From Bad to Worse: Trumpcare 2.0 is a Prescription for Disaster

When it comes to attempts to deprive more people of access to affordable heath care, Trump and the Republicans are like a stubborn bacterial infection that just won’t go away. Now they’re at again with what everyone is calling Trumpcare 2.0.  And, it promises to be (shudder) even worse than the first. So get busy now signing petitions, calling your representatives and senators. Tell them Trumpcare 2.0 needs to be DOA (Dead On Arrival)!

What makes it so bad? In an effort to cater to the House Freedom Caucus, tea party fascists who would make Simon Legree look like a saint, Trump and the GOP are trying to incorporate more conservative, i.e. draconian, policies in this version of their health care plan. According to msn.com, the key part of this new plan would “allow states to choose whether to keep the ACA’s insurance protection for people with preexisting medical problems and its guarantee of specific health benefits.”

 

In the same msn.com story, it was noted that “public sentiment is particularlylopsided in favor of an aspect of the current health-care law that blocks insurers from charging more or denying coverage to customers with medical conditions. Roughly 8 in 10 Democrats, 7 in 10 independents and even a slight majority of Republicans say that should continue to be a national mandate, rather than an option for states to retain or drop.”

For Republicans, it’s an easy way to pass the buck and the blame down to the states, although they’re getting some resistance from even red state governors. And considering the numbers above, it’s not hard to see why.

 

But here’s an even bigger warning flag: Republicans in Congress want to exempt themselves from the new act’s provisions! According to a Vox.com article on msn.com, “House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts Members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.”

 

“Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) who authored this amendment confirmed this was the case: members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping this Obamacare regulations.”

Just to emphasize, the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) includes a provision which mandates that all members of Congress and their staffs must obtain their health coverage in the individual market the same as ACA enrollees. The idea behind it made a lot of sense — if it was good enough for the American people, it was good enough for their representatives.

So that should give you some insight into just how bad the proposed Trumpcare 2.0 will be, if Republicans want to exempt themselves from it. But we shouldn’t be shocked, right? Raise your hand if you’re were surprised by this revelation … hmmm … that’s what I thought! You had to see that coming.

Now, I can speak for myself in saying that if it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act, I could not afford health insurance. And even then, the deductibles and co-pays have me postponing or skipping some things, even when my doctor has recommended them. That’s one of the reasons I’m in favor of a single-payer system such as medicare for all.

Now, just to cover a few particularly ire-inducing rationales behind the conservatives’ approach to gutting the ACA. First, they want to give tax breaks to the wealthy, which must be offset by cuts or elimination of subsidies for those who can’t otherwise afford insurance. Second, they want to give insurance companies the opportunity to charge older Americans almost twice what they’re allowed to charge under the ACA. And, third, they claim that his will encourage more efficient use of services and thus drive down the cost of health care. THESE RATIONALES ARE ALL BULLSH-T!!!!!

Forgive my outburst, but I have a very low tolerance for conservative crap and what they’re peddling now stinks worse than a manure pit in the middle of a July heat wave! And it just goes to show, that Trump and the GOP are looking after their fat cat supporters and not the voters. Besides, since they’re exempting themselves, why should they care how bad Trumpcare 2.0 is?

Health care is not a commodity that you really have a choice in. It’s not like putting off getting a broken leg fixed until there’s a special on orthopedic services or waiting to get a heart valve replacement until you have discount coupons. Plus, if people can’t get coverage or afford services, they’ll wait until they’re so sick that an ambulance winds up bringing them to an ER where it costs a lot more money to care for them. And we will end up footing the bill through higher taxes, higher costs for care ourselves and the spread of diseases that could have been prevented if treated early.

NOTE TO CONSERVATIVES: You will still end up paying for health care one way or the other. You can’t run from it and you can’t hide! You can fix the ACA while we work toward medicare for all or similar single-payer system or you can pay when what you’re doing now bites you in the wallet and the ballot box later.

Contact your representatives in both houses of Congress now and tell them to pull the plug on Trumpcare 2.0 before it wrecks the health of all Americans!

KEEP FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY, JUSTICE AND COMPASSION!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Marching Against Greed and Ignorance

I made my sign for the Tax March on Friday night, but was too sick to attend on Saturday.

