Republicans in a Pickle

The object of Republican’s eternal wet dreams, the repeal of Obamacare, is finally coming to fruition in real life. They can touch it and feel it – it’s right there. But when grabbing the pickle that is health care, one should beware – if they’re not careful, they might drop the pickle and break the entire jar as well.

Never mind that fact, let’s start with the good news for Republicans. They can rejoice, millions of people may lose their health insurance! Let the church say amen! It’s a glorious day! Estimates are that 20 million people now have coverage. Hell let’s be really conservative and say it’s only 10 million, but to quote the President-elect, that’s a YUGE number. YUGE. What happens to those people?

It is time to dance with the devil to get the details – and the devil is a lie, doesn’t play fair, and steps on your toes while he twirls you around the ballroom.

How will they do this? When will they do this? What will the new plan look like?

Cue the crickets.

The Republicans have spent so much time trashing a law that has provided health care to millions (through private insurance by the way) and bringing down the country’s uninsured rate they have to find somehow a win that is better than that. What does the win look like? Is it going to be single payer? No, of course not – only all those other stupid Western democracies do that. We Americans are always so unique, thumbing our noses at healthcare and silly things like the metric system that all the cool kids are raving about. We’re like Raven-Symoné on the world stage with purple hair and one side of our head shaved. So unique and weird – we just won’t conform.

Will it be more access and cheaper prices? How? Do they have a plan to control the consistent rise in the cost of health care (not an Obamacare creation)? No, of course not. How do they deal with the problem of insuring the sick which is terribly expensive? One of the Republican “plans” floating around gives more subsidies to younger people to obtain health care and less to older people (who are usually sicker). I guess that’s one way to do it. Yikes! Don’t be in your fifties and ever lose your job. Eh, let’s just send the old folks to the glue factory – what the hell.

What do you do about the subsidies for low-income earners in a state like Kentucky where the uninsured rate has dropped precipitously? What do you do when you realize those on the plan in that state are overwhelmingly Republican? If you keep the subsidies aren’t you holding a main component of Obamacare? Do you give them tax credits? Who pays for the tax credits?The Affordable Care Act has many taxes – geared towards top income earners and on certain industries (tanning for example). Now, not surprisingly, the “plans” we have seen seem to shift cost burdens from the wealthy and virtually tax low-income earners by removing subsidies.

Kentucky is a red state. You take away coverage, you’re shooting yourself in the foot with one of those ak-47’s you believe everyone should have. Now even though some Kentuckians are dumb and know they have coverage, but don’t know it’s Obamacare now, they’ll find out soon enough. It’s not their fault; they call it “Kyncet,” which sounds so cute and non-Muslimy. Hell, it could be a little white kid’s name like River or Tripp. No, but seriously, I went to the website – so helpful and colorful. You’d never know Barack Hussein Obama had anything to do with giving those folks health insurance.

So many questions, so little time. What to do, what to do?

The funny thing is, you can be that rascally Kenyan, foreign-born Muslim President attempting to destroy the country through socialism, or the current anarchist and pussy grabbing President-elect, but the problems are the same. The Democrats, for all the laws flaws, put a plan out there. They have offered something that is an imperfect attempt to make things better for people. It needs work, but objectively how an anyone claim insuring millions more puts us in a worse position as a nation than we were in 2008 without the law?

But since we’re starting from scratch supposedly, all the aforementioned questions are the challenges presented before the Republican Party. Are they truly going to accept it?

The Republicans have full government control. What’s their solution? Besides, regurgitate the line repeal and replace in of every t.v. camera available. What are they going to do? Who is going to walk the tightrope from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on this issue? If anything, it should surely be fun to watch. Can they make the rhetoric and policy on this issue line up?

They have promised repeal for so long and used this issue as a boogeyman for so long. Presumably, the President-elect won many votes this issue (and some others) – now they must deliver. It’s Christmas for the Trump voters, and they want their new white pony.

Of course, despite all of the President-elect’s bluster of fixing this in a few weeks, the complication of the American healthcare system cannot be overstated. The President-elect talks about repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as if he is just replacing an ottoman for Ms. Smith in Smalltown, USA. There is a reason why this was a wishlist item for every Democratic President (and even Nixon) from FDR to Obama. This shit is hard, and it matters and healthcare coverage for people who don’t have it when they are sick matters.

