Elderly Bridge Denied Health Coverage

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A bridge badly in need of medical care recently received news that given its preexisting condition, it would no longer be covered under Trumpcare.  Distraught, the bridge called the Trumpcare hotline for help.  A transcript of the conversation has been obtained by the investigative unit of Ribbie’s Weblog and reads as follow:

Trumpcare: You’ve reached the Trumpcare hotline, how can I hurt help you?

Mr. Bridgey: Yes, I received a letter indicating that my preexisting condition will not be covered under Trumpcare.  That CAN’T be true.  Trump promised preexisting conditions would be covered.

Trumpcare: I’m awfully sorry, what he meant was that you would have access to health care in a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: But I can’t swim.

Trumpcare:  That’s why it’s a high risk pool.

Mr. Bridgey: How much will my premium be?  It’s currently $1,700 a year.

Trumpcare: Well, that depends on your age, condition and salary.

Mr. Bridgey:  I’m 64 and earn $27,000 a year and I suffer from crumbling infrastructure.

Trumpcare: Let’s see, just a minute – ok, that would be $13,000 a year, assuming your state does not request a waiver of rules under Obamacare.  In some states, the rehabilitation services you may need will no longer be available.

Mr. Bridgey: That’s crazy, I can’t pay that and you are saying that even if I could, rehabilitation services might not be available at all.

Trumpcare: That’s right. However, if you live in Alaska, and you are a bridge to nowhere, you might just be in luck.

Mr. Bridgey: But I don’t understand.  I paid into medicare and social security dutifully my whole life. I have helped millions of commuters get to work over the span of my lifetime.  Whatever happened to the social contract?

Trumpcare: Sir, I’m afraid that’s been renegotiated.

Mr Bridgey: So this is it.  A death panel.

Trumpcare: Is there anything else I can hurt help you with?

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Clinton VP Will B?

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If I were a Democratic strategist, and I’m not, but if I were, I would submit a short list of Veep candidates for Senator Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee to consider.

My top choice would be Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  She knows how to get under Trump’s skin like no other.  As one of Hillary’s most effective surrogates, Senator Warren has shown that she can stand up to the bully in the schoolyard with her sharp tongue and debating skills.  And the historic significance of two women on the ticket cannot be overstated.  What’s more, Elizabeth Warren is a progressive who Senator Bernie Sanders could support as a VP, and maybe has already suggested her name.  Her views are aligned with his, especially with respect to Wall Street reform, income inequality, college debt, and the minimum wage.  Bernie supporters would likely warm up to Clinton if he were to praise her for choosing Warren.  Hillary needs Bernie’s supporters to win the general election.  If Bernie supporters don’t vote for Secretary Clinton or don’t vote at all, it will be a close race.  If some vote for Trump (as some have said they would do) he could win.

For Dems, the downside to E. Warren as VP would be the loss of a senate seat.  The Republican Governor of Massachusetts would appoint a Republican to replace her.  Also, Hillary doesn’t need Warren to deliver Massachusetts because the Bay State is solidly blue but it does have an interesting independent streak which might make the general  election a little closer than it might have been against an establishment GOP candidate.

If not E. Warren than Julian Castro would be the next best choice.  He is a young political star on the rise from Texas, former mayor of San Antonio and current Secretary of  Housing.   He would be the first Latino on a major ticket and might help to attract more Latino voters to support the ticket including some young activists who have been supporting Bernie Sanders.  Texas is a solidly red state but Castro might help to tighten the race there.

One other to consider –  Sen. Sherrod Brown.  He’s a progressive type from the swing state of Ohio.  Rumors have it that Sen. Sanders feels betrayed by Brown’s endorsement of Hillary, but it appears that Bernie was just blowing off steam. Bernie supporters might like his liberal positions  and feel that he would push Clinton more to the left. She absolutely needs to win Ohio and Brown could make the difference.  The downside is that he is another white male who does not reflect the diversity of the electorate.

Longshots: Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.  The Governors of both states are Democrats which means they could appoint a Democrat to fill the vacant Senate seat.  The idea of an all-woman ticket is appealing but the downside is that it may not be the best strategy for gaining male support, Trump’s best demographic On the other hand, it may be a clever strategy for gaining the support of GOP women who can’t stomach Trump.

