Saturday, January 21, 2017

Redirecting Lower And Middle Class Funds Into The Hands Of Billionaires And Corporate Citizens

The next four years under President Trump will be very interesting to say the least.  His petty and egomaniac personality traits will be on full display for the world to see, which the media will probably focus on for ratings purposes.  Which is "sad", to use a Trump phrase, because they'll distract people's attention from the likely redistribution of wealth from the lower and middle classes upward to the wealthiest citizens and corporate "persons" on the planet.

I could be wrong about Trump's goals for governing, but everything about the him that I've read in a completely biased fashion inside my feedback loop of investigative journalism, indicate that this should be a massive swindle and a huge payday for those who don't need another big payday.  The wealthiest American citizens will benefit from additional tax cuts beyond the two bestowed upon them early in the George W. Bush years (and extended by President Obama), where Dick Cheney famously said after W questioned why they were doing another round of tax cuts:

“Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,” Vice President Dick Cheney said when the Bush administration sought a second round of tax cuts in 2003.
Tax cuts and redistribution of wealth, in my opinion, will be on full display for those looking in all the right places.

Trump may even flaunt his redistribution policies, bragging about how much richer he's making the super rich, without mentioning the impact his policies will have on the little people, who will pay the costs for his giveaways and privatization schemes.

And those little people that are being fleeced, like those with pre-existing medical conditions losing their guaranteed issue health insurance (Affordable Care Act) and those whose jobs are being lost to robotics, automation, and globalization (not Mexico and China), will cheer him on, thinking that the benevolent trickling down of money from The Wealth Effect will magically wind up in their wallet.

I believe that many of the people who voted for Trump and believe in his trickle-down rhetoric will eventually come to regret their decision when the consequences reach a personal level, which could be anything from losing health insurance or to coming to the realization that they had been conned by one of the greatest con men and pathological liars living today whose behavior was somehow normalized by the media (for profit).  Or, if Congress and the deficit hawks finally get the opportunity to drastically reduce already meager Social Security benefits to retirees by telling citizens that the country is broke and cannot afford to pay someone $1,100/mo in retirement benefits at a time when the Pentagon cannot account for $6.5 trillion in taxpayer funds that vanished.

At some point, many people may come to the realization that they had been conned by the best in the business.  His policies will have intended and unintended consequences felt by the most vulnerable American citizens.  The spoils will go to the wealthiest Americans, like they have been for the past forty years.  The lower and middle classes will be told that they need to tighten their belts to pay for the benefits going to those at the very top of the food chain.

That's all that I have this morning.  Have a great Saturday and enjoy your SSI before it's privatized!


Monday, January 9, 2017

Defending The Indefensible

I've lowered my personal standards several times throughout my life just like everyone else.  We all do it.  Most of  us, though, are fortunate enough to keep our transgressions out of the public domain. 

Yet, every time I see a highlight of a Kellyanne Conway interview, like this one trying to defend Donald Trump after Meryl Streep's comments last night at the Golden Globes, I can't help think that she must be going through a major battle in her mind / soul of continually defending and trying to put a positive spin on some of Trump's most indefensible public comments.  

I'm sure there's a constant back and forth where behind closed doors she sees some of his finer qualities as a human being and then there are the indefensible moments that come out where she is tasked with spinning, changing the subject, completely avoiding the question, pivoting, and talking in circles on TV on behalf of the president-elect.  

To me, that kind of indirect evasion would be a very difficult thing to internalize.  If it were me, I'd have a red phone to a therapist to process my thoughts several times a day, being reminded why I took the job, what the benefits are, and to get a quick reminder that it would only be for a year or two and that a lucrative book deal was waiting by the golden light at the end of the tunnel.  The therapist would have to reinforce that selling out my soul was only temporary and that it was merely a means to an end, that I was using the future president as a springboard to a new future.  

But, it's not me. And I'm no longer in therapy.  (It was a great experience, though!).  I've become pretty self-reflective over the years after going through some high highs and low lows.  And having reflected on several mistakes and paying the consequences, I just couldn't sell my soul to do something that I didn't believe in even if the money was spectacular.  

For the sake of her mental happiness, I hope that Kellyanne Conway fully believes that Trump has the potential to be a great leader.  But, I get the feeling, that since she appears to be highly intelligent and linguistically gifted, that she sees the man for all his out-sized strengths and weaknesses.   And I would assume that it creates a lot of cognitive dissonance and takes a lot of energy to come up with the answers to spin his statements on TV.  

That's all that I have for today.  I guess that I never could have been a PR person. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Repealing Obamacare Won't Be Good For Those 20-30 Million Who Might Lose Coverage

Donald Trump and Congress are about to put the lower and middle classes, elderly, millions with pre-existing conditions, and the self-employed into a very tough situation by repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  So far, after six years of voting to repeal it, they've never introduced any type of plan of what it would be replaced with except for Trump on the campaign stage saying, "It's going to be the great, the best," like he's selling gullible investors on a new casino that's destined for bankruptcy or phony degrees from his phony university. 

