Whoever emails me first gets three free TiVo’s (TCD140060; TCD649080; Pioneer DVR-810H-S) and three WiFi do-dads that can connect them (TiVo AG0100).  My cable provider’s recently gone digital, so they no longer work.  If one or more might work for you, they’re yours.  Free shipping.

Happy Hanukkah! (The oil lasted until this seventh day!  How was that possible?)

Merry Christmas!  (Celebration of which was outlawed by the Puritans, but whose message of good will is unmatched.  I wish I could you give you all TiVos.)

Unfortunately, while claiming to be a big fan of Christmas, Trump totally misses its spirit.  He claims his tax scam — horrible for the country in so many ways — will cost him a fortune when in fact it will save him a fortune.

He is a liar.  Up is down.  Black is white.

Some have clocked his lies at 71 per hour.  Others, at 124 separate false statements a year (compared with 2 for Obama) — most repeated dozens of times. (By contrast, once Obama became aware he had said something untrue, he stopped saying it.)

The “beautiful giant Christmas present” Republicans are giving “the middle class” is a lump of coal.

It will raise health insurance premiums for millions and serve to deprive an estimated 13 million of health insurance altogether. That’s in the spirit of Christmas?

And where Scrooge finally saw the light and spent generously to shower gifts upon the less advantaged, this bill will greatly enrich Scrooge at the expense of the middle class and the poor.

Yes, it gives a modest tax break to many for eight years — but plunges the average family of four yet a deeper $20,000 into debt.

Already the Republicans are talking about cutting back on “entitlements” like Medicaid to narrow that deficit.  Merry Christmas, Tiny Tim.

Marco Rubio’s famous child tax credit enhancement?  One report I saw said it would mean $75 for a family of four at minimum wage, but thousands for a wealthy family that doesn’t need it.  (See also: Tax Bill Vote Proves Marco Rubio Is No “Longtime Champion of the Working Class”.)

Watch one of my friends walk you through his 2015 tax return to see what a scam this is.


Which brings me (at last) to a retired cardiac surgeon’s letter to Senator Collins.

Jon Hull writes:

Senator Susan Collins
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510

Senator Collins:

I am 79 years old, have served as an Airborne officer in the U.S. Army to include service in Vietnam and have spent 45 years as a civilian in national security assignments, most of that time in extended tours overseas.  I am not a member of either political party but have watched with horror and despair as your party, the party touted as the party of Lincoln, is in the process of ravaging our system of government and the ideals for which it has been known and largely admired.

More to the point, I am unspeakably saddened by my own loss of faith in the institutions I have spent most of my life defending.  And I am writing to you only because I believe you may be one of the very few members of this collection of power worshippers who might understand whereof I speak.

I submit that you and yours are aiding and abetting an administration that is bereft of any morality beyond its own self-aggrandizement.  Your party has offered nothing but mindless obstruction during the 8-year tenure of Barack Obama, a man who tried diligently, if imperfectly at times, to better the American condition.  It is with pride, don’t forget, that this party brags constantly about having blocked a sitting president with 9 months left in his term from getting so much as a hearing on his Supreme Court nominee.  Like it or not, the obstructionism was so virulent and pervasive that a large portion of the population could only explain it by deducing that racism was a significant factor.

That obstructionism has left us with a health care system which is the laughing stock of the developed world, a system which will produce untold hardships and tragedy for younger generations as they try to cope with unforeseen medical problems, a system which could have been vastly improved with bipartisan effort to tweak the Affordable Care Act but instead is being demolished with nary a replacement in sight.  This has put us in the unenviable position of having the world’s highest per capita health costs by far while we languish in 37th place between Costa Rica and Slovenia in the World Health Organization’s rankings of health systems in some 190 countries.

It has left us with an incoherent, racist policy on migration, on Dreamers, on refugees – tens of thousands of them of our own creation.

It has left us with spectacularly unqualified individuals heading major governmental departments, individuals nearly all of whom have views and intentions antithetical to the entities they head.

It has drastically undercut what used to be our leadership role in critical issues such as climate change and international trade and in the process created doubt or alienation among many of our staunchest allies.

It has watched with utter nonchalance as top ranked state department officers with decades of experience retire or are forced out, many in humiliating fashion, seriously diminishing our influence in the world and our voice on human rights.

It leaves us to the rapacious whims of coal and oil and mining interests, mostly in pristine areas, on the specious promise of job creation while doing everything to discourage the advancement of the potentially bigger job creator in sustainable energy.

It attacks banking regulations and consumer protections, opening the way to obscene riches for those already obscenely rich and leaving the average citizen helpless, mired in endless debt as s/he tries to deal with student loan obligations, grossly expensive health insurance premiums with ridiculously high deductibles, stagnant wages and so on.

It is without a hint of shame that your party covets a “win” on their tax “reform” bill, a bill that hadn’t even been scored, that the party was not interested in seeing scored and that adds an estimated TRILLION DOLLARS to the deficit in spite of the maniacal hue and cry against deficit spending that was a party mantra during the Obama years.  And on top of that they claim without a scintilla of evidence that the discredited “trickle down” effect will more than pay for this.  When the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation’s score recently belied this claim, the party’s response was the standard one:  mount a coordinated attack on the scorekeeper, claim it to be partisan and disparage its flawed analysis.

It has left us with diabolically gerrymandered voting districts which assures us that bipartisanship will remain nothing but a concept, possibly even a thing of the past.

It has left us with an Attorney General – the chief law officer of our government! – who not only doesn’t see any problem with Russian involvement in our presidential election but who has fought every effort to determine the extent of that involvement while cravenly dissembling when questioned about it under oath.  And in that regard, we have two investigative committees headed by your own party members who are themselves doing all within their power to impede and/or sidetrack the process.

And finally it has left us with a leader who is a misogynist, a pathological liar, a morally hollow individual with no discernible ideals or values beyond his own ego who will fight to the death to keep his tax returns from the light of day and who has accumulated a fortune by way of Russian oligarchs who launder billions through his real estate holdings.

And the saddest part of all:  you and your party are seemingly content to bob along in this man’s flood of “alternate facts” and empty rants, basking in his endless bluster about his first legislative “win” from a tax bill that will have profound effects on every U.S. citizen for years to come and that, guaranteed, most of your party has not read beyond the bones that have been thrown to them for their votes.

Make America Great Again.  Right.  A pox on both your chambers.

Jon Hull


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