Single-Payer Healthcare: Part I

During the run-up to Obamacare we heard a lot about “Single-payer Healthcare.” With the implementation of Obamacare, such talk slipped into the shadows — but it’s back. Senator Bernie Sanders has started his cries for “Medicare for all,” which was what he called his Single-Payer Healthcare program when he first began to tout it. But it is anything BUT Medicare.

The concept of Single-Payer is amazingly complicated. It is imperative that Americans get familiar with it because what we are hearing from the Left about it is just beginning. Their drumbeat for “Healthcare for all is a right” is just beginning. Those drums will quickly get louder and louder.

What is Single-payer healthcare?

Single-payer healthcare is a healthcare system in which the state, financed by taxes, covers basic healthcare costs for all residents regardless of income, occupation, or health status. The alternatives include “multi-payer” systems in which private individuals or their employers buy health insurance or healthcare services from private or public providers. Single-payer systems may contract for healthcare services from private organizations (as is the case in Canada) or may own and employ healthcare resources and personnel (as is the case in the United Kingdom). “Single-payer” describes the mechanism by which healthcare is paid for by a single public authority, not the type of delivery or for whom physicians work. In contrast, multi-payer healthcare uses a mixed public-private system.

Where does Single-payer Healthcare exist today?

Various nations worldwide have single-payer health insurance programs. These programs generally provide some form of universal healthcare, which is implemented in a variety of ways. In some cases doctors are employed, and hospitals are run by the government such as in the UK or Spain. Alternatively, the government may purchase healthcare services from outside organizations, such as the approach taken in Canada.

Canada

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded healthcare system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities. The system was established by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984. The government assures the quality of care through federal standards. The government does not participate in day-to-day care or collect any information about an individual’s health, which remains confidential between a person and his or her physician. Canada’s provincially based Medicare systems are purposefully kept as simple as possible to restrict administrative costs. In each province, each doctor handles the insurance claim against the provincial insurer. There is no need for the person who accesses healthcare to be involved in billing and reclaim. Private insurance represents a minimal part of the overall system.

In general, costs are paid through funding from income taxes, except in British Columbia, the only province to impose a fixed monthly premium which is waived or reduced for those on low incomes. A health card is issued by the Provincial Ministry of Health to each individual who enrolls for the program and everyone receives the same level of care. Virtually all essential basic care is covered, including maternity and infertility problems. Depending on the province, dental and vision care may not be covered but are often insured by employers through private companies. In some provinces, private supplemental plans are available for those who desire private rooms if they are hospitalized.

Cosmetic surgery and some forms of elective surgery are not considered essential care and are not covered. These can be paid out-of-pocket or through private insurers. Health coverage is not affected by loss or change of jobs, as long as premiums are up to date, and there are no lifetime limits or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Pharmaceutical medications are covered by public funds or through employment-based private insurance. Drug prices are negotiated with suppliers by the federal government to control costs. Family physicians (often known as general practitioners or GPs in Canada) are chosen by individuals. If a patient wishes to see a specialist or is counseled to see a specialist, a referral can be made by a GP. However, specialists care is NOT covered unless deemed essential.

Canadians do wait for some treatments and diagnostic services. Survey data shows of those needing to see a specialist, 89.5% wait less than three months. Of those waiting for diagnostic services such as MRI and CAT scans, diagnostic tests defined as “non-emergency magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices; computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans; and angiographies that use X-rays to examine the inner opening of blood-filled structures such as veins and arteries,” 86.4% wait less than three months. Of those waiting for surgery, 82.2% wait less than three months.

Taiwan

Healthcare in Taiwan is administrated by the Department of Health of the Executive Yuan. As with other developed economies, Taiwanese people are well-nourished but face such health problems as chronic obesity and heart disease. In 2002, Taiwan had nearly 1.6 physicians and 5.9 hospital beds per 1,000 population, and there were a total of 36 hospitals and 2,601 clinics in the country. Health expenditures constituted 5.8 percent of the GDP in 2001, 64.9% of which coming from public funds.

The current healthcare system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance (NHI), was instituted in 1995. NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan which centralizes the disbursement of health care funds. The system promises equal access to health care for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004. NHI is mainly financed through premiums, which are based on the payroll tax, and is supplemented with out-of-pocket payments and direct government funding. In the initial stage, fee-for-service predominated for both public and private providers. Most health providers operate in the private sector and form a competitive market on the health delivery side. However, many healthcare providers took advantage of the system by offering unnecessary services to a larger number of patients and then billing the government.

The NHI is touted around the World by single-payer proponents as being the marquee of all such healthcare systems. In a government-run single-payer system like Taiwan’s, technical health care issues like higher premiums are inherently political issues, tied to the political establishment. In a recent report on PBS, politicians have been wary of increasing premiums since 2002 “because everyone is concerned about courting the voters’ favor.” Unfortunately, NHI needs steady revenue to help cover the cost of the benefits it offers, which are comprehensive. In a 2003 Health Affairs article, it was noted that NHI covers “inpatient care, ambulatory care, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging, prescription and certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, dental care (except orthodontics and prosthodontics), traditional Chinese medicine, day care for the mentally ill, limited home health care, and certain preventive medicine (pediatric immunizations, adult health exams including pap smears, prenatal care, and well-child checkups),” and even “expensive treatment for HIV/AIDS and organ transplants.”

The combination of generous benefits and relatively meager contributions from the insured has created a system where there are insufficient resources left for other aspects of  health care outside of coverage. “There’s very little R&D, according to the PBS report on its Sick Around the World special. The budget just isn’t there…There is no technology assessment, or very little, except for drugs, and there’s just slower overall adoption of new technology… There’s very low doctor-to-population [1.5 for every 1,000 people], nurse-to-population ratios [3.6/1,000]. So overall, Taiwanese feel the tightness everywhere.

United Kingdom

Healthcare in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each having their own systems of publicly funded healthcare, funded by and accountable to separate governments and parliaments, together with smaller private sector and voluntary provision. As a result of each country having different policies and priorities, a variety of differences now exist between these systems. Despite there being separate health services for each country, the performance of the National Health Service (NHS) across the UK can be measured for the purpose of making international comparisons. In 2015, the UK was 14th (out of 35) in the annual Euro health consumer index. It was criticized for its poor accessibility and “an autocratic top-down management culture”. The index has in turn been criticized by academics, however.

