Killing Us Softly

Paul Krugman is making sense: Medicaid
“While supposed Obamacare horror stories keep on turning out to be false, it’s already quite easy to find examples of people who died because their states refused to expand Medicaid. According to one recent study, the death toll from Medicaid rejection is likely to run between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans each year.”

President Rand Paul’s First-Term Agenda

Let us assume that: (1) Rand Paul is elected President in 2016; and (2) Republicans gain control of the Senate and retain control of the House. This is not an unreasonable scenario.  It should also be clear that Republicans already control the Supreme Court by a 5-4 majority, so nothing would impede radical changes in U.S. government policy.

Nash 2.5

Nash 2.5

Here is what we could expect within the first four years of a Rand Paul Presidency…

(1)  Reduced Taxes.   If there is one thing you can say about Rand Paul, it is that he believes tax cuts are good, and the bigger the better.  Expect huge tax cuts within the first 100 days.  This will of course create a much bigger budget deficit so next we would see…

(2) Reduced Government Spending.  Rand Paul and the GOP will try to “balance the budget,” which will probably be impossible, but they will try, by cutting every program they don’t like (see below).

(3) Privatization of Medicare and elimination of Medicaid.  The poor will be simply cut off: the GOP’s healthcare policy for them will be “get thee to an emergency room.”   The elderly will be given “vouchers” that will cover only a part of the cost of their medical care.   Over time, the percentage covered by the government will shrink.

(3) Privatization of Social Security.  Young people will be encouraged (but not required to) set up Individual retirement accounts to which they, but not their employers, will contribute.  For people over 50 and those already retired, the traditional Social Security System will continue to operate, but benefits will steadily be cut, over time, by removing the automatic annual cost of living increases.

rand_paul7-620x412(4) Repeal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.   There is no racism in society today (except liberal bias against whites) so this legislation is not needed.

(5) Repeal of the 1935 Labor Relations Act. While unions will still be (theoretically) legal, any actions that they take (strikes, picketing, organizing campaigns) will be illegal, as was the case before 1935.

(6) Repeal of the Environmental Protection Act.  “Regulations,” President Paul will explain to us, don’t work and add just add cost to businesses which raises prices to the consumer.   Also, global warming is a myth and the health hazards of air and water pollution are greatly exaggerated by “environmentalist nuts.”

(7) Repeal of the Federal Minimum Wage.  According to President Paul’s economic advisors, getting rid of the minimum wage will create millions of new jobs.  (And pigs will fly!)

(8) Military Isolationism.  George Bush and the neocons had a vision: use military power to establish an American Empire.  They went into Iraq to: (a) get the oil; and (b) build a number of huge military bases that could then exert more direct control over the Middle East (and its oil).  I don’t think Rand Paul has any interest in continuing this policy, for the simple reason that it didn’t work.   But then the oil companies don’t really need Middle-East oil any more.  They are too busy exploiting Canadian tar sands and “fracking” for natural gas in every corner of the USA.

*****

Those are the items I would expect to see in President Rand Paul’s first term agenda.

I’m sure you can think of others.

Now, let’s discuss how these policies, if enacted, would transform American society.

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Chart of the Day: Uninsured Getting Covered

Here’s a Gallup poll Obamacare foes must get busy discounting (they could always dredge up the survey company’s famous miscall of the 1948 campaign) because it’s a clear sign the Affordable Care Act is doing the big thing it was supposed to do: Insure the Uninsured.

The percentage of Americans without health insurance has dropped to 15.9% so far in 2014, compared with 17.1% at this time last year.” — Gallup

Obamacare could get the credit, Gallup says. The sudden drop in the rolls of uninsured began showing up during the plan’s enrollment period, drawing nearly 10 million so far to sign up through it’s marketplace of insurance plans, or directly with companies. But it’s tough to know how many of those were previously uninsured. This Gallup survey is the best evidence that the uninsured are making their way into coverage plans.

Gallup says that at its current rate of decline, the number of uninsured Americans could soon fall to “the lowest quarterly level” since 2008 when the company began tracking this group.

gallupuninsured

Long Ago and Very Fresh

Spring 1971 found me a senior in college.  North and South Vietnam, body counts (American and North Vietnamese), Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Guam and SEATO nations were prime front page and six pm news content.  Earth Day was about to arrive amidst the student protests that were world-wide.  And, Tricky Dick was the most popular president, if you voted in 1968.

Blue Bronc

Blue Bronc

Popular television shows in the dorm were the Tonight Show, Laugh In and Columbo, part of the NBC Mystery Movie.  McMillian and Wife and McCloud alternated with the rumpled overcoat for the popular series.  We laughed a lot at how the television networks tried to portray students and student hangers-on and drugs.  Clothes were exploding in color and patterns.  The “hippie” movement was continuing on, but also changing as the first hippies were growing up.  Marijuana was very popular as were other drugs by those considered ‘middle-class.

Gasoline was $0.36.9 per gallon, less during gas wars.  There was a lot of oil flowing from the Middle East. VW advertised the 1971 Beetle having a 60 horse power engine and flow through ventilation, both desired by the Beetle driving enthusiasts of the day.  However, big Detroit Iron was going strong, powerful European imports were doing very well, and cars from Japan were showing good sales, leaving VW with declining sales.

