I’ve been a scarce girl this week, haven’t I? Sorry about that, but it’s been a bit busy around here. Also, last night I was doing research for a story. More on that when it drops.

It so happens I wrote the last entry just a couple hours before the urine-soaked mattress hit the fan, so to speak. I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts on that issue ever since, and I think they come down like this: The link above, to a NYT story, is probably how I would have handled it if I were editing this thing. That is to say, talk about the bigger story, that there is such a dossier, and that it was circulating, and the basic facts of what it is said to contain, because otherwise it makes no sense to readers. You have to have a sense of the stakes. Would I have included the part about Natasha, Olga and the extra orders of Aquafina sent by room service to the Ritz Carlton presidential suite? Eh, probably not.

But I’m glad someone did, even though it’s a very risky move; after all, Peter Thiel could decide he is displeased and fund another lawsuit in a friendly jurisdiction. There is something distasteful about the idea that this dossier had been leaked all over D.C., was something everyone was talking about, and yet that information couldn’t be shared with the American public. Once it goes to Congress it’s Game Over as far as keeping a lid on anything. I respect the role of gatekeeper and I think the gate needs to be kept, but maybe not in this case. It is, as they say, extraordinary. These are extraordinary times. We are flying blind, without a map, and one engine is on fire. We are going to have to make a lot of stuff up as we go. That’s just the way it is.

Life is now a “Black Mirror” episode, isn’t it? And this is Season 1, Episode 1, only with Russian hookers.

One amusing detail I gleaned from this river of sludge: I think it was the Daily Beast that, in one of its subheads or other teasers to this story, said the president-elect hired “sex workers.” The dossier said “prostitutes.” You have to be fairly well-versed in sex-work vocabulary to know that “prostitute” is not their preferred description. “Sex worker” is. I laughed, anyway.

So, for bloggage? I don’t have much, but there’s this, a piece done mostly by my colleague Mike, with some help from me: County maps of where the ACA/Medicaid expansion has been most-used. Please to not guffaw when we note that these were places that went hard for Trump.

Tomorrow is the auto prom. I will wear a red dress and take some pix for ya. See you after the weekend.

Posted at 3:29 pm in Current events |

65 responses to “Dribbled.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    …and speaking of auto-prom, now it’s Fiat-Chrysler’s turn in the barrel, as they’ve been outed as emissions-cheaters (much like Volkswagen)

    It actually will be interesting to hear what the car-people are saying about their large, yuuuge, bigly* orchestrated lying, when it comes to conformance with federal emissions standards

    *I think that guy says ‘bigly’ and ‘big league’

    PS – and the press oughta walk out on our new president, when he bullies one of their colleagues at a press conference

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  2. Deborah said on January 12, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Just because there’s a new post and comment thread, I’m not letting you guys off the hook:

    Jeff tmmo, Joe K, Danny, how do you guys feel about the vote in the wee hours this morning by the Republicans to begin the process to end Obamacare? Seriously? How does it make you feel that your party is pulling the rug out from under millions (20 or 30 million, depending on who’s counting) of people who finally had healthcare? People, obviously like my daughter who has a degenerating pre-existing condition. Would love to hear your views.

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  3. Judybusy said on January 12, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Chiming in to let you all know I am leaving for Puerto Rico on Monday. Tomorrow is a pretty busy day at work. I’m super excited as in the morning I’m going to a panel discussion on race related injustices in the criminal justice system. In the afternoon our office is screening the documentary 13th; I’m happy I can watch it with colleagues.

    So I will be back online on the 30th. I am glad that y’all have plenty of support for the upcoming inauguration. Deborah, thank you so much for asking that question. And guys, even though I won’t see the answers, I really hope you do engage on this issue.

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  4. beb said on January 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Buzzfeed who published the dossier for the rest of us to read makes as their defense that everybody in DC had already seen it, so why not the rest of the country. I don’t think Buzzfeed will get “Gawkered” since they can claim that they were doing a public serve by getting the dossier out there while no one was particularly interested in seeing Hulk Hogan’s sex tape.

    Having heard of the water-boarded mattress I may sleep comfortably in a hotel bed ever again.

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  5. Peter said on January 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Oh Brian, I’m sure they’ll find a way to blame Obama for it.

