Sometimes I Wish I Was a Republican

By James A. Kidney Most of the mainstream media identifies the Republican Party as one in distress, torn between the capital C Conservatives embodied by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and the radical flamethrowers encouraged by Steve Bannon and the actions, if not always words, of Donald Trump. But I wish I was a Republican.  I wish I could be unabashedly in favor of the rich while proclaiming I am looking out for the little guy.  I wish I could speak crassly of my fellow citizens on occasion and let inner prejudices out for a stroll.  I wish I didn’t worry so much about those same citizens as their economic condition deteriorates or look with anger on the very wealthy for whom enough is never enough.  I wish I could be blind to the damages inflicted on this great nation as a democracy is converted to a corporatocracy with the … Read more of this post . . .

Observations on the Latest Folderol from Our Political Disaster Known as Trump

By James A. Kidney Five observations on the Donald Trump Jr. emails and meeting with the Russians: Don’t let Trump Derangement lead to bad law. Some journalists and political commentators — is there still a difference? — are pushing for some very bad law when they argue/analyze/conclude that Donald Trump Jr.’s agreement to receive negative information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians is unlawful. The main theory being proffered (there are many) is that the law prohibits contributions to U.S. political campaigns from foreign governments and that information, which sometimes has a price, is equivalent to a financial or services donation.  Equating delivery of accurate, non-classified information with illegal financial contributions, or contributions of meals, transportation and the like, is a very dangerous pathway. Information, unlike air travel, catering, and advertising, for example, is very fluid and its source not always identifiable.  Penalizing people for receipt of useful information which … Read more of this post . . .

The Donald’s Tweets and Laments of His Fans Jump the Shark

By James A. Kidney The worst thing that can happen to an entertainer like Donald Trump happened last week when he tweeted the visual of his faux physical attack on CNN. Trump jumped the shark. He is not only a boor, which we have known for years, but his antics are old and tired.  Of course, he is still news.  He is still a huge, perhaps existential, threat to our Constitution and even our world. But his personality, upon which he relies for his dwindling popularity, has moved from entertaining or curious to “what else is new?” If you are unfamiliar with the term “jump the shark,” it means that a tv series has outlived its entertainment value.  It originates from a really boring, extended shot of the Fonz in the 1970s show “Happy Days” water skiing over a shark.  That was viewed by critics as a sign the show … Read more of this post . . .

A Parable for Our Times

  By James A. Kidney I finally decided to buy a new car the other day.  Wow, it is a cumbersome and annoying process.  At the end, I was feeling helpless and victimized, and with no new car. Of course, as with everyone, I first went to the two dominant car dealerships — Regal and Demos.  It was easy to get to them on Metro.  They both have huge, bright dealerships on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol.  The salesmen are very cheerful and upbeat, except if you walk out the door without buying a car.  Then you get some flak.  But the dealerships seem to promise all you would ever want in a car. That was the promise, but not the reality.  At Regal, there were only two colors — white and green.  The green was full of special features — satellite radio and tv, and … Read more of this post . . .

What All the Health Plans Are Missing — Doctors!

By James A. Kidney What if you needed a doctor and there was none?  What if you suspected you had cancer, or suffered a stroke, or had a bad lingering cough, and your doctor could only see you in six or seven weeks? For many, whether you have a good insurance plan or no plan at all, this is the case now. A 2014 study reported the average wait time for an appointment with a family physician was 66 days in Boston, 23 in Seattle, 26 in New York and 19 in Houston. A combination of doctor shortage, overwork and low pay for Medicare and Medicaid patients is driving the growth of “concierge care” in which you pay an annual fee to guarantee you talk to a doctor when you need one.  It is creating a multiple-tier system of care in which many physicians reject Medicare patients, or even all … Read more of this post . . .

Can’t Anyone Govern Around Here? (Apologies to Casey Stengel)

By James A. Kidney  “Govern” is a six letter word, but it is treated as a four letter word in Washington, D.C. A strong case can be made that there has been no governance on domestic issues since Newt Gingrich  promoted the “contract with America” back in 1994, turning up the flames on political partisanship.  It is certainly the case that neither party has done much to govern the nation domestically since Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial later in the ’90s.  (Adding pharmaceutical benefits to Medicare and passing Obamacare, both of which had serious defects, are the two major exceptions.) Neither Democrats nor Republicans are interested in governing.  Only in getting elected.  Then the focus is on the next election. Republicans have proven this point for their party. They were in control of Congress beginning in January 2011. They criticized everything President Obama did or tried to do for six years, and … Read more of this post . . .

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