The “peace talks” to end the Vietnam conflict were on going.  The draft lottery was continuing to fuel alcoholic binges by those with low numbers.  The man who would be retiring in 2011 as the last draftee of Vietnam, not the last draftee shipped to VN, to retire was about one year from his induction (in 1972).  The Vietnam War was extended into Laos with the Battle of Ban Dong.  I was still a few months from marriage and seventeen months until my own induction into the military.

draft-lotteryWhile watching the streaming videos of television programs from 1971 and listening to the top one hundred top hits of 1971, I am returned to the last few months living in the insulated province that is university.  However, I am also hit with the memories of the “draft parties”, which we held for those who received the infamous letter “The President of the United States Greetings: you are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States. . .”  That letter is ingrained in the brains of many men, and a few women, as it is the standard method of presenting your first order.

Today, I think of the troops sitting in Afghanistan and wondering how many of them could be shot and not have to be there for the “who will be the last man killed” lottery.  I think of those who will be providing the cover as they sit in the last truck or helicopter to leave.  Will they have a firefight on the way out?  Will the armored vehicle have to contend with IED’s?  Will the Taliban attempt to kill them?   And finally, will they be in the position I was in during the wind down and end of the Vietnam War – going back in?  The men in charge in the 1970’s, lately called the Bush neo-con’s, in the Pentagon, were putting together plans to go back into Vietnam.  I was going to be a part of that idiocy.

With the media focused on an aircraft that appears to have been hijacked by a crew member and then flown into oblivion rather than what is happening around the rest of the world, we are lacking for real news/information.  Checking in with television and newspapers around the world helps overcome the change of American news to American entertainment.  It helps if you can read other languages, but most have an English language edition.  And, IE and Firefox offer translation of webpages.  Those can be very funny though.  Give me my BBC Iplayer to catch up on the news.

Today, it is raining and I am watching a lot of video while thinking back forty-three years to a time that was a lot more tense and strained than today.  The Soviet Union was a threat to the world, and Europe especially.  A time when we had hundreds of thousands of troops in country.  The war was still four years from ending.  I think of a promise I hope to see fulfilled: To remove our men and women from Afghanistan by the end of this year.

– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor

  • Taliban Attack Election Panel Headquarters Before Afghan Voting
    (New York Times)
  • Hamid Karzai’s tangled legacy: inept failure or anti-Taliban hero?
    (The Guardian)
  • US Army boss: Afghan pullout talk may encourage Taliban
    (BBC)

What’s in Your Google?

Nash 2.5

Nash 2.5

Top ten Google News Searches
by Registered Republicans

* Kenya
* Stand Your Ground
* Bengazzi(sic)
* Adult diapers
* Black Helicopters
* Gold Standard
* Viagra
* Concealed Carry
* Gay Marriage
* Hand Basket + Hell

Top Ten Google News Searches
by Registered Democrats

* Hillary Clinton
* Bill Clinton + Current Girlfriend
* Ukraine
* Fallout shelters
* Global Warming
* Middle Class + Decline
* Best Low-priced Colleges
* Teen Pregnancy
* Migraine
* Hand Basket + Hell

Add yours in Comments

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Now It’s the Ukraine that’s Missing

Ukraine just fell off my Google News list of top stories, so I guess Russia swallowed it up too. Malaysia is still number one on the list of most-searched topics.

Now I’ll have to manually type in “Ukraine” to find the latest news about that. Damn these Putin land grabs, they can be a lot of trouble.

When I search “Ukraine” I still get 368 million hits on Google, so perhaps there’s hope for its sovereignty. But “Malaysia” gets much more, 619 million results, proving that something we don’t know – where the plane ended up – commands more attention than what we do know – that an almost defenseless nation is being choked into submission by a hairless tyrant.

Google News
Top Stories (8:30am ET)

  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Washington
  • HTC Corporation
  • Miami Heat
  • Pope Francis
  • Facebook
  • Osama bin Laden
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Novak Djokovic
  • General Motors

Durst on the New Cold War

Will Durst

Will Durst

By Will Durst
Now that the mumps, measles and polio are on the comeback trail as well, the Teens are starting to look like the 50s all over again. The future will be televised in black and white; comforting we early Baby Boomers who always remained skeptical of that whole multi-hued thing. And like the Twilight Zone was scarier in black and white, so was Nikita Khrushchev. As was Speedy, the Alka-Seltzer mascot.

The return of this Arctic Animus means all sorts of retro activities accompanying it; saber rattling. Nuclear standoffs. Propaganda, espionage. One inch wide ties. Poisoned tipped umbrellas and exploding cigars – right around the corner. And Hula Hoops, only now they come with an app.

This won’t be your father’s ideological confrontation however. … No, this is more like that boxing movie Hollywood recently released with Stallone and DeNiro. Two aging Mediocre Powers trying to rekindle a dubiously remembered time gone by in an age where you can watch Indonesian soap operas on your eyeglasses while walking over the street in an air conditioned skyway. … Read More

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed political comic based in San Francisco (“Comedy for people who read, or know someone who does”).