Avant le déluge

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Obama Administration

So here we are, two days before Trump’s inauguration. The most encouraging thing I’ve heard so far is that Trump won’t start work until Monday. He told the Times of London,

People don’t want to have other people coming in and destroying their country and you know in this country we’re gonna go very strong borders from the day I get in. One of the first orders I’m gonna sign – day one – which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Right? I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration, but one of the first orders we’re gonna be signing is gonna be strong borders.

(#firstninetysevendays)

The man doesn’t drink, but he needs Saturday and Sunday to recover from the inauguration? Or maybe he’s just trying to put it off. Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei wrote:

When we went to interview him in his office in Trump Tower on Tuesday, 72 hours before he takes office, we expected the emphatic showman who was on display through the campaign, and as recently as last week’s press conference.

Instead we found the incoming president unusually subdued: lowering expectations, acknowledging some of the messy realities of governing, and walking back some of the more provocative statements he had made only days before. A top adviser told us the sober tone reflects a bumpy few days inside Trump Tower — and the realization that he’s days away from truly running the nation.

And we all want to postpone his running the nation, because he doesn’t know what the bleep he is doing.

Trump said health care is his most urgent domestic topic, telling us he spoke with President Obama again on Monday about the topic. He back-tracked a bit from his promise of insurance for everybody, saying he wanted to find a mechanism — Medicaid block grants, perhaps — to help the poorest get insurance. “You know there are many people talking about many forms of health care where people with no money aren’t covered. We can’t have that,” he said.

Medicaid block grants? Medicaid block grants? 

But while we’re on the subject of health care, remember Tom Price? The guy nominated to head Health and Human Services whose health care plan I discussed this week? He’s getting ready to hand out those ponies

“One of the important things that we need to convey to the American people is that nobody is interested in pulling the rug out from under anybody,” Price said at a hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “We believe that it’s absolutely imperative that individuals that have health coverage be able to keep health coverage and move hopefully to greater choices and opportunities for them to gain the kind of coverage they want for themselves and for their families.”

I want a chestnut pony with a pretty gold mane.

Over the weekend, Trump told the Washington Post that he planned to unveil an Obamacare replacement plan after Price was confirmed that guaranteed “insurance for everybody.” That cut against the rhetoric that Republicans have used to explain their intentions, focusing on lower costs to ensure “access” to insurance, rather than universal coverage.

“I think there’s been a lot of talk about individuals losing health coverage. That is not our goal nor is it our desire nor is it our plan,” Price said at the hearing.

Later on in the hearing, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) attempted to pin Price down on whether he shared the goal of “insurance for everybody,” pointing to the Obamacare repeal bills he introduced as a congressman.

“My role in Congress was to always make certain that individuals had the opportunity to gain access to the kind of coverage that they desired and that they had the financial feasibility to do so,” he said.

What the hell does that even mean — that individuals had the opportunity to gain access to the kind of coverage that they desired and that they had the financial feasibility to do so ? I’m interpreting this to mean “let them have tax credits.”

Back to Allen and VandeHei — in at least one way, Trump may be an improvement on, um, one other guy —

Trump seemed, dare we say, humbled by recent intelligence briefings on global threats. Dick Cheney’s friends used to tell us he was a decidedly darker, changed man once he started reading the daily intel reports after 9/11. Trump seemed moved by what he’s now seeing.

Dick the Dick didn’t read the daily intel reports until after 9/11? That explains a lot … But at least Dick had had previous real-world experience with international relations and wars and stuff. Trump has just been playing a businessman on teevee.

“I’ve had a lot of briefings that are very … I don’t want to say ‘scary,’ because I’ll solve the problems,” he said. “But … we have some big enemies out there in this country and we have some very big enemies — very big and, in some cases, strong enemies.”

He offered a reminder many critics hope he never forgets: “You also realize that you’ve got to get it right because a mistake would be very, very costly in so many different ways.”

