Trump-Care, Is It Better?

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Hurray for the GOP!  They finally passed a health care bill for the American People!  Mind you, they don’t want it for themselves, or for their families, but they deem it perfect for us.  They were so proud of themselves for reaching this monumental decision, they ordered crates of beer to celebrate.  Oh, what fun.

But, here is the question everyone is asking, Is Trump-Care better?

Well, lets take a closer look.

Under the proposed Trump-Care bill, the following changes will occur.

(My source for the following summations:  Jonathan Gruber, Economics Professor from MIT)
  1.  States will be allowed to receive waivers, to charge higher premiums for those individuals who suffer “pre-existing” conditions, that could include, but not limited to:  Sexual Assault, Arthritis, Asthma, Depression, Pregnancy, Anxiety, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.  If you want to read the complete list visit here at CNN.Com.  Also, just for your information, such waivers are NOT allowed under the Affordable Care Act.
  2. States will be allowed to “opt-out” of rules, established under Affordable Care Act, that require insurance companies to pay for “basic stuff,” such as… Hospitalization, Emergency Room Care, Ambulance Transportation… etc.
  3. Mental Health Coverage, and Drug Treatment Coverage would “wither.”
  4. Insurance companies will be able to charge old people, 5 times as much as they charge younger people, for the SAME coverage.
  5. Big companies will no longer be required to provide health insurance for their employees.
  6. As a result of millions of Americans (24 million) losing their health insurance, hospitals will suffer financially, and the hospitals already in dire straits are likely to close.
  7. Medicaid, which goes to help the poor and elderly, will be cut almost 900 billion dollars.  In fact, the subsidies that are set in place to help the poor and elderly, take the biggest cuts, under Trump-Care.
  8. If there be any “silver-lining,” or good news within this bill, it is this:  Those making over $250,000/yr will receive a huge tax cut.  How huge?  It is estimated to be within the 300 billion dollar range.  (At least someone will profit from Trump-Care)
  9. Those who suffer from Depression will likely pay $8,490/yr EXTRA.
  10. Those who suffer Rheumatoid Arthritis will likely pay $26,580/yr EXTRA.
  11. Those who suffer from Asthma will likely pay $4,340/yr EXTRA.

MIT Economics Professor Jonathan Gruber, admits he is certainly no historian, however, it seems, to the best of his knowledge…Trump-Care…is the largest redistribution from the poor to the rich in one bill, this country has every seen.

Trump-Care, is it better?

You, decide.

***

To watch the interview by Rachel Maddow of Jonathan Gruber visit here.

Daily Prompt: Better

 

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From Snowflakes to Blanket

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I’m a little snowflake,
I drift about.
 
Looking for injustice,
hear me shout.
 
You label me as liberal,
and think me lame.
 
But I embrace your symbol,
and use it for my name!
 
Snowflakes are small,
and they seem quite frail.
 
But when we come together,
we are a force from hell! 
 
We are the resistance,
marching for our land.
 
So, snowflakes, remember
UNITED WE STAND!
***
 
 
 
 
 
 

Confident and Full of Hope

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Photo from: http://www.supernaturalmothering.com/is-your-future-full-of-hope/

Good day, dear friends!  Here we are at close of another year.  We’ve run, walked, and sometimes crawled these past 365 days.  Now we find ourselves tying the bow, on the box we call 2016, but before we put the box upon the shelf,  may we take a moment to ask the question:  What has 2016 taught us?

Well, I can’t speak for you, but here are just some of the lessons I’ve learned from 2016:

