McCamy Taylor's Journal
Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 06:05 PM
Number of posts: 16,355
Number of posts: 16,355
Here is my fiction website: http://home.earthlink.net/~mccamytaylor/ My political cartoon site: http://www.grandtheftelectionohio.com/
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Been trying to figure out what it all means? Tom Price, orthopedist to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Affordable Care Act to be repealed---but not for two to four years. Vouchers so Veterans can get care outside the VA. Medicare going to be replaced by vouchers any day now (Paul Ryan swears it is true even though his Party does not have the balls to actually take away the health insurance of the 22 million people who got under the Affordable Care Act because it might cost the GOP the next midterm election so they hope that their right wing supporters will understand that these things take time and it's the thought that counts and if they are afraid to take away ACA insurance for fear of a voter backlash, how would they ever dare to touch Grandma's Medicare with all the political damage that would entail but Ryan still wants you to believe that the death of Medicare as we know it is coming down the pipeline.) Toss in a plan to deny folks on Medicaid any pain medication stronger than ibuprofen. And make sure that even when you dismantle the ACA, you keep the part that keeps insurance companies from discriminating against people with per-existing conditions, like osteoarthritis of the knee or hip----
Add it all up and what do you get?
The math is simple, really. Especially if you recall that Tom Price is an orthopedist who shot down federal legislation that would have funded a study to compare the efficacy of different treatment options, because (in his words) that was the first step towards "health care rationing". And especially if you understand that "health care rationing" is a buzz word (phrase?) for "under European style socialized medicine very few people get elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements but in the United States you can get one on demand--which is why orthopedists drive expensive cars".
Still trying to put it together? What do you think folks on ACA insurance will do when told that they will lose their benefits...in two years? What do you think people on Medicare will do if told they could lose their generous benefits at any moment? What will veterans do if given vouchers and told "Go out into the community and become health care consumers"? What will poor, working class people who take opiates like hydrocodone for their hip and knee osteoarthritis and lumbar disc disease so that they can go to work at Wall-Mart each day for another grueling eight to twelve hours on their feet--what will they do when the pain gets so unbearable that they can no longer work?
Answer: they will run (or maybe hobble) to their nearest orthopedist to declare "I am now ready for the lumbar diskectomy and fusion/total knee replacement/total hip replacement/shoulder surgery that you said I was gonna need one day and I said 'I want to put it off as long as I can, but now I'm afraid if I put it off much longer I won't be able to get it so when can you put me on the operating room schedule?"
There. That was easy. And best of all, the only people who will get all hot and bothered by the Trump plan to create a massive demand for expensive orthopedic (and other semi-elective surgeries) in as short a period of time as possible are the health insurers! And the GOP, which once danced to the tune of the health insurance industry (Bush ran on a platform of "My state passed the Patient Protection Act!" then, as soon as he was in office had AG Ashcroft strike down Texas' Patient Protection Act in federal court) has spent the last four years telling the faithful how bad the health insurance companies are and how they deserve to suffer for taking part in Obamacare. And how they will never ever give the health insurance industry a bailout (though lately there have been whispers that the GOP Congress might consider a bailout, something they will have to do once the nation's insurers get through paying for all that semi-elective surgery.
So, who stands to gain? Doctors and hospitals obviously. As a physician myself (thought not a lucrative surgical specialist) I urge my brothers and sisters to be circumspect. Even if you are raking in the cash, try to limit your conspicuous consumption. And remember that when the feeding frenzy is over, there will still be a demand for what you do, because people always need health care and the nation as a whole is getting older and sicker everyday.
Who else stands to gain? The manufacturers of all those artificial joints that are going to be inserted into all those people. I touched on the subject in my last journal. The company that used to make and sell the most artificial joints, Stryker, is owned by three siblings who are all billionaires thanks to their sire's inventiveness. They don't need any extra business. They will be fine. The new kid on the block, Zimmer, which is now the largest manufacturer of artificial joints--I am guessing that they will be relieved at being so popular. They have been snatching up other companies right and left. (See their acquisition history at wiki here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimmer_Biomet ) And thanks to all the young, active (often obese) people who are now demanding new joints that can keep up with their active lifestyles, manufacturers of artificial joints are now facing an onslaught of artificial joint failures and lawsuits. Like these:
http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2015/10/23/zimmer-biomet-sued-10m-ex-sales-rep/74402816/ (whistle blower suit from former sales rep who says Zimmer gave gifts as bribes to doctors to encourage them to use Zimmer products---but wait! Chris Christie shut that down when he was AG, didn't he? See my last post)
Sigh. It was so much easier being a manufacturer of artificial joints in the old days when the recipients usually had one foot in the grave and were more likely to kick the bucket than run a marathon.