    Maybe it’s my elitist ways, but really galls me about this crap is the blatant childishness and arrogance of it all.

    I’ve dealt with developers who, for all I’ve known, fleeced the public for much for than Orange Mussolini, but they were discreet and professional. You can put everything in a blind trust and still game the system so you can make obscene amounts of money, but either Trump is too stupid or too evil to care.

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  6. Peter said on January 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    sorry, first sentence of second paragraph should say fleeced the public for much more that…

    I’ll learn to proofread yet!

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  7. Suzanne said on January 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    At first, I wondered how the people in high volume Trump voting areas will react when they can’t get health insurance, especially if they’ve had it for a couple of years. And then I remembered who many of them are, and where they get their news, and how they think, and I figured that they would blame liberals, Muslims, blacks, the press, anybody who isn’t a white Republican. So, it won’t budge their thinking one teeny bit. They’ll suffer poor health outcomes and pass away with their heads held high, knowing they stuck it to Obama.

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  8. Icarus said on January 12, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    @Suzanne, you are assuming a lot of them realize that Affordable Care Act = Obamacare.

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  9. Hattie said on January 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I’m sure Trump calls them “whores.”

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  10. Julie Robinson said on January 12, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Deborah, like Little Bird my sister has lots of medical issues including heat disease and diabetes. She had to retire early and has been getting her insurance through her old job with HIPAA, but that has a limit of two years. I don’t know what she will do, I really don’t. Her only income is her state of Florida pension, not overly generous.

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  11. alex said on January 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Enjoyed Julie’s video posted in the last thread.

    Also enjoying the Trumpenfreude of the last few days; it’s kind of a consolation prize. We’re witnessing the Golden Age of a coming glibfest.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 12, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Well, didn’t vote for Trump, and have been too busy fighting for health care, and mental healthcare in particular in our upcoming biennial state budget in Columbus this week to comment much. Hope to have more to share soon.

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  13. susan said on January 12, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    So much shit coming down about Orangealini’s [not] business smarts. This one is fun. “Receiver Sets Price for Trump Tower in Toronto.” Note, for many of his deals, there is at least one Russian connection.

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  14. Deborah said on January 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Yes, Jeff tmmo, I realize you didn’t vote for Trump but the votes at 1:30am came from Republican legislators not Trump, so I’m still interested in hearing your views. Thanks.

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  15. Scout said on January 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Trump will carry the Russia connection around his neck for the entire time he is POTUS. He owns this and it isn’t going away.

    From Dan Rather’s Facebook page:

    “President Asterisk.

    Watching the press conference today and the days that have preceded it, I think that is what Donald Trump, with his dangerous mixture of big ego and thin skin, is worried about – especially when it comes to the Russian hacking determination. His beating of his chest and bellicose tweets about his big win and the sore losers who won’t accept it are really the actions of weakness not strength. He worries that history will consider him a less than fully legitimate president from the start – President Asterisk.

    I would caution Mr. Trump in this regard. We have had many very close elections, although none with the shadow of a foreign power’s interference. And there are presidents with asterisks next to their names. But they have earned that typographical symbol for what they did when they got into office – with top of the list Richard Nixon whose moral and legal transgressions earned him a place of relative infamy.

    What’s done is done with the vote. There will not be an election redo. But if you, Mr. Trump, fail to take the Russian threat seriously, there will be an asterisk next to your name. If you do not disentangle yourself from your business interests, if you promote corrupt or conflicted advisors and cabinet members, if you fail to understand the gravity of the foreign policy crisis you face, if you deprive millions of health care without an alternative, if you fail to act on the global threat of climate change, if you pit Americans against each other by race, gender, and religion, if you undermine science and reason, if you do these or any of the other items on a long list of what now seems probable, there will be an asterisk next to your name.

    As difficult as it may seem to believe now, politics is ephemeral. We remember presidents, we try to rank them, we write about them, we study them, much less for how they entered the White House but for what they did once they got there.

    History is watching President-elect Trump, the asterisk part is up to you.”

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  16. Jeff Borden said on January 12, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    The sheer brazen, oily sleaziness of the modern Republican Party these days is something to behold. Of course, the first order of business would be to gut the ethics office behind closed doors in secrecy. Of course, the gutting of healthcare for tens of millions of Americans would be done in the darkness of night.