Each NHS system uses General Practitioners (GPs) to provide primary healthcare and to make referrals to further services as necessary. Hospitals then provide more specialist services, including care for patients with psychiatric illnesses, as well as direct access to Accident and Emergency departments. Community pharmacies are privately owned but have contracts with the relevant health service to supply prescription drugs.

Summary

Single-payer Healthcare is obviously different from country to country. The commonality is that the federal government of each country that has such a healthcare system is the primary source of regulation and funding. Operating rules, regulations, covered services, etc., vary from country to country.

By now you are probably asking, “What’s the price citizens in these countries pay for coverage?” and “What would single-payer cost in the U.S.?” and “What would coverage be in the U.S.?” As promised, in Part II of this we will answer these three questions in detail tomorrow. You probably will be surprised when you look in.

You may want to forward this segment to people you know or simply share on your social media outlets. You can bet the Liberals in the America are going to escalate their push forward to replace Obamacare with single-payer healthcare. Before the arguments begin — and there will be many and they ALL will be loud and ugly — it would be smart to listen to all of those armed with facts.

You’ll get those facts here.

NOKO

Why has nothing been done to stop the North Korean nuclear threat to the World?

Let’s be honest: the United States has the #1 military in the World, the #1 Intelligence operations in the World, and a history of strategically and quietly “taking out” foreign leaders and others who have been a far less danger to the U.S. than Kim Jong Un. With the capabilities of the U.S. from drone strikes to late-night Seal team visits, it is unfathomable that no one has sent this despot to La La Land. Why is that?

Before we analyze the “Why Not’s,” here’s the latest NOKO “news:”

“North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un said his country is close to achieving military ‘equilibrium’ with the United States as a way to make American leaders “dare not talk” about military options for dealing with Pyongyang. Kim’s comments Saturday came a day after the rogue country fired its latest missile over Japan, a test the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned as ‘highly provocative.’ The U.N. slapped North Korea with new sanctions just days ago in response to a powerful Sept. 3 nuclear test. The dictator said the country’s final goal ‘is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,’ referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Forget about the tense atmosphere that all in Japan must feel daily with the constant threat of an ever present North Korean missile attack. Those alarms that sound in northern Japanese villages when Kim lobs another missile their way must terrify those locals, not knowing which alarm will be the “real deal.” What about the 30+ million people just miles south of the North Korean border? Those Seoul residents could literally be annihilated from the north in just a matter of minutes not just by a nuclear attack, but by the thousands and thousands of heavy artillery shells that Kim could fire their way at the drop of a hat. And there are thousands of Americans — some in the military, some just private citizens — in Seoul as well. And then there’s Guam that is just a stones throw away in the Pacific.

Kim Jong Un is a ticking time bomb — a “nuclear” time bomb.

So why hasn’t some country (or group of countries) mounted a strategic plan to rid the starving citizens of North Korea, the rest of Asia, and the rest of the World of this despot who is set on doing one thing and one thing only: starting a nuclear holocaust? I don’t think there is just one good answer. But there are quite a few hypotheses about why no one has even tried to take Kim out — or least no one that we know of. Here are some possible reasons:

  • There really IS a plan. But whoever is responsible for the plan’s implementation is waiting for a strategic time to “go.” But who could that someone be? And from what country?
  • The plan is actually underway. That could explain why so many of the North Korean rockets fired have exploded shortly after takeoff — showing Kim that the West has the ability to terminate any missile launch he tries. Kim could just be proving to other World leaders that he is not intimidated by the West — especially the United States — and that he will stand in the face of anyone that takes him on. In this scenario he sees no realistic way to move forward from the current missile tests, but it gives him the opportunity to show off to the World;
  • At any moment a CIA, Mossad or MI6 agent is prepared to slip into Kim’s sleeping quarters and quietly quieten him permanently. There is no doubt the U.S., the U.K., and Israel have such capability. One wonders why these three nation’s leaders have not yet pulled the trigger;
  • China is propping-up Kim on the World stage and has notified the U.N. Security Council they have him under wraps and to just leave him alone. That would possibly mean  Kim has something on Chinese President Xi that has given the despot leverage to allow him to keep making noise. After all, Xi could starve every North Korean to death simply by stopping supplying Kim with necessities NOK needs to survive. China could easily totally blockade North Korea that would destroy it in 60-90 days without firing a shot;
  • Xi as the strongest leader in Asia may have an alliance with Putin or some other leaders to use Kim to keep the U.S. military occupied while they plan and prepare some coup or takeover of some other country or countries like happened with Crimea and the Ukraine. Certainly President Trump and his intelligence team and military leaders spend quite a bit of time in discussions about North Korea and what should be done;
  • The last possibility (at least in my mind) is the scariest: maybe just maybe the NOK leader really plans to attack the U.S. Doing so would be certain suicide for him and millions in Asia. But knowing he has the United States backed into a corner with very few options at dealing with him, he may simply be waiting to play his trump card: multiple ICBM missiles tipped with nuclear warheads headed toward the U.S.

Summary

I learned a long time ago that the government is usually doing far more backstage than in front of the curtain. Certainly that is the case with Kim Jong Un and North Korea. It is scary, however, knowing that almost everything going on in D.C. is exposed daily by leakers, and nothing about any surreptitious plan to take Kim Jong Un out has been leaked to the press. I just hope there are some concrete options in place just in case the idiot in Asia with his finger on the nuclear trigger doesn’t cough so hard chomping on a hot dog he accidentally squeezes that trigger. I am confident he actually believes it’s no big deal for him to threaten the U.S. and the rest of the Free World everyday with missile tests. What did Forrest Gump call it: “Stupid is as Stupid does?”

Whether or not you are a praying person, I suggest you spend some reflective time with the Creator finding peace that you will be OK no matter what. Only God knows the real options for this nightmare. Let’s pray and hope that someone somehow will get through to the little dictator and get him to understand he can make a really big mark on history by negotiating some really good things for his People by putting his nuclear proliferation plans on the negotiating table.

He’s dealing with a really good negotiator. It seems that right now they’re at an impasse. The first to blink may be the one to lose. I don’t think President Trump is going to blink.

Are You A Problem Thinker?

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. 

I began to think alone, “to relax,” I told myself. But I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. 

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself.

 I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzy and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

Things weren’t going so great at home either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

 I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker.

One day the boss called me in. He said, “Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.” This gave me a lot to think about.

 I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

 “I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

 “But honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

 “It is serious,” she said, lower lip quivering. “You think as much as college professors, and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won’t have any money!”

