Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons















Friday, July 21, 2017

Interpretive Dance


mcf170721.gif

























Forget "Repeal & Replace"


Since Mitch refuses to pull the bill and still insists on a vote in the Senate, here's one more email to Portman.
https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
__________________________________________

Hi Rob.  It's me again, your 62-year-old constituent with Stage 4 cancer being kept alive by Obamacare.

It should be abundantly clear to you that while the GOP's constant refrain of "repeal and replace" may have once had some value as a campaign slogan, it was always a stupid "promise" and is utterly useless in its practical application.  Tens of millions of Americans losing healthcare, discriminatory price hikes on the sick and elderly, huge tax breaks for the insurance, pharma, and medical device industries?  C'mon.  There is no political capital to be gained by passing any version of the BCRA.  There is only political suicide.  You'll just wind up looking like a bunch of ignorant, cruel jerks.

You owe absolutely nothing to that crazy asshole in the Oval Office.  Forget him, and remember what your colleague Shelley Moore Capito said -- you didn't come here to hurt people.  The ACA and its Medicaid expansion doesn't hurt people, it helps people.  The ACA is established law, it's good law, it's popular law, and you'll have hell to pay if you take it away.

So don't.  Forget repeal and replace.  Keep the ACA and do everything you can to strengthen and improve it by stabilizing its pricing and participation.

Vote NO on the BCRA!
#KillTheBill




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Oh, We've Got A Crazy One!


Hardly news, but he just keeps getting crazier.  Nothing is ever his fault, it's a witch hunt and everybody's out to get him, and it's all "very unfair to the president."

Lying Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not have recused himself.  "Extremely unfair."

Special Investigator Robert Mueller has "many conflicts of interest."  (Donnie ought to know all about conflicts of interest.)

So does Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein, who's from "Baltimore, where there are very few Republicans."

At the G-20, Donnie and Vladi merely exchanged "pleasantries" and "talked about adoption.  It was very interesting."

French President Emmanuel Macron "loves holding my hand."

"Enemies of mine are saying [my speech in Poland] was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president."

"Napoleon didn't go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death.  Same thing happened to Hitler.  He was all set to walk in, but it went and dropped to 35 below.  But the Russians have great fighters in the cold.  I mean, they've won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. . . . So, we're having a good time!"  (Huh?)

Speaking about health insurance:  "So pre-exisitng conditions are a tough deal.  Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan."  (Huh? And WTF??  That's not how insurance works.)

"For the time in office, five months and a couple weeks, I think I've done more than anyone else."

Current events, history, insurance, etc. -- no one knows less but says more crap than Lord Tiny Hands, King of Bullshit.  His every word is a lie.

For more of his ignorant, delusional ramblings, click the link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/us/politics/trump-interview-transcript.html

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Another ACA Repeal Fail -- Is The Zombie Finally Dead?


"Repeal and replace!"  Since 2009, that's been the GOP's rallying cry in the Congress.  They actually believe their slogan is a viable policy, and most of them believe it's what got them elected.  But the majority of Americans approve of Obamacare, and overwhelming majorities prefer it to any replacement alternative the Republicans have come up with.

Orange John Boehner tried and failed to pass a repeal bill about a million times.  After an initial fail, on his second try Paulie Smallnuts Ryan -- or as Steve Bannon calls him, that "limp-dicked mofo" -- passed a repeal bill in his GOP House which then failed to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.  Mitch McConnell whipped up a quickie Senate version which also failed to pass in his own Senate.  Then the Kentucky Tortoise went for a long-shot repeal-only abomination which failed immediately!  Didn't even last a day.  Hilarious incompetence!  And well-deserved failure.  The repeal zombie may finally be dead.






















After all this Republican failure, Donnie Distemper accepted no responsibility and blamed it all on the obstructionist Democrats -- "We're not going to own it.  I'm not going to own it.  Republicans aren't going to own it." -- and proclaimed he'd just "let Obamacare fail" and would then expect Democrats to come crawling, begging him for help.

Good luck with that skeevy plan, Don.  The "failing Obamacare" narrative is dubious, and if you believe the American public will idly stand by as you sabotage the ACA, you're even dumber than you look.

Mitch Punts, Gives Me Two Years To Live


(Fired this off to Robbie this morning and by lunch, Mitch's brilliant idea was already in the toilet!)
____________________________________________

Another email to Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
_____________________________________

Hi Rob.  It's me again, your 62-year-old constituent with Stage 4 cancer being kept alive by Obamacare.

"Phew!  That was a close one!"
I'm sure you're breathing a big sigh of relief this morning.  When your GOP colleagues, Mike Lee and Jerry Moran, announced their opposition to a motion to proceed on the Senate healthcare bill, they did you a big favor -- they let you avoid your responsibility to make a decision and publicly announce your own position.  Lucky you, eh?  You probably should buy Mike and Jerry a nice dinner.