  • Strict New Year’s Resolutions never last.  Most New Year Resolutions have something to do with diet and exercise. I begin the new year with strict rules as to what I’ll eat and what I’ll not eat.  I plan a strict regime of running with at least three days of strength training per week.  I start out with the best intentions but as the weeks pass so does my determination, and I eventually find myself paying $20 a month to house a treadmill I rarely use.  So this year, my resolutions are not as strict.  Instead of limiting myself to a 1000 calories a day, I’ll pay more attention to eating healthier…you know, more vegetables and less junk food, and most of my exercises will consist of doing those things I love like playing with my dogs and taking long walks in the park.
  • True friends/family still love you, even when you’re ugly.  I’ve never been as ugly as I was on election night 2016.  That night I sat in front of my TV, and as I watched state after state vote for Trump, I entered into a downward spiral, one that wouldn’t stop until I drowned myself in gin and vomitted obscenities all over Facebook.   Friends, it was ugly…very ugly.  I was ugly.  If you’d like to read the sordid details visit my post Vomiting All Over Facebook  After that night, I was unfriended by many, however my true friends, understood I was in pain, and that the pain must have been great, for me to do something so out of character.  My true friends didn’t judge me, but rather offered a shoulder for my tears.  Most importantly, they gave me the space to hurt, while lingering close enough to feel their love.
  • Depression fades with passion.  I’ve battled depression for as long as I can remember.  I use to think, if I awoke in the morning with a feeling of depression, that I was doomed to spend the rest of that day feeling sad.  This past year I’ve learned, that my depression fades and sometimes, even disappears, when I’m doing the things I love, like painting, writing, reading, cooking, gardening and taking long walks.  The hard part is making myself begin, as the depression I battle begs for solitude and darkness.  The key, for me, in 2017 is to have the initial will power to set my passions in to play.
  • Making a difference in the world, happens one person at a time.  After Trump’s victory I fell into hopeless despair.  The very next day, I hid within my home, crying and thinking America was lost.  I worried for my fellow-man.  I worried immigrant families would be torn apart.  I worried suicide would increase  within the LGBTQ communities.  I worried, my rights as a gay American would be stripped away.  I worried young girls would lose self-esteem in a world that judged them by their  appearance. I worried for my Muslim friends…would they be sent to internment camps?  I worried for all out-casts…myself included.  I worried so much, I became debilitated with fear.  The third day after the election I forced myself to go outside.  As I drove, I noticed a homeless person standing on the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign with the words, “homeless and hungry,” scribbled across the front.  With tears running down my face I handed the gentlemen a twenty-dollar bill, our eyes met, and as we stared at each other, I felt the fear inside deminish. I smiled and he smiled and I felt hope.  I realized in that moment that, yes… “we are stronger together.”  Regardless of who our president happens to be, we still have the power to change the world…one person at a time.

Everyday I try to read something encouraging and then spend time in prayer.  The last day of 2016 I read a portion from “My Utmost For His Highest,” a devotional book written by Oswald Chambers.  His words gave me hope for the coming year.  When I sat down to write this blog, my intentions were to simply share this hope with you, but one word led to another, and so after 725 words, I still haven’t shared Mr. Chambers words.

His words reminded me, that our future is not contingent upon our past.  We are not bound by the mistakes of 2016, but rather we can be transformed by them.   By God’s Grace we have been given a new slate to write upon in 2017.

May his words bless you with hope for the coming year…

“…Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders.  But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future…As we go forth into the coming year…let us go out with the patient power of knowing that God will go before us.  Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us.  It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.  Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.  Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”  ___  Oswald Chambers

Friends, let us go into 2017, confident and full of hope!

(May hope fill the interior, and radiate outward.)

The Shoe’s the Same

shoes-on-the-other-foot

Hello friends, I hope this day finds you well.

I have to be honest, I’m feeling disappointed.

Yes, I knew it was a long shot, but I still held out hope.

Yesterday, the Electoral College made it official.  Donald J Trump will become the 45th president of these United States on January 20, 2017.

I have to tell you, their vote, felt like the last nail in the coffin.

It’s done and it’s final.

Today I’ve been singing, “…bye bye Miss American Pie…,” somehow the words seem fitting.  It feels like the music has died.

The last opportunity to “dump Trump” came and went without much opposition.

The letters and marches did nothing to change the outcome, and yet, these peaceful protests were not in vain.  They were not in vain, because each protester can rest assured, that they did everything, within their power, to steer the country, they love, toward the more compassionate pathway.  Many a man and woman, have bled and died, in order to give Americans the right to protest, and I, for one, will exercise that right again on January 21, at the Million Women March on Washington.

I can hear the haters, loud and clear, saying, “Trump won!  Get over it!”

No, we will not get over it and we will not shut up.  We will stand for what is right even if our President does not.  You see, the march on Washington, is not in protest to Trump being President, but rather a statement to the world that we will stand together against hatred and bigotry.  We will not tolerate it!  We march for equality, peace and justice for every American no matter who they are.

So many times, since November the 8th, I’ve scratched my head in unbelief and wondered how an arrogant, but ignorant, demagogue could have been elected.  I’m overwhelmed, at how blasé many Americans are, at the undeniable proof of Russia’s influence to sway the election in Trump’s favor.