Repealing and replacing a law of this size, and of this magnitude, will not happen without causing pain – and sensible Republicans know that. Even though the President-elect is mashing the gas, look for reasonable Republicans to start raising some red flags. There the fat bastards at Thanksgiving who cut a slice of Pumpkin Pie too big only to realize a few bites in that it may be more than they can digest.

Trump Meets the Press

 

The character of Billy Flynn from the musical Chicago famously sings, “Razzle dazzle ’em and they’ll never catch wise!” Today, the President-elect did his best Billy Flynn, not only razzle-dazzling, but as Billy sings during his number – the President-elect gave us the “old film flam flummox, fool and fracture ’em” as well.

The President-elect met the press today and what we learned is that the President-elect will just do what he wants and create truth as he breathes. He scolded, dismissed, grimaced, and evaded. We had tap dancing and two stepping and more willful suspension of disbelief.

Let’s relive the razzle dazzle, in no particular order.

We had adjectives like tremendous and great and beautiful and massive.

We relived the election – again – and were informed of the “movement” and his huge election win (although that didn’t happen – it wasn’t huge).

He used big words like crap.

We had props. Yes, because no one knows what paper looks like, or to show us how HUGE his business is, we had lots and lots of files on a table – all of which he has signed apparently. We were told he was turning over his business to his sons – so it must be true. Never mind that this does not solve the ethical challenges. I mean, in theory, he will speak to his children about the business, right?

We had a special guest star in attorney Ms. Dillion and were told that conflict of interest laws don’t apply to the President or Vice-President. She explained all the reasons why the President-elect can’t untangle himself from his businesses and that everything will be fine and because Ms. Dillion says it is so – it surely must be fine.

People and presumably some members of the press clapped like grade schoolers when she finished.

We learned we would repeal and replace Obamacare all at the same time.

We learned that 96 million people- NINETY-SIX – who want jobs and they couldn’t get them, and we were told that is the real number and he is going to fix that. And so it must be true.

Surprisingly he does accept the findings that Russia did hack the DNC, but because the President-elect is a prepubescent boy, he quickly informed us that other countries do it too! I always forget he is a silly boy. When Pussygate broke, Melania Trump was dragged out in front of the press and did an interview with Anderson Cooper telling him that the President-elect was “egged on” by Billy Bush and that his own description of what would be defined as sexual assault was just “locker room talk.” Sheesh, I thought boys slapped each other with towels in the locker room. I had no idea they were so rapey.

Yes, the President-elect was reacquainted with the media today, and he seemed to like it as much as a child being forced to eat his vegetables. While it appears the President-elect will only be providing the American people with seasonal press conferences, he has given a preview of what we can expect when is President – more ego, more evasion, anger, stream of conscious rambling, petulance – and just a general mess.

God help us.

The Marvelous Meryl Streep

 

Is there an Academy Award for telling the truth and shaming the devil? If so, Ms. Streep would receive the Oscar hands down! Yes, I am one of the millions of people who adores the “overrated” Meryl Streep, as was opined via Twitter by our oh so presidential President-elect.

Ms. Streep epitomizes class, and the mastery of her craft is incredible. That Ms. Streep has the chameleon-like ability to shift from character to character without ever making you think of a prior performance or character is remarkable, especially considering how long she has been in the game.

At the Golden Globes on Sunday, she decimated the governing life philosophy of the President-elect without uttering his name by simply using his words and behavior against him. And that’s the funny thing about Trump since his political rise. If he were anyone else – anyone else – he’d be slapped or put in timeout for his petulance and poor behavior.

We teach our children not to bully and demean, not to mock the disabled, to pay your debts, and to not boast for example. We teach our children to be decent, and we hope that when they grow up, they are not wretched plagues upon society. Most Americans know that Trump fails that test of decency, even if they clipped their noses with a clothespin and voted for him.

