Elizabeth’s Pickel

Posted October 18, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, health insurance companies, Healthcare, Uncategorized

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Senator Elizabeth Warren has drawn some criticism for her performance at this week’s Democrat Debate.  The criticism centers on Warren dodging the answer to the question “will taxes increase for middle class families if Medicare For All is adopted.  There are many answers Warren could have given but none that fit the frame work of a televised debate with 11 other hopefuls.  Here’s Warren’s problem.

The most fundamental question should be “is healthcare a right” or “is healthcare a privilege”?

If healthcare is a privilege, then the path forward leads to “the best healthcare money can buy”.  If someone has the money, they can have access to the best healthcare available in the US.  If someone does not have the money, then the healthcare available is to be found in whatever safety net programs Employers and Congress enact or at the Emergency Room.

If on the other hand one believes healthcare is a right, then the question arises what is the best method to deliver healthcare.  And here begins the pickle.  Healthcare is not free and must be paid for.  And, healthcare will cost middle class Americans more next year regardless of whether there is a “Medicare For All” option or not.  

So how should Warren have answered the question?

How about, “I don’t know but I am sure asking if taxes are going up is the wrong question.  Income taxes could increase but middle class Americans’ healthcare costs might go down”.  “Here’s why.  Medicare For All is an aspirational proposal whose goal is to provide healthcare to all American residents at existing quality levels or better and at steadily reducing costs.  Under Medicare for All, there should be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions or life time monetary limits on benefits.” 

And why not, all other modern industrialized countries provide their residents basic healthcare with health outcomes equal to or better than the US, and experience a national expenditure that is one half what we spend in the US, so why can’t the US do the same?”

Warren could have said, “And even if there are reasons we can’t achieve a 50% reduction (and still provide equal or better care), there is a lot of room to cover the costs of the 20% of Americans under or uninsured.”

These “best in class” healthcare delivery systems which cost about one half what the US pays have (1) a far greater emphasis on preventive health care, (2) negotiate healthcare providers costs nationally, and (3) offset much of the actual healthcare costs with a consumption based tax (VAT) which involves all of its residents in sharing the healthcare cost burden.   

Finally, Senator Warren might have said, “healthcare costs are bankrupting America.  Over two dozen other countries have found ways to deliver equal or better healthcare outcomes at one half the total amount the US spends.  Why can’t we do the same.  If you do not think healthcare should be a right (which of course must be paid for), I can only say I sincerely disagree with your view.  If you hold this view and are relaxed because you receive your healthcare insurance from your employer, I have bad news for you.  Global competitive market pressures are slowly making your employer uncompetitive and over the coming years more and more companies will be ending healthcare coverage.

So the wiser goal is not just insuring all Americans, but rather insuring all Americans at a cost approaching one half of what we are paying today insuring 80% of Americans.

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The Second Phone Call

Posted October 16, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

The now famous “whistleblower” gave us an insight into President Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President.  From the whistleblower’s report, a number of released emails, and further testimony by present and former Administration persons before select House panels, the public knows how the crass (and mafia-like) President Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian President.  Trump’s goals were information intended to discredit Hillary Clinton and his potential opponent in the 2020 Presidential election, Joe Biden.  

This week the public has learned of a second phone call, this time with the President of Turkey.  The public does not yet have the details of this second call, but the evening news is delivering the sad consequences.  Turkey has invaded northern Syria and is attacking Syrian Kurds who previously had been US allies in the effort to destroy ISIS.  President Trump’s decision to stand back, and by default, allow Turkey to have its way, was against all professional advice news reports are telling.  Slowly there is speculation forming about what the telephone conversation with President Erdogan contained.  And the speculation is not pretty.

One school, let’s call it the “innocent” version goes as follows.  The President initiated a call against the advice of his aides.  As normal for President Trump, the President was unprepared for unexpected developments.  President Erdogan told the President that Turkey was prepared to implement a “buffer zone” in norther Syria along Turkeys border with Syria.  President Trump accepted the proposal and said US troops would not interfere.  President Trump is said to have laid down no conditions or consequences if Turkey went too far.  End of call.