 “That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I’d had enough. “I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors, but they didn’t open. The library was closed!

 To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. 

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye: “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster.

 That is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Dumb and Dumber.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life became simpler and easier — as soon as I stopped thinking.

Author Unknown
Received from Mikey’s Funnies

Immigration Reform is Nowhere: Who’s at Fault?

Do you wonder why there has been no Immigration Reform bill passed in almost 40 years? If you want to know the answer, read on. If you don’t, grab that copy of “What Happened?” In it Hillary gives you all the answers to everything.

I’m reminded of the little boy whose father was a blacksmith. As all little boys do, he loved to watch his Dad go about his business whenever he could. He was fascinated with the fire. Whenever his Dad took a piece of metal he was crafting out of the fire, the little boy always wanted to get close and look at it. His Dad told him often, “Don’t touch that metal. It’s really hot and it will burn you.” One day when his Dad walked out of the shop the boy with his bare hand picked up a piece of metal his father was using to make a tool and has just taken out of the fire. It was really hot. The little boy dropped it on the floor just as his Father walked back into the shop. His Dad said, “I told you you’d burn yourself if you picked something up right out of the fire.” The little boy quickly quipped, “It didn’t burn me. It just doesn’t take me long to look at a hot piece of metal.” Democrats — that story reminds me of Democrats.

Am I saying having no Immigration Reform is the fault of Democrats? That’s exactly right. No matter what you hear trumpeted daily from the news media or DNC Leadership or Democrats in the House and Senate, Donald Trump and the Republicans are NOT responsible for Immigration Reform not happening. Believe it or not, Democrats stopped it over and over again. They just don’t want you to remember.

Bill Clinton. Here was the perfect opportunity for a Democrat President to get Immigration reforms. And to make it easier, Clinton while President had control of BOTH Houses of Congress in 1993 and 1994. What a perfect opportunity to cement the Hispanic vote in the Democrat Party foundation for eternity. Certainly with Immigration Reform that would grant full citizenship to all illegals would make that happen. But even with two full years — that’s two Congresses — Clinton could not get it done. Do you blame that on Republicans? Hispanic activists, Democrats and the Leftist Media do as do the Clintons.

George W. Bush. No one today would expect that any Immigration Reform bill would show-up during a Bush presidency. But one did. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (full name: Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348)) was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. The bill was portrayed as a compromise between providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and increased border enforcement: it included funding for 300 miles (480 km) of vehicle barriers, 105 camera and radar towers, and 20,000 more Border Patrol agents, while simultaneously restructuring visa criteria around high-skilled workers. The bill also received heated criticism from both sides of the immigration debate. The bill was introduced in the United States Senate on May 9, 2007, but was never voted on, though a series of votes on amendments and cloture took place. The last vote on cloture, on June 7, 2007, 11:59 AM, failed 34-61 effectively ending the bill’s chances. A related bill S. 1639, on June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM, also failed 46-53.

There were several ironies in this. First, President Bush was in full support of it! He guaranteed that if this bill passed, he would sign it into law, even over the objections of his Party. Even though Democrats controlled the House and Senate for 3.5 years of the Bush 43 Presidency, (and that was the case in June of 2007 when this bill was on the floor) DEMOCRATS failed to pass it!

Barack Obama. How soon we forget. Obama during his 8 years in the White House had the benefit of a Congress tilted his way. From 2009 to 2011 Democrats controlled the House and the Senate. As big a deal as Immigration Reform was, why did they not with the White House AND Congress controlled by Democrats pass it? Why did they wait until January of 2013 for the “Gang of Eight” (comprised of 4 GOP Senators and 4 Democrat Senators) to put their proposal together? The Obama control of Congress had ended two years before that. Why did they not pass comprehensive Immigration Reform in the first couple of Obama years?

To make matters more mysterious, in November of 2014 Obama issued an executive order full of immigration reforms that if left in place would have seriously altered Immigration Law. Here’s what the E.O. did: It allowed roughly 45% of illegal immigrants to legally stay and work in the United States. The largest prior deferral action, in 1990, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, affected 40% of undocumented immigrants then. Up to 3.7 million undocumented parents of individuals who are U.S. citizens, or who have been legal permanent residents in the country for at least five years, are eligible for the new deferrals, as are about 300,000 immigrants who arrived as children before January 2010. Members of this second group would be eligible by expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which previously covered 1.2 million people, the expansion bringing the new coverage total to 1.5 million. The new deferrals would be granted for three years at a time. Supplemental executive actions also announced include an end to the Secure Communities program, increased resources for border enforcement, and new procedures for “high-skilled immigrants.” These other “parts of the president’s plan” could provide “protection from deportation” for roughly “an additional one million people.” President Obama’s actions were clearly presented as a response to Congress having been unable in recent years to agree on a general legislative overhaul of U.S. immigration policy. Obama indicated:

“[By] acting where Congress has failed…[I hope] to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.”

Just one month later, Arthur J. Schwab, a United States federal judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, ruled that President Obama’s executive action on immigration was unconstitutional in a case involving a Honduran man facing criminal charges for returning to the United States after being deported. The case was appealed and has been in the court system ever since. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Judge Schwab’s ruling was to remain in place.

Donald Trump. An executive order is NOT a law. As Barack Obama stated when he issued that DACA executive order, he thought it might be un-constitutional and would probably be temporary. He implored Congress to pass a permanent fix. Of course that did not happen in his presidency. Trump in his campaign promised to stop illegal immigration and fix the system. His determination to end DACA in six months was obviously to put the pressure on Congress to act and put a comprehensive Immigration Reform plan into place. The ball is in the court of Congress.

Summary

It’s amazing what the shiny light of truth will do when it’s turned on in a room full of spiders and snakes — often for the first time you see exactly what’s in the room. Just like that little boy in his Dad’s blacksmith shop when he was caught doing the wrong thing and then denying it, Democrats are doing the same thing regarding their failures in 3 presidential administrations that each was 8 years long! That’s 24 years in which Democrats could have fixed immigration. Why do you suppose that did not happen?

In my opinion, it is an identical issue to the Civil Rights Act. In a Democrat controlled Congress under President Lyndon Johnson, there were not enough Democrat votes to pass it. Republicans joined in to get it passed and signed into law. But as the decades have slipped by, Democrats have successfully made their party in most Americans’ minds to be the party of civil rights in America, even though factually that is NOT true. Why do the Dems do this? For the same reason they have “perceptually” painted the picture in Americans’ minds of the Democrat Party being the only home for Hispanic immigrants. They do this (as they always have) for votes — for POWER.  “With Power, you can get everything you want.” So true with Immigration.

