They don't care if you die. Any member of Congress who votes for this newest anti-ACA bill is telling you this. The ACA, or Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has witrhstood various serious attacks designed to overthrow it at the cost of coverage for millions of Americans. This klatest proposal is as bad as or worse than those which came before, but they don't care what you think. Only 12% of Americans approved of the previous plan. Over 60% expressed relief when it failed—by one vote. This one is so bad that its sponsors are trying to sneak it through without proper debate and before its actual costs can be calculated. They are so anxious to undo something former President Obama accomplished that they have designed a bill that essentially returns American health care to a luxury for the rich instead of affordable for all. It is not a fix, or a repair; it replaces a system that needs work but is functioning better than they would have us believe, with a system that denies coverage or hikes premiums once again, or goes back to high deductibles for people who are betting they will only need coverage for a catastrophe.
These people have great insurance themselves. They don't need to care about you. They want to free up funds to pay for their tax cut for the rich. And the rich don't care if you die. For every job in America there are plenty in line waiting to take it. That means you, your parents, your children—there are plenty more where you came from. The pool is endless; so what if a few of us die? Please note how many people and organizations do care about you, among them the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Hospital Association. Also note, win or lose, how your representatives voted-----and remember it come the next election.
While a handful of Republicans in Congress plot to enslave the American people to the health insurance companies of America, the President of the United States insults the entire United Nations and threatens North Korea with total annihilation and the murder of at least half as many victims as were killed during all of World War Two. Today I am embarrassed to be an American. I know we can do better, I just don't know when we plan to start.
It astonishes me to think that only three percent of the water on earth is fresh water. 97% is salt water. About one third of all fresh water is in the Amazon River system—so much fresh water pours into the Atlantic at the Amazon's mouth that water two hundred miles away atill tastes fresh. Another fifth of the world's water is in just one lake, Lake Baikal in Russia. The sixth largest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area, Baikal is so deep that it holds twice as much water as Lake Superior. Sitting on the Baikal Rift, an active geologic feature, the lake is actually growing. This means the rest of the world—plants, animals and people—has to share 45% of the fresh water available, or less than one and a half percent of the world's total water supply. Factor in the polar ice caps and the other massive lakes around the planet, and it seems that land based life is frugal with water, indeed. We use that water to irrigate our crops, slake our thirst, bathe our bodies, flush our toilets, and we have to share it with every other creature on the planet. Truly amazing. Water renews itself through evaporation, migration and precipitation, but to think it is infinite is foolish. And yet—unless the convenience store closes early—we never run out of beer.
Not to mention wine and spirits. Did you know that there are approximately 158 distilleries in Scotland alone, producing the true King's Sport, single malt whisky? It would take six months to visit each one and truly appreciate its finesses. The cost would be prohibitive, but I think about the water involved in producing this elixir of the gods, from sweet to smoke. Plus, one needs a wee dram of water to open up the Scotch—I am told.
And speaking of coffee, did you know that most bottles of beer cost less than a latte or a can of Starbuck's? Just sayin'. Or grab a shot of Vodka while overlooking the massive expanse of Lake Baikal, and zdravstvujtye (hello!)! But, ooch, donn ask me how te pronounce it.
I wish I were done with politics, but politics is not done with me. Yet I stand at an impass. There is no human being on earth—and probbably none anywhere more celestial, either—who can convince me that Donald Trump is an honest man worthy of my trust. At the same time, I know I will never be able to convince anyone who so believes otherwise. So I have to let Trump do the convincing.
It should be easy. All anyone has to do is pay attention. He spreads alternate facts without bothering to check them; the most recent one is the story thyat Black Jack Pershing had 49 Muslim terrorists shot with bullets dipped in pig's blood. A 1927 newspaper article related that Pershing did sprinkle pig's blood on captured terror suspects, then let them go, but even that story is legend and not fact. But Trump adopted the embellished story he took from the internet as his own, as the truth, and I am certain he believes it. He has insulted Gold Star families, major celebrities, and even fellow Republicans without impunity. Point by point, his base of support has slowly dropped to 34%. Two-thirds of Americans no longer support him or never did, yet he remains President. Uncharacteristically, the American people are rejecting Trump as their trusted leader despite it being less than a year since he took office, and despite the fact that the US economy is booming. To many, Donald Trump is best described as an embarrassment. Now, Charlottesville and his subsequent rants.
Trump declared himself a racist within the first minute of his candidacy for President. Throughout his campaign his rhetoric was outrageous and inflammatory. People loved it; they saw him as speaking from the heart instead of what he was really doing: say whatever he thought would win his base and then what would keep them. He won the election in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by three million. He distorts and embellishes the truth and out and out lies. Then he convinces himself the lies are the truth and the truth is made up of alternate facts. He really believes that he won the Electoral College in a landslide. He really believes he won the popular vote. He really believes that the crowds at his Innaugural were the largest in history. He probably believes that his polling numbers are all lies manufactured by the media to embarrass him. When he holds a rally, he believes that the people who come to see him represent the majority of Americans while protesters outside are radicals for hire. And on and on—he even had a great number of us convinced that Mexico was going to pay for his “Wall.”