The second school of thought, let’s call it the “Trump, Inc” version opens with the President thanking President Erdogan for attending the recent opening of a new Trump property in Istanbul.  President Erdogan reminded the President that “Trump, Inc” also has several other properties in Turkey and that Turkey was an important country for “Trump, Inc”.  President Erdogan than transitioned to Turkey’s plans to invade Syria and that it would be wise for the US to withdraw as soon as possible, etc, etc, etc.

Most likely the actual conversation combined both versions.  President Trump’s highest interests involve his properties and their financial value.  President never prepares for important meetings and so why would one expect that he prepared for his Erdogan call?  And, as “Mr Transactional”, why would anyone expect President Trump to see further than how the deal impacts the President now.

As a narcissist, a lazy thinker, and an outmatched participant in the international big leagues, why would anyone expect President Trump to suddenly act Presidential and attempt to deal with the best interests of America first?  

Should the details of the second call begin to be leaked, President Trump could be looking at wholesale abandonment by his up to now Congressional Republican firewall.  What a hoot that discrediting Joe Biden doesn’t bother Congressional Republicans but messing with the Middle East would.  Go figure.

Kiss My A**

Posted October 14, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Uncategorized

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There is no shortage of reasons why President Donald Trump should not have been elected President.  Never the less, even with the current impeachment hearings, (barring some new discovery), there is between zero and zilch chance that President Trump will be turned out of office other than through the 2020 general election. Let’s hope the ship of state holds together until that time.

This past week should have put to rest any reason a reasonable Congress member would have to insulate the President from impeachment charges.  Whether it was subverting the national interest for his own self aggrandizement or calling out a political opponent by inviting a foreign country to interfere with the country’s elections, President Trump is as guilty as “shit” (to employ a common colloquialism).

How could I use such vulgar language to impugn the person elected to our highest office?

Well. how about the President breaking into jail himself.  This week, in an unforced error, President Trump singled out the Bidens at a Minneapolis campaign rally for a Trump special salute.  On this night,Trump scolded whomever’s name he could remember but saved his most untethered line for former Vice President Biden.

Our President, the present occupant of the White House, found a crack in the gutter and climbed down into it.  From this lowest of low points, “little” Donald Trump characterized Vice President Biden’s tenure as a period where Biden kissed President Obama’s ass.  What?

Where are all those evangelical, bible reading, bible studying Americans who have thrown their support to Trump?  Have these evangelicals thought at all about their fundamental beliefs, or at least what the Bible teaches them?  Strangely, the evangelical community has remained silent and has only spoken out when Trump pulled US troops out of supporting the Kurds.

If evangelicals cannot disown the coarse and vulgar language the President of the United States uses, there is no need to study the Bible any further.

Asking the Ukraine and China to investigate Vice President Biden, with or without a quid pro quo, is impeachable.  Using a euphemism “kissing President Obama’s ass” is disgusting and leaves a dark stain on the Office of President but the crude language is not impeachable.  The “crude speak” is, however, grounds for a sound thumping in the 2020 election. 

If Trump is not defeated, America will deserve all the sewer life that will accompany a Trump 2nd term.

Moment Of Truth, Or Not

Posted October 11, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

By now in the Trump Presidency, any serious journalist has figured out that what the President is saying is either (1) completely wrong, or (2) a misleading exaggeration.  In either case, if one seeks factual information, one should look in other places for a reliable answer.  Hmmm.

Early in the Trump Administration, reporters danced around the President’s glaring misrepresentation euphemistically saying the President “may have misspoke”, “was poorly advised by aides”, or “the President’s comments could not be independently verified”.  After a few months it became clear that the President was (1) the author of what he was saying and (2) had no interest in accuracy.