While issues in my personal life kept me from participating in the local Tax March and the March for Science, I stand with my fellow concerned citizens who are trying to stop the current administration’s mad rush to devastate the middle and lower classes financially plus ravage our environment. What’s behind this mad rush? It’s fueled by a “political” formula of sorts: Greed + Ignorance = Power x Stupidity = Disaster.

Call it a formula or a recipe, the result is the same. If allowed to continue unchecked, Trump and the GOP will do more damage to America than Kim Jung Un could ever do even in his wildest dreams. And you can thank the Citizens United decision for that. If it seems like I keep coming back to this, there’s a good reason. Everything we’ve been protesting against is a result of the 2016 election results and how ridiculous sums of money, along with some timely help from Trump’s Russian buddies, conned America.

The amount of money tainting our election process is obscene!

Last week, we had the Tax March to demand that Trump release his tax returns,which shouldn’t be a problem if he has nothing to hide. Apparently, he must be hiding something then. But the Tax March was also an opportunity to protest the sense of entitlement the wealthy seem to feel. Their owned GOP representatives keep coming up with tax breaks for people who don’t need them and aren’t going to use the extra money to create jobs. And here’s why, based on my analysis of information found on open secrets.org.

“In the 2016 election cycle, 12 of the 20 top individual political donors contributed $19,465,831.00 in hard money directly to the Republican party and its candidates.  But that’s not all. Seven of these same 12, plus two spouses not in the list of 12, contributed $166,780,558.00 to Super Pacs supporting conservative causes. And that does not even include corporate contributions as well as other large individual contributors. If they can afford to spend that much to buy politicians, they can damn well afford to pay their fair share of taxes instead of shifting the burden onto the poor and working classes.

Greed and ignorance are a toxic combination when it comes to our environment.

These people, and their corporate brethren, are also the ones fighting to discredit science, whether it’s about vaccinations, global warming, air and water pollution, or food safety. Interestingly enough, they think science is great when it comes up with money-making products companies can sell, but not when it indicates they need to change how they operate. Companies will spend fortunes on tainted research to support their current way of doing things, lobbying state and federal governments and buying elections. They should just spend that money on complying with regulations.

The other thing all this money does is purchase ignorance. Say what? Yes, it buys ignorance through disinformation spread through fake news outlets to discredit climate change and blame environmental regulations for killing jobs and whole industries. And people believed it enough to elect the most dangerous government we’ve ever had.

We need to keep marching, keep protesting and keep pushing back against these threats to our survival at all levels! We must bleed the conservative donors dry by mounting serious races to oust their chosen representatives and replace them with progressives. The conservatives had better be looking over their shoulder, because we are coming after them.

Join the revolution and fight for our rights, our planet and our survival!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Put A Little Love In Your Heart This Easter

New beginnings. Re-birth. Spring. Hope. And, most importantly, love. Today, we celebrate another Easter. In the Christian faith, it is the promise of eternal life as Jesus rose from the dead. But what is the real message that we take away from this holiday?

While I have preached in a church before, this is not a sermon. It is simply an opportunity to share a wish for today. As we celebrate the Resurrection, there is a simple message in this act — love. God loved the world so he sacrificed his only son for us. Jesus loved us so much that he died for our sins so we could have a chance at salvation.

Jesus did not lead a massive army of holy warriors to strike down sinners. Jesus did not set himself apart from those others deemed unworthy and chastise them for being poor. Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” But why did he say that is the second most important commandment after “love thy God with all thy heart?” I believe that it is the crucial test of our beliefs and one too many self-proclaimed Christians fail. That’s because it is much easier to hate someone than it is to love them as they are. Very similar to the differences between the light and dark sides of the Force in Star Wars, if you prefer a more contemporary analogy.

In truth, this message transcends denominations, regions, nationalities, races, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, social status, financial means and political affiliations. Hate is easy … and dangerous. Love is hard, but brings with it hope and peace.

So today, I’ll leave you with a wish embodied in this song from my teenage years by Jackie DeShannon, Put A Little Love In Your Heart.

Happy Easter!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Hate Politics? Then Get Involved And Fight For Change

Okay, so it sounds counterintuitive to tell someone who hates politics to get involved in politics, right? But, what I’m postulating is that to save our country and our democracy, we have to shake up the system from the grassroots up. We have become increasingly polarized and extremely partisan to the point that we need to blow up the system to fix it.

