Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WTF Paul Ryan?: Healthcare, George Bailey and American Greatness

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. – Preamble to the United States Constitution

It is our patriotic duty to strive perennially toward this ideal of a more perfect Union.

Paul Ryan and other Republicans have touted the possible repeal of the ACA as a liberating event, freeing individuals from the burden of “having” to have insurance. That it is “merciful” to eliminate the ACA.


I would argue with their definition of liberty – of freedom.

It seems to me much more liberating to be free from the fear that a health event, even somewhat minor, could disrupt the balance of the paycheck-to-paycheck existence of most Americans.

My Secret Shame - The Atlantic

Because we love anecdotal “evidence” – let me put this in personal terms – I was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. It is an ongoing condition for me. My loved ones, my family: my mother – my father – my sister – have had catastrophic illnesses - cancer. Do you know how much it costs to have cancer? Even if you have insurance. Do you know what it feels like to be perpetually terrified that you won’t be able to work or that your job will go away and you could lose your health insurance? A friend of mine recently died of Leukemia. Throughout his illness he worried that he wouldn’t be able to work. In the early 2000s I knew a man who brought his IV tree to work with him as he was being treated for a very rare form of cancer. I remember Clare who didn’t get follow up radiation for breast cancer because her insurance didn’t cover it and she couldn’t afford it, Clare died. – How to pay for staying alive should not even be a thing in the wealthiest country on the planet.

Who, with any good conscience, could argue that this kind of fear is freedom?

No one should ever have to delay treatment because they lack funds.
No one should ever be financially wiped out because they became sick.
No one should ever have to worry about how to pay for treatment as they’re fighting to stay alive.

All of those “go fund me” campaigns for families suffering through illness – WTF? How is this how we go about things?

Yes – we as a nation will have to pay for these things. No it should not be paid for on the backs of the working class, the middle class, the working poor, the elderly, the impoverished – the 80+%.

Wealth Gap - Pew Research

“Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.” – George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

Our national fortune, our greatness, our standing in the world is only as strong as this 80+%. It is this majority that created the wealth that the 20% now benefit from. It is this 80+% that fight the wars, work in the factories, own the small businesses, work in the fields, wash the dishes, serve your dinner, raise the children – and buy all the things you want them to buy – and pay the majority of taxes. They are the source of your – all our - wealth and it’s not unreasonable to expect that a nation to which they have given so much should insure their health.

“Why -- here, you're all businessmen here. Don't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? – George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

It is not too much ask that those who have benefited the most from these labors should give back proportionally …

We need an end to political posturing. We need bipartisan leadership that puts the welfare of the people before the profits of corporations. We need to fix Healthcare not eliminate it. Populism, in its truest form, is concern for the common people. Let us be Populists then as demonstrated through action rather than rhetoric.

The Senate Health care bill isn't Populism - Washington Post

PS – money should not equal speech, it will forever shout down “we the people,” and will most often speak in the interests of itself.

George Bailey's speech to the board, It's a Wonderful Life You should read this - really.

Joe Kennedy v Paul Ryan - sorry I couldn't find a better clip of this

Thursday, June 22, 2017

An unfiltered Letter to the Democratic Leadership ...

Dear Democratic Party Leadership –

Here’s some critique and some advice from a white female educated southerner who now lives in Ohio but goes home regularly. For the record I’m middle-class and, so far, a yellow-dog Democrat.

1. You need to get your sh*t together.

2. Develop real economic, educational, international and social agendas with real policies and how-tos – Invite in all the smart people to work on this. It’s not a party platform to say we’re not Trump. Trump is lifestyles of the rich and famous. People are not going to turn away from that if you don’t offer something real. Also you have to address this line of “personal responsibility” that folks like Ryan spout. There’s a fantasy that there are scores of people not taking responsibility and the rest of us are suffering for it – there are, but they’re not who they’re saying it is.

3. Develop bipartisan strategies. Identify people across the aisle you can work with. Help the Republicans moderate. Make this part of what sets you apart – educate the public on what is good government and best governing practices. (Look into this so you know what you’re talking about.) Don’t attack someone just because they’re a Republican – make it worth their while to work with you. Become the grown ups we so desperately need. A functioning government requires dialogue, compromise and coalitions. We need to move away from all or nothing.

4. Pick your candidates and establish strategies now for 2018 and 2020 – manage expectations. You screwed the pooch on this in Georgia. Georgia was actually a win because it was a fight and it got a message out but you lost this gain when you failed to manage expectations.

5. Stop eating your young. This Bernie vs. Hillary thing is absolute bullshit. Identify talent – cultivate it – push it. You're distracting from your "young" talent by all of 2016 rehash. Do understand what you did right, and what you did wrong, but not everyone needs to be at the autopsy.

6. Develop strategies and best practices for being heard on social media. Educate your field troops in how to go about it. You suck at this. You try to play Trump,’s game and it stinks. It stinks when they do it and it stinks worse when you do it. Stop the hyperbole. Stop the name-calling. Go troll hunting but don’t be a troll. Let the professionals - the Baldwins, Larry Wilmore, Robin Thede, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, etc. - handle that – they’re very good at it and its funny. Everyone else - at every turn speak truth to power but do it without Bullshit. Call out racism, sexism, classism, homophobia – at every turn – but do it without bullshit.

7. Inform and persuade. Take the time to inform people as to what Populism should be, the differences between private and public and what it means to provide for the common defense – the limits of libertarianism – how bias works and how f**ked up our legal system is, etc.

8. The accusation that you’re elitists is mostly true. Those not like you, who don’t agree with you, you hold in contempt and you heap ridicule upon them. The Right and alt-right does this too and to a greater degree, that doesn’t make it good, right, or fair. Our culture is drowning in contempt. Yes – there are people with some mind-blowing views but you have to do the hard work of winning hearts and minds. Some of those ideas are soul-cringingly repugnant (white nationalism for example), but if we don’t take it on at its core, we will never “win” – (stop a moment and think about what “winning” should mean). Check your prejudices at the door – (as a white southerner with a certain accent I’ve run into this) - all of them. Figure out why folks on the other side think the things they do and speak to it. Build a coalition with the religious left. Don’t shy away from religious issues. Have a real economic strategy for areas that struggle economically. Education is part of this and not just jobs training, but the kind of education that can lead to careers. Identify the drivers of homegrown economies that can lead to economic stability in areas like the South, the Rustbelt, the Midwest, those Urban centers that are struggling – what is your plan to build the middleclass? How do you cultivate entrepreneurship and small businesses? Stop writing off “Red” states – go there – talk to people about what matters to them – F**king persuade them. Be in this for the long haul – have principles and risk losing for them – know what you’ll die on your sword for – make sure people know what these are. We are in a fight for the soul of this nation - f**king act like it.

9. Give people room to change – when a public figure yields ground let them – praise them – give them credit – when they uncynically apologize or “flop” on an important issue – support that – keep watching - but give them room to come around.

10. Manage expectations – yours and others.

11. Have a f**king vision.