So anyway, don't despair! Trump does not want to take away your heath insurance. On the contrary. He is trying hard to get you to use your health insurance. And not for any old routine mammogram or cholesterol check, no. He wants you to get the very best that the health care industry has to offer. Hysterectomies for everyone! Weight loss surgery! Bladder suspensions! Sinus surgery! Tonsillectomy! The list goes on and on! Act fast! Operators are standing by the take your call---
Just think twice or maybe three times before you toss out your old knee and replace it with a shiny new one.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Dec 6, 2016, 02:13 AM (2 replies)
Attacking Medicare and the VA is an extremely risky political move. Any politician who goes after either program risks painting a big X on his back. So, why are so many rights wingers so willing to go on record as hating two of the most popular health care programs in the U.S.? Ask yourself who is threatened by the work done at the VA and by Medicare?
If you said the private health insurance industry, you are only partially correct. The private health insurance industry loves to write policies for healthy people who will not use their benefits. That's why we have so many Medicare Advantage plans. However, Blue Cross Blue Shield is not salivating at the thought of taking over the expense of your Aunt Betty's dialysis. The mere presence of Medicare scares BCBS, because the insurance giant knows that the presence of a popular, successful single payer insurance program could lead to calls for a universal single payer program that could easily be modeled upon or even rolled into Medicare. But BCBS does not want to do away with government funded health care since it allows the taxpayer to absorb the cost of caring for truly sick people while BCBS collects benefits from the healthy.
It's the snake oil salesmen that are truly afraid of the VA and Medicare. Those inside the U.S. and around the world who are making a fortune selling overpriced useless procedures and medications to the U.S. public.
Both the VA and Medicare are devoted to controlling costs. One way to do this is to carefully evaluate treatments to see which are actually useful. Here is a link about Veterans Affairs Administration research into cost effectiveness of treatments.
"The Institute of Medicine estimated that $210 billion worth of unnecessary services were provided in the U.S. health care system in 2009 (United States Institute of Medicine, 2012)."
So, who gets hot and bothered by studies like this? The folks who pocketed $210 billion for unnecessary services. Who would love to see the VA and Medicare and all other medical organizations stop doing cost effectiveness analysis? The investment bankers who buy a pharmaceutical company because it promises to deliver a drug for dementia that will fetch a hefty sum from desperate families---even though it does not work. People who advocate surgeries for conditions that are better treated by lifestyle changes. People who want you to overeat and smoke and laze around during your youth so that you will need their prosthetic hips and knees in middle age.
We have reached a milestone in the U.S. We now spend $10,000 per person per year on health care that gives us quality of life similar to folks living in Mexico. We are the only wealthy country in the world that does not invest in disease prevention and this allows pharmaceutical companies, durable goods manufacturers and hospital chains to reap a windfall.
If Trump was doing this for the health insurance industry we would not hear him talk about retaining one particular feature of the Affordable Care Act, the clause that forces insurers to write policies for those with pre-existing conditions. The readiness of people with cancer to buy insurance and the reluctance of healthy people to do the same is costing the insurance industry lots of money. The fact that the GOP Congress would rather bail out the health insurance industry than do away with this policy signals that they are listening to someone besides (or, at least, in addition to) the insurance industry. I think that someone is the collection of snake oil salesmen around the world who sell us overpriced treatments that do not actually do us any good.
Health spending will be close to 20% of the GNP by 2020. If you want to get rich in this country, you do it by investing in drugs and urgent care center and designer hospitals (without emergency rooms). And if you want to make a lot of money, you have to control or shut down anyone who is trying to control costs. You make the FDA a revolving door with industry. You give give large sums of money to politicians. And you shut down any large health care enterprise which actually bothers to study treatments for their cost effectiveness.