    I honestly try to understand the viewpoints of rightwing conservatives –as an inhabitant of an urban “bubble” I freely admit I know very few– but it’s difficult. A high school acquaintance just “unfriended” me when I responded to his demand for immediate deportation of the “dreamers” by asking him to justify punishing children for the actions of their parents. He’s also one of those guys who is obsessed with waste in food stamps or public assistance, but gives Lockheed a pass on the F-35, which dwarfs the assistance jun dollar value. He never engaged my arguments, said I was drinking liberal “Kool Aid” and hit the kill button.

    At age 65, I’ve always thought the late ’60s/ early ’70s were the most divisive period of my life. I was wrong.

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  17. Deborah said on January 12, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I was wondering how many americans will die when the ACA is repealed and I found this statistic:
    Nearly 36,000 people could die every year, year after year, if the incoming president signs legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. This figure is based on new data from the Urban Institute examining how many people will become uninsured if the law is repealed.

    How many Americans died in the recent wars we’ve had? How many died in Viet Nam? I think these numbers outstrip those deaths which in themselves are appalling indeed. Needless deaths, by the way, not deaths of people defending our country, but deaths of people that could be prevented if they had healthcare. Why isn’t this out there in the press? Why aren’t these numbers being publicized? Why aren’t the Dems using these numbers?

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  18. David C. said on January 12, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    My guess is the Rs will pass some kind of insurance, but it will likely be “insurance”. It’ll be cheap and they’ll brag about how cheap it is and many will be happy because their insurance bill will be lower. But there will be two kinds of people, those who like the insurance and those who try to use it. The only way to make insurance cheaper is to pay providers less and that won’t happen, or make the policies so bad and with such low limits that they’re nearly useless. The sad thing is, they’ll probably get away with it. They should be ashamed of themselves, but they’ll sleep like babies. Makes me wish there was a god to fricassee them instead of the paradise they’re expecting, but they’re only punishment is that they’ll be cold and dead like those they’ll kill.

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  19. Sherri said on January 12, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t always agree with Taibbi, but I think he’s right here: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-russia-story-reaches-a-crisis-point-w460806

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  20. Sherri said on January 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Oh well, maybe we won’t need insurance anyway, because we’ll all die from superbug infections: https://www.statnews.com/2017/01/12/nevada-woman-superbug-resistant/

    I just want to point out that I warned y’all about the looming danger of Armageddon if the Cubs won the pennant.

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  21. Connie said on January 12, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Vietnam: somewhere just above 58,000.

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  22. Deborah said on January 12, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Yes Connie, my husband who served in Viet Nam told me that too. But that 58,000 was over a number of years (not a trifling number by any means, certainly tragic). The statistic I read about how many will die without the ACA is 36,000 per year. So if that statistic is true it will end up being more than Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq combined if you count the number of years. I’m not counting Bosnia because at the moment I don’t have any numbers on that.

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  23. susan said on January 12, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Now that they control the whole Federal Government, and most the state houses, to boot, the Republican bastards are covering ALL bases, and making it impossible to keep up with all their regressive, greedy policy dreams. They’ve been drooling to do this for at least 40 years: “House GOP rules change will make it easier to sell off federal land”

    We not only will not recognize our Constitution, we will recognize our landscape.

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  24. susan said on January 12, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    *NOT* recognize our landscape

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  25. FDChief said on January 12, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    I think the thing to remember re: Trumpentinkle is that the real hold the FIS/GRU has on His Fraudulency is probably financial rather than sexual (tho the old KGB was rather fond of what they called a “honey-trap”…). With Il Douche the rule should always be”follow the money”.

    And the reason I suspect that the Russians have SOMEthing on Hair Furor is that it goes a long way explaining the crude election hacking.

    The Russian intel agencies had to know they’d get detected. So merely levering at the U.S.election to put the Tangerine Toddler in charge – while it helps make U.S. foreign policy less coherent and more random – doesn’t really provide much return for the diplomatic risk.