Hillary needs Bernie’s support

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I am a Hillary Clinton supporter but have been impressed with Bernie Sanders’ campaign.  Amazingly, he continues to pile up victory after victory, most recently sweeping Hawaii, Alaska and Washington on a Saturday when most Americans were watching the Elite 8 NCAA tournament games.  And while he clearly has the momentum, he is still trailing in the delegate count and has practically no chance to win the nomination even if he wins the rest of the democratic races, unless Hillary Clinton drops out.

As a Hillary Clinton supporter, I am concerned about her performance and worry that her wins to date have been mostly in states that typically vote for the Republican candidate in the General election.  Bernie seems to be winning the states that Hillary needs to carry in the General to have a chance at victory.  My fear is that Bernie supporters in the states he’s won so far that went to the Democrats in 2012: WA, MI, MN, VT, ME, NH, HI, and CO will refuse to back her, or only do so if she adopts positions that he supports.  In fact, Bernie has indicated that he won’t campaign for her without getting something in return. The problem is that if she does turn sharply to the left in the general, she will lose and lose badly.  And she may lose anyway, even if Bernie accepts defeat with humility because so many of BS supporters simply do not like her, thanks to Bernie’s portrayal of her as an establishment hawk  wedded to Wall Street, wealthy donors, and Obamacare that Bernie and the Republicans reject, the very health care system that allows many of the Millenials, who make up a large portion of his supporters, to stay on their parent’s health care plan until they reach 26 years of age.  This same Obamacare has provided coverage for many people in the U.S. who formerly had no insurance at all.  Unfortunately, BS supporters don’t seem to understand that if BS loses (and he inevitably will) Trump or Cruz could be their (my, our) next President.  BS supporters, I know it will be difficult for you to embrace HC, but I urge you to read up on what a Cruz or Trump presidency would look like.

Not all is gloom and doom for HC.  While Bernie has won states that vote Dem. in the General, so too has Hillary.  In fact, for comparison sake, if the contest were a General election between Bernie and Hillary, she’d have won the equivalent of 103 electoral votes in Blue states to date, while BS would have won just 57.  She’s won the big ones that went DEM in 2012:  IL, OH, and FL.  He’s been winning the smaller Blue states (Blue in 2012) like HI, VT and NH.  He’d have to nearly run the table of the remaining Blue states to best her in electoral votes (taking all the Red States out of the equation) meaning Bernie would need to win NY, NJ, CA, CT, PA, DC, OR, RI, NM, MD and DE, a highly unlikely scenario.

If Hillary wins the nomination, as she’s on pace to do despite Bernie’s momentum, she will need to win most of the Blue states that President Obama won in 2012, including the blue states that Bernie has already won which include: WA, HI, VT, CO, MN, MI, NH and ME.  He and his supporters HAVE to deliver these states to HC in the General.  I know cooperation is not in Bernie’s DNA.  For the record, he is notorious for rarely compromising in Congress which is the basis for governance in a democracy.  He is as well known for his failure to seek or attract bipartisan support for legislation he has put forth or to support moderate legislation.  In fact, he and Cruz are on opposite extremes of the ideological spectrum and have done very little in their careers to help break the gridlock on capital hill and have actually, in many ways, contributed to it with purist and angry views.  The truth is, ideologues have a hard time uniting people and governing.

BS supporters, take a close look at HC.  Whether you like her not, she WILL appoint a supreme court judge who WON’T take us back to the stone age; she’ll protect Obamacare and try to expand it; she BELIEVES in climate change and science; she’ll protect Social Security (expanding it is a pipe dream, sorry) and won’t raise the retirement age to 96; she’ll work to address the issues of racism, including prison and police reform and will challenge states who insist on suppressing the vote;  she’ll support an INCREASE in minimum wage; she’ll support women’s rights; she’ll support the LGBT community; she’ll fight for sensible gun control laws; she’ll fight ISIS intelligently; she’ll continue to improve relationships with our allies, which is vital in a global community – we cannot allow the U.S. to become an isolationist nation, nor to promote protectionism which will spark a trade war and kill the economy.

An HC presidency would be infinitely preferable to a Trump or Cruz regime.  With all due respect to BS and to his supporters, he can’t win – the delegate math is against him.  After the convention, when Bernie’s defeat becomes official, please support and more importantly, VOTE for HC in the General.  Your future – OUR future is at stake.

