the entire Senate chamber waterlogged. Meanwhile, the Orange Caudillo flew into a 71-year-old-man-child's rage, insisting that a new health care bill be passed, seemingly unaware that the legislative process had run its course.

So why does the GOP keep resurrecting their repeated attempts to sink Obamacare? It's like beating a dead horse, burying it, then digging it up and beating it some more. What's the point?

Here's what Chuck Grassley, Iowa's Senior Senator Since Forever, has to say about it:  "Republicans campaigned on this so often, that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign."  Kinda makes sense. It seems as if the Grand Old Party has stitched itself into a tight li'l trick bag.  In order to be true to their word, they must continue to trash Obamacare, which despite its warts, has provided a lifeline to 20 million souls. 

There's precious li'l doubt that Graham-Cassidy is about to be ashcanned, just like its previous incarnations.  Beyond the end of this month, any further attempts to dispatch the  Affordable Care Act will require sixty votes, not just a simple Senate majority.

So, is this really the Republicans' last anti-Obamacare gasp? Who knows!  Many folks made that assumption a couple months ago. Just consider that angry turd (the one wearing the orange fright-wig) that you can't ever flush down.

Let's keep those plungers handy, folks.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sons of Privilege Go Violently Rogue

This past weekend, a hatred-laden rogues' gallery of torch-bearing white supremacists sieg-heiled a deadly path through the historic college town of Charlottesville.  Many came equipped, not only with tiki torches --- the type normally used for festive display on outdoor patios in comfortable suburbs   --- but also with weaponry intended to inflict bodily harm on anyone who dared to stand up to them.

Who are these sorry creatures anyway?  Well, they're not beer-swilling bubbas.  None of the photos and videos appeared to capture images of down-on-their-luck older guys either:  y'know, the ones who raved about The Orange Caudillo because he catered to their frustrations --- including some legitimate economic ones --- and insisted that he, alone could fix things.

For starters, the majority of them appear to be millenials, moderately prosperous ones at that.  They're beneficiaries, not only of white male privilege, but social and economic advantage as well.  Few displaced factory workers or miners could be found among their ranks.  

Au contraire!  The lion's share of these goose-stepping, stiff-armed monsters are, in reality, spoiled brats playing SchutzStaffel,  raised with a sense of entitlement.  Only what they're playing at ain't the least bit amusing.  These folks represent a clear and present danger.  And --- they are frighteningly resolute.  They insist that they're not going away.  Among the pale punks' most disgusting rallying cries is, "You will not replace us" --- a blood-lustful baritone shriek which has been known at times to segue into, "Jews will not replace us."  

As one might readily assume, this vile, surly collection of swastika-suckers has a putative leader --- or if one prefers --- a fuhrer!   Who is this guy?  Last time I checked, he goes by the name  Donald John Trump!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Tantrum That Can Kill

When a wee kiddo pitches a hissy-fit in a public place --- a store, a street, or an event --- bystanders are often left feeling discomforted.  Beyond that momentary unease, there are rarely any lasting consequences.  

As a li'l sweetheart reared in the gilded surroundings of his family's lavish life-style, I think it's a safe bet that Young Master Donald initiated more than a few high-intensity  shriek-a-thons in his day.  He seems to have had ample practice.

Last week, the GOP's latest attempt to snatch away life-sustaining healthcare from twenty-plus-million human beings crash-landed in flames.  Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mournfully conceded defeat in a seven-minute  speech.  On more than one occasion, he seemed to be on the brink of tears, reminiscent of a li'l tyke whose cherished puppy had just been flattened by a bus.

Yep, even Dear Leader McConnell, whose hatred and contempt of everything Obama, was throwing in the towel.  The No-Longer-So-Young Master Donald was having none of it!  Launching a fecal tweet-storm to end all tweet storms, our so-called chief executive callously threatened to withhold vital funding, that enables low-income beneficiaries to maintain their health insurance. 

No, no, no, no, no!  <shriek!!!>  If a new healthcare bill isn't approved quickly,  BAILOUTS for insurance companies and BAILOUTS for members of Congress (now covered by the ACA) will end very soon.  (Bailouts??!!  Oy!)

