Culling The Herd

A lot of us suffered severe post-election anxiety, myself included. More than a few sleepless nights were spent worrying fitfully about what will happen to our most vulnerable citizens. And on a few occasions I even had the thought — fleeting — that in this new America, only the strong will survive. I have a bum knee, I need to lose 20 pounds, I’m middle-aged. Is there a place for me in Trump’s America? No, I decided.

If a gang of Trump thugs attacked me in a parking lot, could I fight back? Nope. My kickboxing days are more than a decade in the past. I haven’t run a marathon in years. I need to go to the gym, work out, diet. I need to give up beer. Trump’s America — Paul Ryan’s America — is for the young and strong. The denizens of Crossfit and SoulCycle.

And then I thought … nah! I mean, look at Steve Bannon: more Baron Vladimir Harkonnen than Master Race, right? If this schlub can get away with an extra 30 pounds, so can I.

But not so fast. Turns out I was onto something:

This budget will make America a lean, mean fighting machine with bulging, rippling muscles and not an ounce of fat. America has been weak and soft for too long. BUT HOW WILL I SURVIVE ON THIS BUDGET? you may be wondering. I AM A HUMAN CHILD, NOT A COSTLY FIGHTER JET. You may not survive, but that is because you are SOFT and WEAK, something this budget is designed to eliminate.

This excellent piece of satire had me ROFLMAO and is definitely worth spending one of your Washington Post freebies reading (or just go ahead and get a subscription, you cheapskate. Support the goddamn journalism, already.) But after the laughs died down I remembered my November panic attacks about being old and fat and weak and I realized,

Oh my god. Alexandra Petri is right. They are culling the herd.

And it’s not just Trump, it’s the entire Republican Party. It’s the entire ethos of conservatism: if you’re poor or weak or sick, get outta the way. You’re dragging the country down. You are dead weight on American greatness.

Some examples:

Trump Budget Cuts Put Struggling Americans on Edge

[…]

“I have lung cancer and it’s the dead of winter,” she remembers thinking. “What am I going to do?”

Help came in the form of a heating subsidy: money from the federal government, delivered by the Highland County Community Action Organization, a small nonprofit in rural southern Ohio, where Ms. Feltner lives.

Now, that program is on the chopping block. It is one of many cuts in President Trump’s new budget proposal that would inflict the deepest pain on the most vulnerable Americans — a great number of whom voted for him.

Duh, lady. “What am I gonna do?” Die, of course. Don’t you know that? Get with the program, honey. Stop holding the rest of the country back with your lung cancer and your poverty and your lack of winter heat. That’s not American greatness! That’s weak. So either stop being weak and sick and cold, or get the fuck out of the way.

Here’s another one:

Rural Areas Brace for a Shortage of Doctors Due to Visa Policy

[…]

While the Trump administration is fighting, in the courts of justice and public opinion, for its temporary travel ban affecting six countries, the slowdown in the rural doctor pipeline shows how even a small, relatively uncontroversial change can ripple throughout the country.

In Montana, for example, where nine counties do not have a single physician, it means Benefis Health does not know when a Romanian doctor trained in kidney transplants will arrive. The health care company spent months recruiting the doctor and had been expecting her in July.

“Our health system already has nine months invested in her, and now we have no idea when she can start,” said Erica Martin, who recruits doctors for the company.

Sorry, Montana. Kidney transplants are for pussies. Do we have to make it more clear? People who need kidney transplants aren’t great, they are reminders of weakness and failure and THAT CANNOT BE ALLOWED so die already and stop reminding us of what losers you are.

This one is my absolute favorite: a “veterans rights gun bill” that would remove 174,000 mental health records from the background check system. It basically reverses a Bush-era law passed after the Virginia Tech massacre. Keeping PTSD-afflicted veterans from committing suicide sounds like the kind of namby-pamby thing liberals and losers would do. In the Republican Party’s “only the strong deserve Murrica” approach to public policy, Veterans considering suicide need to get on with it already – -and here’s the gun to do it with. Y’all are dragging us down, man! Soldiers traumatized by war are weak! Didn’t you get the memo? America doesn’t do weak anymore! So go and do what you need to do and get the fuck out of the way because we’ve got Greatness to accomplish, you candy-assed wimp.