In my last post, I pointed out how the Republicans had used sophisticated techniques to guide redistricting in states where they controlled the legislatures to assure that only Republicans would be elected to represent those districts. It took gerrymandering (a tool of both parties) to a dangerous new level. However, that is not the only factor.

Recently, an analysis of voting patterns has revealed another intriguing reason why so many Congressional seats are considered so safe. It appears that in much of the country, people tend to locate in states, regions and even neighborhoods with politically like-minded people. A CNN.com article explains this in more detail.

So, what does this have to do with people who hate talking about politics? Because in many places, their vote doesn’t count anymore if they don’t agree with their representative. It’s simple and scary. So, we have to get into a national discussion and rock the effing boat until we get heard!

So, here are my unsolicited suggestions for how to destroy the current status quo and rebuild a better democracy that truly represents the will of the people while also protecting the rights of minorities.

• First, let’s make being an elected representative a temporary job so we continually get fresh views in Congress. I recommend a limit of no more than 2 consecutive terms in the House of Representatives and Senate (with maxim of 4 terms total) and two four-year terms maximum (non-consecutive) for the president and vice-president. Also, the vice-president cannot run to immediately succeed the president he/she was vice-president under.

• Second, all redistricting should be done by bipartisan commissions in each state so that they better reflect the interests of all the people, including by race, gender and other criteria.

• Registering to vote and voting should be made more easily accessible for all American citizens.

• Campaign finance laws need to be reformed so that corporations may not donate to individual candidates or political action committees. There shall also be a maximum limit on individual contributions to any candidate directly or through a political action committee.

These are my suggestions for continually bringing fresh views to Washington, scrambling the partisanship and seeing if we can get real change accomplished. Got ideas of your own? Feel free to share.

We need to make our government more responsive to the will and the needs of all the people!

A sustainable democracy demands a commitment from its people!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

An Uncivil War: Reclaiming Our Rights From The Red Menace

During my early years in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Red Menace was communism, a totalitarian form of government, primarily promoted by the Soviet Union and Red China, that allowed no dissent and placed ultimate power in the hands of corrupt men of low morals and and non-existent ethics. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, we thought, with the exception of Red China (and the hemorrhoid known as North Korea), the Red Menace was pretty much defeated. Little did we know that it had just moved to America and found rebirth in the Republican party.

I am quite sure that Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, two of our most important presidents, would be appalled at what their Republican party has become — a tool of the wealthy and corporations dedicated to trampling out individual rights and maintaining dictatorial power. It is beyond shameful. It is treasonous and un-American.

Sour grapes? Partisanship, you say? Not anymore. With today’s vote in the Senate by the GOP to change Senate rules, the last protection against the blatant misuse of power by the Republicans has been eliminated. However, the so-called nuclear  option has one thing in common with real nukes — you can’t escape the fallout.

Perhaps the most telling commentary on today’s situation is a Facebook post by a dear friend that I found both tragic and very much on point. My friend Heather posted, “What is the point of pretending we live in a democracy?” When I saw that today, it ripped my heart out and fueled a burning rage inside. How dare the right wing destroy everything we’d been taught to believe in!

Now, lest you think that I am just mad ’cause we lost in 2016, I should point out a couple of very disturbing things. Key among them are irregularities in the election process, such as Russian hacking and dissemination of Democratic party emails with the intent of influencing voters to elect Donald Trump, and a sophisticated, but illegal gerrymandering process initiated by the GOP designed to establish and perpetuate minority rule in this country. How, un-American can you get?!

Earlier this week at my local Drinking Liberally meeting in Windsor, CT, I got to hear author David Daley discuss the Republican Party’s audacious and un-democratic moves that he articulates in his book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright). It is both compelling and freakin’ scary. As Daley emphasized every so often in his presentation, “You may want to order another drink!”

Simply from his synopsis, I would highly recommend buying and reading his book. At the same time, I would also hide any firearms because you might be tempted to pick them up and start a war all on your own. But don’t, yet. We still have options and we can always hope Mitch McConnell dies a horrible, painful death. No, I’m not advocating that anyone attack him, but I sure as hell won’t refrain from celebrating anything bad that happens to him.

