An Open Letter to Thoughtful, Serious, Reasonable Conservatives

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I feel so sorry for you guys. I really do. Here we are, in a two party system, and the only "conservative" choice available to you is moving farther and farther out into the weeds of megalomania, extremism, fear, fiscal irresponsibility, and bigotry. Your party leader is a world class douchebag; unserious, classless, unqualified, incurious, unthoughtful, and fit only for being the butt of jokes.

I miss the old Republican party. The one I belonged to when I believed in conservatism, and actually believed the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility. These were serious people, and knew how to get things done.* Whether you agreed with it or not, they were effective in executing on their vision. They truly were the loyal opposition to the Democrats, and they deserved to participate in the marketplace of ideas. I miss them.

Because the current party isn't like that at all. Consider:
  • They would rather lie - demonstrably so - than admit they may not be the most popular group in politics, or that their proposed legislation is clearly hurtful to millions of Americans, or that they give a crap about the deficit, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
  • While riding on the coattails of populism, they simultaneously try to enact legislation the majority of Americans don't want - but that big business and the ultra-rich do.
  • They remain in power partly because they stoke the fears of the public, insinuating through speech and deed that we Americans are on the verge of losing our way, that our country's in the toilet. They've encouraged us to give in to fear and hate. 
  • They've used the Southern Strategy to enormous benefit. A strategy based on populism, fear, bigotry, and exceptionalism. 
  • They're completely incompetent. It's been nine months since they controlled every branch of the government, and what have they accomplished? Bupkis. They can't get their own ducks in a row long enough to address what color to paint the halls in the Capital Building, let alone actually display some governance. 
  • They have no fiduciary responsibility whatsoever. They go on and on and on about the national debt, but Republican administrations apparently can't balance their budget if their life depended on it. Reagan's record in this area is especially egregious, and when you do an honest comparison of National Debt in the last 50 years, the difference between the two parties is negligible, at best. The difference is that Republicans want to cut taxes (especially for the rich), thus reducing income while simultaneously cutting services to the poor, and the Democrats want to adopt more of a socialistic model, where services are increased, and taxes are increased accordingly to pay for the additional services. Quite frankly, the execution on both of these strategies has been piss poor, leaving the country with higher and higher national debt. So having the Republicans toot their own horn on how fiscally conservative they are is laughable. They're not (and neither are the Democrats).
  • Their hypocrisy when it comes to "small government" is beyond the pale. They may want fewer people on the payroll (doing the same amount of work), but when it comes to sticking their noses into other people's business, they are first in line.
Aren't you tired? Aren't you tired of the Republican Party relying on their strategy of catering to the lowest common denominator to get into power, assuming smart, reasonable, serious conservatives will do nothing as long as Republicans occupy the halls of power? Aren't you tired of having the Tea Party extremists claiming to represent you, while simultaneously trying to enact legislation that you totally disagree with?

I know I would be. I know I was, which is why I left the party.

But I understand why thoughtful, serious, reasonable, conservative citizens don't want to switch to the Democrats. They're as far away from your belief system as the extremists who have taken over your own party.

So if you can't bring the Republican party back on track from within, how about you form a new party? You could call it "The Reasonable Party," or "The Conservative Party," or "The Anyone but Trump Party."

The fact of the matter is that we really do need to "take our country back." We need to take it back from ultraconservative/fascist extremists who are warping the Republic to their own ends. And since the Republicans are currently in power, that means it's up to you, conservatives, to do what is necessary to fix it. Liberals cannot do so on our own - we don't speak the conservative language (and that's okay, it's really not our job to do so in this context). You're allowing this with your silence and lack of action. And that's not okay.


*Note that I'm aware they did so on the backs of the marginalized. There's a reason I'm no longer a Republican.

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to once again encourage the members of Congress who represent me in Washington to work together on a bipartisan effort to stabilize the ACA’s insurance marketplaces. 

Senators Alexander and Murray are working together on this effort, and I strongly believe that this is what leadership looks like. Healthcare for our citizenry is far too important a matter to rush something through without following the normal hearing process, and these Senators are leading the way by taking a mature, thoughtful approach to the issue. 

Once the marketplaces are stable, it then falls on both Democrats and Republicans to build on this work to come up with a long-term solution that addresses the concerns of both parties. The ability to compromise and work through partisan politics on important legislation is a skill most Congresspeople appear to have lost, and it’s time to resurrect those skills for the good of the country. 

Country before self, and especially before Party. Let’s return to civility, bipartisanship, and compromise in politics. I expect my Congresspeople to be role models in this behavior, not the last ones on board. 

Let’s get something done.


Regards, 

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Doing the Right Thing Edition

Monday, September 25, 2017

A young girl was hit in the face by a line drive during a Yankees game on Wednesday the 20th. The injury was bad enough that the crews televising the game chose not to release footage of the accident due to its graphic nature. Thankfully, reports are that the youngster is doing okay, and I hope she makes a full recovery. Many players for both the Yankees and the Twins were in tears over the incident, which I totally understand. It's not Todd Frazier's fault, but you know he's torn up over it, and most certainly blaming himself.