I know many probably rolled their eyes so far back in their head they were no longer retrievable as Ms. Streep spoke on Sunday – just another Hollywood liberal on her soapbox. But every word she said was true and more than being political it was a speech about decency and respect. We are a society that should be appalled when a person seeking the highest office in the nation mocks the disabled and even hints at banning people based on their religion.

Not surprisingly, the President-elect who seems to possess the sensitivity of a grade schooler not picked for the Dodgeball team, took to Twitter to whine. He chalked up Ms. Streep’s speech to that of an overrated actress. Of course, he could not defend himself from the actual content of the speech as he would need a ream of paper, which 140 character limit simply does not provide.

So bravo to Ms. Streep for being a spectacular actress deserving of every award received, but more importantly being a citizen. This country needs people who are awake and watching the political monsters underneath our beds. We need citizens. I am sure she lost some fans on Sunday who loved her up until that speech but so be it. It may be time for the rest of us to stand up in our lives and lose some “fans” and some “friends.” There is too much at stake to do anything less.

 

 

 

Can Trump Pass the Class?

Let us take a moment to think of the presidency as a class with a lengthy syllabus. The President-elect, unfortunately, has been a piss poor student failing to take notes, ask proper questions, or to keep quiet when smarter people are talking.

Thus far, the President-elect has failed his assignments on statesmanship, the U.S. Constitution, the role of the media, and not pissing off China among other topics. We also can add U.S. Intelligence Agencies to this list of failed assignments. The final of this course is on January 20th – will he be prepared to pass the test and class and be sworn in – with some level of preparation for the office? Stay tuned for next week’s episode of The Pussy Grabbing Reality TV Star President. Wait, I may be ahead of myself and the country. Is it too soon to publicly acknowledge that the Executive Branch is only a few degrading steps away from being a tawdry reality show?  He has enough exes and kids and feuds with plenty of people after all. Maybe in 2018, we can acknowledge that a vote for him was also a vote to degrade the presidency. I have digressed, let’s get back to class.

The President-elect is the kid in class who hates Algebra and thinks it’s dumb, nonimportant, and refuses to do his homework because he is unable to comprehend the subject. His inadequateness somehow morphs into an indictment on the subject, in this case, the intelligence agencies because the lesson being taught is that Russia wanted Trump to be elected and attempted to aid in that cause. To be clear, no one is saying Trump won because of Russian hacking.

To ensure success in the endeavor of a Hillary Clinton defeat, I personally like to thank w thank the FBI, the media, third party voters and some of Clinton’s own missteps for that. But the fact remains the hacking happened, and it should alarm every citizen. The man-child does not like that.

Yes, we have elected a child, but not just any chid – he’s Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son. He’s manipulative and treacherous, and it’s all fun and games until he’s trying to push you off a cliff. I am afraid the “person” going off the cliff will be this country and our values. And, to be clear, I am sure our country will be here (well, there is the issue of those pesky nukes – and the President-elect seemed to fail that lesson too). We will survive the Age of Trump. I am just not sure how America will look, how much damage there will be to the institutions that make our democracy healthy when this experiment into populist folly is complete.

When I started this blog, my  intention was not to make this an anti-Trump blog, as that’s no fun and I didn’t plan to write about him all the time. Plus, I assumed at some point he would have to show some interest in acting like a President. I was as wrong about that as I was the inevitability of Hillary Clinton being elected. He makes it so damn hard for me not to write about him. The extraordinary level of absurdity can’t be passed up for comment.

As another day comes to a close and we weather more Trump insanity, I hope that the Vampiress and Stealer of Souls Kellyanne Conway is in her lair plotting a way to educate the great petulant one on the importance of intelligence and briefings. After all, after Pussygate she was supposedly responsible for reigning him in during the last week of the election. He stayed on message and stopped talking about Mexicans and Muslims. Maybe she can get him to stop cracking on American intelligence too.

She must tell him by so publicly refuting the findings of our intelligence agencies, all 17 of them, he’s siding with Russia. And while I understand  Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house – it is not another state or friendly territory – it’s a foreign government! A foreign government that may be amenable to business with the President-elect and his associates, but not agreeable to the policy objectives of the government that he was elected to lead. There are American values to uphold. The Capitol and The White House are not in Moscow. Can we purchase him a map too Kellyanne? Damn it  Kellyanne do your job and force him to stop tweeting and to get to his studies! I know the Vampiress has the power to get this done!