The one big plus for President Trump as he approaches Immigration Reform is that most Americans fully support his plan to stop illegal immigration. His plan was/is to shore up the southern U.S. border, to pause immigration from countries known for harboring terrorists until the U.S. implements a thorough vetting process before allowing any immigrants from those countries into the U.S., and ridding the nation of the entire criminal element entrenched in the illegal immigrant population.

Can comprehensive immigration be put in place during this presidency? Only if Americans who support President Trump’s immigration plan follow through with their support by pressuring their representatives in Congress to act accordingly. In this D.C. environment it is not a lock that the G.O.P. will get any immigration bill passed even with a majority in the House and Senate. But I know that this President will not give up until he has exhausted every opportunity to make it happen.

He promised Americans he will get it done. Let’s hope he does.

Charity: Big Changes Ahead

Many Americans were thrilled to watch the charity funding site where Houston Texans JJ Watt started with a $200,000 goal to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims that raced pass $20 million. That type of giving is about to go away.

One of President Trump’s campaign promises was tax reform that he suggested include drastic cuts in the almost impossible tax return preparation. Changes will probably include dropping many of the multitude of tax deductions. It is yet unknown which deductions will go and which will stay, but the two biggest and the ones that are being targeted by many in Congress are home mortgage interest deductions and charitable contributions. If contributions become no longer deductible, how will Americans respond regarding their giving? Certainly a large portion of charitable giving is spurred by its being deductible. How generous will Americans be without it?

Make no mistakes, Americans are a nation of charitable individuals and groups. And the history of giving goes all the way back to the founding of the U.S. Colonial legislatures and later State governments adopted legislation patterned after the English “poor” laws. Aid to veterans, often free grants of land, and pensions for widows and handicapped veterans, have been offered in all U.S. wars. Following World War I, provisions were made for a full-scale system of hospital and medical care benefits for veterans. By 1929, workers’ compensation laws were in effect in all but four States. These state laws made industry and businesses responsible for the costs of compensating workers or their survivors when the worker was injured or killed in connection with his or her job. Retirement programs for mainly State and local government paid teachers, police officers, and fire fighters—date back to the 19th century. All these social programs were far from universal and varied considerably from one state to another.

Prior to the Great Depression the United States had social programs that mostly centered around individual efforts, family efforts, church charities, business workers compensation, life insurance and sick leave programs along with some state tax supported social programs. The misery and poverty of the great depression threatened to overwhelm all these programs. The severe Depression of the 1930s made Federal action almost a necessity, as neither the States and the local communities, businesses and industries, nor private charities had the financial resources to cope with the growing need among the American people. Beginning in 1932, the Federal Government first made loans, then grants, to States to pay for direct relief and work relief. After that, special Federal emergency relief like the Civilian Conservation Corps and other public works programs were started. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration proposed to Congress federal social relief programs and a federally sponsored retirement program. Congress followed by the passage of the 37 page Social Security Act, signed into law August 14, 1935 and “effective” by 1939—just as World War II began. This program was expanded several times over the years.

Giving in the nation’s beginnings was taken on by individuals who gave for the immediate needs of their friends and neighbors and extended family members. Churches naturally got involved because Biblical principles are very specific about Christians taking care of those less fortunate assisting with their needs. The Great Depression changed all that and ushered in Government charity that literally created a new class within the U.S. later called the welfare state.

The welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the social and economic well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organization. The sociologist T.H. Marshall described the modern welfare state as a distinctive combination of democracy, welfare, and capitalism.

The welfare state involves a transfer of funds from the state to the services provided (i.e. healthcare, education, etc.) as well as directly to individuals (“benefits”). It is funded through re-distributionist taxation and is often referred to as a type of mixed economy. Such taxation usually includes a larger income tax for people with higher incomes, called a progressive tax. Proponents argue that this helps reduce the income gap between the rich and poor.

Social programs in the United States are welfare subsidies designed to aid the needs of the American population. Federal and state welfare programs include cash assistance, healthcare and medical provisions, food assistance, housing subsidies, energy and utilities subsidies, education and childcare assistance, and subsidies and assistance for other basic services. Private provisions from employers, either mandated by policy or voluntary, also provide similar social welfare benefits.

The programs vary in eligibility requirements and are provided by various organizations on a federal, state, local and private level. They help to provide food, shelter, education, healthcare and money to U.S. citizens through primary and secondary education, subsidies of college education, unemployment disability insurance, subsidies for eligible low-wage workers, subsidies for housing, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, pensions for eligible persons and health insurance programs that cover public employees. The Social Security system is sometimes considered to be a social aid program and has some characteristics of such programs, but unlike these programs, social security was designed as a self-funded security blanket – so that as the payee pays in (during working years), they are pre-paying for the payments they’ll receive back out of the system when they are no longer working. Medicare is another prominent program, among other healthcare provisions such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Here’s my fear: even though not-for-profit charities are abundant, most of which are stewards of their resources and amazingly resourceful and responsive to the needs of others, their services will necessarily decline as their revenue declines. On local and regional levels, national charities like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritans Purse and many others that are always on the spot to help, even during times of need for Americans that are not disaster related. But each of those charities and almost all others are dependent on contributions. Currently those contributions are almost all tax deductible. If Congress passes a bill that becomes law dropping charitable giving as a tax deduction, will the willingness of Americans to give be diminished? I am certain a large drop in giving will occur, but to what extent is unknown. But there may be an underlying reason why many want to see this happen. Why?

Who steps in when there are no 501-C(3) charities to take care of people? The Government. Where does the Government get funds to help people in the ways detailed above? From Americans. Although Americans are the most giving people on Earth, Americans have very little confidence in the financial viability of the Government. Taxes would have to be raised to fill in the gap that would open IF charitable giving becomes no longer deductible. What would fill in that gap? Raised taxes collected from Americans.

Look back up at the “Great Depression” paragraph above. The depth of financial devastation to Americans in the Great Depression forced the Federal Government to dive deep into social programs in the welfare state. And they have never pulled back.

That is the problem. Once the U.S. Government historically gets involved in any type of welfare program as discussed above, Americans become expectant of the benefits of each of those programs. Americans re-program their lives based on income and benefits received from those programs. We have seen the national mutiny when any such program’s reduced funding or its continuation are even discussed. “The Government gives but the Government CANNOT take away.”