I wonder how apathetic they would be, if it were Hillary, whom the Russians wanted to win.  I’m sure apathy would have given way to outrage.  The far right, conservatives and evangelicals would be crying conspiracy and demanding a full fledged investigation.  And guess what?  They would get it!  Just as members of congress got to grill James Comey, director of the FBI, about his final decision to not indict Hillary Clinton.

It seems the justice system only works, when it’s in their favor.  Such hypocrisy.

How is it, that Trump can appoint people, mostly white men, into high ranking positions, when their connections to Russia is as blatant as a cancerous pustule upon the end of your nose?

I shouldn’t be surprised…I really shouldn’t, because this double standard proliferated throughout the endurance of the election.

My friends, stop for a moment, take off the shoe and let’s put it on the other foot.  What would have happened if…

  • The Clinton Foundation refused to pay the laborers who built its structures?
  • The Clinton Foundation had gone bankrupt as many times as Mr. Trump’s companies?
  • If Hillary had been sued 3,5oo times?
  • If Hillary had refused to release her tax returns?
  • If Hillary boasted about grabbing men by the genitals?
  • If Hillary had been accused at least 17 times for some form of sexual assault?
  • If Hillary openly rated men on a scale of 1 to 10 by the size of their penis?
  • If Hillary had zero experience in government.
  • If Hillary had “made 117 distinct policy shifts on 20 major issues, including three contradictory views on abortion in one eight-hour stretch.”  (NBC News)

People, the list is endless, and it seems to grow with his every tweet!

So, how does the shoe look on Hillary’s foot?

Truth is, when the shoe is put on the other foot, the shoe always looks the same, because it is the same.  The only difference is the owner, of the foot, inside the shoe.

We need to examine the shoe, without regard to its wearer.

After all, that is what justice is all about.

***

( What will be America’s fortune, OR will she even have one?)

 

 

Besp0ken Plans

What You Should Know about Rex Tillerson, America’s Next Secretary of State…

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Rex Tillerson, chairman of ExxonMobil, left, shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence April 16, 2012.

President elect, Donald J Trump, has finally made up his mind as to who will be the next Secretary of Sate.  After dangling, as carrots before the American people, such names as, Petraeus, Guiliani, and Romney, Trump decided against all three, and instead chose Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil.

It is my opinion that Tillerson has been the culprit in Trump’s bespoken plans all along.

Do I have proof?

No.  But such are all opinions…  Opinions, after all, are only personal assumptions of self-interpreted “facts” as perceived by the viewer.

So, you see, I have no crystal ball, or inside intelligence to support my opinion, but what I do have is the 4 decade report, of Tillerson’s business and personal dealings, as CEO of the world’s largest,  international oil and gas company, Exxon Mobil.

Such report reveals:

  • As CEO of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson has had a two-decade relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin.
  • As a result of this relationship, Vladimir Putin personally awarded Tillerson, Russia’s Order of Friendship Award in 2013.
  • Rex Tillerson is a known skeptic of the sanctions placed upon Russia by the United States and European countries.
  • Exxon Mobil has billions of dollars in Oil contracts, that can NOT go forward, until these sanctions are lifted.
  • “Under his [Tillerson’s] leadership, Exxon has entered into joint ventures with Rosneft, a Russian-backed oil company, and donated to the country’s [Russia] health and social programs.” __ New York Times

I don’t know about you, but in light of  CIA claims that Russia tried to sway the election, Rex Tillerson’s relationship with Russia is cause for great alarm.

Senator John McCain (Also the decorated, Prisoner-Of-War hero, demeaned by Trump) said  the close ties between Tillerson and Russia is “a matter of concern.” Of Putin, Senator McCain said, “Vladimir Putin is a thug, bully and a murderer, and anyone else who describes him as anything else is lying.”

Last month, President Obama and European leaders, agreed to uphold the sanctions against Russia and to keep them intact until Russia implemented a cease fire, and the removal of heavy war weapons from the borders of Ukraine.  Certainly Vladimir Putin was unhappy with this decision.

Hmmm…if only Putin had a friend in Washington…

Enter:  President Donald J Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Vladimir Putin must be smiling like the Cheshire cat.

 

(Information from New York Times…read article:  Trump Names Exxon Mobil Chief to Run State Department)

 

Hey America, You Get What You Vote For!

