Friday, October 13, 2017

Defanging Trump, Why Weinstein and Health Insurance in Rwanda


I will be out of town for a while, but feel it very important that this posting be published without delay.  Hence, its "early" delivery.

Rex Tillerson Had It Right

Before and since the 2016 Presidential election, opponents of Donald Trump have pointed out that he is totally unqualified to be President of the United States.  However great his skills as a pitchman and deal maker, these are not the skills needed to be the nation’s leader, if not the leader of the Western world. 

Some saner Republicans (other than the tea party people, the House’s “freedom caucus” and assorted other right wingers, all of whom I consider to be “crypto-anarchists” because of their opposition to “government” as an imposition on the rights of individuals) are beginning to openly question the President’s qualifications and fitness to hold office.  Many more agree with them but are reluctant to speak out, fearing reaction, including primary challenges, from the far right.  Steve Bannon is engineering this reaction and claims it is the best way of supporting the President.  Bannon is interested in destroying the Republican Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike and Ronald Reagan and replacing it with a far right party.

The nation faces many problems which are not being dealt with properly.  Right wing crypto-anarchists (such as Cabinet secretaries DeVos, Pruitt, Perry and the recently defrocked Tom Pryor) may be decimating much of the domestic progress made in this country over the past half century, but the Democratic administration which will eventually succeed the present Republican debacle will surely quickly remedy all of this “deconstruction.”   Fear not.

Corker
Foreign relations, however, carefully cultivated over many years, are another story.  Besides the nation’s credibility world-wide being dissipated (except perhaps among dictators), the looming threat seems to be North Korea’s nuclear aspirations.  Donald Trump lacks the skills to understand, let alone deal with, this problem.  It is clear that Senator Corker’s  public remarks are just the tip of the Republican iceberg which recognizes this.  Secretary Tillerson is balancing himself on a high wire between the truth, what has to be done, and the blustering of his boss, the President.

There are enough smart people in government who know how to prevent the nuclear destruction which a World War III would bring about.  They know when to say to the President, “EnoughLeave it to the diplomats.”  We are approaching that point.  If the President doesn’t listen to these wiser voices, something very un-American might happen: a “coup d’etat” in Washington!
                                                                                                         
              Mattis and Tillerson

If they haven't already done so secretly, I can envision the leaders of both parties in Congress, along with the Justices of the Supreme Court and Administration leaders such as Secretary of Defense Mattis, Generals McMaster and Kelly and a few saner Cabinet members quietly getting together to map out a strategy to follow if the President refuses to listen to their wiser voices.  Certainly, it would be unconstitutional ... but highly preferable to the deaths of millions of innocent people which a nuclear war would cause. 

The President would be put under house arrest in the White House, impeached and convicted in short order.  There are plenty of grounds for doing this. Michael Pence would become President, unless he chose to align himself with the President, in which case Paul Ryan would get the job.  This would mollify Republicans, mitigating any objections they might have to the “coup.”  Of course, Steve Bannon would be very unhappy, and use the episode to promote his new party.

It’s horrible to think of such a “third world” kind of thing happening in the United States of America, but it is a preferable alternative to nuclear war.  

(The President's approach, not letting anyone know what he is going to do, but making it clear that his action just might include using nuclear weaponry, would certainly negate the threats posed by Iran or North Korea, if he chose to destroy one of them, setting an example for the other.  This kind of gamesmanship may produce winners in the real estate business, but doesn't belong in government.  All it can produce is the deaths of millions.  If he truly believes this, Donald Trump is probably insane.)

(Another scenario which I have heard bandied around involves the ultimate Oval Office conflict where the President reaches for the “football” containing the codes which will unleash nuclear warfare, and Mattis, Kelly and McMaster, all career military men probably in far better physical shape than the President, gang-tackle him and remove the “football” from his hands.  A “coup d’etat” would be preferable.)