Just like the furor over possibly terminating Obamacare. Americans who have been given healthcare subsidies to help pay for Obamacare premiums adjust their lives accordingly. Talk about taking those subsidies away because the program is failing sets their hair on fire. Bottom line: they don’t care who pays for that subsidy loss to them. They simply demand someone else pay it.

Watch this tax reform discussion and debate over the next few months. When major deduction termination is discussed, there will be uproar from those who are givers. And they will be forced to adjust their lives financially which will include less giving. Those who do not make contributions will be affected very little if at all. But when discussions open about welfare program changes that include reductions in benefits and/or funding, all hell will break loose. Why? We now live in a welfare state.

Mother Nature

Did you know that God and Mother Nature now live in 90210? I didn’t either – at least until Jennifer Lawrence proclaimed this past week that she knows for a fact Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are Mother Nature’s punishment of Americans for electing Donald Trump. With that proclamation I am certain J-Law and Mother Nature meet at Starbucks every morning. Maybe Mother Nature is so upset with Trump living in the White House she decided to punish Mexico with an 8.1 earthquake and China two weeks ago with a horrendous typhoon – one of China’s worst in a decade. (Maybe she’s mad at Chinese President Xi for having dinner with Trump)

This craziness in Hollywood would make me laugh, but it has gotten ridiculous. For a good while I gave entertainers a free pass feeling that their artistic creativity probably gave them insight that I must not have. But I guess there’s no direct correlation between serious reason and the ability to take a movie script and turn it into a real life blockbuster. The greatest actors on Earth seem to have ideas about life that simply defy logic.

Not only do they think differently than most who live elsewhere in the U.S., they claim a moral authority to project their opinions about everything to the rest of us as their being divine. Why? Because those ideas and opinions are theirs. After all, they are actors and live in zip code 90210. I’m not an actor and I don’t live in L.A. I certainly do not have access to Mother Nature where I live. I never see her at my Starbucks.

I’ve seen this before. And it happened to many from Hollywood. Senator Joe McCarthy became the God-appointed “exposer” of Communists in America. I am definitely not a believer or supporter of Communism, but I don’t spend any time looking behind bushes or under rocks to find Communists. Joe McCarthy did. He accused many good folks – quite a few who lived in Southern California and who worked in the movie industry. He destroyed the careers and lives of many, not because they were Communists, but because he “knew” they were, put them on trial and created “evidence” that proved their guilt. Often his thoughts were later proven to be false. But often that vindication came far too late. Besides careers being ruined by the “Commie” label true or untrue, families were destroyed and there were even suicides by those who were ruined. I don’t think J-Law’s Mother Nature characterization and explanation for hurricanes will cause suicides, but the analogy seems applicable.

Just across the continent there IS a similar comparison that is just as outrageous and applicable. Chicago’s mayor is another that must have an inside track to Mother Nature or some other higher power. Rahm Emanuel continually shocks many with his declarations about happenings in Chicago that while important are cast in a strange light by the former Obama White House Chief of Staff. Rahm like Jennifer Lawrence blames everything bad that happens in Chicago on Donald Trump. In the city that leads the Nation and a large segment of the Western World in per capita murder by guns, Emanuel blames everyone else — including President Trump — for murders in his city. He takes no personal responsibility for any bad things in the nation’s third largest city. Chicagoans on the other hand are more realistic about their city’s problems than their mayor.

But of course, Emanuel paints a very different picture. Instead of coming clean about his own failings or figuring out how to do his job, he’d rather spend his time attacking President Trump.

Addressing illegal immigrant students protected under an executive order issued in 2012 by President Obama, which President Trump is phasing out over six months, Emanuel sermonized recently: “Chicago, our schools, our neighborhoods, our city as it relates to what President Trump said will be a Trump-free zone. You have nothing to worry about.” Rahm forgot when his former boss created the DACA deal, he said it was only temporary and might be un-constitutional. “Rahm knows best.”

What are the Hollywood Leftists and Political Leftists thinking when they make these crazy allegations? Are they so self absorbed they think they not only have a pipeline to a place of pure perfection to which they plug in, they feel a moral need to not just express it as opinion, but to demean all who do not bow at the altar of their correctness. Geez, Jim Jones was plugged into a similar place that resulted in the cyanide deaths of 900 men, women, and children who bought his drivel. Hitler painted every human alive that was not German as evil — specifically the Jewish people — and slaughtered millions as did Stalin. These nuts all shared the same premise as Jennifer Lawrence, Rahm Emanual, Robert deNiro, the women on The View and several million other nut jobs who know so much more than you just because they are on television, in movies, in public office, or every morning sit at the table with Whoopi Goldberg.

Summary

Here’s the great problem with all of this. Forget about the fact that there are Hollywood-ites and political-ites who subscribe to this moral elitist philosophy of their superiority. The danger is that more and more Americans are being sucked into that mushroom cloud of nuclear catastrophe just waiting to be launched on the rest of the world. The only danger in rampant lies and venom spewed by the Few is that their messages begin to fall on a greater number of ears of the Many that more and more begin to adopt those thoughts as the Truth.

There is nothing wrong with diverse opinions. In fact, the ability to express those freely by all is the single most important building block of the United States. But when those who live their lives inside a virtual cube of mirrors in which they seldom see anything but their own reflections, it is suicidal to believe the principles they espouse as real actually being driven by any intellectual thought. They all flow directly from those cubes. It is lunacy to expect any diverse thoughts coming from such a cube because all they see are reflections of themselves — the cube walls are purposely designed to be mirrors showing ONLY them!

Parents, you may want to make certain your children are being exposed to some sources of intellectual diversity and not just E Television, The Ellen Show, the Kardashians, and MTV. Want a novel idea? Get them to read!

In fairness, Rahm Emanuel is not like many of those in Hollywood. He is knowingly and purposefully arrogant spouting intellectual blather. He’s trying to cover up the truth of his error and failures of his leadership in Chicago. He should just be simply labeled as a failed leader and let destroy his own life.

The others are simply deceived by the same thing that caused the very first sin: Pride. “Pride goeth before destruction.” That Biblical passage was true in the Old Testament and is true and applicable for today: everywhere on Earth including Hollywood.

Sunday: Day for Worship AND NFL Football!