    But…a Cheeto Jesus that’s suborned and controllable? That’d be very much worth a very big risk…

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  26. Sherri said on January 12, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I don’t think the Russians cared if their hacking was detected. Their number one goal was to undermine US democracy, faith in US institutions, and so if we knew they were messing with us, that was fine. They have been doing the same thing in Europe.

    That Trump fell into their laps was a happy coincidence, I think, though there is little doubt that there were and are many tentacles between the Trump campaign and transition and Putin. When the Republican platform was changed to reflect a Putin-friendly position on the Crimea, it was impossible to ignore the puppet strings.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 12, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Deborah, my Republican legislators are hearing from me. In person where possible.

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  28. Little Bird said on January 13, 2017 at 3:26 am

    I want to talk about how scared I am about what’s to come. But I find myself lacking the words to properly articulate how I really feel.
    I kinda knew the Medicaid wasn’t going to be something I’d actually get to keep.

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  29. Suzanne said on January 13, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I, for one, and I’m sure everyone here is holding up hope for you, Little Bird.

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  30. Icarus said on January 13, 2017 at 9:35 am

    About that attempt to gut the ethics committee….I just cannot help but feel that was a test run just to see how things would play out. Like they never expected to win but just wanted to see what gaps they need to fill for the next time.

    Also from what I’ve read, the ethics committee does need some reigning in, just not the total gut they were trying to accomplish.

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  31. ROGirl said on January 13, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Watched the Carrie – Debbie doc last night. When it showed footage of Carrie in her manic state, and she talked about Roy and Pam, it got very real, even though it was all very performative.

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  32. Jerrie said on January 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Little Bird, I understand. My health insurance is through the Affordable Care Act and I also can’t articulate the sadness I feel at losing it. My anger, though, is white-hot.

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  33. basset said on January 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Well, nobody’s mentioned Col. McCormick here in awhile:


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  34. BItter Scribe said on January 13, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Scout @15: IIRC, Garry Trudeau already did the “President Asterisk” thing about Dubya. If Republicans keep getting elected despite losing the popular vote, we’re going to run out of metaphors.

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  35. Julie Robinson said on January 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Just started listening to The Princess Diarist, and among the early bits are that Carrie Fisher didn’t graduate high school, since she was in a Broadway show with her mother at 15 and Shampoo at 17. She narrates and sounds a bit slurred. I’m hoping that’s due to her electroshock therapy and not that she was using again.

    Also, she was thrilled to get the gig in the new Star Wars movie because she was broke. She got no merchandising money from the first trilogy.

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  36. Sherri said on January 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I watched Paul Ryan the Great Wonk Hope reply to a man with cancer about how the His much better than Obamacare plan would make things better for everybody*. He threw around a lot of numbers and percentages, which is why reporters seem to think he is a wonky intellectual, but the gist of his plan was very simple.

    -Most people aren’t very sick. Why should they pay higher premiums to cover the people who are?

    -We’ll “help” the people who are sick by “financing” state high risk pools.

    There are a number of problems with state high risk pools, the major one being that they are crappy insurance. They’re state funded, so you can imagine what kind of funding West Virginia is going to have for it’s high risk pool. They’re almost always underfunded, to enough money to cover the people in them or the people who need to be in them. Many states can’t run a deficit, so that money will always be a tempting place to cut. And finally, absent heavy regulation, why wouldn’t insurance companies just dump enrollees as soon as they get sick into the high risk pool?

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  37. Heather said on January 13, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Yeah, the very term “high risk pool” should have everyone’s eyes rolling.

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  38. Deborah said on January 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Also, in the free market with no regulation won’t insurance premiums go sky high for everyone, and the costs for all healthcare, medicine etc will go up and up and up? Why do people think it’s going to be cheaper without Obamacare? It will take a while for people to figure that out but I hope they figure it out before tRumps first (and only) term is up.

    Ryan makes me sick. He’s such a phony.

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  39. Jolene said on January 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    A health insurance system that covers everyone requires, fundamentally, taxing people who have lots of money to provide services for people who have little. it also means accepting the idea that government has an obligation to provide for people. Both of these ideas are anathema to conservatives.

    Trump, of course, is not a conservative, even though he now calls himself one. He wants something that will, of course, be great, but cost less. Unfortunately, he is not a health policy expert either, and he shows no interest in the nuts and bolts of policy.