 

Election Prediction – Clinton Takes the Top Prize

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Despite the polls, the U.S. electorate is unlikely to vote an outsider into office.  What I mean by outsider is one with either no political experience – Fiorina, Trump, Carson- or a candidate who is not a true member of one of the two parties – Trump and Sanders.

For better or worse, the U.S. has just two functioning parties, and one, the GOP, is struggling to stay relevant as it’s been hijacked by Trump and is very close to becoming a fringe party of loud unelectable extremist voices.  In a fierce battle to rescue the party, the leadership will turn its back on Trump and its long line of clowns, which spells defeat for Cruz (the most conservative of the bunch based on rankings from GovTrack.us), Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Kasich and Rick Perry.  Lindsay Graham and Bobby Jindal have no chance polling at less than 1%.  This leaves Bush and Rubio to duke it out and as flawed as Bush numero tres happens to be, I expect him to come out on top.

On the Democrat side, while Sanders, like Trump has attracted large crowds, most won’t vote for a self-described Socialist, much to the dismay of Republicans who praise Bernie as a serious and honest candidate. The GOP would also like nothing better than for Biden to get into the race and even apparently persuaded Quinnipiac to poll Biden’s numbers even though he is not yet running. The GOP and the Press have relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton over the email server affair hoping to turn it all into a scandal so that Biden runs and wins the nomination.  If he does, Bush may not trounce Biden but he’d have a much easier time beating Biden than he would Hillary Clinton.  However, despite the GOPs attempts to manipulate the Democratic race, I expect Clinton to survive server “scandal” and the rehashed assaults over her role in the Benghazi attack and win the nomination fairly handily over her competitors and take the general by a hanging chad, thanks to Trump’s last minute 3rd party disruption, a la Ralph Nader and Ross Perot.

Trump and the parties pathways to victory

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I know why all the GOP candidates didn’t take on Trump in the first GOP debate – they’re afraid of him.  Afraid he’d turn the audience against them; afraid he might sue them if they crossed him; and afraid that he’ll run as a third party candidate.  And he just might if enough of the field were to attack him at some point.  Their strategy was to go easy on Trump and not goad him into slinging zingers, like the one he slang on Rand Paul who tried to call him out early on.

Almost everyone has written the Donald off as a serious candidate, and possibly even conservatives who until the debate, liked what they heard, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.  He might continue to surprise and could even win the nomination.  And if he did, and the GOP united in support of him, which seems unlikely, but if they did, he would give Hillary Clinton a good fight, though she would win with ease.

In my opinion, Trump would be the least electable of the lot, alongside Gov. Rick Perry, Senator Lindsay Graham whose candidacy makes me think of House of Cards, Gov. Jindal who had the awkward family reveal, and Gov. Huckabee whose incendiary rhetoric is both dangerous and pitiful. The most electable candidates and the ones Democrats like me should fear the most are Gov. Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Kasich and Gov. Scott Walker.  The union busting Walker may have some appeal outside the Midwest where people tend to hate teachers and the unions who protect them. Marcus Rubio may gain the backing of several billionaires in the coming months and whip the tea party into a frenzy with his memorized talking points.  Rick Kasich, who I first thought was the lead vocalist for the band the Cars, appears to be a moderate who could draw support in others regions, not the South, and take some votes from Jeb Bush.  And of course if Jeb Bush wakes up and finds a little fire in his belly, he could emerge as the one to beat.  But none of the candidates did themselves much of a favor in the debates.  They sounded scripted, timid and uninspiring.

The question is, will the Republican base turn out to vote for Rubio? If Bush were nominated, would the base support him or throw their support to Trump, the spoiler.  Bush and Rubio are Clinton’s biggest threats.  Which is why her best pathway to victory is for Trump to run as an Independent if not nominated by the GOP.  And though he’d take some of her votes, he’d take more away from the GOP as disaffected right wingers – who don’t believe in science, regulations, the separation of church and state and who generally don’t like government and prefer it be run as a business, because we all know that corporations are people – clamor to register their angst. But this scenario could also have the effect of turning out both bases of the two parties.  The GOP’s best pathway to victory, then, will be to continue to push voter suppression laws, because if the elderly, students, Blacks and Latinos can’t vote, many of whom are registered Democrats, it’s all over for the former first lady, Senator and Secretary of State. It is.