“90 Percent of Teachers Say Trump’s Win Has Had a Negative Effect in Classrooms.”

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Children cheer at Trump campaign event.

Hello friends, I read an article while having a morning cup of coffee, and I have to say my gut did the death roll.  The article, written by Claire Landsbaum of NYMAG.com, spells out the ugly truth, of just how Trump’s win, has negatively impacted America’s children.

Landsbaum writes, “More than 10,000 teachers, counselors, and administrators from K–12 schools across the country were surveyed, and 90 percent say their school’s climate has been negatively impacted by Trump’s election.”

Negatively impacted?  How?

Read on, friends…

In Indiana, one middle school teacher reports, and I quote:

“Since the election, every single secondary school in our district has had issues with racist, xenophobic or misogynistic comments cropping up. In the week since the election, I have personally had to deal with the following issues: 1) Boys inappropriately grabbing and touching girls, even after they said no (this never happened until after the election); 2) White students telling their friends who are Hispanic or of color that their parents are going to be deported and that they would be thrown out of school; 3) White students going up to students of color who are total strangers and hurling racial remarks at them, such as, ‘Trump is going [to] throw you back over the wall, you know?’ or ‘We can’t wait until you and the other brownies are gone’; 4) The use of the n-word by white students in my class and in the hallway. Never directed towards a student of color (that I’ve been told yet), but still being casually used in conversation.”

Hey Trump voters…if you can read those words and not feel a pang of guilt, shame on you!

To Trump voters:

This man, our new President-Elect, didn’t even try to hide his nasty character and still you voted for him.  He publically mocked a disabled reporter who has arthrogryposis, and still you voted for him.  He openly degraded women and laughed about inappropriately grabbing them, and still you voted for him.  Dear Trumpeters, the list goes on and on, and still you voted for this man.

In conclusion…

Well, America, what did you expect to happen?  While you glossed over, turned your heads, and ignored the abominable actions of this man…guess what…your children were watching.  

Why wouldn’t your kids feel they could imitate the most powerful person in the world?  After all, it was mom and dad who put him there!

I’m terrified at the thought of what our America will look like in four years.

May God have mercy on us. 

***

To read the article from Clair Landsbraum visit here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence, the coward’s stamp of approval upon the wrong they choose to ignore.

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“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

***

Now more than ever, we must open our mouths.

Repeat after me…  I. will. not. keep. my. mouth. shut!

(Daily Prompt-Filthy)

Listen to Understand and Not to Reply

If you want to have a better attitude towards someone, then you must change your thoughts about that person.  This is not an easy task,  because our first instinct, as human beings, is to prove our point and then try to make others view the world through our eyes.

This power struggle, whether on social media or face to face, happens many times through out the day.  We want people to like what we like and hate what we hate.

My favorite color is blue, but when I learn yours is red, immediately I think, “Phhh…blue is much prettier than red.”  In trivial matters, such fleeting thoughts appear and disappear and often we are even unaware of its presence.  I mean, after all, unless we are talking curtains for the bedroom, our preference of color matters little, within the full spectrum of life.

However, it’s not as easy with other issues such as religion, politics, racism, sexual orientation and even climate change.  At the very mention of any of these, our psyche either goes on the offense or the defense.   We fight, “tooth and nail,” with efforts to prove our point, or we circle our wagons to defend our point.  I dare say, no one has ever changed their belief as a result of such strategy.  Effective communication is nonexistent in this kind of environment, however hurt feelings, broken friendships and divided families breed rampant.

Why are our emotions so sensitive when it comes to these issues?  Why do we draw a line in the sand and dare anyone to step over?  Why do we think everyone should agree with us?  How dare we hurt and kill others, simply because they are different?  What or who gives us that right?

Nothing and no one, and certainly not God!

I’ve heard it said, “Pride goes before the fall,” and how true it is!  It is our own selfish pride that causes us to commit such evils.  Pride is the ultimate villain, and it is he with whom we should wage war, and not each other.

How do we do this?

Peace is possible when we are willing to change ourselves.  We must “on purpose” rearrange our thoughts, to think of others more than ourselves, and then we must listen…truly listen.

When we listen we should first listen to understand first and then to reply.  Sometimes a reply is even unnecessary, but we must always listen.

