Three days before the election? Have another Scotch or a Valium!

Dear friends abroad… and here at home:

 With three days to go before the voting starts, Deanna and I are full of angst and ever incredulous, as every day brings another outrage to those of us who want to live in a sane Democracy.
Its been awhile since I was one of the “boys on the bus” covering Presidential elections for ABC News. 1968 to be exact, when I was assigned to follow Spiro Agnew’s Vice Presidential campaign and Eugene McCarthy’s run up to the Democratic nomination for President.  I dearly loved ‘Gene but hated Spiro, but struggled to be impartial to both, at least when on the air.  Donald  reminds me a lot  of Spiro.  They were both cut from the same cloth…. lying, racist and corrupt.  I remember briefing Dick Cavett and Oprah Winfrey about what a bastard Spiro was and suggesting some good zingers to ask him on their talk shows.  Donald thinks we journalists are “Scum” while Spiro was more eloquent in calling us “nattering, nabobs of negativity.”  Even Nixon couldn’t stand Agnew and he was soon forced to resign for his corrupt ways.
I’m going to be one of the election officials at a nearby Fairfax polling station. This  5 am to 9 pm job could prove very interesting if Trump supporters take his advice and check out polling stations to guard against rigging the vote.  Virginia is aso an “open carry” gun state so you can walk into a polling station packing iron.
Deanna watches a lot of MSNBC these days as I carefully read through the New York Times and Washington Post….all 20 pounds of them on a Saturday.  But I miss actively reporting and writing about the campaign as I used to do.  So today to ease the stress I had the urge to share with you some of the more original things I’ve read about the election from some of my favorite authors.  The literary world has always had close ties to politics.
Writing is after all an inherently political act. If nothing else you can always count on a writer to come up with an eloquent insult or two.
STEPHEN KING:  “I am very disappointed in the country. I think Trump’s is the last stand of a sort of American male who feels like women have gotten out of their place and they are letting in all these people that have the wrong color skin.  He speaks to those people.  Trump is popular because people would like to have a world where you just didn’t question that the white American was at the top of the pecking order.”
SALMON RUSHDIE: “Trump will go on trial in November accused of racketeering, and again in December accused of child rape.  He is a sexual predator, hasn’t released his tax returns, and has used his foundation’s money to pay his legal fees.  He has abused the family of a war hero and… but let’s talk about some emails Hillery didn’t send from someone else’s computer, that weren’t a crime anyway, because that’s how to choose a president.  Come on America.  Focus.”
MARGARET ATWOOD: “He brings out the temper-tantrum-throwing willfut brat in all of us. ‘Why can’t I do what I want?’  Why can’t I have what I want?  Hillary Clinton is a better man than Trump.  She has more connection to the traditional male virtues.  She has comported herself in much more manly fashion.  Ask any real alpha males that you know and they’ll say of Trump, ‘This guy we didn’t like at school because he was a bully, but as soon as
anyone pushed back at him he started to whine.’ “
J.K. ROWLING: “Look toward the Republican party in America and shudder.  Make America great again! cries a man who is fascist in all but name.  His stubby fingers are currently within horrifyingly close reach of America’s nuclear codes.  He achieved this pre-eminence by proposing crude unworkable solutions to complex threats. Terrorism?  Ban all Muslims!  Immigration?  Build a wall!  He has the temperament of an unstable nightclub bouncer, jeers at violence when it breaks out at his rallies and wears his disdain for women and minorities with pride.  God help America.  God help us all.”
JUNOT DIAZ: “Trump is explained with the intersection of a number of things: our economic crisis, the way it’s easier to blame immigrants, that he discovered by bashing Latino immigrants and characterizing them as ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers’ and ‘scumbags,’ suddenly he’s got this groundswell of support from a group of people who were raised on this vocabulary.  Part of it is eight years of a black President, and white America still lost about that.  Part of it is a Republican politics of vicious partisan stuff that has completely poisoned what we would call the political sphere. All of these things come together in a perfect storm.”
MARTIN AMIS: “Not many facets of the Trump appartion have so far gone unexamined. But one significant loose end is his sanity: what is the prognosis for his mental health given the challenges that lie ahead?   We should bear in mind that the phrase ‘power corrupts’ isn’t just a metaphor.  Trump has beem identified as a ‘pathological narcissist,’ a victim, in fact, of a narcissistic personality disorder.”
JOHN IRVING: “I don’t take what Trump says seriously, but I am seriously worried about the number of people who are as as angry, as ignorant, as misinformed and shallowly informed as he is.”
URSULA LE GUIN: ” I tried to think of headlines about Donald Trump that would be unbelievable.
    Trump apologizes for everything he ever said.
    Trump declares himself the next Dalai Lama.
    Trump relieves himself on a Fox TV newscaster on Fox TV.
    Trump dumps Melania, woos Mrs. Cruz.
Is anything about the current behavior of the Republican party unbelievable?  Or has it entered the Trump zone?
You can’t make it weirder than it is!”
AMY TAN: “Trump: ‘If I lose it’s okay, I go back to a very good way of life.’  WTF?  You wreck the GOP, lead an uprising of racists…..then play golf?”
Hope you found these quotes helpful in understanding the election or helpful in deciding your vote Tuesday.
Remember- vote early and often!
Cheers
Don