Does America Really Want a Fresh Face?

If you look at recent Presidential polling from Iowa and North Carolina,only Hillary Clinton seems to hold a commanding lead among Democrats.  For the Republicans, it’s anyone’s game – Walker, Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Paul. And when Clinton goes head to head with any of the Republicans, she has a very small advantage in the polls. Iowans favor her over Rubio, Bush, Paul and Huckabee by just 2 points.  I doubt the other Democrats in the race or being urged to run would fare any better against the Republicans.  Bernie Sanders has no chance. Elizabeth Warren could pose a threat, but she’s not even running…yet.  Frankly, I’d prefer that she be nominated for the Supreme Court if any of the justices step down before President Obama’s term expires.  And who has even heard of O’Malley? The only O’Malley I know is Cardinal Sean from Boston and I don’t think he’s running for President, maybe for Pope in a few years, but not President.  It’s good that Hillary has challengers, but they aren’t exactly household names…well, there’s Biden, but Americans are fed up with most established politicians and there will not be a clear cut favorite.  Folks may want a fresh face.  Certainly this attitude was true in 2008.  Which leads me to this.

What if the fresh face were not a politician at all, or at least not seasoned, someone like the Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby? Or maybe comedian Jon Stewart?  Ok, he’s not exactly a fresh face, but he will soon be between jobs.  Conan O’Brien is a Harvard graduate, I think, and he’s not only funny but possibly even smart.  Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have Harvard experience, not that that means anything, but club membership is important if only for appearance sake. The Good Will Hunting masterminds don’t need any introductions or campaign contributions for that matter.  Have you ever considered Neil Tyson Degrasse? He’s the smartest guy on television and would be a fierce debater.  The GMO folks don’t like him much though.  I think Sanjay Gupta has earned the trust of most Americans and might be good for what ails America.  Now for the climate changers among us, we shouldn’t forget Bill Nye the Science Guy.  He has curb appeal and a fiesty personality  And there’s Chris Hayes from MSNBC who could make for an interesting candidate running on a platform of income equality.  Michael Steele should make a run as a Republican. Since he left the party leadership, the Republicans have self-destructed. Harold Ford, Jr. could be the moderate choice among Democrats. A wild card could be Anthony Bourdain who is widely traveled and knowledgeable of global affairs, right? Julia Louis-Dreyfus has real experience, no? She’s interesting, funny and smart and a better actor than Ronald Reagan ever was.  Dennis Rodman is another potential candidate who could bring the peace with all of our enemies through basketball.  Lastly, if Tom Brady wins another Superbowl, he might be elected as a right-in candidate, that is if he doesn’t have a scheduling conflict.  I don’t know his politics, but he was oddly absent from the Patriots meeting with the President.  He’s claims to be an Independent, but I don’t see him supporting Bernie Sanders bid.

Sadly, none of these folks will run and even if they did, they would not stand a chance.  As much as Americans distrust politicians (Congress has a 72% disapproval rating) we tend to gravitate toward establishment figures anyway; the tried and true, the Ivy educated, who have name recognition, gobs of money and the support of super wealthy donors. 2016 will be the battle of the royals.  Predicition: Clinton over Bush by 1 hanging chad of a point.

Marco “Polo” Rubio quite the explorer

078Marco “Polo” Rubio made his announcement for the Presidency recently in Miami.  He said that after months of prayer, he came to the conclusion that he wanted to serve his country which he referred to in the feminine case:  “I have come here tonight to make an announcement on how I can best serve her.”  By the end of the speech, it was still not clear how he would serve her.  He sounded like your typical Republican. He’d repeal and replace Obamacare, with what is anyone’s guess; he’d modernize immigration, how is unclear.  He referenced a Prince album in an attack on the democratic party leadership saying they “put us at a disadvantage by taxing, borrowing and regulating like it’s 1999.” Rubio is said to be a fan of “old school” rap, and as one must know, Prince is anything but old school and rap.  Perhaps he doesn’t like or respect Prince.