About that figure, $200 billion. That is in the same ballpark as the profits generated by the combined U.S. health and life insurance industry in that same year. The health care industrial complex in this country is huge. And under Trump, it will doubtless get even larger---and our health indicators like life expectancy (which recently went down for women in the US) and infant mortality will continue to move in the wrong direction.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Dec 4, 2016, 01:28 AM (3 replies)
The Veterans Administration, which oversees veterans health care and burial has an annual budget of over $100 billion. The Koch Brothers---whose family sire got rich drilling oil for Stalin in the USSR and who graze their cattle on private land and who cut trees for Georgia Pacific using public resources---want that money. Or, at least, a big chunk of it. But how does a family known for feeding at the public trough---they accepted a big chunk of change from the federal government to stockpile oil under Bush-Cheney---how do they plan to get rich from an agency that administers health care? Are they hoping to snag a contract for toilet paper and feminine hygiene products? Maybe they want to make all those sterile paper gowns, masks and shoe covers that the surgeons wear. Or maybe they are more interested in a little discussed section of the Veterans Affairs Administration, the National Cemetery. Maybe they are not interested in keeping our veterans healthy. Maybe they want to make money off our veterans' deaths.
Here is a link to National Cemetery Administration's budget and statistics. There are 22 million Americans who may one day be buried at federal government expense. Right now, the allotment for the coffin or urn has not kept up with inflation, but that could change. We could soon see the federal government paying $2000 per dead veteran for coffins. Coffins made of wood. And who manufactures the most wood products in this country? The Koch Brothers' own Georgia Pacific.
Georgia Pacific is having a hell of a time competing with Asian imports. So why not take over the Veterans Administration and offer every Veteran a $2000 wooden coffin made by Georgia Pacific? With 22 million veterans that would make....$44 billion in sales! Of cheap, compressed wood pulp textured to look like the real thing. Made in America, of course.
I started looking for links between Georgia-Pacific and the funeral industry. Here is a piece by Dan Saunders, who used to be a plant engineer at Georgia Pacific and who now runs a funeral business. Read about how America wants--no, make that needs--wooden caskets made in America.
Why waste money keeping people who have outlived their usefulness to the oil industry fighting foreign wars for oil alive at taxpayers' expense, when the Koch Brothers can make a hefty profit from their deaths? No one cares if the paper with which they wipe their ass comes from Asia, but I am betting these scam artists will be able to sell a lot of overpriced "Made in America" caskets and call it patriotic.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Dec 3, 2016, 11:00 PM (0 replies)
The obvious reason to hack the rural vote is that it typically comes in later, so the people stealing an election can see how far their candidate is behind and then make up the difference. However, when they decided to hack the rural vote, I think they also reasoned that Democratic urban dwellers would buy the lie that people who live in the country are "dumb" enough to fall for Trump.
I don't think rural folks are dumb, and I don't think they voted overwhelmingly for Trump.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Nov 26, 2016, 12:47 AM (119 replies)
In 2000, the unthinkable happened. The presidential election was stolen. Not through sneaky methods like electronic vote hacking . The SCOTUS intervened to shut down the lawful count of votes in Florida that would have put Gore over the top---committing a violation of judicial ethics in the process since they ruled based upon the identity of the parties in the case. Republican politicians committed RICO violations when they sent their underlings down to Florida to stage a "spontaneous protest" designed to shut down vote. Ken Lay gave his resources, including his corporate jet to Bush's lawyers. Why? Why break so many laws? Why trash so many reputations?
A year later, we found out that Enron was a house of cards. The world's "Biggest" corporation and Bush's biggest donor was a scam. Thanks to Bush, Ken Lay was able to delay the end a little bit longer. Bush energy secretary, Nora Brownwell (picked by Lay) enabled the price gouging of California, the so called "California" strategy which Army Secretary and former Enron exec Thomas White bragged about. The state department negotiated with the Taliban so that Enron could profitable pipeline across their territory. When the Taliban backed out of the deal, the Bush administration promised to rain down a carpet of bombs. And, after 9-11, they did just that. Almost the first thing that Bush did (after reading "My Little Goat") was declare war. Then, he asked Congress to give Enron a huge infusion of cash as a financial stimulus in the wake of 9-11. Unfortunately for Ken Lay, while the GOP controlled House was more than happy to oblige, the Democratic Senate said "Why does the world's biggest company need so much money?" and refused---at which point, Enron promptly folded.