Kellyanne must explain that a President relies on intelligence, that Americans are putting their lives on the line for this information, that he must weigh it, must discern its importance, and keep some opinions and beliefs to himself. The President-elect has to learn this lesson now. We, as a country, don’t have time to send our future President to summer school. The evidence suggests he cannot pass the class and with no summer school, it looks like we’re screwed.

The School of Donald and Mariah

The world has now had a full day to process and recover from the steaming pile of excrement that Mariah Carey wrapped up in glitter, sequins, and smiles – hurl it at our television screens – and attempt to sell it as a performance.

The venerable diva would have no shortage of self-esteem it seems, even if she left her vocal chords at home, which considering her profession should be a big no-no.

The amount of ego one most possesses to basically say, my earpiece didn’t work so I am going to prance about in my shiny onesie, with a plastered on smile, and make the audience sing is a sight to behold. Does your voice not work either? It appears she didn’t even try to salvage her performance under the pretext that she is so great and we all know she is great, so all I need to do is saunter about and look cute in front of millions of people. It must be great to know you’re great.

Gurl, bye.

The diva routine she cultivated somewhere around the year 2000 became stale long ago, and whatever crown she thinks is on her head indeed shattered and crashed to the ground on New Year’s Eve 2016. If you are a singer, who can’t sing then what are you exactly? The thing is, though, I don’t think she knows that or sees it that way and why should she – she’s worth millions, has tons of fans, and surely will book some other gig.

And then there is our President-elect. He suffers from the same affliction. Uncontrollable ego and narcissism. He doesn’t seem to know and fully grasp either that he lost the Popular Vote by 2 million plus votes and is only President-elect because of a total of about 100,000 votes in three states – which is basically a small city. That’s not a sign of greatness on his part, it’s a sign the Clinton campaign screwed up.

If I say I am great, even if it isn’t so, it must be true! What a sickness to have. How nice it must be for Donald and Mariah to be reigning Kings and Queens of mediocrity and not lose anything for it. Let the average American put on their “best Donald or Mariah” at their place of business and see how long it would be before they were, as Donald liked to say, “fired!”

People want to be entertained, and even if Mariah bombed, her mess was entertaining – for all the wrong reasons. I fear we have entered the same territory in our politics. Why attempt to be a statesman, have any policy beliefs, not flip-flop within a day, when you entertain the masses, and you win. You can sort of lip-synch your way into the presidency.

The King of Twitter did this. His mic was on, words have been coming out of his mouth, but he told us nothing and when he did it usually was nonsense. He gets on stage, smiles, does his routine – and it blew –  but after every insult and every diatribe he was, and still is, rewarded. More screen time. Power. More tweets. It all worked and his “efforts” culminated with his securing of the presidency.

The thing about Mariah is that she’s harmless. If she wants to lip-synch until her dying day and grocery shop in five-inch heels, so be it. Bring on the entertainment. Bring on the circus. With our President-elect, however, when he is done with his tour (oh wait, he really did one of those) I wonder what’s left when the joke wears off and everyone stops laughing. What’s next for the world and our country?

 

 

 

Goodbye 2016 Plus 10 Things I Want For 2017

I will refrain from joining the chorus of voices on social media extolling the horror and dread they have felt over the course of 2016 by making a post explicitly about that topic. Although, I agree that 2016 has been like the world’s worst boss – somehow in charge of decision making but every decision made seems to be the wrong one.

But enough of that, instead, I will share my hopes for 2017 in no particular order.

First and foremost, who is going to tell the Emperor that he has no clothes? Yes, our country can now be summed up by the children’s book The Emperor’s New Clothes. It has come to this. We have elected a President-elect whose orange and tanned celluloid ass is exposed for the world to see and he doesn’t seem to notice or care about the brisk winds of problems blowing against his crack. He walks around smugly, admits to not reading briefings, has no convictions, butchers the English language, insults, demeans, and tweets  – TWEETS – about issues of national importance on a medium used by every Joe Blow.