(I love that the bill was sponsored by Tennessee’s own Rep. Phil Roe, by the way. An alleged “doctor.”)

And of course there’s this one:

Trump’s NIH Budget Cuts Threaten a Serious Setback in Medical Research

This makes no sense until you realize that the point is to cull the herd and cures for cancer and other diseases are simply impeding that process. If you are sick, disabled, mentally ill, poor, unemployed, etc., then you should be about one thing: getting the fuck out of the way. By dying. If you aren’t in the business of dying then you are dragging the country down.

Come on, America. Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s the fucking point.

38 Comments

Filed under Donald Trump, Republican Party

38 responses to “Culling The Herd

  1. democommie

    I talked a woman on St. Patrick’s day who said that she thought that Trumpligula was going to get the country out of debt but that she also thought people would be hurt. I told her that I didn’t think that “getting out of debt” (does anyone, aside from really, really wonky econ types even understand what national debt is and why it’s a lot more nuanced than paying off your Hummer?) was going to happen or that it was an AIM of the shit that is spewing out of the mouth of PTweety. Without digging into the “how do you raise defense and DHS spending, without completely eliminating MORE than the increase in other spending, lower tax revenues by cutting tax rates on those most able to pay taxes and STILL expect to get out of debt?” question I just gotta wonder where people’s common sense has fled to.

    At the same event (St. Getshitfacedongreenbeer’s Day) I had a woman ask for my number because she wants family portraits and her son’s senior HS photos done. I’m not sure about her politics, I know her husband is connected to the county power structure (he has the HEAPP contract for this area) and he’s more than a bit conservative. She is a tutor for students who are failing in some area of education in local public schools (this county has a functional illiteracy rate of 20–in NYS for fucksake!) and does a pretty good little business that way. I’m pretty sure that all of the money that pays for the program is from a block grant–that will go away if these ghouls in D.C. get their chance to gut the program.

    • democommie

      That should have been:

      “this county has a functional illiteracy rate of 20%–in NYS for fucksake!”

      • Also, Trump’s budget doesn’t include entitlement programs which is the bulk of the budget. So we can’t even have an intelligent conversation about how the budget compares to other budgets, what its affect on the deficit will be, etc.

  2. paradoxresearch

    … ?1

  3. themadkansan

    …and then the White House goes and links to that article. Irony is fucking dead, buried in an unmarked grave out past Terlingua…

    sigh. ~~:(

  4. Eli

    I wonder how long it will be before poor people wise up and figure out that the people they voted for are giving them the shaft.

    Republicans were always looked at as the party of the rich. That really hasn’t changed, just now the rich can spend obscene amounts of money to convince the poor to vote for them anyway.

  5. democommie

    Meantime I’m looking at theSyracuse New Times, the local alt-weekly. big on dissing Trumpligula to be sure but this:

    “We are the voters of the future. It gives me mucn satisfaction that so many people are reconsidering their loyalty and doing what I do, voting for the best person, not the best party.”.

    As a capper to a column about how the olds/dems are just out of touch and, “We’re not lazy, we haz the XXXpensive college and low-paying jobs….”.

    I intend to find out just who the asshat is that wrote the column. I know nothing about him except that he does this pretty much every time he gets on a keyboard. He’s either an idiot or a provocateur and I would like to know which.

  6. democommie

    I wrote something to post on the Syracuse Newtimes website and then copied it to a notepad to make sure that I was “stern” enough–you know how I hate to go off on assholes.

    Anyway, I realize that as much as I hear people complaining about BernGarJill being dissed by the DNC and how they’re a force to be reckoned with, yada, yada–I’m not hearing SHIT about any plans to do ANYTHING about the mid-terms. I mean, I know that the DNC is pretty much a lost cause but, what’s THEIR plan. It’s been about 100 days since 11/9 and I haven’t heard anything from anyone about the groundswell of support for a candidate.

    Granted, I’m not going to rallies or chatrooms (or whatever the hell people do these days to meet online) but I hang out in a couple of bars that are frequented by a LOT of young people some in college, some working stiffs. None of them are talking to me or each other about politics, except to complain about Trumpligula and how my generation fucked them. I ain’t buyin’ the, “We’re gonna take it to the next step and have unicorns in every office.”.