Our own Colorado Rockies are working and planning to expand the nets at Coors Field for the 2018 season, and I'm grateful to them for making that decision.
________

45 once again stuck his oar in when he should have been letting the adults talk, this time surrounding the appropriateness of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality in this country. He's trying to throw the "respect for the flag" red herring into the argument, rather than appreciating the fact that these are American citizens, exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Thankfully, it appears that many owners are choosing to ignore 45's rhetoric and mind their business. I choose to stand and salute during the national anthem for my own reasons, but I don't think it's right to try and push my choices off on others. I'm glad so many owners are looking at this as a civil rights and activism issue rather than assuming they know their players' motivations for choosing to make a political statement. Naturally, all the games on Sunday featured protests by players, coaches, and even owners to 45's suggestion.

Also, LeBron James called 45 a "bum" over his rhetoric, and for some reason that just made me laugh and laugh and laugh.
________

Meanwhile, the island of Puerto Rico is in a total blackout due to hurricane damage, and they need our help. Please remember that these people are American citizens, and so are entitled to the same level of support and aid any American community would receive from the federal government (which they're not getting). A list of "on the ground" charities can be found here. A little pressure on 45 to do his job and help the citizens of this country rather than blathering on and on about football might be in order, as well.
________

And I'm still not eating at Chick-Fil-A. Yes, I've heard all the arguments about taking money from local franchisees, and how boycotting them is wrong because they themselves are not necessarily anti-LGBTQ. All of that is absolutely true. But it's also true that for every dollar spent in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, some portion goes to the home office and is used to fund legislation that hurts a community I care about. So no. Just...no.
________

Dominionist Roy Moore, the cashiered Judge from Alabama who believes evolution isn't real and that being gay should be illegal, needs a better class of campaign staff.
________

There's a Facebook group out there called "White Nonsense Roundup," and it essentially exists to help people of color respond and educate white people about race issues when the POC don't have the emotional energy to do so themselves.  I don't know enough about this group to have an informed opinion, but I like the fact that responders only come into a conversation if invited by the POC dealing with the mess.

I've interacted with so many POC who are tired - really, really, tired - of having to explain concepts of systemic racism, privilege, intersectionality, etc. to white people. It's not that the education isn't important enough to spend time on it - far from it. It's just emotionally draining work, and sometimes they wish white people would step up and help.

I'm going to follow the group for a while and see what it's all about.
________

Fourteen women pose nude for photographer Carey Fruth to demonstrate that female beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Love.
________

Video of my Heart: Actual journalist and decent human being Anderson Cooper takes down liar, liar, pants on fire Sean Spicer in his Ridiculist.


An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/22/2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

I am writing today to express my extreme opposition to the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

Here are the factual reasons I oppose this bill. Please note that these are matters of fact, not opinion:

 • There is not enough time between now and September 30th to get an accurate CBO score that tells us how many people will loose coverage as well as what the bill will cost, and that is inexcusable.

• It ends individual and employer mandates, which will drive premiums up. It will also end federal subsidies for individual insurance. This is estimated to leave 32 million people uninsured.

• It takes the money going to the states that opted ‘in’ to Medicaid expansion and distributes it among all states, even those whose legislatures irresponsibly voted against expansion. In 2026, funding for Medicaid expansion would end entirely, and the shortfall would be left for the states to cover.

• It institutes a one year freeze on Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood (even though federal law already prohibits federal tax dollars being used to fund or finance abortion services)

• It allows individual states to define what constitutes an “essential benefit”, which will likely result in a slash of coverage for maternity services, cancer treatments and services, ER visits, prescription drugs, and many more benefits. This could also further prevent women’s clinics from charging Medicaid for things like cancer screenings and birth control.

• It allows insurers to double their surcharge for elderly patients. (The ACA allows insurers to charge older customers up to 3 times as much as younger ones. This bill increases that to up to 5 times as much.)

• It allows insurers to charge higher rates based on health status, and it repeals language in the ACA which prevents changing insurance rates after a patient is diagnosed with a condition.

I can't believe I have to even say this, but the provisions in this legislation are just INDECENT. It's just as bad as the last bill brought before the Senate. Denying people the care they need to live is IMMORAL. Continuing to be a rank-and-file Republican on this issue is WRONG. Allowing the Federal government to cut billions from Colorado, money that serves the least among us, is NOT serving your constituents. I don't know why we even have to have these conversations - the argument of decency versus cruelty should have a clear-cut winner, and yet here I am, trying to convince you that decency should WIN.

Please vote NO on this bill and work with the Democrats on a bi-partisan approach that addresses both party's concerns. It's what the American people need, regardless of the Vice President's paternalistic view to the contrary. It's what we want. It's what we've TOLD you we want, when the majority of Americans have said they do not want the ACA to be repealed. Do not assume that because you hold office that you can pat your constituency on the head and claim that Father knows best. You obviously DON'T know best, as evidenced by years of do-nothing Congressional sessions and a complete failure to pass meaningful, popular legislation when your party controls ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

Do the right thing. Vote NO on this bill and help Coloradans retain the care they need.

An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/21/2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I am writing today to encourage you to vote NO on the Cassidy-Graham bill. 

While I understand that you are a rank and file Republican, I urge you to think independently on this issue. Most Americans don’t want the ACA to be repealed. Coloradans don’t want to lose billions in federal aid and have it repurposed to the Bible Belt, all of whom think federal health care is “Socialism.” Coloradans don’t want millions to lose their health care through Medicaid/Medicare. 

This really is a moral issue. Will you be the kind of Senator who pays attention to his constituents, or will you serve your masters at the GOP at the expense of Coloradans? Will you be the kind of Senator who votes to essentially kill your constituents so you can remain in your party’s good graces, or will you be a stand-up guy and do what is right, damn the consequences? Are you the kind of man who is guided by morality, values, and compassion, or will you be the man who puts party and self before country? 