Where is that vampiress and stealer of souls Kellyanne Conway to make this stop? But really between now and January 20th, can someone enroll the President-elect in an 8th-grade History course? If that is not available can we get him that Schoolhouse Rock video “I’m Just a Bill” because he also seems confused about separation of powers and what he can actually do alone as President?

Lastly, before someone says Hillary Clinton lost the election and to get over it, I will “get over it” once the President-elect begins to behave presidentially as his been historically expected in this country. I am not sure why a collective decision was made by the electorate and the media to say – this particular guy does not have to play by the rules and norms that have served our democracy well for 240 years.

I want to “get over it” and even give Agent Orange a chance, but he refuses to give me the opportunity. He will need to earn my support by his deeds and actions, and a start could be NOT praising a Russian dictator and murderer as “smart” while insulting the current and sitting President – via Twitter as he did yesterday.

Second, I hope that all the Trump supporters realize the error of their vote and while they don’t have to publicly admit they were wrong, or even declare they have tired of their no policy belief reality star, I hope they secretly go to the ballot box in 2020 and help to undo the horror they have unleashed upon the country and the world.

Third, I hope that God, the universe, the force…whatever is out there…decides to spare a celebrity or two. Specifically, hands off my Madonna. Her music and reincarnations have provided a soundtrack of sorts for my own life so her demise would sadden me immensely.

Fourth, I hope and pray for a muzzle for Mr. Kanye West and while we’re at an invisibility cloak too as I’d prefer not to hear or see him. Seriously, Mr. West lost quality person points with me long ago for a variety of reasons (hello Taylor Swift, Beyonce obsession), but walking out of Trump Tower this month with the President-elect was the last straw. Really dude? Goodbye.

Five, I want Americans and our political leaders to wake up and agree – once and for all – that climate change is real. It’s not a hoax, it’s not the Loch Ness Monster that no one can see and feel – it’s science people. We can see view time-lapsed footage of sea ice melting in the Arctic. It’s science and science is a great thing. And no, just because it snows does not mean there is not climate change – not what it’s about people. Let’s start believing in science again and making sound policy based on facts.

Six, and if I am writing this blog at the end of 2017, I, unfortunately, suspect it will be on the list again, but I am going to need men – usually old white Republican men – to get their sticky fingers off the wombs of American women and out of their medicine cabinets. LET IT GO. Reproductive rights and reproductive choices should solely be made by women. I mean, honestly, perspective is a peculiar thing. If we are so concerned about life, I propose we fund, with federal dollars, a roving Masturbation Unit that somehow magnetically screens for boners and hard-ons in households (don’t say it can’t be done folks, we went to the moon. Science is an amazing thing!). If no woman is present, clearly we’re not procreating, the criminal masturbatory act should be stopped at once. Suppose we will need to the roving police to enforce this. Maybe we can use the same folks who are expected to round up the 11 million Mexicans from their homes as proposed by the naked Emperor. Not sure if we propose a fine for males caught in the act or possibly prison time for the murder of ejaculate hitting the floor. Sperm is life too folks. Oh, our ridiculous patriarchal society. Leave women alone on this issue once and for all damn it!

Seven, criminal justice reform. We have to stop killing unarmed black men. It’s not new, technology has just made it visible. I am too exasperated about this topic today to say much more than that. There is a problem, and those that claim there isn’t most likely aren’t a person of color and are wrapped up, and are the beneficiary, of some sort of societal privilege.

Eight, more of Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live. If we have to live through a Trump presidency, we will need to erect a protective bubble around these two to ensure that they are always around to comedically lambaste the orange one for his seemingly enduring and unwavering stupidity.

Nine, my hope is for Hillary Rodham Clinton to find a new cause to champion. After the scorched Earth election that was 2016 and the years/months leading up to it, people probably have forgotten that this woman had approval ratings in the high 50s and mid-60s during her years as Secretary of State. It wasn’t until she sought power again that she suddenly was all at once was too weak,  an evil socialist mastermind, too corrupt, not warm enough, too robotic, too desperate, too rehearsed, too prepared, the moral equivalent to Trump, racist, not liberal enough, had the audacity to use a private server, worst that Nixon, couldn’t please her husband, didn’t leave her philandering husband, and the list went on and on.

