Monday, August 22, 2016

Aetna Leaves Obamacare: A Public Option is the Answer

By Madeleine Kando

Aetna, one of the major insurance companies in the country, is pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges in 11 of the 15 states where it currently offers plans.

The reason the company gives, is that it is losing money selling insurance to individuals who are in need of more care than was anticipated. But some experts (including economist Paul Krugman) say that it is vindictiveness after antitrust authorities turned down a proposed merger between Aetna and Humana.

Now, why they are losing money is confusing. They say that there are not enough healthy people to financially offset those with major health problems who require high-cost care.

So, what happened to the ‘Individual Mandate’? Isn’t there a requirement that everybody gets health insurance or pay up to $2000 in penalty? (in 2017). Does it not get enforced? Are there too many exemptions? Wasn’t the whole point of the ACA to make health insurance cheaper and available to more Americans?

Whatever the reason, that means that over 800,000 people on the exchanges will have to look for alternatives and in some areas of the country, there isn’t much to choose from. You wonder how that can possibly be legal, that health insurance companies are allowed to stop providing coverage in the name of profit. Read more...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mirror, mirror on the Wall, who is the Biggest Liar of them All?


 Trump and his supporters (Giuliani, Hannity, Christie, campaign manager Paul Manafort, campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson, etc.) Do two things: (1) They lie, and (2) They don’t know what they are talking about.

The lies are blatant and repeated over and over until some people, and eventually most people, will start to believe them. We now need to check every fact and statement uttered by the candidates and although Hillary Clinton has acquired the adjective “crooked,” it is Trump who lies the most by far. See Politifact’s Lying Scoreboard. 

Here is but a fraction of the lies that the Trump has disseminated about Hillary:

1. In early August, Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton had a plan to raise the middle class’ taxes. His ads spliced and doctored a speech in which Hillary Clinton announced exactly the OPPOSITE, namely that she will NOT raise the middle class’ taxes. The news clippings used by the Trump campaign simply cut off the word “NOT.”
Rudolph Giuliani has shamelessly used the same falsified footage to lie about Hillary Clinton and to accuse her of saying exactly the OPPOSITE of what she actually said. Read more...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Fractal Geometry and Insomnia: A Heavenly Combination

The famous Mandelbrot Set
by Madeleine Kando

Falling asleep is an elaborate process for an insomniac. Your mind starts fighting with your body, like a boxing match. I have tried many things in the past: deep breathing, soothing music, dark curtains, white noise. None of it worked. But recently I have developed a routine, which shows some promise of success.

The very first thing I do, is barricade my bedroom door with a row of cotton balls dabbed with citrus, a smell that my cat hates. That way, she won’t scratch at my door the minute I close it. It’s not like she has a need for space, since the whole house has become cat territory, but she won’t even allow me to time-share my own bedroom at night.

Once I am barricaded, I make sure my head rests comfortably on my favorite pillow, the one with the flower cover. But the piece de resistance in my quest for sleep, is the psychedelic Youtube movies that I have been watching: psychedelic tunnels, mandala movies, and moved on to ‘electric sheep’,

which is a genre of computer animation that is very beautiful and totally psychedelic and finally ended up with the cream of the crop, called ‘fractals’. I was hooked. It became my nightly drug of choice. Read more...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Conversation with a Trumpite

The health spa to which I belong is in Republican territory. On most days, most of the TV screens facing the treadmills and life cycles are turned on Fox News - except mine, which is either on MSNBC or on C-SPAN.

I have many friends at this club, some liberal, some conservative. I engage in daily small-talk with them. In this heated election season, it is impossible to avoid politics. We don’t fight, we just engage in friendly banter.

Today, I chatted with my friend Joe, a rabid Trump supporter. Joe is a friendly old-timer who immigrated to America from Eastern Europe over half a century ago. Our conversation started when he informed me how much he liked Trump. I replied that in my view, Trump is insane and that his election will be a great disaster for America and for the world.

Joe of course had to come back at me. He began to enumerate all the reasons why he admired Trump, and he then moved on to saying that Obama is the worst president we have ever had.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The New Order

 The Democratic Convention is supposed to boost Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. However, it seems that neither the mainstream media nor the Sanders die-hards are willing to give her a fair chance. As the election approaches, both of these groups continue to throw up obstructions to the coalescence of a unified progressive campaign, which would be the sine qua non to defeat Trump. They do everything in their power to prevent any surge of unified support for Clinton. Meanwhile, Trump’s chances are getting better every day. Make no mistake about it: He is overtaking Clinton at the polls. At the present rate, he WILL be your next president!

The latest distraction is the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz e-mails allegedly showing a bias for Hillary Clinton. Big deal! If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The mainstream media have long been in a full National-Enquirer mode. Because ratings, sales and readership are their paramount concern, scandal mongering dominates everything they do - at all times, and regardless of the consequences. Political campaign coverage is now 90% about the alleged scandal du jour. At no point will the media allow the electorate to evaluate a candidate on her MERITS and those of her political agenda. Time is running out for Hillary Clinton. The media and the Sanders faction will not permit her to present herself and her agenda to the public, so that it may judge her on substance. Read more...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The 2016 Republican Convention: Several Instances of Mass Hysteria

By Madeleine Kando

Mass hysteria happens when there is a group of people who fall into a collective delusion. There have been several cases of mass hysteria throughout history, the most famous of which are the witch-hunts, which lasted more than 200 years. Countless innocent women were executed.

Here is a list of fictitious epidemics that are not such a far cry from what is really happening to the insane crowd that populates the Convention Hall in Cleveland.

The Phantom Pregnancy Panic

An extremely rare form of mass hysteria gripped the attendees of the 2016 Republican National Convention, when 34 year-old Ivanka Trump announced that she was expecting a baby. This is, of course, false. Whatever the case, Ivanka’s incredibly convincing personality was enough to trigger a pregnancy panic. By the third day of the Convention, numerous female attendees said that they too were pregnant and caused a ruckus in the Convention hall. Only the constant reassurance by their supreme leader, Donald Trump, that they were never pregnant in the first place did the women finally calm down.

The Vanishing Genitalia Epidemic

Although their nominee, Donald Trump, had guaranteed them that no matter what the size of his hands, ‘I guarantee you, there’s no problem down there’, an episode of vanishing genitalia caused widespread fear amongst the attendees. These fears were usually triggered by incidental body contact with a Democrat in a public place, after which the “victim” would feel strange scrotum sensations and grab their genitals to confirm that they were still there. Read more...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump, the GOP, the Media, and the Public: Plenty of Blame for All

The Dancing Mania: 17th Century Epidemic

American politics have descended into lunacy. The weird gyrations at the Republican Convention remind me of the Saint Vitus epidemic in 17th century Europe, an earlier attack of mass insanity. No need to rehash things: Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech was relatively unimportant, but the Trump people’s (e.g. Paul Manafort’s) reaction to the ensuing flap was absolutely “amazing,” to use the Donald’s favorite word. Never have I seen such contortions by people in desperate denial.

The Trumpites’ reaction to ANY accusation boils down to three tactics: (1) deny it; (2) change the subject; (3) blame Hillary Clinton.

Then there was Chris Christie’s witch-hunt: He accused Hillary Clinton of being to blame for the American deaths in Benghazi, the kidnapping of hundreds of young girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the deaths of some of the 400,000 Syrians killed by president Assad, protecting Al Qaeda affiliates, and much more. As he recited this litany, the hordes of delegates chanted “guilty!” and “lock her up!” A veritable lynch mob or medieval witch-burning mob.