Please - prove me wrong, and do the right thing, rather than the expedient thing. Vote NO on the bill, and then work with the Democrats to come to a bi-partisan solution. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about you and your priorities. Please, vote NO on this bill.

What's the Haps

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I realize I haven't been posting much lately. Between the latest political landscape and getting ready for our AFSP Out of the Darkness walk, I've become emotionally tired, and as Sister Stacey says, I've run out of spoons.

But I'm starting to get inquiries from my readers, so I thought an update might be in order. An update informed by today being "Talk Like a Pirate Day."

1. Miss Jackson Pi has been feeling poorly of late. She's always been a delicate flower when it comes to her digestion, but vomiting happens often enough that I spoke to her vet about it. She's now on a new (pricey) kibble and taking doggie probiotics. That dog lives a healthier life than most people I know. But she is getting her teeth cleaned on Friday, so she's just going to have a bad week. Poor Bubbie. (It's better than a peg-leg, Argh.)

2. I've been kind of blue lately. I think the upcoming AFSP walk is bringing everything that punched me in the heart about Moe's death to the front of my mind, and it's pretty draining, as well as making me touchy and weepy. (Cap'n needs a hug, Argh.)

3. Recently I've started yoga practice using an iPad app. Apparently I am currently the most inflexible person on the face of the earth. (Argh-ouch.)

4. We went to Santa Fe over Labor Day with Sister Stacey and Brother J.R. and it was FABULOUS. I love that city, and my "turn left at the adobe house" joke never stops being funny. (Argh.)

5. The end of fiscal year is fast approaching, which means I'll be getting my FY2018 work assignments in the next month or so. I'll probably pick up some more accounts, which is fine with me. If I don't stay busy, I live inside my head too much, and that place smells of psychological pharmaceuticals and orange soda. (Argh.)

6. I've been putting my costume together for the annual Douglas County Library Foundation Gala. The theme is Alice in Wonderland, and I shall be going as the Red Queen, because of course I am. Nothing too over the top - just a tiara, scepter, appropriate jewelry, a red dress and these. (Argh.)


Hubba, hubba

7. You want to know why I'm out of political spoons? This is why. I honestly do not understand how Republicans - Republicans I know and respect - can support the things and the people they support. I just don't get it. And every time I try to get it, I get more confused, because the argument for cruelty and against decency also makes no sense to me. This work makes me very, very tired, and I'm no closer to understanding now than I was when I wrote this or this. So I keep calling, writing, faxing, and e:mailing my Congressional Representative and my Senators, hoping my small voice will join with others to save us from ourselves. (Walk the Plank, Matey! No, really - walk the mother-fucking plank, you shameful piece of shit.)

8. Summer is winding down, and that means the growing season is almost over. I still have dozens of tomatoes and about eight zucchini out there, waiting to ripen, but it won't be long until the plants will be ready to be pulled up and mulch applied for next year. (Eat yer tomatoes or gets the scurvy, matey!)

An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/18/2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

I am writing to you today to ask you to vote "no" on the latest ACA repeal. I'm not really interested in having 1.3 million of my fellow Coloradans lose their Medicare coverage because the GOP needs a win to convince their constituents they're capable of governing. 

If you want to govern, then pass some domestic legislation that improves the lives of your Constituents by working WITH the Democrats to reach a compromise. 

Right now I consider your primary job as keeping an unfit, unpredictable, unqualified man child from destroying our Democracy. Snatching medical coverage away from 32 million people makes you an immoral failure, not a leader of men. 

If you want my vote, then work on bipartisan legislation that benefits us all, and lead your party away from extremism.

Suicide Prevention Week

Monday, September 11, 2017

The number for the suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There are people who care about you. You matter in this world. You won't always feel this way, and there is help available to lead you out of the darkness.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week here in the United States. As most of you know, this is a cause that is extremely personal for me. When we lost our daughter Moe to mental illness and suicide, it changed our world entirely, leaving deep wounds that will probably never heal.



So as we continue to live with our grief, we work to help fund programs that support people who are considering suicide and suicide survivors. The organization we've chosen is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

On September 23rd, the Maureen's Marchers team will hit the bricks in their annual "Out of the Darkness Walk," raising money for AFSP programing and grants, in honor of our baby girl, and the light that the world lost in her passing.

If you feel so inclined, the fund raiser may be accessed via the badge below, or the banner on the right sidebar. No family should have to go through what we did, and no parent should have to bury their child for a treatable disease. Thanks for any support you can offer.


The Seventh Annual Maureen "AJ" Ramey Memorial Summer Reading Program Winners

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Seventh Annual Maureen "AJ" Ramey Memorial Summer Reading Program, brought to you by Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men!

This year we had 300 entries into the contest, so the Douglas County Libraries Foundation will receive a $500.00 donation from me and the Smart Man to continue to secure the naming rights on the garden at the Parker Library.


On to the WINNERS!

I used a Random Number Generator to determine the winning numbers:

223: Kathy Hewett, who read The Viscount and the Witch, by Michael J. Sullivan

and

277: The Mechanicky Gal, who read Curtsies and Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger

Please contact me with the e:mail address you want me to use for your Amazon Gift Card.

Congratulations to the winners, and we'll see you again next year!

Fuck Nazis

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fuck Nazis. They have no place in our country, and their opinions are completely unworthy of consideration. Fuck them.