But will he straighten up and start acting like an adults now? Don’t count on it …

In the opening moment, asked why he hasn’t been able to deliver on his promise to heal divisions in the U.S., Trump reiterated his promise “to be a president for all Americans,” only to launch, unprovoked, into his fourth-consecutive day of attacks on Rep. John Lewis, the civil-rights icon. Think about that for a minute: He’s less than 72 hours from taking office and he was still stewing about a member of the Democratic minority in the House.

Trump told us his confrontational style is misunderstood. “You know, I’m not really a divisive figure,” he said, before pinning the blame for bad press and bad blood almost entirely on the media: “In the history of politics, there’s nobody that has been treated worse by the press than I have.”

He’s a child. A big, spoiled, venal, idiot child. Or, as Charles Pierce puts it, “the president-elect is a mindless, vengeful carnivore who holds grudges the way mother koalas carry their babies.”

This is not a prediction, but let’s say I wouldn’t be surprised if he bails out in a year or two. Remember, he’s never actually had a job before. The demands of this one are going to be more than a shock.

Elsewhere — do read Charles Pierce on the Betsy DeVos hearing.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 18, 2017 @2:22 pm

    maha,
    FYI, you have a typo – it’s Tom Price for HHS.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 18, 2017 @2:47 pm

    First off, Mike Alien and Jim VandeHEIL are such such (conservative) hacks, they could be cast in any and every slasher movie.

    Also too – I wouldn’t mind it a bit if t-RUMP held off starting work until some Monday in early January of 2020!

    Also three – “A top adviser told us the sober tone reflects a bumpy few days inside Trump Tower — and the realization that he’s days away from truly running (RUINING) the nation.”
    Oh, well, maybe the Hair Orange Turd is starting to realize there’s more to being POTUS than bragging, and putting people down in public, and in late night tweets.
    NAH!
    I think he’s just coming to the realization that he’s about as ready to lead this country, as the last ant coming out of the anthill is to be the Queen.

    Also four – Tom Price, like his potential boss, is a socipathic lying sack of shit!
    I’m surprised that he hasn’t come out for our health care policy to consist only of minimally subsidized leechings.

    And now, lastly:
    ‘He offered a reminder many critics hope he never forgets: “You also realize that you’ve got to get it right because a mistake would be very, very costly in so many different ways.”’

    I actually think that it’s possible that in the pea-sized glob of testosterone that passes as his little brain, if another 9/11 happened, he can come out looking like W did – for a few moments/days, when the country rallied ’round him, and before & Dick (of DEATH) Cheney spit on the good will of people not just in America, but in the world.

    Who knows what the fuck goes through that orange psycho’s head!?!?!?!?!

  3. bernie  •  Jan 18, 2017 @3:18 pm

    Betsy DeVos might make Brownie (Of your doing a hell of a job Brownie of Katrina) look competent in comparison. I predict category V damage.
    This link might work better to Pierce article.
    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a52357/betsy-devos-hearing/

  4. Lawrence  •  Jan 18, 2017 @4:09 pm

    The demands of the job are enormously stressful. Look at photos of W in 2000 and then in 2009. And fuck weekends. Aren’t you supposed to be some cockswinging tycoon superman? I like my weekends, but I’m a filthy communist. You’re never off the clock from now until it’s over. And you look like shit to start with. And don’t think I missed that throwaway line in your press show where you said you were going to fix the F-35. With what, alien technology? And can you get your crew to practice the material a couple of times so they aren’t tripping all over it? It’s not like it contains a lot of big words. It’s for your fans, after all.

  5. paintedjaguar  •  Jan 18, 2017 @5:44 pm

    Obamacare should have rubbed people’s noses in the fact that “insurance for everybody” isn’t worth a piss in a hurricane. Not in our current privatised for profit medical environment. What’s needed is healthcare for everybody. That’s why I’ve gone from advocating single-payer to believing that a “burn it down” conversion to an NHS style socialized medical system is the only reform that will really work in the US.

    I don’t expect we’ll get either in my lifetime, but it’s what we should be shooting for.