  7. There still remains one type of muscle that shall never be broken by extremist policies of the cruelest republicans ever born.

    Money.

    You can have a couple of types of cancer, be unable to talk or feed yourself, need two CNAs to walk you down the hall and suffer from three or four types of dementia. You can have problems much worse than this. You simply need to be able to pay for your own care without any federal or state help. The best LTC facilities don’t even accept Medicare patients. If you can afford up to $100,000 per month for SNF care, doctors, medications and private duty nurses, it doesn’t matter how sick you are.

    They will keep you alive, if for no other reason than for your mail-in ballot, which your republican children will conveniently help you fill out right on-time for the elections. Call me cynical.

    Is Quinn the Eskimo still alive today?

  8. democommie

    Many doctors don’t accept insurance payments for even mundane procedures. I think it’s got as much to do with the paperwork as the price. Singlepayer would eliminate, imo, 90-95 of the logistics of the healtcare reimbursement systems.

    I called the office of my former neurosurgeon, now a medical marijuana certrifier. No insurance is accepted for the consult or for any prescription drugs.

    Y’know, I really hadn’t thought of it before but now marijuana IS a drug, howboutthatshit?

    • I am not opposed to single payer but it would require such a radical restructuring of our existing system on so many different levels that I don’t think it will ever happen. The concept of single payer is useful only as a threat to hold over insurance companies’ heads. “Be nice or we’ll put you out of business.”

      • democommie

        Well, we never thought Trumpligula would get into the WOH, so anything that doesn’t go against the laws of physics is possible. Otoh, yeah, There isn’t enough of he burnin’ stoopit of hatred to force that sort of thing on people–yet. It will not happen while I’m alive; of that I’m nearly certain.

      • Bob Fischer

        Single payer would not put insurance companies out of business. They are disaster bookies. They would just come up with other horrible things that could happen to you and convince you that you needed their help to be safe from them. Hillary was right in the nineties. Bernie’s right now.

      • True, they do have supplemental health insurance in countries like Japan (and for Medicare). I’m sure Insurance Co’s would do their best to make sure that whatever single player we did get would suck in some way, to maintain their existence.

        My big issue with any single player plan I’ve seen is that nobody addresses what happens to the majority of us who get insurance through their or a spouse’s employer? This is an earned benefit, it’s in lieu of salary. You make X amount a year but IN ADDITION to that you get X amount in benefits. You only pay X in insurance (and 401(k) contributions) and the employer kicks in Y and Z.

        So if we get rid of the employer-provided health benefit, what happens to Y and Z? Do we all magically get raises to make up for that lost benefit? That’s not gonna happen, especially since every single payer plan shows companies getting a higher tax to pay for healthcare.

        Let me remind everyone, I couldn’t afford a President Bernie Sanders. We’d have paid $16,000 more a year in taxes under his plan, according to this calculator. I don’t have that kind of money. I’m all in favor of paying taxes to help lift the other boats but I’m no billionaire. I don’t have an extra $16,000 to spend, I just don’t. And whenever I pointed this out people said, “but you get free healthcare, you get free college for your kids.” I don’t have kids. And I already have “free healthcare,” at least it’s free for me because it’s through my spouse’s employer and it’s a benefit he’s getting instead of a larger salary. So until someone can answer the question that affects the bulk of insured Americans, I see single payer as being “sounds good on paper, don’t see it actually happening.”

  9. Bob Fischer

    I find it odd that you would base your opinion on the VOX tax calculator. I would not have guessed that.

    • That’s the only calculator I had access to in April 2016 but if you read my comment that is not the basis of my opinion. My opinion is based on the reality that nobody — not Bernie, not Hillary — has ever addressed how we will make up for that lost benefit.

      That’s what I meant when I said our current system is entrenched. It’s part of our employment life. Tell me how you’re going to unhook it from that without causing workers to receive a wage decrease when we already agree that real wages have continued to decline over the past 30 years.

  10. Bob Fischer

    That’s why working contracts are negotiated. Your health insurance is a defined benefit with a monetary value. The idea that employees should just allow employers to pocket any changes in how a benefits package is designed is just ludicrous. Your current plan would be dovetailed into the new tax structure. It’s a very simple process. Should your healthcare decline you would negotiate a supplemental policy. Should it increase, your savings would average out in your reduced costs over your lifetime.