But now your feckless Senate leader Mitch McConnell says he wants to punt.  He proposes you pass a complete repeal of the ACA now, but with a two-year delay before repeal would take effect.  In other words, kill it  now and worry about it later.  (Or, in personal terms for me, I can live another two years, but after that, good luck.)  WTF???

You couldn't possibly dream up a more cynical, contemptuous, immoral idea.  You think you had a shit storm with your previous plans?  Just try to make this lead balloon fly.

You can't escape your duty.  Once again, Robbie, it's going to fall to you and other so-called "moderates" to do the right thing and save the Senate from itself.  Repealing the ACA remains a horrible and unpopular idea.  Be a man, stand up today and publicly renounce Mitch's disgusting "repeal now, worry later" scheme.  Vote NO!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Integrity Commission Has None


Bullshit, and double-bullshit!
The White House established its sham "Election Integrity Commission" to "prove" the lie that Hillary received 5 million illegal votes and therefore DT really did win the popular vote.  The Integrity Commission, led by infamous Kansas vote suppressor Kris Kobach, immediately asked every state to provide personal information on all of its registered voters, including addresses, Social Security numbers, party affiliation, and voting history.  Most states immediately told Kobach to stuff it up his ass and snap it off.

Many thousands of citizens chimed in as well, expressing their anger and disgust about such invasions of privacy in emails sent to the Integrity Commission.  Demonstrating just how much integrity it really has, the Commission released 112 pages of these emails, with the senders' personal information there for all to see -- names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and places of employment.

Unbelievable!
______________________________________

#FDT
#ITMFA
#TheRussiansAreComing!TheRussiansAreComing!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Meme Me Up, Scotty! It's Funny Friday!


Some people are like Slinkys.
They aren't really good for anything,
but it sure is fun to push them down the stairs!































The Quotable Asshole (Trump Version?)


Just for fun!
From The Quotable Asshole, by Sellers Publishing Inc.
___________________________________________


They weren't speaking of The Disagreeable Don, but they could have been.


"He knows so little and knows it so fluently."
--  Ellen Glasgow, American novelist, 1873-1945

"Ordinarily he is insane.  But he has lucid moments when he is only stupid."
-- Heinrich Heine, German poet, 1797-1856

"Brains, you know, are suspect in the Republican Party."
-- Walter Lippmann, American writer, 1889-1974

"I can't believe that out of 100,000 sperm, he was the quickest."
-- Steven Pearl, American comedian, 1955-present



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mitch's Slimy Sales Pitch


To secure votes for his latest version of TrumpCare, which is opposed by the medical/hospital industry and by 85% of the American people, here's Mitch's slimy sales pitch:
_______________________________________________

By Steve Benen, on the MaddowBlog

The Washington Post reports today, however, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has an argument intended to reassure his members concerned about Medicaid’s future.
Here’s what McConnell has told several hesitant senators, including Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV):
The bill’s deepest Medicaid cuts are far into the future, and they’ll never go into effect anyway.
“He’s trying to sell the pragmatists like Portman, like Capito, on the idea the CPI-U* cut will never happen,” a GOP lobbyist and former Hill staffer told me.
(*Based on the Consumer Price Index-Urban, the bill calls for a 26% cut in Medicaid spending in 2026.)

In other words, the current iteration of the Republican health care legislation will include brutal cuts to Medicaid, but the GOP’s less conservative senators can vote for it anyway, confident in the idea that, in the future, policymakers will intervene to make sure this policy isn’t actually implemented.

Take a moment to consider just how cynical this is. Senators are supposed to vote, on purpose, for legislation they know would do real harm to their constituents, based on assurances from Mitch McConnell that someone, at some point, in some way, will clean up the mess they voted for.  

Of course, this would occur long after they'd been re-elected.

This isn’t how responsible legislating in a mature democracy is supposed to work.

In addition to this truly ridiculous approach to policymaking on a life-or-death issue, members tempted to go along with such a gambit might want to consider how they’ll answer voters’ questions on this.

Republican lawmakers might find it difficult to tell the people they represent, “Sure, I voted against your interests, but only because I received assurances that the policies I approved won’t actually be implemented.”


My Email Comment To Sen. Portman On Today's GOP Health Bill


Another email to Robbie.  Contact him at 
https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form
____________________________________

Hi Rob.  It's me once again, your 62-year-old constituent with Stage 4 cancer being kept alive by Obamacare.