His “namesake” Marco Polo, (well it might be) on the other hand, had nothing but admiration for “royalty”, serving in the “court” of Kublai Khan in self-imposed exile from the Holy Roman Empire.  Many Venetians thought Marco Polo made up his Asian travelogues, though he claimed he told nothing but the truth and later was proven to have done just that.  Unlike Polo, Marco Rubio was initially less than truthful about his family story, saying that they had escaped Castro and came to America as exiles.  In his speech, he walked back this story saying his family left Cuba in 1956 to fulfill a dream.  This would have been some 3 years before Castro came to power, so it was not that his poor family was being persecuted, it was more that his family wanted to improve their economic status, a sort of self-imposed exile, just like the many millions of undocumented immigrants who are living in the States today.  So his reference to modernizing immigration policy is intriguing.  Does he mean modernize the fence?  Or does he mean amnesty for all?  Does he mean to continue to modernize Cuba – U.S. relations, as President Obama has started, or does he mean to place more quotas on who can come to the U.S? Does modernize mean a guest worker program or does it mean fast track to citizenship for hard working families like his immigrant parents?

To remind that he is still allied with the Tea Party fringe lest we forget, he bashes students who graduate with debt and degrees that don’t lead to jobs.  And he suggests that parents should have more control over their child’s education. This could mean that he favors homeschooling or more charter schools.  Or it could mean that he’d favor eliminating subjects that are not related to employer needs.  I guess that means anthropology, sociology, the arts and hard sciences are out.  There’s not a big demand for dancers at Fortune 500 companies. Walmart has no plans to hire many geologists. And big oil certainly does not need a bunch of “liberal” climatologists snooping around making trouble.

Like Marco Polo, Marco Rubio is an explorer.  He’s playing around with different messages to see if he can find something that resonates with voters.  Many Italians found Polo interesting, but didn’t fully believe his strange tales. Rubio is searching for a path to appease the right and appeal to the center where Jeb Bush supporters live.  And while he thinks he’s ready for the presidency, this announcement is really nothing more than an exploration.  Young Marco knows deep down that he needs to wait his turn.

Privatizing Social Security

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Now that the Republicans are in charge, I fear that they may try to privatize Social Security.  And there are plenty of folks, not me, who think this is a good idea.  They’ll say it’s the only way to save Social Security, a system that may not be viable by the time our kids retire.  Social Security is one of many safety nets under attack by the move to privatize everything from education to health care.  The theory is that people should just be responsible for their own thing – to save, to educate, to medicate – all that stuff.  Gone is the idea of a social contract where the government serves the duel role to provide and protect as articulated in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Some on the right will argue that Congress should raise the retirement age to 90.  Now it’s true that when Social Security was enacted in 1935, the  average life expectancy of an American was 62 – 59.9 for men, 63.9 for women.  With retirement age set to 65, a typical American would never see a social security check.  And with some many employment category exclusions, – domestic workers, teachers, public employees, non-profit and agricultural workers, many women and non-white Americans were not even covered.  While patently unfair, the system was designed to be solvent.  Over the years, more workers were included.  With people living longer – in 2014, life expectancy for U.S. males is 76; females, 81, there is no question some change need to be made to stabilize Social Security, which could include raising payroll taxes, granting undocumented workers Social Security cards and disqualifying the uber wealthy from receiving benefits they do not need. The retirement age to receive full benefits was already raised to 67, and one can receive partial benefits as early as age 62.  But even so, with all the baby boomers like me set to retire sometime in the next 15 years, and with more people having access to health care and living longer, Social Security is expected to become insolvent by 2037.

Privatizing Social Security means that you, American reader, would be in charge of managing and growing the payroll taxes you pay into the system.  You will no longer have a guaranteed “pension” for life.  If you screw up, or entrust it to a broker who makes off with your money or saddles you with so many fees and loads that your nest egg stagnates or dwindles –  tough luck, there’s no bailout.

Honestly, could you invest in mutual funds, stocks and bonds on your own with confidence that you would have enough to retire on?  Good luck.  Even the experts who manage mutual funds have spotty performance records and very often take enormous risks based on their best guesses of what the market might do.  Any crash or correction, which can happen anytime, could wipe you out. And you end up paying management fees to fund companies for the privilege of watching it all happen.

But don’t be fooled. Under the privatizing scheme, you won’t have complete control of  your money. You won’t get a lump sum to do with what you please.  You can’t go to Vegas with it or to the race tracks.  You won’t be able to sink it all into the next promising startup.  You won’t be able to put it under your mattress either which might be the safest place for it.  Privatize means you hand your nest egg over to corporate America, who, after taking their cut, will strike out for you.