Sorry, I digressed, but I feel much better. Anyway, Daley’s book describes how the GOP used lots of outside, dark money (thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision) to gain control of select state legislatures in order to gerrymander redistricting to create perpetual Republican districts. As a result, while total votes favor Democrats, districts are set up to guarantee a Republican victory. It essentially dilutes and even negates non-Republican votes on a scale that reeks of dictatorship.

An article on Daley’s book in The New Yorker highlights this even better with a quote from “Turd Blossom” as he was called by George W. Bush.

“People call us a vast right-wing conspiracy,” Karl Rove told potential donors to the project at an early fund-raiser in Dallas. “But we’re really a half-assed right-wing conspiracy. Now it’s time to get serious.”

Using this “conspiracy,” Mitch McConnell and the whole Red Menace of GOP stalwarts stole the Supreme Court position they just elevated Neil Gorsuch to fill. Here’s hoping he has a fatal accident on the way to take his post. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving right-wing hack!

So what do we do? First, buy all the assault weapons and ammo you can. Then bury them somewhere safe. (I am not advocating violence, but if they think we’re as well armed as their right wing militias, they’ll think twice about starting anything.) Next, stand united with your fellow protestors. This is a communal effort.We are in this together! (Never forget that!) Then, rally to hold the governorships because they can veto any further GOP gerrymandering!!!! Plus, hang on to all state and local seats!!! We have to stop the GOP locally!! Then, we can move up the chain. It’s like the FBI taking out the Mob underlings to get at the bosses!

Our democracy may be on life support at the moment, but it’s not dead! And it’s up to true “blue” patriots to bring it back from the brink! It’s about activism, being united and never surrendering!

DEFEAT THE REPUBLICAN RED MENACE!!!!!

The Divine Miss Bri

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather

Standing Together: The CT Rally To Support Trans Youth

We won’t go back! Step by step, we’re moving forward!

For the second very chilly Saturday in a row, I’ve been proud to be able to publicly march and stand with others who share the same ideals. As a transwoman, today’s event was especially personal as I joined a surprisingly large number of people, considering the weather, on the steps of the Connecticut Supreme Court for the CT Rally to Support Trans Youth. It was also great to see some familiar faces from the trans community as well as friends and fellow activists. The sun even poked out for awhile as if to show its support!

Growing up is hard enough as it is, but when you’re a trans youth it becomes all that much harder even if you have support. Unfortunately, too many trans youth lack that support at home, school and the community. Here in Connecticut, the transgender community has far more rights and access to services than most states in this country. Even so, trans youth still face a lot of challenges.

As with many transgendered individuals, the toughest challenge is in accepting yourself. You know inside that there’s a disconnect between the physicality of what you appear to be and the internal truth of who and what you really are. Understanding and accepting who you were really meant to be is absolutely critical to being able to grow and become yourself. If you can find support, even a single person to listen, care and be there for you, you have a fighting chance.

(In my youth, there was no support to be found, so I hid my true self for many years and it almost ended up killing me on numerous occasions. Fortunately, I hung in there and found the support I needed late in life.)

However, beyond self-acceptance lies the minefield of societal acceptance. Here in New England, it’s much better than down South in the Bible Belt. In many places like that, especially, transpeople of all ages are at far higher risk of dying from suicide or being the victims of sexual violence and hate crimes. And that is not right!

Today, we came together to show our support for Trans Youth and draw attention to the need to respect and accept them for who they are and help them realize their potential to achieve whatever they set their minds to doing. That’s how a society progresses, thrives and makes the world a better place for all of us.

I was very proud of the transgender youth who spoke at today’s rally and showed themselves to be filled with heart, pride and courage. They are the future that we all need to embrace and support.

What can you do to help? In CT, contact any of the groups below for more information. Outside of CT, look for local chapters since many of these organizations are national.

ACLU-CT
CT TransAdvocacy Coalition
GLSEN Connecticut
New Haven Pride Center
OutCT
PFLAG Hartford
PFLAG Hampton
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Triangle Community Center
True Colors, Inc.

Get involved today, because “Trans Rights Are Everyone’s Rights!!!”

The Divine Miss Bri

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmailby feather