Everything that happened after that was part of the Enron coverup. The 2002 election was stolen to shut down the Senate investigation into Enron. Iraq was invaded on the day that the Enron report---which detailed the price gouging---was released. The war served as an effective media distraction. California's Dem governor, Gray Davis was recalled and Arnold installed in his place in order to shut down the civil suit against Enron. Since Valerie Plame had to be outed in order to get the thumbs up to invade Iraq, the 2004 election had to be stolen so that Bush would be in office to pardon Scooter Libby so that he would not rat out the rest of the conspirators----
All that shit we put up with, all those deaths, all that misery in order to save one miserable company that did not actually do anything and which wasn't actually rich.
Given the obvious parallels between the 2000/2004 stolen elections and this stolen election you have to wonder Who is about to go broke?
The right wing will claim it is about ideology, but that is bullshit. Ideology can bide its time. It can wait. The last thing ideology wants is to draw negative attention to itself. Ideology wants, above all else, to look moral, ethical, patriotic.
Who is about to go broke? Russia? Falling oil prices have wrecked havoc in Venezuela. What's propping up the former Soviet Union? If Russia goes into recession will Putin be able to keep his power (and his secret billions)?
Who is about to go broke? The Koch Brothers? Foreign competitors are threatening their Georgia-Pacific lumber company. Same for Dixie paper. With oil cheap and abundant, no one is going to pay them a gazillion dollars to stockpile US oil. Why have they kept their company private? How are they able to finance so many elections and buy so many candidates without any obvious return on their investment?
Who is about to go broke? Maybe it's some silent partner in the conspiracy who has managed to stay in the shadows. All I know for certain is when I see this brazen a crime being committed with no regard for public opinion or the consequences, it is usually about money.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sat Nov 26, 2016, 12:43 AM (16 replies)
IUf (as we all suspect) Russia hacked the vote, Trump is now in Putin's pocket. If Trump doesn't play ball, Putin can threaten to have the Russian hackers reveal the hack. Since they are foreign nationals, nothing will happen to them. But Pres. Trump will be political toast. If he is impeached, Putin gets Pence, who is in the pocket of oil and will almost certainly do the Koch Brothers bidding--and what is good for oil is good for Russia. Plus who knows what kind of ties the Kochs still have to the country that made their daddy rich under Stalin?
Reagan/Bush did whatever Iran demanded. They illegally sold them weapons and claimed they did it to fund a covert war in Nicaragua. They attacked Iran's enemy in Iraq.
What will Putin make Trump do (under threat of blackmail and exposure)?
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Nov 25, 2016, 02:24 PM (1 replies)
Before we start celebrating, remember one thing---you can not "recount" a hacked electronic vote if there is no paper trail, and Pennsylvania has no paper trail.
The Stein/Green effort to "recount" votes will likely result in a switch of two states' electoral votes. But it won't be enough to unseat Trump. It will make Americans leery of e-voting---when they see two states change, they will wonder "What about the third?" It will help the Greens in their valiant effort to raise awareness of the dangers of e-voting without a paper trail. More states may do what California did and future elections will be more accurate----
But that will not do a thing for the 20,000,000 Americans who will lose their ACA insurance or the seniors who will lose Medicare or the schools that will be underfunded or the children who will be forced to work or the women who will have to seek do it yourself abortions.
So, yeah, by all means "recount" the vote---where it can be counted. But we need to challenge the vote in those states where it was obviously hacked. That means let some reputable computer scientists look at the code, check for malware, make sure there are no funny alterations in vote tallies--hint, once the urban vote came in, they would have known just how much they needed to adjust the rural vote.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Nov 25, 2016, 02:02 PM (26 replies)
I posted these in another thread but I figured I ought to put them together in their own thread for easy reference. These are some suggestions about how to kick start the recount.
We have to win hearts as well as minds so how do we pull the heart strings of the average (math challenged) Americans?
First---make them understand that the hack happened and that it very likely came from outside the country. When a sitting president was selected for a second time due to an exit poll/tabulated vote discrepancy in Ohio in 2004, the average voter said to himself "Everything is fair in American politics." However, he would have been a little bit more alarmed (as in hopping mad) if he thought that another country--say China--had hacked the election. Because the average math challenged American has something analogous to white privilege. Call it U.S. Citizen privilege. He or she knows that if he or she is kidnapped by a foreign power and held hostage, the whole world will take notice. Because we are Americans. Duh.