Just a note here: It’s a day off to begin the Fall and this NFL season. I have a vested interest in Wide Receiver Trent Taylor (#81) of the San Francisco 49rs who is a rookie who against all odds nudged a veteran off the field and Trent took his place. San Fran hosts Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Levi Stadium in Santa Clara will be rocking!

Today as you attend your house of worship, please join me in prayer for all those who lost their lives in Houston, the Caribbean, and happening now in Florida. Think about it: most of the 6+ million people in Florida who were put on notice to get out of the state because of Hurricane Irma have lost loved ones and loved “things” — their homes and livelihoods. Make Sunday a Day of Gratitude. If not for God you could be cleaning up where your home USED to be.

Let’s make today a day about others and not about us. And it’s a day about the good old USA. We watched and listened to all those who complain about America and so many things and people that are part of it. Pray for them, too.

 

Death of the Two-Party System

The Republican and Democrat Parties are no more. Their death was confirmed in the Oval Office with the summit between the President and Congressional Leaders. What’s left? Those who support President Trump and those who don’t.

How ironic this is. But it is true. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s name the two “new” Parties the “Yays” and the “Nays.” Of course the “Yays” are those who support the President’s agenda and the “Nays” do not.

It became apparent during the 2016 campaign that not everyone in the Republican Party would ever be “all-in” for the GOP Presidential ticket IF Donald Trump became the nominee. Remember that in the first debate, the candidates were asked who on stage would NOT support the eventual Republican nominee, no matter who it was. Donald Trump was the only candidate who raised a hand. (It turns out that he was not alone, just the only one who admitted it at the time) He took a brutal beating by the press afterwards and also by the other GOP candidates who each thought not supporting whoever was the nominee was reprehensible.  And then things changed.

The RNC demanded that all candidates sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee no matter who. Several declined to sign it. But Donald Trump DID. How ironic. Those actions verified what many had felt for some time. There are two Republican Parties: one on the Left that are actually not conservative but moderate, and one further to the Right comprised of those with more conservative views. The Freedom Caucus is an example of those of the “Yays.” The Establishment Republicans are “Nays.”

Donald Trump showed the Nation and the World several things by calling that meeting with Schumer, Pelosi, McConnell and Ryan. First, not getting promised legislation to the floor of either House for discussion, debate, and a vote is unacceptable and simply ridiculous. Republicans control both Houses. The absurdity of this is glaringly obvious by the fact that Republicans promised Americans for 6 years that with a GOP Congress AND a GOP White House they would immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. Republicans got what they asked for and can’t even agree to debate proposed Healthcare changes. Meanwhile Americans who believed Republicans find themselves deep in financial devastation regarding their health insurance skyrocketing costs.

Those broken promises were not lost on this President. After 8 months of watching Congress accomplish little (other than several lengthy vacation recesses), President Trump saw the handwriting on the wall and stepped into the “do-nothing” fray. He cut a deal with Democrats to get two critical issues out of the way — Hurricane relief and a debt-limit increase — so Congress could quickly move forward with Tax Reform and re-address Healthcare Reform before the New Year. He had to do it: based on what he had watched play out, this Congress was going to do NOTHING this year.

Americans now understand: Republicans are no more. But government must function. And Americans elected Donald Trump President because of the things he promised he would do. Congressional Republicans ALL agreed to do whatever was necessary to accomplish those desires of voters. Donald Trump if anything at all is someone who thinks long and hard before making a commitment. But when his commitment is given, he fulfills what he promised. Americans and this President expect nothing less from Congress.

Republicans in Congress led by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have failed miserably by not getting Healthcare fixed, a wall at the Mexican border at least funded, and no Tax Reform. All were promised.

What do these “Yays” and “Nays” Look Like?

First, do not fall for the fake cries from Establishment Republicans (“Nays”) that you will hear shortly claiming that President Trump wants to takeover legislative action. That is opposite of what he expected and what he wants. Make no mistake however, this President has a history of accomplishments. Yes that history has been in the private sector. But it is common knowledge that the squeaky wheels of government are costly, full of bureaucratic nonsense and often corrupt, and unnecessary. It is accepted by most that when the Government does something, it takes longer and costs far more than if done in the private sector. And there’s no good reason for that!

The “Nays” have a game plan: slow play everything — take your time. They do not want to be creative or pro-active on any legislation. It is very obvious they simply don’t want to rock the vote. The status quo in 2017 looks pretty good to them. Sure government costs are astronomical and growing, Obamacare is costing billions more than promised, incomes are stagnant, taxes and regulations are oppressive, but over the last 8 years we’ve been able to “deal” with all those things. The “Nays” mantra? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They feel strongly they can garner enough support among fellow “Nay” members in Congress to throw some more money at each of these problems and kick the can down the road. They’ve been doing it for years. No, Republicans haven’t controlled all 3 houses of government for a while. But the Dems play the same game as the “Nays.” So whoever is in power at the time simply plays the “maintain” game and doesn’t make waves. How do you think we got to the $20 Trillion debt mark so quickly?

The “Yays” in Congress represent Middle America — the Working Class in. They not only SAID they would get taxes lowered, Obamacare done away with, the border wall funded and built, and immigration reform, they fully intend to do those things and have for several years. All they need is a White House resident who leads the pack. They have that in Donald Trump, but the “Nays” are fighting the “Yays” in all this harder than are the Democrats! The “Nays”” cry: “Don’t upset our apple cart!” The “Yays” look on in disbelief. They like most Americans cannot believe how eerily similar to Democrats (and even those further left) these “Nays” are.

Who are in the “Nays” camp? For starters, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConell for sure. They were put in power in the House and Senate respectively by other “Nays” who have enough caucus votes to maintain the status quo. Remember my constant policy statement to you: “It’s not about money anymore — it’s about Power?” With power whoever has it can gain control of everything, including money. The “Nays” have learned that lesson from watching Democrats through the years throw away any concern for doing what voters want done and simply doing all those things the “Nays” determine are necessary to prop up the “Nays'” agenda and keep things as they are.

What’s Next?

If it weren’t for Hurricane Irma the “Nays” would have already turned on the “venom spicket” unleashing all kinds of nastiness on the President for embarrassing them in the Oval Office and subsequently in the national news headlines of every newspaper and on every radio/television station news programs. But it’s coming. The hurricane will pass and the President needs to put plans in place to get Tax Reform and Obamacare repealed quickly. The “Nays” will do EVERYTHING they can to foil those plans. At least they will slow play any legislation on those matters. But I expect they’ll be more obvious about their Trump attack this time. He embarrassed them — they’ll embarrass him. (They actually think they can!)

