Your May 4 column was posted just before Upper Montclair’s congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted for the heartless Trumpcare health bill. Care to react this week?

Louse of the House

The word “Frelinghuysen” should replace the word “coward” in every future use. “The Wizard of Oz” character becomes “The Frelinghuysen-ly Lion,” the Kenny Rogers song becomes “Frelinghuysen of the County,” etc.


Deserved! The New Jersey Republican opposed Trumpcare’s cruel first version, yet — fearful that his far-right GOP peers would remove him as House Appropriations Committee chair — cowardly voted for the even worse second version. Comment?

Not-Brave New World

Rodney may be humming The Who line “I call that a bargain” — remaining chair in exchange for millions losing medical insurance, including many thousands in his 11th District. So depressing, unlike a Noel Coward…um…Noel Frelinghuysen play.


What’s the point of chairing a committee if Rodney — a former moderate who now votes ultra-conservatively — can’t use that power with some independence?

“Mine” Over What Matters

Perhaps it looks good on his resume, which now also includes “Supporter of Legislation That Would Cause Countless Deaths” and “Recipient of Most Campaign Contributions From Grateful Undertakers.”


If Frelinghuysen runs again next year, can he be defeated?

Please Lose, Please Lose…

I think so, with the help of the fantastic energy of NJ 11th for Change members. There would be nothing more satisfying than seeing Rodney swept into the dustbin of history, though no self-respecting dustbin wants him.


Meanwhile, what’s that enormous sound I hear?

Noises Off the Charts

Thousands of Upper Montclair residents are stampeding south of Watchung Avenue, begging to be represented by 10th District congressman Donald Payne Jr. So…there are now plenty of seats at the usually too-crowded Dai-Kichi.



Can you compare Frelinghuysen (who also responded weakly to Trump’s self-incriminating May 9 firing of FBI director James Comey) to the wonderful teachers and other Montclair school staffers who recently received state awards?

Rodney Gets Paid More

A personal shout-out to one honoree: Marcie Chanin, the amazing Bradford teacher my daughter had in second grade. The only thing Frelinghuysen can teach well is how to sell one’s political soul.



May 3’s Board of Education meeting included discussion about a Christian abstinence group that was going to provide its version of sex education at Glenfield before parent pressure rightly stopped that. What about the separation of church and state?

Rhea Ligious-Overtones

Frelinghuysen should also practice abstinence from slavishly obeying inhumane House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s young enough to be Rodney’s…downfall.


Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.





40 replies on “MontClairVoyant: Frelinghuysen’s Heartless Health Vote Made Many People Heartsick”

  1. Dave, You should venture over the top of first mountain and head west into the heart of Frelinghuysen country. You will be surprised to find some truly kind, generous, hardworking people that see things very differently than you. They have seen their income stay stagnant for years yet their medical insurance has doubled. Add on the 6k deductible and they are now afraid to send themselves and their families to the doctor. They are not heartless….they are hurting. If you would like to mix cement and lay some concrete block with one of my mason friends I can set it up. You can bust your butt for about 40k a year, no paid sick days, no paid vacation, pay your own taxes, SS, workman comp,etc. and 24k a year for medical insurance. You may find the experience enlightening. I believe everyone should have some degree of medical care but the ACA was deeply flawed and merely a case of political grandstanding. It was imploding anyway…

  2. Thanks for your comment, flipside. I hear what you’re saying — and I’ll respond later in this comment. But I first wanted to say that, despite my misleading last name, I grew up in a working-class family and also have been a not-high-paid freelancer for the past nine years, so I know what it’s like to try to get by on a low income. Also, I’ve lived in the Midwest and my wife is from the Midwest, so I know a good amount about life beyond First Mountain. Yes, many very nice people outside the NYC area.

    People ARE hurting, but Obamacare had little to do with that. Millions were struggling before Obamacare, when private insurance companies ruled the roost even more than they do now. Those companies often raised rates in predatory ways, had high deductibles, cut people off from coverage, didn’t cover preexisting conditions, didn’t insure young people past college, etc. I’ve dealt with those companies during bad medical situations, and it was often nightmarish. I’d rather deal with the government.

    Obamacare, while flawed (I prefer single payer), eased some of those private insurance problems — and reduced the ranks of the uninsured by millions. Trumpcare threatens much of that, so the struggling people you mention will be even worse off.