Now, almost three years later, main stream media has moved on and co-reports what the President has said along side of what is known factually. 

Never the less, to a Trump friendly audience, Trumps words are about a message not about an accurate outlook.  For example, despite factual evidence that hispanic Americans, as a group, are law abiding residence with lower criminal records than the population as a whole, Trump’ message is “American doesn’t want hispanics because “they are rapists and bad people”.  

So is the President “lying”?

According to some recent articles, technically the President may not be lying.  Of course what the President is saying is not true, but in order to lie, one must know and care about the truth but intentionally choose to conceal the truth with some other words.   President Trump does not care about the truth, he cares more about a message.

Pundits are applying the non-scientific term, “Trump is bullshitting” or “Trump is a bullshitter” to describe the President’s constant behavior.

A “bullshitter” is someone who has message to deliver and says whatever is necessary to make that point regardless of whether there are facts to support what is said.

Bullshitting goes well beyond “bluffery” which has been practice in politics forever.  For example, “the good citizens of Iowa have a very special place in my heart.  I lover coming here”  These are harmless but almost certainly untrue and meaningless words especially when they are repeated in each and every State.  Bluffery represent innocent statements.  “Bullshitting”, on the other hand, is intentional misleading.

America is witnessing the unexpected complications from Trump’s life time of “bullshitting”.  President Trump made his career as a real estate developer and an entertainer as a “bullshitter”.  Bankruptcy, broken promises, and shady deals where Trump talked his way into a court battles, regrettably does not prepare one for the Presidency.  

As President, Trump has cannibalized existing national strengths and foreign relationships to advance his personal (and unsupported) claims such as “trade wars are easy to win”, “I know more than the Generals”, and “America doesn’t need NATO”.  Today a world congested with mistruths is closing in on President Trump despite what the “yes men” who surround him are saying.

As more voters begin to realize that reality is the opposite of what President Trump claims, the margin of defeat for the president will grow and grow.

Appearance Of Impropriety

Posted October 7, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Uncategorized

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Voters are being swamped with what appears to be wholly unpresidential behavior while President Trump’s Congressional supporters are doing their best make the least of an untenable political situation.  Voters see what the President has done and then look to their elected representatives only to see Democrats pointed their finger at President Trump and Republicans pointing their finger some other direction.  Who’s right?  Hmmm.

President Trump’s total denial of having done anything wrong is consistent with his already demonstrated lack of ethics and insatiable desire to have his own way.  Congressional Republicans, most of whom know better, never the less are showing no willingness to call out the President.  Impeachment is truly beside the point.  Republicans are constantly recalibrating Trumps actions and their own individual chances for reelection.  What’s missing here?

Assume for a moment that Hunter Biden or former Vice President Biden were guilty of some impropriety in the Ukraine or in China.  In no case does it justify the President to call them (Vice President Biden his political opponent) out in public, or even worse. to coerce a foreign government into publicly announcing an investigation.  If the President had reasonable cause to suspect improprieties, his justice department is well suited to investigate in secrecy, confirm with evidence, and press charges if substantiated.  The President is simply out of place with his rhetoric and once again, inflicts a stain on America’s reputation.

But one must ask, what was Vice President Biden thinking when his son, Hunter Biden, joined boards of companies in the Ukraine and China while the Vice President was in office?  The very presence of Hunter Biden on these boards has the stench of impropriety.  Shame on both Bidens.

One need not look very far to see at least as many and probably far more incidents of potential impropriety with President Trump and his family.  Maybe Americans have just become too jaded to even speak up.  The political camps seem to be more interested in the money and governance comes second.  Hmmm.

In any large well run corporation, the “go-no go” line begins with the “appearance” of impropriety.  Much shorter than an allegation or a proof of impropriety.  President Trump is more than guilty in this case and no other mitigation can provide absolution, but at the same time, the Bidens cannot deny the “appearance” they created. 