Tomorrow I’ll drop a bomb about the last of conservative broadcast news is now behind us. It is shocking to realize. Many of you will not believe it.

Closing Note

I want to thank all of you for looking in. The story yesterday titled “How Dumb is Donald Trump?” garnered over 100,000 hits! That’s a testimony to the reality that Conservatism in America is alive and well. Further it proves that Conservatives are worried about the path America is going down politically and want change.

Obama promised to bring us change — remember? Hope and Change. How’s that working out for you?

See you tomorrow!

Dan N.

 

 

How Dumb Is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is so dumb that:

  • He’s married to one of the most beautiful women in the World;
  • His beautiful wife (who speaks 5 languages) is hopelessly devoted to her husband with publicly conspicuous and genuine respect and trust;
  • He turned a $1 million seed from his father into a multi-billion dollar empire;
  • He owns his own $100 million jet;
  • Though he’s employed hundreds of thousands, no current or previous employees speak negatively of their “boss;”
  • His children unequivocally love and respect him;
  • His daughters-in-law and son-in-law and their children unequivocally love and respect him;
  • With no previous political experience he was elected President;
  • He “conned” 53 million Americans to vote for him;
  • He dares to call out members of the media when they do not tell Americans the truth;
  • He believes Americans deserve the truth from their political representatives;
  • He trusts that Americans are smart enough to know what’s right and wrong politically;
  • He is certain American citizens can comprehend political issues without a filter from the Media;
  • He intends to keep every promise he made to Americans during his campaign for President;
  • He thinks Americans should hold elected officials accountable for the jobs they do (or don’t do);
  • He believes in the rule of Law;
  • He believes and trusts in the Constitutional balance of power;
  • He believes in limited and smaller government;
  • He believes in government “of the People, by the People, and for the People;”
  • He believes Congress should legislate, not the President or the Courts;
  • He trusts that empowering others in Cabinet positions who have more knowledge than he will work in governing;
  • He really believes the U.S. is still the greatest country on Earth;
  • He believes protecting and caring for American citizens is government’s first job;
  • He believes in real borders;
  • He believes GOP Congressional leaders must negotiate with Dems to get bills passed;
  • He believes taxes are too high for everyone;
  • He trusts that Conservatives are not stupid just because they’re Conservatives;
  • He is confident Government wastes money and the private sector in most cases could do a better job;
  • He believes negotiating political deals should be done the same way as business deals;
  • Though Putin is evil the President respects his leadership success;
  • He believes that instead of secretly sending $150 Billion to Iran it should have been saved for Harvey and Irma relief;
  • He is the first President to ever retaliate for an enemy crossing a Presidential “red line.”

I could go on and on listing examples used by many trying to convince others that President Trump is an incompetent imbecile. Those who consistently make that claim illustrate their disdain that defies any logic. Reason dictates a recognition of both sides of an argument for the purpose of determining which side (if either) is actually correct. It is truly pathetic to watch and listen to those on the Left who continually (with no specific illustration to prove any incapacity of the President) spew the venom that has unified Democrats and other Liberals against this President. Reason and facts have no place in that conversation. It is fueled solely by emotional outbursts that seem to be never-ending.

Unfortunately for Americans — especially Conservatives — those arguments expected to come from only the Left are being echoed by some of the “Establishment” Republicans in Washington and elsewhere. They too have fallen prey to the escalating emotions of Never-Trump-ers that are steadily eating away at the tiny bit of the fabric of integrity remaining in D.C.  And there is very little fabric left. Those Republicans joining the mob of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the Democrat Party, Communists and Fascists have all swallowed the Kool Aid of anti-Conservatism that has as its bulls-eye Donald Trump. Whether or not anything he has said or done is good, honest, helpful, or positive for Americans is immaterial. It is truly a mob mentality — eerily similar to medieval Peasants fighting the Royals. The Peasants armed with only gossip and here-say storm the castle without having a real cause for doing so.

Certainly you sense the sarcasm in my list of examples of answers to “How Dumb is Donald Trump?” In Summary, let me throw a few more thoughts to ponder about this President’s competency:

  1. Dems have been taking victory laps all day after their huge “defeat” of Republicans in yesterday’s Oval Office get together. They intercepted the plans of Ryan and McConnell to get a debt ceiling that lasts 18 months, which would have put the next debt ceiling negotiations past the mid-term elections. Most Republicans see that compromise by President Trump as caving to Democrats — a compromise that put the GOP in a significant disadvantage in subsequent negotiations. But what if the President has an ulterior plan in doing so? Remember: he is a salesman, and he did write the book “The Art of the Deal.” What “deal” could he be working on with those results? Even though I can only speculate about such a “deal” at this point, most assuredly the President has one for which these actions were necessary. We will know soon, I am sure.
  2. The rancor from the Left is deafening regarding the President’s notification he will not renew DACA. Never mind that Obama (when he issued the-since-determined-to-be-unlawful Executive Order) stated numerous times he did not have authority to do so and that when issued it would be temporary. Do you think President Trump may have simply been dodging a bullet by deferring the ultimate responsibility for ANY immigration issues to Congress? Think about this: He’s not up for election in 2018. But ALL members of the House of Representatives are. He now no longer has the responsibility of dealing with Immigration matters that are a no-win issue whatever way they are resolved. Now it’s those House members that are on the hot seat to get something done legislatively, which is the exact way the Constitution dictates government structure.
  3. Why did President Trump bypass House Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority leader McConnell in that meeting with Pelosi and Schumer? Do you think he may have been sending a message to Congressional leaders — a message that says “You all may think you are smarter than me and that I’m dumb. During my campaign I promised voters that we’d get certain things done, you guys promised you’d get them done, and you’ve failed. If Congress does not fulfill those promises, Congress will deal with the fact that I’ll cut deals with the Democrats instead just to break the logjam in Congressional legislative action. Members of Congress and I made promises to Americans in the campaign. If you do not fulfill your promises I will NOT let Americans down as you have. I’ll get promises I made fulfilled.”

Final Thoughts

I doubt that Leftists will ever give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his competency or his ability to be “presidential.” We’ve already seen that results are of little consequence in their hatred and disdain for him. Seldom mentioned is that those in the Democrat Party, its leaders, the Media, and other elitists despise everyday Americans. No one is talking about that. It goes unnoticed that for any justification for their Trump hatred, the 53 million+ Americans that elected Donald Trump must be dumb, too.  And the Left all think that half the country is too dumb to take issue with the false narrative of Trump’s incompetency perpetrated by the Left.