Now, after months of promising, Trump is threatening to close the government if We The People don't finance the construction of the Wall. Every promise made is falling apart; every lie told is coming to roost, yet all he seems willing to do is tweet incessantly and hold campaign rallies three plus years before the 2020 campaign, aimed at that dwindling base. On Friday, the same day Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the President pardoned Joe Arpaio, the Phoenix, Arizona, sheriff convicted of violating a federal court order to stop random profiling of Hispanics who might be illegal because of how they look regardless of their actual status. The pardon is just another proof of where Trump stands, and with whom he stands shoulder to shoulder. I guess the rest of us just don't count.
Excuse me for not blogging for so long. It's not that I've been out jogging or busy cataloguing all the things I haven't written and haven't done. I'm just right here sitting more or less adrift like a shipwrecked sailor on the wine dark sea waiting for a shark to make a meal of me while I tread water for all eternity. My keyboard clacks with noiseless sounds where all my empty thoughts abound after everything is gone that I have tracked and kept in storage in a treasure chest buried on an island under a thousand feet of shifting sand far from the madness of the world at large; my own personal madness will do quite nicely.
Today is my half-birthday. I'm sixty-seven and a half today. Who cares? Well, at 67 ½, every day you wake up breathing is a cause for celebrating. Whatever the weather, wherever you are, whoever is in power at the moment near or far, life is good, life is fair.. At least for me; in that sense I've been pretty lucky. I have hair. Lots of it. My brain is still reasonably functional. I still remember all sorts of s—tuff. My train of thought blithely sits on the track waiting to move. My bags are packed and whatever I lack for the trek I will figure out at the other end and, what the heck, I celebrate by sharing the following paragraph with all my friends, and rest assured I'll never quit.
I've been on a poetry kick of late, rhyming lines on love and fate. The Trump Show makes me hesitate, but sometimes you just have to leave politics aside and go on a more joyous ride, and sometimes you feel a lion's pride in the few things you can control and the many things that feed your soul. So rhymes have become my oars on a lifeboat that suddenly appeared, easing all my deepest fears for now as I put in for a distant rocky shore, and I can see you standing there waiting with a warm blanket6 and a steaming cup of tea.
I've been away for a while, by choice. I pulled back from my blogs because the political scene just keeps getting more Reality TV absurd. I began to feel like Cassandra warning the Trojans not to open the gates and let that giant horse inside, only for me it was a giant horse's ass to worry about. I kept track even though the news has been depressing, frightening, at times ridiculous and at times sublimely absurd. I would laugh except it is all so real—an egomaniac with no moral compass who believes his own lies is running our country by alienating our allies and antagonizing more and more of his own people. I keep seeing smug Benito Mussolini addressing the Italian people on how great things are going to be at a rally before the start of World War Two—he didn''t know someone else was the puppet master and his people had no idea what they had purchased. So I backed off. Let things play out. Worked on my own stuff. Figured no one would be listening, anyway. Then Charlottesville happened, and guess what? The majority of the American people began to speak, by a 2 to 1 ratio, not just against the purveyors of hate who tried to incite the nation into violence, but against a President who cannot say the right thing whenever he is left to his own devices, and wouldn't know the truth if it hit him in the head, which it does, continually. Looks like I'm the one listening now. He won't. He's too busy building a horse.
I bet those who didn't come out to vote in 2016 are sorry now. They elected this man.
The honeymoon appears to be over. Republican members of Congress and other staunch members of that party are being confronted by the stark reality of Donald Trump's belief system. I remember when he first began his campaign, just seconds after he walked down that staircase and announced he was running for the office, and then went on a tirade against illegal immigrants that went far over the top, and I thought, this man's a joke. He will get nowhere. But so many people told me, “He doesn't really mean it.” I thought, are you lkistening? “It's just what candidates say.” But all we have to judge by are the words a person gives us, especially when we have no idea of that person's track record in actions. Trump did mean what he said. He keeps saying it. Now, finally, it seems that most of the country and even some of the Republicans among us are getting it.
Trump's base support keeps shrinking, down to 34% this week. 40% of Americans want to see him impeached. 6% more want him tried by Congress and thereby removed from office than support his agenda, whatever that is, and his rhetoric, which is remarkably clear. Even die-hard supporters are eroding away, and rightly so—who wants to remain associated with the closet bigotry that helped elect him and that he has so blatantly taken out of the closet?
Which begs the question: can't we just look at Donald collectively and say, “You're fired!”? The answer, sadly, is no. the Constitution has never made a provision for lack of confidence. Other democracies have a vote of no confidence clause, and use it, but not the United States. We have to wait. We have to wait for the general election of 2020. We have to hope that the other party presents us with a worthy opponent whom we can trust and in whom we can believe. To act sooner, we have to wait for the 2018 mid-term elections and if, IF, the House flips to a majorty for the Democrats, then impeachment proceedings might be voted upon to begin. Otherwise, we have to hope that a Republican majority Congress votes for it now, or that they, in conjunction with the President's own cabinet, decide that he is unfit and invoke the 25th Amendment, placing Mike Pence in the top spot, which is equally frightening. Or Trump might resign. I think he'd rather drop nukes on North Korea.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..