    If Obamacare is “imploding” (I don’t think it truly is), the Republican attacks on it have contributed to that — alarming insurance companies, etc.

  3. Believe it or not I am for single payer as well…..but….you will single payer level of health care. If someone desires better treatment they should have the ability to buy private insurance and get private health care. Sort of like it used to be when there were clinics. Unfortunately, huge malpractice judgments put an end to that.
    As far as Obamacare…follow the money. Healthcare stocks did pretty well under the Chosen One and the meat of the burden didn’t kick in until he was leaving office. Brilliant on his part and for his legacy but a kick in the teeth to the rest of the country. If you close your ears to Obama’s sweet talk and check the numbers on almost everything he did you will puke.

  4. Thanks for the follow-up comment, flipside! Glad we agree on single payer. πŸ™‚ I understand that the wealthy will almost always want a higher level of things — whether it be big houses, luxury cars, first-class seats on planes, fancy hotels, etc. So if single payer allows the wealthy to also have a higher level of health care that the wealthy pay for, it would bug me to some extent, but so be it. As long as everyone else can at least get a decent level of health care.

    I don’t know much about the state of health-care stocks during the Obama presidency, but even if they took a hit at the end I’m happy that many millions more were insured than before Obamacare started.

  5. Dave…It wouldn’t just be the wealthy that had better health care though the financial burden wouldn’t be as painful for the wealthy as it would be for others. For most families it would be a Subaru instead of BMW, pizza instead of sushi, cheaper sneakers, less cable channels, etc….spend your money on material goods or health care…free choice. I know the phrase “trickle down” probably triggers hives but the innovations that the wealthy finance will filter down. All the money Ferrari spends on R&D eventually filters down to everyday vehicles. Profit drives innovation. As you type away on your keyboard remember you have a capitalist pig to thank.

  6. Actually, it was my ancestors that created fire. They didn’t patent it because they wanted all humankind to have it! They had not yet evolved the profit motive. But, they did have film festivals. They used the fire and finger shadows.

    Just kidding. My “Lyin’ President Donald” said it’s not important.

  7. flipside, I agree that there are wealthy innovators whose innovations can help us all. But there are also the parasitical rich who help no one but themselves. Some of them (like Rodney Frelinghuysen) inherited their wealth, so I guess their only “innovation” was being born into affluence.

    Then there are people, as Frank alludes to above, whose motive is not profit but helping other people (while hopefully also making a decent living). Teachers, social workers, etc. Those are the people I admire most.

    I realize that some non-rich people might not always have the right spending priorities and the willingness to sacrifice a bit. But many of the rich have those two problems to a much greater degree. And non-rich Americans could live in a totally frugal way and still not come close to affording decent health care — which Trumpcare will only worsen.

  8. Funny/serious comment, Frank! Thanks!

    I’m okay with a profit motive, but too many people and corporations take it to an extreme.

    One of the things that most infuriates me about Trumpcare is how it would lower taxes on wealthy people while millions lose insurance.

  9. Not that the Democrats have it figured out, but we, the American people, are the cringing witnesses the decline of the GOP – from Teddy Roosevelt, to Herbert Hoover, to Richard Nixon, to George W. Bush, to this Drumpf guy from Queens.

  10. Absolutely, Spiro, and well said! The Democrats have plenty of issues, but much of the Republican Party leadership has gone downhill. Heck, even Nixon did some positive things, such as starting the Environmental Protection Agency. I can’t think of a single positive thing Trump has done. And though Nixon had a problematic personality, he had some sense of history and some grasp of the issues.

  11. “Profit drives innovation. As you type away on your keyboard remember you have a capitalist pig to thank.”

    —this is total hogwash. To suggest that the profit motive, a wholly solipsistic pursuit, is responsible for greater social good AS A BY PRODUCT is purely a greedmonger’s fantasy. (Also, see the “You didn’t build that” speech.)

    Also in the realm of fantasy is the notion that healthcare costs are a main motivator of Trump support. Even R’s in Congress have moved on to the truer “why should I pay for you” argument, which is more correctly the broad attack on the notion of America as a cooperative society that Rs want to destroy. Oh, that and the appeal to “nationalism”—read White Nationalism—that was on display in Virginia last night…

  12. Thanks for commenting, jcunningham!

    I guess the profit motive sometimes leads to some social good, but that’s accidental. The people who really help society are almost always the ones (teachers, etc.) who are trying to help society.