    • “Your current plan would be dovetailed into the new tax structure. It’s a very simple process.”

      All I ever hear is “free heathcare” and “higher taxes.” HOW is all of that going to work? How is that going to come up in the tax structure? Whose tax structure? Mine, or the employer’s? How is that going to be calculated? Is every employee going to have to negotiate this with employers? You telling me some employees aren’t going to get screwed in the process? That some employer isn’t going to say “here’s the deal take it or leave it”? Is there going to be some kind of law that makes sure employees aren’t both paying higher taxes and losing out on the cash equivalent of a benefit? What kind of law would that be, is that even possible? In what fantasyland do you think employees aren’t going to get fucked over on this?

      The scenario I see is one of a 30+ year decline in wages and then let’s imagine that by some miracle of a magic wand along comes single payer but instead of the promise of “free healthcare” what we get is yet another wage decrease because now instead of an employer-provided benefit we pay out of our taxes for something that we used to get from our employer.

      Show me the white paper that outlines how the above is avoided. I will happily read it.

      • Bob Fischer

        Everything you are concerned about is already happening. Mandate a cost transfer in the legislation and pass it.

        The last thirty years have been brought to you by the Reagan/Norquist crowd that convinced Americans that supply side works. It doesn’t. The way to fix that is not by more supply side healthcare. Look at any union’s union contract with negotiated healthcare and apply the principles to the legislation. Look closely at Hillary’s plan from the nineties. That’s the white paper template you’re looking for.

      • So it’s not actually IN the plan then. We’re going to have to lobby for it. Like we tried to get the public option? Right. Again, we’re gonna get screwed in this process.

        The problem with Bernie and his accolytes are their reliance on lollipops, fairy dust and rainbows. I live in reality.

        It is not going to happen. Even with Bernie’s “revolution” (the one where he forgot to tell people in closed primary states that they need to register as Democrats to vote for him) what it will take to not only get single payer passed but get it passed in a way that doesn’t fuck over the majority of us with employer-provided coverage requires magical thinking. I don’t do magical thinking.

        I’m so over having this same conversation with you. What about the past 8 years where Obamacare was called “socialized medicine” and “death panels” and we lost control of Congress as a result makes anyone with a brain think that single payer will happen? This is as ludicrous as anyone thinking Trump gives a fuck about working people.

      • Bob Fischer

        I’m going to take you and demmocommie at your word that you really are interested in how things would work and what kind of changes we would be looking for under a progressive Democratic policy (as opposed to one that took care of upper middle class folks and above) and point you to Bernie Sanders book, “Our Revolution”. Specifically in your request, Beale, to a white paper that outlines how this would happen, I would point to pages 318-338. Regardless of how government works, some people are always going to cry that they’ve been screwed, but the real purpose of government is simply to provide a level, fair playing field and by doing that the people that are taking advantage of the system are going to be screaming that the loudest. Look, I get it that y’all hate all things Bernie, but Clinton will never be president. Her negatives are too high and she doesn’t care. She’s going to march right on insisting that half of America will vote for her despite the fact that they hate her. The Democrats need someone to bring people to the polls (Bernie, Biden, Kennedy,Warren, Gabbard), not drive them away (Clinton, Brazealle, Wasserman-Schultz). As to what I’mk doing about it, I’m trying to convince Clinton folks to take a long, hard look at reality and the process of getting votes. It’s as much an emotional challenge as it is intellectual.

      • Okay thanks for pointing me to a book full of possibly great ideas that will never, ever become reality because IN THE REAL FUCKING WORLD where we actually live, lollipops and rainbows are not a viable policy. IN THE REAL FUCKING WORLD where we all live, Trumpligula’s healthcare overhaul is going down, not because it doesn’t help enough people, but because to a big chunk of elected Republicans, IT ISN’T RADICAL ENOUGH. In the real fucking world where we all actually live, you have a person elected to be President of the US because they think their family members and neighbors are getting “freebies” and “government handouts” they don’t deserve. This is the REAL WORLD not the fucking rainbow and unicorn world that Bernie Sanders and his fanboys talk about. Please tell me how Socialism is both viable and appealing in the actual REAL FUCKING WORLD where I live, where people think their neighbors and family members are getting handouts they don’t deserve. How is this going to happen. More of Bernie’s magic bluebirds? Give me a fucking break.