    It’s pretty hard to see how a system that serves most people is going to emerge from a party that doesn’t really want to provide health insurance, led by a man whose intellectual involvement stops at exhortation.

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  40. Deborah said on January 13, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I tried to start Drynuary (or however you spell it) when I got back to Chicago on the 10th and then this ACA crap hit the fan, so much for that. I damn well knew this was going to happen when tRump won, but I had some wishful thinking there for a while that it would be delayed or that the Republicans might even come to their senses, but of course that didn’t happen. I realize that alcohol is a depressant and drinking doesn’t help, but whatever. Then ever since I’ve been back, Chicago has been gray and dismal and today I braved the weather and went out for another walk. My husband teaches 3 days a week and walks to the green line in the loop so I decided to start walking with him to get back in shape. It’s only a 3 mile round trip walk and my usual route takes me past the Trump Tower. I realized today I have to change my route, it adds to my depression to walk past that building. I have these bizarre thoughts about organizing a pee-in or something like that in the lobby. While it’s fun to think about, obviously, I would never do it and if I did I would certainly be arrested pronto. Oh well.

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  41. Sherri said on January 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    If you want health care for everybody, then two things are true, and can not be wished or willed away. Healthier people have to subsidize sicker people, and richer people have to subsidize poorer people. Whether you do that with risk pools or taxes, those two things are just reality. Right now, we use taxes to subsidize people over 65 who tend to use a lot of health care, whether or not they have money. We pay taxes to fund Medicaid to subsidize the very poor, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the state, so they have some health care.

    The Republicans want to propose a lot of smoke and mirrors to pretend that they are going to fix the “problems” of Obamacare, while lying about the actual problems of Obamacare. They’re going to pretend that high risk pools will work, and claim that they have worked in the past. They’re going to say that pre-existing conditions will be taken care of through continuous coverage. As long as you never have a period without insurance, you’ll never have a pre-existing condition. Of course, if you lose your job and your employer-provided insurance and can’t afford the COBRA payments, well, you should have planned for that.

    They’re going to use their favorite tactic for things they want to get rid of, send control to the states. They want state level high risk pools, not a federal one. They want to allow insurance to be sold across state boundaries, so that insurance in lightly regulated state A can be sold in heavily regulated state B, presumably with worse coverage at a lower price. They want the idea of government supported health insurance to fail, so they can kill it outright, including Medicare and Medicaid, because they don’t think health care is a moral right.

    They don’t think your need for health care confers a moral right upon them to pay for it. Funny, though, they think if a woman gets pregnant, she incurs a moral right to provide health care for a fetus.

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  42. Deborah said on January 13, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Yes that moral right. While some Republicans think we should have a Judeo-Christian nation that recognizes the 10 commandments etc (and no separation of church and state), they completely forget about the teachings of Christ. How can you think one thing is OK and another not? I want to scream.

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  43. Deborah said on January 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    If the Republicans cared about healthcare for the masses they would have come up with something (replace) long before now. But they don’t care. One. Whit. Whatsoever. The sooner we get that, the sooner we can figure out how to overcome the catastrophe. It will be a long hard slog since we have NO political power. As I said, people will die in the meantime, so the sooner we can get our heads together, the better.

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  44. David C. said on January 13, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Why do they always talk about sickness like it’s some sort of moral failing? I’d like to think I’m pretty moral. As proof of my health morality, I walk about 15-20 miles a week and in the summer I cycle 25-50 miles a week, yet I still have a renal artery aneurysm. So I must not be moral enough to deserve insurance.

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  45. Sherri said on January 13, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    You can read lots of analytical pieces about the Republicans and health care,mor yo can just read the Onion: http://www.theonion.com/infographic/how-republicans-plan-repeal-and-replace-obamacare-55008

    If you’re a Republican, sickness isn’t a moral failing. After all, we paid for Dick Cheney’s heart, even though he definitely had a pre-existing condition.

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  46. susan said on January 13, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    It’s really depressing to see how gleeful all those white congress-people are as they start to dismantle our government and cause real pain to millions and millions of citizens. They truly are monsters.