I know they are confident there will be a GOP blood-bath in the 2018 mid-terms. I’m pretty sure CNN is going to have a really tough time with election results NEXT November — probably as tough a time as they had election night LAST November. The difference is that a gaggle of Establishment Republicans might have as tough a time as CNN on election night 2018.

Oh, by the way: he’s FAR from Dumb!

 

The Swamp is Stopped Up

Donald Trump went to D.C. to “drain the swamp,” but the swamp is stopped up. Congress has it clogged.

Not since the 109th Congress in 2005-2006 did the GOP control both the House and the Senate and the White House, all at the same time. (Bush 43 was President) Either Party having that combination normally means a plethora of legislation favoring the controlling Party will be passed and signed into law. One would expect for Congress to have by now repealed and replaced Obamacare, completed Tax Reform, the Budget, and started construction on the Wall. None of those has happened and are not likely during this Congressional session.

Why is it with the majority in both House and Senate along with the White House Republicans can get nothing done? During the run-up to November 2016, American voters were promised all of the above PLUS Immigration reform, GDP growth at an annual rate of at least 3%, a program to entice American companies with billions of dollars overseas to repatriate those funds into the United States and invest those dollars domestically to increase jobs. NONE of this has happened.

The reasons while not simple are very obvious. First, Republicans because of their conservative natures, are simply not aggressive in conducting the legislative process. Rather than enter into negotiations on specific items they promised Americans during the campaign, they wait, float “trial balloons” to fellow Republicans and Democrats to see how they feel about each idea. Democrats, however, simply craft legislation, throw it onto the floor for debate, and always seem to find ways to bring those to an up or down vote, even without a majority in either House. They are deal makers and good salesmen and women. Republicans are “nice guys.” You’ve heard that old saying: “Nice guys finish last.” Boy, the nice guys and girls in the GOP are certainly proving that point.

Secondly, being a member of Congress is really a great American retirement plan. No more do the Americans who once for only public service to their country go to Washington to serve in Congress representing Americans who live in their states, cities, and  towns. Those Americans would find it impossible to serve today. Why? They could not afford a political campaign! Enter lobbyists and lobbying firms. These do nothing but raise money from partisan supporters for the purpose of influencing legislation. One would think that would be a tremendous conflict of interest for Legislators, and it is. But even with that, those in Congress today most certainly make far more money “working ” in D.C. OUTSIDE of the Capitol than “working” for Americans they represent INSIDE the Capitol. Their work consists of selling themselves to lobbyists who are all-in to accommodate Legislators who are willing to allow influence to do just that: influence their votes. This is the only plausible explanation for the huge wealth amassed by many Legislators who in most cases come to D.C. sleeping on couches in their Congressional offices because of cost. They pretty soon move to posh Georgetown digs, drive Porsches and Mercedes or simply have cars and car drivers, eat at the nicest restaurants, and take really nice vacations. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is today on trial for multiple counts of bribery accused of doing those very things: accepting gifts for Senatorial influence of all kinds. Serving in Congress today is about the easiest way to secure a posh life for “after Congress.” And American taxpayers smile, pat them on the back, and say “Thanks” for their service.

Donald Trump came to D.C. to “drain the Swamp,” the Swamp being D.C. itself. The problem is that those who live in the Swamp are pretty nasty critters and don’t want it to be drained. President Trump on numerous occasions has done his best to flush all the D.C. bad stuff out of the Swamp, but it is clogged up. He cannot get it drained.

Here’s how “normal” works in Washington: when the Swamp is full of water and business happens as usual, those critters fake fuss and fight with each other, but pretty much everyone simply gets along. The gators do OK with the snakes, and the snakes do OK with the spiders, and the spiders do OK with the wild hogs. Even thought they’re different, have different appetites and eat different things, they tolerate other critters. The Swamp keeps them safe with no outside interference.

For the first time ever, someone has invaded their Swamp and is trying to empty it. No one has ever before tried this. In a drastic move to preserve the Swamp, they take turns finding new ways to clog up the drain to stop the draining. Who’s trying to drain the Swamp? Donald Trump, just as he promised.

So, Democrats and Republicans have had their way for decades in the Swamp. Even though they’re different from each other with different backgrounds, appetites and desires, they have one thing in common: the Swamp. They have for decades worked together successfully to maintain their treasure. And now they have united against the attempts to take it away.

Majority and Minority leaders in the House and Senate are anything BUT leaders. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer claim to represent Republicans and Democrats alike, but who they really represent are other members of Congress with no concern about Party affiliation. Though they paint their jobs and what they do as supportive of the voting members of their Party, the reality is they do whatever it takes to maintain their position and power for the long-term. No matter who is in control of Congress, the gravy train that Congress is will always be maintained for the Minority by the Majority — American voter be danged. Voters and voters’ wishes are simply an after thought.  After all, members of Congress want to run again and again and again and again. To do that they need votes and lots of money, money, money. Conning contributors into supporting campaigns with big dollars is what it takes to stay in the Swamp. And they all run their lives by this mantra: ”Whatever it takes.”

Today we saw clearly this “self-preservation” of the Swamp. Pelosi, Schumer, Ryan, and McConnell all went to the Oval Office to discuss a “deal” to include legislation for raising the debt limit while appropriating money for Hurricane Harvey relief for Texas and Louisiana. With GOP domination of the political process in D.C. you’d think whatever Ryan and McConnell want would be a slam-dunk. Because they are so nice, they couldn’t get it done. It took the two master salespeople — Pelosi and Schumer — to orchestrate an agreement on those two things. It wasn’t a Republican or Democrat victory — it was a victory for the Swamp.

Summary

There will be several other “victories” in Congress in the next few weeks and months. Watch closely as they march those victories out for all to see. It’s a sham!

The Swamp is clogged. President Trump cannot get all the bad critters out. Unless he is ultimately successful at draining the Swamp, all the bad stuff and bad critters will still be there and will still be doing what they do to maintain the status quo.

The President cannot do it alone. The disappointment to me is that voters bought the promises of the GOP and returned control of the House and Senate to the GOP along with the White House. Members of Congress obviously don’t care about that vote. We saw today the continuation of the horrors in the Swamp. Someone needs to clean out that clog. I don’t know who or how. But somehow it better happen soon.

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