I am stating for the record - I am a white American of Northern European descent. And if I had my way, those vile, racist, morally reprehensible motherfuckers would be shipped to an island and dropped off, cast-away style. They can leverage their "White Culture" civilization building skills to build their White Aryan utopia, away from right-thinking folks.

These cockroaches have no place in my America. NO PLACE. They can either get their minds right or they can be prepared to have their ideas and themselves marginalized, outed, doxed, sneered at, disrespected, and made fun of. I can't believe I even have to say this, but there is no middle ground, no justification, no excuse, no quarter when it comes to Nazis. Because they're NAZIS. ACTUAL, FUCKING NAZIS. My family has served this country in uniform for every generation since the Civil War*, and did not do so this scum could crawl out of the swamp with impunity. I don't give a shit what that miserable fuck in the White House says. NAZIS.

NOT IN MY AMERICA.

________
*My great, great, great, grand-uncle was General William Tecumseh Sherman. Yes, that Sherman. So all you Nazi shits can just kiss my ass. We didn't serve to support the likes of you.

Taking the hit so you won't have to. Because I'm a giver like that.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I recently read (in full) the anti-diversity screed penned by a Google software engineer that has been making the rounds of late. You're welcome.

As most of you know, I am an engineer working in the tech field. I have worked in male-dominated organizations my entire adult life. I came of age in the Pre-Tailhook Navy. For the last ten years, I have been the only woman in my team. This guy's commentary speaks directly to my 34 years of professional experience.

And in all my time working in the middle of this sea change, never have I read a more pseudo-intellectual, MRA inspired poor me-pity party from a dude whose basic complaint is that he feels he shouldn't have to give up his unearned privilege in order to ensure a more egalitarian industry.

Consider his main points:
  • The company exhibits a left-leaning political position in terms of culture. He feels all political positions have equal merit. 
This is a dog whistle. "The Right" is code for "up with unearned privilege!" He's advocating a culture where it's perfectly fine to continue to marginalize under represented groups, because that's the way we've also done it.

With the caveat of freely admitting I don't personally know anything about Google's culture, I will say that with my tribe, we don't dislike or disrespect the conservative or liberal viewpoints per se. We dislike douchey, discriminatory behavior. If you're a conservative and you act like a douche, I'm not going to respect you. Just as I would not respect a liberal who was a douche. YMMV.
  • Women are underrepresented in tech and leadership basically because our Ladybrains are not well suited to these endeavors. I especially love how he slips in language about how women who really do the same quantity/quality of work as their male counterparts are paid equally. Wink, wink.
Bite me, you clueless Neanderthal. There's a reason girls are equally adept in STEM and leadership in a controlled environment. The change happens in Middle School, and the reason doesn't have much to do with testosterone.
  • Women have too many fee-fees to be as effective as men in a professional setting. 
The ridiculousness of this viewpoint is so extreme I can't even. Has this douche considered the idea that the ego driven nonsense most often attributed to men makes them less effective in the workplace? Bueller? Bueller?
  • Dudebro refers again and again to "illegal discrimination." 
Here's the thing, Mr. MRA - "illegal discrimination" can only occur if the person being "discriminated against" is in a protected class. Last time I checked, white dudes were not on that list. Also: "Reverse discrimination" is not a thing. It's an excuse MRAs use to cry about how not everything's about them.
  • Diversity is bad, even though he gives it lip service.
 This entire memo has flavors of "I love diversity, but..." and "I'm not sexist. Some of my best friends are women." Transparent much?
  •  We're all blind to his brilliant, transformative ideas because there's a liberal conspiracy...or something. 
Yeah. A liberal conspiracy. That's why 45 was elected to the highest office in the land, you know. Because liberals are secretly pulling the strings from behind the curtain.

The lack of logic, cherry picking, and self-serving whining about how tragic it is that not everything is about him now makes this laughable. And dudebro felt perfectly comfortable sharing this drivel with the company internally. Perfectly safe. Because apparently, this type of mindset is just A-OK in Google's culture.

And that's why Google is, in fact, evil. They give lip service to diversity and equal opportunity to the point where MRAs like this douchey author believe they're being "marginalized," while the company is simultaneously being investigated by the Federal government for egregious application of the gender wage gap. They can't find female or non-white employees to take jobs at Google, because regardless of their efforts, Google still has a reputation where women and non-white associates are paid less, marginalized more, and (obviously) make no impact on the culture.

Evil, indeed.

ETA: Turns out dudebro is one James Damore, and his particulars are so ironic I may sprain something. He's white. He's a Libertarian. He claims a Ph.D he did not earn (from Harvard, no less). And he's been job offered by no less than Julian Assange, ::sproing!::

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing you today to strongly encourage you to support bi-partisan efforts to shore up our nation's healthcare troubles and find a solution that works. 

The items in included in the solution proposed by the Problem Solvers Coalition seem to me to be a good start in making this happen. Permanently funding Cost-Sharing Discounts and allowing states greater flexibility to manage their marketplaces are just two of their ideas, and each solves a particular problem that each party cares about. It's the nature of compromise, and it's something that is sorely lacking in our Republic. 

In my view, EVERY member of Congress should be a "problem solver." Every. Single. One. If an individual's  aim is to be obstructionist, petty, unwilling to compromise, then they are unfit to serve our nation. We elect Congresspeople to find solutions, not to engage in endless partisan bickering. It's past time for Republicans and Democrats to stop this nonsense, ignore the unserious man-baby currently occupying the Oval Office, and make a concerted effort to save the Republic. 

