Friday, November 29, 2013

Medicine For Our Economy ~ Aziz Anis

Industrialists, CEOs of businesses large and small and their subservient Republican economists are constantly lamenting the decrease of demand for their products and services. It is there standard excuse for not expanding and hiring more workers or for actually firing and reducing their work force in order to cut cost.
It is amazing that these supposedly savvy business leaders can’t realize or are intentionally ignoring and denying the fact that they and their decisions are the main and only reason for their major complaint, which is the lack of demand.
It is their one track mind and their greed in their constant pursuit of increasing their profit margin by cost cutting and only by cost cutting at the expense of their work force, no matter how large their profit margin is already, that is the short sighted, sociopathic sure path to the soaring income and wealth inequality and decimation of the middle class income and buying power that is the direct cause of declining demand.
Cutting reasonable paying jobs and hiring at increasingly lower and lower wages for the same jobs, outsourcing and offshoring manufacturing and service jobs to where salaries are a fraction of what a reasonable living wage should be in the United States drastically depletes the earning and consequently the buying power of the middle class which is practically the main fuel for our economy.
The economy should be thought of as a living breathing organism and money exchanging hands and spreading through it is the blood that runs through its arteries and veins delivering oxygen and nutrition to its every organ invigorating it and keeping it alive, thriving and growing.
The 1% or 2% super rich no matter how much they spend on their obscenely opulent living standard cannot possible contribute anymore than a thimbleful of that precious blood to its total volume that keeps the economy alive and well.
Moreover, hoarding their unimaginably huge profits in overseas accounts and paying an insignificant fraction of their fair share of taxes further depletes our economy from its precious blood. Add to that, all the austerity measures and cuts to the entitlement programs that only benefit the hurting disenfranchised present day middle class by the Republicans while obstructing any measure of tax increase on the super wealthy, as a treatment for our ailing economy only adds insult to injury.
It is analogous to medieval medicine which treated every ailing, anemic, sickly patient by bleeding them or attaching leeches to them to suck their blood and it needs no intelligence to realize what the results for such measures were.
Republicans are our present day medieval physicians and the 1% super rich so called industrialists are the leeches sucking the life out of our economy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How He Made A Nation Believe ~ Ruth Ann Satchfield

I will never forget the first time I became interested in politics. I was 14 years old, and I was supporting John F. Kennedy against Richard M. Nixon. My dad was a truck driver, and the teamsters {truck drivers union} were supporting Vice President Nixon. In those days the members of the union would have political meetings in their homes, and have candidates come talk to the voters. Our good friend and neighbor had such a meeting, and my parents went to talk with the people running for office. Of course at fourteen, I was not invited. It would not have changed my mind. The dashing Kennedy had already stolen my heart, and my vote, {if only I had one}. It was probably the first time I got into any political discussions. Of course my dad wasn't that impressed with my knowledge, thinking the union knew so much more than his fourteen year old daughter.

After he won the election, I followed him, Jackie and their beautiful family as much as I could. President Kennedy was very inspiring to the people my age, and I remember my dad watching the space flights with as much awe as I and my younger siblings did. None of that program would have been possible without the inspiration of John F. Kennedy. He was a person with optimistic ideas for the future, seeing the endless possibilities for our country to do great things. Back then when we had elections, and one side won the country pulled together, including politicians on both sides, to do what was best for the country. As a unit this country could do anything. We proved that with the space program.

It makes me sad to look at the country today, and the destruction one party is willing to cause, just to keep President Obama from achieving anything. I wonder what John F Kennedy would think about the people who have everything, but are so greedy that they will spend money and energy just to get laws passed to leave children, and the elderly with an even more meager existence. What would he think about corporations who pay little or no taxes, yet are pushing to take more from the middle class. John F. Kennedy was considered one of the greatest Presidents we have had, because of his optimistic visions, and his ability to inspire people to do great things for their fellow citizens, and other people around the world. It is so sad that we do not have politicians on both sides of the spectrum that believe in this country, and what we can do when we work together. One side can only do so much. As we honor John F. Kennedy, we should also honor the Republicans of his day for being willing to work with President Kennedy to accomplish so much, during his short term as president. Just think what we could accomplish today, if we had statesmen instead of obstructionists.