2 thoughts on “Three days before the election? Have another Scotch or a Valium!

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  2. The American Health Care Act, passed by the House on Thursday to cheers from Republican members, would give states wide leeway over a host of provisions that many Americans have come to count on, creating a patchwork of health insurance rules across the nation.

    The legislation, designed as a replacement for the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, would allow states to apply for waivers to exempt insurers from providing coverage for 10 “essential health benefits,” including emergency services, maternity care, and mental health treatment, among others. The level of coverage would depend on what each state decides.

    It also would permit states to apply for waivers to allow insurers, under certain circumstances, to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems, something that the ACA forbids.

    The AHCA allocates $138 billion over 10 years to fund a Patient and State Stability Fund for states that apply for waivers, an amount experts say is not nearly enough to cover the millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

    Granting those waivers would cause premiums to rise and also make it harder for people to get comprehensive coverage, especially those with health problems, says Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports.

    “In combination, these features clearly allow states to do away with protections for pre-existing conditions, letting insurers charge our most vulnerable populations more, and to provide skimpy coverage for everyone,” Imholz says.

    House Republicans and other conservatives disagree, saying the waivers, which would vary from state to state, could actually lead to lower premiums and give consumers a wider choice of plans.

    Reducing regulatory burdens could encourage insurance companies to enter new markets or to modify their existing policies and rates, giving consumers more coverage options, says Edmund Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

    “State governments have performed the basic function of regulating insurance reasonably well for over a century, and there is no need for the federal government to supplant these efforts as it is now doing under Obamacare,” Haislmaier says.

    While the debate over how to overhaul the ACA continues, many Americans say they are worried about being able to afford good quality medical care. In our CR Consumer Voices Survey conducted earlier this year, 55 percent of Americans said they lacked confidence they or their loved ones would have access to quality, affordable healthcare.

    The bill now heads to the Senate, where leaders say the legislation could change dramactically. Then the Senate version must be reconciled with the House.

    With the legislation still far from being finalized, it’s hard to predict how many states would seek waivers. But here’s how it might play out where you live.

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    Some exchanges, like California and Michigan, have robust markets with multiple insurers where things are working well, at least for now, says Chris Sloan, a senior manager in the policy practice at Avalere Health, a healthcare consulting firm. “You’re more likely to see waivers in states that are struggling,” Sloan says.

    States with sticker shock. In 2017, the average insurance premium on the most popular Silver plan on ACA exchanges was 17 percent higher than the year before, according to HealthPocket.com. But in some places, the increase was even sharper. In Arizona and Oklahoma, for example, premiums shot up more than 50 percent.

    States with few insurers. One-third of counties in the U.S. have one insurer on their exchange, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. States particularly struggling to attract insurers include Oklahoma, which has only one insurer left, and Tennessee, where 16 counties have no insurer signed up for 2018.

    States that didn’t expand Medicaid. A total of 31 states expanded their Medicaid program by taking federal money allocated by the ACA to cover most of the cost. States that didn’t expand Medicaid—mostly states with Republican governors—ended up with more people on the exchanges, including a larger share of sick people.

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