Please - just do your jobs. It's not too much to ask.


Signed, 

Janiece

Keeping love alive

Monday, July 31, 2017

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of my baby girl, Maureen.

It's been a strange four years. My grief journey has ranged from being unbearable to being grateful for my tribe. It's gone from nearly catatonic with grief to maintaining a stable, healthy life. It's gone from raging against the reality of the world to accepting - albeit with sadness - the new normal that is life-without-Moe. I still cry at triggering events, and I suspect I always will. But my life is stable now, by the grace of my people and my grief work.

One of the things I've learned about this journey is that while I will never look at my daughter's death as anything but tragic, I still have the opportunity to use her loss as an impetus to make the world a better place. For me, that means doing work that supports the things she cared about. It means donating money to causes she was passionate about. It means mentoring other young women as they move into adulthood and helping them discover the person they want to be. This work helps me keep the love and gratitude alive on my bad days, when I miss her more than usual, or I find I want to share something with her and then realize I cannot.

And this year, for the first time, it means I will participate in activism to support Suicide Prevention.I haven't felt up to it until now, and there's still a possibility that I may fall apart during the event. But I want to try, so I'll be participating and fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk.

This will be the fifth year the Maureen's Marchers team is hitting the road in my baby girl's name on the annual Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk. The money raised in this event will go to fighting suicide and supporting AFSP's goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

I can't bring my Moe-Moe back, but I can do what I can to ensure other families never have to walk this grief journey, and experience the devastation that is losing a child to suicide.

If you're a local, please feel free to join our team and come walk with us on September 23rd at Coors Field in honor of our baby girl.

If you wish to donate to the cause, my fundraising page may be found by clicking the icon below. This icon is also pinned to the right sidebar.




Every year on this date I reflect on how very cursed I am to have lost a child, and how very blessed I am to have my people around me when I need them most. Thank you for your support and love on this journey, and for supporting the work of an organization whose mission is to save the lives of people like Moe.

An Open Letter to my Senators

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, 

I am writing today to express my disbelief and disgust with the current plan to revoke the individual and business mandate in the Affordable Care Act. While it isn't working as well as analysts had hoped, removing it will do nothing but increase the number of uninsured Americans, and increase premiums for everyone. 

The numbers from the CBO don't really lie - 16 million Americans will lose their healthcare, and healthcare premiums will increase by 20% for the individual market. How is this "better?" How does this constitute "more Americans being covered?" The completely immoral remarks concerning the free market by the President of the Senate notwithstanding, this plan is clearly bad for Americans. 

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record - how about country before party for a change? How about voting in accordance with your constituents' desires and best interests? How about more bi-partisan work on this issue? 

Please come up with a COMPREHENSIVE plan for health care in this country. I know it's hard, but it's YOUR JOB. Please do it for a change.


Signed, 

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Mortality is our lot edition

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An essay surrounding the language we use when discussing cancer, people who have cancer, and the occasions when cancer is terminal. I'm still working through my feelings about the idea of death positivity, but I agree with this author's comments. Dying of a disease is not a failure. You don't lose if available medical treatment does not cure you. Everyone has to die of something, and choosing our own path to death is the key factor - not that we die of cancer, or an accident, or whatever.
________

Why the media should be more thoughtful in covering cases of suicide. I think this applies to all writers, and I have to admit that when I hear someone use the phrase "committed suicide" my reaction can go from apoplectic with rage to a desire to educate. My baby girl did not "commit" suicide, like her struggle with mental illness resulted in her engaging in a criminal act. She died of suicide, with a proximate cause of mental illness. Language matters, and changing the narrative around mental illness and its sometimes devastating results will help our communities help those most in need.
________

And speaking of "apoplectic with rage," my favorite Christian Pastor takes on those who believe victims of suicide are "selfish" or "weak." Short answer: They're not, and assuming they are is the worst form of privilege. Instead of being a smug, self-righteous douchebag, perhaps the people who think this way should show some fucking gratitude that they themselves are not stricken by mental illness and have never had to deal with the ramifications of such a disease. Next they'll be blaming cancer patients for their condition.
________

Our charming President just kicked trans people out of our Armed Forces. A couple of things to note: 1. 45 keeps talking about he and "his generals" discussing the matter, but the Pentagon only learned about the new directive through....you guessed it, Twitter. So where were the Pentagon Generals in these discussions? I suspect they were a figment of 45's imagination. 2. Have you read those tweets? There's no way 45 wrote them, as they're coherent and well-written (if awful). This has Pence's fingerprints ALL OVER IT, the fuckstick. 3. Does anyone actually believe this is anything other than a disgusting attempt to engage in cultural warfare in order to deflect people from 45's legal problems? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
________

From the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" files, here are 29 lies told in 26 hours by the Liar in Chief. Can't somebody put a muzzle on this guy? Seriously. 
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check:
  • Confessions of a Funeral Director: The personal blog of Caleb Wilde, professional funeral director and writer. 
  • LA Times: Commonly referred to as the Times or LA Times, is a paid daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country. Well sourced with a left-center editorial bias.
  • Stuff that Needs to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz.
  • The Washington Post: The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded on December 6, 1877.  The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, the second-highest number ever awarded to a single newspaper in one year.  Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards (Wikipedia). The Washington Post has a liberal bias in reporting choices, however they are typically well sourced to credible information.  Sometimes they rush stories to be the first to break them, which leads to poor sourcing. This has occurred on a few occasions in 2016.  When an error is made the Washington Post responsibly makes corrections.