Obama to Putin: CUBA Libre

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Here’s the thing.  Castro was a thug, just like any dictator, only he wasn’t OUR dictator.  We never liked his revolutionary spirit and feared it might spread.  Nor did we much like its alliance with the Soviets – what an embarrassment to the States and to the Kennedys and in our backyard.  Gone were the glamorous Havana nights of gambling at the Casino and the sunrises and massages on the beach with a Cuba Libre in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. As the cold war intensified it nearly all ended very badly in mutually assured nuclear destruction.  Oh, the U.S. did try to force reform by ousting and by some accounts even “offing” Castro but he never surrendered or lost grip on power and seemed to even gain strength as the U.S. led embargo deepened the suffering of the Cuban people.  The embargo only seemed to make Cuban mechanics all the more creative and the people ever more resourceful without the modern conveniences of life in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The cold war produced no substantial reforms and led to the brave escape of a few, the defection of a handful of baseball players and the exodus of over 100,000 people granted permission to leave Cuba for the U.S. on the Mariel Boatlift which included thousands of criminals, mental patients and others deemed “undesirables” by Castro to give the Cuban exiles a bad name.

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But I’m glad Obama chose to diplomatically pursue the normalization of relations with Cuba thanks to Pope Francis and the Canadians behind the scenes. Obama can now embrace the Cubans as friends not foes and thumb his nose at Putin who took Crimea by force and pushed on to Ukraine at great cost.  Let’s face it though – the embargo was a failure and should have ended long ago, which might have had the effect of ending the Castro stronghold on power.  And while the embargo can’t be lifted by executive action, it does appear that the U.S. will allow folks to import a limited number of Cuban cigars.  Congress would have to end the embargo but won’t likely do so now that the Republicans have control of both the Senate and the House. But I like the fact that Americans can now travel to Cuba even though such travel is restricted to certain humanitarian categories.  No tourists yet.  That’ll have to wait until a friendly dictator comes to power and allows U.S. developers to turn Havana into a Little Las Vegas.  It won’t be long.  Soon Havana will be a trendy honeymoon destination once again.

Fiscal Curb Hopping

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Let’s go off the fiscal cliff.  Let’s do it.  I, for one, have always wanted to bungee jump or sky dive off a mountain.  It would be a thrill of a lifetime.  And I’ve been saying for years now that cliff diving should be an Olympic Sport and with all the attention given to going off the fiscal cliff, cliff diving may just make a comeback.  By the way, speaking of the movie Skyfall, which I keep wanting to call Free Fall, I reviewed it here, if you are interested in a review that won’t ruin the ending to help you decide whether to plunk down serious coin to see it at your local theatre.  But back to the fiscal cliff, why not take the plunge, not only would it be fun, it would:

Raise taxes by 2% on everyone, sorry billionaires, I know it’s going to hurt you most of all.

Reduce bloated defense spending by 10%.  Sorry Lockheed Martin, we don’t need that 6th generation F-22 Raptor II upgrade.  The 5th generation of birds will do just fine and are still the finest birds by two generations over anything else out there.

Cut medicare by 2%.  Ouch, I know that hurts, but it will only hurt profitable providers, not beneficiaries.

By the way, the sequester would not touch programs like social security, medicaid, food stamps, temporary assistance to needy families, and veteran’s benefits.

But it won’t happen.  We ain’t going off the cliff people.  Actually, some call the cliff a curb.  And we’re not even going off the curb, because as Chris Hayes says, “no one actually cares about the deficit“.  They don’t, GOP and DEMS alike.  The GOP wants to preserve tax cuts for billionaires and spending on a bloated military.  And DEMS whose home districts benefit from military spending, don’t want the automatic spending cuts to defense even though our country is armed to the teeth and as ready to defend and wage war as ever before.

Dang, I always wanted to skydive – to freefall just like in my dreams where I’d wake up before I hit the ground.  I’d even like to put on one of those jet pack suits and fly freely like a bird, although it appears the cliff is little more than a bridge from which one could safely bungee jump.  And if it is simply a curb as some have suggested, well, I’ll just put on my sneaks, stand at the precipice and pretend.