I've read bits and pieces that Congress wants to repeal the ACA and give themselves 3-4 years for that repeal to kick in, making it just a toothless symbolic achievement.  

Unfortunately, there are 20-30 million of the aforementioned cohorts above that will be impacted by the repeal whenever it goes into effect.   But what if the repeal is immediate?  What happens to the cohorts of people listed above?  

I'm one of these people.  I got really sick in 2003, going to Urgent Care and the Emergency Room four times before the ER doctor was able to get me medication that cured it.  But, it took two weeks and losing 18lbs in the process.  I also had a fluky preexisting condition from over a decade ago that insurers (pre-ACA medical and Disability insurers) have used against me in order to raise my monthly premiums.  Or, to "properly rate my risk level" in insurance industry language.  

But under the ACA, the insurance company didn't bring up the two instances from over a decade ago. They just approved me as a male in my age group, pooling my money as a now 39-year old man who ran six half marathons and a Duathlon in 2016, with the other healthy and unhealthy people.  Pooling means that healthy people who never use insurance should cover the costs of the unhealthy or those who get a fluke illness.  

Granted, my premiums on January 1st jumped by 50%.  This really wasn't a surprise to me since 20 million new people had come into the pool and many had pre-existing uninsurable conditions so the policies probably were not priced correctly.  I understand that.  Fortunately, I can afford the premium increase and I'm grateful to have coverage even though I'm out of pocket the first $5,000 of my medical care because I chose a high deductible plan to keep my monthly premiums down.  

But if I lose my automatic coverage if Congress and Trump repeal immediately, then I have to be re-underwritten and they'll bring up two flukes where I actually used the coverage twice in 16 years against me to raise my monthly premiums even higher.  Every insurer does this so I'm used to it.  

But what about those with more severe pre-existing conditions?  Or those who are undergoing treatment right now?  How about the poor or those on the fringe of being able to afford insurance who may just go without since the premiums are too high?  Will they go back to the way it was prior to the ACA when they'd show up at the ER for treatment rather than having a number they can call for nurse triage or a regular doctor they can see.

I get the feeling the repeal of "Obamacare" is a political stunt based upon symbolism.  I'm sure that the bill will have some kind of language about de-funding Planned Parenthood, which they'll use to win over the religious right who show up to vote every time even if many of those will be losing coverage.  (Too bad most don't know the history of the Republican party and came to embrace the anti-abortion movement - it was a books for votes deal).

Hopefully, the symbolic overturning of the ACA will be delayed for several years, to be dealt with down the road.  Within two years, the Democrats will probably have majority control of the House and maybe of the Senate as voters wise up to just how far and in your face the GOP has redirected funds for the welfare state used for actual people and given those funds to the corporate people, in terms of massive corporate welfare to appease campaign donors.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Artie Vandelay The Beagle Turns 13.5 Years Old Today

My beagle Artie Vandelay turns 13.5 years old today.  A year ago, had someone asked me if he would see his 13th birthday (July 1st), I would have said that it would be a miracle since he was struggling with Arthritis and occasional Pancreatitis flareups, that were incredibly painful.   

Around June of this past year, Artie started taking Pet Releaf CBD Hemp Oil in addition to his pain medications and low-fat prescription food from the vet.  After about 2-3 weeks on Pet Releaf, his energy levels noticeably improved as our morning and afternoon walks increased in distance.  Since I rarely put his leash on him, he would pick the route of our afternoon walk.  Some days, when he had a lot of energy, he'd lead me up the hill to the Dog Park on Skyliner's Summit.  Usually, the next day after he had taken the hilly route, he wanted to do a flatter course around the neighborhood, which would cover at least one mile.  

Back and forth we'd stagger the walks depending on how he was feeling.  It was always his call.   (And this was on top of his early morning 1-1.5 mile walk along the Deschutes River Trail).   

During November, our last month living off Mt. Washington Drive, Artie started jogging the final 2.5 blocks down the hill straight to our front door on the days we came back from Overturf Dog Park.  It was impressive considering just 3-4 months earlier, prior to taking the CBD hemp oil, he looked like he was in a lot of pain walking and would often stop and turn around just a few hundred yards into the walk.  I figured out that he was hungry and excited to get home for dinner, including Applegate Roasted Chicken Breast slices.  Thus, the need to jog down the hill and get back to the house as quickly as possible! 

Artie's final years have been a great gift to me.  He's helped me open my eyes to the care that older dogs need.  After he crosses over to the other side, I will be getting another older dog or two and will continue adopting special needs senior citizen dogs the rest of my life.  And I'll spoil them with good food, treats, CBD oil, medicine, doggie ice cream, or whatever they need to make their final years of life as easy as possible, just like I've tried to do with Artie Vandelay, who today celebrates his 13.5 birthday.