An Open Letter to the Coward Cory Gardner


Yesterday you voted to open debate on your excretible bill on healthcare, in spite of rampant confusion about what it contains. You immediately followed that bit of Party-First hucksterism by voting "yea" on the actual bill in question. You know, the one that everyone is confused about, but surely will increase premiums, price people out of the market, and reduce funding for the least among us. 

I think the most obvious question here is WHY. Why would you vote for this bill, knowing that your constituents hate it? Why would you vote for this bill, knowing that your own approval ratings here in Colorado have dipped 30% as a direct result of your failure to listen to your constituents about what they want? Why would you vote for this bill knowing that your constituents will suffer (and yes, even die) due to your political actions? Why?

And I think I have the answers! I think it's because you're a hypocritical liar, liar, pants on fire. Let's consider the facts:

1. You voted to open debate on this mystery bill because (and I quote):
I voted to allow debate today because we can no longer subject Coloradans to a failing healthcare system without working toward solutions, and today’s vote will allow that debate to continue. We can now offer amendments in an open setting to fix our nation’s healthcare system and bring relief to the American people. 
Fair enough, if it was true. But - and here's the part where you're a big, fat, hypocrite - you immediately followed up by voting "yea" on a bill without the aforementioned amendments.

Hypocrite: 1. Credibility: 0.

2. You say that you want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, health care legislation that enjoys a 55% approval raring, because (and I quote):
Under Obamacare, Coloradans have had to pay for double digit premium increases year after year and the 27 percent average increase for premiums on the individual market next year is only more of the same. While 500,000 Coloradans have had their plans cancelled, 145,000 Coloradans were forced to pay a penalty under Obamacare instead of purchasing insurance because their options have become so limited and unaffordable. In every healthcare meeting with Coloradans, we discuss the problems of Obamacare and how the status quo is simply unacceptable. 
Simply unacceptable, huh? But it's perfectly okay to defund Medicaid (in the future, of course, when you'll presumably be safe from the consequences of your ill-conceived vote) when you promised you wouldn't and leave those who can least afford a cut in their healthcare to suffer and die. It's perfectly acceptable to remove the employer and individual mandate, thus driving premiums even higher. It's perfectly acceptable to increase premiums on seniors with fixed incomes so you can suck up to your rich buddies. Uh, huh.

Hypocrite: 2. Credibility: 0.

3. You've made quite a show of supposedly "considering" the ramifications of revised healthcare law, meeting with Seema Verma for "wink, wink, nod, nod" assurances that Medicaid patients would be taken are of, at least until you can safely deflect the blame for cutting their benefits. But the simple fact of the matter is that you wrote this crappy legislation. You were on McConnell's super-secret committee to bring this steaming pile of immorality to the Senate, and you're responsible for it. You can act concerned all you want, but this is your dumpster fire. Quit trying to fool your constituents into thinking the buck doesn't stop with you, because it does. And this is one issue that people are going to remember in 2020. You can bet on it.

Hypocrite: 3. Credibility: 0.

4. Speaking of you being McConnell's butt-monkey, how are those plans coming for your fundraiser at the home of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz next month? I think it's just swell that McConnell will also be in attendance so that you can lick his boots in full view of the .01%.

Pandering Hypocrite: 4. Credibility: 0.

You are simply unbelievable, the way you try to make out like you're all thoughtful and deliberative, when everyone knows you're going to vote the Republican party line regardless of the consequences to your constituents and the communities you supposedly represent. You put party before country, every single time, and I have to say I look forward to campaigning for your opposition in 2020. I'd even settle for a new Republican, provided they had a moral compass and kept their oath of office, since you obviously can't be included in either of those cases.

Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Twofer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my continued desire for Congress to engage in a bi-partisan effort to improve America's healthcare system. 

With polls showing that Americans prefer the ACA to the Republican plan by a margin of 2 to 1, isn't it time for all of us to admit that the best plan of action is to work together to fix what's broken in the ACA instead of continuing to throw good money after bad in coming up with (or resurrecting) a new plan that everyone hates? 

THIS is what Americans want. Not the gridlock, not a Congress that is currently the least effective in history, not a self-sabotaging President who is forcing our current system to fail with his petulant power-plays. A REAL plan, researched and discussed, a REAL plan that represents the majority of the population's desires, a REAL plan that reflects compromise on both sides of the aisle. You know, a plan that reflects Congress actually doing their jobs. 

Needless to say, a straight repeal of the ACA is NOT a viable alternative. The grandstanding of the last 8 years aside, everyone knows such a act would hurt millions of people and throw the markets into chaos. 

We need a plan that will withstand the rest of time, including guarantees for funding of subsidies for states and individuals who need them, rather than leaving that decision up to a mentally disturbed man-child who understands nothing but his own ego. 

Since the best plan - single payer - seems like a pipe dream because of the pressures and campaigning of the insurance companies, will you please just do your damn job and come up with a compromise plan? Millions of Americans are depending on you. Stop letting them down.


Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople


Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to say, "Are you kidding me?" 

You lost two additional Senators on Trumpcare and your response is to try to repeal the ACA with no viable plan to replace it? What is wrong with the Republicans? Is it really so hard to imagine a world where Republicans and Democrats actually work together in the spirit of public service to find a solution that works for everyone? Your predecessors did it all the time. Why can't you? 

