The AHCA Turns into an ACHE

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Paul Ryan explains what Congress’s new toilet paper will be made of.

A man rolls into an emergency room with a large but routine gash on his leg. Expecting to have his wound stitched up, he’s instead told that the doctor wants to amputate the leg. Naturally the man refuses the procedure. The doctor informs him that since he refused the amputation, he’ll just have to live with the wound. The doctor is confident the leg will become gangrenous, and when that happens the man can come back to the ER (if he’s still alive.)

That’s kind of how Trump reacted to defeat on the crappy Republican health bill called AHCA. When he couldn’t check off his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, he said fuck it – let it explode (or maybe implode . . . who knows?)

In the seven years and several days since Obamacare became law, the Republicans in Congress, in a long-running performance of the theater of the absurd, has voted more than 50 times to repeal it outright. As recently as January 3 – on the first day of the 115th Congress – HR 175 was introduced; its essence: “Effective as of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), such Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”

In layman’s terms: repeal. That’s it. Not repeal and replace with something terrific. Just repeal. That’s what the Republicans successfully passed dozens of times with no whining or hand-wringing from any member of their caucus. Of course, as they banked on, the bills always landed DOA on Obama’s desk where they succumbed to a predictable veto. And after each and every one in a string of vetoes, the Republicans waxed philosophical: if only they had a Republican president in charge, they could once and for all slay the Obamacare abomination.

Then they got their moment, and instead of laying the same repeal bill on the desk of another, more like-minded president, they tried to fashion a replacement as well. They had no choice because Trump ran around telling his minions that he would provide better coverage to everyone for less money – in his words, “something terrific.” (Funny how people never hear “terrific” and realize it comes from “terrify”.) Like Reagan before him who promised to increase military spending, cut taxes and balance the budget, Trump painted himself into a corner where the best he could do was two out of three.

The Republicans conjured up a bill that didn’t do any of the things Trump promised, yet the Orange Man enthusiastically endorsed it anyway – because he only cared about checking off the promise. He doesn’t give a shit about health care.

Now that AHCA has gone down, Trump is short-selling Obamacare. Much like short-sellers such as hedge funder Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital who bet against a stock, then run around badmouthing that stock to force down its value, Trump is hoping Obamacare completely shits the bed so he can say “I told you so.” I fully expect him to take actions to facilitate the law’s demise – just like the Ackmans of the world do to companies like Herbalife. Trump wants the Dems to take it in the head for passing Obamacare in the first place, and he’s willing to amputate the leg rather than close the wound.

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Investor in Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital after reading his latest statement

Bang the Gong Slowly: RIP Chuck Barris

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Chuck Barris, producer of such fine TV fare as The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game died the other day at age 87. After many years producing, Chuck came out of the office in mid-career and went in front of the camera to host the outrageous Gong Show, where contestants performed mostly hideous acts in the hopes of finishing before one of the three celebrity judges gave them the hook by banging a big gong. It was said that because Barris was uncomfortable performing he went insanely over-the-top when introducing acts – often with his eyes closed.

The Gong Show might have been the first on TV to genuinely celebrate awfulness – something that seemed to fit perfectly in the decade of the 1970s.

I watched the stupidity with regularity during my college days, and like many viewers had my favorites.


Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine (featuring Jaye P. Morgan flashing her boobs!)


The Unknown Comic (wish I could find the clip of him doing his impression of the first man on the sun.)


The Popsicle Twins (no sound, but you get the picture.)

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