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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

In Case You’re Wondering, I’m Still Here!

I’m still around, but I’m finding little joy in blogging right now :(  I lost my job back in August, and though I’ve been in the transportation industry for nearly 30 years, I still have not managed to find a job in my field. I had to settle for a cashier job at a local convenience store; I work for a third of what I used to make, and in spite of severe back pain, I have to remain on my feet for 8-9 hours a day with no break of any sort! To cut expenses, we moved to a trailer park, and we’re fairly miserable here. The park is filthy, and the trailer is in more disrepair than what we originally thought. We’ve done a lot to rehab the trailer and we’re pretty proud of what we accomplished. However, there is a lot more to be done, and we have neither the money nor the energy to do it. We’re broke, and both my partner and I have been very tired, in a lot of pain, and very depressed as of late.

On the bright side, we got back our health insurance on January 1st (Thank you ACA!), and my wife is now back on her very needed medications. I have a doctor’s appointment in mid-February, and I’m looking forward to renewing some vital medications that I used to be on. We’re both managing to eat healthy; my wife has lost 27 pounds, and I’ve lost about 40 :) I’ve also picked back up on doing my PT for my back, and it is doing a bit better.

In spite of all of the personal set backs, I’ve still managed to keep up on the political world. Chris Christie, has once again shown himself to be the vengeful asshole that we’ve all known him to be, and Ted Cruz is still a douche.  The GOP still remains in the public eye as the disconnected, borderline sociopath party of no. In spite of getting trounced in last year’s election and ever declining popularity, the Republican party of religious elitist extremist seem hell bound on doubling down their message that unless you’re a white rich christian male, you’re of little use to them. However, we’re of great use to them; they divide us with their messages of hate and fear in order to make us hate each other. This is a very useful tool in the sense that it keeps the rest of us from uniting into one super group as it were, that could possibly wield a great deal of power, and dismantle the corporate and religious structure that continues to keep us among the “have nots”. The Republican party, with all of its religious dogma and corporate might has become indeed, the American Taliban. The 2014 elections are going to be a good marker to just how much the American people have grown tired of their shenanigans.

At any rate, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still around and I’m still writing occasionally. I’m going to try to write more, and I hope you will continue to visit my little corner of the world from time to time.

In closing, I want to share this Coca Cola commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Apparently, the Tea-Billies are in quite the uproar over it.

Coca Cola: Now sweetened with the tears of xenophobes.

Much love and peace to ya’ll :)

Some Thoughts On The Affordable Care Act And Socialism

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The arguments for and against Obamacare are many, and has been probably the hottest topic to be thrown around for quite some time. One thought occurred to me this morning during breakfast: Radical conservatives rail against the ACA because it’s supposedly  socialist program, as well as ostensibly a financial drain on this country. However, I don’t believe that these Ayn Randian zealots have stopped to consider something. The ACA may indeed fit within our capitalistic society. Think about it for just a moment: Many Americans who could not afford health care previously are now eligible to purchase health insurance at prices that are affordable to them. These people who previously could not afford trips to the doctor, as well as medical treatment and prescription drugs, now have options. Maybe I’m wrong, but the ACA is indeed creating a greater demand for all facets of western medicine. This is economics 101 folks. More people will be buying insurance, putting more money into the insurance companies pockets creating a need for more support in that specific industry. More people will be paying copays etc, toward medical care and prescription drugs, thus fueling a need for more doctors, more nurses, technicians and so on. Hell, the drug industry alone should be foaming at it’s mouth at the prospect of millions of Americans now able to buy their snake oil remedies. I have no specific numbers or proof to back up my thoughts, but it seems to me at least that this is common sense. You give the people more power to purchase a product or service, and demand rises, which drives up our economy in some way, shape, or form. Makes sense to me. I think the good far out weighs the bad.

 

As far as the argument that this is socialism in it’s purest form, my answer is so what? Whether die hard conservatives choose to accept it or not, our country is a dynamic blend of socialism and capitalism. What do they think paying taxes is? It’s socialism, plain and simple. We’re all putting some of our money in one huge pot in order to share in many things. The fact that we have the most powerful military in the world is because of socialism. We’re footing the bill for our militaristic imperialism. The police and fire departments? Socialism. National parks? Infrastructure? Socialism. Subsidies for huge corporations? Socialism.   The very people who lead on a local, state, and federal levels? Socialism. It’s not just the petulant seditious tea-baggers who are footing the bill for these programs, it’s all of us. Like it or not, this is a socialist country, and has been for centuries. If it wasn’t for socialism, this country would still be a rag tag bunch of loosely aligned states, begging the French for money and protection. Think about that for a while.