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  47. Suzanne said on January 13, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    So depressing. I had a discussion with my Trump voting mother today (“We always vote Republican”). I told her the GOP was going to get rid of Obamacare but she insisted, they will keep the part that lets kids stay on their parent’s insurance. No, I said. Pre-existing condition waiver, gone, which, I told her, could be a problem for my breast cancer survivor cousin who, at 58, is about to lose her job. My mother’s eyes grew larger. I told her they also want to get rid of Medicare. Eyes grew bigger. Oh, no! They won’t do that!! Oh, yes they will. Yes they will, I told her.
    I know my mother is elderly, but how can she be so dense?? So depressing.

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  48. Deggjr said on January 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Talking Points Memo has a nice post about Medicare. It includes a link to Paul Ryan’s site. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/ryan-plans-to-phase-out-medicare-in-2017

    Not that the facts matter.

    Charitably, the older (est) generation went through their careers getting regular pay raises and avoiding wealth distribution downsizing. They have no idea of what ‘winner takes all’ means today for the people with no economic leverage.

    Uncharitably, they can’t believe the benefits they’ve earned could possibly be taken away by ‘people who look like them’.

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  49. beb said on January 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The thought crosses my mind that while are all caught up in the story about the Soviet Russian hacking and how — maybe — it tilted the election towards Il Douche, there is much more credible evidence that FBI director Comey’s two letters to Congress had significant impact of Clinton’s popularity. Enough to have turned Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan against her. That story is getting buried by the salacious Peegate dossier.

    And does anyone have any idea why the director of the DC National Guard is being told to stand down the minute after Trump takes the oath of office? If Trump wants to appoint his own I could see doing so the day after the Inauguration. But in the middle of it? Maybe Trump doesn’t want the DC national guard run by a black man?

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  50. susan said on January 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    beb @49 – Or Drumpthfh wants more control over protests without using Feds? by using people *he* hires? who would not have to abide by Fed regulations of the National Guard? It’s so easy to think fascist with this evil person.

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  51. Jakash said on January 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Deborah @ 42,

    Screaming seems about right. This “Christian Right” idea is what I keep coming back to, also. If the Republicans were all just Ayn Rand-spouting atheists, one could almost accept their giddiness about rushing to crush Obamacare as soon as they could. At least it would be consistent with such a dog-eat-dog, laissez-faire philosophy. But the way they try to combine that with the Christian nation notion to bamboozle Evangelicals and others is where they become transparently inconsistent, to say the least. In the case of letting people die in order to essentially stick it to Obama, evil is probably more accurate than inconsistent. WWJD? Eliminate health care coverage for millions, while maintaining as your primary goal making sure that rich folks can keep more of their money? I’m no Bible scholar, but that doesn’t sound right.

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  52. Sherri said on January 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    More specifics on Paul Ryan’s lies: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-ryan-townhall-20170113-story.html

    Paul Ryan should have been reading Tolkien instead of Rand when he was younger.

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  53. Deborah said on January 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Sherri, great link. The lying is soooooo irritating. Ryan and his ilk will say anything to get their way. And most people never hear the actual truth later. Ryan does it so smoothly too. He’s such a smug asshole. He really is.

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  54. Deborah said on January 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve decided to call all of my representatives (senators Durbin and Duckworth and congressional rep Danny Davis) who happen to all be Dems, asking them not to attend the inauguration. John Lewis is correct that tRump is not a legitimate president, he “won” by hook and by crook and he has conflicts of interests up the wazoo, not to mention losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million. Dems should not attend the ceremony, parade or any events. Former presidents should not attend either. The only one who has to attend is Obama. Michelle and the daughters should not attend. Biden either. Show the country how wrong tRump is and everything he represents (corruption, lack of respect for women, minorities, the disabled etc etc etc). He’s a liar and a cheat.

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  55. Charlotte said on January 14, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Drove over to Bozeman this morning for a “listening session” with John Tester — at a mental health center. Mostly health care professionals — and the whole experience made me much less panicky. Tester was there to gather info on what’s working, what’s not working, what the impact of ACA repeal will be on their businesses and their patients. For the most part, the atmosphere was serious, and the focus was on problem-solving. At one point, a guy behind me asked how we’re going to fight to save it , and what’s the plan.