Yes, I remember where I was when President Kennedy was killed. I will never forget. More than that I will always remember how he made a nation believe that all things were possible, and a fourteen year old high school student feel that she was part of a wonderful world filled with opportunities. Wouldn't it be nice if our children could enjoy that feeling today?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Buzz Words Like Socialism ~ Ruth Ann Satchfield

Is your state one of the twenty five states who have refused to expand Medicaid? Are you supporting this decision? When I watch Ted Cruz's page there are a lot of uninformed people supporting him. They seem to think that if you are poor and don't have the money to pay for care, you shouldn't receive it. They use buzz words like socialism and communism, without knowing what these words mean. What they don't understand is that we the people will be paying for their care in the emergency room, sooner or later. Not only could the care come too late to save lives, it may come too late to help the patients live productive lives. That means we pay huge costs for emergency room care, then Medicaid will have to continue providing care for someone who can no longer work and pay taxes. It is a lose, lose situation. 

But, oh well, at least you won't have socialism. I take it, you right wing thinkers want to get rid of all socialism. Yes? Well lets start with the sports stadiums that are built with taxpayer money all over this country. First these team owners can afford to build their own stadiums, yet they expect the taxpayers to fund them. Republican and Democratic communities have been building them for years. The leaders tell the communities that they will all benefit from building the stadiums even if they can never afford to attend a game. Oops, that is socialism. No more stadiums. Thanks to MSNBC's "The Last Word" television program for reminding me of this.

Most hospitals are at least partly supported and built with taxpayer dollars. When tax dollars are paid to support farmers, it is suppose to benefit us all in keeping food prices reasonable. That is socialism. Schools, roads, waterways, lakes, dams, parks, zoos, museums, airports, bus stations, railroad stations, medical research and ports usually receive help, if not their total support from tax payers, and are socialistic. What are you willing to give up? If you are going to buy the right wing dogma that all socialism is bad, I guess all of them. 

One more thought, you Republicans love the might of the military, and are always ready to spend taxpayer dollars directly to the military industrial complex. Did you know the military is the biggest socialistic organization we have? Think about it. No socialism, no military.

If you are going to promote the right wing propaganda, you should at least understand what you are promoting, and how it affects this country. Too many of you spout talking points without understanding the consequences.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Everyone Deserves Healthcare ~ Gail Stone

More I learned yesterday at the clinic about the ACA and how it makes healthcare better-

1. If you have a pre-existing condition, you are able to obtain coverage.

This I find very important. First, because it's the right thing to do. How stupid that insurance companies were previously allowed to tell us that they would not cover anything that we had been made aware of prior to applying for coverage! Second, this change may not have been so necessary during my parents generation. My dad was employed with the same company for 50+ years. Those were the days when companies had a sense of loyalty to their employees, when there were strong unions fighting for the rights of workers. Today's workplace presents an entirely different set of circumstances. Employers don't feel obligated to their employees. Long term employees are often seen as a liability, rather than an asset. Unions have been weakened or busted altogether. Many long term employees find themselves suddenly out of a job and in the job market looking for a company that will take them on. If those employees are fortunate enough to find employment, guess what? They are likely going to be applying for health insurance associated with their new position. Prior to the ACA, they were simply out of luck if they had a pre-existing heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes or any of the ailments that are common to an aging population. Thanks to the ACA we can now change jobs without fear that our healthcare will be on the line. THAT is liberating! Really, do you know any 50ish year olds who do not have a pre-existing condition????

2. There are no lifetime limits. The health insurance company will keep paying your healthcare needs no matter how much they cost.

Most people don't realize their policy has a lifetime limit. But prior to the ACA, they did. This is one of the reasons the insurance industry sunk so much money, and garnered the support of the GOP, into their efforts to stop the ACA from becoming law. That's right, I said LAW! The ACA is the law now! Thank you Mr. President!
Yes, previously, most all policies had a lifetime limit. That meant that if you got sick, I mean really sick! Let's say you got diagnosed with cancer, for instance, you would likely reach a point when you no longer had any coverage to help with your care.
Come on now, THAT is precisely the time when one might NEED their insurance. But the insurance companies had the game rigged. Most of us were simply not aware of it, because we never had to go down that road.