 

Mark my words, Obamacare is going to be good for the economy, which means it’s going to be good for this country. Now if we could just do something constructive over some other issues that may be of importance. You know, stuff like improving our woeful education system, getting millions back to work, uplifting the chronically impoverished, maybe even improving our image to the rest of the world, which pretty much hates us. Yeah, that would be great. Thanks.

 

 

The Debt Limit Simplified.

With a full government shut down pending in two days, many of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the debt limit. In ten sentences, Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum explains what it means, and what happens if it isn’t raised:

 

For most of the past year, the Republican Party has been threatening to refuse to raise the federal debt limit unless Democrats give in to a broad and varying set of demands. To understand just how reckless this brinksmanship is, you have to understand just what the debt limit is and what it means to breach it. So here’s an explanation in 10 short sentences:

1. On May 19, total US debt reached $16.7 trillion, the maximum currently allowed by law.

2. The Treasury Department has been playing various games since then to continue paying all our bills while still technically remaining under the debt limit, but within a few days they’ll run out of tricks and the government will no longer be allowed to spend more money than it takes in.

3. These Treasury tricks are very much not business as usual, and the fact that we’ve been reduced to these kinds of shell games means that normal governance is already dangerously crippled.

4. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in FY 2014 (which runs from October 2013 through September 2014), total federal income will be $3,042 billion and total spending will be $3,602 billion, a difference of $560 billion.

5. This is the amount of debt we need to issue to pay for everything in the budget, which means that if the debt limit isn’t raised, we need to immediately cut spending by $560 billion, or $46 billion per month.

6. That’s roughly the equivalent of wiping out the entire Defense Department; or wiping out two-thirds of Social Security; or wiping out all of Medicaid + all unemployment insurance + all food assistance + all veterans’ benefits.

7. What’s worse, because the government’s computers are programmed to simply pay bills in the order they’re received, it’s not clear if the Treasury can specify which bills get paid and which don’t.

8. This raises the additional risk that interest on treasury bonds might not get paid—something that would put US debt in default and could be disastrous in a global economy that depends on US bonds being rock solid.

9. So those are our choices if Congress fails to raise the debt limit: Either we suddenly stop paying for critical programs that people depend on, or we default on US treasury bonds—or both.

10. The former would immiserate millions of people and probably produce a second Great Recession, while the latter would likely devastate the global economy.

Not much of a choice, is it? That’s why it’s time for Republicans to stop playing games with the financial equivalent of nuclear weapons and agree to raise the debt limit.

 

Are you as tired of this as I am? Are you sick of our spineless Speaker allowing 49 petulant and seditious congressional members of the GOP to hold this country hostage? Then tell him so: http://www.speaker.gov/

 

Government Shut Down: “Like 9/11!” “Let’s Roll!”

Here’s a terrific synopsis from Rachel Maddow concerning the House Republican devised government shut down. Unsurprisingly, they have been gleefully planning this since 2010, when the GOP took over house majority.

 

Adventures In Home Rehab.

On episode 17 of “Rehab My Trailer” Dave manages to cut 10 foot of kitchen counter top while using a circular saw and jig saw. Miraculously, he manages to do so and keep all of his fingers and toes! On a side note, one of the cuts was actually straight!

Meanwhile, his partner Mykie preps for the hanging of the oven hood by filling the hole in the wall with a piece of dry wall, then proceeds to spackle and paint over the spot seamlessly. After doing a fine job on that she proceeds to go grocery shopping, now that we have room for food, and unpacks a bazillion boxes in the office, only to discover that the wall that the desk is on does not contain a single outlet! Luckily, with the help of Dave, she manages to plug a power strip in the outlet behind the book case.

On a tragic note, the newly built microwave cart loses its head in a horrible accident. There are some humorous moments in the show as well: Prepare to laugh as Dave and Mykie chase down both the cat and dog, when their two adventurous pets decide to make a break for it at the same time!  You’ll chuckle, as the shower curtain comes down on Mykie’s head while she rigorously fights off the dog, who wants to take a shower with her!

