Trump is the tycoon of failure

tmg-article_talljpeg_quality20In the wake of the collapse of the latest Republican plan to eradicate the Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump claimed:

“We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say ‘How do we fix it, how do we fix it’ or ‘How do we come up with a new plan?’ We’ll see what happens, but I am disappointed because for so many years, I’ve been hearing ‘repeal and replace.'”

As is often the case when Trump tries to explain how politics work, he’s wrong. Perhaps, eventually, the kind people on “Fox and Friends” will explain to him that he doesn’t get to pick and choose all of the issues he will be saddled with as president.

There are at least three major reasons why Trump will own this failure.

Continue reading

I’m suffering from DTSD (Donald Trump Stress Disorder); you may be, too

I fear I’m caught in a vicious cycle. I have to find a way out.

It’s been tough of late.

Earlier, I posted this to some of those close to me.

I want to ask my friends, people who are around me and who maybe see me online, a question. First some backstory.

It has been hard, throughout my whole life, to make friends. If I don’t bother trying to be nice people think I’m an asshole. If I do try and be nice they sometimes think I’m an asshole anyway. In most cases I honestly don’t care what people think. But there are times when I feel like I hit these periods where it overcomes me and the negative responses just bleed into everything. Continue reading

Happy 4th of July: what does “freedom” mean to you?

America is a great idea, but it’s hard to love these days.

At some point tonight millions and millions of us will find ourselves sitting in a stadium or a park or maybe on a city rooftop or a grassy hill in the country, staring at the sky, celebrating our country’s anniversary by watching the annual fireworks show. I won’t lie – I love fireworks. They’re spectacular to watch, but beyond that I’m fascinated by how they work. How do you get one to look like a flower? How do you get multiple colors in one burst? I assume I could learn these things if I spent the time, but regardless, it’s a pretty cool exercise in artistry.

But I don’t love everything about fireworks shows. If you’re at an official civic event you’ll certainly get to hear Lee Greenwood belting out his famous “God Bless the USA.” This is a massively famous and popular song, having reached #7 on the Billboard Country charts. It’s sold over a million copies and there’s no telling how much it has earned Greenwood in royalties.

It’s also perhaps the greatest lie ever set to music. Bear with me.

America is a wonderful idea. Continue reading

How many dead people is too many?

skulls-1433178_960_720If we were talking about a policy that would kill thousands more Christians each year, it would be persecution

Apparently it is now uncivil and alarmist to point at the gorilla in the room and suggest that it needs to be sorted out.

If the numbers for death by insurance deprivation suggested by the CBO, Harvard, NIH, or some other reputable source are too high, on what basis do you think that? Is there evidence that the number of avoidably-dead Americans will be lower? Please share your sources for consideration. Continue reading

Healthcare legislation and you

4155232663_796c0643e9_oRegarding the health care legislation in both House and Senate, I’ve had little to say. There’s really not much point. Those who hate Obamacare do so for a combination of good and bad reasons, and they want it gone. Those who support the ACA unreservedly I also don’t understand, given it’s severe flaws. And, like it or not, the government we have now is the one we’ve got, so nothing they’re doing should be even a little surprising. Most of us have probably figured out by now that many folks across the spectrum already have their minds made up for a host of reasons. My understanding is that everyone thinks they have good reasons. As I’ve come to realize, nobody wakes up and decides, “hey, I’ma believe something stupid today.” That doesn’t keep us from doing it. It’s just not by our own design. Continue reading

The Republicans’ ‘trolley problem’

by djerrid

ap127726410The “trolley problem” is a classic philosophical moral dilemma. The thought experiment is as such: A runaway trolley is speeding down the rails where it will hit a group of people, propbably killing them. But you are standing next to a switch that will change the direction of the trolley to another set of rails. On these rails there is another, smaller group of people. Would you switch the track so that a lesser number of people are killed?

This is a much more difficult question than it first appears. If the trolley is barreling down on the smaller group of people, the answer is simple. Of course you wouldn’t switch the track and intentionally kill the larger group. But with the original example, you are making a conscious decision to kill a group of people. Taking an action to intentionally kill a bunch of strangers who never did you any harm to a painful death. Could you live with yourself if you did so? If you left it on the same track, you could make up a story that you couldn’t make it switch quickly enough and didn’t have time to think. You would have a choice.