3. Increased coverage for children. Kids can stay on their parents plan until they are 26 years old.

And, they can stay on even if they are married! I'm not exactly sure of the prior parameters associated with continued coverage for adult children. But, I do know that for children past a certain age, coverage only was allowed to continue IF the child was in college. Should i point out that such a regulation is designed to favor a particular economic group - namely children who were fortunate enough to be able to afford to go to college? Also, some children do not CHOOSE to go the conventional route in terms of education and career choices. For instance, I have a niece who opted to go to school to become a dog groomer. Now, she deserves health insurance just like everyone else!

4. More opportunities for subsidies. The goal is to make sure EVERYONE can afford health insurance. In some cases, the government helps pay for your premium through tax subsidy.

How does the tax subsidy work? You may qualify for a subsidy that will help pay for your monthly premium. In order to qualify, you must make between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. If you qualify, your subsidy is based on your income and family size.
This is an attribute of the ACA law that I am very appreciative of, since it happens to apply to me. I will now be able to afford a policy that will meet my needs. Let me tell you, this is, for me, one of the most important aspects of the new law. If you have never raised a child without health insurance, you do not truly understand the concept of stress! I did it, and many other parents have done it too. It's time for the working poor of this country to breathe a little sigh of relief!!
And, thankfully, our president did not make this contingent upon whether the governor of the particular state we live in cooperated with his request that they expand their Medicaid programs to include the working poor. He offered all states 100% reimbursement by the federal government if they would do so. The governor of Mississippi, the state I live in, chose not to cooperate. Hey, guvna, I'm getting healthcare anyway!! BAM!!!!!!

This is not a partisan issue, but it has been turned into such. Now I ask you, really, don't you agree?? Everyone deserves healthcare!!!!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

10 Things A Policy Must Do To Conform With ACA ~ Gail Stone

While at the healthcare clinic today I took advantage of the opportunity to meet with the person who has been employed to assist patients with applying for insurance offered through the state market.
I have heard so much screaming about the fact that some people are being notified by their insurance companies that their previously held policies would be cancelled. Well, the president took care of that for you today. Those who held such policies will now be able to hang on to them for one more year. If you think that's a good thing, you are being extremely short sighted. But, he did it. Now it's in the lap of your insurance company when you get sick and are not covered.
Why were such policies at risk of being cancelled? Because they did not meet certain criteria as mandated by the ACA. There are ten things the law says a policy must do in order to be considered a valid policy. It must provide:

1. Ambulatory services
2. Emergency services
3. Hospitalization
4. Mental health and substance use disorder services. including behavioral health treatment
5. Maternity and newborn care
6. Prescription drugs
7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
8. Laboratory services
9. Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
10. Pediatric services, including dental and vision

If you think that an insurance company will not sell you a policy that is a piece of crap and does not provide the are living in la la land. They are perfectly willing to take your money, and just as willing to watch you struggle if you get sick, or unexpectedly pregnant. (That's right, boys and girls, birth control sometimes fails. Then what?)

Presidential Lies Are Not Created Equal ~Eric Smith

No presidential lie is ever a good thing; intentional or not. However if a president is going to lie I would much rather it be over an effort to make the sick healthy rather than to make the healthy die. No one will die or be maimed for life because of what President Obama failed to disclose in regards to whether or not people would be able to keep their existing health care plan. Those who originally lost their health care in spite of his earlier assurances that they wouldn't, lost it for one reason and one reason alone; because the policies that were dropped did not meet the new Federal standards which ensured wider coverage and greater guarantees that people would not go bankrupt trying to pay for treatment that their original policies would not cover.

Now some will say a lie is a lie is a lie but understand that not all lies are created equal; not all lies have the same catastrophic consequences. So to those who want to compare President Barack Obama to former President George W. Bush just remember that the so called lie President Obama told led to the shock of having one's coverage unexpectedly dropped. It did not kill or maim anybody whereas the lies President Bush told in order to justify going to war with Iraq, killed & maimed thousands of our men & women in uniform, and caused millions more to lose their homes, jobs, and life savings because of the resulting tanked economy.

Those who lost their health care will get it back; they will be covered, and they would have been covered even if the president did not allow them to keep their existing substandard plans for a year. Yet those who died because of that war in Iraq are never coming back. Those who were needlessly maimed in that war will never be restored to physical & mental health, and those who lost their homes, their jobs, and life savings are unlikely to ever recover their sense of security & peace of mind; all of which were lost because a previous president lied about the reasons for taking this great country into war.