  6. maha  •  Jan 18, 2017 @5:59 pm

    paintedjaguar — the problem with an NHS system is that it’s only as good as it is funded, which is why the UK system has been struggling. I think we ought to be looking at which health care systems seem to be most functional.

  7. KC  •  Jan 18, 2017 @8:50 pm

    Maha–you are exactly right on that point. Friends from Britain lost access diabetic technology we have here because they are not covered under the current conservative regime. I’m not saying our system is wonderful, but there are aspects of it that aren’t horrible.

  8. Bonnie  •  Jan 18, 2017 @9:00 pm

    Maha, what does your title mean? I don’t do French very well.

  9. grannyeagle  •  Jan 18, 2017 @9:33 pm

    I seriously doubt that Trump can last even one year. He wants to be president Monday through Friday and go to maralago or Trump Tower on W/Es. Although I would not miss him, I dread the idea of Pence taking over. In my fantasy conspiracy, that is the hope of the Republicans.

  10. aj  •  Jan 19, 2017 @2:58 am

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/accordingtomatthew/2017/01/texas-bill-aims-to-take-away-voting-rights-from-women-who-have-abortions/
    Tom Price, if his name was Martha Stewart he’d be going to jail
    The nominees for OMB and Commerce, if their names were Zoe Baird they’d have to drop out.
    but since they are all old white republican men, it’s all ok….
    These nominees are not just right wing crazies, They are venal unvetted unprepared disasters.
    Tillerson kept saying “I would need more information about that or I don’t know”
    DeVoss is a witch. She put money to all the republican incumbent state legislators that had school teachers running against them because in our state they are destroying public education.She also demonstrated her ignorance.
    Pruitt ( EPA) is refusing to recuse himself from numerous lawsuits he is a party to against the epa.
    But the worst are the stepford republicans who will not acknowledge conflicts of interest and inappropriate ties and stock transactions, stepford reublicans who are as ethically and morally vacant as Trump himself.
    Yes DJT is a venal child who has never had to be accountable for anything. He has always avoided the rules and paid off any mess he could not stonewall out of.
    He and everyone who voted for him, are now accountable.
    He does not have staff for the positions that need to be filled and there is only one day left. I wonder when Putin will roll the tanks….

  11. paintedjaguar  •  Jan 19, 2017 @7:46 am

    Re: healthcare funding problems. That’s going to be a vulnerable spot in any effective national health system, unless you believe in the Free Market Fairy. That said, once in place, a robust, straightforward and universal mechanism will always be easier to defend politically than the sort of technocratic, inequitable, Rube Goldberg apparatus that is the result of neolib hedging and political calculus. Not to mention the sort of inevitable backdoor vulnerabilities that go along with such overcomplicated mechanisms – like only half the States getting Medicaid reform, for instance.

    Single-payer has the advantage of being less complex than other schemes, but it relies on indirect incentives to rein in provider greed and influence. Also keep in mind that while “Medicare For All” is a good slogan, our current Medicare system is not even single-payer, nor is it either universal or comprehensive.

  12. maha  •  Jan 19, 2017 @6:28 pm

    “That said, once in place, a robust, straightforward and universal mechanism will always be easier to defend politically than the sort of technocratic, inequitable, Rube Goldberg apparatus that is the result of neolib hedging and political calculus.” I agree completely, but there are other ways to go about this than the NHS model, which has its own vulnerabilities (as we see in Britain) and, seems to me, would be even harder to sell to the public than a Canadian-style single payer system.

  13. goatherd  •  Jan 19, 2017 @8:25 am

    Bonnie, it means “before the flood.”

    The intention is to evoke Rimbaud’s poem “Après Le Deluge.” This was a comforting association for me, even apart from the “hare and rainbow” image at the beginning, the poem portrays a world coming to life again. That’s what we have to remember, the world can come to life again. Without, being excessively maudlin, I don’t think that I will live to see it. That makes for a bond with a future, and with a place and people whom we will never know. (Okay, now that IS excessively maudlin. I blame my east European grandparents.) It’s a chance to preserve a memory for them, maybe something of value, to give them a gift.