Make America Truly Love Again

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Victims of Orlando Shooting

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.  (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV)

When I have my morning coffee, I often read and today I read Proverbs 12:25.  Once it was read, I had to stop, because it dawned on me that I didn’t agree with it.

True enough, anxiety leads to depression, but the second part of that verse seems to be a bit shallow.  Words are never enough to make the heart glad.  All of us enjoy compliments and of course they do make us smile;  but far too many times they become the same old rhetoric we’ve heard over and over again. When this occurs,  those words are meaningless and quite frankly, insulting.

As a writer I string words together with the hope of creating something meaningful, whether it’s to entertain or to touch hearts.  Words can be powerful, but they can also be cheap.  In my life I’ve heard the words “I love you” many times, but also through the years I’ve learned these words, at times, can be insincere.  Love is easy to profess but much harder to prove.  If you truly love someone then your actions will show it.  Love without action is only a lie.

This past week, after the shooting in the city of Orlando, America used “words” to express her sorrow. She professed her love through prayers and moments of silence.  I ask you, is that enough?    Do prayers and moments of silence represent true sorrow?  Are they enough to show true love?   

It is with this frame of mind, I penned to following prose.  It’s not meant to be pretty or written with rhythm or rhyme.  It’s simply my thoughts about a situation that makes no sense, but keeps happening anyway.

Make America Truly Love Again

America weeps over the Orlando shooting, and I say, “here we go again.”

Our mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, husbands, wives and dearest friends are taken by a bullet from a gun…and I say, “here we go again.”

Our government takes a moment of silence,” and I say, “Here we go again.”

Our flags across this land fly half staff, and I say, “here we go again.”

Night vigils are held with candles lit, and I say, “here we go again.”

The religious among us bow to pray, and I say,  “here we go again.”

 Politicians bicker and fuss but nothing’s done, and I say, “here we go again.”

We cry…we mourn and we bury the dead and I say, “here we go again.”

We break bread at tables with empty seats, and I say “here we go again.”

Days pass into weeks…our sadness wanes, and I say “here we go again.”

In this land of Red, White, and Blue the people forget, and I say, “here we go again.”

Our senses are lulled and to sleep we fall…and I say, “here we go again.”

Well, guess what America?  I’m damn sick and tired of saying “here we go again!”

I’m tired of your empty prayers and moments of silence!

I’m tired of your condolences, while we throw dirt to a grave!

I’m tired of wreaths of flowers that only decay!

 Keep your prayers, your candles, your flowers and give us action, instead!

Take action and demand that laws be changed!

Take action to sew up the loopholes!

Take action and demand “No fly-No buy!”

Take action and ban weapons of mass destruction!

Take action instead of padding the pockets of the NRA!

“Take action!  Take action and do it today!”

You must know… Prayer without action is never true love.

Moments of silence are just that…silent. 

Repeated well wishes are empty and insulting.

Wake up America!  Wake up and Understand!

Your “niceties” are but dung to our face, when nothing’s ever done!

You think prayer and candles synonymous of love?

Guess what America…You’re wrong!

Love is taking action…and not waiting to say, “here we go again.”

True love does more than pray or light candles.

True love steps up to the plate and swings her heart out.

True love, not only says something…it does something. 

America we’re waiting…what will you do?

Can we make America “TRULY LOVE” again!

 

Meeting Trump Along the Way

I continue my walk through the book of Psalms.  Imagine my surprise when I met one of the presidential candidates along the way!  As soon as I read Psalms 5:9, Donald Trump came to mind.  He seemed to resurface again in the book of Romans

For there is nothing trustworthy or steadfast or truthful in their talk; their heart is destruction; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter and make smooth with their tongue.

Psalms 5:9 

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Romans 3:13-18

13 Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive (to mislead and to deal treacherously). The venom of asps is beneath their lips.

14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.

15 Their feet are swift to shed blood.

16 Destruction [as it dashes them to pieces] and misery mark their ways.

17 And they have no experience of the way of peace [they know nothing about peace, for a peaceful way they do not even recognize].

18 There is no [reverential] fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 3:13-18

My Prayer:  Lord, I almost feel mean in this my comparison of Mr Trump.  Forgive me, Lord.  Who am I to judge for I am but a sinner saved by your grace.   I can only see the outside but you, Father, see the heart.  You know the heart of every presidential candidate.  God, may the one with the truest heart win.  Please protect and bless America. Amen.