JL



Harvey Weinstein is a Pig


So what’s new?  Haven’t we all suspected for years that this kind of thing goes on regularly in “show business”?  Ever hear of an audition for a role taking place on a “casting couch?”  Men in positions of power do these kinds of things and they include Senators, Presidents and TV personalities and show biz magnates.  You know about whom I am talking.  Why is everybody so surprised?  

Weinstein - Ultimate Dirty Old Man
From a biologist's standpoint, the purpose of life is to reproduce the species inhabiting the earth, procreating them, hopefully for eternity.  This is true of birds, bees, ants, chickens and human beings as well.  To make sure this happens, the male of our species is given a abundant sexual drive which drives him to reproduce.  In most civilized societies this drive is regulated and controlled by some sort of institution, typically marriage.  That should take care of the reproduction part of the story, but all too often, there is “left-over” male sexual drive.  Sometimes, one’s mate does not serve to fully satisfy this drive, and any perversions of it which manifest themselves. 

The Bible handled this by neatly including adultery as the Seventh of Ten Commandments, tucked in between prohibitions against murder and stealing.  Well, both of those vices still exist and of course, the one based on the male sexual drive “left over” from, and continuing on after its reproductive assignment, does too.  

This was quickly recognized by early civilizations which controlled it by such innovations as prostitution, multiple wives, pornography and homosexuality. In European society, mistresses of both sexes often served this purpose.  But today, these escape hatches often prove inappropriate, illegal or inadequate for some men. In some ancient societies, they might have been acceptable legal outlets for “left-over” male sexual drive, but not in ours.  So we end up with Harvey Weinsteins and Bill Cosbys.

Vice President Michael Pence recognizes this, and I suspect is aware of his “left-over” libido.  He knows that he might not be able, given the right circumstances, to repress this drive.  So he controls it by insisting on his wife’s presence when his duties entail sitting down for a meal with a female.  That’s good thinking!  I wonder what would happen if she were indisposed.

Of course, females have a strong sexual drive too, but it operates differently from that of men and seems to be better managed by women than the male's sexual drive is managed by men, avoiding the excesses mentioned above. One biological aspect of it leads women to try to make themselves attractive and “sexy” to men, making them more desirable and more likely to be selected as a mate. Often this drive continues, even beyond childbearing years.  Women enjoy being "attractive," even though they might not be trying to "attract" anyone any longer.  And if women "lust," they do it quietly.  Female Harvey Weinsteins may exist, but they are rarities.

None of this excuses Harvey Weinstein, who should suffer the penalties for what he has done, and ultimately seek some level of rehabilitation. This posting tries to set the historic and biologic stage upon which his excesses and those of others, occur.  Your comments and criticism are welcome.

JL



Rwanda?

In effort to weaken the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, this week the President signed an Executive Order permitting individuals to join associations or groups which would provide them with health insurance at a far better price than the ACA does. Ha!

Such plans sold by Farm Bureau insurance agents, for example, while not complying with ACA rules and meeting ACA standards (and thereby incurring an IRS penalty for the insured) are available, it is reported for as low as $100 a month.  This is really a great deal for those healthy enough to be accepted for a policy by Farm Bureau, particularly if they can live with an up-front deductible of about $5,000 before 80% of their medical bills are covered.  Of course, pre-existing conditions are not covered on such a one-year plan which is renewable annually, just maybe.  And things like maternity, mental health and drugs are of course excluded.  This will serve to drain off healthy people with no pre-existing conditions from the pool of risks using the Affordable Care Act, making its coverages more costly.  That's what this "executive order" is all about.  Another step backward to "Make America Great." This kind of almost worthless health insurance is what created the need for the Affordable Care Act.  

An alternative for those who object to the high standards of coverage required under the Affordable Care Act, but don’t like the Farm Bureau plans which can reject them and won’t cover pre-existing conditions is to move to Rwanda which I understand has a better health care system than do many rural parts of the United States.   Read a fascinating story from the New York Times describing health care in that country by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.  


JL







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