    I read Rimbaud’s poems as part of my feeble attempt to learn French. One of the other associations that I had while reading it was that without Rimbaud, we never would have had Bob Dylan. There was something about the way the images fell together without regard for a precise fit, and that left fertile little places for the reader’s mind to wander. So, for me there is a real world corollary. Rimbaud’s life was short, and it was a mess, but, he changed poetry itself.

    On the other hand, Sly Stallone said that Rimbaud was the inspiration for calling his dreadful character “Rambo.” Well, you have to take the good with the bad.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 19, 2017 @8:54 am

    It just occured to me that this year – 2017- is the 50th Anniversary of “The Summer of Love.”

    Remember how – outside of the war and power protest songs – many of our songs called for unity and ‘getting together right now?’ And I’m not just talking about race, though that was a large part of the music catalogue.

    Wow!
    FSM, do I feel old…
    That seems like centuries ago – at least to me.

    2016 may go down in America as the ‘Year of Hate & Fear.’
    Only…
    I’m afraid we may top that this year. *
    And the next…
    And the next…
    And the…

    *2017 may also go down as “The Year of Increasing Illness, Dying, and Death.”
    And not just in American, but in other countries was affect.
    And I’m not even going to mention that our planet may well one day, soon, generate for itself a giant cough and sneeze, and finally rid itself of the viral infection that is the human race.
    We will have earned no less that that from our only planet, our only home…
    And we call rats, roaches, and other creatures “vermin” and “pests.”
    We’ve done more damage to this planet than just about anything short of an asteroid!
    Ok, “Nuff said…”

  15. Swami  •  Jan 19, 2017 @1:23 pm

    gulag.. And now we’re entering into the Winter of Discontent.

  16. goatherd  •  Jan 19, 2017 @3:16 pm

    VERDI is dead!

  17. Dickeylee  •  Jan 19, 2017 @4:37 pm

    Looks like the republican’s are going all in early. $10T in cuts has to include FICA/Medicare. No other way to get to that number while increasing defense budgets.
    I look for Mitch to blow up the fillibuster soon. Maybe over the Supreme nomination. Then its cram cram cram away!

  18. bernie  •  Jan 19, 2017 @6:02 pm

    So fellow veterans, if you play the 4F game and are to lame to serve in Viet Nam, are you not too lame for even illegitimate presidency And to you golfers, If you cheat to win, or it might be suspected that you cheated to win, and is it not what you preach to the youth, you are the one responsible for reporting your foul. even if you not the Russians moved your ball. Golf a game of character or a game hypocrisy? Here on the eve of (If I knew a lick of French I would inset the French for the giant Drano douche) are we so lame, so corrupt, so hypocritical. and so sold out that we will settle for the golden calf?

  19. Bonnie  •  Jan 19, 2017 @6:19 pm

    I wonder if those pseudo Christians who voted for Trump realize the analogy to worshiping the Golden Calf. Very good, Bernie. Thanks for the explanation, goatherd.

  20. Bonnie  •  Jan 19, 2017 @6:26 pm

    Oh, I meant to add that Trump is going to privatized PBS and cut art funding to about zero. And, he said he was inspired by JFK. What a barbarian!

  21. bernie  •  Jan 19, 2017 @8:14 pm

    Canada does not envy our health care system from what little I hear.  If the following link is any indication, they may be a great source of guidance.  Guidance that we, as a country, certainly need.   Though not primary in the linked manifesto, the care and care of caregiver discourse covered seems quite relevant. If nothing else the tone and vision inspires me. 

    https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/

  22. goatherd  •  Jan 19, 2017 @11:46 pm

    Let’s all go back a few years to a time when we were young enough to be better men, in the generic sense.

    https://youtu.be/T5al0HmR4to

  23. Swami  •  Jan 20, 2017 @12:49 am
  24. Swami  •  Jan 20, 2017 @3:23 am

    goatherd …You lost me on the VERDI comment. I couldn’t find out or figure out how it relates. What am I missing?



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