The Republicans and their constituents have this choice as well.

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Republican healthcare plan is “mean”? Every time you parrot Trump’s words you let the GOP off the hook.

“Mean” is when you make fun of someone’s shirt. This bill isn’t “mean.”

There’s this thing people are saying here recently and it needs to stop. Now. The thing they’re saying? The GOP “healthcare” bill is mean.

These were President Donald’s words on Tuesday.

“Mean” is reportedly the word President Donald Trump used Tuesday to describe the House GOP’s American Health Care Act, which passed Congress’ lower chamber last month. Per the Associated Press, “One source said Trump called the House bill ‘mean, mean, mean’ and said, ‘We need to be more generous, more kind.’ The other source said Trump used a vulgarity to describe the House bill and told the senators, ‘We need to be more generous.'”

Now everybody is saying it. Continue reading

Where is my tribe?

drums-2026535_960_720In the last two days I’ve been tone policed for being unkind, uncool, and tribal. Mind you, the single person doing the tone policing had nothing to say about what I signified. Typical of tone policing, it’s all about style over substance, the signifier, not the signified.

So I confess. Surprising nobody, I’m both unkind and uncool. Looked at across the great spectrum of human behavior where, oh, let’s say Hitler occupies one extreme, lacking in both kindness and coolness (well, there’s that whole fashion sense/propaganda style thing, but I digress), and on the other end there’s some saint or other noted for both kindness and coolness. Bono, maybe? I’m sure the tone police will pardon me for falling somewhere closer to the middle than not.

But am I tribal? Damned skippy. Let me tell you a little about my tribe.

We abhor political violence. Continue reading

President Donald on coal: ‘Yes.’ His chief economic adviser: ‘No.’

EnergyIs there a sane mind in the White House, one who believes the resurgence of coal promised by President Donald is a fiction concocted to garner November votes? Or who at least believes the coal industry is dead on its feet?

Even after his election, the president continued to promise coal renewal. In an address at the Environmental Protection Agency in March, he said:

We will unlock job producing natural gas, oil and shale energy. We will produce American coal to power American industry. [emphasis added]

President Donald has taken steps to unleash coal. He’s rolled back clean-air policies and regulations of previous administrations. He’s taken aim at President Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the goal of killing it. He has ordered the lifting of a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. Continue reading

Chris Cornell

A musician’s passing, and the passing of time …

by Amber Healy

Even the music that has comforted me, inspired me, brought sanity to a broken world time after time, kept me company, kicked my ass into gear, healed other wounds … even that is of little help now.

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell

May 15, 2002, the day after graduating from college, the Dave Matthews Band cover of “In My Life” made me cry so hard I had to pull over on the side of the highway because I couldn’t see the rainy road through the sobs.

May 18, 2017, driving into work on an overcast Thursday morning, the tears came again, probably the second wave of the 90 minutes I’d been awake. One of the guiding voices of my life was gone, unexpectedly and without any kind of reason that made sense, and there was nothing to do but go to work and try to stay distracted for nine hours.

In the intervening 15 years, there were cross-country moves, more than a dozen jobs, two seriously broken hearts, the deaths of my beloved mentor and grandparents, the births of my seven (soon to be eight) nieces and nephews. Through it all, the music was there to keep me tethered.

2017 is becoming a complicated, delicate year.

Continue reading

Betrayal of trust: surviving sexual abuse in the age of Trump

Having that man as president is like having to face my attacker all over again. Every. Single. Day.

by Lea Booth

I read last week’s article here, and comments on it, about a pedophile who managed to hide within boundaries of what should be a safe environment. The man in question was a school teacher and coach at the junior high/middle school I attended. I’ve heard discussions of “why was I not chosen,” “how could I have trusted, even admired, this person” and “what if it had been me.”