    Entrepreneurs are driven not only by the profit motive, but also by ego and ambition — and occasionally by the better motive of the thrill of creating/building something new.

    I realize my above comments are mostly stating the obvious. πŸ™‚

    And I agree that worry about health-care costs were/are a minor reason for Trump’s support. There’s some of that, and worry about jobs, too. But a lot of it is racism and racial resentment (as you alluded to) and thumbing one’s nose at “the establishment.” But Trump, as erratic as he is, is “the establishment” to the nth degree — supporting more tax cuts for the rich, calling for a large increase in the military budget, having several Goldman Sachs alums in high positions, acting in patriarchal/sexist/macho ways, all the nepotism, etc. That’s as establishment as it gets.

  13. Whats wrong with them? Its about time that Education and Healthcare be free for all… like liberty and justice.

  14. That would be fine with me, frankgg!

    I realize noting is truly free, but I’d rather have single-payer healthcare funded by taxes so that everyone can get checkups and at least an adequate level of treatment even if they don’t have much money. Of course, public schools are already “free” via tax funding, though wealthier communities can obviously plow more property taxes into their school systems.

    Thanks for commenting!

  15. jcunn…I will see your hogwash and raise you to a poppycock. Gates 80+ billion, Bezos 80+ billion, Zuckerberg 60+ billion….whew, good thing they didn’t care about making a profit. I am so surprised their ideas weren’t hatched in Cuba or Venezuela. Now, if you want to debate whether their innovations were for the greater social good, that’s another story. I am a huge fan of Joseph Cotton’s anti-automobile speech in the Magnificent Amberson’s ….I am sure you are too. I don’t know what you do for a living but unless you are Montclair’s only self-sustaining organic farmer then you are deriving income directly or indirectly from big, bad greedy business. Whether you like to admit it or not the NY metro area is the belly of beast that everyone feeds off of….even teachers and social workers. People rely on each other and their livelihoods are all interconnected. The BS virtue signaling is just that…BS…and growing tiresome.

  16. Fun fact: “The Magnificent Ambersons” author Booth Tarkington served one term as a Republican in the Indiana House of Representatives. So he and Rodney Frelinghuysen have something in common.

  17. “Its about time that Education and Healthcare be free for all”

    Awww, that’s cute.

  18. Thanks for commenting, deadeye, and you’re absolutely right about nothing being free. I’d just like to see everyone (including very rich individuals and large corporations) pay their fair share of the taxes that fund “free” things and other things.

  19. Deadeye, stayhyphy and flipside are right, it’s ridiculous to think we can have healthcare for all like they do in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

    Completely ridiculous on its face. Who could manage an impossible feat like that, except for the governments of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK?

    And forget about the cost, such a thing would cost far more than what we in the US spend per capita, unless you’re in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland or the UK.

    Those countries (do I need to list them again?) have some sort of powerful Wizard to magically make their costs far lower than ours. I’m sure it has nothing to do with their health care systems, because “healthcare for all” Just. Doesn’t. Work.*

    *Claim not valid in: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

  20. Hilarious/brilliant comment, yngdaniel! Yes, the U.S. is the outlier among developed countries — most of which manage to have national healthcare without hurting their economies. (Actually, their economies are helped by it). If a version of Trumpcare gets passed by the Senate, then the U.S. will not only be an outlier, but an…outlierer.

  21. yngdaniel…Hilarious yes…brilliant? Don’t think so. Comparing the US to tiny countries like you posted is like comparing apples to oranges….not a lot of diversity in those countries as well. You realize if you were a conservative I believe they would call that a dog whistle….

  22. Don’t insult me by suggesting I’m dog whistling. I’m saying exactly what I mean in words everyone can understand, and am not stooping to the level of using code words to give me a thin veneer of respectability.

    The fact that the people of my country spend 50-100% more per capita for health care and still have to trade off health care for other basic needs like shelter is a crime. The fact that people with jobs and insurance still need GoFundMe to avoid health care related bankruptcies disgusts me. The fact that people have to donate money to St Jude’s so that children can get cancer treatment “without getting a bill” makes me sick, because every parent in France gets that, from every hospital in France.

    I don’t even come close to understanding how it’s possible to defend spending more while getting less.