Again, Presidential lies; while terrible, are not created equal and if you doubt this merely pay visit to a military cemetery where these dead warriors from the Iraq War are buried. Visit a military hospital or any psychiatric ward were many survivors of that needless war remain forever maimed in body and soul. Pay a visit to the grieving family members and the shattered family members forever burdened with these wounded warriors care. Speak to those who've lost their homes, their jobs, and their life savings,and then if you dare ask them which presidential lie was worse; one made to make a people whole or one told to tear two nations apart.

Working Together for Successful Change ~ Tom Murren

Working Together for Successful Change
To Ending the Political Madness in Today’s America
November 14, 2013 by Tom Murren

Like most of Americans I know, I have been increasingly alarmed and frustrated by a number of reactionary trends we’ve been seeing take place in America over the last 20 years; from the growing political divide we now have in our country, that basically has crippled our governing bodies; to the ever increasing DIN of “destructive and na├»ve” voices spreading hate and fear coming from various different “radical” right-winged minority factions from all walks of life – groups that on their own, would be viewed as “social wing-nuts”, but groups who are being financially backed and promoted by a very focused, well-funded, intellectual group of well-orchestrated corporate giants; the American OLIGARCHS, like the Koch Brothers; who are MANIPULATING these radical factions to advance their own agendas to deregulate America, and yield greater profits on the backs of the “average American”.

As these “rag-tag” collective groups of people are better funded, and as a whole, have become “better skilled at working together”, they, in aggregate, have COLLECTIVELY been gaining ground and momentum, and have been increasingly successful in undermining ALL of our sectarian structures of governance, have been altering our American political landscape, and are collectively working to “chip away” at the very foundation of our democracy and social integrity. In 20

But, in spite of their LOUD noise and the broad reach of their “destructive” collective objectives, WE must never lose sight that WE still represent the MAJORITY of American, and MORE and MORE Americans are becoming alarmed. It is HIGH-TIME to take our country back from these hungry wolves.

A “PROGRESSIVE STRATEGY” for taking back America:
This paper is intended to be a “constructive work” – one that can help EACH of us learn to effectively amplify “our individual voice” by working in coordination with other “like-minded” Progressive people. 

This work combines a brief outline of who the “radical-right” are, and history of how we got here, and what we must do, to guarantee “the will” of the majority prevails and preserves our beloved democracy.

This paper is essentially a HOW-TO guide of how and where we can ALL meet and forge together; HOW we can successfully exert our COLLECTIVE clout and voices; to keep the far-right in CHECK from gaining any more ground; and, to minimize “each” group from further advancing THEIR individual agendas. 

Each of the strategies I’ll mention are already in place, and growing numbers of people have been, and continue to work together using existing strategies already ”in-place”. What is SIMPLY needed is for MORE PEOPLE to get involved in still GREATER participation, and for EVERY ONE of us working together in still GREATER unison.

If you are reading this paper, you already have the competency and many of the skill sets needed. 

(1) WORK to get out the vote (aka “GOTV”) in support of people and referendums you believe in.
(2) Stop our “bitching and moaning” and take CONSTRUCTIVE action. 
(3) Collaborate and WORK TOGETHER in unison, with our fellow “center-left” allies. 
(4) Don’t “re-invent” the wheel. Identify and use existing structures, methods and tools, in social/public media, in organization that work - to amplify our voices in orchestrated unison with others GROUP setting(s), to perform much like a strong choir performing in a powerful recital.
(5) EDUCATE ourselves and the masses of American voters whom may not be currently involved, but, are already ON THE SAME PLATE in their sentiments, and GET OUT THE VOTE (ie: “GOTV”).
(6) EDUCATING ourselves and “our allies” of WHO our opponents are, and understanding their methods being used.
(7) Keeping the public’s eyes on what is REALLY happening by constantly focusing on our opponents tactics, successes and failures.

Our opponents have been very successful in consolidating together. They continue their drive to divide us and the politically non-aligned, by USING FEAR, REDUNDANCY, “false-morality principles”, and deceit. Their sole COLLABORATIVE goal is to stifle and undermine ANY political clout of EVERY ONE who does not share in “their visions”. 