There are even people who have expressed doubts about why the victims would wait 30 years to come forward. Such conjecture does what is often done with victims of abuse or rape – cast doubt on their accounts of what they endured. At a time when the focus on campus rape has, rightfully, increased, and people in power believe they can treat women as less than human, I’ve been having flashbacks and issues arising from being raped almost forty years ago. Continue reading

The man who laughed t‘ai-chi

The Falun Gong Show…

On my way to work this past Monday, I drove past an older man doing t‘ai-chi exercise by the side of a particularly busy street in South San Francisco. I broke several traffic laws turning my car around so that I could pull up to the curb in front of him to take a photograph. Luckily, I got to him just in time to capture this exuberant expression.

I’ve looked for the old man each subsequent morning since this encounter, but haven’t seen him…

(Hillside Boulevard near Lincoln Street, South San Francisco, California 2017. See my other work here and here.)

Potholes and the Law of Attraction

By Tamara Enz

Tom

It’s spring in Ashland, Oregon. Winter in the west has been long, cold, and snowy. Most people are over it.

pothole-damageWalking through town yesterday, I stopped to enjoy the magnolia blossoms that are about to explode. They have escaped their protective bracts, but are uncertain about fully opening to the tepid sun. A massive camellia tree stands next to the magnolia. Camellia flowers are a color never seen anywhere else, red and pink and raspberry, but none of these.

As I stood admiring the tree, a man walked up next to me and commented on the flowers. I responded, “They’re beautiful.” He impulsively reached over, snapped one off, and handed it to me. Continue reading

Live in a rural area? Can you find a doctor when you really, really need one?

The vascular surgeon who removed my gangrenous gall bladder last month received his early medical training in Lahore, Pakistan. He’s been a member of the medical community in my rural valley for more than three decades.

eimyxgertMy primary-care physician for the past 20 years received his medical training in Taiwan. My urologist for a decade was an Iranian-American. The surgeon who removed a subcutaneous growth from my right elbow is a Pakistani-American. So is the internist who treated a pulmonary issue. He’s been here more than two decades.

Those who live in rural areas likely know, or have, doctors with surnames they might think uncommon. Yet all my foreign-born physicians are American citizens with deep ties to the community in which I live. They’ve taken good care of me.

But why have these wonderful doctors settled here, in rural America?

Continue reading

Nearly everything you need to know about TrumpCare

Trumpcare (image credit: NotionsCapitol)

TrumpCare’s first draft was written in secret. Obamacare was written largely in the public view.

TrumpCare was written over the course of a few weeks. Obamacare was written over the course of four months.

When drafting Trumpcare, Republicans didn’t get public input from doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, or patients’ advocacy groups. Democrats held public hearings with doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and advocacy groups to get their input on early drafts.

TrumpCare was introduced to the House before the Congressional Budget Office had a chance to estimate how much money TrumpCare would save or cost, or how many people would lose their insurance. Obamacare went through multiple revisions, most of which were reviewed by the CBO. Continue reading

An open letter to the GOP: your president is mentally ill and must be impeached

Donald TrumpDonald belongs in therapy, not the White House. Republican failure to deal with the problem has implications for its future well being.

I’d like you to read this set of characteristics.

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
  • Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
  • Pathological Lying Continue reading

Tiny woman, big butt

The smoking section for your average taco truck…

Smoking an elongated cigarette on El Camino Real in front of the Kaiser Permanente hospital…

(South San Francisco, California 2017. See more of my street photography works here.)

Few rules, fewer regulators — President Donald’s shrink-the-government plan

In the absence of rules and sheriffs, bandits will multiply.

CATEGORY: PoliticsLawGovernment3The end game of the heavily mediated engine driving American political strife boils down to these questions:

  • What is the appropriate size of the federal government?
  • Who should decide that?
  • Who should run the “right-sized” government based on what values determined by whom?

Big, big money was wagered in the 2016 election cycle on the outcome of this game as gazillionaires of the right and left poured donations (wonder how many are legal?) into competing PACs, SuperPACS, and 501C’s.

The Democrats shouted: We need social equality. Continue reading

Dinosaur child

With the short arms but hardly any roar…

While an orderly transported my wife from the ER to her private hospital room, a dinosaur child came calling in the hallway…

(Kaiser Permanente, South San Francisco, California 2017. See my other work here.)