Simanaitis Says

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OH, I get it. Trump officials weren’t limiting freedom of speech in prohibiting those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using these seven terms: diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender, and vulnerable. As tweeted by CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC.”

It was all a “mischaracterization.”

Ah, I see. It’s merely suggested that any of these seven terms might irk Republicans in the U.S. Congress whilst reviewing the CDC’s 2018 budget.

Now you tell one.

With this in mind, I offer other terms that might well make those in the U.S. Congress uncomfortable.

Congressional retirement benefits. According to Wikipedia, a full pension comes after five years of Congressional service at age 62. Longer service lowers the age: 20 years, age 50; 25 years, any age. All benefits are taxpayer-funded.

Image from

What, no FICA? Well, not for this pension….

Harassment payouts. Under the Congressional Accountability Act, taxpayers pony up for secret harassment settlements. USA Today, November 27, 2017, notes that “… all the public knows is that since 1997, Congress has paid more than $17 million to settle scores of workplace claims from a special Treasury Department fund created by the 1995 law.”

Health care. Contrary to some screeds, members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs don’t get free health care. However, Snopes researched matters and offered a nuanced tale: During Obamacare wheeling and dealing in 2013, members of Congress cut themselves a sweet deal through the District of Columbia’s small business health options program (SHOP) aka DC Health Link. Among other benefits, it gives them a federal subsidy of about 72 percent of the premium cost.

On the other hand, these same MOC (members of Congress) had the audacity to sneak the repeal of the Obamacare mandate into what was supposed to be tax reform. This action could result in increased costs or worse for millions of people enrolled in Obamacare.

No matter. MOC health care is secure.

Lock-step reversals of Obama actions. I name several attempts: The Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March 2010; DACA, the Dream Act, signed by President Obama, June 2012; and The Paris Climate Accord, signed by President Obama, September 2016.

I suspect that Trump and his crowd sleep standing up, naked or fully clothed, once they learned that Barack Obama enjoys recumbent slumber while wearing pajamas.

The slogan “For The Planet” was projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2015. Image from npr; photo by Francois Mori/AP.

Paris. I know, I know, technically the U.S. isn’t the only non-participant among 200 of the world’s nations concerned with climate change. Because of terms of the Paris Climate Accord, any complete U.S. withdrawal cannot occur before November 5, 2020.

Which, coincidentally, is the day after the next U.S. presidential election.

My suggestion to members of Congress still holds, however. As corroboration, I quote Rick Blaine’s line to Ilsa Lund in Casablanca. “I wouldn’t bring up Paris if I were you. It’s poor salesmanship.”

What’s more, there are elements of truth in Rick’s statement, something seemingly alien to so many Congressional Republicans these days. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017

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