The BCRA Version 2 released today is still cruel and repugnant.  It's still a huge tax cut for Big Pharma and Big Insurance.  It still guts Medicaid, taxes older Americans, doesn’t cover essential health benefits like maternity care, will cause out-of-pocket costs to skyrocket, defunds Planned Parenthood, and contains a perverted concept of “choice” -- quarantining sick people into high risk pools while further stripping away coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

It adds more money for opioid treatment.  Nice, but don't let yourself be bought for one small benefit in an ocean of detriment.  Don't be a sell-out!

Vote NO!  

How To Stabilize & Strengthen The ACA Health Insurance Markets


It's me again, Rob, with ideas on how to preserve, stabilize and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.  This is a long one, so I know neither you nor your staff will read it, but you really should.
____________________________________

Despite Secretary Tom Price's ignorant rhetoric, the Dept. of Health & Human Services confirmed last week that the ACA is "working as intended."  This was followed on Monday by a new analysis of the first quarter 2017 ACA results from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that "Insurer financial data suggest stabilizing individual health insurance markets," and "We find no evidence of the individual market collapsing."

So we can dispense with the fiction that Obamacare is "failing" and "in a death spiral."  It's not.  But, operating effectively as a large group insurance system, it could be further stabilized and strengthened by encouraging increased participation from insurers and enrollees.  Here's how:

1.  Continue to fully fund the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies.  These are not premium subsidies.  Instead, they subsidize out-of-pocket costs of deductibles and co-pays for certain low-income insureds.  Insurance companies cover these costs up front and are reimbursed by the federal government.  Reimbursement is now in doubt due to a GOP lawsuit alleging the ACA doesn't have funding authority for such payments.  The case is in limbo while you R's screw around with TrumpCare.  But some insurance carriers have withdrawn from the ACA exchanges as Trump threatens to renege on these cost-sharing payments in 2018.

2.  Continue to enforce the ACA's individual mandate and penalties for non-compliance.  Although Trump threatened to waive the requirement, the IRS continues to issue and collect penalties from taxpayers who refused to buy health insurance.  That's good.  But your GOP bills would eliminate penalties on both individuals and employers of 50 or more.  That would be bad -- a participation disincentive that would allow the number of enrollees in the group to shrink.  Our largest group plans are Social Security and Medicare, and they're mandatory.  Virtually all working people must participate and pay into them.  Our approach with the ACA must be the same -- everyone benefits when the group is as large as possible.  The "choice" argument made by some conservatives is bogus.  So is the idea of high-risk pools to isolate those with expensive treatment needs.  Think "big group!"  Spread the risks over large numbers.

3.  Remember the "A" stands for affordable.  Maintain the ACA's premium subsidies at the current level using the existing income-based calculations.  In fact, to increase the group size for the benefit of all, consider making the premium and cost-sharing subsidies more generous, not less.  This would entice more people to enroll and stay enrolled, which would in turn encourage more insurance carriers to participate.  Maintain the ACA's Medicaid expansion.  Slashing the Medicaid rolls is unconscionable.  Keep thinking "big group!"  Young or old, rich or poor, healthy or sick, this is just a numbers game.  Everybody into the pool!

4.  Remember the "C" stands for care.  So keep the ACA's benchmark actuarial value and essential benefits.  Your plan to reduce the ACA's "silver" plan benchmark from 70% AV (insurance paying 70% of covered services) to 58% is a deception and bad health insurance policy.  So is eliminating the ACA's required "essential medical benefits."  Such tactics are included in the Senate bill so the GOP may give the illusion they've "lowered" premium costs, when all you really did was greatly reduce coverage.  Giving me less covered care, then crowing about how you've saved me money is no care at all -- it's a crock!

5.  Reinstate the recently-expired risk adjustment, reinsurance and risk corridor programs which helped stabilize premiums.  Make them a permanent part of the ACA.  Such programs are a great help to insurance companies in maintaining steady, affordable premiums.

6.  Make a government-run public option plan available on the federal and state exchanges, at least in areas where only one or two carriers now participate.  Ideally, a public option should be a part of the exchanges in every state coast to coast.  It would improve competition and offer us a genuine choice.  (Insurance companies hate this idea, but remember you work for us, not them.)  A simple and easy starting point would be to lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to, say, 50, and offer that option on the health insurance exchanges.

7.  If necessary, use government controls to stabilize participation and pricing on the exchanges.

  • Require two or three insurance companies to participate on each state's exchange.  Hand-pick those companies if necessary.
  • Based on income tax returns, automatically enroll certain low-income individuals in an affordable exchange plan if they don't choose one on their own.  Medicare does this, and it guarantees a certain level of participants.
  • Require everyone purchasing individual health insurance to do so on the exchanges.  Washington D.C. does this with their health insurance exchange, and it seems to work pretty well.  Again, keep thinking "big group!"
  • Institute government price controls on premiums as a last resort.  We've used price controls during WW II, the Korean war, and in the early 1970's.  It's a strong step, but it can be effective.
Focus your efforts on these critical health care ideas to stabilize and improve the ACA, and forget that cobbled-together piece of crap that Mitch released today.  Leave well enough alone.  The TrumpCare/BCRA Version 2 is still a loser.  Vote NO!  

