  23. A little thin skinned…I was just kidding about the dog whistle. So, you pick France which is considered to be the best free healthcare in the world. Well, it is far from free. It is paid for by higher income taxes and taxes on just about everything. They do a great job with reducing administration costs, paying doctors less, and of course basically no malpractice. (A huge driver of US health costs)
    I do agree that everyone should have a degree of “free” government healthcare.

  24. Malpractice is not a major, or a huge, driver of medical costs. That is so inaccurate I am bewildered over what your source is. Malpractice is a major problem, it is just not a major cost. You are confusing the two.

  25. flipside, you can basically pick any country in Europe, and a child with cancer will be able to get the treatment they need without the parents needing to beg for money to pay for it.

    As to universal health care being paid for by ‘higher’ taxes, that’s not exactly the case either. According to this chart from the OECD:

    We spend more public money per capita on health care than all but 3 countries, Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg. That’s right, the ‘higher taxes’ they pay in France is actually lower than the taxes we pay in the States.

    As to being thin skinned, this topic kind of makes me angry. I can’t read that we pay more per person in health care taxes than France, (and 10 other countries with UHC) and not be angry about it, I just can’t.

  26. Health and education should be human rights for all and not some kind of amazing or humiliating act mercy if you don’t have money to pay.

  27. Some important things are paid for with taxes rather than on an individual “per service” basis — police departments, fire departments, public schools, public libraries. This should also be the case with health care in the U.S.

    Sure, our taxes would go up somewhat, but probably less than what many individuals pay for medical care. Other developed countries “get” this. In the U.S., insurance companies and other medical-related firms don’t want to lose their huge profits and their multi-million-dollar executive salaries — and have the campaign donations and the lobbyists to make our government leaders keep much of health care privatized.

    Plus, there would be so much less stress on people if they didn’t have to worry about going broke because of a medical crisis. (And less stress = better health.)

  28. “I’d just like to see everyone (including very rich individuals and large corporations) pay their fair share of the taxes that fund β€œfree” things and other things”

    Define FAIR SHARE. Is it whatever you say it is? What happens when a year or two years said fair share is no longer enough to foot the bill?

    Don’t bother answering either of those questions, even if you could quantify fair share it is not and will never be enough. The simple fact is that we would need a massive tax hike on the middle class to make single payer work. While many are in favor of single payer, they are not willing to take the required tax hit.

  29. Thanks for the comment, stayhyphy!

    I realize middle-class people would have to pay more taxes to fund national health care. But I think many or most would get back all that money, and more, by having much lower out-of-pocket medical expenses.

    I also agree that “fair share” is hard to define. But I know what it isn’t: some rich executives (such as Trump) paying little or no federal taxes for years, many companies using various loopholes (including incorporating overseas) to lessen their tax bite, etc.

  30. Trump’s doctor is also my doctor. He works on a concierge basis, and gets paid largely out of pocket by his patients. Sooo, no taxpayers are getting screwed here.

  31. Thanks, deadeye!

    Yes, some of the rich pay their own way for medical care. But, in Trump’s case, there’s also a White House physician who taxpayers are at least partly funding. And taxpayers help fund the excellent medical plans enjoyed by members of Congress — including the Republican House members who voted for a Trumpcare bill that could take away insurance from 24 million people.

  32. I’m no fan for congressional perks that insulate them from their constituencies. For what it’s worth, the collectivization of the medical profession is taking it’s toll on independent practitioners. Everyone is being forced by the insurance industry to join these large corporate providers that impose costs and massive bureaucracy. The net effect of this my seem as though there is a cost savings to the patient, but it is an illusion.You may pay a low co-pay, but the cost of the procedure is often wildly inflated. Overall costs are determined by the insurance and provider monoliths, and they’re not lowering prices anytime soon.

  33. You’re right, deadeye — it IS a tough time for independent practitioners. Even if they don’t join a huge practice, they might team up with two or three other doctors. As you allude to, there’s so much paperwork and bureaucracy involved in dealing with insurance companies that it’s better to share that burden. I’m no expert on single payer, but I assume there’s a lot less paperwork and bureaucracy, though it might reduce doctors’ earnings somewhat.

  34. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office yesterday projected that 23 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 under Trumpcare (compared with Obamacare), and also said Trumpcare would undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions. That’s what Rodney Frelinghuysen voted for.

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