Breaking Into Impeachment

Posted October 5, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, impeachment, Uncategorized

Republican talking heads have been scrambling the past few days to explain away the “whistleblower” report and the declassified “readout” of President Trump’s telephone conversation with the Ukrainian President.  Despite both reports written in English, Congressional Republicans read one thing and everyone else reads something else.  Same words, two different take aways.  Hmmm.

In live televised interviews, President Trump has now erased any doubts about what the whistleblower or the “readout” meant.  The President confirmed (as indicated in the Whistleblowers report and the Readout) that he wanted the Ukraine to open an investigation into previous Ukrainian activities by Hunter Biden and former Vice President Biden.  The President then gratuitously included China as another foreign country that should search for dirt in the Bidens.  Really, what does Trump not understand about publicly besmirching a likely opponent and by asking a foreign government to “intervene” in the US electoral process?  

IMO, President Trump knows exactly what he is doing.  Trailing in the polls, the President believes that nothing worse can happen to him.  Trump reasons he can sell to enough Americans that the US President, as head of the executive branch, is only discharging his duties when as President, he seeks to flesh out corruption around the world. Sadly, many Trump supporters will swallow that assertion hook, line, and sinker.  “Trumpers” will not think about the similarity this tactic has with third world dictators, flies in the face of Constitutional intentions, and is plain and simply unethical if not outrightly illegal.

So, acting as the chief executive and this assumed “get out of jail card”, President Trump has not chosen to attack his Presidential opponents in traditional ways (like criticizing opponent’s policies) and instead has chosen to put on his sheriff’s hat and call out his opponents in public with unproven charges.  Heroic?

President Trump represents a real and present danger to all Americans.  Trump’s “all decisions come from the President”, disdain for institutions, and flaunting of all ethical bounds if doing so advantages the Trump family put the President in such a compromised position.   The country is running on auto-pilot and at risk should any adverse world development present danger.

President Trump’s antic makes impeachment impossible to avoid even though there is little chance of conviction.

Once impeached, President Trump is likely to rampage through 2020 irrationally lashing out at any and all perceived enemies.  With the economy beginning to teeter and the prospect of job growth ending, more than just the agricultural sector may think they have had enough of President Trump.

The only questions remaining is how many Republican Congress members will distance themselves from the Donald Trump Republican party?  What should be clear is that President Trump’s way is wrong for America regardless if one is a Republican or a Democrat.

Bizarreville, DC

Posted October 2, 2019 by zukunftsaugen
Categories: 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, Uncategorized

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A casual observer would be expected to say, “the Washington, DC political circus” can’t get any more bizarre than it is right now.  And, almost before these word’s echo has died, there is another gonzo revelation.  Last week the President released (under pressure) a summary of his July 25, 2019 telephone call with the Ukrainian President where President Trump (imitating a mafia boss) tried to extort the Ukrainian President asking him to dig up dirt on former Vice President Biden (who could be President Trump’s opponent in the 2020 Presidential election).  Hmmm.

This week President Trump is claiming Congressional Democrats and all the major news organization are lying about what the summary actually said.  The President characterized the call as “beautiful” and contained “no pressure” on the Ukrainian President.  Of course, a simple reading of the summary’s English words contradict Trump’s conclusions.  

That Donald Trump is committed to truth suppression and if the truth emerges, misdirection, is now well established as the “Donald Trump modus operandi”.  Trump seeks continual self glorification and will only retain staff members who meets this need.   Trump’s narcissistic side dominates his emotional exterior, and Trump’s commitment to acting first and maybe thinking later, follows normally his official Presidential acts.  

So why is the President acting so crazy?

Maybe he is crazy like a fox. 

  • Would it be better for President Trump to speak to his easy win with the China trade war? 
  • Or, would it be easier for the President to explain how American leadership is leading the world away from the looming global climate crisis. 
  • Or maybe the US economy would be a more fruitful subject where the President can explain why the US economy is flagging in part due to the global economic slow down (facilitated by tariff fears)?