Monday, March 20, 2017


Yes, I'm picking up that old, battered drum and banging away on it as furiously as I can. The wonderful Republican Members of Congress (MoCs), having beaten the drum of Repeal Obamacare to splinters, are now fumbling around trying to figure out how to build a new Trumpcare drum, and they are not being very successful.

"Obamacare is a disaster!" Well, no, it is not. A disaster is "a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life." In fact, the Affordabkle Care Act has saved many, many lives by providing healkth care to those who need it most. Historians might look back at the end of 2016 and determine that the election of Donald J. Trump truly was a disaster; time will tell.

If you have paid any attention to the health insurance debate raging in Congress, and who can ignore it, you know that the Republican MoC efforts are a train wreck. The Ryancare plan (keep in mind that The Donald does not have an original thought in his yellow head, and is only the robot who signs and claims victrory for Republican bills) is basically deads on arrival; the Dems hate it, conservative Republicans hate it, many Trump voters hate it, elderly people and their organizations hate it, and the list goes on and on. And even more telling, more and more health care and insurance experts who have examined it are saying that it will not work, and even worse, it will leave the poorest among us behind. As many as 24,000,000 people will be left without health insurance as a result of the Republican plan.

Sadly, Republicare could pass both the House and Senate, at which point the yellow-headed man with the pen will sign it, and then announce that, once again, He, and He alone, has done what he said he would do, and is making America great, again. (Pardon me while I puke.)

So why am I beating the tired old drum of single payer health care again? Am I tilting at windmills? Let me explain.

First, here is an excellent piece in the NY Times that lays out the differences between American health care and that of almost every other capitalist democracy. Please read the article if you truly want to understand my opinion, then come back here. (sound of soft music playing to fill time while you read)

V. P. Mike Pence: "Obamacare will be replaced with something that actually works - bringing freedom and individual responsibility back to American health care." This is the crux of the issue, this so-called "freedom" these Republican MoCs keep clamoring for. If you have ever had to compare health insurance plans in order to choose one, or have had to figure out a complex bill for medical and hospital services, or had to pay for a prescription that is priced at the limit of your means, or had to fight with an insurance company to get autrhorization for a procedure or a referal to a specialist - then you clearly understand that you have not experienced "freedom," but instead a special kind of hell that can actually make you worse.

Why do we have such a complex and frustrating health care system? Why did health care in America become a commodity instead of a service? Why is profit more importasnt than life?

I want single-payer health care for everyone in America. You go to a doctor and you get medical service; there is no question about paying for it, it is covered. You pay taxes and you get medical service, end of story (and those who don't make enough to pay taxes also get medical services). What is so terrible about that? Where is the loss of so-called freedom from that?

And so, dear readers, I will be lobbying my MoCs for single-payer health care in America. The reality of today is that I have no control over the Republican-dominated Congress, and they will do whatever it is they want to do to get rid of something accomplished by President Obama and replace it with a system that benefits their wealthy benefactors. Trumpcare, Ryancare, Republicare...whatever we call it, it will stink like a huge pile of rotting trash - guaranteed. So I'm going for single-payer, Republicans be damned!

(...and yes, Bernie was correct...)


Thursday, March 09, 2017


The current occupant of the Whitehouse was elected on the promise, among others, of “draining the swamp” in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, he did not consult the EPA or other agencies responsible for the environment. Had he done his due diligence, he might have been required to go through the appropriate regulatory reviews in order to do the draining.

Swamps are a type of wetland. Wetlands cover approximately six to nine per cent of the Earth’s surface and contain about 35 per cent of global terrestrial carbon. Scientists are concerned that disturbances to wetlands, such as draining them, can exacerbate climate change. Typical concerns are:

"For the first time we are getting a sense that greenhouse gas losses from drained and degraded coastal wetlands may be globally significant and that drained organic-rich soils continuously release carbon for decades."

"Clearing or drainage of wetlands can lead to large losses of stored organic carbon to atmospheric carbon dioxide."

Wetlands are also a source of methane to the atmosphere. Methane is a powerful climate change gas, and draining wetlands can result in increased emissions.

Unfortunately, the man now in the Whitehouse has repeatedly stated that human-induced climate change is a hoax, perpetrated by China (!). He also seems to have a negative attitude about science, a discipline based in facts.

Our new Whitehouse occupant has also assigned the federal agency responsible for wetland, air quality and emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency, to an enemy of that agency, Scott Pruitt, with the apparent assignment of greatly reducing the EPA role and regulations. And as expected, in an interview this morning, Mr. Pruitt claimed that human-caused climate change is controversial, and that CO2 is not a factor.

How ironic is it that the person now in charge of the USA, who doesn’t give a tupPence about climate change, will greatly accelerate such change by fulfilling his promise to drain the swamp; and without the required environmental permits? Of course, the EPA very soon will not require any such permits, so, well, there you go.

And I haven’t even discussed the impact of the greatly increased amount of hot air from the Whitehouse on our changing climate.