Is it so very difficult to accede to the wishes of your constituents and provide a bi-partisan solution? It's what AMERICA wants. We need an adult in the chambers of Congress. Please resist the urge to make things worse and actually serve the public with some level of humility and respect.


Signed, 

Janiece

Somewhere, in a smoke-filled room...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Senator McConnell: Okay, okay, settle down. We need to discuss what we're going to do about the Health Care Bill.

Senator Gardner: My constituents are flooding my office with faxes, phone calls, and e:mails. NO ONE likes this bill.

Senator Merkowski: Mine too!

Senator McConnell: Shut up, Gardner. You helped craft this bill, and everyone knows you're my butt-monkey. Stop grand-standing. And Merkowski, you know what the definition of an honest politician is? Someone who stays bought. So you can shut up, too.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You piss me off, Paul. Why can't you just GET ON BOARD.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell. Okay. Here's the deal. Gardner is right on one point. Everyone except us thinks this bill stinks to high heaven. I thought we'd reached a point in American history when the sheeple would just do what we told them was best for them. It's certainly worked up until now. But apparently they're not quite convinced that the GOP should be their Lords and Masters. I blame Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Cruz: It's always right to blame Elizabeth Warren. Just sayin'.

Senator McConnell: Word.

Senator Heller: We need to work something out. My state depends on Medicaid funding. I'll lose my seat if public opinion goes the wrong way.

Senator McConnell: Protecting our seats is always job #1. You're not special, Heller.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell: We need to find a way to tank the legislation without having to actually come right out and say that it's a piece of shit and no one wants it.

Senator Lee: Well, we've already made it so excretable that we can't really come out and say we think it sucks, too, without coming out with egg on our faces.

Senator Moran: I think that ship has sailed.

Senator McConnell: Does anyone have any HELPFUL suggestions?

Senator Strange: I think it's obvious that someone is going to have to fall on their sword.

Senator McConnell: Well, I'M not going to do it. I worked too hard to impose my personal vision of "Fuck you, I've got mine" on the American public to quit now.

Senator Gardner: It should be somebody whose seat is absolutely safe. Remember, job #1!

Senator McConnell: Or it could be someone whose standing will improve if they pretend like they care about their constituents.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell: WILL YOU shut the fuck up? How about we draw straws?

Senators Lee and Moran: Crap. Short end of the stick again.

Senator McConnell: Thanks for taking one for the team, y'all.

Senator Johnson: Won't the President be pissed?

Senator McConnell: Who gives a fuck? We'll just tell him it was the Democrats fault. He doesn't understand how legislation works, anyway. Now, Lee and Moran, make sure you coordinate your announcements so I can then look disappointed in front of the press, and reluctantly agree to try another tack. That tack will probably be a "repeal and don't replace" bill, but hey! What do we care? We must have a legislative WIN, and simultaneously fool the public into thinking we have an actual plan. Who's with me?

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator Collins: KMN

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Garner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my disgust with the Republican health care bill. 

I don't understand how Republicans can continue to push this bill when it's so very apparent that NO ONE WANTS IT. Your constituents, Medical Doctors, Insurance Companies - everyone thinks the provisions of the bill are a terrible idea. It breaks the insurance model, it pushes people off instance who currently have it, it defunds help for those who can't make it on their own, it makes health care unaffordable for seniors - the list goes on and on and on. 

So why are Republicans still pursuing it? 

I can speculate on a thousand reasons, but the conclusion I keep coming back to is that Republicans have lost their moral compass. As a party, their cultural norms have deteriorated to the point  where they simply don't care that no one wants what they're peddling. They consider themselves above their constituents, without humility, and they believe there will be no consequences for their hubris. They believe this because of gerrymandering, of course. 

But people are getting fed up. You folks are PUBLIC SERVANTS. Start serving and scrap this bill. Work together in a bi-partisan effort to come up with a plan we can all live with. THAT is what the country wants. Do your job and SERVE with some humility and respect.


Signed, 

Janiece 

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Twofer Edition

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I just found out that the "revised" health care bill excludes members of Congress from certain provisions of the bill. 

Are you kidding me? You are public servants, and you serve your constituents. How dare you try and pass a health care initiative that gives you more choices, more coverage, than the people you serve? If your bill is so all-fired wonderful, then it should be good enough for EVERYONE, not just those without power. 

This is so incredibly tone-deaf and hypocritical I'm actually sputtering with outrage. Clearly the worst things people say about Republicans are actually true - your "screw you I've got mine" attitude, your assumption that you're above the rest of us, the belief that you can screw over your constituents without repercussion. 

I've been active in local politics for some time, but Republicans have shown during this healthcare debate that I need to redouble my efforts and my financial support to elect the opposition, even though I'm not a Democrat. 

Unbelievable. Remember: Decisions have consequences, including unintended ones. Beware the unintended consequence in 2018 and 2020. I won't forget, and I'll make sure other Coloradans don't forget, either.


Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople


Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing to today to implore you to vote NO on the Republican Health Care plan. It is simply immoral to refuse medical care to almost 15 million Americans who can least afford to lose the help. 

Putting weasel words around it by having the Seema Verma point out that the states can use their "stabilization fund" to offset the cuts is a red herring. Cutting the funding is cutting the funding, and people will still lose their coverage when the money runs out. 