Here's the awful reality.  According to Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), a quirk in the ACA actually gives a president  the power to authorize the payments.  As The Good Senator further stated, "We never thought that any president would stop making these payments."

Well, folks,  The Orange Caudillo is not just "any president."  Without missing a beat, he's perfectly willing to sacrifice the lives of millions of his fellow Americans, only because he couldn't have his way!

Like I stated in the subject line of this post, a tantrum can really kill!  In this particular instance, the tantrum's owner happens to be named Donald J. Trump!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Crusade to Kill Affordable Healthcare Rages On

Last week, I posted an appeal to Republican senators from across the pond featuring Boy George crooning in his own inimitable style, his 1982 chart-buster, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?  (Check out the link in that previous post.)

Well, believe it or not, the very next day, West Virginia's junior senator Shelley Moore Capito (R), declared that "she didn't come to Washington to hurt people." Sheer coincidence, or is she a fan?  In any event, good for her.  At least two other Republican senators have joined their colleague, stating their opposition to the upcoming, supposedly revised version of the --- uh --- "Better Care Reconciliation Act."  (BCRA). Consideration of the bill may be brought to a vote as early as today (Tuesday, July 25th).  However, that would just initiate debate on this measure.  Affordable health care ain't dead yet.

Here's the kicker.  They have no idea what the bill contains.  It might include chunks of the House Bill a.k.a.,The American Health Care Act (AHCA) as well as parts of the BCRA.  In any case, according to the Congressional Budget Office, at least 20 million souls would lose their coverage.

Texas Senator and Majority Whip John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell's Senior Bookend,* insists that letting senators know what's in the bill they'll be voting on is "a luxury we don't have." Gotta ram it through before summer recess, y'know.

All of these endlessly --- and mercilessly --- repetitive attempts to scuttle affordable healthcare remind me of one thing:  That angry turd that you can't ever flush down!  It just keeps on defiantly bobbing back at you! 

Well, progressive Democrats have fashioned a much-needed plunger.  It's called  "Medicare for All."  The House bill has been assigned the number 676 (HR 676).  Add ten points to "666" and we'll exorcise Lucifer, once and for all.  This measure now has about 100 sponsors --- and it's growing! The Senate version is SB 1782.

If your member of Congress hasn't signed onto it yet, give 'em a poke!  It's time!

* Here's what I meant by "Senior Bookend."  Whenever McConnell makes any sort of official announcement/proclamation, he's always flanked by the same two senators:  Senior Bookend Cornyn, to his left, and  on his starboard side, Junior Bookend John Barrasso(R), a solemn-looking, bespectacled non-household name of a senator from Wyoming.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Boy George's Plea to Senate Republicans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his minions ain't givin' up!  Their determination to eliminate health insurance for millions of our most vulnerable citizens seems to be iron-bound.  Heartlessly, soullessly iron-bound!

Ironically, the Republican crusade to Make America Sick Again --- otherwise known as the Better Health Care Act or Trumpcare --- has been stalled by one senator's absence for a spell, owing to his need for emergency surgery.  Arizona's senior senator, 80-year-old John McCain had a clot removed from a frontal lobe above his left eye, and will need time to recuperate. Having received the finest medical care available, he's recovering nicely. I wish him well.  Maybe, just maybe, he'll undergo an epiphany and discover that he has a moral backbone by casting his ballot to deep-six Trumpcare, this time for keeps.  Just three GOP dissenters will do the trick.  Two have already committed.

Perhaps an appeal from across the pond might work, not just with Senator McCain, but some already-declared fence-sitters as well, such as Louisiana's recently-elected senator, Bill Cassidy.  That's Doctor Bill Cassidy, who co-founded a free clinic in his home state's capitol, Baton Rouge!  Very commendable, Doc.  Now how about that Hippocratic Oath, "First do no harm?" *

Without further ado, here's Boy George coming at ya, with his 1982 chart-buster, Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?  Enjoy! 

* According to a reputable Wikipedia source, the actual Latin translation of the oath reads, "I will utterly reject harm and mischief."