First Known Case Of Group Alzheimers


"I forgot."
"I forgot."
"I forgot."
"I forgot."
"I forgot."

"I forgot."








"I forgot."

"I forgot."











"I forgot."
"I forgot."
"I forgot."










"I never knew, but if had known, I would have forgotten, believe me."



"Forgetful bunch, aren't they?"

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Another Healthcare Email To Senator Portman. Join Me, Please.


Sent today to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R).
_______________________________________

Hi, Rob.  It's me again, your 62-year-old constituent with Stage 4 cancer being kept alive by Obamacare.  Hope you read this, although I doubt you will.

Despite the ongoing carnival of corruption in the White House, I haven't lost sight of the damage you Republicans are trying to inflict upon the ACA.

You were sluggish, evasive and indecisive as always, but toward the end of June you finally announced your opposition to the current Senate health bill, only after it was clear it didn't have the votes to pass.  Although you were slow, you eventually came to the right conclusion.  Good!

Now, just two weeks later (one of which was your July 4th recess), Miraculous Mitch says you'll vote the week of July 17th on a "new and improved" version.  Oh boy.  It will be either virtually identical to the awful first draft, or even worse.  And he'll try to buy your vote by throwing some more money at opioid treatment, your pet cause.

Ohio's opioid problem is important, but our health care concerns are far broader than that single facet.  Your Senate bill, whatever the tweaks, will harm rather than help.  It will remain morally indefensible, taking coverage away from/raising costs on the poor, the sick and the elderly in order to give a huge tax break to the wealthy.

True to form, you're again dismissing overwhelming public opposition and protests, and tap-dancing about CBO scores.  Get real, Rob!  You know what's going to be in the new bill -- the same old crap as before.

So once again, Rob, I call on you to publicly renounce this horrible bill.  Don't sell out for a handful of opioid dollars.  Vote NO on the Senate health bill!

Preserving and strengthening the ACA is the responsible way, the best way, the only way to go.

(More on how to do that in my next email.)
______________________________________________

You may email Sen. Portman using this link:
https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form



Family Values


Lying, cheating, corrupt, criminal, incompetent, unfit, greedy, stupid, and Russia, Russia, Russia!

This gene pool is filthy.




Monday, July 10, 2017

My Second Big Boy Trip


My Second Big Boy Trip

by Donald J. Trump
___________________________________

I just came back from my second big foreign trip.

I got ice cream on the plane.  More than anybody else.

I went on the trip to tell all the world leaders "America First!"  Because it is.

We stopped in Poland first.  I stood in front of this big soldier wall and they let me talk about "the West" and how "our (white Christian) civilization" is in a fight for "survival."

Mr. Steve and Mr. Stephen said they liked my speech.

So did Mr. Duda, Poland's right-wing president.  Then he and I got to stand up and say bad things to the reporters about fake news.  It was fun!

Then we went to Hamburg.  It's in Germany.  My grandpa was from Germany.

In Germany, they call apples "apfels."  I ate a big apfel strudel.  It was yummy!

I was there for the G-20 summit.  I don't know what the "G" stands for.

I tweeted that "everybody" there was talking about "disgraceful" John Podesta and the DNC server.  Ha-ha!  I just made it up, but I got my name on TV again!

I was happy to see my old friend Vladi again.  He said nice things about me before.  He told me Russia did not try to influence the 2016 election.  I said I believed him, because nobody really knows for sure.

Vladi told me that Russia and America should make an impenetrable joint cyber-security unit.  I said that was a great idea!  Then somebody else told me about foxes and henhouses and said it wasn't a great idea at all.  Oh well.


I just couldn't make friends with any of the other leaders.  I was by myself a lot.  Lonely!


Asian leaders are so confusing.  I got their names all mixed up.  Were they Japanese?  Chinese?  I don't know.  They all look alike.  But North Korea is bad, very bad.


Ivanka came with me again.  That was good.  One guy was talking to me about some foreign thing and I got bored.  So I just walked away and left him with Ivanka.

On the flight home, Ivanka let me eat a big well-done steak with lots of ketchup, and then she let me use my phone.  I had fun tweeting the whole time about the DNC and crooked Hillary and Obama and fake news and everything.

I had a blast making America great again!  It's what I do.