But before all of this, this was a person who was on the front lines on issues like healthcare and children’s advocacy and in the trenches for a long time. A woman just as educated as her husband – had a career of her own. Unlike our current President-elect, she actually had a public record. The brutal sexism that reared its ugly head in 2016 should be a lesson to us all that we still have work to do on this front. Our country also needs to acknowledge that we have not had any Hillary Rodham Clinton’s and I don’t think we knew exactly what to do with her.  A woman who in her actions was basically saying I am just as strong, just as capable, just as ambitious (gasp!), just as capable of leading this nation.

We can write the entire thing off and make it about all of her failings, but it’s truly about us. It’s about what we value, how we perceive information and facts, and how we view women seeking power and authority. A large segment of the population chose an openly bigoted, thrice married, philandering fool who can barely construct a proper sentence. A man who has said he will make our country great without telling anyone how, while openly admitting he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he doesn’t care to know. That, folks, is not Hillary Rodham Clinton’s problem or about her damn e-mails. At the end of the day, women have to be perfect, white men can be mediocre and flawed as can be. Yes, I said white men because a black man would not be allowed near the Oval Office if he had three baby mama’s – and that’s real talk.

I hope that she is relaxed, not too depressed, and realizes she has had an incredible career in both the private and public sector, and that despite how boring and unlike her husband or President Obama in her oratory skills, her tenacity alone made her an inspirational figure to millions of people. I hope that she does not allow Donald Trump of all people to end her career.

Ten, I wish that all of my friends and loved ones have a glorious and prosperous 2017. It is a crazy world with so much seemingly out of our control, but we can choose to be decent and to share a kind word. To stand up for our beliefs when challenged and to do our part, in our own little spheres, to protect the marginalized. We can follow our own dreams and hearts and hopefully bring a little light into the world. See look what I did there – ending on a note of positivity!

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

 

The Empire Strikes Back

It appears that the Gods of the Universe have decided to ensure that 2016 could not just be terrible, but that it would exit with an abominable roar that would make it impossible to ignore the overall wretchedness of the year in general.

When I learned of Carrie Fisher’s heart attack over the weekend, but that she survived, I was truly was hoping that she would hang on, especially after learning of George Michael’s death. I held out hope for no other reason than the feeling that there has been the death of so many things this year – talented people of course, but civility, belief in diversity, respect, and even truth itself – it is now completely subjective. It feels as though we have lost much.

Alas, as with so many things this year, the world was not to keep it’s Princess. While saddened by the loss of another pop culture icon, and feeling so may things as of late, I was inspired to stop sitting on the sidelines and to delve back into writing, which is something I love and always centers me a bit, even if the subject matter is not so “love and light” – to quote a Real Housewife. And while 2016 feels like it is ending horrendously, starting a new hobby for 2017 feels positive and right.

But as of today, it is still 2016, and the evil empire has struck back with a vengeance and has taken Carrie. And before today it took George, Bowie, and Prince …and yeah. I will just stop with Prince. It’s unleashed attacks – in Berlin and Nice and a cold-blooded assassination of an ambassador in Turkey. It’s given us Trump, his sycophants, mindless followers and basket of anti-science, anti-immigration, anti-black, anti-gay, anti-women – DEPLORABLES. Yeah, Hillary apologized for that line, but I loved it. The Empire has been busy and, for the moment, seems to be winning – in many areas.

To digress for a moment, I suppose I should type a disclaimer and get this out of the way now. I am black. I am gay. I am married to a white man raised in the South. I believe in liberal and believe in progressive politics. I am sure I have offended someone in that steaming cup of tea I just spilled, which is totally fine – I have a certain world view and am not here for everyone.

Back on track, as 2016 comes to a close, I am saddened by many things. The violence, the loss of talent, and the future of our country where so much progressive movement that I believe in seems to be on the line. But I am an optimist at heart and things always get better in the end, right?

So, here’s to Carrie. Bold, honest, a feminist, fierce…and a FORCE.

And to 2017…where are my Jedi????