How Does McConnell Live With Himself?

How does one of the most powerful politicians in America, who has been so powerful for so long, abide miserable poverty, rising drug addiction and falling mortality rates in his own state, do nothing about it, and yet come forth with so-called health care legislation that makes it all worse?

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader, has produced a bill that would devastate rural areas, especially in his home state.

Among these are deep cuts in Medicaid spending and an end to Medicaid expansion. About 45 percent of rural children use Medicaid. The bill would reduce funding for treatment of opioid addiction, another issue for rural America. McConnell’s bill does nothing to improve insurance market places for rural areas and could make them worse by cutting tax credits for insurance purchases.

Rural hospitals and nursing homes dependent on Medicaid will continue to be at risk of closure or downsizing under McConnell’s legislation. (Read More at

Sarah Kliff of on CNN (Sunday): “I have spent a decent amount of time over the past few months in an area of Southeastern Kentucky that voted for Trump, but also has very heavy Obamacare enrollment. There are a lot of people in that area who are expecting that this health care bill will make their health insurance better. But everything we know about it is, those people will be really disadvantaged by this health care plan. I think they really listened to Donald Trump on the campaign trail. And he said repeatedly again and again in debates: I’m different from the other Republican candidates. I don’t want to cut health care programs. He promised: I won’t cut Medicaid. … These bills don’t deliver on those campaign promises. They cut Medicaid very significantly. They would scale back the federal subsidies that the people in Kentucky and the people in other states really rely on. But the voters, they understood. They had watched the news. They had seen the promises that their candidate made. And they took those promises at face value.


The GOP’s Big Lie To Its Own Base

It is almost comical to watch Republicans on Capitol Hill try to deliver their demagogic promise to their own base to repeal Obamacare.

They know that its key elements have become too popular to repeal. And they have no intention of doing so.

So now it appears their strategy is to pretend to try, fail, and then unjustifiably blame the Democrats. Preserving another round of congressional elections to rail against Obamacare.

Thereby maintaining street credit among conservatives for making the effort — and, most importantly, avoid the catastrophic fallout among constituents who are becoming used to Obamacare’s benefits whether they know it or not.

It is marvelously Machiavellian, cynically deceptive.


O Captain, My Captain

By CajunJoe, a Trail Mix Contributor

When the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship last week killing seven sailors, I was drawn back to my own experience both serving in and working for the United States Navy. Collisions at sea involving Navy vessels are a big deal. It is assumed that a Navy ship can count on the combination of advanced electronics, maneuverability, trained watch standers, experience Captains, and standardized rules of navigation to avoid running into other ships. But it happens occasionally.

I was involved in one myself, serving on “another vessel involved.” I was on a destroyer being refueled off the coast of San Diego. Refueling at sea is a hazardous, but necessary exercise. While refueling, the Oiler sets the course and speed, and, importantly, maintains the watch to avoid other ships. In this case, the Oiler failed in this responsibility. A freighter was on a course to cross our bow, and the Oiler’s. Our destroyer, a more maneuverable ship, saw the pending danger and exercised an ’emergency breakaway’ in which we axed the lines and refueling hoses and took evasive action. The Oiler, however, was a big, lumbering ship and was unable to avoid collision with the freighter.

In 2009, there was another collision, involving the guided-missile destroyer Porter, this time with a super-tanker. In this case a voice recording of actions on the bridge was released. It depicts chaos and confusion on the bridge leading up to the collision, not characteristic of my bridge experience. You can hear it here.

While reminiscing about all of this, my mind wandered, and wondered, further, to the Fat Leonard scandal involving alleged contract fraud, which is still sweeping its wide net within the Navy ranks. The Fat Leonard scandal depicts a Navy lacking discipline and dedication to duty. It shows a large, pathogenic cancer on the Navy as an institution, that high ranking officers in highly responsible positions would engage in such venal corruption.

Are these things somehow related?

Has the Navy, as an institution, lost its way, leading to lax discipline and shoddy leadership? Seven sailors, enlisted men all, died on the Fitzgerald, and that is tragic. But were the seeds of their fate planted long ago?

The Porter and the Fitzgerald incidents were tragic accidents, although the Porter might have avoided collision with better seamanship. With the Fitzgerald, it will remain to be seen. But the evidence, including that the Fitzgerald was hit on the starboard side, indicating a departure from the usual port-to-port passing rule, will put the burden of proof on the Captain and the Officer of the Deck. In the end, I feel comfortable speculating that the Fitzgerald, as the Porter before her, was a victim of poor leadership and discipline.