What fun!

Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s episode of “Rehab My Tailor”. Let’s see what kind of home make over adventures our two heroes get into on Labor Day!

 

Zimmerman Not Guilty

What a travesty. What an utter and complete miscarriage of justice.

998696_10151730139853748_957695598_nKudos to Guerrilla Feminism for sharing this.

“Only in America can a dead black boy go on trial for his own murder.” -Syreeta McFadden

Truer words never spoken.

I would say I’m speechless, but I’m not. I’m outraged. Meanwhile, a black woman in Florida is serving 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot over the head of her abusive husband when he tried to attack her. Apparently, justice in Florida IS a matter of black and white.

Ding Dong The DOMA’s Dead

Gay Couple with child

Gay Couple with child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some good things have finally been handed down by SCOTUS. Earlier this week, heinously gutted the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965, essentially allowing states the opportunity to reinstall Jim Crow type voting restrictions. Today’s decisions effectively wiped out DOMA, as well as California’s Prop 8.

I’m no legal expert by any means, but my understanding of the decisions is this: A key part of DOMA which did not allow federal benefits and protections to legally married same sex couples was ruled as discriminatory, and therefore unconstitutional. What this means is that any same sex couple married in a state that recognizes same sex marriages, are now entitled to any federal benefits and protections afforded to married straight couples. On a federal level, defense of marriage is officially dead.

In the case of Prop 8, SCOTUS kind of, sort of, not really handed down a decision. They didn’t actually rule on the legality of Prop 8, they merely ruled that the circuit court’s earlier strike down of Prop 8 could not be challenged due to a jurisdictional technicality. They shut the door on Prop 8, but left a window open for other states to introduce Prop 8 type legislation.

In essence, SCOTUS delivered this message today: If you’re legally married, you’re federally protected. However, the Supreme Court as of now, will leave marriage equality to the states, as well as the lower courts and not intervene.

While it may not be a complete victory for marriage equality, it’s still a huge win, and an immense step in the right direction.

The Departure of Exodus International

First, there was an apology. Then came this announcement. After nearly 40 years of targeting the LGBT community with bigotry and abuse, Exodus International seems to have had a change of heart. The conservative Christian based organization is best known for their “pray the gay away” reprogramming of gays and lesbians. Now, according to Exodus president Alan Chambers, they are disbanding and rebranding.

So why after 37 years of hatred has there been a change of heart? Chambers had this to say on their blog:
” Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living breathing organism.” ” For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a world view that’s neither honoring our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

Does that sound like a change of heart to you? It sounds like a change of heart to me. The times, they are a changing, and I couldn’t be happier :)

However, the fight for acceptance goes on: There are many, many, so many more hate based Christian groups out there. I’m sure wing nuts such as Fred Phelps and his Westboro cronies are absolutely seething over this betrayal. Exodus has long been the keystone in the arch of Christian based LGBT bigotry. But hey, it’s progress am I right? It represents a monumental shift in American Christian thinking, and I must say I’m impressed.

Now, about that marriage equality issue, can we please get that resolved?

Speaking of Westboro, they’re about to taste the rainbow. The Equality House, which is right across the street from Westboro, is holding a wedding in full view of the whackadoodle compound. I realllly wish my partner and I could be there! Alas, Mr and Mrs Hat are not on the guest list :( I wonder if Fred and Margie Phelps were invited?

Buh Bye

image

2014 is around the corner. With crazy lady’s announcement that she is not seeking re-election, that leaves 17 tea bagging nut jobs left to be replaced in the House. Here’s hoping that the good people of 17 congressional districts come to their senses next fall :)

Family Picture

What little time I’ve had to blog lately seems to be sharing pictures I come across on the intertubes. This post is keeping up with that theme. I came across this awesome family portrait while looking at Huffington Post. Two things occurred to me when I first saw it:

1- It’s a vagina, not a clown car. Seriously, who has this many kids anymore? It’s not the Bronze Age.

2- The very unhappy boy in the forefront reminds me of John Boehner – WHAAAAAAAA!

579689_10151359693116130_442543229_n

 

 

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