No American wants to think that he or she has a puppet president. Because then we lose our American privilege.
Second: Talk about how the hackers are calling Americans "dumb" and how we've been "cheated."
It's true. In 2004, the Bush administration at least did the American voter the courtesy of trying to prevent tell-tale exit polls by trying to make pollsters stay far away from the polls. It happened early on election day in Ohio. The reliability of exit polls is inversely proportional to distance from polling places (and yes, I know I just waded into deep waters that will make math challenged Americans scream and swim for shore but bear with me, I am getting there). The news media wasn't having any of it. They went to court, got an injunction, did their exit polls--and then made a devil's bargain with the Bush administration in exchange for suppressing the polls--but not before the cow got out of the barn and we learned about them.
Recall that on election night, the Bush family was terrified that the nation would notice the exit poll/tabulated vote discrepancy. The whole family got together on television in a show of mock bravery and they looked like deers caught in a headlight. The fear was palpable. They attacked Fallujah in an attempt to divert the nation. They "came together" over the Tsunami. It was touch and go there for a while.
Did you notice Trump's scared expression on election night? He knew what Poppy Bush knew--that the exit polls would not match the tabulated vote in some key areas. He too was afraid that someone would notice.
So far, the members of the press are acting like penguins at the edge of a cliff. The water below is full of fish and the penguins are hungry. But each of them is afraid to be the first for fear that there are orcas or sharks in the water. They are waiting for someone else to go first.
Who will go first? Won't be KO this time. He does not have a network. I suggest someone who has down home credentials. Like Garrison Keeler. Someone who can talk "plain talk." And he or she needs to explain to Americans that they have just been slapped on the face by a foreign power that thinks that we will not notice that there are discrepancies in the tabulated vote that can not be explained by chance. Use gambling analogies, sports analogies---many American who consider themselves bad at math are pretty good at math when it comes to making a bet. For example---
What would Americans say if the winner of a big lottery turned out to be the second cousin of one of the software programmers? What would they say if certain online poker players seemed to be able to read their opponents cards? What about if a quarterback fumbles the crucial catch in the Superbowl, causing an upset win by the other player? Howe many Americans would sit still for that? Or if the umpire made a stupid call that made the underdogs win the World Series?
Third: the press is mad as hell. Use their anger. Massage their egos at the same time.
From what I hear, Trump just took a dump all over some media celebrities who think they are pretty hot. Media celebrities do not like that. In addition, the press' finest moment in recent memory was Watergate, when the press took down a president whom they hated and who mocked them and threatened to put a media moguls "tits in a ringer" (John Mitchell actually but close enough and they got him, too).
They are probably anticipating more Deep Throat and Watergate action this, time, too. However with Congress in Republican hands, they won't get too far with that. Therefore, if they want to flex their muscles and show that they are important, they need to do it now.
All we have to do is heap massive praise on the first one or two media news penguins to leap into those dangerous, icy fish and shark filled waters. The other side will haver a cross and nails ready, but we can exploit that. A martyr is good for the cause too--and look what martyrdom did for the career of Bill Maher.
Four: characterize the recount as the "Challenge". Americans love to Challenge.
"Recount" sounds like math. I love math. But I'm weird. The average American hates math, but loves a challenge. They like excitement. They like action. They like to think of themselves as mavericks---
And while we are at it, why aren't self described mavericks like John McCain challenging the vote? Anyone who wants to show that they have political "balls" should be all over this. One on one against Trump in the ring of public opinion. That's a battle arena many Americans would be happy to enter.
"Challenge the election!" Don't "recount the vote."
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Nov 24, 2016, 05:01 PM (1 replies)
I was hoping I could mothball my old political cartoon site. Looks like I may have to start cartooning again, instead.
Remember how they stole 2004? If you don't, these strips will remind you. It's likely that the same folks--Big Oil--were involved. Even though the Bush family has publicly disavowed Trump, their methods were used. Study what they did in 2004. Maybe it will help in 2016.
Here's a few highlights.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Thu Nov 24, 2016, 03:10 PM (1 replies)