How do WE succeed in countering their efforts? 
Simple – we must understand their agendas and their game plan, and begin, working TOGETHER as a unit.

WHAT should we do?
ALWAYS take the HIGH GROUND, arm ourselves with the TRUTH, and grow our coalitions with the facts.

WHAT do we each need to do, and HOW do we take ACTION working together with others and do so effectively? 

Simple – 
(1) KNOW YOURSELF - understand YOUR GIFTS and LIMITATIONS…we all have a combination of each, and we each have a LOT to bring to the table.
(2) KEEP AWARE and UP TO DATE -- KNOW “what” and with “whom” we are REALLY up against. PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE is an effective tool, to help each of us prepare to separate out “propaganda / deceitfulness” from the FACTS. To do so, we each need to stay informed, vocalizing the truth. 
(3) Be ACTIVELY INVOLVED in our democratic process.
(4) REACH OUT TO OTHERS and TEACH THEM factual information you’ve learned.
(5) PERSONALLY “VOTE” in each and every election.
(6) HELP in getting out the vote of others …. EVERY ELECTION is critical.
(7) STAYING INVOLVED as activists who are willing to work to save what we all hold dear. 
(8) Participate in every way you can. LEARN NEW TECHNIQUES and FIND NEW GROUPS who are collaborating and “working together” for change. 
i. Toward that end, I recently joined a FACEBOOK group called “PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS – MOVING FORWARD, NOT BACK”. This group is actively working with another organization called UNITEBLUE.ORG. These are groups of people who have banded together – and USE TOOLS (like TWITTER) in concerted ways, to reach out to MILLIONS of other Americans at a time. Find these, or similar groups, PARTICIPATE, and learn HOW to outreach “with others” effectively.

Essentially, we use the same strategies used SUCCESSFULLY by President Barrack Obama during his 2008 Presidential campaign, and the same techniques NOW being used effectively by our “radical” opponents on the right.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Are Our Children Important To You? ~ Ruth Ann Satchfield

As a friend said recently, it is only lip service to say that children are important in this country. If children were really important here, their education and their well-being would be a lot higher on the agenda of Congress. I know children do not vote, but their parents and grandparents DO vote, so where are they? Remember the old saying "put your money where your mouth is?" An average U.S. teacher makes $47,000 per year, but actual pay ranges from a little over $34,000 to a little over $58,000. If money denotes importance, why does a teacher make an average of $47,000 while an average executive makes $754,972? 

Some people do not understand why our children are only 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math in rankings among similar nations. We spend more to educate each child than anyone except Luxembourg [//
// //].

America spends more of our tax dollars on military readiness than any country in the world; it actually spends the same as the next 15 countries combined. This money does not go to the care of our military personnel and their families, but to the military industrial complex. "Basic pay for an O-7 to O-10 is limited by Level II of the Executive Schedule which is $14,975.10. Basic pay for O-6 and below is limited by Level V of the Executive Schedule which is $12,141,60" [//].

Many of the enlisted service people earn a very small salary, but there are other benefits, like housing (which can be considerable depending on where you must live) and medical care. Our people risk their lives for this country, and yet are paid so little that some need food stamps and subsidized school lunches to feed their families. At times I have wondered if it was only important to Republicans that our children be able to carry a gun or drive a tank in some foreign country. Well, they need to open their eyes! Warfare has changed; now our children need more math and computer skills to defend our nation, and if our children do not get a good education, they will not be prepared to manage the military's advanced weaponry at all.

Republicans have disparaged education, yet the ability to increase the GDP for this country is tied to the ability to educate our children and to turn out more college graduates. It is very important for our future and will determine our ranking in the world. Make no mistake about it: it is Republican representatives who demand austerity in this country. They will not let taxes be raised to pay for the products and services the government has already bought; instead, they take that money out of services and programs needed by the poorest people of this nation. Without these services, the United States is falling behind, and our investment in its future lost.

If we invest in the well-being and advancement of our children's minds, we get that money back tenfold. If we invest in the latest weaponry, that weaponry - like our computers or cell phones - is outdated almost by the time it is delivered. I am not saying we do not need weapons, but we can cut back and order less, and invest instead in something that would pay off in the future, people. The Republicans claim to be the "values" party, but whose values? Are our children important to you? Are our soldiers important to you? If they are, why would you vote Republican?