      • Bob Fischer

        In the real world, virtually every idea in Sanders book was, at one time, policy and law in America. The problem is not that we can’t have a free and just society with economic freedom for all, the problem is we choose not to.

      • I missed the part where universal healthcare was a thing in America.

        Please. Do you even hear yourself? You sound like a Trump voter, clamoring for some mythical time in the past when everything was peachy-keen, except your version is when unions supposedly had power and you could earn a real wage working in a factory. “We choose not to”? Here’s a thought: GO SELL IT. Seriously, try to fucking sell your ideas. Nobody’s buying. Bernie Sanders LOST the primary. HE LOST. He lost big and he lost fair and square. People do not want what he’s selling. I don’t care if he can fill a stadium with eager college kids. I just saw thousands of people lined up and down James Robertson Parkway and up to the state capitol building to see Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean the majority of people in America agree with his agenda or want what he’s selling.

        Bernie’s revolution failed. All but one of the candidates he’s endorsed have failed.

        Enough with the tired bromides. Enough with the rainbows and lollipops. SELL YOUR FUCKING IDEAS. I don’t see anyone lining up to buy it.

  11. Bob Fischer

    Don’t buy into the Republican myth that government is a non-functioning entity. It’s only going to be as corrupt as we allow it to be.

    • This is some glib bullshit. I have no idea what you even are talking about. I have never said government doesn’t function or can’t function.

    • democommie

      Don’t buy into the Fischerian Myth that Bob has any genuine answers.

      Bob, you, like BernJilGar are BIG on dis and microscopic on actual plans.

      Hilary was right for the 90’s, Bernies right now? HOW, how, how, how is Bernie RIGHT, NOW?

      Don’t tell me something like that and expect me to just swallow your glib, baseless bromides. The GOP doesn’t number me among their membership (nor do the democrats) because I don’t like ANYBODY pissing in my ear and telling me it’s raining.

      What are YOUR plans to wrest power from the GOP? You got any? I’m guessing not. If you do and they’re too precious to share,NOW, they are going to be useless when you roll them out into the shitstorm of the campaign season.

      You and the rest of the NEW whatever the hell you call yourselves. WTF are you actually doing? I’m not seeing or hearing anything from anybody in that vast squishy middle that didn’t like ’em some Hilz but apparently were okay with the KKKristianist ReKKKonKKKista that has been going on for the last 30 FUCKING YEARS.

      Stop talking about how the democrats fucked you and your generation and DO SOMETHING positive. In any case, STFU if you have nothing to do but preach to me and others who have worked most of our lives and will continue to do what we see as the most pragmatic course of action–and just stop complaining about how nasty politics is, today. Be as nasty as they are.

  12. I have been saying it for a while: it is all about decreasing the surplus population, but people do not believe me. I am pointing them to this post when they disbelieve next time.

    • democommie

      I can’t figure out if you’re saying something about the post or the poster and commenters. Sorry, it’s not very clear.

  13. democommie

    “Single payer would not put insurance companies out of business. They are disaster bookies.”

    In the area of healthcare they are actually “disaster MAKERS” in innummerable cases. That’s not the point.

    Automobile, home, fire and business insurers rarely have “pre-condition” provisions anywhere near as those used, pre-ACA*, by Health Insurers. Health Insurance Co. are basically money funnels in an unregulated environment. If their business was regulated to the extent that the old models for Tel&Tel and Utilities were, they would never go bankrupt or become obscenely wealthy because of a lack of oversight**.

    They would remain in businees with single payer, selling insurance for elective surgeries, healthcare amenities upgrades, travel insurance and the like. A nice piece of business requiring far less in the way of marketing, sales and bullshit.

    * And likely already in place for instant deployment when ACA is repealed and Trump(GFY, you sick LOOOOOOOOOOOERZ)don’tcare “replaces”.

    ** Excepting of course, massive fraud and malfeasance.

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