    Tester said we had to fight. He said he likes emails the best, because they can be tabulated and printed if necessary. He said snail mail is a loss, since with the security protocols it takes 90 days to get to his office. Phone calls are good too, but he said to check with your reps offices and ask them what they prefer. He also said letters to the editor are hugely influential — he’s got staffers who check the papers for them every morning.

    Then he ended by saying that “Despite what just happened, I still believe in facts, and that facts have meaning.”

    Tomorrow, I’m off to demonstrate in Bozeman for the ACA, and find out how to support the Democratic candidate for Ryan Zinke’s seat. Since we don’t have a house rep at the moment …

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  56. Sherri said on January 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Monday I’m going to Olympia with friends for a rally supporting education funding in our state. The legislature has failed to meet its obligation to comply with the terms of a lawsuit from four years ago, is currently in contempt of court, and still shows no sign of making satisfactory progress.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Charlotte, I don’t know if it came up, but MH/BH circles are in turmoil because of the uncertainty ahead — Medicaid Expansion ended up bringing an amazing number of new patients into care — but also because of a long-anticipated but still not prepared-for shift this next year in Medicaid managed care for MH billing and payment. Some states have already crossed this boundary, a large percentage are walking across it this year. Two main issues are a) the change in reimbursement for programs based on certifications of staff, so if you’re a program that has large numbers of bachelor’s-only-if-that treatment providers (think some residential “ranches” and day programs with recent in-recovery people now delivering care in group meetings and house supervision) you’re looking at a huge drop in income even if you maintain client numbers; b) the cycle is up-front being said (based in part on the new performance measures and validation procedures) to be going up to as high as 180-day turn-around. When we’re looking in our two county area at most programs and service providers having 5 to 14 days of cash on hand, that means Armageddon. Mergers at best, closures at worst, and large shifts to tele-medicine solutions which I have very mixed feelings about.

    That’s been on the books for a couple of years; add in the uncertainty with ACA and Medicare Expansion (which really should be seen as two separate things), and you have a complete mystery looking forward in MH/BH services.

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  58. Deborah said on January 15, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I hope this catches on, we need to show where we stand http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/01/why_aren_t_more_democrats_rallying_around_john_lewis.html

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  59. Charlotte said on January 15, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Jeff, that’s exactly what was being discussed … they’re serving more people and losing money doing it. Montana also has the highest suicide rate in the country, and very few mental health facilities. Testers been a real asset, and I was so impressed with how calm and kind he was (I’ve seen him in more social setting before). His work with the VA has been stellar . ..all in all his attitude was that we have a fight ahead and it’s time to get to work.

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  60. Charlotte said on January 15, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Jeff, that’s exactly what was being discussed … they’re serving more people and losing money doing it. Montana also has the highest suicide rate in the country, and very few mental health facilities. Testers been a real asset, and I was so impressed with how calm and kind he was (I’ve seen him in more social setting before). His work with the VA has been stellar . ..all in all his attitude was that we have a fight ahead and it’s time to get to work.

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  61. Diane said on January 15, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Thank you for the link Deborah. These are scary times. Hasn’t history yet taught us that being afraid to rock the boat just gives those determined to sink it more leeway for their work? Hooray for Lewis!

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  62. Deborah said on January 15, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I just emailed my representatives, urging them to stand with Lewis and skip the inauguration, tomorrow I will call them.

    “When they go low, we go high”. I believe that groveling at the inauguration of a demagogue would not be going high. These are not normal times, it’s time to stand up for what’s right.

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  63. Jakash said on January 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Scottish tabloid’s TV section’s capsule preview of the inauguration:

    “The Twilight Zone returns… It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible.”


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  64. Sherri said on January 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    “Free market” health care kills people. Hell, “free market” anything kills people, when shareholder return is considered the only figure of merit.


    I can’t decide who was more harmful to modern society, Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman.

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  65. Jean Shaw said on January 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    @57 — Jeff, the Indian Health Service has been using telemedicine for quite some time across a number of medical disciplines. It has been a true plus in some areas of ophthalmology, esp. with diabetic retinopathy screening. (I wrote a feature on telemedicine for the ophths, so I found out some interesting stuff on that front.) No question it will be used elsewhere–and I believe the IHS is already using it in mental health screening/treatment.

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