How can any member of Congress purport to be public servants out of one side of their mouth while simultaneously supporting this bill out of the other? It's bad for your constituents, and shows everyone - foreign and domestic - exactly what the American government values. Please note I said American government, and not the American people. Because this bill, and Americans' reaction to it, shows that this bill does not reflect the people's wishes.

You have a real opportunity here to give Republicans (and Congress specifically, for that matter) some credibility. Right now Republicans are considered the party that tears things down and leaves rubble in its wake. Republicans have a realty TV star in the White House, an unserious, incurious dolt who doesn't understand even the rudiments of governance and what it means to be a leader in a representative democracy. But you don't have to follow his lead. Instead, you can govern. How about acceding to the public's wishes for once, and craft a bi-partisan health care plan that EVERYONE can live with? THIS is what America wants, not some hack-job of a Bill where no one's voices are heard but a select few. 

Please - do the right thing. People's lives literally depend on it.


Signed,

Janiece


An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Four

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

 I am writing today to express my continuing opposition the the Republican healthcare plan. 

I read in the paper that the revised plan will most likely retain the investment income tax authorized by the Affordable Care Act, but will likely retain the cut in funding to Medicaid. Senator McConnell's disingenuous comments aside, the bill would phase out Medicaid expansions under the ACA by reducing the federal match for newly eligible adults, place a cap on the federal reimbursements to states, and lead to fewer people being enrolled than under current law. Cutting funding = cutting programs and eligibility. To pretend otherwise is misleading at best, a big fat lie at worst. 

And you know what's truly ironic about this bill that no one wants? Republican states will suffer the most under the new rules. Clearly Republicans are not working for their constituents (who don't want the legislation) or in the best interest of their constituents (more people from Republican states losing healthcare). 

The majority of Americans believe this bill is a piece of crap, and that Congress needs to go back to the drawing board in a bi-partisan effort to fix it. 

That being the case, why can't you make that happen? It is a lack of will, or a lack of competence? History will judge, and harshly.


Signed, 

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Three

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my disappointment with the so-called "Consumer Freedom Amendment" proposed by Senator Cruz as a possible change to the Republican Healthcare plan. 

Such a plan would still put the sickest people in a position where they are pooled together as a risk group, while healthier people won't be required to share that burden. 

The sickest among us would be priced right out of the market, regardless of whether or not the government provided some level of subsidy. 

I don't know how else to say this: Any new healthcare plan must be BETTER than the ACA. It must provide MORE coverage, for MORE people, regardless of the Insurance Companies' preference. Their market is changing, and they must change with it or find something else to do. They don't get to continue to feed at the public trough at the expense of your constituents. 

Perhaps the Senator doesn't understand how "insurance" is supposed to work. Spreading the risk among a large pool means the system is working as designed. 

Please, put country before party for once in your careers and WORK TOGETHER to come up with a viable healthcare plan that is BETTER for most Americans, and not WORSE.


Signed, 

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Two

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my expectation that my elected representatives find a way to craft a COMPREHENSIVE healthcare program. Such a program should not leave our seniors destitute. It should not require that parents have to choose between medical care and food for their children. It should not make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It should ensure that EVERY American has basic health care. It should be about what's best for your constituents, and not what's best for insurance companies. 

In short, it should be a piece of legislation that is morally defensible, does MORE than the Affordable Care Act, and crafted with Americans in mind. Americans, not to be confused with "American companies." 

I expect my elected officials to be competent enough to craft such a law, and to keep people's best interests in mind while they do it. Please - ignore the incompetent currently residing in the White House and DO YOUR JOB. It's not really that much to ask.


Signed, 

Janiece

PSA


Politics make me tired. Sometimes politics make me more tired than others.

So even though I do not intend to give up the fight, I'm taking a mental health break from the ridiculousness that is politics in the United States following the entirely unsurprising soup sandwich 45 made of the G20.

I'll continue to write my elected representatives, because that's not something that can wait, but for now - politics, ew.

An Open Letter to my Congress People, Part One

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck, 

I am writing today to express my support for "Medicare for All" type health care initiative. 

The Republican plan to replace the ACA is a fiasco, skyrocketing premiums for many Americans, throwing others off the health insurance rolls, and offering less care for more money. Less than one fifth of Americans approve of this plan, and I think it's time for Congressional Republicans to admit it's time to go back to the drawing board. 

And the plan that should be drawn is a Medicare style single payer plan. When comparing other single payer plans to the United States, they spend less money for better care. From my point of view this pretty much torpedoes the complaint that it would cost too much. The only issue is WHO will pay. And the answer should be all of us, on a sliding scale. People who want and can afford supplemental plans should be able to buy them, but EVERYONE should get basic care, and pay the taxes to support it. 

I'm cognizant of what this would do to for profit health insurance companies in this country, so I suggest a phased approach, just like Republicans suggested for people on Medicaid. If it's fine for your constituents, then it should be fine for corporations, right? 

We're the only first world country in the world that doesn't offer a variation of this plan. What does that say about our values? I know many Republicans think it makes a statement about self-reliance and independence, but here in the real world, it makes a statement about priorities. As in, American politicians prioritize companies that contribute to their re-election campaigns over their constituents. History will not look kindly on these "priorities," and if a comprehensive health care plan isn't maintained, I'm really, really hoping that Coloradans look unkindly on our Congress people, too. 

Please, do what is right, not what is expedient or what the Party and the corporations tell you to do. Kill the Republican health care plan and work together to bring forth a plan that helps actual people. 


Signed,

Janiece